This weekend I was in Charleston for the first service at Emanuel AME Church after the brutal white supremacist terrorist attack of this past week. Walking around downtown, I was struck by the unity of the city.
People stood before the church, singing. The town's churches displayed signs of solidarity and rang their bells together in unison. And the one thing I heard talked about more than anything else was forgiveness, specifically the way the families of the victims said they forgave the terrorist even after the murder of their loved ones. Some saw this as commendable; others were taken aback.
On the one hand, this sort of forgiveness is the reaction most people would hope they would have to evil. At the same time, most of the people who talked about this with me said they couldn't imagine that they could forgive such a thing. Some even wondered if the note of forgiveness was morally right. After all, they reasoned, this is a murderer who should be brought to justice. more >>
Failures of the Church to reach members of the LGBT community were highlighted at a Wednesday panel during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
Russell Moore, president of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, advised parents to not throw their gay children out of the house. The sin of pride is what leads them to be ashamed when their children struggle with same-sex attraction, he explained.
"We need to equip parents not to be ashamed" of their gay, lesbian, transgender children, Moore said. "There are many parents who somehow feel, when they have gay, lesbian or transgender children, that somehow that's a reflection on them, that they didn't do something right, that everyone else in the community is talking about them. That is pride." more >>
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Southern Baptists will not bow and they will not be silent on same-sex marriage, Southern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd told the annual gathering of Southern Baptists in Columbus, Ohio, June 16.
Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, Ark., and now re-elected to a second term as president of the 15.5 million-member denomination, said it is time for Christians in general, and Southern Baptists in particular, to "stand believing that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime."
"We have believed this and do believe this, and I believe will continue to believe this as a convention of churches. We stand for biblical and traditional marriage. As Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said, 'This definition (of traditional marriage) has been with us for millennia. And it's very difficult for the court to say, 'Oh well, we know better.'" more >>
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a blistering message aimed at Southern Baptists, evangelicals, Americans, the Supreme Court, and the world – Southern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd pointed to some of the nation's most divisive issues Tuesday morning in his convention sermon.
In tackling same-sex marriage, racism, abortion, and the freedom of religion, the Arkansas pastor warned there is an "alarm clock going off in our nation and around the world" and now is not the time to push the "snooze button."
"Southern Baptists, now is the time to lead," he said. "We need to believe and stand on His Word and for His name unashamedly and boldly, but always compassionately." more >>
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, was elected today for the second year as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Floyd was elected with no opposition with 5,277 members present, according to Jim Wells, registration secretary. Last year in Baltimore, he succeeded Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, who became the first African American pastor in that role since he was elected in 2012.
In April he was named by Newsmax as one of the top 10 of 100 top Christian leaders in America today. The list includes entertainment stars, and those involved in the political process as well as pastors. more >>
David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, said Wednesday that the organization is working on new ways to stop the decline in Southern Baptist missionary efforts around the world as an estimated 2 billion people have still not heard the Gospel.
Speaking at the SBC's annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, Platt praised the collective efforts of the organization and IMB, pointing out that there are 4,700 missionaries proclaiming the Gospel to nearly 2 million people around the world. He also noted that their efforts have led to nearly 200,000 people getting baptized and the planting of almost 13,000 new churches.
"I praise God for what he has created in the Southern Baptist Convention and in the IMB. It is breathtaking to see how you, as Southern Baptists, are making that happen through your praying, through your giving," Platt told the packed audience. "Over $94 million to the IMB through the Cooperative Program, over $153 million to Lottie Moon — the second largest offering in our 170-year history." more >>