Russell Moore defenders get the facts wrong

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The saddest part of the entire Russell Moore crisis is that Dr. Moore’s defenders are intent on advancing a false narrative. Namely, Dr. Moore partisans like one Southern Baptist blog advance the false argument that the entire crisis centers on Dr. Moore’s rebuke of Donald Trump and Trump’s evangelical leaders, which included many Southern Baptists. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true, and continues to insult many good Baptists. The problem with Dr. Moore was his smug attitude where he attacked many Southern Baptist voters and his non-apology apology where he blamed Trump voters for “misunderstanding” him.

 

SBC Voices provides the customary Russell Moore defense in a blog post that compares opposition to Dr. Moore to a “lynch party.” The post reads, “There are those who think that this backlash against him is rooted in his outspokenness on race issues and police brutality issues. Russell Moore really feels our pain. In many ways, he is being treated as a racial minority by the Convention in this situation. So, to fire Russell Moore is to say to minorities, you are only welcome in the SBC if you remain silent regarding your political views. Seriously? Is that what you really want? If so, continue with this lynch party and proposed firing. And Congratulations!!! You will have just birth THE TRUMP BAPTIST CONVENTION.”

 

This is disgusting rhetoric. Opposition to Dr. Moore is not the equivalent of a lynch party. It is based on Dr. Moore’s insulting tone to fellow Christians.

 

While we can disagree over how to address issues of economic injustice and police brutality, there is one brutality that we can all condemn—the brutality of abortion. It is the ultimate form of brutality to African-Americans. Operation Rescue summarized the racial component in abortion, “Blacks comprise only 13% of the population of America but account for 37% of all abortions. Black women are five times more likely to abort than white women.”

 

It is with the issue of abortion in mind that many Southern Baptists cast their ballot for the lesser of two evils in the last election. It was an attempt to correct the greatest injustice of modern America—an injustice that transcends race, but clearly harms the black community disproportionately.   

 

When Southern Baptists stand up to the evil of abortion and make a moral choice to save the lives of children, then they deserve respect and not the moralizing condemnation of Russell Moore.

 

As Southern Baptist Mike Huckabee said, ““I am utterly stunned that Russell Moore is being paid by Southern Baptists to insult them.  Many of us have faithfully sought to stand for the Biblical definition of marriage, for the sanctity of life, and for meaningful and substantive efforts to help the poor with affordable housing, access to food and employment, and equal education opportunities for minorities.  Where was Russell Moore when we were fighting those battles? 

“If issues like the protection of the unborn, Biblical marriage, or helping people out of poverty rather than enslaving them to government programs that keep them impoverished for life aren’t important to Mr. Moore, then he should show some integrity and stop taking a paycheck funded by the very people he holds in such contempt.”

 

To make clear the problem is that Dr. Moore called Trump voters names, and in most unchristian fashion accused his brothers and sisters in Christ of being followers of heresy. Dr. Moore’s attitude is the issue and not his critique of the now president-elect. As pointed out often, Dr. Mohler critiqued Trump, but never descended to the insulting rhetoric of Dr. Moore. Trump is fair game. Insulting Southern Baptist voters over deciding to vote for the less flawed of two flawed candidates is inappropriate—even if it hides under the masquerade of “prophetic.”

 

If you want to help the Southern Baptist Convention change and fire liberal Russell Moore, then I urge you to get involved. You can stay connected with other Southern Baptists who care about this issue by reading SBCToday.com.  

11 Comments

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  1. 1
    A. Concerned Baptist

    The ERLC is in good hands and out of the hands of partisan religious leaders who would sell our soul for a pot of gold. It’s shameful how this man is being treated and slandered. Remove your charge of liberalism in the ERLC. You should be ashamed.

    • 2
      Capstone Report

      A. Concerned Baptist,
      Thanks for your response. I understand the appealing idea that Dr. Moore is not a partisan; however, we know very well that he was a Democratic staffer and it appears he still views all political issues through his own partisan lens.

      • 3
        Scott Shaver

        Russell Moore “not a partisan”? Give us a break. He was certainly “partisan” as a “NeverTrumper”. He was certainly “partisan” in his comments about fellow evangelicals having “sold their souls”.

        The Southern Baptist convention really is in sad shape when even pastors and professors don’t know the difference between a prophet and a pundit.

        • 4
          Capstone Report

          Scott, Thanks for your comment.

          I agree. Clearly, he appears to be very partisan. Also, compliments on the prophet and pundit. Folks excuse Moore’s bad behavior because they agree with his partisan agenda.

          • 5
            Scott Shaver

            You can bet your bottom dollar and as one commentator has already suggested, the current tier of SBC trustees and funding authorizers the think the term “prophet” is equivalent to certified license to be a jerk to those paying your salary. Lobbyists have no choice but consider the political inclinations of their subscribers. That’s just good business.

            The ERLC is a “business”….not a church.

  2. 6
    Casey Freeman

    Could you give me some exact quotes as to what Dr. Moore said to insult Southern Baptists? I’ve always found him to be very diplomatic. Just because he didn’t stand behind Trump as president doesn’t mean he is insulting Southern Baptists. Also, there are A LOT of other ways to end abortion rather than simply voting to make abortion illegal. Surely you know that if Roe v Wade was overturned then it would be up to the states to vote on abortion. Surely you know very few states would make it illegal. And surely you know that abortion isn’t a political problem, it’s a heart problem. Rape is illegal yet people still rape women. Murder is illegal yet people still murder. Making something illegal is not the answer. So voting on one issue and choosing an immoral man such a Trump, is not saving anyone’s life or soul. We have to prevent women from wanting to have abortions. We have to help them understand that they have options. We have to meet them where they are. We can’t simply lock them up for having an abortion. What about the children she already has? Locking women up for having abortions (which is what you are asking for if you make abortions illegal) will not help anything.

    • 7
      Capstone Report

      Casey, Thanks for the response. A few answers.

      First, Dr. Moore called Trump voters “illogical” and said they repudiated their Christian beliefs in a NY Times op-ed. Then the Daily Caller quoted Dr. Moore comparing Trump voters to followers of the prosperity gospel. The Daily Caller helpfully explained that Dr. Moore was comparing Christians to the very unchristian heresy. I don’t know about you, but where I come from calling someone a heretic is a pretty big deal. Heretics are technically under anathema.

      So, to summarize, Dr. Moore has called Trump voters unchristian and at best called them illogical and at worst heretics. Now, to make matters worse, he apologized for the “misunderstanding” over the issue. That apology read more like a non-apology to most folks who disagreed with him, where he blamed us for failing to understand his points–even though his points were in the clear print of the NY Times, Washington Post and other media outlets.

      Your other issues regarding abortion, etc. First, yes these things are heart problems, but we don’t legalize murder or rape just because we have to change someone’s heart and mind to prevent all incidents of it. Second, nobody really thinks locking a woman up is the answer. Rather, getting the Supreme Court to place the proper value on All Life and religious liberty is paramount to having the proper balance for All Americans.

      This isn’t about Dr. Moore’s failure to vote Trump. This is about Dr. Moore’s smugness. This is about Dr. Moore’s policy choices. This is about how we treat fellow Christians. Dr. Moore really failed to give respect to fellow believers and resorted to insults. I think the ERLC can do better.

  3. 9
    Erika

    If these charges of “insulting” Southern Baptists were applied throughout history, nearly every significant Christian leader would have been ousted by the churches and ministries they led. By these standards, Paul certainly “insulted” nearly all of the churches he helped to begin and disciple. Jesus Himself could have been accused of the same “smug” behavior based on these standards.

    We have come to a point in the church where disagreement and challenges (based on legitimate theological concerns) lead to a silencing of the dissenter and challenger. Without voices like Dr. Moore’s, there is no growth.

    It saddens me to no end that we have reached this point within the SBC.

    • 10
      Capstone Report

      Erika,
      Thanks for your response. First, I don’t think we should compare Dr. Moore to someone with Apostolic authority. Second, he is totally within his right to say what he wants; however, he shouldn’t expect me to pay for it.

      Lastly, I don’t think his theological concerns are legitimate. I think his political theology is significantly lacking. However, unlike Dr. Moore I’m not going to call him names nor expect him to pay for me to do so.

    • 11
      Scott Shaver

      This CR bred and altruistic tendency of never questioning denominational leaders (despite their ascendance to denominational prominence by doing exactly that) is a strange phenomenon indeed, Erika.

      And that’s exactly how you (we) have “gotten to this place in the SBC”.

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