June 14, 2012 Print Edition

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Jacksonville gay rights ordinance would discriminate against residents, Brunson tells City Council

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)-A hearing for an ordinance banning discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation — and "gender identity or expression" -- drew over 350 to a Jacksonville City Council meeting May 22 and extended past midnight to hear nearly 100 of the bill’s supporters and opponents.

A handful of Southern Baptist pastors and evangelical leaders spoke against the measure on moral grounds, joining John Stemberger, president of Florida Family Policy Council, in alleging the new ordinance could violate religious liberty, create new protected classes of individuals, and expose the city to unnecessary litigation.

Religious conservatives, other advocates regret Ronda Storms' early departure

TALLAHASSEE (NSF/FBW) -- Religious conservatives and other advocates for children, seniors and people with disabilities are reeling from Sen. Ronda Storms' May 25 announcement that she'll leave the Florida Senate two years before her term expires to run for Hillsborough Property Appraiser.

Christian comic producer reacts to Green Lantern re-launch as gay character

LEESBURG (FBW)—In light of DC Comics revelation it will re-launch one of its oldest superheroes as a gay man next week, a Christian comic company has pledged to continue to produce content with a biblical worldview.

Fritz Wilson named executive director of NAMB disaster relief

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (NAMB) – Fritz M. Wilson, disaster relief and recovery team strategist for the Florida Baptist Convention since 2006, today (June 7) was named executive director of the North American Mission Board’s disaster relief team. Wilson will be working with NAMB’s disaster relief team leader Mickey Caison through a time of transition.

Poll: Pastors want to keep SBC name, split on 'Great Commission Baptists' descriptor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- More than half of the pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention do not intend to use the name "Great Commission Baptists" in communication about their church, although 40 percent say they have not discussed the issue or decided, according to a survey by LifeWay Research.

JAX City councilman urges opposition of gay rights ordinance

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)-Clay Yarbrough, an at-large member of Jacksonville’s City Council, urged opposition of a bill supporters propose will ban discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation and “gender identity or expression.”

Yarbrough, a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, told Florida Baptist Witness late June 9 City Council had received about 4,000 emails regarding the bill. Approximately 1,600 are in support of it and 3,200 are in opposition, he said. Yarbrough is optimistic residents will continue to express their opinions to council members, who he believes will “look at the facts.”

LifeWay pulls ‘The Blind Side’ after pastor submits SBC resolution

LAKE CITY (FBW) – LifeWay Christian Stores will no longer sell “The Blind Side” movie after a Florida pastor proposed a resolution to next week’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting expressing “dissatisfaction” with its continued sale.

Eric Hankins to be 2nd VP nominee

NEW ORLEANS (BP)—Mississippi pastor Eric Hankins will be nominated for second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention by North Carolina pastor Clint Pressley during the SBC’s June 19-20 annual meeting in New Orleans.

Atheists fight Bradford Ten Commandments display

JACKSONVILLE (NSF) -- A national atheists group and a local resident have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the placement last month of a monument displaying the Ten Commandments outside the Bradford County courthouse in Starke.

Stemberger joins JAX attorneys for press conference opposing gay rights ordinance

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Florida Family Policy Council President and General Counsel John Stemberger stood with Jacksonville leaders June 4 outside of City Council chambers where members of the Rules Committee prepared to discuss a proposal banning discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation and "gender identity or expression."

Florida Baptist Convention requests verdict reversal in liability case

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—The Florida Baptist Convention has filed two post-trial motions seeking reversal of an “inconsistent” May 17 jury verdict that found it liable for sexual abuse committed by a former church-planting pastor.

While the jury found the Convention liable for sexual abuse of a minor committed by a church planting-pastor, it also agreed with the Convention’s contention the pastor was not its employee.

Editorial: A statement every Southern Baptist pastor should sign

There’s a great debate brewing among Southern Baptists. A recent statement seeks to help settle a matter about which Southern Baptists—and every other kind of Christian—have been contending for many years. The statement was written by leading Southern Baptist thinkers and has many prominent signatories. It addresses an important issue about which every Southern Baptist necessarily must be engaged.

God’s providence seen in multi-ethnic worship at Orlando church

ORLANDO (FBW)—As Southside Baptist Church looks to October when members will celebrate its 50th anniversary, Pastor Clayton Jerry Glaze said God’s providence could be seen in the Orlando congregation’s existence as it hosted a multi-ethnic worship service on May 27.

“This service today is an example of God’s providence,” Glaze told about 100 persons from his congregation and those from Korean and Arabic congregations. “Only the Lord knew that He had plans that would bring us together today.”

Point of View: Back to our roots

When I first heard of the proposal to adopt the phrase “Great Commission Baptists” as a motto for the Southern Baptist Convention, I was almost ecstatic. My first reaction was, “Hallelujah! We’re getting back to our original purpose of the SBC when it was organized in 1845.” Article Five of the Constitution said it best. The new group would be dedicated to lead the churches for the purpose of organizing and supporting missions world wide. The founders set up two boards, one for home missions and the other for foreign missions, to facilitate the work. After several stops and starts, God finally led our leaders to set up the Cooperative Program in 1925 to funnel money from the churches to a central system for dispersal to the convention’s varying venues.

‘Suits for Servants’ Jim Tatum, 85, memorialized in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Radiant in an ivory dress suit, a smiling Bernice Tatum told mourners she met Jim Tatum nearly 63 years ago on a rainy July evening when he sought shelter from Florida’s rain.

It was the first time he ever set foot in a church, she said. What followed was a dedicated life of service to God and to the church his wife told hundreds at a May 30 memorial service for her husband at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

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