ERLC resources ready on gay marriage

WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has resources available online to help Christians minister in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

In addition, the ERLC is helping sponsor a July 29 conference to equip pastors and churches to navigate the legal and cultural landscape after the high court's ruling Friday (June 26).

Equip -- at erlc.com/equip -- is a joint initiative with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) to provide guidance in ministering to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The online content features specialized videos on same-sex attraction from Sam Allberry, a British pastor and author of "Is God Anti-gay?" It also includes video from other pastors and leaders as well as articles and book recommendations.

More videos, articles and other resources are available at erlc.com/scotus.

The ERLC will conduct Equip Austin in partnership with the SBTC the evening of July 29 at The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas. ERLC President Russell Moore and other speakers will convey help those in attendance and those watching via live streaming to engage a "post-marriage society" with Gospel faithfulness.

Other speakers for "The Gospel and Same-sex Marriage: Equipping the Church for a Post-marriage Culture," will include:

-- Rosaria Butterfield, author of "The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert," which describes her journey from a lesbian lifestyle to Christ.

-- Matt Carter, lead pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church.

-- Matt Chandler, lead pastor for teaching of the Village Church in the Dallas metropolitan area.

-- Jackie Hill Perry, a poet who came to Christ out of a lesbian lifestyle.

-- Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

-- Mike Goeke, associate pastor of First Baptist Church in San Francisco.

Registration for and information on Equip Austin is available online at http://erlc.com/equipaustin. Live streaming of the event will be at live.erlc.com.

Video also is available online of a special panel discussion on same-sex marriage conducted by SBC President Ronnie Floyd at the convention's annual meeting June 16-17 in Columbus, Ohio. The panelists were Butterfield; Carter; Moore; R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Ryan Blackwell, pastor of First Baptist Church, San Francisco. Video of the conversation may be accessed at http://live.sbc.net.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/ondemand.html.

The ERLC has produced a legal manual in collaboration with Alliance Defending Freedom to provide SBC and other evangelical churches and institutions with legal protection against sexual orientation and gender identity lawsuits. The booklet includes checklists to guide Christian institutions on maximizing their religious liberty protections under the law and maintaining their freedom to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus. It also provides sample documents -- such as a membership agreement, facility use policy and article for a statement of faith -- to assist churches and other ministries.

The legal guide may be accessed online without cost at erlc.com/store.

Also, the first issue of the ERLC's revived Light magazine focuses on ministering in a culture in which same-sex marriage is legal. The issue, which was released earlier in June, includes articles by Butterfield, Goeke, Mohler, Moore and J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. A subscription to the biannual publication is $10. It is available online at http://erlc.com/light.

Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.
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