Baptist Press published an article yesterday with comments from various Southern Baptist thinkers and leaders (and then me) responding to the launch of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality (EME). For those of you not familiar with EME, the opening paragraph of their statement of belief reads as follows:
As Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, we believe you can be a devout, Bible-believing evangelical and support the right of same-sex couples to be recognized by the government as married. Our commitment to following Christ leads us to speak out for equal treatment under the law for others—whether or not they share our religious convictions.
One of the key goals of this organization is to foster “compassionate, respectful dialogue” on the issue of same-sex marriage. They acknowledge that some of the conversations on both sides of the aisle have not always been helpful or civil.
As a Southern Baptist, I agree with the statements released in Baptist Press, especially considering my comments are part of the article. It should come as no surprise that I disagree with the position of EME. However, the statements back and forth (especially on Twitter) have been less of a conversation and more of short sound bites or longer soliloquies.
In light of this and in the spirit of dialogue, I am offering an open invitation to EME co-founders Josh Dickson and Michael Saltsman and/or spokesperson Brandan Robertson to have a dialogue in my ethics classes on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.
In just two sections of The Christian Home (a course on the ethics of marriage and family), I have nearly 100 students—future Baptist and evangelical pastors, missionaries, professors, and ministry leaders—focusing on the issue of marriage. The class schedule is such that both sections can be visited within the span of about 15 hours (Monday evening and Tuesday morning). I also have an introductory level class on the Bible and Moral Issues that meets Wednesday morning. The seminary classroom setting is perhaps a perfect place to have this dialogue as we believe in the exchange and evaluation of ideas.
If EME would like to send a representative to the fifth largest media market in the country to have a dialogue on the campus of one of the largest theological seminaries in the world, the invitation is open. My contact information is readily available on my faculty profile page on the seminary website.