"The more I see of the representatives of the people, the more I admire my dogs." Alphonse de Lamartine link
I am doing more research on the writings of Dr. Iain Campbell along with following up on some important information submitted by our readers. I hope to have enough to write a coherent post on Wednesday.There is so much going on that I feel overwhelmed. I am going to hold onto the post which will *cause an explosion* department until next week when I am away of a vacation trip and I can't be hunted down….
My views on politics (don't worry)
Please do not think this post is an opportunity to discuss politics on the blog. I ask that you confine your comments to the subject at hand. This is going to be difficult because it does deal with politics and the Southern Baptist Convention. The question before us is quite simple. Should a representative of the SBC make partisan statements as if they represent the only SBC response?
Let me explain where I am coming from. I was heavily involved in politics until the early 90s. I helped in many campaigns and ardently supported various candidates. However, I did not do so from a *Christian* perspective. I do not think that there is one Christian way to view politics. I also believe that the people I know make choices based on thoughtful self examination.
I finally left the political world when I was part of a conversation at a political meeting that I was helping to run. I heard some people denigrating some of those present because they were not *Christian.* By Christian, they mean part of the little evangelical club. I got irritated and said."This is not another Bible stduy." I believe that this country exists to fight for the freedom of all people, not just Christians. I soon left the political arena.
Since that time, I have licked a few envelopes and even served on a health advisory committee when asked by a presidential candidate. In that capacity, I spoke up on the issue of child sex abuse as well as domestic violence which caused a few raised eyebrows because that was not an agenda item. But, speak I did.
I have political opinions but I do not think they are *THE* Christian opinion. I know people who disagree with me and I respect them.
Russell Moore and Presidential politics
The idea behind this post is to help folks to see that there is a fight within the Southern Baptist Convention. Time Magazine pointed out this coming conflagration in May of 2016 in Donald Trump's Feud With Evangelical Leader Reveals Fault Lines. It was known by this time that Russell Moore, the head of SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, was no supporter of Donald Trump.
Trump’s direct attack comes three days after Moore wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, “A White Church No More,” that directly called out Trump by name for a campaign that "has cast light on the darkness of pent-up nativism and bigotry all over the country." Moore pointed out that the evangelical church in the U.S. is no longer the “old white precinct captains in Iowa,” or the “old, white television evangelists."
“The next Billy Graham probably will speak only Spanish or Arabic or Persian or Mandarin,” Moore wrote. “The man on the throne in heaven is a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking ‘foreigner’ who is probably not all that impressed by chants of ‘Make America great again.’”
Here is where it gets interesting.
Evangelical leaders are also far from politically united, and Southern Baptists do not vote as a block. Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist pastor of the 12,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, has been very supportive of the presumptive Republican nominee. “Russell Moore has launched numerous vitriolic attacks not only against Trump’s policies but about his own character and integrity,” Jeffress says. “No one should be surprised that Trump would respond to such attacks.”
“This is unprecedented what Russell Moore has done, and I believe there are many people who are not sympathetic with his views toward Trump,” he adds. “While Moore is a respected leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, he absolutely does not speak for all Southern Baptists even as I don’t speak for all Southern Baptists. There are no Southern Baptist Popes.”
Russell Moore supports the hard line Calvinista agenda.
There are few people who know just how hard line Moore is within his faith system..
He is a leader at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He is currently president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Moore previously served at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of six seminaries of the SBC, as dean of the School of Theology, senior vice president for academic administration, and as professor of Christian theology and ethics.
He is a vocal supporter of patriarchy.
He thinks that the word complementarianism is too soft. Instead he prefers the word patriarchy.
Russell Moore: Gender identity and complementarianism… I hate ….the word 'complementarian', I prefer the word 'patriarchy'…
Again at 37:00 ff….
Mark Dever: So then, why is it you don't like the word complementarianism?
Russell Moore: Because complementarianism doesn't say much more than the fact that you have different roles. Everyone agrees that we have different roles, it just a question of on what basis you have different roles? So an egalitarian would say, "Yeah, I'm a complementarian too, it's on the basis of gifts." I think we need to say instead, "No you have headship that's the key issue. It's patriarchy, it's a headship that reflects the headship, the fatherhood of God, and this is what it looks like, you then have to define what headship looks like…"
He is a fan of CJ Mahaney, former head of Sovereign Grace Ministries, who allegedly covered up child sex abuse in his churches.
"It is noteworthy that the vitality in evangelical complementarianism right now is among those who are willing to speak directly to the implications and meaning of male headship—and who aren’t embarrassed to use terms such as “male headship.” This vitality is found in specific ecclesial communities—among sectors within the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America, the charismatic Calvinists of C.J. Mahaney’s “sovereign grace” network, and the clusters of dispensationalist Bible churches, as well as within coalition projects that practice an “ecumenism with teeth,” such as Touchstone magazine. These groups are talking about male leadership in strikingly counter-cultural and very specific ways, addressing issues such as childrearing, courtship, contraception and family planning—not always with uniformity but always with directness."
He is supportive of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he is excited about Burk’s selection and looks forward to “working with CBMW to serve the church toward a biblical view of God’s good design for men and women, girls and boys
What is the defined mission of the ERLC?
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission exists to assist the churches by helping them understand the moral demands of the gospel, apply Christian principles to moral and social problems and questions of public policy, and to promote religious liberty in cooperation with the churches and other Southern Baptist entities.
So, why was he dissing SBC people who supported a different candidate than he did? That does not appear to be a part of the stated mission.
There are two big problems confronting the ERLC.
1. The ERLC, along with the IMB and NAMB will not answer questions submitted by SBC churches regarding financial questions such as salaries.
Point of Fact: These organizations run on money donated by local churches to the Cooperative Program.
On March 7, 2017, a report was released Attn: Dr. Russell Moore, Servants Answer Questions.
Russell Moore claimed that the ERLC was willing to answer questions of SBC churches.
“As a servant of our churches, we are happy to work with the Executive Committee, and more broadly, grateful to be able to serve our churches daily, whether by answering their questions, providing resources and assistance or standing alongside them in the public square contending for the fundamental issues of life, family and religious liberty."
Some churches attempted to get their questions answered .
Here is what happened. (I bet you all guessed what happened since you know how Calvinistas love to answer questions.) Those bad boys asked about salaries.
In September 2016, Caldwell Baptist Church (Caldwell, Georgia) pastor J.T. Taylor penned hand-written letters to the heads of the ERLC, IMB, NAMB, the Georgia Baptist Convention, and both Steve Gaines and J.D. Greear. There were no responses from the ERLC, IMB or NAMB. Dr. J. Robert White, Executive Director and CEO of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board responded by letter and forwarded Taylor’s letter to Southern Baptist seminaries. This prompted a telephone call from Paige Patterson.
The letters detailed Caldwell Baptist Church’s concerns over transparency, stewardship and misplaced priorities distracting the SBC from missions and the treatment of some SBC members. The church formed a committee to explore these issues and the Cooperative Program. The committee followed the letters with telephone calls to the entities. The team worked four months, requested information from ERLC, IMB and NAMB by mail and phone call, but were provided no information from the entities. The committee requested a range of information including salary data on entity leadership through its relationship with the Laurens County Baptist Association. The Association attempted to gather the requested data, but could not get the salary information because they were told this information was “sealed” and would not be provided, according to the committee report of the Special SBC Research Committee of Caldwell Baptist Church.
Here is their summation:"They're hiding something."
“We eventually realized that this kind of financial information was concealed and unavailable to anyone,” the committee reported in December.
Apparently other churches have attempted to get answers to no avail.
My question: Why do the little guys put up with this racket?
Why in the world would anyone give money to an organization which is not accountable to those who are giving? In fact, these groups have snubbed their collective noses at the little guy while still telling them to send money. That, in my book, is quite a con job.
2. How can the ERLC represent the political views of the SBC given the diversity of opinion within the ranks?
They can't and that is the problem.
Russell Moore criticized evangelicals who voted for Trump during the election. (Remember- we are not discussing political views merely how Moore represents (or doesn't) ALL Southern Baptists.) It was so blatant that he was forced to apologize. In Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore apologizes for criticizing Trump supporters. Moore, during the election appeared to go after those SBC people who disagreed with his point of view.
Moore had drawn criticism during the general election for calling Trump support by evangelicals and other conservatives "illogical."
"To back Mr. Trump, these voters must repudiate everything they believe," Moore said.
In his apology, which was not well received by the SBC base, he said:
"There were…pastors and friends who told me when they read my comments they thought I was criticizing anyone who voted for Donald Trump. I told them then, and I would tell anyone now: if that's what you heard me say, that was not at all my intention, and I apologize," Moore said.
Here, however, he seems to make it about his own personal views, not about the combined views of the SBC.
The problem with this statement is that he is not representing himself. He is representing his entire constituency and that is a problem. Of course he has a right to hold his own personal views. But, he was speaking for the SBC contributors who were paying him to do so.
He did not back down from his criticism of Trump himself, saying the 2016 election season had been "fraught with ugliness, much of which couldn't be left unchecked."
"In my personal situation, there were some outrageous moments in the midst of the campaign that I felt compelled by my job to address," he said. "It is precisely because Southern Baptists are pro-life, pro-family, pro-religious freedom, pro-racial reconciliation, and pro-character-in-public-office that I felt it was my responsibility to speak out on those issues. For me, to remain silent–rightly or wrongly–felt negligent."
Could Moore lose his job as some churches threaten to withhold funding?
The Washington Post just today posted Could Southern Baptist Russell Moore lose his job? Churches threaten to pull funds after months of Trump controversy. Here are some excerpts.
100 churches threaten to cut off funding and a meeting will be held with Moore today.
Prestonwood Baptist has already withheld $1 million which is a blow considering the continuing decline of the SBC membership.
More than 100 of the denomination’s 46,000 churches have threatened to cut off financial support for the SBC’s umbrella fund, according to Frank Page, president of the executive committee. The committee is studying whether the churches are acting out of displeasure with Moore because it has received more threats to funding over him than over any other “personality issue” in recent memory, said Page, who will meet with Moore today.
…Withdrawal of church donations from the fund threatens not only the ERLC (which receives just 1.65 percent of it) but other Southern Baptist agencies and state conventions.
Page may ask Moore to resign.
Page declined to discuss the plan for Monday’s meeting, but he indicated that he would not rule out the possibility that he could ask Moore to resign.
Thabiti Anyabwile says such a move would be problematic for African Americans.
Thabiti was outspoken against Trump during the elections. he appears to be saying that one must be anti-Trump in order to care about race relations.
A threat to Moore’s job would have a “chilling” effect on efforts toward racial reconciliation, said Thabiti Anyabwile,
The SBC appears to be divided, just like the rest of the country.
Also, Moore's supporters appear to be the Cavinista contingent adding another lovely layer of "us against them."
The denomination has gone through a significant realignment before. In the 1980s, Southern Baptists hotly debated the interpretation of the Bible as President Ronald Reagan took office. During his two terms, conservatives in the SBC tended to side with Reagan while moderates tended to side with Jimmy Carter-style Democrats, said Nathan Finn, a Southern Baptist historian. The debates led to nearly 2,000 churches breaking away to form a the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a group that ordains women.
“The last time Southern Baptists were this divided, the Republican Party was reinventing itself,” said Finn, who is dean of Union University’s School of Theology and Missions.
In addition to topics such as immigration and Muslim rights, Southern Baptists have also been embroiled in a theological debate over how to understand salvation that has also divided the denomination along generational lines.
If I don't want to discuss politics, what am I getting at?
- I am greatly disturbed that various entities within the SBC will not respond to questions about salaries, etc. I believe that all contributors have a right to know how their money is being used. If they cannot get answers, I do not think they should give a dime to these SBC entities.
- Churches need to decide whether any organization can faithfully represent their constituency on political issues. That is not the point of faith. Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world" yet his followers wanted a conquering king. Is that what we still want today?
- I support all folks who think long and hard about about their vote. Politics is not another Bible study and we need to stop treating it like it is. That means that devoted Christians will disagree with one another on political matters.
- I think the ERLC will have to get its act together. What, exactly, are they doing and who are they representing?
- Never forget that Moore is a patriarch, no matter how *liberal* he sounds.
- In the end, it is all about the money. If the money dries up, so will the ERLC and Russell Moore.
- I think the concept of the ERLC, as it stands now, is doomed to failure. The SBC must find common ground in their political forays.
I am grateful to be a member of a church which handled the election thoughtfully. Instead of directing us "who to vote for" we prayed diligently for this country and our leaders throughout the contentious election. We prayed for peace and understanding. I felt respected by the pastors who actually thought we were all thoughtful people who would struggle through this and come to a conclusion. As one pastor once said "I am not your boss." I bet the votes in that church were all over the map.
I am deeply concerned about how money is used in the SBC. That is one of the reasons I left the denomination. The following is an example. I tried to find out how many church plants the NAMB was supporting each year, the money spent, and whether or not they were Reformed or more traditional Baptist. I also wanted to know how many church plants failed.
I asked a number of folks in the know. I was told that the information was not available. So, my husband and I decided that our money and support was also no longer available.
Keep your eyes on this situation. i beleive that there will be growing conflict in the year to come. Will Moore hang on? It depends on the $$$$$.