Southern Baptist ERLC Fellow edits book platforming pro-abortion and pro-gay views

Pro-Abortion writer asserts in chapter ‘The Bible doesn’t tell us whether abortion, prenatal diagnosis, IVF or PGD are right or wrong.’

Advances rhetoric of Listening and Support over condemnation of sin.

Does the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) Research Fellow program still exist? Or, have the crazy antics of its Fellows forced the progressive-leaning Russell Moore to abandon the program? If the ERLC hasn’t scuttled the program, perhaps the latest news will do it: An ERLC Research Fellow edited a book for Zondervan Academic platforming the views of a pro-gay writer on same-sex relationships and a pro-abortion writer on reproductive issues.

The book is Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues. It is edited by Joshua Chatraw, Ph.D. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Karen Swallow Prior, professor at Liberty University and ERLC Research Fellow.

Let me be very clear, I’m not criticizing anything written by the ERLC Fellow Karen Swallow Prior. My critique is very narrow—that Zondervan and this book provides a platform and wider dissemination of dangerous writers and their views on critical doctrinal issues.

Cultural Appeasement courtesy of ERLC Fellows & Zondervan

The book examines “the church’s relationship to culture,” and how “confessing Christians” interact with complex cultural and political issues. Confessing Christian is an important qualifier given that anyone can claim to be a Christian, but are they really a confessing Christian when they espouse views contrary to Scripture? For example, the book includes an essay on reproductive ethics by a pro-abortion Ellen Painter Dollar and an essay on same-sex ethics by the Matthew Vines.

Ellen Painter Dollar wrote for CT, “Why I am Pro-Choice.” She argued, “I do not think abortion is a good thing, nor do I think abortion is a morally neutral act. But fundamentally, I am a practical person. The primary reason I support abortion rights is that, for all of human history, women have gotten pregnant unintentionally, and have sought ways to end them, often at the expense of their safety or their lives. When abortion is not legal, it becomes unsafe, but women seek it out anyway. And I care about those women as people made in God’s image too. As Hillary Clinton once said, I want to live in a society where abortion is “safe, legal, and rare.” What if, instead of striving to make abortion illegal, we Christians worked toward making it rare?”

Matthew Vines wrote God and the Gay Christian, a book that tried to advance a biblical case for homosexual relationships.

Balancing these writers, are a host of conservative essays. Cultural Engagement attempts to present a range of opinions on topics by including orthodox in counter to the questionable. Bright spots include an essay by orthodox scholars like conservative Dr. Robert Gagnon and another by the conservative Owen Strachan and yet another by Robert P. George.

However, the danger is in platforming those with dangerous views on abortion and same-sex relationships.

Dollar writes in her chapter, “The Bible doesn’t tell us whether abortion, prenatal diagnosis, IVF or PGD are right or wrong.” This is a view outside the mainstream of poplar and academic evangelical thought. And demonstrably false. The Bible and the church have insisted since the beginning that abortion was murder and prohibited to the Christian. The Didache, written in the second century, said as much.

Dollar’s essay illustrates the dangers of using modern worldviews to filter God’s Word.

Matthew Vines writes a chapter on same-sex attraction and likens the church’s past views on homosexuality to the church’s changed views on astronomy.

“For the first fifteen hundred years of church history, all Christians believed the earth stood still at the center of the universe. They also believed that the Bible clearly taught that to be true…New information about the solar system changed Christians’ lens for interpreting Scripture, leading them to a more nuanced, accurate understanding of the text.”

In a revealing paragraph, Vines explains why the shifting astronomical views matter. “New information led Christians to rethink longstanding interpretations before. In our day, new information about a much more personal subject—sexual orientation—is leading many Christians to reconsider their interpretation of Scripture on same-sex relationships.”

And just like that we are off re-writing millennia of sexual teachings because…Science.

Science is the god of this age and research the systematic theology. If research says it, then, people believe it. That settles it.

Promoting these views as how “confessing Christians” approach these political and social issues is a huge problem. The view of abortion espoused by Dollar and the view of same-sex relationships promoted by Vines are outside traditional, confessing Christian doctrine.

A few months ago, Dr. Albert Mohler asked critics to “Look at who I platform.” That’s good advice for all Southern Baptists and evangelicals. Who is platformed? Is it a good thing to platform Matthew Vines and Ellen Painter Dollar? Or, is this another mile marker on the road to surrender and cultural appeasement?

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