Signposts with Russell Moore

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Subscribers: 154
Reviews: 2

MH
 May 12, 2020
I have been following Russell Moore for 2 years now. He consistently provides a thorough and lighthearted perspective for the Christian thinker.

Matt
 Apr 4, 2019
Russell Moore delivers smart and engaging commentary for the Christian thinker.

Description

Listen in as Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, talks about the latest books, cultural conversations and pressing ethical questions that point us toward the kingdom of Christ.

Episode Date
A Conversation with Sam Allberry about What God Has to Say About Our Bodies
00:34:06

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Sam Allberry to talk about his new book, What God Has To Say About Our Bodies (Crossway, 2021). In our conversation we talk about the effects of the pandemic on the body, the importance of the body to our life, and our incorrect theologies of the body. Sam Allberry is a pastor, apologist and speaker. He is the author of a number of books, including Is God Anti-Gay?, Why Bother with Church?, 7 Myths about Singleness, and What God Has To Say About Our Bodies. He has written extensively for numero­­us organizations, including The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, and Living Out.

I invite you to listen in to our conversation and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

Jul 14, 2021
A Conversation with Dr. Tod Bolsinger about Tempered Resilience
00:33:34

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Dr. Tod Bolsinger to talk about his new book, Tempered Resilience: How Leaders Are Formed in the Crucible of Change (IVP, 2020). In our conversation we talk about leadership, dealing with conflict and pastoral exhaustion, and how to equip and encourage future leaders. Tod Bolsinger (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is a speaker, executive coach, former pastor, and author who serves as associate professor of leadership formation and senior fellow for the De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Seminary. His books include the Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year in Pastoral Leadership, Canoeing the Mountains, and the Christianity Today Award of Merit recipient, It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian.

I invite you to listen in to our conversation and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

Jun 23, 2021
A Conversation with Dr. Philip Jenkins about Fertility and Faith
00:33:31

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Dr. Philip Jenkins to talk about his new book, Fertility and Faith: The Demogrpahic Revolution and the Transformation of World Religions (Baylor University Press, 2020). In our conversation we talk about secularization, the relationship of religion to childbearing, and the shifting demography of religion and religious behavior. Dr. Philip Jenkins is the Distinguished Professor of History and Co-Director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He holds a PhD from Cambridge University. His research includes the study of global Christianity, new religious moments, and twentieth century US history. His books include The Many Faces of Christ  (Basic Books, 2015), The Great and Holy War (HarperOne, 2014), and The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity (Oxford, 2011).

I invite you to listen in to our conversation and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

 

Jun 02, 2021
A Conversation with Dr. Tara Isabella Burton about Strange Rites
00:38:03

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Dr. Tara Isabella Burton to talk about her new book, Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World (PublicAffairs, 2020). In our conversation we talk about secularization, the breakdown of religious institutions, and the connection of fitness culture and religiosity. Dr. Burton received a Doctorate in Theology from Trinity College, Oxford where she was a Clarendon Scholar in 2017. She is the author of two books: the novel Social Creature (Doubleday, 2018) and Strange Rites (Public Affairs, 2020). She also has two other books that are forthcoming: another novel, The World Cannot Give (Simon and Schuster, 2022) and another work of non-fiction, Self-Made: Curating Our Image from Da Vinci to the Kardashians (Public Affairs, 2023). She has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and others. She also serves as a columnist for Religion News Service and a former staff religion writer at Vox. 

I invite you to listen in to our conversation and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

May 05, 2021
A Conversation with Jasmine Holmes about Mother to Son
00:28:53

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Jasmine Holmes to talk about her new book, Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope (IVP, 2020). In our conversation, we talk about race, justice, how the church can equip women, and how to talk to our children about these topics. She is a homeschool teacher, former teacher at a classical school, and author. Her writing has appeared The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, Fathom Mag, Modern Reformation, and RAANetwork. She and her husband, Phillip, and her son, Walter Wynn, live in Jackson, Mississippi. 

I invite you to listen in to our conversation and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

 

 

Apr 14, 2021
A Conversation with Pastor Tim Keller about Hope in Times of Fear
00:33:56

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Pastor Tim Keller to talk about his new book, Hope in Times of Fear: The Resurrection and the Meaning of Easter (Viking, 2021). In our conversation, we talk about wrestling with our mortality, how to order our loves in this life, and finding hope in the midst of suffering. Pastor Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 with his wife, Kathy, and three young sons. For 28 years he led a diverse congregation of young professionals that grew to a weekly attendance of over 5,000. He is also the Chairman & Co-Founder of Redeemer City to City (CTC), which starts new churches in New York and other global cities, and publishes books and resources for ministry in an urban environment. Dr. Keller’s books, including the New York Times bestselling The Reason for God and The Prodigal God, have sold over 2 million copies and been translated into 25 languages.

I invite you to listen in to our conversation and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

Mar 31, 2021
A Conversation with Dr. Esau McCaulley about Reading While Black
00:37:18

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Dr. Esau McCaulley to talk about his new book, Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope (IVP Academic, 2020). In our conversation we talk about biblical scholarship, the black church, and place of hope in interpreting the scriptures. The Rev. Canon Esau McCaulley is a New Testament scholar and an Anglican Priest. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of St Andrews where he studied under the direction of N.T. Wright. In addition to Reading While Black, he is the author of Sharing the Son's Inheritance (T&T Clark, 2019). He is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. He has also appeared in outlets such as Christianity Today and the Washington Post. He is also the host of the Disrupters Podcast and functions as a Canon Theologian for his diocese. Dr. McCaulley, currently, serves as assistant professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. He is married to Mandy, a pediatrician and a Navy reservist. Together, they have four wonderful children.

I invite you to listen in to our conversation and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

Mar 17, 2021
A Conversation with Dr. Marilynne Robinson about Jack
00:24:13

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Dr. Marilynne Robinson to talk about her new novel, Jack (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2020). In our conversation we talk about the place of religion in society, sin and evil, and the transforming place of grace in each of our lives. and Robinson is an American novelist and essayist. She is the author of novels such as Gilead(Picador, 2005), Home (Picador, 2008), and Lila (Picador, 2014), as well as a collection of essays, The Death of Adam (Picador, 2005). Across her writing career, Robinson has received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005, National Humanities Medal in 2012, and the 2016 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. In 2016, Robinson was named in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people. Robinson began teaching at the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1991 and retired in the spring of 2016. 

I invite you to listen in to our conversation and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

Mar 03, 2021
A Conversation with Dane Ortlund about Gentle and Lowly
00:31:30

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Pastor Dane Ortlund to talk about his book, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Crossway, 2020). In our conversation we talk about the comfort of Christ for the suffering, the effect of isolation on our understanding of Christ as a friend, and the role of the church in bearing burdens and offering healing for those who are struggling. Ortlund serves as senior pastor of Naperville Presbyterian Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is an editor for the Knowing the Bible series and the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series, and is the author of several books, including Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers. Dane lives with his wife, Stacey, and their five children in Naperville, Illinois.

I invite you to listen in to our conversation and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

Feb 17, 2021
A Conversation with John Dickerson on the Presidency
00:30:05

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by John Dickerson of CBS 60 Minutes to talk about his book, The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency (Random House, 2020).  In our conversation, we talk about the place of politics in culture, the challenges of the modern presidency, how the position can shape and change the person, and his observations from years reporting on Capitol Hill and White House. Prior to that, he was a co-host of CBS This Morning, the anchor of Face the Nation, and CBS News's chief Washington correspondent. Dickerson is also a contributing writer to The Atlantic, co-host of Slate's Political Gabfest podcast, and host of the Whistlestop podcast. Dickerson won the Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency as Slate's chief political correspondent. Dickerson covered the White House for Time during his twelve years at the magazine.

 

I invite you to listen in to our conversation and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

Feb 03, 2021
Special Episode: A Conversation with David French on the future of evangelicalism
00:29:01

In today’s special episode of Signposts, I wanted to let you listen to a conversation I had with David French of The Dispatch as part of their “What’s Next” event on the future of the GOP. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the past president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and a former lecturer at Cornell Law School. He has served as a senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice and the Alliance Defending Freedom. In our conversation, we talked about the future of evangelicalism and what comes next. 

Dec 23, 2020
A Conversation with Dr. Francis Collins on Vaccine Development
00:30:45

In this special episode of Signposts, we hosted a discussion about the COVID-19 vaccines with Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health. During our event he shared insights about the development of the vaccines, misconceptions about them, and what it will take to get our church life back to "normal." 

During the webinar, Dr. Collins mentioned a website where you can find more information about joining vaccine or clinical trials or donating plasma to help win the fight against COVID-19. Click here to learn more: https://combatcovid.hhs.gov/

Dec 09, 2020
An Interview with Scott Sauls about A Gentle Answer
00:28:44

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Pastor Scott Sauls to talk about his book, A Gentle Answer (Thomas Nelson, 2020).  In our conversation, we talk about outrage culture, spiritual exhaustion, and the proper place of anger toward injustice. Scott began serving as our Senior Pastor in March of 2012. A graduate of Furman University and Covenant Seminary, Scott is married to Patti and is dad to Abby and Ellie. Scott previously served at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. He was also the founding pastor of churches in Kansas City and Saint Louis. While in Saint Louis, Scott also taught homiletics (preaching) to students at Covenant Theological Seminary. 

I invite you to listen in to our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

 

Oct 28, 2020
A Conversation with Justin Earley about The Common Rule
00:34:47

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Justin Earley to talk about his book, The Common Rule (Winner of the Christianity Today 2020 Book of the Year Award)In our conversation, we talk about calling, habits of the heart and mind, and the way Christians can build lasting routines and spiritual disciplines rooted in the truths of Scripture to cultivate the proper worldview. Justin is a business lawyer in Richmond, Virginia. He is married to Lauren and they have four sons. 

I invite you to listen in to our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

Oct 14, 2020
A Conversation with Pastor Ray Ortlund on Leadership and Ministry
00:32:53

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by pastor Ray Ortlund to talk about ministry, integrity, and transition points in life. Pastor Ortlund was ordained into the Christian ministry by Lake Avenue Congregational Church, Pasadena, California, in 1975.  He taught Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, from 1989 to 1998.  His primary ministry, for 28 years, has been as a pastor in California, Oregon, Georgia and Tennessee. In addition to numerous essays and articles, Ray has published eight books.  His latest, Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel, was named “2017 Christian Book of the Year” in the category Bible Study. Ray is also the President of Renewal Ministries and serves on the Council of The Gospel Coalition. Ray and his wife Jani have been married for forty-five happy years, they have four delightful children and 13 amazing grandchildren.

 

I invite you to listen in to our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

Sep 30, 2020
A Conversation with Makoto Fujimura on Art and Beauty
00:29:25

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by artist Makoto Fujimura to talk about his art, beauty, and faith. Makoto Fujimura is a leading contemporary artist whose process driven, refractive “slow art” has been described by David Brooks of New York Times as “a small rebellion against the quickening of time”. Fujimura’s art has been featured widely in galleries and museums around the world, and is collected by notable collections including The Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, The Huntington Library as well as Tikotin Museum in Israel. 

 

I invite you to listen in to our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

 

 

Sep 16, 2020
A Conversation with Max Lucado on Hope
00:33:04

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Pastor Max Lucado to talk about his latest book You Are Never Alone. Max Lucado is the Teaching Minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, TX and the author of over 40 books. Lucado says he “writes books for people who don’t read books.’ Every trade book Max Lucado has written during the last 30 years began as a sermon series for his home church Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Max and Denalyn live in San Antonio, Texas, and have three grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren.

I invite you to listen in to our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

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You can preorder Max’s new book here: http://youareneveralonebook.com/

Sep 02, 2020
A Conversation with Dr. Yuval Levin about Rebuilding Institutions
00:30:11

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Dr. Yuval Levin to talk about his latest book A Time to Build. He is the director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He also holds the Beth and Ravenel Curry Chair in Public Policy. The founding and current editor of National Affairs, he is also a senior editor of The New Atlantis and a contributing editor to National Review. Dr. Levin served as a member of the White House domestic policy staff under President George W. Bush. He was also executive director of the President’s Council on Bioethics and a congressional staffer at the member, committee, and leadership levels.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

 

Aug 19, 2020
A Conversation with Stephen Prothero about Religious Literacy
00:33:19

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Dr. Stephen Prothero to talk about religious literacy. Dr. Prothero is the C. Allyn and Elizabeth V. Russell Professor of Religion in American at Boston University. He is the author of Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (HarperOne, 2016), God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World—and Why Their Differences Matter (HarperOne, 2010), and the New York Times bestseller Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn’t (HarperOne, 2007).

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

===

I reviewed Dr. Prothero's book Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars for The Gospel Coalition. You can read that here.

Aug 05, 2020
A Conversation with Ross Douthat about "The Decadent Society"
00:23:06

In this episode I am joined by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat to discuss his latest book, The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success. Ross’s column appears weekly and he co-hosts the Times Op-Ed podcast, “The Argument.” He previously served as a senior editor at The Atlantic. His other books include Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (2012) and Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class (2005).

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts

 

Jul 29, 2020
Leif Enger on writing and novels
00:29:07

In this episode ofSignposts, I sit down with one of my favorite novelists, Leif Enger. We talk about his writing, identity, and the what has influenced his writing. Leif Enger worked as a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio for nearly twenty years before leaving to write fiction full-time. He is the author of Peace Like a River (Grove/Atlantic, 2001), So Brave, Young, and Handsome (Grove/Atlantic, 2008), and Virgil Wander (Grove Press, 2018). He lives in Minnesota with his wife Robin.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts

 

Jul 22, 2020
A Conversation with Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan on Country Music
00:36:58

In this episode I am joined by award-winning director and filmmaker Ken Burns and his producer Dayton Duncan to discuss their latest project for PBS, “Country Music.” They have worked together on several documentaries, including Jazz, Civil War, Baseball. In our conversation, we talk about American culture, the influences of country music, and the artists who understood the way that country music embodies the deep questions of humanity: identity, sin and redemption, and longing. 

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts

 

Jul 08, 2020
A conversation with David French on the recent Supreme Court ruling
00:25:57

In this special episode of Signposts, I am joined by David French, senior editor at The Dispatch. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the past president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and a former lecturer at Cornell Law School. He has served as a senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice and the Alliance Defending Freedom. In our conversation, we talk about the recent SCOTUS ruling in Bostock and what this means for religious liberty, as well as other cases we are both watching.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts

The post A conversation with David French on the recent Supreme Court ruling appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jun 18, 2020
A Conversation with Dr. Mark Noll on the history of evangelicalism
00:29:37

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Dr. Mark Noll, research professor at Regent College, and the former Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He is also the author of Evangelicals: Who they Have Been, Are Now, and Could Be (with George Marsden and David Bebbington, Eerdmans, 2019), In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life (OUP, 2015), The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Eerdmans, 1995). In our conversation we talk the how to define an evangelical, the history of evangelicalism, both in the United States and abroad, and how evangelicals are responding to the current moment.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts

The post A Conversation with Dr. Mark Noll on the history of evangelicalism appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jun 17, 2020
Racial Justice and the Uneasy Conscience of American Christianity
00:33:48

This special episode of Signposts is taken from my keynote at the “MLK50: Reflections from the Mountaintop” conference hosted in conjunction with The Gospel Coalition on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Be sure to subscribe to receive all the latest episodes of Signposts.

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Jun 02, 2020
A Conversation with Glenn Packiam on His New Book: Blessed, Broken, Given
00:18:49

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Glenn Packiam, lead pastor of New Life Downtown in Colorado Springs, CO. He is also the author of Blessed, Broken, Given: How Your Story Becomes Sacred in the Hands of Jesus. This book is especially relevant in the midst of our current pandemic as we are all thinking about bread, communion, and how Christians respond to times of crisis.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts

The post A Conversation with Glenn Packiam on His New Book: Blessed, Broken, Given appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jun 01, 2020
A Conversation with Andrew Peterson
00:30:53

In this episode of Signposts, recorded live at the ERLC, I am joined by author and musical artist, Andrew Peterson. Over the course of the conversation, we talk about his ministry, creative process, writing projects, and his latest book Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts

The post A Conversation with Andrew Peterson appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 20, 2020
Preview: First Word
00:44:44

Thanks for listening to Signposts. I mentioned previously that I’ve launched a new project called the Russell Moore Podcast. As a bonus for Signposts listeners, I wanted to share a preview of the series in Genesis, which is the series on the new podcast. Here’s the first episode of that series, which I’m calling “First Word.”

In my new podcast, we are going to start by journeying through Genesis. I’m calling this series “First Word: The Book of Genesis and the Kingdom of Christ.” In today’s text, we cover Genesis 1:1-3. This is a short passage of Scripture, but there is so much to unpack that sets the stage for the rest of the storyline of the Bible. Join me each week as we journey through Genesis and see what this first book of Scripture reveals about the Kingdom of God. 

Genesis 1:1-3 English Standard Version (ESV)

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

I hope you’ll subscribe to the new podcast and leave a review or a comment.

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May 12, 2020
Announcing My New Podcast
00:02:16

In the Russell Moore Podcast, I will be teaching through books of the Bible (the thing I miss most since entering this new role), as well as reviving some older podcast topics. One of these is “Questions and Ethics” where I answer your questions about moral decisions you or those you know might be facing. Another is “The Cross and the Jukebox” which explored religious themes and cultural currents in country music. I hope you’ll subscribe and leave a review or a comment.

The post Announcing My New Podcast appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 07, 2020
A Conversation with Gov. Bill Haslam
00:26:30

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Governor Bill Haslam, the former governor of Tennessee. In this conversation we talk about leadership and decision-making, criminal justice reform, handling approval and disapproval, and how his faith informed his work as a governor.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts

The post A Conversation with Gov. Bill Haslam appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 06, 2020
A Conversation with Phillip Bethancourt
00:19:43

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by my close friend and colleague, Phillip Bethancourt, the new pastor of Central Church in Bryan, Texas and former Executive Vice President of the ERLC. In this conversation we talk about college ministry, new challenges that college students face, and the opportunities that the church has to address the core Christian issues of kingdom and identity.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

The post A Conversation with Phillip Bethancourt appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 29, 2020
A Conversation with Gov. Jeb Bush
00:14:02

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Governor John Ellis “Jeb” Bush, the former governor of Florida. In this conversation we talk about leadership in moments of crisis, how he saw leadership modeled in other members of his family, and how the coronavirus is changing the ways that people practice their faith.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

The post A Conversation with Gov. Jeb Bush appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 22, 2020
A Conversation with David Murray
00:27:53

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by author and professor, David Murray. Professor of Old Testament and practical theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, David is also a counselor, and the author of Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture and Exploring the Bible. In this episode, we discuss his book, Reset, and explore the idea of applying the gospel to Christians facing burnout.

Be sure to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes as they are released.

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Feb 07, 2020
A Conversation with N.T. Wright
00:27:54

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by renowned author and scholar, N.T. Wright. One of the world’s leading Bible scholars, Wright is the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. He is also an Anglican bishop and bestselling author. Among his many award-winning works are Simply Good News, Simply Jesus, Simply Christian, Surprised by Hope, How God Became King, Scripture and the Authority of God, Surprised by Scripture, and The Case for the Psalms. He is also the author of the recent translation of the New Testament, The Kingdom New Testament, and the widely acclaimed series, Christian Origins and the Question of God. In this episode, we discuss a range of topics including his new book, The New Testament in Its World, which he co-authored with Michael F. Bird.

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Jan 17, 2020
A Conversation with Former Klansman Thomas A. Tarrants
00:27:12

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Thomas A. Tarrants. A former klansman whose life was radically changed by the gospel, Tarrants is president emeritus of the C.S. Lewis Institute, where he served from 1998 to 2019. Prior to working at the Institute, he was co-pastor of a multi-racial church, in Washington, DC. In our conversation, we discuss his memoir, Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love: How a Violent Klansman Became a Champion of Racial Reconciliation.

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Dec 18, 2019
Bonus Episode: A Conversation with Governor Bill Lee
00:40:15

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of hosting Governor Bill Lee in our ERLC offices in downtown Nashville. Governor Lee serves as the 50th and current governor of Tennessee. During our time together, we sat down for a live interview in which we talked about his faith in Christ, the role of suffering in his life, his motivations for running for office, criminal justice, and a host of other issues. It was a really meaningful conversation to me, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

From my conversation with Governor Lee

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Dec 06, 2019
A Conversation with George F. Will
00:24:53

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by New York Times bestselling author and political commentator, George F. Will. A Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, Will writes a twice-weekly syndicated column on politics and domestic and foreign affairs for the Washington Post. In this episode, we discuss his new book, The Conservative Sensibility, as well as a number of other topics.

Be sure to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes as they are released.

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Dec 04, 2019
A Conversation with Ben Shapiro
00:20:11

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by NYT best-selling author and political commentator, Ben Shapiro. One of the most well-known conservative commentators in the United States, Shapiro serves as editor in chief of dailywire.com. In this episode, we discuss his new book, “The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great” as well as a number of other topics.

Signposts with Ben Shapiro

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Nov 20, 2019
A Conversation with Michael Card
00:21:42

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by my good friend, Michael Card. Michael is an award-winning musician and performing artist. His many books include Scribbling in the Sand, A Fragile Stone, and the Biblical Imagination Series on the four Gospels. In this episode, we discuss his latest book, Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness.

Signposts with Michael Card

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Oct 17, 2019
A Conversation with Rosaria Butterfield
00:31:13

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Rosaria Butterfield for a conversation about the gospel and hospitality in Christian community. A former tenured professor of English and women’s studies at Syracuse University, Rosaria converted to Christ in 1999 in what she describes as a train wreck. In this conversation, we also discuss her memoir, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, which chronicles that difficult journey. She is married to Kent, a Reformed Presbyterian pastor in North Carolina, and is a homeschool mother, author, and speaker. You can learn more about Rosaria here.

Signposts with Rosaria Butterfield

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Oct 02, 2019
A Conversation with Thomas S. Kidd
00:29:35

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Thomas S. Kidd. Dr. Kidd serves as Distinguished Professor of History, James Vardaman Endowed Professor of History, and Associate Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. A prolific author, he blogs regularly on evangelical history for The Gospel Coalition in collaboration with Justin Taylor, and has written numerous biographies and works on religious history including Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father, Baptists in America: A History, and God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution. I deeply enjoyed this conversation with Dr. Kidd, especially our discussion of his most recent book, Who Is an Evangelical?

You can find the full list of Dr. Kidd’s books here. Be sure to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes as they are released.

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Sep 18, 2019
A Conversation with Jackie Hill Perry
00:18:25

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by author and poet Jackie Hill Perry for a conversation about her book: Gay Girl, Good God. We also discuss how to talk to your children about LGBTQ issues, the power of creativity and art in the life of Christians, and the requirement of Christians to pursue Christ no matter our temptations. I hope that this conversation can help you as you think through these complex issues.

Be sure to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes as they are released.

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Sep 04, 2019
A Conversation with Ronald J. Sider
00:19:45

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Palmer Theological Seminary professor Ron J. Sider, Founder and President Emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action. In this conversation we talk about the importance of integrity for starting, maintaining, and ending a ministry. We also discuss the danger in viewing people based on what they can do for us, rather than through the lens of the Gospel.

Be sure to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes as they are released.

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Aug 21, 2019
A Conversation with Kay Warren
00:30:36

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by author and advocate Kay Warren, who is the co-founder with her husband Rick of Saddleback Church in Irvine, California. She has been a tireless advocate for those living with mental illness, HIV & Aids, as well as orphans and vulnerable children. In this conversation, we talk about mental illness, loss, and the way that Kay processed the grief of losing her son, Matthew, to suicide. I hope that our conversation can be an encouragement to those in the midst of loss or those ministering to the grieving.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sites

Beauty Will Rise CD by Steven Curtis Chapman

Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness by Matthew Stanford

Grievin g a Suicide: A Loved One’s Search for Comfort, Answers, and Hope by Albert Y. Hsu

Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie

Hidden in My Heart: A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture CD (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3)

Holding On to Hope: A pathway through suffering to the heart of God by Nancy Guthrie

Hope Box

How to Get Through What You’re Going Through (Sermon CD) by Pastor Rick and Kay Warren

No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One by Carla Fine

Psalms of Lament by Ann Weems

When Your Family’s Lost a Loved One by David and Nancy Guthrie 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES FOR CHILDRENS & TEENS

Children, Teens, and Suicide Loss by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) (Free Download , Booklet, & Spanish Translation)

Does My Child Have PTSD?: What to Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out by Jolene Philo

Someone I Love Died by Suicide: A Story for Child Survivors and Those Who Care for Them by Doreen Cammarata 

Sometimes Life is Just Not Fair: Hope for Kids Through Grief and Loss by Fr. Joe Kempf

What Happens When Someone Dies?: A Child’s Guide to Death and Funderals by Michaelene Mundy

When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens About Grieving & Healing by Marilyn E. Gootman, Ed.D.

When Mom or Dad Dies: A Book of Comfort for Kids by Daniel Grippo

When Someone Dies: A Child-Caregiver Activity Book by National Alliance for Grieving Children

FREE DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES

A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide Loss

A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide Loss – Spanish Version

After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Yourself After Your Treatment in the Emergency Department

Coping with Suicidal Thoughts

The Child’s Loss: Death, Grief and Mourning

How to Talk to a Suicide Loss Survivor: 10 Helpful Tips by AFSP

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: After an Attempt

Suicide Fact Sheet by NAMI

Suicide and Social Media: A Tipsheet for Parents and Providers by American Association of Suicidology 

ORGANIZATIONS

Compassionate Friends

Camp Erin

BOOKS BY KAY

Say Yes to God

Choose Joy

Sacred Privilege

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Aug 07, 2019
A Conversation with Jonah Goldberg
00:19:00

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by Jonah Goldberg, formerly a senior editor at National Review. Jonah is a nationally recognized author and syndicated columnist. He is also the host of The Remnant podcast. You can follow him on Twitter: @JonahNRO

In this conversation we talk about Jonah’s most recent book, Suicide of the West, and also discuss socialism, capitalism, and the dangers of illiberalism.

I really enjoyed this conversation and hope it’s beneficial for you. Be sure to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes as they are released.

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Jul 17, 2019
A Conversation with Ligon Duncan
00:32:17

In this episode of Signposts, I am joined by my long-time friend Ligon Duncan, chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary. He has served the church as a pastor and theologian for over 35 years and in various ministry positions in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

In this conversation we talk about denominational differences, personal evangelism, and so much more.

I really enjoyed this conversation and hope beneficial for you. Be sure to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes as they are released.

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Jul 01, 2019
A Conversation with Jamie Ivey
00:23:18

My guest on this episode of Signposts is Jamie Ivey. Jamie is an author, a sought-after speaker, and perhaps she is best known as a podcaster. Jamie is the creator and host of The Happy Hour podcast, which is a fantastic podcast for women that my wife, Maria, absolutely loves. In addition to all of this, Jamie is a wife and mom. Her husband, Aaron, is a worship leader at The Austin Stone Church, in Austin, Texas. And Jamie and Aaron are parents of four children, including three by adoption.

In this episode, Jamie and I had a great conversation about adoption, life in ministry, parenting, and many other things. If you’re not familiar with Jamie, I encourage you to visit her website: jamieivey.com.

Be sure to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes as they are released.

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Jun 19, 2019
A Conversation with David Brooks
00:24:06

In this first episode of the new season of Signposts, I am joined by David Brooks, who, among countless other things, is an Op-Ed columnist at the New York Times. An incisive thinker and cultural observer, David is someone I have respected and admired for a long time now, and I was thrilled that he could join me for this conversation.

In this episode, we begin our discussion by talking about his latest book, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life, which I would certainly encourage you to read. (Bonus: You can check out the video version of this episode on YouTube.)

I really enjoyed this conversation and hope it is both entertaining and beneficial for you. Be sure to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes as they are released.

I look forward to sharing the next episode with you on Wednesday, June 19.

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Jun 05, 2019
Signposts Update!
00:01:33

I’m excited to announce that we are relaunching Signposts next week. In the new format, we’ll be releasing new episodes (at least) twice a month. These episodes will feature conversations that I’ll be hosting with leaders and thinkers from all areas of culture including politics, religion, academia, and journalism. We’ve already recorded several episodes, and we have many more to record over the next several months.

You can look for the first episode of the new format next Wednesday, June 5th. I cannot wait for you to hear from my first guest. We had a really interesting and important conversation that I look forward to sharing with all of you next week.

Thank you so much for listening to Signposts. Be sure to subscribe to receive these new episodes as they are released.

And if you haven’t had a chance to see the new projects we’ve been posting over at YouTube, please be sure to check out my new series On the Issues & One Thing You Missed.

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May 31, 2019
Russell Moore & Tim Keller: A Conversation
00:33:08

In this episode of Signposts, I sit down with Pastor Tim Keller, Chairman of Redeemer City to City and the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. We talk about his ministry, his work reaching out to an increasingly secular American culture, and spiritual formation for Christians.

Listen below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes when they publish.

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Mar 01, 2019
How I Write Sermons
00:23:12

How do you prepare a sermon?

How do you preach to different groups at the same time?

I am often asked how I write a sermon or prepare lessons for any number of groups. In this episode of Signposts, I take some time to talk through how I preach, write sermons, and make a lesson applicable to everyone in the audience. These are some of the practices that I have found helpful in my ministry over the years.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

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Dec 20, 2018
How I Read
00:22:08

How do you read?

What do you choose to read?

I am often asked how I choose the books I read, or how I read the books I choose. In this episode of Signposts I give an answer to those questions. I also offer a few tips that I have found helpful as I engage with the books I read.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

Also, you can find a copy of my favorite books for 2018 here.

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Dec 07, 2018
What should pastors do if a Christian is afraid of baptism?
00:07:44

Is immersion the only form for baptism?

What is signified in baptism?

Because I am a Baptist, I often receive questions about the particulars of baptism and its practice.

In this episode of Signposts, I offer my perspective on baptism and the significance of this sign given to the church of our union with Christ.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

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Nov 16, 2018
On 25 Years of Albert Mohler at Southern Seminary
00:26:28

This year marks the 25th anniversary of R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s service as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. For many decades, Dr. Mohler has been an influential figure in my life. Through his visionary leadership, he has shaped the course of the Southern Baptist Convention and, more broadly, evangelicalism.  I have served with Dr. Mohler as a research assistant, faculty member, Dean, and Provost. In each of these roles, I have witnessed, first-hand, his heart for the church and passion for God’s Word.

In this episode of Signposts, I reflect on Dr. Mohler’s influence, life, and leadership, which the Lord has used in so many ways–not least of which is the successful equipping of generations of pastors, scholars, missionaries, and ministry leaders to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints as they confront the greatest challenges of our times.

I invite you to listen, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

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Nov 02, 2018
What should Christians do about our differences on spiritual gifts?
00:13:04

Are the gifts still active today?

Can members within a local church disagree on this issue?

I receive questions all the time about spiritual gifts in the church. This is an important topic because the gifts were given to edify and build up the church, but often they become a source of contention and division.

In this episode of Signposts, I offer my perspective on the gifts and discuss ways that Christians might think about these issues, especially as they partner together in ministry.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

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Oct 19, 2018
Russell Moore & Jonathan Haidt: A Conversation
00:27:57

In this episode of Signposts, I sit down with one of the leading social psychologists in the United States, Jonathan Haidt. Professor Haidt is an acclaimed author and thought leader. His book, The Righteous Mind, was a New York Times bestseller that explored the foundations of morality. And his recently released work, The Coddling of the American Mind, which explores concerning trends emerging on America’s college campuses, has also appeared on the bestsellers list for consecutive weeks since its release. On this episode, we enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation that I’m sure you will enjoy.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

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Sep 21, 2018
The Gospel and Social Injustice – Part 2
00:20:59

Does the gospel have implications for social injustice?

Is justice a distraction from the gospel?

I have had many people ask me recently about social injustice. As Christians, we are called to live as a gospel people, and in light of recent cultural conversations on this topic some have wondered about the connection between the gospel and justice.

In this episode of Signposts, I continue my discussion of this issue and consider the Bible’s instruction for Christians seeking to live faithfully in the world and in obedience to the gospel.

The first part of this discussion can be found here.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

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Sep 12, 2018
The Gospel and Social Injustice – Part 1
00:33:03

Does the gospel have implications for social justice?

Is social justice a distraction from the gospel?

I have had many people ask me recently about the issue of social justice. As Christians, we are called to live as a gospel people, and in light of recent cultural conversations on this topic some have wondered about the connection between the gospel and justice.

In this episode of Signposts, I discuss this issue and consider the Bible’s instruction for Christians seeking to live faithfully in the world and in obedience to the gospel.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

The post The Gospel and Social Injustice – Part 1 appeared first on Russell Moore.

Sep 07, 2018
Signposts – Special Episode: A Q&A on The Storm-Tossed Family
00:32:24

This episode of Signposts features a recent conversation I had with my colleague, Brent Leatherwood, about my new book, The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home. I wanted to highlight this conversation to offer a preview of the book ahead of its release on September 15. I’m particularly excited about this project because I believe this book has something important to say to people in every stage of life.

This is a book about the cross. This is a book about the family. But whether you are married or single, whether you long for a child or you’re shepherding a full house, you are part of a family. Family is difficult because family—every family—is an echo of the gospel.

The book is available for pre-order through the link above. I hope that you’ll enjoy this conversation, and for those who read The Storm-Tossed Family, it is my prayer that God will use this book to keep your focus on the cross as you weather the ups and downs of life.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

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Aug 17, 2018
Will Complementarianism Survive After the #MeToo Movement?
00:24:37

What does the Bible say about the gifts and callings of men and women?

Does complementarianism have a viable future?

I have had many people ask me over the last several months about the future of complementarianism. In recent months, our society has faced a reckoning over the toxic culture of sexual assault and abuse. And as we’ve seen, the church has not been spared in this upheaval. This has left many to wonder if complementarianism itself will survive.

In this episode of Signposts, I offer my answer to questions about the future of the church concerning sexuality and gender in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

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Aug 03, 2018
Russell Moore & Marilynne Robinson: A Conversation
00:37:51

In this episode of Signposts, I sit down with one of my favorite writers, Marilynne Robinson. Professor Robinson is an accomplished novelist and essayist. She earned a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2005, and her work is celebrated both by readers and literary critics. On this episode, we enjoyed a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation that I’m sure you will enjoy.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

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Jul 20, 2018
My Worst Parenting Mistake
00:28:26

Why is parenting so difficult?

What should I do if I’ve made mistake?

Every parent faces challenges. Some are common, while others are unique. But one thing is certain, you wont always succeed.

In this episode of Signposts, I talk about the worst mistake I’ve made as a parent, so far. I also discuss what I’ve learned from that experience and offer some advice for current and future parents.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

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Jul 06, 2018
Russell Moore and Michael Card: A Conversation
00:23:10

In this episode of Signposts, I sit down with my friend Michael Card for a conversation on the subject of fatherhood. Michael is an accomplished musician and songwriter, as well as a very competent theologian. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal from Michael’s life and music, especially on the subject we discuss together here.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation, and be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes of Signposts.

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Jun 15, 2018
Should you worry about sex robots?
00:28:02

Will there really be sex robots?

How will A.I. affect our understanding of human sexuality?

A.I. and other emerging technologies are rapidly creating new opportunities and challenges in many areas of our lives. One of the most important questions raised by these technologies concerns their affect upon our understanding of sexuality.

In this episode of Signposts, I address these questions and think about how Christians should prepare now for a future defined by such novelty and innovation.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

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Jun 01, 2018
What About The Enneagram?
00:23:22

What is the Enneagram?

Should Christians use or even care about it?

I am asked about the Enneagram, and other types of personal assessments, all the time. I know that some of my listeners are skeptical of it, while others are real advocates.

In this episode of Signposts, I offer my perspective on the Enneagram and think through its benefits and drawbacks.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

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May 18, 2018
How should I prepare for a midlife crisis?
00:30:43

Will I face a midlife crisis?

Is there any way to prepare for it?

You will probably endure a midlife crisis, and it will most likely hit you harder than you expect. The good news is, there are things you can do to prepare.

In this episode of Signposts, I talk about how to prepare for your midlife crisis and what you might expect when it comes.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

Transcript

Hello, this is Russell Moore, and you’re listening to Signposts: questions and conversations about faith, life, and culture. I work with a guy by the name of Dan Darling. You may listen to his program, read his stuff – it’s really, really, good stuff and he’s a great brilliant guy that I really enjoy working with. But his name is Darling, which means that there are all sorts of opportunities for people to sort of make jokes about that. Usually when he walks in the room I quote Conway Twitty – “Hello, Darling.” When I see him first thing in the morning, there are all sorts of iterations of that. I had a dream a few nights ago that there was something going on that was a Dan Darling dance party. And I remember waking up – “what in the world is that about?” And it wasn’t until I got into the office that I realized, “Oh, it’s Dan Darling’s 40th birthday on that day. So maybe that was sort of back there in my mind, and the way my unconscious interpreted that was a Dan Darling dance party.

He walked up to me that day and we were talking about his birthday, and he said, knowing that I had gone through the 40 boundary marker not too terribly long ago, he said, “Well, any words of counsel on turning 40?” And I said, “Yeah, it’s terrible and it’s all uphill from here. The next two years are going to be really, really bad, but it’s going to get better.” And he was like, “Well, thanks for the encouragement that you’ve given to me!” I was mostly joking, kind of joking, but not really. And here’s why I say that.

I know that if we kind of looked at the demographics of who listens to this program, probably most of you are very young. There are others of you who are older, probably not very many of you, who are right now having to face that question of a potential midlife crisis, to use the word – the phrase that is used often in our culture. But what I want to say to you is that you need to prepare. Right now, young man, young woman, college student, teenager, young married twenty-something, you need to prepare right now for your midlife crisis. And I want to say to those of you who are older people that you need to be preparing right now to help shepherd those younger than you through that time of midlife.

Now, the reason I say that is because there are some people who would suggest that there’s really no such thing as a midlife crisis. This is a 20th century psychobabble sort of term and there’s some truth to that. There are studies that can show you that the idea of a midlife crisis as a distinct, definable thing is largely that. And so I would have said if you had asked me about, you know, many years ago if you’d said, “Wel, are you going to ever be addressing the issue of a midlife crisis?” I probably would have laughed and said, “No, because a midlife crisis isn’t a real thing. It’s an excuse for immature guys to tool around in sports cars at best and at worst to split up their marriages with affairs and so forth and to blame it on midlife and midlife crisis.” I still think that’s true to some degree, but not entirely true.

And so just in the same way that there was a time when I would have made fun of the idea of, say, “the inner child” because it’s such a new age-y sort of trope that is used in some really, really bad ways. I don’t make fun of that anymore. And the reason for that is because after all of these years in ministry dealing with people on the outside and on the inside, one of the things I’ve learned is that childhood and adolescence really do keep showing up in our lives constantly. And that really shouldn’t surprise us as people who are Christians. When Jesus continually talks about becoming childlike and about the importance of the little ones, we ought to understand that and have some respect for that. And I also would never dismiss the idea of the midlife crisis.

Now in one sense, I would say don’t worry about midlife crisis because there’s an article in The Atlantic magazine not too long ago called The Real Roots of the Midlife Crisis that is really fascinating.  But this is being written here by Jonathan Rauch, and he says that when he turned, say, in his 30s and 40s, he said the fog of disappointment and self censure was there, but that sometime in his late 40s and early 50s that fog started to lift, he says, at first almost imperceptibly, then more distinctly and by now at 54 I feel as though I have emerged from a passage through something. And he goes on to say that he was told by an older man, a writer that he admired very much, the following: “Midlife crisis begins sometimes in your 40s when you look at your life and you think is this all, and it ends about 10 years later when you look at your life again and think actually this is pretty good.”

Now there’s research to back that up. There are studies that suggest that that what we face sort of in the middle of our lives is not so much a crisis, for most people anyway, as a U curve. If you just look at the sorts of attitudes that people have about their lives and about the the world, there seems to be a trough somewhere in the late 30s and early 40s, and then you’ll notice that that starts to go up and up and up once you get into the early 50s. And so as people age, actually, the sort of attitude that many people would assume – “The older you get, the ornery-er you get, or the sadder you get” – is just not true for most people.

And there are lots of reasons for that. I mean, there are hormone levels that fluctuate and dip during that time that takes some adjusting to. There’s also sort of natural life pressures. Many people at that time in their lives both have small kids and aging parents, and maybe are juggling and rearing their children, maintaining their careers, and caring for parents that either have a lot of needs now or potentially would at any point in the future. That’s a real thing.

Beyond that, though, is there is a very real sense that at some point in the middle of our lives, we really do have a crisis. And I’m not using that in the jargony, 20th century sort of way, but more along the lines of what Dante said when he talks about being in the woods, in the middle of life’s journey, which is something that almost everybody who writes or reflects on a midlife crisis will refer to that opening there of the Inferno.

Why is that a crisis? Well, I think it’s a crisis because… There’s a relatively new book that I think is insightful in many places, even though I disagree with some of the sociobiology throughout it, called Selfie, talking about the formation of the self in contemporary times. The book starts out talking about, of all things, suicide. And the author says that suicide can be predicted most often by levels of social perfectionism. My life has to meet these goals, and my life has to be these certain things, and then there’s a failure or a humiliation of that. And what this author goes on to say is that every suicide is a failed story. Because he argues that people live by essentially one of two stories. People in the West tend to live by the story that he calls the Aristotelian story, sort of the story that you would think of when you think of the old Greek epics. You’re you’re on an adventure, you’re conquering the obstacles that you have, and you’re sort of moving onward and upward through life. And eventually that story fails. You realize I haven’t succeeded in all the ways that I wanted to succeed.

Or, he says, people live by the Confucian story, as he calls it. He would say most people in the East tend to live by this story which is, I’m part of this community, I’m embedded within a community, and if I fail my community, if I fail my family, if I fail my village, if I fail my people, then my life is wrecked. I don’t, I’m not worth anything anymore. He’s of course using these as shorthand, and I think to some degree both of those stories tend to show up in all of our lives, different emphases in different places and cultures and with different people.

But to some degree, we’re defined by both of those things. More importantly, though, I would argue as a Christian that everybody is defined by that, not Aristotle or Confucius, but that Adam and Eve story of what it means to be created in the image of God. And so God created us with vocation, with calling – “subdue the earth, take dominion over it, cultivate it” – is the message that God gives to Adam and Eve, and flourish. Go out forward and fill the earth. We all have that sense of calling in that sense of vocation. We express it in different ways, and we all eventually recognize that that calling is frustrated.

So when God says to Adam, “You will bring bread from the earth but you will do so with the earth fighting you with thorns and thistles, you will give birth to the next generation and and cultivate and nurture the next generation. But you will do so with the pains that come with with childbirth and then the pains of that snake striking at the heel of your child.” We have that sense of frustration that is present there.

We all realize the things that in my teens and 20s and maybe early 30s that were all possibilities for me. So no matter how bad my life is, if you’re living a really rough life right now as a teenager, you’re going to be able to say to yourself, “This isn’t going to be this way forever. It’s going to get better.” And let me just say to you teenagers, it will. It will get better than than that. When you were in your 20s, even if you’re really frustrated with your love life, or you’re frustrated with your work life, you’ve got all of this possibility in front of you and you think, “Well, things can get better.”

But there comes a point where you start to realize, “Wait a minute, time’s running out. I don’t think it’s going to get any better with my love life or with my work life or with whatever goals that I have have set for myself or have been set for me by my culture, about my family, about my church, or whomever.” That’s a very real thing. I also think that added to that, there is often a sense of regret that shows up in people’s lives. People have a sense of when they start paying attention and start looking back on their lives, there often seems to be an accumulation of things that leave a sense of shame or of guilt.

So if you’re in a sort of hormonal whirlwind of adolescence or your early 20s, it’s kind of easy to fool yourself into thinking the things that I’m doing right now aren’t going to matter. They’re not permanent, and I’m not going to think about them because I won’t distract myself with something else. But that doesn’t hold. Eventually we start thinking about these things, and there is a sense of often a burden of regret. And so I think all the time of.. one are my favorite poets, Czesław Miłosz, he wrote a series of 12 things that he learned from someone in his life. And number 12 is the one that stays with me all the time. And it’s this: he says that he has learned that in our lives we should not succumb to despair because of our errors and our sins. For the past is never closed down and receives the meaning we give to it by our subsequent acts. That’s a really, really hard thing to believe. Even if you know it cognitively, to actually feel that.

So a lot of times when people will either say, “I’m going through a midlife crisis,” or when you can look at them objectively and say, “Wait a minute. I think this person is going through a midlife crisis.” What’s at the root of that? Now here’s why I want to talk to you 20 year olds right now, and to you 32 year olds right now, and tell you to pay attention to this right now and start preparing and cultivating for it, is because every single week just about I’m hearing about somebody in my orbit, Christian, often pastors, or church planners, or missionaries, or others who are extraordinarily gifted and doing great things for the kingdom all through their 20s and all through their 30s, and then somewhere in the late 30s, early 40s, mid 40s they hit a wall. And you’ll see it show up in all kinds of different ways. You’ll have people who will just be burned out and exhausted and say, “I’ve had it with ministry” and walk away even if that ministry is vocational, whether or not it’s service in a church.

I’ve seen other people who have sabotaged their entire lives with immoral behavior, or with substance abuse, or with all sorts of things going on in their lives. And you look at it and you say, “Why in the world would you risk everything that you’ve built with your ministry or your marriage or your kids or your reputation or all of those, why would you risk all of that for this? That is nothing. And often what I find, if you really spend time with people, what I find is often what was happening was itself a kind of suicide. People weren’t ending their lives, but they were ending their calling that they couldn’t escape and that they believed was crushing them. And this was the way they could do it. I’m not saying that that’s a conscious sort of decision, but it’s what was happening this way.

Often, I will hear people in the situation say, “Well, I was trying to get caught in alcoholism or affairs or whatever the situation is. Well, why is that? I think it comes down to really the two fundamental questions of what it means to live a life, and that’s identity and inheritance. If you listen to me for very long or or read anything that I’ve written, then you’ll notice these two things show up all the time. Because I think they’re critically important to our understanding of ourselves. Who am I? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? What does it mean to be loved by God? What does it mean to have an identity that is hidden in Christ? (Colossians 3) And then inheritance – what actually am I living for? What actually does it mean to live a good and successful life?

And so when those two things are confused, then often what I find are situations where sometimes even really good things can end up being crushing and sometimes even demonic. So I’ve known, for instance, men who will talk a great deal about being providers and protectors for their families. Good. That’s exactly right. I want to encourage that. Provide for your family, protect your family. But these days, I’m always listening when when someone talks about that to see whether or not that is someone who is binding up his entire identity in being a breadwinner, to use the cultural term, or being that strong fatherly presence in a home. Even a very good thing can be used as a weapon against someone.

I will often hear women who are talking to me about being committed to discipling other people within the church or committed to the cultivation of their families. Again, really, really good. But I want to listen and to see whether or not this woman has confused herself with her gift and whether she’s confused her future inheritance with her success. And I think that happens often with both men and women as they start to look around and they they see other people, and they start to say, “Well, wait a minute, maybe I’m falling behind, because I’m just not as good a mom as she is, or I’m not as good a dad as he is, or I don’t have the sort of marriage that they seemed to have, or I don’t seem to have the sort of success in my work as this person has, or I don’t have the same kind of fruit in my ministry as that person has.”

And in reality, if you think about it, that sort of comparison and internal doubt rooted in envy is something the scripture condemns. It is just an identity confusion and an inheritance confusion. There is always going to be somebody who is a better evangelist than you are, or teacher than you are, or father than you are, or a mother than you are, or husband or wife or whatever the specific calling that you’re thinking of right now. Someone is always going to be better at it. And not only that, you don’t even know people’s real stories usually, unless you’re seeing them internally. You’re only seeing what’s being displayed, and what’s being presented.

That can lead, when you combine it with those other factors that we were talking about earlier, and with a self that hasn’t been protected by gospel definition and gospel hope, that can lead to a really, really dangerous sort of a situation. So why you need to prepare for this now and why you need to prepare to prepare others for this now is really similar to puberty. And I’m a dad of five sons and had to have the get ready for puberty conversation. I don’t know how many times so far. And so what I try to do there is to say, “Hey, these things are going to happen to you. Don’t freak out, know ahead of time I’m telling you these are the changes that your body is going to have. And these are the changes that you’re going to have emotionally. These are the sorts of rocky things that you’re going to have to go through. The reason for it is to launch you out into something that God has designed to be to be really good.” That’s what it is.

One of my sons, one time I was talking about this said, “Well, when does it end?” We were talking specifically about sexual attraction, those sorts of issues. When does it end? My response was, “Well, I’ll let you know because it really doesn’t end,” and he teared up and said “Are you kidding? It doesn’t end?” Yeah, it doesn’t end in that way, but it ends the way you’re experiencing right now. You’re not going to always be going through these mood swings and pimple outbreaks and all of those sorts of things to prepare him ahead of time.

I think the same thing is true for these other stages of life because in some way or the other. We all live out our own personal book of Ecclesiastes. Now, think of what Ecclesiastes does. The preacher there is looking at his life and he says, “I thought that life consisted in wisdom and knowledge. And then I was exhausted by that. It doesn’t bring meaning in vanity. I thought it was pleasure seeking – not that. I thought it was wealth, thought it was power, or thought it was all of those things, and all of those things disappoint me and ultimately we’re all dead like a dog.” You could sum up the book of Ecclesiastes that way. So is that a crisis? Yeah, that’s a crisis, in the same way that in the same way that it’s a turning point.

But Ecclesiastes doesn’t end that way. Ecclesiastes says, “So remember your Creator, and remember your creator when in the days when you are young prepare yourself ahead of time for the fact that your idols are going to disappoint you at some point in your life. Whether it happens when you’re 40 or 50, or whether it happens much, much later on, prepare yourself for how am I going to go through a time when these things that are idols in my life that I don’t even recognize as idols start to disappoint me.”

I had a church that was looking at a potential pastor and the person on the Pastor Search Committee was talking to me because I was a recommendation for this person. He said, “Now he hit a very difficult time in his life and said that he was exhausted and he was tapped out and he had to make all sorts of adjustments in his life. Should we be worried about that?” And I said, “That’s the very reason why you ought to call that guy as your pastor. Because he didn’t hit that point of disappointment or exhaustion or whatever and seek out affairs or substance abuse or cynicism and hardening. Instead, he really used it as a crisis. And he didn’t waste that crisis. He said, “Let me go back to first principles and figure out who God is to me. Let me figure out who I am in terms of the good news of the Gospel. And let me reorient and correct my life.” That’s what discipleship is.

And so this sort of crisis, if we mean turning point, may be really quiet for you. And you know it is for me and I have never had a really dramatic sense of “Oh well, my life is completely falling apart.” There is just more of a sense of, “Wait a minute, what’s happening here.” And maybe because I have a friend who was talking about all of these guys just doing really crazy, risky things. His wife asked him, “Well, what are they, why are they doing this?” And he said, “Well, I think they’re hitting midlife and they want to sort of prove I’ve still got it.” And she said, “Are you going to do that?” And he said, “I don’t think so, because I never had it for ever.” You know, being pursued by by women or whatever the issue was, I think there’s a sense in which that can be a blessing to realize you’re not looking nostalgically back at something in the past, if that’s the case for you.

But it is going to be the case that you are going to have a time when you’re doing all of the things that you’re supposed to be doing, and you’re going to hit some point of a turning point when you start to realize some things. And what I realized at that point was a number of things. One of them was I’m just not going to be everybody that people need me to be. God’s given me a certain calling, God’s given me certain responsibilities. And that’s what I have to do. And I can’t be everything to everybody. And secondly, to realize people are crazy. People are crazy. We assume when we’re very young that the people that are grownups are all grown up and mature and reasonable and rational and eventually we’re going to get there. They’re not.

You end up with a situation where people, the older they get, are often in the middle of the very same sorts of things that they were in the middle of as a teenager or twenty-something or thirty-something. And they’re just as internally unsure of what’s going on. They just know how to perform and how to act, often. So you have to learn those things, and then also know where your vulnerabilities are. And my vulnerability that I learned, as I kind of came through that middle of life’s passage was it no matter how theologically orthodox I am at root, I’m basically a Pelagian. I basically assume, unless I’m constantly fighting it with the gospel and with repentance, that I have to perform, I have to be the best at fill in the blank. And if I’m not, that God is angry with me. And what I had to learn at that point was that I spent all of my ministry up to that point on the Bible tells me so, and that’s good and true and I need to continue that, but I need to spend more time with Jesus loves me. Not just at the theological level, but at the visceral level in order to bring about peace. And so if you look and you see people, sometimes people that you’ve even admired a lot, who as they age become trapped with carnality and juvenility and anger or whatever.

Look at that. Have compassion, don’t have judgment, have compassion, but say I don’t want that to happen to me. And prepare yourself so that as you do age, you’re able to learn the lessons of the stories of your life as you look backwards, so that you’re able to say “Ah, there it is. Okay, I recognize that. I’ve seen that before. I’ve seen that in my life before, I’ve seen that in other people before, I recognize and I know what this is,” and then prepare people for those changes in life.

That’s what Jesus does. He tells the disciples ahead of time, “We’re going to Jerusalem, and I’m going to the cross. I’m telling you ahead of time that you’re going to have persecution, and the world is going to hate you, so that you will know that when that happens that I haven’t abandoned you.” Prepare yourself now to say, “I may reach a turning point. I may reach a really difficult time. I’m not going to make any rash decisions in that time. I’m not going to give up hope that I’m going to use this as a positive time to recognize I am not whatever my gifts are. I am not whatever my expectations are.” And when your idols start to disappoint, you rejoice that is God showing you where they are not to crush you, but to welcome you into a fuller experience of him and of grace. Prepare yourself for midlife if you’re not there yet. And if you’re past it, prepare somebody else and teach them. “Jesus loves me, this I know.”

That’s Russell Moore, in my 40s but not really in mid-life, cause we have trillions and trillions and trillions of years yet to go.

The post How should I prepare for a midlife crisis? appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 04, 2018
What does it mean to be “pro-life”?
00:32:49

Is pro-life more than pro-birth?

Why isn’t the pro-life movement committed to the whole person?

These are common questions aimed at the pro-life movement. In fact, one of the most frequent criticisms of the pro-life movement is that those who hold such views only care about ending abortion.

In this episode of Signposts, I address these questions and offer my perspective on the pro-life movement by thinking about what it means to fight for justice and human dignity.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

Transcript

Hello, this Russell Moore and you’re listening to Signposts: questions and conversations about faith, life, and culture. If you have listened to me for very long, you’ve probably heard me tell the story of one of my earliest memories because in some ways I think it shaped the way that I view almost everything else in my life. And it was a time when I was, I don’t know, five or six years old. I was in Sunday school. We had a guest teacher that day, and in our little Southern Baptist Sunday School class, as in almost all of them, the way that it it worked was you had a little envelope and you would put your name on it and you would mark whether you’re present, whether or not you were going to attend the worship service, whether or not you’d read your Bible daily, whether or not you shared the gospel with somebody, and your offering.

And so my parents would often give me a quarter or a nickel or something to put in the offering envelope, and I had a quarter in there. And you know, as kids of that age will do, I was sort of playing with the quarter because for whatever reason they didn’t take up the envelopes until the end of that day. And so I was playing with the quarter, and I put the quarter in my mouth. And the lady who was teaching that day was rightly upset about that. She didn’t want me to choke on the quarter. But what she did was to come up and say, “Now you don’t want to put that coin in your mouth, because you don’t know where that coin has been. And for all you know a colored man may have held that coin.”

Now, this was long past the days of Jim Crow Mississippi. This was not during the times when people would have been seeing images on their screen of people being beaten in the streets. But what was underlying that comment was a much, much larger worldview of white supremacy, and as I’ll often say when I talk about that story, I don’t know if it’s my memory playing tricks on me but it seems to me as though right after that comment, she gathered us up together to say “Let’s sing ‘Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.'” Whether whether I’m conflating some other memories or not, we did sing that all the time, and I was starting to conclude that those two things did not go together.

You cannot be pro-missions and racially bigoted. Those two things can’t go together. You can’t be pro-missions and white supremacist. If in fact God has created a church made up of every tribe, tongue, nation, and language, then to prize my ethnicity as somehow being better than yours – much less to oppress with evil those of other ethnicities is the contradiction of the Gospel. So what many people in the civil rights movement and elsewhere were doing with churches that were trapped in that culture was to come in and say, “Wait a minute. If you believe in missions, then you have to believe in racial justice and racial reconciliation. Because the very impetus behind missions also ought to teach you about the impartiality of God and about the universal human imaging of God. If the Gospel is offered to everyone, if the church is made up of people from everywhere, then that means that you cannot be a white supremacist without exchanging the spirit for the flesh and exchanging the gospel for an anti-gospel.”

Now, the reason I bring that up is because every year we will gather a big group of evangelical Christians together, usually around the March for Life, and we talk about issues of human dignity and about the image of God. And one thing I’ve noticed happening there is that you’ll have two, for lack of a better word, tribes of evangelicals that sometimes will be there. And I’ll just for lack of a better word say pro-family people and pro-justice people, not saying the pro-life people aren’t pro-justice and the pro-justice people aren’t pro-family, but that’s sort of the emphasis that would be in those churches. And what I’ve noticed is that sometimes the pro-family people will say, “You know in my church I can talk about abortion, because people sort of politically and culturally are opposed to abortion, but I can’t talk about race without causing an uproar, or I can’t talk about sexual abuse of women without creating an uproar.”

And at the same time I’ll often have the sort of pro-justice evangelicals who will say, “You know, in my church or my setting it’s very easy for me to talk about racism and human trafficking and caring for the poor, but I can’t talk about the unborn because there will be a backlash happening for people in the congregation about the unborn.” And both of these groups people are saying “Now, we want to be consistent. We want to follow Jesus and we want to talk about dignity of human life.”

Now, this is important because there’s always a conversation going on about whether or not you ought to use the word “pro-life” only to talk about abortion. So only talk about abortion, only concentrate on that if you’re talking about the word “pro-life.” Now, there’s a sense in which the impetus behind that I get and I agree with. So for instance, there are people who will say “Well, unless you are opposed to the death penalty, then you can’t oppose abortion. You can’t be pro-life.” Now, there are good reasons, we’ve talked about them on this program before. There are good reasons why people oppose the death penalty. And I think there are there are very good arguments against capital punishment. I, at least theoretically, think the death penalty is consistent with life, because in scripture I think there’s a question of whether or not a state ever has the legitimate authority to take human life. If you believe that Romans 13 means that war can ever be justified, then you do believe in the death penalty at least in those cases. That’s what’s happening – the state is wielding the sword against evildoers.

So there’s a difference between people who would say, “We cannot take innocent human life and there cannot be vigilante justice against human life,” and people who would say “I think there’s sometimes a legitimate state authority in the taking of human life.” Okay, so in that sense people who say, “Well, until you talk about the death penalty you can’t talk about abortion.” I don’t agree with that at all.

Now, what I would say, though, if someone said to me “I’m pro-life and I’m for the death penalty. And the reason for the death penalty is because prisoners are scum. Let’s kill them.” I would say, “You’re not pro-life. If if the reason that you want to kill prisoners is because you think their lives have no meaning and you take a sense of joy – ‘Let’s fry them’ – out of killing prisoners, then that is coming from a disregard and disrespect for human life.” Now we can then argue about whether or not the death penalty is ever allowable for certain very, very constrained circumstances. But that’s not the same thing as someone saying, “Let’s vengefully lash out and take the lives of prisoners.” In that sense I agree with the people who are really reluctant to ever use pro-life anywhere else.

Also I would agree when it applies to this sort of argument that would say “Well, yes there is abortion. But until we have addressed all the full spectrum of issues then we shouldn’t really talk about abortion.” And that happens a lot. I mean, I knew a pastor one time that I knew to be pro-choice on abortion, supportive of legal abortion, who when talking about abortion in his church said, “You know, you hear a lot of conversation about abortion these days, and if we would just teach our teenagers sexual morality we wouldn’t have to worry about abortion.” And people said, “Amen.” What they didn’t know was that what he meant by that was “Just concentrate on teaching them sexual morality, then you won’t have the need for abortion but let’s keep abortion legal,” which they would have never agreed to at all.

An opposition to abortion is necessary for the pro-life movement, for the pro-life cause, as the threshold. Without opposition to abortion, there is no pro-life movement. Because what we have happening is widespread disregard and legal and cultural ways of keeping unborn children not just invisible to us but dehumanized. When they’re not persons and they’re not our neighbor, they don’t bear rights. And so to be pro-life we have to say, “Vulnerable unborn children and their moms are created in the image of God and ought to be protected and should not have their lives taken away from them.”

So when we’re talking about the issue of pro-life, we have to say “Okay, well why do we oppose abortion?” If the reason that we oppose abortion is only for political advocacy groups, then we really don’t have a pro-life movement at all. We just have a little legislative agenda that somebody has. But instead, what the pro-life movement is doing is saying, “We have a we have a political problem, meaning a governmental problem, a judicial problem that we need to address as citizens. Behind that, we also have a cultural problem where we have to ask ‘Who are these children and why is this happening? Why do we devalue people like this? Why do we have disposable people in our mindset in the contemporary era? And how do we speak to that?'” So we’re hitting both the governmental and the cultural moral fabric here at the same time.

It’s the same way my friend Mike Gerson used to put it when he was a speechwriter for George W. Bush, that “unborn children should be protected by law and welcomed in life.” Both of those two things – welcoming children and protecting them by law. So in that sense, we already are concerned with and talking about more than just abortion when we say the word pro-life. Even almost everybody who would say, “Let’s not talk about anything but abortion when we talk about pro-life,” because we are recognizing that when we’re dealing with, for instance, a physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. What are you dealing with? You’re dealing with a disregard for human life and the intrinsic worth of human life. When we’re talking about embryo research or the destruction of embryos after in vitro fertilization. It’s not a clinical abortion, but what is it? It’s the destruction of human life. And what we’re saying is that from conception to natural death, every human being bears the image of God and ought be treated as such.

So that is already present that when we when we say that we are pro-life and pro-woman, we care about the unborn child and we care about his or her mother, which all of the pro-life movement virtually would say. Not only that, but the pro-life movement actually at the grassroots level lives that out better than almost anybody that I know or any movement that I’ve ever seen. If you look around at pregnancy resource centers, for instance, around the country what you’ll find is more often than not, most of the time, these are places that are actually doing ground zero hands on ministry with the poor and the vulnerable. They’re there helping women in crisis, not simply in terms of making the decision of whether or not to abort and and seeking to persuade them not to abort, but also saying “We can help you with – if you want to place your child for adoption, we can help you to do that. If you need childcare, we can help you with that. If you need job training, we can help you with that. If you’re afraid to go home, we can find protection and sanctuary for you. Why? Why do we do that? Because we recognize that the unborn child and his or her mother both bear the image of God.

And we also recognize that the mentality behind the abortion movement is a mentality that sees people and people’s worth in terms of power, and that wherever that mindset is present you are going to have some manifestation of an abortion culture. Jesus does this all the time when he comes in and says, “Okay, you know that you shall not commit adultery. But you can’t cordon that off and say, ‘Well, I’m going to live my life consumed with lust and covetousness, but I’m just not going to physically act on adultery.'” Jesus says “No no no.” The root of this is deeper than that. He says, “You can’t consistently say, ‘Oh well, I’m obeying the law of God and whatever I would give to my parents to support them in their old age, I’m giving to God,'” which is what he says the religious leaders are doing.

What the pro-life movement is saying is, “If you believe in human dignity, then you believe in human dignity. If every person is created in the image of God then every person is created in the image of God.” Which means that we’re constantly asking ourselves, “Who are the people that we don’t want to think about? In the same way that an abortion culture says, “Let’s just not think about unborn children. Let’s call them clinical words and try to try to find some way to erase them from our minds.” Where is that tendency showing up in us?

So we will say to some people, hey, you believe in the dignity of unborn children and rightly so. So therefore care about their moms. Welcome the pregnant teenager into your church and minister to her. You believe that the unborn child bears the image of God and rightly so, and you want to protect the life of that unborn child and rightly so. Therefore, care about people in your neighborhoods who are racially different from you, that maybe the people around you would say, “They don’t matter, don’t care about them.” You care about the dignity of human life and the value and the worth of human life, and you understand and you know that there’s more to life than the pursuit of the orgasm, as the sexual revolution would tell us, therefore care about what’s going on with a pornography industry that is destroying the lives of women and communicating a false vision of sexuality that actually contributes to the abortion mindset.

We’re constantly asking not just, “Is this particular act wrong?,” although we say that specifically, but we’re saying, “Why is that particular act wrong?” That particular act is wrong because human beings are not God and we do not have the power of life or death over other human beings. We have not been given dominion over one another. If we don’t understand that, then we’re going to follow the exact same path that lead us to the abortion movement in the first place.

There’s a reason why most evangelical Protestants were nowhere to be found at Roe vs.Wade, with some notable exceptions. And where they were was often on the other side, on the pro-abortion side of the equation. Well why? It’s because you had people who would talk about image of God, they would talk about family stability and sexual morality and all of those sorts of things but they would not, they were not equipped to see how that applies to the unborn child. They averted their eyes from that. In order for evangelicals to be ready to speak a prophetic word against Roe vs. Wade, they had to have a theology of human life and they didn’t for the most part.

So if you’re in the 19th century, and you’re speaking about human dignity, you have to talk about slavery. If you ignore it, if you’re talking about human dignity and the sanctity of human life in 1845, and you’re talking about murders in the population, and you’re talking about all sorts of suffering around the world, but you don’t talk about human slavery, then you have no moral credibility and you are missing the huge presenting issue there of an assault upon human dignity and freedom. Now, that doesn’t mean though that slavery is cordoned off all by itself as though if you just get rid of slavery then you don’t have the other things to address. No, you have to get rid of slavery. That’s key. That’s threshold. But you also have to deal with the way that that slavery mindset shows up in the oppression of people of color in all sorts of ways – toward Jim Crow, toward voting rights, toward lynchings, toward all of these these other manifestations of that kind of idolatry. That is necessary to being pro-human, pro-freedom, and pro-life. What’s at the root of this?

This is what Jesus is getting at when in Luke 10 he talks about the man who was beaten on the side of the road and how the Samaritan is the one, after the priest and the Levite have passed by, the Samaritan is the one who stops and cares for him. Jesus says, “Go and do likewise.” And he asks the lawyer who’s asking him the question, “Now, which one was the one that obeyed the law of God in loving his neighbor?” And the answer was, “Well, the one that showed him mercy,” but he didn’t want to go there. He didn’t want to think about the Samaritans, because they’re the people that don’t matter in his view. And so he wanted to ask the question, “Well, who is my neighbor. I’m going to obey the command, love God and love my neighbor, but who is my neighbor?” And Jesus takes him exactly where he does not want to go. Matthew 25, the judgment scene, when Jesus is separating the sheep from the goats he does so in terms of people who are largely invisible to those who are being questioned. When Jesus says to those who are being condemned, “I was in prison, and you did not visit me. I was naked, and you did not clothe me. I was hungry, and you did not feed me,” their response is, “When did we do that? We didn’t see that at all.”

When the rich man in Jesus’s account is seen in torment, it’s because Lazarus – poor, covered in sores, licked by dogs, seen as irrelevant and shameful, not even really a part of this story. That attitude of invisibility toward Lazarus is what actually led this man toward hell. So when we’re asking “Who is my neighbor?” The answer is those who are bearing the image of God and are vulnerable and hurting and in front of us, and often the people that we don’t want to acknowledge at all.

Now, why don’t we? Well, there are all sorts of reasons, but one of the reasons is the tendency toward a herd mentality. In John 12, John tells us about people who, hearing Jesus teach, they didn’t commit themselves to Jesus because they were afraid that they would be put out of the synagogues, that they would they would lose their place in the tribe. And the reason for that, John says, is because they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. There’s a fallen human tendency to say, “What is my herd, and what is my tribe? And so let me just adapt myself completely to that herd and to that tribe.”

And so you may have the pro-justice people who will say, “My tribe cares, rightly, about the poor, cares about racial justice, cares about sex trafficking, and cares about a global hunger, but let’s just not talk about abortion.” What? Why? Because they love the glory that comes from man. Or they love the security of being part of the group, more than the question of what it means to follow Jesus.

The same thing is true with a person who’s pro, for lack of a better word, pro-values, pro-family, who would say “I care about the unborn, I’m going to talk about the unborn, because everybody around me in my base, if you will, they agree with me about that. And so I can continue to talk about that and can be seen as having great courage or great insight, even though I’m not really teaching or leading, I’m just saying what it is they already believe and repeating back to them. But I won’t talk about the “Who is my neighbor?” question when it applies to say, race, or to say, the disabled or to say, the elderly person with Alzheimer’s who is being ignored or in some cases around the world is actually being killed.

Well, that’s not teaching one another, and that’s not actually standing up for human life. That’s just standing up for whatever the political values are of the group that you’re with at the time. And what that actually means is that what we’re saying is that your visibility to us is based upon your power. The power that comes with whether or not a majority of the people around me right now want to talk about you. That’s Planned Parenthood. That that not only isn’t an alternative to the pro-abortion mindset, that is a pro-abortion mindset. If unborn children are useful to you, so you talk about abortion, then you’re not really talking about abortion. You’re just using these unborn children. And if racial relations and racial reconciliation and racial justice is useful to you in your particular tribe, but you don’t want to talk about unborn children, then it’s not the human dignity that you care about, it’s again, the power of whether or not the tribe or the majority will confer personhood upon those they want to see as invisible. The pro-life movement has said, and rightly so, “People aren’t useful. People bear dignity and value and worth.”

And we train ourselves for whether or not we’re going to recognize that or not in a variety of ways. So actually even if we want to limit the discussion only to abortion, our children are watching us. When we say “Every human being bears the image of God. Every human being bears dignity,” our children are watching and saying “Okay, does that apply to the stripper who’s being trafficked down the street?” If she shows up in your church, do you see her? Does that apply to the guy who has AIDS and wants to hear the gospel? Does that apply to the child with cognitive disabilities who is yelling in the middle of the worship service? Or are you going to say “Those people are not useful to me, those people disrupt what it is that we want to do, therefore we’re going to ignore them and move them to the side.” If they see and learn that lesson then do not be surprised when in the fullness of time, an unborn child becomes less than useful and they fall right into the hands of the abortion clinic.

Now, does that mean that we have to share a comprehensive program on everything in order to be a pro-life movement? Of course not. Even if you narrow it to simply the question of the preborn, we don’t share a comprehensive program on everything. We have all sorts of emphases, and some people would say, “Well, let’s start with dealing with late term abortion legally and politically.” Other people would say, “Let’s start with waiting periods and education of women when it comes to abortion.” Some people would say “Anything less than starting out with an affirmation that unborn children are persons under the Constitution, anything else is not good enough.” Those sorts of debates are happening all the time, even with the all or nothing people, there’s debates over whether or not we need a constitutional amendment or whether or not the 14th Amendment already includes children as persons, and therefore we ought to simply have the government proclaim that.

All of those those conversations go on, and they also take place within the life and the ministry of the church. Being pro-life, pro-woman, pro-baby doesn’t necessarily tell you exactly what your ministry is going to look like. Some churches, God has gifted and given both the gifting and the calling to emphasize foster care. Some, international adoption. Some, pregnancy resource centers. All are a variety of different ways that God has done that. The issue is, “Do you care about the lives that bear the image of God, and are you willing to see them and to minister to them in the way that that God has called you to do?” That’s critically important because the caricature out there is, Well, pro-life people they care about, they believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth, as Barney Frank says. That’s not true. As I said before, that’s not what’s going on all over the country but it can’t be. It can’t be.

To care about human life doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily going to agree on what healthcare system model ought to look like, but it does mean that we agree that sick people matter. It doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily going to agree on what sorts of affirmative action programs we ought to have in our colleges and universities, but it has to mean that we understand and know that black lives matter, black people matter. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we agree on how many immigrants ought to come into the country every year, but it has to mean that the lives of immigrants and strangers and sojourners matter to God and ought to matter to us. So we can’t be the people who say these people are parasites. We have to say, “These are people created in the image of God.”

If the majority decides who a person is, then that’s called pro-abortion, regardless of whether or not you call yourself pro-life or not. So if we’re going to combat that, we can’t say “Well I’m pro-life,” or “I’m pro-justice.” We have to say “We’re pro-life, we’re pro-justice, we’re pro-family, we’re pro-vulnerable, we’re pro-Jesus.” And our question cannot be “Well, who then is my neighbor?” The pro-life movement can only go forward by saying, “The life of every person is bound up in the question of who God is, and therefore matters.”

This is Russell Moore, and you’re listening to Signposts.

The post What does it mean to be “pro-life”? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 20, 2018
Should We Give Up On Evangelicalism?
00:27:51

Should we stop calling ourselves “evangelicals”?

Should we just give up on “evangelicalism”?

I am asked these questions all the time, usually by Christians who are concerned that these labels no longer accurately define or describe who they are and what they believe.

In this episode of Signposts, I talk about these questions and offer my own perspective on the status and future of evangelical Christianity in the United States.

Listen above, and be sure to subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts as they are released.

TRANSCRIPT

Hello, this is Russell Moore, and you’re listening to Signposts – questions about faith, life, and culture. Matter of fact, this is Signpost’s rebirth. This is the new relaunch of Signposts, and today I want to talk about a question that I get so often that I’m frankly starting to get tired of it. It’s the question of whether or not we ought to give up on the word “evangelical,” or whether we ought to give up on evangelicalism itself as a movement. Now here’s why I think this actually is an important question, and it’s about more than just names and titles and categories. I often, when I hear people talking about my hometown I know when someone pronounces it “Biloxi” that this is someone who has no idea what the town is, and they’re simply reading a word off of a page. I even had someone say to me one time, when they were talking to me about, “Now you’re from Biloxi, Mississippi.” I said, “No, I’m from Biloxi Mississippi. It’s pronounced Biloxi.” And the response was, “Well, whatever, it doesn’t matter.” Well, it does matter to me, because if you’re naming it something other than what it actually is, then it’s telling me that you don’t know it, you don’t understand it.

I think that’s one of the reasons why many of us (and I say us) are irked sometimes when we see the word “evangelical” being used in some really broad and often weird and sometimes even gospel-denying kinds of ways out there in the broader culture. A couple years ago, I wrote a piece in The Washington Post that said that I find myself not using the word “evangelical” very often anymore and instead using “Gospel Christian” when people ask me about my religious affiliation and who I am. And the reason for that is because often now, when people in the larger world use the word “evangelical,” what they’re doing is talking about mostly simply a political category. They’re talking about white evangelicals, rarely talking about evangelicals of color, and they’re talking about a caricature of evangelicals, either that’s just kind of a voting bloc – a group of people that are just kind of like cicadas that go into dormancy between Iowa caucuses every four years, or evangelical in terms of the most buffoonish sorts of representatives of evangelicalism that might be out there on television or or on the internet.

Now, why that’s important is because there is a sense out there among many people that I deal with all the time – some of you, I know that many of you who listen to this program aren’t Christians yet, and sometimes the biggest skepticism that many people have is “Well, is Christianity, and particularly evangelical Christianity, about something else? Are you talking about Jesus just so you can get me to sign up with some movement, or so that I can behave the way that you want me to behave, or so I can buy the products that you want me to buy?” Those sorts of questions. That’s a problem, that’s an important issue that we ought to face.

The other is that often when I see the word “evangelical” being used, it’s being used in a way that is on the one hand really, really narrow – talking about white evangelicals who share the same sorts of subculture, on the other hand, really, really broadly – including, for instance, prosperity gospel hucksters out there in the world that that are being claimed as evangelical Christians. And one of the ways that this came home to me in recent years was I was having a conversation with someone who is a prosperity Gospel, health-and-wealth “Christian” – and I use “Christian” in quotes here – but who was advocating all of this really, really aberrant theology, but at the same time was really upset about my denomination and my denomination’s publishing house particularly, because of the stands that they had taken on sexuality. And it didn’t make sense to me at first, because I thought “Now wait a minute, this is somebody who is a culture-warring sort of person that isn’t at all, I would think, wanting to embrace these progressive, revisionist ideas of sexuality.” Until, in the conversation, it finally started to dawn on me that this person wants to make sure that evangelicalism is not defined theologically in such a way that it would exclude the kind of product that they’re selling. I think that’s exactly what we ought to do.

So when we come to this question of “evangelical,” you see it in the newspaper, you read it on the internet, people are talking about it in your community, and someone says to you, “Are you an evangelical, are you an evangelical Christian?” Does that really matter? Well, on the one hand, no, it doesn’t matter very much because evangelical in and of itself isn’t really a Biblical word, and not only that, but very few people actually in their daily lives, I think, refer to themselves or think of themselves as evangelical. LifeWay research did a study not long ago that said there are far more people who call themselves evangelical than actually believe what one would consider to be evangelical doctrines. I know that’s true. I suspect that’s quite true. I also think though that the reverse is true – that there are many people who are evangelical Christians who don’t call themselves that you ask them “What’s your religion?,” or “What’s your faith tradition?” “I’m a Christian” or “I’m a Methodist” or “I’m non-denominational” they might say. Or “I’m born again, I believe the gospel.” I think there are all sorts of ways that people respond to that, and the answers start to narrow down when you start asking “What kind of Christian are you” or “What kind of Methodist are you? or “What kind of Presbyterian are you?” Then often “evangelical” will come forward as as a modifier.

So in one sense it’s not important, but in another sense I think it makes a huge difference. That’s especially true when we’re talking about the ways that we cooperate together as gospel Christians, as evangelicals. How do we identify the boundaries and the center of that sort of cooperation? And by that I mean cooperation in terms of things as broad as global missions, and as narrow as specific college campus ministry. I was on a campus not long ago, and it was the same story that I have faced on college campuses all over the country, where there there was a a group, a evangelical fellowship, on that campus that had to stop using the word evangelical even though they had used it for, I don’t know, 50 years. But they had to change because they’re trying to do evangelism, and when they’re talking to unbelievers what they find is that when they say “evangelical,” an unbeliever hears something very, very different than the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the authority of the Bible, and the necessity of personal faith in Christ. They hear a specific cultural or political program. And that was impeding the evangelism and admissions thrust of that organization, and of many others that are wrestling with this and trying to figure out how to describe themselves.

Now, some people would say “Well, evangelicalism has always just been sort of cultural resentment and white identity, and those sorts of things.” Ross Douthat sort of made this argument in his column in The New York Times a couple of months ago, when he said “I’m not sure we actually have an evangelical crisis, because it could be that evangelicalism just has always been the caricature that people have of it and always will be.” I don’t believe that. I think if we look at what evangelicalism means in terms of the word itself and in terms of the movement, it’s, as Tim Keller pointed out in The New Yorker, “a renewal movement” within the church. It goes back to the revivals of George Whitefield and John Wesley and others who established, culturally established, or in some cases state established, and said “You must be born again, remember the words that Jesus gave to Nicodemus, ‘Unless a man is born again he will not inherit the kingdom of God,'” That renewal movement continues to Billy Graham, who if you’ll remember, when he’s preaching “You must be born again, you must be of the New Birth,” he’s preaching to people who were largely culturally Christian and largely, as he begins in the 1950s, a people who would share sort of homogeneous American values about life and working and family, and Billy Graham is saying “That is not good enough, you cannot simply reform yourself, you must be regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God.” That’s the gift that evangelicalism brings as an emphasis. Carl F. H. Henry, same thing. Coming in and saying “Evangelicals ought to be the people who are constantly standing up and saying ‘the gospel, the gospel, the gospel.”

So Evangelical is a good word to show the continuity of all of these different renewal movements that really are connected to one another historically and in the present. But also it’s a good word, because it’s rooted in the word for Gospel, the word for for good news, and that’s something that we really do not want to give up. As much as I’m uncomfortable sometimes with the word evangelical in the current context, we shouldn’t hastily give the word up. For one thing, the sorts of caricatures of evangelicalism that we see around us as a strictly kind of cultural phenomenon are really old and aren’t going to last. As I’ve been trying to argue for years, cultural Christianity is sick and dying. People do not increasingly just go down demographically, and look, people do not feel the need to identify themselves nominally with the church or with Christianity in order to be seen as good people.

Now at one level, that really ought to be a terrifying reality for us. Again, going back to Ross Douthat, I’m always very often reminded of what Ross said to sort of secular progressives, “You were worried about the religious right, just wait until you see the post religious right.” But we’re starting to see that around the world right now, where you have groups and movements on the right and on the left that have no pretense to Christian norms whatsoever. They care about Christianity only in terms of not something else, so that Christianity is just another way of saying Western Civilization, but there’s no commitment to the authority of the Bible, there’s no commitment to the New Birth, the teachings of Jesus and dicipleship and bearing the cross, and to the Holy Spirit. That is a terrifying thing in terms of a cultural movement.

On the other hand though, that is actually good news for the church and for the people of God. Because the way that the gospel goes forward is not through sameness with the culture around us. The way the Gospel goes forward is through distinction. And so when we think about evangelicalism, and we think about what does it usually mean when evangelicals themselves have said the word evangelical, it means commitment to the truthfulness and the authority of the Bible, commitment to the need for personal faith and repentance, commitment to the cross of Jesus Christ as the climax of all of creation and the place from which flows redemption. It’s a commitment to personal evangelism and to missions. Those things are still going to be here. There are some people who would say, “Well, evangelicalism isn’t even going to last.” Well, I think evangelicalism, whatever you call it, is going to last because the Gospel lasts, and because the church is always going to need that movement within it saying “Remember you cannot stand before God except through the mediation of Jesus Christ. Remember the gospel.”

So where does that leave us with the word evangelical? On the one hand, as I said, I’m tired of talking about this because I’m asked about it so often, and what I want to say is really there are deeper issues here that we ought to get at, the very root sort of questions about what it means to be Gospel people. That’s more important than what people think about when they hear the branding of the word evangelical. But it is a little disconcerting, because I’m afraid that if we’re not careful what happened to the word evangelist might happen to the word evangelical. Now, there’s a difference, because evangelist and evangelism, of course, are directly Biblical words. “Do the work of an evangelist.” But coming out of the the scandals of television evangelists in the 1980s, what I found was that there there were a lot of people, especially people under a certain age, who became very reluctant to use the word evangelism or evangelist. Even people who actually were evangelists, whether just in terms of having the gift of evangelism, or people who were actually vocationally evangelists, they were reluctant to use the word because they knew if they said it what what people would hear is “someone is fleecing you for money, someone who’s living a hypocritical moral life,” and those sorts of questions. Well, evangelist and evangelism are words we shouldn’t abandon to the hucksters, and evangelicalism isn’t something that we should abandon to cultural Christianity.

Now there are some words that just don’t mean the same thing that they used to mean. Billy Graham, who we mentioned earlier, came to the forefront through “Crusades.” Not many people use the word crusade right now, even Campus Crusade for Christ is “Cru.” Why? Because when people hear the word “crusade,” they typically aren’t thinking of what Billy Graham meant of a concerted spiritual warfare effort, they think the Crusades which which is not something that is a positive sort of association. So the word crusade is occasionally used, not much, that’s not that really much of a loss.

The word fundamentalist, if you think about the way fundamentalist used to be the shorthand for people who were Christians and who believed the basics, the fundamentals, the foundation points of the Christian faith. So if you asked someone in 1925, “Are you a fundamentalist?,” and if she said yes, what she’s saying to you is that she believes in the inerrancy of scripture, she believes that Jesus was was physically raised from the dead, bodily raised from the dead, she believes that Jesus will will return at the Second Coming, those foundational fundamentals of the faith. She believes in the Virgin Birth, those sorts of creedal questions that were coming under assault at the time. Now, and really starting sometime in the 1940s or so, fundamentalist started to be in many people’s minds – most people’s minds – shorthand for something else. So fundamentalist started to mean, in many contexts, well that you believe the King James Version is the only accurate translation of scripture in English, or you believe that pre-tribulation Rapture, or a dispensational reading of scripture is necessary, or certain sorts of codes about how long somebody’s hair should be, or what kind of clothes somebody should wear. And so people largely stopped using the word fundamentalist, and that became even more the case when we saw the rise of Islamic fundamentalism around the world, and fundamentalist started to mean to people “someone who is potentially violent.”

I don’t usually say that I am a fundamentalist, because although I do believe in the fundamentals of the faith, that’s not what most people are asking me. I can remember one time when I used the word for myself, and it was when I was in a really, really liberal gathering of people who were committed to the name “Christian” and they were asking me all of these questions about where I was, and where I stood, and I finally I said, “Look, what you need to understand is that I’m a fundamentalist.” What I meant was, what what I knew they would understand, is that I actually believe the Bible is true. I actually do think Jonah was swallowed by a fish. I actually think Isaiah wrote Isaiah. Those sorts of questions. But in almost every other situation, I wouldn’t use it because the shorthand doesn’t work for what I mean.

Well, evangelical is just shorthand. It’s a way of communicating really quickly what it is, what stream of professing Christianity that we’re in. So I don’t think we should give it up, at least not now. But I think we ought to use the word like a missionary. We all are missionaries, we’ve all been commissioned by Christ and sent forward. So we communicate with the shorthand, but we explain what the shorthand is. So for instance, I am an orthodox Christian, and what I mean by that is that I believe in classical Christian orthodoxy – the Nicene Creed and the Chalcedonian Creed and so forth. And so I may very well, in a shorthand sort of way, say “I’m an orthodox Christian.” I wouldn’t do that, though, if I were in Greece or in Russia. If I did, I would make sure that I was saying “I’m a small o orthodox Christian,” because in those contexts, when people hear that you’re orthodox they assume you mean “I’m part of the Greek Orthodox Church, or part of the Russian Orthodox Church. I believe in the doctrines of Eastern Orthodoxy,” Not what you mean – small o orthodox. In the same way, I’m a catholic Christian, but with a small c. When we’re reciting the Apostles Creed about the Holy Catholic church, or talking about the historic marks of the church is one Holy Catholic and Apostolic, I believe that. I believe the church is universal, the literal meaning of catholic. I believe that God’s people are unified, but I almost never would describe myself as a catholic, because what the average person would assume is that one means I’m a Roman Catholic, I agree with the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, or I’m in submission to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, which of course isn’t true.

The same thing has been the case over and over and over again throughout history. There was a time when, if someone is asking, “Are you a Lutheran?,” what they mean is “Do you agree with Martin Luther about the necessity of the reform of the church, and about justification through faith alone?” If that’s what someone meant, then I would be like, “Yeah, I’m a Lutheran, I’m with him on those things.” Typically now, what people mean is “Are you part of the Lutheran Church, are you part of the Lutheran movement?” There was a time when people would use the word Anabaptist, not just to apply to the groups that we know see as Anabaptists, but speaking of anybody who practices believer’s baptism. A re-baptizer, the word literally means, which was a slur that people just eventually adopted. It was shorthand, it worked sometimes, it didn’t work other times.

Same thing would be true with “I’m a Protestant Christian.” But if I’m in Northern Ireland, I’m going to explain what I mean when I say, “I’m a Protestant.” What I mean is not that I’m associated with some cultural faction within that country, what I mean is that I agree with the reformers about sola scriptura and justification through faith, and those reformational doctrines. But you know, the exact same thing is true, really, with the word “Christian.” When you say, I’m a Christian, you have to explain what you mean. Because if you’re sitting on a plane, and you simply say to someone “Are you a Christian?,” and the person says “Yes,” that really doesn’t tell you very much. If someone is defining Christian as “Well, I’m an American,” or “I was baptized when I was a baby and I’ve never given any thought to it again,” or “My parents belong to the Episcopal Church,” or however it is they’re defining Christian. What you have to say is, “Are you someone who has repented of sin, and placed your personal trust in Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead?” Those are the sorts of questions that you’re going to be asking. The shorthand has to be explained.

Same thing, I think, is true with the word evangelical. Now, what’s going to be critically important, though, is that those of us who are going to be evangelical insist upon the gospel as foundational to our use of the term. You can’t control what anybody else does, you can’t control what your neighbors think when they think evangelical, you can’t control what television commentators mean when they say evangelical, but you can explain what the gospel means, and what it means to be a Gospel Christian, an evangelical Christian.

So, I’m willing to work with all sorts of people on all sorts of things. I’ll work with Latter Day Saints, I’ll work with orthodox Jews, I’ll work with all sorts of groups of people, people who have no religious faith whatsoever. And I would even join a group that was, say, Citizens Against Abortion, or say, Citizens Against Human Trafficking, and so forth with those people. I wouldn’t join a group that was Christians fill-in-the-blank, because that would confuse what I mean when I say Christian in a way that is overheard by people who are asking, “What does it mean to be a Christian?” I would never be associated in terms of evangelical with, for instance, prosperity gospel teachers, who I don’t recognize as evangelical or as Christians. Health-and-wealth prosperity gospel, in all of its iterations, is not Christianity. It’s a different gospel, it’s a Cananite fertility religion that sends people to hell. It’s Baalism. I’m not going to accept that.

But at the same time, I’m not ready to give up the word evangelical. Evangelicalism will persist because the Gospel persists, and as a good evangelical, Martin Luther, might have put it: “Let goods and kindred go, the shorthand words also, the words they may confound, our hope is onward bound, His Kingdom is forever.” That’s loosely interpreted from the German. So, let’s keep the word evangelical as long as we can, but more importantly, let’s be evangelical. Let’s keep the Gospel.

This is Russell Moore, an evangelical Christian (not as seen on TV). Let me know what sorts of questions you have, and conversations you’d like to have on Signposts.

The post Should We Give Up On Evangelicalism? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 06, 2018
Introducing My Updated Podcast
00:07:23

I’m excited to announce that my podcast, Signposts, will soon be returning in a fresh new format that I hope you’ll enjoy.

I’ll continue to deal with questions ranging from theology to ethics to culture and much more. I’ll also be inviting guests from all corners of society to join me on the program. In conversation with these leaders, we’ll get to hear their stories and explore some of the moments and ideas that have shaped their lives.

This season of Signposts will officially kick off on April 6, and we’ll be releasing two new episodes each month. I really look forward to thinking through important questions and sharing these conversations with you, and I hope you’ll join me.

The post Introducing My Updated Podcast appeared first on Russell Moore.

Mar 16, 2018
How I Write
00:12:37

In this episode of Signposts, I talk about my approach to writing. From keeping track of ideas, to writing books and articles, this podcast offers you a look at the whole process. You can find the full transcript and links to subscribe below.

Transcript

We’re about to take a little break here in the summer here on Signposts. I’m going to take a few weeks as I’m writing a book to really concentrate and give my attention to this book. As I was thinking about that, one of my colleagues said, “You should talk about on Signposts how it is that you write.” And I have to be honest, I’m really reluctant to do that because I said “Nobody cares how I write, first of all, and second of all I certainly don’t commend to anybody else my particular way of writing.” But he said, “There may be some people who can benefit from that as they’re thinking about how to write for themselves.” And maybe so.

Because you are probably going to be called upon to write something at some point in your life. It may not be that you’re a writer, but you may have to write a loved one’s obituary. Or you may have to write a letter to a child or a family member. All of us are going to have to put down on paper or on the screen our thoughts at some point. Some people just do it much more extensively than other people do it.

So here’s kind of the process I go through. And again, I don’t commend it to anybody at all. This is just the way that I work. What I wish I could say to you is that I sit down and make out an elaborate outline, and then have note cards in front of me, and I go through each of note cards. That’s not how I work. What I have to do is spend a lot of time, first of all, reading in whatever area I’m going to be writing in, and then a lot of time just processing that. So just thinking. A lot of the most important writing time for me actually is not in front of the screen, it’s walking in the woods. Because that’s when I’m thinking through “Okay but what about this, and what about that, what about this idea, and what about that idea,” and sort of churning as I’m thinking through this. And for me, exercising – especially sort of meandering free exercising – is what helps to put all of that together for me.

I also like to keep with me a little notebook because there will always be those moments where something will just flash. I’ll be reading in Scripture devotionally and something will hit me – “I haven’t considered that, that’s important for whatever this thing is I’m writing.” Or I may be sitting in a wedding somewhere and something hits me. So I want to have something that I can quickly jot something down about whatever it is that I’m thinking. Then just continue to churn and continue to think about these things. Then when I sit down to write what I typically want to do is to spend some time balancing writing what’s down on the page, usually these days in my study at home, with sort of pacing around the floor. So if you watched me – I would never want any one watching me. I have a couple of friends who will sit there and write while they’ve got people around them. That would be disastrous for me, because I just jump up and pace around the room, sit down and write a little bit more, jump up and pace around the room some more. It’s a really sort of neurotic thing to watch that I wouldn’t want anybody to see.

But as I’m writing things down, I have to have huge periods of solitude interrupted by short bursts of community. So what I need to do is to talk about what it is that I’m writing about, not all the way through, but in certain little bursts. So I’ll gather a group of friends together and just say “Hey, this is what I’m thinking about. Does this make sense?” Or I’ll call my friend David Prince on the phone and say “Hey, what do you think about…” and just start talking about what it is that I’m writing. Or my wife and I might go for a walk and I might talk to her about what I’m thinking through. That helps me to break out a little bit of the solitude in order to test out ideas. But I have to have this solitude.

So, often when I was at Southern Seminary I would drive down to Gethsemane Abbey in Kentucky, the place where Thomas Merton was a monk, and I would go there because I could just wander in the woods completely silent and quiet there. I could think things through, and then I could come back into the Abbey and write down the sorts of outlines of things that I thought about. I may be there all day and then get in the car and drive back and I’ve got the time driving also then. So usually it is better for me, it’s better time spent if I would take however long it took to drive to Gethsemane Abby, all day there, and however much time it took to come back. Even if I didn’t put anything on the page that whole day, that’s not a day lost because it’s all then uploading. And then I come home and I’m able to write.

It’s also true for me that I can’t write little dribbling out amounts in any sort of continuous way. So if I’m writing a book, I just can’t write a paragraph on a plane and then another paragraph in between meetings. I’ve got to write continuously and the flow of thought really can’t be broken away or interrupted. Now, you may be different. And it may be that the way that you write is best in terms of just planning out “I’m going to write a paragraph every morning” or whatever. If so, good for you. I wish I could do that but that’s not the way that I operate. That’s not the way that I do things.

That’s different when I’m writing a book from when I’m writing a short article like a blog post or something. In that case, what I need is a dose of adrenaline. So what I need is for something to either make me angry or make me really, really happy where I just simply have to express it. I was telling that to a friend one time and he said “Really? Angry? Because almost none of your writing seems angry to me.” And I said “Well, that’s because the anger for me is a sense of provocation. It’s not what I then use to actually write the article.” So I may become really angry or grieved about something, but then I’m going to work through “Yeah, but why would somebody do this? Why would somebody hold to that view?” And then when the adrenaline hits I usually just sit down and just write the blog post altogether, in sometimes just a few minutes. But because it’s all there – whatever’s in the background has been fueled up with the adrenaline and then there it is.

The other kind of writing though that I find really beneficial is something that you’ll never see. It’s something that actually I heard recommended by a podcast host, Brian Koppelman, who is a filmwriter and producer and he hosts a podcast that I love called “The Moment.” And he recommended something called morning pages. As a matter of fact, he just mentioned “morning pages” one time on the program. And I didn’t even know what it was, so I Googled it. And I found out that morning pages is something recommended by this book “The Artist’s Way” which I then ordered and read. I don’t endorse everything or even most of what’s in that book. A lot of it is really New Age-y and sort of spiritually therapeutic sort of stuff. But there’s some really helpful stuff in there too that you can sieve out.

And one of those things was the idea of morning pages. And basically what it is that you get up first thing in the morning and you write 3 pages that no one is ever going to see, that you’re not going to look at at least for a long period of time. Where you can make all the mistakes and errors and you can just “stream-of-consciousness” write. And at first I thought, “That is going to be a total waste of time.” But I did it, and it was really helpful to me. Because when I would sit down first thing after waking up and just start writing, and not know where I’m going to go, I could find out some of the things that were actually burdening me at the time. Maybe some of the things that God was working on in my life. And so in doing that, I’ve kind of been able to find things to have more gratitude about. I’ve found some some sins to repent of. There are some things that I thought that I had forgiven, that when I’m doing these morning pages I realize “Wait a minute, if I’m still talking about this in this stream of consciousness way, then maybe I haven’t forgiven this.” All sorts of things have sort of come out of that, and it just kind of primes my brain to be able to think through other things during the day.

Again, what’s key to me is the idea that nobody is going to see this, I’m not going to look at this, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Because perfection or the idea of perfection is what scares me from writing. And I think that’s true for a lot of people. It causes you to procrastinate because you think “I should wait until I can write this perfectly.” You’re not going to write this perfectly, there’s no way to write this perfectly, and you’re not even going to go back and look at it again. That’s important for me.

And then also, no one’s going to see it. You know, sometimes when I’m keeping a journal I’ve always got in the back of my mind “My kids are going to one day be reading this,” and I want to sort of put my best foot forward for my kids. This does away with the temptation toward that kind of performance or that kind of mask. Now obviously, I’ve got the notebook on my desk, and I could drop dead of a heart attack today and my kids could read the morning pages. But that’s not what’s in your mind as you’re doing it. So that’s helpful for me, and may be something that you enjoy or something that you don’t, but it has proven to be a source and a catalyst for a lot of things that I have later written about or preached about or talked about later on.

We’re going to take a few weeks off here on Signposts, and then we’ll be back coming into the fall with many new episodes of Signposts, including some things I’m really excited about right now that I’ll tell you about later. So have a good time, have a good summer, and we’ll reconnect afterwards.

The post How I Write appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jul 07, 2017
What Should You Say at an Unbeliever’s Funeral?
00:14:13

In this episode of Signposts, I talk about what to say at the funeral of an unbeliever. You can find the full transcript and links to subscribe below.

What Should You Say at an Unbeliever’s Funeral? — Transcript

The other day I had someone ask me about a funeral that she was going to. She said “This is a funeral for an unbeliever, and I’m trying to think through what to say.” I think that’s a really good question, and an important question for all of us, because we’ve been in this situation. Almost everybody has been in this situation, if you haven’t then you will be in the situation. So when she says “what I should say,” really that could be a number of things. It could be the question of what should you say when you’re just there and you’re going through the the line talking to family members, in which case I think the response to that is simply to grieve with the family members and say “I’m really sorry about the loss of your mother/dad/brother” or whomever it is and grieve with them. I mean the Scripture tells us to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Jesus gives us the example of being grieved to the core at the death of Lazarus, and this was someone who obviously was a believer. But death itself is something Jesus sees as an enemy, and something that ought to provoke tears and grief. And so a simple “I’m here for you and with you,” “I grieve with you,” “I’ll be praying for you,”  — all of those things are appropriate at a funeral.

The question becomes more complex when you’re dealing with someone who has to give a eulogy or someone who is a minister who’s actually preaching the funeral. I have a great deal of sympathy here, because the very first funeral that I ever did was for someone that I didn’t know who was a complete unbeliever. Not just an unbeliever, but someone who apparently had lived a pretty awful life, because the family members were standing in the background, and the pallbearers were standing in the back as we’re about to go in for the funeral. And one of them looked over at the grieving family and said “Well bless their hearts, they’re better off because he was the meanest man I ever knew.” I thought “You know what, if at the end of your life, your pallbearers say that you’re the meanest guy they ever knew, you have lived a rough life.” And so here I had to preach this funeral.

There was another time where the daughter of a woman who had died said to me “You know, I’m trying to think through what to say in the eulogy and I really can’t think of anything kind to say about my mother except the fact that she kept the bird feeder stocked in her backyard. She cared for the birds.” I said “There’s nothing?” “No.” She could find nothing.

So I understand a little bit of the tension that happens there. On the other hand, I’ve been to many funerals where someone that I knew to have been an unbeliever is there, and the the pastor will stand up and talk about how aunt Flossie is in the presence of Jesus now and has graduated on up into glory. And obviously what the pastor is intending to do is to comfort the family with the idea of Heaven for the loved one. The problem though is it becomes really clear to people that what you’re doing is simply using Heaven as a means to an end. So you don’t really believe what it is that you’ve been saying about “No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ,” about the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ, and repentance for sin. Because once someone’s dead, that’s all over with. That sort of pious lying about the life of a person, really does–in my view–great damage to the gospel.

That doesn’t mean though that we go in the exact opposite direction. I was at a funeral one time where the person had died and they had multiple pastors. The first pastor stood up and said, “This is someone who’s in heaven right now and rejoicing with Jesus.” The second guy was an Independent Fundamentalist sort of pastor who said, “You know, I keep hearing all of this about how this guy is in heaven right now. But this guy never had time for the church, never had time for Christ, and never was willing to repent of his sins and put his faith in Jesus Christ. And I just want you all to know that at 3:45 AM last Tuesday, he busted hell wide open.” That’s not an appropriate word either at a funeral.

Instead, I think what we need to do at a funeral is a number of things. The first thing – whether you’re giving the eulogy or whether you’re officiating or whether you’re in some way leading this funeral – the first thing is to recognize and honor the dignity of that life. Whether it’s a believer or an unbeliever, this is somebody who is created in the image of God. This is somebody who in some way was “imaging” God. This is someone who operated within the common grace that God gives to all of humanity. So when we find something that’s praiseworthy in the life of the person who has died, what we’re saying is that this life really mattered. God displayed Himself in some way in this person’s life, and so I’m affirming that this person is created in the image of God, and I’m affirming all the good things that God did through this person.

In many cases, even someone who has made a total wreck of his or her life has had those times where God has used that person in some way or another in order to bless other people. Finding those things as an aspect of gratitude to God. “Thank you for the fact that you gave us this person. Thank you that you used this person in the following ways.” is completely appropriate to do at a funeral. Now having said that, be honest and don’t make up attributes about this person who has died. If you do, all that you’re going to communicate to the people who are hearing you is not comfort. You’re just going to communicate the fact that you’re a liar. And they’re not going to believe anything else that you’ve said.

So if you have somebody who was a very miserly person, you don’t want to get up and say “What a generous person this is.” If this is somebody who harbored bitterness, you don’t want to get up and say “This is somebody who was so forgiving.” You want to be truthful in the things that you say. That doesn’t mean that you have to get up and say “You know, this was a really bitter woman,” or “This was a really unforgiving man.” You don’t need to say that. You leave those things in in silence. They don’t need to be said.

There are some cases where I think it’s appropriate to raise the sort of issue that everyone’s thinking of. I was at a funeral one time for someone who had been a really, really short-tempered guy. The Lord had used this guy in all sorts of ways, but everybody had had a run in with him, and every one of those run ins were really scorching. And so his son simply said, “Hey, my dad was not the easiest person to deal with. He was kind of a prickly guy.” And there was laughter, a kind of relieved laughter that took place in the room. Because the point of the eulogy was not to settle a score with his dad, it was to say “Hey, I know you all are thinking about some difficult times that you had with my dad, but let’s also remember the ways that God used him.” I think that’s entirely appropriate in that case.

When it comes to the eternal destiny of the person who has died. When you’re dealing with a believer, of course, what you’re going to do is to draw on all of those Scriptures of hope. So you’re going to say “We grieve, but we don’t grieve as those who have no hope.” You’re going to talk about Resurrection in Christ and Resurrection from the dead. When you’re dealing with an unbeliever though, you don’t have all of those things. So what do you do? Well, I would want to say don’t presume that person is eternally lost. Don’t presume that the person is eternally saved. But don’t presume the person is eternally lost. And the reason I say this is that salvation is through faith. Abraham believed God and God credited it to him as righteousness. We receive salvation as beggars, and Jesus has told us that it doesn’t matter whether we received salvation very early in our lives and lived our life for Christ, or if we cried out for mercy and Christ in those last seconds or nanoseconds before we go out into eternity. He’s given us the parable of the workers in the field, and the ones that came on early in the day and in the ones who came on at the end of the day being paid the same wage.

So we ought to recognize that. We also ought to recognize the example that our Lord gave us of the thief on the cross. And what stays in my mind constantly any time that an unbeliever I know dies or any time that I go to an unbeliever’s funeral is hearing a message in Southern Seminary Chapel probably 20 years ago where the preacher from Wales is preaching on the thief on the cross. He gave the illustration of a man who had been horseback riding and he was an unbeliever, all of his family had just given up on him as a hopeless unbeliever. He was thrown from the horse, believed the gospel mid-air, hit the ground, and went into a coma for some weeks. And when he woke up out of the coma as a Christian, his family was really shocked about this. And they all said, “If you had died, we would have assumed that you were in hell.”

This preacher said “You know, if the thief on the cross had any God-fearing relatives, they probably assumed that he was under the Judgment of God. They probably were the most surprised people imaginable when in Paradise they find themselves in communion with this murderous thief that they had given up on a long time ago. Well, that’s always a possibility. Don’t count on it, if you’re an unbeliever right now listening to this, it’s a very, very dangerous thing to say, “Well, I’ll just come to faith in Christ in those last seconds on my deathbed.” That’s a very dangerous thing. First of all, you don’t know how much time you have. You don’t know whether or not your death is going to be lingering or sudden. And you also need the grace of God in order to even recognize the truth of the gospel and the presence of Christ. So don’t presume upon that grace. Repent and believe.

But, as we’re thinking about other people, there’s always the possibility that in those last few seconds or moments that the message that has been given, that the seed that has been planted, may have come to fruition. So let’s hold that at least as a possibility when we’re thinking about unbelievers. Which means we weep, we grieve, we don’t pronounce though definitively that this person is in Hell. And I think what that also means though is that we proclaim the gospel. Now you don’t have to get up and say,  “Uncle Ronnie’s in heaven” or “Aunt Flossie’s in hell.” You don’t have to do that.

What you have to do is to stand up and say, “We’ve gathered here today because of death. The death of this person that we knew, this person that many of us loved. We’re all going to face death. Death is an enemy that’s coming for us all, and you can’t outlast death. You can’t fight death with money, or with health, or with anything else. You’re going to ultimately face death. How do you face death? You face death as a sinner who’s in need of forgiveness and you face death as someone who receives the life that comes through the shed blood, broken body and resurrected life of Jesus Christ.

So preach the gospel. You don’t have to narrate and adjudicate every aspect of this unbeliever’s life in order to say to people, “There is hope for you no matter what it is that you’ve done. You can find salvation and today is the day of salvation.” I think that’s the way to handle an unbeliever’s funeral.

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Jun 30, 2017
Signposts: Why is church attendance declining? A conversation with Skye Jethani
00:18:25

In this episode of Signposts, I sat down with Skye Jethani to talk about why church attendance is declining. From a conversation that began on Twitter, we explore changes in culture, supply and demand, and the state of the local church.

Listen below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes when they publish.

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Jun 23, 2017
Signposts: Senator Ben Sasse and Russell Moore talk about how perpetual adolescence hurts the church
00:22:36

In this episode of Signposts I sit down with Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. We talk how perpetual adolescence hurts the church and about his new book, The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis–and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance.

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Jun 02, 2017
Signposts: Should You Make Your Children Go to Church?
00:11:39

I often get asked this question from parents: Should we require our child to come to church with our family? Sometimes the child even dreads or dislikes going to church. What if we suspect that our child is going through difficult things while at church?

In this episode of Signposts I talk about why requiring church from children is an issue of priority, and how to engage a situation where your child might feel unwelcome at church.

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The post Signposts: Should You Make Your Children Go to Church? appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 26, 2017
Signposts: How to Deal with a Family Member’s Racist Comments
00:13:24

When someone you love or are close to vocalizes a racist sentiment, what’s the best way to respond? In this episode of Signposts I consider how we can confront racial prejudice in our families in a gospel-centered way.

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The post Signposts: How to Deal with a Family Member’s Racist Comments appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 19, 2017
Signposts: A conversation with Andy Crouch about family and technology
00:28:01

How do I navigate technology with my kids? In this episode of Signposts I talk with author and speaker Andy Crouch about families and the use of technology. We also talk about his new book, The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place.

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May 12, 2017
Signposts: Why I’m Not a Pacifist (But I Don’t Hate Those Who Are)
00:18:30

In this episode of Signposts I talk about why I am not a pacifist and what I have learned from that tradition.

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The post Signposts: Why I’m Not a Pacifist (But I Don’t Hate Those Who Are) appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 05, 2017
Signposts: Why Sola Scriptura Matters
00:25:10

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Central to the Reformation’s theology was the idea of sola Scriptura, meaning “The Bible alone.” What does sola Scriptura mean practically for the Christian life? Is it a workable doctrine, or does it lead to a fractured, individualistic spiritual life?

In this episode of Signposts I talk about an evangelical theology of Scripture, and why saying “The Bible alone” is not a recipe for an anti-authority Christianity.

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The post Signposts: Why Sola Scriptura Matters appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 28, 2017
Signposts: How Can You Know If You’re Under God’s Discipline?
00:22:33

How can you know if you’re under the discipline of God? Recently I was asked this question by someone who was concerned that her recent struggles with sin were causing her health problems. Like many others, she worried that God was punishing her.

In this episode of Signposts I consider what the Bible says about who we are as Christians, the difficulties we face in this life, and what God’s discipline means for us.

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Transcript coming soon. 

The post Signposts: How Can You Know If You’re Under God’s Discipline? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 21, 2017
Signposts: “Is Penal Substitutionary Atonement Immoral?”
00:23:56

For thousands of years, Christians have taught that on Good Friday, Jesus bore the wrath of God for our sins. But is this an immoral belief? Can we worship a God who would pour out wrath on His Son?

In this episode of Signposts I consider the doctrine of substitutionary atonement and explain why God is good, and not evil, to lay our sins on Christ.

Listen to Signposts below, and subscribe to get new episodes automatically when they publish.

Transcript coming soon.

The post Signposts: “Is Penal Substitutionary Atonement Immoral?” appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 14, 2017
Signposts: A Conversation with Jen Wilkin
00:20:00

In this episode of Signposts I talk with author and speaker Jen Wilkin about the local church, men and women in ministry, and how to build a strong culture of teaching for women in the church. Listen below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes when they publish.

__________________

Below is an edited transcript of the audio

RUSSELL MOORE: I have with me today nationally known author and teacher Jen Wilkin. She’s the author of several books, including Women of the Word, None Like Him: 10 Ways God’s Different Than Us and Why That’s a Good Thing, and a book about the Sermon on the Mount. Everything I read by Jen Wilkin not only equips me better but provokes me to think and to pray. She has a column in Christianity Today and I commend the stuff she does to you, and if you’re not familiar with it, find it and you will benefit from it. Jen, thanks for being here today.

JEN WILKIN: Thanks for having me on!

RM: You know sometimes I feel guilty because I feel I’m the only one in ministry who hasn’t used the phrase “I really married up.” And I haven’t used the phrase, not because it’s not true, but because it’s always felt to me kind of condescending. I’ve never heard a woman say this about her husband, but have heard husbands say this about their wives. I can think of all kinds of times where there’s been a panel at a conference, with one woman and a group of men, and somebody will make a comment about “the rose among the thorns.” Do you think that it’s the case that often in our churches there are some subtly condescending ways of talking about women?

JW: I think it’s well-intentioned. When I hear something like that, I never think that person woke up that morning and said, “How can I keep the woman down?” I do think that we can sometimes speak in ways that intend to honor but end up sounding like overcompensating, but I do always assume it’s well intended.

RM: You know, it seems to me in many ways that women, in conservative evangelical churches, don’t seem to be as mobilized as in previous times in church history. When we think about, even when women didn’t have as high a place in society as they do now, we had women who were leading mission movements and all sorts of things. But it seems at least in my corner of the world that we don’t have as much of that anymore. If that’s the case, how can we correct it?

JW: Well I’m in your corner of the world so I would say that’s an accurate statement. Probably what’s driving that is that often in the church, in the last 20 years, we’ve adopted a sort of backlash position when it comes to talking about women. We’ve developed a sort of fear of anything that sounds or looks vaguely like feminism, and become extremely cautious about roles we’ve put women in and developed some narrow definitions of leadership and who can and should lead. So I think we’re dealing with fallout from that, and in some cases men outside the church have been more open handed toward women in leadership than those inside the church. What I’m hoping to see, and what I see happening in many places is that we’d recapture a vision for men and women partnering in ministry together. The language that the New Testament applies to the church is familial language; the church, like a family, has brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. I would love for the church to begin to look more like a family that has both parents in the home, functioning in roles of leadership and nurturing.

RM: One thing I’ve been convinced of, all my ministry but increasingly so, is that whenever there’s a truth that God gives us, there are least two errors that we deviate toward, on either side of that truth. I think that you’re right that when it comes to biblical ideals and pictures of manhood and womanhood, on the one hand, you have the sort of feminism that erases those good, creational differences. But on the other hand, we can have a hyper complementarianism. I say this as a convinced complementarian. But we can say, “In order to make sure we don’t fall into feminism, we’re going to put all sorts of hedges and protections around so we won’t even come close to a problem.” I think you’re right about that sense of backlash, and you’ve written about this in terms of the “ghosts”, the sorts of ideas of women that can be scary to men who are in leadership in the church. What do you mean by that?

JW: Well, I’ve even heard from seminary graduates that they were told in seminary to be leery of contact with women. I grew up with four brothers, a Dad that loved me and now a husband that loves me and sees me as a peer. It was strange to encounter that attitude because I hadn’t encountered it in my relationships with men. I was used to being treated like I wasn’t a threat. I have an outspoken personality, so maybe I am perceived as “Here comes trouble.” But it was a surprise to me though because what was valued in the workplace wasn’t what was valued in the church. It’s a belief system that has been cultivated and rewarded often, that women in ministry were something to be cautious around. And it did result in many ministry structures that were built on erring on the side of caution at every turn.

And when we consistently err on the side of caution, we consistently err. We are operating from a paradigm of fear instead of one of brotherly-sisterly partnership. And fear doesn’t tend to be a good recipe for ministry. There’s been a lot of interesting stuff written on male and female relationships in ministry settings, and the fact that the more forbidden you make them, the more you heighten the tension around those relationships. And I think of it in terms of, the way we dealt with sibling relationship in my homes. If you were not getting along with a sibling, we didn’t separate you, we put you together and gave you a task to do. In the church, we tend to keep people separate, and I think in the church we’ve tended to have a greater fear of adultery than we’ve had fear of men and women not fulfilling the cultural mandate given to them.

RM: What would you say to someone who responds, “Yes, but, we have had just tremendous problems within the church, and we know there is good, created longing for marriage that the devil distorts.” So there are real dangers and many times when we’ve seen these sorts of falls, they typically happen in the context of doing ministry together that has gone awry. So how would you say, don’t err on the side of fear, but do recognize the dynamic that can be dangerous.

JW: Absolutely. If you recognize one problem, what you don’t wanna do is over-correct. We don’t want to be foolish we want to be wise. But I think one thing we’ve done is made one rule fit all relationships, when in reality relationships are different because it’s two different individuals in that relationship. So when you’re trying to gauge what is my ability to have friendships with people of the opposite sex that I’m in ministry with, you have to say first, how healthy is my marriage? And then you need to say, this person who I’m working with, how strong is their marriage and how vulnerable do they and I seem to be? You’ve got to have a great deal of honesty with yourself about how safe it is to move into even low level friendship with them, depending on who the person is.

But as the friendships between two of the same gender, you learn over time which friendships you can trust and which you can’t trust, and I would say the same is true of male-female interaction. But again obviously, you’re going to be cautious because there can be a sexual component–though honestly there can be a sexual component in same-gender friendships as well. And secondly, we cannot live as though we exist in vacuum. There are cultural pressures around us and sub cultural pressures that dictate how we behave wisely in this relationship. Just because I could go have coffee with a person who wasn’t my spouse, in a highly  public place that wouldn’t be questioned, doesn’t mean I should do that.

RM: You know, I get a lot of books sent to me from publishers. One thing that I notice is that books geared toward men or toward generic readers, tend to be very different than the books I get that are geared toward women. And I can even just tell by looking at the cover. Maybe I’m wrong, but usually, with key exceptions including you and others, a lot of the material directed toward women is relational and has to do with one or two aspects of life, but it’s not usually geared toward theology, or Bible, for the most part. Why?

JW: Well I would argue that its a symptom of this “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” mentality that we’ve had within the church. So if you’ve had the courage to crack open one of these book that looks like they painted the front cover with estrogen, you will look at that and say this is incomprehensible. And you’re going to draw one of two conclusions from that: you’re either going to think this is just what women want, the way they’re wired, or you may think this is all women can handle. But the command for us to love God with heart, soul, mind and and strength is not gender specific. It’s not “Hey brother, you love God with your mind and I will love God with my feelings, and these are the gifts we bring the church.”

I will stand and given an account to God for how well I have loved him with my mind. Not Dr. Moore’s mind, not Matt Chandler’s mind, not Beth Moore’s mind–my mind. I need to have a thinking faith as a woman who is a follower of Christ. And what has happened over time is that we have resourced women almost entirely at the feelings level, for the past 20 years. And so women when they are faced with a thought level challenge to their faith, it throws them into complete crisis. They’re not equipped to deal with it. Not only that, but because there’s so much polarization even within church subculture, we think we are straight ticket voters with one teacher vs another. So [according to this mentality] I have to agree with every single thing Matt Chandler says or else he’s a false teacher.

So women in particular are ill-equipped to discern what is a first level doctrine vs a second level doctrine, and to know whether it’s ok to agree with some things and disagree with others. You combine that with a tendency in women to seek consensus and to collaborate, and so anyone who critiques something that has a woman has written can be perceived to be “outside the herd.” So even within women’s circles, there is a danger to any woman who says I need to raise my voice in critique against what another woman has written. So some of the resources that are written at a level that doesn’t honor the intellectual capacity of women sort of never meets with a critique that would help us see more clearly toward other things.

RM: I think you’re about the “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” dynamic. When I look at the material that is directly oriented toward men–I think it is starting to change–but for a long time it’s been hyper warrior-spirit, hyper-competitive, which I think feeds into the sort of masculinity-as-velocity mentality that is ending up with a lot of people burned out and devastated at the middle of their lives.

When you think about the local church level–maybe someone is listening to this and belongs to a church where there just hasn’t been any emphasis on Bible teaching for and by women, what can someone do to see that change? Would you say just go find another church, or what would you say to that?

JW: I would not say go and find another church. To me that is a last resort. I would say if you are someone who feels drawn to lead something like that, you should first approach the leadership of the church and say this is something I’d like to do. Often in churches where they say everything is topical or feelings-related, the first thought is: “Let’s stop that, and do hardcore inductive Bible study all the time.” I would say that’s probably not the best response. Instead, it’s better to lay a different foundation and let the other things continue. Getting women to invest in this foundational piece of learning line by line takes time. It starts with one or two women, and then they catch fire and invite their friends, and then those women catch fire. It’s a slow boil, and that’s OK.  It needs to be seen as something you’re going to build into your church over the long term.

And it can be difficult if you’re in a church that overall does not value that kind of study. And it can also be difficult because as church structure has become more and more organic and decentralized, it’s harder and harder to find environments that are dedicated just to the learning of Scripture. So there may be some mechanical difficulty in terms of implementing that. We’re trying to create structures where this kind of learning can take place, and it’s not likely to take place in a home group setting. Home group is great community but it’s not the most structured place for a thought level engagement with the text. So I would urge women in the local church to talk to their leadership but in many cases they might get a blank stare. If that’s the case, gather some women in your home, get some good resources, and trust the Lord to make a harvest out of that.

RM: One thing I’ve noticed, whether it applies to orphan care ministry or any number of things, when you have people who come to church leadership and say “This is a deficiency, you fix it,” there’s typically not a good response. But if you come forward and say “God has laid this on our heart, and we’re not exactly sure what it’s going to look like, but will you support us as we attempt to be faithful,” there’s usually a very good response.

JW: A willingness to partner, yes.

RM: Well thank you for Jen Wilkin for being here today, and I recommend to all of you if you’re not familiar with Jen’s stuff, Google her and get it. And what I appreciate about Jen’s work is that we talked about overreaction here, and I think sometimes when someone is a pioneer and moving in directions that have been deficient for a while, one of the things that you can easily do is say “I want to be super cerebral, so I’m just going to present the omniscience of God in the most arid and abstract way.” But what Jen does is talk about the omniscience of God in a way that is applicable to every day lives as well. That’s a good model for all of us, men and women, to follow.

The post Signposts: A Conversation with Jen Wilkin appeared first on Russell Moore.

Mar 24, 2017
Signposts: A Conversation With Rod Dreher
00:19:16

How should Christians respond to cultural transformations, many of which actively threaten the beliefs and practices of the church? Journalist Rod Dreher offers a provocative answer in his new book “The Benedict Option,” which encourages believers and churches to abandon the popular models of cultural engagement and focus instead on shoring up our own theological foundations and communities.

In this episode of Signposts I talk to Rod about the Benedict Option and what he hopes Christians take away from his book. Listen below and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes automatically when they publish.

Transcript coming soon

The post Signposts: A Conversation With Rod Dreher appeared first on Russell Moore.

Mar 10, 2017
Signposts: How Should Teens and Parents Address Sexual Sin?
00:17:03

How should a teenager who has sinned sexually respond in repentance? How should parents of struggling teens address sexual sin? In this episode of Signposts, I talk to both child and parents about what walking in light of the gospel means for addressing sexual failure.

Listen below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes automatically.

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Below is an edited transcript of the audio. 

I received a question from a teenager who told me he had committed sexual sin, and is trying to think of what steps he should take next. He seems genuinely repentant and broken over this. And I also received a question from a parent of a teenager, who had also discovered their teen in sexual sin and are trying to figure out how to address it as parents. This isn’t the same family! But both this teenager and these parents are grappling with how they should respond to sexual sin.

First, I want to address to this teen, and anyone who might be in the same situation he’s in. First of all, you should know the weight of what has happened. In some time periods that may not have needed to be emphasized as much, but this cultural moment sees sexual expression as intrinsic to one’s authenticity and well-being, which is not the biblical view. Our culture still sees that there are issues of right and wrong, but it usually restricts those categories to the issue of consent (and culture is right that anything without consent is wrong). So we have to recognize that if we’re looking at the world from God’s perspective, sexual immorality is a serious issue. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6 that sexual immorality, unlike other sins that are outside the body, is committed against our own bodies. There is something inherently disordered with sexual immorality, so you’re right to feel the weight of this.

And one thing you may be tempted to do is comfort yourself with the knowledge that no one became pregnant or contracted a disease or is being promiscuous. There are all kinds of ways to think of yourself as having dogged a bullet regarding earthly consequences. But you need to understand that God has designed sex to preach, and to sing, and that what sex teaches is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5 teaches that the one flesh union of husband and wife, with covenant and fidelity and permanence, reflects the gospel. What you have done falls short of that, so you’re right to feel the weight of it.

But I would also say: Feel the weight of your sin, and also receive the gospel and feel liberation from it. Now, you shouldn’t feel liberation if you are “sinning so that grace may abound.” But if you are consciously turning away from this sin and refusing to walk in it, the Bible says that God is faithful and just to forgive your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. If you’re repentant, God is not angry with you or looking to punish you, so receive the liberation from that.

Then there are practical steps you should take, because, and I’m speaking out of experience of dealing over the years with many people involved in various types of sexual sin, it is really difficult to start down the path of sexual immorality and to turn away from it. It happens, and the Spirit is enough to do this, but it becomes very difficult. What you want to make sure to do is notice where all your vulnerabilities are so you can protect yourself from them.

So let’s assume the other party in your sexual immorality is a Christian and is as repentant about this as you are. I think you and she need to talk about why this happened and what kind of boundaries are not in place that enabled this to happen. Also you need some outside accountability. We have one mediator, the man Christ Jesus. You don’t need a priest other than Jesus. But you do need counsel and accountability, especially because sexual sin is a sin of the passions, and when the passions start firing, it is really easy to forget our spiritual commitments and rationalize everything away. If your parents are Christians and can provide some spiritual sustenance for you, then go to them. Now, not everybody has parents like that. Many have unbelieving parents who don’t understand why you’d want to avoid sexual immorality. Or it may not be safe to talk to your parents about this because of how they’d react. If that’s the case, find someone else to talk to honestly about this, maybe your pastor or youth pastor—someone who is able to check on you and ask if you’re putting yourself in vulnerable situations. So don’t put yourself back in those situations that you can easily fall back into sin.

Now it may be that there needs to be a breakup. If the other person does not see this with the kind of spiritual gravity that you do, it will be a very difficult battle to gain victory over this, because the other person will be pulling you, even subtly, in the opposite direction. If they don’t see this as seriously as you, you may need to breakup, and especially if this person is unbeliever.

Now, to the parents:

First, you also should feel the weight of this. There are far too many parents, including evangelical parents, who assume sexual sin is just part of growing up, particularly when it comes to boys. Feel the weight of this sin against God. And I can tell from the question that these parents get this.

So I want to move on and say: Don’t be shocked. Don’t communicate to your child, “I can’t believe what you did,’ or even worse, “I can’t believe you did this to us.” Too many parents take their children’s sin personally, because they don’t understand the weight of sin and temptation and they expect their child to always make the right moral decision in challenging moments. There is no sin except what is common to man. There are extreme sins, but your teen is not inventing a new sin here, so don’t be shocked by this.

Secondly, look at the sort of boundaries that are in place. Having said that, I know there will be some parents who will not have been really involved int heir teen’s life and relationships. So they’ll just assume, “This is all their fault.” But those parents need to ask themselves “Where have WE left our child vulnerable?” But there will also be parents who blame themselves for every aspect of this. And they’re going to assume, “If we only had the right set of guardrails everywhere then we could have prevented this from ever happening.” If you’re that type of parent you should give grace to yourselves. But look and see if there are sufficient boundaries to help your child. If you need to, own this and communicate to your teen that you will help them. But as you do this, make sure you don’t unintentionally cut your child off from you. For disappointed parents, there’s a tendency to back away from the child and give the cold shoulder. But your teen needs you to be closer, not farther away.

So model the gospel. If your child is repentant, whether this is physical sexual immorality or pornography or whatever, model the grace you’ve received. That means not taking on a somber persona where every time you talk to your teen your talking about the Bible and sexual immorality. But you are showing your child that the parental love is still there, the relationship its till there, and you will get through this. Make sure you’re communicating this kind of grace. Especially if either you child is apathetic about this sin or is crushed beneath shame, you have a gospel opportunity here. This isn’t the last time your child will need to hear this from you. Your child will sin against God in all sorts of ways.

We need to know that God takes sin seriously. And we need to know God does not hold our sin against us but has nailed it to the cross of Christ, and we are free to walk in resurrection life. We can come boldly before the Father because we are hidden in Christ. This doesn’t give us license to continue in sin. It gives us a sense of what a loving Father we must have, who intervened in our own personal self-destruction, to give me the life of his own Son and fill me with the presence of the Spirit to ensure that my body is a temple of his presence. We all need to hear that, and your child needs to hear that right now.

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Mar 03, 2017
Signposts: What Human Dignity Means For the Church
00:22:11

This special episode of Signposts features a portion of my sermon at our 2017 Evangelicals For Life gathering in Washington, D.C. You can listen to the full message at the Evangelicals For Life page here.

Be sure to subscribe to Signposts below to receive new episodes automatically.

The post Signposts: What Human Dignity Means For the Church appeared first on Russell Moore.

Feb 03, 2017
Signposts: Should Christians Make New Year’s Resolutions?
00:06:18

What should Christians think of New Year’s resolutions? Are they a helpful way to make changes, or do they merely represent a modern from of legalism? In this episode I talk about how resolutions can help us form godly habits, and why this doesn’t need to be a slavish, performance-obsessed way of life.

Use the links to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes automatically as they are released.


Below is an edited transcript of the audio.

As the old Christmas song says, “Fast away the old year passes; hail the New Year, lads and lasses!” As we head into a new year, one thing that many people begin to wonder about is New Year’s resolutions. Recently I received a question from a listener, asking if Christians should have New Year’s resolutions.

Perhaps the reason someone would ask this is the reality that most people don’t keep their resolutions. That’s a reason why, for example, gyms will make a lot of money in memberships around the first of the year. People tend to come in January and February and then taper off toward the end of the year.

But I think New Year resolutions can be a good thing. Some Christians have said that these resolutions can feed into a performance mentality that undermines the gospel. I think they can do this, but I also think one positive element of New Year resolutions is the building of habit. That’s a good thing, because we know that habits shape us.

What a New Year’s resolution is ultimately trying to get us to is the sort of habit in our life that we don’t have to map out and say, “This is what we’re going to do today.” It’s just something that we naturally do. In the same way you probably don’t make a list and include, “Brush my teeth tomorrow.” It’s just part of your routine, and a resolution is trying to imitate that.

What we need to do is think through what are the resolutions we want to pursue in our life, and decide whether these are realistic. One thing many people will do is choose a big abstraction, like, “I will be a kind person.” That’s a good abstraction, but what’s better is to say, “I am going to give one word of affirmation every day to my spouse or a coworker.” Try to build into your life something specific and concrete.

This is especially true in your own spiritual life. If you don’t have a consistent plan for Bible reading and prayer, for example, you may say, “I am going to self consciously set aside time for these things.” In doing this, though, make sure you have something that is doable. If you don’t have any sort of Bible reading in your life, don’t resolve to read 3 chapters a day. Resolve instead to read 1 chapter a week, and start with something manageable that you can build on as time goes on.

One thing I’ve noticed in my own life is that if I look back on journals that I’ve written in from years ago—I just found a whole stack of them recently—I can look and see all the ways God was with me in the past. And I can also say, “Look at what I was so worried about then that never came to pass.” So I’ve realized that I want to get back into the practice of journaling, not because it’s something everyone needs to do but because I’ve found it’s beneficial to me. And since I’m in a very fast paced season of life with work and the ages of my children, I’ve found it helpful to use some technological ways to journal. That’s a good thing to do, to just sit down and say: What’s one thing I want to change and build into my life?

And this isn’t something to be a slave to. If you have a resolution that you see as something that’s going to be a drudgery for you throughout the year, don’t do it. That’s not going to be helpful. But find a way to build these patterns into your life in a way that will benefit you in the year to come. This isn’t a legalistic “performance” mentality, as long as you keep it in perspective.

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Dec 30, 2016
Signposts: Is There a “War” on Christmas?
00:07:54

Should Christians take offense when the signs say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”? If not, how can Christians cope with a rapidly secularizing public square?

In this episode of Signposts I talk about what is and what is not evidence of a transforming culture, and the right way Christians ought to respond to both.

Use the links below to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes automatically when they publish.


Below is an edited transcript of the audio.

I found myself really, really irritated one day. I was on a plane, and they had one of those airline magazines, and I was flipping through it, and there was an advertisement from Budweiser, I think, one of the beer companies, that had the headline, “Silent nights are overrated.” And then I flipped the page a couple more pages through, and there was an advertisement for this really expensive, high-end, outdoor grill, and it says, “Who says it’s better to give then to receive?” And my response is Jesus is the one who says it’s better to give than to receive! And I was really irritated because I just sat there and thought you know, would they put an ad in their airlines in the Islamic world during Ramadan that says, “Fasting is overrated” or, you know, put something in one of their airlines in India that says, “Who says everything is one with the universe?” And I thought, you know, why would they do that with us? And the issue was that I was totally missing the point, and I was seeing things out of perspective because I was taking a kind of personal offense at these issues rather than seeing the bigger picture.

Now, as you know, I think we have tremendous problems when it comes to a militant kind of secularization with some of the church-state questions that the late Richard John Neuhaus used to call “the naked public square,” but I think that this outrage that we are expressing toward the commercial marketplace sometimes is overblown. We see things as persecution, that really aren’t. Sometimes there are. You know, sometimes we do see situations of a school system penalizing a child for writing “Merry Christmas” instead of saying that this is a holiday card. But the huffing and puffing that we tend to do when marketers don’t get our Christian commitments is, I think, a little bit off base.

First of all, I think we need to keep in mind most of these issues that we take offense at are done by corporations, and these corporations are trying to sell products. They are really not trying to offend constituencies. It really isn’t good business to go out of your way to offend

constituencies. That’s not good economics at all for anybody. And I think the problem is with those ads that really got me upset, I am willing to bet that whoever came up with these ad campaigns didn’t even know that they were making fun of Jesus Christ and of the birth in Bethlehem in the case of Silent Night or with Jesus’ statement that Paul records in his letter to the Corinthians that it is better to give than to receive. They just know we’ve heard it’s better to give than to receive, probably something from Benjamin Franklin or somewhere. We know Silent Night, that’s a Christmas carol that people sing. They didn’t trace that through I’ll bet. They just know it’s just part of the background music. And so for them, it probably is the same as saying something about decking the halls or reindeer games or Heat Miser and Snow Miser, any other kind of Christmas background music that’s around there. And so, it’s just people who don’t get all of that because they are living in a time in American culture that is much more secularized.

So, our response to that I think ought not to be a sense of outrage as though we’re victims. I think instead we ought to say okay, this tells us that our culture is less and less connected with the more basic roots of Christianity, and many, especially in the culture-making sort of sectors in American life, see Christmas kind of the same way that most Americans see Hanukah. We know about—we know what a menorah is. We know what dreidels are, but most people don’t really know about the Maccabean fight. They don’t really know about the miraculous provision of oil to the Maccabeans. They don’t know the background story there. And that ought not to make us angry. It instead ought to say let’s take the opportunity to understand our neighbors here and understand that they see us, when they think of us and when they think of Christmas, they think about it more in terms of the trivialities than they do in terms of incarnation and blood atonement and the kingdom that dawned there in Bethlehem. So, they know about Silent Night like they know about Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, and they don’t see just how momentous it is to say Emmanuel, God is with us.

And so, I think that ought to tell us we need to spend some more time engaging our neighbors with exactly why the incarnation is good news, why the incarnation is scary news, why Herod receives this as bad news, and if you think about it, the Christmas message really is one that if it is really understood, it just doesn’t fit with all the trivial trappings of the holidays anyway. It’s much, much stranger than that, and I think that’s a good thing. We ought to embrace the strangeness at Christmas and all year round because frankly, a gospel at Christmas or any other time that is safe enough to sell beer and barbecue grills isn’t the kind of gospel that is going to be able to make blessings flow far as the curse is found, as Isaac Watts put it.

And so I think we ought to, when we think about this war on Christmas, we shouldn’t turn this into a fight for our right to party. I think instead we ought to remind ourselves that we live in, as every other generation before us has done, what Isaiah in Isaiah 9 calls a land of deep darkness. That’s what he said would settle over Galilee of the Gentiles. And we need to remember that that darkness isn’t overcome by sarcasm or personal offense or retaliatory insults or boycotts of Wal- Mart or whatever it is. The light of Bethlehem shines in the darkness, and that’s what we need to recover in our churches, in our families, in our communities.

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Dec 16, 2016
Signposts: Shepherding New Believers Who Cause Controversy in the Church
00:14:05

In this episode of Signposts I respond to an email from a listener, who is facing a volatile situation at her church between a new believer and an older member. How should churches gently shepherd new believers who may bring in “baggage” to the church, and how can more seasoned saints come alongside them in fellowship and support?

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: Shepherding New Believers Who Cause Controversy in the Church appeared first on Russell Moore.

Dec 09, 2016
Signposts: Should Your Family Play Video Games?
00:12:49

In this episode of Signposts I respond to a listener’s question about video games, and what parents should remember as they make decisions about this.

Listen below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: Should Your Family Play Video Games? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Dec 02, 2016
Signposts: A Conversation With Rosaria Butterfield
00:41:26

In this special episode of Signposts I sit down with professor and author Rosaria Butterfield to talk about her conversion to Christ, her previous life in the LGBT community, and what Christians need to remember when reaching out to the world around them.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: A Conversation With Rosaria Butterfield appeared first on Russell Moore.

Nov 25, 2016
Signposts: A Conversation With Andrew Peterson
00:18:42

In this special episode of Signposts, I sit down with award winning musician and author Andrew Peterson to talk about creativity, marriage, the gospel, and more. Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: A Conversation With Andrew Peterson appeared first on Russell Moore.

Nov 18, 2016
Signposts: How Should Christians Respond to the New President?
00:07:44

In this special episode of Signposts, I discuss how Christians should respond to the election results and to President-elect Donald Trump. Listen to the episode below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes automatically when they publish.

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Below is an edited version of the transcript. 

Donald Trump, of course, was elected last night as the 45th President of the United States. Hillary Clinton conceded in a speech just a few minutes before I’m recording this right now. There are several things we, as Christians, should be thinking about today.

The first of those is the requirement that we have to pray for and to honor our leaders. Now, many of you know, I had and have serious concerns about both of these major party candidates and I think one of the things that all of us can probably agree on across the spectrum in American life is that election 2016 was a demoralizing and some ways even traumatic thing for a lot of people. It was a divisive time, sometimes having husbands and wives and children and parents and churches and others divided from one another and so we can be glad that the election season is over. But now that it’s over, we have a responsibility to pray for and to honor our leaders.

Eight years ago, I called on Christians to honor President Obama and to pray for President Obama and one of those ways was to even in the way that we use language to refer to him as “President Obama,” not simply as “Obama” in our own households, and the same thing is true now. This will be “President Trump,” not just “Trump,” not cartoon character that we see on television, but the one who in the sovereignty of God, God has put in charge of the United States Presidency. We have a responsibility to pray for him, to pray for wisdom for him, discernment for our President, for support from his team, from his cabinet, from his family that he would make wise and just decisions. We have a responsibility to give him a chance and we have a tradition in American life where every president starts out with a blank slat, starts out with the benefit of the doubt and regardless of what’s gone on in the campaign before, regardless of what’s gone on in the years before in that person’s life or in that person’s policies, or in the person’s rhetoric, we give the new President the opportunity to lead, and I think we ought to do that now. I think that we ought to hope and pray that President Trump will turn out to be a wise and just and inclusive leader who actually brings about the unity of the American people. Let’s hope for the that and let’s pray for that.

The second thing that we ought to remember this year is that we as a church have higher priorities than politics. I think one of the things that we have seen this year is the way that politics has become a sense of transcendent identity for people across the spectrum from the left to the right in ways in which sometimes our political disagreements are more about heresy and ex-communication than they are about politics. We, though, as Christians, understand that politics is important, the decisions that we make as a country are important but not as important as the gospel of Jesus Christ, not as important as the church of Jesus Christ.

We, after all, are only temporarily citizens of this republic, the kingdom of God outlasts Mt. Rushmore and outlasts the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial and outlasts the United States of America, so we should be thankful for the blessings that we have as Americans. We should be involved and engaged as much as we can as American citizens but always as those who are not first Americans, we are first citizens of the New Jerusalem, we are first those who are brothers and sisters in Christ and heirs of the kingdom of Jesus. That means that we are not going to be utopian, we are not going to think that any election solves our problems, that any election is going to be able to have any permanent solution to anything, regardless of the outcome and we are also not going to be the people who are panicked and fearful because, no matter what happens in the culture around us, no matter what happens in the government around us, we are victors in Jesus Christ and, as a matter of fact, the Bible tells us we are more than conquers through Jesus Christ.

So we ought to be the people, whatever it is that we face in the years to come, whether those things are good and hopeful or whether those things are not so good and not so hopeful, we ought to be the people who are confident, we ought to be the people who are joyful, we ought to be the people who are modeling to the outside world what it means to be a reconciled community where there is neither male nor female, slave nor free, Jew nor Gentile, black nor white, but all in the Christ where Jesus Christ is all and in all, and in that we have a message that can say to a world that often is in a kind of Darwinian struggle with one another for who’s going to be first, who’s going to be second, and say we serve a different kind of kingdom, we are strangers in this world. We serve a kingdom where the first will be last and the last will be first and where the meek will inherit the earth and where power comes through one who is crucified in weakness and yet lives by the power of God.

That ought to give us confidence, that ought to give us engagement, and that ought to give us peace, joy, love, righteousness, gentleness, patience, and self control. So let’s go forward with that kind of hope and that kind of faith and that kind of love. Let’s pray for President Trump onward.

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Nov 09, 2016
Signposts: What I Learned From Congressman Gene Taylor
00:15:34

On this episode of Signposts I reflect on life lessons I learned from serving Congressman Gene Taylor, and how a politician modeled integrity and conscience for me that made a lasting impact.

Listen below, and subscribe to Signposts to receive new episodes automatically.

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Below is an edited transcript of the audio.

This week I was thinking about the fact that it was the anniversary of the day that my old boss was elected to the United States Congress. On that date every year I tend to reflect on him and what I learned from him and I can tell you that I learned a lot about life and leadership from a politician, in a way that I think might be surprising to some people who tend to think of politicians in a really cynical and negative way. But when I think of this man, I have this sense of great gratitude that I was able to learn from him.

Our fifth son, Taylor, is named after him. He is Taylor Eugene Moore, precisely because of the sense of gratitude that I have for him. I started out working for this guy at a really, really young age and he invested in me at a time when, as I look at it now, I think he took a risk on me in a way that I’ve never seen another politician do and if I were advising someone, I would say this is crazy. I started out as a high school student, sstuffing envelopes for him in a congressional race that he was running that he lost, but he lost that election by a narrower margin than what many people were predicting and so he kind of came out of that with a little bit of momentum, even though he lost the race. The U.S. Congressman who did win the race, who was a very good Congressman and a very good man, was tragically killed in an airplane accident eight months later in August of the next year. By that point I was starting college and so I because active and involved in the campaign too on a volunteer basis and working at handing out bumper stickers and doing phone banks and all of that because I believed in this guy. He invested in me, he hired me as an intern first in his Washington office and then put me in charge of his internship program and then put me in charge of communications for his 1992 re-election campaign when I was 19 years old.

I was working for him in one of our offices, Washington and all of our district offices in Mississippi offices, driving all over South Mississippi with him in various places and learning from him. I think one of the things I learned from him is about taking risks on investing in younger people who are able to do what it is that you are asking them to do or who can learn to do what is that you are asking them to do. And so I’ve kind of thought about that, there have been times when in ministry as I’ve been putting people into ministry positions or hiring people for positions, I though to myself, “That person is really, really young,” and then I remember a guy who took a chance on me when I was young and gave me an opportunity to make some stupid mistakes and to learn and to have those skills sharpened.

He taught me to be able to take those changes and to take those risks and to cultivate people, not just to expect people to come into your orbit already an expert in whatever it is that they are doing, but take that raw ability and to let it develop and to teach and to watch—I learned that from him. I think if it hadn’t been for that experience, I probably would not do that. Now, in every case does that work out? No. Sometimes it doesn’t, but in many cases it does and it’s been a great blessing to me in ministry over the years.

The second thing I learned from him is a commitment to the unborn. This was a man who was a Democratic United States Congressman, at that time in the state of Mississippi, there wasn’t really a difference between Democratic and Republican parties on the social issues–most of the Democrats were pro-life and pro-family–but as he was dealing with the national party, I remember hearing some party bosses saying to him, “You might have a future if you didn’t have the position that you have on the abortion question.” And around that time right before that and right after that, you had a lot of politicians in that party who switched on the abortion issue because they knew that they would never be able to make it nationally, not going to be chosen to be vice president, not going to be able to win a presidential nomination. Frankly when you are most politicians who are operating at the national level for either House or Senate, you kind of think that you might be president or vice president one day. I don’t think my boss thought that, but many of them do and my boss just said, as he heard one person say to him,
“Well, if you alter that position on abortion, then you might have a future,” his response to that was to say “Yeah, but then I’d be a prostitute.” I was pro-life before I came to work for him but I don’t think I cared about the issue until I was with him and I saw that for him it wasn’t just a platform issue, it wasn’t just a pro-forma sort of thing, he really cared about this issue, which is why he always mentioned it. I cannot think of a campaign that he ran when he wouldn’t talk about the unborn, not just about life generally, but about unborn children and so I learned a lot from that.

I also learned a lot about integrity from him and, again, that’s going to strike some people as odd that you learn about integrity from a politician but I did because this guy, Gene Taylor, they called him Opie, as from The Andy Griffith Show, because he was kind of clean Gene and there was nothing unethical that you could find on him. People kind of made fun of him really because he was just kind of sparkly clean, no ethical issues, and he was brutal on those ethical questions and so you’d always have these sort of interest groups that would come by and they’d give you things, not big things– I’m not talking about Rolls Royces and Rolex watches or anything like that, I’m talking about the Apple Growers Association brings you apples to your office or the National Cotton Council brings socks or whatever–it’s these little items that would come through, and he was absolutely dogged that none of that was going to be there. None of us were allowed to go with a lobbyist or somebody to eat somewhere. He was really focused on that and he was focused on it not just for political reasons, because nobody would have even known, he just had seen people become bought and sold and he was determined that he was not going to be bought and sold—and neither were we, if we worked for him.

We’d be driving around, and he would also talk about the people that he knew in politics who had made kind of moral compromises, some of them financial, some of them sexual, all sorts of temptations that were there, and he talked about being able to sail through that kind of world without being destroyed by those temptations. That meant he had a plan together before he ever was elected to Congress; he was already thinking how to serve as a U.S. Congressman without falling in the way so many people have. I really learned a lot from that, learned about being proactive when thinking about temptation in ways that apply directly to ministry and to gospel discipleship and raising children and marriage and family, and so many other things.

He also taught me the importance of conscience. This was somebody who was coming under criticism all the time as an elected official, getting all sorts of hate mail all of the time, and it never seemed to phase him. But I remember one time when we were in a meeting with some Democratic activists in 1992. Here was my boss, this really conservative Democrat, more conservative then most of the Republicans in the House, (he is a Republican now, but was a Democrat at the time) and this group of Democratic activists were there and they were upset because he wouldn’t walk the party line on a number of issues and so they are going through saying “You didn’t vote right on this, and you didn’t vote right on that,” and they were really upset because at the time in 1992, George H. W. Bush was the Republican nominee, Bill Clinton was the Democratic nominee, and then Ross Perot, the billionaire businessman was running as a third-party candidate and for a while, there was a real question whether that election would be thrown in the House of Representatives if no candidate received 270 electoral votes. There was a real chance early in the year that he would have to cast a vote on who was going to be the next president of the United States, and Gene did not endorse Bill Clinton, his party’s nominee, didn’t even vote for him, and had serious character concerns about Bill Clinton at the time and when he was asked to make a commitment that he would vote for Clinton if it went to the House, he said “No, I’m not going to do that. I don’t trust him, I wouldn’t trust him with my daughter.”

Now, whether you agree with his perception of Bill Clinton or not is irrelevant, that’s not the point that I’m trying to make here. The point is that’s what he believed, and so he said to this group, “That’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to vote for whoever receives a plurality of votes in our district, that’s who I think our people want to be president and I will vote for that person.” That enraged those people in the room that he wouldn’t endorse this candidate, and so they were just coming after him really viciously and I was shaken up, I was tense, I was a 19-year-old or 20-year-old kid and just thrown by all of this. We got in the car to leave and I just was expecting him to be shaken and rattled by this and I said “Man, that was awful,” and he said, “Eh.” I said “Why aren’t you upset about this?” He said, “I said what I believe, this is who I am, this is what my convictions are, and the people of South Mississippi, they elected me to represent my convictions and to be true to who I am and not to lie to them about what I really believe and I’m not, and that’s what I said, I said what I actually believe.” He held to that. He did the same thing in 1991 when President Bush brought the resolution forward to the Congress to authorize the Persian Gulf war and our district was not only one of the most heavily military districts in the whole country–I would later serve a church in which Maria and I were about the only people in the church that weren’t either active duty Air Force or retired military–a very military district, very hawkish. If you had gone through and polled whether or not we ought to go to war against Saddam Hussein in 1990-91, I’ll bet our district would have been 92% for that, Gene believed it was a wrong war. He believed it wasn’t morally justified at that point and so he voted his conscience and said I cannot authorize this, and I remember thinking when this happened, “We just lost re-election the next year,” but it really helped me because if he had been primarily concerned about his own re-election, he would have simply said, 92% of my people, 95% of my people are for this, “I’m going to be for it.”

Now, I happen to disagree with him on that. I happened to believe the Persian Gulf War actually was warranted and I think the outcome of it demonstrated that this multinational coalition coming against Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait was probably the right thing to do, and if it hadn’t happened, Saddam may have well continued to expand out into Saudi Arabia and out into other placed in the Middle East and created a conflagration. Regardless of that, when I saw this guy say, “My commitment is to making sure that we send men and women into harm’s way only after every other alternative has been exhausted, and I don’t care if it cost me re-election,” that taught me a lot about what it means to stand with conscience.

So, the reason I think I’m telling that is to say first of all, you may be learning lessons in places that you don’t expect to learn them that are going to be beneficial to the way that you serve Christ, maybe even from people that don’t even know Christ in your situation perhaps. Also, for those of you who are serving in places that aren’t thought of as ministry, maybe you are a politician or maybe you are a business leader or maybe you are a journalist or whatever it is, it may well be that your example of integrity and honesty and authenticity and commitment to excellence and mentoring, whatever it is, may well be used by God with people who are watching you that you don’t even know they are watching you right now. That’s an encouraging thing to think about.

The post Signposts: What I Learned From Congressman Gene Taylor appeared first on Russell Moore.

Nov 04, 2016
Signposts: How Should Christians Handle Disagreement Over Halloween?
00:13:03

In this episode I respond to a question about Halloween and the local church, and how Christians can handle disagreements in a way that glorifies Christ and preserves fellowship.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes when they publish.

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Below is an edited transcript of the audio.

I had a question from a listener asking about Halloween, and she is particularly concerned not about Halloween itself and whether or not Christians ought to celebrate Halloween; there are all sorts of resources you can look at about that. Her question particularly is about disagreements that she has in her small group in her church. They have a small group, community group Bible study and some of the families Trick or Treat and their kids dress up and they do Halloween, some of the families don’t because they think that Halloween is a pagan holiday and they think it celebrates darkness and those sorts of things, and so they have a disagreement. She is just asking, what do we do when Christians disagree about something like Halloween?

I think it is a really good question because it comes at something that the scripture talks about really clearly in Romans 14 when Paul is talking about differing consciences on questions along these lines. You have a dispute that is going on in the church at Rome between people who would argue that a Christian ought only eat vegetables and people who would say the conscience is free to also eat meat. Now, think about this, there are kinds of multiple layers here: why would a Christian argue for a vegetarian only sort of meal? Well, on the one hand you could have Christians who would say that on the basis of the way that Christianity restores the original creation, and those Christians might say, “Well, human beings weren’t created to kill and to eat meat from animals and so let’s return to a time when we are eating only vegetables.” That’s not the only argument there. There is another argument that could say, especially when you are living in an ancient world where a lot of meat was being sacrificed to idols, that the way that a Christian could maintain his or her witness is not to be eating meat at all. Think about 1 Corinthians; a lot of 1 Corinthians is talking about that dispute about meat offered to idols and what do you do and how do you figure that out and how do you not wreck a weaker brother over the eating of meat?

So, that’s a real issue on the table in many different contexts. What Paul says about this is to say in Romans 14, “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions; one person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls and he will be upheld for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than the other, while another esteems all days alike, each one to be fully convinced in his own mind, the one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord, the one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he abstains, he abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God, for none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord; if we die, we die to the Lord, so then, whether we live or whether we die we are the Lords, for to this end, Christ died and lived again that he might be the Lord of both the dead and of the living, why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or why do you despise your brother for we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ?”

Now, obviously what the apostle Paul is teaching there under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is not that there are not moral boundaries in terms of behavior that ought to divide churches. That’s not what he is arguing there because he goes on to consistently talk about those things that are out of step with the gospel–Galatians 2, he is dealing with sexual immorality; in 1 Corinthians he is dealing with divisions, he is dealing with all kinds of issues going on in churches where he would say, this person is right and this person is wrong—sometimes really, really strongly, he’d say this person is a false teacher. I mean, think of 2 Timothy 3, those people are to be dealt with and dealt with very decisively within the context of the church. So he’s not saying, “Well, we all disagree on everything and so let’s just live with one another.” What he is saying is there are some issues that the scripture does not speak to definitively, and so in those cases you have consciences that may operate in different ways, and he will argue elsewhere that if somebody is operating in a way contrary to his or hear conscience, that person is actually sinning, that person has a conscience that is leading that person in one direction and the person thinks that what he or she is doing is violating a command of God, that actually is an act of rebellion, even if what that person is doing is perfectly morally neutral.

So, we need to have consciences that are shaped and formed rightly but beyond that, we bear with one another on some things that are not clearly defined in scripture. So when we think about the issue of Halloween, I think that one of the things that we need to keep in mind is that Christians in the American context and in some other context where Halloween is celebrated, have different views on this, we needto learn to empathetically understand why the other person holds the view that that person holds. So, if you are one of those people who would say that you don’t ever want to celebrate Halloween, you don’t ever want your children celebrating Halloween, you do other things, then don’t view Christians who take their kids Trick or Treating as Satanists and occultists. Now, maybe you come across somebody who just doesn’t have any discernment and so who is really celebrating some things that are dark and occultic. I heard of a Christian family that went to a séance on Halloween; obviously, that is something forbidden by Scripture, that is somebody who is moving in a direction that is clearly forbidden by Scripture, but most of the people in your typical church who are Trick or Treating and celebrating Halloween, that’s not what they are doing.

My kids Trick or Treat, and what we are doing in that we don’t have bloody, gory celebrating of evil sorts of costumes, but we see this as making fun of the devil in one way. You are making fun of the darkness, ridiculing the darkness in order to say, “Principalities and powers and darkness of night and death, you don’t win, and we are able to join with our neighbors in kind of expressing the fact that you don’t win.” We have more reason than anybody to think that. So there are a lot of Christians who, if you don’t like Halloween, you don’t believe in Halloween, take the most charitable view. The same thing is true for Christians who do participate in Halloween and you are looking at families that don’t. One of the tendencies that we can have, is to see a family that doesn’t celebrate Halloween and think of that person as a legalist, that this person is legalistic and censorious and irrelevant. Again, you may have some people like that. There are some churches where you would have some people who not only don’t celebrate Halloween, but want to come after the people who do and make that an issue of church identity and church boundaries, church definition. If that’s the case, then you have to deal with that, but that’s rarely the case.

Most of the time what you have are people who would say “I think that Halloween has a lot of really dark origins.” True, it does, it has both light and dark, I mean you have All Saints’ Eve, All Hallows’ Eve, and you also have druidic origins and all sorts of unsavory things, that’s true. They have problems with that and they don’t see how a Christian could participate in something with those sorts of origins. They also look around and they see many things that happen around Halloween that they say are really decadent and so they look around at the way that sometimes Halloween celebrates gore and celebrates violence and celebrates wickedness and evil and sometimes even the demonic, and they say, oh, we just don’t see how a Christian could participate in that. Don’t label that person a legalist because that person’s conscience has a problem there. Also, don’t assume that these are people who aren’t concerned about mission and concerned about their neighbors.

Now, for me, and I was telling a group of people this the other day, Halloween is actually the one time of year when I am able to be with my neighbors in a meaningful sort of way. I live in a neighborhood where you have a lot of people who are running at a very past pace and so people are in and out of their homes, and I am running at a really fast pace. I live in two different cities essentially and then am traveling all over the place and so it is hard for me to really connect with my neighbors except for the ones that are just right around the house. Halloween time, the whole neighborhood goes outside, everybody is outside, you get to know people, you are able to build relationships and connections, and for me, that’s really helpful, and for a lot of Christians, that’s one of the ways that they are able to build relationships necessary in order to be a gospel witness. But don’t assume that that means that the people who do have a problem with Halloween by conscience are hiding in their homes with the lights out and not answering the door when they have neighborhood children; that’s not typically what’s going on with people, and so, let’s understand the importance of conscience here.

So if you have a problem with Halloween, I think the default for you ought to look at those Christians who do go Trick or Treating and say, “Okay, well, what they are intending to do is to enjoy an important cultural holiday, they are wanting to be involved with their neighbors and they are recognizing the way that the Scripture teaches that we live in a fallen world, and not in a schmaltzy sentimental all-light sort of world. That’s what they are intending to do.” And if you do celebrate Halloween and Trick or Treat, then look at those families, if you’ve got those families in your church that don’t and they object to it, and think, “Good for them, they have a conscience and this conscience is leading them to be counter cultural in this way, and so this is a holiday that they don’t celebrate and that they don’t observe—good for them.” If they were violating their conscience, then they would be doing something that would be wrong for them and that kind of conscientiousness may well serve the church in important ways later on when it comes to other issues where those are the people who say, “We’ve got to be the ones who don’t follow the crowd and who obey conscience.”

So receive that and bear with one another and love one another and be able to Trick or Treat for the glory of God, be able to abstain from Trick or Treating for the glory of God, and to be able to sit around the Bible together, be around the Lord’s table together, be serving each other today after that.

The post Signposts: How Should Christians Handle Disagreement Over Halloween? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Oct 28, 2016
Signposts: How to Talk to Children About Their Adoption Story
00:12:43

In this episode of Signposts I reflect on how parents can talk to their adopted children about their story, and what adoption stories should teach us about our own adoption into the family of Christ.

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Below is an edited transcript of the audio

I had a listener who asked me how I told our children that they were adopted. At first I was reluctant to take that question because I assumed it’s just a very narrow niche of people for whom this would even be an issue: people who have adopted children and people for whom those children are still at home or still young. But the more that I think about it, the more I think that actually applies to all of us in the body of Christ to some degree or other because all of us are dealing with our adoption into the family of God, and all of us are trying to reckon with who we were before our adoption into Christ. So I think there are some things that we can all learn about that and then also about the way that we can minister to families who have adopted children and who are working through that sort of question.

Here’s what I would say. The question assumes something that didn’t happen. What the question assumes is that we sat our children down and revealed to them that they were adopted. We have five sons; the first two are the ones that we adopted. I was speaking one time at an event and I had my fourth son, Jonah, a biological son, with me, and the person who was introducing me said, “Russell Moore and his wife have five sons, all of whom were adopted.” Normally, people say things and get little facts wrong in introductions all the time, and I do that too, but this time I stood up and said, “You know I don’t normally correct that, but I really feel like I need to right now because Jonah is sitting on the front row and he’s probably thinking, nobody told me that I was adopted.”

So with the first two children what sometimes people will think is that you sit them down and you say, okay, we are about to have a very difficult conversation with you, here it is, and you were adopted. That’s not the way that we did it, and that’s not the way that I would recommend anyone do it. Instead what we did was to from the very beginning–our kids were a year old when we adopted them, the two that we adopted–and from the very beginning we were telling them their story. “This is what happened when we went to Russia, and here are the pictures of when we saw you for the first time, and here’s the day in court when you became our children,” and we did that all along as they were growing up. Even when they weren’t particularly interested in it because you know when you’re three or four years old, you kind of assume everybody was adopted. You think people just sort of sprung up somewhere and you don’t really get the dynamics of biological connectedness except at the intuitive level, anyway. And so we are telling that to them even when they don’t care—for one main reason, and the main reason is we don’t want them to think that coming into our family by adoption means that there is something wrong with them or that this is something to be ashamed of; we don’t think that.

So, we would tell them their story about the adoption process in the same way that with our sons who came along biologically we will point out whenever we go to Louisville, we will point out the hospital and say, that’s the hospital where you were born. Sometimes we have stories that go along: “Jonah, you came along three and a half weeks early and a bunch of people had to come over to the house and watch the other kids and your dad was in Nashville at a meeting at the time and had to rush back home and then they sent us home and we had to go back at three in the morning”– all of those sorts of things, that’s just part of his back story and it is nothing that we are ashamed of, that’s just how you came into our family. We try to do the exact same thing with our children who came into our family by adoption.

Now, what happens though is that because in every situation with adoption, there is always some tragic back story, somebody died, somebody left, something happened, and so as you are moving on with your children, you are often going to have more and more difficult questions that are going to come up. In my experience in dealing with families that have adopted, I have found that more often girls are the ones who raise those issues earlier, the kind of questions like, “Why did my birth mother place me for adoption?” And sometimes, “Was there something wrong with me?” That kind of identity question can come along with that. I don’t think that it’s because girls care more about that. I think it’s because girls are, at least in our culture, more verbal about their emotions than sometimes boys are and just because a young man is not asking those questions doesn’t mean that it’s not weighing on him.

So sometimes you are going to have tough questions and my counsel on that is to treat it exactly the way that you would a conversation about human reproduction. There was a time when the typical thing to do was to just sit the children down and say, here’s what sex is and here’s how babies are conceived and here’s where babies come from; it’s just kind of out of the blue. I think the better way to handle that is to answer honestly but age appropriately all of those questions as they are coming along, so when your three year old says, where do babies come from? On the one hand you don’t want to say, “Why are you asking me that question? Wait till you are older and I’ll answer that question.” Nor do you want to say, “Okay, here’s a chart of how this happens”—you are going to traumatize a three or four year old if you do that. I think a similar thing is true when you are talking about adoption. I think you realize what at this age can this child handle and speak honestly but in a way that discloses details at times that you think your child can handle it. So, you may have a situation where you have a birth family where there is substance abuse. I know of one situation where a young man found out that his birth mother had been a prostitute and he was really shaken by that. His parents didn’t want to talk about that when he was ten years old but it is part of his story and they want to be honest with him about that later on in the fullness of time. So, unfold that in an age-appropriate way but don’t ever act as though you are threatened by having the question. When that child is coming to you asking what their birth mother was like, what the birth father was like, why did they do these things, don’t take that personally as some sort of repudiation of you. This is a child who is trying to answer the question that all of us have to answer: Where did I come from? What are all the factors that made me me and how do I explain the narrative of my life? We are all grappling with that in various ways.

Now, here’s why this is important for everybody. It’s important for everybody again as I said before, because we all have to deal with that. We all have a tragic back story, we were all, Ephesians 2, previously those who were in a different family and now we are in the family of God. Something happened to move us into this new family that is happening by adoption and we all have things that have gone wrong in our lives. I think the same thing is true there, when we are dealing with that, we need to have a sense of honesty about where we came from. You can’t go back and fix it. You can’t go back and make it some other way, so we deal with that honestly and, yet, at the same time, we say, “I’m here in the body of Christ, I’m here in the family of God and I’m not here accidentally.” That’s what the doctrine of adoption is seeking to teach and that’s why in Ephesians and in Romans and in Galatians the doctrine of adoption is tied into with the doctrine of predestination election. Now whatever you think about predestination and election and how that relates to human freedom really doesn’t matter at this point. What matters is that we know that we are here and we didn’t kind of accidently get here. The shepherd came looking for that one lost sheep and brought us back out of the wilderness and so we are welcome, we are wanted here, and that is something we have to work through all of our lives.

Sometimes we are going to look back and we are going to say why did God allow me to go in my own direction for so long? Or why did God allow those awful things to happen to me back there in my past? And sometimes we don’t have an answer to that, often, I think maybe even most times we don’t have an answer to that. God just doesn’t give us decoder rings to be able to figure out why everything that’s happened in providence has happened to us. But what we do know though is that God has been at work in our lives from not only before we were born, but throughout all of cosmic history and working all things together for the good for us that we would be conformed into the image of Christ that He might be the first born among many brothers and He knew that we would be in his family, He wanted us in his family, He has actively brought us into his family, and in some way those back stories that we all have, all have some meaning and purpose. There’s a reason why Jacob is walking with a limp after wrestling with God at the river side. There’s a reason why Joseph is thrown into that pit and ends up being a ruler in Egypt who is able to provide the grain that the Israelites will need, and the other eleven brothers and their tribes would need in order to survive in the land of Canaan in order that through them would come the Christ. In all of those things we don’t know what their meaning is, we don’t know why God permitted those things to happen, but we know that God is Father and we know that God is good and we know that God is sovereign and we know that we are welcome when we are here in Jesus Christ.

So, I think we need to remind each other of that. We need to teach each other that. We, when things start to go wrong or things start to be dark, say “Hey, remember who you are,” just like that family has to do with that kid who was adopted and says “Hey, where’s my birth mom?” and you say, “I don’t know. I don’t know why that happened to you, but here’s what I know: you are my son, you are my daughter, I’m glad you’re here and I’m never going to leave you, I’m never going to forsake you, you are always going to be part of our family.” We need to hear the same thing for those of us who have been adopted into the family of God.

The post Signposts: How to Talk to Children About Their Adoption Story appeared first on Russell Moore.

Oct 21, 2016
Signposts: How Churches Can Minister to the Divorced
00:15:03

In this episode of Signposts I discuss what the responsibility of the local church is toward members who have experienced divorce, and what the gospel means for how we bear each other’s burdens through this.

Listen below and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes automatically when they publish.

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Below is an edited transcript of the audio.

I had a question that came in by e-mail from a listener who is asking about the issue of divorce; and not really a question about whether divorce is permissible, but this listener said, “I see a lot of confusion from church to church about how to minister to divorced people in their congregations. Some churches seem to pretend not to notice while others essentially treat divorced people as second-tier Christians. What can local churches do for those who have come out of or perhaps are in the middle of a divorce, and practically is there anything that churches shouldn’t do?”

That’s a really good question and I’m drawn back to a study that I saw several years ago about the way that churches speak about divorce from the pulpit. What they noticed was a trajectory of churches in the early part of the twentieth century talking about divorce in almost exclusively moral terms—“divorce is wrong”– to an increasingly therapeutic talk about divorce as time went on into the late twentieth century. I think there has been something of a correction to that. When I hear a sermon about the morality, the immorality of divorce, it is typically going to be from a millennial church planter, as opposed to a baby boomer, a suburban pastor. There are some exceptions obviously, but that’s typically the pattern. I think that is because you have a millennial generation and right before that a gen-X generation that lives through the wreckage of divorce, both in their own homes and in the lives of their friends and they just saw that the lie that was being given in the sixties, seventies, and eighties that divorce is ultimately not that big of a deal for kids and divorce can be a vehicle for self actualization and the children are better off if you divorce than they are if you are in a home where you are unhappy—those sorts of questions. I think there is a reaction to that coming from a younger generation that has lived through a divorce culture.

So, what should a church do and not do? Here are some things that I think. The first thing is to explain where you as a church are on the question of divorce in its morality, and if you have exceptions to that. I believe that the Bible does give exceptions where divorce is allowable and where re-marriage after that divorce is allowable. I think it is in the case of immorality, porneia, sexual immorality as Jesus explains that in the gospels and in the case of abandonment as the apostle Paul talks about it in 1 Corinthians 7; that person leaves, you are not bound, and I would include in abandonment physical or sexual or some other form of abuse; if its not safe for someone to be in a home, then that is someone who has been driven from that hope, that’s someone who has been abandoned by an unrepentant spouse.

Now, explain when you are talking about it–some churches think it is never morally permissible to remarry after a divorce, some churches think there are more exceptions than the ones that I have talked about, but make that clear to the people in your congregation, but also make it clear that in the Bible even where there are exceptions, that is the last phase. For instance, in the case of immorality, adultery doesn’t necessitate a divorce, unrepentant adultery would. And so, just because someone has had an affair doesn’t necessarily mean that that marriage ought to end. The first step ought to be let’s see if it’s possible to reconcile. Let’s see if we can bring this erring husband or wife to repentance and through that long process of healing that marriage. That ought to be our first inclination. Obviously there are going to be some situations where that is not possible and shouldn’t be tried. So in the case, for instance, of an abusive spouse we are not going to put pressure on or in a case where someone has, for instance, marriage to someone who is sexually abusing a child—you don’t want to put that child in that place of jeopardy by being back in that home. So there are going to be some exceptions to that. I think generally when you have a marriage that is starting to break down our first inclination ought to be to try to move toward reconciliation and only where that is not possible then we move forward with divorce. But in your teaching and preaching ministry, make very clear what it is that your church believes.

So, talk about the morality and immorality of divorce, and that means preaching against a divorce culture and preaching against divorces that are unbiblical. That’s not going to be popular but here’s the thing—if we have consciences that, Romans 2, are pointing us toward judgment, then not to talk about those things means that we leave people in captivity to them. We leave people with a conscience that is continually nagging them and that they are continually trying to silence and justify in ways that aren’t healthy spiritually for the person and can even be quite perilous and dangerous for the person. So, talk about that, talk about God’s judgment when it comes to divorce. Think about what Malachi, for instance, is talking about, those who have divorced their wives and talk about what the meaning of marriage is, as Jesus says what God has joined together let no man put asunder.

Speak truthfully about that, but also speak of God’s mercy, speak of God’s grace; when the person says that he or she has known of churches where people who have been divorced are treated as second-tier Christians, that’s a church that doesn’t understand the mercy and the forgiveness that comes through God’s grace. I mean, we don’t recognize that because we don’t know that all of us, Romans 3, are people who are law breakers before God. None of us have a brief that we can carry with us to the judgment seat that will exonerate us. The only thing that we have is the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. So, when we are talking about God’s judgment, we also are continually talking about God’s mercy through the shed blood of Jesus Christ through the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. We talk about mercy and we talk about grace, we talk about forgiveness.

The next stage, I think, is to make sure that the discipline of your congregation is able to operate in the realm of marriages that are breaking down, and by discipline I don’t just mean excommunication; I mean that formative discipline where you are, through your congregation, taking accountability for the marriages in your congregation. I mean when the scripture speaks to marriage, the scripture is speaking to an entire congregation. There is a reason why the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul speaks to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5 and speaks to parents in Ephesians 6 and does that in the reading of a letter that comes to the entire congregation. Why? Because we are to bear one another’s burdens, we are to hold one another accountable, and our marriages are the business of our church. There are all sorts of ways that we can do that, one of those is by making sure in premarital counseling we are spending a lot of time teaching about what a Christian marriage is and helping people to see potential conflicts that are happening in the future, and then making sure that we have resources for families, for couples particularly to be able to grow in their marriage. I’ve seen churches that have done this really well with mentoring relationships of older couples who are wise and who have been through a lot, who are mentoring younger couples. In some congregations, that happens when there is a crisis point. You have a couple who are having a crisis and you assign them to a mentor couple to help them work through those issues, but actually I think we all need that and so if you have the resources within your congregation to pair people up in those formative years of marriage with Godly wise older couples, I think that would go a long way in shaping and forming people ahead of a crisis, before they get to that point where there is a divorce situation that is happening. I think also in terms of preaching and teaching about what to do when you see that your marriage is starting to get into trouble so that you kind of take the stigma away from some one to come up and say, “I’m having trouble in my marriage,” because there are a lot of people who think “If I say we’re having some trouble, I feel like other people are going to say, you’re not a very good Christian or what’s wrong with you spiritually?” We’ve got to get rid of that and enable people to say I really need some help from the rest of the congregation.

I think that other part of discipline when you do have situations where you have someone who is being wronged, the rest of the congregation steps in. When you have that spouse who is abandoning another spouse, to have the congregation to come in and to speak, Matthew 18, move through that process and say, brother, don’t do this, sister, don’t do this, realize what you are doing to your family and to work to try to hold the erring partner accountable and also to bring about reconciliation again where possible within that couple. I think that is an important part of the discipline in the church that we have just almost completely ceded to the outside world, to divorce lawyers and to therapists and to others, I’m not saying that all of those pieces aren’t good and necessary, but the church often is silent and absent and when we ought to be a place of support and a place of healing and refuge there. Then the last stage, I would say is give people space for confession and where possible restitution and reconciliation. I’ve known of a church where when a person who is divorced comes to that congregation and applies for membership one of the things that the church leaders do is to say, “What went on with the divorce? Tell us about what happened with the divorce.” And in some cases the church would say well this is a situation where you are the innocent party or you were the guilty party but you’ve come to repentance for that but in some circumstances, this church would see this is a couple that actually needs to talk to one another and this divorce came about because of reasons that ought to be addressed with some support from others and they’ve actually seen marriages come back together and couples be re-married and couples healed and move forward. That’s a beautiful story, that’s not always going to happen but the church is making an attempt to do that.

Sometimes, of course, there is no reconciliation that is possible either because there is an unrepentant spouse or because one or both of those partners have married now other people. Well, we still need to have the place where people can come and confess their wrong doing if they have done wrong or even confess the ongoing burden they are bearing as a result of this divorce in order to hand it over and to see this as being something that is past. That’s just one of those things that all of us need, regardless of what our particular situation is, that ability to say to someone this is where I’ve sinned against God and against others and to hear from another human voice the word that has been given in the gospel in the scripture, remember who you are in Christ that you are forgiven. Go and sin no more. Our churches need that. How you do that is going to differ from church to church. Some churches have a time of invitation where people are able to come forward and pray with one another, if your church does that, it might be a good idea to say, some of you are having a difficult time because of a divorce in your past and maybe you’ve been sinned against and you’re having trouble handing that over to God, or maybe you were the guilty one and you have a conscience that is continually accusing you, well we invite you to come and pray with one another, to come and lay that before God. I think that’s a good thing to do, or maybe in your church the way you do it is through particular small groups or particular classes, tailor that and contextualize that to your church, but I think it is something that is good and necessary. When we do that, when we are clear about what the Bible teaches about divorce, when we discipline, we are involved in the lives of people’s marriages, and we hold one another accountable in terms of our marriages and when we emphasize the mercy of Jesus Christ when it comes to all of the ways that we’ve gone astray, including divorce and re-marriage, then we can have a congregation where we don’t view people who have sinned in a way that we haven’t as second-tier Christians or second-class Christians.

The post Signposts: How Churches Can Minister to the Divorced appeared first on Russell Moore.

Oct 14, 2016
Signposts: Why I’m a Baptist
00:16:53

In this episode of Signposts, I reflect on what being a Baptist has meant for my Christian life, and why I am still one today.

Listen using the links at the bottom of this page, read the transcript below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes automatically when they publish.

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Below is an edited transcript of the audio.

In this episode I am responding to a listener who asked me the question why I am still a Baptist—specifically, is there a set of reasons why I would be committed to the Baptist expression in the church and the Baptist tradition within the church

That’s a good question. The reason it is a good question is I was somebody who was reared in a Baptist church but in a largely Roman Catholic community. My family had two distinct sides: one side of the family was evangelical and the other side of the family was Roman Catholic, so I grew up with a deep appreciation of Roman Catholics—my mother’s side of the family was Catholic and really an important part of my life and of my development, as were the people in my community who were my Catholic friends and neighbors.

In late adolescence and the early years of college I really tried to figure out where I was in terms of my identity within the church, and so I saw a lot of really ugly things that went on within Baptist churches and so there was a time were I was, as I think many people do, searching for the place where I could get beyond all of that. So I spent some time really looking into Presbyterianism and Catholicism and Methodism and Lutheranism and various other Christian denominations and one of the things I very quickly discovered was that there is no romantic way out from human depravity. All of the churches and all of the communions are made up of people who are sinners and all are going to have tensions and problems and ridiculous things that go on.

As a matter of fact, when one looks at the New Testament one of the great blessings is the revelation that church life has always been filled with these sorts of divisions and struggles, right back to the Church at Corinth, the churches in Galatia and Thessalonica and elsewhere—there is consistent rebuke that is coming to churches for the immorality or divisiveness or fighting or apathy. All of those things are present there and they are present in every single communion.

So I work with people of all different traditions, people who are other evangelical protestants in other denominations, Presbyterians and Lutherans and Bible church people and what have you, and I work with in kind of a circle beyond that with other protestants along with roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. One of the things I find is when we are honest with one another, we all have problems, every one of us have problems in terms of our church traditions, that’s what it means to live in a fallen world. But I spent some time investigating all of those things and I ended up a convictional Baptist and not because I was assuming those things. I came back to what I believe are biblical convictions about the church. So here’s what I believe and why I still am in the Baptist tradition, and that is in no way a castigation of people who are in other traditions and other communions. I think one of the reasons why God has allowed the church to have these different voices within different denominations is precisely because of the way that those emphases remind the rest of the body of Christ about certain essential points.

Richard Mouw has a book coming out where he talks about different denominational traditions almost as monastic orders within the Roman Catholic church. What these monastic orders would do is each of them would have a particular area of emphasis that would carry that forward for the rest of the church and the same tends to be true within our denominational life. So, Lutherans as Mouw put it, have taken a monastic vow to remind the rest of the church that justification is through faith alone and not by the works of the law. Pentecostals have taken a monastic vow, in his view, to remind the rest of the church that the Holy Spirit is active and we should seek the power and the gifts of the spirit. The Presbyterian tradition has taken a monastic vow to remind the rest of the church of a rich and deep theological tradition, and the Baptist tradition has taken a monastic vow to really emphasis the necessity of personal regeneration and then how that plays out into a believers church.

And so that’s where I have ended up; I believe that this is what the Bible teaches for a number of reasons. One of them is that I believe the Bible teaches that there is no church that cannot lose its lamp stand. In the early chapters of Revelation Jesus is speaking to the churches and he is warning about the loss of that lamp stand, the loss of the presence of Jesus. So, I believe that the church will always exist and the church will always advance and the gates of Hell cannot prevail against it but no particular church is guaranteed survival, so I think that means a constant renewing of what it means to be biblical. So I’m a Baptist ultimately because of implications of the gospel itself that we, John 3, come into the kingdom of God not nation by nation or family by family, tribe by tribe, we come into the kingdom of God person by person; unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God—that’s essential to my understanding of what it means to be a Baptist, the necessity of personal repentance and faith, the necessity of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit upon the person.

Now, there are all sorts of other evangelical Christian communions who believe that, but I’m a Baptist because of the way that I think that is applied to other doctrines, so, for instance, the nature of the church, what does it mean to be baptized into the body of Christ? I do think that there is a connection, just as other denominations will make a connection between baptism and circumcision, I think there is a connection there, but the connection is not a baptism that comes upon everyone who is born into a Christian family. I think instead the connection is everyone who is born into the people of God and how are we born into the people of God? It is not John chapter 1, by the will of the flesh, but by the power of the spirit. We are born into the people of God as those who experience the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and so we mark out the boundaries of the church on the basis of who are the people who constitute those living stones, as Peter calls it, the ones who build up a temple of the Holy Spirit made of those whose hearts have been washed with the regenerating power of the spirit of God. I think that that definition of the church is biblical, it fits with the pattern of the early church and it also is based on that understanding of the gospel.

I think beyond that about the way that the church is supposed to be run, so the New Testament talks about Ephesians chapter one, for instance, Jesus as ruling over his church, He is put as head over all things over his church which is his body, the fullness of the one who is all in all, fulfills all things. That is a picture of the church, which is why we have in the New Testament letters that are sometimes delivered to leaders within the church, Timothy or Titus, for instance; sometimes letters that are written to individuals who are lay people as it were within the church, Philemon for instance is one of those. But then we have many letters that are written to entire congregations, to the church at Rome, to the church at Ephesus, to the church at Corinth, to the churches of the dispersion, and in those letters the directives that are being given are not only to the elders or the pastors or the leaders, although sometimes there is a specific word for them, but to the entire body of Christ.

So when it comes to church discipline, for instance, maintaining the boundaries of the church in 1 Corinthians 5 or the decision making that goes on in settling issues within the church in 1 Corinthians 6, that is given to the entire congregation. That’s one of the reasons why I’m a Congregationalist. Now, in that, I have to tell you I’m somebody who wanted not to be a Congregationalist because I’ve seen congregationalism go really awry and it is really easy to go awry because when one has a congregation where there is suspicion between the people and the leaders or in a congregation where there is a congregational government that is patterned after American government–highly bureaucratized and easily swayed with popular movements–you end up with a defective form of congregationalism. But I think the way that we avoid that is not by circumventional congregationalism, but by seeing the congregation as the ultimate authority under the lordship of Jesus Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit and also seeing the necessity of the teaching office and a leadership within the congregation that does not devolve into every decision being made by the congregation. A congregation need not make every decision in order to govern the church in the same way that as parents my wife and I have ultimate accountability for what goes on in our home, but we don’t make every decision for our children. We don’t make every decision about the things that take place in our household, but we are ultimately accountable. If you come into my house and I say to you, well, I can’t believe that my child is over there smoking weed and drinking Jack Daniels, well, ultimately I have accountability for that; a congregation has ultimate accountability for what takes place within a congregation, even if the congregation doesn’t make all of those decisions on a routine basis, it can—the congregation can ultimately.

And then I’m a Baptist because of the way I see the relationship between the church and the world. The sharp distinction that the apostle Paul makes between the outside world and the accountability on the inside in the congregation of believers who are held accountable for their belief and for their discipleship and for the way in which the outside world has not been governed by the church–I think that the Baptist principle of religious freedom that the gospel advances through spirit-empower persuasion, not through government coercion, not through cultural pressure is an important corollary of the gospel of Jesus Christ and those separate realms between the church and the world, between the church and the state. If the state attempts to do the work of the church, the state turns into something that at best the state has no competence to do, at worst, the state is becoming anti-Christ and the church when it attempts to govern the world through the state, through the power of coercion, the church becomes at best a group of people who are incompetent to do this because we have not been gifted to govern the world now as kings. As Paul says to the church at Corinth, you ask as though you’ve already become kings and you should have told me so that I could come and reign with you, he says sarcastically. And at worst, the church turns the gospel of Jesus Christ in that scenario into a political power move that is more Satanic than it is Christian.

So I think that Baptist emphasis is good and right. Now, I know that my listeners are of all sorts of denominational traditions and we can learn from one another even where we disagree and I think this is one of those things where our distinctiveness in our various communions and our various traditions isn’t something that we ought to boil away as kind of least common denominator, even though we agree, you know evangelical Christians of all sort of communions, we can come together and say we agree on the gospel of Jesus Christ, we agree on what it means to be a Christian, but let’s not evaporate those distinctions because we need them. We need them not only to make decisions about how to order our churches, be we also need them in order to sharpen one another. We really need the Lutherans to continue to stand up and say, let’s distinguish between the law and gospel, and we need the Presbyterians to continually stand up and say, yes, yes, but let’s not forget about the third use of the law, and we need the Anglicans to consistently stand up and say let’s remember the importance of worship and order, and I think we need the Baptists to continually stand up and say let’s remember how we come into the kingdom of God and that’s through the personal regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and through the witness of a church that is made up of believers.

Now, none of those traditions have ever lived up to their ideals and as a Baptist, I will tell you we often don’t live up to our ideals. The idea of a believer’s church has often been eclipsed in places where Baptists are the majority in a culture, that’s one of the reasons why we see the kind of cultural nominal Christianity that we have had for so long in the Bible Belt is because there has been a cultural pressure, not a state enforced pressure, but a cultural pressure to conform to a Baptist subculture, so if you are twelve years old and you haven’t been baptized, there is a sense of “What’s going on with your parents?” instead of highlighting what it means individual by individual to experience personal faith and repentance and for the church to be made up only of professing believers. That’s an emphasis I think we not only need to hold on to within the Baptist tradition, I think it is something our brothers and sisters in other traditions need us to emphasize, even when they don’t completely agree with us.

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Oct 07, 2016
Signposts: How Christians Should Handle Shame
00:18:15

Every Christian has had to wrestle at some point with guilt. Even for those who believe, theologically, that they are forgiven in Christ, the struggle to feel forgiven can be agonizing. How should believers in the gospel of justification handle their residing feelings of shame, guilt, and condemnation?

In this episode of Signposts I reflect on what the Scriptures say about our guilt, and why Christians can–and can’t–trust their feelings.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: How Christians Should Handle Shame appeared first on Russell Moore.

Sep 30, 2016
Signposts: My Favorite Podcasts
00:15:11

I’m often asked about which podcasts I listen to. With all the time I spend traveling, I listen to quite a few podcasts, and there are a few in particular that are especially helpful to me in keeping up with what’s being talked about in broader culture.

In this episode of Signposts I talk about which podcasts I frequently return to, and what makes them specifically useful to me in my life and ministry.

Listen below and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes when they publish.

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Sep 23, 2016
Signposts: How to Talk About Evil With Your Children
00:13:44

As parents, some of the most difficult conversations we can have with children is about evil. It can often be challenging to know how to explain the reality of evil to children in a gospel-centered way.

In this episode of Signposts I reflect on why it’s important to talk honestly to children about pain and death in the world, and to do this in a way that exalts Christ as the final answer to all evil in the world.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes when they publish.

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Sep 16, 2016
Signposts: How Should You Handle Disagreement With Church Leadership?
00:13:18

The odds are that, sooner or later, you will find yourself disagreeing with the leadership of your local church. The issue may seem small or it may seem very significant; you may be a lay member, or you may be on staff. Regardless of the circumstances, what are the most important things to remember when you don’t agree with the leadership of your church?

In this episode of Signposts I talk about what healthy disagreement within a church can look like, and what marks the difference between handling it well and damaging the fellowship.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and download new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: How Should You Handle Disagreement With Church Leadership? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Sep 09, 2016
Signposts: Reflections On My Conversation With Andy Stanley
00:22:09

At our recent ERLC national conference, I had the opportunity to sit down with pastor Andy Stanley. Andy and I have a lot of significant disagreements about ministry, but our conversation was fascinating and helped me and everyone at the conference think through some important issues.

In this episode of Signposts I reflect on my time with Andy Stanley, and how our dialogue about ministry and theology sharpened my own thinking about Scripture and the church.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: Reflections On My Conversation With Andy Stanley appeared first on Russell Moore.

Sep 02, 2016
Signposts: How to Be Free From Fear
00:10:21

How does the gospel address our deepest fears? How can we be confident, while facing an uncertain future?

In this episode of Signposts, I offer some thoughts from Scripture on why the gospel disarms our fear, and allows us to walk confidently toward the kingdom.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes automatically when they publish.

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Aug 26, 2016
Signposts: Why Christians Must Keep Christianity Strange
00:08:31

Christianity isn’t normal anymore, and that’s good news. The Book of Acts, like the Gospels before it, shows us that the Christianity thrives when it is, as Kierkegaard put it, a sign of contradiction. Only a strange gospel can differentiate itself from the culture around us. But the strange, freakish, foolish old gospel is what God uses to save sinners and to build the Church.

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Aug 19, 2016
Signposts: How to Engage the Culture as the Church
00:10:13

The illusion of being a Christian majority in this country has not been good for our understanding of what it means to be the people of God. As we enter the public arena, we don’t come with a Christless form of religion that is satisfied with mere behavior modification rather than new birth. We need to remember that we are sent with consciences that are shaped and formed by the Word of God, for the purpose of reconciliation.

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Aug 12, 2016
Signposts: How to Be Changed by the Word of God
00:09:24

Each and every one of us is tempted to shelter ourselves from the prophetic edge of Scripture. We don’t want to hear that we’re wrong, and we don’t want to hear the diagnosis of our sinfulness. But we need to understand the way our own hearts often seek to evade Scripture’s call on our lives.

In this episode of Signposts, I talk about the need for the Word of God to confront us and challenge us in areas that we are not choosing so that we can be equipped to engage in the warfare of the Christian life.

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Aug 05, 2016
Signposts: Why I Prefer Books to E-Readers
00:13:50

Recently I read that sales of e-readers like the Kindle had slowed, and that sales of physical books had risen. This made sense to me, since over the past couple of years I’ve realized that I almost totally prefer bound books to digital versions.

In this episode of Signposts I talk about why physical books are so important to me in my life and ministry, and what e-readers, though helpful, miss about the written word.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts to automatically receive new episodes when they publish.

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Jul 15, 2016
Signposts: How to Plan Now to End Your Ministry Well
00:12:52

Recently I was asked by a younger man, “How can I make sure to end my ministry well?” In my own life I’ve seen many ministers end their service poorly, not only through moral failure but also through anger, bitterness, and disillusionment.

In this episode of Signposts I talk about what ministers, young and old, should remember in order to end their ministries well, and how the gospel helps us see ourselves the way God sees us.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes when they publish.

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Jul 08, 2016
Signposts: Should Christians Boycott?
00:18:09

One question I am asked frequently is, “Should Christians boycott?” Over the past few years there have been several calls within evangelical communities for boycotts of corporations like Starbucks and Target. Is this kind of activism effective and wise?

In this episode of Signposts I talk about evangelical conscience and boycotts, and what the Scriptures can teach us about human nature and real change.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: Should Christians Boycott? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jun 24, 2016
Signposts: What Fathers Need to Tell Their Children
00:14:28

One of the most important things that we as Christians can know is what fathers need to say to their children. The Scriptures give us wisdom on this, and help us to see what it is that every human yearns to hear from their earthly, and heavenly, father.

In this episode of Signposts I reflect on what the Bible says about fathers and children, and how the gospel leads and forms Dads to model the fatherhood of God.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes automatically.

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Jun 17, 2016
Signposts: How Can You Help a Friend Struggling With Sexual Immorality?
00:15:33

Not long ago I received an email from a new Christian. This person wanted to know how she could help a friend realize that her lifestyle was sinful and destructive, without being too harsh, judgmental, or overbearing. This is a question that all Christians have to wrestle with if we seek to live faithfully as believers.

In this episode of Signposts I talk about how Christians can help those close to them who are struggling in the fight for purity, and why this struggle matters for the church.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: How Can You Help a Friend Struggling With Sexual Immorality? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jun 10, 2016
Signposts: How Should You Talk to Your Children About Transgender Issues?
00:13:29

With the Department of Education’s recent decree on transgender restrooms and public schools, many families are wondering how they are going to help their children navigate through these questions.

In this episode of Signposts I discuss what Christian parents need to do when discipling their children to think about gender identity questions, and why hard conversations about controversial topics are essential.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: How Should You Talk to Your Children About Transgender Issues? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jun 03, 2016
Signposts: What If Your Kids’ Sports Teams Interfere With the Church Schedule?
00:09:52

Summer means vacation, cook outs, and late nights. For many families, it also means an often intense schedule of summer sports leagues. These activities can be rewarding and helpful, but what about when they collide with other priorities–like church attendance?

In this episode of Signposts I talk with my friend, pastor David Prince, about what Christian families can do to maintain healthy priorities when it comes to church and sports.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes when they publish.

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May 27, 2016
Signposts: What We Miss in Our Sexual Purity Teaching
00:13:59

Christians talk a lot about sexual purity. In many ways, I think the discussion amongst evangelicals is better than it has been in years past. But what are the “blind spots” of our teaching on purity, how do we bring the conversation back to the gospel?

In this episode of Signposts I talk about what evangelicals should remember in discipling one another in sexual purity, and how we can correct the areas where we’ve unintentionally mimicked the culture.

Listen below and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and automatically download episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: What We Miss in Our Sexual Purity Teaching appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 20, 2016
Signposts: How Can You Guard Yourself Against Moral Failure?
00:12:14

In the past few years, many of us have watched as well-known, respected ministers have fallen morally. This can lead us to ask: If these men didn’t resist temptation, how can I?

In this episode of Signposts I talk about why it matters to think strategically about how you will fight temptation in your life and ministry, and what practical things can help.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and download new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: How Can You Guard Yourself Against Moral Failure? appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 06, 2016
Signposts: How I Do My Personal Devotions
00:13:21

A daily personal devotion time is something that most Christians would say is vital to their walk with Christ. But often it’s a spiritual discipline wrapped in frustration and confusion.

In this episode of Signposts I talk about my own personal methods for private devotions, and reflect on what I’ve learned about the priority of spending time in meditation and prayer.

Listen below and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: How I Do My Personal Devotions appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 29, 2016
Signposts: How Should You Build an Adoption Culture In Your Church?
00:13:01

One question I get asked frequently is, “How can our local church promote adoption and orphan care?” The reality is that the answer to this question will look different from congregation to congregation. But regardless, there are a handful of principles that every church can build their adoption and orphan care ministry around.

In this episode of Signposts I talk about the main things that every church should keep in mind in promoting an adoption culture, and the importance of involving everyone–from 17 to 90–in the church’s ministry.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: How Should You Build an Adoption Culture In Your Church? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 22, 2016
Signposts: How to Know If You’re Called to Ministry
00:11:27

One question I get frequently is, “How can I know that I’m called to ministry?” Years ago I grappled with this very question, and it’s one that’s important for the life of the church.

In this episode of Signposts I reflect on the lessons I’ve learned in my own life about discerning a call to ministry, and what the biblical principles are that can help potential ministers and churches understand clearly what God is doing.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: How to Know If You’re Called to Ministry appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 15, 2016
Signposts: The Church’s Mission to Special Needs Children
00:15:14

Many churches have families with special needs children. Even as these congregations want to help and bless these families, there is often confusion about the best way to do that.

In this episode of Signposts I consider what the church’s attitude towards special needs children should be, and practically, how the body can best serve these families in a helpful way.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: The Church’s Mission to Special Needs Children appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 08, 2016
Signposts: What I Learned About Ministry At My Ordination
00:09:21

Recently I was thinking back to my ordination for ministry. In the years since, I’ve realized that my ordination and early ministry years were formative for me in ways I couldn’t imagine at the time.

In this episode of Signposts I reflect on the lessons I learned from my ordination, and how my earliest days of ministry gave me some of the most important wisdom I’ve ever gained.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes when they publish.

_________

Photo credit (resized), licensed under CC 2.0.

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Apr 01, 2016
Signposts: What Can Fighting Superheroes Teach the Church?
00:10:40

From the blockbuster release Batman vs Superman, to the upcoming Captain America movie, it seems that a lot of our favorite superheroes are fighting each other. This can make for an exciting film, but I actually think this motif has something profound to teach Christians about how we relate to one another.

In this episode of Signposts I discuss the problem with assuming the worst motivations of those we disagree with, and how the “civil war” of superheroes can help us see our church tensions in light of the gospel.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: What Can Fighting Superheroes Teach the Church? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Mar 28, 2016
Signposts: What “The Man In the High Castle” Can Teach Us About the Past
00:14:43

The Man in the High Castle is a science fiction tale that presents us with a startling question: What would the world be like if Nazi Germany had won World War II? The story by Philip K. Dick, and its recent adaptation into a popular TV show, is an insightful look at how events of history shape not just the present, but the way we think about ourselves.

In this episode of Signposts I talk about what we can learn from The Man in the High Castle, and how its lessons about past and history can help us better understand the gospel.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and automatically receive new episodes when they publish.

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Mar 18, 2016
Signposts: Why I Learned More From Sunday School Than Seminary
00:09:57

I would never want to choose between the time I spent in Sunday School and my time at seminary. But if I had to choose, I know which one I’d pick.

In this episode of Signposts I reflect on the lessons I’ve learned from both Sunday School and seminary, and why my years learning through the Bible inside the local church were more formative than my formal ministry education years later.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and automatically download new episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: Why I Learned More From Sunday School Than Seminary appeared first on Russell Moore.

Mar 11, 2016
Signposts: What Christians Should Look For in a Political Candidate
00:11:13

In election seasons like the one we’re in right now, many Christians wonder what exactly makes a candidate worthy–or unworthy–of their vote. When the political climate gets as crazy as it is right now, this can be an especially urgent question.

In this episode of Signposts I talk about what Christians ought to look for, and look out for, in a political candidate, and how Christians can best weigh a candidate’s positions against their character.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes automatically when they publish.

The post Signposts: What Christians Should Look For in a Political Candidate appeared first on Russell Moore.

Mar 04, 2016
Signposts: How Our Home Does Family Devotions
00:15:45

I’ve often been asked for guidance on how families can have group devotions. This can be challenging, especially as families with children can be pulled in many directions throughout the day.

In this episode of Signposts I talk about what the Moore family does for dinner time devotions, and how each family needs to look for a method that works for them, rather than an unbending principle.

Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and automatically download new episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: How Our Home Does Family Devotions appeared first on Russell Moore.

Feb 26, 2016
Signposts: “Too Dumb to Fail: A Conversation with Matt K. Lewis On Election 2016”
00:15:25

The 2016 presidential election cycle has been a bizarre and at times infuriating spectacle. Particularly for conservatives, it feels like this election has featured at least as much of the vulgar showmanship of reality TV as a principled conservative worldview. How did we ever get to this point?

In this episode of Signposts I talk to Matt K. Lewis, author of the new book Too Dumb to Fail. Lewis discusses why conservative political discourse has sunk to the lows we see now, and what we can do about it.

Use the links below to listen, and subscribe to get new episodes of Signposts automatically when they publish.

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Feb 19, 2016
Signposts: The Danger of Valentine’s Day
00:11:29

Here in America, a lot of people think Valentine’s Day is a big deal. So it might be tempting to think that we really love love. But do we? Is there a danger to popular culture’s idea of what love should look like?

In this episode of Signposts I think about how Christianity defines love, and how that might differ from the images and feelings of Valentine’s Day.

Listen to the episode below, and use the links to subscribe and automatically get new episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: The Danger of Valentine’s Day appeared first on Russell Moore.

Feb 12, 2016
Signposts: The Poverty of the Prosperity Gospel
00:14:11

When TV preachers tell us that they need private jets to communicate with God, what should that tell us about their theology? In this episode of Signposts we consider what’s broken about the prosperity gospel, and why it matters.

Listen to the episode below, and use the links to subscribe and automatically download the latest Signposts episode when it publishes.

The post Signposts: The Poverty of the Prosperity Gospel appeared first on Russell Moore.

Feb 05, 2016
Signposts: “Star Wars: The Memories Awaken”
00:15:39

What can the biggest movie of all time teach us about memory, the past, and the gospel? In this episode of Signposts I talk about the reasons we love Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and what that says about us and our mission as Christians.

Listen here, and subscribe to the podcast using the links below to automatically receive new episodes when they publish.

The post Signposts: “Star Wars: The Memories Awaken” appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jan 29, 2016
Introducing My New Podcast
00:12:41

Today is the first episode of my new podcast, Signposts. This is a brand new, biweekly podcast that features conversation about the gospel, politics, books, and much more.

In this introductory episode, I explain the name “Signposts,” and talk about why I’m doing this new podcast and what you can expect from it.

I hope you’ll join me in this new opportunity to talk about where the culture points us toward the kingdom.

The post Introducing My New Podcast appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jan 15, 2016
Questions & Ethics: Should I Get My 12 Year Old a Smartphone?
00:07:51

Should parents give their preteen and teenage children electronic devices, like smartphones and tablets, that have unrestricted internet access? In this episode I think through the wisdom of not giving our children over to the cyber wilderness.

The post Questions & Ethics: Should I Get My 12 Year Old a Smartphone? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Oct 16, 2015
Questions & Ethics: Should My Church Discipline a Pro-Choice Member?
00:08:17

A pastor discovers that a member of his church is vocally pro-choice when it comes to abortion. What should the church do? Is there a biblical basis for disciplining such a member? In this podcast I think through what the Bible tells us about this question.

The post Questions & Ethics: Should My Church Discipline a Pro-Choice Member? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Oct 08, 2015
Questions & Ethics: What If I Feel Called Away From My Current Ministry?
00:06:11

Recently I received a letter from a young man who suspects that his ministry calling lies outside his current position as a student pastor. In this episode of “Questions & Ethics” I consider what the Scripture tells us about ministry, desire, and faithfulness.

The post Questions & Ethics: What If I Feel Called Away From My Current Ministry? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Oct 02, 2015
Questions & Ethics: Ashley Madison and the Absurdity of Sin
00:12:21

Why didn’t the clients of the Ashley Madison website think they would be exposed? What is it about sin that makes us think illogically? In this episode of Questions and Ethics I explain what the Bible tells us about the power of our desires.

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Sep 11, 2015
Questions & Ethics: My Daughter Is Having a Same-Sex Wedding–Now What?
00:21:09

What should be the response of a Christian parent whose child is having a same-sex wedding? Here’s my explanation of what the Bible teaches about separating from sin and loving sinners.

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Sep 08, 2015
Questions & Ethics: How Should I Explain Suicide to a Child?
00:06:08

Explaining death to a child can be an emotional conversation. Russell Moore discusses how to talk to a child about suicide. Read the full transcript here.

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May 15, 2015
Questions & Ethics: How Should Christians Respond When Animals are Viewed as Children?
00:05:52
May 07, 2015
Questions & Ethics: What if my parents don’t support my interracial marriage?
00:05:47

Russell Moore discusses what the Bible says about interracial marriage. Read the full transcript here.

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May 01, 2015
Questions & Ethics: How should Christians think about Bill Cosby?
00:08:07

Russell Moore discusses Bill Cosby and whether we should continue watching reruns of his show.

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Feb 05, 2015
Questions & Ethics: How should local church leaders respond to a single woman who had a child through IVF?
00:08:54

Russell Moore discusses IVF treatment and how the church should respond to women who have had this procedure. Read the full transcript here.

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Jan 29, 2015
Questions and Ethics: Discussing ‘Selma’ with Actor David Oyelowo
00:17:26

Dr. Moore interviews David Oyelowo, the actor who plays Martin Luther King, Jr. in the new Oscar-nominated film, Selma.

The post Questions and Ethics: Discussing ‘Selma’ with Actor David Oyelowo appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jan 19, 2015
Questions and Ethics: A Conversation with Erick Erickson on Religious Liberty and the Atlanta Fire Chief
00:19:00

Russell Moore discusses religious liberty and the firing of the Atlanta Fire Chief with Erick Erickson. Read the full transcript here.

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Jan 14, 2015
Questions and Ethics: Christmas and the Culture
00:10:10

Russell Moore discusses the phrase “Happy Holiday” and how Christians should respond. Read the full transcript here.

Music is performed by Andrea Thomas. You can download her album A Christmas to Remember here.

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Dec 23, 2014
Questions & Ethics: A follow up on the Serial Podcast series
00:20:09

Russell Moore, Dan Darling, Mike Cosper, and Joe Carter discuss the finale of the Serial podcast and how the series affects our views of America’s criminal justice system.

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Dec 18, 2014
Should Christians listen to the Serial podcast?
00:12:00

Russell Moore and Dan Darling discuss the ethics of the Serial podcast and whether Christians should listen to it or not. Read the full transcript here.

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Dec 16, 2014
Questions & Ethics: How should I handle family tensions during the holidays?
00:16:05

Russell Moore discusses how to handle family tensions during the holidays. Read the full transcript here.

Music is performed by Andrea Thomas. You can download her album A Christmas to Remember here.

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Dec 12, 2014
Eric Garner and the Call for Justice
00:08:47

We recorded a special edition of Questions and Ethics with Dr. Moore, addressing the Eric Garner case. You can listen below or read this transcript.

The post Eric Garner and the Call for Justice appeared first on Russell Moore.

Dec 03, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Live from National Conference 2014
00:35:57

Audio from the Live Q&E Event with Russell Moore, at the ERLC 2014 National Conference.

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Dec 03, 2014
Questions and Ethics: Should my son participate in a high school band raffle?
00:09:15

A concerned father asks if his son should participate in his high school’s band raffle. “I don’t see,” he says, “how this is any different than gambling or a lottery, and how should I as a Christian respond to forms of gambling like this that are for a good cause?” Read the full transcript here.

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Nov 13, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Should couples write their own wedding vows?
00:06:26

Russell Moore shares his views on couples writing their own wedding vows. Read the full transcript here.

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Nov 06, 2014
Questions and Ethics: A response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision
00:04:37

Russell Moore discusses the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

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Jul 04, 2014
Questions & Ethics: What can churches do to increase ethnic diversity in their congregations?
00:05:07

Russell Moore cautions church leaders against a “ministry to the minority” mindset when it comes to creating diversity in their churches.

The post Questions & Ethics: What can churches do to increase ethnic diversity in their congregations? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jul 02, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Does He Need To Confess His Adultery To His Wife?
00:07:49

Russell Moore answers a difficult question from a husband who writes in and asks, “I’ve confessed to God and repented of adultery in my marriage, but I’m struggling with telling my wife. Is it necessary to tell her, knowing the hurt it will cause and how should I go about doing this?” Read the full transcript here.

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Jun 27, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Should We Teach the Story of Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery
00:07:24

Russell Moore explains how this passage clearly lines up with Jesus’ teaching throughout the Bible and why we should in fact teach this passage.

The post Questions & Ethics: Should We Teach the Story of Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jun 25, 2014
Questions and Ethics: How should the church interact with legislation on the life issue?
00:03:44

Russell Moore discusses how a pastor can direct his congregation in regards to interacting with legislation on the issue of life. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions and Ethics: How should the church interact with legislation on the life issue? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jun 18, 2014
Questions & Ethics: How could future technology change sexual temptation?
00:18:05

Russell Moore discusses how future technology could change sexual temptations.

The post Questions & Ethics: How could future technology change sexual temptation? appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 28, 2014
Questions and Ethics: Which ethical issues is the church missing?
00:03:03

Russell Moore discusses some of the most pressing ethical issues the church should be addressing, such as pornography, social media and the prosperity gospel. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions and Ethics: Which ethical issues is the church missing? appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 23, 2014
Questions and Ethics: Should pastors talk politics from the pulpit?
00:04:17

Russell Moore discusses pastors engaging politics from the pulpit. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions and Ethics: Should pastors talk politics from the pulpit? appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 21, 2014
Questions & Ethics: How do you maintain a Christian viewpoint in a secular world?
00:04:08

Russell Moore advises a pastor on how to help those in his church function in a secular world but still have a holistic, Christian view with everything they do. Read the full transcript here

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May 16, 2014
Questions and Ethics: How should pastors address divorce and remarriage?
00:05:58

Russell Moore encourages pastors to address the topics of divorce and remarriage within their church. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions and Ethics: How should pastors address divorce and remarriage? appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 07, 2014
Questions and Ethics: How do you disciple a repentant transgendered person?
00:05:33

Russell Moore counsels pastors and church leaders on how to lovingly disciple transgendered persons who have come to faith in Christ.

The post Questions and Ethics: How do you disciple a repentant transgendered person? appeared first on Russell Moore.

May 02, 2014
Questions and Ethics: How should parents explain same-sex marriage to their kids?
00:05:26

Russell Moore encourages parents to be open and honest with their children, in an age appropriate manner, at all times. Read the full transcript here.

This question was answered live at the ERLC Summit.

The post Questions and Ethics: How should parents explain same-sex marriage to their kids? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 30, 2014
Questions and Ethics: How should churches think about the topic of sexual abuse?
00:04:34

Russell Moore addresses the issue of sexual abuse, saying immediate action is required by both civil authorities and the church. He also offers encouragement to those abused to come forward and not be ashamed that this happened to them. Read the full transcript here

This question was answered live at the ERLC Summit.

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Apr 25, 2014
Questions and Ethics: How can a Christian become well-versed in ethics?
00:07:30

Russell Moore explains why it’s so important for Christians to know the Scriptures and apply them to their lives. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions and Ethics: How can a Christian become well-versed in ethics? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 18, 2014
Questions and Ethics: What advice do you have for future Christian leaders?
00:07:00

Russell Moore looks back on his own path to the ministry and relates his experiences to young people striving to be leaders today.

The post Questions and Ethics: What advice do you have for future Christian leaders? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 16, 2014
Questions and Ethics: What is the biggest threat to religious liberty today?
00:04:33

Cake-bakers, photographers and the HHS mandate: Russell Moore discusses these assaults on religious liberty and why faithful Christians should be engaged. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions and Ethics: What is the biggest threat to religious liberty today? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 11, 2014
Questions and Ethics: World Vision’s change of course
00:07:01

Russell Moore addresses biblical accountability for Christian ministries in light of World Vision’s change of course. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions and Ethics: World Vision’s change of course appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 09, 2014
Questions and Ethics: Who were the Nephilim from the Noah movie?
00:08:39

Who were the Nephilim described in Genesis 6? Were they rock monsters as portrayed in the Noah movie? Russell Moore discusses the movie and how the story of Noah can provoke important discussions about God and salvation. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions and Ethics: Who were the Nephilim from the Noah movie? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 04, 2014
Questions and Ethics: Addressing cultural issues from the pulpit
00:05:31

Should the text drive the message? Should cultural events shape the sermon? Russell Moore talks to pastors about preaching on ethical issues from the pulpit. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions and Ethics: Addressing cultural issues from the pulpit appeared first on Russell Moore.

Apr 02, 2014
Questions & Ethics: We haven’t consummated our marriage.
00:09:17

Russell Moore counsels a woman who has been married 8 months, but has yet to consummate their marriage. Moore shares ways a pastor should approach this, as well as the importance of sex within marriage. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions & Ethics: We haven’t consummated our marriage. appeared first on Russell Moore.

Mar 28, 2014
Questions & Ethics: How should we approach Matthew 18 discipline?
00:09:56

Russell Moore advises a pastor on Matthew 18 discipline. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions & Ethics: How should we approach Matthew 18 discipline? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Mar 21, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Pro-life and for Capital Punishment?
00:07:44

Russell Moore shares what the Bible says about capital punishment. Read the full transcript here.

The post Questions & Ethics: Pro-life and for Capital Punishment? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Mar 19, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Should Singles Adopt?
00:06:37

Russell Moore answers a difficult question: Is it wise for singles to adopt? Read the transcript here.

The post Questions & Ethics: Should Singles Adopt? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Mar 14, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Should churches manipulate for spontaneous baptisms?
00:06:51

Russell Moore answers the questions: Are spontaneous baptisms good for the Church? A church recently made the news for their guidelines for spontaneous baptisms. How should pastors and church leaders think through this issue? Read a full transcript here.


photo credit: Mars Hill Church via photopin cc

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Feb 25, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Should Christians bake wedding cakes for weddings about which they disagree?
00:13:37

Russell Moore addresses the question: Should Christians bake wedding cakes for weddings about which they disagree? When is the right time to object and when is the time to humbly serve in Christ’s name? And what should the law say about these situations of conscience? Read a full transcript here.

The post Questions & Ethics: Should Christians bake wedding cakes for weddings about which they disagree? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Feb 21, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Is Russia really a "pro-family values" nation?
00:11:22

Russell Moore discusses his view of Russian government propaganda, abortions and the change in Russian adoption laws.


photo credit: Ken and Nyetta via photopin cc

The post Questions & Ethics: Is Russia really a "pro-family values" nation? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Feb 19, 2014
Questions & Ethics: How do you deliver a eulogy for a non-believer?
00:10:07

Russell Moore offers advice for delivering a eulogy for a non-believer. He encourages ministers to take the opportunity to deliver the message of salvation and the gospel.

The post Questions & Ethics: How do you deliver a eulogy for a non-believer? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Feb 14, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Should a Christian photographer take racy photos for married couples?
00:07:26

Russell Moore counsels a pastor who found out a member of his church takes racy photographs for married couples, and talks about the danger of cultivating lust and violating the intimacy of the marital union.

The post Questions & Ethics: Should a Christian photographer take racy photos for married couples? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Feb 12, 2014
Questions & Ethics: How should a Christian counsel a friend who has unwittingly become addicted to prescription drugs?
00:06:15

Legitimate pain-killing medications can often be a gateway to a lifelong addiction to narcotics. Russell Moore discusses the spiritual implications of drug addiction and what repentance looks like in this situation.

The post Questions & Ethics: How should a Christian counsel a friend who has unwittingly become addicted to prescription drugs? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Feb 05, 2014
Questions & Ethics: How can youth ministers be effective in today’s culture?
00:11:48

Russell Moore shares from his own experiences in youth ministry. He urges youth pastors to trust the entire gospel and not fear irrelevancy by doing so.

The post Questions & Ethics: How can youth ministers be effective in today’s culture? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jan 31, 2014
Questions & Ethics: How will the Supreme Court’s decision on the Hobby Lobby case affect us?
00:05:35

Russell Moore discusses Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court case and how the decision could affect us.

The post Questions & Ethics: How will the Supreme Court’s decision on the Hobby Lobby case affect us? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jan 28, 2014
Questions & Ethics: Is medical marijuana ok for Christians?
00:09:35

In this episode of Questions & Ethics, Russell Moore discusses his thoughts on the legalization of marijuana. What should Christians think about the legal use of marijuana? What about medical marijuana?

The post Questions & Ethics: Is medical marijuana ok for Christians? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jan 23, 2014
Questions & Ethics – How should your church approach Sanctity of Human Life Sunday?
00:12:47


“The entire canon of Scripture throbs with God’s commitment to the fatherless and to the widows, his wrath at the shedding of innocent blood. Just as every Lord’s Day should be Easter, with the proclamation of the Resurrection of Jesus, and Christmas, with the announcement of the Incarnation, so every Lord’s Day should highlight the worth and dignity of human life. I pray that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will grow up in an age when abortion is not just illegal but unthinkable.”

As you and your church prepare for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on January 19, we hope that you find this podcast helpful. You can also download a free bulletin insert here.

The post Questions & Ethics – How should your church approach Sanctity of Human Life Sunday? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jan 15, 2014
Questions & Ethics – When dating, how much should a Christian know about a future spouse’s sexual history?
00:10:49


“Questions & Ethics,” a new podcast answering listener-generated questions related to culture and ethics, will launch today on erlc.com, the official website of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and here on Moore to the Point.

Dr. Moore will host the podcast and answer questions on issues such as marriage, pornography, immigration and pop culture.

“This program is devoted to interacting with you about questions related to ethics and what it means to follow Christ in today’s culture,” Dr. Moore said. “It will address questions such as, ‘How do we live as Christians in our workplaces, in our families, around our dinner table?’”

In this episode, he discusses the importance of knowing your spouse’s sexual history and when it’s the right time to ask.

The post Questions & Ethics – When dating, how much should a Christian know about a future spouse’s sexual history? appeared first on Russell Moore.

Jan 13, 2014
Moore to the Point Radio: A Conversation with Flame on Hip-Hop and Gospel Witness
00:16:37

Hip-hop artist Flame, a Dove, Stellar, Grammy nominee, and graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s undergraduate Boyce College, recently released his seventh album, “Royal Flush.” Flame joined Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, to discuss the opportunity Christian hip-hop artists have to be salt and light in the music industry, and how hip-hop can be an avenue for gospel witness.

The post Moore to the Point Radio: A Conversation with Flame on Hip-Hop and Gospel Witness appeared first on Russell Moore.

Oct 10, 2013
Moore to the Point Radio: A Conversation with Grover Norquist on Immigration
00:11:28

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and one of the most influential voices in American conservatism, recently wrote an article in The American Spectator critiquing conservatives for having lost their perspective on the issue of immigration. Here, Norquist joins Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, for a wide-ranging discussion on immigration based on Norquist’s recent article, including the need for reform, moving beyond the political impasse, and the dignity of all persons made in the image of God.

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Oct 02, 2013