Below I’ve transcribed the ERLC Q&A with Dr. Russell Moore that has raised a host of concerns. I’m not sure what the copyright rules are, so I’ll remove it if I’m told to. Until then, I hope this provides something concrete as the conversation continues regarding what was said.
Travis McNeely: My name’s Travis McNeely, messenger of Woodlawn Baptist Church, Dr. Moore, in a 2007 podcast with IX Marks, you were asked whether women underneath the authority of a pastor could teach or preach to men. You said, ‘If the Apostle Paul wanted to say that, he would’ve said it. Everybody in the churches remain under the authority of the pastor. It doesn’t mean you now have the authority to sin, to go against the creational order. It would be very much akin to a woman saying, “I’m going to commit adultery under the headship of my husband. I have my husband’s permission to commit adultery.” Nor does it allow a woman to do what is forbidden in Scripture, which is to teach or to exercise authority over a man.” Is this still your position on women teaching in the church? Thank you.
Moore: Well thank you brother for that question. What I would say to you is this: I have very strong convictions about biblical complementarity that God has gifted both men and women for service within the church, and that God has distinctively given callings to men and to women in some specific ways. Our Baptist Faith and Message confessional document is very clear in terms of our parameters of understanding complementarity there. We have issues on which we all agree and issues that we need to agree completely in order to cooperate and to have a mission together. There are lots of other issues where we have a common agreement, be we have different ways of applying that at the secondary or at the tertiary level. I think that the New Testament pattern is to have the Lord’s Supper weekly. I’m not only happy to cooperate with churches that have the Lord’s Supper monthly or quarterly or at other times; I don’t even go to a church that has the Lord’ Supper weekly, and I’m happy to be there. We can have some different applications, sometimes, about what our biblical complementarity looks like in some ways, but we are united around the fact that, as our Baptist Faith and Message says, the office of pastor is limited to men. What I would say to you at this point, and what I would probably say to myself in 2007 (a lot of things I would like to say to myself in 2007), is to say that complementarianism requires complementarity. And that means that we need both men and women serving in every biblically appropriate way. As a social conservative, I believe that children need both a mother and a father. There are two ways that you can destroy that. One of those ways is to say, “It doesn’t matter whether this is a mother or a father, all you need is a parent.” The other way is to say, “All you need is a mother” or “All you need is a father.” We need both mothers and fathers within the church of Jesus Christ, and we live in a denomination where we have firm convictions on biblical complementarity, but we are the denomination that was sending out Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong before women could vote in the United States of America. The idea that we are listening too much to women in the Southern Baptist Convention is not an idea that makes very much sense to me right now. Instead, I would say, “Let’s be complementarian and let’s try some true complementarianism,” which means empowering men and women to serve under faithfulness to the inerrant word of Jesus Christ.
Tom Buck: My name’s Tom Buck, I’m a messenger for First Baptist Church Lindale, TX. Dr. Moore, first of all thank you as a pastor who has had to work with many, unfortunately, that have been sexually abused, also within my family, several people. So thank you for your stand on those issues.
I want to ask a little bit of a different question, but I think I’d like us to address it before it does become a crisis as well. So, I’m truly thankful for how you’ve spoken with great clarity in the past regarding issues of homosexuality. However, your and the ERLC’s endorsement of Living Out Ministries have been anything but clear. Your endorsement stated on the Living Out website that these resources are anchored in biblical conviction. Yet, their resources specifically teach that a same-sex attracted individual is fixed in his orientation, that same-sex couples can be a “healthy environment to nurture children,” and that parents should “have any family rule for teenagers about same-sex girlfriends or boyfriends that they should also apply to opposite sex ones.” Since those resources existed at the time of your endorsement, would you please explain the circumstances that gave rise to your endorsement that enabled you to say that those type of resources are anchored to biblical conviction?
Moore: My endorsement was of the ministry of a man by the name of Sam Alberry, who has lived through absolute persecution from his Anglican communion for standing up for the biblical truth that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and that sexual immorality is wrong and that the gospel is offered to all who will repent and believe of [on] Jesus Christ, someone who has lived out his life heroically. There were some differences later on in that ministry that caused some parting of the ways, and that’s why I endorse Sam, I don’t endorse everybody that he’s ever met. But your ERLC has been actively working on this issue of homosexuality, not only in terms of moral teaching about what the Bible teaches on sexual morality, but also in terms of preserving and protecting religious liberty for churches who are called bigoted, called hateful, called retrograde, simply for affirming what Jesus has taught to us, that from the beginning he created them male and female, and we will continue to do so.