December 2003

Family Bible Study Lesson for December 28: Life in the Son : Friday, Dec. 12, 2003

December 12 2003 by Claude Frazier

Family Bible Study Lesson for December 28: Life in the Son : Friday, Dec. 12, 2003
Friday, Dec. 12, 2003

Family Bible Study Lesson for December 28: Life in the Son

By Claude Frazier
Focal passages: John 1:1-5, 9-18

The Eternal Word

The beginning of John's gospel is deep and rich in meaning and importance. The central theme throughout is that Jesus was none other than God's Son; Jesus was the lifegiving and lightgiving Word. John tells us in verses 1 and 2 that the Word was already there at the very beginning when God created the world. The Word did not come from creation but the Word was there before creation. The Word is a part of eternity and was there before time and history began.

"The Word was with God" - there has always been the closest connection between the Word and God; this intimacy causes Jesus to know what God is like and what God's will is for us.

"The Word was God." John said Jesus was perfect, the same as God, so in Him we can see what God is like. We believe John was not saying that Jesus was identical with God, but that Jesus was so perfectly the same as God in mind and heart that through Him we can see what God is like.

The Word became a human being (Jesus Christ) and dwelt among us causing us to believe. "All things come into being by Him." The book of Hebrews speaks of the Son, "through whom also God created the world out of nothing" and that this is God's world. This belief gives us a new sense of how valuable the world is and how we should be responsible for it. We believe that God and God alone is behind everything there is.

This brings to mind a story of a child from a large city who made a day trip to the country. When she saw the pretty bluebells, she asked, "Do you think God would mind if I picked some of His flowers?" She was aware that this is God's world and that all things belong to Him.

Life and Light

Life and light are two basic words on which this gospel is built. Jesus is life; the opposite of destruction and He is the giver of life. God's approval was upon Him. He gives life to as many as God has given Him.

We enter into eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ. To believe, we must be firmly convinced that Jesus is really the Son of God, then we can stop merely existing and really begin with living.

Jesus brings light to darkness. When the world began God said, "Let there be light." This light exposes deeds of evil as darkness and darkness is hostile to the light, but cannot put it out. We never really see ourselves until we see through the eyes of Jesus. We walk about in darkness but when the light comes we stop the hopeless groping and the way becomes clear.

The very name of Jesus is powerful. It gives those who believe on Him the right to become children of God.

The Word Became Flesh

So the Word of God became a person and walked among us and we beheld His glory full of grace and truth. Jesus did not come to talk to men about God but to show men what God was like. His life was shown by the miracle of turning water into wine at Cana of Galilee, by raising Lazarus and teaching the disciples about His Father's glory. In all of this, Jesus sought not His own glory but the glory of His Father.

Through Jesus we have an inexhaustible supply; we can go with any need and it can be supplied. A person can find needed courage or search for knowledge and find supreme revelations. When life becomes a burden, Jesus can give strength to cope with life and the power to live.

Psalm 18:28 reads, "The Lord will enlighten my darkness." As one grows in grace and knowledge his understanding of the truth increases.

And most importantly, a person who becomes aware of his or her sins and turns to Jesus can find forgiveness. They can find the light that replaces darkness. They can find life for eternity.
12/12/2003 12:00:00 AM by Claude Frazier | with 0 comments



Formations Lesson for December 28: A Name's Effect : Friday, Dec. 12, 2003

December 12 2003 by Jimmy Allen

Formations Lesson for December 28: A Name's Effect : Friday, Dec. 12, 2003
Friday, Dec. 12, 2003

Formations Lesson for December 28: A Name's Effect

By Jimmy Allen
Focal passages: Luke 1:59-66; 2:21

My wife, Ginger, and I are four-for-four when it comes to naming children. By that I don't mean we necessarily gave our children perfect names. What we did do was agree on each daughter's name before we headed to the hospital for delivery.

We wanted a name that we simply liked, and we wanted a name that connected the child with her family.

About 20 years ago, I was coaching a Tee Ball team in Wake Forest and one of the players was from Nigeria, living in the United States a few years while his father studied at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. One day his father told me what the boy's name meant. Although I don't remember the specific language, the boy's name described God's power and grace.

As a teenager, I remember a missionary from Africa speaking at our church. Her name meant "with the rain," meaning she was born during a rare and much appreciated rainstorm. Most of us complain when it rains.

Have you ever thought about the significance of your name? Have you ever thought how you might be different if you had been given another name?

John the Baptist's name has theological significance. It means "God is gracious." Jesus' name is certainly appropriate. His name means "God is salvation." What if they had been given different names? That almost happened to John.

An Important Name

Luke 1:59-62

John the Baptist almost became Zechariah the Baptist. His father, Zechariah, had been mute during the pregnancy. So after John was born, the people who gathered with the family followed tradition when they decided the boy should be named for someone in the family. In particular, they chose the name Zechariah.

Elizabeth, though, was quick to counter. "No. He is to be called John."

But the people didn't understand. No one in the family was named John. Elizabeth was breaking social protocol. The people turned toward what they considered a higher authority. They began motioning to Zechariah to find out what name he wanted the baby to have. After all, the father would probably want the boy named for someone in the family. Zechariah took a writing tablet, a piece of wood covered with wax, and wrote, "His name is John." Note that he didn't write, "His name should be John," or "I want his name to be John." The father wrote, "His name is John." His message showed surety.

Zechariah's confidence came from God. It was God's messenger who had instructed Zechariah to name the child John. Both Elizabeth and Zechariah showed faith in following through with the instruction from the messenger of God.

Do we allow the sublime but powerful influence of tradition to prevent us from doing what God instructs us to do? Do we allow social taboos to prevent us from ministering to people who are in desperate need of seeing God's love through us?

Staying True to the Course

Luke 1:63-66; 2:21

Jesus and John were both given names God wanted for them. Would their ministries have been altered with different names? We don't know, of course.

What is important is that God's message had been conveyed and followed. The result was powerful.

When Zechariah wrote John's name on the tablet, the people around him were amazed. They knew something special was happening and that God was working in their midst. News of what happened spread through the hill country of Judea.

Mary and Joseph named their baby "Jesus" without any outside pressure to do otherwise. They, too, followed God's instruction to Mary. They, too, stayed the course.

People are amazed when we follow God's instruction. Gabriel may not approach us like he did to the human parents of Jesus and John, but we can certainly be aware of God's presence and leading in our lives. Responding to Him is our responsibility. When we do, amazing things happen.
12/12/2003 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen | with 0 comments



Formations Lesson for January 4: Following God... In Struggle : Friday, Dec. 12, 2003

December 12 2003 by Jimmy Allen

Formations Lesson for January 4: Following God... In Struggle : Friday, Dec. 12, 2003
Friday, Dec. 12, 2003

Formations Lesson for January 4: Following God... In Struggle

By Jimmy Allen
Focal passage: Psalm 13

A Norman Rockwell painting shows a boy about 10 sitting on a stool wrapped in a checkered quilt. His mother is leaning toward him. A black and white cat sits next to the mother's ankle-length skirt, looking inquisitive about the interchange between the mother and son. The boy's arms keep the blanket taut around him while he tilts his head back, preparing for a spoonful of medicine. His whole body is tense. His mouth is open wide enough to holler. His eyes are closed tightly enough to squeeze out a tear. The boy is going through a tough time.

Those who have experienced the agony of the flu this season or any type of sickness can related to the young boy in Rockwell's world. The symptoms of flu - nausea, fever, aches, chills - can be hard to bear. We may even get to the point we can't imagine getting better. All we can focus on is the agony we are enduring.

Woe is Me

Psalm 13:1-4

Laments like this one in Psalm 13 are relevant for anyone who has experienced life. We all have lived through difficult times, and we can say those words of the psalmist as if they are our own. "How long, O Lord?" begins four different lines at the beginning of the psalm, giving emotional depth to the weariness.

The psalm is describing life in turmoil that is different from physical sickness. The psalmist is troubled in his soul. He feels separated from God. His heart is filled with sorrow. He senses defeat. He is ready to give up, conceding victory to the enemy.

If we ever wanted to believe that only good things happen to people of faith, then we should read this psalm. Those of us who have experienced spiritual lowness should be thankful the psalmist has been there, too. Knowing we are not alone and knowing we are not the only one who has experienced spiritual difficulty can help us in our own journey.

A Key Moment

Psalm 13:5a

The psalm isn't just a "woe is me" soliloquy. In verse 5, the tone shifts dramatically with one line: "But I trusted in your steadfast love."

When nine coal miners in southwestern Pennsylvania were trapped 240 feet underground in July, 2002, they were standing in 60-degree water in pitch darkness.

While rescuers worked to find a way to save them, a retired coal miner described what it was like for the miners: "It's just about like being buried alive. You don't know dark until you've been in a coal mine." As hour after hour passed, the miners could probably relate to the first four verses of the psalm.

More than 15 hours after being trapped, rescuers drilled a six-inch hole into a suspected air pocket where they hoped the miners would be. They estimated the location and declared hitting it a "one-in-a million shot." The miners were there. Although it took three more days to get them out, the rescuers were able to force air into the pocket, and heard tapping. That was a turning point.

The psalmist realized he needed to trust in God's constant, never-ceasing love. When he did, he realized he would be OK, despite the difficulties he faced. That was a turning point.

Celebration

Psalm 13:5b-6

With trust in God's love, the psalmist's dreariness was moved to celebration and joy. "My heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me" (vs. 5-6).

The psalm that began in woe ends with joy. The key was the psalmist's trust in God's love. Do we trust in God's steadfast love? When we face times of difficulty, times in which we may want to give up, are we willing to trust in God's steadfast love?

As the psalm shows, trust in God's love is the key. When we do, we begin to see that no matter what happens, we who believe in Jesus Christ have reason to celebrate. We have salvation. God has dealt His grace bountifully with us. Let us sing to the Lord.

12/12/2003 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen | with 0 comments



Chowan trustees put search for president on hold : Friday, Dec. 5, 2003

December 5 2003 by Steve DeVane

Chowan trustees put search for president on hold : Friday, Dec. 5, 2003
Friday, Dec. 5, 2003

Chowan trustees put search for president on hold

By Steve DeVane
BR Managing Editor

The trustees of Chowan College have dissolved the committee searching for a new president and said they will re-evaluate the process next fall.

Bynum Brown, chairperson of Chowan's trustees, said the trustees made the decision at their Dec. 4 meeting. The board commended Chris White for his "excellent leadership" of the school, Brown said.

White was chosen in June to be interim president of Chowan. The trustees have since agreed to allow White to be introduced and sign his name as president of the school, Brown said.

Brown said the trustees are comfortable with White.

"He's provided outstanding leadership for our institution," Brown said.

Chowan has been through some financial difficulty but is now operating in the black, according to Brown.

Stan Lott retired as Chowan's president May 31.

White previously served as president of Gardner-Webb University (GWU). He resigned in October 2002 after facing controversy for telling the school's registrar in 2000 to recalculate a star basketball player's grade point average. White has said the grade change was needed because the player received bad advice.

David S. Kolb, the chairman of the search committee that recommended White as interim president, said in June that the committee concluded that White had 16 good years and a few bad months at GWU. White's strengths outweighed his weaknesses, Kolb said.

12/5/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane | with 0 comments



Messenger qualifications through the years : Friday, Dec. 5, 2003

December 5 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge

Messenger qualifications through the years : Friday, Dec. 5, 2003
Friday, Dec. 5, 2003

Messenger qualifications through the years

By Tony W. Cartledge
BR Editor

When pastor C.J. Bordeaux rose during the 2003 annual meeting and held aloft two sets of ballots he had obtained by registering twice, he pointed to a "loophole" in the system that might allow an unscrupulous convention leader to obtain and vote more than one set of ballots.

The convention has traditionally granted messenger status to a number of convention-related officials and officers, including the members of the General Board.

Bordeaux expressed concern that credentials should be granted to anyone other than through election by their church. Others suggested that granting convention-related credentials could make it possible for some churches to have more than 10 messengers.

The messengers easily approved Bordeaux's request that the BSC's Constitution and Bylaws Committee should study how and why the granting of convention-related credentials developed.

A cursory walk through the BSC's history reveals that messenger qualifications have often changed, and have included representatives based on criteria other than church election from the beginning.

1831

When the BSC was founded in 1831, delegates were sent from church missionary societies, according to Livingston Johnson's 1908 History of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention. "The basis of representation was fixed at one delegate for every ten dollars contributed to the objects of the Convention," Johnson wrote. "The delegates at first were not from the churches, but from the Missionary societies in the churches" (p. 16).

1911

By 1911, most representatives - which the constitution required to be male - came from the churches. Each church could send one representative for every $10 it had contributed to convention causes, with no stated limit on the number of messengers.

But the convention had other messengers, as well. Three male representatives were included "from each white association," in addition to church messengers.

And, prior to that time, individual men could become lifetime messengers as "life members" by contributing $30 to convention causes.

The 1911 constitution granted continuing messenger status to life members, but provided that no more would be created. It also stated that each messenger must be a "member in good standing of a Baptist church in fellowship with us."

1916

Convention action in 1916 raised the financial requirement for each church messenger from $10 to $50. It also stated that all officers of convention boards would be "members of the convention," and specified that corresponding secretaries of the boards should be included in the count of convention officers.

1921

By 1921, shortly after the women's suffrage movement gained women the right to vote, the requirement that messengers be male had been dropped from the constitution. Three convention representatives from each "white association" were still included, however, along with any previously qualified "life members," and "all the officers of the boards of the convention."

These included a Board of Missions; a Board of Education; the trustee boards of Wake Forest University, Meredith College and Chowan College; the orphanage; state board members for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; board members for the Baptist Bible Institute; and state members of the SBC Foreign Mission Board, Home Mission Board, and the Relief and Annuity Board.

Churches were limited to 10 messengers, and each convention representative was required to be "a member of a Missionary Baptist Church, cooperating with the convention."

1926

A new constitution was adopted in 1926. It changed church representation from a financial to a numerical basis, with churches being allowed one representative for each 50 members or fraction thereof.

Three representatives from each "white association" were still allowed, along with those who gained "life member" status under previous constitutions.

Instead of adding "all the boards of the convention," additional credentials were granted "officers and members of the General Board of the Convention."

"No church shall have more than 10 representatives," the constitution said, and each messenger had to be a "member in good standing of a Missionary Baptist Church cooperating with the convention."

1946

Changes in 1946 did away with associational representatives to the convention, and any reference to being "white." Presumably, all "life members" had died, as they were not addressed.

The 1946 constitution also revamped church messenger qualifications to a form that would last for 43 years, granting each church a minimum of two messengers, with one additional messenger allowed for each 100 members or major fraction thereof beyond the first 100.

That constitution also granted messenger status to the officers of the Convention, the members of the General Board, the editor of the Biblical Recorder, and the president of the N.C. Woman's Missionary Union.

It included a requirement that "no church shall be entitled to more than 10 messengers," each of whom must be a "member of a church cooperating with the convention, and messengers must be duly elected by their churches."

For the first time, cooperation was defined by the constitution: "A cooperating church shall be one that supports any object of the Convention."

1960

In 1960, qualifications for messengers remained the same, but the definition of cooperation was amplified: "A cooperating church shall be one that supports any object of the Convention, and which is in friendly cooperation with this Convention and sympathetic with its purpose and work."

1988

Messenger qualifications were adapted only slightly in 1988, adding the president of N.C. Baptist Men to the list of convention-related messengers.

Other changes were proposed in 1988, including the addition of an optional financial determinant, and a provision that messengers must be "a member of a Southern Baptist Church cooperating with the convention." The motion was referred back to the General Board.

1989

The financial option first proposed in 1988 was adopted, though the requirement that BSC messengers belong to a Southern Baptist Church did not resurface.

Church messenger requirements allowed for two options. Churches could choose to base their messengers on membership, following the previous guideline of two messengers from each church, plus one for each 100 members or major fraction beyond the first 100. Or, churches could choose to base their messenger count on financial contributions, beginning with two messengers, and adding one messenger for every two percent of undesignated gifts through Cooperative Program, above the first five percent.

A requirement was added that messengers must be resident members of a cooperating church, and the definition of cooperation took on the form that remains in place: "A cooperating church shall be one that financially supports any program, institution, or agency of this Convention, and which is in friendly cooperation with this Convention and sympathetic with is purposes and work."

Wording that both strengthened and weakened the limit of 10 messengers per church was added, so that the previous "No church shall be entitled to more than 10 messengers" was changed to "No church shall be entitled under any circumstances to elect more than 10 messengers." The addition of "under any circumstances" seems to strengthen the requirement. However, adding the word "elect" suggests that churches might be represented by more than 10 messengers, so long as no more than 10 were credentialed through election by the church.

1995

An amendment in 1995 added "the three trustees of the convention" to the list of those who could receive messenger credentials in conjunction with their service to the convention.

1998

A final amendment to messenger requirements was added in 1998, with the provision that it become effective in 2000. That amendment required that churches choosing the numerical option must give at least one percent through the Cooperative Program, with the added explanation that contributions to the expanded annuity fund for church employees does not count.

The financial option was adjusted to grant an additional messenger for each 1 percent above the initial 5 percent.

These provisions (including the line stating that it would take effect in 2000) remain in the constitution as current guidelines.

This brief survey does not explain the reasoning for various changes, including the provision of credentials for convention-related officers, officials and board members. Such reasoning was rarely reported in convention minutes or in issues of the Biblical Recorder from those years.

It does clarify, however, that church election has never been the sole criteria for messenger status in the history of the BSC, and that the convention has thought it wise to include a variety of convention-related messengers for a number of years.
12/5/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge | with 0 comments



Arson suspected in church fire (updated) : Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003

December 4 2003 by Steve DeVane

Arson suspected in church fire (updated) : Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003
Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003

Arson suspected in church fire (updated)

By Steve DeVane
BR Managing Editor

Bethel Baptist Church in Mt. Gilead burned on Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving.

Investigators with the State Bureau of Investigation have told church leaders they suspect arson. One arson investigator said it was one of the hottest fires he had seen.

"All the pews are completely destroyed except for the brass brackets that held them in place, said Jimmy Anderson, the church's pastor.

The fire also destroyed the church's educational building.

Anderson said he got a call about 2 a.m. When the phone rang, he wondered if someone had died.

When he found out the church was on fire, he hoped that it was a small electrical fire and headed toward the church.

"I turned the corner and there it was just a blazing," he said. "Words cannot describe."

In all the devastation, Anderson saw a sign. The fire destroyed the roof of the educational building, but stopped without burning the roof over a walkway connecting the educational building to the church's youth activities building, which received only minor damage.

Anderson said that result supports sermons he's preached recently on how the youth and children are the church of tomorrow.

"To me, it sends a clear message," he said. "It's hard to believe that building didn't burn."

Anderson said he thinks the church is ready for the challenges it now faces. The Sunday before the fire, he preached from 2 Corinthians 13, focusing on how Paul told the church to examine themselves and test themselves.

Anderson told all the church members seated on the right side of the sanctuary to move to the left side and those on the left to move to the right.

"I said, 'We've got to get out of our comfort zone and realize we come to church to worship and not relax,'" he said.

The Sunday after the fire, the church met at the local fire department. Anderson described the service as "awesome." A new member joined the church.

The church will meet at the fire department again this Sunday. Several local churches have offered to share their buildings and local businesses have offered office space, Anderson said.

"We're going to be fine," he said. "When it's all said and done, God's on the throne and His glory will continue to shine."

(EDITOR'S NOTE - Jack Robinson, associational missionary in Montgomery Baptist Association, contributed to this story.)

12/4/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane | with 0 comments



Moderates plan statewide meeting (updated) : Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003

December 4 2003 by Steve DeVane

Moderates plan statewide meeting (updated) : Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003
Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003

Moderates plan statewide meeting (updated)

By Steve DeVane
BR Managing Editor

Several moderate N.C. Baptists have called for a meeting next month to discuss the future.

The meeting, which will be open to anyone, is scheduled for Jan. 23-24 at First Baptist Church in Greensboro, said David Hughes, pastor of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

Hughes ran as a moderate in last month's election for Baptist State Convention (BSC) president, but received only about 40 percent of the vote. He was among a group of about seven pastors who met in Greensboro on Dec. 2.

Hughes said the group talked about a number of issues and decided that a larger meeting should be held. Details of the meeting will be worked out by a steering committee that has not been named, Hughes said.

Tentative plans call for a worship service the evening of Jan. 23 with a series of discussions the next day.

Hughes said most of those attending the meeting will likely be moderate N.C. Baptists.

"We certainly expect moderates to come, but we're not going to call it a meeting for moderates," he said.

Hughes said the group realizes some conservatives might attend the meeting.

"If they do, that's fine," he said.

The meeting will focus on the future, Hughes said.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I'm excited about it."

Hughes said didn't have permission from those attending the Dec. 2 meeting to release their names. He said the group realizes that it doesn't have the authority to speak for anyone else.

The discussion at the meeting was informal, Hughes said. No votes were taken.

Much of the meeting dealt with the need to get more people involved, he said.

Hughes said there may be similarities and differences to a national meeting of moderates in 1990. That meeting in Atlanta led to the formation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).

One similarity is that both meetings will follow a significant defeat for moderates at a convention meeting, Hughes said.

One difference is that moderates would not necessarily have to start a new organization. About 220 N.C. Baptist churches are already part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina (CBF-NC), which relates to CBF.

Larry Hovis, moderator of CBF-NC and pastor of The Memorial Baptist Church in Greenville, said CBF-NC is clear about its mission to bring N.C. Baptists together for Christ-centered ministry.

"We are being proactive about what God is calling us to do, not reactive to events in the Baptist State Convention,' he said. "That will be reflected in a strategic plan that will be presented at our General Assembly in March."

CBF-NC members have been working on the plan since January, Hovis said. A draft of the plan, which is available on the group's web site at www.cbfnc.org, was completed in October, he said.

"We are not interested in owning or controlling anybody," Hovis said. "But we stand ready to assist churches in supporting cherished North Carolina Baptist ministries in whatever way is helpful to churches."

Hovis said some churches that support the national CBF organization, but are not involved in CBF-NC might take a look at the state group.

"But I don't anticipate a flood of churches which had no CBF involvement partnering with CBF-NC," he said.

About 340 N.C. Baptist churches gave money to the national CBF organization through the BSC's giving Plan C last year.

Hughes said he hopes 200 or more N.C. Baptists will attend the meeting in Greensboro next month.

"It will be future-looking," he said.
12/4/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane | with 0 comments



Baptism and church discipline : Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003

December 4 2003 by

Baptism and church discipline : Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003
Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003

Baptism and church discipline

In response to the letter sent by Gene Sherrill of Pilot Mountain titled, "Baptize certain repentant sinners or all repentant sinners," there seems to be a little confusion regarding the question of baptism. You have posed a great question; however, this is not an issue of annulling a baptism, but rather of church discipline. Those who claim Christ as their Savior and refuse to repent of a lifestyle that is contrary to scripture are not saved. How can you reconcile an unrepentant lifestyle and the blood of Christ? That is a mockery of Jesus' shed blood. Oh, Jesus loves sinners. He came to save those that were lost. But when they were found, Jesus told them to sin no more. Salvation is available for all, but we must repent and turn from sin and self and turn to God. When a person has done this, then they may be baptized.

The real issue is a lifestyle of rebellion to God's word. Therefore, if a brother or sister is living a lifestyle of sin, the church should follow Matt. 18:15-17 in dealing with that situation. Some additional scripture is found in Rom. 16:17-18; Titus 3:1-10; I Cor. 5:1-13; and Gal. 6:1.

Let me encourage you to approach that brother or sister in a spirit of truth and grace and confront that sinful lifestyle. Church discipline is about restoration to the Lord. Not about "emptying the church rolls." However, if the offending party is unrepentant of their lifestyle, then the church body removes them from the fellowship with the intention that the church love them and encourage them to repent of their sinful lifestyle.

Let us not forsake the truth of the gospel as you look only to the grace of the gospel.

David Armstrong

Wake Forest, N.C.

12/4/2003 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



Moderates plan statewide meeting : Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2003

December 2 2003 by Steve DeVane

Moderates plan statewide meeting : Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2003
Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2003

Moderates plan statewide meeting

By Steve DeVane
BR Managing Editor

Several moderate N.C. Baptists have called for a meeting next month to discuss the future.

The meeting, which will be open to anyone, is scheduled for Jan. 23-24 at First Baptist Church in Greensboro, said David Hughes, pastor of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

Hughes ran as a moderate in last month's election for Baptist State Convention (BSC) president, but received only about 40 percent of the vote. Other moderate candidates lost by similar margins.

Conservatives have dominated BSC elections since 1995. The elections this year were largely seen as a referendum on loyalty to the conservative-dominated Southen Baptist Convention (SBC).

Some moderates have indicated that they don't think churches need strong ties to the SBC in order to be part of the BSC.

Hughes was among a group of about seven pastors who met in Greensboro on Dec. 2. He said he didn't have permission from those attending the meeting to release their names. The group realizes that it doesn't have authority to speak for anyone else, he said.

The discussion at the meeting was informal, Hughes said. No votes were taken.

Hughes said the group talked about a number of issues and decided that a larger meeting should be held. Details of the meeting will be worked out by a steering committee that has not been named, Hughes said.

Tentative plans call for a worship service the evening of Jan. 23 with a series of discussions the next day.

Hughes said most of those attending the meeting will likely be moderate N.C. Baptists.

"We certainly expect moderates to come, but we're not going to call it a meeting for moderates," he said.

Hughes said the group realizes some conservatives might attend the meeting.

"If they do, that's fine," he said.

The meeting will focus on the future, Hughes said.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I'm excited about it."

Hughes said the meeting may have similarities and differences with a national meeting of moderates in 1990. That meeting in Atlanta led to the formation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).

One similarity is that both meetings will follow a significant defeat for moderates at a convention meeting, Hughes said.

One difference is that moderates will not necessarily have to start a new organization. About 210 N.C. Baptist churches are already part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina, which relates to CBF.

Hughes said he hopes 200 or more N.C. Baptists will attend the meeting in Greensboro next month.

"It will be future-looking," he said.
12/2/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane | with 0 comments



Arson suspected in church fire : Monday, Dec. 1, 2003

December 1 2003 by

Arson suspected in church fire : Monday, Dec. 1, 2003
Monday, Dec. 1, 2003

Arson suspected in church fire

From staff reports

Bethel Baptist Church in Mt. Gilead burned on Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving.

Investigators with the State Bureau of Investigation have told church leaders they suspect arson, according to Jack Robinson, the associational missionary in Montgomery Baptist Association where the church is located. One arson investigator said it was one of the hottest fires he had seen, Robinson said.

Robinson said a new member joined the church at the first worship service after the fire on Nov. 30. He described the service, which was held at the Mt. Gilead fire department, as a celebration rather than a time of grieving.

"It was one of the most meaningful worship services," Robinson said.

The church's pastor, Jimmy Anderson, told the congregation that God had presented them with a challenge they were prepared to carry out.

12/1/2003 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



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