In days of seeking God deeply, I have been asking Him for insights about all that is happening in the world now. While my understanding grows, I want to share what is on my heart today in relation to three areas of crisis.
1. Global Crises
Across the globe, crises abound. The global spiritual crisis continues to grow as lostness escalates. Billions of people are in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As more than one-half of the global population is now living in the cities of the world, missional strategies must emerge that address reaching these cities. more >>
David Platt, the International Mission Board president for the Southern Baptist Convention, has penned an open letter to address cuts in funding to missions worldwide due to financial shortfalls.
Platt said that the IMB plans to cut between 600-800 missionaries around the world over the next six months.
"This is certainly not an announcement that I, in any way, wanted to make," Platt wrote. "At the most recent meeting of the SBC in Columbus, I shared with messengers how IMB spent tens of millions more dollars than we received last year. In our budgeting process over the last couple of months, other leaders and I have recognized that we will have a similar shortfall this year, and we are projecting another shortfall of like magnitude next year." more >>
J.D. Greear, lead pastor of Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, has been noted for taking a 300-member church and growing the congregation to more than 9,000, making it one of the 100 fastest-growing churches in the U.S. So perhaps Greear can afford to say that pastors should stop their obsession with "gathering and counting" and instead get excited about the possible impact of "raising up and sending out" their members.
But what the North Carolina pastor suggests is not exactly revolutionary, as he points to the nearly 2,000-year-old command of Jesus for his believers to "go and make disciples of all nations," the basis of what Christians call the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:16-20.
Another passage Greear points to is John 14:12. more >>
Russell Moore believes definitions are important, especially when it comes to terms like "Evangelical" and "gay Christian," the prominent Southern Baptist leader recently revealed in a discussion about what he thinks is at the root of divergent beliefs about human sexuality among Christians.
"Evangelical," according to this independent supplement to The AP Stylebook, "has generally come to mean Protestants who emphasize personal conversion; evangelism; the authority, primacy — and, usually — inerrancy of the Bible; and the belief that Jesus' death reconciled God and humans" — a nugget summary, compared to Wheaton College's extensive primer on "Evangelicalism."
The authority, primacy and inerrancy (or reliability) of the Bible is at the heart of debates among Christians who argue either for or against the "sinfulness" of homosexual acts, according to Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Moore follows the long-held orthodox view that has called for the expression of human sexuality in the confines of monogamous heterosexual union. more >>
PHILADELPHIA — The lobbying entity of the nation's largest Protestant denomination has made it clear that it is against predatory practices that take advantage of the poor, having joined a broad coalition earlier this year organized to "raise awareness about families in financial crisis and how high-cost lending negatively impacts them." But what is the high-profile Christian ethics advocacy organization doing to protect vulnerable believers from preying prosperity preachers?
The question was posed to Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention that represents more than 15 million Southern Baptists in the public square. The outspoken ERLC president has been vocal about everything from abortion and gay marriage to racial reconciliation and Christian political engagement.
Moore, who has said that "payday lending is a form of economic predation and grinds the faces of the poor into the ground," told The Christian Post in an aside at the 2015 Religion Newswriters Association Conference in Philadelphia this past week that his SBC organization has long taken a stance against prosperity preaching. more >>
The South Carolina church that was founded by the Southern Baptist Convention's first president has adopted a new non-discrimination policy that will allow for the congregation to not only marry same-sex couples but also ordain openly gay, lesbian and transgender ministers.
Dr. Jim Dant, senior minister of the 184-year-old First Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina, explained in a recent interview with Greenville Online that his church, which is no longer Southern Baptist, voted earlier this year to take up a new policy that does not allow the church to discriminate in any facet of its ministry on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. more >>