October 2017

Campus shooting prompts call for prayer

October 26 2017 by Baptist Message staff

An early morning shooting Oct. 25 at Grambling State University, La. – that left two men dead, one of whom was a student at the school – has prompted a call for prayer from Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director David Hankins.

Grambling State BCM Facebook photo
Members of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Grambling State University pray on campus during See You At The Pole in 2016. Louisiana Baptists are encouraged to pray for the school, which experienced a deadly shooting early Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017.

“The brokenness of our world sadly continues to be on display, as we learned from the shooting on the Grambling campus,” Hankins told the Baptist Message. “Our hearts are grieved for the families of the victims.
“I ask all Louisiana Baptists to pray for comfort and for wisdom for our campus [Baptist Collegiate Ministries] director, Roy Brown, and area churches as they minister to the Grambling community in the days ahead,” Hankins said. “I also ask you to join me in praying for God’s hand of restraint on the evil that has reared its head again. We’re reminded in God’s word to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good.”
According to a news release from Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office media relations, shortly after midnight the sheriff’s office was called to assist Grambling State police in reference to a shooting on campus.
Two male victims, Earl Andrews and Monquiarious Caldwell, both of Farmerville, were later pronounced dead at the scene from apparent gunshot wounds. Andrews was a senior at the school, Grambling State spokesman Will Sutton told KTBS-TV in Shreveport.
The unidentified suspect fled the scene but remained at large Wednesday morning. Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone in a statement urged anyone with information about the incident to call 318-251-1111. Ruston/Lincoln Parish Crime Stoppers will pay up to $2,000 for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.
“This tragic incident appears to have occurred between persons that knew each other, to some extent at least,” Stone said. “There are no indicators that this incident bears any resemblance to any of the random acts of violence or domestic terrorism that have been experienced around our country in recent weeks.”
Grambling State posted on its Facebook page that its offices are open and all students are expected to attend classes.
KTBS added that a prayer vigil is scheduled on campus for 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“This is a horrible tragedy. Nothing that anybody would’ve ever wanted to have happened,” Sutton told KTBS. “Our prayers are with the victims and their families. There’s no place for violence on Grambling State University campus. We always encourage our students to be safe, to be aware, watch who they hang out with, and watch who’s around at all times. This is a most unfortunate situation.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This story was first published by staff with the Baptist Message, baptistmessage.com, news journal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.)

10/26/2017 7:47:38 AM by Baptist Message staff | with 0 comments

Apple removes pro-life prayer app

October 25 2017 by Samantha Gobba, WORLD News Service

Tech giant Apple removed a pro-life prayer app from its App Store following backlash from pro-abortion advocates, another example of bias against Christian groups.
Human Coalition’s app, still available on the Google Play Store, displays a list of prayer requests, such as, “Someone considering abortion in Dallas, Texas.” When users signal with a swipe of their thumb that they’ve prayed for the situation, the app updates a daily tally of prayers.
The group said Apple removed the app shortly after unfavorable media reports appeared on news outlets Slate and the New Statesman.
Slate blogger Christina Cauterucci questioned how the group could know when a woman considers abortion or decides against it and called the app “a discomfiting invasion of privacy or a gigantic lie.” The New Statesman’s Amelia Tate queried, “Are digital anti-abortion prayers sanctioned by the church? Do they reach God? Though these questions may seem faintly ridiculous, their answers seem more important than ever. When it comes to the tech behind these anti-abortion apps however, that is where people – religious or not – might do well to lose a little faith.”
Human Coalition spokeswoman Lauren Enriquez said the prayer requests come from calls and appointments at the group’s network of seven pro-life pregnancy centers in Grapevine, Texas; Raleigh, N.C.; Pittsburgh; and Atlanta. She noted the group doesn’t post any personal information on the app.
Tens of thousands of users have downloaded the app since it launched in 2013, Enriquez told me, calling Apple’s decision “unfortunate.”
“The pregnant women we serve are experiencing true crises,” Enriquez said. “Many of them do not have partner support, are single parents with other children, or are caught up in abusive or coercive relationships. Our supporters want to pray for the women and children we serve, and the app is a way of sharing prayer needs with them.”
Enriquez said nearly all women who call their centers are seeking abortions, and the group works to help them through whatever crisis they face. If a woman decides to keep her child, the workers verify the birth and “count that child as rescued.”
Human Coalition claims to have saved 7,292 babies since its founding in 2009, and Enriquez gave credit in part to the people who pray for the centers and their clients.
When Apple removed the app, it notified Human Coalition the program didn’t meet functionality requirements. But the app, which has a near five-star rating on the Google Play Store, had been available in Apple’s App Store for several years. Apple didn’t cite any improvements necessary to reinstate the app.

In response, Human Coalition launched a petition in an effort to persuade Apple to restore the pro-life app. 
This is not the first time Apple has removed a Christian app after complaints: The company deleted ex-gay ministry Exodus International’s app in 2011 and removed the ex-gay app Setting Captives Free in 2013.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Samantha Gobba writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine, worldmag.com, based in Asheville. Used by permission. BR staff contributed to this story.)

10/25/2017 8:02:44 AM by Samantha Gobba, WORLD News Service | with 1 comments

LifeWay nears move; Draper Tower set for implosion

October 25 2017 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

The new owner of LifeWay Christian Resources’ Nashville corporate headquarters has slated demolition of the Draper Tower for early December, just weeks after the entity moves to its new home blocks away.

Photo provided by LifeWay

Plans to demolish the tower by implosion are scheduled for Dec. 2, followed by the demolition of the Sullivan Tower in early 2018. LifeWay Christian Bookstore on the site has already been torn down.
Several historic and iconic accents of the original campus will be preserved, including medal scripture medallions, LifeWay Communications Director Carol Pipes said. LifeWay’s 1,100 downtown Nashville employees are still on schedule to move to the newly constructed headquarters in the Capitol View urban development in mid-November, Pipes said.
LifeWay’s new site will retain the entity’s history and values, LifeWay CEO and President Thom Rainer has said. The building will include stained glass windows from the Van Ness Auditorium, and a scripture medallion featuring John 14:6, the foundation for the entity’s name.
“There will be historically significant items throughout these floors,” Rainer has told LifeWay trustees, “and there will be scripture prominent everywhere.”
The new 277,000-square-foot headquarters will also house a new LifeWay retail store set to open in mid-November, Pipes said.
The implosion of the Draper Tower will be the first major implosion in Nashville in more than 30 years. The most recent was the 1985 demolition of the Sam Davis Hotel in preparation for the Nashville Convention Center, the Nashville Tennessean reported.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)

10/25/2017 7:11:34 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 2 comments

Parents and kids can’t turn off the TV or phone

October 25 2017 by Lynde Langdon, WORLD News Service

When it comes to screen time, many parents are ignoring pediatricians’ recommendations, a study released Thursday by Common Sense Media found. The survey looked at media use habits among children ages 0-8 and found several alarming statistics:

  • Nearly half (49 percent) of all children ages 8 and under sometimes or often use screen media in the hour before bedtime, something the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns against because screen exposure can affect melatonin levels and delay or disrupt sleep.
  • Studies have linked background television (when the TV is on but nobody is watching) to shorter attention spans and lower cognitive performance in children. But 42 percent of parents surveyed said they kept the TV in their house on always or most of the time.
  • The AAP also recommends no screen exposure for children younger than 18 months because it disrupts necessary interactions with caregivers that digital entertainment cannot duplicate. Despite that, children under 2 spend an average of 42 minutes a day using screen media, the study found, and 34 percent of them watch TV every day.
  • Children from lower-income homes get an average of one hour and 39 minutes more screen time per day than kids in middle- and higher-income homes – a ratio of three hours and 29 minutes to one hour and 50 minutes.

Dr. Jenny Radesky wrote the policy paper that laid out the AAP’s revised screen time guidelines for children in 2016.
“While our 2016 media guidelines were designed to be more family-centered and action-oriented, the Zero to Eight findings tell us that these messages are not reaching the majority of parents, especially the families facing more stress and adversity,” Radesky wrote in a report of the survey’s key findings.
The survey had a few bright spots in its results: Children’s average screen time has stayed roughly the same since 2011 at two hours and 19 minutes per day, though time spent on mobile devices now has a much bigger piece of the pie. Also, children still overwhelmingly prefer reading books to reading on digital devices. Of the 29 minutes on average kids spend reading each day, only about three minutes is spent looking at a screen.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Lynde Langdon writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine, worldmag.com, based in Asheville. Used by permission.)

10/25/2017 7:08:10 AM by Lynde Langdon, WORLD News Service | with 0 comments

WORLD SERIES: Astros wall ad spotlights Houston’s First

October 25 2017 by David Roach, Baptist Press

At a critical moment in this year’s Major League Baseball playoffs, pursuit of a Houston Astros home run ball at Minute Maid Park caused New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge to crash into a right field sign promoting Houston’s First Baptist Church (FBC).

Screen capture from MLB.com

Minutes later, the church tweeted to Judge, a candidate for both the American League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards, “Our church is more welcoming and forgiving than our sign.”
The sign – and numerous other connections between First Baptist and the Astros – will be on display again as Houston takes on the Los Angeles Dodgers in this year’s World Series, which opened Oct. 24. The Fall Classic is a welcome development in a city still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.
First Baptist’s ties with the Astros this season also have included an appearance by team president Reid Ryan at a church staff gathering. Additionally, First Baptist’s Spanish campus pastor Juan Jesus Alaniz is the Astros’ Spanish-language chaplain.
Last season, First Baptist’s contemporary worship team sang the national anthem at an Astros game. Over the years, Astros have been church members, with at least one or two receiving baptism, First Baptist director of communications Steven Murray told Baptist Press. Additionally, there have been First Baptist nights at Minute Maid Park, and pastor Gregg Matte has thrown out the first pitch before a home game.
Amid Houston’s World Series run, an increasing number of baseball fans are noting First Baptist’s connection with the Astros.
One apparently surprised playoff viewer tweeted after Judge’s wall crash and the resultant First Baptist tweet, “Bro, ... a church just roasted Judge.” The following week, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason Allen tweeted, “Pretty cool seeing Judge crash into FBC Houston wall ad to rob a homerun in [American League Championship Series] game 7 tonight.”
Murray said “the spiritual value” of supporting the Astros “is being present in a secular space, where people might think ... the church is some archaic building that’s only relevant on Sunday, if that. This is saying: No. We’re a member of the community. We’re a part of what’s going on in Houston.”
The outfield sign materialized in March, when another sponsor backed out of the opportunity and the Astros asked First Baptist to consider a sign in right field. The funds were available, Murray said, “because of the ongoing generosity of our church family.”
Throughout the season, members and nonmembers alike have tweeted photos of the sign. “People are noticing,” Murray said.
Alaniz is completing his second season as an Astros chaplain. His wife Josie Ban-Alaniz is in her first season as chaplain for the wives of English- and Spanish-speaking players and coaches.
In ministering to players, Alaniz said, the key is “keeping [Christ] the focus the whole time and making sure you don’t get into conversations that are going to not have them fix their eyes on Jesus.”
Of the 25 players on Houston’s postseason roster, Alaniz said, nearly half are native Spanish speakers. During the season, he has held chapel services before Sunday home games and made himself available for pastoral counseling and prayer throughout the week. His chaplain ministry, organized through Baseball Chapel, also includes visiting teams and umpires.
When the World Series shifts to Houston this weekend, Alaniz will be there for ministry.
Murray said First Baptist “is just glad to be a part of something that’s so exciting going on in our city, especially after our city has been through so much in the last couple of months” with the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

10/25/2017 6:58:45 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

GuideStone health plans available amid ACA flux

October 25 2017 by Roy Hayhurst, GuideStone Financial Resources

Inaction by Washington on reforms to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has led to much uncertainty for those in the health care exchanges created under the 2010 law.
GuideStone Financial Resources is prepared with options for churches looking to help their pastors and staff members obtain health care coverage for themselves and their families.

In many counties around the United States, only one option is available on the state or federal exchanges, and in some places it is possible there will be no options by the beginning of the year.
“GuideStone has offered health coverage benefits to Southern Baptist churches and their employees for over half of our century of service,” said Scott Charbonneau, managing director of insurance plans.
“With the uncertainty in the health care marketplace, GuideStone seeks to be a stable, competitive solution for churches and ministries we are privileged to serve, both in the Southern Baptist Convention and in the greater evangelical community,” Charbonneau said.
GuideStone is increasing access to individual plans and group products, including GuideStone’s personal plans, microgroups – for churches with as few as two employees – and group plans for larger and medium-sized churches and ministries.
“Churches from single-staff member congregations to multi-campus megachurches with hundreds of employees have options available to them through GuideStone’s health plans,” Charbonneau noted. “If you have had trouble finding a health care solution or are looking for additional options, GuideStone is here to help.”
GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said serving the “pastors at the crossroads” – those who serve far from the limelight but serve faithfully among the people God has called them to shepherd – is foundational to the work GuideStone does each day.
“Those smaller churches that find themselves trying to navigate the complex realities of our nation’s broken health care system have an advocate with GuideStone,” Hawkins said. “Not only are we committed to providing solutions for pastors and churches of all sizes, but we are committed to doing so by offering benefits in line with our shared Christian beliefs and values.”
While medical inflation, claims experience and the continued uncertainty in the health care industry brought on by inaction in Washington continue to impact rates, GuideStone has worked to control health insurance rates – average rate increases for personal plans are 8.8 percent and for group plans are 7.5 percent – with more than half of all groups seeing rate increases of 2 percent or less.
Churches interested in learning more about the solutions available to them should call 1-844-INS-GUIDE (1-844-467-4843) or visit GuideStone.org.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roy Hayhurst is director of denominational and public relations services for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

10/25/2017 6:51:06 AM by Roy Hayhurst, GuideStone Financial Resources | with 0 comments

Abortion rights claimed by undocumented immigrant

October 24 2017 by David Roach, Baptist Press

The Trump administration is locked in a legal battle over whether it is required to facilitate an abortion for a 17-year-old illegal immigrant being held in a federally funded Texas shelter.

Photo by Bjoertvedt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is considering the case of a 17-year-old illegal immigrant asking the Trump administration to facilitate her abortion while in federal custody.

The administration claims it is not required to expend any resources to secure an abortion for the immigrant – known in legal documents only as Jane Doe or J.D. – including providing transportation to an abortion clinic.
But J.D., who is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), claims she has a legal right to abortion and is being “held hostage to the extreme anti-abortion views of a handful of government officials,” The New York Times reported.
“This story, to this point, really isn’t getting adequate attention,” Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said Oct. 23 in his podcast The Briefing. “But given the issues at stake, indeed it must.”
Mohler noted the “clash of worldviews” occurring between pro-life advocates and those who claim “a constitutional right to an abortion, and furthermore, a requirement that the federal government of the United States ... facilitate that abortion” for any noncitizen “who can just get to the territory of the United States.”
J.D. was apprehended by federal authorities in early September after entering the U.S. illegally as an unaccompanied minor, according to court documents. A medical examination revealed she was pregnant, and she requested an abortion.
The Department of Health and Human Services declined to let her leave the shelter to obtain an abortion, arguing that to provide accompanying staff and other resources would constitute government facilitation of abortion even though J.D. obtained private funding for the procedure.
A U.S. district judge ruled Oct. 18 the administration must transport J.D. to a facility that could terminate her pregnancy by Oct. 21. But a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned the ruling Oct. 20, ordering that the administration be given until Oct. 31 to release J.D. to a sponsor who could help her obtain an abortion on her own.
J.D.’s ALCU attorneys appealed to the full D.C. Appeals court Oct. 23, arguing “every additional day she must remain pregnant against her will places a severe strain on J.D., both physically and emotionally,” according to Politico. The ACLU also argued J.D., who is 15 weeks pregnant, soon will not be able to secure an abortion legally because Texas does not permit abortion beyond 20 weeks in most cases.
The Trump administration says, however, that illegal immigrants have no right to abortion on demand. The teen is free, the administration has written in court documents, to request a voluntary departure from the U.S. and obtain an abortion on her own.
“Any alleged ‘obstacle’ to Ms. Doe’s ability to obtain an abortion is by her own choice,” the administration stated in an Oct. 23 court filing. “She is in federal custody because she entered the United states illegally, and that custody is what she contends is blocking her ability to obtain an abortion. But Ms. Doe may elect voluntary departure to end her federal custody, which would eliminate the alleged ‘restriction’ or ‘obstacle’ of which she complains.”
The administration added, “The government need not facilitate access to abortion; it need not provide funding or ‘commit any resources to facilitating abortions’ ... And the government may legitimately express a preference for childbirth over abortion, even if such a preference may have practical effects or limits on a woman’s exercise of her right to an abortion.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told The Times requiring the government to facilitate J.D.’s abortion would set “a dangerous precedent by opening our borders to any illegal children seeking taxpayer-supported, elective abortions.”
Politico reported Oct. 17 that HHS has intervened in multiple instances to steer detained, undocumented minors away from abortion, including sending them to crisis pregnancy centers. A senior HHS official, according to Politico, has personally counseled detained teens not to end their pregnancies.
The ACLU has asked a federal district judge to allow J.D.’s case to proceed as a class-action lawsuit, according to The Times, to secure a right to abortion for as many as 1,000 unaccompanied, pregnant minors who have immigrated to the U.S. and are in federal custody.
A decision is awaited by the full D.C. Appeals court on whether it will hear J.D.’s case.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

10/24/2017 8:59:19 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Senators promote Solution Sunday, racial understanding

October 24 2017 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

For two United States senators, a solution to America’s racial division could start simply with a meal in a home.
Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Tim Scott of South Carolina are continuing to promote the Solution Sunday Initiative, a now 15-month effort to encourage Americans to invite a family of another race into their homes to eat and to visit.

Screen capture from CNN
U.S. Sens. James Lankford and Tim Scott continue to promote the Solution Sunday initiative, an effort to encourage Americans to invite a family of another race into their homes to eat and to visit.

They launched the initiative in 2016 after the police shooting deaths of African American men in Baton Rouge, La., and St. Paul, Minn. – as well as the killings of police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas – again brought racial tension to the forefront. The Republican senators are promoting the effort with a new video in the wake of the August demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., that resulted in violence between white nationalists and counter-protesters.
“The birth of [Solution Sunday] for me was hearing once again people on the news saying we needed to have a national conversation on race,” Lankford said in the video produced by his office and released Oct. 10.
“I think sometimes we think we need to get elected officials and media people and famous people around a big table and have a camera around and to say they’re going to talk about race and the whole country is going to go follow. That’s not how it ever happens.
“I tell folks all the time, ‘I think the only way that we’ll get all the issues on the table is if we get all of our feet under the same table,’” said Lankford, a Southern Baptist.
Scott said on the video, “We typically grow up in pools that are homogenous – that everyone that’s in your circle of influence looks like you, talks like you, has similar values, come[s] from similar backgrounds with similar experiences. So your natural inclination is to stay within your comfort zone. What this asks is for those folks who come from that homogenous pool to take a step out of it and venture into someone else’s territory and learn as much as you possibly can about someone else.
“I’d say lean in. Don’t just dip your toe into it,” said Scott, the Senate’s only African American Republican.
Christian leaders have applauded the initiative.
“I’m thankful for this very practical idea from two leaders I greatly respect,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “We have massive issues of systemic injustice to address in this country, and one of the obstacles is this time of polarization. We cannot love others, and bear one another’s burdens, if we remain in silos away from one another.
“I pray this initiative helps to chip away at the walls between Americans,” Moore told Baptist Press in written comments.
In the video, Barry Black – the Senate’s first African American chaplain – said his first thought was: “It may not be the solution, but it certainly is the beginning of a solution.”
Solution Sunday is a simple idea that began with a question he asked people he met in Washington, in Oklahoma, on an airplane or wherever he was, Lankford said.
“Have you ever had another family of another race at your home for dinner?” Lankford said in recalling the question. “Most people smiled at me and said, ‘I know friends of another race,’ or ‘I work with people of another race.’ But I had almost no one, maybe one or two, in over a couple of weeks that answered, ‘Yes,’ to the simple question: ‘Has your family every invited a family of another race to your home for a meal?’”
Lankford approached Scott about joining him to lead the effort.
“Honestly, my first thought was: ‘Wow. Here’s a white guy from Oklahoma who cares enough to address an incredibly important issue to America that is oftentimes seen simply through a lens that happens to be black, and the reality of it is this is an American issue that could lead to an American crisis,’” Scott said.
“And so when he asked me to partner with him on a solution, I thought that was just a wonderful opportunity for me to live out the biblical worldview,” he said.
Both senators have heard reports of real progress from people who have accepted the Solution Sunday challenge.
With near consistency, people who try Solution Sunday for the first time “are surprisingly excited, and they are almost blown away by how easy it was and how much they have in common and how much they shared in laughter and jokes,” Scott said. “And they both shied away from the tougher issues, but then they through time became more comfortable with each other ... and were able to dive into deeper topics that were really important.”
Lankford said, “What I hear from people all the time is: ‘I just had something that was a barrier in my life that I didn’t realize was there. We broke through it, and it’s freeing.’”
Some people participate in Solution Sunday with the recognition “this has always been a problem” for them and they are going to “try to be able to understand someone else,” Lankford said. “And they develop friendships, and those friendships last.
“For those of us that are Christians, it’s not about tolerance,” he said. “It’s about love, and you can’t love people at a distance. You’ve got to get to know people to be able to actually engage in those issues.”
The video is available at youtube.com/watch?v=MGQJ558s-f4.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

10/24/2017 8:58:22 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Youth porn use spurs webinar

October 24 2017 by Baptist Press staff

How to counter teen pornography use within faith communities is the subject of a webinar to be hosted twice in November by the Religious Alliance Against Pornography.

Among the webinar’s presenters is Dean Inserra, pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, Fla. At least two Southern Baptists serve on the alliance’s advisory board: K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, and Dan Darling, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s (ERLC) vice president for communications.
The Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP) is an interfaith effort to mobilize people to understand and combat pornography. In the past, advisory board members have included retired ERLC President Richard Land and the late Adrian Rogers, a former Southern Baptist Convention president and pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn.
“It is my prayer,” Williams said in written comments, “that this webinar will help save, heal and deliver many from pornography and instill and revive the passion for sexual purity in our youth and adults.”
Offered Nov. 7 at noon Eastern time and again Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern, the webinar will cover God’s design for sexuality and marriage, the reality that teens “are looking at pornography in staggering numbers” and potential courses of action for pastors and parents, according to a webinar outline on the RAAP website.
Among questions to be addressed, according to the outline:

  • “When should we be talking to our youth about” pornography?
  • How should adults discuss pornography with teens?
  • “What are some steps we can take with users and those who have become addicted?”
  • How can adults help teens “in safely using the technological devices that are connected to the internet?”

The webinar, Williams said, will relay “practical insights and preventive measures to ensure victorious living when it comes to personal holiness according to our unique purpose as ordered by the Divine Orderer.”
Webinar participants may register at bit.ly/pornographys-impact-on-youth.

10/24/2017 8:55:18 AM by Baptist Press staff | with 0 comments

Orville Griffin, former Ohio exec, dies at 85

October 24 2017 by Art Toalston, Baptist Press

Orville H. Griffin, former executive director/treasurer of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio (SCBO), died Sept. 18 at age 85 after several months of illness, according to a report from the Ohio convention.
Griffin was the convention’s executive director from 1992-1997 during 43 years of ministry in Ohio.

Orville Griffin

“The legacy of Orville Heath Griffin is one rooted in the Great Commission and devoted to the Lord Jesus he loved and served so faithfully,” said Jack Kwok, who succeeded Griffin. “He set a high mark for those who follow.”
Kwok described Griffin as “compassionate, supportive, trustworthy, kindhearted, devoted and a mentor to many.”
For Kwok personally, Griffin “helped me greatly in the transition time we shared and the subsequent years until his homegoing.”
Griffin was preceded in death by his wife Lois in August and was living in Georgetown, Ky., at the time of his death.
He joined the Ohio convention staff in 1976 as director of missions. In 1982, he became associate executive director as well as the SCBO’s annuity and foundation director before being elected as executive director in 1992.
Griffin came to Ohio in 1954 as pastor of East Dayton Baptist Church after graduating from Georgetown College in Kentucky. The church recorded 720 baptisms during his 13 years as pastor and he served two terms as the state convention’s president, from 1965-67.
In 1967, Griffin became director of missions for the Greater Cincinnati and Southern Hills Baptist associations, moving in 1970 to the director of missions position with the Greater Dayton Baptist Association.
Griffin made a profession of faith in Christ in 1945 at age 13 at Stamping Ground (Ky.) Baptist Church and was ordained to the ministry there in 1952. He led churches in Frankfort and Harrison County as a college student.
He recounted in 1969 that the most significant experience of his life, other than his conversion, “was when I surrendered to the call of God to enter fulltime Christian service. This was not an easy thing for me to do. I had other ambitions and desires in life, but God continued to deal with me for a period of two years. And so one Sunday night after my pastor preached and gave the invitation I came forward to state my calling before my church and have never regretted this decision.”
Griffin defined missions in his personal testimony as “sharing the good news of salvation with all people regardless of their color or status in life. And I believe that every Christian has a responsibility in this great mission of confronting a world with the saving gospel and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Griffin is survived by two sons, Ronald and Douglas; a daughter, Lori Sue Haynes; a niece he and his wife helped raise, Kelly Lee Watson Zatorski; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
His funeral was Sept. 25 at White Sulphur Baptist Church in Georgetown. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations to the Orville Griffin Fund with the Ohio Baptist Foundation in care of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, 9000 Antares Ave., Columbus, OH 43240.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

10/24/2017 8:50:35 AM by Art Toalston, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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