The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission addressed same-sex marriage, religious freedom, racial reconciliation, the sanctity of human life and politics among other issues in a tumultuous year for social and church-state issues.
The ERLC sponsored conferences and panel discussions, provided resources to equip pastors and churches, and advocated for biblically based policies with the federal government during 2015.
Russell Moore, the ERLC’s president, urged those attending the entity’s national conference in August to engage the culture’s important issues socially and politically but not to claim politicians as “spiritual mascots” or to adopt a “siege mentality.”
“We are exiles in America not because we have lost America,” Moore said. “We are strangers and exiles in every culture and every place because the Gospel and the mission get us out of step with the culture.”
Here are 10 key news items related to the ERLC from 2015:
Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide
The U.S. Supreme Court transformed the legal definition of marriage in June by ruling 5-4 that states must recognize marriages between people of the same gender. Southern Baptist leaders responded to the legalization of gay marriage nationwide with dismay but also with encouragement for churches to act with courage and faithfulness.
ERLC offers resources to churches on gay marriage
The ERLC provided aid before and after the Supreme Court’s ground-breaking decision to assist churches in addressing same-sex marriage. This included a manual offering legal advice to churches, schools and ministries, as well as a July equipping event in Austin, Texas. Moore also spoke on a panel about the issue at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June.
Leadership summit addresses Gospel, racial reconciliation
Black, white and Hispanic pastors presented the Gospel of Jesus as the solution to America’s racial divisions during the ERLC’s second annual leadership summit in March in Nashville. Moore addressed racial reconciliation in other forums as well, including appearances in Charleston, S.C., following the murder of black church members there and a blog post calling for removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press