Chapmans, Gettys, Platt join expanded EFL

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Southern Baptist-sponsored Evangelicals for Life 2019 has expanded its schedule and added two leading couples from the modern Christian music world and a well-known preacher/author to the program.

Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, Keith and Kristyn Getty, and David Platt will appear at the fourth annual EFL conference, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) announced Nov. 8 in an email to registrants. The ERLC, host of EFL, also disclosed the conference will begin a day earlier, Jan. 16, than previously scheduled.

The Chapmans will open the conference with a benefit concert the evening of Jan. 16 at McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. The church is the site of the conference. Steven Curtis Chapman has won 58 Dove Awards, the most of any artist in Christian music.

The concert will seek to raise funds for the Psalm 139 Project, the ERLC's ministry to help place ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers across the country.

Platt -- McLean's pastor-teacher, former president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board and author of the book "Radical" -- will address the conference during the Jan. 16 session.

The Gettys, leaders in the modern hymn movement, will speak Jan. 17 on their song "Psalm 139," and the referendum approved earlier this year to overturn Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion. The Gettys, natives of Northern Ireland, have written or co-written some of Christianity's most popular modern hymns, including "In Christ Alone."

The Chapmans, adoptive parents of three daughters from China and longtime adoption advocates, will speak Jan. 17 as well. In 2003, the parents of six co-founded Show Hope, which has helped in the adoption of more than 6,000 children from about 60 countries through its grants.

ERLC President Russell Moore said he "could not be more thrilled to partner with these of heroes of mine throughout Evangelicals for Life."

"There are few people in the world more committed to the lives of vulnerable children, born and unborn," he told Baptist Press in a written statement. "I'm pleased to be able to add this evening benefit concert too and look forward to a spiritually memorable event from everyone there.

"Throughout the entire event, my prayer is that God would use it to see countless children brought safely into the world and loved by families and churches as they are already loved by God."

The expanded conference schedule will now include a morning session Jan. 17. Originally, EFL was slated to begin with an afternoon session that day. The conference will have morning, afternoon and evening sessions Jan. 17 and will conclude with a morning session Jan. 18.

EFL participants will be able to attend the annual March for Life and rally, which will begin at noon Jan. 18 on the National Mall in Washington. The conference and march will coincide with the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion throughout the country.

Previously announced speakers in addition to Moore include:

-- J.D. Greear, SBC president and pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area.

-- Dhati Lewis, vice president of the North American Mission Board's Send Network, the entity's church planting ministry arm, and lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta.

-- Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of the United States legal division of Alliance Defending Freedom.

-- Karen Ellis, president and co-founder of the Makazi Institute and a specialist in international religious freedom and human rights.

-- Noe Garcia, senior pastor of North Phoenix (Ariz.) Baptist Church.

Speakers and panelists will address protecting unborn children and caring for their mothers. They also will discuss other human dignity issues such as foster care, service to the disabled and ministry to refugees.

The ERLC and Focus on the Family launched EFL in 2016 as an effort to help increase awareness among evangelical Christians of the March for Life and motivate them to participate in it. Evangelicals have been heavily involved in the pro-life movement for decades but have not made participation in the march a priority. Focus partnered with the ERLC to host the event in its first three years.

Roman Catholics have dominated attendance at the March for Life since it began in 1974, a year after the Jan. 22 Roe decision. The march brings together tens of thousands of pro-lifers to rally on the National Mall before walking to Capitol Hill.

Information on and registration for EFL are available at http://www.evangelicals.life.

Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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