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SBC DIGEST: Pastor, SBC influencer Jeffrey Curtis dies; Leaders urge McConnell to reject marriage bill

Pastor Jeffrey Curtis remembered as ‘intentional role model’

By Diana Chandler

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (BP) – Longtime Southern Baptist leader Jeffrey Curtis, who served the past seven years as discipleship director at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, died unexpectedly July 21 at his home in Fairfield, his son Courtney Curtis told Baptist Press. He was 59.

Charles Grant, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee director of African American relations and mobilization, remembered Curtis as a close friend and mentor who influenced many,

“He was a gracious, thoughtful and intentional role model that influenced and elevated my professional career and ministry in the area of facilitating and training church leaders,” Grant told Baptist Press. “He had a strong conviction about not simply lecturing or preaching during training workshops, but providing teaching activities that facilitated discussion, involvement and application. That impacted me deeply.

“I continue to do presentations by way of his example. He is a great friend and teacher who blessed many churches to advance the Kingdom of God,” Grant said. “His services to churches and the Southern Baptist Convention will be greatly missed. I know all pastors, leaders and entities who benefited from his work will join me in thanking the Lord for the gift of Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Curtis.”

Curtis was a church planter, an African American church-planting team leader with the California Southern Baptist Convention and a former adjunct professor of Christian education for Gateway Seminary. During his time as a Black church consultant at Lifeway Christian Resources, Curtis assisted many churches in discipleship and leadership development.

As Mt. Calvary’s discipleship director, Curtis was director and professor of the North Bay Church Leadership Development Center, a school that met at the church and partnered with Gateway Seminary.

“It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved Discipleship Division Director, brother, and friend, Dr. Jeffrey Curtis,” Mt. Calvary posted on its Facebook page. “We are praying for his loving and devoted wife, Tina, along with his entire family and host of friends throughout the state and country. We are also praying for the Mount Calvary family, especially the Discipleship Division that Dr. Curtis happily served.”

Funeral services are set for Aug. 3 at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, beginning with a 10 a.m. viewing followed by an 11 a.m. service.

Curtis is survived by four children and his widow, Tina Dawkins-Curtis.

Mohler, Allen among signatories of letter denouncing marriage bill

By BP Staff

WASHINGTON (BP) – A group of religious leaders sent a letter to Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnel “to denounce H.R. 8404, the so-called ‘Respect for Marriage Act,’ in the strongest possible terms.”

The leaders write, “The Act, which was suddenly rushed through the House without any public hearings or input, is an attack on millions of Americans, particularly people of faith, who believe marriage is between one man and one woman and that legitimate distinctions exist between men and women concerning family formation that should be recognized in the law.”

The letter, signed by Michael Farris of Alliance Defending Freedom, Kevin Roberts of The Heritage Foundation, Ryan T. Anderson of The Ethics and Policy Center, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, among other conservative leaders. Signatures include Southern Baptist leaders Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Other signatories associated with Southern Baptist schools include David Dockery, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor and president of the International Alliance for Christian Education, as well as Union University President Samuel “Dub” Oliver and Blue Mountain College President Barbara McMillian.

The so-called Respect for Marriage Act was passed in the House on July 19 by a roll call vote of 267-157. Forty House Republicans joined all of the Democrats in the chamber to pass the measure.

The legislation is aimed as a way to secure the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Proponents of the Obergefell decision fear the high court will overturn the decision as it did Roe v. Wade on June 24.

In the letter, the leaders warn of wide-ranging effects if the legislation is passed.

“The Internal Revenue Service could rely on this congressional declaration requiring full recognition of same-sex marriage to strip 501(c)(3) organizations of their tax-exempt status if they continue to adhere to their belief that marriage is only between one man and one woman,” they write.

Senate Democrats would need 60 votes to bring the legislation to the floor for passage.

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