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Articles by Tammi Reed Ledbetter

Found 10 Articles by Tammi Reed Ledbetter

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The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is facilitating connection points for churches to do intentional personal evangelism in the Dallas-Fort Worth area before the June 12–13 annual meeting.

"Getting serious doesn't mean you adopt something," Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt said in his presidential message June 23 at the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

Anticipating discussion on his call for a task force to study how Southern Baptists can more effectively serve Christ through the Great Commission, Hunt asked pastors to recognize "there's gold in them there pews," and to gain a vision for what God's people can do if yielded to Him.

"Talk is cheap. So we're not here to get anything adopted," Hunt insisted during the SBC's opening session. Instead, he said, "It's about all of us, starting with the local church, taking a look to see if we're doing the best we've ever done in our lifetime to...

The enthusiastic response that messengers at the SBC annual meeting in June gave to a Cooperative Program report envisioning "what more we could do" is being embraced by many state Baptist conventions this fall.

Several states like Louisiana and Arizona are embracing the CP Advance Plan that moves their conventions toward giving an increasing percentage of receipts to SBC missions causes. Others like Utah-Idaho, while not overtly embracing the CP Advance Plan, are incrementally increasing the portion for SBC ministries while some like Colorado are motivating their churches to move toward giving at least 10 percent of undesignated gifts through the Cooperative Program.

Last spring, an Ad Hoc Cooperative Program Committee recommended a CP Advance Plan whereby state conventions commit to allocating half of CP receipts over and above their budgets to SBC national and international missions and ministries. Instead of suggesting an annual incremental increase or a cer...

Texas pastor Jack Graham, in his president's address at the 146th annual meeting of the 158-year-old Southern Baptist Convention, June 17, told messengers he knew he was stating the obvious.

"If we are going to make a difference, we, of course, must be different," he said, challenging Southern Baptists to represent Christ to a decaying culture.

Citing a familiar passage from Matthew 5:13-16 about Christians being "salt and light," Graham recounted Jesus' description of how a citizen of the Kingdom of God is to live.

While it may be difficult to define the Kingdom, it is essential to demonstrate the Kingdom, he stated, referring to this year's convention's theme — Kingdom First. And although the concept is commonly understood by Southern Baptists, Gra...

A Book Review

Two Southern Baptist scholars have teamed up to offer a comprehensive analysis of the world's second-largest religion. Their presentation of the practices, ethics, and beliefs of Islam is more than an academic recitation of the differences between Christianity and Islam. It's the story of two brothers' conversion from the religion of their childhood to a living relationship with Jesus Christ.

Unveiling Islam is a new release from Kregel Publications intended to educate readers about Islam and provide a practical strategy Christians can use to open a productive dialogue with Muslims. Ergun M. Caner, assistant professor of theology and church history at Criswell College in Dallas, and Emir F. Caner, assistant professor of church history and Anabaptist studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., admit that the work was far from "a labor of love."

Raised in a strict Muslim home, the Caner boys admired their Turkish f...

A Review

While most Christians can readily recite the Lord's Prayer, Ken Hemphill offers a guide for using the prayer as a pattern throughout each day. In The Prayer of Jesus, Hemphill describes Matt. 6:9-13 as "an ongoing prayer outline" that equips the believer to "pray without ceasing."

Hemphill is quick to admit having struggled to develop consistent prayer life. "You'd think if anyone would have a handle on prayer, it would be a preacher turned seminary president," says the leader of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

After describing reasons that prayer doesn't seem to work for many Christians, Hemphill deals with each phrase in Jesus' model of an effective prayer. Near the end of ninety-four pages of study, he offers practical suggestions for applying every word of the prayer of Jesus, focusing on the attributes and provisions of God.

By studying The Prayer of Jesus with another Christian, pertine...

Toward Biblical Balance

As wonderful as grace is, it has provoked some of the most heated controversies in the history of the Christian church, historian and theologian Timothy George writes in the preface of Amazing Grace, a study guide for the recent Southern Baptist doctrinal study.

George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., strives to offer more of a devotional than academic study of the complex yet basic facet of Christian faith, believing that "God's grace should provoke wonder and worship among all God's children."

While George admits that he approaches a study of grace from the perspective of a Baptist who is a Reformed theologian, his LifeWay Press book is drawing attention from a range of Southern Baptists, including those who oppose Calvinism and many who endorse George's view of historical Baptist theology.

"Amazing Grace is perhaps the best balance of the tension between freedom and s...

In his address before the Southern Baptist Convention meeting at the Louisiana Superdome, SBC President James Merritt urged the 16-million-member denomination to make sure they fight the right battles.

"There are battles raging outside of this arena, and we need to be on the frontlines," Merritt said in his president's address June 12, referring to attacks on the institution of marriage, sanctity of life, and sacredness toward God, as well as the battle for the souls of men and the very survival of society.

He drew from the illustration of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans when a collection of American volunteers commanded by Andrew Jackson successfully held off an attack from twice as many British soldiers, saving the strategic port city to hold control of the Mississippi.

"But there was only one problem," Merritt explained. "The battle was really not worth fighting. Unbeknownst to Jackson, the war had ended two weeks earlier when the...

Comprehensive Report Does Not Sustain Inflated Statistics

Fewer than one-tenth of one percent of the 41,099 Southern Baptist churches have a woman serving as senior pastor, according to a study by Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Messengers to this year's convention in Orlando revised the denomination's statement of beliefs to specify a conviction that the office of pastor is to be held by a male. In reality, that is the practice of 99.92 percent of the local congregations.

Citing I Timothy 2:9-14, among other Bible passages, the new Baptist Faith and Message states, "While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture."

"This study confirms what we have known both by intuition and experience," stated Bill Merrell, vice president for convention relations with the SBC Executive Committee and editor of SBC LIFE. "There are no surprises in it whatsoever."

Merrell emphasized the commitmen...

As Southern Baptists prepare to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Cooperative Program, an added facet of co-operation is emerging as a cause for celebration.

Southern Baptist Convention agencies have heightened their sharing of resources and services in seeking to fulfill Christ's Great Commission for evangelizing and discipling the world's masses, at a time when Southern Baptists' giving through the Cooperative Program has set yearly records in support of the convention's worldwide endeavors.

The inter-agency cooperation stems from a recognition that some of an agency's assignments from the SBC dovetail with another agency's assignment. A number of the North American Mission Board's evangelistic concerns, for example, may best be administered through Sunday school ministries, to which the SBC has assigned LifeWay Christian Resources (formerly the Sunday School Board) responsibility in assisting churches.

The new FAITH initiative, thus, ties o...