Russell Moore and his critics


I don’t often comment on politics, and when I do, I’m more likely to talk about the dangers that contemporary American politics pose for Christian witness than to engage in partisan debate.

The current situation in the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is a case in point.

Theologically, ERLC President Russell Moore is a straight-up-the line Southern Baptist. On the controversial issues within the denomination, he never wavers from the orthodox Southern Baptist answers. He’s an inerrantist, he affirms six day creation, and he’s a complementarian, to cite just a few examples.

Politically, he has firmly opposed abortion and same-sex marriage, playing a leading role in defending Christian ethics in the public square.

Recently, he’s gotten into hot water with a lot of Southern Baptists for his opposition to Donald Trump.

There is nothing that he has called Trump out for doing that Southern Baptists have not long condemned. Trump has bragged about adultery, and about relations with women that at the very least verge on sexual assault. He is uncharitable and vindictive toward his critics. He is vulgar, and has very little concern with the truth of his assertions. There is no reason to believe his pro-life convictions are based on much more than political calculation. He is the sort of candidate the religious right was created forty years ago to oppose.

Moore has made clear that he’s not attacking any Christian who decided, after carefully weighing their options, that Trump was the lesser of two evils, and cast their vote for him. There is a “massive difference,” he says, between them and those Christians who sought to excuse Trump’s immorality or confuse the definition of the Gospel to make Trump seem like a serious Christian.

In the Old Testament, again and again, the prophets call God’s people to radical holiness, and the people, again and again, put their trust in princes and political alliances. That drama is being played out again today.

As a student of that history, I admire Russell Moore’s prophetic boldness in continuing to defend the Gospel, even when it is out of season.

I also hope, for his sake, that this particular “old, old story” doesn’t repeat itself among Southern Baptists today.

Photo credit: ERLC.

12 thoughts on “Russell Moore and his critics

  1. As Christians, I hope we will not become complacent when it comes to praying for our leaders and those who influence them.

    I was grateful to be studying the book of Daniel during the election madness. What a beautiful gift God gave through the life of Daniel and a clear view of his sovereignty when it comes to governments and kings. Daniel’s prayer life and dependence on God, as well as, his integrity and consistency in both his private and public life is such a great example of how to live under any leader/government. The book of Daniel reminds me to ask God to continually change me to be more like Jesus. It also reminds me that there are greater purposes in God’s plan to which I am not privy. Regardless of who is President, my purpose in Christ has not changed. What a relief!

  2. Reblogged this on For God's Sake and commented:
    The article above seems to have taken about 5 minutes to compose and about that much time in contemplation beforehand. I am weary of being told that because I am concerned about the financial poverty of American citizens and communities, the massive political deception and wasteful spending of time and our money (such as “climate change”), the increase of human violence and false judgments of our fellow man (aka Gossip), as well as the silencing and criminalizing of free thought (rude and mean public “discourse” that is all emotion and no facts), that this has anything AT ALL to do with “trusting princes” or rejecting the Gospel, or Jesus Christ, as the source of all legitimate transformation.
    I am so tired of these absurd accusations of Christians who, like Daniel and his three friends, are highly informed participants and possibly serving in government leadership (unlike Russell Moore). President-Elect Trump never bragged about adultery during the campaign, and all of his expressions of concern are twisted by dozens of judgmental unchristian people who have never personally met him. These same folks are blindly trusted by Christians. I have to wonder how many other issues and opinions are accepted from the secular mainstream media. Most “Christians” have not been separating themselves from the culture in education, charity, marriage and divorce, the arts (we adopt their styles and market church their way), and especially the media and Hollywood.
    All of a sudden we are concerned about a man of influence who, according to the mainstream media, lacks character? Let’s ignore why he chose to run (to serve his country and his fellow citizens). Let’s ignore the strength of mind and heart it takes to lead a global business, and the diligence to complete tasks. Instead of praying for Trump and his VP Mike Pence, a man of God who is very clearly supportive of all life including life in the womb, his team is rejected and treated differently than all other leaders before him, including George W. Bush (who supported the growth of government power and the reduction of independence).
    I voted for Trump, not because he was “less evil” but because I believe in the goodness of FREEDOM. That is what the Gospel is all about. Anything that resembles the truth of the Gospel, but is not in itself the Gospel, is okay with me. Jesus Christ left the safety and community of the Godhead to experience life with us, and he suffered abuse and rejection and a painful, unjust death to pay for our freedom.

  3. The guy runs an evil church that exists because a good number of Baptists felt black people were subhuman and split over that view. I grew up and live in a state full of these people. If anything in the article surprises me it is that the sociopath Russel Moore has any conscience left after years of being a Southern Baptist..

    • I struggle with not only Baptists but the entire Evangelical Movement. I attend an Episcopal Church even though I disagree with the theology because I feel hated the moment I step in a theologically conservative church. Being a celibate gay Christian is a path of profound loneliness sometimes.

      • Hi!

        Would you mind explaining what do you mean by conservative church? And what you disagree with the Episcopla Church? I’m just curious…

      • Any Church that holds that homosexual behavior is sinful Is what I mean by conservative. I agree that homosexual behavior is sinful yet I question the motives of straight Christians that have such zeal to condemn LGBTQ people.
        Our Dean at our Episcopal Church believes everyone gets to Heaven through God’s grace. I don’t believe that-I believe in Purgatory (Maccabees is Canonical)-but the Bible is clear that we have the right and opportunity to deny God’s grace-Hell is real.

      • Understandable. I recognize most conservative churches and Christians to be my enemies. Not because of those views but because they have a penchant to lie and demonize us (the Southern Poverty Law Center has reams of these organizations and people misusing statistics, lying, and trying to spread hatred against homosexuals and trans folks).

        I am a firm believer in freedom of thought and it is okay to think your God hates me. I probably hate him too. I don’t fear hell as I can’t imagine spending an eternity with a being I detest as being much a better option. To each their own.

        What is not okay is spreading misinformation in order to drive violence against us, inspire parents to throw gay kids out while still kids, and so on. That is an act of war.

  4. Early in the year when Trump’s core support came from the white working class Russell Moore was ready to ditch the ‘evangelical’ label and sneer at a type of person who probably doesn’t show up in his church. There was more than a hint of class prejudice in the interviews he did to promote a new “gospel Christian” identity.

    He’s a decent man and I agree with this article but Moore should apologise for that WP editorial where he said “Many of those who tell pollsters they are “evangelical” may well be drunk right now, and haven’t been into a church since someone invited them to Vacation Bible School sometime back when Seinfeld was in first-run episodes.”

  5. Whether you believe Trump has repented of past errors or not, I think we are all obliged to keep an open mind. If he defunds Planned Parenthood (as the “pro-Life” Republicans have failed to do) and if he remains faithful to his promises to the electorate as well as to his wife and family, I would hope that Christian leadership would amend their opinions and their unwillingness to support him. The evangelical rank and file VOTERS have already shouted their willingness to give Trump a chance, by the astounding 80% or so who voted for him. Even the truly pathetic Catholic voting block voted (just barely I read at 52%) for Trump. It is – again – not the common man, generally speaking, who has a problem with Trump, but the “establishment” of every single institution – including the church. Keep an open mind! That’s all I would ask.

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