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‘The Bible Belt is Collapsing’
PJ Tatler ^ | August 17, 2013 | Rick Moran

Posted on 08/17/2013 6:46:43 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

A fascinating interview in the Wall Street Journal with Russell Moore, the incoming president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. This influential position was held previously by Richard Land, who became a well known face on the cable nets and Sunday shows.

Moore says, in essence, that the culture war has been lost:

‘The Bible Belt is collapsing,” says Russell Moore. Oddly, the incoming president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission doesn’t seem upset. In a recent visit to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Moore explains that he thinks the Bible Belt’s decline may be “bad for America, but it’s good for the church.”

Why? Because “we are no longer the moral majority. We are a prophetic minority.”

The phrase is arresting coming from such a prominent religious leader—akin to a general who says the Army has shrunk to the point it can no longer fight two wars. A youthful 41, Mr. Moore is among the leaders of a new generation who think that evangelicals need to recognize that their values no longer define mainstream American culture the way they did 50 or even 20 years ago.

On gay marriage, abortion, even on basic religious affiliation, the culture has moved away. So evangelicals need a new way of thinking—a new strategy, if you will—to attract and keep believers, as well as to influence American politics.

The easy days of mobilizing a ready-made majority are gone. By “prophetic minority,” he means that Christians must return to the days when they were a moral example and vanguard—defenders of belief in a larger unbelieving culture. He views this less as a defeat than as an opportunity.

[...]

He is definitely pushing a new tone for this generation of evangelicals. “This is the end of ‘slouching toward Gomorrah,’ ” he says. Not only is the doomsaying not winning Christians any popularity contests, but he doesn’t think it’s religiously appropriate either. “We were never promised that the culture would embrace us.”

He also questions the political approach of what was once called “the religious right.” Though his boyish looks bring to mind the former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, Mr. Moore is decidedly not a fan of the “values voter checklists” the group employs. “There is no Christian position on the line-item veto,” Mr. Moore says. “There is no Christian position on the balanced-budget amendment.”

Which is not to say that Mr. Moore wants evangelicals to “turn inward” and reject the larger U.S. culture. Rather, he wants to refocus the movement on serving as a religious example battling in the public square on “three core issues”—life, marriage and religious liberty.

Politically, the evangelical right isn’t going anywhere. They will still play a large role in Republican party politics, and will still be indispensable to the campaigns of dozens of Republicans in many districts.

But to a secularist like me, Mr. Moore’s words sound like a welcome dose of pragmatism. Achieve what is doable, accept the world not for what you would have it be, but for what it is. This is not to say that there shouldn’t be an effort — a war, if you will — to fight on many issues. But perhaps the battles will be fought on a different kind of battlefield — one where moral authority is gleaned not from numbers or political power, but from the light of example.

Read the whole interview for some fascinating insights.


TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: abortion; baptists; biblebelt; christians; culturewar; moore; prolife; russellmoore
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1 posted on 08/17/2013 6:46:43 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

We got overrun with furriners, poor economy and tyrannical leadership. But we’re still here.


2 posted on 08/17/2013 6:49:22 PM PDT by BipolarBob
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I don't have time to read the article, but while Christians might slip into minority status, God does not.

Christians were never more powerful than when willing to die for their faith in the coliseum.

I personally have proof (you must find your own proof) that God is right here with me.

We were told that a time would come for martyrdom. Let's go get ours.

Personally, I like the idea of lions' teeth sinking into my flesh and bones...if it is done as evidence of my/our faith in Him.

3 posted on 08/17/2013 6:56:55 PM PDT by RoosterRedux
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Yes, the Culture War has been lost. Like a snowball running downhill for the past 50 years. No politics, nor politician, nor Republican party can save us. Whereas the Republican Party is the only cultural force outside of Christianity that opposes this cultural tide. Unfortunately, it can be said for both the Republican Party and the orthodox Christian and Catholic churches is that they have served as an ineffectual doorstop against a door that is intending to swing wide open. And we are looking at nearly swung wide open right now!

Like the 1st century through 3rd century Rome ....there will be martyrs.


4 posted on 08/17/2013 6:59:18 PM PDT by RBStealth
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

We’re winning on abortion, slowly but steadily, which is probably more important as an issue than gay “marriage”. Seems like the wrong time to throw in the towel to me.


5 posted on 08/17/2013 7:00:39 PM PDT by Yardstick
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Sounds like another good reason to give safe haven to the Copts of Egypt. They aren’t southern Baptists but they are devout Christians.


6 posted on 08/17/2013 7:00:45 PM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The Bible belt cannot collapse...because the One on Whom it is founded cannot collapse.

How blessed we are to have been born in the Bible Belt. When you think about it long and hard...it makes perfect sense. Those outside the Bible Belt reject the Lord (not all...just some).

How lucky we are to live inside the Bible Belt and feel its warmth.

7 posted on 08/17/2013 7:00:51 PM PDT by RoosterRedux
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“bad for America, but it’s good for the church”

This seems pervasive today.

Ive often wondered what it was like to live in Germany or Japan in 1945.

It seems to me they, like many in the US, have ceded defeat.. its only the terms of surrender that need negotiation.

Personally I will never accept indifference and willful ignorance over pride in the greatest country mankind has managed to create, with generous help from above.

I will never capitulate say whats best for me me is bad for America..


8 posted on 08/17/2013 7:01:17 PM PDT by montanajoe
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To: RoosterRedux

Exactly! A willingness to go go prison or die for the faith will cluster, confound and defeat metroosexuals.


9 posted on 08/17/2013 7:03:20 PM PDT by STJPII
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Hmmm, American "core values" seem to be more centered around money, status, money, stuff, money and, oh, yes, money, rather than around life, marriage and religious liberty.

I sound pretty cynical, don't I?

10 posted on 08/17/2013 7:03:30 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“he wants to refocus the movement on serving as a religious example battling in the public square on “three core issues”—life, marriage and religious liberty.”

Fantastic article. He got my attention!


11 posted on 08/17/2013 7:03:37 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge
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To: RBStealth

We’re winning on abortion which towers above issues like gay marriage that don’t have its moral importance. Abortion is the left’s sacrament and we’re winning. We are in the left’s sanctuary, overturning it idols. Now is the wrong time to give up.


12 posted on 08/17/2013 7:06:47 PM PDT by Yardstick
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To: RBStealth

I went to these money grubbing
“churches “ for 55 years. When babies were being slaughtered— they said nothing. When sexual perversion , an “abomination to God” ran rampant ,they sang hymns or “praise and worship” but they said nothing.( it would hurt collections). They are worthless institutions in the eyes of God. They mean nothing.


13 posted on 08/17/2013 7:07:08 PM PDT by SADMILLIE (r)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Rather, he wants to refocus the movement on serving as a religious example battling in the public square on “three core issues”—life, marriage and religious liberty.”

There’s another article floating around here on FR about the homosexual agenda to destroy religion. Looks like this new guy at the SBC is preparing for that battle.


14 posted on 08/17/2013 7:07:39 PM PDT by Vision Thing
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To: SADMILLIE

http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Religion-Became-Nation-Heretics/dp/143917833X

Read the book if you want to understand.


15 posted on 08/17/2013 7:09:48 PM PDT by RBStealth
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To: RoosterRedux
I don't have time to read the article, but while Christians might slip into minority status, God does not.

One + God is always a majority.

16 posted on 08/17/2013 7:12:19 PM PDT by BipolarBob
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To: Vision Thing
It's already pretty much a fait accompli unless a Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin is elected president in 2016. Even then.....
17 posted on 08/17/2013 7:12:40 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I aim to raise a million plus for Gov. Palin. What'll you do?.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Lost? seems we’ve been hearing that since Noah landed his boat on the shore.


18 posted on 08/17/2013 7:12:44 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Yardstick

we actually arent winning, but hearts and minds are shifting in our favor....maybe temporarily, maybe a short lived blip, maybe something better.

As to your comment about me giving up?
You sure do read alot into a few of my compact sentences and incorrectly.


19 posted on 08/17/2013 7:13:13 PM PDT by RBStealth
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To: RoosterRedux

Amen, say it again, Rooster!


20 posted on 08/17/2013 7:20:07 PM PDT by jodyel
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To: SADMILLIE
I went to these money grubbing “churches “ for 55 years. When babies were being slaughtered— they said nothing. When sexual perversion , an “abomination to God” ran rampant ,they sang hymns or “praise and worship” but they said nothing.( it would hurt collections). They are worthless institutions in the eyes of God. They mean nothing.

So atheists are leading the charge now?
21 posted on 08/17/2013 7:22:32 PM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SADMILLIE
They are worthless institutions in the eyes of God.

You don't speak for God. He draws his people in strange ways, opening their eyes with great care...and you are no one to judge.

You need to offer up an apology for your comment (and not to me).

22 posted on 08/17/2013 7:22:40 PM PDT by RoosterRedux
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: 2ndDivisionVet; HoosierDammit; TYVets; red irish; fastrock; NorthernCrunchyCon; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

24 posted on 08/17/2013 7:26:08 PM PDT by narses
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: RoosterRedux
Actually the Bible Belt can collapse as certainly as the faith in N. Africa which was once vibrant and full BUT did collapse. So biblically speaking you are a far ways out of bounds. No one place is secured against collapse, but Christianity itself through Jesus's promise:

Mt 16:18
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Guarantees that the faith itself will not collapse, but does not guarantee any geographic area from collapse.
26 posted on 08/17/2013 7:27:42 PM PDT by RBStealth
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To: Yardstick

Actually gay marriage and abortion are the same issue and the losses of GM, I think over compensate for the gains on abortion.


27 posted on 08/17/2013 7:30:06 PM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINE http://steshaw.org/econohttp://www.fee.org/library/det)
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To: RoosterRedux
He draws his people in strange ways

Man that's the truth.

I was thinking of how to reach out to the inner city dwellers without sacrificing my principles when a neighbor from Detroit introduced me to a black pastor who had become disillusioned with his own social justice preaching. We both found strength and direction.
28 posted on 08/17/2013 7:31:05 PM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If our pastors return to preaching the Gospel we will have revival. As long as we put our faith in man (politicians) we are doomed.


29 posted on 08/17/2013 7:31:11 PM PDT by Gamecock (Member: NAACAC)
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: RBStealth
You quote a politically charged verse to support Peter and the Catholic Church.

The Church of Christ is so much bigger than just the Catholic Church. But we true believers are all a part of it.

So please stop fighting amongst yourselves over denominational matters.

Is it not about the Lord?

31 posted on 08/17/2013 7:32:35 PM PDT by RoosterRedux
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I read the article. Mr. Moore did not mention our nation's system of education from pre-K through graduate school.

My opinion:

Our nation will continue in its downward nosedive as long as Christians and conservatives continue send their children into godless and socialist-entitlement single payer K-12 indoctrination centers!

Please remember that nearly every teacher in this nation ( pre-K through graduate school) was trained by godless Marxists in Marxist dominated colleges and universities.

32 posted on 08/17/2013 7:34:39 PM PDT by wintertime
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To: RoosterRedux

I didnt use that quote in a Catholic way. Its the Bible and I used the sentence in full and underlined the part I was talking about. Is that not clear?


33 posted on 08/17/2013 7:35:04 PM PDT by RBStealth
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Gone are the days when human scum like Ralph Reed and Tom DeLay could claim to be conservative Christians and make scads of money telling the yokels what they wanted to hear.

Now Christians have to actually act like Christians in order to gain authority within the Christian community.

Imagine that?

34 posted on 08/17/2013 7:35:12 PM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: cripplecreek
Yep...the Lord is on the move.

Glad to hear of your recent experience and testimony. Spread the Word.

35 posted on 08/17/2013 7:35:18 PM PDT by RoosterRedux
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To: RBStealth
http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Religion-Became-Nation-Heretics/dp/143917833X

Read the book if you want to understand.

Just ordered it today, actually.


36 posted on 08/17/2013 7:36:49 PM PDT by Lee N. Field ("He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." Isaiah 27:1)
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To: RBStealth
That bit of Scripture has been used for 1900 years to push a single denomination...is that not clear?

Christianity is not about denomination...it is about the Lord.

37 posted on 08/17/2013 7:37:39 PM PDT by RoosterRedux
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I'm probably missing something wonderful about this, but to me it's embarrassing. Jesus was abandoned by all of His friends, betrayed by one, and those He came to save cursed, convicted, beat and whipped Him, scourged His flesh and nailed Him to a cross to die.

I wonder how many of today's Christians, even in the famous "leadership" positions, would have been with those in that crowd calling for His death. If He were to show up today, as He did then, how many would recognize Him or would be like those leaders of His day, witness His miracles, then call it the work of Satan?

How many care more about their egos, their passions and their empires, than about His Word, which they can recite by heart, but whose heart doesn't feel and head doesn't heed? Where are they leading those entrusted to their care?

I worry about US and the government we've created, that mouths the words it claims to believe, like many of us, that violates most of the 10 Commandments as a matter of policy and tax code, not to mention having legalized infanticide and soon, gay marriage.

Look around. The more we allow, the more we attract...and soon will call down upon us, if you catch my drift. There are signs and warnings now, even I can see them, but next comes...?

38 posted on 08/17/2013 7:37:43 PM PDT by GBA (Our obamanation: Romans 1:18-32)
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To: BipolarBob

Here stand I. I can do no other


39 posted on 08/17/2013 7:38:15 PM PDT by Nifster
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Whether we like it or not, Nietzsche was correct.


41 posted on 08/17/2013 7:40:23 PM PDT by deadrock (I am someone else.)
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To: RBStealth
I don't want you to go away. I have many fine Catholics in my family...and they are solid Christians (except for a few goddess worshipers).

I didn't know you were Catholic...so please forgive me for my criticism.

Christians come in all denominations...

42 posted on 08/17/2013 7:44:00 PM PDT by RoosterRedux
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To: Vision Thing

You wouldn’t happen to have atitle or a link would you, FRiend?

Thanks in advance ;)
Tatt


43 posted on 08/17/2013 7:44:42 PM PDT by thesearethetimes... ("Courage, is fear that has said its prayers." Dorothy Bernard)
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To: Lee N. Field

I wrote a review on Amazon for that book, it was so good I read it twice.

Most timely book of our time.
Goes beyond Richard Neuhaus “The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America” which itself was a book for its time in the 80’s and 90’s. Since that time we are becoming nearly banished from the public square and our influence for the culture.


44 posted on 08/17/2013 7:46:45 PM PDT by RBStealth
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To: thesearethetimes...
Yes, I should've linked to it in my original post.

Here you go:

How redefining marriage threatens freedom of speech

45 posted on 08/17/2013 7:51:30 PM PDT by Vision Thing
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To: arthurus; Yardstick

Of course they are. Both abortions and marriage “redefinition” involve declaring war on the Genesis 1:27-28 principle and divorcing marriage from the procreative act. While I don’t deny the existence of individual homosexual persons who hold pro-life views, the homosexualist and pro-abortion ideologies are inextricably linked to an anti-Christian and anti-procreative mentality.


46 posted on 08/17/2013 7:52:30 PM PDT by ReformationFan
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To: RoosterRedux
(except for a few goddess worshipers). I assume you are referring to Ishtar, Astarte, Ashteroth or Asherah?
47 posted on 08/17/2013 7:52:33 PM PDT by RBStealth
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To: deadrock

Nietzsche is nothing more than a charmer and entertainer, but he is incorrect.

And dead.

He died insane.

And on the third day, he did not rise again.


48 posted on 08/17/2013 7:59:09 PM PDT by Vision Thing
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To: RBStealth
(except for a few goddess worshipers). I assume you are referring to Ishtar, Astarte, Ashteroth or Asherah?

And Semiramis!

They call her Mary, but syncretistically speaking, this is how they were convinced to join the Church...and they are still as active as ever.

I think it is called Marion worship today.

Co-redemptrix...

Semiramis redux, eh?

49 posted on 08/17/2013 7:59:42 PM PDT by RoosterRedux
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To: RBStealth
What I know is that the left has made its progress mostly through sheer willfulness. It certainly hasn't been because they're right. The fact is that the world we live in, the world that God has given to us, is highly responsive to human will. We can beat the left but not if we retreat to the status of martyrs being fed to the lions. We must be more willful than that.
50 posted on 08/17/2013 8:02:13 PM PDT by Yardstick
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