Russell Moore Round-up

Lets start with the Wall Street Journal Article that kicked it off and pick out the interesting parts.

Some Baptist pastors are considering cutting funds that flow from their congregations to the Southern Baptist Convention—or to its policy agency, which Mr. Moore heads—in a potentially dramatic rebuke

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this would mean cutting off funds to the Cooperative Program (SBC Lingo for how money is distributed by the national org. and the state conventions), would it not?  I highly doubt anyone would be serious about that.

In interviews, pastors in multiple states, including leaders of some of the country’s largest congregations, said Mr. Moore’s rhetoric insulted many of the people he was supposed to represent as the Baptists’ chief advocate in Washington, D.C.

I could not find the link, but I vividly remember reading around June/July a pro-Trump SBC figure griping about people such as Dr. Moore going to the media to share their opinions.  This seems to fly in the face of that (not that the pro-Trump religious right has been much for consistency).

“There was a disrespectfulness towards Southern Baptists and other evangelical leaders, past and present,” Baptist pastor Jack Graham said of Mr. Moore’s denunciations of Mr. Trump and some of his supporters. “It’s disheartening that this election has created this kind of divisiveness.”

Mr. Graham, the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, a Texas congregation with more than 40,000 members across two campuses, said his church is “considering making major changes in our support of the Southern Baptist Convention,” as are others.

The “disrespectfulness” was evangelical political “leaders” debasing themselves by prostrating to Trump. Dr. Moore simply called them out on it.  Also, a little off topic, but 40,000 members? Really? That seems to be the epitome of lax membership requirements.

Mr. Moore addressed the backlash in an essay he wrote that was shared with The Wall Street Journal before its publication. Noting that pastors and friends read his comments as criticizing anyone who voted for Mr. Trump, he said, “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.”

The essay being referred to is here.

“Young Christians like me are craving authentic leadership, people willing to risk access in order to stay true to their goals,” said Ruth Malhotra, a 32-year-old Baptist and lifelong Republican who opposed Mr. Trump. She said Mr. Moore represented that conviction as well as anyone, adding she hoped voices like his “will become the leading voices.”
May the day people such as Dr. Moore become the leading voices come quickly.  That said, I could easily see that day being 10-20 years out.
“He’s going to have no access, basically, to President Trump,” said Mr. Graham, the Texas pastor.
So the job of the ERLC is to protect political power at all costs, in Mr. Graham’s opinion.  Good to know.
“We want to see what he says, and whether he has a seat at the table in Washington,” Mr. Whitt said. “If not, we’ll be wasting a whole lot of time, energy and finances that could be going to the mission field.”
So money should go to buying power in DC, and then to the mission field, but none for forming consciences to think spiritually about politics.  Good to know.
And it goes on and on (including an appearance from Robert Jeffress of “panty-waisted, weak-kneed Christians” notoriety).  Twitter is siding with Dr. Moore, obviously. So are most SBCers under 40, I would presume.   I’m not sure current SBC leadership is, though.
And this unwavering posture is exactly why Moore’s stock has risen while the SBC has struggled. He has proven himself to be a winsome and capable leader among even though outside his denomination. If Moore left his post, he could walk into the doors of many prominent organizations in Washington D.C. and elsewhere and get a job offer tomorrow. Meanwhile, a Moore-less Southern Baptist Convention may become a mostly white, mostly aging denomination destroying itself through infighting.
While power should not be the primary lens we look at the ERLC situation through (trust me, when we look at it through the lens of just right and wrong, Team Moore wins there too), this is a good perspective.  If the SBC signals it is a place for happy, White, Republicans in certain parts of the country to have social hour once a week, there will not be much of a future for it (not to mention that doesn’t exactly describe what scripture tells us the church should look like).
In addition, here’s NPR’s look, which includes Mike Huckabee being his usual obnoxious self.

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