The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who’s budget of over four million dollars of Cooperative Program funds, is regularly employing its time and money to publicize the personal endeavors of its director, even when it has nothing to do with ethics or religious liberty. Having a major multi-media arm paid for by Southern Baptists in the pew to publicize your personal blog is a typical perk of most Southern Baptist entities. Yesterday, the ERLC promoted the personal blog of its director, Russell Moore…
Of course, when politicians use public tax dollars to promote their private enterprises, they’re impeached or criminally investigated. But, it’s just another day in the SBC in which its entity heads use CP funds to further their celebrity.
But, in case you were wondering to yourself, “Man, I wonder what Russell Moore’s favorite books of 2017 are,” you’re in luck. He’s got you covered.
Now, we have been reporting for years that Russell Moore – even though a protégé of Albert Mohler – is a political liberal and theological moderate. We would argue that Russell Moore is the type of man Mohler ran out of Southern in 1993. For more on Russell Moore’s liberalism, just peruse the links provided for you here. In the mean time, what do you think Moore’s favorite book is of 2017?
His #1 favorite book of 2017 is from…Eugene Peterson. Moore writes:
Some of you will want to pass this book by when you see that it is a collection of sermons. Don’t. This is, in my view, Peterson’s best book, in his long lifetime of writing good books. Peterson is at his best when forcing the reader to confront old truths from a different, sometimes jarring, perspective. His discussion, for instance, on the Beatitudes calls the reader to consider that nobody in the ancient world expected to be happy. Tragedy was the defining feature of life. If one was happy, one wished to hide that fact, for fear that the gods would punish one for acting like one of them. Into that world, God brought the idea of blessing—an idea both at odds with ancient tragedy and with modern emotional entitlement.
Peterson is an artisanal metaphor-maker, with images that will stay with you for years.
The book to which Moore refers is As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God. Now, who is Eugene Peterson?
Eugene Peterson – who is best known as creating the abomination of The Message Bible translation – is the theologian who made waves this year for coming out in support of “gay marriage.” When asked about his feelings regarding same-sex relationships in an interview with poorly-closeted homosexual, Jonathan Merritt, Peterson said:
I haven’t had a lot of experience with it. But I have been in churches when I was an associate pastor where there were several women who were lesbians. They didn’t make a big deal about it. I’d go and visit them and it never came up for them. They just assumed that they were as Christian as everybody else in the church.
In my own congregation — when I left, we had about 500 people — I don’t think we ever really made a big deal out of it. When I left, the minister of music left. She’d been there ever since I had been there. There we were, looking for a new minister of music. One of the young people that had grown up under my pastorship, he was a high school teacher and a musician. When he found out about the opening, he showed up in church one day and stood up and said, “I’d like to apply for the job of music director here, and I’m gay.” We didn’t have any gay people in the whole congregation. Well, some of them weren’t openly gay. But I was so pleased with the congregation. Nobody made any questions about it. And he was a really good musician.
I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over.
After receiving a lot of flak, and having sales of The Message threatened, Peterson said he regretted saying those things (without repenting of his position).
While conservative Christians have sworn off Eugene Peterson and marked him as apostate, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist ERLC is actually promoting Peterson on his personal blog. This comes just weeks after the ERLC promoted George Soros from the same Twitter account. After Peterson’s pro-gay announcement, Moore defended Peterson, saying that he was just a “wise man who had made a mistake.” (link)
Apparently, Moore is still a fan of Peterson. In fact, he’s just holding true to form. Moore wrote a defense of Peterson at The Social Gospel Coalition in July, encouraging people to still read his work, in spite of his apostasy.