By now, everyone knows that Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, leans socially progressive. Moore has, on multiple occasions, partnered with left-leaning organizations on behalf of the SBC in order to advance political, as well as theological, positions through government. Moore is well known for his collaboration with the apostate Roman Catholic church in his endeavors to promote traditional marriage, anti-abortion legislation, and more. So it comes as no surprise that Moore is now joining forces with the liberal Baptist denomination, The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, in order to push for legislation banning predatory lending habits by pay-day lenders.
The new Faith for Just Lending coalition, formed between Russell Moore’s ERLC, the CBF, the Center for Public Justice, and several other liberal organizations, is claiming that the poor are being treated unfairly by pay-day lending companies, and are unjustly taking advantage of them with high interest rates, and trapping them in a dependent cycle of usury. While this is true, the defenders of this coalition, who are pushing for legislation to control this, are cooperating in an unbiblical way in order to justify their cause, and as usual, weakening the Gospel by doing so.
The argument could certainly be made that time would be better spent taking the Gospel to these “poor” people, as well as to those who are responsible for the predatory tactics. However, we’re not here to argue for or against the legislation, we’re arguing against the fact that our supposedly conservative denomination is once again putting the Gospel on the back-burner in order to advance the legislation. The concept that Moore and his supporters really just can’t seem to grasp is that by joining hands with people who do not hold to orthodox views of Christianity does long-lasting damage to the doctrinal divisions between us, and gives the impression that we are on the same page spiritually. This is not to say that legislation banning predatory lending, or abortion, or same-sex marriage, is not a good thing, but there are much better ways to go about seeking it than watering down the Gospel.
Why can’t Russell Moore grasp this concept? Because he is, as he prefers to call himself, a “moral communitarian.” He sees his high ranking position within the Church as a pedestal to promote his social agenda, and even though he has the image of being a moral and social conservative, he is politically liberal, from his early days as a Democrat staffer to yesterday’s admission that man has caused global warming at the ERCL academy (more on that from Pulpit & Pen to follow). Moore stated in an interview with Justin Taylor:
I would like to see the ERLC serve as a catalyst for a kingdom vision that transforms congregational cultures to carry out the mission of Christ in the world. This means speaking to the larger culture and to the political arena, but not as an interest group wielding power to get our way. The time has come to replace moral majoritarianism with moral communitarianism.
Now, “moral majoritarianism,” historically is a conservative Protestant movement aimed at restoring traditional moral cultural laws and liberties through the use of government. While this is historically a more biblical way that Christians should be involved in politics, Russell Moore wants to step away from this idea of “majoritarianism,” and replace it with “communitarianism.” Communitarianism is a soft form of socialism, (or Communism) that strips individuals of their personal rights, and replaces them with laws that are put in place for the “greater good.” We can see this in a recent tweet made by Moore regarding the vaccine controversy:
Herd immunity and eradicating disease is a matter of the public good. Life or death. Vaccination is pro-life and pro-neighbor.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) February 2, 2015
Russell Moore isn’t concerned with the individual rights of parents, who may have extremely valid health concerns regarding their children’s vaccinations, or who may be concerned that some of the vaccines injected into their child’s body may have been cultured using aborted fetal tissue. His only concern here is the public good. He frames it as though if you are against his point of view, you are “anti-life,” or “anti-neighbor.” When pressed on social media about his stance, he had his colleague, Joe Carter, and a pediatrician, Justin Smith respond on the ERLC blog to try to rationalize his position as follows:
Knowing that these vaccines are safe and have saved millions of lives through their use, what are we to do? … Clearly, the process by which these vaccines are made is not ethically ideal…The key consideration in whether using currently available vaccines is licit or immoral is whether there is material cooperation with the evil act of abortion. If the abortion was conducted in order to harvest tissues that were to be used for the vaccine, then it would clearly be immoral. But in the case of the vaccines listed above, the abortion was carried out for other reasons and the tissue was acquired post-mortem for the purpose medical research.
The purpose of this argument is not to take a stance for or against vaccinations, as we believe that should be left completely up to the parents. Our argument is to show that Russell Moore has little regard for traditionally biblical positions, such as parental rights and authority, when it comes to promoting his own socialist ideals. Now that Moore has partnered with the CBF and other liberal organizations on the issue of predatory lending, he will be pushing for more communitarian legislation. Barrett Duke, Moore’s right-hand man, and VP of the ERLC says, “God is not an economic Darwinist. He does not believe in survival of the fittest when it comes to the treatment of the poor,” and Moore says he is “happy to work together [with the other liberal organizations] on this issue to stand against unchecked usury and to work for economic justice, human dignity and family stability.” The coalition stated as one of it’s principles, “Government should prohibit usury and predatory or deceptive lending practices,” and the SBCadopted a resolution calling for the same thing.
So clearly, Moore, and the ERLC are on the same page as these other left-wing groups in adopting a legislation that would limit individual freedoms, while removing the responsibility of the individual. While the Gospel of Jesus Christ puts an emphasis on individual responsibility, Moore continues to remove this facet from the Gospel. Much like his “racial reconciliation” efforts, he seeks to place the blame of the individual on the shoulders of the greater community. The Gospel teaches that the first requirement to salvation is an acknowledgement of, and repentance of personal sin. However, Moore seeks to remove this acknowledgement of personal sin, and create a universal system in which “all” have a responsibility in their behaviors, and it’s the community’s problem to solve. This is a fundamental principle of socialism, and Russell Moore now has several high ranking positions within the evangelical church to use as pedestals to promote his agenda.
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