Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, African American pastors said that the Southern Baptist Convention’s move against churches with female ministers was disproportionately harmful for predominantly black churches. A lawmaker in Finland is facing charges for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” after she criticized her denomination for involvement in the LGBT movement. Meanwhile, most Americans support abortion with some restrictions one year after the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Black Churches Oppose SBC Move against Female Pastors
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” (1 Timothy 2:12).
Churches with predominantly black memberships denounced recent efforts from the Southern Baptist Convention to affirm that men alone can biblically serve as pastors.
The National African American Fellowship said in a letter to Southern Baptist Convention President Bart Barber that the 4,000 churches in the association are affected more severely by the moves against female preachers. “We strongly urge our SBC family to consider entering a time of prayer and dialogue because for many, this most recent decision is an unnecessary infringement upon the autonomy of the local church,” the letter said. “It has created division within the SBC and may disproportionately impact NAAF affiliated congregations.”
Attendees of the denomination’s annual meeting voted to disfellowship Saddleback Church, the congregation formerly led by Rick Warren, and Fern Creek Baptist Church, which has employed a female senior pastor for decades. Messengers also voted in favor of an amendment stating that churches must only allow “men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture” to stay in “friendly cooperation” status with the denomination. Elevation Church, the congregation led by Steven Furtick and his wife, left the Southern Baptist Convention after the votes.
Some 44% of evangelicals believe that women should be permitted to serve as pastors, according to data from Lifeway Research published three years ago.
Finnish Lawmaker Faces Charges for Supporting Biblical Sexuality
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals” (1 Corinthians 6:9).
Paivi Räsänen, a member of the Finnish Parliament, will face trial for “war crimes” and “ethnic agitation” after she authored a pamphlet and a tweet about biblical sexual ethics.
Räsänen, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, asked her denomination whether their doctrinal assertions about homosexuality and transgenderism correspond with biblical teaching on the practices. She also quoted Romans 1:24–27, which warns about God handing unbelievers over to sexual depravity when they rebel against him.
The official had been cleared of charges last year but will face another trial next month, according to a press release from the Alliance Defending Freedom International.
“The onerous legal process has been the punishment in and of itself because the targeting of public figures sends an ominous message to all who dare to express their convictions,” the legal advocacy group said. “In Finland, and across Europe, the message is becoming increasingly clear: if you hold a different worldview than the state, don’t share it publicly.”
Several member states of the European Union and other nations across the Western world have likewise implemented restrictions on religious speech, particularly with respect to sexual sin.
Most Americans Still Support Abortion
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3).
One year after the Supreme Court moved to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision which claimed that there exists a right to abortion in the Constitution, most Americans still believe citizens should be able to murder their babies with some degree of restrictions, according to a survey from the Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center.
Some 73% believe abortion should be available within the first six weeks of pregnancy, while 51% believe children can be murdered before they have reached the first fifteen weeks of pregnancy. Roughly 60% meanwhile believe Congress should enact nationwide abortion legislation that protects the ability to solicit the procedure.
Many conservative-leaning states have introduced new regulations on abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned, although no state has enacted laws that would prosecute abortion as murder or extend equal justice under the law to preborn children as well as born children. Democratic officials have meanwhile welcomed residents of neighboring states to continue receiving surgical abortions in their jurisdictions.