Full name: James David “J.D.” Greear
Born: May 1, 1973, North Carolina
Bachelor of Arts: Campbell University
Word of Life Bible Institute
Ph.D., concentration on Christian and Islamic Theology,
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Pastor of The Summit Church, 2002 – Present
International Missions Board Member
62nd President of the Southern Baptist Convention, 2018-2021
J.D. Greear is a prominent figure in evangelicalism, especially in the Southern Baptist Convention. He served as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention for three years, from 2018 through 2020. He has promoted a pro-abortion small group leader and soft-peddled the sin of homosexuality and crossdressing. Moreover, he has harshly criticized conservatives, to the point of comparing them to “terrorists.” His views on racial issues are informed by the tenets of Critical Race Theory, as evidenced by his policies on hiring for church plants and committees during his term as President of the SBC.
Pro-Abortion Church Leader:
At J. D. Greear’s Summit Church, a female small group leader named Rebecca Shrader Tweeted that she wanted to “protect” her friend who was going to have an abortion at Planned Parenthood. She said “I think I’m going to sign up to be an escort at Planned Parenthood. I’m pro-life.. but [sic] have you heard what my people shout at these women?? I had a friend abort a wanted nonviable pregnancy in a PP and was called a murderer and told she was going to hell. I want to protect her.” In a blog post entitled “Why My Views On Abortion Changed,” she wrote the following: “My personal religious beliefs that life begins at conception shouldn’t impact your beliefs or ability to make your own decisions. We are not a Christian nation, and many people do not believe like me when they make the decision to end a pregnancy.” According to Capstone Report, by 2020, Shrader had been a member of Greear’s church for nine years, a volunteer in the Summit Kids program, and that she had been adopted into the church family through the mentorship program. J. D. Greear, as the pastor of Summit Church, has a Biblical responsibility to discipline those who teach contrary to Scripture on something as important as the lives of the unborn and the morality of killing children. However, as of the date of this article, that action does not seem to have been taken.
Soft-Peddling Sodomy and Transgenderism:
In a sermon on Romans 1:24-32 delivered on January 27th, 2019 at Summit Church, Greear spoke about the nature of homosexual sin in a way that is inconsistent with the Biblical position and the facts about God’s response to that particular sin. Quoting Jen Wilkin, he said “‘We ought to whisper about what the Bible whispers about, and we ought to shout about what it shouts about.’ And the Bible appears more to whisper when it comes to sexual sin compared to its shouts about materialism and religious pride.” This implies that God places homosexuality on a lower-priority tier. Given that the Bible speaks of God condemning Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality (hence, the term “sodomy”) and destroying those cities as a consequence for their unrepentance, Greear’s view is contrary to what the Scriptures have to say on the matter.
Docent Sermongate Scandal:
In 2021, news that there was a group of researchers who would plan and write sermons as well as demographic surveys for pastors and church leaders (who could afford to pay said group) broke in conservative, Biblical Christian circles. It was discovered that SBC President Edward Litton’s church’s doctrinal statement affirmed a kind of modalism or partialism regarding the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which is contrary to all forms of orthodox (right-teaching), Biblical, historic Christianity, and is also contrary to Article II of the Baptist Faith & Message. When that news broke, it was also discovered that the heretical statement was not written by Litton’s church; rather, it was taken without attribution from another church’s website. This prompted further investigation into allegations of plagiarism on the part of Litton, who was discovered to have preached a sermon with some identical language to one of J. D. Greear’s own sermons. When the Christian public became aware of this plagiarism, Protestia broke the news about an organization called “Docent Research Group.” Docent was revealed to have prepared sermons for many high-profile pastors, and was endorsed by the likes of Tim Keller, Matt Chandler, and J.D. Greear, who admitted to using the group to boost appearances.
In a now-deleted endorsement on Docent’s website, Greear wrote the following:
“Docent has been a humongous help to me, saving me literally hours each week and improving the quality of my preaching dramatically. These guys are the real deal. I give them assignments and questions on everything from interpretation to cultural analysis to illustration, and they get me thorough answers, always on time. They are outstanding scholars and really ‘get’ my job as a communicator. I often have people remark to me, ‘How many hours did you spend on that sermon? Where do you get time to do all that research?’ Ha. Thanks, guys for making me look so good!”
Criticism of Conservatives:
When addressing conservatives who had concerns and criticisms especially regarding his softening of the Biblical moral position on homosexuality, Greear spoke against them harshly, saying:
“Every moment that you or me or Dr. Floyd engages in a silly argument or spends time debunking untruths is a moment I’m not focused on the Great Commission. I think we need an attitude like President George W. Bush called for in 2001: we make no distinction between those committing terrorism and those who harbor terrorism.” He also criticized conservatives within the Southern Baptist Convention who were concerned about the onslaught of critical race theory, saying “… if we in the SBC had shown as much sorrow for the painful legacy that racism and discrimination has left in our country as we have passion to decry Critical Race Theory, we probably wouldn’t be in this mess.”
Greear’s Identity Politics:
J.D. Greear has promoted tenets of critical race theory and identity politics, especially in the church plants and committee appointments he made during his term as President of the Southern Baptist Convention. He admitted:
“… 63 percent of all churches planted in our Convention were planted by people of color. Last year, our committee appointments tried to reflect this. Forty-eight percent of our appointments were non-white, 40 percent were females and only 32 percent were white males. Nearly 80 percent had never served before, and nearly half of all appointments were from churches with an attendance of less than 250… We genuinely need the perspective, insight, and wisdom of our brothers and sisters from every culture and ethnicity.”
This reveals that Greear believes in standpoint epistemology, which is one of the key positions of critical race theory. Standpoint epistemology is the automatic prioritization of the ideas, thoughts, feelings, and arguments of people of color, women, homosexuals, and other minorities. He also believes in the CRT principle of diversity and inclusion as core values, which is why he sought to hire non-white people and women at such disproportionately high rates.
Greear on Voting Democrat:
In an interview with the Christian Post, J.D. Greear stated that “If, at the end of the day, you look at it and feel like whoever the Democratic candidate is, you feel like that of all the different things, this is the better of the options, well that’s great… Just make sure you’re clear about whatever it is that is on the other side from where you voted.” In other words, Greear believes that it is not inherently contrary to the Bible to vote for the Democrat Party, which is platformed on items such as abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, socialist economics, and other positions that directly go against the moral law of God as revealed in the Scriptures.
Conflation of Christian and Muslim Conceptions of God:
In an interview with Trevin Wax, J.D. Greear made the claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, claiming that “… the question of whether or not you use the Arabic name for God – Allah – is more of a practical question than a theological one.” The conversation referenced Greear’s book, entitled Breaking the Islam Code, wherein Greear stated that “Believing wrong things about God and worshipping Him incorrectly doesn’t mean one is worshipping a different God.” In reality, the true God of Christianity is altogether separate from the God of Islam, because the “Allah” of Islam is not Triune, and therefore does not exist. For more on the subject, William Lane Craig’s article on Reasonable Faith provides a Biblical view here.