December 2011

Clemson coach Chavis recounts radical transformation

January 7 2019 by Tim Ellsworth, Union University

Despite being a big-time college football player headed to the NFL, Miguel Chavis was on a path to destruction. Self-centered and vile. Hedonistic and drunk. A tough brute who partied hard and pursued every fleeting pleasure he could think of.

Photo courtesy of Clemson Athletics
Miguel Chavis, center, defensive player development coach for the Clemson Tigers, has been part of the team's rise to Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama.

You name it, and Chavis, during his early years as a defensive tackle at Clemson, was probably guilty of it.
“I was living in the flesh for 3 1/2 years and was sexually immoral and addicted to pornography, and was really just captured and captivated and enslaved by people’s opinions of me,” said Chavis, now the defensive player development coach at Clemson.
But then God intervened in Chavis’ life, radically transforming the young man into something new and something good. He is proof that God can find what’s lost and fix what’s broken.
“He lights up a room when he comes in, just an energetic kind of guy,” said Jeremy Chasteen, the college and missions pastor at Crosspoint Church in Clemson, S.C. “Big old dude. He’s one of those guys you see and say, ‘Man, if he could come to faith in Christ, he’s going to have a big impact on people.’”
The new Chavis is doing exactly that. Heavily involved at Crosspoint Church where he came to faith, Chavis leads a college Bible study in his home and is working on a master of divinity degree at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
During the last semester of his senior year at Clemson in 2011, Chavis attended a service at Crosspoint Church where he heard a sermon from Pastor Ken Lewis on Ephesians 2:1-10 that changed everything. Lewis preached about being dead in sin, and how those who were apart from Christ were under God’s wrath. But yet, God in His love saved people by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.

Photo courtesy of Miguel Chavis
A sermon in which he was "struck to the heart" set Miguel Chavis on the path to faith and his baptism by Ken Lewis, senior pastor of Crosspoint Church in Clemson, S.C.

“I remember being struck to the heart,” Chavis said. “For the first time I was given, really, the understanding of what sin is.”
Chavis went to sleep that night still thinking about the message he had heard. When he awoke the next morning, he felt the weight of his sin for the first time in his life. He realized how enslaved he was and how hostile his mind was toward God. All his life, he had lived only to satisfy his selfish desires and had found nothing to fill the hole in his heart.
“I fell on the floor,” Chavis said. “I’ll never forget it. I prayed to Jesus, and I challenged Him. I said, ‘Lord, if You’re real, I am believing right now for the first time, by faith.’”
The change in Chavis’ life was instantaneous. He began devouring the scriptures and evangelizing his teammates, fraternity brothers and family. He left Clemson and played professionally for three years, including stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs.
Chavis then returned to Clemson as a graduate assistant on head coach Dabo Swinney’s staff and finished his degree before becoming an intern at Crosspoint and eventually joining the church’s staff as a student minister. Though he left the church staff a couple of years ago to return to a full-time coaching role at Clemson, he continues to serve Crosspoint in a variety of ways.

Photo courtesy of Miguel Chavis
The faith Miguel Chavis, right, embraced as a senior at Clemson in 2011 has carried him into the ministry and on missions trips such as one to Costa Rica with Clemson players.

For Chavis, his faith in Christ is the foundation for that service and for the way he approaches his job as a coach at one of the elite college football programs in the country. On Jan. 7, Clemson will face Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship for the third time in the last four years.
“The way I love my players, that means I won’t cheat when we’re recruiting,” he said. “That means that we’re not gonna break NCAA rules. That means that we care about our players regardless if they tear their ACL and they can play for us or not. That means that we serve our players – this is a very, very big slogan I hear that’s core and central to our program – that we serve our players’ hearts and not their talents.”
Chavis doesn’t know where the Lord will lead in the future. He has a heart and passion for theology and ministry – “I could see him as a church planter one day,” Chasteen said – but he also loves coaching. For now, he and his wife Megan and their two young sons are content with where the Lord has placed them and the opportunities they have to invest in college students and football players.

“If I could do anything, I would serve here for as long as I can,” Chavis said, “until Christ calls me somewhere else.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.)

1/7/2019 6:35:44 PM by Tim Ellsworth, Union University | with 0 comments

Greear to launch ‘Who’s Your One?’ with associations

January 7 2019 by David Roach, Baptist Press

A Jan. 31 simulcast for associational leaders will help launch Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President J.D. Greear’s “Who’s Your One?” evangelistic initiative among the 1,000-plus associations within the Southern Baptist network.

BP file photo by Bill Bangham
SBC President J.D. Greear, who will address associational leaders during a Jan. 31 simulcast, called Baptist associations "a valuable partner in cooperation."

“Who’s Your One?” encourages every Southern Baptist to intentionally build a relationship with one person over the course of 2019, share the gospel and invite that person to trust Christ as Lord and Savior.
“Associations have always served as a valuable partner in cooperation, mobilizing churches together,” Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., told Baptist Press (BP). “Our own local [Yates Baptist] Association, under the leadership of Marty Childers, provides a great structure for church revitalization, racial reconciliation and partnership evangelism in our city. It only seemed natural for every association in the country to work together.”
Sponsored by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the Yates Association, the simulcast will begin at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time and feature Greear’s introduction of “Who’s Your One?” to Yates Association pastors as they gather for a luncheon at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Durham. Other associations that sign up online will receive login information to broadcast the event live.
Following Greear’s address, Johnny Hunt, NAMB’s senior vice president of evangelism and leadership, will introduce a “Who’s Your One?” evangelism kit being produced by NAMB for release in February. The kit is designed to help pastors lead a multi-week emphasis in their churches encouraging every member to become more focused and intentional about evangelism.
Hunt told BP, “The ‘Who’s Your One?’ evangelism kit is going to be a huge help to pastors throughout our convention as they seek to mobilize their congregations for evangelism. Our associational leaders can play a key role in helping churches engage with this effort. We are grateful for their partnership and look forward to seeing how God is going to move as thousands of Southern Baptists become focused on sharing their faith.”
The simulcast also will feature a question-and-answer session with Greear, Hunt and Yates Association pastors.
Ray Gentry, executive director of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders, has encouraged associations around the SBC to host their own pastors’ luncheons during the simulcast or show the event video, which will be archived, to pastors at a later gathering.
“The event is an opportunity for Pastor Greear to speak directly to our associations, recognizing the critical role associations play in equipping our churches for ministry,” Gentry wrote in a Dec. 20 email to associational leaders. “...Can you imagine the impact if every church in our associations were filled with people asking God each day to allow them to lead one person to Christ this year?”
Childers, missional strategist for the Yates Association, called the simulcast “a great example of Baptist collaboration.”
“We are just thrilled about hosting the event,” Childers told BP, “because we do get to hear from our SBC president and hear his vision. I think that will go a long way. I know J.D. has a heart for Baptist churches and Baptist associations.”
Additional information about the simulcast is forthcoming on the SBCAL website,, and SBCAL social media channels.

1/7/2019 6:35:31 PM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

WMU’s Camp Mundo Vista under new management

January 7 2019 by Biblical Recorder Staff

Camp Mundo Vista, a retreat center near Asheboro, N.C. that has been operated by the Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) for nearly 50 years, will soon come under new management, according to a recent press release.
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) Caraway Conference Center and Camp will manage daily operations and take financial responsibility for Mundo Vista beginning Feb. 1. The property, which sits on the same 1,100-acre plot of land as Caraway, is already owned by the BSC and had been leased to WMU-NC.
Jimmy Huffman, director of Caraway, called the agreement a “win-win” for both camps, allowing Caraway to grow and WMU-NC to continue its current programs.
“We will be able to expand our ministry footprint and also offer retreat accommodations to many groups we are currently having to turn away,” Huffman said.
Amy Boone, executive director-treasurer of WMU-NC, said, “This new agreement allows us to use Mundo Vista as we always have, providing our own programming for year-round WMU-NC-sponsored events that minister to women and girls and promote missions education and involvement.”
The press release cited recent staffing changes, budget restraints and a “desire to be good stewards of financial resources” at WMU-NC as reasons for the new arrangement.
Boone said the deal will also allow WMU-NC to “utilize financial gifts to expand our service to the churches and promote fulfillment of the Great Commission around the world.”
Find out more at and

1/7/2019 6:35:17 PM by Biblical Recorder Staff | with 0 comments

Richard Brunson named finalist for 2018 Tar Heel of the Year

January 7 2019 by Biblical Recorder Staff

Raleigh’s News & Observer revealed its 2018 Tar Heel of the Year Dec. 29.

Richard Brunson, executive director-treasurer of North Carolina Baptists on Mission (NCBM), was among the finalists, along with William J. Barber, Rihannon Giddens, Jaki Shelton Green and William Lewis.
Barber, who led the state’s Moral Monday rallies as the leader of the North Carolina NAACP, was named the 2018 Tar Heel of the Year. Nominations for the honor came from readers. The newspaper usually relies on staff nominations for the recognition, which started in 1997.
Brunson has led NCBM since 1992 and has been integral in disaster response in North Carolina and beyond.
“God is a good God, and I think God wants us to be working for good in other people’s lives,” Brunson said in his interview with the paper.
Giddens is a Grammy Award winner and a recipient of the 2017 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” fellowship. Green is North Carolina’s poet laureate, and Lewis is the executive director of PineCone.

1/7/2019 6:35:03 PM by Biblical Recorder Staff | with 0 comments

John Stonestreet expounds on faith, culture and worldview

January 7 2019 by BSC Communications

John Stonestreet serves as president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He is a speaker, writer, cultural commentator and host of Breakpoint Radio, a program and podcast devoted to Christian worldview founded by the late Chuck Colson.

Stonestreet is passionate about illuminating a biblical worldview for today’s culture, and he will be the keynote speaker at this year’s N.C. Baptist Disciple-Making Conference on Tues., Feb. 26 at Green Street Baptist Church in High Point.
Stonestreet took some time to answer questions related to worldview, cultural engagement and what he plans to share at the conference. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of that conversation.
Q: For those who may not be familiar with it, can you describe the Colson Center and your role there?
A: The Colson Center stewards one aspect of the rich legacy of Chuck Colson after his many years in the prisons. He became concerned that the prison population was exploding in America and realized brokenness was happening upstream.
That drove him into studying some of the great thinkers like William Wilberforce, Abraham Kuyper and others who turned him on to the concept of Christians understanding their faith as a complete worldview, so they could engage the culture well.
Chuck spent the last 20 years of his life talking about culture and how the church should be involved in bringing restoration. Everything that belongs to that part of Chuck’s legacy is under our purview. Our podcasts, website, Colson Fellows program and Wilberforce Weekend – which is our big conference every year – are designed to help Christians understand what’s happening in the culture from a biblical worldview and to encourage, motivate and equip them to engage the culture as Christians.
Q: At the outset of your book A Practical Guide to Culture you write, “Culture is a big topic and is much more easily theorized about than engaged in.” Why are believers often hesitant to engage culture?
A: I think there are probably a number of reasons. One is they are not aware of how culture is shaping them. They are like proverbial fish who don’t know they’re wet.
If you are not intentionally stepping out, taking a look at it, trying to evaluate it and trying to be intentional about understanding it, then you just end up swimming in the cultural waters.
Another aspect is what you might call the cocktail party pressure – the social cost for going against the cultural tide. No one wants to be a jerk, and no one wants to be called a bigot, so there is pressure. We don’t stop and engage it; we just go along.
Also, there is a lack of equipping. One of the most descriptive phrases we’ve heard of where Christians are, comes from Christian Smith’s work several years ago when he said many young people are moralistic, therapeutic deists. In other words, they want to be good people, nice people and happy people, and ultimately that’s the extent of how they understand their faith applies to life.
When all believers have ever heard are sermons and Bible teachings that are moralistic or therapeutic – in other words this is how you can behave and this is how you can feel better – then they haven’t been equipped to understand worldview battles beneath our culture. There’s a lack of awareness, and maybe if they are aware of it, there’s a lack of feeling equipped. We don’t see engaging the culture as any central part of discipling believers, and I think it needs to be.
Q: Your book covers a lot of topics (entertainment and consumerism to sexual orientation and gender identity). What are some of the cultural shifts we need to understand in order to engage our neighbors with the gospel?
A: In addition to what we call in the book “cultural waves” – the things we feel – there’s the undercurrent, things that have shifted over the last several decades that have changed what it really means to experience the world today. One is the shift to the information age.

That’s a really big deal. Now, in the culture we have access to more information and we are more highly susceptible to confusion and deception. There are so many ideas coming at us all the time. We say in the book that the information age is really the ideas age. Often ideas come at us without a strong argument, without really being proven and maybe even are mischaracterized. So, we don’t have a real keen sense of discernment when it comes to ideas, because it’s easy to be deceived.
We’re in a culture where we’re more connected but also more relationally isolated than ever before. It’s one of the great ironies – we have more ways to talk to each other and more people report being lonely.
There’s a great opportunity there because the gospel is centered around the God who became flesh, so there’s a relational component to the Christian worldview that others don’t have.
Also, there are issues with sexuality, marriage and gender. A lot of times we see those as separate issues, but fundamentally all those issues are about identity. And we tend to look at those issues in moral terms. So, when it comes to all the issues about sexuality and marriage, a lot of times the church is having a moral conversation while the culture is having an identity conversation, which is why we’re often shooting past each other. 
Q: The 2019 Disciple-Making Conference will focus on how to be salt and light in a rapidly changing culture. How can we do that and where do we begin?
A: First of all, we have to know what we believe and why we believe it. We need to be really clear that when we talk about Christian truth, we’re not talking about things we believe are true; we’re talking about things that actually correspond with reality. I think that’s the jump a lot of people need to make – the difference between saying I believe this and being able to articulate and make the case that Christianity as a worldview best explains the way the world actually is.
We’re not going to be salt and light if we’re just addicted to being relevant at all costs.
That’s the irony of it. In order to reach the world, a lot of times we just want to be relevant, but the larger culture is confused on fundamental issues about what it means to be human, what’s right and wrong and what the answer to the world’s problems are. So, if we try to be relevant ... we’re actually going to be irrelevant to what’s actually true.

1/7/2019 6:33:53 PM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments

National CP 4.5% under YTD budget projection

January 7 2019 by Baptist Press Staff

Contributions to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) national and international missions and ministries received by the SBC Executive Committee in December were 4.50 percent below the projected budget for the first quarter of the current fiscal year. And they were 0.19 percent above the amount received during the same period last year, according to a news release from SBC Executive Committee Interim President and Executive Vice President D. August Boto.

As of Dec. 31, gifts received by the Executive Committee for distribution through the Cooperative Program (CP) Allocation Budget totaled $46,315,254.71, or $86,029.25, above the $46,229,225.46 received through the first three months of the 2017–2018 fiscal year. The fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. The December total is $2,184,745.29 below the $48,500,000 YTD allocation budget projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America.
The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ channel of giving, begun in 1925, through which a local church can contribute to the ministries of its state convention and the missions and ministries of the SBC through a unified giving plan to support both sets of ministries. Monies include receipts from individuals, churches and state conventions for distribution according to the 2018-2019 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
Meanwhile, year-to-date designated giving of $10,232,108.45 was 11.95 percent, or $1,388,252.43, below gifts of $11,620,360.88 received in the first three months of the last fiscal year. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities. Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief, Disaster Relief and other special gifts.
CP allocation receipts for SBC work for the month of December totaled $14,779,341.27. Designated gifts received last month amounted to $3,753,123.64.
State and regional conventions retain a portion of church contributions to Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program to support work in their respective areas and forward a percentage to SBC national and international causes. The percentage of distribution is at the discretion of each state or regional convention.
The convention-adopted budget for 2018-2019 is $194 million and is disbursed as follows: 50.41 percent to international missions through the International Mission Board, 22.79 percent to North American missions through the North American Mission Board, 22.16 percent to theological education through the six SBC seminaries and the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, 2.99 percent to the SBC operating budget and 1.65 percent to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The SBC Executive Committee distributes all CP and designated gifts it receives on a weekly basis to the SBC ministry entities.
Month-to-month swings reflect a number of factors, including the timing of when the cooperating state Baptist conventions forward the national portion of CP contributions to the Executive Committee, the day of the month churches forward their CP contributions to their state conventions, the number of Sundays in a given month, and the percentage of CP contributions forwarded to the SBC by the state conventions after shared ministry expenses are deducted.
CP allocation budget gifts received by the Executive Committee are reported monthly to the executives of the entities of the convention, to the state convention offices, to the state Baptist papers and are posted online at

1/7/2019 6:33:36 PM by Baptist Press Staff | with 0 comments

Though not in Congress, N.C. pastor at ‘peace’

January 4 2019 by David Roach, Baptist Press

With his apparent election to Congress still uncertified nearly two months after Election Day, former pastor Mark Harris said he is wounded by questions about his character but determined to persevere in his quest for public office.

Screen capture from WRAL
Congressional candidate Mark Harris told reporters Jan. 3 he stands on his "good name and reputation" amid an election fraud investigation.

Meanwhile, a Baptist associational leader in Charlotte, N.C. – where Harris pastored First Baptist Church until 2017 – said churches and pastors are praying for Harris. On Christmas Eve, Harris told Metrolina Baptist Association executive director Bob Lowman he feels “a peace” amid media coverage and allegations of election fraud.
Harris, who has denied any wrongdoing connected with the election, told reporters Jan. 3 that questions about his integrity are “painful and hurtful” aspects of the post-election fiasco.
“We went through a tough campaign in the fall,” including ads “that took my sermons out of context,” “twisted” them and attempted “to create an image of me that was nowhere near where I am as an individual,” Harris told reporters in Raleigh, N.C., after meeting with state election investigators. He apparently was referencing attack ads about his preaching on biblical gender roles.
“But I must say, as painful and hurtful as that was, this has been even worse because I don’t have anything that’s more valuable than my good name,” Harris said. “And I intend to stand on that good name and reputation that I have built over 30 years as a senior pastor in the state of North Carolina and the leadership that I’ve been able to bring.”
Harris was president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina from 2011-2013 and served on the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions Committee. The new Congress was sworn in without Harris in Washington about the same time he addressed media in Raleigh.
Unofficial election results from North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District showed Harris, a Republican, defeating Democrat Dan McCready in November by 905 votes out of nearly 283,000 cast. However, the State Board of Elections refused to certify the results amid claims of irregularities regarding absentee ballots. Media reports have alleged election fraud.
Before the Board of Elections resolved the claims, a state court dissolved the board in a separate case. Harris filed court documents Jan. 3 asking a Wake County Superior Court judge to certify the election results immediately while election fraud investigations continue.
“We don’t believe that the number of ballots in question would change the outcome of this election,” Harris said.
A new Board of Elections won’t be in place until Jan. 31, and the state’s political parties have squabbled over Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposal to appoint an interim board.
Media reports have speculated new primary and general elections eventually may be called.
The 9th District election “is complete chaos,” Charlotte television reporter Joe Bruno told NPR, “and it changes every day.”
Harris told Charlotte’s WBT radio Dec. 28 he would run again if new elections were held. “I answered a call to do this, and I have been running,” he said. “And I will run until there’s nowhere else for me to run in this election.”
Harris added, “We have simply been trusting God each day that truth would be revealed.”
Lowman, Harris’ longtime friend, said Harris told him before a Christmas Eve worship service he “had a peace” about the election and has thought often about the song “God Will Make a Way.”
“There have been the predictable partisan comments from people across the board,” Lowman told Baptist Press. “But at least from what I’ve heard from Mark and others connected with that process ... it’s not that they want their way. They just want the right and truth to come out.”
Churches, pastors and other Baptist leaders, Lowman said, “have been rallying around to pray for” Harris and his wife Beth “as well as for the process.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – With reporting by Allan Blume, editor of North Carolina’s Biblical Recorder news journal.)

1/4/2019 10:47:43 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Alabama football players give boost to local ministry

January 4 2019 by Tim Ellsworth, Union University

Alabama running back Josh Jacobs and three other Crimson Tide football players provided a pleasant surprise for a 13-year-old boy while delivering a mattress and bed to a Tuscaloosa home in partnership with Calvary Baptist Church’s S.D. Allen Ministry.

Submitted photo
Alabama football players Hale Hentges and Keaton Anderson, left, along with a couple of other S.D. Allen Ministry volunteers, helped deliver beds to families in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Jacobs walked into the house, and the boy who lived there looked him up and down.
“Are you Josh Jacobs?” the boy asked.
Jeff Hurn, director of the S.D. Allen Ministry, noted it “was such a cool thing that somebody that these kids essentially look up to as role models, it’s something special to see them realize that those guys are real people who care as well.”
Jacobs, Hale Hentges, Miller Forristall and Keaton Anderson, all from the Alabama football team, helped Hurn last month deliver the 1,000th bed the ministry has provided to Tuscaloosa-area residents who can’t afford such luxuries.

On Jan. 7, the four players and the rest of their Crimson Tide teammates will face Clemson for the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Calvary Baptist Church began the S.D. Allen Ministry in the aftermath of a 2011 tornado that caused widespread destruction in Tuscaloosa. The church originally adopted about 25 families from a local housing project who lost everything in the storm – moving them into new apartments and paying their utilities and rent for three months. That number quickly increased to 130 families.

Submitted photo
Alabama football players, from left, Miller Forristall, Josh Jacobs, Keaton Anderson and Hale Hentges, along with S.D. Allen Ministry director Jeff Hurn, right, pose with the family that received the 1,000th bed the ministry has provided.

In the months after the tornado, the church began to realize that while several other sources were available to provide food and clothing to people in need, the city had no agency providing beds and furniture. That led to the establishment of the S.D. Allen Ministry. S.D. Allen was a member of Calvary who left the church funds, after his death, to be used for missions and outreach.
“Pretty quickly we focused in on necessary furniture items, specifically beds and sofas and stuff that could really help low income families and children and homeless veterans,” Hurn said. “I’ve come to find out that there are possibly thousands of people in just the Tuscaloosa area, within a one-hour radius, who are sleeping on the floor because they don’t have enough money to purchase a bed to sleep on.”
For Hurn, the involvement of Alabama football players is a huge boost to his ministry. Crimson Tide players are local celebrities with huge followings on social media. Anderson and Hentges joined up with the S.D. Allen Ministry when they selected a community organization for a marketing class project. They’ve helped Hurn with furniture deliveries and with promoting the ministry on social media.
Through that class, Hurn built a relationship with them that led to Jacobs’ and Forristall’s involvement as well.
Anytime one of the players posts on social media about S.D. Allen Ministry, Hurn sees an immediate uptick in phone calls and emails from people wanting to volunteer or make donations.

Submitted photo
Volunteers from the S.D. Allen Ministry load up mattresses to be delivered to needy families.

Because the football players are typically so busy with classes and football, they aren’t often seen out in the community. That makes it extra special for them to be involved with the S.D. Allen Ministry.
“For a kid or a single mom to have one of those guys knock on their front door, it’s almost like a Publisher’s Clearinghouse commercial,” Hurn said. “Someone knocks on your door, and they’re so surprised. It’s like they’ve seen a ghost.”
For Hurn, the Crimson Tide component is a bonus that allows him to do a better job of fulfilling his mission of providing not only for people’s physical needs, but for their spiritual needs as well.
“This is the easiest way to get the gospel into somebody’s life,” Hurn said. “They’ll open the door for you anytime you want to come bring a bed for their kid to sleep in. So, with each family I pray for them and let them know that God’s provided this bed for them just like He’s provided salvation through Christ for them as well.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.)

1/4/2019 10:47:36 AM by Tim Ellsworth, Union University | with 0 comments

Third gender option takes effect in NYC, California

January 4 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

People who don’t believe they’re either male or female can now choose a third gender in New York City and California, joining six other states and Washington, D.C., that allow the option.
Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington State and Washington, D.C. allow a non-binary gender option, often designated by X on legal documents, including driver’s licenses and birth certificates.
Gender X becomes legal in New Jersey in February, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality’s tracking site. Vermont is in the process of making the change, and state officials pledged in January 2018 to have the option in place by July of this year.
In Arkansas, a little-known option has allowed non-binary designations on documents since 2010, HuffPost reported in October 2018. The designation is becoming more widespread following its adoption by Oregon and Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2017, with legislation reintroduced in New York State this month. Germany became the first European nation to allow gender X in December 2018, the German government announced.
Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the change in New York City.
“To all trans and non-binary New Yorkers: we see you, hear you and respect you,” he tweeted days in advance of the change. “Starting in 2019, all New Yorkers will be able to change their gender on their birth certificate to M, F or X – without a doctor’s note.”
Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, India, Malta, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan and Uruguay are among nations allowing a third gender, according to various news reports and government websites.
Southern Baptists affirm binary gender in Article III of the Baptist Faith and Message, referencing Genesis 1:27, while the 2014 SBC resolution On Transgender Identity affirms “God’s good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception – a perception which is often influenced by fallen human nature in ways contrary to God’s design.”

1/4/2019 10:47:24 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

SBU professor’s firing, university’s theology discussed

January 3 2019 by David Roach, Baptist Press

As a former Southwest Baptist University (SBU) professor appeals his termination for allegedly accusing faculty colleagues of deviating from theological orthodoxy, the university has commissioned an “external peer assessment” to include “evaluations regarding orthodoxy” on the Bolivar, Mo., campus.

Photo from SBU
A theology professor's termination by Southwest Baptist University (SBU) has sparked discussion of theological views among faculty in SBU's Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry.

In the month since SBU’s Nov. 28 termination of Clint Bass, assistant professor of theology and philosophy, online discussion has included a petition calling for the university’s administration and trustees to “exonerate” Bass. As of midday Jan. 2, the petition had garnered more than 1,300 signatures and was accompanied by letters supporting Bass from professors at two Southern Baptist Convention seminaries.
Within the petition were links to documents claiming to provide evidence of deviations by SBU faculty from the biblical doctrines of scripture, hell and justification by faith among other points of Baptist theology.
In defense of SBU, a Dec. 22 blog post by one of Bass’s former SBU faculty colleagues, Zach Manis, claimed Bass was fired for “gross professional misconduct” and defended the theological orthodoxy of faculty in SBU’s Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry. The post appeared as a guest article on the personal blog of Rodney Reeves, dean of Redford College. In a Dec. 21 Facebook post, Reeves said he affirmed the inerrancy of scripture and had been “grieving for days over Clint’s dismissal.”
Bass was informed of his immediate termination in a letter from SBU President Eric Turner, which later was released online. The letter noted among “grounds for dismissal” “collecting evidence and ascribing views to [faculty colleagues] without personal interaction” and “use of non-credible information to formulate accusations against fellow faculty members.”
On Oct. 30, Bass “made serious allegations” orally to Turner and SBU Provost Lee Skinkle regarding his “colleagues’ personal and theological positions,” Turner wrote. “The allegations made were determined as unfounded” following “a systematic inquiry” by Skinkle. Turner accused Bass of using “notes and accusations as leverage” after being denied a promotion.
Bass alleged in a Dec. 21 statement he was granted an appeal hearing by a trustee committee but that his meeting with the committee was not conducted according to university policy.
“I was ready to participate in the process promised to me,” Bass wrote, adding the committee questioned him for hours with “a focus” on “my communications with other Missouri Baptists, and whether those communications were immoral.”
The day after Bass released his statement, SBU issued a news release announcing it had “commissioned an external peer assessment committee that will lead a University-wide dialogue regarding faith and learning. Included within this assessment will be deeper conversations and evaluations regarding orthodoxy.” The committee will be chaired, SBU stated, by David Dockery, president of Trinity International University.
SBU told Baptist Press in a Jan. 2 statement, “As the University has previously stated publicly, a faculty member at SBU was provided a Notice of Dismissal that outlined personal behavior concerning conduct violations of SBU’s Faculty Handbook. Since the employee’s dismissal, public discussions have mischaracterized the theological views and stances of the University.
“In an effort to ensure that the University’s theology integrity is intact, we have commissioned the peer assessment committee chaired by Dr. David Dockery. As we have been working on developing a strategic plan for the future of SBU, it is abundantly clear that SBU is and always should remain a Christ-centered community. We believe that the result of this dialogue will be an SBU that is even more firmly grounded in the core values that have defined us since our inception,” the university stated.
The online petition, posted at by Bass supporters, stated Bass “embraces with enthusiasm” the Baptist Faith and Message. Missouri Baptists “should be concerned not only about the theology being taught” in Redford College, but also “the way SBU’s administration has handled their investigation into Dr. Bass’s claims and his subsequent dismissal.”
Manis, professor of theology and philosophy at SBU, said the notion Bass was fired for his conservative theology is “flatly false.”
Social media defenses of Bass have included some by employees of SBC entities, including Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary theology professor Malcolm Yarnell and Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission research director Andrew Walker, an SBU alumnus who also commended the university for launching its peer assessment.
SBU is affiliated with the Missouri Baptist Convention.

1/3/2019 12:03:53 PM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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