Episode 035

Diversity, Pro-Life Legislation, & George Whitefield

Feb 18, 2022

Most Protestant pastors say every church should strive to achieve racial diversity, but few are achieving it. Pro-life lawmakers in dozens of states apparently are preparing for a day, maybe as early as this year, when legalized abortion is no longer the rule throughout the United States. And Rick Lance was recently reminded of the 18th century evangelist George Whitefield and he believes his message is relevant today.

Transcript

Most Protestant pastors say every church should strive to achieve racial diversity, but few are achieving it.

A new study conducted by Nashville-based Lifeway Research surveyed 1,000 Protestant pastors to learn their views on race and racial reconciliation in the church. The findings reveal some gaps among churches, including the difference between what pastors say they want for their churches as far as racial diversity and what their churches actually look like. There are also differences between what African American pastors are doing to lead their churches toward racial reconciliation and what steps white pastors are taking toward this end.

Perhaps one reason pastors care so much about pursuing racial diversity in churches is that they recognize racism as a threat to the church today much like it was a threat to first-century churches when the apostle Paul frequently addressed divisions between Gentile and Jewish Christians.

With recent rises in conversations surrounding Critical Race Theory (CRT), one may expect it to be a larger concern than racism for pastors; however, more pastors (48 percent) say racism is the bigger threat to the church in the U.S. today than CRT (29 percent). Another 16 percent of pastors say neither is a threat to the church, while 6 percent aren’t sure.

Pro-life lawmakers in dozens of states apparently are preparing for a day, maybe as early as this year, when legalized abortion is no longer the rule throughout the United States.

Legislators in 34 states have introduced at least 175 abortion-related bills – mostly pro-life proposals – already in 2022, according to Americans United for Life (AUL).

State legislatures are addressing the abortion issue in anticipation of what could be a momentous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices are expected to rule by June or early July on a Mississippi law that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation. Many pro-life and abortion-rights advocates believe the justices are likely not only to uphold the law but to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion that legalized the procedure nationwide. Such an opinion by the Supreme Court would return abortion policy to the states.

Most state lawmakers are focusing on “what happens after” that decision, said Katie Glenn, AUL’s government affairs counsel.

Good News for Today is made possible through our friends at The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world. Founded in 1967 by Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM is dedicated to inspiring believers to deepen their commitment to Christ and to fulfill His Great Commission — no matter the cost. Find out more and sign up for their free monthly magazine at vom.org/goodnews.

Rick Lance, a leading voice among Baptists in Alabama, says he was recently reminded of the 18th century evangelist George Whitefield and he believes his message is relevant today.

In a First Person piece, Lance says Whitefield began praying for God to do something fresh in his life. He prayed for his country Great Britain where he seemed to fan the flames of a Great Awakening.
Whitefield brought that hunger for revival to America, Lance says.

Some believe Whitefield had a huge impact on the thinking of the founding of America, Lance writes, because the evangelist traveled the colonies preaching the Word of God and seeing God at work in the lives of people.

Lance says the church doesn’t need new programs. Instead, he says the answer is for us to pray earnestly for a fresh wind of God’s Spirit among us.

Read the full piece from Rick Lance at BaptistPress.com.

Find more stories at BaptistPress.com.

A federal district judge ordered the U.S. government to pay more than $230 million to survivors of the 2017 massacre of 26 worshipers at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.

U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez ruled the U.S. government was 60 percent liable for the massacre.

Rodriguez levied that the U.S. Air Force had failed to report to the FBI shooter Devin Kelley’s bad conduct discharge in 2014.

First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs Senior Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who lost a daughter in the attack, has chosen not to comment on the court case out of respect for the victims. Pomeroy is not listed among plaintiffs.

Women from 19 states and hundreds of churches came together for Abide 2022 conference at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College Feb. 4-5 to hear Jen Wilkin, popular Bible study author and speaker.

Wilkin encouraged the women to take a specific approach to their Bible study that would cause to not only learn about God, but to grow in their love for Him.

“The heart cannot love what the head does not know,” Wilkin said. “If we want to feel deeply about God, we must think deeply about God.”

In her follow-up plenary Saturday morning, Wilkin offered a better approach for Bible study that begins by understanding that the Bible is “not about me” or about making believers “feel better.”

“The Bible is a book about God,” Wilkin said. “Read it first for what it says about Him.”

Good News for Today is made possible through our friends at The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world. Founded in 1967 by Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM is dedicated to inspiring believers to deepen their commitment to Christ and to fulfill His Great Commission — no matter the cost. Find out more and sign up for their free monthly magazine at vom.org/goodnews.

Wayne Bray, pastor at FBC Simpsonville, SC, says, “Common sense tells us that it’s impossible for us to convince others of something we don’t believe ourselves,” in a First-Person piece at Baptist Press.

He encouragers readers to examine their own hearts to make sure they truly believe God’s redeeming power for their lives.

Pointing to Romans 1:16, Brays writes, “The Gospel still has the power to change lives, and Jesus still saves sinners who call on His name.”

Find more stories at BaptistPress.com.

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