Wednesday News Briefing: Chaplains, Chicago, baby names, and Rich Mullins

Meredith Flynn —  September 25, 2013

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Chaplains on the ‘front lines’ of cultural change
The North American Mission Board has released updated guidelines for Southern Baptist military chaplains serving in the days after the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act. The guidelines reiterate Southern Baptist doctrine, Baptist Press reports, and the expectation that SBC chaplains will not participate in or attend wedding ceremonies for gay members of the military.

The policies are already causing some to say Southern Baptist chaplains should step down from their posts, Southern Seminary President Al Mohler blogged Sept. 17. “Make no mistake, the moral revolution driven by those who demand the total normalization of homosexuality and same-sex relationships will not stop with the crisis over military chaplains,” Mohler wrote. “But at this moment, the chaplains are on the front lines of the great cultural and moral conflict of our times.” Read the full story here.

Iorg: America applauds immorality
The trouble today isn’t the rise of immorality, said Golden Gate Seminary President Jeff Iorg during the school’s fall convocation. “The troubling issue is the applause” that now accompanies it. After a summer that saw the U.S. Supreme Court abolish the Defense of Marriage Act, Iorg addressed students and faculty on the topic of “Ministry in the New Marriage Culture.”

“The last step of rejecting biblical morality is when people applaud or celebrate those who legitimize immoral practices,” he said. “We have reached that point in America.” Watch Iorg’s convocation address at GGBTS.edu.

Chicago tops FBI’s homicide list
Chicago had the highest number of murders of any city in 2012, according to FBI information released this month. At 500, the city’s homicide rate rose 20% above 2011, and was 81 more than New York City, which is three times as populous. So far in 2013 there have been fewer homicides, but Chicago has seen recent rashes of violence, including a Labor Day weekend during which eight people were killed and at least 25 more injured by gun violence.

Pastor Michael Allen, whose Uptown congregation was shaken by a drive-by shooting near the church steps in August, tweeted Sept. 17: “Praying against the spirit/culture of violence and that God would replace that with His Spirit of peace.”

Baby ‘Messiah’ keeps his name
Messiah McCullough
will keep his biblical first name, thanks to a ruling that overturned Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew’s earlier decision to require his parents to change it. Ballew ruled in August that the 8-month-old be named “Martin” instead of his given name, because the word Messiah is a title “that has only been earned by one person – and that one person is Jesus Christ.” The baby’s parents appealed her decision and this month won the right to name their child the 387th most popular baby name. Read the full story at ChristianPost.com.

Mullins’ story told on screen
“Ragamuffin,” a new film detailing the life of Christian musician Rich Mullins, will premiere early next year. Best known for an authentic approach to his faith and for praise songs like “Awesome God,” Mullins died in a car crash in 1997. The biopic, produced by Green Color Films, has a trailer online at ragamuffinthemovie.com.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.