Since Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church first began receiving extensive media coverage for its public and coarse denouncement of homosexuals, and picketing funerals and churches, members of the Southern Baptist denominaton have been quick to draw the line between themselves and the unaffiliated church.
With 15 million members, the Southern Baptist denomination is the second-largest faith group in the United States, behind Roman Catholicism.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention, provided an example to The Associated Press in a recent interview to make the distinction between Phelps and the Southern Baptist denomination by comparing the group to the "Book of Mormon." more >>
While applauding young evangelicals who have taken up causes such as opposition to injustice regarding the poor, the orphaned, and the enslaved, and who have helped increased awareness of such issues as sex trafficking and world starvation, Pastor David Platt said he is concerned about the lack of enthusiasm among some Christians on other issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
"I'm concerned for lack of zeal, not exclusively, but particularly among young evangelicals on social issues that are just as, if not in some ways much more important like abortion and sexual immorality, and so-called same-sex marriage," Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., preached at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on Thursday. "On some of these issues, younger evangelical Christians [and] prominent church leaders are often strangely quiet."
Platt observed, "We live in a day that we can be passionate in our stand against poverty and slavery, injustice that we need to stay passionately against, but issues that don't bring us into conflict with the culture around us." more >>
A Texas pastor advises church leaders that aim to reach Hispanic families, to embrace Latino's relationship-driven culture and be willing to hire a diverse, bilingual staff within the congregation.
Transitioning a monocultural church into a multicultural congregation has its challenges and in order to bring on Hispanics in particular, church leaders should prepare for a process that entails positive and negative changes, advises teaching pastor Jason Paredes of Fielder Church in Arlington, Texas.
"There are so many complications that you don't even anticipate…cataclysmic change is going to come, there's no way to get around it smoothly...feelings are going to be hurt, mistakes are going to be made. There has to be some boldness if you're going to walk into that," Paredes said, in a video interview with the Leadership Network. more >>
A graduate of a Southern Baptist seminary and former campus Baptist minister is suing to overturn an Alabama law that does not recognize gay marriages performed outside of the state.
Paul Hard, 55, an alumnus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, filed his lawsuit after his husband, David Fancher, died in a car accident in 2011, less than two months after they had married in Massachusetts.
Hard was named as his spouse's sole beneficiary, but current Alabama law forbids him from receiving benefits from a wrongful-death lawsuit that has been filed by his estate against the trucking company where Fancher worked. more >>
The Southern Evangelical Seminary unveiled its new humanoid robot Friday, making the Christian apologetics school the first seminary in the country to use a robot to study the ethics of emerging technology in artificial intelligence.
The NAO, pronounced "now," robot is a 23-inch, programmable machine that will allow students and faculty to conduct research pertinent to bionics, human enhancement, transhumanism and nanotechnology.
"It is our desire to be on the leading edge of what is before our culture in all areas," said Dr. Richard Land, SES president, in a statement. "It is in this way that we can influence church leadership and thereby impact what messages are being delivered to equip Christians to defend their faith at all costs." more >>
SOAR International Ministries, an Alaska-based organization dedicated to missions and outreach in Russia, has partnered with local Russian churches during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games to spread the Gospel to tourists and communities converging on the event.
The ministry sent 40 volunteers to Russia to establish a number of "fun zone" hospitality centers in local church buildings. They will also go out into parks and other public venues to invite others to partake in their activities.
"The team will assist the local church in introducing the community to Christ and who they are in Him," said Greg Mangione of SOAR, according to Mission News Network. "They'll do that through Gospel magic shows, somebody making balloon animals and face paintings, and just a variety of activities and entertainment. The primary goal is to reach out to the people. We pray it'll be a beginning of a long-term relationship with the local churches." more >>