When Brad Braxton was tapped last year as the next senior pastor of Riverside Church, he was billed as an energetic and dynamic preacher with the power to reinvigorate the flagship pulpit of progressive Protestantism.
Soon, however, those very qualities got in the way. Some parishioners found him a little too energetic. He talked a lot about Jesus and perhaps a little too much about scripture. Some critics even used the dreaded f word—fundamentalist—to describe him.
Two months after his installation, Braxton, 40, abruptly resigned on June 29 after a bitter dispute over his leadership style and compensation package made his job impossible and untenable. While Braxton’s departure was shaped by Riverside’s unique culture, some see a generational conflict over what constitutes progressive Christianity.