November 2017

ETS meeting focuses on Reformation heritage

November 21 2017 by David Roach, Baptist Press

“The Heritage of the Reformation” was the theme at this year’s annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), where Southern Baptists delivered nearly a third of the gathering’s presentations and Trinity International University President David Dockery was elected president.

Photo submitted by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The Evangelical Theological Society’s Nov. 15-17 annual meeting in Providence, R.I., included a panel discussion featuring The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., far right, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, second from left.

According to a count by Baptist Press (BP), some 185 of the Nov. 15-17 meeting’s approximately 600 presentations were offered by scholars with ties to Southern Baptist churches, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) seminaries and colleges that partner with Baptist state conventions.
Dockery, a Southern Baptist who has participated in ETS since the late 1970s, was elected president Nov. 17 following a year of service as president-elect and program chair.
“It is a great privilege to serve the larger evangelical world in this way,” Dockery, former president of Union University, said in a news release. “I am genuinely grateful for and honored by this special opportunity of service.”
Gregg Allison of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) was reelected ETS secretary, and two Southern Baptists – Jason Duesing of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) and James Hamilton of SBTS – were elected to the society’s nominations committee.
Professors from all six Southern Baptist Convention seminaries presented papers at ETS, with many focusing on the meeting’s Reformation theme to honor the 500th anniversary of when Martin Luther posted 95 Theses on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. That event is considered by many to mark the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

Early Anabaptist scholar remembered

Chris Chun, associate professor of church history at Gateway Seminary, presented a paper on the late Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) church historian Albert Henry Newman – “one of the first historians to cast a positive light to sixteenth-century Anabaptists,” as Chun put it.
Anabaptists were part of the so-called “Radical Reformation,” a movement of 16th-century Christians who left the Roman Catholic Church but didn’t believe the Magisterial Reformers – as Martin Luther, John Calvin and company have come to be known – went far enough in purifying the church.
Newman – a member of SWBTS’s faculty when the seminary relocated from Waco to Fort Worth in 1910 – gave a mixed assessment of Magisterial Reformers, Chun wrote. Luther and company, Newman claimed, helpfully brought some biblical doctrines to light but wrongly advocated infant baptism in order to preserve a union of church and state.
Anabaptists, in contrast, were the “apex of the sixteenth-century Reformation ... according to Newman,” Chun wrote, with their emphasis on regenerate church membership, their rejection of infant baptism and their “repudiation of the connection between church and state” among other distinctives.
Chun commended Newman for being one of “the first historians” in America to remove the “stigma” traditionally associated with Anabaptists by distinguishing heretical Anabaptists from “soundly biblical Anabaptists.”
Newman did not believe there was an unbroken line of baptistic churches stretching from the Apostles through the Anabaptists to modern Baptists, but he did claim a “spiritual kinship” between Anabaptists and Baptists, Chun wrote.

Anabaptist women

Candi Finch, assistant professor of theology in women’s studies at SWBTS, presented a paper on Anabaptist women of the Reformation. Among the thousands of Anabaptists martyred at the hands of both Protestants and Catholics, a third were women, she wrote.
“Much of what is known [about Anabaptist women] has come to us through court testimonies and letters and hymns composed by them while imprisoned,” Finch wrote. “These remarkable women showed maturity of their faith during trials and a deep understanding of [s]cripture; they displayed extraordinary courage and a steely resolve not to abandon their faith, knowing that a conversion to Anabaptism almost guaranteed a death by execution.”
Because Reformation-era authorities believed defendants could be convicted of crimes only if they confessed, Finch wrote, those accused of “Anabaptist leanings” often endured “gruesome torture” in an effort to make them either recant their views or confess.
Under such torture, Anabaptist women displayed “steadfastness” and “joy,” Finch wrote, while “praying and pleading for the souls of their persecutors.”
Finch concluded, “I am grateful for the great cloud of witnesses of these Anabaptist women who accepted the reality of suffering ... In their valiant deaths, they encourage sisters and brothers today to continue to run the race set before them with endurance, fixing their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Calvin on church & state

William Henard, executive director of the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists, presented a paper on Calvin’s view of the separation of church and state. The Genevan Reformer’s view that church and state should be separate but mutually influential and that both bear God-given authority, Henard wrote, later “played an important role in the way governments were developed, especially those in colonial America.”
In Calvin’s view, the church should be “more involved in influencing and directing the affairs of the state than the state [is] in engaging the issues facing the church,” wrote Henard, who serves as an adjunct professor at SBTS. “Calvin was attempting to build a one-sided wall, one which the church could cross but not the secular government.”
That notion was resisted by civil magistrates in 16th-century Geneva, where Calvin was a church leader, Henard wrote, and at times Calvin’s preference for civil government did not prevail. In addition, Calvin’s conduct sometimes trampled modern notions of religious liberty, Henard noted, as when he supported the execution of individuals holding heretical theology.
Yet Calvin’s thinking departed from the common thinking in his time that church and state should be united, Henard wrote.
Some of Calvin’s ideas on church and state “are significant because they become the basis for the belief system of those who would later become some of the primary settlers and founders of America,” Henard wrote, “specifically the Puritans and the Separatists, and the framers of the Constitution of the United States.”
Next year’s ETS annual meeting is Nov. 13-15 in Denver, Colo.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

11/21/2017 8:11:01 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Platt, IMB welcome 32 new missionaries

November 20 2017 by Julie McGowan, IMB

As a preschooler in Mission Friends, new Southern Baptist missionary Amy Jones learned about God’s desire to gather people from every nation, tribe, people group and language by His grace and for His is glory.

Photo by Roy Burroughs, IMB
Matthew Fisher, center, a new IMB missionary, is lifted in prayer by Gordon Fort, IMB ambassador for the president, front right, and Daniel Ethridge, left, who led worship from Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, Va.

“It became real when my mother returned from England with stories and a tea set,” Jones recalled during a Sending Celebration Nov. 16 that marked the appointment of 32 new International Mission Board (IMB) personnel at the IMB’s office in Richmond, Va. “Europeans are fascinating peoples, but too few follow Christ. So I began to pray for them.”
Her husband Casey added that as single adults, God brought the couple together at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, where they helped develop leaders and start churches.
“Now, [our church] is sending us to Europe where the world celebrates 500 years of Reformation to participate in a new spiritual awakening,” he said.
Time and again during the Sending Celebration, the new missionaries shared how God’s influence in their lives as children, teenagers and young adults from all over the United States – and even from around the world – has matured into an obedience to share the gospel among the unreached peoples and places.

Global influence

Candace Gagnon* learned about missions as a child in Vacation Bible School, and then she participated in missions as a youth on a short-term trip to Mexico where God called her to international missions. Her husband Kevin* says the Lord used local church missions and working at Christian summer camps to develop his passion for reaching the peoples of South America. The couple is being sent by Lawndale Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C.
David Luca* said growing up in Eastern Europe, under a strict Communist regime gave him appreciation for having a Bible and reading God’s Word. He later began reaching out to lost people in his home country and neighboring regions. Now, he and his wife Julia* are being sent by a church in Georgia to North Africa and the Middle East.
For Lucy Jackson*, it was missions discipleship training in Girls in Action at her church that she was first “exposed to the reality that not all people around the globe have access to the good news of Jesus,” she said. Jackson and her husband Doug* also are being sent by a church in Georgia to North Africa and the Middle East.
Later, “God drew us to a missional inner-city community in Memphis where we were exposed to and challenged to seek the lost in hard places of this world,” Doug noted.
Sean Hyong* was in a worship service in high school, with tears rolling down his face, when he felt God leading him to take the gospel to the nations. His wife Elizabeth* was on a mission trip in college when God called her to full-time mission work. Now the couple is being sent by their California church to the unreached peoples of Central Asia.
Margie Rose*, who is being sent by her church in Virginia, shared how “God brought me ... from an orphanage in Romania to send me to South Asia.”
“I was called by God at summer camp while listening to the testimonies of missionaries,” she said, noting God confirmed His call on her life while she ministered among Gypsies in Slovakia and during two years in South Asia.

Obedient response

Each life story shared by the new missionaries flows from a heart of obedience to Christ, IMB President David Platt said during the Sending Celebration. Platt called the appointees to continue to pour out their lives in selfless love for Christ.

Photo by Roy Burroughs, IMB
IMB President David Platt, joined by some of the 32 new missionaries being sent by Southern Baptist churches to the nations, leads a responsive reading during a Sending Celebration Nov. 16 in Richmond, Va.

“More than anything else that I pray for you, I pray that what you do in the days to come will merely be an overflow of a love relationship with Jesus ... that a heart for Him – a love and affection and adoration for Him – is what drives you on a day-by-day basis,” Platt told the appointees. “I have seen people manufacture a heart for missions and yet miss a heart for Jesus, and I don’t want that to happen to you.”
He referred to scripture in Matthew 26, where a quiet woman holds an alabaster flask full of perfume worth a year’s wages. She approaches Jesus and pours the perfume on His head – an act that Jesus ascribed as a gift of honor and beauty.
The story revolves around the reality that Jesus was about to die, Platt noted, and the woman realized Jesus’ death was the reason He came in the first place. He came to save sinners.
“He came to live the life none of us could live,” Platt said. “And He died the death we deserved to die. Jesus took the judgment due our sin upon Himself. ... And the news just keeps getting better: Jesus has conquered death so that anyone can turn from sin, look to Jesus, put your trust in Him, and He will save you from your sin.”
The woman took the risk to pour out the valuable perfume, Platt said, because she knew Jesus was worth it. And for the new missionaries, it makes sense to leave behind earthly pursuits in sacrificial obedience to Jesus.
“Jesus is worthy of your unashamed, unrestrained, undivided, unadulterated devotion,” Platt said.
Whether prompted toward full-time mission service as a child, a youth or an adult, the missionaries shared that their obedience to full-time mission service is rooted in that devotion to their Lord and the direction He has given through scripture.
“In Psalm 96, we are instructed to declare God’s glory among the nations and to tell of His marvelous works among all peoples,” Harvey Sparks said. He and his wife Jenifer are sent by Temple Hills (Md.) Baptist Church to Sub-Saharan Africa.
“In Mark 16, Jesus commands His followers to ‘go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole of creation,’” Jenifer said.
“In scripture, the call to take the gospel to the nations is clear and compelling, and so that is why we go,” Harvey said.

What’s your part?

For more information on how to get involved, go to

*Names changed
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Julie McGowan is public relations manager for the International Mission Board.)

11/20/2017 9:27:44 AM by Julie McGowan, IMB | with 0 comments

‘Must-see’ Bible museum opens to public

November 20 2017 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders from the U.S. and Israel joined Museum of the Bible board chairman Steve Green to dedicate the eight-story attraction in Washington Nov. 17 in advance of the weekend’s public opening.

Photo by Alan Karchmer
The Gutenberg Gates exhibit at the main entrance of the Museum of the Bible in Washington, opening to the public Nov. 18, features the first 80 lines of the Book of Genesis in Latin.

The more-than-$500-million structure, located blocks from Capitol Hill at 400 4th St. S.W., opened exclusively to the media Nov. 14 and 15, and held a special dedication and ribbon cutting Nov 17. The museum doors opened to the general public 9 a.m. on Nov. 18. While admission is free, timed tickets are required and entry is restricted to 15-minute intervals.
“We only have one mission: that’s to invite all people to engage in the history, narrative and impact of the Bible,” Museum of the Bible President Cary Summers said during an October panel discussion the museum hosted. “It’s a nonsectarian approach, and you draw your own conclusions after visiting here.”
On average, visitors would have to spend nine eight-hour days in the museum to read every placard, see every artifact and experience every activity offered, according to an official museum fact sheet.
Guests enter the museum on the first floor through the nearly 40-feet high Gutenberg Gates, comprised of 118 brass panels inscribed in Latin with the first 80 lines of Genesis. The script is written in reverse to encourage guests to create souvenir rubbings, according to the museum’s website. Also on the first floor, children can “walk on water” in the nearly 2,200-square-foot Courageous Pages children’s exhibit. Walking on Water, one of 13 Courageous Pages areas of interest, technologically creates the illusion of a watery surface where children may stand and inspect animated marine life below, according to museum publicity.
The second floor’s 27,000 square feet of exhibit space demonstrates the Bible’s influence “on nearly every aspect of life,” according to museum promotions. A 254-foot-long tapestry telling the Bible’s place throughout American history is a focus of the second floor, which also showcases the Bible in worldwide culture, government and contemporary news.
“The Bible is the best-selling, most-translated book of all time and is arguably history’s most significant piece of literature,” Green has said of the Bible. “It has had an unquestionable influence on science, education, democracy, arts and society. This book has profoundly impacted lives across the ages, including my own.”
Successive museum floors include a wide array of attractions, including walkthrough theatrical exhibits immersing visitors in Bible stories, Bible history displays comprising 600 artifacts and 50 media programs, a 472-seat World Stage Theater, a 3,000-square-foot biblical garden, and a café offering Bible-inspired fare. has described the venue as one of nine “must-see” museums opening in 2017.
Among those who gathered today alongside Green, a Southern Baptist, are Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington; Rear Admiral Margaret Kibben, a Presbyterian and chief of chaplains of the U.S. Navy; Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, president of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America; U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, a Seventh Day Adventist; U.S. House of Representatives Chaplain Pat Conroy, a Jesuit priest; Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Israel’s Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin and others, according to a museum press release.
More information and tickets are available at
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)

11/20/2017 9:16:38 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

State conventions denounce racism, white supremacy

November 20 2017 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Southern Baptists in at least five state conventions have approved resolutions decrying racism or white supremacy.
Messengers to the annual meetings of the Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia (SBCV) conventions have passed statements in November addressing the rise of white nationalism and supremacy in the United States. Their resolutions expressed many of the same convictions offered in a resolution approved at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in June.

Photo by Steve Cooke

Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore commended the actions by Baptists in the states.
“Messengers across our state conventions sent a signal to the watching world this week and last, showing that those of us in Christ are one family, that we are one body, and an attack on one part of the body is an attack on the whole,” said Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
“I am heartened by these resolutions, which continue to call white supremacy what it is – a false gospel,” Moore told Baptist Press in written comments. “I thank God that our denomination has committed itself to opposing the satanic scourge of racism and to promoting racial unity.”
In addition to denouncing racism and/or white supremacy, all five of the state resolutions used scripture to affirm the equality of all human beings and Jesus’ purchase by His death of people from every ethnic group, tribe and language. They also called for prayer that those deceived by racist ideologies would recognize their error through the gospel. Four of the five resolutions acknowledged the need for more progress in eliminating racism.
In the resolutions approved by messengers:
– The Alabama convention, meeting Nov. 14-15 in Huntsville, resolved to “condemn every form of racism, including and specifically alt-right white supremacy and white nationalism, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
It also said, “That as a witness to the sacrificial love of Christ for all people, we will oppose persecution and harassment of all racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, refugees, and anyone else targeted by these white supremacist/nationalist groups.”
The messengers called for Baptist churches to “seek racial reconciliation in our respective communities across Alabama to show the power of the Gospel and to give respect, honor and love to one another and thus make known that we are His disciples.”
In addition, the resolution urged opponents of the “alt-right” – a movement that advocates white nationalism and/or supremacy – to use only “peaceful, non-violent means” in their protests.
– The Arkansas convention, meeting Nov. 7-8 in Russellville, addressed the issues involved in two resolutions, one on racial reconciliation and another on America’s polarization.
In their statement on racial reconciliation, the messengers committed to “be diligent in denouncing racial discrimination in whatever form it takes in seeking to bring healing and cohesiveness to our fractured culture as we understand that in the final analysis there is one race – the human race – created by God for His pleasure.”
The resolution on polarization said, “[W]e believers must endeavor to remove from our midst any remaining forms of unbiblical attitudes for others based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or other such inappropriate distinctions.”
– North Carolina Baptists, who met Nov. 6-7 in Greensboro, denounced “racism in all its expressions as sin against a holy and just God, because it disregards the image of God in all people and denies the truth of the Gospel that Christ died for the sins of all mankind.”
In an apparent reference to the debate over Confederate statues and memorials, the resolution called on North Carolina Baptists “to humble themselves before God, acknowledging that while the preservation of history is critically important for a nation, the demonstration of Christ’s love and the proclamation of the Gospel to all peoples must take precedence over the important personal preferences of individual Christians, including the preservation of history. Therefore, we call on North Carolina Baptists to joyfully set aside anything that might create a barrier for the sharing and hearing of the full truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
– Oklahoma Baptists, who met Nov. 13-14 in Oklahoma City, denounced all forms of racism and said they “know from our Southern Baptist history the effects of the horrific sins of racism and hatred; and that in 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention repudiated ‘historic acts of evil, such as slavery,’ and also committed ‘to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry.’ We recognize that racism and white supremacy are, sadly, not extinct but present all over the world in various movements.”
According to the Baptist Messenger, Shawnee pastor Todd Fisher, Resolutions Committee chairman, said, “Given the state of current events in our nation, our committee believes it is important for our state convention to clearly articulate our belief that the gospel has absolutely no place for racism and that Jesus loves and died for people from every nation, tribe and language. I am proud of Oklahoma Baptists for making this statement today and for our desire to grow in ethnic diversity as we minister to the diverse people of our great state and world.”
– The SBCV, meeting Nov. 12-14 in Colonial Heights, addressed the August rally organized by the “alt-right” in Charlottesville, Va. Opponents of “alt-right” ideology gathered to counter protest, and violence ensued between the groups. One woman died when an “alt-right” protester drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters. The messengers extended their “love and compassion of those in Charlottesville devastated by these events.”
The messengers also denounced “every form of nationalism that violates the biblical teachings with respect to race, justice, and ordered liberty.”
“[W]e will stand with ethnic minorities and anyone else targeted for intimidation so that the attempt to devalue our fellow image bearers results in a bold witness of the sacrificial love to which Christ calls us,” the SBCV said.
In addition, the resolution encouraged SBCV churches “to prayerfully consider increasing diversity among local church and denominational leadership.”
While those conventions explicitly condemned racism, South Carolina Baptists, meeting Nov. 7-8 in Columbia, adopted a resolution that renounced all forms of hatred.
In their June resolution on “alt-right white supremacy,” Southern Baptist Convention messengers said they:

  • “[D]ecry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ;
  • “[D]enounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as a scheme of the devil intended to bring suffering and division to our society;
  • “[A]cknowledge that we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of intentional or unintentional racism in our midst;
  • “[E]arnestly pray, both for those who advocate racist ideologies and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of these hatreds, and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God, which is established from every nation, tribe, people, and language.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

11/20/2017 9:13:49 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Longtime Billy Graham photographer Russ Busby dies

November 20 2017 by BP staff

Russ Busby, who traveled the world as evangelist Billy Graham’s photographer for six decades, died Nov. 14 at his son’s home in California following a long illness. He was 86.

BGEA photo
Russ Busby traveled the world as evangelist Billy Graham’s photographer for six decades.

Busby joined the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1956 after a crusade in Oklahoma City. He managed a local photography studio and saw some advertisements about the event. After hearing Graham preach, he tracked down the team in their hotel to show them samples of his work. He photographed the crusade for two days and soon was part of the ministry, traveling to dozens of countries over the ensuing decades as he photographed Graham with everybody from presidents and kings to survivors of natural disasters.
Graham’s son Franklin, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse who was just 4 years old when Busby began working with the crusade ministry, said Busby “traveled all around the world with my father, taking countless historic shots and continued to provide photography for ministry events and my crusades even after my father was no longer able to travel.
“Russ was a valued member of the team and a wonderful friend of the family,” Franklin Graham said. “Anyone who had the privilege of meeting Russ Busby was lightened by his humor, captured by his love for people and most of all touched by his devotion to his Savior Jesus Christ.”
Busby’s images of Graham speaking to hundreds of thousands of people have become iconic, particularly his 1973 shot of more than a million people in Seoul, South Korea, the largest one-day attendance in Graham’s crusade ministry, and his 1985 pictures of people filling the streets and perched atop buildings as Graham preached the gospel behind the Iron Curtain in Romania.
“Russ was wiry and never ceased to maneuver himself to capture just the right shot,” Franklin Graham said. “Hardly ever was he seen without a camera strapped around his neck.”
“I’ve seen most of the world with one eye closed,” Busby once said.
Busby’s pictures have been used on the covers of books, magazines and newspapers around the world. His lasting impact can be seen in “Billy Graham: God’s Ambassador,” his collection of images first released in 1999.
“The legacy of Russ Busby is cherished in our hearts and memories. He will be missed but never forgotten,” Franklin Graham said.
Baptist photojournalists were appreciative of Busby’s helpfulness and genuineness. And, as photojournalism professor Bob Carey put it, “He was a great Christian communicator.”
Carey, who chairs the department of communication and new media at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, recounted, “Russ was always helpful when I was assigned to shoot photos of Dr. Graham. He went out of his way to make sure I got the picture I needed. When Dr. Graham spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta, I was on the platform to shoot and Russ made sure I didn’t have any problems getting my picture.
“When I took my students to cover [Billy Graham grandson] William Graham’s first U.S. crusade, Russ met with them, gave them ideas and afterwards gave input into their images,” Carey told Baptist Press.
Retired photojournalist Bill Bangham, who had served as International Mission Board editor-in-chief of theCOMMISSION and CommissionStories magazines, noted, “The work of Russ Busby will take on increasing significance with the passage of time. Graham is not just a Southern Baptist, he is a historic figure. Russ’s images will illuminate that life and ministry as historians look back on it through the coming decades.”
Bangham said he has “fond memories of sharing an assignment with Russ photographing Graham in the green room at the 1986 Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta. He was a gracious and humble man, intent on his calling, and a delight to know.”
Blair Carlson, who served as Billy Graham’s international crusade director, said Busby had “a great sensitivity to God” and “could sense the atmosphere of the situation. He knew the power of photographs and the importance of documenting things, and he was absolutely superb in that. But it was balanced by a great sense that if it was a sensitive moment or Mr. Graham was praying with someone or something like that, he would stay out of the way.”
Busby once declined an offer from President Lyndon Johnson to be the official photographer at White House, choosing to remain with the Graham ministry.
Busby was preceded in death by his wife of more than 50 years, Doris, in 2003, his son Bruce and his daughter Carolyn. He is survived by his son Dan, his daughter Becky and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston.)

11/20/2017 9:06:40 AM by BP staff | with 0 comments

Anthony Jordan delivers final address as BGCO exec

November 20 2017 by Chris Doyle, Baptist Messenger

Anthony Jordan delivered his final address as executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) during the Nov. 13-14 annual meeting at Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
Jordan, who will retire next April after 22 years of leading the convention, also announced a new ministry opportunity for Oklahoma Baptists, reporting that the BGCO will be given the 199-acre Tulakogee Camp and Conference Center in eastern Oklahoma.

Baptist Messenger photo
Anthony Jordan delivers his final address as executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma during the BGCO’s Nov. 13-14 annual meeting in Oklahoma City. Jordan retires next April after 22 years of leading the convention.

A total of 682 messengers from BGCO churches joined numerous guests for the convention’s 111th annual meeting, held for the second consecutive year at Quail Springs.
Among 10 resolutions adopted during the meeting, messengers condemned white supremacy, the alt-right movement and racism as “antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Jordan, in his address to messengers Monday evening, spoke of the importance of pastors preaching that Jesus has called His people to “a whole gospel.” Speaking on the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, Jordan focused on the three actions in the well-known command Jesus gave to His disciples – go, baptize and teach.
Oklahoma Baptists, Jordan noted, continue to be among the leaders of Southern Baptists in giving through the Cooperative Program.
“There should not be a more missionary-committed people than Oklahoma Baptists,” he said. “God has been generous to us. He has blessed us beyond measure. Our hearts ought to be so big for the world that whenever we open our pocketbooks and we commit our percentages from our church, we ought to just keep on moving it forward, so that we can take the gospel to ends of the earth.”
Jordan pointed out that Quail Springs where they were meeting is the “No. 1 giving church to the Cooperative Program in Oklahoma” and has given the most in one year in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), $2.9 million in 2013.
Challenging churches to reflect the people who live “around our churches,” Jordan said, “Many of our churches in transitional neighborhoods are dying because they are unwilling to transition. ... The fact of the matter is, they ought to die. If you’re not willing to reach everybody in your neighborhood, no matter what color they are, no matter what they come from, no matter what their background is, then you don’t have a right to call yourself a New Testament church.”
A New Testament church, Jordan said, encompasses everybody Jesus encompassed, not holding back in presenting the gospel and inviting them to be a part of church families. When people come to an Oklahoma Baptist church, no matter what race or cultural background, Jordan said they should look around and conclude, “I’m at home here. This is where I belong.”
“Going into the world with the gospel – our ‘next door world’ – means that we must be willing to go to people that we don’t like and who don’t do the things we think they ought to do.”
Jordan concluded his address with a word of thankfulness for leading Oklahoma Baptists for 22 years.
“Because of you, Oklahoma Baptists, you have given me an opportunity of a lifetime. I can’t say it any other way – Thank you and I love you,” he said.
A series of video presentations were shown after Jordan’s address of many Baptist leaders congratulating Jordan for his leadership at the BGCO, including Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee; U.S. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma; and Nick Garland, pastor of First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow and a former BGCO president. And Quail Springs hosted a reception honoring Jordan and his wife Polla after the evening session.

‘A beautiful camp’

Also during Monday night’s session, Jordan reported that the BGCO will be offered “as a gift” the Tulakogee Camp and Conference Center in Wagoner after it has been managed by an “independent board of godly and good people.”
“It is a beautiful camp located on Fort Gibson Lake,” Jordan said. “It is a place where many Baptists have gone through the years. And many children have come to Christ as their Lord and Savior.”
Jordan said the BGCO will take over “some debt and deferred maintenance” in accepting Tulakogee. A financial goal has been set to raise $4 million to refurbish the camp toward making Tulakogee a “CrossTimbers on the east side of the state,” similar to the children’s mission adventure camp located near Davis.
“It will become a place where more children will come,” Jordan said. “I’m so excited that Oklahoma Baptists will now have an anchor in the eastern side of the state. That’s my side of the state, where I came from. We’ll have the opportunity to invest and minister to our churches there and many children will come to know Christ because of the investment we will make in Tulakogee. To God be the glory.”

Budget, elections & resolutions

Messengers approved the 2018 Cooperative Program Allocation/Financial Plan, which carries a goal of $25.75 million, up from this year’s $25.5 million. The convention will continue to allocate 40 percent of its Cooperative Program budget to SBC causes, 45 percent for BGCO missions and ministries; and 15 percent to BGCO affiliates Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Oklahoma Baptist University, Baptist Village Communities and the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma.

Baptist Messenger photo
Elected as the 2018 officers of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, from left, were: second vice president, Steve Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Checotah; president, Joe Ligon, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marlow; and first vice president, Mike Keahbone, pastor of Cherokee Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

Joe Ligon, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marlow, was unanimously reelected to a second term at BGCO president. Mike Keahbone, pastor of Cherokee Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, was reelected as first vice president in a 162-116 ballot with Scott Watkins, pastor of First Baptist Church in Kingfisher. Steve Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Checotah, was unopposed for second vice president.
Messengers unanimously approved the resolution condemning white supremacy, the alt-right movement and racism as “antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The resolution acknowledged that “we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of racism, both personal and systemic, from our midst, and we disassociate from erroneous teachings such as the so-called ‘curse of Ham.’”
In a resolution on “Speaking Up for People with Disabilities,” messengers voted to “decry and reject the alarming trend that suggests babies diagnosed with genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, should be aborted. We are troubled that there is a rising belief in America and abroad that views some people, such as those with genetic abnormalities or disabilities, as unfit to live. We ... stand with and speak up for people – born and unborn – who may have disabilities.”
On the massacre of 26 people at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Nov. 5, messengers stated, “An attack on the Body of Christ, as happened to our dear brothers and sisters in Texas, is an attack on all of us.”
Other resolutions applauded Jordan’s tenure as BGCO executive director-treasurer; the 100th anniversary of the Falls Creek assembly as “one of the largest Christian youth encampments in the world” and “a spiritual landmark for thousands”; 500-plus churches that have participated in the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children’s One Such Child foster care initiative since 2015; and the BGCO’s pregnancy resource center and disaster relief ministries.

Convention speakers

David Platt, president of the International Mission Board (IMB), addressed the convention’s final session Tuesday afternoon. He opened with a word of encouragement that more IMB missionaries are being sent to the mission field, reversing a trend in the past few years, and he gave a word of thanks to Oklahoma Baptists for their giving, which makes it possible to send IMB missionaries.
Platt encouraged pastors who may be struggling at their churches, saying, “Maybe you’re not seeing fruit, but do not underestimate the lives of those sitting under your preaching. Stay faithful, brother.”
Drawing from Exodus 32:1-10, Platt addressed five “golden calves” evident among churches today – leaders without conviction; celebrating salvation without dedication; manufacturing worship without humiliation; creating a god without retribution; and indulging in earthly pleasures while ignoring eternal direction. Platt concluded with a time of prayer and response.
Ligon, in his presidential address, voiced words of encouragement to pastors from 2 Timothy 4, telling them to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith.
“If we fight about everything we win nothing,” Ligon said. “Have the wisdom to know the good fight.”
Ligon commended pastors of smaller churches with whom he said he identifies. “God knows where you are. The reason He knows where you are is He put you where you are,” he said, acknowledging that he is a pastor out in “the hinterlands.”
In the annual sermon, Rick Frie, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jenks, spoke on Barnabas in the book of Acts. Barnabas was one who personally got involved in accepting people even if they were “different,” Frie said.
“Barnabas was a pacesetter of [forgiveness],” Frie also pointed out. “He understood there was more than just showing up. Building and making disciples doesn’t happen overnight. You and I have to come to the point that we believe what Jesus said and literally what Barnabas lived out is worth the investment.”

Reports of fruitful ministry

Messengers heard reports from various BGCO officials during the convention’s three sessions.
Scott Phillips, BGCO operations team leader, gave updates on facility projects for state Baptist Collegiate Ministries. The BCM at the University of Oklahoma (OU) plans to have its building completed for the next fall semester and has already raised the money needed to build. The Oklahoma State University (OSU) BCM building is making progress on a property that was provided through a “generous gift,” Phillips said. Both the new OU and OSU BCM buildings, he said, will be in locations adjacent to campus housing and “distinctive for the work of Oklahoma Baptists.”
James Swain, BGCO equipping team leader, reported on Falls Creek and CrossTimbers summer camps, underscoring the significance of the Falls Creek Centennial summer, which saw 2,580 professions of faith, the most in Falls Creek history, as well as the Centennial Weekend over Labor Day 2017 in which thousands participated. Swain also spoke of GoStudents mission opportunities and a new training related to the ReConnect Sunday School initiative called the Beta Collective focusing on helping midsize churches.
Alan Quigley, BGCO mobilization team leader, shared about Oklahoma Baptist disaster relief helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in south Texas and in Puerto Rico. He also reported that disaster relief chaplains are serving in Sutherland Springs in spiritual recovery efforts after the tragic church shooting.
During the report of the Oklahoma Baptist Home for Children, a video tribute to Jordan was shown about his instrumental role in establishing a Crisis Pregnancy Center outreach in 1986, which has become a flourishing network of Oklahoma Baptist pregnancy resource centers that have saved more than 10,000 babies since being founded.
Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 12-13 at First Baptist Church in Edmond.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chris Doyle is managing editor of the Baptist Messenger, news journal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.)

11/20/2017 8:58:50 AM by Chris Doyle, Baptist Messenger | with 0 comments

Women’s leadership event: ‘Be steadfast’

November 17 2017 by Joy Allmond, LifeWay Christian Resources

Facing breast cancer and the breakdown of her marriage, Proverbs 31 Ministries founder Lysa TerKeurst stood before 1,800 women Nov. 9 and urged them to remain steadfast in Christ.

Photo by Joy Allmond, Lifeway Christian Resources
“The enemy is on full-out assault to convince people God’s Word is too complicated to understand and too hard to live out,” said Proverbs 31 Ministries founder Lysa TerKeurst, as she encouraged women leaders to stay faithful to the scriptures. Around 1,800 women from 43 states gathered for the 2017 LifeWay Women’s Leadership Forum.

There was a collective gasp from the audience at LifeWay Christian Resource’s annual Women’s Leadership Forum as TerKeurst shared she would undergo a double mastectomy the following day.
TerKeurst’s breast cancer diagnosis in October came on the heels of her June announcement that she and her husband of 25 years were separating due to his substance abuse and infidelity. She told the gathered leaders that having a cancer diagnosis and a marriage crisis happen so closely together was difficult, but that the Word of God was anchoring her – and it could anchor them, too.
“So many things are happening to us as individuals,” she said. “I see people staggering, wandering and searching. They are hungering and thirsting for the Word of the Lord. There is a famine in our time for the Word of the Lord.
“We must expose the enemy of our soul so we can lead ourselves and lead others,” TerKeurst continued. “And to do that, we must be steadfast in the Lord and in His Word.”
“Steadfast” was the theme this year for the Women’s Leadership Forum, which drew women from 43 states to Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn.
“The theme for this year is important because it’s easy for leaders – regardless of role or season – to want to give up when things get hard,” said Kelly King, women’s ministry specialist for LifeWay. The theme was based on the exhortation from 1 Corinthians 15:58 to “be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
TerKeurst delivered the first keynote of the forum, cautioning leaders to be faithful in their study of scripture before attempting to lead others effectively.
“You can do all kinds of great seminars about how to lead, motivate people, and make numbers work,” she said. “You can take personality tests or do Strengths Finder ... but the one thing we must do as a steadfast leader is stay in the Word of God. You can read business books all day long, but it will not change your heart.”
Bible teacher, speaker and author Beth Moore outlined attributes Jesus possesses that live in those who believe in Him – and that equip leaders to be steadfast in ministry.
“We are not called to merely ‘get by,’” Moore said. “We’re called to be effective and productive. ... Everything we need to live profoundly effective lives, He has done.”
Eric Geiger, LifeWay’s senior vice president, encouraged the women to stay steadfast in leadership and ministry through character development.
“If your gifting outpaces your character – if your position weighs more than your integrity – you will fall,” Geiger said. “This takes place with very gifted leaders.”
Breakout sessions were led by key LifeWay leaders, including Connia Nelson, vice president of human resources; Trevin Wax, Bible and reference publisher; Faith Whatley, director of adult ministry; and Jennifer Lyell, director of book ministry area.
LifeWay authors who served as keynote speakers and breakout session leaders included Lisa-Jo Baker, Rachel Lovingood, Kelly Minter and Angela Thomas-Pharr.
The 2018 Women’s Leadership Forum is scheduled for Nov. 8-10 in Hendersonville, Tenn.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Joy Allmond is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.)

11/17/2017 10:09:19 AM by Joy Allmond, LifeWay Christian Resources | with 0 comments

Puerto Rico relief needs ongoing volunteers, funding

November 17 2017 by Brandon Elrod, NAMB

Southern Baptists continue to serve Puerto Rico’s residents after Hurricane Maria’s devastation in September, creating a nationwide response from the ground up.
Sam Porter, national director for disaster relief for the North American Mission Board (NAMB), has spent several days in Puerto Rico in two separate trips to assist disaster response coordinator Jack Noble in facilitating the large-scale response by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) and Send Relief.

Photo courtesy of Sam Porter, NAMB
Partnership discussions prompt a handshake between Sam Porter, left, and Luiz Rodriguez linking Southern Baptist and Puerto Rican Baptist churches in ongoing disaster relief. Porter is national director of disaster relief for the North American Mission Board; Rodriguez is pastor of Raham Baptist Church and president of the Convention of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Though the plight of Puerto Rico has started to fade from the headlines,” Porter said, “there are still plenty of needs and places to serve.”
NAMB’s Send Relief outreach has attained warehouse space in Puerto Rico for the collection of food, water and other resources. Items are then distributed to various churches ministering to those in need in their region.
A part of the disaster relief strategy has involved equipping local churches across the island to serve as distribution centers.
Between Oct. 22 and Nov. 11, Send Relief and SBDR teams from 11 state Baptist conventions distributed nearly 254,000 meals, the majority of which were sandwich meals but also including more than 19,000 hot meals as of Nov. 14.
Trained SBDR teams and volunteers from Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania-South Jersey, Maryland-Delaware, the Northwest Baptist Convention, the SBC of Virginia (SBCV) and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention have been serving in Puerto Rico and laying the foundation for future disaster relief efforts.
In addition to SBDR, volunteer teams organized through Send Relief are expected to serve from now through early 2018. Many collegiate teams are planning to use their winter and spring breaks to make the trip to serve in Puerto Rico. Churches and other ministries also can make arrangements to send teams and serve communities across the island.
“We are really seeking team leaders to work, people who have carpentry or disaster relief experience and can manage a group,” Porter said. “If some would like to come for two to four weeks at a time, we could really use their services.”
Many of the Baptist churches in Puerto Rico have seen God move in spite of the debilitating effects of the storm, said Carlos Rodriguez, a NAMB missionary in Puerto Rico.
“One of the good things about this disaster is that people are having to move from their pews and into the mission field,” Rodriguez said. “The people have started to see the need themselves and they are moving out into their communities and serving, not just food but also sharing the gospel.”
As Hurricane Maria left mass devastation in its wake, many of the church buildings became unusable, either because they lost power and running water or because they were severely damaged. In some cases, buildings were a total loss.
Even so, ministry is moving forward, said Rodriguez, NAMB’s national church planting catalyst in Puerto Rico.
“People are getting saved,” he reported. “It has, in a way, been a revival for the churches. Churches are thinking in different ways. Their people are visiting others in their community and not just staying in the church.”
Baptist state conventions in Alabama, SBCV and Tennessee have volunteered to take different regions of the island and coordinate partnerships between their churches and those in Puerto Rico. NAMB is working to facilitate partnerships between mainland churches and those in Puerto Rico, and churches or state conventions that would like to participate should contact NAMB’s Send Relief ministry.
Visit to volunteer or donate funds to the continuing relief efforts.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.)

11/17/2017 10:06:19 AM by Brandon Elrod, NAMB | with 0 comments

Kentucky Baptists urge evangelism, pledge to monitor CBF

November 17 2017 by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder

Messengers to the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) in Louisville launched a major evangelistic initiative, spoke out on gambling and violent crime and tasked their credentialing committee with monitoring potential actions by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).

Photo by Myriah Snyder, Western Recorder
Ed Amundson, pastor of High Street Baptist Church in Somerset, Ky., made a motion urging the KBC to evaluate cooperating with churches aligned with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Meeting at Highview Baptist Church’s east campus Nov. 14, they also elected a western Kentucky pastor as their president and set a Cooperative Program (CP) budget goal of $21.5 million for 2018-2019.

Gospel Conversation Challenge

In his address, KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood issued the “Gospel Conversation Challenge,” an initiative of the North American Mission Board (NAMB), LifeWay Christian Resources and the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee to initiate 1 million gospel conversations over the next year.
“The ‘GC Challenge,’ as it’s being called,” Chitwood said, “invites every church to set a goal for the number of gospel conversations and post that goal on the GC Challenge website at”
The objective, he explained, is to make people think intentionally about sharing the gospel by looking for opportunities to strike up conversations with unchurched people.
“The concept is quite simple: we want to challenge 750,000 Kentucky Baptists to tell their relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors, everyone about Jesus – to tell them what He has done for them,” Chitwood said in an earlier news release. “The potential impact is incredible. If every church accepts this challenge, we could turn our state upside down for Christ.”
Chitwood also asked Kentucky Baptists to pray for a Harvest Crusade in Pikeville that will be held in conjunction with the 2018 KBC annual meeting.


In adopting four resolutions, Kentucky Baptists again spoke out against gambling. They opposed the state legislature’s latest proposal to legalize casino gambling to raise funds for the state government’s pension system.
In the gambling resolution, messengers urged the state’s political leaders to “curtail all forms of destructive gambling, and to address its harmful effects through policy and legislation.”
Calling convention leaders, entities and pastors to educate Southern Baptists on the “deceptive sin of gambling,” the resolution called followers of Christ not to participate.
“Gambling violates the principle of neighbor-love, necessitating the financial loss and harm of many for the gain of a few,” the resolution stated.
A resolution encouraging intercessory prayer on behalf of “a people who desperately need [God’s] intervention” was adopted in light of “cataclysmic storms, mass shootings, daily violence in cities across the land, heartache caused by an epidemic of substance abuse and other factors that have brought pain and suffering for people of all ages, including helpless children.”
Another resolution urged Kentucky legislators to pass Marsy’s Law, a bill that would expand the legal rights of crime victims. Similar legislation has been passed in other states. The bill is named for a California woman who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend.
“Marsy’s Law seeks to correct [an] imbalance of justice by establishing some key constitutional basic rights for victims of crime such as the right to be heard, right to notice of proceedings, the right to be present at proceedings, and standing to enforce these rights,” the resolution stated.

Officer elections

Photo by Myriah Snyder, Western Recorder
Marlana Vanhoose, who performed for the presidential inauguration, provided a portion of the special music for the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s 180th annual meeting.

Charles Frazier, pastor of Zion’s Cause Baptist Church in Benton, was elected by acclamation as convention president. KBC messengers elected a Louisville pastor and a western Kentucky director of missions to serve as vice presidents.
Serving in pastoral ministry for 25 years, Frazier has led four Kentucky Baptist churches, noted Bowling Green pastor Tom James in nominating Frazier. Zion’s Cause has been recognized by NAMB as among the fastest growing churches in the state.
A former member of the KBC Mission Board, Frazier has served as chairman of the board’s budget and finance committee and as vice chairman of the administrative committee. He was appointed this year to serve on the SBC Executive Committee.
Nate Bishop, lead pastor of Forest Baptist Church, a predominantly African-American congregation in Louisville, was elected as first vice president. Paxton Redd, director of missions for Little River Baptist Association in Cadiz, was elected by acclamation as second vice president. Bob Whitter, pastor of First Baptist Church of Loyall, was the other candidate in the first vice president race.

CBF monitoring

During a business session, KBC messengers commissioned their Committee on Credentials to monitor the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s study of whether to change its policies to allow hiring individuals in a homosexual lifestyle. The committee was charged with bringing a report to next year’s annual meeting in Pikeville.
Ed Amundson, pastor of High Street Baptist Church in Somerset, made the motion, calling for the KBC’s Committee on Credentials to study the moral and theological positions embraced by the CBF, and to determine if churches affiliated with the group should be allowed to cooperate with the KBC.
The CBF’s six-member Illumination Project Committee, which has been charged with recommending how the Fellowship can remain united despite diverse opinions on homosexuality, is expected to announce specific policy proposals in February.
Meanwhile, nearly 600 people, including several former CBF moderators, have signed a petition calling for CBF to “remove its discriminatory hiring policy,” which, according to governing documents, forbids “the purposeful hiring of a staff person or the sending of a missionary who is a practicing homosexual.”
The CBF was founded in 1991 as a fellowship of churches that objected to the ideology and methods of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Conservative Resurgence. The Fellowship claims about 1,800 churches are affiliated with the organization, including 56 churches in Kentucky. Of those, 45 cooperate with the KBC.


Messengers approved a $500,000 decrease to the convention’s CP budget goal, based upon receipts from KBC churches for the previous fiscal year. Chitwood said the decision to lower the 2018-2019 goal was made to be realistic regarding national trends which reflect a decline in giving.
For 2016-2017, Kentucky Baptists gave $21,678,271 though the Cooperative Program and an additional $8,766,984 through special offerings for state, national and international missions work, according to KBC Finance and Business Services Team Leader Lowell Ashby.
The 2018-19 budget will equally divide CP receipts from churches between KBC missions and ministries and SBC causes, allotting 45 percent, or $10.75 million, for each. The KBC and SBC will share a 10 percent designation for Cooperative Program Resourcing, setting aside a combined $2.15 million.
“These [CP] funds are crucial for keeping international missionaries in places that the average congregation would never have an opportunity to reach working alone,” Chitwood said.
“By partnering through the Cooperative Program, Kentucky Baptists are, at this moment, helping hurricane victims in Florida and Texas, planting new churches in Kentucky and elsewhere, helping orphaned children, sharing the gospel with students in colleges and universities across the state, helping to train the next generation of ministers and missionaries, revitalizing churches that have fallen into decline, encouraging pastors, training church leaders and so much more,” Chitwood said.
In other convention action:

  • Charles Barnes, a lifelong Kentucky Baptist who has been involved in the state convention’s top levels of leadership for decades, received the Cooperative Program Leadership Award. Barnes, a member of Hurstborne Baptist Church in Louisville, is a past KBC president, has been a board member of several KBC and SBC entities and served multiple terms on the KBC Mission Board.
  • Adam Greenway, dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was selected to deliver next year’s convention sermon.
  • Marlana VanHoose, a member of Liberty Baptist Church near Paintsville, Ky., who performed at President Donald Trump’s inauguration, shared her musical talents by leading KBC messengers in worship.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Todd Deaton is editor of the Western Recorder,, news journal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.)

11/17/2017 10:01:26 AM by Todd Deaton, Western Recorder | with 0 comments

Expert: Social media causes depression, anxiety

November 17 2017 by Kiley Crossland, WORLD News Service

A Colorado research professor this week proposed a hypothesis to explain the unprecedented rates of depression and anxiety in the post-millennial generation: dwindling social cues.
Scott Stanley, a researcher at the University of Denver and a fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, said decreases in the reliability of information about relationships (for example, an emoji response to a heartfelt question) may be exacerbating mental and emotional issues in today’s teens and young adults.
Ambiguity leads to neurosis, according to Stanley. Ivan Pavlov found that when dogs could not discriminate between stimuli, they had a mental breakdown. Stanley argues today’s young people are left in the same state, asking questions like, “Why didn’t she ‘like’ my post?” and “How did all my friends end up getting together tonight without me knowing about it?”
Stanley is not alone in his conclusions. San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge recently wrote in an editorial in The Atlantic: “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen [those born between 1995 and 2012] as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades.”
Twenge also blames the smartphone. Instead of voices, young people get ambiguous cartoon images. Instead of direct communication, young people are left to interpret a friend’s Instagram post.
“The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health,” Twenge said. “There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives – and making them seriously unhappy.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Kiley Crossland writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine,, based in Asheville. Used with permission.)

11/17/2017 9:57:41 AM by Kiley Crossland, WORLD News Service | with 0 comments

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