October 2018

SWBTS: Bingham ‘speechless’ at call to lead, serve

October 16 2018 by David Roach, Baptist Press

For Jeffrey Bingham, God’s call to the interim presidency of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) was literally a phone call.
 

Photo by Kathleen Murray
"Through His gifted preachers," God “has been writing a script the community needed to hear” in Southwestern Seminary chapel services this fall, said interim president Jeffrey Bingham.

As a May 22-23 meeting of Southwestern’s trustees stretched into the early-morning hours, Bingham, dean of the seminary’s School of Theology, couldn’t sleep in his hotel room at a conference in Chicago. He followed reports of the meeting, wondering what the board would decide about the fate of then-president Paige Patterson.
 
Then just after 3 a.m., Bingham’s phone rang. It was trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert informing him of the board’s decision to move Patterson to president emeritus status effective immediately and offer Bingham the role of interim president.
 
“I had no previous indication that my name was in consideration for the interim position,” Bingham said. “The phone call caught me by surprise.”
 
Nearly five months into his new assignment, Bingham is preparing for his first meeting of the full trustee board as interim president. At that meeting Oct. 15-17, he expects “frank conversation” about the trustee executive committee’s decision May 30 to terminate Patterson. But he also expects all trustees “to be devoted to the future of Southwestern Seminary.”
 
As Bingham envisions that future, he told Baptist Press in an interview, it includes the continuation of a spiritual renewal afoot on the Fort Worth, Texas, campus and a commitment to welcome all Southern Baptists who affirm the Baptist Faith and Message – “regardless of where they are on the question of Calvinism or Arminianism or the question of Reformed theology and Anabaptist theology.”
 

‘I had to care for her’

 
Back in his Chicago hotel room, however, Bingham didn’t know whether he should volunteer to lead the seminary forward.
 
“I told [Ueckert] I was quite speechless and that the job was something which was larger than I was and for which I, in my humanity, was not equipped,” Bingham said. But he agreed to pray and consider the trustees’ offer for the rest of the morning.
 
After talking with his wife Pamela and praying, he accepted. “It was my seminary,” he said. “I had to care for her.”
 

Photo by Adam Covington
Interim president Jeffrey Bingham scoops ice cream for Southwestern Seminary faculty and staff at a meeting to begin the academic year.

Why did trustees decide Bingham was the right man for interim leadership?
 
“I haven’t really asked that question,” Bingham said. “... I trust the body of Christ” and “believe the board of trustees is a group of believers who have been gathered together by God’s will and providence and that the Lord is using that group, that community to guide the people of Southwestern.”
 
Among Bingham’s qualifications likely considered by trustees are his experience pastoring a small west Texas church; his doctor of philosophy degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS); his extensive administrative and teaching experience at DTS, Criswell College, Wheaton College and Southwestern; and his expertise in patristics, the study of the first several centuries of church history following the New Testament era.
 
Douglas Moo, a New Testament professor at Wheaton, where Bingham served as associate dean of the biblical and theological studies department, said Bingham was “fairly laid back” as a leader and believed “it was better to try to manage things behind the scenes rather than to throw his weight around ... He was willing to listen and not particularly interested in always getting his own way.”
 

‘A new vitality’

 
In the early days of Bingham’s interim presidency at Southwestern, the trustee executive committee rightly exercised a heightened degree of oversight on the seminary’s day-to-day operations, given “the difficult times that had occurred,” Bingham said. By late summer though, the executive committee began “returning more and more to a traditional level of oversight.”
 
By welcome week for new students in August, Bingham said, matriculating ministers in training “would not have had the slightest indication that Southwestern Seminary was in a period of transition simply because the staff and faculty – the heart of the seminary – were present to do their job with excellence.”
 
Another surprising feature of campus life since Bingham assumed leadership is a “new vitality” in chapel, he said.
 
It’s “a frequent thing” for students and faculty to say “how chapel has been special to them this semester,” Bingham said.
 
Preachers have focused in the seminary’s twice-weekly chapel services this fall on Christ, the “central virtues of the Christian life” and the “need to be revived” among other themes, Bingham said. Six special services for the Southwestern community to seek God are scheduled Oct. 23-25.
 
God, “through his gifted preachers,” Bingham said, “has been writing a script the community needed to hear.”
 

‘People will need to talk’

 
Amid the blossoming spiritual renewal on campus, Southwestern’s trustees are convening this week to consider, among other matters, a motion referred from the Southern Baptist Convention “that the whole board of trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary consider revisiting their original decision concerning Paige Patterson.”
 
At this summer’s SBC annual meeting in Dallas, Southwestern trustees expressed divergent viewpoints on Patterson’s termination during debate on a separate motion to remove from the board all members of the trustee executive committee. South Carolina trustee Wayne Dickard spoke for the motion while Texas trustee Bart Barber, an executive committee member, said the executive committee’s termination of Patterson was necessary.
 
At this week’s meeting, Bingham said, “people will need to talk to each other about thoughts that they’ve had since those late days in May. I think it will be a time of true and frank conversation. But these are a group of men and women who love Southwestern Seminary, and I think ultimately all of them will be devoted to the future of Southwestern Seminary.”
 
To all Southern Baptists, Bingham said, “As the Lord allows, the issues of disagreement” and hurt over Patterson’s departure can “be dealt with in a godly and Christ-like and humble way.” But “my prayer is that even as we disagree over those things and even as we still have questions and we’re still confused, that we are able to commit together to supporting students who come to Southwestern to be trained for worldwide ministry.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

10/16/2018 12:15:12 PM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Brothers at children’s homes give hearts to Jesus

October 16 2018 by Blake Ragsdale, BCH Communications

Pastor Randy Stewart reached out and took the young boy’s hand as he stepped into the baptismal waters. They had enough time to exchange a quick smile just before Stewart looked out into the congregation.
 

“I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!” Stewart proclaimed, his right hand raised towards heaven.
 
The boy took a deep breath as the pastor leaned him back. Emerging from the waters with a smile, the new Christian wiped his eyes. He stepped out of the pool and greeted his two brothers, all three wet from their turn in the baptismal waters.
 
“I’ve seen the power of God over and over again,” Stewart said. He has served as pastor of Mills Home Baptist Church in Thomasville for 26 years. “And to see these young people step forward and say, ‘I want Jesus to be my Lord and Savior,’ and to baptize them? Wow!”
 
The church is at the center of the Mills Home campus in Thomasville – Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) oldest location. Stewart has preached, counseled and been a trusted friend to the many boys and girls who have stepped through the church doors.
 
“These pews – where so many children have sat over the years – they have stories to tell,” said the pastor. “They are stories of children who have come to us out of chaos.”
 
The three brothers, ages 10, 8 and 7, understand chaos all too well. Their parents were consumed by drug addiction. Most days, the boys had no choice but to fend for themselves.
 
“Teachers, neighbors and people in the community saw the signs,” Stewart says. “The boys would come to school dirty and hungry.”
 

The brothers were not given meals regularly in their home. Many days, the school cafeteria was the only place where they could count on being fed. The oldest brother tried to provide for his younger siblings, but he could only do so much.
 
One night, the family’s already fragile state shattered when the boys’ father died from an overdose. From that point, circumstances only became worse.
 
“Some days, they were locked out of the house all day long while strangers drifted in and out,” Stewart confides.
 
The situation took an unexpected turn when police were called to the neighborhood. The boys had broken into a neighbor’s home.
“They weren’t trying to do anything wrong. They were looking for food,” Stewart explains. “They were hungry and desperate.”
 
Their act of desperation became a crucial turning point in their lives. The Department of Social Services removed the brothers from their mother’s care, and they came to live at Baptist Children’s Homes.
 
Their family in tatters, all the boys had left were each other. At BCH, the ministry is designed to keep siblings together.
 
“Our cottages are like large family homes,” Stewart says. “They are large enough for three brothers to have a safe place where they can be together – surrounded by people who love and care about them.”
 
Those people include the boys’ cottage parents who not only ensure that their every-day needs are met, but show them God’s unconditional love.
 
“Jesus says, ‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,’” Randy recites. “This verse speaks to the heart of what we give to the girls and boys who come to us at Baptist Children’s Homes.”
 
Ultimately, through the care and compassion the brothers received, they gave their hearts to Jesus.
 
“This is a generation of young people who are coming through our doors,” Stewart asserts. “We have an opportunity to share the gospel with them and see their lives change.”
 
Through the support of Baptist Children’s Homes’ Annual Offering, North Carolina Baptists are a part changing these brothers’ lives. To watch their video and download offering resources for your church, visit bchoffering.org.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – The brothers’ names are not used to maintain their privacy.)

10/16/2018 12:14:42 PM by Blake Ragsdale, BCH Communications | with 0 comments



3 things to know about breakout sessions

October 16 2018 by Chad Austin, BSC Communications

Breakout sessions are an important part of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) annual meeting. Each year, a number of pastors, ministry leaders, church practitioners, convention staff and others offer sessions that address a variety of topics.
 
This year’s meeting includes more times allotted for sessions and more offerings. Given these changes, here are three things you need to know to help you make the most of your time at annual meeting.
 

More session times

 
This year’s annual meeting includes a revamped schedule, highlighted by more opportunities for attendees to take part in breakout sessions.
 
The schedule includes three separate times for sessions during the course of the two-day meeting.
 
Those times are Monday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday morning at 10:45 a.m. and Tuesday afternoon at 3:15 p.m. The new schedule is a change from recent years in which breakout session offerings were held during back-to-back time slots on the Tuesday afternoon meeting session.
 
One hour is allotted for breakout sessions during each time period. Be sure to check the complete schedule at ncannualmeeting.org/schedule.
 

More session offerings

 
More than 40 different breakout session are offered for attendees to choose from – nearly double the number of sessions that have been available in recent years.
 
Please note that not all sessions are offered during each of the three allotted times for breakouts. Some sessions will be offered multiple times, but some are offered only once.
 
Plan accordingly to make sure you join the sessions you want to attend. The times when each breakout session is being offered are listed at ncannualmeeting.org/breakouts.
 

More session variety

 
Breakout sessions provide practical training and equipping in a variety of ministry areas such as evangelism, disciple-making, pastoral ministry, leadership, prayer, missions and more. Many of the sessions are closely aligned to the annual meeting theme of “Who is My Neighbor?” Several sessions will focus on loving our neighbors who may be from a different cultural, ethnic, religious or other backgrounds than our own.
 
A complete listing of breakout session titles and descriptions is available at ncannualmeeting.org/breakouts.

10/16/2018 12:14:18 PM by Chad Austin, BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Repentance vital in Christian homes, ERLC speakers say

October 16 2018 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Repentance should mark Christian parenting, participants were told Oct. 12 at the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s 2018 national conference.
 

Photo by Karen McCutcheon
Bible teacher and author Jen Wilkin shares about building community in the home Oct. 12 during the ERLC National Conference in Grapevine, Texas.

Bible teacher Jen Wilkin and Philadelphia, Pa., pastor Eric Mason both pointed to repentance from sin as vital for a Christian home during “The Cross-shaped Family” at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The three-day event attended by about 950 people concluded Oct. 13.
 
“Let your children see you repent and mature,” Wilkin told Christian parents at the conference and watching by live stream. “They need that modeling. They need to know that it’s safe for them to do the same.
 
“[R]ather than making converts and letting disciples happen, make disciples and let converts happen,” she urged fathers and mothers during her address on building community in the home. “The message ‘repent and believe’ is good for those who are not yet saved and for those who are.
 
“And so as we parent and want to display the gospel to our children, be less concerned with identifying whether your child is in the kingdom or out and put forward the message ‘repent and believe’ with the confidence that everyone, including mom and dad, needs to hear it over and over again,” said Wilkin, classes and curriculum director of The Village Church in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
 
Mason, lead pastor of Epiphany Fellowship, pointed to the importance of a father’s repentance in his message on how God’s fatherhood forms leadership in the home. He based his comments on David’s dying message to his son Solomon from I Kings 2:1-4.
 
David displayed emotional presence in his son’s life, and Solomon “saw the bad side and the good side of his dad,” Mason said. “He saw in the life of his father – as he’s talking about manhood – a culture of repentance.
 

Photo by Karen McCutcheon
Eric Mason, lead pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, Pa., speaks on fatherhood Oct. 12 at the ERLC National Conference in Grapevine, Texas.

“One of the most important things that we can do as fathers is not try to act like we’re telling them to be perfect but they know we’re not,” he said. “And many of us as fathers have to be available in our children’s lives to be able to repent.”
 
Mason told the audience, “No one showed the fatherhood of God like Jesus did. He had the ability to explain the Father because He was in the presence” of the Father.
 
At Jesus’ baptism, God the Father affirmed His Son, Mason said, adding fathers provide these gifts to their children:
 
– “We affirm their dignity.
 
– “We tell them their significance.
 
– “We tell them their identity.”
 
Wilkin told the audience that communities have these attributes: shared rules; shared responsibility; shared language; shared affection; shared time; and shared faith.
 
“May our homes be places where community is a beautiful attribute that is held high where we look for what is shared.  ...  You can vaccinate your child against the epidemic of loneliness when you cultivate godly and Christ-centered community in the home,” Wilkin said.
 
In other keynote addresses during the conference’s final two days:
 
Sam Allberry, global speaker for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, said Christians need to rethink friendship and family. Speaking on the church as the family of God, Allberry said Oct. 13, “We are to be the family in which God is placing the lonely. If we really are the family of God, that will demonstrate and visualize hope to a world that is increasingly dying of loneliness.”
 
Erick Erickson, editor of The Resurgent, shared regarding suffering in the home based on his wife’s cancer and his nearly fatal health problem. “God found a way to glorify Himself through our suffering by providing other people,” purpose and perspective in their lives, he said Oct. 13. “It’s not that He was punishing me to glorify Him. He was using this fallen world to help draw me closer to Him and to draw other people too – to give us focus, to give us purpose, to give us Him.”
 
Phillip Bethancourt, the ERLC’s executive vice president, said the church should teach on God’s purpose for sex. “One of the reasons we cannot hold back from talking about God’s design for sex is because the church is full of broken people, and Satan is relentless in his desire to tear us down in sexual sin,” he said Oct. 12. “[W]e need to recognize  ...  what we do with our bodies reveals what we believe about the gospel.  ... [S]ex is more about what you can give than what you can get.”
 
On both Oct. 12 and 13, the conference also included panel discussions and brief talks during main sessions. An interview with Bible teacher Beth Moore and breakout sessions on a variety of topics were parts of the Oct. 12 schedule.
 
The ERLC announced at its fifth annual conference the theme of the 2019 event will be “Gospel Courage: Truth and Justice in a Divided World.” The conference will be held Oct. 3-5, once again at the Gaylord Texan.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – The second from the last paragraph was updated Oct. 15 at 9:30 p.m. Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

10/16/2018 12:14:04 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Other events appeal to annual meeting participants

October 16 2018 by Biblical Recorder Staff

Before and during the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) annual meeting each year, a number of events take place. Most of the events are at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Here is a list of events supplied to the Biblical Recorder.

  • N.C. Pastors’ Conference, Nov. 4-5 – The seven churches in Revelation chapters 2-3 will serve as the expositional theme for this year’s North Carolina Pastors’ Conference Nov. 4-5 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Sunday’s event (beginning at 5:30 p.m.) features Clint Pressley and J.D. Greear. Monday morning’s pastors include: Tony Merida, Chris Griggs and K. Marshall Williams, senior pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pa. It begins at 8 a.m. Monday afternoon’s leaders include: Thabiti Anyabwile and Russell Moore. That session begins at 1 p.m. Matt Capps, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, serves as this year’s conference president.

  • Ministers’ Wives, Nov. 5 – The North Carolina Baptist Ministers’ Wives meets Nov. 5 from 9-11:45 a.m. This year’s speaker is Shannon Warden, an author and counselor. The theme is Encouraged 2 Encourage. Look for signs to the room.

  • Missionary Fellowship, Nov. 5 – The N.C. annual meeting of international missionaries (active duty personnel on stateside assignment, emeriti, former, retired or newly appointed); Nov. 5; 11 a.m.-1 p.m; lunch costs $12. Contact Jack and Ruby Gentry at (336) 766-1109 or email gentryclemmons@aol.com. The meeting is held at Lindley Park Baptist Church, 4010 Walker Ave., Greensboro.

  • Southeastern Alumni & Friends Lunch, Nov. 5 – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary invites alumni and friends to its annual lunch at the BSC annual meeting. The cost is $10. It will be held in the Blue Ashe Room from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

  • N.C. Young Pastors Lunch, Nov. 5 – Gather over lunch Nov. 5 in the Grandover Room from 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. to hear a panel discussion with Russell Moore, Amy Whitfield and Brian Upshaw about how the convention operates and how N.C. young pastors play a vital role in its future. There are only 150 seats available. Register by Oct. 29.

  • Hispanic Banquet, Nov. 5 – The Hispanic banquet Nov. 5 from 2-6 p.m. features William Ortega, BSC senior consultant for Hispanic church planting. It will be held in Guilford G and is free. There are some rooms available at discounted rates ($25 for individual; $50 for two to share).

  • GuideStone Annuitant/Retiree Breakfast, Nov. 6 – Join the BSC Compensation and Benefits Services team for breakfast in Guilford G between 7-8:15 a.m. Cost is free; register by Oct. 31. Click the link above or call (919) 459-5637.

  • IMB Breakfast, Nov. 6 – Join the Great Commission Partnerships Office Nov. 6 for International Mission Board breakfast – “Every church. Every nation.” – in the Blue Ashe Room. It begins at 7 and ends at 8:30 a.m. Cost is free; register by Nov. 1.

  • Heavenly Banquet, Nov. 6 – The heavenly banquet with the theme “Welcoming Neighbors and Practicing Hospitality” meets Nov. 6 at noon in Guilford G. The cost is $10. Register by Oct. 23.

  • North American Partnerships Dinner, Nov. 6 – Join the BSC Great Commission Partnerships Office for the North American Partnerships dinner Nov. 6 from 4:45 to 6 p.m. at Mercy Hill Church, 3815 Clifton Rd., Greensboro, NC. Dinner is free; register by Nov. 1.

10/16/2018 12:13:43 PM by Biblical Recorder Staff | with 0 comments



Harrison withdraws BSC presidential bid; Barrett to nominate Scoggins

October 15 2018 by Biblical Recorder Staff

John Mark Harrison, pastor of Apex Baptist Church, announced Sunday, Oct. 14 that he will be preaching “in view of a call” at a church out of state the following week. He told the Biblical Recorder that, due to the potential transition, he is withdrawing his candidacy for president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).


John Mark Harrison, left, and Steve Scoggins, right


“I asked the church to pray for me that I would be able to hear the Lord’s leading. I am very thankful for a loving church family that has been nothing but supporting and encouraging,” Harrison said. “They are wonderful people who are kingdom-minded and desire for the kingdom of God to advance.”
 
Michael Barrett, who intended to nominate Harrison, told the Recorder he will now nominate Steve Scoggins, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, for BSC president. Barrett is the outgoing pastor of Pleasant Garden Baptist Church. He plans to retire at the end of this month.
 
Barrett commended the Cooperative Program (CP) giving record of FBC Hendersonville and described Scoggins as an excellent candidate for the office, someone with a “great heart for his church” and a “creative mind” who would continue to invest in young leaders.
 
“He’s committed to God’s Word, dedicated to missions and evangelism, and dedicated to being a good shepherd,” Barrett said. “His skills put him in a position to step in and give good leadership to our convention at this time. He will strive to bring young pastors to the table to help serve and lead our convention.”
 
On hearing the news of Scoggins candidacy, Harrison said, “I’m grateful for the passion of men like Barrett and Scoggins who are reaching out to the next generation and embracing younger leaders.
 
“These guys have a track record of leading well and serving our churches and convention well, so I’m excited to see them continue on that course.”
 
FBC Hendersonville gave more than $370,000 through the CP in 2017, according to BSC financial records. The 4,000-plus member church has recorded approximately two-dozen baptisms for the past five years in the Annual Church Profile, but nearly tripled that number for 2018.
 
In a statement to the Recorder, Scoggins said he is disappointed Harrison would not have an opportunity to serve as president of the state convention, explaining that Harrison “would have been a great leader for our convention.”
 
Scoggins also emphasized that he is honored to be considered for the role and wants to hold up the members of his congregation as examples to other N.C. Baptist churches, due to their commitment to CP giving and missions involvement.
 
He gave five reasons why he agreed to serve as BSC president, if elected:

  1. “The reason I was asked has as much to do with the church I serve as my own personal ministry. The First Baptist Church in Hendersonville is an example of what we want churches to be in our convention. We are strong financial supporters of the Cooperative Program and of Baptist missions. But our church goes well beyond giving its finances. Hundreds of our people each year are involved in mission work in our state and overseas as well. In every sense, FBC is a missional church.

 

  1. “I love the work of both our Southern Baptist Convention and our state convention. Because of that, I love the lifeline for that work found in the Cooperative Program. Giving to the Cooperative Program enables each church to not only touch the world in missions, but to provide a balanced way to meet needs both here in our state and nation and around the world.

 

  1. “I love the diversity that we find in our present day work as Baptists. First Baptist is a traditional Sunday School based church. Most of our churches are churches like First Baptist. But I have a son in law who served on staff with J.D. Greear at The Summit Church and another who serves on staff with Elevation Church in Charlotte. I believe God is working through both traditional and contemporary styled churches. We need all kinds of churches to reach the people in N.C.

 

  1. “I love encouraging pastors. One of the greatest blessings of my life has been the privilege of teaching future pastors at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. I am actively involved in my own local association and love the fellowship opportunities it gives to be with fellow pastors.

 

  1. “I would take this responsibility with no other agenda than being a cheerleader for what God is doing through Baptist missions and a strong desire to see Jesus exalted both in North Carolina and around the world.”

 
Scoggins is a graduate of Samford University near Birmingham, Ala., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He has served on staff at churches in Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia and North Carolina. He was pastor of FBC Hendersonville from 1992-2001 and again from 2014 to present. Scoggins has also spent more than 10 years teaching classes at Fruitland Baptist Bible College.
 
He has served on the board of directors for the Biblical Recorder and The Alabama Baptist news journals, and served in denominational roles for the Alabama State Board of Missions and Southern Baptist Convention.
 
Scoggins and his wife, Karen, have five grown children and 11 grandchildren.
 
Harrison plans to remain on the schedule to deliver the convention sermon at the BSC annual meeting Nov. 5-6 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C. Convention preachers are elected up to two years in advance by messengers to the annual meeting.

10/15/2018 3:30:34 PM by Biblical Recorder Staff | with 0 comments



Hurricane Michael wreaks havoc in wake of Florence

October 15 2018 by Biblical Recorder Staff

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, North Carolina Baptist leaders are urging people to volunteer more than ever.
 

Baptists on Mission Facebook photo
Gov. Roy Cooper, center, prays with Baptists on Mission workers and homeowners during a visit to Wilmington Oct. 9. Cleanup after Hurricane Florence continued as Tropical Storm Michael added to the damage list Oct. 11 in North Carolina.

With the combination of two strong storms (including Hurricane Florence from September), within less than a month, work orders are piling up at 13 recovery sites across the state. Baptists on Mission (also known as N.C. Baptist Men, NCBM) are receiving requests for help from many of the same people helped during Hurricane Matthew from two years ago.
 
A report from Eastern Baptist Association quotes Richard Weeks, director of missions, about Sampson and Duplin counties: “The water that got into houses during Matthew, we could measure in inches. The water from Florence we measure in feet.”
 
The Red Springs Mission Camp is being used to distribute supplies to more than 20 sites from its warehouse.
 
Goodwill Community Foundation donated $100,000 to NCBM again, just as they did when Hurricane Matthew hit N.C. two years ago.
 

Fundraiser

 
Performers from some of the biggest hits on Broadway will be raising funds for hurricane relief and recovery during the Broadway Sings for Florence concert Oct. 22 at Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.
 
All ticket sales and donations at the event will be given to NCBM hurricane recovery efforts. A similar Broadway benefit in 2016 raised more than $56,000 for hurricane relief following Hurricane Matthew.
 
Craig Schulman, who has performed the lead roles in Les Misérables, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera and Jekyll and Hyde, has assembled a cast of Broadway veterans, who will sing selections from many of their favorite shows.
 
“We want to raise as much money as possible,” Schulman said in a press release. “The performers saw the devastation in North Carolina and want to do whatever they can do to help. The benefit after Hurricane Matthew was so successful that I wanted to see if we could help some more.”
 
The cast will include Schulman; Lawrence Clayton (The Color Purple, The Civil War, Dreamgirls, Ain’t Nothing But the Blues); Lana Gordon (Disney’s The Lion King, Chicago, The Color Purple); Tamra Hayden (Les Misérables, Cabaret, The Phantom of the Opera, Fiddler on the Roof); and Gary Mauer (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Show Boat, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber).
 
Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster and through the center’s website, DukeEnergyCenterRaleigh.com. VIP seats, which include a post-concert reception on stage with the artists, are $100. Reserved seats are $45, $35 and $25.
 
Broadway Sings for Florence is presented by Show N Tell Ministries, a 501(c)3 organization. The City of Raleigh is among the sponsors.
 
To volunteer or donate, visit baptistsonmission.org.

10/15/2018 3:26:51 PM by Biblical Recorder Staff | with 0 comments



Stewardship camp touches young hearts

October 15 2018 by Dee Dee Vogt, BR Editorial Aide

When Amanda Burke and Rebecca Lindhout of Antioch Baptist Church in Lillington, N.C., started Camp Change two years ago, they hoped to impart their own passion for financial stewardship to the next generation.
 
Their efforts have reaped rewards both temporal and eternal.
 

This summer, 14 children professed faith in Christ during the camp, according to Lindhout, and a four-year-old voluntarily tithed 50 percent of her $4 because, “I know that money comes back to help missions.”

Started in 2017, “Camp Change” – a camp for first through seventh-graders – teaches practical skills such as budgeting and tithing, in addition to behavior and belief systems that undergird how people manage money, Burke told the Biblical Recorder.
 
Located near a Title 1 elementary school, the camp is offered at only $20 per week.
 
Generous support from Antioch’s Woman’s Missionary Union and Baptists on Mission (also called North Carolina Baptist Men; NCBM) participants enabled Camp Change to provide six “experience” tracks for 64 children, doubling enrollment from the previous year.
 
This summer, entitlement and contentment were the focus of all activities. Drawing from New Testament stories, leaders guided children through the Bible’s teaching on stewardship.
 

Students learned to recognize entitlement – like both the younger and older sons in the parable of “The Prodigal Son” – and saw that God can change it into generosity, both in money and service, like Jesus did in the story of Zaccheus.
 
A newly-added homework segment enabled kids to have structured discussions with their parents about how a household budget works.

One young lady was excited to learn her mother went to work each day to earn money so they could buy food, according to Lindhout. “These are conversations we should be having with our children,” she said.
 
A field trip to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s offices in Cary provided an opportunity to see how missions and ministry funds from N.C. Baptist churches are used on a larger scale.
 
That visit spurred an interest in the NCBM Appalachian backpack ministry, which is now underway at Antioch Baptist.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – The Camp Change curriculum and corresponding children’s books are tentatively scheduled for release in February 2019. For more information, visit antiochweb.org/camp-change.)

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Camp Change teaches children biblical stewardship

10/15/2018 3:26:01 PM by Dee Dee Vogt, BR Editorial Aide | with 0 comments



Imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson free at last

October 15 2018 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Pastor Andrew Brunson arrived in the United States Oct. 13, released after two years’ incarceration on disputed charges that could have led to life imprisonment. He was welcomed by President Donald Trump in an Oval Office meeting, where Brunson knelt and prayed for the president.
 

Reuters video screengrab
Freed pastor Andrew Brunson (center) leaves the Aliaga, Turkey courthouse after being released on time served under Turkish incarceration.

Although Turkey did not proclaim Brunson innocent, a court in Aliaga released him Oct. 12 on time served after sentencing him to three years, one month and 15 days, The New York Times reported. The court found him guilty of “terror,” the Times said, following charges of espionage and undermining the constitutional order of the state.
 
The North Carolina native who had led a church in Turkey was imprisoned in October 2016 and was transferred to house arrest in Izmir in July, awaiting this hearing. The domestic and international Christian community widely said Brunson was wrongly imprisoned and persecuted for his faith.
 
President Trump, who worked for Brunson’s release by diplomatic measures including sanctions, reached a deal for Brunson’s release Oct. 11, according to news reports. Under the purported deal, charges against Brunson were to be dropped in exchange for the U.S. easing economic pressure on Turkey, NBC said, referencing unnamed Trump administration sources.
 

Southern Baptists respond

 
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the release is an answer to prayer.
 
“We pray that this crisis will remind us to continue to pray for those imprisoned by oppressive regimes around the world because of their religious faith,” Moore said.
 
Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear shared Moore’s sentiment.
 
“Praise God! And yes, groups like @OpenDoors, whom we are grateful to partner with,” Greear said, “are on front lines serving and ministering there.”
 
Former Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd released an early morning statement hailing Brunson’s release.
 
“For two years, Christians in America and across the world have hit the floor with their knees in prayer for Andrew Brunson’s release from his Turkish imprisonment,” said Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas and president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. “Today, our prayers were answered.”
 
He commended the Trump administration for making Brunson’s freedom a priority and urged continued prayer for the persecuted church.
 
“As we celebrate Pastor Brunson’s release, let us continue praying for the men and women who are still behind bars and facing persecution for their faith,” Floyd said. “As scripture says, ‘Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body’ (Hebrews 13:3).”
 

Parents, others add their thanks

 
Brunson’s parents in Black Mountain, N.C., received the news in a phone call, Reuters reported.
 
“Praise God! I’m so excited! Oh that’s wonderful!” his mother Pamela Brunson told Reuters. “Well we were at an all-night prayer meeting during the trial and we got home and we fell asleep. We were up all night. … We’re so happy.”
 
Tony Perkins, a member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, attended the hearing in Turkey, USCIRF said. Perkins praised the Trump administration and “many others” who advocated for Brunson’s release.
 
“While we are relieved by today’s decision on Pastor Brunson’s unjust detention, we remain concerned for the Turkish people because numerous religious communities, such as the Greek Orthodox community and the Alevis, continue to face discrimination and restrictions on registration and ownership of property. Turkey must continue to work to treat all of its citizens equally and with respect for their religious freedom,” Perkins said.
 
Evangelist Franklin Graham, whose Montreat, N.C., boyhood home is near Brunson’s native community, thanked the Trump administration for Brunson’s release.
 
“Our thanks to President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their hard work on this issue. It wouldn’t have happened without them,” Graham said on Facebook. “I know that his family and friends here in North Carolina are anxious to welcome him home.”
 
Religious freedom advocate David Curry, president of Open Doors USA, lauded Trump’s initiative for Brunson’s release.
 
“Turkey has done the right thing in allowing him to return to his home country. I applaud President Trump for the unrelenting pressure his administration applied to Turkey on this matter, in part through tariffs and sanctions,” Curry said. “The president has rightly recognized that economic leverage can help bring positive change for human rights and can convey a powerful message of solidarity with oppressed religious minorities, especially persecuted Christians. In this case, it worked and was helpful in the release of an American Christian.”
 
Claire Evans, International Christian Concern regional manager, also welcomed the news.
 
“Turkey’s release of Pastor Andrew Brunson is most welcome news,” she said. “While we are pleased with his release, it is disappointing that Turkey has still convicted him of a terrorism charge. This is a stark warning to the local church that Turkey remains a serious violator of religious freedom.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This story was updated Oct. 15. Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

10/15/2018 3:24:07 PM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Moore: Cross frees Christians to love their families

October 15 2018 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The biblical understanding that Christians have been crucified with Christ liberates them to love their families genuinely, Russell Moore said Oct. 11 at the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s (ERLC) fifth annual national conference.
 

Photo by Karen McCutcheon
Russell Moore explains the centrality of the cross in freeing Christians to love their families during the opening day at the ERLC National Conference in Grapevine, Texas.

Moore, the ERLC’s president, delivered the opening address to about 950 people gathered for “The Cross-shaped Family,” the entity’s 2018 conference at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The three-day event [concluded] Oct. 13.
 
“What Jesus walked through without sin is exactly what every single one of us will walk through in some way or other, and a lot of that will have to do with our lives in terms of our families,” Moore told the audience in a message based on the Matthew 3 and 4 accounts of Jesus’ baptism and temptation by Satan.
 
“And unless we see that the Christian life is defined by the cross, then we are going to fall for the devil’s offers because we are going to expect our families to bear a burden they cannot bear.” Moore said. “Instead though, if you ground your identity and your inheritance not in your family but in the cross, if you see yourself as crucified with Christ, if you – as Jesus tells us – find your lives only by losing them, then you are actually freed to love your family.”
 
Moore – whose new book, The Storm-tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home, was released in September – said John’s baptism of Jesus was “weird and odd and disorienting” for all those who witnessed it because it represented repentance.
 
In His baptism, Jesus is “identifying Himself with us,” Moore said. “He is no sinner, but we are. And when Jesus says, ‘Come follow Me,’ He tells us over and over and over again, ‘That means taking up your cross and walking forward.’ Brothers and sisters, that includes our family lives.”
 
Ingratitude, wrong expectations and fear can undercut Christians in their families, Moore told the audience.
 
“We can wreck our lives by not seeing the joy and blessing that God has given to us in our families,” he said, “and we can wreck our lives by making family so ultimate that we spend our lives chasing after an idealized picture to the extent that we cannot love the family right in front of us.”
 
Some in the audience “are blocked from the joy of loving your families right now because of fear,” Moore said.
 
A Christian does not resolve fear by believing “awful things” will not happen in the family, he said. “The fear is resolved by the fact that you already have been through [being judged in Christ’s death], and now you have the freedom through the Spirit to love the family that you have.”
 
Following rules is not the path to a successful family, Moore stated.
 
“The idea of family as being something that if we just follow the right steps we’re going to be able to carry those things out – and we’re going to have perfect tranquility in our marriages or in our child-rearing or in our extended families or in our church family – is a recipe for absolute disaster,” he said. “Instead, what the Bible calls us to is spiritual warfare.”
 
Every aspect of home life is difficult because “family is designed to take you outside of your illusions of control” to a place where a person has no control, Moore said. “But guess what? That is exactly what the cross does.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

10/15/2018 3:23:19 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



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