Does the ERLC Represent the SBC?

February 1, 2016

Will Hall | Editor
Baptist Message, Louisiana

**This article was originally posted HERE and is used by permission**
For more information on Will Hall click HERE and www.baptistmessage.com

When an unnamed staffer “boasted” to the online media outlet Think Progress in October 2014 that Russell Moore had “completely rebranded” the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, few could have imagined what this meant.

However, Moore’s all-in campaign against presidential candidate Donald Trump, highlighted by his most recent attacks on Liberty University for hosting Trump at a student convocation, reveals something quite unexpected about Moore when he was elected to lead the ERLC in 2013—a penchant for disdain for Christians who think differently than him.

Moore rightly points out Trump’s moral flaws—and character should count—and he has a right and responsibility to comment on Trump’s policies and to share his view of what these might mean in terms of Christian values.

But Moore’s dislike for Trump goes beyond the pale, translating into disrespect and even contempt for any Christian who might weigh these considerations differently than Moore when comparing the range of personal beliefs and behaviors as well as public records of ability and achievement within such a large field of candidates for the White House.

DISRESPECT FOR OTHERS

In an editorial for the New York Times, Moore called evangelicals’ support for Trump “illogical” and declared “these voters must repudiate everything they believe” in backing Trump.

He even ranks the spirituality of evangelicals according to the candidate they support.

Roll Call, a Washington, D.C., newspaper, reported Moore as saying, “Ted Cruz is leading among the ‘Jerry Falwell’ wing, Marco Rubio is leading in the ‘Billy Graham’ wing and Trump is leading the ‘Jimmy Swaggart’ wing.”

“He was suggesting that Cruz appealed to Moral Majority types like Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who has endorsed him,” Roll Call observed. “And Trump, Moore said, attracts ‘the prosperity wing of Pentecostalism,’ who tend to believe God will ‘financially reward believers.’”

But Moore’s scale for assessing one’s biblical bona fides appears politically calculated to raise his own stock at the expense of other evangelical conservatives:

— Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of the Liberty University his father founded, called Trump “a breath of fresh air” when introducing Trump to students and faculty Jan. 18.

— Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 12,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, wrote in an editorial for Fox News that evangelicals back Trump for his strong leadership: “They are not under any illusion that Trump will be conducting Bible studies in the Oval Office, nor do they feel like they are abandoning their Christian values to support Trump,” he said.

— Franklin Graham, president of his father’s Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, also seems to invalidate Moore’s hierarchy of righteousness.

Although, Graham has said he will not comment on the presidential race, he has announced support for Trump’s position on U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran. He also agreed with Trump’s objection to bringing Syrian refugees into the United States: “For some time I have been saying that Muslim immigration into the United States should be stopped until we can properly vet them or until the war with Islam is over,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

DOUBLE STANDARD

While Moore stridently opposed Trump’s appearance at Liberty University, he did not object to the self-described Socialist Bernie Sanders who spoke there only three months ago (Sanders is pro-abortion and strongly supports gay marriage).

For that matter, Moore has held his own candidate forum, managing to grab a prime slot during a Southern Baptist missions conference—with 13,000 in attendance, July 2015, in Nashville—to interview Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

He also confessed he had invited Hillary Clinton—who has a raft of personal convictions and public positions which contravene Southern Baptists’ stated consensus beliefs—but that she declined. Moore said he was disappointed Clinton did not attend because he felt “he could have modeled our disagreements with her with civility.”

But he offers no such civility for Trump or his supporters.

Importantly, Moore failed to invite three White-House-seeking Southern Baptists to his question and answer time—Lindsey Graham (now withdrawn from the race) Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee, who served 10 years as governor of Arkansas was educated at a Southern Baptist college and a Southern Baptist seminary, pastored Southern Baptist churches and served as president of a Southern Baptist state convention (helping to raise millions of dollars for Southern Baptist causes)—and he has already experienced the highs and lows of running for president as a proud Southern Baptist.

If Moore was looking for someone to explain the issues and politics of the 2016 presidential campaign in context of the vision and values of Southern Baptists, he missed the mark.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST SNUBS

Obviously, Huckabee was not the face of evangelicals Moore wanted to project to the audience, and on that note, Moore has shown apparent disdain for traditional Southern Baptists:

— During a Sept. 2015 meeting, he told ERLC trustees “We must see to it that the future of the SBC is not a bunch of old, angry white men who have around us a few people that are African American and Latino and Asian Americans.” Yet, four out of five of his first top hires were white males—two of the five were not even members of Southern Baptist congregations but four of the five had ties to the Calvinistic network The Gospel Coalition.

— This theme continued at the ERLC “Gospel and Politics” conference held in conjunction with “Send North America,” when one panel discussed how the era of “white, angry evangelicalism” was over. Yet, the overwhelming faces who appeared on stage for the whole of the event were white and male—just not men like Huckabee or Jeffress.

— He has even declared the Bible Belt (a map marked in Southern Baptist red) as populated by “almost Christianity” a kind of “God-and-Country civil religion that prizes cultural conservatism more than theological fidelity.”

TROUBLING DEVELOPMENTS

During his young tenure at the ERLC helm, other actions have been equally as troubling:

— An ERLC research fellow published an article in Christianity Today asserting “gay marriage remains an act rooted in love” and arguing Christians should affirm homosexuals’ “longing to be loved and belong.”

— His team played a major role in drafting “An Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals,” with a key member concluding in an accompanying article  that the “entire biblical witness” suggests “animals may very well be co-inheritors with us of the new creation.”

— He signed an Evangelical Immigration Table—Syrian Refugee Letter to Congress, arguing among other points against increasing security checks or enhancing the vetting process of those seeking to come to the United States from countries with a known ISIS presence. The 1,000-word missive cites Christian duties multiple times, but mentions Jesus only once to describe Him as “a refugee,” not as Savior, Lord or King.

— In a public flap perceived to be directed at Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, Russell Moore suggested Christians in public office should resign rather than resist after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned traditional marriage (despite an SBC resolution urging the opposite).

— He dismissed as a “utopian idea” the belief that “if you come to Christ and if you go through our program, you’re going to be immediately set free from attraction or anything you’re struggling with” in reference to reparative therapy and change from homosexuality (causing at least one national figure to suggest Moore should confer with actual experts on the matter.)

For the record, former lesbian Jackie Hill-Perry, now a Christian lyricist and hip hop performer, celebrates being completely changed, attractions and all.

“We’ve made God very little if we believe He cannot change people,” she says. “If He can make a moon, stars and a galaxy that we have yet to fully comprehend, how can He not simply change my desires?”

DISDAIN FOR LIBERTY

While Trump was speaking at Liberty University, Moore tweeted a stream of comments, each one more acerbic than the last: “Trading in the gospel of Jesus Christ for political power is not liberty but slavery … This would be hilarious if it weren’t so counter to the mission of the gospel of Jesus Christ … Evangelicals can love a golden calf as long as Aaron promises to make Mexico pay for it.”

Afterward, he tweeted, “This is unofficial, I know, but Trump is apparently winning HUGE in the demographic of folks with eggs or cats as their Twitter avatars.”

QUESTION REMAINS

Shortly after Moore’s election to his ERLC post, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Moore’s mentor, offered an interesting observation to the Wall Street Journal regarding Moore’s future in context of the gravitas of his predecessor.

“When Richard Land spoke to most issues, he was certain that Southern Baptists were behind him and he was their mouthpiece,” Mohler said. “Russ will need a deft touch to make sure that Southern Baptists stay behind him.”

In the end, it’s a rhetorical exercise to ask whether the ERLC represents the SBC—organizationally, it absolutely does.

But the question many Southern Baptists are asking is whether this ERLC represents them.

Does it represent you?

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Geoff Davidson

Absolutely. As a Baptist greatly influenced by Roger Williams and John Leland, Moore gives me hope for the SBC in such a dynamic age of pluralism. I increasingly find nonbelievers interested in and impressed by his kind of views that stay true to the gospel while not acting like we deserve to be head of the cultural table, as seen in th Moral Majority days. Also, it is very troubling to see the number of Christian voices who questioned the earnestness of Obama’s faith suddenly telling us not to be harsh on Trump and that we don’t have to have an ideal evangelical in the White House. It’s amazing what fear can do to faith.

    Tim Rogers

    Brother Geoff,

    I believe you missed the heart of te matter concerning Trump. It isn’t that Dr Moore is writing things pointing out Trumps character failures, as much as it is he is writing about Trumps character failures exclusively while giving free pass to the others.

    Just one example. Trump speaking at LU is appalling to me. But so is The socialist Bernie Sanders. At no place has Dr Moore denounced the socialist views of Bernie Sanders.

    Scott Shaver

    My problem with Obama is not/never was his faith or lack thereof, my problem is/was his nirvanic stupidity. Same thing with Russell Moore, it’s not his faith that bothers me.

Debbie Kaufman

I agree with Russell Moore. I am deeply disappointed in any Christian who thinks Donald Trump would be a person to vote for and for the reasons both Dave Miller and Russell Moore have given.

It seems to me that this would be no different than a preacher preaching on sin as the Bible teaches it. Some will heed it, some will not. I don’t see the uproar as Russell Moore is doing what I believe he should do as head of ERLC. He certainly does represent me in this case. I Amen his words.

    Jon Estes

    It is easy to Amen someone’s words when they resonate with you. The problem is, his words do not resonate with the SBC at large and has head of the ERLC, he needs to be careful when speaking on poplitcal matters.

    I believe the ERLC is to be a voice for the SBC but it needs to make sure the voice it uses would be supported by the body… In this case I am not sure it would. His seeming disdain for Liberty should be kept in his pocket and not in his writings and speaking engagements. Liberty is making a great difference in the work of the Kingdom. I think someone could use a lesson on Luke 9:49-50. Wonder if Moore would like to show how those SB’s he disparages are against him.

    Scott Shaver

    Last time I check Debbie Kaufman, Christianity does not stand or fall, the bible does not change, nor does the world spin on its axis based on what DISAPPOINTS you.

    Will counter your “Amen” with an “Oh Snap”

    Ed Chapman

    I suppose you can find the position of ERLC in 3 Timothy? I am a Christian…just not a Baptist, and certainly not a Calvinist. But ya know, SOME Christians are really stupid. Some Christians preach against gambling, for example (Hence one of many disdains for Trump…for some), and they haven’t figured out that elections are a gamble. Well, since elections is gambling, Christians have yet to figure out how to play the game. First of all, instead of using the ERLC to speak FOR GOD, and/or FOR YOU, speak for yourself. Next, when picking a candidate, know for sure who you don’t want in office. In this case, Hillary or Bernie. NOW, what do you do? This is what SOME Christians did last election: They voted for Obama by voting for anyone but Romney, because Romney was not Christian enough (or as some say, not Christian at all). So, because Romney was not Christian enough for SOME Christians, they obviously thought that Obama was Christian enough, because they refused to elect a Mormon in office. Christians would rather have someone who mocks Christianity, than to have a Mormon in office, because Mormonism is not considered to be in lock step with mainstream Christendom, and we can’t have that, now can we? Note the sarcasm? It’s intended for the self righteous who elects for the one that they didn’t want in office by voting against the person that they didn’t want in office. I suppose we need to teach Christians how to gamble, so that they can win. Trump has the drive to get things done that we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan. I’m a US Navy vet (17 years), and served 5 of those years under Reagan. Trump has that drive. And let’s not forget, that Reagan used to be an actor, you know, them Hollywood types that Christians disdain, and for that reason, probably did not vote for the best President that this nation ever had.

William thornton

I agree with Moore. He may be ascerbic with some of his tweets on Trump but his reading of the trump candidacy relative to evangelicals, many of them Southern Baptist, is accurate. He is on target here.

    Tim Rogers

    William,

    Where are the caustic tweets on Hillary Clinton and Benghazi? Where are the caustic tweets on Bernie Sanders and socialism? Where are the caustic tweets on Chris Christy and the bridge debacle in New Jersey? Where are the caustic tweets on Rubio missing the omnibus vote but saying he was against it? Where are the caustic tweets on Rubio and his leading the “Gang of Eight” to give free citizenship and full two year packages to illegal aliens?

    It isn’t about the Tweets of Dr Moore it is about his targeting one specific candidate

    Scott Shaver

    Kinda depends on the “target” one is shooting at, right William.

    In Moore’s case I believe it could be the targets of “opportunity” or “political fraternity” as opposed to “Christian principle”.

    You say “ascerbic”……I say “narcissistic”.

jim P

Jesus said, “you must be born from above to see the Kingdom of God.” He also said, “you must be born above to enter the Kingdom of God.”

Many Southern Baptist have very little appreciation of ‘being born from above,’ either personally, as individual churches or as a ‘convention.’

Their ‘tradition/heritage’ over rides the motivation to both ‘see’ and ‘enter.’

If that motivation was center stage, politics wouldn’t play the dominate role it is becoming.

Because it is not center stage, every voice from every corner is out to influence the unsuspecting to think what they think, not what God thinks.

    Andrew Barker

    Jim P: Glad you mentioned this point of ‘seeing’ because many people, Baptists and other denominations included, misunderstand the verse about seeing the Kingdom of heaven. Typically, it’s seen (ha ha) as being a matter of spiritual understanding and the argument goes that unless you are born again, you can’t ‘understand’ spiritual things, the Kingdom of God being one such example.

    Unfortunately for those who hold this view, the text is not very helpful. Seeing can be used in the English language as a synonym for many activities ranging from spiritual or intellectual understanding to the physical act of sight itself or indeed to ‘experience’ something. The passage in John 3 uses the word ‘see’ in the last of these so you could legitimately translate it as a man cannot experience the Kingdom of God unless he is born again. This makes perfect sense. It has nothing to do with intellectual ability or spiritual insight. Unless you are actually born again, you can’t experience God’s Kingdom.

    This is why it’s such a nonsense for Russell Moore to go after Trump in the way he has. How can you single out Trump in the light of the proven behaviour of President Bill Clinton? Are Trumps misdemeanors worse than Clinton’s action while he was actually in office? Are the other candidates “without sin”? Trump is a Presbyterian by the way, so are all the ‘Reformed’ going to vote for him!! ;-)

    JimP

    “See,” ‘ has nothing to do with intellectual ability or spiritual insight.’

    A very convenient way to define things for those who don’t want to work at thinking God’s way and let other think for them.

    Maybe some people will have enough sense to ‘see’ to ignore Andrew’s definition and intellectually think with the ‘wisdom from above’.

      Andrew Barker

      Jim P: I’m sure lots of people do have enough sense not to take my word for it. Why would they? It’s not MY word which counts, it’s God’s word. For those who have a mind to, they can consult any lexicon etc and check on what the word ‘see’ means in John 3. By the way, did you have enough sense to ‘see’ before making you comment?

        Jim P

        Andrew,

        You forgot something at the end of your usual ‘unsensible’ comment. Your trademark smirky face.

      Scott Shaver

      Going with Andrew on this one Jim P.

      Until you write an authoritative and definitive work on exactly how God SEES things……we have no idea what you’re talking about.

        JimP

        Mr. Shaver,

        You also like Andrew forget your smirky face trademark.

Rick Patrick

The Moore Loyalists (Mooralists?) are up early today to defend their beleaguered captain. I am happy they are engaging in this discussion, which proves that Moore represents SOME of the SBC, just as James Dunn and the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs did many years ago. Perhaps a more telling headline for Hall’s piece would be, “Does the ERLC Represent *MOST* of the SBC?” There is plenty of evidence to suggest a negative answer.

To Geoff: Moore not only believes we do not deserve to be head of the cultural table, but he actively shows disdain for the legacy of the Moral Majority using the harshest of language. Moore seems inappropriately disrespectful and ungrateful for the voice of an older Christian generation, which he lampoons to his own shame. You are right, Geoff, that we Christians should speak out against Trump’s immorality and questionable faith just as clearly as we did Obama’s. But that same approach should be applied to all of the candidates. The problem with Moore is that 99% of his criticism in this race has been reserved for only one candidate in only one party. Moore’s attacks have been uneven and biased.

To Debbie: I, for one, am not planning to vote for Trump in the primary. But this issue is not so simple as “Moore is AGAINST Trump, so those who disagree with Moore must be FOR Trump.” There are many of us who are not for Trump, but nevertheless disagree that Moore should make such open endorsements regarding candidates. We would prefer he stick to the issues, publish voter guides, and let Southern Baptists draw their own conclusions. Russell Moore can preach against *sin* by addressing greed, serial marriages, bullying, etc. He does not need to preach against Trump personally.

To William: I agree that Moore’s tweets were “ascerbic” (to say the least) and possibly even “inappropropriate” and “unprofessional.” As a non-Trump supporter myself, I do not really disagree with Moore’s take on Trump. What I disagree with is (a) writing only about Trump’s moral flaws while neglecting the moral flaws of the rest of the field, and (b) writing against a specific candidate rather than the issues.

I would rather Moore spend his time and energy telling the CULTURE what MOST Southern Baptists DO believe instead of telling SOUTHERN BAPTISTS what HE thinks we SHOULD believe.

    William Thornton

    The question was about how RM/ERLC represents me. Quite well in this regard.

    If we wish to follow your lead in classifying the SBC as RM “loyalists” and “critics” at least acknowledge that you, this site, Will Hall, Will Hall’s boss have a certain alignment in the convention which makes a piece like this and some comments that support it tendentious at the very least.

    I don’t object to this level of scrutiny being given to RM/ERLC. Let’s just acknowledge that the sources are not pristine and unbiased.

    I’ll say again: On Trump RM is doing the SBC a service. The rancor and venom towards Clinton is already owned by most of us. Trump represents a far more lethal threat to us, IMO.

      Scott Shaver

      In reality William,

      Let’s acknowledge that there’s no such thing as “pristine” and “unbiased” sources on these issues among the crowd that regularly discusses them. The more “lethal” the threat of Trump as articulated by his current pious detractors, THE MORE INCLINED I AM TO VOTE FOR HIM as I view the rancor to be primary evidence that he’s doing something right…..scares the folks who need to be rattled.

      On Trump, RM is doing himself and his new friends in Washington a favor…….not the SBC.

      You guys keep posting so we can keep watching the polls bounce in his favor. I’m sure Sanders or Clinton would appreciate your vote in protest of Trump should he win his party’s nomination.

    Scott Shaver

    “I would rather Moore spend his time and energy telling the CULTURE what MOST Southern Baptists DO believe instead of telling SOUTHERN BAPTISTS what HE thinks we SHOULD believe.”

    Herein lies the problem Rick, it’s pretty obvious from the current back-lash that Moore has NO IDEA what MOST SOUTHERN BAPTISTS BELIEVE.

    Consequently, Moore and Mohler are busy giving the rest of us instructions about what to do (i.e. taking down flags and erasing history) and who not to vote for (Trump) when they’re not willing to do it themselves (i.e. Boyce and Broadus along with Mahaney at Southern Seminary). Until they get that straight……would rather not hear an instructive word or exhortation of any kind from their quarter………hollow words.

    Debbie Kaufman

    Fair enough Rick and thank you for clarifying.

    I think the fact that SB’s would be against Hilary or Sanders becoming President is widely known. This however comes under the heading of helping our own see error.

    I understand the thought here of not being tax exempt and breaking rules, etc. However in this case I believe it is needed. There is a huge amount of Christians who think Trump speaks truth. I think that bothers me most of all. That there are those and a huge number among Christians, who Trump is saying what many have thought. Wow! What does that make us? The descriptor of Trump to be quite open and honest with my thoughts.

    Lydia

    “To Debbie: I, for one, am not planning to vote for Trump in the primary. But this issue is not so simple as “Moore is AGAINST Trump, so those who disagree with Moore must be FOR Trump.” There are many of us who are not for Trump, but nevertheless disagree that Moore should make such open endorsements regarding candidates. We would prefer he stick to the issues, publish voter guides, and let Southern Baptists draw their own conclusions. Russell Moore can preach against *sin* by addressing greed, serial marriages, bullying, etc. He does not need to preach against Trump personally.”

    Actually, Moore comes from a movement that only knows how to indoctrinate and tell people what they should think. They know best for others. That is how he was trained and he does not know any other way. Just look at how he staffed the ELRC and got by with it. Moore could care less if SBC’ers disagree with him. He is in the catbird seat and will do what he wants. He is not unlike Trump in many ways. I mean at SBTS his big issue was Patriarchy. Now it is Racism and Trump. Patriarchy does not play well in the national media. But he totally ignores his time at SBTS with a college named after a pro chattel slavery founder. And named as recently as 1993 or so. Seriously! The guy is a total hypocrite who is an opportunist

    The best way to deal with Moore is to let the media outlets, where he gets his 15 min of fame to tell the nation what we think, know about his flip flops, lack of credibility with many in the SBC. I think folks are going to be very surprised at just how liberal Moore is on things like business, the environment, etc. He is no friend of self governing principles not only from his Calvinist bent but you can glean this from his history. He is basically a big government guy who once made Patriarchy his cause at SBTS. A pattern. He takes on issues that get HIM noticed. Convictions?

      Mary

      This is a quote from someone who claims to “work at Oklahoma Baptist University”

      “Conservatism is not about being angry, but pursuing what is good for all of society………”

      The worst is that there are people who have no clue how they’ve been indoctrinated into liberal groupthink. Communist thought is now being bleated as “conservatism.” Of course this is after Communism has been disguised as “social justice.”

        Lydia

        “Conservatism is not about being angry, but pursuing what is good for all of society………””

        And who decides what is good for everyone else? The totalitarian oligarchy. This person is paraphrasing Marx without realizing it

        From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

        So, Who decides ability and need? These days people think that is what congress does.

        History and Civics are taught from a socialist perspective now. They don’t realize just how bloody and hopeless that thinking becomes. I would make 5th graders memorize the Constitution,

          Mary

          What’s worse is the person quoted was trying to lecture an older gentlemen, declaring that he knew nothing of history if he thinks Moore and Co are headed down the same path as the mainline denominations. Which is exactly where people like Moore are headed – but of course they will not really go all wacko liberal because they are in position of a kinder, gentler “conservatism” just like the idea Communism didn’t actually fail it was just the way it was applied.

          It’s just the function of Congress but what is function of Government? Today it’s all about “free” stuff because that’s what’s best for “society as a whole.” “Free” stuff is not only NOT FREE but it leads to a loss of FREEDOM. When you make people dependent on the government for major portions your life than all of a sudden the government gets to make all kinds of decisions on your behalf – so no more Big Gulps because it’s bad for your health or how bout Catholic hospitals will now be forced to perform abortions, your children will now be given the education which the Collective decides is important – gender is a fluid as is sexuality, religion is myth and hateful – no opting out because what’s “best for Society” is that children are given the values best for the community. You could sit here all day and see where doing what’s “besf for Society” actually leads.

            Christian

            That will preach!

Brad Jones

As an sbc pastor my views are not expressed by Mr moore. If he wants to address candidates then address all of them. If you read the rules for non-profit organizations you cannot endorse or oppose candidates. He may very well be putting sbc in dangerous waters.

Denice Yeagin

Russell Moore does not represent me and the SBC should do away with the ERLC if it is going to become the liberal arm that it has been in the past. And if you are wondering I am a Cruz supporter. My thoughts on Russell Moore cover his entire tenure at the ERLC.

Eric Moffett

First, a couple of disclaimers. Number one, I am no fan of Russell Moore. Second, I am NOT ‘reformed.’ Third, I think anyone at the ERLC should tread very carefully when dealing with politics. That being said, here are my thoughts.

Did everyone just sleep through Richard Land’s years as head of the ERLC. You remember, the one who said Obama’s presidency was the judgment of God while giving a pass to the moral failures of Republicans in office. The one who ENDORSED a candidate for president, breaking a long promise never to do so while head of the ERLC. The one who said “I am both stunned and appalled that Pat Robertson would claim to know the mind of God concerning whether particular events… were the judgments of God.” (What about the Southern Baptists who watch the 700 club. He surely offended them :) He surely didn’t speak for them)
The one who openly criticized the moral of Bill Clinton while never pointing out the moral failures of Newt. The one who said “”I have a lot more in common in my worldview with [Pope] John Paul II or [conservative commentator] Bill Bennett, both Roman Catholics, than I do with Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or Al Gore, who are all Southern Baptists.”

So, where was this outrage at a politically active ERCL head when Land was here. Or, did Land get a pass because he was a better ‘conservative Republican?’

In my opinion, the ERLC’s existence is questionable at best. I feel it betrays many Baptist sensibilities. This is the ERLC that the conservative resurgence created – one that speaks into political life.

    Rick Patrick

    Eric,
    Good points. I think Land’s forthrightness was not only tolerated but gladly encouraged precisely because he understood most Southern Baptists. He spoke to the culture what we truly believed. Moore does the opposite–speaking what HE WISHED Southern Baptists would believe, but do not.

    And on the one Presidential endorsement by Dr. Land, my friend and a man I greatly admire, I wish he had continued his long standing policy of not making an endorsement.

    Your viewpoint that the ERLC’s existence is questionable is one I am far more willing to entertain under Dr. Moore’s leadership than I was under Dr. Land’s leadership.

      Ryan Abernathy

      Just want to make sure I am understanding this and other comments correctly.

      You guys like Richard Land because he agreed with your prejudices and opinions. You don’t like Russell Moore because he is sayid that some of your per positions are out of line with biblical Christianity? So you want him to be a mouthpiece and not a prophet.

      Isn’t there a Bible verse about telling people only what they want to hear?

      I know that’s not how you guys preach and pastor. Why would you expect Russell Moore to conduct his business differently or in line with a different ethic?

        Rick Patrick

        You are not understanding our comments correctly.

        We like Richard Land because he shared what most Southern Baptists believed based on biblical convictions of a more conservative nature than the biblical convictions we now hear being promoted by Russell Moore. Both men have appealed to Scripture to support their positions.

        There are politically conservative clergymen and politically liberal clergymen in America preaching and teaching totally different viewpoints and using the Bible to support their claims.

        Regarding Russell Moore “preaching” whatever he wants and not just what people want to hear, I think we need to recognize that Moore is not a preacher in his present role. He is a denominational ethicist accountable to the people of the Southern Baptist Convention. He cannot say just whatever he wants. Furthermore, on a practical level, neither can a Baptist Preacher, for if in the eyes of his deacons and those in his local congregation to whom he is accountable, he fails to proclaim the doctrines of the Bible as affirmed by that church, he can and should be removed from his office.

        Thus, Russell Moore does not have to preach what people want to hear when he steps in a pulpit. But when he speaks for Southern Baptists as the Ethicist leading one of our entities, he does need to make sure that what he speaks is in line with the parameters set for him by the membership of our denomination. He needs to “represent” the SBC and not just lecture us on those areas where he perceives we are deficient.

          Ryan Abernathy

          Rick,

          Two things and I am done. I know we are not going to agree and that’s ok.

          One, the gist of what I hear you saying based on your clarification is that Richard Land said things you agree with and therefore that was ok. Russell Moore disagrees with you and that’s not ok. By that same token, Richard Land said a lot of things I disagreed with- and in one instance I had the opportunity to say that to his face- but I tend to agree with Russell Moore. That’s the dilemma. Who should be listened to? Me or you?

          My preference would be for Richard or Russell or whoever to listen to the Word, even if it means they are saying something I don’t agree with. They have to answer to their own consciences.

          Two, I know you can’t agree with what you wrote about Baptist Preachers in your last post. There is a prophetic duty in the office of pastor. Are you telling me, if you went to pastor a church and found out after you started they harbored racism in their Constitution (forbidding minority members) or found out that was their unwritten practice, you would not preach against it? You would just ignore it because that’s the church’s position?

          Brother, you are a much better man than that. You and I would both not shy away from the prophetic role of the office. Why should Moore, or Patterson, or any other Christain do less?

            Rick Patrick

            As to your first point, I rather agree with you in some respects. Different Southern Baptists will have different opinions on a variety of political issues and candidates. That’s why I would prefer that the ERLC stick to those issues Southern Baptists DO agree on (abortion, marriage, family, prayer, religious persecution around the world, etc.) and not make endorsements either in favor of or against specific candidates. In this way, it does not become a “me vs. you” issue, for we do both agree in a number of areas.

            As to your second point, I agree with what I wrote, but not with what you understood me to write. My point was not at all that a preacher should not speak boldly what God lays on his heart to speak. My point was that every preacher is indeed accountable both to God and to the congregation he serves. Having preached boldly and fulfilled his prophetic role, he may be out of a job at one church and need to find somewhere else to speak boldly. That’s okay.

            Your example involved racism, which I would never condone. I have preached against it many times. That’s not what I’m talking about at all. Here’s a better example of what I mean: A Pastor goes to a church he knows believes in cessationism and starts speaking in tongues and urging everyone else in the congregation to do so as well. That Pastor is free to preach as he feels led, but he is not free to remain as the Pastor of that church. (Perhaps he might look to the Assemblies of God instead.) The congregation has the right to establish the parameters of their beliefs and practices and to call suitable Pastors who fit their church theologically and methodologically. That Pastor simply did not “represent” the views of that church well at all.

            I think Dr. Land represented the views of Southern Baptists better. I think Dr. Moore represents the views of The Gospel Coalition better. There is some overlap between the two, but the organizations are simply not interchangeable.

            Scott Shaver

            Ryan:

            Would u entertain the perspective of one who was not comfortable with many of Land’s perspectives and pronouncements but light-years and exponentially “Moore” uncomfotable with Russell?

Debbie Kaufman

Andrew: He reportedly attends the church where Norman Vincent Peale was pastor for many years, but the church says he is not an active member.
http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/28/politics/donald-trump-church-member/index.html

The Presbyterian church (USA) where he was baptized issued this open letter to Trump.

https://www.pcusa.org/news/2015/10/2/clerk-issues-letter-trump-refugees-immigrants/

But his church going is not the issue here. His character, his business practices(as in Britain), and his overall racism, treatment of women, and the fact that he will try and be more dictator than President is. And that is just for starters.

    Lydia

    How do we get more dictatorial than having to prove to the IRS we bought health insurance? I wish someone would explain to me what is dictatorial/authoritarian because the definitions seem to be changing. Totalitarian niceness is the preferred method of this sort of dictatorship while they confiscate your money? It is really startling what is becoming people’s normal.

    People are missing the Trump point. Big time. The Republican field is missing a huge opportunity and the more they reek of establishment and protecting their turf, the more they end up promoting Trump! But the typical way to deal with this is to try to bring the guy down. That strategy actually plays for Trump! He loves it.

    If they want Trump out of the picture they had better start listening to him. He is talking about what the peasants outside the beltway are concerned about. And he is crossing socioecomic/party/gender/age lines. It is as if people don’t care what a jerk he is— they want the anti Obama and they don’t want a future Obama appeaser. And right now, he looks like the only one. I honestly hope they wake up but I doubt it.

    Andrew Barker

    Debbie Kaufman: I have no doubt that Donald Trump may be as unsavory and unsuitable a candidate as one could wish for to be considered for the post of Mr. President. But, that is missing the point. It would appear that Russell Moore thinks that Trump has to jump through a series of hoops to justify his candidacy, but this does not apply to any of the other hopefuls. Plus your list raises some interesting questions.
    1. Character: This is rather vague. I could never understand the attraction America had for Regan who was a Hollywood B rated actor ….. all of his life! (IMO)
    2. Business practices in Britain. Don’t know all that he does in the UK, but he’s opening a golf club and tried to stop wind farms out at sea which blight the view. I’m with him on that one, even though he failed.
    3. Racism: An easy tag to apply. Can you think of any prominent Baptists who were all for slavery and are still held in high regard in Baptist (SBC) circles?
    4 Treatment of women: He’s been divorced several times, probably committed adultery but hasn’t murdered anyone. I think he might have bragged about having sex with Monica, rather than disputing it. That may not be a point in his favour. Just saying. Are you suggesting that divorced people can’t run for President?
    5. He will try and be more a dictator than President! More Charlie Chaplin than Hitler I think.

    We have a similar figure here in the UK, complete with fly away hair as well. Sometimes you wonder just how he’s got where he has, but I think he’s more politically savvy than Trump, despite his buffoonery. These people make a contribution to life, but rarely do they get the top job. The fact that Trump can get as far as he has, probably says more about America than anything Trump actually says himself.

    I am only an interested observer in all this, but from where I sit, it seems that Moore is somewhat overstepping his brief!

      Lydia

      Andrew, Trump would never have made it this far if the namby pamby republicans had done the job they were elected to do in congress. They were afraid to go to war on his policies….because he is black! The racism card covers everything. Nobody will ever admit this but playing the race card works. It is time to we focus on individuals and not groups. It is as if I am to view Snoop doggy dog, Ben Carson and Obama through the same race lens instead of individually. It boggles. Please don’t view me through the same whitey lens as Charles Manson, Danielle Steel and Bill Clinton because we are all white. :o)

        Andrew Barker

        Lydia: Well it looks like the Trump band wagon has just hit its first major rut in the road to success. Not sure how many wheels he’s lost but no doubt he will go on!!

        I’ve no idea how good Trump would be as a manager of a country. He’s been successful in business but the two don’t always go together. Being a Christian is no guarantee of being a good leader of a country either. I noted Marco Rubio’s quote from Psalm 30. I’m not convinced by his exegesis! ;-)

          Mary

          Saw this last night:

          Early Iowa results

          REP
          29% Punchable Face
          25% Solid Gold Dumpster Fire
          21% Tracy Flick

          DEM
          51% Pending Indictment
          49% Venezuela
          8:42 PM – 1 Feb 2016

            Scott Shaver

            Haaaaa.

            Now that’s the most concise and truncated review of the Iowa Caucus yet provided by any outlet on earth.

            Short, sweet, and chock-full of insight.

            Excellent!

          Lydia

          Andrew, Are we comparing his exec skills and foreign policy experience to Obama? :o)
          People tend to forget we just had 7 years of a Manchurian candidate because even democrat party leaders would not rally around Hillary last time. The Clintons always comeback, though. They somehow cash in. Obama had been in the senate (the story of that is interesting too) for 5 min when he was plucked to run. He was chosen specifically for skin color not experience or even party vision. It worked. If we have to look at color then Condi Rice makes Obama look like Jr. high.

          People also forget that aside from policy disaster, the Obamas have used the presidency like Sultans to takes planes full of friends to vacation all over the world. So, I tend to see those kinds of comparisons. Trump lives like a sultan for different reasons. Not because he chose to politically organize hoodlums in Chicago.

          I honestly believe Trump will implode himself. I have thought that all along. But he has been good for the ruling oligarchy because he did not need to grovel to them. They hate that. They still did not wake up. Political power is entrenched. It takes drastic measures to break it and clean house. Thomas Jefferson had something very gory to say about it which I hope was metaphorical but I doubt it.

          Trump isn’t done but it will be interesting to see what happens next. But if the race ends up Hillary/Rubio or Hillary/Cruz, I bet we have our first female prez. They won’t take her on. Even the FBI won’t take her on. The senate dances around her majesty. The Clintons are some of the most dispicable and deceptive people in the world.

            Mary

            I think Trump’s been basically trolling since he announced he was running. He didn’t actually intend to run run but just liked having his face in front of a camera. Reports are that when Bush got his friend the TV Station owner ??Carlos Slim?? to yank Trump’s Miss Universe Pageant than Trump got seriously ticked and decided to take out Jeb. Then I think to the surprise of even Trump his “campaign” took off. Trump spent virtually no money and didn’t really have any kind of “ground game” in Iowa and yet to just the last few weeks he was winning. Trump was just riding along – getting free air time because of all his outrageous statements and not really organizing much to speak of. The question now becomes – does he really want to be President and will he get serious with on the ground organization? It’ll get interesting if Trump decides to really “run.”

            Now when can we expect Russell Moore’s op ed on why no one should vote for Ted Cruz because we all know Moore is in the Chamber of Commerce Rubio Camp.

              Scott Shaver

              Tend to agree pretty much in full with your last statement Mary.

              We will now see how serious and savy Trump is or is not.

              Regardless, still hope he gives a few of these pompous and self-righteous evangelical “leader-preacher types” and political pundits a few more kicks in the seat of the britches before/if he exits. Can definitely live with Cruz. Moore and his sychopants were in the tank for Rubio and RNC at “hello”.

                Scott Shaver

                Understand that Rubio’s been doctoring some audio tape ( per Mark Levin) of him declaring war on illegal immigration to get elected to congress…….makes a bee-line for the gang of 8 post-election.

                You can understand why ERLC and RNC types find him attractive. Birds of a feather.

                  Lydia

                  Rubio has a credibility problem on certain issues which are important enough to so many people it will be a big problem if he wins the primary. There are only so many ways to spin it. He is now using the tough talk method that got him elected. (Did he get the Trump memo) But he does not have the record to back it up. And he should.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Rubio strikes me, based on past performance, as a little short tough talker who becomes as pliable as putty in the hands of party insiders on both sides.

                    Mary called him “Tracy Flick”. I’m still laughing over that one and from now on I’ll see the face of Tracy Flick every time Rubio’s face graces the T.V. screen.

    Lydia

    Oh my goodness! He is not a career politician. Oh the horror.

    Somebody quick, audit the Clinton Foundation…just to be fair. Won’t happen :o)

Jeff Daniels

This is no longer a opinion issue with all that Russell has said at this point anyone who defends him is misinformed or has spiritual issues them selves.
There was a time in the life of the sbc that this would not be a subject talked about Godly trustees would have taking care of it but evidenced by the fact the Russell Moore picked his check up last Friday from the erlc tells me they do not exist anymore.

Ed Chapman

This sort of reminds me of the movie (Oh, do Christians watch movies?) Footloose. Wren McCormick, used the Bible to show a preacher that David danced before the Lord.

Luke 16:1-12 (KJV)

1 …There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.

5 So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?

6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.

*******8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.*******

*******9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.************

10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

David R. Brumbelow

For the record,
I do recall Richard Land of the ERLC,
speaking against the moral failings of Republican Newt Gingrich.

David R. Brumbelow

    Scott Shaver

    True David.

    Perhaps, however, at a time when such shots from the platforms of piety were still generally perceived politcally to carry….”weight” for lack of a better term.

Ed Chapman

When Ronald Reagan ran, who voted instead for the Sunday School Teacher?

    Scott shaver

    About 5 million Southern Baptists voted for Carter unless I stand corrected

Lydia

“When Ronald Reagan ran, who voted instead for the Sunday School Teacher?”

The Born Again Christian went on to help Arafat become a billionaire living in Paris while his poor Palestinians were stuck in camps. Carter was a disaster even when he left office. He has pretty much spent that time excusing and helping terrorists and dictators. Don’t get me started…..

    Ed Chapman

    Lydia,

    That was my whole point. Just because someone declares themselves as a Christian, that doesn’t mean that they can run a country, or be a diplomat where our enemies fear us. I was stationed on the USS Nimitz just a few short years after Carter’s failed attempt to free the hostages from Iran. The helicopters were from a squadron attached to the Nimitz at the time. Iran did not fear us, but they sure feared Ronald Reagan, the despicable divorced actor (sarcasm). If our enemies hate Trump, that’s the guy I want in office. I want our enemies to fear us once again. We used to get little comic book stuff in Bazooka Bubble Gum about building your muscles so that the bully on the beach would not pick on the weak guy any more. Currently, America is that weak guy. We have many bullies around the world, because they know our weaknesses. We need to build our muscles up, and use them, and stop being the mamby pamby weakling Christians that we currently are. I’m reminded of Hebrews 11, where believers who had faith defeated the bad guys, not appeased them. They certainly did not kill them with kindness, either. I am curious, though, as to the evangelicals in 1979, what the percentage was of those who badmouthed Reagan, for the sake of the Sunday School teacher, Jimmy Carter. Whose brand of Christianity was being hammered to the ground then? The one who believes in no-fault divorce (He created the law in California), or, a straight laced Sunday School teacher to children who is as soft spoken as Mr. Rogers. I remember the headlines…the word Landslide comes to mind.

David R. Brumbelow

I’m one of the many Evangelical, Conservative, Southern Baptists who did not vote for Jimmy Carter. Either time.
David R. Brumbelow

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