Digest

Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...

Friday
Jun262015

Mohler responds to Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision

Editor's Note: The following is a statement from R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States concerning same-sex marriage:

MohlerEverything has changed and nothing has changed. The Supreme Court’s decision today is a central assault upon marriage as the conjugal union of a man and a woman and in a 5-4 decision the nation’s highest court has now imposed its mandate redefining marriage on all 50 states.

As Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not a legal judgment.”

The majority’s argument, expressed by Justice Kennedy, is that the right of same-sex couples to marry is based in individual autonomy as related to sexuality, in marriage as a fundamental right, in marriage as a privileged context for raising children, and in upholding marriage as central to civilization. But at every one of these points, the majority had to reinvent marriage in order to make its case. The Court has not merely ordered that same-sex couples be allowed to marry — it has fundamentally redefined marriage itself.

The inventive legal argument set forth by the majority is clearly traceable in Justice Kennedy’s previous decisions including Lawrence (2003) and Windsor (2013), and he cites his own decisions as legal precedent. As the Chief Justice makes clear, Justice Kennedy and his fellow justices in the majority wanted to legalize same-sex marriage and they invented a constitutional theory to achieve their purpose. It was indeed an act of will disguised as a legal judgment.

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the land, and its decisions cannot be appealed to a higher court of law. But the Supreme Court, like every human institution and individual, will eventually face two higher courts. The first is the court of history, which will render a judgment that I believe will embarrass this court and reveal its dangerous trajectory. The precedents and arguments set forth in this decision cannot be limited to the right of same-sex couples to marry. If individual autonomy and equal protection mean that same-sex couples cannot be denied what is now defined as a fundamental right of marriage, then others will arrive to make the same argument. This Court will find itself in a trap of its own making, and one that will bring great harm to this nation and its families. The second court we all must face is the court of divine judgment. For centuries, marriage ceremonies in the English-speaking world have included the admonition that what God has put together, no human being — or human court — should tear asunder. That is exactly what the Supreme Court of the United States has now done.

The threat to religious liberty represented by this decision is clear, present, and inevitable. Assurances to the contrary, the majority in this decision has placed every religious institution in legal jeopardy if that institution intends to uphold its theological convictions limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman. This threat is extended to every religious citizen or congregation that would uphold the convictions held by believers for millennia.

In that sense, everything has now changed. The highest court of the land has redefined marriage. Those who cannot accept this redefinition of marriage as a matter of morality and ultimate truth, must acknowledge that the laws of this nation concerning marriage will indeed be defined against our will. We must acknowledge the authority of the Supreme Court in matters of law. Christians must be committed to be good citizens and good neighbors, even as we cannot accept this redefinition of marriage in our churches and in our lives.

We must contend for marriage as God’s gift to humanity — a gift central and essential to human flourishing and a gift that is limited to the conjugal union of a man and a woman. We must contend for religious liberty for all, and focus our energies on protecting the rights of Christian citizens and Christian institutions to teach and operate on the basis of Christian conviction.

We cannot be silent, and we cannot join the moral revolution that stands in direct opposition to what we believe the Creator has designed, given, and intended for us. We cannot be silent, and we cannot fail to contend for marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

In one sense, everything has changed. And yet, nothing has changed. The cultural and legal landscape has changed, as we believe this will lead to very real harms to our neighbors. But our Christian responsibility has not changed. We are charged to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and to speak the truth in love. We are also commanded to uphold the truth about marriage in our own lives, in our own marriages, in our own families, and in our own churches.

We are called to be the people of the truth, even when the truth is not popular and even when the truth is denied by the culture around us. Christians have found themselves in this position before, and we will again. God’s truth has not changed. The Holy Scriptures have not changed. The gospel of Jesus Christ has not changed. The church’s mission has not changed. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

Thursday
Jun252015

Blount to join SBTS faculty July 1 as philosophy professor

BlountLOUISVILLE, Ky. – Douglas K. Blount will join the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as professor of Christian philosophy and ethics July 1. The Board of Trustees unanimously elected Blount at their April 20-21 meeting. President R. Albert Mohler Jr. told trustees Blount is a “spectacular” addition to the faculty.

Before Southern, he was professor of theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He also taught at Criswell College and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

“Dr. Douglas Blount is well known and well respected among Southern Baptist and evangelical scholars,” said Gregory A. Wills, dean of the School of Theology. “He is deeply committed to the truth of the scriptures, and is humble and engaging. He arrives with a wealth of classroom experience. Students will profit greatly from his courses.”

Blount earned degrees from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He completed his Ph.D. in 1998 at Notre Dame, where he studied under a faculty that included noted philosopher and theologian Alvin Plantinga.

Read more: http://news.sbts.edu/?p=5659

Monday
Jun222015

Pastor and wife stabbed; Va. Baptists give support

GLEN ALLEN, Va. (BP) - A Baptist couple simply wanted to help a church attendee in need. It nearly cost them their lives. Pastor Hugh Mayes and his wife Carol minister in Carson, Va., through Shiloh Baptist Church. Both woke early on the morning of Monday, June 15, to find a man in their bedroom. The intruder stabbed the husband and wife multiple times in the chest and stole around $800 and their vehicle in fleeing the scene.

The couple was airlifted to the VCU Medical Center in Richmond where they were listed in serious condition. Hugh Mayes remains hospitalized; Carol Mayes has been discharged.

The Sussex County Sheriff's Office arrested 21-year-old Maxim Lloyd Chisholm for the assault on Tuesday, June 16, following a traffic stop in Richmond. He faces two counts of attempted first-degree murder and three robbery-related charges.

Read more: http://bpnews.net/44995/pastor-and-wife-stabbed-va-baptists-give-support

Friday
Jun192015

S.C. massacre 'demonic,' Baptist pastor says

CHARLESTON, S.C. (BP) – Christians are uniting in prayer and benevolence across racial distinctions in Charleston, S.C., after a 21-year-old man massacred nine Christians in a June 17 prayer service at historic Emanuel AME Church, said neighboring Southern Baptist pastor Keith Biggs.

"Everyone together – white, black, Hispanic, everybody – we're coming together in unity to see this not only (as) an attack on people, but an attack on the body of Christ," said Biggs, associate pastor of Citadel Square Baptist Church, which neighbors the site of the crime. "I mean, who can walk into a church and sit for an hour and have prayer, and then just begin to kill everybody?"

The FBI identified the shooter as 21-year-old Dylann Roof of Columbia, S.C., whose uncle told police he believes Roof received a .45-caliber handgun as a birthday present, Reuters reported. Roof was arrested late Thursday morning in Shelby, N.C.

In what police are calling a hate crime, a white man identified as Roof sat calmly in the historically African American church during the prayer service and without notice shot worshippers and fled the scene. The church's pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, was among those killed, but the names of other victims – six women and two men – had not been released. A 5-year-old child escaped murder by pretending to be dead, and a woman was purposely allowed to live so that she could tell police what had happened, it was widely reported.

"As everybody said on TV, it goes deeper than just hate. To me, this is something that's very demonic to be able to do that. It's a big spiritual warfare, so we're coming together," Biggs said. "We've just got to pray and seek direction, see how we can help one another, see how we can pray to get this action and so forth out of here. Everybody is very calm right now and just looking for answers."

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Sunday
Jun142015

Florida's 51/49 CP split called 'great sacrifice'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP) - The Florida Baptist Convention’s unprecedented decision to begin giving more of its Cooperative Program (CP) dollars to the Southern Baptist Convention than to the state signals a sacrificial commitment to the Great Commission, newly elected Executive Director J. Thomas Green told Baptist Press.

Green, who began serving June 8 as executive director/treasurer of the convention, has pledged beginning in 2016 to send 51 percent of CP gifts to the Southern Baptist Convention for international and national causes, and to keep only 49 percent within Florida for Baptist missions and ministries.

"I believe we are in the midst of an amazing moment of ministry for the church and we must respond in a sacrificial manner," Green said. "The Great Commission and the Great Commandment compel us to respond with generosity in order to reach the world for Christ."

If 2016 CP gifts received in Florida mirror the 2015 budgeted amount of $28,800,000, the funding shift would spell an additional $2.88 million in gifts to the SBC Executive Committee, with $1,445,000 of the increase going to the International Mission Board, and $656,000 to the North American Mission Board, according to state figures.

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