Russell Moore is leaving the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, ending an occasionally controversial eight-year tenure, to take a role with Christianity Today.
He will begin a role this summer as public theologian for what the magazine described as “a new public theology project.” In a message posted to his personal blog, Moore said the project “is devoted to cultivating a forward-looking, joyful, consistent gospel witness.”
During Moore’s tenure, the ERLC has at times been a flashpoint of controversy within the SBC, most notably in reaction to his opposition to candidate and president Donald Trump.
In 2017 and 2020, task forces were formed by the SBC Executive Committee to study the ERLC’s impact on the Cooperative Program. The 2017 task force reported that impact on the CP was “not as significant in fact as it is in perception.”
At the 2018 SBC annual meeting, a motion attempting to defund the ERLC was rejected by an overwhelming margin. In February 2021, a second EC task force acknowledged both support within the SBC for the ERLC and that some see it as “a source of significant distraction from the Great Commission work of Southern Baptists.”
In a statement, Moore said he was “thrilled to join” Christianity Today, which he said “has meant a great deal to me in my faith journey.”
“We need to recover a theologically orthodox, intellectually credible, socially engaged, missiologically holistic, and generally connected witness for American evangelical Christianity,” he said.
David Prince, chair of the ERLC’s board of trustees, expressed gratitude for Moore’s service and sadness over his resignation. “Though we are sad to see his time leading this entity come to a close, we wish him the best and will continue to look to his leadership and voice in American evangelicalism.”