Shouldn’t Calvinists (even new ones) Understand Clay Feet?

Even if Russell Moore received several tweeted thumbs up for his address at the Gospel Coalition conference on Martin Luther King, Jr., others are raising questions about ERLC head’s commentary on race relations.

For starters, Lorine Spratt, executive assistant to the Pastor of First Baptist Church Bossier City, LA, thinks Moore’s finger on the pulse of Southern Baptist life is numb:

I am a born-again Christian, Conservative, Black attender of a White, Southern Baptist, Evangelical Church in Louisiana. In fact, I not only attend, I also work there and I am very concerned about the narrative that I’m hearing from our ERLC leadership. I am absolutely appalled by the comments made by Dr. Russell Moore concerning racism within the White Evangelical churches.

I, and many other Black congregants, attend a predominately White, Southern Baptist Evangelical Church. We attend there because we are free to do so, we’ve been welcomed, and we’re seen and treated as brothers and sisters in Christ. I truly believe that I could attend any White Evangelical church and be welcomed. However, there are born again Black believers who choose to attend Black evangelical churches and worship within their culture and they are free to do so. We are exercising our freedom to choose. We are not commodities to be bargained with or exploited or used to promote an agenda or boost quotas.

White churches are not advocating racism but Dr. Moore is. He is fueling racial tensions. I view his comments as divisive and antagonistic. His words do not promote unity!

Please, let it be known that Dr. Moore does not speak for me or other Black Christians who believe that great strides and fearless efforts have been made by many throughout the years to abolish racism such as William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King Jr., Billy Graham and many others.

The letter above originally appeared here and the anti-Calvinists in the SBC, truth be told, may relish a chance to catch the New Calvinist, Moore, mangling relations among black and white Southern Baptists.

Then there is the arresting perspective of Bob Gagnon who couldn’t help but notice the way that critics of Trump’s moral failings were noticeably silent about King’s own behavior (in ways that may actually resemble how the “court evangelicals” have overlooked Trump’s character):

Gagnon, a conservative biblical scholar recognized as the foremost traditionalist interpreter on the topic of the Bible and homosexuality, said Russell Moore, head of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and lead organizer of the gathering, failed to address documented evidence that King lived a sexually immoral personal life.

Gagnon called Moore “the same guy, mind you, who has had no trouble accusing the vast majority of his brethren who voted for Trump in order to avoid Clinton (or who supported Roy Moore in order to avoid Doug Jones) of falling prey to ‘moral relativism’ and ‘consequentialism,’ of being an embarrassment to the gospel because they are not standing up for their own Bible values around sexual fidelity in marriage.”

“He said not a word about MLK’s sexual immorality that was arguably the equal of Trump’s,” the scholar said.

Gagnon said speakers at the “MLK50: Gospel Reflections From the Mountaintop” confab also tried to explain away “the fact that by any reasonable standard of what counts for essential Christian faith, King was what evangelicals then and today would view as a heretical Christian.”

“He denied Christ’s incarnation, virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection, and second coming; in short, a full sweeping denial of orthodox Christian faith,” Gagnon said in an earlier post. “For King, Christ was an excellent moral teacher and human exemplar of trust in God. No more, no less.”

Gagnon said King’s sexual immorality was arguably worse than Trump’s, not only because he was a minister of the gospel but also because he “was willing to risk the fate of the entire civil rights struggle in order to continue his sexually immoral conduct, week after week, right up to what would be his final night on earth.”

Of course, the way out of these dilemmas is to rely not on heroes or celebrities but on Scripture for moral standards. From Thomas Jefferson to Charlie Rose, exemplary humans are fallen and their lives don’t prove one side or the other in any debate. But if you want to signal that you are on the right side of the cultural divide, lining up behind a social or political icon works as long as you forget that you are living in the #metoo era.

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13 thoughts on “Shouldn’t Calvinists (even new ones) Understand Clay Feet?

  1. Completely unrelated, but a NAPARC issue I haven’t seen a whole lot on and wanted to get out there:

    ARP Pastor Andrew Brunson’s terrorism trial in Turkey is starting the day after tomorrow (Monday, April 16) after over a year in detention.

    Background – back in October of 2017, about a dozen Americans were arrested as part of Erdogan’s counter-coup. Two months ago, another one of those rounded up, a NASA scientist was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.

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  2. Getting involved in the Racial Reconciliation Racket is the easiest way for Russell Moore to wash his sins of association with the defunct, decrepit, and desolate Christian Right. Worshiping at the altar of MLK is the easiest way to earn one’s graces with secular elites – the type of people who fired Kevin Williamson after just one column.

    Alas! It will never be enough. It’s not enough to not be Jerry Falwell, John Hagee, or James Dobson. One must also buy into the whole sexual revolution from abortion to transgenderism – and no religious liberty to decline participation either. Russell Moore is woke but not that woke. He would still fail Sen. Cory Booker’s test (“You believe gay sex is a perversion, yes or no?”). Tim Keller, John Piper, David Platt, and Matt Chandler would also fail.

    It is not enough to want more Muslim refugees – you also need to affirm Islam as equally valid as Christianity. None of the Woke Evangelical/Reformed are woke enough for this. Not even Thabiti. In fact no one at TGC or ERLC is woke enough to go there. On this basic point they’ll be revealed as not really different from the White Evangelical 81%.

    Could someone please give me back my Ol’ Timey Religion and my Ol’ Timey Bible?

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  3. There is an advantage to having clay feet; that is that one can have faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. It is when we are in denial of our sinfulness that we not only cut ourselves off from our connection to Jesus, our honesty and trustworthiness come into question.

    Yes, both King and Trump had moral failings. But the amount of trust one should be able to have in the most powerful person in the world should be higher than the trust we have in a Civil Rights leader. So when Trump denies that he is in need for forgiveness, that simply adds to the mix of things that make Trump untrustworthy as President of the U.S.

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  4. Its a tough call, how much social justice which she be chasing after. Certainly the church fumbled the ball in the 50s and 60s. But right now, all the noise about actively amping up diversity… Simply not so sure I see the purpose, any more than I see the purpose of Christian conservatives or liberals weighing in on the president and the elections non-stop. I much prefer to hear about CROP walks, etc, like in the good old days, when good works were seen more as works of mercy than as works of social justice. As for Moore, Franklin Graham. J Merritt, and all of their ilk — here’s looking at you too, Pope Francis — it would be nice if they could just stop talking for a while. IF we have local pastors, what do we need to Pubic Faces for, after all?

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  5. Joe M – “Its a tough call, how much social justice which she be chasing after. Certainly the church fumbled the ball in the 50s and 60s. But right now, all the noise about actively amping up diversity… Simply not so sure I see the purpose, any more than I see the purpose of Christian conservatives or liberals weighing in on the president and the elections non-stop.”

    I agree. While the universal Church should certainly embrace people of all races and ethnic groups, I don’t think a particular church is necessarily wrong to be mostly – or even entirely – comprised of white people, or any other race. A church in a rural Iowa town with 100% white people is not wrong for having a 100% white congregation. Even in big, diverse cities, a church in a given neighborhood may reflect the demographics of that neighborhood and not be guilty of failing to embrace diversity. I think we all agree that racism is a great sin, and failing to welcome with open arms people of all races would be a major sin for a particular church. But that does not mean a predominantly white church in a predominantly white neighborhood is guilty of racism.

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  6. Another quick point: while diversity is great and I’m all for it, it should not be an end goal of a particular church. In other words, a church shouldn’t believe they are any more faithful for having a more racially diverse congregation. Preach the Word, administer the Sacraments, welcome all races with open arms. That’s about the best a particular church can do.

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  7. VV,

    But that does not mean a predominantly white church in a predominantly white neighborhood is guilty of racism.

    That seems logical to me. I’ve always thought a church’s demographics should reflect those of its immediate neighborhood, which means that some churches are going to be more racially diverse than others.

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  8. D.G.,
    Actually, Pharisees did know they were Pharisees. Why do you think they treated regular people as inferiors as recorded in the Gospels.

    And your response misses the point. One can either promote social justice as one who sees themselves as a fellow sinner to those practicing injustices or one can see themselves as being morally superior to those who practice injustices.

    So the ball is in your court. Do you respond to those who challenge some of your ideas here as peer or as being superior in some way?

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  9. D.G.,
    I am sure you feel justified in doing so. But whenever you respond to comments with personal judgments, you act as if you apathetic about the risk that your judgment is wrong. And considering the commandment that prohibits the bearing of false witness against someone, your behavior doesn’t seem consistent. In fact, it was the Pharisee, not the publican, who was content with the personal judgments he made about the other person

    In addition, it also seems that when you respond to comments with personal judgments, you are trying to change the subject. So I will repeat what I originally said about Trump and King and you can decide for yourself whether the subject is in comparing those two, or in you making public judgments about me.


    Yes, both King and Trump had moral failings. But the amount of trust one should be able to have in the most powerful person in the world should be higher than the trust we have in a Civil Rights leader. So when Trump denies that he is in need for forgiveness, that simply adds to the mix of things that make Trump untrustworthy as President of the U.S.

    Like

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