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February 1997 Issue

The inaugural service for Charles S. Kelley, Jr. as he officially became the eighth president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on Tuesday morning, Oct. 29, was, more than anything else, a time of worship.

"We have come into His house and are gathered in His name to worship Christ the Lord," said C. Ferris Jordan as he welcomed representatives from fellow academic institutions in the Association of Theological Schools and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, seminary trustees, executives from Southern Baptist Convention agencies, Kelley family members and local dignitaries, as well as the faculty, staff, and students of New Orleans Seminary and others.

"This is a time when we reaffirm our commitment to ... the Lord of this school, and when we acknowledge Dr Kelley as the servant leader who is serving under the lordship of Jesus Christ," said Jordan, chairman of the inaugural committee and professor of adult education at NOBTS since 19...

A Trek to Give Thanks to God and Hope for the Hurting

Ted Stone, motivational speaker and a leader in the national fight against drug abuse, concluded his 3,600-mile walk across America on November 19, more than eight months after its start.

He was met in Los Angeles by a representative of the mayor, who presented the Durham, N.C., native a certificate of commendation on the steps of city hall recognizing his "historic walk across America from the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to his final destination on the West Coast in an effort to help our nation win the war on drugs."

Stone's cross-country trek has been compared to the exploits of the movie character, Forrest Gump, with one glaring difference. In the movie, Gump, when asked the reason for his travels on foot across the country, could give no explanation. Stone, however, was walking with a definite goal in mind.

"I have a dream," he told listeners in over 200 speaking engagements as he first hiked south to Jacksonville, Fla., ...

Evangelicalism Defined: Doctrine and Experience

A necessary first step in any discussion of the evangelical nature of the church is to explain the meaning of the word evangelical.

Evangelicals are defined both theologically and in terms of religious experience. These categories broadly approximate the Formal Principle, (sola scriptura) and Material Principle, (sola fide) of the Reformation.

Evangelicals are theologically orthodox. We accept the teaching of Scriptures as normative. We believe in the Trinity, the deity of Christ, His incarnation, substitutionary atonement, and bodily resurrection. We believe in justification by faith, the bodily return of Jesus Christ, and other essential elements of historic Christianity.

Evangelicals also profess to a religious conversion that is described by the phrase "born again" and are genuinely interested in leading others to the same ki...

What does the Book of Beginnings mean for people of faith today? Bill Moyers presented his "Genesis A Living Conversation" on PBS television last fall. As the title indicates, each of its ten programs centered on a lively discussion among academics and artists on a selected story in Genesis. It was "living" as the panel members related the biblical story to their own experiences of faith and work.

It is a sign of continuing religious vitality that PBS gave ten hours to a discussion of the Bible's first book. Despite the plunge of moral standards in American popular culture, our nation remains a very religious one and something of a revival of religious interest may be underway. The irony is that the American public has become increasingly illiterate about the Bible.

Genesis, of course, is ideally suited for multicultural dialogue since it is honored by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Also, Genesis' creation and family accounts have been common ...

Some states stipulate "preferred items," such as annuity support for pastors, paying for them before they make the percentage cut to the Southern Baptist Convention. Since these funds do not come to the SBC for CP distribution, they are not counted as part of the national Cooperative Program. ALABAMA • President: Leon Ballard, pastor, York Baptist Church, York, AL • CP percentages: 42.3% / 57.7% • Resolutions: On burning of African-American Churches; opposing gambling; opposing abortion • Noteworthy: Approved a Covenant of Trust between Samford University and the Convention
Five Southern Baptists Listed as Key '40-and-Younger' Leaders

We are intrigued by the future, particularly in times of great change. "What will the future be?," "Will it be positive or negative?," and "Who are the people who will cause it to be as it will be?" Questions about the outlook for evangelicalism in the next century simulated a well-known evangelical journal to attempt to identify those young men and women most likely to impact it, and most expected to assure its positive future.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., R.-Okla., are among five Southern Baptists named by Christianity Today as "Up & Comers, 50 Emerging Christian Leaders, 40 and Younger."

Other Southern Baptists named to the list are Daniel L. Akin, Southern Seminary's vice president for academic administration and dean of the school of theology; David P. Gushee, ethics professor at Union University a Baptist-related college in Jackson, Tenn.; and ...

After months of thoughtful study and dialogue with consultants and a wide range of Southern Baptist leaders, the Implementation Task Force has formulated an organizational model for the North American Mission Board. In pursuing its assignment to implement all necessary organizational revisions required by the Covenant for a New Century, the ITF considered structures which delineated the work around geographical regions or which emphasized primary customers (constituencies) or products as the starting point. Committee members were acutely aware of the importance of selecting the best model for the organization. Ted Warren, chief operating officer of the Baptist Sunday School Board and ITF member, said, "No company or organization has a more noble or meaningful mission than the local church and the agencies which seek to assist them."

After considering the alternatives, ITF members determined that the most effective method of organization for NAMB was a process model. This approach begins with the mission statement and builds the organization around the processes (tasks or activities) that contribute to accomplishing that mission. It is a m...

Jaci Velasquez doesn't have a boyfriend. In fact, she doesn't even date. But she's given her wedding a whole lot of thought.

"I just plan my wedding all the time," Jaci says. "Probably about 20 times a month."

Her ideas about dresses, flowers, and colors for her wedding are constantly changing. That's OK, since Jaci's only 17 years old. But one thing isn't changing about the young recording artist's plans — she's going to remain sexually pure until that time.

"I have a friend in Michigan who's 14, and she and her baby both have full-blown AIDS," Jaci says. "You look at that and it makes you realize there's something definitely wrong. It could have been avoided. It didn't have to happen."

That tragedy prompted Jaci to write "I Promise," one of the songs on her debut album on Myrrh Records, A Heavenly Place. It's a song about her pledge to God to rema...

Free Trips Could Cost More Than Expected

Pastors should be alert to the dangers of accepting free trips to family conferences sponsored by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

"The True Family Values Ministry" program of The Unification Church (UC) of Rev. Sun Myung Moon sponsored a series of all-expense paid weekend conferences in Washington, D.C., in October, November, and December 1996, entitled "Empowering Christianity Through True Family Values." The conferences were paid for by grants from The Washington Times (newspaper) Foundation and the International Religious Foundation. Both organizations are owned by the UC. The conference seminars are advertised to help pastors, laypeople, and educators learn how to build stronger families based on biblical principles.

A quick glance at the promotional literature, however, indicates they are designed to introduce people to UC doctrines. For example, two seminars are entitled "Divine Principle" and 'View of the Principle of the Providential History of Salvation." Both titles clearly reflect Rev. Moon's distorted version of Christianity, which points to him as "Lord of the Second Advent."

T...

Hooray for the "V-Chip!" It could be the yellow brick road back to Gilligan's Island. Remember back when you could turn on your television without a remote control? Ricky Ricardo would be saying, "Lucy you can no sing wid my Ban ..." or the Skipper on Gilligan's Island would be saying, "Hey little buddy, what's up?"

The Enterprise on every episode was lurching through force fields and the transporter was always jammed with incoming Klingons because Scotty was out of dilithium crystals. Those were the days!

Well, the V-Chip is coming at last. Purveyors of network style morality which has been corrupting our nations children for a couple of decades are pretty steamed up.

"It's all vanilla now," recently lamented Peter Lord of CBS Television. Ted Turner (in USA Today, March 1) who has been eating well off the profits of his mega-empire, said it could mean that TV would...

The team was in the middle of a terrible losing streak, the manager called a meeting and said, "There will be two buses leaving the hotel for the ballpark tomorrow. The two o'clock bus will be for those of you who need a little extra work. The empty bus will be leaving at five o'clock." In other words, they all needed a little extra work. That's the way it is with men, too. We need to put in some extra effort, especially on Valentine's Day.

It is not hard to find evidence that men have some shortcomings. Recently, without even trying very hard, I found three telling examples from the news. The first example was about a basketball coach who admitted to being "a little bit too focused." He said when his young son was three, he took him to the barbershop with him so they could both get a haircut. While the coach was getting his haircut he started focusing on a ball game that was on TV and he continued to think about it as he went home. Two hours later,...

Reliable Counselor?

Millions of readers, including not a few Christians, look into their daily papers for counsel and advice on life. Care and discernment are required to avoid the "wisdom" that is called "foolish" by God. Ann Landers was asked this question recently: "Do you believe in a Heaven and a Hell?." Showing her lack of depth, Aim began her reply thus: "It's a subject I haven't given much thought."

Does this sound like one who recognizes all the dimensions of life and of human longing? Should one take advice from another who has not given "much thought" to the eternal? In Hosea 4:6, God is said to lament, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Not only should we give "much thought" to eternal questions, we should, as ambassadors of Christ, give voice to those eternal answers contained in the Word of Go...