Kingdom, Culture & Mission
Navigating the waters of religion and the public square seems increasingly daunting, for an unyielding secularism desires to displace the role of religion in society and to remove religion from the public square. Some insist that the church is an irrelevant force in today's culture—stymied by hypocrisy and hucksterism.
Yet American Christians remain resolute in the conviction that their faith, which is the seedbed for values and principles, isn't just a supernatural idiosyncrasy to be cast into the dustbin of history, but the animating force in their lives. Nominal believers are dropping out, leaving behind a conscientious and confessional Christian remnant that is ready to face whatever the culture throws at it—whether abortion on demand, the glorification of homosexuality, or the conception of children through artificial reproductive technologies, to name a few of the pressing public issues of our day. American Christians find themselves with the vocation of bringing the gospel to bear on such issues, and this is where the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) steps in.
An entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, the ERLC exists to assist the churches by helping them understand the moral demands of the gospel, apply Christian principles to moral and social problems and questions of public policy, and promote religious liberty in cooperation with the churches and other Southern Baptist entities. Since its inception, it has defined itself around a holistic vision of the kingdom of God, leading the culture to change, first within the church itself and then as the church addresses the world. The ERLC seeks to call our churches and our people back to what we say we believe—not as outraged moralists, but as broken-hearted revivalists calling our fellow sinners to repentance with kindness and conviction.
From its offices in both Nashville and Washington, D. C., the ERLC works with like-minded allies in pursuit of public policies that honor God and advance human flourishing. Having a presence on Capitol Hill, our staff and president are able to consult directly with members of Congress and their staffs, informing them of the perspective of America's largest Protestant denomination.
We write policy papers and produce podcasts and videos that feature today's leading thinkers on culture and ministry discussing the issues that are affecting Christians. We advocate for the unborn through our Psalm 139 Project and engage the academic community with our Research Institute. Media outlets from CNN to Morning Joe to The New York Times regard the ERLC as a trusted barometer for confessional Evangelical public engagement.
Under the new presidency of Russell Moore, the ERLC has taken up several new initiatives, including:
- Canon and Culture (canonandculture.com), an online forum for Christian thinking on a wide range of topics, including art, vocation, politics, education, philosophy, ethics, technology, culture, and the common good.
- The ERLC Leadership Council, which leverages the influence and counsel of prominent Southern Baptist pastors around the country.
- Questions & Ethics: A podcast featuring Russell Moore tackling some of the crucial ethical issues facing Christians today.
- An annual Leadership Summit, designed to equip pastors and church leaders to speak to critical issues in their own congregations. The topic of this year's event, to be held on April 21–23 in Nashville, is the gospel and human sexuality.
- A Church Equip initiative focused on customized coaching for pastors and church leaders.
The ERLC hosts a robust website (www.erlc.com) with daily content. We invite you to check it out and join us on the mission. •
From Salvo 28 (Spring 2014)
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senior editor of Salvo, is co-founder of the Intelligent Design & Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center and Program Officer in Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Discovery Institute.This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #28, Winter 2018 Copyright © 2019 Salvo | www.salvomag.com https://salvomag.com/article/salvo28/the-ethics-religious-liberty-commission