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ERLC conf. to focus on ‘cross-shaped family’

GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP) — The Gospel’s centrality for the family will be in the spotlight when the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission opens its fifth annual national conference today (Oct. 11).

About 950 people are expected to gather for “The Cross-Shaped Family” Oct. 11-13 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The conference is designed to help pastors, churches, spouses and parents think biblically about the family and the challenges to being a Christian family.

An understanding of the family begins “at the cross,” said Russell Moore, ERLC president and author of the new book “The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home.”

“We can be free to be family when we see how God designed families but also how these families point beyond our individual stories to the ultimate story of our lives — the Gospel,” Moore said in an ERLC news release.

Moore hopes the conference will enable “Christians and churches to better understand how the cross informs what it means for us to be a family, and how our lives in our families are meant to drive us back to the cross,” he said.

Among the topics of the conference’s keynote addresses, short talks, panel discussions and breakout sessions will be: The Gospel and marriage; Christ-centered parenting; God’s design for sex; sexual abuse; the Gospel and broken families; godly leadership in the home; adoption; and the church as the family of God.

In addition to Moore, the speakers will include:

— Ray Ortlund, lead pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville;

— Eric Mason, pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, Pa.;

— Beth Moore, Bible teacher and author;

— Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Dallas-Forth Worth;

— Jen Wilkin, Bible teacher and author;

— Sam Allberry, British pastor and speaker for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

The sessions on the main stage will be live streamed for free at live.erlc.com.

The first ERLC National Conference, which was held in 2014, focused on applying the Gospel to homosexuality and marriage, while the 2015 conference addressed the Gospel and politics. The 2016 event addressed cultural engagement and Gospel faithfulness. Last year, the conference was on Gospel-centered parenting.