Moore speaks to Christianity and pop culture at CSU Values & Ethics Series
Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, was the keynote speaker at Charleston Southern University’s annual Values & Ethics Series.
Moore addressed the intersection of Christianity and pop culture and used as a text 2 Timothy 2:23, continuing into Chapter 3. He used the example of people who have cars plastered with bumper stickers to show how we express our identity. Bumper stickers express our personal beliefs more than they persuade others to agree with us.
Moore said, “It is easy to spend our life dialoging in culture and expressing outrage in a bumper sticker way rather than in conversations that seek to persuade the other person.”
In the biblical text, Paul is telling Timothy to flee from quarrels and to be kind and gentle with those who oppose him. Moore said when we are engaging culture it seems counterintuitive to be kind. “We think of kindness as weakness or timidity rather than seeing it for what scripture says it is – the fruit of the spirit.”
Too often as Christians we find ourselves involved in quarrels and controversies, addressing issues that aren’t really important. Moore said, “A lot of the outrage we express has less to do with engaging conversation with the gospel and more to do with defending ourselves. Instead, Jesus is saying the Lord’s servant must be able to teach.”
Moore said arguing with others even when confronting them about sin is not fine. “It’s not fine if you are on a mission to confront people who don’t agree with you,” said Moore. He suggested having an understanding of spiritual warfare and correcting others with gentleness.
He said, “We are not prosecuting attorneys. Satan is.” Moore emphasized that every generation of Christians always believe that the current generation is the worst it has ever been. Too many times Christians believe they are losers in the arc of history. But Jesus does not say Christians should run for the hills; He says He is triumphant. “We are ultimately winners, so don’t panic, but instead speak with confidence,” said Moore.
He said as Christians we have embraced culture, and we err on the side that the world is useless and hopeless. “When we are looking at culture, we need to ask, how have I already surrendered to the darkness that is around me? We are seeking to win people to the gospel, not to win an argument. Kindness isn’t surrender, and gentleness isn’t retreat,” said Moore.
To regain credibility, Moore advised those who are quarrelsome to recognize their points of vulnerability and refrain from engaging in arguments until they have learned self-control in that area. Also, they should seek out people who will tell them the truth and who will hold them accountable.
Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern is one of South Carolina’s largest accredited, independent universities, enrolling 3,300 students. Affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the University’s vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.