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 >>
The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and other liberal groups have expressed concern over Houston officials subpoenaing sermons that may have been critical of an LGBT discrimination city ordinance.
Recently the city subpoenaed various pastors' sermons due to their objection to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, a recently passed law that has strong conservative opposition.
Liberty University and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association announced Monday that on-campus students as well as those working toward their degree online can enroll in evangelism courses that feature presentations by the Rev. Billy Graham, Franklim Graham, and LU alumnus William Graham.
Students in all majors can take the courses, which began this semester through the university's School of Religion.
Will Graham, who's a 1997 graduate from Liberty University, said in a statement shared with The Christian Post that the collaboration is part of his grandfather's dream "to not just preach the Gospel, but to equip others around the world in the work of the evangelist." more >>
DALLAS — Pastor Greg Laurie shared his powerful Gospel message on God's grace and salvation through Jesus Christ with an overflow crowd of 19,000 at Dallas' American Airlines Center and Victory Park Sunday for his first Harvest America in the Lone Star State. Along with the overcapacity crowd, a total of 3,900 host venues throughout the country (1,200 of them churches), watched the livestream event.
Laurie, the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Harvest Orange County in Irvine, California, revealed that while it might surprise some people, he believes all paths lead to God, whether one is agnostic, atheist, Christian, Jewish or Muslim. But he emphasized that while everyone will meet God, only those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will enter heaven.
"I believe all roads lead to God. I don't care if you're a believer, agnostic or an atheist. I believe whatever road you're on, you will get to God one day and you will stand before God one day. All roads lead to God. But only one road leads to heaven, and that's the road through Jesus Christ," Laurie asserted. more >>