The man the TheoBros love to hate has been named editor-in-chief of the nation’s flagship magazine for evangelical Christians.
Russell Moore, former head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, was announced Aug. 4 as the successor to Daniel Harrell, who served as editor-in-chief of Christianity today for about two years.
For just over a year, Moore has served on Christianity today as a public theologian and director of the Public Theology Project. He came to that post from the ERLC, where he had suffered persistent criticism from the more extreme right-wing sector of the SBC, made up largely of ultra-conservative Calvinists, sometimes known collectively as TheoBros.
Moore was an outspoken leader in a call for awareness and justice for victims of sexual assault in SBC churches. That put him at odds with powerful institutional forces who wanted to suppress any investigation, as well as a group of male leadership purveyors who believed there was no “crisis” to investigate.
Moore was an outspoken leader in calling for awareness and justice for victims of sexual assault at SBC churches.
After an independent investigation documented a long-term pattern of cover-up and denial of abuse in SBC churches, Moore called the report the “apocalypse” for the SBC. That earned him more ridicule from abuse deniers.
Nearly 15 months after Moore left the ERLC, the trustees have yet to name his successor, an unusually long gap in leadership for an SBC agency. Critics of Moore and the ERLC have continued to push for the agency’s closure, though they have repeatedly lost that battle.
Moore, who is a staunch conservative evangelical and anti-abortionist, also drew criticism for not supporting Donald Trump in his bid for election and re-election as US president. Moore said Trump was morally unfit for the job, even though he supported Trump’s push to appoint Supreme Court justices to override Roe vs. Wade.
Following his departure from the ERLC, Moore also left his affiliation with SBC and became a resident minister at Immanuel Church, a nondenominational congregation in Nashville.
In his new role as editor-in-chief of Christianity today, Moore follows a long line of household names in theological circles, though he lacks the journalistic training normally expected of an editor-in-chief. The magazine’s chief executive, Timothy Dalrymple, said another staffer, Joy Allmond, will become chief of editorial staff.
Veteran reporter Kate Shellnut announced via Twitter that she, too, would be taking on a new role as news and online editorial director.
“That Moore is a person in possession of extraordinary talents is indisputable,” Dalrymple wrote in announcing the new editor. He “was appointed dean of the School of Divinity at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary when he was just 32 years old. Through his books, his articles and podcasts, his public speaking, and his leadership of the Commission on Ethics and Religious Liberty, Moore has been arguably the most prominent evangelical Christian public voice in the country for the past decade. Anyone who has read his writings or listened to his oratory will attest to his prodigious natural gifts.”
Furthermore, Dalrymple wrote: “Moore has shown, time and time again, the courage to express his convictions and the integrity to live by them. At times this has meant fighting for essential biblical and theological truths in the public square. At times it has meant stating truths to the church that challenge and convince us. He has worked tirelessly to help men and women of evangelical convictions address sin within our own ranks, whether it is related to idolatry and prejudice or abuse and neglect. Moore has taken on some of the most important and urgent goals of our time, even as he has meant suffering the stones and arrows of critics both on and off the field.”
Christianity today, founded in 1956 by evangelist Billy Graham, has figured prominently in the dialogue among evangelical Christians, a group that until the last 20 years did not explicitly include Southern Baptists, who tended to operate in their own world. With the rise of the religious right and the shift to the right in the SBC in the 1980s and 1990s, the two worlds increasingly overlapped, until the Trump era.
In the last six years, Christianity today it has been more fully embraced by those evangelicals who have not latched onto the Trump star. Although, a previous editor-in-chief, Mark Galli, came under fire for his 2020 editorial echoing Moore’s stance that Trump was morally unfit to serve as president.
Christianity Today as an organization publishes its flagship magazine of the same name, available both in print and online. Information provided on the organization’s website says that the content “directly reaches more than four million Christian leaders each month,” although print and digital circulation figures are not detailed.
The organization also produces podcasts and special projects. His podcast titled “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill” was one of the highest rated Christian podcasts of the last two years.
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