Christian ethics to top ERLC Academy's agenda

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NASHVILLE (BP) -- One of Russell Moore's "most joyful weeks of the year" is an opportunity for Southern Baptists and other Christians to learn how to address ethical issues in a biblical, Gospel-focused manner.

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission will sponsor its fifth annual ERLC Academy May 20-21 in Nashville. During the event, Moore, the ERLC's president, will teach "Introduction to Christian Ethics" in a classroom setting open to pastors, seminary and college students, Bible teachers, ministry leaders and others.

The academy provides seminary and college students the opportunity to earn course credit and exists as part of the ERLC's goal to equip a new generation of pastors and scholars. In addition to the class, Moore will teach a Public Theology Ph.D. and D.Min. seminar. Doctoral students will take part in the May 20-21 class before participating in seminars and colloquiums May 22-24.

Moore told Baptist Press why he finds the ERLC Academy such a joyous time.

"As we welcome students from across our seminaries and around the country, I see the future of our churches and leadership," he said in written comments.

"We discuss ethics, the paramount importance of fidelity to Scripture and how to apply the Gospel to everyday ministry," Moore said. "As we do, I'm deeply encouraged by the deep biblical conviction of those who will shepherd our churches and carry the Gospel forward in the next generation."

According to the ERLC, participants will be trained to address such questions as:

-- How does the Gospel shape an evangelical approach to ethics?

-- How can I understand the world and its approach to cultural engagement?

-- How do I navigate complicated, ethical decisions that appear in daily life?

-- How should I understand essential ethical issues such as bioethics, marriage, sanctity of human life, religious liberty and sexuality?

Participants will learn not only through Moore's lectures but also by means of question-and-answer times, breakout sessions and online learning modules, according to the ERLC.

Andrew Walker, who oversees the ERLC Academy, said its goal "is to equip Christians to think Christianly about the task of ethics."

"As Christians, we do not do ethics within the horizon of the nation-state or within the horizon of liberal democracy alone," said Walker, the ERLC's director of research and senior fellow in Christian ethics, in written remarks for BP. "We do ethics within the horizon of Jesus' resurrection -- and that colors everything about a Christian understanding of what is true, good and beautiful when it comes to the practical implications of the Christian life."

Before Moore became the ERLC's president, Walker was one of his students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He came to know Moore first as a professor. "I want other Southern Baptists to know him in that capacity as well," Walker said.

All six of the Southern Baptist Convention's seminaries have been invited to participate, and Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio, also is taking part.

Seminary and college students may take the ethics class for course credit with one of the participating schools by completing additional work, according to the ERLC. Each student should contact his or her school for other information about course credit options. Each student must register with both the school and the ERLC.

Any student who is interested in taking part in the academy but does not attend one of the six SBC seminaries or Cedarville should check with his or her institution to see if arrangements can be made to take the course for credit.

The ERLC Academy was held previously in Nashville in 2015 and 2017. Washington, D.C., was the site of the academy in 2016 and 2018.

Information about and registration for the ERLC Academy are available at erlc.com/upcoming-events/erlc-academy.

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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