Greater Church of Lucifer

Southern Baptists are still Southern Baptists: But the future is starting to look more complex

Southern Baptists are still Southern Baptists: But the future is starting to look more complex

So what happens next, in terms of the big issues at the 2018 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention?

Obviously, there were several hot topics addressed on the floor during the Dallas meetings. However, most of them were linked, in one way or another, to two basic issues -- reactions to the #SBCToo crisis and how Southern Baptists handle political issues and the politicians who seek some kind of symbolic blessing from the nation's largest Protestant flock.

Sure enough, the Southern Baptists were -- #DUH -- the topic we discussed during this week's "Crossroads" podcast. Click here to tune that in or sign up for the podcast using iTunes.

Host Todd Wilken and I spent quite a bit of time talking about (a) why the folks voting at SBC meetings are "messengers," not "delegates," (b) why the SBC is a "convention," not a "denomination" and (c) how those two realities affect real issues in the lives of real Southern Baptists.

In particular, I noted that the SBC's legal structure -- emphasizing local congregations, rather than a national hierarchy -- may present challenges to those seeking concrete, national structures to warn churches about church leaders who have been accused or convicted of sexual abuse.

Now, we recorded this podcast before the release of a fine Religion News Service story by veteran reporter Adelle Banks, that wrestled with that very issue. The headline: "Southern Baptists mull what’s next on confronting abuse." This is a must-read story, for those looking ahead on the #MeToo issue. Here is a crucial chunk of this story:

The alleged untoward behavior by Southern Baptist leaders forced many of the messengers, as delegates to this meeting are called, to grapple with how to rein in abuse while respecting the autonomy of the convention’s local churches. One step that the messengers took was to pass a nonbinding statement that suggested that “church and ministry leaders have an obligation to implement policies and practices that protect against and confront any form of abuse.”

The convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission announced that it will partner with a research firm to study the extent of abuse that is occurring in churches. The commission also has been referred a request from a messenger to evaluate the feasibility of establishing an “online verification database” of known sexual predators among ministers and other church personnel. It is scheduled to respond to that request at next year’s annual meeting.

Ah. But would the creation of a national SBC agency tracking abuse create the potential for lawsuits against the entire SBC, as opposed to local congregations or the trustees of individual SBC agencies or schools?

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Hey journalists, if the Greater Church of Lucifer says it's not Satanic, check it out

Hey journalists, if the Greater Church of Lucifer says it's not Satanic, check it out

There's a new church in the Houston area — and it's drawing a ton of media coverage.

Protesters showed up at Saturday's first service of the Greater Church of Lucifer in Spring, Texas, and the Houston Chronicle gave the clash prominent play in Sunday's print edition:

The centerpiece headline on the City-State section front:

Protesters denounce Church of Lucifer

The subhead:

Spring group's first service marked by demonstrators against alleged Satanism

Alleged Satanism, huh? This ought to be interesting.

Let's start at the top:

Protesters holding signs in Spanish and English stood Saturday along the road leading to the Greater Church of Lucifer as the church in Spring held its first service.

The signs proclaimed the power of Jesus, and one protester blew a horn fashioned from antlers. They said they attended various Houston-area churches as well as a few from other cities and states.

The Luciferians, who use the name Lucifer because it is Latin for "light bearer," say they do not worship Satan or practice animal sacrifice. Most of the protesters refused to believe it.

"They said it was in the news that they were building a satanic church in Spring," said Esther Limbrick, 77, of Spring. She predicted that God would bring a flood that very day to wash away the Luciferian church.

"I'm here to stand against a satanic church," said Christopher Huff, 46, a deacon and self-described evangelist from the Conroe Bible Church. Huff joined others pacing uttering prayers - sometimes shouting them - at the intersection of Spring Cypress Road and Main Street a few hundred feet from the Church of Lucifer. Huff said he had seen the Greater Church of Lucifer web site and described it as filled with "satanic symbols and lies."

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