Southern Baptists Talk About Sex at First “Church and Sexuality” Conference

From left to right, the Rev. Rick Lance, the Rev. Joe Godfrey and the Rev. Russell Moore take part in a panel discussion at the Church and Sexuality Conference, Feb. 29, 2016, at First Baptist Church of Montgomery. (Photo by Doug Rogers/Alabama State Board of Missions)
From left to right, the Rev. Rick Lance, the Rev. Joe Godfrey and the Rev. Russell Moore take part in a panel discussion at the Church and Sexuality Conference, Feb. 29, 2016, at First Baptist Church of Montgomery. (Photo by Doug Rogers/Alabama State Board of Missions)

In their first conference on The Church and Sexuality in Montgomery, Alabama Baptist and Southern Baptist leaders offered advice today on issues such as preaching in favor of traditional marriage, against same-sex marriage and gender identity confusion.

The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, urged pastors not to perform wedding ceremonies for non-Christians, even if their parents are members of their churches.

“You cannot marry anyone except believers and people under the authority of Jesus Christ,” Moore said. “Unbelievers, you cannot hold accountable to their vows.”

Moore said many pastors feel pressured by church members to perform weddings they know they shouldn’t.

“It takes courage not to do weddings, to say, ‘I’m not going to do that,'” he said.

If a deacon in the church wants his pastor to perform a wedding for his daughter who is living in sin outside marriage, the pastor should refuse, he said. That can create a problem, he said. “You’ve got a crisis,” Moore said. “Think about what’s at stake. You have to have courage to do that (take a stand).”

The Rev. Joe Godfrey, who took part in a panel discussion with Moore, said when he was a pastor he once got a complaint from a female church member that a prominent married man in the congregation had made sexual advances towards her.

Godfrey said he confronted the man, who then went and apologized to the woman. “For the pastor to know what’s going on in the church is scary to some,” Godfrey said. “We’ve got to be able to lovingly challenge our church members.”

More than 500 people attended the Church and Sexuality Conference at First Baptist Church of Montgomery.

“Stay focused on teaching the word of God,” Godfrey said. “There’s got to be that rock-solid Bible teaching. There’s got to be that continual reliance on the word of God.”

Breakout groups discussed such issues as “helping believers respond when someone in their life comes out,” “helping people overcome pornography” and “keeping the home fires burning: sexuality within marriage.”

In a keynote sermon, Moore preached on Jesus speaking to the woman at the well about sexual immorality.

“If we are a gospel people, that means our interpretation of a Christian sexual ethic is not a matter of our choosing,” Moore said. “It’s a mandate that he has given to us. If we are able to discard a Christian sexual ethic, then that means we invented it, which means we should not only discard the sexual ethic, we should discard the Christianity.”

Christians need to apply the Bible’s teachings on sexuality, he said.

“The texts of the Christian scripture are very clear,” Moore said. “Marriage is designed to be a gospel tract. It is designed to point beyond itself to the union of God and his church.”

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SOURCE: Alabama Live
Greg Garrison

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