By / Feb 27

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 26, 2024—The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention announced a new resource to serve as a guide for answering questions about gender confusion, produced by the ERLC research team.

“God’s Good Design: A Practical Guide for Answering Gender Confusion” was assembled by the ERLC research team through consultation with pastors and ministry leaders who helped apply the framework to practical situations on the ground. 

In the forward of the resource, ERLC President Brent Leatherwood said his hope is that the guide will serve churches who are ministering to people broken by the sexual revolution with the hope of the gospel.

“It is our hope that this theological framework and the practical scenarios will start (or continue) the conversation in your churches about how to serve those broken by the sexual revolution with the hope of the gospel. There will inevitably be questions you face that are not contained here, but this will give you a place to begin, a conversation with your staff; not out of fear or a need to protect ourselves, but rather to ensure that we are ready to offer others an answer for the hope that is within us (1 Pet. 3:15), pointing them to the One who promises that there is a day when the brokenness of our body, our sense of self, and our own failed attempts to be God will be made right.” 

Alex Ward, ERLC research associate and project manager for the ERLC’s research initiatives, commented on the launch of the guide.

“Churches are grappling with contemporary gender challenges, navigating questions and scenarios inconceivable just years ago. ‘God’s Good Design: A Practical Guide for Answering Gender Confusion’ is a resource for addressing these issues, offering a theological framework for fidelity to scripture on sexuality, masculinity and femininity. Developed with input from theologians, ethicists, policy experts and ministry leaders, it provides guidance to practical scenarios derived from real church experiences. While not exhaustive, it serves as a guide for churches navigating their unique contexts amid cultural shifts. The theological framework created by these experts also can help orient ministries as they create policies and procedures for how to respond in the future. In a time of many perspectives that err away from God’s desires, the ERLC aims to provide a hopeful message that adhering to God’s design for our bodies and sexuality is ultimately for our good.”

The guide can be downloaded for free online.

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 13.6 million members and a network of over 47,000 cooperating churches and congregations. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.

To request an interview contact Elizabeth Bristow by email at [email protected]

By / Feb 27

NASHVILLE (BP) – The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) has released a practical resource to help churches navigate difficult questions and scenarios surrounding the topic of gender confusion.

The resource, released Monday (Feb. 26), is titled “God’s Good Design: A Practical Guide for Answering Gender Confusion.”

The guide contains a theological framework addressing the topic of gender from a biblical worldview and offers answers to practical scenarios that churches or pastors may face or have faced regarding the topic. The guide also contains links to additional resources on the topic of gender confusion from a variety of Christian sources.

In the guide’s foreword, ERLC President Brent Leatherwood spoke about the need to address the topic in the church today.

“The rate of teenagers who identify as transgender has doubled in the United States according to one estimate,” Leatherwood wrote.

“Nearly one-third of Generation Z (the youngest generation for which we have statistics) identify on the LGBT spectrum. It may have (arguably) taken longer for the sexual revolution to reach our churches, but the time is long gone when we could assume it would pass us by completely.”

Alex Ward, ERLC research associate and project manager for the ERLC’s research initiatives, said the guide is meant to point to God’s good design for gender and sexuality.

“Churches are grappling with contemporary gender challenges, navigating questions and scenarios inconceivable just years ago,” Ward said.

“‘God’s Good Design: A Practical Guide for Answering Gender Confusion’ is a resource for addressing these issues, offering a theological framework for fidelity to scripture on sexuality, masculinity and femininity. Developed with input from theologians, ethicists, policy experts and ministry leaders, it provides guidance to practical scenarios derived from real church experiences. While not exhaustive, it serves as a guide for churches navigating their unique contexts amid cultural shifts.

“The theological framework created by these experts also can help orient ministries as they create policies and procedures for how to respond in the future. In a time of many perspectives that err away from God’s desires, the ERLC aims to provide a hopeful message that adhering to God’s design for our bodies and sexuality is ultimately for our good.”

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

By / Feb 26

“God’s Good Design: A Practical Guide for Answering Gender Confusion” is a resource for pastors and church leaders that includes a theological framework and practical scenarios that will start (or continue) the conversation in your churches about how to serve those broken by the sexual revolution with the hope of the gospel.

Send me the guide

Gender confusion among the next generation

The rate of teenagers who identify as transgender has doubled in the United States according to one estimate. Nearly one-third of Generation Z (the youngest generation for which we have statistics) identify on the LGBT spectrum.

It may have (arguably) taken longer for the sexual revolution to reach our churches, but the time is long gone when we could assume it would pass us by completely.

Theological framework and practical scenarios to address gender confusion

That is why the ERLC gathered together a group of experts in theology, ethics, public policy, and law to think through how best to respond to this moment. Working together, they created a framework grounded in Scripture and shaped by theological categories faithful to the Baptist Faith & Message 2000.

We know that this is not just a thought experiment, so the ERLC also gathered pastors and ministry leaders who helped apply the framework to situations on the ground.

  • Most of us will not face a question about our theological anthropology and how it defines our understanding of the categories of male and female.
  • But, we may meet an individual who has adopted a new identity and has preferred pronouns.
  • So these pastors, ministry leaders, and subject-matter experts considered what to do in a number of scenarios drawn directly from questions posed to actual churches and pastors.

There will inevitably be questions you face that are not contained here, but this will give you a place to begin a conversation with your staff; not out of fear or a need to protect ourselves, but rather to ensure that we are ready to offer others an answer for the hope that is within us (1 Pet. 3:15), pointing them to the one who promises that there is a day when the brokenness of our body, our sense of self, and our own failed attempts to be God will be made right.

Send me the guide

By / Feb 15

NASHVILLE (BP) – The first season of the Ethics & Religious Liberty’s relaunched podcast primarily focuses on a highly requested topic, gender and sexuality.

Before launching the retooled podcast in the fall of 2023, the ERLC spent months conducting research and surveying Southern Baptists to learn which issues or questions were at the forefront for pastors and churches.

Lindsay Nicolet, ERLC editorial director and podcast host, said among the feedback received, “this set of issues (gender and sexuality) rises to the top.”

In a culture that has redefined marriage, thinks being male or female is something that can be changed and has no boundaries regarding sexuality, we want to equip you to be confident about what the Bible says and how to live that out.

Lindsay Nicolet

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

By / Dec 28

On this last episode in our gender and sexuality series in The ERLC Podcast, we’re going to focus more on how pastors can address gender and sexuality. We discuss how they can shepherd their people to better understand the biblical sexual ethic and how to apply that to their daily lives. 

On The ERLC Podcast, our goal is to help you think biblically about today’s cultural issues. Throughout this series, we’ve been seeking biblical answers and practical wisdom to apply to questions of gender and sexuality swirling around in our culture, our churches, and in our hearts. It’s been a joy to explore these issues with you and spur one another on to hold fast to Christ and love our neighbors.

Joining us on today’s podcast to share how pastors can address gender and sexuality is Dr. Bart Barber and Matt McCullough.

Bart is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas and president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Bart has a B.A. from Baylor University in their University Scholars program, an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a Ph.D. in Church History, also from Southwestern. 

You’ll also hear from Matt McCullough, pastor of Edgefield Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Before joining Edgefield, Matt helped to plant Trinity Church near Vanderbilt University and served as pastor there for 10 years. He completed a Ph.D. in American religious history. Matt and his wife are the parents of three boys.

As we discuss these important topics, you might have additional questions. We’d love to hear from you. Please e-mail us at [email protected] and let us know how you’re processing this conversation. 

The ERLC podcast is a production of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is produced by Jill Waggoner, Lindsay Nicolet, and Elizabeth Bristow. Technical production is provided by Owens Productions. It is edited and mixed by Mark Owens.

By / Dec 14

We began our gender and sexuality series by examining what the Bible teaches us about these important topics. And as we close out this series with two more episodes, we’re going to concentrate on the Church and how pastors and leaders can disciple their members to wrestle with and hold fast to God’s good design for us. Because gender confusion has disproportionately affected younger generations, we’ll spend a lot of time today focusing on discipling those at the forefront this ideological assault. 

As we discuss these important topics, you might have additional questions. We’d love to hear from you. Please e-mail us at [email protected] and let us know how you’re processing this conversation. 

Joining us on today’s episode are several of our former guests: Katie McCoy, the director of women’s ministry at Texas Baptists; Steven and Amy Castello from City on a Hill Church in Boston, where Steven is the lead pastor and Amy is the director for women’s discipleship and care; and Christopher Yuan, a professor and the creator of “The Holy Sexuality Project.”

You’ll also hear from Dr. Dub Oliver. Dr. Oliver is the president of Union University, a Southern Baptist college. He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Baylor University, Master of Science degree in educational psychology, and a Doctor of Philosophy in educational administration from Texas A&M. Dr. Oliver and his wife, Susie, have one daughter and two grandchildren. 

The ERLC podcast is a production of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is produced by Jill Waggoner, Lindsay Nicolet, and Elizabeth Bristow. Technical production is provided by Owens Productions. It is edited and mixed by Mark Owens.

By / Nov 30

On our previous episode in our series on gender and sexuality, we looked at the family and how parents can approach these important topics with their children. Today, we’re turning our attention to an issue that has caused anxiety for some parents: gender and sexuality in schools and how to direct our children as they are confronted with teaching and examples that contradict what the Bible says. 

As we discuss these important topics, you might have additional questions. We’d love to hear from you. Please e-mail us at [email protected] and let us know how you’re processing this conversation. 

Joining us on today’s episode is Shaka Mitchell. Shaka serves as a Senior Fellow for the American Federation for Children. He is also an elder at his local church.  He has previously served as Associate Director of Policy and Planning at the D.C.-based Center for Education Reform and led outreach efforts at the Institute for Justice, a constitutional law firm based in Arlington, Virgina. He is an alumnus of Belmont University where he teaches as an adjunct faculty member. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Wake Forest University School of Law. Shaka and his wife live in Nashville with their children and are active in several non-profit organizations.

The ERLC podcast is a production of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is produced by Jill Waggoner, Lindsay Nicolet, and Elizabeth Bristow. Technical production is provided by Owens Productions. It is edited and mixed by Mark Owens.

By / Nov 16

So far in our gender and sexuality series, we’ve learned what the Bible teaches about God’s design, we’ve traced the sexual revolution in our society, and we’ve heard a powerful testimony of honoring God in the midst of a struggle with sexual sin. Today, we’re going to discuss talking with our kids about gender and sexuality.

We’re going to hear some helpful advice for parents as they seek to teach their children a biblical view of sexuality.

As we discuss these important topics, you might have additional questions. We’d love to hear from you. Please e-mail us at [email protected] and let us know how you’re processing this conversation. 

On this episode, Steven and Amy Castello are going to help us think through some important aspects of teaching our kids God’s intent for gender and sexuality. Steven is the Lead Pastor and planter for City on a Hill Church in Boston, MA. He previously planted Immanuel Church in Birmingham, AL, before moving to Boston. Steven holds an undergraduate degree from Samford University and a M.Div from Birmingham Theological Seminary. 

Amy is the Director for Women’s Discipleship and Care for City on a Hill Church. She also serves as the Spouse Care Advocate for a non-profit in Boston called “For Greater Boston”. Amy has served in the local church, discipling and counseling women since 2009. 

Steven and Amy are parents to four daughters who are in middle school and high school. You’ll also hear briefly from our friend Katie McCoy who also joined us in episode 341 of this series, Society’s Spiraling Sexual Crisis.

The ERLC podcast is a production of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is produced by Jill Waggoner, Lindsay Nicolet, and Elizabeth Bristow. Technical production is provided by Owens Productions. It is edited and mixed by Mark Owens.

By / Nov 2

So far in this podcast series, we’ve learned what the Bible teaches about gender and sexuality, how the fall affects our perception of ourselves and God, and what role the sexual revolution played in where we are today as a culture. 

On today’s episode we are going to talk about how gender ideology deeply affects our personal lives. We will hear an incredible testimony from a man who has learned to honor God with his sexuality. We’re also going to hear how we can respond when someone we love struggles with sexual sin and gender confusion. Joining us on the podcast today for the first time is Christopher Yuan. You’ll also hear again from our friend Katie McCoy, the director of women’s ministry at Texas Baptists.   

Dr. Christopher Yuan is a writer, speaker, and the creator of The Holy Sexuality Project, a first-of-its-kind video series designed to help parents and grandparents empower their teens to understand, embrace, and celebrate biblical sexuality. Christopher graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 2005, received a master’s in biblical exegesis in 2007 and a doctorate of ministry in 2014. He has taught the Bible at Moody for over a decade.

We would love to hear from you about how you’re processing this conversation and what questions you’re facing related to issues of gender and sexuality. You can e-mail us at [email protected]

The ERLC podcast is a production of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is produced by Jill Waggoner, Lindsay Nicolet, and Elizabeth Bristow. Technical production is provided by Owens Productions. It is edited and mixed by Mark Owens.

By / Sep 7

Welcome to the all-new ERLC Podcast! In this first series of our new format, we will explore the issues of gender and sexuality and discover what the Bible teaches us about these controversial, but important cultural topics. 

During this episode, you will hear from expert voices about:

  • What it means to be made in the image of God;
  • God’s good design for all people;
  • How the world was corrupted by the fall in Genesis 3; and
  • How to live out countercultural beliefs about these topics. 

While the format is new, our goal for the podcast remains the same. The ERLC seeks to help you think biblically about today’s cultural issues.

We’ve been listening to you to better understand the questions you’re facing and how the ERLC can help on matters related to gender and sexuality. 

On this updated format of the ERLC Podcast, we want to give you brief, informed, practical, and biblically-based answers to important cultural issues.

You are not the only one asking these questions. Just like you, we want to hold fast to the teachings of Scripture as we seek to raise our families, serve our churches, and love our neighbors in an ever-evolving and often challenging cultural landscape. 

We are glad you are here and look forward to walking alongside you as we challenge one another to think biblically and critically on matters of gender and sexuality so that we can live in the world, but not of it—all for the sake of the gospel.