November 2002

BSC celebrates new churches

November 15 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

BSC celebrates new churches | Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Friday, Nov 15, 2002

BSC celebrates new churches

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

WINSTON-SALEM - The centerpiece of the 2002 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) was a worship service celebrating new church starts.

The worship time on Nov. 12 began with a challenge from Shubal Stearns, the pioneer minister who planted several Baptist churches in North Carolina. Stearns was portrayed by Jeff Smith, pastor of Young Memorial Baptist Church in Concord.

Lively music and a parade of flags representing new church starts preceded reports from three different churches that have begun their work during the past year.

The First Baptist Church of Pinehurst, which is traditional in its worship style and programming, began meeting in June. The First Baptist churches of Aberdeen and Southern Pines, in cooperation with the Sandhills Association, are primary sponsors. Pastor David Marks thanked the churches for their vision and willingness to contribute both members and money to the core group for the new church. First Baptist of Pinehurst now has 75 members, with about 140 regular attenders in worship, he said.

Shortly after new pastor Bob Felts arrived at Brookwood Baptist Church in Burlington, he learned that two long-time staff members had a five-year dream of starting an intentionally multi-cultural church and serving as co-pastors. Felts gave his blessing to the effort, the Brookwood congregation got behind it, and New Life Fellowship was born. Though the decision was not easy, Felts said "We chose to choose the Kingdom of God over our own kingdom, and to lose members and staff to support it." Felts said some of Brookwood's finest members were encouraged to support the new church.

Co-pastors Marcus Stewart, who is black, and David Gordon, who is white, spoke of how their personal friendship had grown and inspired them to work together in a church that would appeal to people of diverse backgrounds. "As co-pastors, we submit to each other," Gordon said, reflecting the church's team approach to ministry. The church's core group began meeting in April and now numbers about 100 people, though it has yet to go fully public in outreach efforts.

Colorfully dressed members of the new Korean Mission of Greensboro sang in both English and Korean. Richard Park, leader of a house church within the congregation, described how the church had come into being, and how their participation had blessed him and his family. He expressed thanks to First Baptist Church of Greensboro and to North Carolina Baptists for their support.

Earlier in the service, a choir made up of representatives from 14 different Asia-Pacific Island language churches sang "Amazing Grace."

About half of the BSC's current new church starts are ethnic churches.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
11/15/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Budget passes after effort to divert Recorder funds fails

November 15 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Budget passes after effort to divert Recorder funds fails | Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Budget passes after effort to divert Recorder funds fails

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

WINSTON-SALEM -The Baptist State Convention (BSC) approved a 2003 budget of $37.55 million at its annual meeting Nov. 13.

A total of 3,732 messengers attended the meeting, along with 283 visitors. Attendance was down significantly from 2001, when 4,530 messengers registered.

The budget represents a 1.14 percent increase from the 2002 budget of $37.125 million. The budget includes no major changes in the way funds are raised or allocated.

The BSC budget has four giving plans.

Plans A and D are generally favored by conservatives. They each send 32 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), which has taken a decidedly conservative shift in the past 20 years.

Plans B and C are generally favored by moderates. Plan B sends 10 percent to the SBC. Plan C sends that same amount to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which was formed as missions and ministry alternative to the SBC.

BSC officials say giving to Plan A has decreased in recent years, but giving to the other three plans has increased, especially Plans C and D.

Messengers overwhelmingly defeated an amendment to the budget that would have moved money given through Plan D to the Biblical Recorder to the Conservative Record, a newsletter published by Conservative Carolina Baptists.

The Recorder gets less than 1 percent of the funds that come through Plan D, according to the BSC budget. Through the first 10 months of this year the paper would have received about $33,167 if no churches excluded the Recorder from their offerings.

Thomas McLean, pastor of Oak View Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, made the motion.

McLean said N.C. Baptists loyal to the Southern Baptist Convention have asked for many years that the Recorder provide "fair and balanced" coverage. In return, they have received "empty promises and self-administered surveys," he said.

"I'd like to remind the editorial staff of the Biblical Recorder that there is a difference between quantity and quality of coverage," he said.

Steve Hardy, editor of the Conservative Record and a messenger from Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, spoke against the motion.

"We at the Conservative Record and Conservative Carolina Baptists are not a N.C. Baptist agency and don't intend to become one," he said.

Hardy said that while he shared some of McLean's concerns, he has been in dialogue with Biblical Recorder Editor Tony W. Cartledge over the issue.

"In fairness to the convention, we're not a convention agency and I'd encourage messengers to vote against this," he said.

Joe Babb, messenger from First Baptist Church in Arden and a member of the Recorder's board of directors, took exception to McLean's comments and commended the Recorder staff for its fairness.

"Certainly, sometimes those who read what they don't like want to kill the messenger," he said. "I urge you to vote against this."

After the amendment failed, the vote on the budget passed with only a few votes against it.

Earlier, BSC messengers also approved a measure that will allow budget planners to work on a two-year cycle. The motion, which passed by a show of ballot vote with only a few votes in opposition, was recommended by a budget study committee and approved by the BSC General Board.

The vote was necessary because the move changes the BSC by-laws.

BSC officials believe the two-year budget cycle will result in better long-range planning and a more efficient use of time.

The changes also call for future budget committee members to be appointed for three-year terms on a rotating schedule, as opposed to the previous practice of appointing a new committee each year.

General Board report

The convention acted on a series of business matters, following recommendations of the General Board during its various reports.

Three fiduciary trustees were approved: Gerald Arnold of Raleigh, John Webb of Wilson and Wayne Stevenson of Raleigh.

Messengers approved an extension of the current mission partnership with Alaska Baptists, adding two years to the original partnership. It will now extend through 2004.

Richard Brunson, Baptist Men and Partnership director for the BSC, gave updates on the convention's current partnerships with Malaysia/Singapore, Honduras, Alaska, and Metro New York.

Other volunteers worked in Israel, China, Armenia, India and other countries. In North Carolina, many volunteers assisted with the medical/dental bus ministry and with continuing rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Floyd. Volunteers also responded to disaster relief needs in West Virginia, New York, Louisiana, Maryland and other locations, Brunson said.

The convention received a "Pentagon cross" made of broken concrete from the section of the Pentagon destroyed in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Pentagon officials spoke on videotape to thank the 200 N.C. Baptist volunteers who worked there in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Messengers approved an amendment to the BSC constitution to remove the required 6:30-7:15 p.m. starting time for the convention's opening session. The convention will continue to begin on Monday following the second Sunday in November of each year.

Amendments to the bylaws were approved to give the Program, Place and Preacher Committee the right to plan some aspects of the program up to two years in advance.

Messengers also approved a plan for Chowan College to restructure a current loan by using some of its endowment funds as collateral.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
11/15/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Committee to study Plan C

November 15 2002 by Tony Cartledge and Steve DeVane , BR staff

Committee to study Plan C | Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Committee to study Plan C

By Tony Cartledge and Steve DeVane BR staff

WINSTON-SALEM - The Baptist State Convention (BSC) will look into the possibility of doing away with the giving plan generally favored by moderates.

Messengers to the BSC annual meeting on Nov. 12 authorized a study of Plan C, the BSC's only giving plan that sends money to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF), a national organization that formed as a missions and ministry alternative to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

Messengers also authorized a study of how the BSC should respond to a state cutback in prison chaplains, but turned down two other proposed studies during an active period of miscellaneous business.

Tim Rogers, pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Seagrove, moved that the convention president appoint a special committee to study whether budget Plan C is consistent with the BSC constitution.

One of the several purposes of the BSC, as outlined in the constitution, is "to cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention." Some Baptists interpret the phrase exclusively, understanding it to say the BSC cannot cooperate with other Baptist bodies such as the CBF.

Since the CBF recently declared itself to be separate from the SBC in its bid for membership in the Baptist World Alliance, Rogers said, the giving plan should be re-evaluated.

Two initial votes by upraised ballots and by standing were judged too close to call, leading to a ballot vote in which the motion passed by 1,891 to 1,124 votes, or 62.7 percent to 37.3 percent.

Rogers told the Winston-Salem Journal that Plan C "clearly says" that the BSC is not cooperating with the SBC.

"I believe North Carolina Baptists are Southern Baptists," he said.

Through the first 10 months of 2002, about $210,000 was sent to the CBF through Plan C, BSC records show. About $9.64 million was sent to the SBC through the other three plans.

BSC President Jerry Pereira said he would appoint "a wide spectrum of North Carolina Baptists" to study the issue. In a news conference shortly after he was re-elected, Pereira repeated his support for all four giving plans.

Pereira said he hopes moderates don't see the effort as a first step to forcing them out of the BSC.

"I think we've modeled cooperation," he said.

Robert Dixon of Southeast Baptist Church in Greensboro asked for the president to appoint a committee to study ways the BSC can address the need for prison chaplains to replace those being eliminated as a result of state budget cuts. The motion passed easily.

Two other proposed study committees were rejected by large margins.

Lloyd Burke of East Lumberton Baptist Church asked for a committee to study the relationship between N.C. Baptist institutions and agencies for which the BSC elects trustees. "Trustees should keep trust and keep agencies connected to North Carolina Baptists," he said.

Tim Moore spoke against the motion, arguing that the convention elects the trustees and receives reports from the agencies and institutions each year.

The motion failed, receiving only a smattering of supportive votes.

B.G. Brown of Hope Baptist Fellowship in Youngsville asked for a committee to study the composition of the convention. Some churches might receive more than their fair allotment of messengers, he said, because the BSC constitution grants messenger credentials to convention officers, General Board members, and the editor of the Biblical Recorder apart from the normal church allotment.

The motion was defeated by a large margin.

Messengers agreed to suspend the rules and consider resolutions on the lottery and prison chaplains.

Convention rules call for resolutions to be submitted and published in the Biblical Recorder prior to the annual meeting, but messengers can suspend the rules with a two-thirds vote.

Beauford Smith of Colfax Baptist Church proposed a resolution affirming the N.C. legislature for rejecting a state lottery.

Messengers also approved a resolution asking state legislators to reconsider the cutback of chaplains from the state prison system.

Messengers supported both resolutions by a wide margin.

Afterward, Ron Cava of First Baptist Church in Clinton raised a point of personal privilege, affirming the two resolutions but asking messengers to honor the traditional manner of publishing resolutions in advance.

Messengers also approved a motion to instruct the local arrangements committee to announce in advance the time the convention center would be open.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
11/15/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony Cartledge and Steve DeVane , BR staff | with 0 comments



Conservatives take top three BSC posts

November 15 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Conservatives take top three BSC posts | Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Conservatives take top three BSC posts

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

WINSTON-SALEM - Conservatives swept the top three offices of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) at the BSC's annual meeting Nov. 11-13.

Jerry Pereira was re-elected president, Bob Foy was re-elected first vice president and David Horton was elected second vice president. All three were unopposed.

Horton's election marks the first time in at least 20 years that a non-incumbent has been unopposed for a BSC office.

All three officers have indicated a willingness to work with moderates and support for the BSC four giving plans.

Pereira, pastor of First Baptist Church of Swannanoa, and Foy, a layman from Peninsula Baptist Church in Mooresville, were first elected last year. BSC officers are eligible for two one-year terms.

Horton is pastor of Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro.

The elections mark the seventh year in the last eight that conservatives have controlled at least two of the top three BSC offices.

The president and the two vice presidents form a committee to nominate N.C. Baptists to the Committee on Committees, which nominates the Committee on Nominations. That committee nominates members of the BSC General Board and trustees and directors of N.C. Baptist agencies and institutions. The General Board must approve nominees to the Committee on Committees.

Some conservatives say that moderates continue to have too much control on the General Board. An article in the Conservative Record, the newsletter of Conservative Carolina Baptists, has called for the election of only conservatives to N.C. Baptist boards for the next three years.

In an interview after his election, Pereira said the Conservative Record article represents "one man's opinion." He said that he prays and seeks the Lord's wisdom about his appointments.

When asked if he thought conservatives are not well represented on the General Board, Pereira said he didn't know who was a conservative and who was a moderate on the board.

"I just don't have that knowledge," he said.

Pereira said that if there is an imbalance, it should be addressed.

In other action, Ray W. Benfield was re-elected recording secretary and Gene Booker was re-elected assistant recording secretary.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
11/15/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Laity challenged to stand firm with Christ

November 15 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Laity challenged to stand firm with Christ | Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Laity challenged to stand firm with Christ

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

WINSTON-SALEM - A parade of laity, clergy and Baptist college representatives challenged Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina to stand firm with Christ in the mainstream of traditional Baptist belief and practice.

About 300 people gathered for the North Carolina Laity Conference at Knollwood Baptist Church on Nov. 11.

Roy DeBrand, professor of homiletics at the Campbell University Divinity School, said people can be copers, choosers or changers. "God intends for us to be changers," he said. "We can trust God to change us when we can't change ourselves. When we are changed, we can become changers."

DeBrand challenged participants to change the world for Christ and for good.

Jonathan Jones, a layperson from Immanuel Baptist Church in Greenville, said "I see Mainstream as a group of Southern Baptists working together to preserve Baptist traditions that North Carolina Baptists have long held dear."

"I'm tired of seeing Baptists pointing fingers and tearing people down," Jones said. He said rejecting missionaries because they won't sign a creed or rejecting churches that choose to have women pastors made no sense to him.

"I believe politics distracts us from spreading the gospel and building God's kingdom," he said.

North Carolina's five Baptist colleges need Mainstream Baptists, said Stanley Lott, president of Chowan College in Murphreesboro. Lott said the colleges need Mainstream Baptists to undergird them with prayer, send them their students, help them find strong trustees, help them locate people who can contribute needed funds, and support Cooperative Missions giving to the colleges.

Charles Dean, pastor of East Sylva Baptist Church, described events leading to his church's recent withdrawal from the Tuckaseigee Baptist Association. He described it as "liberation day for our church, when we came out of Egypt."

Dean described the church's long history of full fellowship with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and the Tuckaseigee Baptist Association as being like the time when Joseph exerted influence over Egypt. But "a new pharaoh has arisen," he said, as the SBC controversy came to Jackson County.

Dean said he knew it had come when a church member on the association credentials committee was upset because a majority of the committee wanted to unseat the Cullowhee Baptist Church, founded in 1821, the oldest church in the association, because it had called a woman as co-pastor.

Dean said he attended a meeting of the association executive committee that he knew was designed to exclude the Cullowhee church and to embrace the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, but he left when a majority voted to close the meeting.

"I saw prejudice, intolerance and a spirit of meanness I have never seen in all my years," said Dean, who has been pastor at East Sylva since 1966.

Dean said someone asked why he had turned his back on the SBC. "I didn't leave the SBC," he said. "They left me.

"I have not left my first love," Dean said, speaking at length about his love for the Bible, his love for religious liberty, and his love for Baptists.

Speaking of the Bible, he said "the devil won a great victory when he took what we love the most and turned it into a sword of division."

On religious liberty, he spoke of how former director of missions John Reid was criticized by association leaders because he participated, at the invitation of a local church, in the ordination service of a woman deacon. Dean quoted one critic as saying he wanted a director of missions who would do what he was told, and that the director of missions did not have the right to think for himself.

The conflict in Jackson County "is not about women deacons but about religious liberty," he said. "We will not affirm the Baptist Faith and Message. It is a creed, an instrument designed solely to put women in their place and make the Bible say whatever the powers that be want it to say. At East Sylva we love religious liberty and we won't let any convention take that away."

"Someone asked where we are going," Dean said. "I said 'I don't know, but we're not going back to Egypt.'"

Clella Lee, pastor of evangelism and development at Lafayette Baptist Church in Fayetteville, interspersed a challenge to stand firm in Christ with a cappella verses from the hymn "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand."

"Personally I have chosen to stand on the solid rock of Christ with Mainstream, because Mainstream Baptists believe that Christ is the center of the universe and exalt Christ as the center of Christian faith," she said.

Lee noted that she and her husband attended their first Southern Baptist Convention in 1979, when the conservative drive for control of the convention began.

"There has never been a time in our 25 years of ministry that has not been clouded and hindered by denominational controversy," she said.

Lee quoted Jesus' prayer in John 17 that His disciples might be one so the world would recognize them as His people.

"How is it that we are unwilling to embrace each other with supernatural unity so the world will know?" she asked. "Our challenge is to give authentic expression to that (unity) which God has given in our midst."

She said her church is so diverse that members contribute to all four of the Baptist State Convention's giving plans.

"Our goal is not uniformity, but unity," she said. "We refuse to give in to the notion that it is impossible for diverse people to experience unity together."

"I stand with Mainstream because I believe they are committed to the ideal of cooperation and to preserving the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina," Lee said.

"I realize the time I have left is limited," she said. "I don't want to spend the next 25 years in semantic arguments and power struggles. I want to stand on the rock with Christ and with others who don't think we all have to agree on the way in order to point the way.

"I will stand with Mainstream as long as they are going in that direction," Lee said. "I will stand forever on the solid rock."

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
11/15/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Page urges N.C. Baptists to honor God

November 15 2002 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

Page urges N.C. Baptists to honor God | Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Page urges N.C. Baptists to honor God

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor

WINSTON-SALEM - A pastor battling cancer urged more than 2,000 N.C. Baptists to realize the world is in a state of moral decay and to develop a God-honoring direction.

"Oh, how we are living in a self-satisfaction age," Charles Page said Nov. 11 during the sermon for the Baptist State Convention annual meeting.

To illustrate the self-satisfaction of some people, Page told the story of Thomas K. Beecher serving as a substitute preacher for his famous brother, Henry Ward Beecher, at the Plymouth church in Brooklyn, New York. Many had arrived to hear Henry speak, and when they saw that Thomas was preaching, some got up to leave.

Thomas then said: "All those who came here this morning to worship Henry Ward Beecher may leave the sanctuary at this time, but all who came to worship God may remain." Page echoed the Thomas Beecher. "We are here to worship almighty God," he said.

Page was scheduled to give the convention sermon at last year's annual meeting as well as be nominated to be president of the convention. But a reoccurrence of cancer caused him to withdraw his name from nomination and miss the convention sermon. Since then, he has undergone treatment in Little Rock, Arkansas, while serving as pastor of First Baptist Church, Charlotte.

Page thanked those attending the meeting for praying for him. He told about a program at his church in which every time a member saw an UPS truck they were to pray for him.

"Instinctively, I knew some people were praying for me," he said.

The title of the sermon, "Understanding Our Times," came from 1 Chronicles 12:32. In the sermon, he decried humanism and its belief that moral values derive their source from human experience and that no deity will save people. "That argument will destroy your children and grandchildren," Page said.

When John Quincy Adams was president of the United States, he stood before Congress and held two one-pound weights, one from Maine and one from Massachusetts. One of the weights was an ounce heavier than the other, he said. "Gentlemen, we need a standard," Adams said. Congress responded by creating the House Weights and Measurement Committee.

"Yes, we need a standard, and that standard is God's precious word," Page said.

He quoted the psalmist who wrote, "a people without a vision perish." That vision needs to be bold and courageous. Paul and Barnabas left Antioch unaware of the dangers they would experience. "That's the kind of boldness we ought to have," Page said.

"Oh God, so fill me with your Holy Spirit so nothing else matters," he said.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
11/15/2002 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments



Pastors urged to surrender to Jesus

November 15 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge and Jimmy Allen , BR staff

Pastors urged to surrender to Jesus | Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Pastors urged to surrender to Jesus

By Tony W. Cartledge and Jimmy Allen BR staff

WINSTON-SALEM - Hundreds of North Carolina Baptist pastors heard three evangelists and three seminarians challenge them to be more surrendered to Jesus during a pre-convention meeting Nov. 10-11.

The program, held at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, was organized by conference president Shannon Scott, pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Continual conversion

Bill Stafford, an evangelist from Tennessee, spoke twice. In the opening session, he used Luke 22:31-34 to challenge pastors to experience "continual conversion."

When Jesus sought to use Peter, He had "a problem assignment," Stafford said, because Peter was a sinful man. Like Peter, pastors are sinful and must let God knock the "self" out of them.

Jesus told Peter that Satan would sift him like wheat, which Stafford called "a proposal of Satan." Jesus could have saved Peter from Satan's temptations but chose to "put him through the sifter" so he could be tested and made pure, Stafford said.

Today, Satan wants to neutralize conservative preachers by intimidating them into failing to preach the Bible, Stafford said. "It wasn't the liberals who were going to kill us, but conservatives afraid to preach the inerrant word. We are the only denomination ever to win the battle for the inerrant word, but we won't preach it."

Peter would not fall victim to Satan, Stafford said, because of the "promise of the Savior" - Jesus said he would pray for Peter, that his faith would not fail.

Jesus told Peter to strengthen others "when you are converted" (Luke 22: 32, KJV), which did not refer to being saved from sin, Stafford said, but saved from self.

Stafford called on pastors to continually recognize sin in their lives and repent of it so Satan would not keep them from experiencing Pentecost, which he said is the ultimate goal.

In the second session, Stafford again challenged pastors to preach the Bible whether their congregations like it or not.

Pastors should be like Daniel, he said, who lived without compromise in a pagan society. "The only people who have the real truth are the men who declare the word of God."

"Listen, men," he said, "you are the only men in North Carolina that have the truth that will turn North Carolina around and bring people to God - that won't come from namby-pamby preachers."

Stafford said pastors should reject society's attitude of tolerance and abandon themselves to God. The light shines brightest in the darkest of times, he said, and "The more we reject tolerance, the more we can shine brightly."

"You are a man of God first, and don't forget that," he said. "We need an old fashioned, old-timey, weeping, sweeping revival ... so go back to your church with a fresh sense of abandonment."

Four vital truths

Derry Hodge, who teaches preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said both men and women need to have a firm, fixed understanding of God's calling. Hodge described what he called "four vital truths" from Jeremiah 1:1-10, 17-19.

God calls out prophets when times are perilous, Hodge said. The first three verses show that Jeremiah lived in a time of political, moral and spiritual decline when priests were failing in their leadership. America is experiencing similar crises, he said, but God continues to call out leaders to proclaim God's way.

God's sovereignty is emphasized in verses 4-6, Hodge said. Noting the presence of Calvinists, Armenians and "in-between-ians," he said. "I define 'sovereignty' in four words: 'God is in control.'" Jeremiah made excuses because he was too focused on the messenger (himself), rather than the One who gave the message, Hodge said, like modern pastors who "look at the stuff of ministry and not the spirit of ministry."

God's call assured Jeremiah of the sufficiency of his presence, as God promised to be with Jeremiah and put His words in his mouth (vs. 7-10), Hodge said.

Because God provides His sufficiency, those God calls should demonstrate courage to stand strong and not be dismayed or terrified in the face of obstacles (vs. 17-19), Hodge said. "The devil may huff, puff, scream, rant and rave, but all you got to do is stand your ground in Christ Jesus."

Scripture and Christ

Preaching from Hebrews 1, Paige Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said God has spoken through the scriptures and through Christ.

God spoke in various ways, Patterson said, while the prophets and apostles "inscripturated" God's words. God's speaking included direct activity (the 10 commandments), dictation, dreams, visions, an audible voice and the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit, he said.

"Some would separate the written word from the living Word," Patterson said, "but there is no bifurcation between them."

Patterson said critics of the 2000 revision of the Baptist Faith and Message have complained that the reference to Christ as the supreme authority for interpreting scripture was removed. But some were using that phrase as a way to rule out scripture they didn't like, Patterson said, claiming Jesus would take a different view.

"We had to take that out so people would quit using that as a loophole," he said.

"You cannot choose between the written word and the living Word of God," Patterson said. "It is both/and."

He said the text described seven characteristics of Christ. He is heir of all things, the One by whom God made the world, the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, he said. And, Christ upholds all things by the word of His power, purged our sins by Himself, and has ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father.

As a result, Patterson said, Christ has a unique relationship with the Father, is exalted as an object of worship because of His deity, and is immutable or unchanging.

There is a limitation to the written word, Patterson said, but not one of accuracy. The written word tells people how to be saved, but the living Word actually saves them. "The Bible is a light to the path, but Jesus is the path."

"The written word points to Christ: sacrifice neither one, preach them both, and God will bless your ministry," Patterson said.

A thousand diversions

Preachers face a thousand distractions from Satan trying to divert them from proclaiming the gospel, said evangelist Junior Hill of Alabama. Those diversions can range from selling insurance to riding a bicycle to a family reunion, he said.

Hill said he was shown a beautiful mansion one time and told the owner had been a preacher. A dabble into real estate investment led to a full-time business occupation, meaning the man left the vocational ministry. The man used his money to buy the mansion, which includes 10 bathrooms.

"Anybody who needs 10 bathrooms has got a lot of troubles," Hill said, starting a rumbling of laughter among the people in the sanctuary. That laughter turned into loud thunder when he said, "You don't have heart problems. You have stomach problems."

The devil also tries to entangle preachers in other ways, Hill said. "Does he ever tell you you're ugly?" Hill asked. "Believe him, he's right."

Hill grouped distractions to preachers in several categories. The first is by intimidation so the seed will not be sown. "Does the devil ever tell you you're not important?" he asked.

If the devil fails with his attempt at intimidation, he will try alteration - cutting back on the seed of the gospel. Hill then described churches that have dropped the name "church" from their name.

"I want to be part of a church paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ," he said. To claim a body of believers is something other than a church is unscriptural and dishonest. If a body of believers is a Baptist church, then say it, he said, generating applause.

The third diversion category is generational. Hill said he opposes trying to make the gospel appealing to a new generation. "All you have to do is faithfully preach it," he said.

Hill described a "little sissy guy" who came up to him after preaching one time. The guy said the sermon was pretty good but that people do not want to listen to old-timey preaching now. What else is a preacher to do? Hill asked rhetorically, wear black leotards and do interpretative dance?

"Just stand up and preach Jesus as Savior," he said.

The fourth diversion is evaluation. A man of God with seeds in his hand is tempted to pull them out and see which ones look healthy and which ones are weak, he said. "Tragically, that's what a lot of moderate preachers are doing today," he said. Hill said the preacher is to throw all the seed out and let the Sovereign God determine which ones take root. The preacher's responsibility is not to be an amateur psychologist.

He told the story of going into a restaurant for an early-morning breakfast. He didn't want to talk to anyone, but he saw a man by himself and God told him to go sow the seed of the gospel to the man.

Hill said he didn't want to. But he went reluctantly.

The man said he wanted to know how to be saved. That night the man came to the revival service where Hill was preaching and sat on the front row. After a service, the man went to Hill and said "Thank you for telling me about Jesus."

"I'm thankful my evaluation did not override my proclamation," Hill said. "Don't let the devil get between you and take away the word."

Jesus has authority

Jesus Christ has the authority to be Lord because He created us, said evangelist Randy Helms of Conover. Then He bought people back from the pawnship of the devil, he said.

Helms described three areas in which Jesus needs to be Lord.

The first is in redemption. While preaching a multi-night revival at a church, the pastor came and knocked on the door of Helms' motor home and asked to speak with him. The preacher wanted to give his life to Jesus, Helm said. "Don't you let pride keep you from heaven."

Jesus Christ needs to be Lord in relationships. Helms said he preaches revivals 46-48 weeks every year. About half the churches he visits, Satan has attacked the homes and marriages of the pastor. If the devil can attack the pastor's home, he can affect the ministry, he said.

To stop that from happening, Helms encouraged the pastor's wives in the audience to stop watching "As the Stomach Turns" all day, get out of their bathrobes and cook a fine meal. "No wonder he doesn't stay home. You need to get as pretty as you can," Helms said.

He said Jesus Christ needs to be Lord of a person's ministry. He said that he served in the local church ministry for 17 years and hated it, but he was scared to take the step of faith and become an evangelist.

Jesus Christ needs to be lord of one's devotional time. "Fellows, it'll make all the difference in the world if you make Jesus Christ Lord of your life," he said.

Helms often jumped to make exclamation points during his sermon, and he ended with a rapid-fire monologue of about 25 descriptions of Jesus Christ as Lord.

Hero pastors

"Pastors are my heroes," said Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

The apostle Paul was called to be the pastor of First Baptist Church, Corinth, said Kelley, who described Corinth as similar to New Orleans. It was "filled with all the lostness the world could have."

Paul was a tentmaker and modern-day "tentmakers" are needed, he said, referring to bi-vocational pastors. The world will not be reached with the gospel without people who work with their hands and preach.

One of the greatest lies of Satan is when he tells someone "you aren't a man of Christ because you have fear," Kelley said. "The call to ministry isn't an easy calling.

"Paul was afraid. God knew it," he said.

The Bible contains examples of people who prayed their anger, their fear, their doubting.

"Jesus said to Paul, 'Stop being afraid. ... I know you are afraid. Go on preaching." That was Paul's call to serve as pastor of First Baptist, Corinth, he said.

A call from God is also a promise of God's provision, he said.

Acts 18 describes Paul's trial in Corinth in which he was released without saying a word. Jesus intervened and fulfilled his promise, Kelly said.

Paul could have made the following mistakes:

One, he could have left Corinth early and missed the miracle. "He had to know a boiling point was being reached. ... His call was to stay."

Two, Paul could have interrupted his enemies. "(There) is a time when God intends your enemies to have the floor," Kelly said. If Paul had interrupted his enemies during the trial, Paul would have taken over what God was doing. Why allow the enemy to have a say? Kelly asked: "To reveal His glory in His way and His time."

"Do you have the faith to let your enemies talk when Jesus is saying, 'Keep quiet'?"

Three, Paul could have stayed too long in Corinth. God had other places for Paul to go, and he never promised the other places would be safe. Paul could have stayed in Corinth and been safe, but he would have been disobedient to the word of God.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
11/15/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge and Jimmy Allen , BR staff | with 0 comments



Pereira shows spirit of conservative cooperation

November 15 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Pereira shows spirit of conservative cooperation | Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Pereira shows spirit of conservative cooperation

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

WINSTON-SALEM - Baptist State Convention (BSC) President Jerry Pereira interspersed cooperative themes with conservative principles in his address to messengers Nov. 12 at the annual BSC meeting.

Pereira, pastor of First Baptist Church of Swannanoa, said he supported BSC Executive Director-treasurer Jim Royston's goals of a $50 million Cooperative Program budget, 43,000 baptisms and 150 new congregations by 2006.

"I believe we are on our way to accomplishing those goals," Pereira said. "They are God-sized goals."

Pereira said the church is built on the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin.

"There is no middle ground in the belief in the virgin birth of Jesus," he said.

Pereira said Jesus' death is matchless.

"The cross alone is a gory place, but with Jesus on that cross, it is a glory place," he said.

Churches are built on the truth of the cross, Pereira said.

"If we're going to build churches, we must build churches that are marinating their ministries in prayer, that are soaking their sanctuaries in prayer," he said.

Pereira said God is working through N.C. Baptists because they are cooperating together.

"I'm convinced that we can do more together than we can do separately," he said. "I believe that."

Christians are in a spiritual war, Pereira said.

"The enemy is not our brothers or sisters in Christ, whatever their label," he said.

Pereira also mentioned the prospect of earthly war, asking messengers to pray for U.S. troops.

"What's going to happen with that wacky Iraqi?" he said. "I have a suspicion what's going to happen when George W. gets a hold of him."

Going back to the spiritual emphasis, Pereira said he has read the final chapter of history.

"We win," he said.

Pereira concluded by summarizing the book of Acts - Jesus went up, the Holy Spirit came down, and the church went out and touched their communities for Christ.

"North Carolina Baptists, let's go and do likewise."

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
11/15/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Royston calls N.C. Baptists to prayer, risks

November 15 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Royston calls N.C. Baptists to prayer, risks | Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Friday, Nov 15, 2002

Royston calls N.C. Baptists to prayer, risks

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

WINSTON-SALEM - N.C. Baptists must pray and take risks to reach the state for Christ, the head of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) said.

Jim Royston, the BSC executive director-treasurer, spoke to messengers at the BSC annual meeting on Nov. 12.

"I want you to think with me what would happen in a prayed-for, shared-with North Carolina," he said.

Royston said every great spiritual awakening in history started with prayer.

"I believe with all my heart that hundreds of thousands could come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, if this band of Baptist believers joined in prayer," he said.

Royston said missions and ministry bind N.C. Baptists together.

"We have defied the odds to stay together and work together," he said.

Royston said his first five years as head of the BSC have convinced him of the need for revival among N.C. Baptists.

Now is not the time for business as usual, he said, emphasizing the need of risk-taking.

Royston said that if current trends continue, Catholics could outnumber Baptists in North Carolina within 10 years.

"It wouldn't be the worst thing that happened in North Carolina, but I can tell you it's not the future I envision for North Carolina," he said.

Royston talked about the risks taken by Peter, a Jew, when he baptized Cornelius, a Gentile, in Acts 10.

"Peter was called down to the first Baptist Faith and Message meeting, excuse me, the first Jerusalem Council," he said.

The gospel never changes, but the world is changing, Royston said.

"The things we used to do are good, but they may not be the best anymore," he said. "I can tell you that if we continue to talk about why we're different and how we're different politically and theologically, we'll be pretty much out of business in 20 years."

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
11/15/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



CAL celebrates moral victories

November 8 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

CAL celebrates moral victories | Friday, Nov 8, 2002

Friday, Nov 8, 2002

CAL celebrates moral victories

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

The Christian Action League of North Carolina (CAL) is replete with causes, victories and enthusiasm but short on funds, according to reports at its annual advisory board meeting Nov. 7 at Caraway Conference Center.

The CAL was founded in the late 1800s as the "Anti-Saloon League." In 1937 the Baptist State Convention (BSC) named a committee to meet with interdenominational leaders to form a statewide organization to oppose traffic in liquor, leading to the "Allied Church League of North Carolina for the Abolition of Beverage Control." In 1958, the organization was renamed the Christian Action League of North Carolina, and the charter was amended so the group could address "other moral and ethical issues facing the Judeo-Christian family," according to the CAL Web site.

The CAL's advisory board draws on different religious groups from the state's 100 counties, but the leadership has remained predominantly Baptist. The BSC's budget for 2002 included a contribution of $7,000 for the CAL, with an increase to $10,000 planned for 2003. The CAL relies mainly on contributions from individuals and churches for support.

Treasurer Russell Capps said the difficult economy has led to a downturn in donations, leading budget planners to propose a 2003 budget of $198,097, just $1,500 more than the budget for 2002.

The advisory board re-elected Coy Privette of Kannapolis, a former executive director of the group, as president. Gerald Primm of Greensboro was elected as vice-president. Three regional vice-presidents are Don Davis of Dunn, Lee Cockerill of Salisbury and Johnny Blevins of Elkin. Kay Alexander of Cary was named secretary, Russell Capps of Raleigh, treasurer, and Steve Daniel of Morganton, legal advisor.

"Field reports" discussed opposition to alcohol initiatives in two counties during the year. Steve LeaShomb, pastor of Midway Baptist Church in West Jefferson, said three pro-alcohol initiatives were successful in West Jefferson, but the same three were defeated in the neighboring town of Jefferson.

Kershaw Getty, pastor of Liberty Grove Baptist Church in Fleetwood, said alcohol opponents learned from the defeat in West Jefferson and turned up the intensity in Jefferson. One campaigner persisted with two elderly women until they agreed to go and vote against the initiatives just five minutes before the polls closed, he said. Two of the three initiatives were defeated by only three votes, and the other lost by nine votes.

David Blackburn, director of missions for the Ashe Baptist Association, described how alcohol opponents used the Internet and database programs to identify potential voters. Blackburn encouraged CAL advisors to call on leaders of the 80 Baptist associations for assistance when their communities face moral issues.

Tim Horldt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Valdese, said town council members there voted 3-2 in February to hold three pro-alcohol referendums, despite overwhelming opposition from citizens who attended the meeting. With assistance from CAL executive director Mark Creech, "Citizens for a Drug-Free Town" was organized and hundreds of yard signs were erected. Forty of 44 downtown businesses opposed the issue, Horldt said, including many restaurants. All three initiatives were defeated with alcohol opponents gaining 55 to 60 percent of the vote.

Capps, a member of the N.C. House of Representatives, offered a short tribute to Ann Frazier, a long time conservative activist and secretary of CAL, who died during the year. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has agreed to catalog and preserve her papers, he said.

Capps gave a brief report on house legislation in 2003. Having CAL as a watchdog is critical, Capps said, noting that Creech keeps legislators and citizens informed of moral issues such as House Bill 1088, which would have allowed sales of beer and wine, even in communities where citizens have voted against alcohol sales. That bill and a similar bill in the senate were defeated because of Creech's efforts, Capps said. With the house now split 60-60 along party lines, Capps expressed hope that a coalition can be formed to support issues of interest to the CAL.

Capps also noted that the state house approved a bill sponsored by Sam Ellis that encourages the U.S. Congress to require that all pornographic Web sites use a .xxx suffix in their address. Ellis' bill was inspired by Mary Conyers of Wendell, who founded "Protect Every Child" to oppose easy access to Internet pornography.

Bob Carpenter, a state senator from Macon County, expressed concern that video-poker proponents have contributed heavily to candidates who support gambling and alcohol initiatives.

Carpenter sponsored the Infant Homicide Protection Act last year, which allows women who have given birth to unwanted babies to leave their newborns in a safe place without being charged with abandonment.

In Creech's annual report, he said America is engaged in a cultural war, "battling for our spiritual and moral lives." The question before the nation, he said, "is not whether all men are created equal, but whether they are created by God at all," whether they are created under God and accountable to Him. The church has been largely uninvolved in the issues that dictate our moral climate, he said.

Creech cited a string of recent California laws to illustrate what happens "when liberals seize a state." California passed 22 pro-gay laws in the past two years, he said, including requirements that children in grades K-12 be taught to appreciate various sexual orientations, and that children with the potential of being intolerant of homosexuals should be identified for "retraining."

What has happened in California could make its way to North Carolina, Creech said: "More than ever, the Christian community within the Tar Heel state needs to mount an offensive strategy that will repel the evil influences of our society." Whatever that strategy is, the CAL will be involved, he said.

Creech reviewed a string of successful CAL efforts on a variety of fronts.

While new pro-life legislation has been stymied, tight restrictions to the state abortion fund have remained intact, he said, getting the state largely "out of the abortion business." The state has paid for only one abortion in the past seven years, he said.

Lottery proponents expected that this would be their year, Creech said, with budget pressures and a pro-lottery governor on their side. Bills that called for a "non-binding advisory referendum" on the lottery were stalled most of the year as lottery proponents sought more support, however, and the senate version of the bill was finally defeated by a vote of 69 to 50. Much of the credit is due to the CAL motivating lottery opponents to contact their legislators, Creech said.

For the first time in many years, no significant alcohol initiatives were approved on the state level, Creech said, including two efforts to allow beer and wine sales within 100 yards of a "sports club," even if local citizens have voted against alcohol sales. Again, the CAL helped to orchestrate a barrage of phone calls and e-mails in opposition to the bill.

CAL efforts contributed to a deferral of action on several other issues of concern, Creech said, and also helped to defeat alcohol referendums in five of nine places.

"Like a hurricane, the winds of righteousness have swept across our state and wreaked havoc for liberal and godless forces," he said.

Creech likened the calm eye of a hurricane to the evangelical, spiritual center of a believer's personal relationship with Christ. But Christians must also produce winds that impact the world around them, he said.

Creech said "the failure of liberal social action by mainline churches in the 1960s" is that it was "all wind and no center." Today's evangelical churches have the opposite problem, he said, failing to emphasize that one's relationship with Christ should also impact the world. "It's all a calm, warm, fuzzy center, and no wind," he said, that "passes over the land and changes nothing."

To be transformers of society, Creech said, Christians must live out both aspects of the spiritual hurricane.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
11/8/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



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