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The Moore Controversy

There was once a time when the gospel remained the ultimate goal in Baptist conventions. Now, unfortunately, the gospel has taken a backseat to a political regime. Dr. Russell Moore, president of ethics and religious liberty commission for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), is under investigation for criticizing President Donald J. Trump.

If you want to know the full story, you can find various articles on what is going on. However, I think that it’s appropriate that we just dive into what the real problem. The problem is the SBC is taking a hard political stance and not a hard gospel stance. They are supporting the Reagan brand of Christianity rather than the biblical brand. Regardless if Dr. Moore keeps his job or not, the divides will be felt in the convention for years to come.

The reality is, the announcement of Dr. Moore’s investigation is a further push away from biblical doctrine. Dr. Moore has every right to criticize Donald Trump and his behavior. Further, it is his job as the president of ethics to call out congregants from supporting a man of such character. The whole reason we are in this mess is we’ve allowed the SBC to be very loose in their doctrine. Being diverse from the most Arminian to the hyper-Calvinistic backgrounds, the SBC has refused to take a hard doctrinal stance on anything that isn’t baptism. This is a problem.

Now, more than ever in the evangelical church, we have boys preaching Trump from the pulpit. We now have more people questioning if you are even a Christian if you didn’t vote republican. We’ve made it more about a political ideology. This is not the gospel that saves. Unfortunately for Dr. Moore, he is just the scapegoat in a much larger problem. The church has decided that politics are the best way to change the culture, rather than faithfully preaching the word of God. We have decided to pray for our political desires; we need to pray for the church and making the gospel known.

The Church

As the church we must remain one, holy, universal, and apostolic: One body (Rom 12:4-8), Holy, because of the work that Christ has done (Eph. 5:22-33), Universal due to our common faith, and Apostolic because the teaching of the apostles are the foundation of truth (1 Tim. 3:15). When we pledge allegiance to our political prefaces over the gospel, we are ultimately becoming apostates. We are separating ourselves from the freedom we have in the redemption of gospel, and teaching that there is no forgiveness if you disagree with our politics. In this case we ultimately succumb to the same mistakes as Rome. Putting our faith in a man that promises salvation rather than God, who accomplished salvation. Basing our ministry off of an ideology rather than on scripture. Trusting in our works rather than trusting in Christ’s works. When the SBC takes a hard stance on politics, they are ultimately becoming another Rome.

Being confessional

The lack of hard stances on doctrine have ultimately led us here. As Baptists our heritage is Calvinistic. We have a confession of faith (The Second London Baptist Confession of 1689) that dictated the standards of what it meant to be a Baptist. Being confessional in our doctrine allows us to be held accountable in our practice. In being confessional there is no room for this kind of petty debate. If you are a confessional church you have to guard against this. This is why the PCUSA and the PCA split. The PCUSA abandoned the Westminster Standards and ultimately scripture in a pursuit of a political ideology. The SBC is also promoting such things with a lack of church discipline on those who prioritize their party affiliation over the gospel.

The goal

Ultimately the goal and aim is to make known much of God’s name. We can’t do that while practicing idolatry. God uses the weak and the humble to spread the gospel.

Ultimately, Dr. Moore is a scapegoat in the SBC. If you stand against political leaders, regardless if you agree or disagree, you will ultimately face church discipline. Moore did nothing wrong. Rather, the churches pulling funds from the SBC deserve church discipline for practicing idolatry. The effects of this decision will ultimately cause a schism. Regardless of how big or small, a schism in the church is rarely a good thing. Pray for Dr. Moore and the repentance of the leaders opposed to Moore.

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