Prestonwood fights against Russell Moore, growing liberalism

Prestonwood Baptist standing up to Southern Baptist elites; Russell Moore receives dreaded vote of confidence

The time for deference is over. The time for action is now. The Southern Baptist Convention is beset by a ruling class of men like Dr. Russell Moore, Dr. David Platt and Dr. Kevin Ezell who are trying to turn the conservative, pro-life, pro-family SBC into an autocratic, progressive, liberal social justice warrior organization that enables the enemies of Christ and attacks your conservative values. It must stop. Thanks to the brave leadership at churches like Prestonwood Baptist Church and its pastor former SBC president Jack Graham, we have a chance to stop the madness and return the SBC to its conservative roots.

 

Prestonwood Baptist Church announced that it would hold in escrow about $1 million of funding paid to the Southern Baptist Convention through the Cooperative Program—the shared funding mechanism that supports everything from mission work to seminaries to paying Russell Moore’s salary to insult conservative, Republican Southern Baptist voters. The reason for escrowing the funds is that Prestonwood is alarmed at the direction of the Southern Baptist Convention.

 

According to Will Hall’s report, “Mike Buster, executive pastor for the Plano, Texas, church, provided a statement to the Baptist Message explaining that the action had been taken because of ‘various significant positions taken by the leadership of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission that do not reflect the beliefs and values of many in the Southern Baptist Convention” and that it is a temporary move “until a decision can be made on current and future funding.’”

 

Clearly, the Southern Baptist Convention’s denominational insiders are in crisis mode. Earlier this week before the Prestonwood decision was announced, SBC President Steve Gaines gave beleaguered ERLC president Russell Moore the dreaded vote of confidence. “I hope the kind of talk we have been hearing is not the direction in which we are going. I hope Russell will remain in his position and that we have reconciliation with a lot of people,” SBC President Steve Gaines said in a report published by Baptist Press.

 

Ouch. That sounds an awful lot like an athletic director exasperated with the incompetence of his football coach.

 

And Russell Moore is about as popular and feckless as Mike Shula at Alabama right before his termination.

 

However, this is about more than Russell Moore. They are doing strange things in the Southern Baptist Convention. NAMB’s president used money as a lever to force the termination of a state DOM, and the IMB chief decided to aid the enemies of Christ by helping spread Islam in the US and used IMB resources to further that aim by using IMB lawyers to join an amicus brief in favor of building a mosque. Platt apologized for being divisive and promised to never do this again; however, it raises serious concerns about the festering problem of liberal progressive values spreading throughout our top leadership. If you doubt Dr. Platt is succumbing to liberal thinking, then check out his sad theology regarding refugees.

 

There is a growing autocracy, and there is a growing group of voices trying to legitimize the centralization of power and entitlement of these progressives. One blog decries Prestonwood’s action as an attack on cooperative work and the entire Cooperative Program. However, this type of thinking seems to view CP giving by a local church as an entitlement. Yet, our denominational insiders are not entitled to their salaries or our support if they stray so far outside our expectations. And to put Cooperative Program giving into perspective, it didn’t mean the end of cooperative work when Dr. Platt’s church in Birmingham showed a total lack of commitment to the cooperative program. Why is it such a big deal when a local, autonomous church decides paying a liberal progressive’s salary is not helpful to the cause of Christ nor the church in America?

 

This is a stewardship issue. It is neither right nor wise for a person or church to support a theology or practice that stands against its views. Bluntly, Dr. Moore has a childish view of moral reasoning regarding presidential elections and a progressive view of church-state relations based on moral communitarianism. Neither of these views match the political theology of your typical Southern Baptist—who view these issues more like Mike Huckabee or Todd Starnes rather than Russell Moore.

 

The only threat to the Cooperative Program are the denominational elites who hide behind the enabling trustees and refuse to reform.  Change is coming whether Southern Baptist insiders, experts and elites like it or not.

 

Well done Prestonwood. There will be many, many more like you unless the elite heed the voices crying out in the wilderness of flyover country.

 

 

25 Comments

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  1. 1
    Chris

    libel
    ˈlībəl/
    noun
    a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation.
    synonyms: defamation, defamation of character, character assassination, calumny, misrepresentation, scandalmongering

    Your treatment of Russell Moore is libel. He is a conservative evangelical brother in Christ who fights tirelessly for the religious liberties and right to life regardless of the individual’s nationality, ethnicity, age, political, philosophic, or theological beliefs.

    • 2
      Capstone Report

      Thanks Chris. However, I’m not wrong and this isn’t libel. He has a long history of attacking conservative and taking liberal, progressive opinions on political issues. Doubt me? Read Janet Mefferd’s excellent essay http://janetmefferd.com/2017/01/russell-moore-vs-conservatives-this-isnt-just-about-trump/ Also, I think Dr. Moore can’t get past his Democratic past. In fact, he told people while at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary he was a Democrat. Jack Richardson IV wrote, “It’s not so surprising that Russell Moore is a “Never Trumper,” as he was always fond of reminding me that he was a Democrat.  Of course he could never reconcile how his support for the positions of his party was at such odds with his Christian faith yet he continued supporting what is abjectly opposed to what donors who support his institution pay him to do.” So, how can anyone claim to be a conservative, but support the party of abortion? If you support the party, and its candidates (as Moore claims he did) you support the Platform of the party and the associated evil. Sorry, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and acts like a duck… If not a liberal, what should we call him?

      • 3
        Emmet

        Moore went on the record to say he would absolutely not vote for Hillary. He is consistently pro-life for the unborn, the orphan, widow, and the foreigner. You are wrong about Moore.

        • 4
          Capstone Report

          Not wrong. Moore has a portrait of Foy Valentine hanging in his offices. Foy was leader of the Southern Baptist ethics group back before the resurgence and supported Roe v. Wade. Moore hasn’t said one word of complaint against the KY AG who refuses to do his job and defend the state’s new pro-life law. Remember what he said about Roy Moore? Yeah, he told the Republican to resign and hasn’t said one word about the Democrat refusing to do his job on a pro-life issue!
          There is so much more. Read Janet Mefferd’s excellent column

          • 6
            Capstone Report

            I didn’t say he voted Hillary. I contend he enabled Hillary by working against the only electable pro-life candidate in the race. His moral decision making is, to borrow from Willian Lane Craig, almost childish since he can’t seem to grasp the Lesser of Two Evils approach to moral choices.

          • 9
            Emmet

            I did do the math. It’s very simple. He said publicly that he would not be voting for Hillary. He is also very well known for being pro-life. Therefore, he does not “support the party of abortion.”

          • 10
            Capstone Report

            He talked negatively about Trump about 10x more than he said anything about negative about Hillary. Furthermore, he identified and likely still identifies as a Democrat. Finally, he doesn’t repudiate Democratic candidates for failing to do their job to protect life, but rather keeps silent but is loudly critical of Republicans. That makes him either incompetent or a Democrat. You can pick.

  2. 11
    Emmet

    Ironic how you call this a stewardship issue. Ever seen the line-item budget at Prestonwood? I once heard someone say their decorative bell tower could have bought the whole 10-40 window.

  3. 12
    Emmet

    Ironic that this is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. To the Catholic megachurches in the 1500s, Luther was a liberal threat who was excommunicated. Why? Because his progressive views “did not match the political theology of your typical” Catholic. On your logic, Prestonwood = the conservative medieval Catholic church. If true, Moore is a modern-day Luther. Graham is Leo X.

    • 13
      Capstone Report

      That is absurd. While Luther’s views were revolutionary such as the priesthood of the believer and truly brought about disintermediation by eroding the priestly layer between man and God–something that likely contributed to the rise of democracy in the West, Luther was a magisterial reformer. He would’ve viewed the state’s proper role more like Jerry Falwell rather than Russell Moore’s moral communitarianism.

  4. 18
    Emmet

    Ironic that this is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. To the Catholic megachurches in the 1500s, Luther was a liberal threat who was excommunicated. Why? Because his progressive views “did not match the political theology of your typical” Catholic. On your logic, Prestonwood could be likened to the conservative medieval Catholic church. If true, Moore is a modern-day Luther.

  5. 19
    Pastor Jim

    Soros-funded Russell Moore supports the third world immigration invasion of the USA. He is pure, unadulterated evil.

  6. 20
    Gleimhart Mantooso

    I believe this “Emmet” person posting comments here to quite possibly be Russell Moore. “Emmet” is very emotionally invested in trying to protect Moore, and the embarrassingly fallacious reasoning employed by “Emmet” is similar to that which I’ve seen from Mr. Moore.

    No, “Emmet,” it is not libel. Take your accusation to a lawyer, show him your evidence, and watch as he laughs you out of his office.

    And none of this has anything at all to do with Luther and the RCC. Luther refuted the heresies of the RCC. Russell Moore meanwhile is trying to turn the Gospel of Christ into that of the Social Justice Warrior.

  7. 21
    Texas Ken

    I have never been more embarrassed to be SB. Reading this article and comment section makes me concerned about the critical thinking ability and pure partisanship of the authors. Is this really what the church has come to? I can’t imagine standing before God trying to justify why it was worth spending so much time and effort to destroy Moore over a POLITICAL disagreement. Not over abortion, but over social justice issues. Not over a doctrinal issue, but because he called out the sin of Trump. You are so political that you care more about protecting our President than you care about taking care of your brother in Christ, who marches with you consistently, not just during a Presidential election to get votes. You clearly care more about being partisan than anything else. Politics is your god. Good luck with that. Your god is nothing compared to mine.

    Southern Baptist raised, and schooled. And now ashamed.

    • 22
      Capstone Report

      He didn’t simply call out the sin of Trump (Dr. Mohler did that), but Dr. Moore called Christians who decided to vote for Trump names. That isn’t Christlike. That isn’t the way for a servant of the Southern Baptist Convention to behave.

      Here is one of the big problems in all of this. You impute motives to those with whom you disagree. This is why Moore must go–he is leading folks like you to think the worst of fellow Christians. It is sickening!

      This isn’t about protecting Trump. This is about having a system in the SBC that works and a moral philosopher/ethicist/political theologian who understands sometimes a Lesser of Two Evils is the right approach in a fallen world

  8. 23
    Texas Ken

    I didn’t see Moore name calling. Would you mind providing me with that? It seemed as if your post were more focused on him supporting social justice, but that could have been an error in understanding on my part.

    But to your other point, why should the Southern Baptist Convention be concerned with whether one agrees that the lesser of two political evils is the way to go? I have worked my entire professional career getting republicans elected to office and even I can step back from the partisanship to see how thrilled satan must be to have Christians caught up thinking that their individual political views (on social justice no less!!) are synonymous with Christianity. What a sad, sad, caricature of true Christianity.

    As C.S. Lewis said,“I feel a strong desire to tell you – and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me – which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies upon your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors”.

    All that to say – There were more than two choices in the presidential election. I was proud not to sell my witness to support an evil man or woman. I will only ever work to elect leaders who align with my value system, and not just with lip service. I need to see the fruit. It shouldn’t hurt your feelings that Moore and others have a different decision-making process than you. Although if you can show me where he called everyone who voted for Trump names then I will call on him to apologize. Although, I do find it somewhat disingenuous for you to say he is calling the motives of those with whom he disagrees into question when this article and the comments below are doing just that.

    Sorry to rant. But this gets me fired up. Like I said, I’ve spent my entire career so far working to elect republicans, but articles like this are pretty discouraging to me. I’m fine being political at work, I hate to see it at and within the church. I should’ve been a cowboy.

    • 24
      Capstone Report

      Texas Ken, I’m glad you get passionate about this type of stuff. It is important, and how we deal with it says a lot about us to the world. I remember in grad school hermeneutics class I had to work on the section of Jesus’ prayer for unity. That sort of was God’s way of tugging at me a little and keeping the need to be together as one because it is a powerful witness to the world. I think I’m critical of Dr. Moore’s tone largely because I have the same tendency sometimes to be dismissive or insulting to others. I have to work on that!

      Anyway, I’ve written about his tone in other posts, but here are two examples that I think are emblematic of his tone when someone disagrees. Two quick examples. Trump voters follow “prosperity gospel” heresy http://dailycaller.com/2015/10/24/evangelical-leader-calls-trumps-christian-backers-unchristian/

      “Most illogical is his support from evangelicals and other social conservatives. To back Mr. Trump, these voters must repudiate everything they believe.” From NY Times OP-ED https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/17/opinion/have-evangelicals-who-support-trump-lost-their-values.html

      Now, he may or many not be right in these assertions; however, if you are trying to convince people win their hearts and minds–why would you do this by calling them everything from heretics to illogical?

      We aren’t going to convince fellow conservatives about this unless we fix our confrontational rhetoric or as Dr. Moore and his supporters like to call it “prophetic” tone. In fact, this “prophetic” posture adopted by so many on the Internet and in churches today amounts to a license for folks to act like jerks to their political or doctrinal enemies.

      Anyway, I do want to be fair in that Dr. Moore did issue a sort-of-apology for his offensive remarks. He apologized for my misunderstanding his comments and then sort of finessed his comments off Trump voters and on to evangelical leaders. I think that a little much given the two quick examples I’ve shared with you. You can find his apology on his blog released at Christmas. I’d say notice David Platt’s recent apology as a much better way to apologize when you have a disagreement.

      Sorry for a mini-blog post in a comment. 🙂

  9. 25
    Tennessee Pastor

    As a SBC Pastor, trained in SBC seminaries, and plan to remain in the SBC as long as Christ is valued as our supreme Treasure, I find it very hard to read an article like this, or hear pastors spend more time supporting Republican candidates or Patriotic rhetoric than on preaching the Gospel in all the world. We are spending millions upon millions of dollars taking care of our own, while many in the world are starving and 2 billion people have never heard the name of Christ. Thankfully, men like Moore and Platt will help lead the SBC out of the misguided mess that many SBC leaders led us into over the past 40 years. Thank God for the resurgence in the 70s and 80s, but the “selling of our souls” to the Republican party, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, etc. spells destruction for our denomination. Until the Baptist church returns to a time of a separation of church and state, that is, prior to WWI, our focus will always be distorted and our allegiance will always be to a flag or political party or “moral majority.” Why are SBC churches declining? This article and this mindset is killing the SBC.

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