Several weeks ago Southern Baptists received some difficult news when ERLC president Russell Moore announced his resignation. Moore has been hired by Christianity Today to serve as a “full-time public theologian for the publication and to lead a new Public Theology Project.” Since that announcement, two leaked letters written by Russell Moore – one here and one here – painfully describes the “psychological terror” Dr. Moore endured while courageously leading the ERLC to help Southern Baptists address sexual abuse and racism. To say the least, these are difficult things to read.
I will be in Nashville on June 15-16 for the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. I will be casting my vote for motions that promote transparency, the investigation of previous leadership decisions, and the continued work toward racial reconciliation and sexual abuse prevention and care.
But for now, I want to reflect on one way Russell Moore had a profound impact on me.
In 2008 I was studying on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Russell Moore was the dean of the School of Theology at the time. I had just experienced the miracle of my firstborn. I was nearing graduation. Lots of change was taking place for me and my family. And then one day I started noticing all of these posters hanging on the walls of the SBTS campus. Prominently displayed in the center of the poster was a bleeding lamb with the words “Theology Bleeds” boldly displayed at the top.
I then began to read Dr. Moore’s explanation for this “theology bleeds” initiative. Dr. Moore has always had a way with words, and his work over the last couple of years has been fantastic. But for me, his writing, preaching, and lecturing back in 2006-2009 captured me like no other contemporary church leader. At times, he would fill in for Dr. Albert Mohler on “The Albert Mohler Program” (which predated “The Briefing) and I found him to be incredible.
Here is Dr. Moore’s description of “Theology Bleeds:
“The Great Commission is a theology of cosmic warfare — a theology centering on the unveiling of the long-hidden mystery of Christ and His church. It means the overthrow of the ancient powers that have long held the creation captive through sin and death. It means the triumph of a resurrected Messiah over every principality and power hostile to the reign of the Creator. It means that God is keeping His promises to His anointed King.“
Sign me up. He keeps writing…
“There is nothing programmatic about leading sinners to faith in Christ. Instead the expansion of global missions represents the plundering of the kingdom of Satan. The embrace of the Gospel by sinners is more than just persuasion; it is the kingly activity of Jesus as the Son of David calling together a “flock” over which He rules as Shepherd.“
That is classic Russell Moore at his best, and I was blessed to be studying on campus while he was leading students to think and live in the “kingly activity of Jesus.” I will forever be thankful for him and his passion for the gospel. Although he will be deeply missed at the ERLC, I look forward to his future work at Christianity Today and his ongoing bleeding theology.
Onward to the Convention. May God be glorified.