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.
"When we come to an event like this we have to have our hearts broken, not about their sin but about ours," said Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and ERLC 2014's opening keynote speaker. Mohler even shared, "I repent of denying that sexual orientation was legitimate."
During the first panel discussion moderated by Phillip Bethancourt, topics covered beyond same-sex marriage included divorce and cohabitation. But one of the most compassionate statements made was directed at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) community when Dr. Russell Moore, President of the ERLC, recognized the LGBTQ youth kicked out of their parents' homes as a human dignity issue and the called on the Church to step in and care for these homeless LGBTQ youth in need. more >>
Day one of a three-day conference hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Commission discussing how Christians should react to the ongoing battle between those framing the homosexual lifestyle debate as a civil rights issue and those supporting what they believe to be biblical moral values, including traditional marriage, featured plenty of fireworks — most happening online through social media.
More than 1,200 are attending the ERLC conference which began on Monday. The conference, themed "The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage" is taking place in Nashville and offered by live stream over the Internet.
"Gotta be careful of making idols out of marriage and procreation when Scripture / Christ do not do so. #ERLC2014," tweeted Rachel Held Evans, author of Faith Unraveled. Evans was one of several Twitter users dishing up a steady volley of criticism over the ERLC conference. more >>
Defrocked United Methodist minister Frank Schaefer, who defied church law against same sex rites, has been reinstated by a church court on a technicality. See John Lomperis's analysis here.
Ironically, had Schaefer been immediately defrocked, the verdict likely would have stood. But the jury had suspended him for 30 days to allow him the chance to disavow further defiance, and his refusal provoked defrocking. Church appeals courts ruled this penalty punished him for future acts.
Schaefer has already quit Pennsylvania, where of course he left his local church in shambles, and now heads a small ministry in the fast declining and ultra liberal United Methodist region in Southern California. Good luck! more >>
There's a new kind of Gay Christian. Most of us are aware of the Justin Lees and the Matthew Vines, but, unlike those guys and like myself, these new Gay Christians hold fast to the truth of Scripture regarding the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. They aren't out there practicing homosexual behavior. They aren't engaging in dating relationships with people of the same gender or seeking to do so. Celibacy is the path that they have chosen in light of their current sexual inclinations and their simultaneous, and stronger, desire to submit themselves to the Lordship of Christ.
These people are most definitely my brothers and sisters in Christ. I would hesitate to make such a claim about Matthew Vines or Justin Lee, but these folks– like Julie Rodgers or Matt Jones or Wesley Hill — I am confident I will stand with side by side in the age to come as we rejoice forever in the life Christ has purchased for us with His own life. But I strongly disagree with their chosen terminologies used to describe who they are.
I refuse to call myself a Gay Christian. Here are a few reasons why: more >>
Houston's lesbian mayor Annise Parker's recent actions exemplify history repeating itself, the necessity for understanding context, and realizing that the simplest solution is found amidst child's play.
Parker and gay agenda supporters immediately bring to mind the children's game, Simon Says, and other themes from children's rhymes. The game's primary rule, "Do what I say, Not what I do," is designed to teach children to observe and differentiate between commands and actions. The same skills are necessary for adults. The definitions of tolerance, equality, morality, or societal and behavioral norms differ depending on who uses them.
For example, regarding Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, nearly triple the number of required signatures were obtained to petition for its repeal. Yet Parker and Houston's city attorney redefined the requirement and rejected the petition. In response, Houstonians sued. Parker countered, by subpoenaing Christian ministers' sermons and emails, then revised it to "speeches and presentations." more >>
Despite his personal belief that gays should have the right to a marriage license, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, an Evangelical Christian, says he believes churches and states should be allowed to decide whether or not to marry gay people.
"Well, I kinda draw what I consider to be the right line. I don't think that the government ought to ever have the right to tell a church to marry people if the church doesn't want to. I'm a Baptist and the congregation of our church will decide whether we have a man or woman as pastor and whether we'll marry gay people or not," said Carter when asked in a recent WFAA interview on how he reconciles his conservative faith tradition which denounces homosexuality with his position on gay marriage.
"If my church votes not to marry gay people, we wouldn't do it and I wouldn't want them to. But I think all people ought to have an equal right and people that happen to be gay I don't think it's a preventable or caused by anything, I think they have equal rights to marry," Carter continued. more >>