Thursday, October 30, 2014

SBC Baptists Push Back on 'Gay Marriage' Trend

The mainstream media is apoplectic over this week's three-day conference in Nashville of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention titled "The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage."  Over a thousand SBC pastors and leaders gathered there.
"We come from a Christian world view and a Christian world view is that God designed marriage as between a man and a woman and He gets to define it no matter what the Supreme Court thinks."
-- Dr. Richard Land, the president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary
For background, read Study: Pastors Hide Culture Truth to be Successful; but in contrast, Detroit Black Pastors Denounce 'Gay Rights'

-- From "Southern Baptists Strike a Different Tone than Catholics in Conference" by Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine 10/28/14

Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, opened the gathering on Monday in a defensive posture, saying that Western society is experiencing “a moral revolution” happening “at warp speed,” one that now celebrates things that were previously condemned. “We are accustomed to speaking from a position of strength,” Mohler said, explaining how traditional evangelical opposition to homosexuality is no longer mainstream.

. . . Mohler suggested in his opening remarks that Christians should approach gays in ways “not about their sin (homosexuality) but about our sin (all shortcomings).” Glen Stanton, director for Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family, continued the theme: “Every one of us is stricken with an eternal disorder called sin,” he said in his talk called, “Love my (LGBT) Neighbor.” “How do we love gay and lesbian people? … The great equalizer is our sin.”

On the whole, the conference makes clear its strong on moral opposition to homosexuality. Many of the prominent speakers champion a pointed opposition to mainstream culture, and nearly all use the phrase “someone who experiences same-sex attraction” or “a homosexual” instead of using preferred, self-identifying terms of LGBTQ persons. Erik Stanley, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, compared the show Modern Family to a gateway drug for accepting gays and described Matthew Shepard’s murder as a gay hate crime hoax. Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington state florist who declined to make a wedding flower arrangement for a gay couple, said, “They can destroy me but they cannot destroy God and his word.” The crowd gave her a standing ovation.

What’s happening in Nashville gives the world a peek at the kind of culture different church leaders are cultivating in the midst of changing societal views on sexuality. For the evangelicals and Baptists in Nashville, it is time to double down. . . .

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Southern Baptists tell pastors: hold line on gays" by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press 10/28/14

Speakers at the event said they understood they were on the losing end of the culture war on marriage. But they were prepared to be the voice of a moral minority because gay marriage is a "rejection of God's law," according to Mohler. He said evangelicals needed to have "a lot of agonizing conversations" about how to move forward.

. . . Each [conference] participant was given a bagful of books and pamphlets, with titles such as, "Love Into Light: The Gospel, The Homosexual and The Church," and "Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor," meant to help pastors articulate their stand against same-sex relationships.

Most of the morning sessions Tuesday featured Christians such as Rosaria Butterfield who had been attracted to members of the same-sex but say they were now married to someone of the opposite sex or had overcome their attractions. . . .

In an interview, Mohler said he expected to see some evangelical churches splitting off to accept gay relationships in years ahead. Evangelicals in the millennial generation, ages 18-33, are twice as likely as their elders to support same-sex marriage, according to a survey released in February by the Public Religion Research Institute. Southern Baptists last month cut ties with a California congregation, New Heart Community Church, whose pastor accepted same-sex marriage after his son came out as gay. But Moore believes only a small minority of evangelicals will come to accept same-sex relationships as they struggle with expressing their opposition in the current climate.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Evangelical Church Grapples With Growth of Gay Rights" By Tamara Audi, Wall Street Journal 10/27/14

SBC leaders say the purpose of the conference is not to re-examine the church’s stance on same-sex marriage and homosexuality, but to help guide member churches through “new challenges” in the culture.

“We cannot revise the gospel we’ve received,” said Russell Moore, head of the convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “The goal is to start a conversation to help equip churches to minister in the changing culture on these issues.”

Mr. Moore said much of the program resulted from conversations with pastors “grappling with the transgender issue as they’re seeking to evangelize to transgender persons. How do we address this biblically? How do we articulate a Christian understanding of marriage to those who disagree with us?”

While more-liberal Protestant denominations have begun to accept openly gay members and support same-sex marriage, Southern Baptists, with nearly 16 million members, are viewed as a bastion of conservative evangelical beliefs.

Andrew Walker, a 29-year-old Southern Baptist and the director of the SBC’s policy studies for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said young, active evangelicals aren’t changing their views on homosexuality, and are committed to “biblical authority.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Southern Baptists laud marriage, only not for gays" by Heidi Hall, The Tennessean 10/28/14

About 1,300 pastors, Christian educators and other interested Baptists are packing "The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage," a conference presented by the denomination's policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It continues through Wednesday at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.

In a "Millennials and Marriage" panel led Monday by Andrew Walker, a denominational policy expert on marriage, panelists said there's a problem with young people seeing only the Hollywood version of wedlock. One, John Stonestreet, speaker and fellow of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, laid problems with marriage at the feet of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, contraceptive pill Plan B and the television show "Glee."

. . . Sherif Girgis, a student pursuing his Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton and his law degree at Yale, said there are no valid legal arguments in support of same-sex marriage. He cited the slippery slope of polygamy and biological incompatibility as reasons against it and called marriage equality supporters "noble pagans."

Speakers also frequently dismissed the idea that they're on the wrong side of history. Better on the wrong side of history and the right side of God, they agreed.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Marriage, homosexuality focus of conf." by Tom Strode, Baptist Press 10/27/14

The ERLC's hope for the conference "is that attendees will be equipped to defend marriage in the culture and strengthen marriage in the church," said Phillip Bethancourt, the entity's executive vice president. "We want to motivate them to see marriage as a part of God's good design that is worth fighting for in a culture that is shifting all around us."

The speeches and panel discussions will address such topics as:

-- Building healthy marriages.

-- Evangelizing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

-- Helping Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction.

-- Resolving the clash between religious liberty and "sexual freedom."

-- Handling singleness.

Christians will not escape dealing with these issues, said ERLC President Russell D. Moore.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Southern Baptists Surprising Tones Toward Sexuality" by Chelsen Vicari, Special to Chrisian Post 10/28/14

Long before the start of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's 2014 (ERLC 2014) conference on marriage, sexuality and homosexuality, the fiery darts were thrown. Cultural and religious analysts and Twitter pundits alike hurled their accusations of hatred and bigotry with the hopes Internet bullying would silence discussions of biblical sexuality. But had critics waited to watch the ERLC 2014 live stream, they might have been surprised by the Southern Baptists' compassionate, almost self-deprecating opening notes.

Though displaying a compassionate tone, opening notes were not deficient of moral, biblical truths.

"It is a slander against the gospel for us to redefine sin in any way," explained Dr. Mohler.

After hearing that faithful Christians cannot redefine sin and must engage the culture without becoming a part of it, what should be done? Mohler's answer: lots of prayer and lots of "agonizing conversations" with a sense of urgency because "we can't' take a hiatus from history. It's too late."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Gay Agenda will be Complete when Christians are Muzzled, Say Homosexualists as well as Senator Ted Cruz Says the Gay Agenda Ends Christian Liberty

For example, Pastors Face Fines, Jail for Refusing 'Gay Wedding'