Southern Baptist Theological Seminary honored Russell D. Moore for his nearly 10 years of service April 16 when he preached his last chapel sermon as dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration.
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In March, trustees of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention elected Moore as the entity's next president. Moore, 41, will be the eighth president of the ERLC, which addresses moral and religious freedom issues in the public square. Moore's last day in his role at Southern Seminary is May 31.
The chapel service came during the spring meeting of the seminary's board of trustees. Before Moore preached, seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. addressed those in attendance, which included members of the board and a sizable gathering of the seminary community. Mohler introduced Moore and commented extensively about the dean's tenure at Southern Seminary.
"It humbles me to think about how many men have stood behind this pulpit to preach," Mohler said as he stood behind the pulpit of Alumni Chapel, which the school built in 1949. "It should cause all of us to consider how many firsts and lasts have taken place here. This pulpit and this chapel have stood here long enough for generations to come and generations to go. And we recognize that we don't get to hold on to people. They come and they go. And we recognize that that is exactly what this institution stands for: We are not here to accumulate people but to deploy them. But that doesn't mean it's easy.
"This is the last sermon Russell D. Moore will preach here as dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is going to be the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Nothing should make Southern Baptists more thankful than that fact. God has prepared Russ Moore for this position in a way such that anyone close to him, anyone who knows him, knows that God made his genetic structure for this job and made him for this time."
Mohler continued: "I knew him as a student. I have known him as a colleague. And this is one of those bittersweet moments when we say 'goodbye' to a friend. At the same time, we want to rejoice because we have immense personal and institutional pride in Southern Baptists' electing him to this position, and we want him to know how grateful we are for his years of service here. Transformative years. Crucial years. Historic years.
"When you work with someone, you inevitably get to know them better day-by-day and year-by-year. To know Russ Moore is to know that what you see in him in the first is only just a hint of what is to come. Southern Baptists will discover this year-by-year, through his service as president of the ERLC. We have experienced that -- I most close at hand and most gratefully.
"There are so many things that could and might properly be said, but the most important thing to say is 'thank you' to Russ Moore," Mohler said.
Moore preached a sermon titled, "The Weight of Twelve Stones: Reflections on a Grateful Goodbye" from the Book of Joshua, chapter 4. Moore explained that he chose that particular chapter because of a sermon he heard years before that contributed to his attending Southern Seminary.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Aaron Cline Hanbury