January 22, 2021

Russell Moore: On Sacraments and Sawdusts: Toward the Future of Evangelical-Catholic Public Engagement

I’m really enjoying the speaking and ministry of Russell Moore, dean of theology at my alma mater, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Here’s a recent talk that may be of interest to IM readers: “Of Sacraments and Sawdust: Toward the Future of Evangelical-Catholic Public Engagement”


  1. I’m not sure if it is the same thing, but there is similarly-titled Russell Moore article at this link:


  2. Is there a corresponding echo from the Roman side?
    If not it could be the sound of one hand clapping. I would have enjoyed a further discourse on the original conversation, “due to or in spite of”.

  3. Forgive my ignorance, but if the church is not that group of Saints saved by the Spirit from the dawn of time, what then is it? I hope Moore is not referring to the social-political units the saved [and others] gather into.

  4. Yes, he has a great perspective and some encouraging insights.

    I had difficulty, however, with how he pronounced “Catholic,” as a dictionary gives these phonetic renderings: KATH-uh-lik or KATH-lik

  5. Southern pronunciation is exempted from all criticism at this web site.

  6. Michael,

    Thanks for this link. It is fantastic. As a fellow “literal product of evangelical/Roman Catholic relations,” I couldn’t agree more with the comments Moore makes about both camps.

    My favorite line is “An evangelical understanding of sola fide does not mean that someone is saved by his articulation of sola fide. It means that a person is justified by a being hidden in the person of Jesus Christ.” Very well put.

  7. On a positive note – I though Dr Moore’s talk to be very polished and professional – I went to the associated sites and blogs to find out more about some of the participants. I was impressed by their dedication to detail. 🙂

    To put my comments in perspective, I was labelled Catholic for 43 years, and have been a Christian for 19 yrs – yep, that makes me 62 !

    Discussion: Gained, a feeling after reading iMonk for a few months, and others listed on associated American blog rolls, that I don’t have that much in common with American evangelicals (post or otherwise); and, I don’t know what really drives American Catholicism.. (Perhaps odd – if I state that my spiritual adviser – is a Catholic priest, an expert in Scripture – who see himself as primarily working for the Kingdom of God – Roman Catholicism, comes second.)

    Perhaps, cultural ‘church’ people and their pastors, in America, are so entrenched in the Mardi Gras culture, that they are unable to discern – yet desperate to know – if they are participants or active observers; forgetting that there is a third group – those passing by, without stopping, who are not of this world. Or, maybe, they try to formulate ‘theological’ positions, to label external views in an attempt to see through the glass, clearly – either way; I have no ability to relate, in particular, to Dr Moore’s views – or, in general, to American post-evangelical views on this issue.

    In summary: I do, and can have dialogue, with Catholics who have a relationship with God. I can’t, and never will be able to have any spiritual relationship, with those Catholics, who promulgate mandatory (for salvation), non-scriptural views – typified by documents such as Munificentissimus Deus. Likewise, those evangelicals, who would like to find common ground with heretical views, at the expense of Jesus’ blood – I can never sit at the same table – without thinking of Judas. Put another way – I may agree with you on six points out of ten points of belief, but if I disagree with you on only one point, that makes or breaks my relationship with God, I can then never be on the same stage as you – it’s that simple. The rich young ruler had a lot going for him – but he failed in just one telling area – one area, which determined his entire future – how fair is that – to the average American?

    I can, and should have communion, with those who follow Jesus. I can’t, and must not have communion, with those who call themselves Christians and don’t know God, as shown by their lack of love for the lost. The last type is the worst type of wolf – they dress like sheep, ‘baa’ like sheep; lead the flock like sheep – yet, do the work of Satan. I’ve just re-read the last few chapters of Hebrews – so, that kind of moulded my current thoughts – just a little bit!

    (Note: to many citizens of USA – the language of other English speaking people – often appears terse, maybe even rude – it’s just a cultural difference – travel more, look outside your backyard – for a genuine view, of the global picture. 🙂 )

    Yet, I did like his talk – his last closing statement – made it all worth while – so true!

  8. I attend Union but didn’t catch this specific one. I did manage to listen to Rabbi Novak, Jean Elshtain, and an open table conversation with Robbie George, Elshtain, Novak, and our own professor, Hal Poe. In it, they discussed the life of Father Neuhas. The talks by Novak and Elshtain are filled with verbiose language but their overall messages are well done and interesting.

    I have been at Union for three years and have seen a major change in the thinking of students, especially Christian studies majors. They have went from being fundamentalist Piperite trendies to deep-thinkers who are slow to speak. It is a good thing if you ask me.

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