The Briefing: New group launches for ‘pro-marriage equality’ Christians

Meredith Flynn —  September 16, 2014

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

An op-ed piece on Time.com last week announced the launch of “Evangelicals for Marriage Equality,” an effort “to change the hearts and minds of evangelicals about civil marriage equality,” according to spokesperson Brandan Robertson.

“…I represent a growing number of millennial evangelicals that believes it’s possible to be a faithful Christian with a high regard for the authority of the Bible and a faithful supporter of civil marriage equality,” Robertson wrote in the column.

The_BriefingQuoting statistics that report younger evangelicals are more likely than older Christians to support same-sex marriage, Robertson made a case for a “middle path” that “both compels evangelicals to stand for civil marriage equality as an overflow of our love for our lesbian and gay neighbors, while allowing us to have space to wrestle with and remain faithful to our beliefs.”

Andrew Walker of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission responded to Robertson’s piece in his own op-ed on Time.com the next day.

“In 800 words, there’s not a coherent argument about the nature of marriage,” Walker wrote about Robertson’s column. “And that’s what this debate Americans are having is about, isn’t it? It’s about one question: What is marriage? This isn’t just about Christianity’s teaching on marriage. It’s about the definition of marriage for society.

“It’s about whether marriage is malleable, or whether marriage has a fixed social purpose that’s been recognized throughout all of human history as something distinct from other relationships.”

Walker will appear at the “Elevate Marriage” conference Oct. 16 in Springfield, Ill. Register now at www.IBSA.org/Marriage.

Other news:

‘Third way’ church expelled from CA Baptist Convention
The California Southern Baptist Convention Executive Board voted Sept. 11 to withdraw fellowship from a church that had decided to pursue a “third way” in dealing with same-sex lifestyles in the church, Baptist Press reports. After Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Ca., announced he no longer believed same-sex relationships are sinful, his church reportedly voted to become a “third way” church that wouldn’t condemn or condone homosexuality. A former elder later told Baptist Press the church didn’t officially vote to accept the “third way,” but peacefully separated amid deadlock.

Warren: ‘People are looking for mercy’
The church must deal with mental illness with a spirit of compassion, California pastor Rick Warren says in a video posted at www.erlc.com. The video, posted in July, also features Tony Rose, chairman of the Mental Health Advisory Group formed by Southern Baptist Executive Committee President Frank Page in response to a motion made at the 2013 SBC Annual Meeting. “If the church could be a church of mercy, we would have no evangelism problem, because people are looking for mercy,” said Warren, whose son committed suicide in 2013 after a lengthy battle with mental illness. Read more about the advisory group, who held their inaugural meeting in May, at BPNews.net.

Pew research measures American concern about extremism
As ISIS continues to terrorize groups in the Middle East, Pew Research released new data that shows Americans are increasingly concerned about Islamic extremism. 62% are very concerned about its rise around the world, Pew reported, and 53% are very concerned about the possibility of rising Islamic extremism in the U.S. Not surprisingly, more Americans now also say they are concerned the government has not gone far enough to protect the country.

Illinois volunteers assist with flood recovery near Detroit
Four Disaster Relief teams from Illinois will serve in Warren, Michigan, this month, after slow-moving storms dumped several inches of rain on the area in August and damaged tens of thousands of homes. Read the story here.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.