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SBC DIGEST: Mohler, Wallis to debate social justice; Japan disaster relief update

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

DEERFIELD, Ill. (BP) -- R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Jim Wallis will debate the role social justice in the church's mission in a live webcast Oct. 27.

The debate will take place at the Chicago-area Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and will focus on the following question: Is social justice an essential part of the mission of the church?


Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will take the "no" position, while Wallis, president of Sojourners, will take the "yes" position.

"North American Evangelicals have recently experienced a revival of interest in issues of social justice," a statement at Trinity website states. "The growing sentiment among many today is that Jesus preached 'good news to the poor,' and was indeed among the poor and marginalized. These Christians believe that the implications of these facts should renew the church's understanding of the gospel and its mission. Rightly or wrongly, this interest in social justice is transforming the blueprint and vision of ecclesial ministry.

"For others, this blueprint conjures up concerns about 20th century liberal Protestantism and a watering down of the gospel's message of salvation. The defining mission of the church, for them, continues to be the sharing of the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to all nations, generations, and social classes. The issue of social justice, though important, is not to be considered as an essential part of the mission of the church."

The Oct. 27 debate can be accessed at More information is available at

JAPAN DISASTER RELIEF CONTINUES -- Southern Baptist disaster relief teams are continuing to help the people of Japan recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11.

A mud-out team from Oklahoma returned from Japan on Saturday, Aug. 13. Additional teams are scheduled to travel to Japan to assist with mud-out, supply delivery and construction.


With the assistance of translators, volunteers are able to share the love of Christ that prompted them to leave their homes, families and other responsibilities to travel to Japan.

An Aug. 12 communiqué from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief stated, "Pray for the Japanese people in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures, where SBDR volunteers are serving, that the Holy Spirit will open their hearts and minds to hear and respond to the invitation to a relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ."

The dates of teams currently scheduled to travel to Japan are:

Aug. 17-26, Louisiana mud-out team

Aug. 31-Sept. 9, Kentucky mud-out team

Sept. 3-18, California construction team

Sept. 17-Oct. 3, Oklahoma construction team

Oct. 1-10, Georgia mud-out team

Oct. 1-16, Missouri construction team

Oct. 15-30, Canada construction team

Oct. 17-26, Georgia mud-out team

Nov. 17-27, Florida mud-out team

Compiled by Baptist Press associate editor Michael Foust and editor Art Toalston.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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