In addressing some of the most challenging questions about homosexuality and marriage, British minister Sam Allberry emphasized that biblical marriage between one man and one woman is a core issue in Christianity, and urged Southern Baptist pastors, teachers and leaders gathered that the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's 2014 National Conference to boldly preach about it.
"We believe what we believe about homosexuality because we believe what we believe about marriage" said Allberry.
He explained: "One of the purposes of marriage in the Bible is that this union between a man and a woman shows the mystery of Christ and the church. Human marriage is the icon of the relationship Jesus has with His people. But if we now construe marriage as being between a man and a man or a woman and a woman, that picture is disfigured. We're left instead with Christ and Christ or the church and the church. In other words, when you begin to change the biblical definition of marriage, you end up changing something that should be reflecting the Gospel." more >>
While most within the Southern Baptist Convention applauded the opportunity to openly discuss how Christians should respond to the growing cultural and political acceptance of gay marriage during a three-day conference hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, most in the LGBT community tracking the event were not so pleased.
Brandan Robertson, a spokesperson for Evangelicals for Marriage Equality and the director of The Revangelical Movement, attended the the conference in Nashville and told The Christian Post afterwards on Wednesday that although he felt welcome at the conference, a closing talk by Pastor J.D. Greear made him uncomfortable.
As a bit of background about his group, Robertson believes that EME is not compromising Christian beliefs and is instead focused specifically on gay unions receiving the same government recognition and rights as traditional married couples. more >>
Sharing his own story of becoming a Christian as a same-sex attracted man at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's National Conference Tuesday, Moody Bible Professor Christopher Yuan revealed how Christian parents can best love their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual children and guide them back to the Gospel.
"Parents, love your LGBT or same-sex attracted children and point them to a life of costly discipleship following Jesus," said Yuan. "The Gospel can best be communicated or can only be communicated while in relationship."
Gay marriage proponents following the conference online expressed that some Christian parents are not loving to their homosexual children. A statistic circulated on Twitter stating that about 40 percent of the homeless youth identify as LGBT and have been kicked out of their homes, seemingly pointed out that some Christian parents might be, in fact, rejecting their homosexual children. more >>
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 >>
The Southern Baptist Convention's official news service turned to the writings of the denomination's lead ethicist Thursday to criticize an op-ed asking that the blind eye the church has long given divorced and remarried Christians be given LGBT couples as an apple to oranges argument. While churches are maybe at fault for permitting biblically unlawful divorces and marriages within its fellowship, heterosexual remarriages are still considered marriages according to the Bible while same-sex marriage are not.
Danny Cortez, a California pastor who recently led his church New Heart Community Church in affirming same-sex relationships, published an opinion in the Huffington Post rejecting the traditional choice of embracing the Bible's teachings about marriage. He wrote that there is a "third way" where the Church can be united as the body of Christ yet have "deep disagreements." Cortez also asserted that the SBC already has such a pathway for divorced and remarried Christians.
He explained in the Tuesday piece "We all knew pastors who were officiating remarriages in our denomination that were the result of non-permitted divorces. And according to the SBC, this constitutes adultery. Therefore, the act of officiating these remarriages was in direct contradiction to Article XV. And yet, we don't dismiss the churches where these remarriages are taking place. In fact, within the same church, there are some pastors who hold the traditional view and therefore will not officiate these remarriages, and there are some pastors who will. These churches practice a third way where they give space to disagree. We don't draw a line of separation. We know how to extend grace to couples who are in these marriages. We know how not to condemn, even in the midst of disagreement." more >>