EDITOR’S NOTE: See additional ERLC trustee report on Friday, Sept. 13.
NASHVILLE (BP) — The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s purpose is to live out the life of Christ and help others to do the same, Russell Moore said Wednesday (Sept. 11) at the entity’s annual trustee meeting.
In his seventh year as ERLC president, Moore told trustees and staff members, “You are the light of the world — not just commissioned with ethics and religious liberty but commissioned with the Christian life and with the life of Christ.”
The ERLC’s commission is to equip and advocate but not just equip and advocate, he said in his report to the trustees.
“We’re to equip people — here’s what the Bible teaches, here’s how to live it out…. We’re to be advocates and to speak to the outside world whether in media or government or culture or industry or wherever else about why Christians believe what they believe,” Moore told his audience.
“But fundamentally the ERLC is not just about the abstractions of ethics and religious liberty,” he said. “We’re about seeking to remind all of us and all of our churches about how we are to embody the life, death, resurrection, ascension and reign of Jesus Christ as the people who are the subjects of His kingdom.
“The Lord has called us to remind ourselves and to remind our churches, ‘Let’s remember what it means to follow Christ with one another and also in light of the watching world,'” Moore said.
Christians are commissioned to call people “to encounter Jesus in a text of Scripture, to come to see their life increasingly being conformed into the life of Jesus and living out that Christ-life,” he said.
Moore based his remarks on the John 9 account of Jesus healing the man who had been blind from birth.
The response of people in the text shows “some of the things that we’re having to combat together right now” — naturalism and cynicism, Moore said. In this modern age, naturalism and cynicism “are everywhere and really, really easy to fall into.”
Some of the people described in John 9 believed a man born blind could never stop being blind, Moore said, and others were “not seeing the dire situation of this man born in God’s image or seeing the glory of Jesus in this action” but seeing only that something wrong or cynical must have been done.
Jesus bypasses these obstacles and carries out God’s will, which should remind us “why the love of Jesus ought to be the primary motivating factor in seeing to it that His life is being lived out in our own lives, including in the sorts of moral decisions that we make and in the sorts of moral decisions that we are helping people to make,” Moore told the trustees and staff.
In his written report to the trustees, Moore cited the following work among that which the ERLC has performed in the last year:
— Helping churches combat sexual abuse and care for abuse survivors;
— defending the sanctity of human life through advocacy and the provision of ultrasound machines to pregnancy resource centers;
— standing for racial unity;
— guarding freedom of conscience;
— and promoting civility in a divided country.
In addressing the trustees, Moore expressed his gratitude for the ERLC staff’s work in a variety of areas, including communications, events, advocacy, administration, strategic partnerships and research.