Dr. Richard Land

SES President Dr. Richard Land Joins 100 Christian Leaders in Marriage Statement

June 29, 2015

‘Here We Stand’ Is an Evangelical Declaration on Marriage

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—To paraphrase Winston Churchill, who said upon the fall of France on June 18, 1940, “...the battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.” Unless there is a great spiritual awakening in America, the battle for traditional marriage is over. Now the battle for religious freedom has begun.

As evidence, nearly 100 Christian leaders have responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize same-sex marriage across the nation. Among them was Dr. Richard Land, President of Southern Evangelical Seminary (www.ses.edu), a leader in apologetics education. Land has also been named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”

The declaration, posted on Christianity Today, highlights the following statements:

“The battlefield shifts to religious freedom,” Land said in an SES statement on Friday. “Will the progressive, totalitarian and intolerant left weaponize the government and attempt to force or compel people to affirm same-sex behavior and relationships? Or will they respect the freedom of conscience guaranteed by the Constitution? These will continue to be questions for the coming generations, now that the high Court has seized the historic role of defining marriage from the individual states and stripped it away from voters.”

  • As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage. 
  • The Bible clearly teaches the enduring truth that marriage consists of one man and one woman. 
  • Evangelical churches must be faithful to the biblical witness on marriage regardless of the cultural shift. 
  • The gospel must inform our approach to public witness. As evangelicals animated by the good news that God offers reconciliation through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, we commit to:
  • Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Rom. 13:1-7);
  • teach the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;
  • affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect;
  • love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage;
  • live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good;
  • cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.
  • The redefinition of marriage should not entail the erosion of religious liberty.
  • The gospel of Jesus Christ determines the shape and tone of our ministry.

Before the ruling was announced, FOX News reported that the nearly 16 million members of the Southern Baptist Convention by an overwhelming vote of their convention were encouraged to “openly reject any mandated legal definition of marriage and to use their influence to affirm God’s design for life and relationships.” Land, President Emeritus of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families, served as President of that organization from 1988-2013.

SES is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.

SES’s 22nd annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics will be hosted by Calvary Church in Charlotte onOct. 16-17, 2015, with the theme, “Ideas Have Consequences: The Bigger the Idea, the Bigger the Consequence.” In addition to Dr. Land, confirmed speakers include Josh McDowell, Dr. Jay Richards, Dr. Hugh Ross, Dr. Norman Geisler and Dr. Paige Patterson.

Land is featured in his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on 200 stations on the American Family Radio Network and 100 stations on the Bott Radio Network. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, debuted in January on the NRB Network, and airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. This spring, it began airing on the Total Living Network, reaching nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area. For more information about stations, times, downloads and more, visit www.ses.edu/about-us/bringing-every-thought-captive.

Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology (Honors Program) degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”

Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.

Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked as the top graduate program for General Christian Apologetics by TheBestSchools.org’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.”

For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH. For more information about "Ethics in Emerging Technology," visitwww.ethics.ses.edu.

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For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102, or Beth Harrison, 610-584-1096, ext. 104Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.

Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. The accredited Christian college and seminary offers a wide variety of bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees. Programs can be completed through residence in the Charlotte area or online. The award-winning education at SES is distinctively Christian and focused on evangelism and world-engaging defense of the Christian faith—Christian Apologetics.