Baltimore | During the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission presentation, President Russell Moore presented awards to a woman whose husband is a pastor imprisoned for his Christian faith in Iran.
Saeed Abedini received the Richard Land Award for Distinguished Service for “faithfully serving the Lord Jesus Christ … despite the risk that was involved.” His wife Naghmeh accepted the award on his behalf and received a standing ovation from messengers.
“If Saeed Abedini can proclaim good news in the darkest Iran prison, surely American churches can mobilize for the nations,” Moore said.
Abedini was converted to Christianity from Islam and led house churches in Iran before moving to the United States. During a trip to Iran in 2012, he was arrested and sentenced to prison, subject to beatings and solitary confinement.
Later in his report, Moore drew attention to the ever changing American culture in which Southern Baptists are living. “Most basic principles of Christianity are going to sound increasingly strange and freakish to the culture around us,” said Moore.
He shared that the ERLC is working in government to defend Christian moral standards on issues like marriage and abortion. But “the primary vehicle for hope” is local churches who “seek the Kingdom in such a time as this,” Moore said, noting that churches should teach the culture how to think biblically about every issue. As they engage the culture though, churches should also issue a Gospel invitation to “whosoever will believe,” Moore said.
Moore also presented another award, the John Leland Award for Religious Liberty to the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby stores.
The Green family 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.
With additional reporting from Baptist Press