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Christian Conservatives Come to their Fork in the Road

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Faced with unprecedented threats to religious liberty on one side, and excommunication by the Republican Party ruling class on the other, social conservatives are engaging in a major internal debate.

Since this debate could determine the fate of the sturdiest leg of Ronald Reagan’s famed “three-legged stool coalition,” how it shakes out could have a major impact on the American political landscape.

That debate comes down to this question: If we’re no longer a “moral majority,” how should the movement forged by the likes of the late Paul Weyrich and Jerry Falwell engage an increasingly secular culture at a time when the Judeo-Christian moral value system is needed now more than ever?

Into this fray steps the man with one of the most influential platforms in the movement — Dr. Russell Moore, the 42-year-old new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which is otherwise known as the political arm of the largest evangelical protestant denomination in the country.

Like the rest of the country, social conservatives are undergoing a generational transition. New strategies are forming, and new leaders like Dr. Moore are emerging. Does that mean more modern tactics or a more moderate ideology?

So far, it appears Dr. Moore is sending mixed signals.

In February, Dr. Moore wrote a powerful defense of Christians and right of conscience in response to attempts to distort efforts to defend religious liberty like Arizona’s SB1062, which was nothing more than a restating of the spirit and intent of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Religious liberty is a line in the sand for social conservatives, for if we’re not free to live out our faith publicly, we’re not free. A private Christian faith is no faith at all, for Christians are commanded to bear witness to Christ to the world in every aspect of our lives.

Let alone the fact it’s hard to maintain the civic creed of our Founding Fathers, that our rights come from God and not government, if government no longer acknowledges our God-given rights. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “When the government removes God, the government then becomes the god.” For example, China has the largest Christian population in the world, but because of government oppression, there is little Christian influence on the culture and public policy there, thus statism reigns supreme.

But just when it looked like Dr. Moore was willing to use his office to draw that line in the sand, he instead appeared to throw a sizable chunk of his own base under the bus with these comments in an April 22 speech:

“I listened on the way back up here from my hometown to some Christian talk radio this week, against my doctor’s orders. And, honestly, if all that I knew of Christianity was what I heard on Christian talk radio, I’d hate it, too. There are some people who believe that fidelity to the Gospel simply means speaking, ‘You kids get off my lawn.’ That is not the message that has been given to us.”

Needless to say, those shaming remarks didn’t go over well.

Bott Radio Network is one of the most respected ministries in Christian radio, and a prominent presence within influential groups like National Religious Broadcasters and the Council for National Policy. Its president and CEO, Rich Bott, sent a letter via Federal Express to Dr. Moore seeking amends more than two weeks ago. So far he has received no reply.

“I can’t believe Dr. Moore actually means what he said,” Mr. Bott said. “I offered him a chance to clarify his remarks to our audience and I’m still waiting for a reply.”

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, perhaps the largest Christian radio network in the country, said he’s been trying to reach out to Dr. Moore since he took over last fall, “but he’s never called me back.”

“It’s bizarre to me that someone who needs to get his message out to Christians across the country decided to attack radio listened to by Christians,” Mr. Wildmon said. “The fact is Dr. Moore is dead wrong about this. It is precisely the role of the church to speak words of truth and warning about sin, including sexual immorality.”

Janet Mefferd is a nationally syndicated radio host for Salem Communications, considered by many to be the most powerful Christian media company in the country. She was offended that Dr. Moore would paint his own allies with such a broad brush.

“Rather than following his ‘doctor’s orders’ not to listen to Christian talk radio, I think Dr. Moore would do well to listen to a lot more of it,” Mrs. Mefferd said. “If he did, he would hear what I hear on the shows of my many friends and colleagues in the industry: faithful presentations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, love and compassion for individual sinners, and, yes, Biblical and bold proclamations of truth to a dying culture.”

I attempted to reach out to Dr. Moore before writing this column but was told he had “scheduling conflicts” and was not available. When I offered to wait another week before writing the column to accommodate his schedule, I was then told “Dr. Moore will not be available for an interview.”

Had we connected, I would have asked Dr. Moore if he has succumbed to a fallacy many in my generation have wrongfully accepted. This fallacy — usually spewed by church “thinkers” in hipster glasses, sporting trendy facial growth, and Birkenstocks to go along with their skinny jeans — is that if we’re too cool for school and are seen drinking lots of designer coffee the world will like us more. That’s right, it appears the same insipid consultants out to ruin the Republican Party have sunk their vile clutches into the church as well.

If this is true how do you explain my career? I have an unashamed Christian worldview and am hardly a shrinking violet. Yet I now write for The Washington Times as well as several other national outlets, have appeared on all three cable news networks (including MSNBC), and host a nationally-syndicated radio show on commercial radio.

Not to mention the irony of Dr. Moore lashing out at his own base with the same sort of grumpy commentary he was criticizing them for. Furthermore, if the culture unilaterally rejects confrontational language, how come the Left never hesitates to use it successfully against us?

The history of the faith shows bolder is better. Does it get any bolder than dying for your cause and rising from the dead afterwards? The God of the Bible often names names and isn’t bashful about being a name-caller when it’s justified. Just as a soldier in the heat of the battle may use salty language to make his point, when lives and eternal souls are at stake God doesn’t always channel Ms. Manners. If Jesus really is just the hippy philosopher of Galilee the Left portrays Him to be, there would have been no reason to execute him. Instead of crucifying him, Rome would have just invited Christ to sit on its diversity council.

Consulting Christians to be “nicer than God” in order to win over the lost is a false choice. Besides, we are currently selling more books, movies, music, and merchandise than ever before — and we have more mega-churches than ever before as well.

If Dr. Moore really wants to help us be more effective communicators, convene a national conversation about why the culture continues to drift left despite the fact we’re making more money than ever before.

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  • Phil Heinricke

    Dr. Moore should have been more explicit with respect to his concerns about Christian [sic] radio.

    • Oscar

      Agreed. I didn’t care for his hit and run style of criticism either. But that does not mean the little he did say was wrong.

  • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

    Christians must start to realize that “gay” and “Christian” can be in the same sentence. God is working in the hearts of those who harbor hate towards this group. And, unfortunately, when God works in people’s hearts, there can be loud and painful resistance – the same many experienced when women sought the right to vote, and blacks sought equal access. We live in exciting times, and watching God move so quickly on this issue is proof of His power, and more importantly, proof of His love.

    • QuadGMoto

      “Gay Christian” is an oxymoron.

      For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
      — Hebrews 10:26–31

      • LABobfromNYC

        So is divorced Christian,

        • thisoldspouse

          Divorce exists in God’s vocabulary and He even lays down the very few, strict allowances for it.

          There is no allowance by God for homosexual behavior. None at all.

        • dhebler

          God gave Israel a certificate of Divorce Jer 3:8……read it for yourself!

        • QuadGMoto

          See the article recently posted on barbwire: “The Good News About Marriage”

          So what’s your point? That the Bible does not say that? That I’m not allowed to point to the Bible saying that because someone else has gotten a divorce?

          • LABobfromNYC

            Christians cherry pick what sins are bad (homosexually) & what sins are not so bad (adultery, fornication, divorce, etc)

          • QuadGMoto

            A) The Bible does say that they’re sins.

            B) I say that they’re sins.

            Where’s the cherry picking?

            Even if some people cherry pick sins to justify their own desires, how does that justify even more cherry picking? That’s the tu quoque logical fallacy.

      • maccamcfc

        Well done mate that’s as clear as mud.

        • QuadGMoto

          Let me clear it up for you: The Bible says in no uncertain terms that homosexual behavior is a sin.

          • maccamcfc

            I hope the other quotes are a bit more clear about it than that first one you said because I cannot see where it mentions gays mind you I am not fluent in nonsense.

          • QuadGMoto

            Here you go:

            On the point of homosexuality, the Scriptures are very, very clear:

            So God created man in his own image,

            in the image of God he created him;

            male and female he created them.

            And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

            — Genesis 1:27–28

            Obeying this command is only possible in heterosexual marriage.

            “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.”

            — Mark 10:6–8

            And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

            — Mark 7:20–23

            Here is where part of that definition of “sexual immorality” comes from:

            You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

            “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.

            — Leviticus 18:22, 24–25

            If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

            And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them.

            — Leviticus 20:13, 23

            Notice that in both these instances, God punished the people the Israelites were to drive out because they committed these sins (not just homosexuality). That means it is a moral issue that applies to all humanity, not just the nation of Israel.

            For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

            — Romans 1:26–27

            Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

            “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

            Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

            — 1 Corinthians 6:9–7:4

            Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

            — Romans 13:13–14

            just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

            — Jude 1:7

          • LABobfromNYC

            “Whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:32, 19:9 & Luke 16:18).

          • QuadGMoto

            So? How does that change what’s written? (See my other response to this claim.)

          • maccamcfc

            Thanks for the length reply but you might as well quoted Harry Potter because I cannot understand that either, couple of questions for you.
            Can you still be a good Christian if you get divorced?
            Also about the swindlers bit, what about those preachers who ask you to send them seed money so you can get out of debt yet they live in mansion have private planes and loads of cars are they good Christians ? Yet the gays get all the blame.

          • QuadGMoto

            The point of those passages is simple. Homosexuality is a sin. Period. That much should be obvious by simply reading for comprehension.

            Those preachers are false teachers, a category soundly condemned by the Bible, and I oppose them as vigorously as I oppose others who distort the Bible (as OMHO does).

            Sin separates us from God. Jesus’ sacrifice paid the punishment for sins. If we are willing to admit that we sin, and reject that sin to accept His sacrifice and follow Him, then all our sins are forgiven.

            There is an inherent attribute to that “changing of one’s mind” (the literal meaning of repentance), and that is a desire to stop living sinful lives and start working towards lives of doing what is right. The Bible compares such efforts to being an athlete training to win a race. A good athlete does their best to do everything necessary to achieve that goal of a perfect race, just like a Christian does their best to live a perfect life.

            But as human beings, perfection is not possible. Athletes stumble and fall. They have bad training days. They make mistakes in training. Likewise, Christians stumble and fall. We sin from time to time in spite of our best efforts. The Bible teaches that this will happen, but it does not change the fact that the price has been paid for those sins. They do not condemn us. (Divorce, as a single event in time, can fall into this category if the divorced person does not otherwise engage in lives full of sexual immorality.)

            On the other hand, it is possible to claim to be a Christian and that sins are forgiven, and then live lives that do not reflect that inherent change of focus from being “slaves to sin” (as Paul puts it) to living lives of doing the right thing. Some people even claim Christianity as a license to sin (which the Bible soundly condemns.) The Bible says that these are false conversions, and such a person can be identified by the results in their lives. (Like those scam artist Prosperity Gospel preachers.)

            That is what that passage from Hebrews is describing. Someone who goes on willfully sinning and living their lives as if God is not real and/or that Jesus was not actually tortured to death to save our lives is not actually saved from their sins, and thus still deserves the punishment due for them.

            BTW, I should point out that OMHO has stated that he was married to a woman, had a child, and divorced her. So he has also broken the command against divorce.

          • maccamcfc

            I no idea what you are talking about, seems like you read to much in to it like Star Wars fans who look for hidden meanings in the film to live there life by.
            At the end of the day the bible and the Koran are just books that’s all, nothing more nothing less
            May the force be with you..

    • dhebler

      still pushing the lie about gay Christians being OK with God—sorry pal, their are no gay Christians going to make it into the eternity Rev 22:12-15!

      You have a debased mind. God has given you up to uncleanness Rom 1:24….You are a liar…you are a dead man walking!

      • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

        Still threatening to kill me. Your inability to accept the truth does not make the truth a lie. People like you are why Americans are accepting the reality of marriage equality. I hope you turn to God one day. I really do.

        • QuadGMoto

          Still deliberately “misunderstanding” what he’s writing. Typical.

          • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

            Still justifying bigotry and hate with twisted scripture. Typical.

          • QuadGMoto

            Try reading the passage he referenced:

            “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

            Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
            — Revelation 22:12–15

            Can any human being accomplish this?

          • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

            Not without the blood of Christ covering them. Ask me a tougher question LOL!

          • QuadGMoto

            Non-sequitur. Read in the context of dhebler’s comment.

          • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

            There have been too many comments to refer to. Just make your silly point.

          • QuadGMoto

            He is not making a threat against you. Being sent to hell/left outside can only be done by God and is called the second death. That is what he is clearly describing. Your insistence on “misreading/misunderstanding” that does not change the fact that he is pointing out God’s judgement, not threatening you.

          • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

            Once again, you speak out of ignorance. YOu have not seen some of his other posts aimed at me on this site….I do not make that accusation lightly.

          • QuadGMoto

            Every time I have seen you point to a particular post as “proof” it has been exactly the same type of post.

          • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

            The moderators have been alerted. If they choose to delete it or not, it is out of my hands. I don’t think they need any help from you. You can research it if you want or not. That’s your choice. But when someone posts threats to my life, I do not take that lightly.

          • QuadGMoto

            God is the one that says sin leads to the “second death”. (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8) I would hope you take that threat seriously enough to make sure it does not occur!

        • dhebler

          Let me help you out with your confusion again!

          As I stated before; ” its God who is going to do away with you at the end!”

          Time for you to eat some humble pie, and ask for forgiveness, because you’re living a lie, and
          promoting a lie! That makes you are a liar doesn’t it?
          Again I say; “dead man walking” Rom 1:32…

          God has sentenced you, and has put you outside
          with the dogs at the end Rev 22:12-15…

          • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

            Nope, I’m born again and am a new creation. Your hate does not change that fact. The presence of the Holy Spirit in my life, answered prayers, leading the lost to Christ…. all are the fruits of a life given wholly over to God. Sounds like you are the one who is confused. Accepting Jesus is the first step. But most can’t do that because of their stubborn pride. I will pray that your pride does not drag you to hell.

          • dhebler

            Either you stand with God, or you stand against God. Their is no partiality in God’s commands about His laws. A liar you be, and a liar you are. You will pay the price for your insolence at the end….

            Don’t do me any favors, save your prayers for yourself, because you’ll be needing them, if you don’t repent!

          • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

            And Jesus called people like you Pharisees….. So sad.

          • dhebler

            you are such a idiot–Jesus didn’t call me anything of the sort. You’ve shut your eyes to the truth. Its gays like you who profane the word with their treachery and lies. You are dead man walking–Ace!

          • QuadGMoto

            Relax a bit. I understand your anger because I’ve fought it many times in myself. I left his comment go because it was so confused about what Jesus called whom.

            It’s clear from my interactions with OMHO that he treats the Scriptures as the Pharisees did and that his comment is pure psychological projection. But God is the judge. We can only warn of God’s judgement by letting the Scriptures do their work.

            Furthermore, we are all dead men walking, unless we have been born from death into life. Such were some of us, and overheated language doesn’t allow much room for repentance and grace.

          • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

            Name calling – when a person can’t refute the facts. Juvenile.

          • QuadGMoto

            FYI, over in the comments to “How Not to Talk to Your Kids about Sexuality and Sexual Orientation”, OMHO directly contradicted a “the Lord said,” statement then stood by that contradiction when challenged. That should make it clear about who is treating Scripture as the Pharisees did.

          • QuadGMoto

            Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
            — 1 Corinthians 6:9–11

            I will point out that word “were” (again). Notice that being washed meaning leaving behind those things. It means repenting. But you proudly proclaim to us that “were” does not apply to you—”are you” is what applies. Therefore.

            For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
            — Hebrews 10:26–31

          • OnlyMyHumbleOpinion

            You are very good at cherry-picking verses. But we have gone over this. The verse in corinthians does not talk about homosexuality at all.

          • QuadGMoto

            We have been over that. Denial is not a river in Egypt.

          • QuadGMoto

            No cherry picking involved. If it were, you would be able to quote a passage that says homosexual behavior is not/no longer a sin.

  • Ben

    When not even the SBC leaders can handle your hateful brand of “Christianity” without it making their blood boil then you know you have a problem. Sitting on the radio attacking gays all day isn’t Christian, glad even someone like Dr. Moore can recognize this.

  • LABobfromNYC

    One of things the GOP needs to realize is that where you’re trying to get out of a hole the 1st thing you do is stop digging. Another is the you can no longer use the shied of religion to hide bigotry. Face it, the culture war is over & you lost.

  • Oscar

    Dr. Moore made some legitimate criticisms of the kind of things that go our on the airwaves under the guise of Christianity. He was absolutely correct that there is a whole lot of condemnation and very little grace offered. He made an important statement about many talking heads, and believers should give him a listen.

    • thisoldspouse

      Before grace can have any meaning at all, there must be condemnation; a real sense of it. Otherwise, as Keith Green used to say, what are they being saved from, fun?

      The Gospel doesn’t begin with John 3:16, but with Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…”

  • purgatorean

    “Christian Conservatives Come to their Fork in the Road”

    The gist of the article is that Christians are divided. Many so called Christians are falling for this bunk that you can practice homosexuality and still get to Heaven. As long as St. Peter is holding the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, homosexuals won’t make it past the gate. Just as the homosexual cartel has infiltrated the Republican and Democratic parties, you can rest assured that they have dug deep into the depths of many Christian organizations. So good Christian, you are at the fork in the road. Will you take the left fork and join the homosexuals by continuing to support the homosexual controlled Republican and Democratic parties, or will you take the right fork and start supporting the Constitution Party? There is zero tolerance for homosexual tyranny in the Constitution Party.

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