In a small town halfway between Columbia SC and Augusta GA, a Pentecostal preacher named Dutch Sheets is playing a central role in the prayer and prophecy movement anticipating the inauguration of Donald J. Trump to a second term as president of the United States. Sheets is leading a movement called GH15, short for Give Him 15 Minutes a day in prayer. The most recent episode in this movement is called Operation Valkyrie. It called upon prayer warriors in each state, in the order in which each state was admitted to the union and beginning at 12 midnight this past Tuesday morning, to pray for two and one half minutes and “decree” an end “to end Valkyrie’s plot to steal America’s 2020 elections.”
The United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, declared unconstitutional restrictions in New York that allowed some businesses to remain open during the COVID pandemic but directed religious groups to permit no more than ten persons to gather for worship. This contrasted with two recent Court decisions that ruled 5-4 in the opposite direction, thus illustrating the immediate impact of new Justice Amy Comey Barret replacing the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The authority of mayors and governors to restrict businesses, schools, and religious groups during the COVID outbreak is a hotly debated matter and has been adjudicated by state and federal courts all over the country.
Newly installed Catholic Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington DC, has called for “a real dialogue” with the new Biden administration. Noting there are some areas where the Church agrees with the new president, himself a practicing Catholic, and some areas where there is disagreement, Gregory promised not to “highlight one [issue] over the other” in his “conversational” strategy with Biden. Gregory is the first African American to be raised to the rank of Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. Gregory served earlies as Archbishop of Atlanta and also as president of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The presidents of the six Southern Baptist seminaries declared jointly their rejection of what is known as Critical Race Theory or CRT. According to UCLA, “CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture….. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color.” The presidents of Gateway, Midwestern, New Orleans, Southern, Southeastern, and Southwestern seminaries contend this approach to race relations contradicts the Bible, the Gospel and Southern Baptist doctrine.
This past Tuesday was known globally as Giving Tuesday, a coordinated effort to counter popular merchandizing strategies such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I took that occasion to make an appeal, for the first time, for your support for The Meetinghouse newsletter and radio. During this COVID year of 2020, I launched the radio show, and during the new year 2021 I will expand the show into a video format and also launch Dr. Moody’s Bible Class as a live, weekly, online Bible study. Visit the Support page at themeetinghouse.net for directions on how your donations will make this possible.