Southern Baptist leader discusses role of churches amid cultural changes

by Carla Hinton Modified: February 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm •  Published: February 8, 2014

A prominent Southern Baptist leader said the world is changing, and churches must work hard to adapt to those changes without watering down the essential Gospel message.

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, visited Oklahoma City on Wednesday to give the keynote speech at the 2014 Rose Day Rally. The rally and distribution of roses drew a crowd to the state Capitol, despite inclement weather. Numerous members of Oklahoma's faith community participate in Rose Day activities, which draw attention to anti-abortion legislation and other issues related to the sanctity of human life.

Moore, 42, took his post in 2013 to replace the Rev. Richard Land, who had held the position since 1988. As head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the nation's largest Protestant denomination, Moore said he commutes between the commission's offices in Washington, D.C., and Nashville, Tenn., where the denomination is based.

The Biloxi, Miss., native shared his thoughts about how he handles his prominent role for the Southern Baptist Convention and the latest clashes between culture and the Christian church.

Q: What would you say is the most pressing challenge facing the Christian church these days?

A: I think the No. 1 challenge has everything to do with what we're doing here today, which is to recognize human dignity and to see people not as means to an end, but as created in the image of God; and to love one another. I think that has to do with how we treat the unborn, how we treat women in crisis, how we treat immigrants among us, how we treat those who are the most vulnerable in our society. I think in every age, that's the No. 1 issue we face.

Q: Can you share information about the Ethics and Religious Liberty summit on human sexuality, set for April in Nashville?

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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