Welcome to the historic First Baptist Church of Memphis, serving Memphis & the Mid-South since 1839. You will find exciting ministries, mission opportunities, and vibrant worship.

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9:30am Sunday School
11:00am Worship

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5:00pm Dinner
6:00pm Bible Study


200 East Parkway North, Memphis, TN 38112 ⋅ Office: 901.454.1131

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A Time For Dialogue

Of all our core values, dialogue may be the most unique.   You look at the core values of a lot of churches and you will see things that resemble hospitality, community, and service.  But dialogue?   It’s not that most churches do not value dialogue.  They might just say, “It goes without saying.”  And in a sense, they would be right. How can you truly have a church that values hospitality and community and service without also valuing dialogue, the voices and thoughts of your own and your community? But for our church, situated in an environment where Christian and Baptist sometimes means anything but freedom and dialogue, it was important to name this value.  We want you to know that this is a family of faith that truly believes that reflecting Christ for us entails being a community of dialogue.

Well, now is the time for such dialogue around the issue of marriage equality. While we as a church already have openly gay members, leaders, and deacons, this question is, for some, unique and requires consideration all its own.  Formally the conversation will begin in our diaconate, and then, should they choose to bring forward a recommendation to the church body, the conversation will continue among us all.  But the reality is most all of us will be engaged in this sensitive conversation in numerous settings—home, work, school, as well as church.  Thus it is incumbent upon us as responsible Christians to become as informed as possible and to practice the type of dialogue we preach.  To this end we are sponsoring a series of dialogues entitled Homosexuality, Marriage, and the Church.  These will be held on four consecutive Sundays: September 13, 20, 27, and October 4.  This is a very complex topic, and no series, no matter how long, would be complete and perfect.  But we believe these four will be helpful to some, maybe many, and will help forward the dialogue that is already going on in our hearts and minds, families, friendships, businesses, community and congregation.  There will be time at the end of each presentation for questions and discussion.  While we cannot control how news of this series may spread in our community and who will attend, we will not intentionally publicize this series to the community so as to preserve this series, as best we can, as a time as for our own members to dialogue openly and respectfully on this important topic.  Childcare will be available with reservations.  

  • September 13: How the Church Has Failed Gay Christians…So Far Dr. David Gushee     Dr. Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University.  He is widely regarded as one of the leading Christian ethicists in our country.  He is the author or editor of 20 books and hundreds of articles in the field, including Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, Kingdom Ethics, The Sacredness of Human Life, and, most recently, Changing Our Mind, a personal, theological and ethical perspective on the LGBTQ issue as it impacts the church.  Dr. Gushee will preach in morning worship.  We will then eat together in Fellowship Hall where Dr. Gushee will elaborate on some points and respond to questions.
  • September 20: Homosexuality and the New Testament Dr. Mitzi Minor                                Dr. Mitzi Minor is the Mary Magdalene Professor of New Testament at Memphis Theological Seminary.   Dr. Minor is a graduate of Auburn (B.A., 1980), and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1985; Ph.D., 1989).  She has served as a pastor, college chaplain and professor, before joining the faculty at MTS in 1993.  She is a noted author, New Testament scholar and much sought after preacher, including the Calvary Lenten Series.  Dr. Minor’s lecture will offer an in depth analysis of New Testament texts that are often cited in the discussions concerning LGBTQ inclusion. 6-7:30 p.m., Fellowship Hall.
  • September 27: A Time to Hear Stories and Ask Questions Elaine Blanchard and Broderick Greer                                                                                                                                             In many conversations about LGBTQ acceptance in the church, one voice is sometimes ironically absent, that of LGBTQ Christians themselves.  Elaine Blanchard is a well-known local storyteller and preacher.  She is a lesbian.  Broderick is the Curate (associate priest) at Grace St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  He is gay.   Both are very dedicated Christians who were raised in the church and thus understand the difficulty of this issue for the church.  Both come simply to tell their stories and answer questions that only those who are LGBTQ and Christian can answer.  6-7:30 p.m., Fellowship Hall.
  • October 4: LGBTQ and the Church: A Panel Discussion on Pastoral Responses           This session will utilize a video of a panel discussion that took place in a break out session at the CBF General Assembly this past June in Dallas.   In this discussion, pastors of two CBF partner congregations—Steve Wells of South Main Baptist in Houston and Joe Phelps of Highland Baptist in Louisville—model unity despite differing pastoral responses to same-sex relationships and marriage.   Also included in the panel is Rebecca Adrian, Pastoral Care Manager of Baylor University Medical Center, who shares how the Gospel shapes how she seeks to minister to members of the LGBTQ community and their families. 6-7:30 p.m. Fellowship Hall.

As we engage in these dialogues and all that are to follow, formal or otherwise, let us speak and listen as Christ would want us to—with respect and kindness, seeking unity even amidst diversity.  As Parker Palmer suggests, “Only when we are in right relationship can we hang in with one another long enough to come to a rough consensus of ‘what is’ and ‘what ought to be.’”

Grace ,David


This article was written by Rev. Dr. David Breckenridge and originally published in the September edition of Together.
Posted by Bridget Ellis at 9:00 AM
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