The Briefing: Bible skeptics, ‘Gay Christian’ book, and college football

Meredith Flynn —  April 29, 2014

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Barna reports the same percentage of Americans are Bible-engaged as are Bible-skeptical. The annual State of Bible study, produced with the American Bible Society, found 19% of people say they read the Bible at least four times a week and believe it is the actual or inspired Word of God. And 19% say the Bible is “just another book of teaching written by men that contains stories and advice.” The number of skeptics has almost doubled over the past three years, according to a summary at Barna.com.

Baptists may meet with gay author
Southern Baptist leaders who authored a response to Matthew Vines’ book “God and the Gay Christian,” said they’re willing to meet with the author in person. Vines’ book was released April 22, the same day Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler and a group of professors released an e-book to respond to Vines’ belief that Scripture allows monogamous same-sex relationships.

“I will be very glad to meet you in person and not merely in print. I am thankful for a respectful exchange of beliefs,” Mohler tweeted in response to a message from Vines thanking him for engaging in a Religion News Service Q&A about the book. Read more at BPNews.net.

‘Family Talk’ wins in court
A ministry run by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson was issued a temporary injunction against the federal government, meaning the organization does not have to provide abortion-inducing drugs in its employee health care plans. Dobson’s “Family Talk” radio program, newsletter and website has 28 full-time employees, according to an Associated Press report. The U.S. Supreme Court currently is considering a similar case involving Hobby Lobby. Get the full story at ChristianPost.com.

Midwest leaders meet to pray
Around 100 Baptist leaders and church planters from the Midwest gathered in Wisconsin for an April prayer summit hosted by the North American Mission Board. “It was a wonderful time of focused prayer for our personal life, in a small group, and corporately in a large group setting,” said IBSA President Odis Weaver. “We prayed for personal holiness, for the Midwest Send cities, and for revival and spiritual awakening.”

Coach denies proselytizing charges
Clemson University football coach Dabo Swinney, an outspoken Christian, defended his program’s policies after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter of complaint detailing “several serious constitutional concerns.” FFRF’s concerns include Swinney’s appointment of a chaplain for the team, scheduled devotionals, and the team’s attendance at a 2011 Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfast.

“Players of any faith or no faith at all are welcome in our program. All we require in the recruitment of any player is that he must be a great player at his position, meet the academic requirements, and have good character,” Swinney responded in a statement. CBS News reported the coach said in a teleconference he would continue to run the program like he always has. Read more at

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.