J.D. Greear’s legacy as Southern Baptist president: Grappling with abuse, pushing diversity

jd.-greear’s-legacy-as-southern-baptist-president:-grappling-with-abuse,-pushing-diversity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) — It’s traditional for the Southern Baptist Convention president to serve two one-year terms. But J.D. Greear had a lengthy bonus round due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 48-year-old leader of a Durham, North Carolina, megachurch was thrust into the national limelight as the leader of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination while … Read more

Rep. Ilhan Omar, others encourage US to rebuild refugee resettlement ahead of World Refugee Day

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(RNS) — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota thanked Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service during an online event Thursday (June 17), in the name of “all the refugees you have settled and the millions around the world who have benefited from your work.” Omar knows, she said, because she is one of those refugees. “After … Read more

Boris Johnson and Britain are having their own Catholic crisis

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LONDON (RNS) — As the American Catholic bishops debate whether President Joe Biden should receive Holy Communion given his support for abortion rights, outrage has been building in the United Kingdom since the country’s chief executive, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, recently came out as Catholic, to the concern of British Catholics, some parish priests and parliamentarians. … Read more

Baker fined for refusing to make transgender transition cake

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DENVER (AP) — A Colorado baker who won a partial victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to make a birthday cake for a transgender woman, a state judge has ruled. In the ruling Tuesday (June … Read more

Black community has new option for health care: the church

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Every Sunday at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, the Rev. Joseph Jackson Jr. praises the Lord before his congregation. But since last fall he’s been praising something else his Black community needs: the COVID-19 vaccine. “We want to continue to encourage our people to get out, get your shots. I got both of … Read more

Saddleback Church’s ordination of women pastors to be considered by SBC committee

saddleback-church’s-ordination-of-women-pastors-to-be-considered-by-sbc-committee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) — A committee that determines whether churches are conforming to Southern Baptist Convention affiliation rules will consider whether Saddleback Church, a prominent California congregation led by bestselling author Rick Warren, can continue in fellowship with the SBC after Saddleback recently ordained three women pastors. Shad Tibbs, pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in … Read more

Who is Ed Litton, the new Southern Baptist Convention president?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) — In a hotly contested election decided by just over 500 votes, Alabama pastor Ed Litton was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Litton, the longtime pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Alabama, a congregation with 3,900 members, was considered a long shot in the presidential race. Two other candidates — … Read more

Debates on sex abuse, critical race theory front and center at first day of SBC meeting

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) — As Southern Baptists opened their annual meeting, the debates that have rocked the nation’s largest Protestant denomination in recent months almost immediately became part of the business on the crowded convention floor. To a denomination that has been riven on issues of sex abuse, race and gender, outgoing President J.D. Greear … Read more

‘What Is God Like?’ Late author Rachel Held Evans’ first children’s book invites questions

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(RNS) — Rachel Held Evans was just starting to get excited about writing children’s books. The bestselling author of several adult books on Christianity, Held Evans had sketched out, to varying degrees of completion, four outlines and drafts of children’s books. Then, in May 2019, the beloved author, wife and mother died suddenly and unexpectedly at … Read more

Who are the Southern Baptists and why is their 2021 annual meeting so divided?

who-are-the-southern-baptists-and-why-is-their-2021-annual-meeting-so-divided?

(RNS) — The Southern Baptist Convention is gathering in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it may be the most consequential denominational meeting for any Protestant denomination in the last 30 years.  But who are Southern Baptists, and why is their vote on a new president and a series of resolutions reverberating … Read more