Forced Labor, Women in Leadership Roles & Ukrainians Marked Six Month
When pastor Kevin Cummings stood to preach his sermon Aug. 12 at Fincastle Baptist Church in Fincastle, Virginia, it was no ordinary feat for him. There are similarities to how Heiden Ratner leads WALK Church and his style on the basketball court from college and a year as a professional in Israel. And, a Bible Study from Lifeway on Baptist Press asks, “Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew?” It says, “Most of us have been guilty of biting off more than we could chew, taking on a responsibility we were not ready to handle.”
Tomoya Obokata, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, reported it is “reasonable to conclude” forced labor by Uyghurs, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities has taken place in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and some of the coercion “may amount to enslavement as a crime against humanity.”
The Trump administration announced its decision that China is guilty of genocide against the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang on its last full day in January 2021, and the Biden administration affirmed that determination weeks later. In June 2021, messengers to the SBC’s annual meeting in Nashville passed a resolution that made the convention the first Christian denomination to denounce China’s campaign against the Uyghurs as genocide.
News reports have indicated the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has carried out a campaign primarily against the Uyghurs, predominantly Muslims in western China, that has included not only forced labor but widespread detention in “re-education” camps and a coercive population control program of abortion and sterilization.
A Lifeway Research study asked U.S. Protestant pastors about six potential leadership roles and if women are permitted to hold them in their congregations. While a slight majority say the position of senior pastor is open to women, a broader consensus exists for other positions.
Close to 9 in 10 pastors say women could be ministers to children (94 percent), committee leaders (92 percent), ministers to teenagers (89 percent) or coed adult Bible study teachers (85 percent) in their churches. Of those surveryed, 64% say a woman could be a deacon (64 percent) and 55% said a woman could be a senior pastor (55 percent).
Due to specific convictions about biblical interpretation, different Protestant denominations have varying levels of openness to women serving in certain leadership positions. In general, pastors at mainline congregations say their churches have fewer restrictions on the roles in which a woman can serve compared to evangelical churches
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Ukrainians marked the sixth month of the Russian invasion into the country as they celebrated a scaled-down national independence day on August 24.
IMB President Paul Chitwood encouraged Ukrainians on the special day and on called on other to act to bring gospel hope to the country. Chitwood said more than $12 million in aid has been given to Ukrainian efforts through Send Relief.
“While Ukrainians continue to fight for their country, and simultaneously celebrate their independence from USSR, declared in 1991, Southern Baptists continue to seek opportunities to provide both current help and the gospel of eternal hope through Send Relief and ongoing partnerships fostered and maintained by IMB missionaries who are present in the region. Their generous gifts to meet physical needs and sharing the gospel have exceeded $12 million since the beginning of the war and continue to this day.” – Paul Chitwood
The Maryland Supreme Court has ruled 4-3 that a Catholic employer was lawful in denying health benefits to the spouse of a gay married employee because such unions violate church doctrine. This college football season is unlike any other in David Pollack’s life. For as long as he can remember, the sport dominated his Saturdays in ways most people haven’t experienced. And, from 2012-2017, the reality TV series “Duck Dynasty” told many stories of the Robertson family and their duck-call and decoy business. “The Blind,” coming to theaters Sept. 28, tells the story of Phil Robertson’s life before he became a Christian.
Hard times often are described as “going through a valley.” But Bruce Watson, pastor of First Baptist Jeanerette, La., describes life’s valleys as the place where the soil is the richest. Rudy Kebreau and Randal Lyle are bound by far more than their mutual faith and pastoral calling these days. And, maybe your church has a prayer list. But have you ever considered have a personal prayer list? In a piece in the Baptist Press Toolbox, Kie Bowman says it may help you remain faithful in prayer.
Parents Prayerwalking Schools, Churches Play Critical Role to Military Personnel & Starting Your Day With God
See You at the Pole is engaging parents in prayerwalking schools the weekends surrounding the Sept. 27 event to mobilize families in prayer. Why would a 19-year-old sailor be at church nearly every day of the week? And, many of us are very busy. We go to bed with our to-do list incomplete and wake up with a list of things to try to accomplish.