Russell Moore profiled in Wall Street Journal
On the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal, political journalist Neil King profiled ERLC President Russell Moore. The article, entitled “Evangelical Leader Preaches Pullback From Politics, Culture Wars,” highlights Moore’s approach of convictional kindness in the public square:
Today, after more than three decades of activism, many in the religious right are stepping back from the front lines. 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.
“We are involved in the political process, but we must always be wary of being co-opted by it,” Mr. Moore said in an interview in his Washington office, a short walk from Congress. “Christianity thrives when it is clearest about what distinguishes it from the outside culture.”
The article draws attention to Moore’s approach in the public square as well as his focus on millennials:
Mr. Moore is responding to this drift. He warns evangelicals to avoid becoming “mascots for any political faction.” He focuses on how to keep millennials engaged in the church. His advice to church leaders: Be “winsome, kind and empathetic.”
Elsewhere in the piece, Neil King notes how Moore recognizes a shift in evangelical engagement as a prophetic minority in a post-Bible belt culture:
When Mr. Moore took over in June as the Southern Baptists’ top public-policy advocate, he startled some in the church by declaring as dead and gone the entire concept of the Bible Belt as a potent mix of Jesus and American boosterism. “Good riddance,” he told thousands of the faithful at the group’s annual convention in Houston in June. “Let’s not seek to resuscitate it.”
In an essay for the conservative Christian magazine “First Things,” titled “Why Evangelicals Retreat,” he dinged the movement for “triumphalism and hucksterism” and lampooned a time when its leaders dispatched voter guides for the Christian position on “a line-item veto, the Balanced Budget Amendment, and the proper funding levels for the Department of Education.”
Mr. Moore says there is no doctrinal daylight between him and his church, and he insists he isn’t seeking to return the Southern Baptists to a past in which it shunned politics entirely.
The full article is available here.
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