Monday, June 14, 2021

Russell Moore and the new American Church

Russell Moore joins Beth Moore in abandoning the Southern Baptist Convention. From those I know who are still in the SBC, the general response will not be weeping and gnashing of teeth among those he leaves behind. 

You see, contrary to the observation of Deacon Greydanus, who has showered Dr. Moore with great praise, as well as others who have lifted him up to his opulent office in Manhattan, most I know in the SBC who follow the news have no beef with Moore per se.  If he chooses to oppose Trump, so be it.  If he wants to hang at gay wedding receptions, that's on him, though many think that's a step away from compromise and sin.  The problems the convention is facing, they say, are problems that need addressed - together. 

They wouldn't care so much if Moore didn't come off as, well, a snob.  A man who consistently says, "Hey World, look at those loser racist misogynist Baptist deplorables over there, let's get'em.'  If he didn't constantly talk of those who disagree with him as if they are a bunch of stupid, bigoted reprobates who simply don't see his obviously superior position and infallible standards that should be the measure for all others to follow.  That is what set most of them off. 

I knew Russ in seminary.  Not personally in a close friendship way, but enough to notice some things.  He was part of the Mohler revolution.  If he really loved Catholics as he has said, or despised the fundamentalism that accompanied that bold change in Seminary life, including the belief that women do belong in the home, he kept such thinking to himself.  He was never one who suffered from a disproportionate level of humility, so those who criticize his high and mighty contempt for Baptists who disagree with Russ are easy to sympathize with. 

Like Beth Moore before him, who chalked up all criticisms of her ministry as being the result of misogynist men who displayed their woman hate by pointing out she was easy on the eyes, Russ has bolted from the Convention that made him one of those lucky few who live in wealth and luxury for the Prince of Peace.  With his departure, he bemoans the hatred and attacks on his family by all those white supremacists who seemed to have eluded me in my Baptist ministry days.

Oh, I saw racism of course. Really.  Real, honest racism.  I once was asked to fill in at a church one Sunday.  I delivered a message that included  a story, courtesy of Tony Campolo, about a young man coming to realize the humanity of a single mother in the inner city; a mother who happened to be African American.  After the service, a family invited me to dine with them at their Sunday dinner in the best manner of Baptist eating.  During the meal, I was gently informed that if I come back, I might not want to use Black people as the center of an illustration.

So I'd be stupid and a liar to say there was no racism.  Sure there was.  Good old white racism against non-whites, but back before racism became the all defining, unforgivable monolithic sin that a growing number of religious leaders now admit it is.  Of course, when working among the inner city missions, I encountered anti-white racism among some black pastors I met.  Among some women I knew there was prejudice as well, including anti-male bigotry.  There was bigotry and sin across the board, from people I knew overseas to those at home - all of those people being human, sin happens.  

But Russ has bought the Leftist bug that there are only certain all defining and all encompassing sins based on skin color and political party as defined by the modern Left.  His contempt for those targeted by the modern Left, while accepting of others who toe the leftwing line, is what made so many in the convention upset.  I don't think there will be many tears shed at his leaving. 

And if Moore, or the author of the piece, or the good Deacon Greydanus, yearn for a time when God seizes the crushing power of Rome and Caesar to finally stamp out those who stand in the way of the New Left and its new American church, then we'll just have to see. Given what the new Left stands for, I don't think I'll sweat it.  If the courts and the State come after us, as some apparently are hoping for, it likely won't be at the behest of the Almighty, unless the first 2000 years of Christianity were as disastrously wrong about almost everything as some would have us think. 


  1. He's still associated with Touchstone, though he's made only four contributions in the years since 2012 (the last in 2018). Since he's been in his current position, he's struck me as a lightweight who could not set priorities.

    They wouldn't care so much if Moore didn't come off as, well, a snob.

    More a description of David French.

    Never heard of this dame (who is no relation to Russell, I take it).

    I suspect the denomination will not be injured by her departure.

    1. Beth had a very popular Bible study series that catered largely to a female audience. That was back in the 90s and 00s, and many of my colleagues and I felt it was a little too much 'Hey girlfriend!' in the manner of Oprah and Ellen and other similar female talk shows. A mile wife and an inch deep. We didn't hate it, we just thought it a bit superficial. During the #MeToo craze when the Left cared about assaulted women, she came out and declared her entire life among Baptists to be one, long sexist nightmare, where men hated her work because she was a woman. And worse some actually pointed out that she was attractive. She got quite a media boost for doing so. Dr. Moore apparently is following in her footsteps.

    2. The evangelical star system is disconcerting. To what extent does it generate narcissism?

      As for Russell Moore, he should be laser focused on public policies that prevent Christian bodies from undertaking ministries, on legislation meant to harass the faithful and reduce them to dhimmi status, and on vice and immorality it is imperative to suppress. No, he isn't. If he were, he'd have little or nothing to say about Trump qua Trump.

    3. Russ always seemed to have that particular knack for being led in just the direction the winds are blowing. Again, he's made much about his love of Catholicism. If that is true, he kept that card close to his chest back in the day. Likewise, when GW Bush won, Russ was quite open about the need to reach across our differences for the important task of winning the culture war. By the end of Bush's presidency, when all was falling apart, he began to feel the need to mock Christians and their whole culture war mentality. Then he began to warm up more to progressive ideals just as the Obama WH began, allowing ample opportunities to appear with Obama at the White House. But then, he's hardly the only former colleague I know of who used to be willing to die on several hills that they have now gladly handed over to the ones they used to call the opposition.

    4. What's curious to me is that for 8 years, he's hardly concealed to the world that there isn't much there there. Why didn't Messrs. Kushiner, Hitchcock, Hutchens and the others at the Fellowship of St. James smoke this guy out? I think his name is still on their masthead.

  2. My family and I have faced constant threats from white nationalists and white supremacists, including within our convention. Some of them have been involved in neo-Confederate activities going back for years. Some are involved with groups funded by white nationalist nativist organizations. Some of them have just expressed raw racist sentiment, behind closed doors.

    "Constant" threats. From people who have absolutely zero influence. (Richard Spencer's outfit has one (1) employee). Oh, and the League of the South, which might just have a five-digit membership. (And how much you wanna bet that by 'nativist' he means the Federation for American Immigration Reform, U.S. English, and the Center for Immigration Studies?). Drama queen.


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