Russell Moore is separating from Southern Baptists each personally and professionally
(RNS) – Russell Moore, who recently resigned as chief ethicist for the Southern Baptist Convention, has also personally bid farewell to the largest Protestant denomination in the country and attends a church in Tennessee that is not affiliated with the SBC.
TJ Tims, senior pastor of Immanuel Nashville, announced on social media Tuesday June 1 that Moore is now the Church’s pastor.
“We want a home base for Dr. Moore and his family while serving the body of Christ as a whole, “Tims said in a video posted on Twitter. “So this position is not primarily about what Dr. Moore can offer us, but about what we can offer him, namely a gospel culture from which and in which we can serve the Lord. “
Immanuel Nashville is a Conservative Evangelical Church affiliated with the network of church planting featured in Acts 29. It’s not a Southern Baptist church, said Scott Thomas, senior pastor of the multi-ethnic, 1,000-member church.
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“However, all of the churches in Acts 29 are autonomous and cannot be grouped into one genre, culture, or style,” added Thomas. “Immanuel Nashville is self-governing and has a strong gospel culture that may not reflect an overly generalized Church of the Acts 29 type.”
The Church believes that only “qualified men” should be in leadership positions and that “Scripture does not permit sexual activity outside of the lifelong covenant union of a man and woman as husband and wife.”
Moore’s additional segregation is just the latest development in a denomination that has been torn apart over issues of race, gender, and politics. Beth Moore, an influential Bible teacher unrelated to Russell Moore, told the Religion News Service in March that she was “no longer a Southern Baptist.”
Russell Moore resigned as president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Freedom Commission in May and will join the well-known evangelical journal Christian Today as a full-time public theologian.
Both Russell Moore and Beth Moore have been criticized for what they said about Donald Trump before and after his tenure as US President.
In 2015, Russell Moore said Trump was unsuitable for office and called him an “arrogant shopkeeper” who was unsuitable for office. Trump responded by calling Moore “a bad guy with no heart”.
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Both Russell Moore and Beth Moore have openly advocated the need for Southern Baptists to address issues of abuse and race, and in a recently leaked letter, Moore wrote a year before leaving the ERLC that race and gender were more important than the politics in denominational debates about his work.
In 2019, Moore helped ERLC develop a Caring Well initiative to train churches to prevent abuse and help survivors. Rev. Marshal Ausberry Sr., president of the National African American Fellowship of the SBC, told RNS recently that Moore “has been a very positive force in the Convention, and sometimes even the Convention’s conscience, in the field of racial relations.”
In Tims’ announcement to welcome Moore and his family to Immanuel Nashville, Tims noted that Moore was preaching in church on Sunday. The senior pastor also reaffirmed Moore’s new role in establishing CT’s Public Theology Project.
“Russell Moore is a man of tremendous integrity who has demonstrated that his beliefs are not bound by the changing winds of American politics or cultural trends,” he said.
CONNECTED: Russell Moore, Baptist ethicist and Trump critic, leaves ERLC for Christianity today
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