Word&Way News: Oct. 15
Here’s the top news of the week from Word&Way. In addition to a report on how Virginia gubernatorial candidates are campaigning during Sunday worship services that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an essay on the efforts of a “religious liberty” attorney to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Serving Children. Christopher Dixon reflects on how churches have served as as a sanctuary for children from the complete nonsense of all types offered to them 24/7 everywhere else.
Exodus 13 (in photos). An old biblical story as seen from images of the Jewish community in Warsaw, Poland, holding a funeral for an unidentified Holocaust victim.
Study: Attendance Hemorrhaging at Small & Midsize U.S. Congregations. Yonat Shimron reports on a survey of 15,278 U.S. religious congregations. The results showed a 7% median decline in attendance from 2015-2020 (even pre-COVID), with worst results for some traditions and locations.
‘It’s Not Satanism’: Zimbabwe Church Leaders Preach Vaccines. Farai Mutsaka reports on efforts to increase vaccination rates among Pentecostals historically distrustful of modern medicine.
White Christian Progressives Can be Nationalists Too, Ecumenical Panel Says. Adelle M. Banks reports on a session during the virtual Christian Unity Gathering of the National Council of Churches.
This week, the Evangelical Press Association named Word&Way magazine as “best in class” for our circulation size. This is the 23rd award we’ve received this year for our work in 2020 for editorial, feature, and humor writing, along with podcasting, photography, magazine design, and more. These awards are a sign of our commitment to bring you quality journalism.
Other News of Note
Our friend Robert P. Jones recently launched his own Substack e-newsletter called White Too Long that builds on his excellent book by the same name. His newsletter is designed to create “a space for those dedicated to the work of truth-telling, repair, and healing from the legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity.” His latest essay, Seven Things White Christians Can Do to Address White Supremacy at Church, is particularly good with practical steps we hope local congregations will enact. Check it out and sign up for his newsletter.
This week: John Fea on History, Trump, & Evangelicals
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
It’s often said that when the U.S. sneezes, the world catches a cold. In the religious realm the relationship might not be as strong, but surely we can say that whenever the Southern Baptist Convention catches the flu, the rest of the evangelical world gets a cold. And the nation’s largest Protestant denomination clearly has the flu (or something much more serious, like COVID-19).
Last night, the embattled president of the SBC’s Executive Committee, Ronnie Floyd, announced his resignation. His departure follows weeks of him and other EC members attempting to thwart the will of SBC messengers who earlier this year voted overwhelmingly to demand the EC waive attorney-client privilege in an investigation into if the EC mishandled allegations of clergy sexual abuse. Back in June at the annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, Floyd had expected the messengers to rubberstamp his vision, but quickly saw things fall apart. Then, rather than lead, he unsuccessfully fought against the messengers and thus against Baptist polity that says the people are in charge.
Floyd’s resignation and the debate over clergy sexual abuse add to the ongoing turmoil seen in the departure of Russell Moore earlier this year, the fall of Paige Patterson before that, and political and theological fights over Trumpism, Calvinism, and more.
The SBC is ill. Floyd’s resignation, although necessary, doesn’t mean the fever has broken. I wonder not only how much more turmoil the SBC will experience but also how much more damage they will do to the broader Christian witness. The necessary cure won’t an easy fix.
Photo of the Week
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