Posts Tagged ‘Russell Moore’
As if we needed more troubling news on the religious liberty front, now comes word that pastors in Houston have had their sermons subpoenaed by Mayor Annise Parker and the city attorney. The subpoenas come in response to the pastors’ opposition to an Equal Rights Ordinance that concerns issues of gender identity and sexuality in public accommodations.
A number of Christian leaders have spoken out against this quite brash move by the Houston mayor, as the request for these sermons is a clear violation of the First Amendment, and a reminder of how opposition from the culture is becoming more acute. The ERLC is offering suggestions for how you can stand with Houston pastors, which you can see here. In addition, here are several excerpts from Christian leaders reacting to Mayor Parker’s overreach:
– Russell Moore (ERLC)
“I am simply stunned by the sheer audacity of this.
The preaching of sermons in the pulpits of churches is of no concern to any government bureaucrat at all. This country settled, a long time ago, with a First Amendment that the government would not supervise, license, or bully religious institutions. That right wasn’t handed out by the government, as a kind of temporary restraining order. It was recognition of a self-evident truth.
The churches, and pastors, of Houston ought to respond to this sort of government order with the same kind of defiance the Apostle Paul showed the magistrates in Philippi. After an earthquake, sent by God, upturned the prison where Paul and Silas were held, Luke tells us that the officials sent the police to tell Paul and Silas they could go. Paul replied. “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned men who are Roman citizens and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly. No! Let them come themselves and take us out” (Acts 16:37).” Read the rest here.
– Jason K. Allen (Midwestern Seminary)
“For the church, though, the mayor’s handling of the First Amendment is secondary. Our handling of the Bible is primary. Our indignation over the mayor’s boldness must be displaced by passion and resolve of our own. We are called to speak the truth in love; to preach the Word in season and out. Ordinance or no ordinance, subpoena or no subpoena, First Amendment or no First Amendment, God’s Word doesn’t change—and our convictions must not change either.
That is why my concern is not so much Mayor Parker’s orchestration of velvet-gloved persecution. My concern is whether or not Christians will persist in having the courage of their convictions. This won’t be the last time the church encounters intimidation—for we are assured that all who desire godliness in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
And Mayor Parker isn’t the first ruler to threaten the church either. Here we learn from our apostolic forebears. Just as when the Temple authorities threatened Peter and John in Acts 4, their response must now be ours, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Read the rest here.
– Joe Carter (Acton Institute Power Blog)
“Texas law makes it clear that the discovery process in a legal proceeding “may not be used as a fishing expedition.” Houston’s city attorneys are certainly aware of this fact, so why are they seeking the sermons and communications of pastors who aren’t even involved in the lawsuit?
The apparent answer, as ADF notes, is that the Houston city government “has embarked upon a witchhunt.” They are trying to send a message to area pastors that criticism of city policies from the pulpit can result in their being dragged into court. This is a despicable display of government overreach and an attempt to stifle both religious freedom and political speech. If this violation of citizens rights isn’t checked in Houston, other cities will get the message that irrelevant legal actions can be used to harass church leaders who dare to challenge our “public servants.” Read the rest here.
— For more on how followers of Christ should approach the issue of religious liberty, stay tuned in the coming weeks for posts related to David Platt’s upcoming book, Counter Culture, as well as posts and information related to Secret Church 15: “Christ, Culture, and A Call to Action.”
Posted on September 4th, 2014 by Jonathan
On October 27-29, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) will host a conference in Nashville titled, “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.” Maybe this synopsis from the ERLC website will give you a better idea of what you can expect and why you should be sure to register . . .
Are you and your church prepared for the moral revolution surrounding homosexuality and same-sex marriage happening across America? While human sexuality and social institutions are being redefined before our very eyes, the Bible presents marriage as an unchanging picture of the gospel through the union of one man and one woman. The gospel announces that the story of Jesus is greater than the sum total of our sexual desires.
We’ll equip you to defend marriage in the culture and strengthen marriage in the church by preparing you to address issues like:
- How do we effectively minister to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender?
- How has the divorce culture impacted marriage in our communities and our churches?
- What does sexual faithfulness look like for a same-sex attracted Christian?
- Why did God create marriage and why did he design it for the common good?
- How should a pastor counsel a same-sex couple that wants to join his church?
- How can churches minister to those who are single, dating, divorced or celibate?
- How can Christians show the love of Christ to gay family members or neighbors?
Speakers include Russell Moore, Trillia Newbell, Danny Akin, Trevin Wax, Alber Mohler, Rosaria Butterfield, J.D. Greear, Denny Burk, Jim Daly, Ryan Anderson, Kevin Ezell, and many more. Our own David Platt will be delivering a message titled, “Marriage and Missions: How Singleness and Marriage Connect to the Great Commission.”
It has never been more important for Christians and churches to have a good grasp on these things in order to biblically respond. Register HERE to attend, but do so before the end of the day Friday, when the price will increase.
Posted on August 8th, 2014 by Jonathan
Much has been said in response to Ann Coulter’s opinion of Dr. Kent Brantly (Wednesday). She criticized the Christian doctor for deciding to help Ebola patients in Liberia, calling him “idiotic” (in the title of her inflammatory post, no less). Though there are instances when “disputes” like this can be boiled down to bad timing or wording, the flaw in Coulter’s reasoning goes far beyond her failure to say it nicely. And in her unbiblical and unloving views, she’s joined by more than a few like-minded nay sayers, such as Donald Trump.
Criticism of Coulter is warranted. As believers, it’s important that we lovingly help each other identify faulty perspectives and stand up for truth . . . and missions. So because much has been said (and been said well, we might add), we thought we’d point you to some of the clearest responses we’ve seen.
- Albert Mohler: Are Christian Missionaries Narcissistic Idiots? — A Response to Ann Coulter
- Russell Moore: Ann Coulter and Our Mission
- Collin Garbarino: The Foolishness of an Ebola Doctor
- John Piper: A Virus More Deadly Than Ebola (poem)
- J.D. Greear: Ann Coulter’s Column About the Wastefulness of Mission Sacrifice
For more on missions, risk, and suffering, check out the following resources:
Posted on August 8th, 2014 by Cory Varden
Cultural Disintegration and the Revival of a Moral Imagination, Joe Rigney: We live in a time of cultural disintegration. Not just America, but the entire Western world is jettisoning the wisdom of the ages and striving to remake the world after our own image. And, unsurprisingly, the fundamental arena in which this cultural unraveling is playing out is that of sexuality.
What’s Wrong with the “Wrong Side of History” Argument?, Kevin Deyoung: No doubt, the “wrong side of history” retort is rhetorically powerful. But it also happens to be intellectually bankrupt. What’s wrong with the phrase? At least three things.
Aborting in the Name of Jesus, Russell Moore: It is one of the most disturbing articles I’ve ever read. The current issue of Esquire magazine profiles the “abortion ministry” of Willie Parker, a doctor who flies in and out of my home state of Mississippi to perform abortions at the state’s only abortion clinic. The word “ministry” isn’t incidental. Dr. Parker says he aborts unborn children because Jesus wants him to.
Posted on May 16th, 2014 by Jonathan
The Church Needs More Tattoos, Russell Moore: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) often tells audiences, “Republican Party events need more people with tattoos.” It struck me, as I heard him say this, that this is kind of what evangelical Christians ought to be saying about our churches…
A Kick in the Chest, Hope for Turkey: On a weekend night in a quiet residential neighborhood of Istanbul, Pastor Baris sat in his office preparing his Easter sermon. In the small basement flat where the church meets, his office doubles as the nursery on Sundays. A sign over the front door of the otherwise unremarkable building reads “Grace Church.” Due to prior attacks with rocks and worse, the outside windows are covered with metal grates. Suddenly, the doorbell rang…
Getting Clear on Evangelism, Jonathan Parnell, Jeff Vanderstelt: We might have evangelism mixed up. When evangelism is often discussed, it tends to focus on how churches mobilize their people to get out and connect with unbelievers. But when we think in these terms, the definition of evangelism can be mistaken as a maneuver, rather than proclamation.
Posted on March 24th, 2014 by David Burnette
Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear the final appeal from Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties as these corporations seek relief from a “contraceptive” mandate in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. This particular mandate would require businesses to provide health coverage for FDA-approved devices that can cause abortions (like IUD’s and morning-after pills). The case is set for tomorrow, Tuesday, March 25, @ 10:00am ET.
Denny Burk refers to this as “the most consequential religious liberty case in a generation,” and he has an excellent rundown on some of the misconceptions about the case that have already been perpetrated in the media. Here’s an excerpt from the website of the ERLC (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) of the Southern Baptist Convention with some guidance on how to pray for this important case:
As Christians who live all of life under the lordship of Jesus Christ, we are compelled to bring our vocations under the direction of our faith. The owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga are making their complaint under the umbrella of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bipartisan law designed to provide extra layers of protection for citizens who believe their religious liberty has been infringed.
This is a supremely important case, and will likely set a precedent for how religious liberty is thought of and prioritized for decades to come. Because religious liberty is a bedrock constitutional principle found in the First Amendment, the integrity of this “first freedom” isn’t limited just to Christians, but to Americans of all faiths.
For that reason, Christians should pray that the outcome of these cases would result favorably toward those who wish to exercise their constitutional right to religious liberty. How should Christians pray? Here is a sample prayer guide:
- God wants people to be free to seek him and to serve him (Acts 17:24-28). Pray for a favorable outcome. The cherished principle of religious freedom should receive the strongest constitutional protection it deserves.
- God is Lord of the conscience, not government (Acts 5:29). Pray that the justices of the Supreme Court will understand the importance of the separation of the state from the church.
- God can give understanding to make sound decisions (Prov. 2:6-8). Pray for those who disagree with us, that God would help them understand and respect the consciences of people of faith.
- God can turn the hearts and minds of the justices to do his will (Prov. 21:1). Pray for the Supreme Court justices, that they would be receptive to the arguments being made passionately before them.
- God can guide the mind and speech (Exod. 4:11-12). Pray for lead attorney, Paul Clement, who will be arguing on behalf of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. Ask God to give him clarity and wisdom, for his arguments to be persuasiveness, and for God to give him favor before the justices.
Here are some excellent resources:
- Russell Moore’s call to pray for Hobby Lobby
- A speech by Russell Moore to the Oklahoma Council of Policy Affairs
- ERLC’s Friend of the Court Brief on Behalf of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood
- The Becket Fund’s “HHS Information Central”
- Russell Moore’s helpful explanation of in a special Questions and Ethics podcast
- A recent oped in support of Hobby Lobby by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California
Posted on January 9th, 2014 by David Burnette
On the important topic of orphan care and reaching out to vulnerable children, be sure to check out the Know More Orphans Conference 2014. This conference will be held on March 7-8, 2014, at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. The speakers include:
- David Platt
- Bryan Loritts
- Rick Morton
- Tony Merida
- Michael Monroe
- Maridel Sandberg
Here’s an excerpt from the website:
The Church has always been God’s plan for building his kingdom, and this includes securing justice for the poor and most vulnerable. Altar 84 desires to work intimately with the Body of Christ to care for the least of these, the orphan. On Friday, March 7th and Saturday March 8th, 2014, Altar84’s kNOw More Orphans Conference will seek to unite the church community for the call to care for orphans and vulnerable children – right here and around the world. The conference will provide AWARENESS of God’s Word and his command to take ACTION.
Go here to register. Early Bird pricing ends January 17, 2014.
Posted on December 11th, 2013 by David Burnette
In a recent article over at the ERLC , Russell Moore writes about what is lacking in our Christmas music. Here’s an excerpt:
The first Christmas carol, after all, was a war hymn. Mary of Nazareth sings of God’s defeat of his enemies, about how in Christ he had demonstrated his power and “has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate” (Lk. 1:52). There are some villains in mind there.
Simeon’s song, likewise, speaks of the “fall and rising of many in Israel” and of a sword that would pierce the heart of Mary herself. Even the “light of the Gentiles” he speaks about is in the context of warfare. After all, the light, the Bible tells us, overcomes the darkness (Jn. 1:5), and frees us from the grip of the devil (2 Cor. 4). In a time of obvious tragedy, the unbearable lightness of Christmas seems absurd to the watching world.
But, even in the best of times, we all know that we live in a groaning universe, a world of divorce courts and cancer cells and concentration camps. Just as we sing with joy about the coming of the Promised One, we ought also to sing with groaning that he is not back yet (Rom. 8:23), sometimes with groanings too deep for lyrics.
You can read the entire article here.
Posted on August 2nd, 2013 by Cory Varden
1. Confessions of a Misguided Worship Leader by Matt Mason: Some 20 years ago, in the earliest season of serving in the ministry of musical worship, I chose songs that said good things and made my voice sound “awesome.” Really mature, I know.
2. Whatever happened to the wrath of God? by Russell Moore: Talk about the “wrath of God” kindles all sorts of images in the minds of contemporary Americans. Some immediately think of a powdered-wig Puritan, preaching about sinners dangling over hell as a spider over a flame. Some conceive of a hellfire-and-brimstone revivalist warning sinners to repent or perish. And some picture an angry cult group, protesting with signs announcing whomever God is said to hate that day.
3. 8 Email Mistakes You Make by Tim Challies: I am convinced that some day we will all have a really good laugh at ourselves for ever using a form of communication as ridiculous as email. We will laugh that we ever tried to make it do the things we make it do. It is my hope that we will soon move to more efficient forms of communication.
Posted on July 26th, 2013 by Cory Varden
1. A Few Thoughts About Being Ordinary Christians by Tim Brister: In case you did not know, there’s an ongoing debate regarding “radical” Christianity and “ordinary” (mundane/normal) Christianity. Really. [Pardon the intensifier]
2. What’s at Stake with Internet Pornography by Russell Moore: In one sense, the issue of pornography is not new at all. Human lust for covenant-breaking sexuality is rooted, Jesus tells us, not in anything external to us but in our fallen passions (Matt. 5:27–28). Every generation of Christians has faced the pornography question, whether with Dionysian pagan art, or with Jazz Age fan-dancers, or with airbrushed centerfolds.
3. When Is a Royal Baby a Fetus? by Owen Strachan: Technically, right up until the moment he’s born. And yet we’ve called him a baby the whole time. What media coverage of the recent pregnancy and birth has to do with abortion politics.
4. Is Your Child a Christian? by Brian Croft: As parents, we all wrestle with how to answer this question, and I’ve found there are usually two extremes that need to be avoided. The first is made worse by a lack of discernment shown in many churches when they routinely extend altar calls to 4- or 5-year-olds, ask them to raise their hands if they love Jesus, and then baptize them as converted followers of Christ.
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