Response to the Attack on Russell Moore by David Crosby graphic

Two-thirds of the Cooperative Program money given in Louisiana for world missions stops in Alexandria. This week those CP funds were used to attack Russell Moore, head of our SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Editorialist Will Hall is paid by these same CP funds that publish the Baptist Message. Though my church sends a hefty check to the CP, Mr. Hall certainly does not represent me in his piece maligning Dr. Moore.

The leader of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has as much responsibility to speak TO Southern Baptists as to speak FOR Southern Baptists. In fact, no one really speaks FOR all Southern Baptists. That was true for Richard Land as well as Russell Moore.

The responsibility to speak TO us about our own moral condition and ethical responsibilities is no easy task, especially in these days. It is the task of the prophet. Most often God’s people want to kill the true prophets and keep the false ones.

Russell Moore makes me uncomfortable sometimes. He challenges my own perspective and opinion. I am grateful that he does so. That is his job.

His approach is clear. He measures everything by the gospel of Christ. He is a purist in this regard, and he makes no bones about it. He wants Southern Baptist behavior to line up with the words and character of our Lord Jesus. You can count on this to be his approach. He is trying to faithfully apply the gospel on contemporary issues.

Some of our attitudes and opinions are off point. Some of them are unchristian. This is true of all of us. We need an honest man who will speak to us, not what we want to hear, but what we need to hear. Russell Moore is attempting to do that. He is not betraying us when he differs with us and ruffles our feathers—he is being faithful to us and to his calling.

Moore’s position has always been the hot seat among us. When Richard Land led the effort to apologize for support of slavery and Jim Crow laws, many were upset at him. But he was seeking to be faithful to the gospel.

We should resist the temptation to regard with suspicion those who differ with us on political and social issues. Russell Moore is faithful to the gospel. He speaks and writes with clarity and conviction. He is one of us, and he deserves our continued support and engagement.

10 responses to “Response to the Attack on Russell Moore by David Crosby”

  1. Jack Hunter says:

    As our faith community navigates the complexities of today’s social, political, and economic issues, we have in Dr. Moore a helmsman who rightly applies the word of God and is true to the heart of God.
    He is for Christ, his kingdom, and our mission. He speaks for me.

  2. Rick Patrick says:

    Like James Dunn of the BJCPA, Russell Moore is a bit too far to the left to represent my Southern Baptist convictions. I thought Will Hall’s editorial made many valid points.

    I did not read Will Hall’s piece as an “attack” on Moore personally so much as an effort to question the ERLC’s current direction. If asking questions of an entity leader constitutes an “attack” then I guess I should write an article on your “attack” of Hall and then someone can write one on my “attack” of you. Alternatively, maybe we should not call every raised eyebrow an attack, and instead ask if there might not be some value in carefully reflecting on these matters instead of just offering a defense of Russell Moore.

    I disagree with Moore’s stance on refugees, immigration, hiring Non-Southern Baptists, police brutality perspectives, Roy Moore’s response to Gay Marriage, the Political Forum with only Bush and Rubio, the negative endorsements of only one candidate in one party, and many other issues.

    I hope in the future we can move away from the personalities of Moore and Hall and instead engage in a productive discussion of what we as Southern Baptists want the ERLC to do and to be.

    I know Russell Moore is not alone in his convictions. I appreciate your loyalty to him. But I can assure you that neither is Will Hall alone in his convictions. This is a conversation that is long overdue.

  3. Brent Hobbs says:

    Absolutely agree with this. Will Hall’s article was a disaster.

  4. Louis Cook says:

    Thank you.

  5. Joe says:

    My only question is, why isn’t Moore saying this about Obama, Clinton, and Sanders as well?

    Would Christians not have to question themselves if they support them?

    • Scott Shaver says:

      Perhaps, on the other hand, we should “resist the temptation” to overlook religio-political pandering by the ERLC in spite of Crosby’s opinions to the contrary. Crosby’s cooperative program dollars are no more sacred than those with whom he disagrees. And there are those of us who feel the money was better spent on Will Hall’s article than the whining and self-righteous ramblings of Russell Moore.

  6. Scott Shaver says:

    Somewhere in the neighborhood of 260 mil CP dollars (for world missions) was spent by IMB BEFORE IT WAS EVER DEPOSITED IN THEIR ACCOUNT. Alexandria is kind of small potatoes don’t you think?

  7. Wow. Just read Hall’s article ( living in the Northwest – i.e. Southern Oregon) means we miss much of this stuff. While I disagree wit Dr Moore on several things…and am troubled by some of his actions, Hall’s editorial is over the top. Frustrating that Hall can’t find a convictional civil tone with which to share his thoughts. I spent time with Dr. Land a couple of years ago – I disagreed with him about some issues as well, but found him to be kind, compassionate, and thoughful when provoked!
    thanks Dave for bringing this issue to the forefront

  8. Rick Patrick says:

    This lead from a Los Angeles Times piece by Lisa Mascaro describes it nicely from my perspective: “When Southern Baptists named Russell Moore to a top leadership post, conservative evangelicals winced.” (February 14, 2016) Even the secular press recognizes that Moore is simply not in sync with the conservative evangelicals in the SBC. On this subject, they are absolutely correct.

  9. Rick Patrick says:

    Here is additional evidence that Will Hall is not alone in his assessment of the new ERLC. This blogpost is by North Carolina Pastor Alan Davis:

    Again, I don’t think this needs to be some sort of witch hunt or angry reaction. I don’t think those with concerns can be dismissed simply as irritable people breeding disunity.

    We need to open a line of dialogue and discuss these matters. Davis makes a compelling case that dialogue with SBC Pastors is not what the new ERLC wants.

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