September 2012

Committee on Nominations Report

September 24 2012 by BSC

The Committee on Nominations is charged with the task of receiving and reviewing the numerous recommendations provided by North Carolina Baptists for service on the Board of Directors and committees of the Convention as well as the boards of the institutions and agencies of the Convention.  The committee begins its work with the recommendations sent by North Carolina Baptists and only when exhausted, or in the event too few recommendations have been received for a specific place of service, the committee seeks to find candidates who meet the qualifications for service as outlined in the Convention bylaws.
The full report from the Committee on Nominations can be found on the BSCNC’s annual meeting website, in [this issue] of the Biblical Recorder, on the Biblical Recorder website, and in the Book of Reports provided to each messenger who completes their registration at the annual meeting.
On behalf of the committee members listed below, I want to thank each North Carolina Baptist who completed and submitted a recommendation. It is not too early to begin thinking about those individuals whom you wish to recommend for consideration by the 2013 Committee on Nominations. Please continue to submit your recommendations, as your input is essential to the committee’s work and the ongoing effectiveness of the missions and ministries of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
- H. LeRoy Burke, Chair

2012 Committee on Nominations Members

Becky Black, Knightdale; David Blackburn, Jefferson; LeRoy Burke, Lumberton; Joan Daniel, Durham; Shawn Dobbs, Lumberton; Faye Edwards, Beulaville; Jose Espinal, Shelby; Elizabeth Faw, Staley; James Horton, Edenton; Duane Kuykendall, Hickory; Brian Langley, Kure Beach; Charlie Martin, Winston-Salem; Ricky Mason, Maggie Valley; Cameron McGill, Dublin; Hannah Modrell, Hendersonville; Bill Saylor, Charlotte; David Turner, Elizabeth City

The Committee on Nominations report follows the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) bylaws directive to “nominate persons for election by the Convention to the committees listed in Article I.C.1 (b) – (d) of these Bylaws, such other committees as may be assigned to it, the chair of such Convention committees, the boards of trustees and directors of all institutions and agencies of the Convention, the Board, and such other nominations as may be delegated to the committee by the Convention.” 
Among other considerations for nominees, the bylaws state “It is desirable that at least twenty-five percent (25%) of members nominated to all committees of the Convention, the Board, the boards of trustees and directors of the Convention’s institutions and agencies shall come from churches with a membership under four hundred (400).” This is indicated in the Committee’s report by (O) for 400 and over and by (U) for under 400 in church membership.
The bylaws further direct that, “The Committee on Nominations shall include in its report at a minimum the name, church, home town, association, occupation, and sex of each nominee, the name of the committee or board on which the nominee is to serve together with such summary information as will make clear to this Convention the diversity and breadth of representation provided by the slates of nominees.”

Board of Directors, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

  • Region 1 – No vacancies
  • Region 2 – Bob Garbett, New Hope (U), Richlands, New River, minister, male; Lou Jean Manning, Robersonville First (U), Robersonville, South Roanoke, lay person, female; Scott Setzer, Second Baptist (O), Washington, South Roanoke, minister, male
  • Region 3 – Jason Bland, Southport (O), Southport, Brunswick, minister, male; Kelly Bullard, Temple (O), Hope Mills, New South River, minister, male; Brian Kinlaw, Southview (O), Hope Mills, New South River, minister, male
  • Region 4 – Logan Dagley, (2014 unexpired term of David Horner), The Summit Church (O), Durham, Yates, minister, male; Eric Griffin, (2013 unexpired term of Timmy Blair), Hocutt (O), Clayton, Johnston, lay person, male; Larry Lyon, North Wake (O), Wake Forest, Raleigh, lay person, male; Dwayne Milioni, Open Door (O), Raleigh, Raleigh, minister, male; Danny Poyner, Cary First (O), Cary, Raleigh, minister, male; Bill Sanderson, (2014 unexpired term of Brian Langley), Hephzibah (O), Wendell, Raleigh, minister, male; Tim Wheeler, Olive Branch (U), Durham, Yates, minister, male
  • Region 5 – Russ Reaves, (2013 unexpired term of Doug Davis), Immanuel (U), Greensboro, Piedmont, minister, male; Randy Storz, (2014 unexpired term of Barry Clement), Mount Olive (O), King, Pilot Mountain, minister, male
  • Region 6 – Jonathan Boyd Sr., (2015 unexpired term of Tim Jernigan), True Vine Restoration Ministries (U), Gastonia, Metrolina, minister, male; Terry Casino, Concord Community Church (U), Shelby, Cabarrus, minister, male; Grant Giesler, Hickory Grove (O), Concord, Metrolina, minister, male
  • Region 7 – Byron Greene, Wilkesboro Baptist (O), Wilkesboro, Brushy Mountain, minister, male; Carson Moseley, Three Forks (O), Taylorsville, Alexander, minister, male; David “Bud” Russell, Mount Vernon (O), Vilas, Three Forks, minister, male
  • Region 8 – Dena Alley, Woodlawn (O), Newton, Catawba Valley, lay person, female; Bobby Henderson, Monticello (U), Statesville, South Yadkin, minister, male; Andy Royals, Salem (O), Lincolnton, South Fork, minister, male
  • Region 9 – Gordon Benton, Beech Glen (U), Weaverville, French Broad, minister, male; Tony Honeycutt, Big Rock Creek (U), Bakersville, Mitchell, lay person, male; Randy Melton, Reed Memorial (O), Asheville, Buncombe, minister, male; Steve Williams, Pine Branch (U), Bakersville, Mitchell, minister, male
  • Region 10 – Gerald Morris, Lovedale (U), Cullowhee, Tuckaseigee, minister, male; David Powell, Cowee (O), Franklin, Macon, minister, male

Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina

Pam Annas, Fellowship (O), Hudson, Caldwell, lay person, female; Jacque Burgess, Apex (O), Apex, Raleigh, lay person, female; Jesse Croom, Edenton (O), Edenton, Chowan, minister, male; Jim Dyer, (2014 unexpired term of Wiley Doby), Christ (O), Wake Forest, NC Miscellaneous, lay person, male; Stella Harris, Green Street (O), Greensboro, Piedmont, lay person, female; Renea Henderson, Cross Road (O), Asheboro, Randolph, lay person, female; Roy Howell, Green Level (U), Apex, Raleigh, lay person, male; Amelia Johnson, Cowee (O), Franklin, Macon, lay person, female; Sandy Saunders, Snyder Memorial (O), Fayetteville, New South River, minister, male; Iola Walton, Carthage First (U), Carthage, Sandhills, lay person, female

Biblical Recorder

Kevin Clubb, Cape Carteret (O), Newport, Atlantic, minister, male; Buford E. “Gene” Fowler Jr., Mount Vernon (O), Boone, Three Forks, lay person, male; Robert Ivey, (2014 unexpired term of Tony Brewington), Freedom Biker (U), Fayetteville, New South River, minister, male; Jerry Stephens, Journey Church (U), Morganton, Catawba River, lay person, male; Ed Trull, Holly Springs (O), Franklin, Macon, minister, male

North Carolina Baptist Foundation

Tom Dimmock, Trinity (O), Raleigh, Raleigh, lay person, male; Fred Graf, North Wilkesboro First (O), Wilkesboro, Brushy Mountain, lay person, male; Betsy McSwain, Earlys (U), Ahoskie, West Chowan, lay person, female; Robert Simons, Roxboro (O), Roxboro, Beulah, lay person, male; Ray Talley, Etowah (O), Etowah, Carolina, minister, male

North Carolina Baptist Hospital

Kathryn Hamrick, Boiling Springs (O), Shelby, Greater Cleveland, lay person, female

Committee on Convention Meetings

Ryan Bennett, Central (U), Salisbury, Liberty, minister, male; Phillip Brande, Farmington (U), Mocksville, South Yadkin, minister, male; James Fisher, Saint Paul (O), Greensboro, Piedmont, minister, male; Peter McDonald, Midway (O), Columbus, Polk, minister, male; Josh Phillips, Cherry Grove (O), Tabor City, Columbus, minister, male; John W. Porter Jr., (2013 unexpired term of Brandon Blair), Riegelwood (O), Riegelwood, Columbus, minister, male;  Jonathan Taylor, Westwood (U), Roxboro, Beulah, minister, male; Joel Stephens, Chair, Westfield (O), Westfield, Surry, minister, male

Committee on Resolutions and Memorials

Jeff Broadwell, Long Branch (O), Lumberton, Robeson, minister, male; William Cain, The Bridge Community Church (U), Fayetteville, New South River, lay person, male; Donald Goforth, Great Marsh (U), St. Pauls, Robeson, minister, male; Bob Weathers, Chair, Shallotte First (O), Shallotte, Brunswick, minister, male

Historical Committee

Susan Bales, Bethlehem (O), Clayton, Raleigh, lay person, female; William Belk, Macedonia (U), Monroe, Union, minister, male; Nathan Morton, Burgaw (U), Burgaw, Wilmington, minister, male; Brad Paradis, Faith (O), Youngsville, Raleigh, minister, male; Albie Brice, Chair, Philadelphia (U), Rocky Mount, Tar River, minister, male

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9/24/2012 2:33:21 PM by BSC | with 0 comments

Youth weeks challenge students to apply God’s Word

September 24 2012 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

When Mary Beth McDowell went to Haiti earlier this year she saw for the first time what it means to really be in need. She saw people living in poverty and their desperate plea for help.
McDowell also saw something she had not expected: hope.
“You could see Jesus through people living there; they love the Lord,” McDowell said. “I got a bigger glimpse of His faithfulness.”
McDowell, a senior at Appalachian State University, met people who had few material possessions but loved Jesus Christ above all else.
McDowell served in Haiti alongside Merrie Johnson, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) senior consultant for student evangelism and ministry, and other members of Johnson’s summer staff. Johnson coordinates BSC summer youth weeks at the North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell, which draws nearly 7,000 middle and high school students each year.
In Haiti, the team partnered with Change This World to help distribute meals students packaged last year during the youth weeks. Last year the students gave more than $62,000, making it possible to send 200,000 meals to Haiti.

BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

This summer during youth weeks, students raised $75,000 and helped prepare 300,000 meals for Haiti, the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere.

This year, students gave $75,000, making it possible to send 300,000 meals to Haiti.
“The students are the ones driving the increase in the number of meals and the size of the offering,” Johnson said. “They came back this year saying they wanted to do more.”
Johnson said that after students participated in the mission project last year they came back ready to make a difference. Students saved money throughout the year to bring to Caswell, and some led their churches to do fundraisers to help contribute to the offering.
The idea to use the youth weeks offering to partner with Change This World came from Johnson. She decided about two years ago that she wanted to do more to help students realize what it means to have the identity of Jesus Christ. She wanted to help them find a way to give to others, and to share the gospel.
“Youth want their life to count, but they don’t know how,” she said. “They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. We are helping them understand what it means to sacrifice, and to love as Jesus loves.”
Ever since Johnson began coordinating youth weeks 11 years ago her goal has been to help youth understand that if they want their life to count for eternity, they must live for God’s glory.
“I wanted youth weeks at Caswell to be a place where the Bible was taught and where people were equipped to be leaders,” she said. “I wanted it to be a fun place, but [also] a place with a deeper purpose. I wanted students to know that their choices matter, and that those choices will take them closer to God or farther away from God.”
This year during youth weeks more than 600 students responded to God’s call on their lives to full-time vocational ministry.
Students are also coming to faith in Jesus Christ during youth weeks. Dennis Bain, youth Sunday School teacher at Macedonia Baptist Church in Gastonia, came as a chaperone for the third time this year. He shared about a student in the youth group who came to faith in Christ last year.
Bain said the student went home last summer and shared his faith with his parents and siblings. They began going to church with him, and his stepfather prayed to receive Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior and now participates in the church choir and praise band.
“His stepfather told me that if it hadn’t been for Caswell he wouldn’t be saved,” Bain said. “Stories like this help me remember what I’m doing and why I’m here.”

A firm foundation

This year’s theme was “He’s got an app for that” and the theme Scripture was Colossians 3:17. Students learned to look to God’s Word for help in any situation.
Wes Hamilton served as the camp speaker one week in July. He taught students that they must build their lives on the foundation of God’s Word.
“Jesus applies His Word to every area of life; His Word transforms every part of our life. We are either building on that Word or building on the sand,” he said. “It’s the sand of our own opinion or the rock of God.”
Hamilton explained to the youth that if they fail to apply God’s Word to their lives they are just going through the motions of the Christian life. “You can be religious and rebellious at the same time,” he said.
“You can be moral and good and have a good reputation, and still be building your foundation on what you think is right – and not what God thinks is right.”
Hamilton challenged the students to live for God and not for themselves, and to live for Him even when no one around them is walking with God.
“It’s in those moments when you and God are alone that your character is shaped; those moments form you and sanctify you,” Hamilton said.
“You must still treasure God and worship Him even when it buys you nothing from the outside; even when no one is watching you.”
To learn more about youth ministry and events, visit
9/24/2012 2:16:29 PM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Iranian pastor says God provided in prison

September 24 2012 by Baptist Press

TEHRAN – The Iranian pastor who spent more than 1,000 days in prison simply for being a Christian has written an open letter saying Christ provided for his needs while behind bars and thanking those around the world for praying for him.

“I have been put to the test, the test of faith which is, according to the Scriptures ‘more precious than perishable gold,’“ the pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, wrote Sept. 8 in a letter that was translated into English. It was posted on the website of the American Center for Law and Justice (

“But I have never felt loneliness, I was all the time aware of the fact that it wasn’t a solitary battle, for I have felt all the energy and support of those who obeyed their conscience and fought for the promotion of the justice and the rights of all human beings. ... The Lord has wonderfully provided through the trial, allowing me to face the challenges that were in front of me. As the Scriptures say, ‘He will not allow us to be tested beyond our strength. ...”

Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 while registering his church in Rasht, Iran, although he initially was arrested for protesting his children being taught Islam in school, according to ACLJ. He was charged with apostasy for supposedly abandoning Islam and later was given a death sentence.

Nadarkhani was acquitted in early September of apostasy, but the court found him guilty of evangelizing Muslims and sentenced him to three years in prison – then released him because he had already served that much time. Nadarkhani said he never had been a Muslim.

“I also want to express my gratitude towards those who, all around the world, have worked for my cause, or should I say the cause that I defend,” he wrote in the open letter. “I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have supported me, openly or in complete secrecy. You are all very dear to my heart. May the Lord bless you and give you His perfect and sovereign Grace.”

Youcef Nadarkhani

He said while in prison he “had the opportunity to experience in a marvelous way the Scripture that says: ‘Indeed, as the sufferings of Christ abound for us, our encouragement abounds through Christ.’“

“[Christ] has comforted my family and has given them the means to face that difficult situation,” Nadarkhani wrote. “In His Grace, He provided for their spiritual and material needs, taking away from me a heavy weight.”

In September 2011, Nadarkhani was given four chances to recant his faith in court and refused each time. ACLJ reported one of his court exchanges.

“Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?” Nadarkhani asked.

“To the religion of your ancestors, Islam,” the judge reportedly replied.

“I cannot,” the pastor responded.

Below is the full text of his open letter:

“Salaam! (Peace be upon you!)

“I glorify and give grace to the Lord with all my heart. I am grateful for all the blessings that He gave me during my whole life. I am especially grateful for His goodness and divine protection that characterized the time of my detention.

“I also want to express my gratitude towards those who, all around the world, have worked for my cause, or should I say the cause that I defend. I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have supported me, openly or in complete secrecy. You are all very dear to my heart. May the Lord bless you and give you His perfect and sovereign Grace.

“Indeed I have been put to the test, the test of faith which is, according to the Scriptures ‘more precious than perishable gold.’ But I have never felt loneliness, I was all the time aware of the fact that it wasn’t a solitary battle, for I have felt all the energy and support of those who obeyed their conscience and fought for the promotion of the justice and the rights of all human beings. Thanks to these efforts, I have now the enormous joy to be by my wonderful wife and my children. I am grateful for these people through whom God has been working. All of this is very encouraging.

“During that period, I had the opportunity to experience in a marvelous way the Scripture that says: ‘Indeed, as the sufferings of Christ abound for us, our encouragement abound through Christ.’ He has comforted my family and has given them the means to face that difficult situation. In His Grace, He provided for their spiritual and material needs, taking away from me a heavy weight.

“The Lord has wonderfully provided through the trial, allowing me to face the challenges that were in front of me. As the Scriptures says, ‘He will not allow us to be tested beyond our strength....’

“Despite the fact that I have been found guilty of apostasy according to a certain reading of the Shar’ia, I am grateful that He gave the leaders of the country, the wisdom to break that judgment taking into account other facts of that same Shar’ia. It is obvious that the defenders of the Iranian right and the legal experts have made an important effort to enforce the law and the right. I want to thank those who have defended the right until the end.

“I am happy to live in a time where we can take a critical and constructive look to the past. This has allowed the writing of universal texts aiming at the promotion of the rights of man. Today, we are debtors of these efforts provided by dear people who have worked for the respect of human dignity and have passed on to us these universal significant texts.

“I am also debtor of those who have faithfully passed on the Word of God, that very Word who makes us heirs of God.

“Before ending, I want to express a prayer for the establishment of an unending and universal peace, so that the will of the Father be done on earth as it is in heaven. Indeed, everything passes, but the Word of God, source of all peace, will last eternally.

“May the grace and mercy of God be multiplied to you. Amen!”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.)
9/24/2012 1:59:57 PM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments

NAMB declines property, congratulates recipient

September 21 2012 by North American Mission Board

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – North American Mission Board (NAMB) president Kevin Ezell today (Sept. 21) congratulated Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and Scholarships for GCU Students – a supporting organization for the Grand Canyon University (GCU) Scholarship Foundation – which will receive Hobby Lobby’s gift of a 217-acre campus in Northfield, Mass. 
NAMB and Scholarships for GCU Students were the final two entities under consideration for the property, a private school campus built by evangelist D.L. Moody in 1879. After evaluating the campus’ potential uses, logistics and operating expenses, NAMB leaders requested that it be removed from consideration.
“We are very happy for Scholarships for GCU Students today and excited about the opportunities this property will open up for them,” Ezell said. “I also want to convey my deep gratitude to Hobby Lobby for considering NAMB. Their generosity and desire to see this property continue to be used for furthering the gospel is something I will always appreciate and admire.”
Purchased in 2009 by the David Green family – founders of Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts retail giant – the property has since received more than $5 million in renovations. The Greens stipulated they wanted the property to be used by a ministry dedicated to furthering the gospel in North America.
“As a supporter of Christian higher education across the U.S., we hope this campus will provide a home for students to find their purpose in Christ and realize their full potential in life” said Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby. “We look forward to seeing what the future holds for this historic campus and for this community.”
Established by Moody as an educational institution for the underprivileged, the school was divided into the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in Northfield, Mass., and the Mount Hermon School for Boys in Mount Hermon, Mass.
The institution dropped compulsory theological education in the early 1900s. The Northfield and Mount Hermon campuses consolidated in 2004 on the site of the Mount Hermon property six miles away in Gill, Mass., leaving the Northfield campus vacant and unused.
Grand Canyon University is a private Christian university in Phoenix, Ariz. Based in Alpharetta, Ga., the North American Mission Board exists to work with Southern Baptist Convention churches, associations and state conventions to impact North America with the gospel of Jesus Christ through evangelism and church planting.
9/21/2012 2:05:38 PM by North American Mission Board | with 0 comments

Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy: We have made no concessions

September 21 2012 by Michael Foust, Baptist Press

Following reports that Chick-fil-A had agreed to stop funding certain traditional family groups in order to get approval for a new Chicago restaurant, company President Dan Cathy said Sept. 21 the restaurant made no concessions and “we remain true to who we are.”
Cathy’s statement, posted on Mike Huckabee’s website, came one day after the company released its own statement saying that its corporate giving has “been mischaracterized” for many months and that it will continue to fund programs that “strengthen and enrich marriages.”
Said Cathy, “There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly – whose organization supposedly had been de-funded by Chick-fil-A – also has spoken up for the company. And gay activist groups – who initially applauded Chick-fil-A’s supposed move – now are criticizing the restaurant once again.
Chick-fil-A was facing a backlash after Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno and an Illinois gay activist group announced in Sept. 19 news reports that Chick-fil-A had agreed to no longer fund groups opposed to gay marriage. That alleged agreement led Moreno – who had criticized Chick-fil-A for its president’s comments affirming the traditional marriage – to stop blocking a new franchise from being built. In comments to the Chicago Tribune, Moreno called it a “big win.”
Media stories nationwide then gave Chick-fil-A another public relations headache. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s headline read, “Chick-fil-A said to change stance.” The Los Angeles Times’ headline: “Chick-fil-A promises to stop giving money to anti-gay groups.”
The problem? Chick-fil-A’s base of support remains largely in conservative states, and those customers hardly consider Focus on the Family and other groups “anti-gay.” Many felt Chick-fil-A had caved.

Earlier this summer, hundreds of thousands of customers took part in Chick-fil-A Appreciation after company president Dan Cathy was criticized for comments supporting the biblical definition of marriage. Chick-fil-A’s stance on values is well-known: It is closed on Sundays, and its corporate statement includes the desire to “glorify God.”
In the 24 hours after the story out of Chicago broke, Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page was flooded with criticism of the new policy. Chick-fil-A released a statement Sept. 20, saying that “for many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized.”
“And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving,” the statement said. “A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas.Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.”
The company also released a document that had been referenced in the media called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.” In it, the company repeats language from this summer and says its tradition is to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
The Who We Are document also says Chick-fil-A “supports programs and marriage retreats to help strengthen and enrich marriages,” which more than 4,000 couples attend annually. The document did not address whether Chick-fil-A has indeed agreed to stop funding certain groups. It’s also unclear how the company’s policy will appease gay activist groups.
In fact, the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest gay group – expressed disappointment in Chick-fil-A’s new statement, particularly its pledge to fund marriage enrichment programs.
Focus on the Family’s Daly said in an article at Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink that he supports the company. He did not directly address whether Chick-fil-A was no longer funding Focus on the Family.
“I feel bad the Cathys are having once again to endure media accounts mischaracterizing their values and charitable efforts – and, unfortunately, I know how they feel,” Daly said. “How is an organization that helps save one marriage every six minutes and helps parents navigate through a crisis involving their children every 90 seconds deemed ‘anti’ anything but ‘anti-family breakdown’?” Daly concluded.
Gay groups also were upset that Dan Cathy was helping raise money for traditional groups, including taking part in a Sept. 18 WinShape Ride for the Family fundraiser. The money, the Advocate said, will benefit the Marriage and Family Foundation, which it said funds the Marriage CoMission, a traditional group.

Related stories

‘Guilty as charged,’ Dan Cathy says of Chick-fil-A’s stand on faith
Editor ‘recounts’ positive Chick-fil-A story; some reports ‘distorted’
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9/21/2012 8:40:29 AM by Michael Foust, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

‘Focus on God even more,’ Perkins says

September 20 2012 by Anne Reiner, Baptist Press

WASHINGTON – American politics needs more of God, not less, a pro-family leader asserted during the three-day Values Voter Summit in Washington.

“It is time to focus on God even more,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council (FRC). “The threat today is greater than it was in the cold war.”

Perkins’ comments, voiced in a news conference, came a little more than a week after the Democratic National Convention restored a reference to God in its party platform, which initially failed to include such a mention. He addressed reporters’ questions at the Values Voter Summit, sponsored by FRC and other socially conservative organizations.

During the news conference, Perkins said the election is not just about one issue. Though he is president of a pro-family organization and focuses on such issues as abortion and marriage, Perkins cited the importance of foreign policy in this election. He referred to the recent attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Libya to make his point.

The attacks in Libya must not go unpunished, and people are looking for America to lead in that endeavor, Perkins said. This is an example of the United States’ failed foreign policy, and many people understand that and want it to change, he told reporters.

“We are an economic leader; we are a military leader,” Perkins said. Other countries look to America to help solve the world’s problems, and the United States must once again lead globally, he said.

Perkins also acknowledged many families consider the issues of their mortgages and the economy as the most important parts of the election.

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum focused on the importance of American values. He urged Americans to keep God in the forefront of politics and to hold to traditional family and church involvement. “The basic premise of America and American values will always be sustained through two institutions, the church and the family,” Santorum told participants.

Abortion was also a key topic at the Values Voter Summit, with Lila Rose, pro-life activist and president of Live Action, addressing the importance of protecting the weakest in the country.

“We believe in an America that protects and respects every human life, we believe in an America where the weakest and the most innocent among us should be protected, should be cared for,” Rose said.

Rose described her experiences doing undercover work inside Planned Parenthood clinics. Her work has shed light on various practices at Planned Parenthood centers, including support for sex-selective abortions.

In addition, Live Action’s hidden camera investigations have shown Planned Parenthood employees demonstrating a willingness to assist self-professed sex traffickers whose prostitutes are in their early teens.

She accused the Obama administration of pushing an increasingly extreme abortion agenda. She pointed to Obama’s four votes against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act when he was in the Illinois Senate.

Despite her opposition to the current administration’s policies, Rose is optimistic when Americans see the facts they will begin voting accordingly and turn America around.

“I believe that we are going to see that day again soon when every life is respected and protected in this nation, and it’s up to the people, like the people here in this room, to take on the call and say we can do this together. We are under a just God and we can prevail,” Rose said.

In addition to Family Research Council, other sponsors of the Sept. 14-16 event were FRC Action, American Family Association Action, American Values, Heritage Foundation, Liberty University and Liberty Counsel.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Anne Reiner is an intern with the Washington bureau of Baptist Press.)
9/20/2012 2:56:54 PM by Anne Reiner, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Gospel Project, in demand, gets 4th printing

September 20 2012 by Russ Rankin, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – LifeWay Christian Resources has returned to the printer for a fourth time to keep up with demands for The Gospel Project, as churches across the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and other denominations dig into the inaugural quarter of LifeWay’s newest curriculum.

The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered, three-year curriculum looking at the grand narrative of scripture and how the gospel transforms lives. The curriculum line is theologically robust, intended to help believers encounter the truth of scripture through a theological lens, and mission-driven to nudge believers to action, explained Ed Stetzer, general editor of The Gospel Project.

“We named this ongoing study ‘The Gospel Project’ because every lesson connects to the Good News we discover in Jesus,” Stetzer said. “We believe the gospel is sufficient not only for our initial salvation but also for our maturation in the Lord. As we study the gospel, we become the project as God continually works on us, transforming us into the image of His Son.”

The Gospel Project for Kids (left) iPhone app gives parents a view of what their children are learning. The app also provides additional resources to allow parents daily reinforce lessons at home using video, music and games. The Gospel Project for Students iPhone app (right) allows students to take their weekly Bible study content and daily Bible readings wherever they take their phone. LifeWay has added a fourth printing to the popular curriculum.

Stetzer said curriculum planners moved forward with an optimistic and prayerfully hopeful estimate for the material, but quickly returned to the printer for additional print-runs during the summer as responses continued to grow. Even as the first-quarter curriculum was launched Sept. 1, LifeWay returned for a fourth print-run.

“It is very likely that half a million people will be engaged in The Gospel Project by the spring,” Stetzer said.

In addition to the many SBC churches using the curriculum, The Gospel Project is used by people outside the SBC as well, sometimes with the encouragement and even endorsement of the leaders of other denominations. For example, The Gospel Project received an endorsement from Greg Strand, director of biblical theology and credentialing for the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) denomination, a denomination perhaps best known to many because of its connection to Chuck Swindoll, chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary.

The Gospel Project “curriculum provides a Christ-focused approach to Scripture that takes into account the Bible’s storyline and our identity as Christ’s ambassadors, on mission to the world,” Strand wrote in a letter sent out to EFCA churches. “This reflects the heart of the EFCA – the Word of God, focusing on the gospel of Jesus Christ, leading to mission among all people.

“I am excited to recommend these excellent resources for wide use in our denomination and will be using it in my own local church,” he said.

Said Stetzer, “It might surprise many Southern Baptists that article 14 of our statement of faith encourages cooperation between denominations when appropriate. We think this is a perfect example – we write in accordance with our confessional beliefs [the Baptist Faith & Message 2000], but are excited to see leaders and churches from other denominations find the resources profitable for them. It’s an honor to have the opportunity as Southern Baptists to serve thousands of churches outside of our denomination.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Russ Rankin is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources. Learn more about The Gospel Project at
9/20/2012 2:51:31 PM by Russ Rankin, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Medical missions event highlights opportunities to serve

September 20 2012 by BR staff

Health care professionals have many opportunities to care, share and make disciples as well as empower the church overseas when doors are closed for other mission workers.
The International Mission Board’s (IMB) International Learning Center, near Richmond, Va., will host Med-Advance 2012 on Oct. 11-13. MedAdvance will guide individuals as they seek out, network and consider overseas service opportunities. Speakers include Tom Elliff, IMB president; Gordon Fort, IMB vice president of global strategy; and Rick Donlon, founder of Christ Community Health Services in Memphis, Tenn.
MedAdvance participants have two registration options. For $150, participants will have three nights of lodging at the International Learning Center, meals and ground transportation to/from the airport if needed. For $90, participants are provided meals only.
Find out more, view the event schedule, and register online at Contact Delia Brown for more information at (804) 219-1663 or
9/20/2012 2:47:49 PM by BR staff | with 0 comments

Slain Southern Baptist worker laid to rest

September 20 2012 by Bill Bangham, Baptist Press

SUDAN, Texas – As Cheryll Harvey was buried Sept. 15 in Sudan, Texas, surrounded by friends and relatives who nourished and nurtured her, colleagues told of her love for a people in a land far from those dusty plains.

Some considered her an unlikely candidate to work as a Southern Baptist representative in another land. She was turned away three times for service before she was accepted.

“But she proved them all wrong,” said one of her colleagues. “She was one of the best.”

Photo by Bill Bangham

The body of Southern Baptist representative Cheryll Harvey was returned to Texas for burial Sept. 15. Family, friends and colleagues attended the service in Sudan, Texas.

Harvey was a quiet woman with intense determination. When told she didn’t have the right kind of education, she returned with a second master’s degree. When told she didn’t have the right kind of personality for the work she wanted to do, she sought training as an Avon representative and developed the interpersonal skills that became the hallmark of her service among the people of Jordan.

When finally accepted, she thought she was going to Africa. But when her name badge said somewhere else she quipped, “I didn’t think I was going to Jordan. But if that’s where God is calling me, that’s where I’ll go.”

During the funeral service at First Baptist Church, Sudan, Texas, where she was baptized at age 6 and first expressed a call to overseas service, colleagues who served with her in Jordan expressed the feelings of those who could not attend. They spoke of their heartbreak over her death and told how she touched lives of those she served.

“Cheryll’s life was our school,” said one.

“Your daughter has made you proud,” said another.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Bill Bangham is a photojournalist and International Mission Board writer in Richmond, Va.)

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9/20/2012 2:39:17 PM by Bill Bangham, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

‘Unconditional’ film promotes faith in action

September 20 2012 by Michael Foust, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The children in Nashville’s public housing call him “Papa Joe,” and, as the name implies, consider him to be the father figure they lack at home.

He’s completely fine with that, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. “Papa Joe” Bradford and his team of volunteers give underprivileged children from seemingly hopeless situations the hope they desperately need. They feed them, clothe them, encourage them and share the gospel with them.
Bradford says he’s simply putting his faith into action, and on Sept. 21, moviegoers can get a peek into his life with the movie “Unconditional,” which was inspired by his life and was funded and produced by two Christian men – Jason Atkins and J. Wesley Legg – who had a desire for more wholesome movies that will impact not only the church but the public at large. It was screened at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference and is the first film from Harbinger Media Partners, which Atkins and Legg formed.

The film had a budget of $2 million, which is small by Hollywood standards but significant when compared to more recent films that have been at least partially marketed to churches. “Courageous,” for instance, had a $1 million budget, and “Fireproof” $500,000.

Like Courageous, Unconditional’s larger budget is evident on the screen, from the acting to the sets to the production quality. It will open in about 300 theaters.

Unconditional stars Michael Ealy, who plays Bradford, and Lynn Collins, who plays Samantha Crawford, a downtrodden woman whom Bradford helps after her husband is murdered. Crawford is questioning her will to live but finds hope in watching “Papa Joe” love the children in his neighborhood.

Although some of the events in the movie are fictional, most of the events about Bradford are actually true, he said. He really did serve time in prison – in real life, for hacking into a computer bank – and he really did nearly kill a man while behind bars (he was in prison for 18 months). Once out of prison, in real life and in the movie, Bradford moved into Nashville’s government housing – the “projects,” he calls them – where he was burdened by the brokenness of the people around him and the innocent children who had witnessed events that most adults never see. He personally knew of a little girl whose father was murdered – right in front of her. He knew of another girl whose face was bruised from her mother’s beatings.

“We started seeing the abuse and the crazy stuff happening with these children,” Bradford told Baptist Press.

Bradford and his wife had two small children, so they got to know the kids in the community well. One day a little girl came to their house, and his wife gave her a piece of candy. Soon, the rest of the neighborhood kids were in his yard, wanting a treat.

“A piece of candy led to all these children coming to our doorstep,” Bradford said. “Mothers started dropping off kids at our doorstep. I don’t know if they thought we were a daycare or what, but it was crazy. And we just started loving on these kids, and we made a choir out of them.”

The choir was a natural fit, because Bradford plays the saxophone and his wife the keyboard, and they had served as worship leaders in churches.

Bradford and his wife wanted to feed all the children but they couldn’t afford it.

“We started asking people for help for these children – to the point that my wife had this crazy idea that we would take fliers all over our community and see who needed help with food,” he said. “We didn’t have the funds or the food, but when we got the telephone calls we would go out, take a team and hustle and try to find help for these children.”

Eventually, he and his wife formed a ministry, “Elijah’s Heart,” that has 30 regular volunteers, all with the goal of helping under-served children. They named the choir “Unity,” and it has sung for organizations and events throughout Nashville, including National Day of Prayer observances. And they and the volunteers conduct “Walk of Love” strolls through the poorest neighborhoods, giving away free food and supplies. Everything is funded by private donations.

Nearly every child they serve, Bradford said, is fatherless, looking for a father figure. Bradford got his nickname during a choir rehearsal when a girl walked up to him and asked, “Will you be my daddy?”

“I thought she was just kidding with me. But another girl in the choir heard her and said, ‘Will you be my daddy?’ Before you knew it I was surrounded by most of the choir and these kids were looking up saying, ‘Will you be my daddy?’ I went home and prayed over it, and I believe the Lord changed my name to Papa Joe that day, and I came back and told them, ‘All of you can call me Papa Joe.’”

The need for fathers and father figures in the inner city is tremendous, he said.

“The majority of dropouts in high school come from fatherless homes. There are various statistics that show you the plight and the result of fatherless children, because they don’t have the male encouragement. They don’t have the figure of stability. They don’t get the time that a father provides. A surrogate parent is the way we help fill that need, to a degree.”

Asked where fatherlessness would rank among America’s problems, Bradford said he would place it in the top three.

“That’s because the root of so many of our problems is because the family unit is incomplete,” said Bradford, who has penned an autobiography, “A Walk of Love.”

The movie wasn’t Bradford’s idea. That credit goes to Atkins, one of the producers, who was inspired after serving alongside Bradford and hearing his life story. Bradford said he hopes churches will get behind the film, and he wants people to walk out of the theater desiring to put their faith into action. The movie’s website,, includes an “Act” tab where moviegoers can learn of organizations that help needy children.

“I want it to ignite a fire in their heart to practice Christ’s love – not just to speak it or say it, but to actually practice the love of Christ,” Bradford said. “That’s basically 1 John 3:18 – that we don’t just love with our tongue or speech but in deed.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Learn more about Unconditional at Unconditional is rated PG-13 for some violent content and mature thematic elements. It has no language or sexuality.)

Related story

‘Unconditional,’ others, redefine faith-based film
9/20/2012 2:32:34 PM by Michael Foust, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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