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Southern Baptists interpret Christ's words about partaking of his blood and body symbolically and treat communion as such, though with equal importance. Lutherans believe that the body and blood of Christ co-exist with the elements of the bread and wine, a doctrine known as consubstantiation. Among other denominations, the interpretations vary. "We believe it's more than symbolic because Jesus says, 'This is my body.' He didn't say, 'This is a symbol of,'" said Rev. Buzz Barrett, pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Birmingham near Oxmoor Valley. But Barrett said the church stops short of saying it actually becomes Christ's body and blood. Baptists and Methodists use grape drink instead of wine, a practice that developed from the 19th-century temperance movement said Bill Leonard, religion professor at Samford University. ... For example, in the 1925 edition of the Baptist Faith and Message, the Southern Baptist confession of faith, the words "bread" and "wine" were used in connection with communion. In 1965, wine was changed to "fruit of the vine." - William C. Singleton III, "Communion practice varies among churches," The Birmingham (AL) News

 

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(Chris Robeson is the Howard Payne student whose humble request for prayer marked the beginning of revival at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood, TX.)

Meanwhile, Robeson's telephone keeps ringing as church and campus leaders try to figure out what is happening. Some may fear that these services are echoes of a talk-show culture obsessed with emotional grandstanding. Others are anxious to see evidence of changed lives, including service in evangelism and missions. "There has to be more to this than a kind of spiritual one-night stand," said Robeson. "I want to see this last. In two or three years, I'd like to be able to look on all of this and say, 'Yes, that was a real revival.'" - Terry Mattingly, "Campus revivals: Texas university event spurs services around the nation," Knoxville News-Sentinel

 

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The Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention re-ported last year that a number of people who called themselves Christians couldn't say who preached the Sermon on the Mount. Moreover, increasing numbers of people say they had no religious training in their lives. - Lee Moriwaki, "Whither religious training future," Seattle (WA) Times

 

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Going on, even if it took a splash of sacrilege, was (bridal consultant Kathy) Stith's No. 1 goal the night the bride in a hot satin dress fainted in a local Roman Catholic parish. "All I could find was holy water," said Stith, a Southern Baptist who has since learned the meaning of water normally used in blessings and baptisms, except in this case: "I used holy water to revive her." - Ken Garfield, "The bridal path is sometimes rocky," Charlotte (NC) Observer

 

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Navajo Indians and the Christian folk of Gallup, New Mexico, have united to demand change along a road they call the Devil's Highway. Route 666, cursed with what the Bible calls "the number of the Beast," runs for 200 miles from southern Utah to northern New Mexico through the Navajo Reservation. It is broad, straight and recently resurfaced, but the scene of dozens of drunk-driving deaths and unsolved hit-and-runs. Survivors blame them on the Antichrist. ...Years of letter-writing by tribal representatives and Gallup's Southern Baptists failed to persuade the New Mexico Highway and Transportation Department to change the road number. Then, two years ago, a visitor from Indianapolis complained to Dan Coats, an Indiana senator and born-again Christian. - Giles Whittell, "U-turn lies ahead on 'satanic' Route 666," The London Times

 

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The city (Atlanta) holds onto its Southern Baptist heritage by keeping liquor stores closed on Sunday but loosens the grip enough to allow a huge nude dancing industry to thrive. - An Associated Press report, "Heart of the South waits for the world," The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)

 

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In an extraordinary deal, the ousted leader of a large Charlotte church (Calvary Church) will receive his present salary of about $100,000 for the next year and at least $50,000 a year after that for the rest of life. If the Rev. Ross Rhoads, 63, dies before his wife, Carol, she gets half of what he had coming for the rest of her life. ... Church consultant Marvin Myers of Fort Worth, TX, said the severance package for pastors and other church personnel averages less than six months' salary. "Great day!" said Myers, a Southern Baptist preacher who directs the national Association of Church Business Administrators. "Man, he (Rhoads) negotiated a package that's unbelievable. I never heard anything of that magnitude." - An Associated Press report, "Minister gets lifetime severance package," Raleigh (NC) News and Observer

 

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The Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board in the last year and a half has spent about $1.5 million on hunger, shelter and medical relief in Bosnia, a spokesman for the denomination's agency said. One 70-member Baptist congregation near Zagreb in Croatia has helped feed more than 5,000 for an extended time, the board's Roger Miller said. Warfare has crippled agriculture in large parts of the former Yugoslavia. Faced with starvation, "They had to eat their seed," said Miller, the board's associate area director for Europe. So the Foreign Mission Board has sent over 150 metric tons of seed. Farmers who got the seed "brought in part of the harvest to feed some of the refugees," he said. "One of the victims of the war we don't hear about is the livestock which has been killed," Miller said. The Foreign Mission Board set aside $100,000 and "we brought in a veterinarian to help get the cattle replenished. One of the Muslim women said to us, 'Why are you Christians here when people of our own faith are not?'" - Peter Bacque, "'Immense tragedy' in Bosnia stirs emotions here," Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch

 

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District Attorney Robert Schwartz said he did nothing improper by attending a friend's private bachelor party that featured a stripper who would be busted two months later during a police sting. "I've never adopted a Southern Baptist platform," said Schwartz of Albuquerque. "I didn't think we'd be making a quilt and baking cookies. That's not what usually happens at a bachelor party," he said. - An Associated Press report, "DA defends being at bachelor party featuring stripper," The Denver (CO) Post

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November 1995 Edition
Volume 4, Issue 2
November 1995