Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


ERLC honors heroic Christians at SBC

Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Committee, gives an award to the Green family during a report June 11 at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center. The family, founders of the crafts chain Hobby Lobby, is fighting in court the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance covering medical technologies that can cause the death of an unborn child. The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on their case later this month. The Green family "believe[s] that every human life from the moment of conception is sacred, and they believe that the government is not the Lord of their consciences," Moore said. Messengers gave the Greens a standing ovation and prayed for the Supreme Court's decision. Photo by Van Payne

BALTIMORE (BP) – Members of two families who are standing heroically for the Christian faith received awards from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and grateful affirmation from messengers to the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention.

The ERLC honored the Greens, who own Hobby Lobby, and Saeed Abedini, a prisoner in Iran, Wednesday morning, June 11, during the SBC's annual meeting. ERLC President Russell D. Moore presented the John Leland Religious Liberty Award to Steve and Jackie Green for their family's refusal to abide by the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate, which requires employers to provide abortion-causing drugs to their workers. Moore gave the Richard Land Distinguished Service Award to Naghmeh Abedini on behalf of her husband, Saeed, an American citizen imprisoned since 2012 by Iran's oppressive regime for his Christian service in that country.

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Floyd delivers opening House prayer

WASHINGTON - Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd, who was recently elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), opened the U.S. House of Representatives in prayer Thursday, June 12.

Floyd was invited to give the prayer by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack (R-Rogers).

The Cross Church pastor's prayer was delivered one day following the conclusion of the SBC Annual Meeting, June 10-11 in Baltimore.

Floyd's prayer is recorded in the official record of the U.S. House of Representative. It reads:

Our God, as Your prophet Daniel spoke to the king in his day with humility and honor as recorded in the Book of Daniel 4:37: "The God of Heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and glory."

Lord, as these gifted men and women serve the people of the United States, may they know You have them here by divine appointment, giving to them the influence, strength, and recognition they receive.

As they make decisions that influence the entire world, I pray that You will fill them with supernatural insight, compassionate sensitivity, convictional kindness, and abounding wisdom.

The needs are many, and the tasks are overwhelming. They need You, and they need each other, in order to provide hope for the American people and the entire world. So use them today to change the world for Your glory and for Your Name, I pray.



Hindus urge new SBC president to promote dialogue

Hindus hope Ronnie Floyd, newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), will promote interfaith dialogue in the United States and the world, according to a press release from Hindu statesman Rajan Zed.

The press release announced that Zed said in a recent statement made in Nevada that he hopes the SBC, under Floyd, will work for promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperating in common causes such as peace, ecological responsibility, social development and human rights with different religions and denominations. Zed added that dialogue has brought mutual enrichment and helped with the overcoming of prejudices that have been passed down from previous generations.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted that religion is a complex component of human life and that dialogue helps people see interconnections and interdependencies between religions.

According to the release, Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world and has about 1 billion adherents, about 3 million of whom are in the United States.


GuideStone announces new enrollment guidelines for medical Personal Plans

DALLAS — GuideStone has announced new guidelines for enrollment in its medical Personal Plans, effective July 1.

Churches and ministries eligible to offer GuideStone’s medical Personal Plans will be able to add new employees and their families to the Personal Plans within 60 days of employment.

For the first half of 2014, due to the uncertainties in the health care market as a result of the Affordable Care Act, GuideStone imposed temporary guidelines that limited enrollment to participants experiencing HIPAA special enrollment events, such as marriage, birth, adoption or loss of coverage.

Under the new guidelines, new employees of an eligible Personal Plan church or ministry can enter the health plan within 60 days of employment or HIPAA special enrollment event. Further, covered individuals may continue to add dependents to the health plan due to such events.

Church employees who began their employment between January 1 and July 1, 2014 may enroll themselves and eligible family members through August 1, 2014.

“The Affordable Care Act has created unprecedented changes and challenges for all health plans, including church health plans,” said GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins.

“GuideStone has been diligently seeking legislative, regulatory and judicial recognition of the unique nature and needs of church plans, with the continued goal of keeping the plan strong and stable. At the same time, GuideStone continues to explore ways of providing coverage to new enrollees in a manner consistent with that goal. GuideStone has determined that this change will enable us to balance ministry objectives with good stewardship," he said.

- From a GuideStone news release


Hearing set for Glorieta lawsuit

A judge in New Mexico has scheduled a hearing on pending motions regarding the suit filed by an Arkansas couple who claim LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention lacked legal authority to sell Glorieta Conference Center.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Hayes Scott set the hearing for 9 a.m. June 19.

The court will consider a motion from the plaintiffs, Kirk and Susie Tompkins of Little Rock, for an emergency hearing to grant a temporary retraining order blocking all construction by Glorieta 2.0 at the conference center.

The court also will consider multiple motions to dismiss filed by defendants named in the suit, who assert lack of jurisdiction and standing, failure to state a claim and improper service of process.

The Tompkins family seeks $400,000 for loss of their vacation home built on property leased from Glorieta. They want an additional $12 million to be divided among about 65 homeowners who built or purchased homes on Glorieta property secured by what the couple says were understood to be perpetually recurring leases. - The Baptist Standard


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