Russ Moore that is. Mark Silk at Religion News Service pens a rather critical article, not about Russell Moore, but about Russ’s critics. This is a common narrative I’ve seen for the last week or so.
I won’t get into all of the ins and outs of Russ’s views. But I will give my impression from those I know in Russ’s denomination who have views on the topic.
First, contrary to bold predictions in the press, Russ wasn’t fired. I personally know of few who wanted him to be. Those I know who still speak to me and who are in tune with the SBC don’t have a problem with Russ’s views. In fact, one fellow I know is himself a never-Trumper. The problem he has, and others I’ve talked to had, is that Russ was becoming, well, condescending and judgmental toward those who did support Trump, treating them as not just a monolithic group, but an inferior one at that. A one size fits all condemnation that he was, happily, too good to be deserving of.
As a pastor you never want to get up in front of your congregation and say ‘look at those horrible sinners out there in the world.’ Your job is to speak to the people in front of you. Sometimes bringing to mind certain blind spots in their lives, if not outright sin. And not just the pelvic sins, but sins of greed, gossip (always an easy target), hypocrisy and on and on.But in so doing, you should use a copious amount of first person plurals. If it doesn’t apply to you, that’s fine. Don’t lie and say it does. But you make sure you’re not saying they all suck and need to be more like you. You don’t want to make everyone feel as if they’re guilty or, worse, inferior to the message giver. That’s just common sense. Some I talked to felt that Russ was forgetting that little principle. Yes he apologized. And many are hoping the tone changes and doesn’t go back to what warranted the apology in the first place.
But for the most part, it wasn’t the content of his complaints. Content that more than one critic otherwise agreed with. Just an observation from those I know who are still in the know of the SBC, as opposed to the angle the press has focused on with the story.