Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, dozens of Republican lawmakers demanded that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate a wave of terrorist attacks against crisis pregnancy centers. The Southern Baptist Convention was mired in debate over some churches ordaining female pastors, as well as the recent report detailing instances of sexual abuse in the denomination. Yet despite conservative losses at the SBC, the Christian Reformed Church clarified its biblical stance on homosexuality.
Lawmakers Condemn Terrorist Attacks on Pregnancy Centers
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).
Over 100 Republican lawmakers wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking that the Department of Justice investigate a rise in domestic terrorism from pro-abortion activists.
Since the Supreme Court’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked early last month, more than twenty crisis pregnancy centers—which offer abortion-minded mothers financial, medical, and spiritual aid—have been destroyed by vandalism and bombings. At many pregnancy centers, the spray-painted slogan “if abortion isn’t safe, you aren’t either” has greeted staff arriving to discover the violence.
Pro-abortion group Ruth Sent Us recently began protesting at Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s home, church, and the school attended by her children, while a California man was charged with trying to murder Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Federal law defines domestic terrorism as any activity that involves “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws” with the intent to intimidate a civilian population, influence government policy via coercion, or affect the conduct of government through mass destruction or assassination, according to the Republicans’ letter.
“With this warning made clear, the Department of Justice must act swiftly to investigate and prosecute recent domestic terrorist attacks against pro-life organizations and dissuade future perpetrators of such violence,” the lawmakers wrote. “These attacks have the intended effect of chilling the free exercise of religion and speech, undermining the constitutional rights of Americans.”
Southern Baptists Debate Female Pastors and Respond to Sex Abuse Report
“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely” (Proverbs 28:5).
At this year’s meeting of the SBC in Anaheim, California, messengers debated several churches’ efforts to ordain female pastors, as well as a report from investigative firm Guidepost Solutions detailing incidents of sexual abuse within the denomination.
Several ministers present at the meeting noted that the Baptist Faith and Message—a statement of faith adopted by the SBC in 2000—clearly states that “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” Yet several prominent congregations, including Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, have tapped women to purportedly work as pastors.
In one viral moment, Warren himself spent more than six minutes dismissing a motion to expel Saddleback from the SBC over its violation of the Baptist Faith and Message as no more than a disagreement over “secondary issues.” He also touted his four decades of ministry, even claiming to have trained 1.1 million pastors—“more than all the seminaries put together.” In response, the SBC’s credentials committee asked if the denomination would let them further examine the “office of pastor” definition.
With respect to the sex abuse report, the SBC approved resolutions creating an “Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force” with members appointed by newly-elected SBC President Bart Barber, as well as a “Ministry Check” website to share “properly vetted information” about abuse allegations, according to Baptist Press.
Yet a new report from The Daily Wire’s Megan Basham detailed how the subject of sexual abuse has “become a political football that various factions have been leveraging to settle bitter scores and sway the direction of the denomination.” Basham also confirmed that Guidepost investigators failed to ask key witnesses for statements or evidence.
Christian Reformed Church Clarifies Beliefs on Sexual Sin
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
In more encouraging news, the Christian Reformed Church in North America—a small denomination with Dutch Reformed roots—approved a resolution clarifying “adultery, premarital sex, extra-marital sex, polyamory, pornography, and homosexual sex” as sins that require immediate repentance.
“The church must warn its members that those who refuse to repent of these sins—as well as of idolatry, greed, and other such sins—will not inherit the kingdom of God,” said the report. “It must discipline those who refuse to repent of such sins for the sake of their souls.”
The move has important implications for Calvin University, at which one-third of faculty signed a letter last year condemning the Christian Reformed Church’s efforts to clarify its stance on human sexuality, according to Christianity Today.
“Many people are polishing their CVs, starting to look at what else is out there and preparing themselves to leave,” Calvin University history professor Kristin Kobes Du Mez told the outlet.