As debates over sexuality and marriage continue to heat up among American Christians, several groups have decided to convene what a Southerner might call a “Come to Jesus meeting.” Three Christian organizations will host conferences during the next three months representing the wide spectrum of views among believers.
Today, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention becomes the first off the block with the commencement of their national conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The ERLC is one of the leading organizations promoting the traditional Christian understanding of sexuality and marriage. They have 45 speakers scheduled to address their gathering, and have welcomed many prominent pro-gay advocates to attend the conference as well. It should create much conversation across social media. (Those who aren’t attending the event can live stream it here.)
Next month, The Reformation Project will host their event in Washington, D.C. to promote the full affirmation of same-sex relationships. (David Gushee, a leading evangelical ethicist, plans to publicly announce his support of LGBT relationships at the event.) And in January, the Gay Christian Network will host a conference in Portland, Oregon that they claim takes more of a “third way” by welcoming perspectives of affirming Christians and those who believe faithfulness requires celibacy for LGBT persons.
Below is a sketch of each conference with a short statement from the leader of the host organization describing the event’s goal in their own words.