NASHVILLE (BP) — Human dignity and the family occupied much of the Gospel focus of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission during 2018.
The ERLC co-hosted a racial reconciliation conference attended by about 4,000 people on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., again co-sponsored Evangelicals for Life (EFL), and addressed the Gospel and the family in its annual national conference. The entity with offices in Nashville and Washington, D.C., also continued its advocacy for religious freedom domestically and internationally.
ERLC President Russell Moore offered a Gospel-focused view of human dignity at the EFL conference in January.
“We want abortion doctors to stop doing abortions, but that’s not enough. We want abortion doctors to find life in Jesus Christ,” he said.
“We want white supremacists to stop oppressing minorities with hatred and bigotry, but that’s not all. We want to see Ku Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ,” Moore continued. “We want to see jihadists around the world and repressive regimes stop killing people, but that’s not enough. We want to see jihadists and oppressors come to faith in Jesus Christ.
“[W]hen we stand up for human dignity from the unborn all the way through to natural death, we tell the truth about what’s right and what’s wrong; we tell the truth about coming judgment. But we never stop there. We tell the truth that the blood of Christ can wash away any sin.”
Here are 10 key news topics involving the ERLC in 2018:
MLK 50 conference calls for racial unity
About 4,000 people attended a two-day conference — “MLK50: Gospel Reflections From the Mountaintop” — in April co-hosted in Memphis, Tenn., by the ERLC and The Gospel Coalition. Speakers called for repentance by white evangelical Christians and a willingness to pay the price needed for racial unity.
ERLC promotes human sanctity and dignity
The ERLC and Focus on the Family co-hosted EFL for the third consecutive year in Washington, D.C., in sessions urging advocacy for and ministry to women and their unborn children, refugees, orphans, the disabled and others. The ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project helped place ultrasound machines in four pregnancy care centers. The online, pro-life group Stand for Life became an ERLC initiative.
National conference considers family in light of Gospel
The ERLC’s fifth annual national conference, “The Cross-Shaped Family,” drew an audience of about 950 people for its inaugural visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in October. Speakers focused on the Gospel significance of marriage and repentance from sin in the home.
Books address family, human dignity; ERLC gives 3 to Congress
Christianity Today named Moore’s book, “The Storm-Tossed Family,” as its 2019 Book of the Year. “The Dignity Revolution” by Daniel Darling, the ERLC’s vice president for communications, was published and became one of three books the ERLC distributed to all members of Congress.
Cake designer, pregnancy care centers win at Supreme Court
Colorado cake shop owner Jack Phillips, who declined to design a cake for the wedding of two men, and California pro-life pregnancy centers won significant religious liberty and free-speech victories, respectively, before the U.S. Supreme Court in June. The ERLC filed friend-of-the-court briefs for the victors in both cases.
ERLC advocates for religious liberty overseas, during ministerial
The ERLC co-hosted an event on liberty for faith adherents in Southeast Asia during the State Department’s first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in July in Washington, D.C. It also sent delegations to United Nations meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, to advocate for human rights and religious liberty.
Kavanaugh, Trump’s second nominee, confirmed to high court
The U.S. Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s second nominee to the Supreme Court, in a 50-48 vote in October following a battle that became even more bitter when sexual assault allegations were made against him. Moore and other Southern Baptist leaders called for prayer and civility after the vote.
Administration releases final rules on abortion/contraception mandate
The Trump administration gave a final, regulatory victory to conscientious objectors to the 2011 abortion/contraception mandate when it issued new rules in November. GuideStone Financial Resources helped lead the challenge against the requirement, and the ERLC and other Southern Baptist entities supported it in a brief with the Supreme Court.
First pre-conference held before annual SBC meeting
The ERLC co-hosted “The Gospel and the Future of the Church” with The Village Church in partnership with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary before the SBC meeting in Dallas. On the eve of the convention, the entity sponsored a panel discussion on sexual abuse of women and the mishandling of it by churches.
ERLC helps lead effort to persuade Congress to repeal tax on churches
The ERLC led a diverse coalition in calling on congressional members in November to rescind a provision in a new tax law that would require houses of worship to pay taxes on such employee benefits as parking and transportation.