The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) is one of the more growingly disconcerting entities of the Southern Baptist Convention because of what appears to be a social progressivism coming from its director, Dr. Russell Moore. In recent years, Moore has pushed for amnesty for illegal aliens (going so far as to call Jesus an “illegal immigrant”), racial justice (white privilege), advocated attending gay wedding celebrations and what Moore calls “creation care” (Christian environmentalism). Pulpit and Pen has written extensively on Moore’s progressivism, and both conservative and liberal evangelicals have scoffed at the notion that a Southern Baptist could be socially progressive – even if he was an Democrat staffer for a liberal politician who voted for Barack Obama.
Enter Samuel James. James, who’s blog has been coined “ERLC-Watch-Watch” by Fred Clark, has attacked P&P in the most nonsensical ways possible, on nearly every post that criticized the ERLC. In our post, Sycophant to Colleague: How the Southern Baptist Bureaucracy Works, we pointed out how James’ anti-P&P posts and watchdogging the watchdogs led to his job offer at the ERLC. Notice what he says about Russell Moore and his co-horts:
… the people running the show at the ERLC are top-shelf. This is not only true of Dr. Moore but of his staff.
Well now, James obviously includes himself as being on this “top shelf.” In his article, Why I’m Joining the ERLC, James explains that he has been hired by Moore as a “Communications Specialist,” to “help the ERLC in its mission to produce Gospel-faithful, culture-relevant and church-empowering content.” Let me translate that for you. James has been hired by Russell Moore because he will unabashedly promote Moore’s agenda without question and to attack those that question him. He will discern the discerners and be the watchdog for those filthy watchdogs.
In a recent piece by James entitled What Not to Do When a Fellow Christian Embarrasses the Rest of Us, he continues his ebullient service to the ERLC by shaming discernment bloggers to shut up and listen to our intellegentsia overlords – or else. James writes:
People who take the name of Christ and identify with His church are going to say or do something so inexplicable, so ridiculous, and so embarrassing that the rest of us will either shake our heads in disbelief or groan in frustration. Sometimes it’s something silly. Sometimes it’s more serious, and even blasphemous.
So, there are people who say these ridiculous, and embarrassing things simply may not be Christians, who represent the Church. Chiefly, without saying it, this is the Christian Celebrity. Oh, sure. You may count a heretic like Fred Phelps in the number or a charlatan like Ergun Caner, but what’s at the heart of the issue are the Rick Warrens, Andy Stanley’s and Russell Moores. They stick together. It’s a club. In fact, they were showing some Twitter love just yesterday.
James wants us to know what we should not do to respond to guys like Moore’s friend, Andy Stanley, when they trash expository preaching, promote gay church membership or desire the church to “take off from the culture war” and wants us to make the gay wedding cake...
Sometimes it won’t even be necessary to respond, but other times, people around us need to know that this particular person does not speak or act on behalf of the church. Discernment and common sense will usually illuminate when that kind of response is necessary. When it is, I’d like to offer a simple list of some “Do Nots.”
So James is here to offer up some “discernment and common sense” that we so desperately need. He so graciously and mercilessly offers up a list of “Do Nots” for when fellow Christians like his boss or his friends embarrass the Church.
Among his “Do Nots” are to not use the person’s error as leverage, don’t apologize for it, don’t legitimize suspicion towards the church, and of course, make sure you don’t ever start a watchdog blog.
7) Don’t start a “watchdog blog.” Seriously, don’t ever.
You know, a blog like James’ at Patheos just prior to being hired by the ERLC in which he criticized discernment ministries for, you know, discerning. I he did so by, ironically, claiming discernment. What James wants to do is silence all dissenters of the ERLC. This is the typical behavior of scurrilous authority figures. It happens in politics, in the workplace, and it’s happening in the SBC. The powers that be in the SBC have made it clear that anyone who questions their authority, or any of their decisions will be ignored, marginalized – and if you still don’t submit to their will – they will relentlessly attack you with their nagging, waving, lecturing bony finger. You b
For James, on the other hand, it’s okay if he has an obscure blog that nobody reads that criticizes so-called “watchdogs” like P&P who are critical of his organization, because, again, he was gnawed his way all the way up the ladder and is eating directly out of Russell Moore’s hand…and you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you.
This is not surprising though, since polishing apples at the ERLC has apparently been his dream for quite some time. In his article about joining the ERLC, he says this:
Excitement is really too small a word. This move represents a thousand different blessings coming through many people. I won’t get very personal, except to say that this opportunity could not be timelier or more desired. It is a tremendous moment.
So, James has spent his pre-employement days groveling to the ERLC through his blog, and then, once hired, does what he’s paid to do – watch the watchblogs. Wave the bony finger. Guilt-shame them into silence. Ye blogging proletariat, bow to your intelligentsia overlords. You are not fit to critique them, but we are fit to critique you. And now, from James, a lecture on how not to criticize celebrities when they say or teach egregious things.
I hate critics. They’re so criticial. So, here are ten criticisms of critics for your review…
[Contributed by Pulpit & Pen]