Southern Baptists are in a mild “come-to-Jesus” situation over their long and strong history of supporting slavery and segregation. Two years ago, Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville released a 71-page report about its complicity with racist policies; it refused to take any action, though. Now, one of its best-known professors has penned a column defending slavery as a practice taught by scripture. Tom Nettles, professor of historical theology until his retirement in 2014, wrote the column for the web site Founders Ministries. Read it for yourself at founders.org.
Asbury Memorial Church of Savannah, Georgia, has voted to cut ties with the United Methodist Church. The church is affirming of LGBTQ people and leaders and thus has fallen on the wrong side of the voting in the country’s second largest Protestant denomination. It is thought by many that this is the first United Methodist congregation to officially and publicly leave the United Methodist communion. The congregation has been a member of the South Georgia Conference, which recently voted to allow congregations to leave with their property.
Roman Catholic pastor James Altman of the St. James the Less Catholic Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin, released a 10-minute video set to ominous music and dark lighting in which he criticizes Archbishop Wilton Gregor of Washington DC. (formerly of Atlanta) for his criticism of President Trump. He also attacks Jesuit James Martin for praying at the Democratic National Convention. “You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat,” Altman says on the video. Texas bishop Joseph Strickland endorsed the video, tweeting: “Thank you Fr. Altman for your courage. If you love Jesus and his church and this nation, please heed this message.” I know a few Catholic Christians who might challenge this video!
Well-known Evangelical speaker and author Jen Hatmaker filed for divorce from her husband Brandon in what she describes as a “completely unexpected” turn of events. The two founded Austin New Church, a multi-cultural congregation welcoming to LGBTQ people, with strong leadership from women; it is associated with the United Methodist Church. Hatmaker is a member of the board of directors and is a successful author and keynote speaker. She is a close associate of another Texas preacher, Beth Moore. Jen and Brandon Hatmaker are the parents of five children.
The international evangelistic organization Cru (once known as Campus Crusade for Christ) has named a new president, only the third in its 69-year history. Steve Sellers, currently the executive vice president and U.S. national director of Cru assumes office this month. He has previously served in a variety of capacities, including national director of U.S. Campus Ministry and vice president of Global Campus Ministry. Sellers holds degrees from the University of North Carolina and the International School of Theology. He and his wife, Christy, have four married children and live in Orlando, Florida, where Cru is headquartered. Bill and Vonette Bright founded Cru in 1951. Today more than 19,000 staff members minister in over 190 countries. I might add that I am a regular supporter of two of their campus ministers, Kevin and Jen Williams, on the campus of East Carolina University, in North Carolina.