Amendment Momentum in Seven More States
Galvanized by results on Election Day — when all eleven bans on same-sex "marriage" passed — legislators and pro-family groups in at least seven additional states say they will push for constitutional marriage amendments.
Conservatives and traditionalists in Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia say they will work for passage of an amendment in their respective state in the coming year.
Three additional states — Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Wisconsin — passed amendments in the last legislative session and must pass them once more before sending them to voters.
Most of the new amendments would go on the ballot in 2006, although at least one — Kansas' — could see a vote as soon as 2005.
Already, more than one-third of the states (17) have marriage amendments. By 2006, that number could top twenty-five — half of the states.
Marriage amendments to state constitutions provide protection against state courts, preventing Massachusetts-type rulings legalizing same-sex "marriage." The amendments, though, are vulnerable in federal court; so pro-family groups are pushing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Amendments in Nebraska and Oklahoma are being challenged in federal court.
Seminaries Under New Leadership
Jeff Iorg Inaugurated at Golden Gate
Jeff P. Iorg accepted the charge as Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's seventh president during his inauguration October 11. Casting his vision for the future of Golden Gate, Iorg shared his passions of fulfilling the Great Commission through the strengthening of churches.
"Passion for non-Christians demands we plunge in among them," Iorg said. "If your anemic, undisciplined faith can't handle the pressure, that is your problem — not the problem of the world we are living in. Grow up! The culture is not our problem — [a] failure to boldly live and declare the gospel is our problem."
Iorg's passion for the Great Commission will be expressed at Golden Gate through a focus on missions, he said, adding that the curricular and co-curricular programs will demonstrate a renewed emphasis on missions, evangelism, church starting, and church building.
The multi-cultural aspect of Golden Gate's programs will continue as students are prepared to live and work cross-culturally, Iorg said. The fulfilling of the Great Commission begins with sound theology rooted in an unapologetic, uncompromising commitment to the Bible as the Word of God and an affirmation of the historical core doctrines of the Christian faith, he said.
"We will stand for the absolute truth, despite the cultural opposition to that idea."
Iorg also said he has a passion for the local church — a passion that will shape Golden Gate's future.
Daniel Akin Inaugurated at Southeastern
Amidst a throng of family, friends, and students, Daniel Akin was inaugurated as president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in an October 27 ceremony "devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ."
More than a thousand people packed Binkley Chapel, in the center of the Southeastern's Wake Forest, North Carolina, campus, to witness the inauguration of only the sixth president in the seminary's fifty-three-year history.
"On behalf of more than 43,000 churches and more than 16 million Southern Baptists," SBC Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman said in his greeting, "I congratulate Dr. Akin on this momentous day from which Southeastern will go forward for the glory of God. This institution will continue to be a lighthouse for the glory of God all around the world. I thank God, as do all Southern Baptists, that this humble servant comes to the helm of leadership."
The chapel ceremony was the culmination of a weeklong celebration at Southeastern, where many Southern Baptist leaders gathered to honor Akin for his character and dedication but reserved the glory for Jesus Christ.
"All that matters in life is that you please Jesus," Akin said. "My sole passion in life is to live under His lordship."
Akin pledged to lead Southeastern in training ministers to take the Word of God to a world in need of Him.
"I pledge to build an institution that will continue to stand on the infallible and inerrant Word of God," Akin said. "Southeastern Seminary will continue to stand for personal evangelism, world missions, and the exclusivity of the gospel. We believe heaven and hell are real and the only difference is Jesus Christ."
Reporting by Jessica Sims and Kyle Smith.