The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) will sponsor events before and during the convention’s 2014 meeting to address a variety of challenges facing Christians today.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting will be June 10-11 in Baltimore.
The ERLC will host a panel discussion on religious freedom at 9 p.m. June 9. The discussion, titled “Hobby Lobby and the Future of Religious Liberty,” will feature as panelists: Russell D. Moore, the ERLC’s president; Rick Warren, author and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.; David Platt, author and pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala.; and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
On June 10, a “Question & Ethics Live” event featuring Moore and Matt Chandler will be held at 5 p.m. Moore and Chandler, lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, will answer questions regarding theology, ministry and culture during the session.
Moore said of the ERLC’s intention in hosting the events, “With each passing day, Christians are confronted with an increasingly secular society – seeking to silence all of those who do not sing from the hymnbook of sexual revolution. More than that, believers around the country are presented every single day with increasingly complex ethical questions, some of which previous generations of Southern Baptists would never even have had to consider.
“We’ll plan to address these issues this June at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, and I invite all to come to these events to think through how we can engage the culture with a gospel focus and a gospel answer.”
The June 9 panel discussion likely will occur within a couple of weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court issues what is expected to be a landmark opinion on religious liberty. Hobby Lobby is one of two parties in the case that has challenged the Obama administration’s abortion/contraception mandate. That regulation implementing the 2010 health-care reform law requires employers to provide their workers with drugs and devices that have potentially abortion-causing effects.
Hobby Lobby, the nationwide retail chain owned by evangelical Christians, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Pennsylvania company owned by pro-life Mennonites, contend the federal rule violates their owners’ free exercise of religion rights and a 1993 law protecting religious liberty.
The religious liberty discussion will be held at the Hilton Baltimore in Holiday Ballroom four, five and corridor on level two.
The June 10 question-and-answer session will be at the Hilton Baltimore in Holiday Ballroom one, two and three on level two.
The events continue a trend inaugurated last year. In Moore’s first SBC meeting as ERLC president, the entity sponsored extra-convention sessions that included a breakfast panel discussion on marriage.
Registration is available for each 2014 session at http://erlc.com/sbc.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode, Baptist Press’ Washington bureau chief, compiled this story.)