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April 1996 Issue

The members of the Implementation Task Force (ITF) are charged with developing plans which turn the vision of the Covenant for a New Century into a fully functioning reality. Provided messengers to the 1996 Southern Baptist Convention approve changes in Bylaw 15, which defines SBC entities, the Task Force is then responsible for ensuring implementation of the transition plan. The Task Force is diligently working on the plan, and, in a series of interviews, SBC LIFE asked ITF representatives to give readers a view of the planning process.

Bill Hogue is the retired executive director of the California state convention and made the original motion to explore struct...

Should We Care if It's Offensive to Seekers?
The public invitation conceived by Separate Baptists in the late 1700s has throughout this century been one of the trademarks of Southern Baptist churches across the country. The Separate Baptists, who preceded Southern Baptists, were moderate Calvinists who believed that sinners may freely choose or refuse life in Christ. Their belief aroused a zeal for evangelism, and Separate Baptists are thought to have extended altar calls even before Charles Finney popularized the public invitation during the revival era of the 1800s.
Deaf musicians inspire though they can't hear singing

When they sing the praises of the Lord, Mark and Beth Mitchum may touch the hearts of their hearers even though they can't hear the words of the music they perform. Yet, Mark says, "We're not disabled and we don't have disabilities. We just can't hear. People who are disabled are the ones who aren't willing to understand deaf people. God called us to minister to the deaf people." Which is why the Mitchums began Heartland Ministries as a way to communicate a simple fact: Jesus loves deaf people.

In the past few years God has expanded their ministry to include hearing audiences. Beth, referring to the effects of sin on a life, calls them "people who are crippled on the inside." The couple's sign language-singing is set to recorded tunes by Christian artists such as Steve Green, Babbie Mason and the Gaither Vocal Band. One song, recorded on a 44-minute music video, "Songs Alive in Chicago," asks the hearer to find peace for an "...

While new Women's Study Bible is the handiwork of evangelical women from many denominations and cultures, its editor and many of its contributors are Southern Baptist. "The only thing I was interested in was a really unique product that would draw women into the Word of God," says the study Bible's Editor Dorothy Patterson, who, as well as being a professor at Southeastern, is also wife to the seminary's president, Paige Patterson. Janice Meier, Old Testament professor at New Orleans Seminary and a consulting editor for the study Bible, says, "While it contains a wealth of general information in the annotations and its descriptive portraits of biblical women, the study Bible is rich in its far-ranging topical notes on subjects such as femininity, the biblical concept of womanhood, battered wives, parenting and the like."

Managing Editor Rhonda Kelley, also a professor at New Orleans and the wife of that seminary's new president, says, "These character sketches of the major and minor women in the Bible are visually set apart with cross ...

It's Wednesday night, and just before prayer meeting you spot some visitors to the church. After introducing yourself, one of the visitors says the church he came from taught that you should walk in holy fear of losing your salvation. "I hear you Baptists believe in 'once-saved-always-saved.' Where'd you get an idea like that." You graciously respond with the following illustration:

When I was a child, a neighbor lad gave me his pet squirrel for the very good reason that his mother had told him to get it out of the house! My parents spoke with his parents, and agreed to the gift. I was quite thrilled with my new possession and greatly enjoyed the animal until the same kind and generous neighbor lad came back three days later and...

A Little Imagination Opens Gospel Doors

Does knocking on doors make your hands shake? Does street witnessing turn your knees to mush? Then let your imagination run wild for spreading the Gospel of Christ as illustrated by the following vignettes.

The Gospel Taxi moves across the country

Claude Frazier, a doctor in Asheville, NC, is trying to share the Gospel with the whole world via taxi. He's made it about halfway to the West Coast, and has his sights set on the rest of the world. No, he's not driving the taxi, rather he's putting Gospel tracts into as many of them as possible. "Many people don't go to church, but they ride in a lot of taxi cabs." Frazier started Scripture Taxi Ministry, an organization which helps churches and other Christian groups place evangelical materials in the backseats of taxis. It's not pushy or aggressive -- just available. And Frazier says it works. One man in Atl...

Does God bless a church financially in proportion to the amount it gives to support missions through the Cooperative Program? In the case of First Baptist Church, Bay Minette, AL, the answer is a resounding "Yes," according to pastor Henry Cox.

During Howard Stern's recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the obnoxious display by American radio's leading bad boy far surpassed his typical egocentric shtick ... To support the claim that his new tome is "the fastest-selling book in the history of books," Stern held up a Bible and announced, "The Gideon Company is now putting my book in the place of Bibles in hotels." An incensed Leno responded by holding up the Bible his guest brought as a prop and saying, "Howard, something horrible is going to happen to you .... This book will strike you down as you go down the road. It will go through the windshield and pierce your heart. I am sounding like an evangelist now, but I predict that's what will happen suddenly, all that is in this book is making perfect sense to me," Leno concluded .... Without boycotts or legislation, the incessant...

In the search for truth about biblical financial principles, I've found it helpful to suggest reference materials as a study resource. Naturally, the word of God is our primary resource: God owns it all and it should not surprise us that His word instructs us about managing His wealth for His glory. Following is a list of additional resources that encourage families to be more responsible as stewards of the resources entrusted to them. Remember this word of caution: until we internalize godly insights and apply them in our daily living, whatever knowledge we gain acts as only another source of frustration.


The Financial Planning Workbook
Larry Burkett

It's a confusing world. Have you looked around lately? Boys want to be girls, girls want to be boys, Michael Jackson and Madonna want to be both. Can you remember when picking a member of the opposite sex was not a multiple choice matter? Can you remember when women wore gloves and dentists didn't? Can you believe that you can get the same graduation present for both male and female earrings!

Teenagers are confused, and adults are just as confused. Most adults don't know what they want to do with their lives. Maybe that's why they're always asking kids, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" They're looking for ideas!

Where do you look for help? People look to churches, but even some of them are confused. I heard of a church the other day that, instead of a steeple topping its building, had a question mark. Maybe people g...

Baptists Called to Action as Watchtower Comes to NC

Former Jehovah's Witness George Kesterson doesn't mince words about his previous faith. "Our hope is to put the Watchtower out of business in Salisbury," says Kesterson of his new work in the North Carolina town. As director of Watching the Watchtower, he trains Southern Baptists and other church members about Witness beliefs and teachings. Last year, Jehovah's Witnesses opened an assembly hall in Salisbury -- an 88,000-square-foot facility that serves as a regional training center for 367 Jehovah's Witness congregations in six states. Kesterson responded with a campaign to educate residents and an inters...