March 2002

Paul Pressler to be nominated for SBC first vice president

March 28 2002 by

Paul Pressler to be nominated for SBC first vice president | Friday, March 29, 2002

Friday, March 29, 2002

Paul Pressler to be nominated for SBC first vice president

From staff and wire reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -Paul Pressler, a leader of the conservative movement to gain control of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), will be nominated for first vice president of the SBC during its annual meeting in St. Louis.

Richard Land, president of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, will nominate Pressler, a retired Texas appeals court judge.

Pressler has served on the SBC Executive Committee (1984-91), the International Mission Board (1992-2000), and the Baptist World Alliance's General Council.

Upon hearing that Pressler might be considering the position, Land asked if he might have the "privilege and the honor" of nominating Pressler.

While many Southern Baptists know of Pressler's leadership in the conservative movement, Land said he has known the judge since he was a 16-year-old high school student in Texas.

"Without reservation, I wouldn't be in the ministry today without Judge and Nancy's [his wife] ministry in my life," Land said. "It is an opportunity to express my profound gratitude and debt to Judge Pressler to nominate him."

The Presslers led a Bible study for teenagers interested in attending eastern universities. Land said their studies prepared him for the unique challenges that evangelical Christians face on Ivy League campuses.

Pressler, 71, is the author of "A Hill on Which to Die" that gives the conservative side of the battle between conservatives and moderates in the SBC. The book is published by Broadman & Holman of the SBC's LifeWay Christian Resources.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University, graduating cum laude in 1957. As a 26-year-old law student, he was elected to the Texas State Legislature. From 1970-78 he served as judge of the 133rd Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas.

From 1978-92 he served as a justice on the Court of Appeals of Texas, 14th District. He currently practices law with the firm of Woodfill and Pressler.

Pressler served as president of the Council for National Policy from 1988-90 and continues as a board member. He also is a deacon and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church of Houston.

Pressler is a native of Houston where he lives with his wife of more than 40 years. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

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3/28/2002 11:00:00 PM by | with 0 comments



Ted Stone takes message of healing & hope for drug abuse to Hawaii

March 28 2002 by Matt Sanders , Baptist Press

Ted Stone takes message of healing and hope for drug abuse to Hawaii | Friday, March 29, 2002

Friday, March 29, 2002

Ted Stone takes message of healing and hope for drug abuse to Hawaii

By Matt Sanders Baptist Press

HONOLULU - A crystal methamphetamine pipe and two cans of beer left at the front of a church in Hawaii during an altar call underscored the sermon the congregation had just heard: Substance abuse problems are not far from the church, which holds the key to true healing.

"One of the things that has been reconfirmed on this trip is that the drug problem knows no boundaries, and here in the islands, like on the mainland, it touches nearly every family," said Ted Stone, an ordained Southern Baptist minister who won his personal battle with substance abuse and has committed his life to helping others do the same.

Stone of Durham, and his ministry associate, Philip Barber of Dallas, Texas, brought their message of hope and healing to Hawaii March 10-17 during speaking engagements at Oahu churches and schools.

Each time Stone spoke he reminded his listeners, "I used to be a drug addict, but I am no longer a drug addict. I used to be a recovering individual, but I am no longer recovering. I am recovered forever by the grace of God, and this hope can also belong to you and those whom you love."

At Sunday morning worship services at Nuuanu Baptist Church March 17 and at The Gospel Lighthouse in Ewa Beach March 10, Stone and Barber ended their messages by asking worshipers to come forward to pray if they have substance abuse problems or know someone who has. The responses at both churches were overwhelming as the front areas of the sanctuaries were filled with praying, weeping people.

A man who came forward at Nuuanu left the pipe and beer. Stone said other than a 1980s speaking engagement in Florida when someone left a bag of marijuana in a pew, he had never seen anything like it. It showed, he noted, that the problem is not outside the church walls.

"We don't take the lives of drug addicts seriously," Nuuanu pastor Rick Lazor said. "We think it's somebody else's problem. The church has got to be more involved in the lives of people."

The message came to the church the same week that a relative of a church member had been killed in a drug-related shooting and another member had been hospitalized after overdosing on drugs. The week's events and Sunday's message reinforced an important lesson for the church: "We don't think we can make a difference, but we can make a difference because we have Jesus," said Lazor, a member of the SBC Executive Committee.

Stone agreed, saying, "If we truly believe that Jesus holds the final answer, then Christians ought to be providing the leadership in dealing with this problem."

At The Gospel Lighthouse, Stone and Barber spoke to a congregation that meets in an area where illegal drug activity is widespread. A recently baptized member was a drug abuser and seller who had just been released from prison. Another member spoke of growing up with a father who sold marijuana.

With their frankness about their struggles, Stone and Barber touched people's hearts, said Bill Sanders, The Gospel Lighthouse's pastor. As most of the congregation came forward, Stone and Barber moved among the people praying and counseling with them.

"His preaching started a revival in our church a week early," added Sanders, referring to revival services planned for the following weekend.

Hawaii Baptist Academy intermediate and high school students heard how a young Christian boy from a good family became a Southern Baptist pastor and later a drug addict and convicted felon. Stone told the students at two March 11 chapels that the seductive power of worldly success caused him to leave the pastorate and pursue a business career.

Initially, amphetamines were a way to keep up the superhuman pace he had set for himself. The good feelings proved deceptive. Soon he was addicted, and the powerful effects of "speed" led to a crime spree that included armed robberies and attempted murder.

During his four years in prison, Stone said, he went cold turkey to kick his drug addiction, a painful process that took about two years.

"You're lucky if you ever get back," he said. "If you do, it's a long, hard walk."

Stone's faith in God also began to strengthen. "If there were any way I could back up and erase my mistakes, I'd do it in a heartbeat," he said. "But you can't. All you can do is do the best with what's left. At the time of my release from prison in 1976, I promised God that I would live for him, and even die for him if he required that. Philip and I have been to the gates of hell, and we can never, never repay our Lord for our second chances."

Stone's best has been devoting the past 25 years to giving substance abusers hope and encouraging and equipping Christians to minister to them. He has held substance abuse conferences, spoken at thousands of churches and schools, written two books with Barber, and walked across the U.S. mainland three times. In 1996 and 1998 he walked coast to coast, and in 2000 he walked south to north. Averaging about 25 miles a day, Stone, a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee, always carries an American flag in his hand and "the gospel of Jesus" in his heart.

During his 1998 walk, Stone stopped at the annual SBC meeting in Salt Lake City to present a motion to create a drug abuse task force for Southern Baptists.

His walks have brought media coverage to the U.S. illegal and legal drug abuse problem and have allowed him to meet with hundreds of thousands of people, including governors and mayors. In the past couple of years, he has collected nearly 500,000 signatures from people vowing to live lives of sobriety and self-control.

Barber, a Southwestern student, told the HBA students about the "stupid things" he had done, counseling them to learn from his mistakes. He told the students that drugs often temporarily make people feel good, but the cost is too high.

"I'm here to tell you that it's not worth it," he said.

Barber recounted the time when he was shaking so much that he couldn't even inject himself with heroin. On that day, he said, he remembered the first marijuana joint he had smoked and how his life had spiraled downward since. Although he has left drug addiction behind, he told the students that he is "scarred for life."

"God will forgive you for everything you do," Barber said, "but he's not going to take away the consequences."

After the chapel, Barber noted that adults too often send false or contradictory messages to their children, especially with regard to the abuse of prescription drugs.

"'Don't do drugs, take your medicine,' they say," Barber observed. "'Don't do heroin, drink beer. Don't smoke weed, take anti-depressants. Don't take their drugs, take our drugs.'"

Stone added, "Parents warn their children not to do drugs, while they explain away their beer by saying, 'It's our way to relax,' or their abuse of tranquilizers by saying, 'It's the only way to keep from being nervous.'

"If you're well, you don't need medicine, but [people] think a pill will take away every problem or erase every unpleasant feeling," he said.

Stone and Barber also spoke at a coffee hour for pastors at First Southern Baptist Church of Pearl Harbor March 15. "Ted and Philip helped pastors recognize the importance of making their congregations aware of the problems and dialogued with pastors on how to best minister to substance abusers," said O.W. Efurd, executive director of the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention. Stone and Barber also spoke at James Campbell High School in Ewa Beach and Wayland Baptist University's Hawaii campus.

Stone is already talking about a return visit to the islands, including perhaps a walk around Oahu. Efurd said some pastors had already said they would be open to a substance abuse conference.

While most visitors only see the beauty of the islands, Stone and Barber saw something more.

"It seems like paradise," Stone said, "until you look around and see that the same drug problem eating away at people on the mainland is causing so much pain and tragedy here in the islands."

Said Barber, "I thank God that I have seen churches here with doors open to those who hurt."

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
3/28/2002 11:00:00 PM by Matt Sanders , Baptist Press | with 0 comments



A war over words - the TNIV and its critics

March 21 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

A war over words - the TNIV and its critics | Friday, March 22, 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

A war over words - the TNIV and its critics

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

The International Bible Society (IBS) is preparing to publish a new Bible translation to sell along side its popular New International Version (NIV), but conservative evangelical leaders are hoping no one will buy it.

The new translation, to be called the Today's New International Version (TNIV), was announced in a late January press release issued jointly by the IBS and its publisher, Zondervan. The New Testament will become available this spring, with the Old Testament slated for release in 2005. Promotional copies of the New Testament are being distributed to retailers and to 50,000 pastors, educators and church leaders.

According to the IBS release, the TNIV reflects a 7 percent change in the NIV that "reflects the development of language and advances in scholarship since academics began their work on the NIV more than 35 years ago," as well as "changes that are occurring in everyday English."

The revision was made by the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), a 15 member panel of scholars that was also responsible for the NIV translation.

The crux of the controversy The CBT tweaked the NIV translation in a number of areas, but critics of the TNIV quickly focused on those designed to make the TNIV more "gender accurate" by translating masculine terms generically when the reference seems to include both men and women. For example, "man" might be replaced with "person," or "mankind" with "humankind." The singular "he" could be changed to "they" or "people" if the context indicates a universal application. Likewise, "brothers" could be translated as "brothers and sisters."

From the IBS perspective, the changes are an appropriate response to the increasing egalitarianism of contemporary English. To opponents of the TNIV, the changes smack of political correctness and a bow to feminism. "This new publication is nothing more than acquiescence to feminists who are more concerned with the so-called language of 'equality' than they are with the message of the gospel of Christ," said Jerry Falwell in the March issue of his National Liberty Journal.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), an organization that promotes a literalist interpretation of family and gender issues as related in the Bible, published a short list of 26 translation changes it considered to be problematic, and a longer list of 100. Its Web site (www.cbmw.org) offers a free booklet on "What's wrong with gender-inclusive translations."

Baptist Press (BP) responded to the IBS announcement with a string of articles about the TNIV, most of them reflecting either caution or criticism. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler told BP on Jan. 28 that "those who champion a feminist agenda will cheer the announcement of the TNIV," but "the moment we begin to translate the Bible so that it will be less offensive to one group or another, we insult the very character of the Bible as the eternal, inerrant and authoritative Word of God."

In the same article, Ken Hemphill, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, "Our mission is not to make the Bible relevant to culture but to bring culture under the rubric of Scripture."

James Smith, editor of the Florida Baptist Witness, warned readers against the TNIV in a Feb. 21 editorial. "Evangelicals hold to the verbal, plenary inspiration of scripture (2 Tim. 3:16) that includes every single word of the original texts," he said. "It's quite arrogant and extremely dangerous when human beings believe they can edit God's own words."

The IBS defended the TNIV in a five page "open statement" on Feb. 12, acknowledging the opposition it had received and noting that the KJV was met with outrage when it first appeared in 1611. The Pilgrims refused to take the KJV on the Mayflower because they preferred the Geneva Bible.

The statement defended the CBT as including "renowned, conservative linguists and biblical scholars from the most trusted institutions in the world," and included a list of schools and denominations represented on the committee.

"The TNIV upholds the same standards of accuracy, clarity and meticulous scholarship of the NIV," the statement said. "There is an academic, linguistic rationale for the translation of every passage."

An earlier conflict The intensity of conservative opposition to the TNIV grows out of an earlier uprising in which some evangelical leaders exercised their influence to quash an IBS plan to introduce gender-neutral language to the NIV. In 1996, the IBS published an inclusive language edition of the NIV (the NIVi) in Europe, and was also producing a gender-neutral New International Reader's Version (NIrV) as a children's Bible in the United States.

World magazine, a conservative Christian advocacy publication based in Asheville, reported in 1997 that the IBS and Zondervan planned to produce a gender-neutral version of the NIV for the U.S. market by 2001, touching off an avalanche of criticism from leading conservative evangelicals, including some Southern Baptists.

Facing pressure from critics and a potential boycott of its products, the IBS announced May 27, 1997 that it would forego plans to introduce a version of the NIVi to the United States. The IBS said it would also revise the NIrV's gender language to reflect the NIV and negotiate an end to publishing the British NIVi.

In conjunction with that announcement, IBS and Zondervan officials signed the "Colorado Springs Guidelines" (CSG), an agreement brokered in a day long meeting by James Dobson of "Focus on the Family." The guidelines describe specific principles to guide translation of gender-related language in Scripture. They were later revised in September of 1997.

In its Jan. 28 press release, the IBS said it was withdrawing its endorsement of the CSG because the guidelines "were not consistent with the guidelines produced by the International Forum of Bible Agencies or the guidelines of the Committee on Bible Translation. The CSG did not allow for a translation that would maximize accuracy and clarity in current English idiom."

Issues of translation The conflict is related to an ongoing discussion among Bible translators. Some hold that any translation should reflect the most literal meaning of the underlying words, a philosophy sometimes called "formal equivalence." The New American Standard Version (NASB) is favored by many conservatives because it is a largely literal translation.

Others prefer an approach known as "dynamic" or "functional" equivalence, in which the translation's main goal is to convey the original language's intent, even if it means a change to the specific wording or underlying idiom. The popular Today's English Version (TEV), published by the American Bible Society, follows this approach.

Translations such as the NIV tend to take a middle ground, remaining as true to the text as possible while making changes deemed necessary to clarify underlying meanings.

The current debate grows from one's perspective: TNIV advocates say the changes in the translation of gender terms reflect a straightforward attempt to seek maximum clarity by keeping up with the evolving English language, while critics say the IBS has crossed the line from translation to interpretation.

Issues of interpretation But all translations involve some measure of interpretation. For example, the NIV translates Acts 20:30 as "Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them." The TNIV substitutes the indefinite pronoun "some" for the word "men," assuming that both men and women are capable of distorting the truth. An article on the CBMW Web site, however, argues that Paul could only have been addressing men because he was meeting with the "elders of the church" (20:17). Those who follow a literalist interpretation assume on the basis of other texts that women were excluded from being church elders.

The NIV translation of James 3:1 warns, "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers." The underlying Greek has only the word meaning "brothers," but translators working on the TNIV added "and sisters," based on the assumption that both men and women could aspire to teaching. The CBMW finds fault both with the addition of a word not in the text, and with the implication "that James thought women could be Bible teachers in the early church."

Issues of concern Other Bible translations, such as the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), have taken similar "gender-neutral" tracks, but none have been criticized so openly as the TNIV.

The NRSV, like the RSV before it, is rarely used by conservative evangelicals. The NIV, however, has become popular among conservatives who venture beyond the KJV. The IBS and Zondervan have announced their intention of continuing to produce and promote the NIV, but the added presence of the TNIV increases the likelihood that evangelical church members might purchase or encounter a Bible that does not lend itself to a purely literalist interpretation of gender roles. Some who promote that interpretation worry that readers will be led astray, and fear that even greater liberties may be taken with the text.

Randy Stinson, executive director of CBMW, wrote on the organization's Web site that "Unnecessarily changing the words of the biblical text in order to accommodate those who think certain phrases are offensive is dangerous and irresponsible. The question one must ask is 'What will be next?'"

Steve Johnson, IBS president for communication and development, insists that the issue is not accommodation but accuracy. In an e-mail message to BP, he said "the overriding concern of the CBT is ALWAYS accuracy and clarity. While there may be differences within the body on the specific rendering of Greek and Hebrew, the influence of social agenda into any translation is NEVER permitted. We regret that once again, the issue of providing God's word to the next generation of English-speakers has become an issue of division in the Body of Christ."

(EDITOR'S NOTE - The IBS is a non-profit society devoted to translating and distributing the Bible. Founded in 1809, its first project was a Bengali translation to support the work of missions pioneer William Carey. Both independently and in partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators, the IBS has published Scripture in more than 600 languages around the world. Zondervan is the world's largest Bible publisher, with exclusive rights to publish the NIV in North America. More than 150 million copies of the NIV have been sold since 1978.)

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
3/21/2002 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



CBF nixes membership proposal

March 21 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

CBF nixes membership proposal | Friday, March 22, 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

CBF nixes membership proposal

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

RALEIGH - A controversial membership plan will not be brought back to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) General Assembly for consideration this year, a CBF leader said.

The proposal, which would have required churches that want to be members of CBF to "embrace" the group's values met resistance when it was brought up last year.

Terry Hamrick, CBF's coordinator of leadership development, said the plan was "met with a resounding thud."

"That's off the table," he said. "There are no plans to bring it up in the foreseeable future."

Hamrick was asked about the plan during a breakout session at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina's (CBF-NC) annual General Assembly March 15-16 in Raleigh.

Hamrick said some churches wanted to be "members" of CBF, while others said the move would split their churches. CBF includes some churches that have withdrawn from the Southern Baptist Convention and some churches where "one stubborn Baptist" has said he wants to support CBF, he said.

The plan also would have altered the makeup of CBF's governing board, the Coordinating Council, and changed the way the national body relates to state and regional chapters.

"One thing I can promise you, those issues won't be brought up this year," Hamrick told about 50 people at the breakout session.

Hamrick was also asked about CBF's efforts to help Southern Baptist missionaries who don't want to sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. Jerry Rankin, the head of the International Mission Board, has asked all the group's missionaries to sign the statement.

Hamrick said CBF officials are "having quiet conversations" about the situation. People who think CBF should take in all those missionaries need to realize that CBF can't afford to take them in, the missionaries might not fit into CBF's mission plans and it is not known how many missionaries won't sign, he said.

"It would have been a great PR coup if we could have said 'We'll take them all,'" Hamrick said. "We can't do that."

CBF continues to work "behind the scenes and out of the newspaper" to see what it can do, he said.

"One of the things we don't want to do -- we don't want to export the Baptist war to the mission field," Hamrick said.

CBF already has missionary applicants that it hasn't appointed because it can't afford to send them out, he said.

Hamrick also told about ways CBF can help churches discover their mission.

"Our task is not to tell you what your mission is," he said. "Our task is to work with you as you discover what your God-given mission is."

CBF has a new study guide to help churches ask "What are we doing that's worthy of God's kingdom?" Hamrick said.

"Many of our churches are living off our heritage," he said.

Hamrick also gave an overview of CBF's partnership with World Vision, an evangelical relief organization.

"It is going to allow us to get in places we never could have otherwise," he said.

CBF is about to release a 66-page resource catalog for churches, Hamrick said. The document should be available at the CBF national meeting this summer.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
3/21/2002 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Created in God's image

March 21 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Created in God's image | Friday, March 22, 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

Created in God's image

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

Jim and Lisa Wright's daughter, Abby, just turned 2 years old. The oldest known living child with her condition is 5.

Instead of getting bogged down with bitterness, the Wrights have started a ministry for parents in similar circumstances.

Abby has a form of dwarfism called opsismodysplasia. Only about 20 cases have been recorded in the world, Lisa said. Most children with opsismodysplasia die at birth or in the first year of their life due to lung problems, she said.

The Wrights are members of Cartledge Creek Baptist Church in Rockingham. Jerry Straight, the pastor, said Abby has become an invaluable asset to the church.

"I don't know how to put it in words," he said. "That's really the church's baby. Everybody just cares for her and lifts her up."

The Wrights' ministry has reached far beyond the church, he said.

The Wrights now speak at churches and other meetings. They have a Web site at www.missabby.homestead.com to help reach people who have children with dwarfism or other conditions.

"I think Jim and Lisa have come to the point in their life that this is a ministry," Straight said.

Lisa said some people were initially apprehensive about talking about Abby because they didn't know what to say. Now, they realize that it's OK, she said.

"We feel like we've been given her for a specific reason," she said. "We don't know exactly what that reason is.

"We know there's a lot of people out there with problems, whether it's another child with a physical or mental disability or people with sickness. It's kind of the story that this is out of our hands. We're putting our trust in the Lord and accepting His will."

Lisa said she is humbled that God gave them a special child.

"A lot of people have come up to me and said, 'I would not be able to do what you do,'" she said. "I tell them I wouldn't either - the Lord has equipped me, that's the only way."

Straight said the Wrights have helped some people realize that everyone is created in God's image.

"It's a wonderful testimony," he said.

Lisa tells Abby's story on the Web site.

In the summer of 1999 everything seemed to be going great. Their son had just accepted Jesus as Savior, and Lisa found out she was pregnant.

"If you would have asked me about God I could have told you how great He was," she said. "Little did I know that soon my faith would be tested."

Jim's father was battling cancer in 1999. He had an operation just before Christmas, but doctors couldn't remove all the disease because it was wrapped around the main artery to his brain. The Wrights began praying that he would live long enough to see his grandchild.

In January, Lisa began having problems with the pregnancy. After an ultrasound, a doctor told her that her baby would be born with dwarfism.

Lisa prayed for a miracle, but a February appointment showed the same result.

"I realized that I needed to focus on having a healthy baby not a baby that would be perfect in the world's eyes," she said.

While at home for bed rest, Lisa began to wonder why. She read about Job and wondered why her faith seemed so weak.

The night before Abby was born by Cesarean section, Lisa was still struggling to understand.

"Why did there have to be something wrong with my baby?" she asked. "I didn't smoke, I didn't drink, and I didn't take drugs. It just didn't seem fair."

God answered.

"He was giving me this special child because He knew I would give her the special care she would need," Lisa said. "I began to realize that I was being blessed and not burdened. When Abby arrived into the world she was absolutely beautiful."

Jim's father saw Abby a week before he died.

At his funeral, Lisa felt at peace while listening to the 23rd Psalm.

"The Lord is our shepherd and He is always there for us," she said. "I still question God sometimes. I still ask Him why, but now I ask Him why He chose me to have such an awesome blessing."

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
3/21/2002 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Looking for a more gender neutral Bible? Try HCSB

March 21 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Looking for a more gender neutral Bible? Try HCSB | Friday, March 22, 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

Looking for a more gender neutral Bible? Try HCSB

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Southern Baptist critics of the new Today's New International Version (TNIV) might be surprised to learn that LifeWay's new Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is also considerably more gender-inclusive than the King James Version (KJV) and the New International Version (NIV).

The HCSB was introduced in the spring of 1999 as a more accurate and readable Bible translation that would preserve the integrity of scripture. In an article distributed by Baptist Press, Kenneth H. Stephens, president of Broadman & Holman (B&H), LifeWay's publishing arm, said, "Up until now, every English translation of the Bible has been a tradeoff between accuracy and readability. The more accurate it was, the harder it was to read, and the more reader-friendly it was, the more it drifted from a precise translation of the original text. With our Bible, we've eliminated the tradeoff."

David R. Shepherd, B&H vice-president for Bible publishing, said the new translation would not follow the path of political correctness. "Some recent translations have reinterpreted the Bible to make it consistent with current trends and their own way of thinking," he said. "Current trends in Bible translation have been a real wake-up call for everybody who's concerned about preserving the integrity of Scripture. The (H)CSB will be under the stewardship of Christians who believe we should conform our lives and culture to the Bible - not the other way around."

This vision did not prevent HCSB translators from adopting a far more gender-neutral approach to language than the KJV and the NIV.

David Stratton, pastor of Brunswick Islands Baptist Church in Supply, had noticed gender-neutral language in the HCSB and became curious when he saw the extensive criticism being leveled at the TNIV. He did some research and chose a sample of seven books in the New Testament (Mark, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, James and Revelation). He read each book in the KJV, the NIV, the TNIV and the HCSB versions. The Old Testament is not yet available for either the HCSB or the TNIV.

Stratton first used the KJV as a baseline to flag gender language, and compared it to the other versions. He then read the same books a second time, using the NIV as the baseline for gender language.

In those seven books, he found 339 verses in which the HCSB is more gender neutral than the KJV and/or the NIV, and 194 verses in which the HCSB is more gender neutral than the NIV alone.

For example, in Mark 4:9, the KJV says, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," while the NIV has "he who has ears to hear, let him hear." The TNIV renders the phrase as "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear," and the HCSB reads "Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!"

In Romans 2:16, Paul says God will judge the "secrets of men" (KJV). The NIV translates the phrase as "men's secrets," while the TNIV has "everyone's secrets" and the HCSB has "what people have kept secret."

For the familiar passage in James 5:16, the KJV refers to the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man." The NIV also has "righteous man." The TNIV translates as "a righteous person," while the HCSB avoids any gender reference with "the righteous."

In passages dealing with addresses to church leadership, however, the HCSB is more careful to preserve male terminology. For example, in Acts 20:30, where Paul addresses the elders of the church at Ephesus, the KJV says, "Also of your own selves shall men arise," and the NIV renders it "Even from your own number men will arise." The TNIV says "some" will arise, but the HCSB has "men from among yourselves will rise up."

Both the HCSB and the TNIV are careful to retain male pronouns like "he" and "him" that refer to God. However, the HCSB - surprisingly - is more likely than the TNIV to translate masculine participles that refer to God in a gender-neutral manner.

For example, Rev. 1:4 speaks of "him which is, and which was, and which is to come" (KJV). The NIV translates "him who is, and who was, and who is to come," and the TNIV keeps the same reading. The HCSB, however, has "the One who is, who was, and who is coming."

Likewise, in a reference to God in Rom. 9:12, both the NIV and TNIV translate "him who calls." The HCSB uses the gender-neutral "the One who calls." Similar translations can be found in Acts 22:9 and a number of texts in Revelation, including 2:1,8,12; 3:1,7; 4:9,10; 5:1,7,13 and several others.

Which version best represents the original meaning of the text? Each reader must answer that for (a) himself, (b) herself or (c) oneself.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
3/21/2002 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Seven Springs celebrates move to higher ground

March 21 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Seven Springs celebrates move to higher ground | Friday, March 22, 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

Seven Springs celebrates move to higher ground

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

SEVEN SPRINGS - Seven Springs Baptist Church dedicated its new facility on March 10 with more than 250 celebrants gathering for a special service, luncheon and open house.

The previous facility sat near the banks of the Neuse River in the village of Seven Springs. It was flooded in 1996 by Hurricane Fran, and in 1999 by Hurricane Floyd. N.C. Baptist Men assisted with repairs on the church and its parsonage, which was also flooded.

The church later voted to relocate and build a new facility just more than a mile east of the village on three acres of land donated by church members Hilda Gibbs, Eleanor Gibbs, and the heirs of Donald Gibbs. During construction, a strong windstorm blew down the walls of the unfinished sanctuary.

The new site is 175 feet higher in elevation than the previous site, and the new facility is considerably larger than the old one. The sanctuary seats 250, and incorporates stained glass windows from the previous building, along with two new ones. The fellowship hall can seat about 150 for meals. The facility also includes 10 Sunday School rooms and a prayer room.

More than $200,000 of the $900,000 construction cost was donated by churches and individuals from North Carolina and other states. The church still owes about $450,000 on the new building.

Pastor Ashley Summerlin, who will celebrate his 10th anniversary as pastor in June, said the church has experienced growth despite its struggles, and the new building is a sign to the community of God's love in action. "It wouldn't be here if we didn't love one another and if others didn't love us enough to help us get started," he said.

Summerlin expressed special appreciation to builder W. Roy Poole, who "removed all the obstacles so we could get this done."

The church's experience as a recipient of others' care has led it to become active in hands-on missions, Summerlin said. Church mission teams have traveled to West Virginia, Oklahoma, Alaska, Honduras and El Salvador.

"We've got to do it," Summerlin said. "God's been too good to us for us not to reach out and help someone else."

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
3/21/2002 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



A red face over golden apples

March 21 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

A red face over golden apples | Friday, March 22, 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

A red face over golden apples

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

In last week's issue, I spoke of a delightful lady who often brightens my day with kind words and "sweet talk." She calls me (and everyone else) "Sweet Pea," and I likened her cheerful conversation to Prov. 25:11, which says, "a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver."

Unfortunately, I wrote, "the Psalmist says ..." instead of "the writer of Proverbs says ..."

I knew the text was from Proverbs but didn't remember exactly where, so I looked it up using a Bible study program on my computer. When I asked for a verse containing the words "apples" and "gold," it quickly zeroed in on Prov. 25:11. I immediately had a brain accident somewhere between the optic nerves and the murky dendrites of my gray matter, converting "Pr." to "Ps." and sending signals to my fingers to type "Psalmist."

I then failed to catch the miscue in several proof readings.

Nobody else on our staff caught it, either. It was spelled correctly.

I suspect most of our readers just glossed right over the mistake and never noticed.

But there are always an attentive few who catch such blunders and bring them to our attention. The first person to point out the error read the column on our Web site and sent a good-natured e-mail addressed to "Dr. Sweet Pea."

I hope others who catch the error will be as kind, and refrain from using terms like "doofus," "chowderhead" and "biblical illiterate."

In any case, it may be a while before I get around to reading their letters. I'll be in the back of the room writing on the chalkboard 100 times: "I will not confuse Psalms and Proverbs."

I will not confuse Psalms and Proverbs.

I will not confuse Psalms and Proverbs. ...

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
3/21/2002 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Something to agree on ...

March 21 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Something to agree on ... | Friday, March 22, 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

Something to agree on ...

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Easter is my favorite time of the year and not just because spring is returning, with its fresh warmth and bright flowers and verdant greenery (along with thunderstorms, tornadoes and pollen). I love the Easter season simply because it is Easter, and no day on the calendar is more important to Christian believers - nothing is more central to our faith and our reason for being as a church than the belief that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

I love the Easter story in all of its varied manifestations. None of the gospels tell the story in entirely the same way - none agree in every point about the events of that blessed morning. They remember differently the number of women who were present, for instance, or what they saw, where they went and what they said afterward.

There is one thing, however, on which all three gospels agree: when those devoted women came to the tomb, Jesus was gone. He wasn't there. No cold body stretched out in the niche so carefully cut into the limestone. No smell of death or decay. No sign of the One they had so carefully laid in the tomb on Friday afternoon.

The gospels agree that the tomb was empty, and they also agree on one other amazing fact: everybody was surprised. The women were clearly alarmed. Mary collapsed in tears when she thought someone had stolen Jesus' body. When the women told their story to the male disciples, not one of them believed it was true. Despite the fact that Jesus' entire ministry had been about life and not death, despite the gospel witness that Jesus had clearly predicted not only his death but also his resurrection, despite the many ways Jesus had already demonstrated His power over death and evil, none of his companions expected Him to walk out of that tomb.

But He did.

Surely, had we been there, we would have been just as skeptical and just as surprised when the women came running back with the news that Jesus was no longer dead.

But, the important thing is not whether we would have believed the women's story - the important thing is that their report was true. Their testimony lies at the heart and soul of our Christian faith: when the stone rolled away from Jesus' tomb, the door to eternal life opened for us, as well.

I find it interesting that Matthew's gospel is careful to point out - twice - that Jesus told the women to inform the men that they could find Him in Galilee (Matt. 28:7, 10). Did you ever wonder why?

In a sense, Galilee was the closest thing Jesus had to a "home." But, the Galilee of Jesus' day was also an international community. There were Jewish towns and villages such as Nazareth and Capernaum. There were strongly Hellenistic cities such as Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee, Sepphoris in the central hill country, and Ceasarea Maritima by the Mediterranean Sea. There was the entire region of Samaria, where a large population of Samaritans lived in towns like Sychar and Sebaste.

Jesus' ministry stretched far beyond the narrow confines of Judaism, so He departed from Jerusalem and went into Galilee, pointing to the larger world He had come to save. It was there that Jesus gathered His followers and told them to go into all nations and make disciples throughout the world (Matt. 28:19-20).

If you look for Jesus, you won't find Him in any tomb. If you want to find Jesus, go to "Galilee," go to any corner of the world, for wherever you find people in need, you will find the Savior who loves them and died for them and rose to give them victory over the grave.

Jesus has gone there ahead of us, and He bids us to follow Him in living, in loving and serving, in dying and living again.

That's something even Baptists should agree on.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
3/21/2002 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Hispanic churches: What to do next and how to do it

March 21 2002 by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer

Hispanic churches: What to do next and how to do it | Friday, March 22, 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

Hispanic churches: What to do next and how to do it

By Jim Royston BSC Executive Director-treasurer

The growth of the Hispanic population in North Carolina creates one of the most unique and challenging opportunities ever to face state Baptists.

Our rich history and heritage in missions and evangelism makes it imperative that we respond to this new "mission field." Virtually everyone agrees we need to provide a better support system for Hispanic ministry. How we go about this will determine our future growth among this very important group of new North Carolinians.

First, Hispanics have come to stay. Just as our ancestors found the Tar Heel State to their liking many decades (or centuries) ago, the same holds true for these recent newcomers. Our first task is to avoid the "us and them" temptation that always assumes we know more about their needs than they do. A Hispanic congregation is not merely a Spanish-speaking Anglo congregation. Language is only one aspect of culture. In fact, second and third generation N.C. Hispanics will probably speak Spanish as a second language.

Training Hispanics for ministry may not necessarily match some of our preconceived notions about church programs. Materials need to be written from a Hispanic perspective, not just Spanish translations of current best sellers. Training solely in statewide or regional locations - like at Ridgecrest, Caraway or Caswell - may never fit Hispanic church leaders' needs, especially when so many leaders are bivocational. New and creative ways must be established, like aiding Hispanic leaders to have greater access to computers and other technology and developing a structure for theological education somewhere in our part of the country.

Second, we must become advocates for Hispanics in such areas as housing, immigration, wages, job safety, health care and education - all tasks requiring us to partner and network with other agencies. While starting and nurturing churches is our basic goal, we cannot ignore these other critical aspects of their lives; thus, sending mixed signals about our real purpose. In other words, do we truly care about Hispanics, or are we simply interested in adding their numbers to our statistical reports?

Any true partnership is founded on the recognition that both parties have something positive to offer one another. We are here both to teach as well as to learn. We should never assume we have more answers than they do or that our answers are always the right ones for their questions.

Our General Board recently adopted several goals presented by our Hispanic Task Force to address these and other important needs. I am confident our N.C. Baptist people will respond positively to the needs of Hispanic North Carolinians. To do less is to deny our mission and evangelism commitments.

The task before us, while both important and critical, will not be free of mistakes and, perhaps, even some bad decisions. Crossing cultural barriers with the gospel has never been the easiest business of the church. The New Testament is literally filled with cultural and religious clashes within those earliest congregations. But we must move forward. The task before us strikes at the very heart of our cooperative work together. How can a denomination willing to send thousands of missionaries and millions of dollars out-of-state overlook the most obvious mission challenge that has ever moved into our state?

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
3/21/2002 11:00:00 PM by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer | with 0 comments



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