Monday, August 10, 2015

Quotes on Religious Liberty from Russell Moore's new book

Russell Moore, head of our Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has a new book, Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel. The book was given to attendees at the Send Conference last week, courtesy of our North American Mission Board.

Here are a few quotes from his chapter on religious liberty:

The church's witness on these matters [culture war conflicts] has sometimes proven incoherent at best, and counter-Christian at worst; and this tendency grew more pronounced whenever Christianity was assumed to be the default position of American culture. (139)

[A proper] understanding of the kingdom means a separation of church and state. (141)

[Separation of church and state] is a good old phrase that we ought to reclaim. (141)

The distinction between the temporal government and the kingdom of Christ, expressed now in the church, means that not everything that is wrong should be criminalized. (144)

The state has no interest in punishing adultery in terms of its effects on the moral or eschatological well-being of the adulterer. The state is incompetent to judge such things. (144)

Christians should fight for the liberty of Muslims to be Muslims, to worship in mosques and to freely seek to persuade others that the Koran is a true revelation of God. (145)

If we really believe the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, we don't need bureaucrats to herd people into cowering before it. (145)

The concept of Christianity as a cultural majority often has done violence to a Christian understanding of the relationship between church and state, between kingdom and the world. I'm surprised by how often I hear professing Christians suggest that the United States should, for example, deport all Muslims or that their local City Councils should zone mosques out of existence. (149)

...we ought to remember what a shifting culture might force us to remember, what we never should ahve forgotten in the first place: that national identity is important but transitory. There will come a day when Old Glory yields to an older glory, when the new republic succumbs to a new creation. We must not shirk from out calling as citizens, but we also must not see our citizenship of the moment as the final word. We are Americans best when we are not Americans first. (160)


Ed T. said...

May have to put this one at the top of my reading list, William. Thanks.

Ed T. said...

Definitely a departure from the attitudes that prevailed in my early Christian years of the late 70s and '80s.

Lee said...

I'm about halfway through. I wanted to finish before school starts. I find myself in agreement with Moore's thesis, and appreciate his digging up the support. I'll be curious to see how Southern Baptists react to it, coming from the head of the SBC's most visible political lobby. Writing something like this a couple of decades back, Moore would have needed to have another job in the wings pretty quickly. The more I read and hear from him, the more convinced I am that his hiring was one of the best personnel moves the SBC has made in a long, long time.