Russell Moore announces departure from ERLC helm

"Russell Moore is leaving the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, ending an occasionally controversial eight-year tenure, to take a role with Christianity Today." - BPNews

Related at CT: Russell Moore to Join Christianity Today to Lead New Public Theology Project and at RNS Russell Moore, Baptist ethicist and Trump critic, to leave ERLC for Christianity Today

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Joel Shaffer's picture

This makes perfect sense. When one reads Dr. Moore's public theology, one sees Carl FH Henry's (Christianity Today's first editor) fingerprints throughout all of his writings. Props to Christianity Today for staying true to their roots. 

Paul J. Scharf's picture

I remember when Russell Moore burst onto the evangelical scene with his wonderful story about adoption. It all seemed almost too good to be true....

Soon, I began to notice many of the young, restless, fundamentalists hitching their philosophical wagons to Moore's quickly rising star.

Fast forward about 15 years.

I am not any kind of Russell Moore expert, but it appears to me, from afar, that he has served as a sort of a Trojan horse figure to help lead the SBC back toward an era of new liberalism.

His move to CT seems to be a great fit for him, but a bad sign for what's left of conservative evangelicalism.

May God strengthen His church in these last days.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

Aaron Blumer's picture


I am not any kind of Russell Moore expert, but it appears to me, from afar, that he has served as a sort of a Trojan horse figure to help lead the SBC back toward an era of new liberalism.

I've heard this a lot but have never seen anything in particular to tell me what people mean by this.

Can you elaborate? Besides being Anti-Trump... which, in my view, makes him more conservative than the populists who have roasted him for it.

But politics aside, where has he advocated liberal theology?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Hi Aaron, 

Like I said, I am not a Moore expert (and have no desire to become one).

Perhaps the Trojan horse aspect is that his theology, which does not seem to be his focus at all, IS purportedly conservative, so he has cover for his political views—which ought to be worth about as much as yours or mine. (Or does a Ph.D. in systematic theology qualify someone to speak on public policy?)

But when you are quoted by national sources, as a national authority, beginning in your 30's or early 40's, there might be a little danger there of becoming intoxicated by the opportunity to yield such influence.

From The New Yorker:

"Moore ... holds sway over a large (if self-selected) group of pastors who are inspired by his twin commitments to theological orthodoxy and cultural change."

From The Wall Street Journal:

"Mr. Moore, a 42-year-old political independent and theologian who heads the convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says it is time to tone down the rhetoric and pull back from the political fray, given what he calls a 'visceral recoil' among younger evangelicals to the culture wars."

You can find these kind of statements all over ... not from the Calvary Contender (remember that?! Smile ), but from mainstream, secular and liberal publications. The latter quote goes all the way back to 2013.

If such sources were saying these things about me, I would not take them as compliments.

Incidentally, think how much further our country has gone into the moral sewer just since 2013! But Moore's posture seems consistent, and he seems to be unfazed.

If the Eqality Act passes, I would love to see someone like Moore speak before a group of conservative pastors and Christian college administrators.... It would be very interesting to hear what kind of pearls of wisdom would drop from his lips in that setting.

My opinion ... for what it's worth. Smile

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

Joeb's picture

I'd say the so-called Fundamentalists heavily involved in the Christian Right and Trump are in the deepest moral sewer one can find.  Christian Colleges these days at least the major ones are as bad as they can get.  Masters Cedarville Moody and Liberty are pretty much in a sewer Leadership wise.  BJU is the only one whose exited the sewer in a very very good fashion. Also Appalachian Bible College is another good one that never climbed into the sewer in the first place.   

I respect Moore and labeling someone "Liberal" is not necessarily a wise thing to do to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. The Christian Right Pastors labeled Ed Stetzer and Tim Keller as Liberals because they spoke out against Trump like Moore.  That's my biggest argument against Christ Right Trumper Pastors.  They focus on abortion and gays while engaging in all sorts of other sins and repeatedly end up aiding and abetting Criminals in the church to escape justice.  Bottom line I'm 100 % in agreement with Aaron.  

Speaking of people the Christian Right Pastors would label as conservatives would be Matt Gatez and Joshy Duggar just because they took a Prolife stance. Yet the two of them seem to be headed to the same jail cell.  Gatez is looking at a decade and Joshy is looking at 40.  Yet Joshy is using the great conservative defense that Joe Biden and the Demon Democrats planted the child porn videos and photographs on his computer.  Godly Prolife Conservative Former Congressman Duncan Hunter used that one to until his 4 Bimbos  and Wife agreed to testify against him. Just because you say your Prolife and against gay marriage doesn't make you a Conservative Pastor and walking with the Lord.  

By getting involved in politics Evangelical Pastors have given a platform to some real loonies and now that they're all TRUMPERS these so-called Pastors are okay.  

Paula White Donald's number one spiritual advisor takes the cake.  Some would call Moore a Liberal and the Christian Right Pastors would defend a thriced married alleged Adultress who has a thing for men with comb overs.  From what I understand White in the past has denied the Trinity and that Vodoo dance and tongues act she did to call on the African Angels to come down and overturn the election for Trump violates Biblical principals in spades.  

I'm not real familiar with Moore's teachings or theological stands but my Brother a Former SBC  Pastor has a very high opinion of Moore.  I trust my Brother's judgement.  I hope and pray his new career move to Christianity Today goes well for him and glorifies our Lord.  

Aaron Blumer's picture


Interesting thread on the topic at SBC Voices. You have to do a lot of clicking to get to the comments, but they're interesting to at least peruse:

Russell Moore Leaving ERLC for New Role at Christianity Today

To the "trojan horse" idea, it doesn't follow that if a leader believes there's a more ethical approach to accomplishing conservative Christian political goals he's "less conservative," mush less a disguised enemy of conservatism (which is what trojan horse means).

Time was when ethics and character mattered to the right wing. They still matter in genuine conservatism. I just think it's sad that so many on the right have become so caught up in the current wave of populist pragmatism. But ultimately it's not pragmatic either, because when the right no longer has a credible claim to the moral high ground, it loses any legitimate identity. So.... it has gutted itself and doesn't know yet that it's dead.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joeb's picture

Give that man a Bubble Gum Cigar. 

Larry's picture


The issues with Russell Moore started long before Trump. He has long held views that were out of the mainstream with the SBC. There were discussions and complaints about Moore when he went to the ERLC in 2013. 

The charge of "Christian nationalism" seems a cheap and empty charge. it's like "white supremacy." It has no real meaning in most cases. It is a label thrown out that one knows will not have to be actually defended in any real way. 

Moore's "Christian nationalism" showed up long ago in his view of Christians and culture. To be provocative, we could compare it to Trump and Biden. Both are cut from the same cloth. One just appears a little nicer on the outside. There was always a fundamental disconnect with Moore and I think his position on Trump exacerbated it publicly, but that wasn't the cause of it, IMO.

Joel Shaffer's picture

The issues with Russell Moore started long before Trump. He has long held views that were out of the mainstream with the SBC. There were discussions and complaints about Moore when he went to the ERLC in 2013. 

What specific long-held views of Moore's were out of the mainstream with the SBC? Where is the documentation back in 2012-2013 that backs up your assertion because I personally can't find any discussions and complaints by SBC leaders until he was already the head of the ERLC (most of which came when he spoke up against Trump in 2015-2017. 

The charge of "Christian nationalism" seems a cheap and empty charge. it's like "white supremacy." It has no real meaning in most cases. It is a label thrown out that one knows will not have to be actually defended in any real way.

Not true at all within Christian evangelical circles. It has been specifically defined in the public square by many, including here by ERLC fellow, Paul Miller.  Miller even makes a clear distinction between patriotism and nationalism because so many uninformed conservative Christians assume that they are the same thing. There is a segment among the SBC that rejects the historical Baptist view of separation of Church and State and specifically sees America as a Christian Nation with special privileges. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas has gone out his way for the past 5 years to promote his brand of Christian Nationalism.  He is best known for being the biggest apologist for Trump on Fox news as well as melding Christianity and Trumpism together such as his church's choir singing "Making America Great Again.  But what is even more  problematic is his Christian Nationalism beliefs where he asserts that "[T]he First Amendment does not even require that the government treat all faiths equally," and that government can “show a preference for the Christian faith.” (Twilights Last Gleaming) He also suggests that Christian politicians should be favored at the ballot box.  You also have former high level state government leaders who happen to be SBCers such as Mike Huckabee and former Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick who believe that America was founded to be a Christian Nation governed by Bible-based Laws. Both have publicly acknowledged psuedo-historian Christian Nationalist David Barton as influential in their thinking.  Barton largest audiences are come from SBC and Pentecostals churches and organizations.   

You also have Liberty University's Christian Nationalism tentacles in the Virginia SBC. The failed Falkirk center has been repackaged as the Standing for Freedom Center with Fellows including Mike Huckabee and Christian Nationalist Eric Metaxes, known for attempting to rally his fellow Christian Nationalists through Jericho March to overturn the 2020 election results and stating to Charlie Kirk that “We need to fight to the death, to the last drop of blood, because it’s worth it.”    Also, the influence of SBC Calvinist Christian nationalist Michael O'Fallon should not be understated (O'Fallon prefers to call it Sovereign "nationism.") He is the main funder of many of the conferences that decry "Critical" Social Justice and/or Critical Race Theory's influence in the SBC, including Founders.  He also funds atheist Math scholar James Lindsay's New Discourses, which is short on facts and big on misrepresentations of CRT (please don't assume I condone CRT). In the SBC Christian Nationalists leaders such as Huckabee and O'Fallon are a significant part of the new alliance of churches within the SBC called the Conservative Baptist Network.  I could go on and on. Lets not pretend that Christian Nationalism is some imaginary boogeyman within the SBC when it is a major force to be reckoned.

In contrast, Dr. Moore's public theology is nothing resembling the Christian Nationalism that has emerged within the SBC. Again, read Carl Henry's public theology and you will understand Russell Moore.  The problem among many fundamentalists here on Sharper Iron is that they do a lot more reading about Russell Moore and his mentor Carl Henry than what they actually say in their articles and scholarly works. 

Joeb's picture

I believe the First Amendment clearly spells out that Uncle Sam can't promote anyone religion. I also believe that 1st Amendment clearly says that there shall be no religious test to serve office.  

What happens if a Democrat Iman whose family came to Detroit from Lebanon in the early 1900s to work at Ford becomes President.  The Trump Loonies and White Supremacist Evangelical Thugs will storm the Whitehouse and hang the dude in front of the Whitehouse. 

Joel you hit the nail on the head.  These so-called Christians like Mike Huckabee are truly warped. You know like Huckabee defending the Duggars for how they handled Joshy.  I guess that didn't work ie Child Porn Charges. I actually feel bad for Joshy because if Jim Bob had handed Josh over to the state Josh at least would have gotten the correct therapy to help him from reoffending.  Josh would of stood at least a chance and no one would have ever found out about it if Joshy was charged as a juvenile   Now Joshy may do 40 years and maybe him and Matt Gatez can be cell mates   Between dodging steel shanks and dates with Bubba Josh will have an interesting 40 years   No parole in the Federal System   Get 40 you do 40. Oh yeah the Defense put forward by the Duggars is Joe Biden and the Demon Democrats framed Josh by installing the photos and videoes on his computer. Yep that'll work.  The Special Agent said the child porn was the worst he had ever seen.   

At this point if Josh was smart he'd break off contact with Jim Bob and apply for a Court Appointed Attorney.  Then say my father mishandled me when I was 15   I have a serious problem and I'm willing to plead guilty   Please help me  I'd say that would be what a real believer in our Lord would do and just maybe Josh would get sentenced in the range of 10 to 20 years and some hope of getting out in his 40s to 50s versus 75   

This is prime example how these so-called Christian Righties like Mike Huckabee are borderline outright evil and twisted. All the nuts named in Former Speaker Boehner's new book were all Gothardites.  That speaks well of them.  I'll never ever vote for Trump or a Trump Clone.  Hey Bert can I write your name in.  What's great is I'd vote for anyone from the SI crowd.  Especially for someone like Bert Jim and Aaron. You guys extrude common sense and intelligence which I have been accused of lacking by my wife.   

Oh by the way I caught ABWE in Canada marketing Serial Pedophile Jay Walsh's books.  That right there in my mind proves Joel's statements.  These dudes are outright evil and/or very STUPID.    It took two E mails to get them to drop marketing Jay Walsh's books. They said it was an oversight.  Yeah sure.  

Oh to continue Mike Huckabee is a prime example why parts of the SBC are very corrupt.  Huckabee's decision as a Governor of Arkansas  DIRECTLY cost 4 Police Officers in Oregon to be ASSASSINATED.  Godly Mike Huckabee commuted the  112 year sentence of Maurice Clemons, because Maurice found Jesus.  Everyone warned Huckabee not to do it but he went ahead and did it anyway.  That's how violent the Dude was.  

 Some Judge and Huckabee bought into this guy's reformed act. I'm guessing that Judge at the time was Gothardite along with Huckabee.  Maurice Clemmons was extremely violent and just down right evil.  Maurice actually came from a good  Family and not from poverty or a broken home.  Needless to say this crushed Huckabee's Presidential hopes after he took Iowa the first time.  Maurice reoffended within a year out of jail in Arkansas and then skipped off to Portland Oregon and was arrested for raping a child.  While out on bail Godly Maurice was insulted that the Police arrested him.  Maurice got a gun walked into a Luncheonette where 4 Police Officers were eating lunch and Godly Maurice opened up on them killing all 4.  Good job and decision by Mike Huckabee.  Let's just say Huckabee fits right in with Trump.  

Funny when you mention this to Christian Righty Huckabee fans they say no way Mike Huckabee ever did that.  FAKE NEWS.  I'm sure you all picked up I'm no fan of the Christian Right and I was greatly affected by the attack which maimed for life 60 of my Federal Law enforcement Brothers and sisters.   

I'll be honest any believer who backs the likes of Mc Carthy  Jim Jordon Matt Gatez Donald Trump Greene Cauthorne  BOEBART and the rest of that crowd in my opinion are in sin.  Doesn't mean you have to vote Democrat but a vote for Trump or his chronies at this point is sin period.  

The Congressman from Illinois is a True Believer.  Parts of his Family go to my niece's  church in Illinois.  In fact the Dude dated a friend of my niece.  My niece is a never Trumper. My niece said it's fake news that his family dont back his anti Trump position.  At least as far as the relatives in my niece's church are concerned. 

In 2024 I'll support Chris Christie for President.  Christie is not associated with the Christian Right and stood up to Trump when it counted   Plus Chris is very fiscally conservative and will push back but in a smarter and controlled way.  Personally Biden is who we need now vs Trump but once we get by this Covid deal we need someone like Chris Christie.

 My fervent prayer is Trump gets sent to jail along with Gatez and Ruddy.  Also that the Attorneys for  Smartmatic and Dominion pluck Donald Ruddy and the Gate Keeper for the Cracken financially like a spring chicken.  Also pray that Liz Channey gets re-elected in Wyoming.  

Bottom line again I can't blame Moore for leaving.  Although there is some good elements in the SBC, which my brother reminds me of  regularly. My Brother says the SBC goes from very very liberal to KJVO Snake Handlers.  My Brother is still involved with a SBC Church plant but not as a Pastor.  Bert I should give you his address.  Knock on the door and say I know your whack job Brother.  My brother will roll out the red carpet out for you and your wife.  My Brother's neighborhood backs up to the Salt Marsh and you go out of his neighborhood and make a right and 5 minutes later your at the Isle of the Palms in SC.  His house is beautiful. When I was there in January it was 70 degrees out.  You'd love Charleston Bert. My wife loved it. 

G. N. Barkman's picture

Joeb, that's quite a rant.  You say you would never vote for Trump, but you also laud the intelligence of Bert.  Unless memory fails me, I believe Bert said that he voted for Trump.  (Am I wrong?)  Perhaps you should honor Bert's superior intelligence by voting for Trump?  Wait, it's too late for that. 

Oh, well.  Consistency, thou art a hobglobbin.  (Or something like that.)

G. N. Barkman

Jim's picture

Joeb wrote:

Even though I differ with that on Bert you still have to recognize genius when it's in front of you       

Joeb is the alter Bert

  • Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (not sure which is which Wink )
  • Clark Kent and Superman (Bert is super)
Aaron Blumer's picture



Moore had already led ERLC in voicing a good bit of criticism of the Equality Act.


Most of the criticism of Moore seems to be due to his conviction that the right needs adjustments in tone and emphasis in the culture war... including the belief that criticism should be accurate and fair. This idea is very much out of fashion on the right these days, which has mostly abandoned wisdom in favor of noise and fury. 

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Thanks Aaron,

I would say that it is one thing to criticize the Equality Act in a polite interview; it is another to use one's considerable influence to treat it as the life-and-death issue that it is for our country. Perhaps Moore did the latter, and I just missed it.

In the larger view, I think that there is much going on here in terms of SBC politics about which those of us who are not part of the SBC probably have no clue.

Here is one interesting take from Jon Harris:

Whether you agree with everything Harris says or not (and I don't), watching this, you begin to realize two things: (1) SBC politics are a whole different game ... one that I have no desire to be a part of; and (2) there must be a whole lot of conservatives in the SBC who have significant disagreements with Moore's leadership.


Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

Joel Shaffer's picture

Paul, Its interesting that you site Jon Harris. He's a neo-confederate Baptist social media apologist that embraces the lost cause myth along with the righteousness of the Antebellum South when it came to slavery, the church, and the Bible which motivates his personal crusade about saving confederate monuments in the South.  He exemplifies "White" Christian Nationalism, although I don't see his stripe of Christian Nationalism as prevalent within the SBC. I've also watched a few other of his videos on his false perception (based on misrepresentations and lies) that somehow secular social justice, CRT, and etc...have infiltrated the SBC and institutions.  I find it really interesting that Harris views Al Mohler as an establishment "Progressive" in the SBC. And he commends JD Hall (the founder/editor of the click-bait slander blog, Pulpit and Pen) for exposing Russel Moore.  

Of course there are a lot of conservatives in the SBC! I would argue Russel Moore is a conservative in the SBC.  Those that created the resolution #9 are all conservatives in the SBC. In fact, resolution #9 is a conservative resolution in regards to CRT and Intersectionality.  Almost everyone is a conservative in the SBC! The problem is that the ultra-conservative minority have moved the goal posts. Harris, the Founders Group, and the Conservative Baptist Network folks are are calling their movement another "Conservative Resurgence.  However, their  "Conservative Resurgence" in the SBC is not about retaining conservative theology or doctrine but rather about retaining a particular strain of conservative culture and politics.  

Joeb's picture

Aaron your point is spot on.  Of lately the Liberal Label was slapped on for those Evangelical Pastors speaking out against Trumpism Christian Nationalism or treating gays like fellow human beings rather than saying hanging them from the best closes good tree Limb.  They slapped the Liberal Label on Beth Moore Julie Roys Rachel DeHollander Ed Stetzer Tim Keller  Brian The Head Welch the founder of Corn and Others.   

I have people in my family if you talk about public schools the first word that comes out of their mouth is LIBERAL DEMON DEMOCRAT BRAINWASHING CAMPS yet they were heavily involved with Gothard ATI Homeschooling and Emulating the Duggars.  How Satanic can that be compared to sending your kids to public schools. It's a joke and they were and are heavily involved in Trumpism and Christian Nationalism.  To the point one Elderly member refusing to get vaccinated   

It's plain sad especially with the track record the Fundy and Southern Baptist and Bible Churches have handling Me To and Church To issues.  It's like saying your Liberal while swimming in a pool of raw sewage.  At this point in time I'd say Believers in our Lord should not be labeling fellow believers with the Liberal Label unless their behavior is real obvious like the Christian Righties still backing the attack on the Capital and making Donald Trump a Dictator.  I'd use the KKK/NAZI label for them.  More obvious then labeling Moore as being a Liberal.   

I guess Congressman Kinzinger of Illinois is a LIBERAL NOW because he calls out the LIES OF THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT like Moore has done.  In my Book Congressman Kinzinger is a True Hero for the Gospel and a True Hero for our Nation for saying the Truth.  

Again Wally's school Maranaths and Appalachian Bible College have always done the right thing and BJU admitted their sin and gone down the right road of doing the OBVIOUS RIGHT THING. Liberty Moody Cedarville and Masters are worse than any of the above institutions and their supporters  are the biggest LIBERAL labelers around in my book. Of course with  BJU being the brightest star of what to do and where to go when one has tripped.  Every believer sins and makes mistakes but Criminal behavior and covering it up is not a simple mistake. Thats worse than any socalled Liberal.