The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) will cosponsor a conversation on church and culture, launch a new equipping initiative for ministry to gays and lesbians, and relaunch a magazine during its participation at the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting June 16-17 in Columbus, Ohio.
The ERLC will partner with 9Marks church health ministry for “Connecting Church and Culture” on the eve of the SBC meeting. Russell Moore, the ERLC’s president, and Mark Dever, president of 9Marks and senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., will discuss cultural engagement by the church and answer questions from the audience. The event will be at 9 p.m. June 15.
Among his other speaking engagements in Columbus, Moore will participate in a presidential panel discussion on “The Supreme Court and Same-sex Marriage: Preparing Our Churches for the Future.” The discussion, which will be held during the final session of the convention June 17, will take place about two weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its opinion in a case about gay marriage.
In a written statement for Baptist Press, Moore said he is “thrilled to be a part of these discussions at our annual meeting designed to think through how the Gospel should reorient the cultures of our local congregations to speak to the outside world and to prepare our churches for what the future holds and what Gospel fidelity looks like in our ever-changing society.”
In other efforts to help churches prepare for cultural engagement and gospel ministry after the Supreme Court’s decision:
The ERLC will unveil Equip, a joint initiative with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention to aid pastors and other church leaders in ministering to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. This initiative, which will soon be online at erlc.com/equip, will feature specialized video content from Sam Allberry, a British pastor and author of “Is God Anti-gay?” Video of other pastors and leaders, as well as written resources, also will be available.
The entity will revive Light magazine as a biannual publication providing content to assist Southern Baptists in engaging the culture. The first issue of the new version of the magazine will focus on ministry in a world in which same-sex marriage is legal. It will include articles from Moore; R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C.; Mike Goeke, associate pastor of First Baptist Church in San Francisco; and Rosaria Butterfield, author of “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.” Light magazine will be available for free at the ERLC booth in the SBC exhibit hall.
On June 14, the ERLC will present a sonogram machine to the Stowe Mission of Columbus during the morning corporate worship of Veritas Community Church. The presentation is part of the ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project, which provides such equipment for gospel-focused pregnancy help centers. The machine will be used in Stowe’s medical clinic. Stowe Mission is an outreach of the Metro Columbus Baptist Association. Moore will preach on the gospel and racial reconciliation during Veritas’ corporate worship.
Moore also will preach in the June 14 evening session of the SBC Pastors’ Conference and will participate in a panel discussion at the Baptist21 luncheon June 16.
The ERLC-9Marks conversation on church and culture June 15 will be in the Delaware Room of the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
SBC President Ronnie Floyd, who initiated the idea of a panel discussion on ministry after the Supreme Court’s ruling, will moderate the conversation during the convention’s afternoon session June 17. In addition to Moore, other panelists will be Mohler; Butterfield; Matt Carter, lead pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas; and Ryan Blackwell, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in San Francisco.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief of Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)