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Baptist Leader Charges Evangelicals Defending Roy Moore With Idolatry

Man in blue and black suit speaks in front of a microphone.

On Monday, Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore emphatically condemned so-called Christians who defend Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore despite allegations that he sexually assaulted teenage girls while in his early 30s. The Baptist leader charged these "evangelicals" with an idolatry of power.

"Evangelical Christians ought to be the most dogged opponents of sexual predation and violence in the universe," Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), declared in a tweet storm. "The Bible tells us to."

The ERLC leader added that "a church that worships Jesus stands for vulnerable women and girls. A church that worships power sees them as expendable."

"Christian, if you cannot say definitively, no matter what, that adults creeping on teenage girls is wrong, do not tell me how you stand against moral relativism," Russell Moore powerfully declared.

Then the ERLC leader explicitly accused Roy Moore defenders of having abandoned Christianity. "This is why I spend so much time talking about nominal, cultural Christian 'religion,'" Russell Moore wrote. "It is predatory, soul-twisting, covers our violence and racism and molestation."

By contrast, he wrote that "the gospel of Jesus Christ brings life and joy and rest and peace."

At the very beginning of his tweet storm, the ERLC leader referenced Hosea 8:7-8.

For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour; if it were to yield, strangers would devour it.

Israel is swallowed up; already they are among the nations as a useless vessel.

Hosea wrote this in the context of God judging Israel for idolatry. "To me they cry, 'My God, we—Israel—know you.' Israel has spurned the good; the enemy shall pursue him. They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but I knew it not. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction" (Hosea 8:2-4).

Directly before the passage Russell Moore cited, God condemns Israel's idols. "I have spurned your calf, O Samaria. My anger burns against them. ... For it is from Israel; a craftsman made it; it is not God. The calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces" (Hosea 8:5-6).

By citing Hosea 8, Russell Moore suggested that the division and dissension in America's evangelical Christian community is God's judgment for idolatry: American evangelicals have exchanged the God of the Bible for the idol of power, and so they "reap the whirlwind" and become "a useless vessel."