On the occasion of the loud pronouncement by Beth Moore by means of mainstream media that she is done with the Southern Baptist Convention, one reader forwarded a long1 piece by former National Review writer David French defending Moore:
You can go down entire YouTube rabbit holes featuring video after video of Christian critics attacking her in sneering and condescending terms. The online abuse has been astounding. Critics dissected her public statements syllable by syllable, and fired missile after missile from their theological and ideological citadels.
…There is a tremendous, yawning difference between humble and kind members of competing Evangelical factions and cruel and self-righteous gladiators in the public square.
French goes on to include his friend Russ Moore also complaining about the hurtful criticisms that Russ himself suffers:
my friend Russell Moore wrote recently—that every word from your mouth “will lead to psychological warfare.”
Today, Russ issued his own defense of Beth Moore (no relation). The piece’s center of gravity was a very personal place where he testified to Beth Moore’s spiritual leadership and care for him while he went through depression (“when the night of the soul turned dark for me”):
[Beth] never left me alone. She was constantly checking in, calling and texting Bible verses, praying with me in person or over Zoom. She was able to call me back to what I believe—and more to the point, to Who I believe. ..She pointed me to the weight of glory just beyond the horizon. And then I stood back up. I reclaimed my sense of mission and purpose.
Following Russ’s lengthy (2,000 word) defense of Beth, Russ added a shorter personal commendation of Tim Keller, noting and lamenting (with us) Keller’s present sad battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Then Russ ended his email to constituents by also lamenting this past year of Covid, and the suffering and deaths it brought on.
If you prefer that I summarize the defenses of Beth Moore by David French and Russ Moore, I’d say David (first names to avoid confusion) is defense by offense whereas Russ is defense by praise. David attacks Beth’s critics for being cruel to her while Russ praises Beth’s compassion, theological depth, and Godliness.
Both men attribute parts of the criticism of Beth to Trumpites and people who don’t care if women are abused, but these themes are secondary to David’s jeremiad against people who have treated Beth with cruelty and Russ’s celebration of Beth’s doctrinal depth, godliness, and compassion.
What stands out to me is the fact that both David and Russ refuse to engage the confessional issue with Beth Moore, which is that for many years she has taught and exercised authority over men. I say this is “confessional” because nothing is more foundational to our existence and to the rebellion and hatred of God permeating the world David and Russ (like the rest of us) live in than God’s created order of man and woman. Scripture explains it in a number of ways: Adam was created first, then Eve. Eve was the one deceived, not Adam. Man is the glory of God, not woman. Woman is the glory of man, not man the glory of woman. The wife is to submit to her husband, “in everything.”
We all know how important it is to David and Russ, as it is to many others, to remain palatable to the chattering class. After all, it’s how they make their living. They live in Rome, and when in Rome, do as Rome. Look carefully at what the Democrats put their shoulders to immediately upon taking over Washington: passing legislation that makes any attempt to support and enforce Biblical sexuality on the level of the public square, and maybe even some of our private places, a human rights commitment punishable by penalties that would bankrupt many Christian institutions, destroy all modesty in our public places, and inevitably cause even more self-censorship by Christians in our public witness, our classrooms, our pulpits, our lecture halls, our seminaries, our elders’ meetings, our pulpits; and yes, our writing for any wider audience than our grandmother and mother.
Think about how the New York Times habitually speaks of any conservative they opposed for nomination to the Supreme Court when he is confirmed, begins to sit, and signs onto a minority or majority opinion that leans in a leftward direction. Demonstrating the unutterable conceit so pervasive among liberals, they say he’s “grown.”
The single thing necessary to understand what David and Russ complain about in behalf of Beth Moore is their growth. Washington did it to them, and there’s no going back because the minute they show any teeth opposing the sexual rebellion being enforced against those of us who fear and honor God concerning sexuality, they’ll lose any voice in the public square. They will be persona non grata inside and outside the Beltway, and in every forum watched by the chattering class. David will no longer be published by Time and Russ will no longer be feted by the New York Times, nor will they ever ask him again for one of his mealy-mouthed opeds.
David and Russ are doing what they have to do to stay a part of the disgusting conversation. The conversation is their money. It is their aspiration. It is their lifeblood, and thus their defense and friendship with Beth Moore who perfectly personifies the sort of effeminacy concerning Biblical truth characterizing mainline religious leaders today. I call it mainline religion because the old mainline is dead and men like David French, Russ Moore, Al Mohler, Tim Keller, Lig Duncan, and all their fellow celebrities in self-referential marketing groups like The Gospel Coalition now best represent the concept.
We have seen a seismic shift in the alignments and those who don’t keep track will never stop being confused. Every Christian celebrity today who aspires to be a part of the conversation and gain for herself or himself a national audience that is growing has pulled in their horns on sexuality. You can tell them by the way they talk, which is contrary to Scripture and intentionally misleading, to boot. (This intentional misleading is how they hold onto the money of their longtime conservative constituents while tipping their hat to the new constitution. Read our book, The Grace of Shame, for full explanations, quotations, and citations.)
Many years ago, Russ wrote opposing complementarianism,2 saying it was too liberal. He also used to oppose gender-neutered Bibles. Then he grew. David used to be a soldier. Then he grew, also.
Nobody forced David French and Russ Moore to be silent concerning the terrible sins Beth Moore shamelessly promotes, rebelling against God’s order of creation and flaunting her feminine immodesty before hundred of thousands.
They forced themselves. Speaking firmly against female rebellion was something the Apostles did, but David and Russ (along with Al, Tim, Lig, and their compatriots in celebrityhood) don’t. Their money would dry up and their voices would be banished to the wilderness.
Sure, some have been cruel in their video clips, posts, and comments about Beth Moore. Also, many of us have close friends and relatives who are heretical and heterodox whom we love and find very helpful in times of depression.
But for David French and Russ Moore to write so many words condemning the cruelty Beth has suffered while also testifying to her great godliness, the Biblical depth of her doctrinal commitments, and her tender, personal compassion, doing so right now in response to her releasing through mainstream media her departure from the Southern Baptist Convention, is only an indication of their spiritual and doctrinal and personal (at least to Beth) unfaithfulness.
No matter how many times they and the rest of these men have been helpfully right, in the greatest gap of the wall, today they are AWOL, and that deeply matters. You cannot trust them, so leave them be.