Russell D. Moore is the president of the Southern Baptist (my denomination) Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He said this at his inauguration ceremony at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C.
The “end goal of the gospel is not a Christian America. The end goal of the gospel is redeemed from every tribe and tongue and nation and language dwelling in the new Jerusalem”
As readers of my various blogs know (and those who know me personally) I am a political person and am not shy about my conservative views. I sincerely believe that our Constitution is under siege and that we are plunging head long into a left-wing statist quagmire that will take away our liberties and radically transform our nation into something the founders would never tolerate nor imagine.
To halt the plunge I exercise my right to vote and to donate to candidates (esp on the local or grass-roots level) who share my views. I also write from time to time to my representatives. I also write on the intersection of the Scriptures and politics and pop culture hence the name of this blog. I care about where our country is headed.
On the other hand, I have absolutely no illusions about America becoming a Christian nation. Moore is spot on, America, or any other nation becoming Christian is not the end goal of the gospel.
As I read Moore’s quote in Southern Seminary Magazine I immediately thought of these passages:
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10 ESV)
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
(Revelation 7:9-10 ESV)
As these verses illustrate the end goal of the gospel is the gathering of the redeemed from every nation, every tribe and every language into a kingdom and new Jerusalem.
Moore also said this: “The kingdom of God is not made of the moral. The kingdom of God is made up of the crucified.”
I believe that what Moore has said here has more than a few applications but for me as someone who is a Southern Baptist pastor and blog writer I have to ask my self every time I write something on my blog or post to FB, am I hindering or helping the gospel or at least doing the gospel no harm with my views or more to the point, how I express my views.
I learned a valuable lesson a number of years ago and I have to remind myself of it lest I unintentionally harm the gospel.
I had written a position paper at the request of the Sr. Pastor I worked with. What it had to do with is irrelevant.
So, thinking I was pretty good at that sort of thing I got to work affirming some things and denying some others. When I was finished there was no doubt where we stood as a church. A masterpiece thought I!
At the time, our church was in a type of alliance with other like-minded churches and the subject matter was of concern to all. Knowing this I asked another pastor to read over my position paper hoping that he’d tell me how wonderful it was. Instead, he gently asked me a key question. He asked me what was I trying to accomplish with the position paper?
My first thought was isn’t it obvious. It was to take a strong stand against “xyz” and let everyone know where we stood.
So, that’s how I answered.
He said, well, that’s nice but who are you trying to persuade?
Wham!!! Good question. Great question. He went on to say it was a well-written paper but I failed to show people what a gospel-centered alternative looked like. He was right. There was nothing redemptive about the position paper. It was me simply planting the flag and waving it as high as I could.
It’s relatively easy to undermine something and if that’s all you want to do then have at it. It persuades no one and probably unnecessarily alienates people who otherwise might give you a listen.
So it is in politics, a subject many people feel passionate about, including myself. I have to ask myself that question my pastor friend asked me years ago, who are you trying to persuade. The answer to that question should determine, how I write, what I write about and what do I post? Am I helping the gospel go forward or am I hindering it. My answer to the question is not a political statement, it’s a priority statement.
Moore also said this: “We will fight for justice, and we will fight for liberty and we will fight with our forefathers for all those things that have been [guaranteed to us] by the Constitution as Americans, but we will also remember that we are not Americans first. We belong to another kingdom.
I couldn’t agree more Mr. Moore.
- Wall Street Journal Misconstrues Russell Moore’s Message (juicyecumenism.com)