Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention and the Heinousness of Homosexuality
What is the connection between Russell Moore, the Southern Baptist Convention and the heinousness of homosexuality?
The ubiquitous Sam Allberry.
Sam Allberry is a minister in the Church of England. He is an editor at The Gospel Coalition. He is also a celibate, gay Christian. He stands up for traditional marriage. But he also contends that gay feelings—what he prefers to call “same-sex attraction”—are not a sin.
In other words, he denies the heinousness of homosexuality. But do Russell Moore and the Southern Baptist Convention agree with Allberry?
It is hard to say. But one thing is sure: Russell Moore, and through him the Southern Baptist Convention, have fallen into the same quagmire as The Gospel Coalition: using and endorsing Sam Allberry.
But first the backstory. Russell Moore is currently the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (SBC and ERLC respectively). This is the moral and public policy agency of the SBC.
He was a professor of theology and ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is purportedly a Calvinist and is a council member of The Gospel Coalition. Both facts would lead unsuspecting Christians to think that Moore and the ERLC would promote a traditional view of original sin.
But that is not the case.
I have already detailed the gross theological error of Sam Allberry. And I illustrated the practical implications of this error with Allberry’s misleading and worrisome review of a children’s book about homosexuality.
Now more evidence shows that Allberry denies the moral culpability of inherent corrupted attractions, specifically “same-sex attraction.” And with that evidence comes more pressure upon Moore, the ERLC and SBS to distance themselves from Sam Allberry.
Do they believe that the internal war of Romans 7 applies to Christians struggling with sodomy?
“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into
captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (v. 23)
Do they believe that this war is because of indwelling sin, the flesh, original sin?
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (v. 18)
Do they believe that the desires of the flesh are morally culpable as James asserts?
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:14)
Since Moore and the ERLC offer Sam Allberry’s interviews as answers to questions of homosexuality, we have answers to these questions.
He believes that “sexual, romantic and deep emotional attractions” are involuntary temptations. Thus he is not sure what repentance would mean:
“I know they come from within and come from my own heart. But I do not choose to experience it…it is therefore hard to know what it means to repent of being tempted…as I experience temptation I want to say to the Lord, Help me, help me be faithful…deliver me from it. I don’t like that I have these feelings, I don’t like that I’m tempted in this way” (Can You Have A Heart Of Repentance For A Desire You Don’t Control?).
Rather “sexual, romantic and deep emotional attractions” are temptations to sin—a temptation to act, in thought or deed:
“Those of us experiencing same-sex attraction didn’t chose to. We don’t, any of us, generally choose what kind of sexual desires we experience, they just happen…however we do need to say that we do choose how we respond to those desires. So it very well may be that if we experience same-sex attraction and choose to kind of run with those desires, we are, if you like, engraining those desires… we’ve not chosen the desires and we’ve not chosen to embrace them. We simply experience them and try to live faithfully…it’s too simplistic and inaccurate to say people have chosen their sexual desires. But people may have chosen their sexual behaviors” (Why Is Saying “Same-Sex Attraction” Is A Choice So Problematic?).
Allberry asserts that these desires and feelings are bad but not morally culpable.
“I am not comfortable with the language that says same-sex attraction itself is sin. I recognize that same-sex attraction is not a good thing. The desires of same-sex attraction are not good desires. They would not have existed before the fall…they won’t exist in the new creation…All us of are people who have the capacity to be tempted. That is part of what it means to be fallen. Jesus says we’re not to seek forgiveness for that, we are to seek deliverance from those temptations…I think if you say to someone that their same-sex attraction itself is sin you are effectively saying you need to repent of being fallen. And I am not quite sure what that means or what that looks like. And I certainly think that goes further than the bible does…And I think to then say to that person, ‘actually that you are experiencing same-sex attraction itself is a sin’ I worry that could crush someone who is already feeling very tender” (Is Same-Sex Attraction a Sin?, emphasis added).
Now we see more clearly the connection between Allberry and TGC and Moore: to prevent the soul-crushing effects of guilt.
This would explain Moore’s blanket denunciation of parents exercising their God-given authority to maintain moral purity in their homes. Of course, he did not use so many words but the idea was unmistakable, as the Christian Post reported it in the aptly-title article, Russell Moore to Parents: Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Gay Kids, Don’t Throw Them Out; That Is Pride.
This is the appeasement of the consciences of homosexuals.
Sinners ought to feel crushed by sin. Homosexuals ought to feel crushed by sin. But then they ought to flee from sin and cling to Christ. And they may yet struggle with this internal rebellion for the remainder of their days.
But how can they fight sin when sin is no longer sin?
If the attraction of sodomy is not sin, then why are the actions of sodomy a sin? And if the actions are sins, are not the desires that lead to the actions sin? Sin begets sin. A rotten tree brings forth rotten fruit. Something has to give. This compromise cannot stand.
Attraction to sin is itself sin. This is why Allberry has these desires and feelings. We were born in sin and we sinned in Adam.
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death
spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
This is not an abstract problem. Sin and the Gospel are inseparable. Mess with one and the other changes. And never for the better.
As a trained minister, Moore ought to know this. So why does he use Allberry as the face of ERLC on the questions of homosexuality? At best, he disagrees with him but is willing to allow such an overt error. At worst, he agrees with Allberry.
If he does not agree, then he ought to remove those videos and offer a public retraction of these theological errors. If he does agree, then Moore should step down. Now.
As it stands, Moore and the ERLC use these videos as accessible answers. Viewers of that site will only come away thinking this is what the SBC believes.
What is the connection between Russell Moore, the Southern Baptist Convention and the heinousness of homosexuality?
It is the denial of the heinousness of sin. It is the denial of the culpability of so-called same-sex attraction. It is the soft-peddling of homosexuality. It is the beginning of the end of the collective conservative Christian stand against the onslaught of wickedness.
[This is part of a multi-part series investigating the subtle changes in conservative views on homosexuality. Series here.]
My twitter handle: shawnmathis1972
9 thoughts on “Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention and the Heinousness of Homosexuality”
I find this reasoning frightening, “So it very well may be that if we experience same-sex attraction and choose to kind of run with those desires, we are, if you like, engraining those desires… we’ve not chosen the desires and we’ve not chosen to embrace them. ” We do get to choose what we think about. We need to think the way we are told to think in scripture.
We can chose what our thoughts dwell upon. Psa 37:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. ” We delight ourselves in the Lord by paying attention to the means of grace. Time spent in these changes our hearts and minds. Delight would entail some pretty quality as well as quantity of time.
These desires can literally be changed by renewing our mind. Rom 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ” This occurs by observing ourselves in God’s mirror of Scripture James 1:21-25 says, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. The word does amazing things when we spend our time there and meditate in it. This is often the missing link in dealing with any number of sins.
Thank you (Shawn Mathis, Richard Finn) for thinking scripturally. And quoting it!
I would assess the original piece as one of high quality. I love Pastor Mathis’ biblical reasoning and questions. This is not easy, but Mathis carefully develops his case. He understands both the Bible and Christian theology.
In addition to everything else, the effort is succinct and well-phrased. Amazing. And good!
If I were a biblical man in the Southern Baptist Convention, I would take this as my lead and get to work. Mathis has showed them the way!
Everything so far I have read by Pastor Mathis has been very good. I wonder about this new so-called 2 Kingdom teaching from Escondido. Misty Irons’ website shows she is still a marriage activist for molesters and mocking the Christians saying that we will get to experience what the sodomites experienced before the gay liberation movement. Sounds like public persecution of Christians, to me. Her husband is coming to our OPC congregation to teach at a 3-day conference in fall. Not knowing all the facts, I asked my elder how someone who was found guilty by the presbytery and the OPC GA and later fled the OPC presbytery into the PCA can then come back to teach in an OPC church, but he was offended that I would even ask the question. Apparently he is now on good terms with his old OPC presbytery. But he was even more offended that I would link the husband to his activist wife. But they are married, after all —- even in the normal way of the Bible! I have the impression that a lot of the OPC would now be close to the position of this Russel Moore. Shocking to me how quickly things in the OPC have changed.
I’ve not thought about Irons in 10 years.
That is disturbing. You can always write a formal letter of concern to the session.
I was a member of Lee’s church 15 years ago. I think Lee and Misty are the only ones in the OPC with those views on homosexuality. I would not say his view even represented his own congregation.
He was found guilty by his presbytery for his view of the Decalogue as a republication of the covenant of works. His wife’s activism didn’t help his trial in the presbytery of the late Greg Bahnsen.
Regarding this issue I have personal experience and for the most part what I’ve encountered on the one hand are those who adhere to modern theological doctrines of men which redefine sin and claim, “The Bible does condemn homosexuality, but only abusive or exploitive homosexual acts. The prohibitions mentioned don’t apply to us.” And on the other hand are those who adhere to old theological doctrines of men which redefine the Law and claim, “The law is a rule of life for believers. It still applies to Christians.”
Both groups are avoiding Christ and Him crucified and what His Gospel entails.
Yes, we were indeed born in sin and we sinned in Adam, however, Christians are not “homosexuals” or “fornicators” or “idolaters” or “adulterers” or “thieves” etc., we were washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God; 1 Corinthians 6:11. Not only have we been cleansed of our sins and the guilt thereof, we have also “died to sin” and “to the Law” with Christ; Romans 6-7; Galatians 2:19-21; Galatians 6:14-15. We cannot live any longer in sin and we cannot live any longer under the Law, which is the strength of sin; 1 Corinthians 15:56. We are to “Walk in the Spirit” and “according to the Spirit” and it is by the Spirit that we “put to death the deeds of the body”—which (contrary to the dialectic reasoning of Sam Allberry et al.) obviously includes the feelings and desires in back of the deeds; Romans 8; Galatians 5:16-26; Colossians 1:3-29; Colossians 2; 3:1-17; James 1:12-25.
The primary problem in professing Christendom is Cross evasion.
Men preach today a crossless Christ,
A strengthless Saviour, vague and dim;
They will not see their sinful state,
They will not own their need of Him.
They will accept the man made God,
Since for themselves this right they claim,
But not the God sent forth as man
To suffer agony and shame.
They will not know the Lamb of God,
Despised, rejected, crucified,—
That were to humble into dust
Their boasted intellect, their pride.
Yet no man cometh unto God
Save by the Son alone, He saith;
The deathless life for which we long
Can only – ever – come through death.
Not Bethlehem or Nazareth
Stern Justice’s lifted hand could stay;
To Calvary the soul must go
And follow Jesus all the way.
Annie Johnson Flint
Next article: Some Thoughts on the Nashville Statement
Not sure if you have any direct quotes of Allberry claiming same sex attraction is not a sin. He seems to indicate in the article you linked that he does indeed see same sex attraction as a condition of the fall and sinful. He terms “gay christian” differently than many of the side-b christians, e.g. Nate Collins and Wes Hill. Allberry says, “If by “gay” we mean someone whose dominant sexual attraction is to people of the same gender, then someone can be a “gay Christian.” I don’t think he is endorsing the term. Would love to hear your thoughts…
I am not sure what exactly you are asking for but when Allberry is asked if same-sex attraction is a sin (“Is Same-Sex Attraction a Sin?” video at Moor’s organization), he states:
“I am not comfortable with the language that says same-sex attraction itself is sin. I recognize that same-sex attraction is not a good thing. The desires of same-sex attraction are not good desires. They would not have existed before the fall…they won’t exist in the new creation…All us of are people who have the capacity to be tempted. That is part of what it means to be fallen. Jesus says we’re not to seek forgiveness for that, we are to seek deliverance from those temptations…I think if you say to someone that their same-sex attraction itself is sin you are effectively saying you need to repent of being fallen. And I am not quite sure what that means or what that looks like. And I certainly think that goes further than the bible does…And I think to then say to that person, ‘actually that you are experiencing same-sex attraction itself is a sin’ I worry that could crush someone who is already feeling very tender”
So, he does say it is not sin: ” think if you say to someone that their same-sex attraction itself is sin you are effectively saying you need to repent of being fallen. And I am not quite sure what that means or what that looks like. And I certainly think that goes further than the bible does”
Unless you agree with Allberry that telling someone they need to repent of being fallen “goes further than the bible does,” then you must agree that Allberry is saying that SSA is not sin (eg. morally culpable, needing to be repented of).
As for the use of “gay Christian,” he has used it and not used it over the years (I have read his earlier interviews and essays).
I know he speaks much about SSA, gay and “identity.” However, the narrow question of SSA = sin is the focus of this series. And affirming that SSA is a result of the fall (or your awkwardly phrased “condition of the fall”) is not the same as affirming it is sin. That is a leap in logic as demonstrated in the fact that Roman Catholics can agree with affirming that unwanted (disorderly is the word they use) attractions or desires result from the fall but deny the morally culpability of SSA (or concupiscence in general, please read the remainder of the series).