Category : Baptists

(RNS) Russell Moore faces a challenging road ahead

For Russell Moore, whose sharp criticisms of Donald Trump voters nearly cost him his job as the public voice for America’s largest Protestant denomination, the path to regaining a prophetic platform is just beginning.

Moore started down that trail this week. After apologizing for being “unnecessarily harsh” during the campaign, he received a vote of confidence from the executive committee of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Moore, the ERLC’s president, also apologized individually to at least seven prominent Baptists who felt he had mismanaged his public platform, according to Southern Baptist and Trump campaign adviser Johnnie Moore (no relation).

“The gesture of unity was absolutely real,” Moore said in an email. “The warning shot that Moore was sent was also real, it was intentional, it was effective, and I don’t believe it will be forgotten.”

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Posted in Baptists, Religion & Culture

(NR) David French–The Baptist Battle over Russell Moore Really Matters—Here’s Why

Did Trump’s zealous supporters “embrace and act” on this conviction in 2016? It’s clear that Moore most certainly did. If the Baptists do fire Moore (or force his resignation), I hope they also have the integrity to revoke and rewrite their 1998 resolution. Insisting on “consistent honesty, moral purity, and the highest character” will be left to the primaries, at best. After that, it’s all partisanship, and the “lesser of two evils” will be the only moral guide that matters.

Baptists should consider carefully the consequences of their decisions. Some might say that it’s “just about politics,” and one shouldn’t judge the nation’s largest Protestant denomination on the basis of how it handles what some dismissively call its “lobbying arm.” But for the church, every part of its operation is measured against the standard of Christ, not realpolitik or populism.

Moore may have offended with his rhetoric (some of it was harsh, but some Christians are snowflakes). Was he wrong, though, to argue that the church fundamentally should have a more prophetic than partisan role in our culture? How much is God calling Christians to compromise other values for the sake of perceived progress on life and religious liberty? Should the church defend the liberties of others that it would like to exercise itself? Was Moore wrong to cling to the principles outlined in the church’s own resolutions

These are the questions at issue not just for Southern Baptists but for all Christians. Moore’s fate matters because these questions matter. The church is not a partisan interest group. Moore understands this reality. Do his critics?

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Posted in Baptists, Evangelicals, Politics in General, President Donald Trump, Religion & Culture

(WaPo) The letter Russell Moore will send President Trump about the refugee order

As a nation, we must seek to resolve the tension created by these two values ”” compassion for the sojourner and the security of our citizens ”” in a way that upholds both values.

While we know refugees are already the most vetted category of immigrants to the United States, the FBI and others raised legitimate questions about the sufficiency of these procedures. It is crucial these questions be resolved. As a result, we are sympathetic to the desire to strengthen our nation’s security processes.

However, we have concerns about the Executive Order’s consequences. We share the concerns of Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.), a Southern Baptist lawmaker, who said, “The language of the order should not apply to legal permanent residents of the United States, and if it is being enforced in any other way, the administration should step in swiftly to clarify.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Baptists, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Foreign Relations, History, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Get Religion) Terry Mattingly on AP's "politics-only" flawed reporting of the recent SBC Convention

Are there political implications to much of what takes place at an SBC gathering? Of course there are. You’d have to be blind not to see that. However, it is just as important to listen to the debates about WHY the convention takes some of the stands that it does.

It was nice of AP, in a piece containing very few attributions for quotes from real people, to note that the SBC has not changed its doctrinal stand on the moral status of sexual acts outside of marriage. It would have been nice, however, to have allowed readers to see a few quotes from actual Southern Baptists describing why they supported one type of action for the powerful people who lead the Disney corporation, yet another set of actions for the LGBT victims of a hateful act of terrorism.

Once again, journalists do not have to AGREE with the theological content of these arguments and decisions. But it is inaccurate, flawed, biased journalism to ignore the religious content of these kinds of events. By the way, this happens when journalists cover liberal, “mainline” Protestant events almost as often as it happens with coverage of doctrinal conservatives.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Baptists, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

(Sightings) Martin Marty–Two Religions Make News in the Baylor Scandal–Baptists+Football

The headlines stressed the demotion of Baylor’s now-former President and now-chancellor Kenneth Starr in the wake of gross sexual abuse incidents, patterns, and cover-ups at the school, and the suspension-with-intent-to-terminate of the football coach who was accused of mishandling and misrepresenting the occasions in which athletes misused and attacked Baylor women.

Whoever will check the sources (below) or others easily available to them will note that virtually all stories stressed that Baylor was a Christian, particularly a Baptist, university. The press doesn’t identify most other schools denominationally, unless the school name banners it””as in Southern Methodist University. Newswriters don’t say that Princeton is Presbyterian, etc.

But Baylor does not hide its official and traditional faith commitment, and puts it to work in many policies, such as compulsory chapel for students for a year or two. Let it be noted, as we will note, that some features of the commitment are strong: a “Top Ten” (in some measures) religion department, notable graduate programs, and not a few eminent scholars. But they are in the shadows cast by the scandal right now.

So, that’s one of the two religions. The other? Football, as it is supported and publicized endlessly, especially, as in Baylor’s case, under the working of the now-suspended head coach.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sports, Theology, Violence, Young Adults

(Gr) Houston Chronicle team shows (again) that it just doesn't 'get' the struggles at Baylor

How many Southern Baptists are there in the greater Houston area, out of a population of four to six million people?

This is not an easy question to answer, just poking around online. It doesn’t help, of course, that Texas Baptists are a rather divided bunch and things have been that way for several decades. But one thing is sure, there are hundreds of Southern Baptist congregations in the area and several of them are, even in Donald Trump terms, YYHHUUGGEE.

Now, the important journalism question ”“ when looking at Houston Chronicle coverage of Baylor University issues ”“ is whether there are any Southern Baptists, or even former Southern Baptists, who work on this newspaper’s copy desk or in its suite of management offices.

Can I get a witness?!? Is there anybody there who knows anything about events in recent Southern Baptist life and how they affect the news?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sports, Theology, Violence, Young Adults

Kentucky Baptist Church rises from Arsonists Ashes–congregation still ”˜on fire’ for the Lord

Black Mountain Missionary Baptist Church absolutely gleams in the sunshine with a fresh coat of paint on the outer walls and brilliant yellow daffodils blooming on the manicured lawn.

The handiwork of an arsonist has been entirely erased. There are no signs of the flames that charred the insides of the historic church, which dates back to the days when this was a working coal camp. The soot and stain and odor of acrid smoke are long gone. So, too, are the water-logged furnishings, ruined in the mad dash by firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

Church members refused to leave Black Mountain in shambles.

“They never missed a worship service because of the fire,” said Bill Wallace, director of missions for the Upper Cumberland Baptist Association. “They never gave up. That says so much about their determination to serve the Lord and to reach this community with the gospel.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Theology

Queensland civil unions: Anglicans, Baptists at odds with other Christians

Queensland’s proposal to reinstate civil partnerships for straight and same-sex couples has received support from Anglicans and Baptists, while other Christians continue to oppose the move.

Of the 30 submissions to the parliamentary committee, most were in support of the return to civil partnerships which were established in the dying days of the Bligh government, but changed into registered relationships in one of the first acts of the Newman government.

The Palaszczuk government legislation would alter the name and once again allow state-sanctioned ceremonies for same-sex and straight couples.

Read it all from the Brisbane Times.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Baptists, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Al Mohler: When ”˜Discernment’ Leads to Disaster

The historic First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina, announced in May that it would declare itself be “open and welcoming” to all people and that it would allow same-sex marriage and ordain openly homosexual ministers.

The move came after the church had undergone a “discernment” process under the leadership of a “LGBT Discernment Team.” That team brought a report to the church’s deacons, who then forwarded it to the congregation. The church then approved the statement by standing vote.

The congregation, now more than 180 years old, is one of the most historic churches in the South. It participated in the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845 and its pastor, William Bullein Johnson, became the SBC’s first president. The church was largely responsible for the birth of Furman University and its old “church house” became the first home of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1859. Few churches in the South can match its historical record.

Nevertheless, First Baptist Greenville and the Southern Baptist Convention had moved in very different theological directions in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The church was moving steadily in a more liberal direction and the Southern Baptist Convention was moving to affirm the inerrancy of Scripture and a far more confessional understanding of its identity.

The church and the denomination were set on a collision course, and the congregation voted to withdraw from the Southern Baptist Convention in 1999. If that had not happened, the SBC would have moved to withdraw fellowship on the basis of the church’s announcement in May…

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Other Churches

Some Gainesville Area church leaders speak about variety of touchy issues

It was a formal church setting with nine area Christian leaders present, but no formal sermons were given or messages with the Bible cracked open to a particular passage.

Instead, the clergy spoke off the cuff in a Christian “conversation” Wednesday night on issues of faith and belief.

And that led them into some areas of modern-day debate and concern, such as marriage equality, race and the church’s relevance in a digital age.

“We’ll be having a great debate next April about same-sex marriage and transgender (issues),” said the Rev. Terry Walton, senior pastor at Gainesville First United Methodist Church, at “Christianity Beyond the Catchphrases,” held at Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Baptists, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Lutheran, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Church Times on David Garrison's new Book–Leaving the Qur’an for the Gospels

The “greatest turning of Muslims to Jesus Christ in history” is taking place across the world, the author of a new book, on tour in the UK, suggests.

A Wind in the House of Islam, by Dr David Garrison, a missionary pioneer with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, documents a Muslim “movement to Christ” in more than 70 places across 29 countries. Converts, it says, now number between two and seven million.

Dr Garrison defines a “movement” as being at least 100 new churches started, or 1000 baptisms, within a 20-year period in one people group. He estimates that there have been 82 “movements” across the centuries, of which 69 began, or are continuing to unfold, in the 21st century.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Adult Education, Baptists, Books, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Islam, Missions, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

(CT) As Church Plants Grow, Southern Baptists Disappear

There are now more Southern Baptist churches than ever before: 46,449 as of last year.

And more than 200,000 extra spaces in the pews.

As the nation’s largest Protestant group prepares to meet in Columbus next week, it reported its largest annual decline in more than 130 years””a loss of 236,467 members.

With just under 15.5 million members, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) remains the largest Protestant group in the United States. But it has lost about 800,000 members since 2003, when membership peaked at about 16.3 million.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Baptists, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(BGC) Baptists, Presbyterians make room for Anglicans at Calvinist confab

Calvinist-inclined Baptists and Presbyterians attending this year’s upcoming national conference of the Gospel Coalition are adding a place at the table for a new constituency: conservative Anglicans who have broken with the Episcopal Church.

Joining mainstays like Danny Akin, Mark Dever, Albert Mohler and Russell Moore scheduled to speak at the April 13-15 gathering in Orlando, Fla., is John Yates II, rector of The Falls Church Anglican in suburban Washington.

Other Anglican leaders are offering seminars and workshops at the Gospel Coalition 2015 National Conference, and there will be an informal gathering one evening for Anglicans to come together for fellowship and encouragement, Yates said in a Gospel Coalition blog titled “Who Are These Anglicans in TGC?”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Baptists, Ecumenical Relations, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Theology

(AP) Southern Baptist leaders call for integrated churches

Leaders in nation’s largest Protestant denomination are preaching that integrated churches can be a key driver of racial justice in society. But that could be a hard sell to those sitting in Southern Baptist Convention congregations.

The Rev. Russell Moore, who leads the Southern Baptist’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is one of several white leaders calling for multiethnic congregations in the wake of the unrest spurred by the killings of black men by white police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

“In the church, a black Christian and a white Christian are brothers and sisters,” Moore wrote recently. “We care what happens to the other, because when one part of the Body hurts, the whole Body hurts. … When we know one another as brothers and sisters, we will start to stand up and speak up for one another.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Theology

First Woman Rector for Estonian Theological Seminary

Tartu Theological Seminary (Estonia) appointed its first ever woman Rector in January 2015. The Union of Free Evangelical and Baptist Churches of Estonia invited Dr Einike Pilli to be the leader of educational life and development in the Estonian baptistic faith movement.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Estonia, Europe, Other Churches, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology