By Allen Palmeri
JEFFERSON CITY— Roger Moran, an evangelical Christian layman, and Russell Moore, senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., taught out of similar texts Sept. 27 at the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Worldview Conference here at Memorial Baptist Church.
Moran taught out of Matthew 22 and Moore taught out of Luke 10 on the topic of loving God and loving people. Moran theorized that there are two different types of believers—those who favor the First Commandment, and those who favor the Second Commandment—whereas Moore taught a more holistic approach.
Approximately 85 people attended the conference, which was the first of its kind in Missouri. MBC Executive Director David Tolliver indicated he would like to do it again.
“I believe we’ll see the conference grow through the years to come if we’ll let people know about it,” he said.
Moran, who was the primary architect of the conservative resurgence in the MBC, critiqued “culturally liberal” leaders who appear to be in love with the world. Their methods are suspect, Moran said, and deserve to be scrutinized because they enable carnal Christianity and negate Lordship salvation. The offense of the Gospel, on the other hand, is found in the convicting power of holy living.
“The more the church looks like the world, the more the church acts like the world, the more the church talks like the world, the less the church has to offer the world,” Moran said.
Moore, who was the featured speaker at the conference with two teaching sessions, stood against Moran’s view by presenting an “extraordinarily optimistic” perspective on the younger generation. The well-respected “right-hand man” to Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Moore indicated that these younger preachers are working hard to define the Gospel properly, identify their neighbor correctly, and locate their mission precisely.
“(They) have grown up in the wreckage of the Bible Belt,” said Moore, who writes extensively and speaks regularly on the subject of a Christian worldview. “They have seen what happens with paganism. They have seen what happens with a divorce culture in our churches. They have seen what happens with a superficial kind of Christianity that is about moral principles rather than the Gospel, and they want something different than that. And that is the reason why you have a new, fresh, countercultural kind of proclamation of the Gospel—knowing what is at stake, which is marginalization.”
Moran advanced the idea that a First Commandment Christian pursues purity in holiness while a Second Commandment Christian pursues efficiency in missions, ministry, and evangelism. Moore stated that the whole counsel of God clearly fits together in Christ and in the centrality and primacy of the Gospel, which the believer is exhorted to live out by loving various “neighbors” who often present themselves as widowed, orphaned, needy, or abandoned.
The other speakers at the conference were: Zel Fischer, a Missouri Supreme Court judge and a member of First Baptist Church, Tarkio; and Don Hinkle, editor of The Pathway.