April 2003

Plan C important to divinity schools, Cogdill says

April 3 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Plan C important to divinity schools, Cogdill says | Friday, April 4, 2003
  • who emphasize pastoral authority or model servant leadership?
  • who push the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message or emphasize the priesthood of believers and the autonomy of churches?
  • who elevate calling to one gender or celebrate the calling and gifting of all?

    Cogdill said Mainstream Baptist values are "strong and present" at the two N.C. Baptist divinity schools and among their students.

    Those attending the MBNC meeting also heard testimonies by the Harbins. Chris Harbin was fired last year by the International Mission Board (IMB) for allegedly teaching contrary to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M). Karen Harbin was forced to resign.

    IMB officials said Harbin's teaching materials were contrary to the BF&M position on biblical inerrancy. Inerrancy was the conservative battle cry during the fight for control of the SBC.

    Chris Harbin said he believes the issue is more about the nature of faith than inerrancy. Some hold to a "propositional faith," while the Harbins believe in "relational faith."

    If truth is attacked, someone who believes in propositional faith can't handle it, Harbin said.

    The Harbins are now serving a church in Virginia.

    The Harbins were asked about missionaries who may have signed an affirmation of the BF&M even though they don't agree with it. They said at least one IMB leader is telling missionaries that he needs their signatures regardless of their beliefs.

    "I think that those that do sign even though they don't agree are just buying time," Chris Harbin said. "They're going to be in the next wave."

  • Friday, April 4, 2003

    Plan C important to divinity schools, Cogdill says

    By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

    GREENSBORO - The two N.C. Baptist divinity schools stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if the Baptist State Convention's (BSC) giving Plan C is eliminated, the dean of one of the schools said.

    Michael Cogdill, dean of the Campbell University Divinity School, talked about the importance of the plan at a meeting of Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina (MBNC) on March 29 at Greensboro's First Baptist Church.

    Chris and Karen Harbin, who were recently forced out of their missionary positions in Brazil by the International Mission Board, also spoke at the meeting.

    A special committee is studying whether Plan C is consistent with the BSC Constitution. Plan C is the only one of the BSC's four giving plans that sends money to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).

    The BSC's Constitution says that one of its several purposes is "to cooperate with the work of the Southern Baptist Convention." Some Baptists interpret that to mean the BSC cannot cooperate with other Baptist bodies such as the CBF.

    Cogdill said all four giving plans are needed because they protect the freedom of churches to participate as they desire.

    "For a group in N.C. Baptist life to attempt to tell a church how they should appropriate their missions dollars is unthinkable to me," he said.

    Cogdill said plans B and C, which send money to the divinity schools at Campbell and Gardner-Webb University, are critical to those schools.

    Campbell received about $305,000 through the plans this past academic year, Cogdill said. Gardner-Webb received a similar amount.

    About 40 to 45 percent of those funds come through Plan C, Cogdill said.

    "There is no way we can generate that type of income if we lose Plan C, especially with the rule that we live under that we cannot appeal directly to churches," he said.

    Cogdill said that in 2002, 194 students at Southern Baptist seminaries call North Carolina home. The two divinity schools have more than double that amount, he said.

    Cogdill said N.C. Baptists sent about $1.5 million to SBC seminaries through the Cooperative Program in 2002.

    The SBC schools get about $6,000 per student. The divinity schools get between $2,400 and $3,300 per student, he said.

    In 2001, N.C. Baptists sent more than $200,000 to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California. That school had one N.C. student, he said.

    That same year, N.C. Baptists sent about $187,000 to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, which had four N.C. students, according to Cogdill.

    "That's how that gets out of whack," he said.

    Cogdill said that Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest likely gets a lower amount per N.C. student, but the school also gets money from 49 other states.

    The issue goes beyond funding, Cogdill said. He asked if N.C. Baptists want to support ministers:

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    4/3/2003 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



    Retired BJC director improving after surgery

    April 3 2003 by Robert Marus , Associated Baptist Press

    Retired BJC director improving after surgery | Friday, April 4, 2003

    Friday, April 4, 2003

    Retired BJC director improving after surgery

    By Robert Marus Associated Baptist Press

    WINSTON-SALEM - Retired Baptist Joint Committee (BJC) executive director James Dunn is improving after experiencing a tear in his aorta March 26.

    Dunn collapsed while he was with a colleague on campus at Wake Forest University Divinity School in Winston-Salem, where he is serving as a visiting professor.

    The hospital reported that Dunn's condition was upgraded from critical to serious. He remained in the hospital's intensive-care unit on April 4.

    According to Chris Chapman, Dunn's pastor at Knollwood Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, quick medical attention averted what could have been an even more serious condition. Doctors at Winston-Salem's Baptist Hospital performed emergency surgery to repair the tear.

    Chapman said that Dunn has continued to improve after a difficult few hours following the surgery. "Since about 8 or so Friday morning, he's been very stable the whole time, and progressed like (his doctors would) want," the pastor said in a phone interview. "Everything looks to be on course for what he's dealing with. But it's obviously a very, very serious enterprise."

    Chapman reported that, as of April 1, Dunn remained attached to a ventilator for breathing. He is also heavily medicated to keep him unconscious. However, Chapman said, doctors are attempting to wean Dunn from the ventilator slowly. If his progress continues, he should be breathing on his own permanently in the next couple of days.

    Dunn served as executive director of the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee from 1980 until 1999.

    Upon his retirement, he began teaching at Wake Forest.

    He and his wife, Marilyn, maintain a home near the BJC's Capitol Hill offices, and Dunn continues to serve as executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee Foundation.

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    4/3/2003 11:00:00 PM by Robert Marus , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments



    Tar Heel missionaries share through 'Xtreme missions'

    April 3 2003 by Joanne Honeycutt , BR staff

    Tar Heel missionaries share through 'Xtreme missions' | Friday, April 4, 2003

    Friday, April 4, 2003

    Tar Heel missionaries share through 'Xtreme missions'

    By Joanne Honeycutt BR staff

    Have you ever shared the gospel at 20,000 feet or had to check the baptistery for man-eating fish?

    Poor roads make travel difficult in the Amazon region. Chris Ammons and Marshall Kitron push their vehicle as Pam Ammons tries to steer it out of the mud.
    Missionaries Pam and Chris Ammons are recruiting a team of young men, ages 21-30, who will backpack, climb mountains and row snakelike rivers to take the gospel to unreached people groups from deep in the Amazon jungle to high in the Andes mountains.

    The Ammonses met when both were students at Gardner-Webb University. Both felt called to missions. After studying at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the birth of two children, they applied to the International Mission Board and were appointed to serve as church planters in Spain.

    In 1991, their work took them to Lima, Peru, where they continued to plant churches. They began working with the Asheninka people of Peru in 1998, where prior attempts to establish churches had failed.

    Searching for a more effective way to do missions, Chris pursued a doctorate in missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, focusing on the use of storytelling, a technique that was proving successful for New Tribes Mission, a nondenominational group based in Florida.

    Since less than one tenth of one percent of the Asheninka people are literate in their own language, storytelling has proven to be an effective strategy.

    The Ammonses returned to live among the Asheninka as part of the community, sleeping under mosquito nets and telling Bible stories to people who are accustomed to oral learning. They discovered that the Asheninka spread stories quickly from household to household and village to village.

    One of the keys to unlocking the Asheninka communities was finding native leaders willing to teach Bible stories in their native dialects.

    Asheninka people believe that many evil gods control their lives, living in fear of evil spirits believed to control the wind, rain and river. The Ammonses tell them about the one God that created the wind, the rain and the river.

    Thus, Asheninka Christians no longer need to use a machete to cut at the ground to turn the direction of the wind, or fear walking beneath a rainbow.

    While Pam teaches Bible stories to hundreds of Asheninka children and coordinates a network of prayer supporters, Chris travels with short-term mission volunteers - well-drilling teams, water purification teams and medical teams - that visit regularly.

    David and Judy Payne, Wycliffe Bible translators, work with the Ammonses to provide scripture in the native tongues. The Asheninka Bible was recently recorded on tape. Through hand-cranked cassette players, some listen endlessly to the stories.

    In 2002, Chris had the idea of bringing in teams of physically fit young men to backpack to remote Amazon and Andes Mountain villages. After discussing the idea with colleagues and presenting it to the International Mission Board, he and Pam, along with others, were soon appointed as coordinators of an "Xtreme Team" project.

    Currently on stateside assignment in Cary, the Ammonses devote the majority of their time recruiting young men for the Xtreme Team.

    In April, 50 young men from the United States will be chosen to spend five months in training before heading to South America. There they will be paired with national partners. The teams of two or three will backpack and sleep on the ground for months at a time as they travel to the world of the most remote Asheninka people. Future teams of women are planned.

    In June, the Ammonses will return to the jungles of the Amazon. While many American television viewers will be watching men and women attempt to win the "Survivor: Amazon" competition, Pam and Chris will be anxiously awaiting the arrival of 50 young men who seek a higher prize as they follow the Great Commission "to the ends of the earth."

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    4/3/2003 11:00:00 PM by Joanne Honeycutt , BR staff | with 0 comments



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