October 2016

Hurricane Matthew DR volunteers needed in N.C.

October 25 2016 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Disaster relief volunteers are urgently needed to help North Carolina residents recover from flooding damage wrought by Hurricane Matthew, said Richard Brunson, executive director of North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM).

Submitted photo
Wilmington Baptist Association Director of Missions Roy Smith, in plaid shirt, prays with volunteers and residents in Pender County, N.C. during Hurricane Matthew disaster relief efforts led by North Carolina Baptist Men.

“Teams are needed to help individuals and families remove the wet furniture, floors, walls and other items as needed. We will need many recovery volunteers for many months to come,” Brunson said Oct. 24. “Thousands of homes and many thousands of people were affected by Hurricane Matthew and we need volunteers to assist with cleanup for the long term.”
Hurricane Matthew killed at least 26 people and caused $1.5 billion in property damage in North Carolina alone, weather.com reported. Another 22 were killed in the southeastern U.S. and nearly 1,400 in the Caribbean and Haiti during the storm’s track Sept. 28-Oct. 10.
Volunteers do not need prior Disaster Relief (DR) training, Brunson said, as on-the-job training will be provided together with free lodging and meals.
Already, DR volunteers have responded from Baptist conventions in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, as well as the Texas Baptist Men, the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas and the Virginia General Baptist convention.
Feeding units have prepared 300,000 hot meals and continue such outreach, Brunson said, with many volunteers active in mud-out, tear-out, chainsaw, chaplaincy, showers and laundry units, among other outreaches. Large feeding kitchens and volunteers are serving in Fayetteville, Lumberton, Kinston, Greenville, Whiteville and Wallace counties, and are targeting additional areas flooded in the storm.
“Pray for safety and the witness of our disaster relief volunteers,” Brunson urged. “Pray that God’s love will be shown to hurting people and they will want to know more about our great God who loves them. Pray for churches in the affected areas.”
Volunteers may register at baptistsonmission.org/HurricaneMatthew and learn additional information at the NCBM Facebook page, Facebook.com/ncmissions.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)

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10/25/2016 8:39:19 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Courts split decisions for pro-life centers

October 25 2016 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The freedom of pro-life pregnancy centers to determine their message to abortion-minded women has received contrasting verdicts from the federal court system.
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco refused Oct. 14 to grant an injunction to block a California law that requires pro-life pregnancy centers to notify their clients of the availability of abortion services elsewhere.
Ten days earlier, however, a federal judge in Maryland ruled a Baltimore law violates the free-speech rights of the Center for Pregnancy Concerns, thereby protecting the right of the charity to control what it communicates to the women it serves.
The rulings affect laws that are part of the ongoing effort by abortion-rights advocates and their lawmaking allies in cities and states to limit the impact of pro-life centers that provide free services to pregnant women. With the aid of ultrasound machines that demonstrate the humanity of the unborn child, such pregnancy centers are helping women decide to give birth. The centers also provide such services as medical consultations, baby clothing and diapers, job training, mentoring programs and prenatal and parenting classes.
Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore decried the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision, saying it “is awful and should be overturned.”
“This decision effectively requires women and families who choose life to consider abortion instead, at taxpayer expense,” said Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). “Once again we have evidence that the abortion lobby is firmly entrenched in our politics.
“My prayer is that this ruling will be reversed, unborn life will be protected rather than exploited, and women who choose life will be treated with dignity, not culture warring,” Moore told Baptist Press.
In the Ninth Circuit Court ruling, a three-judge panel refused to block enforcement of a 2015 California law that requires licensed pregnancy centers to post a notice for clients that says, “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].“
The law also mandates each unlicensed center to provide notice it “is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services.”
Under the law, a penalty for a first-time offense is $500, while each subsequent violation can result in a $1,000 fine.
In its opinion, the Ninth Circuit panel said the law does not abridge the First Amendment’s protections for free speech or free exercise of religion. The law “does not discriminate based on viewpoint,” the panel said, and the pregnancy centers have not shown a likelihood of success based on their claims and therefore are not entitled to a preliminary injunction.
“It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say, but a law that tells you what you must say – under threat of severe punishment – is even more unjust and dangerous,” said Matt Bowman, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents the pregnancy centers.
“Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms.”
The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), which is represented by ADF in the case, has more than 100 pregnancy centers in California.
NIFLA President Thomas Glessner said he is “disappointed but not discouraged.”
In a letter to supporters after the Ninth Circuit ruling. Glessner said he thinks the determination of such cases “and the future of the prolife pregnancy center movement” will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
NARAL Pro-choice California praised the opinion. State director Amy Everitt charged opponents of the law with “trampling on the will of California voters.”
“California women deserve to get accurate information about reproductive health options free of interference, coercion or shame,” Everitt said in a written statement.
The Baltimore ordinance, adopted in 2009, mandates pregnancy centers display signs saying they do not provide abortions or contraceptives. It also requires the signs to indicate the centers do not make referrals for such services.
Federal judge Marvin Garbis ruled the law violates the freedom of speech of the Center for Pregnancy Concerns (CPC) specifically, but he did not invalidate the measure.
The city’s mandate “forces pregnancy centers to begin their conversations with a stark government disclaimer, divorced from the support offered by the Center, and suggesting that abortion is available elsewhere and might be considered a good option by pregnant women – a message that the Center expressly finds morally offensive and would not otherwise provide,” Garbis wrote in his opinion, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Garbis rejected the city’s claim that CPC misleads women about its services, saying evidence shows the center tells potential clients in a variety of ways it does not provide, or refer for, abortions.
“We spend our time giving loving help to women in need,” CPC Executive Director Carol Clews said in written comments via the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “That’s work the City should be supporting, not attacking.
“We are so grateful that we can continue helping women and treating them with love, respect, and dignity.”
The Baltimore law says centers that fail to comply within 10 days of being cited by city inspectors could be fined $150 per day.
In 2014, a federal judge struck down a similar speech restriction in another Maryland jurisdiction. The ruling overturned Montgomery County’s requirement that each pregnancy center post a sign saying there is no “licensed medical professional” on its staff and the county urges women who are, or who may be, pregnant to see a licensed provider.
New York City and Austin, Texas, also passed ordinances requiring pregnancy centers to display signs saying they do not provide abortions or contraceptives or make referrals for the services. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned most of the New York City law. Austin repealed its measure after it was challenged.
The ERLC aids gospel-focused pregnancy centers through its Psalm 139 Project, which provides funds to purchase and place ultrasound machines in such centers.
The ministry of pro-life pregnancy centers will be among the topics at the second annual Evangelicals for Life (EFL) conference, which is scheduled Jan. 26-28 in Washington, D.C. Anne O’Connor, NIFLA’s vice president of legal affairs, and Cindy Hopkins, vice president of center services and client care for the Care Net pregnancy center network, will speak at the conference. EFL is cosponsored by the ERLC and Focus on the Family.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

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10/25/2016 8:38:20 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

U.N. set to appoint global LGBT advocate

October 25 2016 by Samantha Gobba, WORLD News Service

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) agenda is gaining traction at the United Nations (U.N.), as the international organization prepares to vote on appointing an “independent expert” on preventing violence and discrimination.

Wikipedia photo

The post, created in July by the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, will come before the General Assembly for a final vote in November.
The appointment will last three years, and the expert will “assess the implementation of existing international human rights instruments with regard to ways to overcome violence and discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and to identify and address the root causes of violence and discrimination.”
LGBT advocates applauded the move. Michel Sidibé, director of the U.N. agency focused on ending AIDS, said the position would be “critical for advancing the human rights and health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.”
But Stefano Gennarini, director of legal studies at the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), warned the position has nothing to do with protecting people from violence and “everything” to do with advancing global acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism.
“We’re talking about a mandate to promote the acceptance of homosexuality, when the majority of religions in the world don’t teach that homosexuality is socially acceptable,” he said. “They take violence and discrimination as a point of departure, but then they branch out into everything.”
In a 2015 report, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights bragged about the “positive developments” around the world since the world body began advocating for them in 2011: 14 countries introduced laws banning hate crimes against LGBT persons; 12 legalized same-sex marriage or civil unions; and 10 enacted laws to grant transgender people new identification cards.
Efforts to promote an LGBT agenda during the last decade have not gone unopposed. But Gennarini said U.N. bureaucrats have promoted their ideals by “evolving human rights standards.” The United States and other progressive nations have manipulated other countries’ delegates out of voting on LGBT issues, he added.
In March 2015, 70 delegates either abstained from voting or did not show up to vote on a decision to grant same-sex couples working at the U.N. the same benefits as heterosexual married couples. Russia’s delegate had moved to reverse the decision, but member nations passed the rule 80 - 43.
Only six countries abstained from the vote to appoint an LGBT expert, and the Human Rights Council passed the resolution 23 - 18. But debate was heated.
Members of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, with the exception of Albania, spoke strongly against the position. Nigeria’s delegate called the measure “divisive.” South African Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato - Diseko called the independent expert proposal “an arrogant approach,” and cited an African proverb: “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk with others. Grandstanding, recklessness, brinkmanship, and point-scoring will not get us anywhere.”
Gennarini said the most notable aspect of the new position is that member states – not U.N. bureaucrats – approved the position. Only strong-arming from the United States and European Union nations could enable such an unprecedented vote. Western pressure is silencing billions of people around the world because fewer than 60 countries have laws recognizing sexual orientation or gender identity, Gennarini said.
If approved, the independent expert will have all the UN bureaucracy’s resources to produce reports, launch investigations, demand information from member states, and take complaints from LGBT groups around the world.
“Other committees, other independent experts, will pick up what this independent expert says as authoritative interpretations of international law,” Gennarini said. “And then the independent expert will cite back to them, and then they will cite back to him, and this is what they call evolving human rights standards.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Samantha Gobba writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine, worldmag.com, based in Asheville, N.C. Used by permission.)

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10/25/2016 7:56:54 AM by Samantha Gobba, WORLD News Service | with 0 comments

With new leader, Hmong fellowship moves forward

October 25 2016 by Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press

The Hmong Baptist National Association (HBNA), with Tra Xiong as the group’s new executive director, approved several major steps forward – that included an increased budget and combining next year’s HBNA meetings – during its annual gathering.

Submitted photo
Tra Xiong

The HBNA approved an increased budget they believe reflects the group’s commitment to church planting and to its overseas missions work. Messengers voted to gather for an expanded meeting next June in St. Paul, Minn., in conjunction with a national Hmong festival. They also gave approval to developing plans for a Hmong training institute.
The Oct. 14-15 gathering of the Hmong fellowship of Southern Baptists took place at Hmong Baptist Church in Fresno, Calif., where about 500 people participate in Sunday morning worship with Rick Xiong as pastor. “Grow in the Knowledge of Him” was the theme, inspired by 2 Peter 3:18.
“The meeting was very important,” Tra Xiong told Baptist Press. “We get together and discuss the agenda so we can see one vision, and plan together to go forward with the ministry.“
A $23,000 budget increase was passed by the 27 messengers at the Hmong annual meeting, to $273,000, up from $250,000 last year. To encourage starting new churches and to partner with state conventions and the North American Mission Board, HBNA President Pao Ly told Baptist Press, the increased budget includes a stipend for Hmong churches that plant a new church in the next year.
A total of 60 people attended the two-day event, up from 44 last year.
Guest speakers included Fermin Whittaker, executive director of the California Southern Baptist Convention; Jeremy Sin, national church planting catalyst with the North American Mission Board; and Paul Kim, Asian American relations consultant with the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.
Ly noted the messengers’ support for the expansion of its church planting, missions, ministries and next summer’s HBNA gathering that will combine three HBNA events in the days before one of Hmong’s nationally-attended festivals showed the group’s interest in moving forward with the new executive director.
Tong Zong Vang, founder in 1991 of HBNA, retired because of illness in 2010. Tra Xiong was named executive director this summer, after a five-person search committee spent six years narrowing the field.
“There were a number of factors that led to the final decision: the calling, experience, education and most of all, character,” said Ly, who also is pastor of First Hmong Baptist Church of Morganton, N.C. “Based on my own observation over many years, Tra is a man of God, kindhearted, humble, teachable, and very open to the Holy Spirit’s leadership.”
Xiong, in ministry for 26 years, planted churches overseas and in Minnesota, North Carolina and California, where he was on the state convention’s staff. With each of nine church plants in the U.S., he lived in the area for a year, during which he started churches and developed leaders who would carry forth the ministry, including 10 men who have become pastors.


The Hmong fellowship – through prayer, giving and going – has ministered in Vietnam for at least 8 years, where there are approximately 40 Hmong churches in the north and south combined.
In Thailand, where there are eight Hmong Baptist churches, “I went with a group of six last December to assess the situation, to see what their needs are so we can establish relationships,” Ly said. “This is a new work.”
Ly and his wife went to France in May, to participate in the ordination of a deacon called to the gospel ministry. That man now has become the pastor of the Hmong Baptist Church in Avignon, the only known Hmong Baptist church in France. The church is now partnered with HBNA.
The Hmong – their name means “Free People” – reportedly began arriving in the U.S. in the mid- to late 70s after they were granted political refugee status by the U.S. government because of their efforts to aid Americans during the Vietnam War.
Whittaker was a featured speaker at the Hmong annual meeting. He told the group, “You will grow, mature and become an influence for many.”
“I also shared with the group the memories of the time when thousands of refugees from Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, etc., came under the sponsorship of the Southern Baptist Refugee Resettlement program created by Oscar Romo and the Language Missions Department of the Home Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board),” Whittaker told Baptist Press. “It was the most exciting period in the lives of Southern Baptists.”
Those initial efforts to minister to the Hmong refugees led to today’s 58 Hmong churches that cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention. Today many of those churches are in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Carolina and California.

Next year

In previous years HBNA has hosted small, separate events – an annual meeting, pastors and wives retreat and, every four years, a national conference. Few pastors could afford to attend more than one event a year. In 2017, all three are to be combined into one four-day event June 27-30.
The combined gathering will immediately precede the annual Hmong Freedom Celebration and Sports Festival, which draws 30,000 or more Hmong from across the nation to St. Paul, Minn. The two-day event is better known as J4 because it takes place the weekend of July 4.
In addition to logistical advantages, leaders with the HBNA hope the decision to combine their meetings just before the J4 event will provide Hmong Southern Baptists with the opportunity to present the gospel to Hmong festival-goers that weekend. The suggestion passed unanimously.
Approval also was given at the Hmong annual meeting to develop a plan for a training institute for Hmong pastors.
“We have a lot of first-generation pastors who really have not had any formal education,” Ly said. “They came to faith, served in the church and grew to become a leader in the church. … We saw there was still somewhat of a lacking in biblical training as far as theology and biblical interpretation, and some good foundations of biblical preaching.
“Pastor Tra [Xiong] and I came to HBNA officers and shared that concern,” Ly said. “Tra set forth the vision of having HBNA provide some education, an institute for pastors who have been trained, to teach those who haven’t been.”
The men presented the idea to the HBNA executive committee, Xiong said, and a formal proposal will be presented at next summer’s meetings. Officers will be elected at that meeting.
Current officers include Ly of First Hmong Baptist Church of Morganton, N.C.; Vice President Zong Vue Chang, lay pastor of Hmong Baptist Church in Rochester, Minn.; Secretary Shoua Lee, member of First Hmong Baptist Church in Centerline, Mich.; Treasurer Ka Xiong, a member of Hmong Hope Community Church in Spring Lake Park, Minn.
Officers also include Women’s Ministry Director Kelly Yang, a member of Hmong Baptist Church in Centerline, Minn.; Youth President Naoyee Lor, pastor of Hmong American Baptist Church in Detroit, Mich.; and Men’s Ministry Director Thony Yang, lay leader at Follower of Christ Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minn.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Karen L. Willoughby is a national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

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10/25/2016 7:23:17 AM by Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

James H. Smith led Brotherhood Commission, dies at 95

October 25 2016 by Jim Burton, Baptist Press

James H. Smith, former executive secretary of the Illinois Baptist State Association and later the fifth Southern Baptist Brotherhood Commission president, died Oct. 21 in Memphis. He was 95.

James H. Smith

Known for his vivacious disposition and preaching, Smith spent nearly 50 years in Southern Baptist leadership. At the time of his retirement in 1991 from the Brotherhood Commission where he served 12 years, the agency accounted for more than 530,000 men and boys involved in missions.
“He was acknowledged by his staff as a leader who placed the role of the local church in the prominent position of providing manpower to reach the world for Christ, and he saw himself as a pastoral leader to his staff,” said Jack Childs of Memphis, former Brotherhood Commission vice president of support services, who served the agency 36 years.
Born in Somerville, Ala., May 26, 1921, Smith professed faith in Christ at age 18. Soon, his mother ordered a family Bible from Sears, one that Smith described as having pictures and a concordance. It wasn’t long until he was “preaching” to livestock on their farm.
Upon high school graduation, Smith went to Moody Bible Institute (MBI) in Chicago at age 18 with $54. He didn’t meet the school’s entrance requirements due to his age, lack of funds and having made a profession of faith in Christ less than a year before arriving. So he audited classes there and worked as a janitor until MBI accepted him as a full-time student.
In 1943, the Navy drafted Smith for ship duty in the South Pacific. He led Sunday services in the absence of an official chaplain. Smith credited the Navy with helping him to discover his leadership skills.
Smith continued his education after the war and earned a doctor of theology degree in New Testament Greek from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Kan., in 1955. He served in pastorates for 20 years in Westville, Okla.; Paris, Ark.; Shawnee, Okla.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Ferguson, Mo.
Preaching and other public speaking engagements were the cornerstone of his ministry and kept him on the road and in the air. During his first five years as the Illinois Baptist executive secretary, he spoke more than 880 times. To fulfill those commitments, Smith earned a private pilot’s license and began flying a single-engine aircraft to engagements. He once described his worldwide preaching opportunities as “a sacred trust.”
“He never lost his zeal for preaching,” Childs said of Smith, who was only the second ordained minister to lead the Brotherhood Commission.
Smith went to the Brotherhood Commission following the tragic death of former president Glendon McCullough who died in an automobile accident. Among Smith’s first objectives was to clarify the agency’s purpose.
“The single most significant contribution that I have made to the Brotherhood Commission was clarifying our statement of purpose and keeping us on it,” Smith said in 1991.
That statement was “helping churches involve men and boys in missions.” By staying focused on that purpose statement, Smith kept the agency away from divisive social and political issues and centered on missions.
During his tenure at the Brotherhood Commission, the missions education agency advanced its assignment from the Southern Baptist Convention with the following achievements:

  • In 1987, Smith led the Brotherhood Commission to overhaul its programs, another result of the mission statement, with more emphasis on age-group curriculum.
  • The Brotherhood Commission pioneered coed missions first with church renewal, a ministry assignment it shared with the former Home Mission Board.
  • Coed missions continued to grow through the National Fellowship of Baptist Men, which became a part of the Brotherhood Commission’s adult division. The formation of fellowships to recruit volunteers based on vocations and avocations attracted many women, particularly in the education fellowship.
  • In 1990, the Brotherhood Commission piloted World Changers, a coed missions education and mission action ministry for Southern Baptist youth. World Changers grew from 137 participants in one East Tennessee project to mobilizing more than 20,000 participants annually in cities and communities across North America and internationally.
  • The Brotherhood Commission became the coordinating agency for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and hired the first national disaster relief director. Among the major disasters SBDR responded to included Hurricane Hugo in 1989, leading to a major operation in South Carolina and to one of its first long-term recovery projects in St. Croix.

In 1980, Smith envisioned 1 million Southern Baptist men participating in missions by 2000. The goal aligned with the SBC’s long-term Bold Mission Thrust objective to reach the entire world with the gospel by 2000.
Before the SBC dissolved its relationship with the Baptist World Alliance in 2004, the Brotherhood Commission was active in that organization’s men’s department. Meeting in Amman, Jordan, in 1987, Smith challenged BWA to send 100,000 Bibles to Russia, which was still a closed country at the time. Southern Baptists led in the successful worldwide effort.
Smith maintained a youthful-type energy even after retirement as he pastored churches in Memphis, focusing mostly on church revitalization.
The Brotherhood Commission eventually merged with the Home Mission Board and the Radio and Television Commission to become the North American Mission Board in June 1997.
Smith’s wife Nona Lee Lockwood preceded him in death, as did one son, David. His surviving children include John, Joy and Mark.
Funeral services were held Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. at Leawood Baptist Church in Memphis.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Jim Burton is a writer and photojournalist living in Atlanta. Burton served at the Brotherhood Commission from 1986 until 1997 as editor for Baptist Men and Men’s Ministries director.)

10/25/2016 7:16:55 AM by Jim Burton, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Undercover videos show Clinton camp playing dirty

October 24 2016 by Evan Wilt, WORLD News Service

In a series of new videos by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas Action, Democratic operatives detail how they intentionally incite violence at Donald Trump rallies and bring illegal voters to battleground states.
The first video, which O’Keefe calls Part One of his ongoing series to expose foul play in the Clinton campaign, focuses on two political consultants who allegedly work behind the scenes to spark chaos at Trump events.
In the videos, Scott Foval, national field director at Americans United for Change, tells Veritas journalists with hidden cameras that he pays mentally ill people to cause a ruckus at Trump rallies with the intention of igniting a media firestorm.
Foval says he recruits all across the country to orchestrate protests using a “script for engagement.”
“Sometimes the crazies bite, and sometimes they don’t,” Foval says. “The key is initiating the confrontation by having leading conversations with people who are naturally psychotic.”
He explains he instructs protesters to start a confrontation in the lines outside to the rallies because they have less security and more cameras to capture what happens. Foval adds it’s not hard to get someone to “pop off” once they can get the right kind of recruits to attend. Confrontations can escalate by dressing recruits in Planned Parenthood T-shirts or having them yell, “Trump is a Nazi.” The goal is to agitate the crowd enough to get a Trump supporter to punch them, Foval says.
Foval admits he sometimes employs the homeless to do his bidding.
O’Keefe calls Foval one of the Clinton campaign’s dark operatives. In the video, Foval says his work comes from contracts from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign.
Foval apparently works underneath Bob Creamer, founder of Democracy Partners, a private political consulting company that has worked with Clinton, President Barack Obama, and the DNC in the past.
While on undercover tape, Creamer says wherever Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, are, Democracy Partners will be, as well.
“We have a whole team across the country that does that,” Creamer said.
A second tape released this week shows Foval and others talking about ways to commit voter fraud.
Foval says he and others have been busing in out-of-state voters for years. In the video, he apparently walks through the steps of how to commit voter fraud and how he has had to change his tactics recently.
“You can prove conspiracy if there’s a bus,” Foval says. He adds if voters drive individual cars, it’s much harder to prove they aren’t supposed to be there.
Specifically, Foval highlights Indiana and Michigan as prime locations to ship in out-of-state voters.
Since the release of the videos, Foval no longer holds his position. Creamer said he will step back from his role at Democracy Partners.
Democracy Partners released a statement on its Facebook page this week denying the accusations.
“Our firm has recently been the victim of a well-funded, systematic spy operation that is the modern day equivalent of the Watergate burglars,” it said. “The plot involved the use of trained operatives using false identifications, disguises, and elaborate false covers to infiltrate our firm and others in order to steal campaign plans and goad unsuspecting individuals into making careless statements on hidden cameras.”
The statement added Democracy Partners condemns all violence and election tampering in all their forms.
In March, a Trump event in Chicago ended after fights broke out between protesters and Trump supporters. Two police officers suffered injuries, and the video of Trump supporters throwing punches made waves on television networks. In the undercover videos, hired protesters from the Clinton campaign claim responsibility for instigating the altercation.
In 2010, O’Keefe was arrested for attempting to illegally record a senator. He was sentenced to probation and community service and had to pay a $1,500 fine.
During the last debate, Trump invited O’Keefe as one of his guests. After the debate, reporters asked Clinton to respond to O’Keefe’s videos.
“I know nothing about this,” she said. “I can’t deal with every one of [O’Keefe’s] conspiracy theories.”

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

10/24/2016 10:33:10 AM by Evan Wilt, WORLD News Service | with 0 comments

Task force aims to create ‘discipleship culture’

October 24 2016 by Josie Rabbitt, NAMB

LifeWay Christian Resources’ and the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) recently-appointed task force on disciple-making met Oct. 17 at NAMB’s building in Alpharetta, Ga. The group of 11 Southern Baptist pastors gathered to discuss their task of communicating that “any church of any background can be disciple-making,” according to chairman Robby Gallaty, pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn.

NAMB photo
LifeWay Christian Resources’ and the North American Mission Board’s task force devoted to improving disciple-making met Monday, Oct. 17 at NAMB’s building in Alpharetta, Ga. Chairman Robby Gallaty, center, pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., leads the group.

Gallaty began the meeting by asking what the “win” for the discipleship task force would be. Members unanimously agreed that success would be helping churches create a process to celebrate making disciples.
“We, as pastors, are seeing the lostness all around North America,” Gallaty said. “It’s all over social media. There appears to be a very shallow concept of Christianity, and it’s sad to think about. But in order to understand how to disciple, we’ve got to understand the culture we’re discipling.”
The goal of the meeting was to find ways to help churches move closer to discipleship by creating a philosophy, mindset and change of culture. While task force members are not creating a curriculum, they are looking for ways to spark a disciple-making movement throughout the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
One priority the pastors discussed was the need for a holistic view of discipleship.
“We must understand that discipleship impacts all of life from our homes to our professions,” said Eric Geiger, pastor of ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, Tenn., and vice president of resources at LifeWay. “It’s not only what we do at church.”
In addition to Gallaty and Geiger, task force members include Adam Dooley, Sunnyvale Baptist Church, Sunnyvale, Texas; Johnny Hunt, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga.; Paul Jimenez, Taylors First Baptist Church, Taylors, S.C.; Mark Marshall, The Glade Church, Mt. Juliet, Tenn.; Kevin Smith, Highview Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky.; and Pavel Urruchi, Erlanger Baptist Church, Erlanger, Ky.
The group agreed that helping churches with poor discipleship processes, or churches with none taking place at all, is a key to positive change. One of the ways the task force discussed accomplishing this is by homing in on language to use while helping churches understand the disciple-making journey and encouraging churches to be intentional in fostering discipleship.
“Discipleship is the effort to push back lostness, push back against the trends in a holistic way,” Gallaty said. “It’s the solution for everything we’re talking about in the world today.
Geiger noted there is an “important need for churches to understand that pastors are not the only disciple-makers.”
“All of God’s people are called to make disciples,” he said.
Task force members left the meeting with individual assignments on how to engage all Southern Baptist churches in their fundamental reason for existence – to make disciples.
NAMB president Kevin Ezell said the task force will present a report at the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Josie Rabbitt is a writer for the North American Mission Board.)

10/24/2016 10:27:19 AM by Josie Rabbitt, NAMB | with 0 comments

MBTS trustees affirm enrollment gain, student center

October 24 2016 by T. Patrick Hudson, MBTS

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (MBTS) trustees celebrated the announcement of record enrollment growth and voted to move forward with plans for a student center during their fall meeting, Oct. 17-18 at the Kansas City, Mo., campus.

During his president’s report, Jason Allen announced that the seminary’s enrollment has doubled in size in less than five years.
The 2010-11 total student enrollment stood at 1,107. This past academic year that number totaled 2,537.
“In the broader world of theological higher education, most schools are plateaued or declining,” Allen said. “So, it is not lost on us the unmerited favor God has shown in allowing our enrollment to nearly double in size over these past five years.
“This is simply a remarkable feat for which we give God all the glory,” Allen said. “We further realize the great stewardship He has given us in training the next generation of pastors, missionaries and ministry leaders for the church. We do not and cannot take this lightly.”

Student center

Trustees unanimously approved a recommendation from their executive committee to move forward with plans to construct a student center in the heart of Midwestern’s campus.
The proposed two-story center will house a cafeteria, conference rooms, staff offices, bookstore, café and recreation areas for family use including a gymnasium/walking track, racquetball courts and fitness rooms.
“The vote to move forward with building plans for the Mathena Student Center is an historic one, and with the Lord’s blessings we aim to break ground on the project in April 2017,” Allen said. “A great deal of planning, discussion and legwork has already gone into the project, but we also realize there is still much to be done in realizing what has been a need for this campus since its inception in 1957.”
During the trustees’ meeting in April, Allen announced that a $7 million lead gift by Mr. and Mrs. Harold Mathena of Oklahoma City enabled discussions about the new building project to be initiated. While other significant gifts have come in since, Allen noted that there is still a need for supporters to assist with the remaining funding.
“Thanks to the extremely generous gifts we’ve received from friends and supporters of the seminary like the Mathenas and so many others, we’re even able to be having this discussion and making these plans,” Allen said. “However, we still have the need for others to come alongside of us to ensure this dream comes to fruition. We’re deeply grateful for all those who love and support Midwestern Seminary and we ask for everyone’s prayers in the days ahead as this project moves forward.”
Trustees authorized the seminary to contract with Pearce Construction of Overland Park, Kan., who managed the school’s Spurgeon Library and administrative wing construction and remodeling projects.
“We are grateful to have Pearce Construction on board as managers of this project,” Allen said. “They have an outstanding reputation in Kansas City and the surrounding region. They have also proven themselves to Midwestern Seminary in the quality work accomplished on our Spurgeon Library and administrative wing.”
In other business, trustees elected Kennette Harder to the faculty as director of library services and associate professor of library information sciences.
Five new trustees were welcomed to the board by chairman Dwight Blankenship: David Meany of Collierville, Tenn.; David Shanks of Fort Worth, Texas; Emmanuel Fontaine of Somerville, Mass.; James Sineath of Indialantic, Fla.; and Jared Bumpers of Springfield, Mo.
Midwestern Seminary’s trustee board consists of 35 members and meets biannually in October and April.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – T. Patrick Hudson is executive assistant to the president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.)

10/24/2016 10:21:58 AM by T. Patrick Hudson, MBTS | with 0 comments

Philosophy degree approved by SWBTS trustees

October 24 2016 by Alex Sibley, SWBTS

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SWBTS) trustees approved a new master’s degree in philosophy and reaffirmed the seminary’s media policy during their Oct. 17-19 fall meeting.

Trustees elected seven faculty members and promoted three others during their sessions at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.
The new 48-hour master of arts in philosophy includes 31 hours of philosophical studies, 11 hours of theology and ministry studies and six hours of elective courses.
Regarding why a theological seminary would teach philosophy, Southwestern President Paige Patterson explained, “Everybody is a philosopher. The question is: Are you a good one or a bad one? We’ve already seen what bad ones can do; they’re a dime a dozen.
“And so we are committed to having good philosophers and to making good thinkers and philosophers out of our people.”
Patterson added that Southwestern has multiple faculty who specialize in the field and are making “monumental contributions” to discussions on such matters as the problem of evil, the existence of God and evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. This program, therefore, will utilize their expertise to the benefit of students.

Other business

In response to a motion at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in St. Louis to examine the media policies of SBC entities, Patterson, speaking on behalf of the executive committee of the board of trustees, affirmed that Southwestern continues its longstanding policy of welcoming press to the general sessions of trustee meetings. He added that, when helpful, the seminary also will provide a press conference at the conclusion of the meeting.
Regarding sessions other than the general session, Patterson noted that “committee meetings often deal with personal issues, personal concerns, sensitive donor information and other issues which are neither necessary nor helpful for the general public.” Patterson also said that Southwestern reserves the right to publish its own press release before other news agencies publish their own.
Trustees authorized the seminary’s vice president for business administration, Kevin Ensley, to market and sell the Garrett Manor apartment complex, located south of the Southwestern campus. Much like the previous sale of the E.D. Head apartments, the sale is motivated by a desire to bring student housing closer to the main campus, which will allow the provision of greater security for students.
Elected by trustees to the faculty were:

  • Michael Crisp as assistant professor of collegiate ministry in the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries.
  • Timothy Deahl as dean of the Southwestern Center for Extension Education and professor of Old Testament.
  • Steven James as assistant professor of systematic theology in the College at Southwestern.
  • Katie McCoy as assistant professor of theology in women’s studies in the College at Southwestern.
  • Mark A. Taylor as professor of conducting in the School of Church Music.
  • Kyle Walker as assistant professor of preaching in the School of Preaching.
  • Hongyi Yang as assistant professor of theology in women’s studies in the School of Theology.

Accorded faculty promotions by trustees were:
Deron Biles, associate professor of pastoral ministries and preaching, to professor of pastoral ministries and preaching.
Evan Lenow, assistant professor of ethics, to associate professor of ethics.
Tony Maalouf, professor of world Christianity, to distinguished professor of world Christianity and Middle Eastern studies.
All faculty elections and promotions are effective immediately.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Alex Sibley is associate director of news and information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.)

10/24/2016 10:12:56 AM by Alex Sibley, SWBTS | with 0 comments

48 Christians killed by Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria

October 24 2016 by Morning Star News, Nigeria Correspondent

Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed more than 48 Christians and injured eight others in two separate attacks in northwestern Nigeria in October and September, area leaders said.
At least 40 Christians were killed in an Oct. 15 attack in the predominantly Christian town of Godogodo, Kaduna, and another eight were slaughtered in the same town three weeks earlier, Sept. 24–26. In this earlier attack, herdsmen also wounded eight Christians by gunshot and machete cuts, the leaders said.
“This is a jihad,” pastor Thomas Akut said. “It is an Islamic holy war against Christians in the southern part of Kaduna state.”
Fulani herdsmen have clashed with Christian farmers in Nigeria for more than 100 years, but most attacks have occurred in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, according to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index.
Akut, the 41-year-old pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Good News Church in Godogodo, said he saw the attacks as an Islamic war against Christians. The assailants burned houses and shot Christians dead. Akut and his family, he told Morning Star, escaped harm by sleeping on the ground outside town until Oct. 16, when they made their way to Kafanchan, he told Morning Star News by phone. The attack has displaced all 245 members of his church including himself.
“Our farms have been destroyed,” Akut said. “Crops that are now ready for harvest have all been destroyed by the herdsmen. Members of our churches cannot even go to these farms, as anyone who attempts to do so is murdered by the herdsmen. Most of the villages around Godogodo have been destroyed and thousands of Christians displaced.”
Herdsmen destroyed farms in an attempt to displace and starve survivors, and damaged 16 church buildings and worship centers in the two attacks, Christian leaders said.
The damaged buildings belonged to St. Francis Catholic Church, St. Simeon Anglican Church, Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Deeper Life Bible Church, Grace of God Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Assemblies of God Church, ECWA I & II, ECWA Good News, ECWA Kibam, Lord’s Chosen Church, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Nasara Baptist Church, Christ Apostolic Church, and Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“We fled into the bushes, and some of us escaped to safer areas,” Akut said. “The attackers were in the hundreds and were well armed. Some of them wore army uniforms, while others wore police uniforms. Some of them exchanged gunfire with the few soldiers stationed at the post office in the town, while others burned down houses of Christians.”
Initially Akut saw 22 Christians had been killed, he said. “This casualty figure is only those I saw the following morning, but the number of deaths may be higher as many were killed in the bushes too.”
Solomon Musa, an attorney and president of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), said at a press conference Oct. 17 that local residents identified at least 40 people who had been killed.
“Godogodo communities once again came under very fierce, terrifying, brutal, savage and barbarous attack by Fulani herdsmen without provocation of any nature from Saturday 15th October, 2016, to Sunday afternoon,” he said. “So far, the locals have been able to identify not less than 40 corpses, aside from the several other corpses burnt beyond recognition.”
A Kaduna State Command spokesman reportedly said the official death toll remained at 20.
Nearly all houses in Godogodo have been burned, SOKAPU’s Musa said. And the Muslim Fulani herdsmen also destroyed property worth hundreds of millions of naira, besides grazing their cattle on farmers’ crops and destroying what remained.
“The savagery and barbarity of the attack is beyond belief,” Musa said. “Yet, governments at the federal and state levels appear quiet and noncommittal. We have been abandoned, deserted and neglected.”
Isaac Balason of Nasara Baptist Church, Godogodo, spoke to Morning Star News while the town was under attack.
“It is now 8:30 p.m., and the attack is ongoing,” he said by phone Oct. 15. “We’re not sure we’ll survive this time. Please be in prayers with us.” The following morning, Balason told Morning Star News that herdsmen had burned down houses in Angwan Ninzo and Angwan Jaba, among other areas.
“Thank God we survived, but many others have lost their lives,” the 34-year-old pastor said. “Three out my 120 members were killed during the first attack, and the rest, including myself, have been displaced,” he said. “I cannot say whether they all survived this latest attack, as it is difficult at this moment to know the situation they are in.”
Samuel Musa, a 60-year-old elder with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Godogodo, told Morning Star News shortly before the second attack that during Sabbath worship, the church usually had 50 members present, but that the first attack on the town displaced all of them except him and three others.
“We have lost so much to the attacks by the herdsmen,” Musa said.
Ishaya Danladi Mallam, 46, an elder with the Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ (ERCC), told Morning Star that the first attack displaced all but 24 of the church’s 220 members. “We covet your prayers and those of other brethren. We are facing very threatening, tough times.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Morning Star News is a California-based independent news service focusing on the persecution of Christians worldwide.)

10/24/2016 9:53:03 AM by Morning Star News, Nigeria Correspondent | with 0 comments

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