An Interview with Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention

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March 9, 2004|4:25 pm

The media has flooded the land with extensive, close coverage of the issue of homosexual marriage. Conservative groups have tirelessly fought to protect traditional marriage as an institution uniting one man and one woman.

Staff of The Christian Post was able to hold an exclusive interview with Dr. Richard Land; a staunch evangelical supporter of genuine Christian values and president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Lliberty Commission since 1988.

The Southern Baptist Convention has recently separated itself from the Baptist World Alliance. Was homosexuality an issue on which the parties held dissenting views?

No, it was much broader based than that.

Will the Southern Baptist Convention remain independent from global evangelical organizations or are there any plans to join an alliance group in the future?

No the Southern Baptist groups work alongside evangelical groups but normally there is no affiliation with anyone. We haven’t separated yet (from the Baptist World Alliance), because we haven’t formally voted for separation. But I’m sure the convention will vote no. There are some groups in western Europe who have drifted away from the alliance (BWA), Southern Baptist are looking for alternative ways [of uniting] through like-minded Baptists.

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We have spoken to Dr. Bob Wenz, vice president of the national ministries for the National Association of Evangelicals and stated that he personally rejects homosexual marriage yet accepts civil union of homosexual couples. On the other hand, according to 'A Report by the Evangelical Alliance's Commission on Unity and Truth' released from the World Evangelical Alliance, states “We commend and encourage those homosexual Christian people who have committed themselves to chastity and celibacy.” Dr. Land, would you be able to explain how such differing views within the evangelical groups came about?

No, I can’t. I cannot understand those who claim to be evangelical in any way shape, matter or form to give affirmation of any kind of same sexual union.

Dr. Land, you are currently president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. What role does the Commission play in guiding and influencing the leaders of the Convention on issues such as the nation’s crisis in protecting traditional marriage? Also, are there any agenda sought out by the Commission or the Convention to act or speak out against further propagation of legalizing homosexual unions?

First we have a two-fold assignment from the convention: one is to advise the convention regarding moral, social and political issues; second is to call the Southern Baptist Convention to be where we believe they ought to be based on the Word of God.

Then secondly, we make sure certain policy-making groups such as the congress, the president and the Supreme Court justices are aware of the SBC’s positions on various matters. There is an overwhelming voice against same-sex marriage and civil union. The Committee also mobilizes the Southern Baptists and contacts all representatives to make sure they support the federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage in anyway possible.

Is it accurate to say that the Southern Baptist Convention and its leaders are against same-sex marriage?

Yes.

Would you like to comment on a possible solution to the current nationwide identity crisis of the Christian churches, as countless number of liberals emphasize unity despite the existent homosexual impurity within the church and a few evangelical groups are responding with an ambiguous viewpoint regarding sexual sin?

There can be unity only around the Word of God. Word of God is very clear: within the Christian faith, whether people are going to accept it or not – if there is going to be any unity among Christians, they must all put themselves under the biblical authority, and if they do they would be against homosexual marriage.
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Princeton (A.B., magna cum laude) and Oxford (D.Phil.) educated, Dr. Richard Land has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission since 1988. During his tenure as spokesman on Capitol Hill for the largest non-Catholic denomination in the country, Dr. Land has represented Southern Baptists’ interests in the halls of Congress, before U.S. Presidents, and in the major media.

In August 2003, Dr. Land was appointed to a second term on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom by President George W. Bush.

As host of For Faith & Family and For Faith & Family's Insight, two nationally syndicated radio programs, Dr. Land speaks passionately and authoritatively on the social, ethical, and public policy issues facing our country. The For Faith & Family Broadcast Ministry is heard by more than 1.5 million listeners each week on nearly 600 radio stations across the country and throughout the world on the Internet.

Courtesy of For Faith & Family.

 

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