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Soulforce, SWBTS meeting ‘cordial’

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–A private one-hour dialogue Oct. 27 between members of Soulforce, a homosexual activist group, and representatives of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, was described as “cordial and kind spirited.”

The two parties discussed their opposing viewpoints about faith and sexuality at the seminary’s Riley Center, according to a statement released by the seminary.

“At Southwestern we teach the responsibility of sharing the love of Jesus Christ with everyone,” said a statement released by Thomas White, Southwestern’s vice president for student services and communications. “In holding this dialogue, we acted out our beliefs by considerately sharing the Gospel.”

Students, faculty, staff and administration participated in the dialogue with members of the 2008 Soulforce Equality Ride, an annual tour of schools Soulforce uses to get publicity for homosexual issues. Each side gave a 25-minute presentation of its beliefs and the remaining time was spent in dialogue about disagreements, the statement said.

The Southwestern community was able to clearly express its perspective that God loves people caught in sexual sin and offers healing and forgiveness to those who repent, White added.

“After meeting with them, our position remains unchanged,” White said. “The Bible condemns all forms of sexual immorality including pornography, adultery, lust and homosexuality, but the Bible also offers hope that while all people have sinned, those willing to repent, turn from their sin and call upon the name of Jesus Christ may be forgiven.”

As a confessional institution of the Southern Baptist Convention, Southwestern Seminary holds the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as its statement of faith, White noted. Article XV of the Baptist Faith and Message states: “In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose … all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality and pornography,” and that Christians should “act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.”

In Mississippi, two members of the Soulforce entourage were arrested for trespassing Oct. 20 when they entered the campus of Mississippi College in Clinton after being warned to stay off the property, according to news reports. Twelve members were arrested in March 2007 during a sit-in at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and 24 were arrested in March 2006 for trespassing on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

This year’s Equality Ride publicity tour also includes stops at Liberty University; Columbia International University in Columbia, S.C.; Morehouse College and Spelman College in Atlanta; Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Louisiana College in Pineville; Dallas Baptist University; Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark.; Central Baptist College in Conway, Ark.; and Union University in Jackson, Tenn.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.

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