I am not a Southern Baptist — never have been, and was not raised in that particular faith tradition. These days, I tend to refer to myself as an amateur Christian, both because I like the fact that that the word amateur derives from the word and concept of love, and because I’m not nearly good enough at Christianity to turn pro. However, the Southern Baptist Convention is headquartered in the city of my birth, and they represent the largest Protestant denomination in the country. (I have previously joked about living on Mondoville’s Lutheran island in the midst of a sea of Baptists — indeed, most of the college’s students are Baptist, despite the school’s Lutheran affiliation.) A colleague of mine from the Religion department has observed that there is a Southern Baptist veneer on nearly all the Protestant churches in this part of the country.
Put another way, when the Southern Baptists get a cold, a lot of churches sneeze, especially down here. Consequently, I find myself with something more than neighborly interest when things get lively on their side of the denominational fence. That brings us to some current controversy regarding a gentleman named Russell Moore (no relation, as far as I know).
National Review Online‘s David French offers an interesting look at Mr. Moore’s doings — most notably the fact that he spoke out against both Clinton and Trump in last year’s election:
The core of his critique was simple: that American Christians shouldn’t excuse or rationalize sin for the sake of political victory in any single election. Moreover, the same moral standards one applies to political opponents should also apply to one’s political friends. If sexual misconduct, for example, rendered Bill Clinton unfit for office in the 1990s, how should Christians think about a thrice-married serial adulterer in 2016 — especially one who bragged about grabbing women by the genitals?
This strikes me as a legitimate point, as does French’s statement a bit later:
The role of a Christian leader isn’t to put his finger in the air, take the pulse of his constituency, and respond accordingly. It’s to know and do the will of God, and to call the church to do the same — even when the church is making poor choices.
And for this particular amateur Christian, that’s the QotD. Ends are not the only things that matter — the means we choose (or elect) for achieving those ends matter as well. That may not be a practical consideration in our politicized culture — so much the worse for the culture.