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THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Christian colleges and schools and other religious institutions–including churches–could face the loss of their tax exempt status if the Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage a constitutional right, writes college chancellor Michael Farris in an editorial for USA Today.

The_Briefing“Christian colleges and churches need to get prepared,” says Farris, chancellor of Patrick Henry College and chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. “We must decide which is more important to us–our tax exemption or our religious convictions.”

Over at The Christian Post, Washington University law professor John Inazu examines the issue with help from a brief filed by a same-sex marriage advocate, who nonetheless outlines potential religious liberty concerns.


Bill would protect Missouri college groups
The Missouri Senate is considering a bill that allows religious student groups on public college campuses to limit membership based on their religious convictions. House Bill 104, the “Student Freedom of Association Act,” comes amidst a string of cases in other states where campus groups came under fire for who they allowed to join or serve as leaders. Last year, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship was “derecognized” by the schools in the California State University system because the ministry’s leadership requirements were found to be in conflict with a university policy that required recognized groups to accept all students as potential leaders. Read more about the Missouri measure at ChristianPost.com.


Post-ruling marriage event planned
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission announced this month it will host a church equipping event in Austin, Texas, following the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. “The Gospel and Same-Sex Marriage: Equipping the Church for a Post-Marriage Culture,” is scheduled to be held at Austin Stone Community Church July 29. The event will also be available via free simulcast.


Is your church Google-friendly?
Due to changes at Google, some older church websites may not appear at the top of the list when web users search for churches in their city, Baptist Press reports. At issue is the “mobile friendliness” of your site, which can be tested at Google’s Mobile Friendly Test website.


‘Desperate days’ need uncommon prayer
Texas pastor Jack Graham called for extraordinary and uncommon prayer during the National Day of Prayer gathering in Washington, D.C., May 7. “We are facing a crisis in America. These are desperate days,” said Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church and honorary chairperson of the National Day Of Prayer Task Force. “Uncommon times call for uncommon prayer, and so we cry out to God. We cry out to God.”


Dictionary mulls ‘Mx.’ title
Editors of the Oxford English Dictionary are considering adding a new pre-name title similar to Mr. and Mrs. The new moniker—Mx.—would denote transgender individuals. Mx. is used more commonly in the United Kingdom than in America, “but we are monitoring its development and will be interested to see if it takes root here in the same way it has in the U.K.,” Emily Brewster, an associate editor with Merriam-Webster, Inc., told The Christian Post.

COMMENTARY | Chase Abner

Chase_Abner_callout_April15Recently, I was at an event for church leaders that focused on the state of marriage in America. There were audible gasps and shaking heads as speakers shared statistics indicating the declining support for a traditional view of marriage.

My first reaction was, “How is this news surprising to anyone?” Perhaps I was being a little smug. I forgot that not everyone
has had my experience peering into the worldviews of college students for more than a decade.

And from my days as an undergraduate until now, I’ve witnessed a steady, quickening march towards a new definition of sexual morality, and, yes, marriage.

My experiences as a student, campus minister, and IBSA’s collegiate evangelism strategist have given me a unique perspective on how attitudes and ideas on campus are very predictive of where public opinion is heading. By the time a hot-button issue hits the heartland, it’s already been debated and settled by the opinion makers on campus.

As Christians, and as church leaders, we can’t afford to ignore the fact that worldviews are formed on college campuses. Simply put, recent college graduates are extremely influential in our communities and they, most likely, have been steeping in a culture where Jesus is not honored as king and the Bible is not respected. And relativism isn’t the only obstacle to the gospel. There are absolute truths found on campus—even sacred ones—but they aren’t necessarily truths that Christians can embrace.

Students who are graduating from our colleges and universities go on to lead influential lives. They’re teaching in our schools. They’re being elected to lead our governments. They are lawyers, doctors, and more. They are getting married and raising children.

Campuses are where young, energetic, gifted people are figuring out how they will leave their mark on the world. They are mission fields where the nations are gathering to formulate their worldviews, and training grounds for the next generation of great church leaders.

Shouldn’t reaching college students be a central component of our churches’ mission strategy?

It is nearly impossible to overstate the church’s opportunity to change the world through college ministry. In Illinois, we have more than 200 campuses representing over 900,000 college students. And 43,000 of those are international students.

What potential!

Chase Abner directed the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Southern Illinois University before moving to Springfield to serve as IBSA’s collegiate evangelism strategist.