America’s recent election not only revealed a magnified crevice between two sociopolitical groups, the first being the producer/nationalist class and the second being the dependent/globalist class, but it also manifested a long minimized but very real partition between the aristocratic theological intelligentsia Evangelical ruling class and the pedestrian Evangelical laity class. One of the major personalities among these Evangelical elites has been Southern Baptist, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. And to this, Southern Baptists in general, should be gravely concerned.
Mr. Moore demonstratively made it his mission during this past election cycle to relentlessly campaign against Donald Trump on what he generally tracked as moral disdain which allegedly forced Moore to pronounce political anathema against Trump but it did not stop there. His implication was against Southern Baptists and more widely, orthodox Evangelicals who supported and ultimately voted for Donald Trump. To plead for Donald Trump was tantamount to voting in support of immorality, racism and misogyny hence, you must be akin to this in some way, at least this is the unapologetic manner in which he crusaded in the minds of a vast number of Southern Baptists and Evangelicals at large as I have observed.
And as I write this, I am tempted to go backwards and revisit Moore’s numerous articles in which he wrote at length about his contempt for the bellicose, immoral, unwashed and intolerable Donald Trump, a man for whom is conscience could not vote but more than that, a man against whom he sought to turn many Southern Baptist/Evangelical consciences but that didn’t happen. I don’t, however, have to turn to Moore’s past articles, I need only look to a recent post-election piece in which his full, ruinous pristine moralizing is on display.
Writing at his website and for distribution elsewhere, Moore published a piece titled, President Trump: Now What For the Church? And here are but a sample of Moore’s continued misleading and disingenuous characterizations regarding Trump and those who voted for him, yes, the 80% of Evangelicals.
Moore - The sort of conservatism that many of us had hoped for—a multiethnic, constitutionally-anchored, forward-looking conservatism—has been replaced in the Republican Party by something else.My Response – Sorry Russell, but the very people who elected Tim Scott, one of only two black U.S. Senators, were a constituency from South Carolina that also supported Donald Trump at almost a 90% level. Further, Mr. Moore, those voters supporting Donald Trump did so because of his forward looking conservatism that had a female campaign manager who was the first woman to head a presidential battle in the general election and win, not to mention bringing Dr. Carson onto his team as a major campaign adviser and who will likely play a hearty role early in his administration.
So excuse me, Russ, if I may and I will, who or what are you referring to when you lament that the multi-ethnic Republican party has been replaced by something else? Because it certainly isn’t Mr. Trump or his supporters. This leaves us two choices Mr. Moore, either you are incompetent and unable to see what is in front of you or you are simply dishonest and in either case, unfit to represent Evangelicals and certainly, the Southern Baptist Convention with all of its deplorable members.
Moore - This means that conservative evangelicals are politically homeless—whether they know it or not.My Response – Mr. Moore, you do realize that the Vice President Elect is a conservative Evangelical, right? You do realize he is second in power, correct? I almost want to use the juvenile expression, “what planet are you on because it isn’t earth?”, but I will not.
This is simply more delusion in his mis-characterization of the administration America elected, an administration, by the way, which will follow one of the most divisive and disruptive in recent history. But the last eight years apparently do not faze Russell Moore, at least not in any manner that would cause him to mount a reasonable and expected protest. That, instead, was left to the little people he claims to represent in their ouster of leftist values for this nation while they performed the necessary dirty work in voting for Donald Trump.
Who, then, exactly does Russell Moore represent?
This introduction leads me to my main question which wonders precisely who Russell Moore represents within the Southern Baptist Convention and more broadly, Evangelicals because, as we understand by his efforts with The Gospel Coalition and beyond, the SBC is not his only desired constituency? Russell Moore certainly does not represent 80% of Evangelicals which I am going to safely surmise is also about the same percentage of Southern Baptists who voted for Trump.
Russell Moore was not only on the wrong side of history but devoted himself to the leftist moralizing narrative of anti-Trumpers and disdain for Donald Trump's supporters, many of which were Southern Baptists. If Southern Baptists are so wrong in so large a number on such a pivotal and critical worldview, at least according to Moore, then there is an incompatibility problem the size of Godzilla before anyone within the SBC can move on with any sensible confidence in Russell Moore as a genuine representative of its members.
The Average Christian Joe and Jane
The average Christian (most people for that matter) does not aspire to capacious influence. A vast majority of the population have the goals of a good job/career, satisfying marriage, a healthy and safe life, well-loved and educated children and for Christians, of course, growing in and serving God via the gifts and opportunities given in life. And frankly, for most people, this is all they either have time for or were designed however, do not be mistaken, they are not stupid in their average pursuits.
Unfortunately, this is how I see the Russ Moore’s of the world treating their constituencies, like children who need lectured accompanied by finger-wagging about the dangers of robust alpha men and women who fight wars and like to watch the enemy die when we all should be playing nice with one another, surrendering to those who would import destructive ways to a nation to which we belong and ultimately bring collapse to the boundaries of freedom which are ours. At the expense of a nation they would posture. These are not leaders, these are religious neo-pharisites who risk your liberties and mine while their lives are assured comfort and privilege.
Why? Why do these kinds of men who are not genuine leaders and builders but lecturers and crusaders, rise up in a church they genuinely do not represent?
The answer lies in the ambition of the man or woman. People who covet influence do so because they believe they are smarter than most people. Usually these kinds of people are hyper-idealists and due to this, the political arena becomes a magnet. This, as we know, is where Moore was birthed with respect to his notability, as a Democrat. I am not claiming clairvoyance thus, ascribing these motivations to Moore but I am saying they regularly are part and parcel with the kind of position he holds. But what I am saying is that the chasm between what Moore proposes and what the majority of SBC members hold to as a worldview and theological preference, needs a great deal explaining before you can convince me Russell Moore is the result of an organic promotion by SBC members to his position, one that is ratified by natural majority support, all of which I see glaringly absent.
On the other hand, there is a group of men and women who are compelled, not by idealism but realism. They usually are reluctant but ultimately driven by truth and concrete ideals which they know must be preserved and elevated for the benefit of whatever group they see needs such shepherding. These kinds of leaders generally represent the every-day common sense of freedom-loving people, worldwide. Their instinct isn’t to lecture but to lead. They aren’t posturing critics rather, men and women with real solutions to real problems.
It is time to show Moore, the door?
Whatever Russell Moore is, he certainly does not represent 80% of Southern Baptists from what I have learned not only during this election but before its cycle, on a number of ethical and theological matters. I believe he, while possessing a higher-than average IQ, is subverted by his idealism and view that through expatiated moralism he can shame Southern Baptists into acquiescing to his brand of Christianity and politics. Throughout this entire cycle, Moore has constantly wagged his finger at Christians supporting Trump and ultimately found himself too immaculate to force upon himself the smudge of voting for Donald Trump, a thing he sought to convince the entirety of Evangelicalism to do thus, denying Trump/Pence the White House and permitting the ultimate destroyer, Hillary Clinton who was to bring with her the consummation of far-left progressivism as a way of life irreversibly forced upon America’s culture and legal system.
That is the permanent status Russell Moore sought to impose upon this country. Why? Again, I beckon to the raw premise above but for specifics, I point you to the many posturing and feathery essays Moore has available at his website from which you are to form your own conclusion. They will be there as a monumental episode of embarrassment in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention which must never be permitted to be repeated though sadly, I am not sure the lesson will have been learned fast enough.
I have no doubt that Russell Moore knows Christ and some theology and he certainly may want to see the world saved but he is unfit for leadership among Southern Baptists seeing the tremendous distance he has placed himself from the majority of its membership. He is far more fitted for a left-leaning para-church organization such as The Gospel Coalition who, via its co-founder Tim Keller, gladly embrace the social gospelism Moore has long touted in its proprietary PCA brand which which has come about over the last two decades.
Do I believe he will be forced out like he should be or that he will suddenly be seized by a conscience that is utterly embarrassed by an awakening to his self-righteous posturing which almost aided in bringing a continued but greater anti-Christian darkness to this nation, politically, in his aim to defeat Trump thus, help elect Hillary Clinton ? No, I do not think either are likely to occur, at least not real soon because of the many allies he has who hold power in the SBC.
What I do believe, however, is that many Southern Baptists, just like many Americans, who supported Trump not only will be vindicated by a robustly constitutional Christian friendly nationalist administration in Trump/Pence but as the days go by, they will have within themselves a refusal to tolerate the keyboard dictates of idealistic and over-paid philosophers like Russell Moore and a wave will rise, slowly but surely. The poison of Moore’s ideas will be much clearer as Trump/Pence succeed and people will come understand just how unfit Moore is for the position he now fills as the ethical voice of the SBC.