Baptist News

Commentary by Dr. HL Champion

Dr. H.L. Champion, Editor - The following article from The London Times Newspaper is another reminder of how intolerant Islam continues to be toward anyone with opposing views. It would be good for those who are of this mindset living here in America to remember their faulty heritage.  While courts in other Islamic countries do not have legislative blasphemy laws as does Pakistan, it is evident that Muslims in general will not tolerate any distain toward their founding leader. The followers of Christ are diametrically opposite.
Islamic followers here in America have the same principles as does their foreign counterparts. We wonder and wait to see if they will protest this sentence in their publications and exhortations. We will not hold our breaths.

Let us pray for this Christian to be freed from this charge. And pray for the government to deal with the community response to this unjust charge.      -                                                               

Twenty Six year old Sawan Masih, who is father of three children, was convicted of uttering the insult during a conversation with a Muslim friend. A mob then burned two churches and dozens of Christian homes in the eastern Pakistani city.

Pakistani sentanced deathThe Times newspaper says that if this sentence is carried out, it will be the first execution under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

Masih maintains that he was falsely accused as part of a plot by Muslim businessmen to clear Christians from their Lahore neighbourhood and turn the area into a profitable industrial estate. He is expected to appeal against the ruling.

Pakistan has become infamous in recent years for mob violence and vigilantism in response to any perceived insult to Islam or the Prophet Mohammed.

Such is the stigma against anyone accused of blasphemy that the family of a Christian girl falsely accused of burning pages of the Koran was forced to leave the country, despite a Muslim cleric later being arrested for making the story up.

In 2011, the relatively liberal governor of Punjab was killed by his own body guard for suggesting the blasphemy law be repealed. A Christian politician who had also criticised the law was shot dead two months after.

Critics of the law say that it is often abused to settle personal disputes and that members of minority groups are especially vulnerable.

Pakistan is the only country where the punishment for blasphemy is death or life imprisonment.

Pakistani sentanced death02A Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy by a Pakistani court  in a case that triggered rioting in a Christian neighbourhood of the eastern  city of Lahore last year.

Sawan Masih was convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a  conversation with a Muslim friend. A Muslim mob burnt dozens of Christian  homes and set fire to two churches in Joseph Colony in retaliation for  alleged insults.

 

Missions in Myanmar

by Dr. HL Champion on February 27, 2014

My Calling to the Burmese People Part I –  Dr. HL Champion

After two years of intercessory prayer from Samuel Lian a Burmese pastor in Kalamyo, Myanmar with his small church and college their request was granted from God. After being friended on Facebook from this insidiousness and persistent man of God, Pastor Lian rallied his prayer troupes every week in prayer for me to come and minister among his people.

After several exchanges of prayer emergences on both parts, his and mine. We grew to become true Pastor Friends. Yes, may online requests are made from third world preachers of the Gospel for those who have to come and minister to them who have little of this world’s goods. Many in other lands are fraudulent as the ministry of Christ is merchandised to receive funds mainly for the use of the ministry leader. Such as it is in America.

But, great numbers are legitimate. While many invitations come to most of the ministers on Facebook to ”come and see”.    This short page introduces to you a vast mission field so unlike other third world countries and the mission strategies of so many Christian groups. Bible Believing preachers of the Gospel have used the boarders surrounding Myanmar to cross over and provide a semi-underground evangelism. It is to the Glory of God for all that has happened in this manner.

God has allowed me to come into this Mission field directly as an American Independent Baptist by invitation which is developing into  life calling for the rest of my days! Blessings on you who follow Burmese Missions.

If you wish to participate with World Missions in any form or field contact Dr Champion at [email protected]

 

 

Tennessee Temple For Sale

by Dr. HL Champion on September 20, 2013

Dr. H.L. Champion, Editor

Dr. Jeff Amsbaugh has summarized the history and current shift in ministry of America’s greatest Bible College ministries. His link is at the bottom of this article.

 

Tennessee-Temple1

 

 

Days after announcing exploratory discussions of moving its campus to a site adjacent to Woodland Park Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist Church, in the Greater Chattanooga area, officials with Tennessee Temple University have listed most of the 65-year-old school’s 21-acre site for sale. In order to practice full disclosure, I must admit that I am emotionally attached to the Highland Park campus of TTU, for it was here that I received my ministerial education and here that I met my wife.

Benjamin Pitts, a listing agent with Herman Walldorf Commercial Real Estate, has announced the university had hired the firm to assist with a sale. The campus is listed at $19.6 million. ”I think the market will respond well to the offering, which includes over 21 acres and more than 470,000 square feet of improvements in an urban setting near downtown Chattanooga,” Pitts said in a news release. “We think there are a number of potential uses for the property, including continued school-related use.”

Despite reporting a 47 percent growth in student enrollment, officials with Tennessee Temple acknowledged earlier this week having “exploratory discussions” with Woodland Park Baptist about a possible relocation. The college has no specific plans for its current campus but is open to options, according to Herman Walldorf.

Walldorf has been involved in past transactions concerning Tennessee Temple. Recently, the firm brokered the sale of 7 acres of land adjacent to the school’s property from the former Highland Park Baptist Church to Redemption Point Church and also helped broker the lease and eventual sale of Tennessee Temple Academy to the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy. A total exit of Tennessee Temple will mean big changes for Highland Park, which surrounds the campus on all sides.

As an alumnus, I would like to offer several observations. First, not all relocations are bad. The Bible is clear that demographics is not the predominant consideration in deciding where to worship. When the woman at the well was struggling with her own demographical issue, Jesus told her that the condition of the heart in worship is more important than the physical location where worship occurs (John 4:21-24). Many solid, independent Baptist ministries have changed locations, leaving behind some precious memories for the sake of future growth. If we were married to locations, then most of our churches would still be meeting in store front structures.

Second, God is able work in spite of demographics. The two most significant church success stories in the independent Baptist movment, in terms of numerical growth, within my lifetime are First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana and Highland Park Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee – both of such suffered from terrible demographics. We must be honest that even in the days of Lee Roberson, Highland Park was not the most desirable part of Chattanooga to live. But in spite of its poor demographics, God blessed the ministry. Indeed, as I understand it, Lee Roberson purposefully stayed in Highland Park, despite its poor demographics, in order that he might be centrally located within Chattanooga and reach a community that had largely been abandoned by others. I wonder how much faster Highland Park would have deteriorated without the manifested presence of Highland Park Baptist Church and Tennessee Temple University. In an age when most ministries are abandoning the inter-city for the suburbs, some attention must be given to the cities and the effect upon them when ministries pull up roots and move elsewhere.

Third, evidently students did not come to TTU in the past because of its plush, serene surroundings. Though there is nothing wrong with these features, and Christian ministries should strive for excellence, students from around the world came to TTU to sit in classrooms that were less than desirable. Evidently, fully-carpeted air conditioned classrooms is not always the draw that we feel it is. The touch and the anointing God is something that all ministries should seek.  For 13 years, I had the privilege of being the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia, and to be quite honest, the demographics were not the best. One of my beloved predecessors, Walter Lee Hodges, was able to build a strong, vibrant church in a deteriorating neighborhood, however, because he had the touch of God upon his life. I have spent the last year at Greater Rhode Island Baptist Temple, which has marvelous demographics. I cannot and must not, however, trust in these demographics. I need the touch of God or all is vain.  Without him, I can do nothing. We can aspire to better demographics, but we cannot trust those demographics for growth. It is by God’s Spirit, says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6).

Finally, I suggest to all TTU alumni that the greatest pain with regard to our alma mater should not be the moving of the campus. Indeed, most of us while we were there would probably have voted for a move to better demographics. The greatest pain is the move from the historical principles on which the school was founded. A shift in philosophy should hurt us more than the shift in location. There was a time when TTU and its 4000 students made an impact on the city of Chattanooga and from there the world. There was distinctiveness about the Christianity that was practiced there. There were noticeable differences between the student body population and the culture that it was called to reach. Separation from worldly practices and associations was the rule of the day, and Dr. Roberson was not trying to be relevant as much as he was trying to be righteous.

Indeed, I would argue that the watering down of this distinctive heritage has led in part to the diminished population of TTU resulting in the inability to sustain its 21-acre campus. I suppose a move in location is inevitable, but I am more pained by the move in philosophy that has preceded (and probably mandated) this real estate decision. I do, however, remind all alumni who graduated in the Roberson era that the TTU that we experienced never will be or can be sold. It exists today in the hearts of thousands who preach and practice Christianity that is “distinctively Christian.”

http://www.jeffamsbaugh.com/2013/09/20/tennessee-temple-for-sale/

by Dr. HL Champion on August 30, 2013

 

 

RLauriebiopic65x65

Published by Robert Laurie – August 30, 2013

Reporting on the Iowa Democratic Pro Abortion Rally
http://www.caintv.com/iowa-democrats-join-abortion-a

 

‘We give thanks, oh Lord, for the doctors, both current and future, who provide quality abortion care’

f11cc60481abortpray

If your political goal is to murder as many of the unborn as is humanly possible, no one should be surprised that you’re constantly taking the rhetoric to new depths.  Today’s sick twisting of religion comes to us from a pro-abortion rally in Iowa.  There, Des Moines activist Midge Slater delivered one of the creepiest prayers you’re ever going to hear.

In attendance were Iowa Democrat gubernatorial candidates Jack Hatch and Tyler Olson.  We can only presume that their grasp on religion is tenuous at best, since they apparently support praying for things like this:

“We give thanks, oh Lord, for the doctors, both current and future, who provide quality abortion care.”
“We pray for increased financial support for low-income women to access contraception, abortion and childcare.”
“Today, we pray for women in developing nations, that they may know the power of self-determination. May they have access to employment, education, birth control and abortion.”
“We pray for women who have been made afraid of their own power by their materialistic religion. May they learn to reject fear and live bravely.”
“Today we pray for the families who have chosen. May they know the blessing of choice.”

Just …wow.  Obviously, we get that the left loves to mock the faithful and warp Christian beliefs into a derisive weapon, but this is pretty vile stuff.  The fact that two major Democrat candidates were willing to stand there, fold their hands, and bow their heads speaks volumes about how low they’re willing to sink.

Video of the complete “prayer” appears below.

Be sure to ”like” Robert Laurie over on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

The Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, Tom Strode, gives an excellent review of this moral act from the House of Representatives. Pray that Americans will regain their sanity about sanctity of life. Rep. Trent Franks, R.-Ariz is to be commended as a faithful Christian, and member of the North Phoenix Baptist Church. In this article Strode reports that 32 Baptists voted for the Ban on Abortion after twenty weeks and two voted against it! We at Baptist.org commend this action although it does not go far enough according to the Word of God!.
Posted on Jun 19, 2013 | by Tom Strode
WASHINGTON (BP) — The U.S. House of Representatives has approved landmark legislation that would prohibit abortions during the last half of pregnancy.In a roll call Tuesday (June 18), the House voted 228-196 for the Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797), which would ban abortions nationwide on babies 20 weeks or more after fertilization. The ban is set at the developmental stage based on scientific evidence that a child in the womb experiences pain.

The House’s support of the bill, however, is unlikely to translate into approval by the Senate or endorsement by President Obama. The measure will face stronger opposition from senators, and Majority Leader Harry Reid may not bring it to the floor for a vote. The White House has threatened a veto if the bill were to reach Obama’s desk.

Nonetheless, pro-life advocates applauded the House’s passage of what some see as the most important legislative protection for unborn children in years.

“Unborn children aren’t issues to be debated. Issues can’t feel pain and issues can’t die. Unborn children are persons, our neighbors,” said Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“A compassionate society would demand mercy and justice for those in the dawn of life,” Moore said. “The House was right to recognize such compassionate justice, and I pray our senators and our president will as well by passing and signing this legislation.”

congress-abortion_marr Trent Franks, AZ-R Baptist influencing Congress

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks, R.-Ariz., said the vote “marks the first time in history, in either chamber of the U.S. Congress, that affirmative protection has been extended to unborn children. It is my prayer that today also marks a day when America finally opens her eyes to the humanity of these little victims and the inhumanity of what is being done to them.”

Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), called it “the most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before the House since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2007.”

The White House, however, issued a policy statement expressing its strong opposition to the bill. Senior advisors would urge Obama to veto the bill if the Senate passes it, according to the statement.

“This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution,” the Obama administration said.

The Supreme Court’s 1973 opinion in Roe, coupled with a companion ruling in Doe v. Bolton, had the effect of legalizing abortion throughout the country for any reason at any point in pregnancy.

Franks’ bill would alter the dynamic regarding abortion, calling on the courts to consider whether the pain experienced by an unborn child should receive some weight in deciding on a woman’s right to an abortion.

Supporters of the legislation frequently cited the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell in advocating for the bill. In mid-May, a jury convicted Gosnell of the first-degree murder of three born-alive babies, as well as 21 counts of violating a state ban on abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Gosnell, 72, received three consecutive life sentences without parole for the murder convictions.

Four days after Gosnell’s conviction, Franks announced he would expand the effect of his bill to the entire United States. Prior to that action, Franks’ legislation affected only the District of Columbia, which the U.S. Constitution has granted Congress authority over. Last year, Franks sponsored a similar ban in D.C. but it failed to gain congressional approval. The House voted 220-154 for his measure but it required a two-thirds majority under the rule by which it came to the floor.

The latest House vote on the proposal broke down nearly along party lines. Only six Democrats voted for it and only six Republicans opposed it.

Among Southern Baptist members of the House, 32 voted for the bill, while two voted against it and one was unable to vote. A Southern Baptist, Franks is a member of North Phoenix Baptist Church.

The bill provides exceptions for endangerment to the mother’s life, rape and incest.

A public opinion survey in March by The Polling Company showed 64 percent of American voters would support a law that fits Franks’ proposal with only a threat to the mother’s life as an exception.

Nine states have enacted bans similar to Franks’ bill, according to NRLC.

In the Gosnell case, the three children whom he was convicted of murdering were only some of hundreds at least six months into gestation who were killed outside the womb after induced delivery at a clinic criticized for its unsanitary and unsafe conditions, according to a 281-page report issued by a grand jury in 2011. Gosnell, who destroyed the records in most of those deaths, or a co-worker typically killed the living children by a technique he called “snipping” — jabbing scissors into the back of a baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord.
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Preview by Dr. HL Champion
Southern Baptists have been in a evangelism decline and many believe that it is due to the growing trends of Pastors toward the doctrines of Limited Atonement and Predestination.  Baptist.org will focus upon this issue in forthcoming reports and studies.

500 years later, Calvinism debate still simmers among Southern Baptists

Written by TRAVIS LOLLER Associated Press from the archives of the Tennessean 06/09/2013
John Calvin 01Is God’s saving grace free to anyone who accepts Jesus, or did God predestine certain people for heaven and hell before the beginning of the world? That’s a 500-year-old question, but it is creating real divisions in 2013 in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Calvinism is named for the 16th Century theologian John Calvin. Among other things, it teaches that Jesus died only for those who have been elected by God for salvation. That idea does not sit well with many non-Calvinist Baptists, who believe Jesus died for the whole world.

Some of the theological differences between Calvinists and non-Calvinists can get pretty far into the weeds, but what may seem an arcane controversy has become very heated, especially over the past few months.

In January, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Louisiana College, Joe Aguillard, wrote in his “President’s Pen” column, “My love for all Baptists including Calvinists, does not constitute our approval of its being advocated at Louisiana College.”

That came at the same time three Calvinist-leaning professors learned that their contracts would not be renewed. Although Aguillard has not given a reason for the dismissals, many people have connected them to the column.

On blog posts, some defended the move, citing it as payback for an inclination at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., to hire Calvinists over non-Calvinists.

More fuel was added to the fire when the SBC’s Campbellsville University declined to renew a professor’s contract this spring. Although there was little evidence, observers speculated online that it was because the professor espoused Calvinist views.

Scott McConnell, vice-president of research for the Southern Baptist’s Lifeway Research group, said one of the reasons that such a theological debate can seem divisive to an outsider is because Southern Baptists are used to being very united on doctrinal issues.

“From my perspective as a researcher, when we ask many questions of Southern Baptist pastors, they are usually in the same space. …Typically we see nine out of ten or 95 percent agreeing to something.”

Michael Foust of Baptist Press does a good job in presenting the true imbalance of those opposing Boy Scouts being expanded to Gay Scouts!  However, while the nation’s attention was turned to Boston on Friday morning, the Boy Scouts of America announced that it intends to end its ban on gay members, as long as its board approves the change. The organization would still, however, prohibit gay adults from serving as troop leaders or volunteers.

The proposed new policy states, “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The proposed policy also reinforces the organization’s position that “Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.”

The change would apply only to members; it does not change the policy regarding gay troop leaders or other volunteers. “The BSA will maintain the current membership policy for all adults,” said Deron Smith, the group’s spokesman.

Facebook.com/brochampion

 

Scouts propose allowing gay-identifying youth

Posted on Apr 19, 2013 | by Michael Foust

IRVING, Texas (BP) — Members at the Boy Scouts national convention in May will consider a proposal that would leave in place the prohibition on homosexual Scout leaders but would allow youth who identify as gay to join, it was announced Friday (Ap

bsaEmblemThe proposed policy, unanimously approved by the Boy Scouts executive committee, differs significantly from a proposal that was discussed in February that would have allowed openly gay leaders and youth to join. That policy would have made it a “local option,” whereby each sponsoring organization would decide the policy. Under the new proposal, there is a national standard and no local option.

“No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” the proposed resolution states in part.

The resolution criticizes sexual activity by youth, saying Scouting “is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.” Two paragraphs later it further says that “youth are still developing, learning about themselves and who they are, developing their sense of right and wrong, and understanding their duty to God to live a moral life.”

The Boy Scouts leadership appeared poised in early February to lift its prohibition on gay Scout leaders and youth but — facing pressure from its base — decided to put the matter before its 1,400 voting members at the national convention, which will be in May.

Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, was outspoken earlier this year in urging the Boy Scouts to keep their current policy.
Frank_Page5ap
“We said in January we wished the Scouts would listen to the whole scouting family, not just a few,” Page said Friday. “The leadership listened. Chief among the concerns they heard is the influence of adult leaders on impressionable youth. Though this resolution is more acceptable to those who hold a biblical form of morality than what was being considered before, we would still prefer no change in the policy. A No vote keeps the current policy in place, an outcome we would overwhelmingly support.”

Also on Friday, the Boy Scouts released the results of a series of surveys it conducted.

Among the findings:

– 61 percent of adult Scout members favor the current policy, while 34 percent oppose it.

– 61 percent of Boy Scout parents support the current policy, while 50 percent of Cub Scout parents back it (45 percent of Cub Scout parents oppose it).

– 51 percent of major donors support the current policy while 33 percent oppose it. But a majority of Fortune 500 companies want to see the policy changed.

– A majority of teens ages 16-18 in the Boy Scouts program oppose the current policy. A percentage was not given.

Scouts Moral 01The Boy Scouts also said that parents, teens and the Scouting community “do not favor” a local option as proposed in February.

 

Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

The homosexual political agenda has gained a momentum that may overwhelm Baptist churches. Most pastors are just attending to their congregational priorities without paying too much attention to the potential of law suits that could jeopardize local church autonomy as well as every member’s First Amendment  There is a lot of conversation among Southern Baptist leaders that local church bylaws should define Marriage and Sexuality.
This conversation is one that is important for all churches who have incorporated with their states.  Most Associational Baptist churches as well as Independent churches have a statement of their bylaws registered with their incorporation. Attending to this subject and amending church bylaws now may save heart aches
later. 
You may access Dr. Champions Facebook and post comments - www.Facebook.com/brochampion
  Every Baptist Church should heed this  article and schedule Church Wide Meetings on this issue.
 
 

NASHVILLE (BP) — With the U.S. Supreme Court set to take up gay marriage and potentially legalize it this summer, churches that host wedding ceremonies or other events for traditional couples should examine their bylaws and shield themselves from the impact of possible litigation, says an attorney who specializes in religious liberty issues.

“We’re in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality.” – ADF attorney

The justices are scheduled in March to hear two cases concerning gay marriage, and by June could either uphold the traditional definition of marriage or legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — a religious liberty legal organization — is hoping for the former but preparing churches for the latter, just in case.

A number of situations could place churches in legal trouble, such as congregations who would:– allow a traditional couple but not a same-sex couple to use their facility for a wedding ceremony.

– allow a traditional couple but not a same-sex couple to take part in a marriage class or retreat.
– terminate an employee involved in a same-sex wedding.

Bylaw language defining marriage in the biblical sense doesn’t mean a church won’t face a suit or a complaint, but it does mean the church would be in a much better situation legally, said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for ADF.

“I think we’re in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality,” Stanley told Baptist Press. “This is a proactive approach that churches can take to head off any claims of discrimination in the future, should they occur. There’s no magic language for such a bylaw statement, but it should be some form of a statement of the church’s religious beliefs.”What that does is it allows for a good defense of a church to any type of discrimination claim that may arise, by saying, ‘Look, this is part of our religious beliefs.’ When we fight on the ground of protecting a church’s religious belief, then we have a lot of ammunition in our arsenal from a constitutional perspective.”Even without gay marriage legal nationwide, there have been lawsuits against churches.

In 1999 a woman who had worked as a youth minister at a Colorado Episcopal church was terminated after it was learned she was a lesbian living with another woman. She sued in federal court, but the lawsuit was dismissed, with the court ruling her suit was barred by the First Amendment. (The case was Bryce v. Episcopal Church in Diocese of Colorado.)

In 2001, a California church’s worship minister, Bob Gunn, was let go when it was discovered he was gay. He sued the church, primarily because the pastor told the congregation why Gunn — who was popular with members — had been fired. The church won in court. (The case was Gunn v. Mariners Church.)

Some churches have affirmed the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and calls homosexuality sinful. Asked whether the BF&M would be sufficient, Stanley replied, “That would be just fine for churches to adopt the BF&M 2000 in their bylaws on this issue. But the BF&M 2000 does not necessarily address the issue of human sexuality in depth, especially the issue of homosexual behavior. Churches may want to consider adopting a fuller statement regarding their biblical beliefs on human sexuality.”

ADF has listed on its website suggested bylaw language for churches. (Read the two ADF articles on the subject – http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/content/docs/issues/church/Suggested-Lang-Church-bylaws.pdf andhttp://www.speakupmovement.org/Church/Content/userfiles/Resources/church_seven_bylaws.pdf. Also, read the suggested language at the end of this article.)

“What we tell churches is that the clearer and the more explicit you can make your religious beliefs about those issues, the better off you are going to be in defending yourself against a claim of discrimination,” Stanley said. “Because then it becomes: You’re not discriminating against an individual based upon their sexual orientation or marital status. You’re making a decision to abide by your religious beliefs. And that’s protected by the Constitution. The more that we can move this from the ground of a claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation or marital status to the ground of ‘We are simply abiding by our deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs,’ the better off a legal defense is going to be.”

The legalization of gay marriage, Stanley said, will impact religious freedoms.

“Religious liberty is on the chopping block any time same-sex marriage is legalized or normalized in the culture,” he said. “But we’re not defenseless and we’re not left hopeless. If same-sex marriage is legalized by the Supreme Court, these types of cases that we see pop up, they’re just going to become more commonplace.”

In January, Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, urged Southern Baptists and other Christians to pray for the Supreme Court as it takes up the issue of marriage. Read his column here.

Following is ADF’s suggested language on marriage and sexuality for church bylaws:

“We believe that term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.

“We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.

“We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.

“We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.

“We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

“We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the church.”
–30–
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Christians of similar platforms often conflict politically. Such was the case of Tim Tebow and Robert Jeffress.  Baptist.org commends both parties for their respective convictions on issues facing those who are believers in the Holy Bible.  Tim Tebow has the sports world as a virtual congregation to present the basic truth of Jesus Christ as Saviour to a blinded world. Robert Jeffress  as a pastor to a physical congregation opts to be fundamentally bold to stand on comprehensive applications of the Christ life in a decadent world.  We applaud both, for their testimonies for Faith and Practice as commanded by God’s Word.
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow speaks at the Easter service of Celebration Church in Georgetown, Texas, Sunday, April 8, 2012. (AP Photo/William Philpott)

WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AP

NY Jets QB Tim Tebow has spoken at mega-churches in the past, including this appearance at the Easter service of Celebration Church in Georgetown, Texas last year.

Tim Tebow apparently consulted a higher power – Twitter – and decided not to speak at the controversial First Baptist Church of Dallas in April.

Tebow, still on the Jets’ roster until further notice, tweeted Thursday that he would cancel the appearance “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”

From @TimTebow: “While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic … First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my … upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those … needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!”

Tebow was scheduled to speak at the mega-church on Sunday, April 28, but reports quickly surfaced, pointing out that the views of the church’s lead pastor, Robert Jeffress, didn’t exactly coincide with Tebow’s squeaky-clean image.

According to a statement from Jeffress, Tebow has told the pastor that he would like to come to First Baptist Dallas to speak at a future date.

Jeffress has spoken out in the past against Muslims, Jews, Mormons and homosexuals, claiming that Islam “promoted pedophila” and has said that “Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and virtually everyone else” are members of cults, according to reports. He has said Islam and Mormonism are “heresy from the pit of hell” and tied Catholicism to “a Babylonian mystery religion” that corrupted the early Christian church.

He makes no apologies for his comments.

“I think as pastors we have a duty to preach ‘the whole counsel of God,’ and not just discuss those that are politically correct,” Jeffress said. “It’s my role to speak clearly on the issues on which the Bible speaks clearly. It’s my role to preach what the Bible says, and that includes the controversial issues.

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FREDERICK BREEDON/GETTY IMAGES

Tim Tebow sees little action after the Jets trade for him before the 2012 season.

“The reason for this firestorm is not because the word of God has changed. It’s because society has changed.”

“I applaud Tim Tebow’s decision to cancel his appearance,” Hudson Taylor, the founder of the non-profit Athlete Ally, said in a statement. “Regardless of his reasoning, his absence serves as a reminder that the discrimination of gay and lesbian athletes and individuals has no place in sports or society. I hope Tim will take this opportunity to speak out for respect and acceptance of all people, regardless of a persons sexual orientation.”

Statement by First Baptist Church Dallas:

The leaders and congregation of First Baptist Church Dallas are disappointed that New York Jets’ Quarterback Tim Tebow today has announced he will no longer speak at First Baptist Church Dallas on April 28, 2013, as part of the month-long celebration events surrounding the grand opening of our new $130 million, state-of-the-art campus on Easter Sunday.

Mr Tebow called Dr. Jeffress Wednesday evening saying that for personal and professional reasons he needed to avoid controversy at this time, but would like to come to First Baptist Dallas to speak  at a future date.

We are saddened that Mr. Tebow felt pressure to back out of his long-planned commitment to First Baptist Dallas from numerous New York and national sports and news media who grossly misrepresented past comments made by our pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, specifically related to issues of homosexuality and AIDS, as well as Judaism.

As a Christian pastor, Dr. Jeffress takes a biblical approach to moral and social issues, closely following his duty to preach ‘the whole counsel of God,’ and not just address issues that are politically correct. First Baptist is a church built on the truth of Scripture, even though at times that approach can be perceived as controversial or counter to the prevailing winds of culture.

The reason for the recent media firestorm is not because the Word of God has changed, but because society has changed.

More important, contrary to editorializing in the media, Dr. Jeffress shares a message of hope, not hate; salvation, not judgment; and a Gospel of God’s love, grace and new beginnings available to all.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/tebow-cancels-gig-controversial-dallas-church-article-1.1269712#ixzz2LrDaDz47

President Barack Obama regained the White House for another four years in an election that proved a convincing setback on moral issues for evangelical Christians and other social conservatives.
The country’s first African American president turned back the challenge of Republican Mitt Romney Nov. 6 by winning the popular vote and more than 300 electoral votes. The day after the election, Obama led 303-206 in the Electoral College, with Florida still too close to call. The president’s popular vote margin stood at 60,097,107 (50 percent) to 57,412,778 (48 percent) for Romney.
The election did nothing to change the balance of power in Washington, which has been gripped by a legislative stalemate the last two years. Democrats not only maintained control of the White House, but they slightly strengthened their majority in the Senate. Republicans lost some seats in the House of Representatives but kept their majority.
Obama won re-election despite governing to the left on moral issues — most notably in his unrestricted backing for abortion and its funding, as well as his endorsement of same-sex marriage earlier this year — and even campaigning explicitly in favor of abortion rights. The Democrats’ hold on the Senate — which will swear in its first openly homosexual member in newly elected Democrat Tammy Baldwin — appears to assure Congress will take no steps for at least two more years to rein in the president’s liberal policies.
In votes on state initiatives, Maine, Maryland and possibly Washington state became the first states to support same-sex marriage in popular votes. Voters in Colorado and Washington approved recreational use of marijuana.
Fred Luter, the Southern Baptist Convention’s first African American president, said the Bible encourages Christians to pray for those in authority regardless of their political affiliation.
“As citizens of the United States, it’s now time for us to put away our yard signs and buttons and [pray for] our president,” Luter told Baptist Press. “Our nation is in trouble, and we need Believers to pray God’s will be done in America. We need to understand it’s only going to happen because the people of God start praying for revival in America.”
Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, said God made a promise to His people, not to the government, then quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’ So, even though we’ve just elected a president, it’s not dependent on the president, but on the people of God doing our part,” Luter said.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said, “[I]t is remarkable how little has changed in spite of hundreds of millions of dollars being spent and countless months of debates.”
The divided state of Congress “is a recipe for gridlock and division, which the nation cannot afford,” Land said.
“I call upon all elected leaders to seek to lead us in ways that will restore both moral and economic health in our nation,” he said. “I call upon all Christians and other people of faith to heed the biblical admonition to pray for all those in authority and to communicate their concerns to their elected representatives.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said evangelicals “must see the 2012 election as a catastrophe for crucial moral concerns.”
The election results and accompanying data, Mohler wrote in a Nov. 7 blog post, “indicate that President Obama’s ‘evolution’ on the issue of same-sex marriage cost him nothing. That probably surprised both sides in that controversy.”
“Clearly, we face a new moral landscape in America, and huge challenge to those of us who care passionately about these issues,” he said. “We face a worldview challenge that is far greater than any political challenge, as we must learn how to winsomely convince Americans to share our moral convictions about marriage, sex, the sanctity of life, and a range of moral issues. This will not be easy. It is, however, an urgent call to action.”
During the last year, Southern Baptist and other evangelical leaders joined Roman Catholics in contesting the Obama administration’s abortion/contraception mandate, which requires all health insurance plans to cover contraceptives — even ones that can cause abortions — and has a religious exemption that covers churches but not most religious organizations.
New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote Obama to congratulate him and to say the bishops would be praying for him.
“[W]e pray that you will exercise your office to pursue the common good, especially in care of the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn, the poor, and the immigrant,” Dolan wrote. “We will continue to stand in defense of life, marriage, and our first, most cherished liberty, religious freedom. We pray, too, that you will help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone.”
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