Trump critic Russell Moore wins backing of ERLC committee for his 'integrity and boldness'

Russell Moore described the Trump phenomenon as 'reality TV moral sewage'.CBS

Embattled Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore has won the backing of the executive committee of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of which he is president.

A meeting last week with Frank Page, head of the denomination's executive committee, led to speculation that Moore job was on the line. He has been subjected to fierce criticism over his attacks on Donald Trump by conservative figures and more than 100 churches withheld their contributions to denominational funds.

However, the ERLC committee said in a statement he had 'exercised leadership with integrity and with boldness' and has ' endeavored clearly and graciously to articulate the Christian gospel and its implications'.

Affirming Moore, it said: 'For us not to stand in affirmation of the principles that Dr. Moore has espoused would be unfaithful to the mission entrusted to us by the Convention.'

In a post on the ERLC website, Moore stressed his SBC background and said he was 'grieved by the tensions in our denomination over the state of American politics and the role of religion in it'. He said the 2016 presidential election was 'different than any in our lifetime' but that he had felt compelled to speak out on ' issues of what the gospel is and is not, what sexual morality and sexual assault are and are not, and the crucial need for white Christians to listen to the concerns of our black and brown brothers and sisters in Christ'. He continued: 'I stand by those convictions, but I did not separate out categories of people well –such that I wounded some, including close friends.'

He apologised for his failings, but stressed that he had not altered his convictions, saying: 'I don't expect people to agree with me. My job is to speak to consciences, and to endeavor to provide the resources to pose the right kinds of biblical questions – even if you come to different answers.'

Moore said: ' My goal is to redouble my commitment to stand for what I believe in – on seeking first the kingdom of God, on the need for personal character and sexual holiness, on racial justice and reconciliation. I also commit to work together for our denomination's cooperative consensus.'