Russell Moore is the head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). He is, as Wikipedia points out, a Christian Democrat and Communitarian. He is also a former Democratic staffer, one of the most vociferous critics of President Donald Trump, works for George Soros on his Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), and has led the ERLC to embrace animal rights, environmentalism, a softening tone on homosexuality, and Critical Race Theory. When he defended his ERLC research fellow, gay-affirming feminist and animal rights activist, Karen Swallow Prior at the SBC annual meeting, Moore had another ERLC employee, Brent Leatherwood, call the police on a member of the press because they asked Moore questions about Prior’s support for the pro-LGBT Revoice Conference.
Many Southern Baptists are rightly upset with Moore, and not just because he’s called conservatives who believe in national sovereignty “idolaters” for wanting a border wall, or because POTUS called him “a very nasty guy with no heart,” or because his research fellows are out there saying that Trump supporters “lost their soul” by voting for him. Many Southern Baptists are upset with Moore because he’s assisted a Mosque’s construction in New Jersey, but opposed the right to religious conscience on gay marriage. They are upset that Moore has coalesced himself with the most radical Cultural Marxists, Liberation theologians, and Critical Race Theorists on the planet. They’re upset that he’s aligned himself with Roman Catholics, but shunned and repeatedly reprimanded conservative Baptists. Some are legitimately upset that Moore has repeatedly been on the wrong side of ethics issues and advocates for policies not conducive to national sovereignty, which is the single greatest bulwark and defender of religious liberty on planet Earth. And some, are speaking out.
When one Thomas Littleton asked Moore questions, he was forcefully kicked out of the SBC’s annual meeting. When another reporter asked Moore about Karen Swallow Prior’s support for the pro-LGBT Revoice Conference, he was rebuked and Prior defended. When another SBC messenger tried to express displeasure with Moore at the annual meeting, he was rebuked by the moderator and cautioned not to speak ill of the SBC’s inglorious leaders.
In the Southern Baptist Convention, you can’t question Russell Moore or the newly-woke coalition of pro-Social Gospel entity heads. In the new Fascist Regime of the New SBC, even meetings ostensibly designed to ask questions, seek clarifications, and voice opinions are for show only. Moderators of these meetings, the self-glorified hall monitors, perceive themselves as bouncers playing interference, putting questioners in their place and protecting the SBC elite from having to answer any inconvenient questions. This was seen Tuesday when the moderator of an OPEN FORUM (I’m using ALL CAPS because I’m screaming it right now) shut down a Southern Baptist pastor expressing displeasure in the way Russell Moore is leading the SBC.
The Baptist “Press” reports:
Paul Hicks, pastor of Good Shepherd Community Church in Hayden, Ala., said he has heard from individuals in the state and beyond expressing dissatisfaction “almost unanimously” with the ERLC and its president, Russell Moore.
EC chairman Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga., intervened to note that the open forum was a time for expressing concern about issues and not personalities.
A few things here. First, I doubt seriously that anywhere in the agenda of the so-called “Open Forum” does it state that the time was designated to expressing concern about issues and not personalities. I would fully suspect that “rule” was made up by Executive Committee chairman, Mike Stone, on the spot. Second, Russell Moore is the issue. People CAN be issues. To claim otherwise is an offense to basic logic and the use of words. Third, no one is concerned about the “personality” of Russell Moore (although I find him to be a smug little elf). The issue is not his personality, but the ISSUES he promotes and supports.
SBC Voices sycophant blogger, William Thornton, reported this account and said, “One member tried to skewer Russell Moore but was cut off by the EC chairman. Good job.”
Uh, no. He wasn’t trying to “skewer” Russ Moore. He was voicing his OPINION which was the advertised PURPOSE of the OPEN FORUM and he was cut off by the EC chairman. That is only a “good job” if you’re a fascist running an organized crime syndicate. It’s not good if you’re a Southern Baptist in a denomination that supposedly exists to serve its members.
The Baptist “Press” then reports:
Boto then responded to Hicks’ concern, noting that it should be expressed to the ERLC and that its contact information is readily accessible. Saying he has “every confidence” that the ERLC will respond, he cited Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 18 for resolving allegations of wrongdoing among Christians.
For the record, the ERLC never, ever, ever, ever responds to criticism…ever. They do not respond to criticism, either public or private (see here). However, who really needs “skewered” here is interim President of the SBC Executive Board, Augie Boto. Rebuking the Southern Baptist pastor on the grounds of Matthew 18 is beyond asinine. It shows a fundamentally flawed understanding of conflict resolution and a profound interpretive ignorance of the Holy Scriptures.
Matthew 18 is a process of church discipline in the local church. It does not and cannot work at the level of a denomination. Nor can Matthew 18 be followed (nor is it intended) with celebrities or public figures who do not personally know their critics. Neither can Matthew 18 be followed to handle grievances privately when the actions (as Russ Moore’s) are already public. Furthermore, even if Matthew 18 could be applied denominationally (and it cannot), Boto has no idea whether or not Hicks already had gone to Moore privately (which he does not have to, because Moore’s actions are public), thus making the rebuke not only drip with theological ignorance, but with presumption. For more information on Matthew 18, consult Seth Dunn’s blog post, Rightly Applying Matthew 18 Church Discipline as Baptists, here.
The level of insanity in having a “open forum” and then not allowing someone to express their opinion on an issue because a personality is involved (people are always involved with “issues” and the two are inexorably tied) and then to condescendingly cite a Bible passage that is in no way applicable to the situation is beyond repugnant.
Southern Baptist pastors and church members, you need to understand that there is no dismantling the ERLC. There is no way to rid yourselves of Russell Moore. The ERLC is an independent entity of the SBC, which is controlled by trustees that are hand-selected by Russell Moore. Its money comes from you, and you fund all of its salaried positions and budget, but you have absolutely no oversight or control over this runaway entity. The best thing to do is not hope and pray Russell Moore is removed from his position. He will not be. The best thing to do is leave the Southern Baptist Convention and never look back. If you can’t do that, go around the ERLC by not funding the Cooperative Program. For more on how to still be a Southern Baptist but not financially support causes that you don’t believe in, read this ebook here.
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