By / Aug 30

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC) is dedicated to assisting your church with resources as you seek to apply God’s Word to cultural issues and to speaking on behalf of Southern Baptists in the public square for the protection of religious liberty and human flourishing. We aim to engage our culture with the gospel so that more people can experience the transformative power of Jesus Christ.

Since its inception, the ERLC has been defined around a holistic vision of the kingdom of God, leading the culture to change within the church itself and then as the church addresses the world.

The ERLC has offices in Washington, D.C. and Nashville, TN.

Read our Ministry Statement.

Stay connected with our work by subscribing for email updates.

By / Jul 21

The Southern Baptist publication Light magazine was launched 75 years ago in 1948. It was relaunched in 1964, again in 1978, and yet again in 2015. Light may be the most relaunched denominational publication in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Throughout its history, one thing has remained the same: the publication has been dedicated to providing insightful articles, commentaries, and reviews on various topics such as moral and social issues, cultural trends, and biblical principles.

Light has featured contributions from some of the most prominent voices in evangelicalism, including Richard Land, Russell D. Moore, and Albert Mohler Jr. Today, under the leadership of ERLC President Brent Leatherwood, the magazine remains committed to exploring the intersection of faith and culture, promoting Christian thinking on ethical issues, and advocating for religious freedom and human dignity.

In addition to its print edition, Light also offers an online presence through the ERLC website, where archived articles and issues can be read online or downloaded as a PDF for free.

The history of Light

Light was first published by the Social Services Commission (SSC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), a forerunner of the ERLC, in 1948. The newsletter was published on an irregular schedule throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, as the SSC (1947–1952) became the Christian Life Commission (CLC, 1953–1997). It was relaunched in 1964 as “an occasional bulletin in Chrisitian social ethics,” but ceased publication again from 1967–1977.

The publication resumed in 1978 on a regular schedule, until it ceased publication once again from 2013–2014. The publication has occasionally held alternate titles including Christian Life Bulletin (1955–1958), For Faith and Family Light magazine (May–December 2004), and For Faith & Family magazine (2005–2012). Light magazine was relaunched as a print and online magazine by the ERLC in the summer of 2015. 

Notable articles and issues from Light’s history

Here is a sampling of some of the noteworthy issues and articles from previous decades.

May 1948: A Conference of Christians on World Peace

The inagural issue of Light began with a statement by individuals “concerned about the serious drift toward war” with the Soviet Union. The issue also claimed that “The Military of this country [the United States] is in an all out campaign to dominate the total life of America” and that “While the Military beat the drums of war and call men to worship the power of the atom bomb it is an hour for Christians to call men to the God of All Power, whose redeeming love can unite the world in brotherhood and peace.”

November 1957: A Pastor Looks at Integration in Little Rock

During the early civil rights era, Light published a sermon by an SBC pastor in Little Rock where racial integration of public schools was about to begin. “There are those who base their extreme opposition to integration upon their interpretation of the Scriptures,” says Dr. Dale Cowling. “These individuals are sincere beyond question. They are simply greatly mistaken in their efforts to prove that God has marked the Negro race and relegated it to the role of servant.”

November 1978: Hunger Relief

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, numerous articles in Light focused on the issue of hunger, both in the U.S. and around the globe (the SBC passed six resolutions on global hunger between 1975 and 1982). This issue provides an example of how the issue was covered by the CLC. 

January 1985: Prosecuting Porn 

The scourge of pornography didn’t begin with the internet. And as this 1985 interview reminds us, the problem isn’t about technology but with the human heart: “There’s no problem with the [anti-obscenity] law. The problem is waking up apathetic Americans and getting prosecutors to do something about pornography. ”

July/August 1999: Who Wins? The Real Cost of Legalized Gambling

Gambling has always been opposed by Southern Baptists. But in 1999, a new form of technology related gambling was becoming prominent—day trading.

March/April 2004: The Connected Generation

Technology wasn’t an issue that gained much attention in the magazine during its first three decades. But beginning in the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, the publication began to include more ethical consideration of tech in the Christian life. This issue on family and the internet is a prime example. 

Summer 2015: Marriage Redefined? 

Light was relaunched in the summer that the Supreme Court’s issued a ruling declaring same-sex marriage to be a fundamental right. This issue considered the various ways that redefining marriage would affect America and discussed how Christians should respond. 

The ERLC is committed to ensuring that Light remains a trusted source of biblically-informed guidance for Christians, helping Southern Baptists live out their faith in a rapidly changing world. 

See also: The Southern Baptist Historical Library & Archives maintains an online archive of issues from 1948-2004. Issues since 2018 can be found on the ERLC website

By / Jun 14

“Life is precious.” 

We repeat this phrase frequently. As believers, we know this statement pronounces a timeless truth rooted in Scripture. In Jeremiah 1:5, the Lord said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I sanctified you.” This gift of life, given to each of us by God from the moment of conception, is sacred and worthy of fervent prayers, our strongest advocacy, and our sincerest acts of service.

That is why this Commission has sought to help culture understand not just the meaning of, but the responsibilities that spring forth from the phrase, “life is precious.”

In 2023, we helped explain the historic Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision of the Supreme Court that struck down the hideous Roe v. Wade precedent. As the justices did so, they opened up a new chapter for the pro-life movement that we have long prayed for.

While we have continued our urgent work to protect life on Capitol Hill and before our nation’s highest court, I want to briefly draw your attention to the cooperative ways this Commission has been active, not just in areas of policy, but also practical ministry.

In the last year, we have locked arms with conventions in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, the Southern Baptists of Texas, and the SBC of Virginia, who have all given generously to the life-saving work of our Psalm 139 Project.

And it is fitting that the annual meeting is in Louisiana, as our next ultrasound placement will be in partnership with the Louisiana Baptist Convention, the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home, and the Northshore Baptist Association. These entities have come together, not only as an outstanding example of Baptist cooperation, but also to send a strong signal that we are willing to put our money where our heart is in order to save lives and serve mothers.

The commitment we have to protect life has guided our work at the state and national levels. In partnership with our state conventions, we brought a distinctively Baptist voice to matters important to our churches in our first ever state-level public policy review. We did this through:

  • requesting new safeguards be put in place to protect children from harmful transgender surgeries and destructive interventions in Tennessee;
  • pushing back against school administrators’ attempts to insert themselves in the relationship between a parent and child, both in Iowa and Wisconsin;
  • and standing with Nevada Baptists to successfully urge the governor to reject a bill to make that state a destination for assisted suicide.

At the federal level, we have been a leading voice in opposition to the Biden administration’s efforts to curtail religious liberty and conscience protections through the consequential federal rule-making process.

And overseas, we worked to strengthen this nation’s resolve to oppose authoritarian regimes that assault human dignity, destroy religious freedom, and help those fleeing persecution.

In all these matters, the ERLC is rooted in Scripture, guided by the Baptist Faith & Message, and informed by our convention’s resolutions. And everything we do is grounded in the simple phrase: Life is precious.

That truth has taken on new meaning for me, because the worst day of my life occurred on March 27, when a deranged individual entered the school of my children and opened fire. It would end as the deadliest school shooting in Tennessee history and be added to a horrific list of similar events that continue to plague our society.

Six precious lives were lost.  Seven families were fractured. And each and every child was rendered vulnerable by a person in deep emotional and psychological distress who was in desperate need of help and intervention.

In the following weeks and months, the Lord, who has graciously sustained our family throughout this nightmare, has worked on my heart and opened my eyes to the ways our culture of anger and animosity can so quickly become one of annihilation. Think about all the ways this occurs:

  • The mother who is convinced by a culture of death that the only way to truly thrive is by taking the life of her unplanned child. 
  • The young boy who has his mind preyed upon by social media and unhinged activists to become a pawn in the sexual revolution’s ever-changing definition of gender to the point he thinks he is a girl. 
  • The out-of-work father who, lacking community and neighborly love, chooses to escape into a drug culture rather than support his family. 
  • Or a survivor of abuse who seeks refuge in the church only to become vilified because of some flimsy Pharisaical or political excuse. 

There are many more examples of the ways our lives are rendered vulnerable on a daily basis. Too many. And the Lord is revealing to me all the ways he wants this Commission—and our SBC churches—to be a voice for the voiceless, to speak up for the marginalized, and to be a servant for the widow, the orphan, and the vulnerable.

When I see the three little survivors of the Covenant School shooting in my own home every day, I know that I cannot be quiet and cannot stand idly by while our culture tears itself apart, because life is precious. Far too precious.

By / Mar 24

On this episode, we’ll hear the installation address of President F. Brent Leatherwood. In his message, he shared his gratitude for this stewardship, his hope for the SBC, and his vision for the ERLC.

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  • Racial unity | If we, as Southern Baptists, can be willing to listen and have good conversations about race, we will see fruit that will draw us closer together. That’s why we believe that A Conversation with Pastor Jon Nelson will be a helpful resource for you and your congregation. Watch this NEW video at ERLC.com/racialunity and listen as Jon candidly shares his thoughts on how we can meaningfully partner together on this work within our churches and communities. Again that link is ERLC.com/racialunity
  • Email updates | Now that 2023 is fully underway, we want to make sure you are kept up to date about the important work we are doing on behalf of Southern Baptists. Whether it?s our 2023 Public Policy Agenda or another ultrasound machine placement, we want to make sure you know how we are serving our churches and acting as missionaries to the public square. As we move forward in 2023, know that first in our hearts and at the top of our minds are our churches. And we are taking those next steps with a Mark 10:44 mindset: to be a servant of all. The best way to learn more is by joining us at ERLC.com/updates. Signing up for email updates allows you to hear directly from us about our work and ways we are serving you on the issues that matter most to Southern Baptists. You?ll learn about our work on your behalf in our nation?s capital, about exciting new partnerships with our state conventions and the ways we are working across the convention with our sister entities. Become an email subscriber at ERLC.com/updates
By / Mar 22

This Commission stands at the beginning of a new era. 

We will build and reconstitute this team to meet the demands of the times we find ourselves in; fulfill the assignment given to us by our churches, initiated over a century ago; and do all we can to bring honor and glory to the name and saving grace of Jesus Christ by telling a dark public square of the “light of life” we read about in John 8.

Times of challenge

Yet, we must acknowledge the broader context we are operating in. Right now, an ideology of extreme individualism, coupled with a wave of loneliness and despair, is coursing through our society. We see this in the breakdown of institutional life, the atomization of culture, and the fact that not only are meaningful relationships being tested, but are even failing to be formed. Community life is eroding. Neighborliness is fading.

In Baptist life, cooperation is being strained. Each day seems to bring new events, legal matters, and moments that are conspiring against us.

While some of this may be naturally refining, in many instances, something far more devious is occurring. Figures and voices have emerged seeking to gain attention, followers, and influence. They would do this at the expense of cooperation on the essentials that have long been a hallmark of our churches.

A dark public square. A distressed convention. Division all around us.

An encouragement for dark and divided times

However, as a Christ follower, I am never without hope. And, as a Tennessean, I always believe something can be done. My state has produced a long line of heroes who sought to develop solutions, work with anyone of goodwill, and build bridges: 

  • From former Sen. Howard Baker, who rejected the notion that our adversaries on any given question must be our enemies; 
  • to Bob Corker, who became the leading voice in Washington against human trafficking and unjust systems when no one else would,
  • and Lamar Alexander, who became governor at a unique moment of constitutional peril for our state.

All of these figures and others in Tennessee’s history often sought to overcome gaps and achieve consensus between people—all while adhering firmly to their own conservative principles. While I am a far cry from any of these noble statesmen, their body of work has had a profound effect on my vision of leadership. In fact, Alexander would often quote a friend from West Tennessee, author Alex Haley, who said “Find the good and praise it.”

My Baptist mind translates that like this: Be an encourager. Be a Barnabas. So allow me to do that briefly here.

While our convention is certainly being tested right now, both from within and without, my discussions with pastors over the last several months lead me to believe we can get through this hour––and be the better for it. There is an appetite for association, a real call for cooperation, and a renewed belief in the Baptist view of the world. And that is where this Commission has such a unique role to play:

  • An agency that assists our churches and acts as an ambassador to the state.
  • An entity that serves our pastors and engages the culture.
  • A team that operates and speaks with both conviction and kindness.

What our name means for our churches 

There’s a theme communicated by the very name of this organization: The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. While this entity is over 100 years old, that name is actually rather new. Given to us in 1997 and purposefully selected, every word is just as important now as it was then:

  • Ethics: applying the moral demands of the gospel to the cultural questions and challenges of the day.
  • Religious liberty: believing that a “free church in a free state is the ideal;” and that this principle is helpful for spreading the gospel because no one can be coerced into the Kingdom of God.

Without a doubt, these twin priorities are robust and challenging. Yet, as I consider how this entity may best fulfill our mission, I am increasingly convinced the most important word is “and.” And is the bridge that shows these two concepts are inextricably linked in our minds. We don’t sacrifice one for the other; they are of equal value. 

I believe this framing is essential to the very work carried out by our team.

It means we operate at the intersection of both faith and culture.

It means we tell the state that it has a God-ordained responsibility to protect the most vulnerable, from the abortionist’s knife to the drugmaker’s chemicals.

It means we remind the Church she has always been a refuge for the abused and marginalized—for those preyed upon by the sexual revolution in culture and those preyed upon within our walls. In fact, we should rush to link arms with the foremost experts to rid us of the plague of abuse in our midst, to cast out those who would target the vulnerable in our pews and playrooms, and make our churches places of safety and sanctuary for everyone.

It means we hold the state accountable by reminding it of the proper limits of its authority. When it tramples the consciences of citizens or seeks to overturn the fundamental and biological truths of what it means to be a man, woman, or, very soon now, a human.

And it means we continue to walk alongside our churches as we pursue true racial unity. This convention has come so far, yet our work is far from finished. But I have hope because I know our churches possess a Revelation 7-heart that will not relent from this mission until every tribe, tongue, and nation is reflected in our convention.d

In all this, I speak clearly because our churches have done so. 

We must always take care to listen to our churches and assist them. When we are aligned like this, it ensures this Commission will continue to bring a deep, abiding, consistent, and thoroughly Baptist voice to the public square. And that is our foremost aim: Render assistance to our churches and, from that service, speak to a watching world.

*This article is adapted from President Leatherwood’s address at his installation on March 20, 2023. 

By / Dec 20

June 24, 2022, proved to be the most consequential day in the modern pro-life movement as the U.S. Supreme Court handed down their decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. This 6-3 ruling held that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion and sent the issue back to the states. This ruling is a culmination of nearly 50 years of focused work by the pro-life movement to overturn Roe v. Wade and protect the preborn.

Nearly a year prior to the ruling, in July 2021, the ERLC, alongside other pro-life organizations including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Association of Evangelicals, and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, filed an amicus brief in this case requesting the Supreme Court overturn the Roe (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) decisions. The ERLC’s brief asserted that “the Constitution does not create a right to an abortion of an unborn child before viability or at any other stage of pregnancy. An asserted right to abortion has no basis in constitutional text or in American history and tradition.” 

In March of 2022, we released and promoted the Dobbs Resource Page on our website which was designed with pastors, leaders, and other curious individuals in mind to be a one-stop shop for all things related to this once-in-a-generation Supreme Court case. This site has been continually updated throughout the year as the content team produced more articles. It also includes an interactive state map which allows visitors to the site to click on their state and learn more about local abortion laws, as well as pregnancy resource centers and foster care options near them. 

The ERLC team was expectant on the morning of June 24 and ready to respond with several resources. Our team immediately released a video highlighting why the ruling was so important and what it means for churches moving forward as they seek to serve mothers and vulnerable children. In just one day, our team produced several articles, emailed pastors with a statement to equip them to discuss the Dobbs ruling with their own church, and were quoted in multiple national media outlets and Baptist papers. In addition, several members of our team fielded off-the-record questions from pastors and other leaders about the ruling.

Radical abortion legislation

As a result of the historic Dobbs decision, some politicians are pushing for radical legislation that would codify abortion protections. In July 2022, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 219-210, but did not receive a vote in the Senate. This bill would allow for abortion up to the point of birth. Additionally, this bill removes all pro-life protections at the federal and state levels and eliminates a state’s ability to legislate on abortion. This bill also fails to protect the consciences of American taxpayers by utilizing taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. This bill is the most pro-abortion bill to ever pass the house. The ERLC and the pro-life community strongly opposed this bill. The ERLC sent several letters to Congress voicing our opposition. 

Again, in July 2022, the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022, which requires states to allow the purchase and mailing of abortion pills from across state lines, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 223-205. The Senate has not yet voted. Not only would the bill curb state authority to restrict access to the abortion pill, but it would also prevent states from restricting or impeding interstate travel for the purpose of obtaining an abortion. Some lawmakers and advocacy groups have proposed laws that would prevent people from traveling out of state to obtain abortions or open out-of-state providers to civil liabilities. This bill would ban such efforts nationwide. The ERLC has strongly opposed this bill, as it would enshrine interstate access to the dangerous abortion pill into federal law and would promote abortion tourism nationwide, and will continue to urge the Senate to vote down this destructive piece of legislation. 

The abortion landscape in the U.S. continues to change post-Roe and poses new challenges to the pro-life movement. In the midst of this, the ERLC will proclaim the dignity of every person and will always advocate for life in the public square, before the courts, and before Congress.

*This article is an excerpt from our 2022 Annual Report. Download and read the full report here.

By / Nov 21

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of traveling to multiple state conventions as they hosted their annual meetings. To say it was a joy to be with our SBC pastors and leaders in person is an understatement. There is something to be said about being in the same room with these brothers and sisters with whom we’ve linked arms for the purpose of the Great Commission. 

Two months ago, the trustees of our entity turned over the reins to me as president of the ERLC. Since that time, I have been busy calling and connecting with pastors from all across the country to––first and foremost––listen to their ideas, challenges, and experiences. In doing so, I believe this foundational work ensures that the ERLC will be able to keep speaking from our churches, just as it has since its inception. The ERLC is an institution that dates back over a century, and it belongs to Baptists––the pastor, the minister, and the individual in the pew who faithfully and sacrificially gives to the Cooperative Program. 

But this heart isn’t unique to me. It comes directly from our mission statement. The ERLC exists to speak with and assist our churches in understanding the moral demands of the gospel and, at the same time, to speak from our churches about the pressing policy issues that we all face in the public square. This includes issues such as the dignity of life, religious freedom, protection of conscience rights, the sanctity of marriage as God has defined it, and the defense of human dignity. This ensures that, even as we work alongside a number of partners and peers in our work, we’ll continue speaking with a thoroughly Baptist voice about the issues important to the SBC.

What matters most

As we reconstitute and rebuild this team, I know that if my vision for the ERLC is not aligned with what our churches actually need right now, it won’t work. So as new staff members are brought aboard, new initiatives are designed, and new resources are created, know that each of these steps are undertaken so our entity is fashioned in such a way as to address the feedback we are receiving from our churches.

One thing that will not change is our ministry assignment; one that we are privileged to carry out. This specific task has been given to us by our convention, so that means where our churches have spoken, this Commission will also speak without wavering. This is vital because a deep, abiding, and consistent voice of moral clarity is needed in the confusing times we find ourselves in. That’s what will set us apart. While there are other organizations in this space with competing motivations, this ministry will be firmly rooted in Scripture and guided by our Baptist Faith and Message.

What’s next

It’s natural to wonder: What will this new version of the ERLC look like, and what comes next? There will be many updates to come on that front. I’m eager to tell our churches more in the weeks and months ahead. The best way to stay informed is by joining us at ERLC.com/updates. 

Signing up for email updates allows you to hear directly from us about our work and ways we are serving you on the issues that matter most to Southern Baptists. You’ll learn about our advocacy in our nation’s capital, exciting new partnerships with our state conventions, and the ways we are working across the SBC with our sister entities.

As we move forward in this next chapter, know that our churches are first in our hearts and at the top of our minds. We are taking each next step with a Mark 10:44 mindset: to be a servant of all. I cannot wait to hear from you and be alongside you as we take the gospel to a chaotic public square that is in desperate need of the hope and peace that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

By / Nov 15

Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 15, 2022Southern Baptist ethicist Jason Thacker of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and renowned, moral philosopher C. Ben Mitchell recently contracted with B&H Academic to edit a new eight-volume series entitled Essentials in Christian Ethics, set to begin release next year.

The first in the series of short, introductory level volumes features the work of theologian and ethicist David VanDrunen of Westminster Seminary California on the topic of natural law and the moral order, which will be released in November 2023.

With the Essentials in Christian Ethics series, Mitchell and Thacker hope to help equip the next generation to see the centrality of ethics in the Christian life, especially in the training of future leaders for the church. Volumes will begin releasing in 2023 and continue through 2026.

“Ethics is not merely an academic discipline, but intricately woven into the very fabric of the Christian life as we all seek to apply God’s word to the society in which we have been placed and live in light of those truths, no matter the circumstances we face today,” said Thacker.

Current volumes under contract include: 

  • Natural Law Ethics with Van Drunen;
  • Biblical Ethics with Jacob Shatzer of Union University;
  • Metaethics with J.P. Moreland and David Horner of Biola University;
  • Political Philosophy with Bryan Baise of Boyce College;
  • Bioethics with C. Ben Mitchell;
  • Just War and the Ethics of Contemporary Warfare with Paul D. Miller of Georgetown University.

About Jason Thacker: Thacker serves as the director of the ERLC’s Research Institute and chair of research in technology ethics where he leads the Digital Public Square research project. He also teaches at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky. and is the author of multiple works on Christian ethics and public theology. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Christian ethics, public theology, and philosophy from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

About C. Ben Mitchell: Mitchell earned a Ph.D. with a concentration in medical ethics from the University of Tennessee. He held the Graves Chair of Moral Philosophy at Union University for more than a decade before his retirement in 2020. Mitchell previously taught bioethics and contemporary culture at Trinity Graduate School and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

By / Nov 8

The following article is adapted from remarks made by ERLC President Brent Leatherwood to Michigan Baptists.

In my recent conversations, I’ve detected quite a bit of fear. Outside the walls of our churches, fear is rampant. It often comes out as fear of the unknown, fear of the results of the election, or, as another put it, fear of what “they” may do to us. For the most part, it’s causing people to respond in one of two ways: either despondency and pulling back from the world, or seething with anger and deploying the language of warfare and conquest. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is seeping into our churches. I have been told this by pastors and ministers in numerous conversations I have had over the last six weeks.

There is no doubt we live in a challenging and confusing moment, and we should be clear-eyed about the challenges we face. But allow me to offer a gentle reminder of Paul’s reassuring words to Timothy: “. . . for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). Spirit-led courage, unceasing love, and humble self-control are qualities that stand in complete opposition to the times in which we find ourselves. And they are qualities Christians should exude at all times, whether we are going to another country, planting a church in a new context, or entering a chaotic public square.

Life in the public square

The public square is where the ERLC operates on a daily basis and where Southern Baptists have spoken for over a century. It is vital that we continue to do so by serving and responding to the needs of our churches while continuing to build on the legacy of those who came before us. The best way to do that is through partnership, or, to use that rich Baptist term: cooperation. When we cooperate in our missional work, I truly believe there is no better gospel force on the planet than our convention of churches. And given the state of our public square, it is crucial that we see it as a mission field that is in dire need of those who are cooperating together for the sake of the gospel.

Last summer, we witnessed the most significant victory in the history of the pro-life movement with the Dobbs decision that overtuned Roe v. Wade. Abortion, as an issue, can now be directly dealt with at the state level. A number of states, overnight and in the ensuing weeks, shifted to a legal posture that respects life, defends preborn lives, and serves mothers. But we must acknowledge some have taken the opposite path. A path where more lives are lost and more mothers are allowed to be targeted and preyed upon by the abortion industry. At the same time, not every state has settled this question. 

To find an example, all one has to do is look at a state like Michigan.There, the question of abortion rights is being placed before voters on Election Day. 

Proposition 3 seeks to amend the state constitution to create a right to abortion, prohibiting the state legislature from regulating the procedure before viability. This law could take the state well beyond even the disastrous Roe framework. I encourage Christians in Michigan, and throughout the U.S., to be people of life who speak into this moment (and others like these) clearly and convictionally. Those who live in Michigan should vote against this diabolical measure and instead work to institute a culture of life with policies and leaders that protect both mother and child. The right to an abortion in Roe was wrong in 1973, and Proposition 3’s anchoring of a right to abortion in the state constitution is wrong in 2022.  

Because this issue has long been important to our churches, we have many stories to share about ways lives have been saved and mothers have been protected. As Tim Patterson, executive director of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, wrote in August, “Keep telling the story and living the life. It has and does make a difference.” That’s why the ERLC wants to come alongside ourBaptist brothers and sisters in Michigan—and members of SBC churches across the nation—as you proclaim the dignity of preborn lives, inviting you to our pro-life conferences and gatherings, and why we want to continue placing life-saving ultrasound machines in centers that will directly confront Planned Parenthood and the lies they tell vulnerable mothers and scared fathers.

Other important issues in the public square 

The same is true for other issues important to our Baptist family that are within our ministry assignment. We want to continue being the foremost Baptist voice on religious liberty, which, in a legal sense, is on its strongest footing ever right now. Yet, we know the challenges to that standing are growing. So we must safeguard this liberty––which is our first freedom, our essential liberty.

The same goes for our human dignity issues like pursuing real, Ephesians-like racial unity and continuing to advocate before the state for laws that help families flourish. And of course, it is imperative we cooperate on an issue like combatting sexual abuse. This terrible scourge has been with us for far too long, and I am encouraged that our convention of churches has resoundingly said, “No more.” At the ERLC, we are proud to be partnering with our new SBC president, Dr. Bart Barber, and the new Implementation Task Force that is turning recommendations into action to serve you and your churches and to make sure they are safe from abuse and safe for survivors.

It is clear that there is urgent work to be done. Work that is not for the timid or fearful. And it is work that can be accomplished through our Southern Baptist cooperation. As we at the ERLC come alongside to assist you, your church, and your convention, it will allow us to speak more adeptly from our churches into the public square––a chaotic, messy, noisy public square that is in desperate need of the hope and peace that can only come from hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

By / Sep 16

In this episode, Lindsay celebrates Brent Leatherwood as the newly elected president of the ERLC. Then, Lindsay and Brent discuss the latest update with the Yeshiva University case, the delay of the Respect for Marriage Act vote, and the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II. 

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  • Dobbs Resource Page | The release of the Dobbs decision marks a true turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates and many others have worked toward tirelessly for 50 years. Let us rejoice that we live in a nation where past injustices can still be corrected, as we also roll our sleeves up to save preborn lives, serve vulnerable mothers, and support families in our communities. To get more resources on this case, visit ERLC.com/Dobbs.
  • Sexual Ethics Resource Page | Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of entertainment and messages that challenge the Bible’s teachings on sexual ethics? It often feels like we’re walking through uncharted terrority. But no matter what we face in our ever-shifting culture, God’s design for human sexuality has never changed. The ERLC’s new sexual ethics resource page is full of helpful articles, videos, and explainers that will equip you to navigate these important issues with truth and grace. Get these free resources at ERLC.com/sexualethics.