This was a question and answer exchange from the floor of the recent meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
How in the world can someone in the Southern Baptist Convention support the defending of the rights of Muslims to construct Mosques in the United States when these people threaten our very way of existence as Christians and Americans. They are murdering Christians, beheading Christians, imprisoning Christians all over the world. Do you actually believe that if Jesus Christ were here today that he would support this and he would stand up and say let us protect the rights of those Baal worshipers to erect temples to Baal? Do you believe that Dr. Moore?
Pastor – Armorel Baptist church
Dr. Russell Moore, Chairman of the Southern Baptist “Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission” responds to the question,
You know sometimes we have to deal with questions that are really complicated. We have to spend a lot of time thinking them through, and we’re not sure what exactly the final result is going to be. Sometimes we have really hard decisions to make. This isn’t one of those things (delegate applause). What it means to be a Baptist is to support soul freedom for everybody (delegate applause). And Brothers and sisters when you have a government that says “we can decide whether or not a house of worship can be constructed based upon the beliefs of that house of worship” then there are going to be Southern Baptists Churches in San Francisco and New York and throughout this country are not going to be able to build. The bigger issue though is not one of self interest. The bigger issue is that we have been called to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A government that has the power to outlaw people assembling together and saying what they believe that does not turn people into Christians. That turns people into pretend Christians and it sends them straight to hell. The answer to Islam is not Government power. The answer is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the new birth that comes from that (heavy delegate applause).
I wish I could say this was satire. You know, something from the Babylon Bee. Unfortunately Dr. Russell Moore was dead serious. Honestly, it is difficult to consider any “Christian” who actually sincerely believes this to be Christian. Can one be Christian and suggest that other Christians should support the ability of anti-Christian religions to flourish? If there is no God but God how can Christians support the proliferation of false gods? Before I get ahead of myself let’s take this in order.
I’m going to be exhaustive here so there will likely be overlapping in some of these observations.
1.) Note, first of all that Moore doesn’t directly answer the question asked of him. Moore’s indirect answer seems to be that if Baptist expect to build Churches in San Francisco and New York then they have to abide Muslims killing, beheading, and imprisoning Christians throughout the world.
2.) Don’t miss that Moore’s answer is “yes” to the question as to whether or not Jesus would support the erecting of Baal Temples. According to Dr. Moore, Jesus would indeed support the building of Temples to Baal in a pluralist social order.
3.) Note Moore’s mocking of Rev. Wofford’s question. Moore offers that it’s really an easy question to answer. This is contemptuous arrogance on Moore’s part. This is difficult to swallow when it is Moore who is the one offering a simpleton and disastrous answer.
4.) Notice what Moore offers here as the first part of his answer is “soul freedom.” “Soul Freedom is techno-speak for Baptists. “Soul Freedom” or “Soul Liberty,” comes to Baptists from Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island Plantation. Williams absolutized the liberty of conscience in terms of choice in matters of faith. Williams wrote on this matter that,
“It is the will and command of God, that a permission of the most paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or anti-Christian consciences and worships, be granted to all men in all nations and countries; and they are only to be fought against with that sword which is only (in soul matters) able to conquer, to wit, the sword of God’s spirit, the Word of God.”
Now this sounds enlightened until one realizes that Williams (and now Moore) are advocating the Baptist religious principle that the sword supported statute of the state be used to insure that no one religion be allowed to be the one unique religion of a people. The Baptist state, enforcing “Soul Freedom,” must use the statute supported sword of the state to make sure that all religions proliferate. Of course this has the effect of making the State the god of the competing gods making sure that each god only goes so far in the public square. Baptists “Soul Freedom” is institutionalized idolatry (State-olatry). Williams and Moore’s “Soul Freedom” coerces people to accept the Baptist version of religion for the public square. Baptist “Soul Freedom” is not Freedom at all but is bondage to idolatry. Baptist thinking on this matter is thus “anti-Christ.”
5.) When we consider “Soul Freedom” in this light we see that “Soul Freedom” is actually an absolutizing of unbiblical notions of freedom. Moore’s freedom is religious anarchy. Freedom is never absolute but always operates in the context of some ordered religious framework. Moore’s “ordered framework,” is the framework of religious pluralism, a synonym for the monotheism of State-olatry.
6.) Moore misses the fact that the State is God’s State and is responsible to the God of the Bible. As the 1958 revised Belgic Confession Article 36 teaches,
“…And being called in this manner to contribute to the advancement of a society that is pleasing to God, while completely refraining from every tendency towards exercising absolute authority, and while functioning in the sphere entrusted to them and with the means belonging to them to remove every obstacle to the preaching of the gospel and to every aspect of divine worship, in order that the Word of God may have free course, the kingdom of Jesus Christ may make progress, and every anti-Christian power may be resisted.”
Now of course a Baptist would disagree with this but even the Baptist London Confession of Faith does not support Moore speaking of the necessity of the Magistrate to be, “encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers.”
7.) Moore seems to think that it is possible to have a a-religious neutral State. In point of fact all states are theocracies including this one and Moore is advocating for a pagan God (the State) to remain the the god enforcing “Soul Freedom” as its humanist religion. Moore’s religion is the ancient Roman religion which allowed any religion to prosper in Rome as long as all adherents of all religions pinch incense to Rome. When Moore insists that the State should remain un-attached to any God or god concept Moore, at that very moment is pinching incense to the God State.
8.) As we have noted, in advocating for “Soul Freedom,” where the State, by sword supported statute, protects all religions as equal and so supports the presence and proliferation of all religions, makes all the social order slaves of a State that is in control of the competing gods. It turns the social order into an Egyptian Mahat system where all are slaves to the State. Because of Baptist “Soul Freedom,” we live and move and have our being in the State.
9.) Note, that Moore suggests that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with whether or not idolatry is allowed to flourish. In order to be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ we must support the building of pagan temples. If that makes sense to anybody they are hopeless to reach.
10.) Is Moore really suggesting that any “house of worship” of any variety should be allowed to be built? Would Moore support a building that housed the Santeria cult? By what standard would Moore cut off supporting building worship centers that housed the vilest of cults? I know for a fact that Moore would oppose supporting any worship center which had the Confederate flag as a religious symbol, and that even if that worship center was Christian.
11.) Honestly, if this is Moore’s understanding of Christianity I would praise God with all my being if Baptists churches were not built in San Francisco, New York, Bombay, India, or anywhere on the planet.
12.) Moore gives us a false dichotomy when he offers that Government is not the answer to Islam but rather the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to Islam. Can not the Gospel of Jesus Christ convert Magistrates in Government so that they desire to protect Christianity from the inroads of pagan faiths?
13.) Moore is worried about pretend Christians going to hell but he does not seem concerned about real Muslims going to hell. Indeed, Moore wants to help them go to hell by supporting their institutional infrastructures.
What Russell Moore is advocating is nothing but Cultural Marxism and anti-Christianity. While, I have no reason to doubt Moore’s good intentions it is simply the case that Moore is doing the Devil’s work by intellectually paving the highway to Hell.
For another good piece on this issue see Adi Schlebush’s work at Faith and Heritage. Adi brings out some points that I do not cover.