Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


Left intolerant of religion, panelists agree

WASHINGTON (BP) – Liberal intolerance is suppressing freedom of belief and conscience in the United States, religious and secular panelists agreed in a discussion at Georgetown University.

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), joined in the conversation Oct. 27 at the country's oldest Roman Catholic university on how "illiberal liberalism" is affecting the free exercise of religion.

While both liberals and conservatives can be intolerant, the left controls influential institutions in a U.S. society polarized increasingly over such issues as same-sex marriage, abortion and the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate, members of the panel said.

The problems with intolerance among conservatives "are ameliorated because you don't have the right in control of the key culture-making sectors in American life," Moore told the audience. "[T]he left is primarily in charge of culture making right now."

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Study spotlights divorce among churchgoers

NASHVILLE (BP) – Before a divorce, churchgoers in troubled marriages look a lot like their happily married counterparts at church --participating, serving and leading at similar rates, a new study shows.

After a divorce, the differences can be stark. Twenty percent have dropped out of church entirely. In many cases, their children have stopped attending too. A third give less to the church than they did before. Their churches report leadership voids and fractured relationships.

Yet pastors may have difficulty helping couples save their marriages, because churchgoers on the brink of separation often keep quiet at church about their marital woes.

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Halloween opportunity for Southern Baptist evangelism and outreach

Trunk or Treat at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., features classic cars, candy, bounce houses and games. Courtesy of Bell Shoals Baptist ChurchMIAMI (BP) – While retail stores across the nation are selling Halloween costumes and all kinds of sweets, many Southern Baptist churches are getting ready to offer their communities a safe and fun alternative.

These events, scheduled on or around Oct. 31, are growing in size to the point where some of them now compare as outreach opportunities to Easter, Vacation Bible School and Christmas.

Wayside Baptist Church in Miami started hosting Halloween alternatives in the early '90s. It was one of the first churches in South Florida to do so, said Gary Johnson, director of missions for the Miami Baptist Association.

Leigh Byers, Kidz Ministry director at Wayside Baptist, noted, "VBS is the biggest event on the church calendar because it runs for an entire week. But in terms of community outreach [Halloween] is the one we spend the most money on and attract a large amount of people."

Wayside will host its Western Fiesta on Oct. 31. The children will receive a bag of wrapped candy when they arrive for rides, games and a food court at the church's parking lot and part of the adjacent land at the Florida Baptist Children's Homes. Hundreds of children show up to the event with their parents.

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Tennessee Baptists purchase property for new building to be half the size as existing

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Tennessee Baptist Convention will move its headquarters from Brentwood, Tenn., to a 600-acre mixed-use development adjacent to Interstate 65 in south Franklin in 2017.

The TBC executive board signed closing documents Oct. 26 for 2.3 acres in the Berry Farms business development just north of State Route 840. The Nashville Tennessean reported the purchase price as roughly $1.15 million.

Construction of the 32,000-square-foot building, less than half the size of the 88,000-square-foot building constructed in Brentwood in 1969, is scheduled to begin in March and be completed in a year.

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Kentucky Baptists to call for defunding of Planned Parenthood at annual meeting

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. – Kentucky’s largest religious organization is expected to vote next month on a resolution calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

The 750,000-member Kentucky Baptist Convention will take the vote at its annual meeting Nov. 10 at Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown. More than 1,100 people attended the convention when it was last held here six years ago.

The resolution is a call on all elected officials to defund Planned Parenthood. 

“The horror of Planned Parent­hood’s murder and selling of babies can no longer be tolerated in our society,” said Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood.

Read more at The News Enterprise ...