October 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for Nov. 9: Acting Boldly for God

October 24 2003 by Mary Fillinger , Focal Passages: Acts 4:1-3, 7,12-13, 18-21, 23, 29-31

Family Bible Study lesson for Nov. 9: Acting Boldly for God | Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for Nov. 9: Acting Boldly for God

By Mary Fillinger Focal Passages: Acts 4:1-3, 7,12-13, 18-21, 23, 29-31

Boldness could be defined as confidence in the face of danger, standing firm when others are running away.

When Boldness is Needed Acts 4:1-3 While Peter and John were speaking to a crowd that gathered after they healed a lame man, the priests, the captain of the guard and the Sadducees came to confront them. The officials were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people about Jesus' resurrection. The Sadducees denied there was any such thing as a resurrection of the dead. But in the case of Jesus, a resurrection from the dead had undeniably taken place.

In the gospels we find opposition to Jesus coming mostly from the Pharisees, especially in Galilee where Jesus spent most of His public ministry. This opposition shows up clearly in such passages as Mark 2:1-3:6, where we find vivid descriptions of five controversies between Jesus and Pharisees, who taught in the synagogues.

When we come to Acts, we find that the Sadducees persecuted the early believers. They seized Peter and John for being dangerous characters who preached that Jesus had risen from the dead. This would have proven that He was the Messiah. If the apostles could persuade the people that this was so, the Sadducees would be in serious trouble for their role in Jesus' death. But Peter and John persevered.

When Boldness is Effective Acts 4:7, 12-13, 18-21 With the Sanhedrin officially in session, Peter and John were brought from prison. They faced a semicircle of scowling faces. This was the group that had recently condemned Jesus to death, and the apostles could expect the same fate.

The Sanhedrin asked them a series of questions. They wanted to know what mysterious power they drew on and whom they were representing. It should be noted that the question acknowledged that a healing miracle had actually taken place. But they were also suspicious of how it was performed.

Verse 12 is one of the most significant verses in Acts. It is a major theme of the New Testament: salvation through Jesus is the only way to eternal life. It is interesting to note that the word "saved" here means "made whole." The healing of the physical body is a symbol of the healing of the soul. Jesus, the Great Physician, is equally able to do both. Peter declared that there is no other name in which we must be saved. He stated that we must be saved, not as a matter of option or right, but as a matter of necessity, if we are to be saved at all.

The members of the Sanhedrin were amazed at the boldness and theological understanding that enabled Peter and John to speak with such freedom and openness. They could not refute or say anything more. However, the Sanhedrin was also concerned about them being able to persuade the people, so they warned Peter and John not to preach about Jesus anymore. Peter and John answered that they must do what God had told them, rather than what these religious rulers desired. The rulers only threatened the apostles because they feared what would happen to them if they tried to punish Peter and John. The rulers found themselves in a predicament with no way out.

Prayer and Opportunities Acts 4:23, 29-31 As soon as Peter and John were released, they went back to their own people and reported to them all that had happened. The church was under attack.

The prayer of the early believers is utterly amazing. They did not pray for protection, but for power to continue to preach boldly. They wanted Jesus to demonstrate His power through them by working miracles. They were ready to preach the gospel and take the consequences. When they had prayed, the place was shaken, which reminds us of what happened on the day of Pentecost. And their prayers were answered.

Each true believer has the power of the risen Lord Jesus operating in his or her life. We can pray and receive all that we need to fulfill what Jesus desires for us to do in our churches and communities.

10/24/2003 12:00:00 AM by Mary Fillinger , Focal Passages: Acts 4:1-3, 7,12-13, 18-21, 23, 29-31 | with 0 comments

Formations lesson for Nov. 9: The Table is Full

October 24 2003 by John Norman Jr. , Focal passage: Psalm 65

Formations lesson for Nov. 9: The Table is Full | Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

Formations lesson for Nov. 9: The Table is Full

By John Norman Jr. Focal passage: Psalm 65

How do you teach people to be thankful? It's not always easy. Like teaching someone to love or to give, teaching a person to be thankful is an imprecise venture. Maybe one of the best things we can do is to model for others what it means to love, give, and be thankful.

In an essay entitled, "The Gift of Good Land" (included in The Gift of Good Land published in 1981), Wendell Berry challenges Christians to live a life of thankfulness regarding the earth on which we live. He bases his challenge on the experience Israel had with God as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. Even though the people did not deserve the land, it was given to them by the hand of God. Berry concludes that in order for the Israelites to prove themselves worthy of maintaining this gift, they had to remember three things.

The people of God must treat the land in the ways that God prescribed. In addition, the Israelites must be neighborly. And, perhaps most importantly, the Israelites "must be faithful, grateful, and humble; they must remember that the land is a gift" (The Gift of Good Land, 272).

By remembering the land as a gift, the people would acknowledge another power in their lives other than their own. In remembering, they would recognize that even though they worked the land in accordance with God's desires, it was not their labor that fed them but God's care that produced the harvest. This act of remembering took place in Israel's worship, evidenced in the Book of Psalms.

God of Grace Psalm 65:1-4 As the Israelites approached God in worship and sang this song to the Lord, they began with words of praise and adoration. These verses set things in perspective, acknowledging the splendor of God. The words proclaim God's holiness and righteousness. In addition, they show humanity's relationship with God, acknowledging that to God "all flesh shall come." The fact that the people will fail God is recognized, and the Lord is praised for forgiveness. In the midst of a sinful people, Israel's God is a God of grace. Many say that our prayers also should begin with adoration. Psalm 65 begins in this manner.

God of Power Psalm 65:5-8 Worship is about enacting a story - a story that precedes us, invites us to become a part, and through our participation is assured of being told in the future. The story we enact in worship is the divine drama of God's salvation. The main chapter of this story centered on the Hebrews deliverance from Egypt as they were brought out of bondage by God. In this Psalm, God's "awesome deeds" are remembered and proclaimed in order that they might be a witness to God's power.

God of Plenty Psalm 65:9-13 The psalmist claims God's abundant gifts in the blessing of the earth, which leads to bountiful harvests. The words used by the writer recall the Genesis account where God planted and tended a garden. Like a gifted farmer, the Lord cares for the fields, nurturing them with rain. The riches of the earth spring forth because of this attention. The creation responds to the touch of the creator.

My nearly 3-year-old daughter is learning to say the blessing before meals. She picked up a song from the child of family friends, and now before eating will pray, "God our Father, once again, we thank you for our blessings. Amen." She is very thoughtful and almost always will pray without direction. But on occasion my wife or I will have to remind her, "Remember to say the blessing." Therefore, she is learning to express her thanks as we both model and talk about this.

For many congregations, Psalm 65 is included in their yearly Thanksgiving observance - allowing the words of this song to speak on their behalf. The psalm tells us that the food we eat does not come from the grocery store, but rather is provided for us by God.

We all on occasion need to be encouraged in our thankfulness. Remembering the graciousness of God points us in the right direction and reminds us to sing our thanksgivings to the Lord.

10/24/2003 12:00:00 AM by John Norman Jr. , Focal passage: Psalm 65 | with 0 comments

Editorial: A little respect, please

October 24 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Editorial: A little respect, please | Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

Editorial: A little respect, please

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Have you noticed that God's name is getting precious little respect these days? Many people treat God's name as if it means nothing at all.

God revealed a personal, holy name to Israel, a name that was most likely pronounced as "Yahweh."

We don't know for sure because early Hebrew was written with no vowels. The oldest manuscripts render God's name only by the consonants represented in English by YHWH.

Vowel markings in the form of dots and dashes above and below the consonants were added to later manuscripts, but by that time the Jews considered God's name too holy to pronounce. Thus, the name YHWH was given the vowels for "Elohim" or "Adonai," more generic names for God. Jewish readers know they are to pronounce the vowels, not the consonants.

The traditional reverence for God's name continues among many faithful Jews, who consider it disrespectful even to say or write the word "God." Thus, they speak of God as "the Holy One, blessed be He," and write God's name incompletely as a sign of respect, often as "G-d."

Others show less deference to the majesty of God's name.

It has become customary in America for people to invoke a curse on others without a thought for the seriousness of their language. The words "God" and "damn" are both very meaningful words. To wish that God would damn someone is a very solemn utterance.

Yet, those words are flung about as if they mean nothing more than "ouch" or "I'm unhappy."

Lamentably, the expression "Oh my God!" has become ubiquitous as an expression of surprise. Watch some of those reality shows on TV, which purport to include representative Americans. Whether confronted with a bowl of maggots, a remodeled house or an unexpected visitor, participants inevitably cry, "Oh my God!"

And I want to say "Enough, already!"

God's name is too holy to be bandied about as a careless exclamation because we are too lazy to learn an appropriate vocabulary.

The whole enterprise cheapens the holy nature of God's name. Just as a vile-mouthed rapper wearing a heavy golden cross demeans that precious symbol, our casual use of God's name devalues its meaning. God's name is far too holy to be used as an exclamation.

Likewise, it is inappropriate to employ God's name as political ammunition.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear arguments in the case of a man who claims that having the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.

The Pledge of Allegiance was developed in the late 1800s as a statement of confidence and devotion to a country committed to unity despite the varied backgrounds of its citizens.

It served that purpose well through two world wars and the Korean conflict with no mention of God at all, because the pledge was not a religious statement, but a patriotic one.

In 1954, however, the fear of Communism led Congress to insert the words "under God" between "one nation" and "indivisible." In doing so, God's name was usurped for political ends to show that Americans were not like those "godless Communists." Utilizing God's name in this way does not demonstrate trust in God, but a lack of trust. What matters is whether God lives in our hearts - not whether we put God's name on our money or in our pledge.

The 1950s were a decade of both patriotic and religious fervor, and it was sometimes hard to distinguish between the two.

It still is.

I was born under the original pledge, but grew up reciting the amended version, and I am personally comfortable with it. Still, I can see why Americans who don't believe in God would be less comfortable.

I can also see that "under God" was added to the pledge for the wrong reason: God's eternal and holy name has been subverted for human political purposes, made subject to the courts, and cheapened in the process.

There is no winning hand in the cards for believers on this one.

The court could rule that reciting the pledge in public school is constitutional on the basis of previous decisions that allow a generalized "ceremonial deism" because it has little real religious meaning.

Or, the court could rule that requiring students to recite the pledge is unconstitutional because it does declare a meaningful faith in God, which could violate First Amendment provisions that the state should take no action to establish religion.

So, recitation of the current pledge could be endorsed because "under God" doesn't mean anything, or it could be declared unconstitutional because the words do have meaning.

It's a lose-lose situation that could have been avoided if God's holy name had never been commandeered as a political weapon against Communism.

In 1 Samuel 4, the Bible contains a most relevant story about what happens when humans try to manipulate the things of God for their own purposes. When threatened by the Philistines, Israelite soldiers persuaded the priests in Shiloh to carry the Ark of the Covenant into a battle against the Philistines. Apparently, they assumed that inserting the holy symbol into the conflict would oblige God to help them.

God refused to be used, however. He allowed the Philistines to rout Israel and take possession of the Ark.

America is not Israel, but the story contains a valuable lesson for those who invoke God's name beyond God's purpose.

A little respect please.

10/24/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

Intrigued: Farewell, old friend

October 24 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Intrigued: Farewell, old friend | Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

Intrigued: Farewell, old friend

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

I've been saying goodbye to Trigger, the 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue that has served me well for the past five years.

Trigger still looks good - I've kept him clean and healthy. He runs good, too, though his engine sounds a bit more racy since we got the new catalytic converter a few thousand miles back.

I've enjoyed this car so much that I wouldn't think of trading except that it has piled up more than 133,000 miles, and winter's coming on. I sometimes find myself in far-flung places on Sundays, when most repair shops are closed, and I'll feel a mite more secure with a younger mount.

I'd buy another car just like it, but the brass at General Motors, in their wisdom, decided to phase out the venerable Oldsmobile line, and the Intrigue was one of the first to go.

So, I have my eye on a different model, which will no doubt find its way onto this page in a future issue.

In the meantime, I've been saying my farewells, washing and waxing the old boy for the last time, shampooing the carpet and oiling the saddle for its next rider.

While working, I've been remembering. Trigger took me through flooded streets to visit places hard hit by Hurricane Floyd five years ago, and through tree-crossed dirt roads to see what Isabel did just weeks ago.

Trigger has carried me to more than a hundred churches from Franklin to Moyock, to all of our colleges, and to more Baptist meetings than I can remember. There have been weeks when we were in Chowan one day, and in Hendersonville the next.

Trigger is old enough that most any dealer will just send him to a faceless wholesale lot, and I don't have the heart for that. So, I'm trying to find him a good home.

If you're looking for a solid car with good Baptist credentials and a ridiculously small price tag, check our classified ads.

As I say farewell, you could be saying hello.

10/24/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

Coming to the family reunion?

October 24 2003 by Jim Royston , Executive Director-treasurer

Coming to the family reunion? | Friday, Oct. 24, 2003
  • Adopt budgets for missions and operations, and for the N.C. Missions Offering (NCMO) which completely funds Woman's Missionary Union and Baptist Men;
  • Elect new officers to lead us;
  • Hear exciting testimonies about Pursuing Vital Ministry;
  • Celebrate church starts and an increase in baptisms;
  • Celebrate more than 500 professions of faith among youth at Fort Caswell;
  • Hear progress reports from our agencies and institutions; and
  • Peruse exhibits for the latest practical and inspirational materials.

    Messengers will consider for the first time a two-year operating budget. The budgeting process is an enormously involved, time-consuming process. Previously, committee management of that process has changed hands annually by appointment and the expertise gained from one year's experience did not carry over. Now, the budget committee is elected to a four-year term. Tom Crow chairs the committee this year.

    This budget offered by Tom's committee will be a two-year budget, with a 2004 proposed budget of $35.175 million, a decrease of $2.375 million over our current budget. This is the first time in many years; maybe the first time ever, that the annual budget is less than the previous year. But North Carolina - heavily a manufacturing state - has been hit hard by economic factors both domestic and international that seem to close more factories every week. Our own staff has been negatively affected and no staff will receive a salary increase in 2004.

    Many of our church members work in those factories and my heart goes out to them. The churches they attend are directly affected.

    Just as your personal budget reflects your priorities, the Baptist State Convention's budget reflects our family members' priorities of telling people about Jesus and helping churches, associations, agencies and institutions on the state and national levels fulfill their missions.

    I look forward to seeing you in Winston-Salem. Come say hello, and share a piece of apple pie.

  • Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

    Coming to the family reunion?

    By Jim Royston Executive Director-treasurer

    North Carolina's largest family is about to gather for its annual reunion. On Nov. 10-12 N.C. Baptists will gather in Winston-Salem, a midpoint in our distribution, to meet, greet, catch up, worship, sing, pray, preach, taste the apple pie and decide how best to distribute the common funds that we've selflessly sent ahead to accomplish kingdom building work.

    Family members come from almost 4,000 churches in every county, city, small town, and crossroads in our state.

    We've got red hair, black hair, brown, blond, gray and thinning hair. We're tall, small, round, square, broad, thin, weak, strong, quick and slow. We agree on almost everything that matters, and put our dog in the fight over some things that just don't.

    Yet, we've all got the same Father.

    I look forward to this reunion. There's a lot of catching up to do. We'll conduct some very important business while we're at it.

    We will:

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    10/24/2003 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , Executive Director-treasurer | with 0 comments

    Army general's comment renew controversy over Islam

    October 24 2003 by Robert Marus , Associated Baptist Press

    Army general's comment renew controversy over Islam | Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

    Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

    Army general's comment renew controversy over Islam

    By Robert Marus Associated Baptist Press

    WASHINGTON - Comments by a Pentagon official casting America's struggle against terrorism as a Muslim-versus-Christian holy war are causing some news outlets to call for a reprimand by the Bush administration.

    Meanwhile, some on the Religious Right have stood up to defend Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who is a highly decorated veteran of covert and American military operations.

    Boykin, the Pentagon's newly named deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, sparked a controversy after NBC News and the Los Angeles Times revealed comments he made to evangelical Christian audiences.

    Appearing in uniform, he repeatedly described the war against terrorism as a conflict between a "Christian nation" and radical Islamists.

    During a Jan. 28 speech at a Southern Baptist evangelism conference at First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Fla., Boykin described his 1993 efforts to capture a Somali warlord who had boasted that Allah would protect him from defeat. "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol," Boykin said.

    Speaking in June 2002 at First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, Okla., he described an aerial photo he had taken over the city of Mogadishu during the 1993 conflict in Somalia. Noting strange black marks in the sky, the general claimed they were evidence of a demonic presence over the city.

    "Ladies and gentleman, this is your enemy," he said. "It is the principalities of darkness. It is a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy."

    Boykin has said that radical Islamists hate the United States "because we're a Christian nation;" has described the U.S. Army as "a Christian army;" and has said that President Bush was appointed by God "for such a time as this."

    Bush and White House officials have taken pains since Sept. 11, 2001, to insist the war on terrorism is not a war against Islam.

    Boykin issued an apology on Oct. 17, saying that his comments had been taken out of context and that he had never intended to denigrate the Islamic faith or all Muslims.

    Regarding his comments on the Somali warlord, Boykin said he had been referring not to the man's Islam, but rather to his "worship of money and power" as the "idolatry" that was inferior to Boykin's God.

    Boykin's apology also contained a defense of his earlier descriptions of the U.S. as a "Christian nation."

    Nonetheless, Boykin was careful to point out in the Daytona Beach speech that he wasn't attempting to foment a holy war. "Bin Laden is not the enemy. No mortal is the enemy," he said. "It's the enemy you can't see. It's a war against the forces of darkness. The battle won't be won with guns. It will be won on our knees."

    The pastor of the Daytona Beach church defended Boykin, whom he described as a "dear friend," in a strongly worded editorial released Oct. 20 by Baptist Press.

    Bobby Welch, a military Special Forces veteran, compared Boykin to past U.S. generals who "called on God, prayed to God, gave God praise and glory for victories and called upon God to defeat their enemies." Welch said that "not a single one of those military leaders ever was belittled, harassed or chastised for speaking out about their spirituality."

    Lauding Boykin's past heroism, Welch said, "I despise the unthinkable and asinine fact that some take cheap backstabbing shots at a real God-fearing American hero who continually risks his life to protect all of us."

    Robert Parham, head of the Baptist Center for Ethics, said that Boykin's comments seemed to reflect "bad theology," and the real question is whether his public statements were appropriate for someone in his position.

    "Can he be trusted to act in the nation's interest instead of pursuing his own twisted theological agenda?" Parham asked in an Oct. 17 edition in the organization's e-mail newsletter, EthicsDaily.com. "The nation can ill afford a commander who sees the war on terrorism as a war between dueling deities."

    Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced Oct. 21 that Boykin had asked for an investigation of his past comments by the Pentagon's inspector general. Rumsfeld said he would wait for the inspector general's findings.

    Boykin and Welch made headlines in April when Welch led a gathering at Fort Bragg intended to help pastors learn evangelism lessons from military strategy. The event was part of training for pastors in the FAITH Sunday School evangelism program.

    Americans United for Separation of Church and State raised questions about Boykin's endorsement of the program and the use of military facilities and personnel for the event. The group asked Army Secretary Thomas E. White to cancel the event.

    Army officials decided that the gathering met Department of Defense directives and Army regulations.

    10/24/2003 12:00:00 AM by Robert Marus , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

    Is victory this year essential for moderates?

    October 24 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

    Is victory this year essential for moderates? | Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

    Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

    Is victory this year essential for moderates?

    By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

    In November 1995, David Horton nominated Greg Mathis for Baptist State Convention (BSC) president.

    Mathis' election by a margin of less than 100 votes began a string of eight years in which conservatives were elected as BSC president. This year, some convention observers are wondering if Horton's election would complete a conservative rise to power in the BSC.

    Horton, pastor of Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro, is giving up his current position as BSC second vice president to run for president. He is running against David Hughes, pastor of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

    Horton is backed by Conservative Carolina Baptists (CCB). Hughes is endorsed by Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina (MBNC), a group that supports moderate causes.

    The wrangling for power between conservative and moderate Baptists on the national level ended in the 1990s after a bitter struggle that lasted more than 10 years. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) formed in 1991 as a missions and ministry alternative for moderates who felt disenfranchised by the more conservative Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

    In North Carolina, the controversy has taken on a subtler tone. Moderates controlled the BSC General Board for years, but conservatives have made recent gains, due in large part to conservative dominance of BSC elections since Mathis' win.

    Conservatives have controlled at least two of the top three BSC offices seven of the last eight years. The three officers form a committee to nominate members of the powerful BSC Committee on Committees, which must be approved by the General Board.

    Officials with MBNC indicated earlier this year that a moderate defeat at the BSC annual meeting in November could signal the end of the struggle among N.C. Baptists.

    In a recent interview, Colon Jackson, the executive director of MBNC, backed off slightly from that stand.

    "At one time I thought that if we didn't win we need to fold up our tents and go home," he said. "But we need a moderate voice in North Carolina."

    Bill Sanderson, the president of CCB, said he doesn't know why moderates are talking about pulling out.

    "The group that now calls itself Mainstream has pretty much been heading up the state convention for a number of years," he said.

    Sanderson said that when things weren't going conservatives' way, he was asked if they would leave the convention. He said, "No."

    "We didn't always get our desire, but we didn't pull out," he said. "If you get mad and take your ball and go home, that's acting like children."

    If moderates leave, it's their choice, Sanderson said.

    "It's not us forcing them out," he said. "They didn't force us out."

    Mathis takes issue with moderates who say they don't have a place in N.C. Baptist life.

    "I would say, 'Show me where you do not presently have a place of service in various leadership positions in the state,'" he said. "It's almost to me like there's people looking for a reason to leave. I think we need to work together."

    Mathis said he doesn't see anything on the horizon that would make anyone want to leave the BSC.

    "I just don't see this big, dramatic concern that if we don't win, we need to leave," he said. "I see that not as wanting a place at the table, but wanting to control."

    Mike Queen, a moderate and pastor of First Baptist Church in Wilmington, said some N.C. Baptists would like "to get some clarity about whether you have to be a SBC loyalist to be part of the Baptist State Convention."

    Queen said it's too early to say what might happen if the meeting goes one way or the other.

    "I think people will wait till after the convention and simply see where we are," he said. "I think it's premature to say what anybody's going to do."

    Sanderson pointed out that CBF Coordinator Dan Vestal had recently said CBF functions like a denomination for some churches.

    "They are a denomination," Sanderson said. "They're just afraid to call themselves a denomination."

    Sanderson said he is "not absolutely opposed" to the two sides working together in the BSC.

    "But there's no way I could work with any church that ordains women or that will endorse sins that God does not say is good," he said. "There are no good sins."

    Sanderson said the Lord loves homosexuals but hates the homosexual act.

    "What we have is black and white and people want to make it gray," he said.

    Such churches, he said, "have no business being in the N.C. Baptist State Convention."

    "If the CBF wants them, that's their choice," he said. "But I'm not going to be affiliated with them."

    Coy Privette, a well-known conservative and regional vice president of CCB, thinks the recent cuts to BSC staff positions show that the two sides need to work together. He said he believes BSC can remain unified as long as both sides stay focused on missions and evangelism.

    "If we can't work together on fulfilling the commission our Lord has given us, I don't know what will make us work together," he said.

    Privette said he thinks elections sometimes get too focused on personalities rather than the BSC's mission and ministry.

    When asked what he would say to moderates who might be thinking about leaving the convention, Privette said, "I would say to them we ought to be committed to the ultimate goal of spreading the good news and it takes all of us to accomplish that goal."

    Mark Corts, retired pastor of Calvary Baptist Church who is well known in conservative circles, also had words for moderates who might leave.

    "I would remind them that when everything didn't go conservatives' way a few pulled out, but many stayed the course and kept giving money to Lottie Moon and the Cooperative Program," he said. "I believe the days when we're forced to take sides and look at each other with accusations are passing."

    Corts said he would hate to see the BSC split.

    "That would be bad for the cause of Christ and for individual Baptists," he said.

    Buddy Corbin, a moderate and pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Asheville, said he thinks most N.C. Baptists will be paying attention to budget deliberations at the meeting. Some moderates are concerned that new churches affiliated with the CBF are having difficulty getting funding from the BSC even though some of the money is contributed through Plan C, the giving plan favored by some moderate churches.

    The BSC has given local associations heavy influence into how church starting funds are spent. A new CBF church in Hendersonville didn't get funding from the BSC because Carolina Baptist Association wouldn't approve it.

    "It's sort of a forecast of where we'll be if no churches affiliated with CBF national can share in church starting funds," Corbin said. "It's a matter of justice."

    Mathis said the BSC has a process of how new churches get funding.

    "It was rejected" for the Hendersonville church, he said. "They just have to respect that in this given situation it didn't work out."

    Corbin said a network of about 20 churches in the western part of the state is "serious about starting churches."

    "It's based on the fact that we really want to do missions without the association making us conform theologically in order to participate in our own funds," he said.

    Some moderates are also concerned that conservatives might seek to have Plan C, which sends money to CBF and not the SBC, taken out of the budget.

    Next year's BSC budget calls for a small percentage of the Plan C money to be sent to the SBC Adopt-an-Annuitant program. Some conservatives say the current plan violates the BSC's constitutional provision that the BSC cooperate with the work of the SBC.

    A committee appointed by current BSC president Jerry Pereira found that Plan C does not violate the BSC constitution.

    Mike Cummings, a conservative former BSC president, said he expects someone to challenge the budget over Plan C.

    "I don't know that, but I've got a gut feeling," he said.

    Cummings, the director of missions for Burnt Swamp Association, said he hopes that messengers will keep the giving options in the budget.

    Sanderson said Plan C doesn't bother him, but he is concerned about Hughes' proposal to decrease the money sent to the SBC through Plan A from 32 percent to 30 percent.

    "I'm totally opposed to that," Sanderson said.

    The concern over the budget is further complicated by Hughes' proposal that the BSC have a unified giving plan with churches having the option to give money to the SBC or CBF.

    Sanderson said he would like for the BSC to have one plan, but giving to CBF should not be considered Cooperative Program giving.

    "If it goes to CBF, it goes to CBF," he said. "If it goes to the SBC, then it's called Cooperative Program giving."

    Corbin said he hopes the approved budget gives consideration to everyone's values. Some moderate churches could continue to "target" their giving, designating their money to agencies, institutions and colleges that they support, he said.

    "I really believe this is an important year," Corbin said.

    Cummings said he would hate for the BSC to give moderates the impression that they are left out. He said he thinks MBNC has a heart for the BSC. People in the group are essential to the health of the BSC, he said.

    "I'd hate for us to continue to not elect somebody they're behind," he said.

    Cummings said the candidates for office this year are among the best he's seen.

    "It's possible that outstanding people like that won't divide us," he said. "I hope that's the case."

    10/24/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

    Pastors' Conference to feature old-time, contemporary flair

    October 24 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

    Pastors' Conference to feature old-time, contemporary flair | Friday, Oct. 24, 2003
  • Al Gilbert, pastor of the host church;
  • William Cashion, who directs the International Mission Board's volunteer missions efforts;
  • H.B. London, vice president for ministry outreach and pastoral ministries for "Focus On The Family"; and
  • Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark.

    Michael Blackwell, president of Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina, will be featured speaker at the Laity Conference, according to Colon Jackson, executive director of Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina.

    Ida Mae Hays, a former missionary who was recently called as pastor of Weldon Baptist Church in Weldon, will give her testimony. Other speakers include Ted and Frances York, who were missionaries to the Ivory Coast and Benin before being fired by the International Mission Board in May because they wouldn't affirm the 2000 version of the Baptist Faith and Message.

    Ted York was born and raised in Ramseur. Frances York was born and raised in Greensboro. Before going to the mission field, they served at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

    Kay Simpson, pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in Dunn, will sing at the conference.

    Jackson said the conference will be a time of "information and inspiration."

    Other meetings being held in conjunction with the BSC meeting, their times and places are:

  • N.C. Ministers Wives Conference, Nov. 10, 9:30 a.m., Angell Room, Calvary Baptist Church;
  • Christian Educators of North Carolina, Nov. 10, 10 a.m., Ardmore Baptist Church;
  • N.C. Baptist Missionary Fellowship, Nov. 10, 11 a.m., Pilot Mountain Baptist Association Resource Center;
  • Associational Missionaries, Nov. 10, 5 p.m., Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum;
  • Wake Forest University, Nov. 10, 5 p.m., Fellowship Hall, Knollwood Baptist Church;
  • Campbell University, Nov. 11, noon, Holiday Inn Select;
  • Mars Hill College Alumni, Nov. 11, 7 a.m., Holiday Inn Select;
  • Wingate University Alumni & Friends, Nov. 11, 12:30 p.m., Ramada Plaza Coliseum Hotel;
  • Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Nov. 11, 12:30 p.m., Golden Corral restaurant;
  • N.C. Baptist Historical Society, Nov. 11, 1:30 p.m., Pilot Mountain Association Resource Building
  • New Orleans Theological Seminary Alumni, Nov. 11, noon, Cactus Jack's restaurant;
  • Chowan College Dessert Reception, Nov. 11; 8:30 p.m., Winston Room, Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
  • Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

    Pastors' Conference to feature old-time, contemporary flair

    By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

    The annual N.C. State Pastors' Conference will feature an "old-time gospel" preacher and a new contemporary feel this year.

    Jerry Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., will be the final speaker at the conference on the afternoon of Nov. 10. The conference, which will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, will begin at 6:15 p.m. Nov. 9.Services on Nov. 10 start at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

    The praise team from a contemporary church in Eden will lead music.

    The Pastors' Conference is one of several events coinciding with the Baptist State Convention (BSC) annual meeting Nov. 10-12.

    The Laity Conference, which has been held the last several years by Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina, will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at College Park Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

    Falwell, who is well known for his conservative political stands, started "The Old-Time Gospel Hour" as a television outreach of his church. He also serves as chancellor of Liberty University.

    A former staunch independent Baptist, Falwell joined the Southern Baptist Convention several years ago after the denomination had completed a decidedly conservative shift.

    Steve Griffith, pastor of Osborne Baptist Church in Eden and president of the pastors' conference, said he realizes that Falwell gets some "bad press politically." But Falwell was chosen because he encourages pastors, Griffith said.

    "I think he's just a pastor at heart," Griffith said.

    Charles Billingsley, former lead singer with the group Newsong, who has released six solo albums, will sing before Falwell preaches.

    The conference theme is, "That Their Hearts May be Encouraged" from Colossians 2:2. Griffith said he hopes the conference encourages pastors.

    "It just seems to be the more I talk to pastors the more they seem to be discouraged," he said. "Most are doing a great job."

    The praise team from Griffith's church will lead much of the music during the conference. He describes Osborne as "pretty much a full-blown contemporary church."

    "So many churches have gone to that style now, especially the younger guys," Griffith said. "We wanted to let them know there's a place for them at the Pastors' Conference."

    One of the conference speakers is pastor of a contemporary church, Griffith said. Perry Duggar is pastor of Brookwood Community Church in Greenville, S.C., one of the largest churches in that state. He will preach during the morning session on Nov. 10.

    Lord Song, a singing group with a Southern gospel flavor, will provide music in that service.

    Other speakers at the conference are:

    10/24/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

    Stanley disagrees with SBC's stances on women, wives

    October 24 2003 by Mark Wingfield , Associated Baptist Press

    Stanley disagrees with SBC's stances on women, wives | Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

    Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

    Stanley disagrees with SBC's stances on women, wives

    By Mark Wingfield Associated Baptist Press

    FORT WORTH, Texas - A former conservative president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) criticized the denomination's mandate that wives should submit to their husbands and doesn't support the ban on female pastors, according to a Texas newspaper.

    Charles Stanley's comments were reported in an Oct. 18 Fort Worth Star-Telegram article. The story was based on an interview given during Stanley's visit to Texas to promote his latest book, Finding Peace: God's Promise of a Life Free from Regret, Anxiety and Fear.

    Stanley, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta, was elected SBC president at the peak of the battle between moderates and conservatives.

    His re-election victory in June 1985, when more than 45,000 messengers registered, is considered a pivotal moment in the denomination's so-called "conservative resurgence."

    Stanley told the newspaper that the section on women being submissive to their husbands is based on a misreading of Scripture, and the topic should not have been dealt with in a general statement of doctrine. "If a woman is going to be submissive, she's not going to be submissive because of the Southern Baptist Convention," he said. "It's just ridiculous."

    Even though SBC leaders have said the statement is not intended to make women "doormats," that is the impression it gives, Stanley said. "They should never have discussed the issue."

    He said a proper reading of the book of Ephesians - the main text used to justify the statement - leans more toward mutual submission. "Jesus said we are to honor one another. Submission means you should submit yourself one to another."

    Stanley disputed the prohibition on women serving as pastors based on his own experience.

    He told the paper: "Let me put it this way: I was saved by a woman preaching. I was saved at 12 years of age, and I'm still saved."

    The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message ignores the fact that in some places men are not taking responsibility for leading churches while women are, Stanley said. "You can go to India, Japan and other countries and find women are preaching the gospel. People are being saved. Lives are being changed. Big churches are growing up. Are we going to tell these women, 'You can't do that'?"

    This isn't the first time Stanley has made comments on the issue of women different from the denomination's stance. In the summer of 2000, soon after the revised Baptist Faith and Message was adopted, Stanley told a group of N.C. pastors: "There are some godly women out there. I would never say that a woman could not preach. ... You just can't put God in a box."

    Stanley backed away from that statement, saying his words had been "twisted and distorted" by the Charlotte Observer. Stanley drew a distinction between a woman being a preacher and being a pastor.

    10/24/2003 12:00:00 AM by Mark Wingfield , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

    BSC candidates hold various views

    October 17 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

    BSC candidates hold various views | Friday, Oct. 17, 2003

    Friday, Oct. 17, 2003

    BSC candidates hold various views

    By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

    The six candidates for the Baptist State Convention's (BSC) top three offices share some similarities, but also have differences, according to their responses to a series of written questions asked by the Biblical Recorder.

    The candidates were asked to answer eight questions, each in 100 words or less. The full responses of the candidates will be printed in the Nov. 1 issue of the Recorder and in a special edition that will be available at the BSC annual meeting in Winston-Salem next month.

    All six say they will in some way try to work with people on the other side of the theological aisle.

    Two of the candidates, David Horton and Brian Davis, indicated in their responses that they consider themselves conservatives. David Hughes, Raymond Earp and Ken Massey said they are moderates.

    Phyllis Foy did not indicate whether she considers herself a conservative or a moderate, but she has been endorsed by Conservative Carolina Baptists.

    Horton, pastor of Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro, decided to run for BSC president rather than seeking a second term as BSC second vice president. He said he thinks it would do the BSC good to "see some fresh faces alongside those who have served the convention so faithfully."

    "North Carolina Baptists know my track record in working with other Baptists who are different than me," Horton said. "I will work with other officers and committees to see that a variety of Baptists are represented who desire to carry on the purposes of the BSC in a manner that honors Christ."

    David Hughes, pastor of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and a candidate for BSC president, said he worked for the passage of the "shared leadership" proposal several years ago and remains committed to the idea that conservatives and moderates can work together.

    "As convention president, I will seek a balance in 'moderates' and 'conservatives' appointed for leadership," he said. "I will seek through word and deed to cultivate an environment of mutual respect and fairness."

    Earp, who is running for first vice president, said he was disappointed that the shared leadership plan failed.

    "I feel that for the sake of the convention both groups must work together to listen and to respect each other," he said. "I will work toward that goal."

    Foy, who is also seeking the office of first vice president that is now held by her husband, said she is for unity.

    "I am for anything that will bring us together, that will not cause us to take our eyes off the Lord's leadership," she said. "I believe we can accomplish far greater service together."

    Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in East Flat Rock, said he would take steps to ensure "that the most qualified and cooperative men and women in Baptist life would have opportunities to serve our convention." He also said he'd like to see younger people involved.

    Massey said he'd like to see people nominated based on their maturity and their track record of commitment to the BSC and Christ.

    "I believe we should elect persons who are willing to work across 'party lines,'" he said.

    In responses that might surprise some, all three conservative candidates indicated some level of support for Plan C, the only one of the BSC's four giving options that sends money to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Two of the moderate candidates, Hughes and Massey, indicated they would favor changes to the current system. Earp said the plans are important.

    Hughes said that even thought he has supported the giving plans in the past, the BSC's current financial crisis shows that the BSC's budget system is broken.

    "Whether in multiple plans or in one unified plan, our budget must allocate adequate funds for our state convention to address the growing needs of North Carolina Baptists and protect the right of North Carolina Baptists to give to the SBC or CBF as they choose."

    Horton said his stance on Plan C is best reflected by the report of a study committee that found that Plan C does not violate the BSC constitution.

    The committee's report was in response to a motion from last year's BSC meeting.

    Foy said she wishes N.C. Baptists could agree on a unified plan. "But if the four giving plans that we presently have, including Plan C, will keep us together, then I am for and will support them," she said.

    Earp said each church has the freedom of choice in the current system.

    Massey said that no matter how many giving plans the BSC has, its financial future will never be stronger that the trust and fairness of its polity. He said he supports the institutions that receive funding through plans B and C.

    "I also support a renewed emphasis on unified giving for mission and ministry," he said. "I believe a prayerful reduction to two plans, and possibly one, could strengthen our common work and honor our diverse convictions."

    Davis said the churches he has served have supported the BSC through plans A and D, which both send money to the SBC.

    "I have respected the decisions of the messengers to previous conventions to establish additional giving plans and will continue to respect what the messengers of future conventions decide concerning all of the plans," he said.

    When asked what recent BSC officer most closely resembles the way they would hope to serve, three candidates - two conservatives and a moderate - mentioned Greg Mathis. Mathis, who began a streak of conservative BSC presidents when he was elected in 1995, strongly supported the shared leadership plan that was designed to make it near certain that conservatives and moderates would have equal power.

    Horton, Davis and Hughes included Mathis in their response to the question.

    Horton and Davis also mentioned Mac Brunson, Mike Cummings and Jerry Pereira, the three conservative presidents elected since Mathis.

    Hughes also mentioned Mike Queen, who served as BSC General Board president while Mathis was BSC president. Their efforts to cooperate became known as the "Greg and Mike Show."

    Earp and Massey both named Queen as an officer who resembles the way they hope to serve. Earp also included Cummings, who was also known for his cooperative spirit.

    Foy said, "I would have to say my husband, Bob Foy, because I know his heart and we share the same desire to get our convention refocused on missions and discipleship and unity."

    The candidates also shared why they decided to run, what they see as the BSC biggest challenges, the reasons they think the BSC is great and the ministries they feel are "mission-critical" for the BSC.

    10/17/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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