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EthicsDaily 2018: Working to Foster Healthy Conversation on LGBTQ Inclusion

Baptists should be among the leaders who are creating and developing healthy environments for productive conversations concerning the inclusion of LGBTQ Christians in the church.

Ingrained with a deep conviction for soul competency, the priesthood of all believers, religious liberty and freedom of conscience, Baptists have the natural theological framework where controversial conservations can take place without condemnation of conscience, questioning the faith of persons on the other side of an issue or lack of respect for shared humanity.

Baptists understand more than most that mutual understanding can emerge when people who view matters differently engage in respectful dialogue.

In February 2018, EthicsDaily was invited by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to interview four members of the Illumination Project committee, which was created to evaluate the hiring policy of LGBTQ employees by CBF and how churches were addressing the inclusion of LGBTQ Christians within the local church.

After the report was released, EthicsDaily published the work of various columnists who brought different perspectives to the report.

EthicsDaily understands there are different perspectives on the levels of congregational and institutional inclusion when it comes to LGBTQ Christians.

However, we hope that healthy and productive conversations can take place as we seek to discover resolutions and pathways forward.

We must all acknowledge the shared humanity we possess as children of God, extend God’s grace and love to each other and attempt to engage one another with mutual respect and a sense of collegiality.

There is currently a meaningful conversation taking place within Christianity that will shape the future of the church for generations to come.

While I hold personal convictions when it comes to the inclusion of LGBTQ Christians into the church, marriage equality and civil rights under the law, I also acknowledge that not everyone shares my convictions.

Therefore, I fully embrace my responsibility as a Jesus-follower to dialogue with colleagues.

When the U.S Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker at Masterpiece Cakeshop, on June 4, 2018, EthicsDaily analyzed the theological framework that brought about Phillips’ suit.

Christian isolationists are committed to a narrow, exclusionist theological conviction that extends into the private sector, allowing for discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.

With the legal complexities of private sector discrimination still being debated, EthicsDaily examined the ethics of discrimination based upon a religious conviction, civil rights and the need for the church to vocalize support for marginalized people.

EthicsDaily attempts to respond to each situation with thoughtful analysis, theological conviction and unbinding love – especially love.

In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have decided to stick with love. … Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

As Baptist moderates and progressives attempt to carve a way forward, EthicsDaily is willing to be a safe venue for individuals to collect their thoughts, express their ideas and welcome contradicting ideas to model a process for the future.

The only way EthicsDaily can continue to educate, engage and empower individuals and churches with productive resources and conversations about LGBTQ inclusion is through the financial support of our readers, viewers and supporters.

If you want to learn more about this important conversation and read personal stories from around the world, we invite you to invest in the future work of EthicsDaily and our collaborative efforts.

No donation is too small; we appreciate and value every dollar given to the cause of supporting biblical ethics and advocating for social justice around the world.

Editor’s note: Secure, online donations can be made here. Donations by check can be mailed to P.O. Box 150506, Nashville, TN 37215-0506.

See also:

EthicsDaily 2018: Working with Partners Toward Gender Equality

EthicsDaily 2018: Working with Partners to Strengthen Interfaith Relationships

EthicsDaily 2018: Working with Partners Addressing Racial Justice

EthicsDaily 2018: Working with Global Partners

EthicsDaily 2018: Working with Partners Advocating for Public Education

EthicsDaily 2018: Working with the Next Generation of Baptists

Mitch Randall

Mitch Randall is executive director of EthicsDaily.com.