NASHVILLE (BP)—Russell Moore has been elected as the next president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
The ERLC’s board of trustees approved Moore, currently dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a special, called meeting Tuesday (March 26) at a Nashville hotel.
Moore, 41, a native of Biloxi, Miss., will be the eighth president of the entity charged by Southern Baptists with addressing moral and religious freedom issues. With a background in government, the pastorate and seminary training, he already is well-known as a commentator from a Southern Baptist and evangelical Christian perspective on ethics, theology and the culture.
“I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Southern Baptists as ERLC president,” Moore said. “I pray for God’s grace to lead the ERLC to be a catalyst to connect the agenda of the kingdom of Christ to the cultures of local congregations for the sake of the mission of the Gospel in the world.”
Moore’s election means he will be only the second ERLC president in the last quarter of a century. He will succeed Richard Land, who will retire upon the completion of 25 years leading the entity.
“I am delighted that the Holy Spirit has led the ERLC’s trustees to Dr. Russell Moore as the commission’s next president,” Land said. “Dr. Moore is a godly Christian minister, a devoted husband and father, and a convictional, committed Baptist. His excellent academic preparation, combined with his keen mind and his tender heart for God and His people, make him a person uniquely suited to serve our Savior and Southern Baptists in this crucial role at such a critical moment in our nation’s history.
“I join the trustees and ERLC staff in committing to pray for Russell and his dear family as he prepares to assume the tremendous responsibilities of the ERLC presidency,” Land said.
Moore will begin his new responsibilities June 1. At that time, Land will become the entity’s president emeritus, an honor bestowed on him by trustees in September.
The ERLC trustees’ seven-person presidential search committee, chaired by Barry Creamer of Criswell College in Dallas, recommended Moore to the full board after a seven-month process.
“After praying, planning, meeting and working for months to find the man we believe God would have lead the ERLC, we are blessed by the board’s election of Russell Moore today and confident that God will use his message to impact churches and the public marketplace of ideas for what is right, true and desperately needed today,” said Creamer, Criswell’s vice president of academic affairs.
Moore has served since 2004 as dean of the school of theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He joined the faculty in 2001 as professor of Christian theology and ethics and continues in that role.
He was preaching pastor at a campus of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville from 2008-12. While a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Moore was associate pastor at Bay Vista Baptist Church in Biloxi, Miss.
Before attending seminary, Moore served for four years as an aide to pro-life Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor of Mississippi.
Moore and his wife Maria are the parents of five sons.
Moore is a leading voice in the growing pro-adoption movement among evangelicals. His 2009 book—Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches—has played a significant role in that cause and he is a frequent speaker at adoption conferences.
On his blog, in written commentaries, in speeches and in news media interviews, Moore comments frequently on a range of issues and the Christian Gospel’s impact on them. These include abortion and other sanctity of life matters, race relations, marriage, pornography, politics and popular culture.
Florida Baptist pastors joined government, academic, and other church leaders who applauded Moore’s selection in written statements.
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