Russell Moore, the President of the ethics division of the Southern Baptist Convention has apologized for his comments on President-elect Donald Trump and evangelical Christians who supported him.
However, he is not taking back his criticism of Trump.
"There were...pastors and friends who told me when they read my comments they thought I was criticizing anyone who voted for Donald Trump. I told them then, and I would tell anyone now: if that's what you heard me say, that was not at all my intention, and I apologize," Moore said.
"There's a massive difference between someone who enthusiastically excused immorality and someone who felt conflicted, weighed the options based on biblical convictions, and voted their conscience," he continued.
The Wall Street Journal reported that some of the Baptist pastors are mulling over diverting funds from their churches to SBC or to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission headed by Moore, to express their disagreement with him and the agency over policy matters.
"Donald Trump will surround himself with whomever he wishes and already Dr. [Robert] Jeffress is there as is former Governor Mike Huckabee, whom are both influential Southern Baptists, so the question is why does this even matter?" said James Forbis, a young member enrolled at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky.
"It matters to them because they're products of the old Religious Right and Moral Majority and they're worried about losing control within the SBC and Southern Baptist losing cultural relevancy," he continued.
William F. Harrell, Senior Pastor at Abilene Baptist Church, Augusta, Georgia, is one of the critics of the comments made by Moore. He said the ERLC was meant to be a conservative voice in Washington to challenge the liberal policies in Congress.
"The ERLC was intended to represent the views of the people of the SBC. It was not meant that it would evolve to become a platform for its President and his friends to use as a political tool to try to influence people to do as they wish. It was meant to represent our Convention and our spiritual and moral positions in order to bring soundness and wholeness to a world desperately in need of it," he wrote in his blog.
President of the Executive Committee at SBC, Frank S. Page, is arranging for discussions between Moore's supporters and opponents so that they can search for a conscientious common ground.
"There's got to be a humility on both sides to recognize that ... we've not always talked to each other; we've talked about each other too much," he said in an interview with Christianity Today. "There's got to be intention that we are going to build a bridge, not burn the bridge."