ERLC panel at SBC to address sexual abuse, assault

By Tom Strode

Published: May 15, 2018

DALLAS—Sexual abuse and assault will be subjects of a panel discussion convened by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission on the eve of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention June 12-13 in Dallas.

The ERLC will sponsor a conversation on some of society's hottest topics during "Gospel Sexuality in a #MeToo Culture" at 9 p.m. June 11. Panelists will discuss how the Gospel of Jesus guides the Christian view of such subjects not only as sexual assault, abuse and harassment but domestic violence, pornography and infidelity.

Even before June 11, the ERLC will co-host with The Village Church a two-day conference on the church's Gospel engagement with the world. The event&mdas;titled "The Gospel and the Future of the Church"—will be held June 8-9 in partnership with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at The Village Church's Flower Mound campus in metro Dallas.

The June 11 panel discussion will come at a time when the church and country are going through a crash course regarding sub-biblical treatment of women. Recent months have seen an ongoing series of revelations of sexual harassment, abuse and misconduct by pastors in the evangelical church and prominent men in the culture. The pastoral handling of domestic abuse of Christian wives also has generated controversy recently.

"Sexual assault and sexual abuse are of the devil," ERLC President Russell Moore told Baptist Press in written comments. "If we are the people of Christ, we should lead the way to protecting the vulnerable from predators.

"This event will be a conversation on how churches can prepare for and address this crisis, as well as how to minister to the many victims in our pews and in our mission field."

Panelists addressing the problems in addition to Moore will be:

• Trillia Newbell, author and the ERLC's director of community outreach.

• James Merritt, lead pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth Ga., and former SBC president.

• Jamie Ivey, podcaster and author from Austin, Texas.

Space will be limited for the discussion, according to the ERLC. Information on and registration for the event is available at erlc.com/upcoming-events/gospel-sexuality-in-a-number-metoo-culture.

The SBC pre-conference June 8-9 at The Village Church will address how the church's ministries and outreach to the world can be Gospel shaped. The speakers will address such issues as preaching, evangelism, discipleship, church planting, missions, sexuality and cultural engagement.

In addition to Moore, the speakers will include:

Matt Chandler, lead pastor, The Village Church.

• R. Albert Mohler, president, Southern Seminary.

• Steve Gaines, SBC president and senior pastor, Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church.

• Kevin Ezell, president, the SBC's North American Mission Board.

• Danny Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

• J.D. Greear, pastor, The Summit Church, Raleigh/Durham, N.C.

• Jen Wilkin, author and Bible teacher.

• Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor, Anacostia River Church, Washington, D.C.

• Susie Hawkins, author and speaker.

• Juan Sanchez, senior pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas.

Information on and registration for the pre-conference are available at erlc.com/upcoming-events/2018-sbc-pre-conference. The pre-conference's main addresses will be live-streamed at erlc.com, and video of the sessions will be posted after the event.

During the SBC meeting, the ERLC will distribute its latest issue of Light magazine and other resources.

The new Light edition focuses on how Christians should think about technology, including such topics as artificial intelligence and technology's impact on the home, communications and economics. Among the articles is an interview with Moore and Andy Crouch, author of The Tech-Wise Family.(BP)