Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd told messengers gathered at the opening day of the denomination's annual gathering Tuesday that "now is the time to lead," on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and racism.
"We are in spiritual warfare, and this is not a time for Southern Baptists to shrink back in timidity or shrink back with uncertainty," said Floyd during his opening address at the SBC annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio. "Crises abound; the need is great hour is late, and now is the time to lead."
The SBC president also highlighted global calamities including the advance of ISIS, human trafficking, Boko Haram, the persecution of Christians as well as crippling problems in the U.S., such as poverty, debt, and race relations. more >>
Atheist author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins said at a recent Skeptics Society Conference at Caltech, California, that although he's glad that the "nones," or religiously unaffiliated people in America, are rising, he fears that unbelievers are taking up worse beliefs, such as those of new-age author and physician Deepak Chopra.
"One of the problems is that the so-called 'nones' often give up religion for something even worse," Dawkins said in a video posted by Raw Story. "I mean, they take up Deepak Chopra or something like that."
Dawkins said it's "good news" that people are abandoning religion in America, but joked that nones sounds too much like "nuns," and so would like to see another term used for the group. more >>
Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd, who also serves as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the world's largest Baptist denomination, called Bruce Jenner's recent transition into a woman named Caitlyn "sad" during a fiery sermon at the five-branch Pinnacle Cross Church on Sunday.
Floyd, who has been senior pastor of Pinnacle Cross Church since 1986 and has close ties to the famed Duggar family, delivered a scathing sermon in which he denounced Jenner's transgender move. He said "gender is not fluid" and reiterated that God does not make mistakes.
"Bruce Jenner, whom some of you have read about ... at 65 years of age he came out recently that he was transgender. … He states 'for all intensive purposes I am a woman.' That is sad," Floyd told his congregation on the eve of Jenner's big reveal. more >>
Russell Moore, president of the ethics and public policy arm of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., shares his frustrations with how some Christians fail to pursue racial reconciliation and the particular challenge he faces as a white man in ministry in a video recently shared online.
"The easiest thing in the New Testament would have been to say, 'Let's plant Jewish Christian churches and Gentile Christian churches and let's just go in that direction and keep them from getting together and killing each other.' But that's not what the apostles did, because that's a sign to the powers and principalities," Moore says in a videotaped discussion posted online Friday by ministry website The Gospel Coalition.
Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the more than 16 million-strong Southern Baptist Convention, went on to insist that racially and ethnically homogeneous black, white, Hispanic or other congregations should question why they do not have a diversity of ethnicities represented among their numbers. more >>
Faith for Just Lending, a new coalition of Christian groups representing different parts of the political spectrum, was formed to advocate for the elimination of unjust lending practices that hurt the poor.
"Payday lending is a form of economic predation and grinds the faces of the poor into the ground," said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
"As Christians," he continued, "we are called by Jesus, by the prophets, and by the apostles to care for the poor, individually, and also about the way social and political and corporate structures contribute to the misery of the impoverished. Groups across this diverse coalition don't agree on every issue in the public square, but I am happy to work together on this issue to stand against unchecked usury and work for economic justice, human dignity and family stability." more >>
The missionary organization of the largest Protestant church in America has adjusted its standards for missionaries so that people who have spoken in tongues may join.
Reversing a decade-old policy, the Southern Baptist Convention's International Missionary Board has lifted the ban on people who have spoken in tongues or "private prayer language."