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Russell Moore at MLK50: ‘Many Often Chose to Serve Jim Crow and to Rename Him Jesus Christ’

As part of the MLK50 commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination 50 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Russell Moore was one of dozens of invited speakers.

In the beginning of the clip, Moore talks about the people of God struggling to choose between serving Baal, the god of fertility and the status quo, and God: “Time and time again in the white American Bible Belt the people of God had to choose between Jesus Christ and Jim Crow because you cannot serve both. And tragically many often chose to serve Jim Crow and to rename him Jesus Christ.”

In his address, he talks about the proclivity many white Christians have to say that they would have agreed with King’s methods and mission, had they been alive during that time, yet they fail to support direct action and justice today. He draws the parallel to those who said the same to Jesus about the prophets.

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Jesus says this is a dangerous place to be. Because He says, religious leaders, you’re able to come here to these tombs and these monuments and say, “If I had lived in the days of my fathers, I would not have murdered them as my fathers did.” Your fathers, Jesus says, would not have minded the prophets either, if the prophets were dead. Your fathers would not have minded the prophets either, if the prophets would not speak. And now that there is no need to worry that they will say anything else, it is easy to honor them.

Martin Luther King is relatively non-controversial in American life. Because Martin Luther King has not been speaking for 50 years. It’s easy to say, “If I had been here, I would have listened to Dr. King, even though I do not listen to what is happening around me in my own community, in my own neighborhood, in my own church.


You can stream the entire conference here.

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