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September 1998 Issue

Rebekka Johnson didn’t go to Jackson, Mich. primarily to lead children to faith in Christ. She came to paint a house. But from her ministry as a World Changers volunteer for one scorching week in June, her work crew saw three neighborhood children place their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

“A lot of little kids drive by here on their bikes and they’re like, ‘Whoa, what are you guys doing?’” she said during a break from painting in the 90+-degree heat. ”... They asked, ‘Why did you come all the way here?’ And we said, ‘because we love God.’”

That expression of love for God is at the core of World Changers, a missions outreach sponsored by the North American Mission Board. Through World Changers about 13,000 volunteers this year are working with local officials in about forty cities to rehabilitate substandard housing.

Encounters such as those experienced by Johnson, a member of Crosswell Bap...

At our Convention in Salt Lake City, Southern Baptists declared as a body that we agree with Paul’s words to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33.
Lights, Camera, Action! The youth group of the First Baptist Church of Pulaski, Tenn., found themselves in the movies recently. They are the stars of a new video production that is part of the new cutting edge retreat kit, B.E.A.T. Hunger (Believers Everywhere ATtack Hunger). Retreat activities include Bible studies, direct involvement in hunger ministry, a period of fasting, and an opportunity to educate the church as to the plight of the poor and hurting. Through it, young people discover the vital need for supporting the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund and the various ways to do so.

With a vision for the “prairie fire” of spiritual awakening, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is preparing God-called men and women to reach the Heartland of America and the world with the gospel. To better accomplish that task, the Seminary has redesigned its curriculum, attracted a host of new faculty, and proposed a new megastructure to accommodate its facilities in Kansas City, Mo.

Founded in Kansas City in 1957, the Seminary was set in the Midwest in order to train ministers to take the gospel to new work areas beyond the Bible Belt. That emphasis has been renewed under the leadership of Dr. Mark Coppenger who became president in 1995. He called for development of a vision statement to match the goals of Southern Baptists in providing seminary education.

A Clear Statement

Trustees recently refined the purpose as being “to provide degree programs to educate God’s servants to biblically evangelize and congreg...

President of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

SBC LIFE Please tell us about your pilgrimage into Southern Baptist higher education, and specifically, to Midwestern.

Coppenger I’ve been around Southern Baptist higher education in one way or another for a long time, in that I’m a teacher’s kid. My dad taught at three Baptist colleges, so I grew up running around on Baptist campuses. And I’ve also been habituated to the Midwest. My mom was from Michigan. On vacation as a youth, we would always visit relatives in the Midwest. So, I have a long-term connection with Southern Baptist higher education and with the Midwest.

I got my bachelor’s degree from Ouachita, and my Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt. After teaching a year at Vanderbilt, I applied to twenty Southern Baptist colleges, but there were no openings at all. A friend of mine at Vanderbilt suggested that I apply to Wheato...

One of our local newspapers recently ran a series of articles and editorials focusing on the rise of crime in West Tennessee. Each author addressed the crime issue solely from the standpoint and perspective of economic deprivation. I read — and re-read — the articles thinking I was missing something. One approach was anthropological, another sociological, another economic — each dealing with systemic issues, which I don’t doubt for a moment exist. But missing from the articles was any sense of human responsibility. Crime was discussed without raising the issue of morality. I couldn’t believe it. Then it dawned upon me that there were diverse worldviews at work between those authors and me, the reader.

A Chinese proverb says, “if you want to know what water is, don’t ask the fish.“ Water is the sum and substance of the world in which the fish is immersed. The fish may not reflect on its own environment until suddenly it is thrust onto dry land and struggles for its life. Then it realizes water pro...

The Texas Board of Education dealt The Disney Company another setback in July when it voted to sell off about $46 million in stock in the entertainment giant. The majority in the 8-4 vote cited the sex and graphic violence in movies distributed by Miramax Films, a subsidiary of Disney, for its decision.

While the board's divestiture of all Disney stock owned by the state's education trust fund puts barely a dent in the conglomerate, the action serves as a public relations defeat for an increasingly beleaguered company that was the standard for family entertainment for decades.

The decision was based on moral and financial considerations, said a member of the board's majority.

"It doesn't make sense for the Texas State Board of Education to subsidize a company that is doing things that directly undermine the very things we're trying to accomplish ...," board member Richard Neill told Baptist Press. "They are the Jekyll and Hyde of the ent...

“Whatever happened to Baby Jane?” It’s a fair question. Push your little ones, and they make childish advances on their world — if they survive the push. We may not know who killed Jon-Benet Ramsey, but we do know that her parents forced her into Shirley Templeism. Was there not a sense of national outrage toward the parents who forced their seven-year-old to become the first child pilot? The child crashed, of course, killing both herself and her father.

Pushing children to achieve creates neurotic children who in time become neurotic adults. Neurotic adults write books like Mommy Dearest. Children do not always resent this while they are succeeding, but such children learn quite young that it’s hard to get all the fame and recognition they want in life.

How subtle is the pressure.

Take those bumper stickers that read: “My child is an honor student at Wilson Elementary.” When the bumper sticker appears on the bumper of a &r...

Staff Changes at the Executive Committee

We welcome D. August “Augie” Boto to the Executive Committee. In their June meetings, the Executive Committee elected Augie as vice president of convention policy.

His responsibilities include managing the process of review and change in the policy documents of the SBC, its Executive Committee, boards, commissions, and seminaries, including the SBC constitution, bylaws, business and financial plan and SBC entity constitutions, bylaws and charters. Boto, who previously served as administrative counsel to the Texas state prosecutors association, fills a staff opening that followed the recent retirement of Ernest E. Mosley, executive vice president.

Upon Ernest Mosley’s retirement, David E. Hankins, former vice president of convention policy, was reassigned as vice president of Cooperative Program. Among his duties will be directing the ministry of SBC Cooperative Program prom...

As a man thumbed through the automotive section of the classifieds he saw an ad he couldn’t believe. “Almost new Jag, loaded, $200.” Thinking it was a misprint he called the number. Sure enough the almost brand new Jaguar was loaded and only had 300 miles on it. The woman verified the price and said the first one to her house gets the car. He got there as quickly as he could and was the first one there. He looked at the car in mint condition and thought there must be something wrong with it.

He asked, “Ma’am, is it really $200?” She paused and then said, “That might be too much. I’ll let you have it for $99.50.” He said, “I’ll take it but I’d feel guilty if I didn’t tell you it’s worth $50,000. Why would you sell it to me for only $99.50?” She said, “My husband ran away with his secretary last week. He just sent me a telegram from Hawaii telling me to sell the Jag and send him the money ... and that...