Supreme Court’s pending same-sex ruling looms over SBC
    June 12 2015 by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

    A pending Supreme Court decision about same-sex marriage looms over next week’s meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), with panels and guides on the topic amid prayers for the nation.

    • In a rare departure from usual business, the two-day annual meeting of the SBC will conclude June 17 with a panel discussion on “The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage: Preparing Our Churches for the Future.”

    •  On Tuesday, the denomination’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission issued Protecting Your Ministry, a guide for Southern Baptists and other evangelicals in an age of lawsuits related to sexual orientation and gender identity. It will be distributed at the meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

    •  Prominent Southern Baptists, including Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, were among dozens of leaders who signed this week’s open letter to the Supreme Court asking the justices “not to force us to choose between the state and the Laws of God.”

    The developments come as the SBC announced June 10 that it continues to face declines in membership. Its LifeWay Christian Resources said SBC churches lost more than 200,000 members – dropping from 15.7 million members in 2013 to 15.5 million in 2014 – the largest one-year decline since 1881.
    In the open letter to the high court, which appeared in a full-page ad in The Washington Post, Southern Baptists joined Catholic, Protestant and Jewish signers in saying they would obey God and not the court if its ruling clashes with their stance in favor of traditional marriage.
    “(W)e will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman,” they stated. “We affirm that Marriage, as existing solely between one man and one woman, precedes civil government.”
    The 44-page legal guide to be introduced at the annual meeting includes checklists for churches, schools and other ministries to ensure they have “the broadest religious liberty protections under the law” – including statements of faith, religious employment criteria and facility use policies.
    “Abrupt changes in the culture about marriage and sexuality have catapulted the Christian view of marriage and sexuality into a collision course with the Sexual Revolution,” wrote Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore in the guide, co-produced with Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based conservative Christian legal organization.
    SBC President Ronnie Floyd will lead an entire evening session of the annual meeting that has been dedicated to “a national call for prayer.”
    He emphasized the prayer time and the discussion of the high court as “key moments” in the meeting.
    “The Supreme Court may rule on this issue within days of or during our convention in Columbus,” he said. “Regardless of the outcome, our churches need to be prepared.”
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Adelle M. Banks is a writer for Religion News Service.)

    6/12/2015 11:30:50 AM by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service | with 1 comments
    Filed under: 2015 annual meeting, same-sex marriage, SCOTUS

Wayne L. Robbins, Sr.
I am very concerned about the upcoming Supreme Court decision. I applaud the SBC leaders who will stand strongly for biblical beliefs on this issue.

Baptists have gone through difficult times since our "split" years ago. Now these difficulties are being raised to a new level. The question is, are we ready to suffer persecution because of our beliefs?

I am a member of a CBF Baptist church, which I will not name. I don't attend much anymore because I am out-of-step with the leadership on the homosexual issue. I have not joined another church because my family is quite happy in this one and I don't want to "leave" them. This stance may not be permanent, but that is where I am at the moment.

Dr. Paige Patterson tells the Supreme Court not to force us to choose between the state and biblical teaching. I hope other SBC pastors will join him in that warning.

But I am left with a question: Are our pastors and leaders really prepared to undergo the persecution that will follow such a stand? Persecution like we have never known in this country will surely follow if we refuse to yield. You can count on it.

Our culture is changing, and it is out of step with Christ's teaching. Pastors who refuse to perform same-sex marriages can expect law suits and other legal threats, and they can expect many of their membership to leave in discouraging numbers. Can they take the heat? This is the question.

There comes a time when Christians must say "NO" to a society that is drifting away. We have "gone along" with society in many ways for a long time now. Is the habit too firmly engrained to take a stand now?

We shall see, because the challenge is surely coming.
6/23/2015 9:54:27 PM

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