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Articles by Michael Foust

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Southern Baptist Convention messengers meeting in Phoenix June 14-15 adopted an historic report encouraging ethnic diversity, witnessed dozens of leaders standing together in support of a landmark unity pledge, and saw hundreds of pastors and laypeople volunteer to lead their churches to embrace one of the world's 3,800 unengaged people groups.

It was the lowest-attended annual meeting in sixty-seven years, with just over 4,800 in attendance, but the substance of the meeting led plenty who attended to argue it shouldn't be judged on numbers.

"I do believe it could prove to be the most spiritually significant convention over the last fifty years," Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright, who was re-elected to another one-year term, told Baptist Press after the Phoenix gathering. Wright pointed to the sluggish economy and to the travel time from most SBC churches as possible reasons for the low attendance.

From beginning to end, messengers heard biblical pleas for Southern Baptists to join the church pla...

The Christian pastor’s responsibility is not to “save the world” but simply to sow the seeds of the Gospel, leaving the results to God, Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright said February 22 in a sermon he called an encouraging text for ministers—the Parable of the Sower.   Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, said it can be discouraging to watch people lose interest in the Gospel after seemingly being sold-out for Christ. But the parable, he said, makes clear that many people will accept Christ and bear fruit. Wright made the comments during an address to the SBC Executive Committee.
Southern Baptist Convention Wrap-up

With the goal of finding ways Southern Baptists "can work more faithfully and effectively" together in fulfilling the Great Commission, messengers to the Convention's annual meeting June 23-24 gave the green light to a task force to examine the denomination for one year and report back to the 2010 meeting in Orlando Florida.

Debate over the proposed Great Commission Task Force and an Internet document dubbed the "Great Commission Resurgence Declaration" had dominated pre-convention talk, with some Southern Baptist leaders backing it and others expressing concern. In the end, though, the 8,700-plus messengers at the annual meeting overwhelmingly supported the task force via a motion that gave Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt authority to appoint the panel &m...

On the Issues

Evangelical leaders say presumptive Republican nominee John McCain made significant strides toward attracting the votes of social conservatives August 16 during a presidential forum in which he and Democrat Barack Obama differed sharply on abortion, "gay rights," and the judiciary.

The two men appeared on stage separately for one hour each at Saddleback Church in California and were asked nearly identical questions by the congregation's pastor, Rick Warren. The event was dubbed "the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency."

Although some pro-family leaders had expressed concern the forum wouldn't cover hot-button social issues, those fears quickly disappeared minutes into the event when Warren, noting that there have been approximately forty million abortions since Roe v. Wade, asked Obama, "At what point does a baby get human rights?"

"I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective...

If standing ovations are any indication, the makers of Facing the Giants probably have another hit on their hands.

Sherwood Pictures' latest film, Fireproof, won't release in theaters until September 26, but it's been screened for pastors and Christian leaders all summer, and often to enthusiastic crowds. At the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis, between three to four thousand people saw the film, with many standing during the closing credits, applauding the movie's focus on a biblical view of marriage.

The plot focuses on the struggling marriage of a firefighter named Caleb (played by Kirk Cameron) and his wife, Catherine (Erin Bethea), both of whom are seeking a divorce after having fallen "out of lo...

Where They Stand on Key Social Issues

When Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic Party nominee in June, it set up a general election contest with Republican John McCain that will offer socially conservative voters two very different choices on a host of cultural issues.

A senator from Illinois, Obama is the first African-American to lead a major political party, and if elected would serve during the 150th anniversary of both the Emancipation Proclamation and the beginning of the Civil War, the war that freed the slaves.

When Obama presumably clinched the Democratic Party nomination in June, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, observed, "I think we should pause to give our country a round of applause for having nominated the first African-American candidate for president. Whether or not we can support this particular African-American candidate, I think it says something pretty great about our country, that we have nominated someone who at leas...

Southern Baptist Convention messengers meeting in Indianapolis on June 10-11 elected a new president, launched a bold initiative to share the Gospel with every person in North America by 2020, accepted a detailed report from the Executive Committee on the subject of child sexual abuse prevention, and adopted a much-discussed resolution on regenerate church membership.

Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia, was elected president on the first ballot at the annual meeting by receiving 52.94 percent of the vote in a crowded field of six candidates. Many of the approximately 7,200 registered messengers no doubt expected to witness the convention's first presidential runoff since 1982, but Hunt avoided that to become what is believed to be the denomination's first Native American president. Hunt is a Lumbee Indian, a North Carolina-based tribe.

Hunt long has been known among Southern Baptists for his passion for evangelism, discipleship, and...

Defining the identity of Southern Baptists isn't an easy task, but the latest film in the Forged by Faith DVD series seeks to do just that.

Forged by Faith: A Character of Commitment tells the story of Southern Baptists around the world and provides six examples of what makes them who they are. Just over seventeen minutes, the DVD is the third film in a series designed to help Southern Baptists better understand and appreciate their heritage and beliefs. Designed particularly for use in small group and Sunday School classes, new member classes, and special programs, the DVDS are produced by the SBC Executive Committee. Segments of each DVD can also be used for sermon illustrations and in worship services.

The first DVD in the series, Forged by Faith: The Early Years, told the story of Southern Baptists' early history, while the second DVD, Forged by Faith: One Sacred Effort, examined the Cooperative Program. Other titles are in the...

Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page called for continued prayer for a Convention-wide and nationwide revival and gave a glimpse into what he believes it would look like. Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina, made the comments during his presidential address to the Executive Committee September 17.

"As I travel around the nation and even around the world, I've had a question asked of me ... that I have sometimes fumbled in answering. 'Frank, when revival comes, what will it look like?'" Page recounted. "I've had to answer academically because I have never seen one on a nationwide scale. I can only tell you what I've heard about, what I've read about historically."

Focusing on the words of Acts 1:8 — when the Holy Spirit comes — Page said he believes a revival will have at least three key elements:

A Love for God's Word<...

Southern Baptists meeting in San Antonio on June 12-13 re-elected Frank Page as president, focused on a call for repentance, and passed a motion identifying the Baptist Faith and Message as the denomination's "only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs" while saying it's not a creed but a guide.

The pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina, Page was elected unopposed, one year after he surprised many observers by being elected on the first ballot in a three-man race. Page this year used his first presidential address to say the denomination must repent of its "hubris" and "arrogance" in order to hope for revival.

With more than 8,600 messengers in attendance, it was the first annual meeting held in San Antonio since 1988.

"For thirty years we've been trying to raise baptism levels among non-revived churches among non-revived people who've lost their passion for the lost," said Page, addin...