What makes a person great in the world is not the possession of extraordinary talent but a fierce and persistent application of talent, guided by courage and character, toward a worthy objective. What makes a person great in the kingdom of God is, according to Jesus, a spirit of humble servanthood (Matt. 20:26).
Which is why I am so deeply pleased to announce that Russell Moore will step into the role of editor in chief of Christianity Today on September 1.
That Moore is a person in possession of extraordinary talents is incontestable. He was named dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary when he was a mere 32 years old. Through his books, his articles and podcasts, his public speaking, and his leadership of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Moore has served as possibly the most prominent evangelical Christian public voice in the country for the past decade. Anyone who has read his writings or heard his oratory will attest to his prodigious natural gifts.
But talent alone is not the reason for our excitement. Moore has demonstrated, time and again, the courage to express his convictions and the integrity to live by them. Sometimes this has meant contending for essential biblical and theological truths in the public square. Sometimes it has meant declaring truths to the church that challenge and convict us.
He has worked tirelessly to help men and women of evangelical conviction address the sin within our own ranks, whether that is related to idolatry and prejudice or abuse and neglect. Moore has taken on some of the most important and urgent objectives of our time, even when it has meant suffering the slings and arrows of critics both inside and outside the camp.
What excites me the most, however, is the way he has never lost sight of our core Christian calling to serve the least and seek the lost. Whether it is counseling pastors in crisis, welcoming the survivors of abuse into his home, or sharing the gospel with college students, Moore is not an ivory tower academician or a lobber of Twitter bombs, but someone who is deeply engaged in the life of the church and in sharing the love of God with others. An ordained Baptist minister who has held multiple pastoral roles (and holds one still today), Moore has served the church and the kingdom tirelessly throughout his career.
We aspire at Christianity Today to advance the stories and ideas of the kingdom of God. The basic question that animates our work is What does it look like to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ in our time? We hope to be for a new generation what we were for Moore himself when he came across Christianity Today at the age of 15: a capacious and compelling vision of Christian life that opens a path through a fallen world and into the kingdom of God.
That’s why appointing Moore to this position is so important. As president and CEO, I have held the editor in chief position in stewardship for a brief time, but it needs someone to inhabit it fully, and Moore exhibits that way of following Jesus that is deeply rooted, beautifully orthodox, thoughtful and compassionate, and committed to serving the kingdom even at great cost to ourselves.
Significantly, we are also bringing longtime communications and publishing veteran Joy Allmond onto our team to serve as editorial chief of staff. One of the primary charges for Moore will be to continue advancing the Public Theology Project. Allmond will work alongside him to see that project flourish. With an extensive background at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Decision magazine, and Lifeway, Allmond will bring considerable editorial, executive, and interpersonal gifts to the smooth functioning of our publishing enterprise as well as forthcoming events and programs.
Ours is an era of great peril and great promise for the church. We are determined at Christianity Today to do everything we can to serve the church in a turbulent and divisive time, and to love the world God made. We were honored to bring Russell Moore onto the team a little over a year ago. Now we look forward to what he, Allmond, and our extraordinary editorial team can accomplish in the years ahead.