By / May 21

Earlier this week, Russell Moore announced he is leaving his role as president of the ERLC. Moore will join Christianity Today in a new role as Public Theologian and Director of the Public Theology Project, where he will continue to engage pressing cultural issues with the gospel.

“I’ve struggled with this decision, because my gratitude for the honor of serving the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is so deep,” said Moore. “As I conclude my time serving Southern Baptists as ERLC president, I am filled with gratitude as well as excitement for the future.”

After Moore’s term as president concludes June 1, the ERLC board of trustees will begin a search for the commission’s next president. In the interim, the ERLC Executive Committee has asked Daniel Patterson, ERLC executive vice president, to serve as acting president.

While he will be sorely missed, the staff of the ERLC is grateful for the opportunity to serve under his leadership and thankful for his commitment to carrying out the work of the Kingdom of God. “As a pastor, theologian, ethicist and author, Moore led the ERLC to call Christians to confidently march onward as a joyful, prophetic minority,” said Jeff Pickering, the director of Public Relations for ERLC. “He called for the SBC and other Christians in the U.S. to engage the social and political issues of the day with a gospel focus, not simply as American citizens but as those who belong to another Kingdom — one that is permanent.”

Some of the year-to-year highlights of Moore’s tenure include:

2013: Joined a group of national religious leaders and scholars in releasing an open letter calling upon the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to expand conscience protections to cover any organization or individual that has religious or moral objectives to covering, providing, or enabling access to the mandated drugs and services. 

2014: Joined Pope Francis and others in addressing a worldwide interreligious body at the Vatican on issues of marriage and family. 

Launched the ERLC Leadership Summit, with the inaugural theme of “The Gospel and Human Sexuality.”

Launched the Leadership Network Council, a group of evangelical pastors and leaders who serve as an advisory council to the ERLC Leadership Network. 

Launched the Research Institute and appointed an array of scholars and professionals as research fellows, with the aim of being a catalyst to “connect the agenda of the gospel to the complex questions of the day and to do so at the highest levels of academic scholarship for the good of local congregations.”

Started “Questions & Ethics,” a podcast answering listener-generated questions related to culture and ethics such as marriage, pornography, immigration and pop culture.

Hosted the ERLC’s first National Conference titled “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.” 

2015: Partnered with Alliance Defending Freedom to create a “legal guide” for churches, schools, and nonprofit organizations to use for their organizational structure in light of changes in the culture concerning marriage.

Assembled a broad coalition of evangelical leaders to oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in a joint statement titled, “Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage.”

Began publishing the Gospel for Life book series, which features issue-specific volumes from noted leaders that address hot-button ethical issues facing Christians in today’s culture.

Joined other faith organizations in forming the Faith for Just Lending Coalition for the purpose of raising awareness about families in financial crisis and how high-cost lending negatively impacts them.

Partnered with Ministry Grid, the online video-training platform of LifeWay Christian Resources, to provide exclusive video training for pastors and church leaders on important moral and ethical issues.

Won Christianity Today’s 2016 Book of the Year award for Onward: Engaging Culture without Losing the Gospel.

2016 – 2017: Hosted Capitol Conversations event on religious liberty and human flourishing in Washington, D.C.

Assembled a broad coalition of evangelical leaders to support the appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Deployed the organization’s first national online advertising campaign today aimed at building support across the nation for the effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

Co-hosted a special event with The Gospel Coalition on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., called “MLK50: Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop.”

Released a six-week small group study on religious liberty, titled “Religious Liberty: How the Gospel Shapes Our First Freedom.”

Delivered the fifth annual William E. and Carol G. Simon Lecture on Religion in American Public Life, for the Witherspoon Institute and the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, on the Princeton University campus.

Hosted an event in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

2018 – 2019: Won Christianity Today’s 2019 Book of the Year award for The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home.

Produced a documentary titled, Humanity Denied: Religious Freedom in North Korea, and premiered it at an event in conjunction with the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. 

Launched the “Caring Well Challenge,” a unified call to action designed to confront church sexual abuse and to provide churches with a clear pathway to immediately enhance their efforts to prevent abuse and care for abuse survivors.

Produced a documentary about the life of Pearl Brown and the powerful choice her family made to value and honor her life, even in the face of adversity.

2020 – 2021: Received the Religious Freedom Institute’s 2020 Defender of Religious Freedom Award.

Moderated a conversation with President George W. Bush and Yuval Levin for virtual event on “Immigrants and the American Future.”

During Moore’s tenure, the ERLC sought to equip Christians to apply the gospel to the current pressing cultural issues through publishing daily resources, equipping churches, counseling pastors and ministry leaders, and hosting conferences and events. The staff of trustees of ERLC remain dedicated to carrying on the important work that Moore began during his time as president.