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February 1996 Issue

In a leper colony on Tobago, an island in the Caribbean, Southern Baptist volunteer Jack Hinton, leading music for a worship service, asks the lepers to request their favorite songs. The time comes for one last song and a woman, whose back had been to the pulpit, turns around.

"I saw the most hideous face I had ever seen," says Hinton, a pastor from New Bern, NC. "The woman's nose and ears were entirely gone. Her lips had almost rotted away. She lifted a fingerless hand in the air and asked, 'Can we sing "Count Your Many Blessings"?'"

Overcome with emotion, Hinton leaves the service. Another volunteer follows him out to console him. "Jack," he says, "I guess you'll never be able to sing that song again, will you?"

"Oh yes I will," Hinton responds. "But I'll never sing it the same way again."

That story reveals the impact of the volunteer missions experience. Jack ...

The rise of feminist theology leaves most evangelicals angry and most traditional theologians edgy. "The Lord's Prayer" has — here and there — been fashioned to "The Lady's Prayer." In those circles where Mary already held worship status, she now has real clout; no longer is she the hallowed maiden in blue robes with her eyes downcast in piety. Lately she arrives in patched denim and butched hair. How does one read gender into the Godhead? Our "Father-Mother God who art in heaven," is one way to pray, say some. Or, if you want to be especially fair, "Our Parent who art in heaven." God used to seem safe from the clutches of the politically correct! No more! Who knew, when we first started calling snowmen "snowpersons," things would go this far.

In April 1993, the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology held a conference at St. Olaf's College in Northfield, Minnesota to examine the content of today's ...

My friend, Perry, is addicted to jigsaw puzzles. He loves to get with friends and have races in putting together these challenges to anybody's sanity! The bigger and more complicated the puzzle, the better. He scours stores to find puzzles on sale and buys them by the truck load. Recently, one of his puzzle-solving friends came up with a new twist. He arrived with a bag full of puzzle pieces and dumped them on the table. The challenge was that he didn't bring the box top with the picture of the completed puzzle. Therefore, they had no idea what the ultimate goal would look like. They had to put together the puzzle without knowing what the end would resemble. After innumerable hours, they finally got a border together, but by that time were so frustrated they walked off and never returned to the task at hand. When there is no "big picture" the process becomes unworkable.

As the Southern Baptist C...

For the most part, evangelical Christians have little difficulty reconciling their views on such social issues as abortion, homosexuality, and even genetic research, but agreement is much harder to attain when the discussion turns to divorce.

Whether it's because so many people, Christian or not, have had to face the ugly backwash of divorce or simply because Scripture seems to leave a little wiggle-room for interpreting God's will on the subject — there is only general agreement on divorce.

It is Not God's Ideal

Christians do agree, ethicist Norman Geisler writes in his book, Christian Ethics: Options and Issues, that divorce is not God's ideal, citing Malachi 2:16, where God says, "I hate divorce."

Most Christians also agree the reasons for divorce are not unlimited, Geisler reports, and that divorce brings with it a host of difficult problems that typically involve...

Whether the Bible provides acceptable moral grounds or not, the sad truth is that divorce is an overwhelming reality. Over one million Americans were divorced in 1992 alone. Society as a whole is doing little to slow the victims' emotional bleeding, much less the pace of marital breakups; yet, what can the church do for its own wounded?

"We need to understand that these are hurting people. That some of these people sinned and some of these people are the victims of sin. Do we differentiate? What is our goal here? Is it the redemption of sinners? Hopefully so. Is it to help hurting people to heal? Hopefully so. Are we going to respond? If so, how?" muses Steve Grissom, with DivorceCare, a recovery organization in Raleigh, NC.

"Unfortunately, it is a growing problem even in churches and most churches find it really a struggle to deal with these issues," Grissom says. He explains...

October 24, 1907 - November 28, 1995
"If I had 10,000 lives to live, I would want to be a pastor in every one of them," Hobbs wrote in his autobiography. Although Hobbs pastored many churches throughout his 69 years of ministry, he's best known for his long-standing pastorate at First Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, OK (1949-1972).

It's not uncommon today to report on 'niche' churches designed to reach the young or the unchurched. But in our rapidly fragmenting, heavy-on-the-youth-emphasis society, some say there's also a need for churches aimed at the needs of the elderly.

After nine years of searching, Hannah Baker has discovered a church where it's OK to be gray-haired and a little hard of hearing. It's a new congregation for people older than 50. The Senior Church of the Grand Strand, Columbia, SC, is drawing older people curious about a congregation geared to their needs.

"A lot of churches want our money, but then treat us like that's all we can contribute," says Baker, 72, who lives in nearby Garden City, SC, "We're older, but we're not dead."

Senior churches flourish in roughly a dozen retirement communities across the co...

At a recent conference of state evangelism directors, Morris H. Chapman spoke of the importance of evangelism, and how the Covenant for a New Century is fueled by the desire to reach the lost souls of the world.

Evangelization is the priority of the SBC restructuring, not one of its priorities. The emphasis on evangelism in the Covenant for a New Century did not happen accidentally. Evangelism is the heartbeat of Southern Baptists, and that must drive all we do.

We quote it over and over again but no verse of Scripture says it like Matthew 28:18-20, "... Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost ..."

This past summer, after four months of study, Southern Baptists chose once again to define themselves in terms of visionary reality for the 21st century. They were inspired by a vision which requires loo...

Alabama • President: Fred Lackey, pastor, FBC, Athens, AL • CP percentages: 57.7% state/42.3% SBC • Resolutions: For the biblical model of the family and against the National Education Association's pro-homosexual stance; against tobacco use and gambling
One man said he and his wife had words but he never got a chance to use his. Words are powerful. We have the power in words to edify, to give life, but too often we use words to mortify and bring death. Have you ever stolen someone's joy with words or killed someone's self-esteem with words?

As You Have Done to the Yeast of These
by Norman Miller

"We not only distribute physical food, we give away spiritual food, too. That's why we're in business to share God's Word," says Anne Grimes, who, along with her husband Bryan formed Harvest Time Foods in Ayden, NC, after a 1981 vision of a rolling pin and bread dough. From a shop under their carport to an automated facility, the Grimes produce chicken pastry more commonly known as dumplings.

Sold in 17 states, each pastry package includes a Bible verse...