Press Release Oct 27, 2017

ERLC President Russell Moore, Tennessee Christian Leaders Denounce ‘White Lives Matter’ Rallies

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 27, 2017—Russell Moore, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Christian leaders across Tennessee joined together in denouncing the “White Lives Matter” rallies scheduled for Oct. 28 in Middle Tennessee.

In a joint statement, Moore and others agreed, “As Christian leaders in Tennessee, we declare ourselves in resolute opposition to this expression of racism and white supremacy. We denounce and repudiate white supremacy as a work of the devil, designed to dehumanize and divide.

“We call every follower of Jesus in the state of Tennessee to speak out against white supremacy, in all of its forms and to pray and work for racial unity in our communities. We also pray for those who advocate racist ideologies and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of these hatreds and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God.”

Area Christian leaders who signed on to the statement include:

  • Russell Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • Steve Gaines, president, Southern Baptist Convention; senior pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn.
  • Frank Page, president, Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Randy Davis, executive director, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
  • Dub Oliver, president, Union University, Jackson, Tenn.
  • George Robertson, senior pastor, Second Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Tenn.
  • Frank Lewis, senior pastor, Nashville’s First Baptist Church, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Scott Sauls, senior pastor, Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Rufus Smith, senior pastor, Hope Church, Memphis, Tenn.
  • Pat Hood, lead pastor, LifePoint Church, Smyrna, Tenn.
  • Stephen Cook, senior pastor, Second Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn.
  • Andy Savage, teaching pastor, Highpoint Church, Memphis, Tenn.
  • Micah Fries, senior pastor, Brainerd Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Trevor Atwood, lead pastor, City Church, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
  • Richard Rieves, lead pastor, Downtown Church, Memphis, Tenn.
  • J. Matthew Pinson, president, Welch College, Nashville, Tenn.

Moore wrote an op-ed published by The Tennessean Oct. 25, calling the forthcoming rallies in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville, Tenn., “vile displays of bigotry intended to induce fear and stir up hatred.”

“Racism does what as a Christian I believe the devil exists to do: to kill and to destroy and to exalt the idolatry of self,” wrote Moore. “If we cannot call this what is is, we will sow in cowardice what we will reap in violence.”

The ERLC will co-host an event with The Gospel Coalition on April 4, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn., called “MLK50: Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop.” This one-day event will provide an opportunity for Christians to reflect on the state of racial unity in the church and in the culture. For media inquiries about this event, please email

The full statement and list of signatories can be found here.