Russell Moore elected next ERLC presidentcomment (0)
March 26, 2013
Russell Moore has been elected as the next president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).
The ERLC’s board of trustees approved Moore, currently dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., in a special, called meeting March 26 at a Nashville hotel.
Moore, 41, a native of Biloxi, Miss., will be the eighth president of the entity charged by Southern Baptists with addressing moral and religious freedom issues. With a background in government, the pastorate and seminary training, he already is well-known as a commentator from a Southern Baptist and evangelical Christian perspective on ethics, theology and the culture.
“I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Southern Baptists as ERLC president,” Moore said. “I pray for God’s grace to lead the ERLC to be a catalyst to connect the agenda of the kingdom of Christ to the cultures of local congregations for the sake of the mission of the gospel in the world.”
Moore’s election means he will be only the second ERLC president in the last quarter of a century. He will succeed Richard Land, who will retire upon the completion of 25 years leading the entity.
“I am delighted that the Holy Spirit has led the ERLC’s trustees to Dr. Russell Moore as the commission’s next president,” Land said. “Dr. Moore is a godly Christian minister, a devoted husband and father, and a convictional, committed Baptist. His excellent academic preparation, combined with his keen mind and his tender heart for God and His people, make him a person uniquely suited to serve our Savior and Southern Baptists in this crucial role at such a critical moment in our nation’s history.
“I join the trustees and ERLC staff in committing to pray for Russell and his dear family as he prepares to assume the tremendous responsibilities of the ERLC presidency,” Land said.
Moore will begin his new responsibilities June 1. At that time, Land will become the entity’s president emeritus, an honor bestowed on him by trustees in September.
The ERLC trustees’ seven-person presidential search committee, chaired by Barry Creamer of Criswell College in Dallas, recommended Moore to the full board after a seven-month process.
“After praying, planning, meeting and working for months to find the man we believe God would have lead the ERLC, we are blessed by the board’s election of Russell Moore today and confident that God will use his message to impact churches and the public marketplace of ideas for what is right, true and desperately needed today,” said Creamer, Criswell’s vice president of academic affairs.
Moore has served since 2004 as dean of the school of theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Seminary. He joined the faculty in 2001 as professor of Christian theology and ethics and continues in that role.
He was preaching pastor at a campus of Highview Baptist Church, Louisville, from 2008 until 2012. While a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Moore was associate pastor at Bay Vista Baptist Church, Biloxi, Miss.
Before attending seminary, Moore served for four years as an aide to pro-life Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor of Mississippi.
Moore and his wife, Maria, are the parents of five sons.
Moore is a leading voice in the growing pro-adoption movement among evangelicals. His 2009 book — “Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches” — has played a significant role in that cause and he is a frequent speaker at adoption conferences.
On his blog, in written commentaries, in speeches and in news media interviews, Moore comments frequently on a range of issues and the Christian gospel’s impact on them. These include abortion and other sanctity of life matters, race relations, marriage, pornography, politics and popular culture.
In addition to his book on adoption, Moore has written two other books, “Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ” and “The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective.” He has three other books scheduled to be published, including one on marriage and one on abortion. Moore also has edited and contributed to other books.
He has served four times on the Resolutions Committee at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, including as chairman in 2010.
Land, who was 41 when he became head of the entity in 1988, led the transformation of the ERLC during the convention’s theological resurgence, moving the commission in a more conservative direction on such issues as abortion. He announced his retirement as ERLC president in July 2012.
In addition to its Nashville office, the ERLC has an office in Washington.
Alabamians say Moore ‘wise’ choice
The role of the ERLC in this changing culture has never been more critical. Russell Moore is a man of clear and measured thinking, and he is winsome, yet with the ability to land a hard-hitting truth. His convictions are unmistakably clear. I affirm the wisdom of this choice for Russell Moore to serve as president of this institution and anticipate wise leadership in face of radical cultural shifts.”
Ed Litton, pastor, First Baptist Church, North Mobile, in Saraland
In these days where the church seems to be losing ground amidst such significant cultural issues, we as Southern Baptists must think carefully and creatively about how we can most compassionately, wisely, humbly and boldly bring the gospel to bear on the culture around us. In light of this, I have full confidence in Dr. Moore’s ability to speak grace-filled, gospel-saturated truth clearly and biblically ... to a variety of different people. I also have full confidence in his ability to lead others to do the same as he organizes and directs the entire ERLC for maximum impact in our culture and ultimately in God’s Kingdom.”
David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham
Russell Moore is a believable man. Every time I have been in his presence I was convinced that he was both a Christian and a gentleman. He is the personal epitome of the needs required by the head of [ERLC]. In all my conversations with him, the spirit of compassion for all people has exuded out of the pores of his being. I endorse him with the highest confidence.
Robert Smith, professor of Christian Preaching, Beeson Divinity School