May 2016

History needed telling, SBTS grads & NAAF say

February 11 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Slavery and racism once supported by the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) oldest seminary needed to be documented for history’s sake, black alumni and a representative of nearly 4,000 black pastors told Baptist Press (BP).

SBTS Photo

In this month annually dedicated to black history, the leaders are lauding Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. for initiating the report detailing the racism and slave ownership of SBTS founding fathers.
“Dr. Mohler’s commissioning the study and releasing the internal report on the history of slavery and racism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) is clear leadership akin to the men of Issachar,” said Marshal Ausberry, president of the National African American Fellowship (NAAF) of the SBC, referencing 1 Chronicles 12:32. “Dr. Mohler clearly understands the times and knows what to do!”
Southern Baptist executives Kevin Smith, Ken Weathersby and Curtis Woods, all SBTS alumni, also praised the report, clarified its purpose and shared future hopes. Smith and Woods both teach SBTS courses while serving in leadership capacities at state conventions, and Woods served on the committee appointed to research and compile the report.
“The goal of the report was historical truth-telling. We knew the report would potentially produce lamentation and laudation in the hearts of various readers,” said Woods, co-interim executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, and an SBTS assistant professor of applied theology and biblical spirituality.
A proclaimed righteousness of slaveholding and efforts to preserve it, support for the Confederacy, opposition to racial equality after the Civil War, and the restoration of Southern white rule after the war were all causes of the seminary’s founders, the report points out. Juxtaposed to professed Christianity and gospel proclamation, 19th and 20th century faculty and administrators taught white supremacy and segregation.
“The history of the seminary is like an antibiotic and a vaccine,” said Ausberry, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax Station, Va. “As an antibiotic it kills the lingering infection of racism and as a vaccine, kills a recurrence of the disease!”
The gospel is greater than historical accuracy in moving beyond wrongs committed, those interviewed told BP of the document released in December, 2018 as a “Report on Slavery and Racism in the History of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.”
“I’m not certain a written document by fallible men will be stronger than the inerrant and infallible Word of God to increase ethnic diversity within SBC life,” Woods said. “C. Eric Lincoln correctly stated, ‘A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.’ In context, Lincoln’s aphorism means if the mind is not renewed, the report will be eschewed.”
Jesus Christ is our reconciler, Ausberry said.
“We reconcile to each other because that is the picture of Christ reconciling a sinful world to Himself,” is how Ausberry put it. “Southern Baptists have a golden opportunity to show the world how we can make peace with our past, and truly love one another, because the love of Jesus Christ binds us together.”
SBTS is well known today for theological and academic integrity, and is one of the largest seminaries in the nation, said Weathersby, SBC Executive Committee vice president for convention advancement.
“It is paramount not to allow your past failures to prevent you from moving forward in reaching the goal in producing leaders who reflect the character of Jesus Christ,” Weathersby said. “The outcome of knowing the purpose and the core values of your institution will allow you to make the necessary corrections in training leaders and creating an environment for diversity in every level of the school.”
Smith, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, said the report is not surprising because Mohler values historical study. The report is an analysis of primary sources, said Smith, who teaches an SBTS summer intensive course as assistant professor of Christian preaching.
“It’s very significant that readers understand what type of document this is – historiographical, not political or ethical,” Smith said. “Also, it’s important to know that the audience is Southern Baptists, that we might know more about our flagship seminary.”
The report’s informational value to those previously unfamiliar with this part of SBTS history, and its documentation of the times for those who were already familiar with the period are both positives, Smith said.
Other institutions, including Princeton and Georgetown universities, Woods said, led the way in unearthing past institutional commitments to black exploitation which created an economic advantage for educating Anglo-Americans. For instance, Jesuit priests who ran Georgetown University sold about 300 slaves to Southern plantation owners in the 19th Century to keep the school afloat, history records.
“SBTS performed its research because President Mohler rightly believed that a holistic understanding of the gospel gives Christians the appropriate categories to deal with past sins,” Woods said. “I, as an African-American faculty member, was elated to join the committee at the chairman’s request.”
Widespread opinions from secular and Christian communities followed the report’s release.
“A good research project requires the author to propose a thesis with delimitations. Our committee fulfilled the report’s purpose. We gave a considerable amount of thought to our conclusion,” Woods told BP. “As it relates to including additional scenarios to the story, SBTS invites budding scholars to take up the investigative mantle in our research doctoral program rather than wasting precious brain cells through social media diatribes.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: February is Black History Month and Sunday, Feb. 10, is Racial Reconciliation Sunday in the Southern Baptist Convention.)

2/11/2019 10:36:20 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Pro-life concerns mount over high court’s Louisiana’s ruling

February 11 2019 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The U.S. Supreme Court’s latest action in an abortion-related case again has prompted pro-life Americans to wonder whether a majority even exists to protect unborn children and their mothers.
In an order issued Feb. 7, the high court blocked enforcement of a Louisiana law to require that an abortion doctor have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans had upheld the 2014 law, which is intended to protect the health and lives of women who suffer complications from abortion.
The action, which four justices opposed, followed by less than two months the Supreme Court’s refusal to review lower court opinions rejecting decisions by Kansas and Louisiana to remove Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider. The cases in that Dec. 10 action did not address abortion directly but involved whether Medicaid recipients could challenge a state’s decision on who qualifies as a provider in the government program that helps with health care expenses.
Both actions left pro-life advocates questioning where the court stands on abortion regulations and the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing the procedure after two justices named by President Trump have been added in the last two years.
“We are disappointed this law has been enjoined, but we are hopeful that the state of Louisiana will prevail in the end,” Travis Wussow, general counsel and vice president for public policy of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said in written comments for Baptist Press. “The abortion lobby’s relentless opposition to regulations like these exposes the industry’s drive for profits above all else.
“We will continue to stand for the dignity of all as image bearers of God as we seek to care for the vulnerable,” Wussow said.
Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life, said her organization “is disappointed that a bare majority of [justices] continued to stay the enforcement of a commonsense safety measure that will protect Louisiana’s women from substandard abortion practitioners.”
Two days before the high court’s action, David French – senior writer for National Review and former senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom – said a stay of the Fifth Circuit opinion by the justices would be “quite frankly ominous news for the pro-life movement.”
A stay means a compelling possibility exists that a majority will ultimately decide a lower-court decision was in error.
“If the Court grants the stay, pro-life advocates should be gravely concerned,” French wrote Feb. 5.
The pro-life movement’s hopes are the justices will review and uphold the Fifth Circuit decision. “We look forward to a closer look at the real facts of this case by the Court,” Foster said, “and we’re confident that in doing so, the Justices will vote to uphold it.”
Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act requires a doctor to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic where a procedure is performed. While a federal judge struck down the law, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit reversed the decision in a 2-1 ruling in September. The appeals court denied Jan. 18 a request for a review by all the judges.
An abortion clinic in Shreveport and two unnamed doctors responded by requesting a stay from the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts split from what is considered the court’s conservative branch to join the high court’s liberal wing – Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – in granting the stay. Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch joined the court’s newest member, Brett Kavanaugh, in a four-page dissent.
Kavanaugh and Roberts joined the four liberal justices in their December decision not to review the appeals regarding the removal by Kansas and Louisiana of Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider.
In his dissent on the Louisiana case, Kavanaugh said the stay should be denied while three abortion doctors affected by the case seek admitting privileges at hospitals. Louisiana has three abortion clinics and four doctors who perform abortions at those facilities. One of the doctors already has admitting privileges.
The doctors have a 45-day regulatory transition period in which to obtain privileges from hospitals and could bring a complaint at the conclusion of that time if they are unsuccessful, Kavanaugh wrote.
The high court’s approach by granting the stay “will take far longer and be no more beneficial than the approach” he suggests, Kavanaugh said.
Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributor to National Review, said in a Feb. 8 post he does not think Roberts’ vote for the stay “signals anything about how he will rule on the merits of the case.” Whelan said he would be “very surprised” if Roberts considers a 2016 decision on a similar Texas law to be “sound precedent.”
In that case, the high court voted 5-3 to rule that portions of a Texas law regulating abortion doctors and clinics constitute an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abort her child and are therefore unconstitutional. Overturning a Fifth Circuit opinion, the justices invalidated a section mandating an abortion doctor to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. They also struck down a requirement that an abortion clinic must meet the health and safety standards of other walk-in surgical centers.
Defenders of the Louisiana law say it does not include the health and safety requirements of the Texas law and the situation in the state does not burden women seeking abortions like the Texas mandate does.
Since the decision on the Texas law, Trump has nominated Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016 before that ruling. When Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy retired last year, Trump nominated Kavanaugh, who barely received Senate confirmation after a contentious battle focused on his abortion views and sexual assault allegations.
While pro-lifers have hoped the addition of the Trump nominees to Roberts, Thomas and Alito would produce an upholding of state abortion restrictions and an eventual reversal of Roe, abortion-rights advocates have warned Roe is on its death bed and pressed some state legislatures to approve expansive protections for the procedure.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, applauded the Supreme Court’s stay, saying in written comments, “While this particular ruling thankfully falls on the right side of history, it illustrates a sobering reminder: the thread that women’s rights hang by is dangerously thin in so many places across the country. [NARAL and its members] will continue to combat attempts by hostile state legislatures and courts to gut the protections of Roe v. Wade.”
The case is June Medical Services v. Gee.

2/11/2019 10:36:01 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

IMB elects EVP, appoints 19 missionaries

February 8 2019 by Julie McGowan, IMB

International Mission Board (IMB) trustees unanimously elected Todd Lafferty as the 173-year-old entity’s executive vice president (EVP) during their Feb. 6-7 meeting in Richmond, Va.

Photo by Chris Carter/IMB
In his first presidential report to IMB trustees on Feb. 7 in Richmond, IMB President Paul Chitwood states that he has a growing gratitude to Southern Baptists for their faithful giving and support of their International Mission Board.

Trustees also appointed 19 new missionaries for service around the globe; affirmed Roger Alford as vice president of communication, and recognized 48 emeriti in memoriam.
Lafferty, 59, most recently has served as pastor of mobilization for Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. He and his wife Susan previously served with the IMB for nearly 29 years. See related Biblical Recorder story.
IMB President Paul Chitwood described Lafferty as a strong leader, humble servant, and sincere Christ-follower with a burning passion for the lost. “The Lord is kind to bring him back to the IMB,” Chitwood said.
Lafferty said he was honored and humbled to be considered as the candidate for EVP.
“Many have not asked, ‘Why are you going back to the IMB?’ Almost to a person they have said, ‘This makes perfect sense. God has been preparing you for this all of your life,’” Lafferty told the trustees.

“It is my desire to work alongside Dr. Paul Chitwood and the other vice presidents to do all that we can to have the most visionary and strategic missionary force on the face of the earth,” he said. “And we need to make sure they have the resources they need to get the job done.

“I believe that God calls missionaries to the cross-cultural task of reaching the nations, but he also calls others to serve alongside and enhance all that we are doing to reach the nations,” Lafferty noted. “So we call on our Southern Baptist churches to partner with us in reaching the nations, and we call on our international partners to lock arms with us in the greatest endeavor on the planet – to take the good news to the ends of the Earth.”

New missionaries, new VP


Photo by Chris Carter/IMB
Susan and Todd Lafferty, left, share a warm greeting with IMB President Emeritus Jerry Rankin and his wife, Bobbye, following the IMB trustees’ plenary session Feb. 7 in Richmond, Va. Lafferty was unanimously elected as the IMB’s executive vice president during the session.

Trustees approved the appointment of 19 new full-time, fully funded missionaries, who were honored during a Sending Celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond. The service included a formal installation of Paul Chitwood as IMB’s 13th president.
Trustees also affirmed Chitwood’s selection of Roger Alford to fill a newly created role of vice president for communications. The role is designed to build and maintain an optimum communications approach, operation and staff to best serve the needs of IMB and the SBC. Alford will begin serving alongside the existing senior leadership team in March.

“I’m thrilled that Dr. Chitwood and trustees have entrusted me with the privilege of telling the stories of IMB missionaries,” said Alford, who has been the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s communications director for the past five years.

“These are truly modern-day heroes of the faith who have committed their lives to working in difficult and often dangerous places around the world.”

After more than three decades as a newspaperman and an Associated Press correspondent, Alford joined the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) in January 2014. In that role, Alford, 56, created the online newspaper Kentucky Today, wholly owned by the KBC. The initiative was intended to expand KBC’s ability to communicate with its 2,400 churches and 750,000 members.
Alford has broad experience in managing all aspects of communications, including writing and editing, all aspects of traditional and social media, web development, marketing strategies, media relations, graphic design and mass mailings. He and his wife Susan are members of First Baptist Church in Owenton, Ky. They have three grown children.

Celebration of service


Photo by Chris Carter/IMB
Linda Cooper, president of National Woman’s Missionary Union, brings greetings and words of partnership to the IMB board of trustees during their Feb. 7 plenary session in Richmond, Va.

Meador recognized the lives of 57 former colleagues – including seven staff, two current missionaries and 48 emeritus missionaries – who died in the past year. The field personnel’s lives totaled 1,365 years of service through the IMB, with an average age of 88.5 and an average of 28 years of service. “Thank you, Lord, for your grace to us through the lives of these men and women,” Meador prayed at the conclusion of the memorial recognition.

Former staff who were recognized in memoriam included Tom Williams, who served 34 years as a missionary to Thailand, regional leader for Western Pacific, regional leader for Western Europe, and as vice president of the Office of Global Personnel; and Jim Slack, who served 51 years as missionary to the Philippines and in Global Research. Meador also recognized Randy and Kathy Arnett, ages 62 and 61, who served 31 years in Togo and Côte D’Ivoire, as regional leader for West Africa, and in theological education leadership in Sub-Saharan Africa. They died in a traffic accident, March 14, 2018.
Emeritus missionaries included, among many others who served around the globe: Faye Taylor, age 100, who served 39 years in Hong Kong, China, and Indonesia; Pauline Moore, age 105, who served 38 years in Yugoslavia, Switzerland, and Germany; Virginia Winters, age 94, who served 40 years in Brazil; Etta Jean Phillips, age 87, who served 39 years in Botswana, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe; and Charles Whitten, age 96, who served 40 years in Argentina, Equatorial Guinea and Spain.


In his first presidential report to trustees, Chitwood stated he has a growing gratitude to Southern Baptists for their faithful giving and support of their International Mission Board.
“Just shy of three months since I was elected president by the trustees, I am even more in awe of the place that God has given this remarkable organization in His kingdom work around the world,” Chitwood said. “And I am even more appreciative of the commitment that Southern Baptists long ago made, and still keep, to cooperate together that Christ is proclaimed among the nations.”

Photo by Chris Carter/IMB
IMB trustee David Miller, right, from Tennessee, greets Roger Alford, left, who will begin serving as IMB vice president of communication in March.

“Cooperating churches with 10 members to those with more than 10,000 members, local associations of a handful of churches to those with hundreds of churches, state conventions with 100 churches and those with thousands of churches, and SBC entities with budgets of a few million to those with budgets of hundreds of millions: this is the beauty and the brilliance of the Southern Baptist system of cooperative missions,” he said. “It is a system that today maintains an overseas force of more than 3,600 missionaries serving in more than 100 countries. The gospel will be heard today where it would not have been heard if it weren’t for Southern Baptists making and keeping a commitment to cooperate together.”
Chitwood reported a strong commitment by IMB’s overseas personnel and staff to see the entity’s vision fulfilled.
“As grateful as we are for the financial resources that Southern Baptists and their Lord have provided to support the work of the IMB, by far the greatest resource that Southern Baptists and their Lord have provided is their sons and daughters, their grandchildren, their mothers and fathers and even their grandparents,” he said. “Whether on staff in Richmond or overseas in a far and distant land, Southern Baptists have sent us their very best.... As Michelle and I have now answered the call upon our lives to once again serve and help lead this organization, we stand in awe of the quality of servants whom God has brought to the IMB and sent out through the IMB.”
Linda Cooper, president of National Woman’s Missionary Union, from Bowling Green, Ky., brought partnership greetings to the trustees during their plenary session. She reported how WMU has partnered with IMB, such as providing missions education materials to local believers in East Asia, working through Southern Baptist personnel, and by continued promotion of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions.
“This is such an exciting time in the IMB,” said Rick Dunbar, IMB trustee chairman. “Last night we saw the Southern Baptist Convention coming together as represented by many key leaders of the SBC in support of God’s new missionaries who are being sent out, and also in celebrating the inauguration of our 13th president, Paul Chitwood.”
“We thank the SBC for their support of the IMB and trust that to who much is given, much is expected,” Dunbar noted. “We take that trust seriously and commit ourselves to being good stewards of that trust. We are optimistic for the future and feel good things are ahead. We feel a tremendous responsibility to our Lord and the SBC and seek to glorify Him though our work through the IMB.”
The next IMB board of trustees meeting is scheduled for May 22-23 in Richmond. The next missionary Sending Celebration is scheduled for June 11 during the SBC Annual Meeting in Birmingham.

2/8/2019 12:43:12 PM by Julie McGowan, IMB | with 0 comments

Rainer: LifeWay did ‘all we could’ to save stores

February 8 2019 by David Roach, Baptist Press

LifeWay Christian Resources did “all we could” to keep brick and mortar stores open, LifeWay President Thom Rainer told the entity’s trustees. But despite positive indicators in mid-2018, by late in the year, data from stores showed revenue declines “had not reversed” and “had been exacerbated.”

Thom S. Rainer

Rainer’s comments during a Feb. 4-5 trustee meeting in Nashville came prior to approximately three hours of executive session over two days, in which business and financial matters were discussed. LifeWay has not yet announced any actions taken during the executive session.
During their meeting, trustees also highlighted a document explaining the profile and qualifications of the president they are seeking to succeed Rainer, who announced his retirement in August.
In January, LifeWay announced some of its stores would be closing. It has not announced the number of stores to close and the timing of those closures.
As commerce shifted increasingly online over the past decade, Rainer told trustees, “we were doing all that we could to keep brick and mortar as a viable channel.” He added, “When it is all said and done, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t think I will have a regret for every attempt we have made to sustain our brick and mortar stores.”
Ultimately, Rainer said, the decline of LifeWay stores is part of a larger trend: “anything that can be purchased online is declining in brick and mortar.”
From 1990-2017, brick and mortar sales declined for sporting goods, furniture, shoes and hardware among other industries, Rainer said, citing data from the news website Axios. But the largest declines in that period were for books (49 percent) and newsstands (61 percent), including cards and small gift items.
Only businesses whose products cannot be sold online – like nail salons and pet grooming businesses – increased brick and mortar sales from 1990-2017, Rainer said.
Despite those market-wide declines, LifeWay stores were “the last man standing” among major Christian bookstore chains after Family Christian Stores closed two years ago, Rainer said. At that time, “we began to see some of their business migrate to our brick and mortar” stores, giving some “reason for optimism.”
As recently as August 2018, Rainer gave trustees a positive report about LifeWay stores, based in significant measure on the customer migration from Family Christian, he said. But financial indications based on Family Christian Stores’ former customers were “a false positive.” The industry-wide decline continued, and by November and December 2018 “we began to see that not only had our efforts not reversed the declines. They had been exacerbated.... We knew that we were feeling the winds of change for this era.”

“There is such irony,” Rainer said, that the former LifeWay campus in downtown Nashville is going to house “two towers for Amazon and there are going to be 5,000 Amazon employees there when Amazon has been one of the most disruptive forces that we have encountered.”
Still, LifeWay’s “ministry, in spite of this channel shift” to online commerce, “will not go away,” Rainer said.
Following Rainer’s report, trustees entered an executive session that spanned approximately two hours Feb. 4 and approximately one hour Feb. 5. As of Feb. 7, no announcements have been made about actions taken during the executive session.
During a Feb. 5 plenary session following the executive session, LifeWay acting senior vice president Earl Roberson said trustees spent “a lot of time on the business side of LifeWay” during the closed session. COO Brad Waggoner said he is “grateful for you trustees, the way that you lean in and the questions that you ask and the sincerity with which you express yourself.”

Presidential search

Trustees also referenced and distributed a document posted online explaining the qualifications and “leadership behaviors and characteristics” of the president their search committee is seeking to succeed Rainer.
According to the nine-page document posted on the website of CarterBaldwin, the executive search firm LifeWay’s trustees have contracted to assist them, presidential candidates must have:

  • “15-20 years of experience serving consistently in the local church as a pastor, staff or lay leader”;

  • “Demonstrated competence and capability in organizational leadership such as denominational leadership, business leadership or faith-based leadership experience with operational business savvy”;

  • A bachelor’s degree, with a theological and/or business degree preferred.

Among requisite “leadership behaviors and characteristics” of presidential candidates are “spiritual leader,” “business acumen,” “change agent,” “integrity” and “inclusive.”

2/8/2019 12:42:56 PM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Chitwood installed as IMB president

February 8 2019 by Ann Lovell, Baptist Press

Unity, fellowship and promises of mutual support characterized the installation of International Mission Board (IMB) President Paul Chitwood and the Sending Celebration of 19 newly appointed international missionaries on Feb. 6.

Photo by Roy Burroughs/IMB
Paul and Michelle Chitwood enjoy a moment with newly appointed International Mission Board missionaries at the IMB installation and sending celebration Feb. 6 at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond. Va.

Chitwood is the 13th president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s 173-year-old International Mission Board. The special service took place at Grove Avenue Baptist Church, in Richmond, Va.
Southern Baptist leaders from across the convention and a number of state conventions attended the event, which included worship led by The Summit Church from Raleigh-Durham N.C., remarks by SBC President J.D. Greear, a charge by former IMB President Tom Elliff, and a response by Chitwood. WMU Executive Director Sandy Wisdom-Martin and IMB President Emeritus Jerry Rankin also participated in the service, which featured testimonies from the 19 new missionaries.
Glenn and Kristie Ansley from North Wake Church in Wake Forest, N.C., were two of the 19 missionaries recognized in the service.
Andy and Kesiah Morris were also among the group. The couple, sent from Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, will serve in South Korea.
“As an international couple, it always seemed like we were caught between two different worlds,” Andy Morris said. “While our marriage was strong and our lives filled with reasons to be content, there was something deeper happening inside our relationship. It was pushing us to go out into the world and live in multicultural ‘in-between’ spaces.”

Photo by Roy Burroughs/IMB
Paul Chitwood, center, 13th president of the Southern Baptist’s International Mission Board, poses with Tom Elliff, left, 11th IMB president who served from 2011-2014, and Jerry Rankin, 10th IMB president who served from 1993-2010.

“One day last summer, we finally recognized this and made peace with the idea of uprooting ourselves and moving overseas,” Kesiah Morris said. “A few days later, through a divine appointment, God placed a clear and unexpected call upon our lives to go as missionaries.”
The calling to go to the nations is one that Southern Baptists have sought to support since the SBC’s beginnings. Unity around the Great Commission is core to Southern Baptist identity, Tom Elliff said in his charge to Chitwood and the new missionaries.
“I sat there and cried thinking about how wonderful it is that we have the privilege of joining in this incredible mission of God of sending these people around the world,” Elliff said. “That’s happened thousands and thousands of times [since the IMB’s inception] by the grace of God.”
Preaching from Philippians 2, Elliff reminded those gathered that Southern Baptists share a sacred mission, a solemn mandate which should not be taken lightly, and a specific manner in which we are to live our lives.

Photo by Roy Burroughs/IMB
Andy and Kesiah Morris, sent by Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, share the story of their calling at the IMB installation and Sending Celebration Feb. 6 at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. The couple will serve in South Korea.

Reminding the new appointees that the earliest Southern Baptist missionaries packed their belongings in caskets knowing they would never return, Elliff stressed the importance of the word, “together.”
“From the outset, there were people who realized that we can do better together than we can apart,” Elliff said.
In 1925, Southern Baptists came together again to form the Cooperative Program, Elliff said.
“That’s when we realized if we really wanted to exponentially multiply the ability to send people around the globe this would be the best way to do it,” Elliff said. “The best way is to do things together.”
Chitwood, with his wife Michelle by his side, responded to Elliff’s charge by asking the newly appointed missionaries and members of the home office staff to stand. He also acknowledged the more than 3,600 IMB missionaries serving around the world. 
Reading from 2 Corinthians 7:2, Chitwood said, “Make room for us in your hearts. That was Paul’s request. Make room for us in your hearts.”
Chitwood acknowledged that new missionaries, IMB home office staff, missionaries serving around the world, Southern Baptist churches, and state and denominational leaders have “made room” for him “in their hearts.”

Photo by Roy Burroughs/IMB
"We can do more together than we can apart," former IMB President Tom Elliff reminds new IMB missionaries during their Sending Celebration Feb. 6 at Grove Avenue Baptist Church.

He encouraged those present to “keep making room for us” in their prayers and in both family and church budgets. He urged individuals and churches to look for ways to partner with the IMB “in this great task of sharing Christ with the nations.”
Chitwood stressed that he was not just asking for support on behalf of the newly appointed missionaries, the home office staff, or those missionaries serving around the world. Instead, he said he was asking on behalf of lost people around the world “who most of us will never know until and unless we see them around the throne. Thank you for making room for them in your hearts, your prayers, your giving, going and sending.”
“Together,” Chitwood concluded, “we will strive in all business to carry out that work, to lead in a way that honors those who made room for us and (to honor) the Lord whose ambassadors we all are.” 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Ann Lovell is a writer in Richmond, Va.)

2/8/2019 12:42:40 PM by Ann Lovell, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Trump promotes life, prayer at breakfast

February 8 2019 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

President Donald Trump reaffirmed the sanctity of every human life and encouraged Americans to pray for the pursuit of justice during the National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 7.

Screen capture from YouTube
President Trump reaffirmed the sanctity of every human life and encouraged Americans to pray for the pursuit of justice during the National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 7.

The president also defended religious liberty and the work of faith-based adoption agencies in a 20-minute address at the annual event in a Washington, D.C., hotel.
In calling for prayer for the United States, Trump said, “Let us pray for the courage to pursue justice and the wisdom to forge peace. Let us pray for a future where every child has a warm, safe and loving home.
“Let us come together for the good of our people, for the strength of our families, for the safety of our citizens, for the fulfillment of our deepest hopes and our highest potential,” he said. “And let us always give thanks for the miracle of life, the majesty of creation and the grace of almighty God.”
At the breakfast, Trump repeated a line from his State of the Union speech Feb. 5, saying, “All children – born and unborn – are made in the holy image of God.”
He also told the audience, “As part of our commitment to building a just and loving society, we must build a culture that cherishes the dignity and sanctity of innocent human life.
“Every life is sacred, and every soul is a precious gift from heaven,” he said. “As the Lord says in Jeremiah, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart,’” which is from Jeremiah 1:5.
On the growing struggle for some religious foster care and adoption organizations, Trump said his administration “is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply held beliefs.”
Foster care and adoption entities in some states have halted their services rather than violate their religious beliefs by placing children with same-sex couples.
“As president, I will always cherish, honor and protect the believers who uplift our communities and sustain our nation to ensure that people of faith can always contribute to our society,” Trump said.
The president also cited his administration’s work to combat religious persecution overseas and human trafficking, as well as the imprisonment of American citizens by foreign countries. He introduced Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who was freed in October after two years in a Turkish prison.
Trump also introduced Elan Carr, the newly named special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.
The president said many of the great movements in American history “have been led by people of faith and started in prayer. When we open our hearts to faith, we fill our hearts with love.”
He named America’s independence and the extension of voting rights to women as examples but seemed to conflate mistakenly the abolitionist and civil rights movements when he said “abolition of civil rights.”
Gary Haugen, chief executive officer of International Justice Mission (IJM), offered encouragement to an audience that included many evangelical Christian leaders during his keynote speech.
“I believe it is the holy faithfulness of God that should keep us from growing weary in doing good, but we do grow weary, don’t we?” Haugen said. “For our American family, I do sense that we are in a national moment of perilously mounting discouragement.
“We can be so discouraged by all that is going wrong, that we are tempted to give up on seeking what is right. 
“We should not grow weary in doing the good we know to do, because in the end an all-good and almighty God has the final say,” he said. “But at the same time, we should not grow weary in humbly seeking what is right, for you and I are not all good and we are surely missing what is right if we do not pause to tremble.”
IJM is a leader in the effort to end human trafficking, and Feb. 7 was Shine a Light on Slavery Day.
The efforts of the United States and other governments mean “[we] could see this ancient sin end for good,” Haugen said. “If we just do the good we can all agree needs to be done, we can see the God of Exodus sweep slavery into His dustbin of history.”
In introducing Trump, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., a Southern Baptist, read I Timothy 2:1-2, where the apostle Paul calls for prayers for those in authority.
Lankford and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., served as co-chairmen of this year’s prayer breakfast.
The National Prayer Breakfast, which is sponsored by an evangelical Christian organization, began in 1953 during President Eisenhower’s first administration, and every president since has spoken at the event.

2/8/2019 12:42:23 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

EC search committee ‘actively pursued’ resumes from non-Anglos

February 7 2019 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Responding to “recent online stories and related social media activity,” the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee’s presidential search committee says it has “actively pursued resumes from non-Anglo candidates.”

BP file photo
The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee (EC) seven-member presidential search committee comprises: (first row, left to right) Stephen Rummage, Mike Stone; (middle row, left to right) Adron Robinson, Carol Yarber, Joe Knott; (back row left to right) Stephen Swofford and Rolland Slade.

In a Feb. 7 statement to the full EC, the search committee also said it “will not have a nomination to share” at the EC’s Feb. 18-19 meeting in Nashville. It is seeking a successor to Frank S. Page, who resigned in March 2018.
The committee’s statement came the week after North Carolina’s Biblical Recorder newsjournal claimed a letter from two former SBC presidents – James Merritt and Bryant Wright – and Las Vegas pastor Vance Pitman asked the search committee if it had “interviewed any minority candidates.” At least two blog posts this month have reported claims that the EC search committee has not interviewed any minority candidates. Religion News Service reported on the discussion Feb. 6.
In its statement, the seven-person EC search committee noted the diversity of its own members and said, “The search committee not only desired ethnic diversity in our process, we have actively pursued resumes from non-Anglo candidates.”
The committee includes two African Americans, a woman and members from California to North Carolina and Chicago to Texas.
“In a meeting of your search committee on February 4, 2019, the two African-American members you elected to the seven-member committee addressed the ethnic diversity in our process,” according to the statement. “Pastor Rolland Slade and Dr. Adron Robinson, Vice Chairman of the search committee, expressed a ‘100% confidence level’ that our process has been Christ-honoring regarding the question of ethnic diversity.
“Your search committee views every recommendation as a sacred trust from Southern Baptists and has given every candidate serious consideration,” the statement continued. “Every decision has been united and unanimous.”
“Expanded details” regarding the search will be provided Feb. 18 during the search committee’s report to the full EC, according to the statement. “While we will not have a nomination to share with you at that time, our goal of finding God’s man remains unchanged. We are grateful for your prayers for us.”
In a preface to the statement, EC chairman Mike Stone, who serves on the search committee, told EC members the search committee “unanimously asked me to forward” the statement to the full EC in light of “recent online stories and related social media activity.”
The letter by Merritt, Wright and Pitman stated according to the Recorder, “We are not saying that you should hire a minority candidate” nor “dictating to the committee any specific individuals that you should either interview or select.”
But they added, “We know ourselves of certain minority candidates that we believe would at least merit a conversation and consideration regardless of whether or not they would be chosen in the end. At the very least, simply an acknowledgment that minorities were considered and interviewed in a serious way would show a good faith effort on the part of this committee to exhibit a sensitivity to where we are and where we need to go as a convention in terms of racial diversity in our leadership. Not to do so, we believe would send an extremely negative message and unnecessarily put the committee and frankly, the entire convention, in a bad light.”
The EC presidential search committee comprises chairman Steve Swofford, Robinson as vice chairman, Joe Knott, Stephen Rummage, Slade, Stone and Carol Yarber.
The full statement is printed below.
Email to full SBC Executive Committee from EC chairman Mike Stone:
Members of the Executive Committee,
Due to some recent online stories and related social media activity, the members of your presidential search team unanimously asked me to forward the following statement to you regarding our commitment to ethnic diversity in our presidential search. We are thankful for the privilege of serving you as we all seek the Lord’s guidance in these days. We appreciate your prayers.
Mike Stone
Chairman, Executive Committee
Statement by the EC presidential search committee:
When our board met on April 17, 2018, under challenging circumstances, you elected a diverse presidential search team. The search committee not only desired ethnic diversity in our process, we have actively pursued resumes from non-Anglo candidates.
In a meeting of your search committee on February 4, 2019, the two African-American members you elected to the seven-member committee addressed the ethnic diversity in our process. Pastor Rolland Slade and Dr. Adron Robinson, Vice Chairman of the search committee, expressed a "100% confidence level" that our process has been Christ-honoring regarding the question of ethnic diversity.
Your search committee views every recommendation as a sacred trust from Southern Baptists and has given every candidate serious consideration. Every decision has been united and unanimous.
We look forward to providing expanded details in our full committee report to you on February 18th in Nashville. While we will not have a nomination to share with you at that time, our goal of finding God’s man remains unchanged. We are grateful for your prayers for us.
Steve Swofford, Chairman
Adron Robinson, Vice Chairman
Joe Knott
Stephen Rummage
Rolland Slade
Mike Stone
Carol Yarber

2/7/2019 2:39:54 PM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Unborn made in ‘image of God,’ Trump tells nation

February 7 2019 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

President Donald Trump affirmed unborn children as image bearers of God and urged Congress to ban late-term abortions in his second State of the Union speech.

Screen capture from YouTube
President Trump, in his State of the Union address, asked asks Democrats and Republicans for unity "to build a culture that cherishes innocent life."

Trump called for both parties to work together for the good of the country in his address Feb. 5 to a joint session of Congress and a national television audience. He repeated his requirement, however, of a policy that had helped produce a partial 35-day government shutdown and had delayed the date of his State of the Union speech – a physical barrier along the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration.
Though Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided over abortion, the president asked for unity of effort “to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.”
“And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children – born and unborn – are made in the holy image of God,” he said.
Trump also endorsed legislation in that cause. “To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb,” he told senators and representatives.
Trump’s endorsement apparently was for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortions on babies 20 weeks or more after fertilization based on scientific evidence that a child in the womb experiences pain by that point in gestation.
In addressing abortion, the president referred to recent events in New York and Virginia in which Democratic officeholders endorsed the procedure until birth or even the refusal of medical care for children who survive abortions, thereby allowing them to die. When the New York Senate passed a bill protecting abortion until birth, many observers in the gallery there cheered and gave the members a standing ovation.
The scene in New York and comments from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in support of what pro-lifers described as the infanticide of abortion survivors were “chilling displays” to America, Trump said. “These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world.”
In his comments on children as image bearers, Trump affirmed “one of the most fundamental doctrines of scripture and definitional truths about humanity,” R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stated in an article posted Feb. 6.
The president “made very clear that the grounds for human dignity and the protection of the unborn flow from a biblical worldview – that all humanity is made in the image of God,” Mohler wrote.
Other pro-life leaders also commended the president’s remarks about unborn children.
Trump “once again demonstrated the paramount importance of protecting mothers and their unborn children,” Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, said in a written statement.
Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life, said in written comments Trump “showed why he may be the most pro-life president in American history.”
Mohler said Trump’s words emphasized the “great worldview divide” over the sanctity and dignity of human life.
“Abortion reigns as the only sacrament that remains amongst the political left,” Mohler wrote. “They treat it as a sacrament to cherish and defend at all costs – a worldview that presses them to pass legislation like the new law in New York State.”
The Democrats’ silence in response to Trump showed their opposition to his call for protection of the unborn, Mohler said.
“The worldview of the left, however, leaves them with no other choice,” he wrote. “This has had two horrific consequences. First, the logic of the pro-abortion movement, if honest, must point to the unrestricted access of abortion at any point in the pregnancy for any reason. Second, the pressure of the pro-abortion worldview has made pro-life Democrats an extinct species.”
Trump, in his call for cooperation across the aisle, told members of Congress, “Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one nation.
“We must choose whether we are defined by our differences – or whether we dare to transcend them.”
On immigration, Trump continued to call for the kind of security on the southern border that Democratic leaders have been unwilling to support. The federal government is again facing a partial shutdown if a solution is not found by Feb. 15.
The president said he has ordered another 3,750 troops to the border with Mexico and described illegal immigration as “a moral issue.”
“The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all Americans,” he said. “We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California said in a written statement about Trump’s immigration comments, “Instead of fear-mongering and manufacturing a crisis at the border, President Trump should commit to signing the bipartisan conference committee’s bill to keep government open and provide strong, smart border security solutions.”
The president warned Pelosi and other Democrats about investigations they appear prepared to conduct of him.
“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States – and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations,” he said. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”
Trump, Pelosi said, “threatened the United States Congress not to exercise its constitutional responsibility of oversight.”
The president pointed to several examples of bipartisan cooperation in the last session of Congress, including criminal justice reform in the enactment of the First Step Act, as well as measures to address the opioid crisis and Veterans Administration reform.
Trump’s proposals offered during the speech included lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs, elimination of the HIV epidemic in a decade and school choice for families.
In a written statement, Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., a Southern Baptist, described the president’s speech as “a call for all of Washington to put productivity over personality, partnerships over parties and people over politics. Though there are many paths of opinion, if we choose to work together to solve the issues our nation faces, we can meet on the path of American greatness.”
Trump has said in the past he would sign the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, but Congress has yet to approve it. The House of Representatives passed the proposal in 2017, but the Senate rejected it in early 2018. Unlike 2017, Democrats – who almost unanimously opposed the bill – now control the House.

2/7/2019 11:58:58 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Rainer gives final presidential address

February 7 2019 by Carol Pipes, LifeWay Christian Resources

LifeWay Christian Resources trustees gathered for their first meeting of 2019 with their sights set on a season of transition and hopeful prayer for the future.

Photo by Aaron Earls
In his final trustee meeting as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, Thom S. Rainer thanked trustees and employees for the honor of serving of alongside them the past 13 years and shared his hope for the future of the organization.

Even on the heels of recent news that LifeWay will close a number of stores and shift toward a more dynamic digital strategy driven by online commerce, President and CEO Thom S. Rainer expressed confidence in the weeks, months and years ahead.
“The greatest days for LifeWay are yet ahead,” said Rainer in what was his final presidential address to the trustees during their Feb. 4-5 meeting. Rainer announced his pending retirement at the August 2018 trustee meeting.
“In a short time, there will be a new leader and a new season here,” he said. “It will be a great opportunity and a great future for LifeWay.”
In his address, Rainer recalled “some of the most powerful memories” from his 13-year tenure as president. He thanked trustees and employees for the honor of serving alongside them.
He also walked trustees through the disruptions and transitions LifeWay has faced during its history and is facing today. Rainer explained that LifeWay finished 2018 squarely in the digital era.
From 2001 to 2018, said Rainer, “we began to move significantly into the era of digital growth. We began to say there are other channels and means from which we can distribute and provide resources. It was also during this time we began to see more people move from walking into a brick-and-mortar store to buying things online.”
Rainer reminded trustees that as the entity makes changes in retail that brick-and-mortar is only one channel. “LifeWay has so many channels through which our resources can be made available to churches and individuals,” Rainer said. “LifeWay will still have all of its resources and so much to offer the evangelical world, churches and individual Christians.

“Our ministry, regardless of this channel shift,” Rainer said, “will not go away.”
Trustees heard updates on the future of LifeWay’s retail channels and the presidential search, as well as a financial report on the entity during executive session.

Presidential search update

The presidential search committee met during the two-day trustee meeting as they continue their search for LifeWay’s 10th president. Chairman of the search committee Kent Dacus reported on their progress to the full board during executive session.

In a statement following the meeting, the search committee thanked everyone who has been praying for the committee and for the future leader of LifeWay.
“Throughout the process, the members of this committee have been in one accord about the type of leader LifeWay needs and have consulted the Lord’s counsel for who He wants in this position,” said search committee chairman Kent Dacus. “It’s clear LifeWay needs a president who will carry on the organization’s 128-year legacy of providing trustworthy resources, while leading with innovation as we face a strategic point in LifeWay’s ministry. We are confident God is already preparing the person who will lead LifeWay into the future.”
The committee asked that churches and individuals “join with us as we pray for God’s guidance and clear direction as we begin the next phase of this process.”

Updates to trustees

LifeWay continues to focus on providing biblical solutions for life, leaders said. Trustees heard updates from LifeWay’s Earl Roberson and Michael Kelley regarding progress and plans for ministry.
Global ministry through ongoing curriculum

Photo by Aaron Earls
LifeWay Christian Resources trustees and employees gathered in small groups to pray for the organization and its future during a time of guided prayer at the conclusion of the Feb. 5 trustee meeting.

Ongoing curriculum – Bible study tools designed for Sunday morning group experiences – is still going strong, said Earl Roberson, acting senior vice president and chief business officer, giving an update on the global reach of LifeWay curriculum.

He said LifeWay’s three primary curriculum brands – Explore the Bible, The Gospel Project and Bible Studies for Life – have shown steady growth for six consecutive years, particularly around the globe.
Ongoing curriculum, Roberson reported, presently serves people in 57 countries, with more than 50,000 churches using at least one of the brands.
“We’re trying to come alongside churches in their discipleship strategy,” Roberson said. “Ongoing curriculum is one of the primary instruments for us to serve and love the church.”
Bible Studies for Life
One of those instruments, Bible Studies for Life, will be a key focus in 2019 for serving churches, “not just for education, but for transformation,” said Michael Kelley, LifeWay’s director of groups.
“The name itself strikes close to the heart of what we do here at LifeWay,” Kelley said. “Our aim is to equip churches in a holistic way, not to help people know the right answers, but help people think differently with a renewed mind.”
Launched 60 years ago, Bible Studies for Life has touched countless lives, according to Kelley.
He said LifeWay has a goal to see 300,000 more people using Bible Studies for Life this fall. “We have a real chance here to make a dent in the darkness, to play our part in pushing back the darkness and bringing to light the Kingdom of God.”

Other business

During the meeting, trustees heard that LifeWay received a clean audit report. Trustees also nominated three people to fill vacancies on the board. These three individuals will serve until the Southern Baptist Convention elects directors to fill the unexpired terms. They include Scott Hanberry, pastor of Hardy Street Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss.; Sabrina Patterson, a member of Eastgate Baptist Church in Burton, Mich.; and Judith “Judy” Sonich, a member of Bellewood Baptist Church in North Syracuse, N.Y.
The board also recognized three trustees who are ending their board service in June. They are Harry Forester of Shreveport, La.; Steve McNeil of Martinsville, Ind.; and Michael Steven of Austin, Texas.

Optimism for the future

“There is a LifeWay on the other side of this [current] disruption that is strong, vibrant, ministry-minded and that is going to make the biggest difference, I believe, of LifeWay’s entire history since 1891,” Rainer said.
Before adjourning the last plenary session trustee chairman Jimmy Scroggins led a time of corporate prayer for LifeWay’s future president, LifeWay employees and the churches LifeWay serves.
Scroggins, pastor of the Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., closed the meeting by thanking Rainer for his service to LifeWay. “I think I can speak for everyone in the room that you are loved and respected and your legacy will be honored. Thank you for serving, Thom. We are very grateful.”

2/7/2019 11:58:49 AM by Carol Pipes, LifeWay Christian Resources | with 0 comments

Mississippi latest state to consider heartbeat abortion ban

February 7 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Mississippi is the latest state this legislative season to consider banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, possibly establishing legal challenges to reach a U.S. Supreme Court considered more conservative.
Mississippi House and Senate bills passed legislative committees Feb. 5 and are headed to the chamber floors for consideration, the Associated Press (AP) reported, with court challenges predicted if the measures pass. Both bills have Baptist Republicans as principal authors, namely Rep. Chris Brown and Sen. Angela Burks Hill.
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves praised the measures “to stop the barbaric practice of ending life in the womb even though a heartbeat is plainly detected,” WLBT-TV reported. “I am committed to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child,” Reeves said.
Mississippi’s bills, identically titled, would allow abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat only “when a medical emergency necessitates,” and would allow the State Board of Health to specify how heartbeats are detected, according to the Mississippi Legislature website. Mothers would be required to sign statements indicating they’ve been made aware of the heartbeat, according to the text of the House bill.
“Fetal heartbeat ... has become a key, medical predictor that an unborn human individual will reach viability and live birth,” the House bill reads.
“The pregnant woman shall sign a form acknowledging that she has received information from the person intending to perform the abortion that the unborn human individual that she is carrying has a fetal heartbeat,” the bill reads, “and that she is aware of the statistical probability of bringing the unborn human individual that she is carrying to term.”
Fetal heartbeats can be heard with special medical equipment as early as eight to 10 weeks after conception, according to medical websites and, while ultrasounds can detect hearts beating around four or five weeks after conception. Physicians in violation of the proposed standard could lose their medical licenses or face other discipline.
Tennessee is considering a fetal heartbeat bill for the third consecutive year, and newly elected Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine supports such a measure the previous administration twice vetoed, AP has reported. An Iowa state judge struck down a fetal heartbeat abortion bill there in January, and federal courts in Arkansas and North Dakota also have killed such measures.
On Jan. 22 , New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed what is considered the most permissive abortion bill in the U.S. to date, allowing abortions until birth to protect the mother’s health. A similar Virginia House of Delegates bill, which removes certain restrictions on third trimester abortions, is in committee, according to the Virginia’s Legislative Information System.
Nationwide, Mississippi is among 19 states that limit abortion to 20 weeks of gestation, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Abortions are limited to 24 weeks of gestation in six states, and at the fetus’ “viability” in 16 states, according to Guttmacher, with exceptions made for the mother’s life or health in all 43 states with gestational limitations.

2/7/2019 11:58:36 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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