BALTIMORE (BP) -- Ethicist Russell D. Moore and pastor Matt Chandler addressed issues ranging from preaching on political topics to relating to homosexual friends to adopting embryos during a question-and-answer session held in conjunction with the 2014 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"To some degree, it doesn't matter what you do and say, you are going to be known as the people who are against things if you are against the things that people like." -- Russell Moore, ERLC president
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the convention's moral issues and public policy entity, sponsored "Questions & Ethics Live" June 10 at the Baltimore Hilton. Moore, the ERLC's president, and Chandler, lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, responded to issues raised by an audience of more than 200 people.
Chandler, who has been at The Village Church nearly 12 years, said he has preached on such issues as abortion and homosexuality but doesn't recall he has "ever explicitly tried to be political in regards to the things I'm addressing."
"At the end of the day, I feel like if I make it like a full-on, political, party issue, then what ends up happening is I start to lose people in the crowd whom I think I can persuade with the Word of God," Chandler told Phillip Bethancourt, moderator and the ERLC's executive vice president.
Chandler said if he teaches on what the Bible says about an issue, "then I think I'm addressing political things and cultural issues without making it a Democratic Party issue or a Republican Party issue. And so I have found that by doing that I don't lose my Democrats, that they'll listen and they'll hear. And they might not necessarily land where I land, but at least now we're talking about the Bible and not partisan."
The key to not being labeled "culture warriors" is "to talk about people," not just a topic, he said.
"[I]f you are going to talk about homosexuality, you had better talk about homosexuality in light of the reality that there are ... more than likely people in your congregation that struggle themselves or love people that struggle or have a neighbor who walks in that lifestyle," Chandler said. "And if you ignorantly paint this issue, you are going to jam up the people you have been meant to lead; you are going to push people who are struggling into silence and quiet and not towards confession and the seeking of help."
One participant asked how Christians "communicate with conviction without being known as the people who are against everything."
Moore said, "To some degree, it doesn't matter what you do and say, you are going to be known as the people who are against things if you are against the things that people like. ... Read More