Digest

Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...

Thursday
Jul092015

After Katrina: What God brought out of chaos

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Genesis 1:2 (HCSB) recounts: "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."

Here in New Orleans nearly 10 years ago, shapes were buried in the water; large colorful forms distorted by shimmering waves lined the neutral ground of West End Boulevard for miles.

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Thursday
Jul092015

Presidential hopefuls react to gay marriage ruling

NASHVILLE (BP) – Reaction among 2016 presidential candidates to the Supreme Court's nationwide legalization of gay marriage is divided largely along party lines, with all five Democrats in the race lauding the decision and at least 13 of 14 Republicans opposing it.

As marriage and religious liberty moved to center stage of the campaign, one pastor and former U.S. Senate candidate urged Christians to consider supporting a candidate financially.

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Thursday
Jul092015

Evangelicals support Israel, disagree on why

NASHVILLE (BP) – With Israel in the news related to Iran nuclear negotiations and the formation of a coalition government following the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March, conservative evangelicals largely agree that Christians should support the Jewish state. But they don't agree on the reason for that support.

"When you boil it right down, there's not that much of a difference" in the policies most evangelicals believe the U.S. should adopt relative to Israel, said Chad Brand, editor of "Perspectives on Israel and the Church: Four Views," published by B&H Academic earlier this year. The book explains four distinct belief systems among evangelicals regarding Israel, and Brand said there are yet others.

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Tuesday
Jul072015

N.C. pastor: Why not raise the Christian flag over the U.S. flag?

SHELBY, N.C. (BP) – North Carolina pastor Rit Varriale wants to see churches fly the Christian flag above the American flag as a biblical statement, reversing flag etiquette that calls for the American flag to be flown in the prominent position.

Varriale, as senior pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Shelby, N.C., said the church installed its first-ever flagpole in order to raise the two flags in a special ceremony after morning worship on Sunday (July 5) in which the Christian flag was raised in the higher position -- which prompted interviews by Charlotte-area NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates.

"If you stop and think about it, [flag etiquette] is inconsistent with what the Bible teaches us," Varriale said. "We are first and foremost Christians who are called to serve the living God."

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Thursday
Jul022015

After same-sex marriage: next steps for LGBT activists

NASHVILLE (BP) – With same-sex marriage now legal in all 50 states, pro-gay activists are shifting their focus to issues like alleged workplace, housing and public accommodations discrimination. Some have even proposed stripping churches of their tax-exempt status and legalizing polygamous marriage.

Pro-LGBT activists view the Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage "as a means to a greater end," said Jon Akin, pastor of Fairview Church in Lebanon, Tenn. -- "a huge means, but I certainly don't think it's the end. I think many will not be happy" if the advance of gay rights "doesn't go further."

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