October 2012

David Jeremiah: Vote values, not political party

October 25 2012 by Michael Foust, Baptist Press

EL CAJON, Calif. – Author and pastor David Jeremiah has recorded a video urging Christians not to vote according to their political party but to vote according to their values.

In the six-minute video, the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., urges Christians to pray for the nation and to vote.
 
“As Christians, the Bible tells us that we are to be salt and light in the world, and the time has come for us to let our voices be heard and our votes be counted,” Jeremiah says. “And this time when you vote, don’t vote your geographical location. Don’t vote your religious denomination. Don’t vote your political affiliation. Don’t vote your racial identification. Don’t even vote your union obligation. This time when you vote, vote your values. Vote your beliefs. Vote your convictions.
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Photo by Kent Harville

David Jeremiah, pastor of Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego, radio host and author of multiple books, was a featured speaker during the morning session of the two-day SBC Pastors’ Conference in June.


“And if candidates want your vote, let them earn it the old fashioned way. Let them make commitments to your values, and let them know that you intend to hold them responsible.”

America “seems to have lost her way,” Jeremiah asserts, adding, “Spiritually, we have marginalized the Bible. We’ve trivialized marriage, and we’ve neutralized the church. America today is in great turmoil. It feels like the soul of our nation has been taken from us.”

Christians, he says, “are fully aware of the precarious situation in which we find ourselves: economically, spiritually and politically.” And yet “we feel rather powerless to do anything about it.”

But he adds, “We are not helpless.”

Jeremiah says Christians can do two things: pray and vote.

“The Old Testament teaches us that if we humble ourselves and pray, God will hear from heaven and heal our land,” Jeremiah says. “And the New Testament assures us that the fervent prayers of righteous men can make a difference.”

Voting, Jeremiah says, is an obligation.

“In the last election, less than half of those who were eligible to vote were registered. And of those who did register, less than half of them actually went to the polls and voted. Our young men and women give their limbs and their lives to ensure our freedom, and we don’t even trouble ourselves to vote. No wonder we are in the mess we are in.”

Jeremiah closes by telling viewers, “I have been asked this question over and over again: ‘Dr. Jeremiah, do you think God is finished with America?’ But that is the wrong question.’ The right question is: Is America finished with God?”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press.)

10/25/2012 2:16:15 PM by Michael Foust, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Lebanon’s shaky stability seen as tenuous after bombing

October 25 2012 by Baptist Press

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Drops of dried blood lead like bread crumbs up three flights of stairs to a shrapnel-shredded apartment, perhaps 40 yards from the site of a car bombing that killed Lebanon’s top intelligence chief Oct. 19 – and threatened to destroy the country’s shaky stability.

The Beirut apartment belongs a friendly Maronite Catholic named Aboud who lives with his adult son Charles. Three days after the bombing, they offer figs to visitors, along with a tour of their damaged home: gaping holes left in a bedroom wall by metal fragments from the explosion, broken windows, door frames blown inward by the blast. Pictures of Maronite Catholic saints on the walls remain unharmed, which Aboud regards as a miracle.

Their pockmarked verandah offers a clear view of the crater left by the car bomb in Beirut’s Ashrafiyeh district. A few blackened husks of cars lie nearby. The side street where the attack occurred sits silent, sealed off and guarded by Lebanese soldiers and police.

On other streets in the area, however, the bustle already has returned. People come and go, drink coffee in cafes, sweep up broken glass and debris from the blast into small mountains for removal. For their part, Aboud and Charles are thankful to be unhurt, unlike others in their building injured by shattering glass and shrapnel. They say it’s time to get back to normal life – or what passes for normal in Beirut’s cauldron of contending religious sects and armed political groups.

“Welcome to Lebanon,” Charles says with a wry grin.

But the Lebanese version of normal might not return so quickly this time, or return at all.

“Times are very tense here,” says a veteran Christian worker and observer of Lebanon’s political scene. “Some are comparing it to times near the end of [Lebanon’s] civil war in the late 1980s. Only God knows which way things will turn, but the whole Middle East is changing faster than we could ever imagine. I think many people here feel that things internally are continuing to worsen and that the strife going on next door is coming here in increasing measure.”

The war next door

“Next door” is Syria, where full-scale civil war is tearing that country apart, sending thousands of refugees fleeing into Lebanon and other neighboring nations. Syria occupied much of Lebanon for years and continues to influence events there. Some of the same ethnic and religious factions battling for control of Syria maintain an increasingly uneasy truce in Lebanon, particularly Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims. Many Lebanese Sunnis have backed Syria’s primarily Sunni rebels; many Lebanese Shi’ites support the Syrian regime led by Bashar al-Assad of the Alawite sect in Syria that is distantly related to Shia Islam.

The Alawite sect rules a Sunni majority there and is supported by Iran – and by Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanon-based Shi’ite group that fought Israel to a truce in 2006. Hezbollah reportedly has sent fighters into Syria to support Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime. Several Sunni Arab nations are openly or covertly aiding rebel forces.

Many Lebanese immediately blamed Syria for planting the Oct. 19 car bomb that killed at least nine people, including General Wissam al-Hassan, Lebanon’s intelligence chief and an outspoken foe of Syria’s regime. Scores of people were injured in the blast, which occurred in the busy Ashrafiyeh district of Beirut just as children were returning home from school. Syrian officials denied involvement and condemned the attack. Lebanese Sunnis were unconvinced by their claims of innocence.

Al-Hassan, who survived two previous assassination attempts, worked with the U.N. Special Tribunal for Lebanon that investigated the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Hariri’s death and its aftermath led to the departure of Syrian forces from Lebanon. More recently, his investigations led to the arrest of former Information Minister Michel Samaha, a pro-Syrian politician, for allegedly plotting a wave of attacks in Lebanon.

“So you’ve got the Alawites as the ruling class over the Sunni majority in Syria,” the Christian worker explains. “Here in Lebanon you’ve got the underlying Sunni-Shi’ite thing going. And that’s what people here fear the most” – animosity escalating into a full-scale battle between the two Islamic factions. It might engulf Lebanon and draw in its many other ethnic/religious groups, including a large population of Orthodox and Maronite Christians.

“If things become increasingly chaotic, pray that more and more people will turn to the Lord and not to other things,” the Christian worker asks of Christians worldwide.

Lebanese got an unsettling glimpse of what that chaos might look like after the Oct. 21 funeral for al-Hassan in Beirut.

Enraged protesters tried to storm the government palace that day, but were pushed back by troops firing tear gas and warning shots. Young men set fire to tires and trash bins around Beirut, snarling traffic. Gun battles between rival factions broke out in Beirut and the northern city of Tripoli, killing seven. Sniper fire rang out in several areas. Militia groups set up checkpoints in several districts and demanded religious identification from passersby, harking back to the bad old days of the civil war.

The Lebanese army, warning the “fate of the nation” was at stake, deployed thousands of troops across Beirut Oct. 22, sealing off volatile areas and forcing gunmen off the streets. Relative calm returned the next day as business and schools reopened.

What happens next? Middle East watchers have learned that it’s a fool’s errand to try to answer that question with any degree of certainty. But followers of Christ can pray for God’s purposes to be accomplished.

“Pray that there will be more spiritual hunger,” the Christian worker urges. “It’s interesting that during and after the days of the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, there was a change in attitude, a change in thinking. But then things kind of settled back into what they were before.

“If there is increasing strife, pray that people would not so quickly forget lessons learned, that they will truly turn to the Lord and realize He is the source of life, that there would be more spiritual hunger and not just the same old, same old. Lebanon has had a history of this. One leader is assassinated and everything is in upheaval, and then things settle down. Then something else happens.

“Pray that there would be a permanent turn toward what is really important.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Reported by International Mission Board staff.)
10/25/2012 2:09:55 PM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Planned Parenthood spends millions for Obama

October 25 2012 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

WASHINGTON – Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider, has spent $12 million on this year’s presidential election through its political action committees.
 
That is more than it has ever spent in an election, and about half of it has gone for television ads in such battleground states as Florida, Ohio and Virginia, according to the Associated Press.

Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood’s president, said she has “taken a break from [her] day job” to campaign for President Obama. In a video released by the Obama campaign on Oct. 19, Richards said, “Our daughters’ and our granddaughters’ future depends on” working to re-elect the president.

Richards’ announcement came three days after the second presidential debate, when Obama mentioned Planned Parenthood five times, advocating continued federal funding for the controversial organization. In contrast with previous presidential campaigns, Obama has been outspoken in promoting abortion rights and Planned Parenthood.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Richard Land doesn’t “blame Planned Parenthood for being actively involved in the Obama campaign,” the Southern Baptist pro-life leader said.

“If one reads the platforms of the two parties, it’s in their self-interest to do everything they can to bring about President Obama’s re-election, because the Republican platform called for Planned Parenthood to be defunded and the Democratic platform supported continued funding of Planned Parenthood,” Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said.

“Unfortunately, there are hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars at stake, so I imagine Planned Parenthood sees a $12 million investment as a wise use of their funds in order to protect the gift of hundreds of millions of dollars they receive every year from the federal government.

“Personally, I find it unconscionable that our government is funding Planned Parenthood, and I strongly support their being reduced to zero in the federal budget,” Land said.

Planned Parenthood and its affiliates, which are under investigation by a congressional subcommittee, received $487.4 million in grants, contracts and reimbursements from all government levels in 2009-10, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Planned Parenthood centers reported performing 329,445 abortions in 2010.

During the Oct. 16 debate, Obama again seemed to repeat his mistaken contention that Planned Parenthood provides mammograms. He said millions of American women “rely on [Planned Parenthood] for mammograms.”

Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms, however, a fact confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Alliance Defending Freedom, the FDA said no Planned Parenthood clinic has a license to operate mammogram equipment, according to CNS News.

Planned Parenthood refers women to other clinics for mammograms, the organization acknowledged Oct. 17.

A subcommittee of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee initiated an investigation of Planned Parenthood more than a year ago. It has been looking into reports of potential fraud and failure to report suspected sex abuse and human trafficking.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Baptist Press’ Washington bureau chief.)
10/25/2012 1:51:22 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Summary of proposed amendments to bylaws

October 24 2012 by Baptist State Convention

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) Board of Directors will bring three proposed amendments to the bylaws for consideration by messengers attending the BSCNC annual meeting November 12-13 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex Special Events Center. The Board is not bringing proposed amendments to the articles of incorporation. An explanation of the proposed amendments is provided below:
 

Motion One

The first motion, related to Article I.C.5.a.(vi) and Article II.F.1., addresses qualifications of non-Board members of special committees of the Board of Directors, such as the Budget Committee and the Articles and Bylaws Committee. The bylaws limit individuals to a single place of service in regards to their membership on a Convention committee, the Convention’s Board of Directors, and the boards of the Convention’s institutions, agencies and affiliated educational institutions. Currently an individual cannot serve as a member of more than one of these committees or boards at one time.
 
This motion seeks to clarify limitations on the service of non-Board members of special committees to a single place of service. The proposed amendments stipulate that the Board president may not appoint individuals for these places of service who are already serving as members of Convention committees, or serving on the boards of the Convention’s institutions, agencies and affiliated educational institutions. The amendments also provide that the Committee on Nominations may not nominate individuals already serving as a non-Board member of a special committee to positions as members of Convention committees or the boards of institutions, agencies or affiliated educational institutions. 
 

Motion Two

The second motion proposes a change to Article III.C.6. of the bylaws to reflect the title change of North Carolina Baptist Hospital’s School of Pastoral Care to the Division of Faith and Health Ministries. This proposed amendment does not impact the relationship of North Carolina Baptist Hospital with the BSCNC.
 

Motion Three

The third motion is a series of proposed amendments that clarify the work of the Committee on Nominations. Currently, there is inconsistency in the language used to address the ability of an individual who was elected to a full term of service but did not complete the full term of service, to either return to service on the same board or committee or to begin a new term of service on a different board or committee. The proposed amendments will address these issues that are not explicitly covered by the current bylaws related to Convention committees (Article I.C.2.c., Convention Committees), the Convention Board (Article II.B.3., Election of At-large Members of the Board of Directors), Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute (Article II. G.2.a.(vi), Fruitland Board of Directors), and Institutions and Agencies (Article III.B.3.c., Election of Trustees and Directors).
 
These proposed amendments to the bylaws will be presented to messengers during the Tuesday morning session (Nov. 13) of the annual meeting and are subject to a majority vote. The presentation will take place as part of the Board of Directors report during that session.
 
Questions related to these proposed amendments may be directed to the following individuals at the platform at the conclusion of the Monday evening session: Bartley Wooten, chair of the Articles and Bylaws Committee; Brian Davis, executive leader for Administration and Convention Relations; or John Small, Convention counsel.
 
For more information about the annual meeting visit www.ncannualmeeting.org.

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10/24/2012 2:41:12 PM by Baptist State Convention | with 0 comments



Proposed amendments to bylaws of BSC of North Carolina, Inc.

October 24 2012 by

Proposed amendments to bylaws of Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Inc.
 
1.         Amendments Related to Non-Board Members of Special Committees:
 
Motion 1:        The Board of Directors moves that Article I.C.5.a.(vi) and Article II.F.1. be deleted in                                     their entirety with the following language substituted in their respective places. 
           
            A.         Article I.C.5.a.(vi) (Committee on Nominations)
 
Current Reading:
 
            (vi)      No person shall be nominated to serve on more than one (1) Convention committee or board of the Convention, its institutions, its agencies, its affiliated educational institutions or the Hospital (all as hereinafter defined in Article III.A.) at the same time. 
 
Proposed Reading:
 
            (vi)      No person shall be nominated to serve on more than one (1) Convention committee, board of the Convention, special committee of the board of the Convention (as hereinafter named in Article II.F.), or board of its institutions, its agencies, its affiliated educational institutions or the Hospital (all as hereinafter defined in Article III.A.) at the same time. 
 
            B.         Article II.F.1. (Board Committees)
 
Current Reading:
 
            1.         Selection of Committee Members.  The President and Vice-President of the Board shall be responsible for assigning all newly elected Board members to one of the Board committees or the special committees.  The assignment process and notification of assignments will be finished at least two (2) weeks prior to the January meeting of the Board. Also, the President and Vice-President will review and take into consideration any recommendations furnished by the Executive Leader associated with the work of a specific committee.
 
Proposed Reading:
 
            1.         Selection of Committee Members.  The President and Vice-President of the Board shall be responsible for assigning all newly elected Board members to one of the Board committees or the special committees.  The assignment process and notification of assignments will be finished at least two (2) weeks prior to the January meeting of the Board. Also, the President and Vice-President will review and take into consideration any recommendations furnished by the Executive Leader associated with the work of a specific committee.  Any member of a special committee of the Board who is not a member of the Board shall not be serving at the same time on any Convention committee, any other special committee of the board of the Convention, or any board of the Convention’s institutions, agencies, affiliated educational institutions, or the Hospital (all as hereinafter defined in Article III.A.).
 
2.         Amendment Related to the North Carolina Baptist Hospital
 
Motion 2:        The Board of Directors moves that Article III.C.6. of the Bylaws be deleted in its                                            entirety with the following language substituted in its place. 
 
Current Reading:
 
            6.         The committee of the Hospital’s board of trustees that oversees the School of Pastoral Care shall have as its members only trustees who have been elected by the Convention.
 
Proposed Reading:
 
            6.         The committee of the Hospital’s board of trustees that oversees the Hospital’s Division of Faith and Health Ministries shall have as its members only trustees who have been elected by the Convention.
 
3.         Amendments Related to Individuals Serving Less Than a Full Term on Commit-                                tees and Boards
 
Motion 3:        The Board of Directors moves that Article I.C.2.c., Article II.B.3., Article                                                II.G.2.a.(vi), and Article III.B.3.c. be deleted in their entirety with the following                                                language substituted in their respective places.
           
            A.         Article I.C.2.c. (Convention Committees)
 
Current Reading:
 
            c.          No person shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself on the committee on which he/she is serving until one full term has elapsed, provided he/she has served a full term; in addition, no person shall be eligible to serve on any other standing committee until one (1) year has elapsed.
Proposed Reading:
 
            c.          No person shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself on the committee on which he/she is serving until one full term has elapsed after his/her service on such committee has ended whether through expiration of the term, resignation or otherwise; in addition, no person shall be eligible to serve on any other standing Convention committee until one (1) year has elapsed.
 
            B.         Article II.B.3. (Convention Board)
 
Current Reading:
 
            3.         Election; Terms.  Each at-large member of the Board shall be elected for a term of four (4) years with, as nearly as may be possible, one-fourth (1/4) of the membership being elected at each annual meeting; provided, however, that any such at-large Board member who shall have been elected to fill a vacancy of less than two (2) years, shall be eligible to be re-elected to a full term. No person shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself on the Board after serving a full term of four (4) years until one (1) full term has elapsed.  The term shall begin on January 1, following the annual meeting of the Convention at which at-large members were elected; and shall end on December 31 following the Convention at which their successors were elected, unless sooner terminated; provided, however, the term of office of an at-large member who has not resigned, died, become disqualified, or been removed shall not expire until a successor shall have been duly elected and qualified.
 
Proposed Reading:
 
            3.         Election; Terms.  Each at-large member of the Board shall be elected for a term of four (4) years with, as nearly as may be possible, one-fourth (1/4) of the membership being elected at each annual meeting.  No person shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself on the Board after serving on the Board whether such service has ended through expiration of the term, resignation or otherwise until one (1) full term has elapsed; provided, however, that any such at-large Board member who shall have been elected to fill a vacancy of less than two (2) years, shall be eligible to be re-elected to a full term.  The term shall begin on January 1, following the annual meeting of the Convention at which at-large members were elected; and shall end on December 31 following the Convention at which their successors were elected, unless sooner terminated; provided, however, the term of office of an at-large member who has not resigned, died, become disqualified, or been removed shall not expire until a successor shall have been duly elected and qualified.
 
            C.         Article II.G.2.a.(vi) (Fruitland Board)
 
Current Reading:
 
            (vi)      No person shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself on the Fruitland Board after serving a full term of four (4) years until one (1) full term has elapsed; provided, however, that any Fruitland Board member who shall have been elected to fill a vacancy of less than two (2) years shall be eligible to be re-elected to a full term; and
 
Proposed Reading:  
 
            (vi)      No person shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself on the Fruitland Board after serving on the Fruitland Board whether such service has ended through expiration of the term, resignation or otherwise until one (1) full term has elapsed; provided, however, that any Fruitland Board member who shall have been elected to fill a vacancy of less than two (2) years shall be eligible to be re-elected to a full term; and
 
            D.         Article III.B.3.c. (Institutions and Agencies)
 
Current Reading:
 
            c.          No trustee or director shall serve a continuous term of more than four (4) years; and provided, however, that any such trustee or director, who shall have been elected to fill a vacancy of less than two (2) years, shall be eligible to be re-elected to a full term. A trustee or director having completed a full term of office shall not be eligible for re-election to membership on the same board until the elapse of one (1) year, but shall be eligible for immediate election to membership on the board of any other institution or agency.
 
Proposed Reading: 
 
            c.          No trustee or director shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself on a board after serving on such board, whether such service has ended through expiration of the term, resignation or otherwise until the lapse of one (1) year; provided, however, that any board member who shall have been elected to fill a vacancy of less than two (2) years shall be eligible to be re-elected to a full term.  In addition, any trustee or director having completed his/her service on one board shall be eligible for immediate election to membership on the board of any other institution or agency.

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Summary of proposed amendments to bylaws
10/24/2012 2:26:44 PM by | with 0 comments



Israel & U.S. relationship is key topic of 3rd presidential debate

October 24 2012 by Erin Roach, Baptist Press

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Israel was a key focus of the third and final presidential debate Oct. 22 with both candidates expressing solidarity with the United States’ main ally in the Middle East particularly as it faces an increasing threat from a nuclear Iran.

Moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News asked if the candidates would be willing to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States, and President Obama and Mitt Romney both said America will stand with Israel.

“Israel is a true friend. It is our greatest ally in the region,” Obama said at the debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., “and if Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel. I’ve made that clear throughout my presidency.”

The president, though, has been criticized in recent months for perhaps weakening America’s relationship with Israel, particularly by not meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he traveled to the United States.

“Working with Israel, we have created the strongest military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries in history,” Obama said. “In fact, this week we’ll be carrying out the largest military exercise with Israel in history, this very week.”

Romney, in response to the question, said when he is president, “We will stand with Israel, and if Israel is attacked, we have their back – not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily.”
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From left, Romney and Obama


A nuclear-capable Iran, Romney said in reference to Israel’s most vehement opponent in the region, “is unacceptable to America.”

Obama said his administration has organized “the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy.” Iran’s currency has dropped 80 percent, their oil production has plunged to the lowest level in 20 years and “their economy is in shambles,” Obama said.

“As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon,” Obama said, adding that a nuclear Iran is a threat to both America’s and Israel’s national security.

Romney drew attention to what has been dubbed Obama’s “apology tour,” a trip he took to several Middle East nations soon after entering office. Romney contended that Obama criticized the United States during those stops, and nations such as Iran noticed.

“I think they looked at that and saw weakness,” Romney said. “... And I think that when the president said he was going to create daylight between ourselves and Israel, they noticed that as well.”

Iran also noticed that Obama skipped Israel during his first trip to the Middle East as president, Romney said.

Obama, in response, said that the first time he was a candidate for president he visited a Holocaust museum in Israel “to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable.”

“I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children’s bedrooms, and I was reminded of what that would mean if those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles,” Obama said.

The central question surrounding Middle East conflict, Obama said, is going to be who is viewed as credible to all parties involved.

“They can look at my track record – whether it’s Iran sanctions, whether it’s dealing with counterterrorism, whether it’s supporting democracy, whether it’s supporting women’s rights, whether it’s supporting religious minorities – and they can say that the president of the United States and the United States of America has stood on the right side of history,” Obama said.

Romney said he doesn’t see the United States’ influence growing around the world.

“I see our influence receding, in part because of the failure of the president to deal with our economic challenges at home, in part because of our withdrawal from our commitment to our military and ... in part because of the turmoil with Israel,” Romney said. “I mean, the president received a letter from 38 Democrat senators saying the tensions with Israel were a real problem.”

Romney mentioned several times that the Middle East is in tumult, particularly after the Arab Spring. He asked voters to examine the president’s record.

“Are Israel and the Palestinians closer to reaching a peace agreement? No. They haven’t talked in two years,” Romney said. “We have not seen the progress we need to have, and I’m convinced that with strong leadership and an effort to build a strategy based upon helping these nations reject extremism, we can see the kind of peace and prosperity the world demands.”

China also garnered significant attention during the foreign policy debate. While neither candidate mentioned the severe human rights abuses of China’s one-child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations, both candidates spoke of China’s trade violations and said they would like to partner with the communist country if it will, in Obama’s words, “play by the same rules as everybody else.”

“China has an interest that’s very much like ours in one respect, and that is they want a stable world,” Romney said. “They don’t want war. They don’t want to see protectionism. They don’t want to see the world break out into various forms of chaos because they have to manufacture goods and put people to work.

“... And so, we can be a partner with China,” Romney said. “We don’t have to be an adversary in any way, shape or form. We can work with them. We can collaborate with them if they’re willing to be responsible.”

The Republican candidate noted that the United States owes China $1 trillion, and Romney said as president he will label China a currency manipulator because “they’re stealing our intellectual property, our patents, our designs, our technology, hacking into our computers, counterfeiting our goods.”

Obama said he believes China can be a partner, “but we’re also sending a very clear signal that America is a Pacific power, that we are going to have a presence there.”

“We’re organizing trade relations with countries other than China so that China starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards,” Obama said.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Erin Roach is assistant editor of Baptist Press.)
10/24/2012 2:20:39 PM by Erin Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Midwestern president sets seminary’s purpose in chapel

October 24 2012 by T. Patrick Hudson, Baptist Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jason Allen, in his first chapel message as president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS), shared his vision about the role of the seminary in theological education, within the Southern Baptist Convention and in serving its constituencies, particularly the local church.

With the new president’s election the previous day (Oct. 15), the mood of the packed chapel audience was celebratory as Allen, his wife Karen and their children were formally welcomed into the seminary family by Bill Bowyer, chairman of the trustees’ presidential search team.

Allen said he and his family had felt the moving of the Holy Spirit throughout the search process.

“If ever I’ve been convinced of the certainty of God’s will in my life, it has been unto this,” Allen said. “Karen and I have prayed for months ... and as we’ve sensed every step of the way the Lord’s leading us down this road, it has brought with it such a sweet assurance. God has already developed in our hearts a love for a people we are really yet to know and a desire for community we are yet to even fully be in. We’re so overjoyed to be here!”
10-24-12allen175.jpg

Jason Allen


Turning to his sermon, titled, “What hath the Seminary to do with the Church?” from 1 Timothy 3:14-16, Allen said his initial chapel message wasn’t intended to be a manifesto for the seminary. Rather, he intended to share from God’s Word about theological education, what the seminary is and how it relates to the local church.

Southern Baptists have often had an uneasy relationship with the seminaries, Allen said, pointing to such questions as: “What is a seminary to be?” “Is it to be a divinity school or built and pointed at serving the local church?” “Does it serve a convention or is it built to change and prod a convention?”

Answering these questions, Allen said, “We are committed to serve the local church and not to point our attention or affections toward approval from the secular academy. We are called to serve a denomination, not to prod or push it. We are called to minister and teach in a context of confessional integrity.

“How you answer these questions determines everything about the faculty you seek to build, the curriculum you seek to structure, the graduates you hope to produce, the pastors you hope to equip, the ministers you intend to send, and the missionaries you intend to launch,” he said.

The new president then underscored where the seminary’s chief accountability lies. “Our commitment in the years forward, as in years past, is to our churches and our denomination, to train men and women for the nations for the glory of Christ,” he said.

“The urgent role of the church is to be the place where truth can be found,” Allen said, referencing verse 15, that the church is to be the “pillar and support of the truth.” The central role of the seminary, he said, is to come alongside the church in accomplishing the task.

“We are called as a seminary to equip men and women to be defenders of truth,” Allen said. “We are to be proclaimers of the truth of God’s Word and of Jesus Christ.... If there is one other place on the planet where people who will defend the truth will be found ... it will be this place.”

The president then asked what he called a dangerous question. “Where in the New Testament is a seminary? It’s nowhere, but there’s a sense in which it’s everywhere. We get no clear command to have a seminary as we’ve so ordered it, but we see the mandate for theological education and biblical training in the Scriptures everywhere.

“Given the urgency of this and the way God is calling out individuals to serve His church, theological education is not child’s play,” Allen continued. “It’s deadly serious ... and I have a sense of urgency in my bones and gravity in my soul because I think I understand something of what God is seeking to accomplish through a people dedicated to His work.”

The focal point of this urgency is the proclamation of the Lord Jesus Christ, Allen said, describing the presentation of the simple message of Jesus as first priority.

The preached Word confronts fallen man, he said. “If our presentation of the gospel isn’t challenging and confronting to modern man, I’d question whether or not we presented the gospel in the first place,” he said. “The gospel is a frontal assault on the assumptions and convictions of fallen man.”

In closing, Allen asked the question, “What does all this mean for a Southern Baptist seminary?” The answer, he said, entails a commitment to: keeping trust with the Southern Baptist Convention in both the letter and spirit of its expectations; having a servant’s mindset in serving the churches of the convention; the Great Commission; a holistic ministry training experience for students geared toward renewing the mind, enriching the soul and impacting the heart; and a resolve to proclaim and herald the name of Jesus.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – T. Patrick Hudson is director of communications at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. To see Jason Allen’s message in its entirety, go to www.mbts.edu.)
10/24/2012 2:12:33 PM by T. Patrick Hudson, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



BCH president considers baptism great honor

October 23 2012 by J. Blake Ragsdale, BCH Communications

Kelsey arose from the waters to the sounds of applause from family, friends and other campers who live with the 16-year-old at Camp Duncan in Aberdeen. The group gathered at the residential wilderness camp for girls on Aug. 23 to witness Kelsey’s baptism. It was a day Kelsey began praying about immediately after accepting Christ in November 2011.
 
“After I was saved, I prayed and asked God who should baptize me,” Kelsey said. “Dr. Blackwell’s name came into my mind. There was no question that it should be him.”
 
Kelsey posed her request to Michael Blackwell late last year when the Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) President/CEO was visiting Camp Duncan. The residential camp is a place where girls, like Kelsey, can overcome personal and family challenges through a uniquely structured wilderness environment.
 
“I was floored when Kelsey asked me,” Blackwell said. “To be able to baptize this young lady has been one of the great honors of my life.”
 
The service took place at Lake Catherine, the centerpiece of the 700-acre property, named in honor of Blackwell’s wife. The ceremony included songs of praise, scripture reading and prayers offered by camp staff.
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BCH photo by Tabitha Ward

Camp Duncan resident Kelsey, center, was baptized by Michael C. Blackwell, Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) president/CEO, in the camp’s lake. Camp Duncan group work supervisor Adrian Thane, right, also waded into the waters of Lake Catherine. The 16-year-old is the first resident Blackwell has baptized in his 29 years as BCH’s leader.

 
Wearing white robes, Blackwell, Thane and Kelsey waded into a shallow part of the lake. “I was excited and nervous,” Kelsey said. “As we were standing in the lake, I was just praying for God to be with me. When I went under the water, I just felt awesome.”
 
After immersing Kelsey, Blackwell surprised everyone by revealing a small bottle of water he collected from the Jordan River – the river where Christ was baptized by John the Baptist as recounted in the New Testament. Blackwell collected the water during his trip to Israel in 2009. He opened the bottle and poured a small amount on Kelsey’s head after leaving the lake. “As I was standing there I just couldn’t believe what was happening,” Kelsey said. “There is just no way to put the feeling into words.”
 
Kelsey’s mother embraced her daughter after the ceremony. “She was crying,” Kelsey said. “She told me how proud she was of me and how proud she was to be my mom. She said that my faith was an encouragement to her.” The day was not only a celebration for Kelsey and her family, but it was also meaningful to Blackwell. In 29 years as BCH’s president, this marked the first time the former pastor has baptized a resident. The last person Blackwell baptized was his son, Michael, Jr., in May, 1983 while serving as pastor of Monument Heights Baptist Church in Richmond, Va.
 
“The experience was a high and holy moment that I will forever carry with me,” Blackwell said. “I praise God for Kelsey and how He is working not only in her life, but in the lives of so many other residents at Baptist Children’s Homes. I pray that the faith of this young lady will be an encouragement to the other boys and girls we serve and to everyone she encounters.”
 
Camp Duncan opened in 2011 after more than 2,000 church volunteers helped renovate the 700-acre property in Aberdeen. In partnership with North Carolina Baptist Men, almost every single aspect of the residential wilderness camp for girls was constructed through volunteer efforts.
10/23/2012 3:09:07 PM by J. Blake Ragsdale, BCH Communications | with 0 comments



BSC Annual Meeting schedule

October 23 2012 by BR Staff

Monday Evening Session, November 12
4:00 p.m.        Exhibits and registration open
6:00                Call to worship
6:30                Call to order – Mark Harris
                        Pledges (American Flag, Christian Flag, Bible)
                        Committee on Convention Meetings – Craig Hamlin
                        Prayer – Phillip Davis
6:55                Greetings
7:00                Introductions
7:05                Awaken Worship Service
                        Worship leaders – N.C. Baptist Renewing Worship Band, Bladen Baptist Association Worship Choir, Kenny Lamm, Marvin Green, John Miron, Milton A. Hollifield Jr. and Steve Griffith
                        EDT sermon – Milton A. Hollifield Jr.
 
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Tuesday Morning Session, November 13
7:30 a.m.         Listening session
                        Budget Committee (Turnberry – Koury   Convention Center)
8:00                Exhibits and registration open (Exhibits close at 7:30 p.m.)
8:30                Call to worship – Western Carolina Baptist Campus Ministry Worship Band
8:45                Call to order – Mark Harris
                        Prayer – Joseph Phan
8:50                Theme interpretation – Shelton Daniel
9:00                Worship through prayer – Jairo Contreras
9:10                Worship through music – Western Carolina Baptist Campus Ministry Worship Band
9:15                NC Baptist Foundation – Clay Warf
9:30                Board of Directors Report – Michael Barrett
10:05              Biblical Recorder Special Report – Allan Blume
10:15              Music – Western Carolina Baptist Campus Ministry Worship Band
10:30              Institution & agency reports
                        North Carolina Baptist Hospital – Gary Gunderson
                        Biblical Recorder – Allan Blume
                        Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina – Michael Blackwell
10:45              Miscellaneous business
11:00              Election of officers (fixed order of business)
                        President
11:15              Special music – Worship Ministry: First Baptist Church (FBC) Charlotte
11:25              Scripture – M.O. Owens Jr.
11:30              President’s address – Mark Harris
12:00              Closing prayer – Brenda Boberg
 
Tuesday Afternoon Session, November 13
1:30 p.m.        Call to order – Mark Harris
                        Prayer – Abidan Shah
1:35                Greeting from LifeWay
1:40                Election of officers (first vice president & second vice president)
1:50                Theme interpretation – Sammy Joo
1:55                Worship through prayer – Jae Cho
2:00                Worship through music – Kenny Lamm
2:05                North Carolina Baptist Men (Auxiliary) – Richard Brunson
2:20                Convention Committee Reports
                        Committee on Nominations – LeRoy Burke
                        Committee on Resolutions and Memorials – Richard A. Browder Jr.
                        Historical Committee – Tim Andrews
2:35                Music – Kenny Lamm
2:40                Board of Directors Report (Fixed Order of Business) – Michael Barrett
                        Budget
3:10                Breakout sessions promotion – Lynn Sasser
3:15                Closing prayer – Jimmy Hammonds
3:45-5             Breakout sessions
 
Tuesday Evening Session, November 13
6:00 p.m.        Call to worship – Worship Ministry: FBC Charlotte
6:30                Call to order – Mark Harris
                        Prayer – Cindy Bush
6:35                Greetings
                        Executive Committee, SBC
                        International Mission Board
6:40                Board of Directors Report – Michael Barrett
                        Great Commission Partnerships
7:10                Evaluation
7:15                Presentation of officers
7:20                North American Mission Board Commissioning Service*
                        Convention sermon – Kevin Ezell
                        Worship leaders – Mark Christian & Worship Ministry: FBC Charlotte
                        Kevin Ezell
                        Debby Akerman
8:50                Closing prayer – Bruce Franklin

* There will be a reception in West Wing B at the conclusion of this session. This is an opportunity for you to meet the missionaries commissioned during tonight’s service.

Related stories

BSC Annual Meeting to hold breakout sessions
Pastors’ conference to ‘Preach the Word’
Editorial by K. Allan Blume: Annual meeting is a big deal
Editorial by Milton Hollifield: Praying for spiritual awakening
10/23/2012 2:48:52 PM by BR Staff | with 0 comments



BSC Annual Meeting to hold breakout sessions

October 23 2012 by BR Staff

Breakout sessions will be held from 3:45-5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the Greensboro Coliseum, Special Events Center, during the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s annual meeting. There is no charge to attend.
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Below is a list of the sessions offered:

• Pursuing Godliness as You Lead Others (Room 4B) – Throughout his letters, the Apostle Paul encouraged believers to “pursue godliness.” What is godliness? This session will explain what godliness is, why it is important and why all believers should actively pursue a life of godliness. Leader: Ashley Allen, Women’s Ministry, Embrace Ministry, BSC

• Disciple-making in 3D (Room 1A) – In this session we will examine how churches and individuals can create a culture of discipleship as individuals, families and congregations seek to be an agent for spiritual awakening every day. Participants will be given biblical, practical ideas on how to live a life of spiritual influence in all aspects of life. Leader: Brian Upshaw, Church Ministry Team, BSC

• The Billy Graham “My Hope” Evangelistic Emphasis (Room 3A) – This session will inform participants of the upcoming effort by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to share the gospel throughout this nation and how North Carolina Baptists can participate. Leaders: Don McCutcheon, Marty Dupree and Guillermo Soriano, Evangelization, BSC

• Church Renewal and Revitalization (Room 1B) – This session will focus on the Church Renewal Journey and other forms of revitalization being offered by the BSC Evangelization Group and the North American Mission Board. Leaders: Bob and Phyllis Foy, Lay Renewal, BSC

• Stewardship: Lost in Translation (Room 4A) – Our worldly and religious cultures have created disciples who are tippers, donors and tithers who totally miss the gospel’s message of stewardship in the life of a disciple. This session will assist participants in understanding stewardship as a biblical, relational, Kingdom and eternal issue. The session will introduce discipling approaches for moving disciples closer to what God intended them to be as stewards, and provide a sample stewardship strategy and resource bibliography to assist in creating a disciple-making culture. Leader: Neal Eller, Church Health Team, BSC

• Awaken: God’s Time to Wake Up and Pray (Room 2) – There is no doubt that the American church is asleep and in desperate need of God’s presence. Have you ever wondered what could happen if revival and spiritual awakening took place in America? How do we respond to the desperate need for awakening as believers and churches? How should we pray? This conference explores these and other questions related to revival and spiritual awakening from a biblical, historical and practical perspective. Leader: J. Chris Schofield, Office of Prayer, BSC

• Involving Your Church in Life Changing Mission Projects (Room 3B) – We are called to be on mission in our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. This session will cover local, state, national and international missions opportunities and needs. If your church is interested in “doing” missions this breakout session will be helpful. Leaders: Richard Brunson and NC Baptist Men staff

Related stories

BSC Annual Meeting schedule
Pastors’ conference to ‘Preach the Word’
Editorial by K. Allan Blume: Annual meeting is a big deal
Editorial by Milton Hollifield: Praying for spiritual awakening
10/23/2012 2:42:11 PM by BR Staff | with 0 comments



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