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April 2000 Issue

Southern Baptists Crossing Ethnic Lines

Declaring that "the day is over" when the Southern Baptist Convention is "a white Anglo Saxon denomination," Paige Patterson said he hopes that within five years the SBC will elect its first ethnic president.

"I believe, deep down in my heart, with all my soul that the future of the Southern Baptist Convention has to be a multi-racial, multi-ethnic future, or quite frankly, it has no future," Patterson said during the North American Mission Board's second annual Ethnic Presidents Roundtable Conference held Feb. 1-2 on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.

Patterson, president of the SBC and Southeastern Seminary, and Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board, Alpharetta, Ga., met with representatives of more than a dozen ethnic fellowships within the SBC in an effort to increase ethnic involvement and representation in the nearly 16 million-member denomin...

Hostility Toward Southern Baptist Evangelism

Evangelicals have taken a beating in recent months and years for their definitive spiritual priority of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the leader of the North American Mission Board's efforts to reach the nation's cities with the gospel.

"When we hear that we're accused of hate crimes, evangelicals are legitimately shocked," said Phil Roberts, vice president for NAMB's strategic cities strategies group. "When we are accused of being bigots, or being intolerant, or expressing hatred towards people, we're obviously put in a situation where we're looking around saying, 'Whom are they talking about?'"

Roberts presented a paper titled, "Are Evangelism, Apologetics, and Mission Work Hate Crimes?" at a Feb. 18-20 conference in Denver. The conference - which addressed the theme, "Postmodernism and Spirituality: Do the Pieces Fit?" - was sponsored by Evangelical Ministries to New Religions....

Please add the items below to your church's prayer list and pray for them on a regular basis:

• Pray for 1 million people to come to Christ and be baptized this year through the ministries of our Southern Baptist congregations and missionaries.

• Pray for the pastors and the ministries of sister churches in your association and state.

• Pray for your Southern Baptist missionaries. Pray for their protection, empowerment and for God's provision as they serve the Lord, and you, on the mission field. (Missionary Moments is an excellent resource for this and is available through your state CP office.)

• Pray God will call out laborers from your congregation.

• Pray for the leadership of your association, state convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.

• Pray for the leaders of The International Mission Board (IMB), The North American Mission Board (NAMB), The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), your six seminaries, The Annuity Board, Woman's Missionary Union (WMU), LifeWay Christian Resources, and other SBC entities.

• Pray for...

Chuck Colson on the SBC's Controversial Positions

When thousands of Southern Baptists converge on Chicago and Phoenix this summer to share their personal faith in Jesus Christ, they will have a supporter in fellow Southern Baptist Charles Colson. "I have a very firm opinion on that matter," the noted evangelical author and founder of Prison Fellowship said. "I fully support the efforts of the Southern Baptist Convention as they pray for the conversion of Jews and Muslims."

"This is one of the fundamental commands of Jesus Christ to go into all the nations and preach the gospel and baptize," Colson added.

However, many religious and non-religious groups have accused Southern Baptists of intolerance and religious "bigotry." Schmuley Boteach, executive director of the Oxford L'Chaim Society, went so far as to categorize the Southern Baptist evangelism efforts as "spiritual racism."

Boteach unloaded that accusation during a heated discussion of SBC evangelism ef...

Questions, Confessions, and Observations from a Christian Psychologist

What makes Christian counseling "Christian?" Is it Christian because the counselor is a Christian? Is it Christian if she/he prays with or for the patient? Is it Christian if he quotes a few Bible verses? Is it Christian if he encourages you to pray, or go to church, or read your Bible? Is it Christian if the counselor quotes, or recommends, or relies upon Dobson, Crabb, Minirth, or Meier?

St. Paul was thoroughly and radically convinced that Christ's incarnation ("Christ in you, the hope of glory." Col. 1:27) and His work on the cross were an exploding, eternal display of God's power and wisdom (I Cor. 1:18-2:5). He struggled and longed for his sheep to understand and know this "Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge ... so that no one may deceive you with plausible arguments ... see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human ...

In a modern twist to the parable of the Good Samaritan, First Baptist Church of Orlando, Fla., will provide free housing for pastors, ministerial staff and missionaries attending this June's Southern Baptist Convention.

The "Good Samaritan Inn" will rely on members of the congregation willing to open their homes to qualifying messengers and their families between June 10-15.

To qualify, applicants must be current or retired ministerial staff or missionaries. They also must forward a letter from their church verifying their status and messenger credentials.

Pastors can sign up by e-mailing a message to GoodSamaritanInn@fbcorlando.org or by leaving a voice mail message at (407) 514-4411. The church plans to add on-line registration; check its Internet site - www.fbcorlando.org - for details. The deadline to apply is April 15.

This option is for housing only and does not include transportation or food. The number of spaces available has not...

Part 2 of an Interview with Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston lived the homosexual lifestyle for several years before yielding control of his life to the Lord. However, during that time he contracted the AIDS virus. He is the founder and president of Kerusso Ministries, which is dedicated to declaring the biblical truth about homosexuality and opposing the cultural agenda of the homosexual movement.

SBC LIFE What are the most prominent and destructive myths about homosexuality that are currently being spread in the nation?

Johnston One is that homosexuality is "gay," that it is happy and fulfilling. Now, we must be careful when we talk to folks about how miserable their lives are because the Bible says, "Sin has its pleasure for a time." But why are these men and women pursuing homosexuality? They're pursuing it because it's giving them something, wheth...

It happened when he was in fourth grade. Clay Crosse was at a friend's house hanging out after school. Crosse said he remembered the events of that afternoon like it was yesterday. "My friend's dad had these magazines and we looked at them. It was amazing to me. It was shocking. I was just a kid, and I knew that I wasn't supposed to be looking at this stuff, but I did," Crosse said.

That afternoon, visions of pornography were burned into his eyes, and more than twenty years later, the popular Christian musician discovered his ministry and his relationships were becoming clouded by a sin that he kept hidden from the world. Now, Crosse said it's time to share his struggle with pornography to the body of Christ.

"It's been heavy on my heart," Crosse said in an interview with Baptist Press. "I'm not the kind of guy who can be a public figure and put on a happy face when something is so pressing on my heart. So I just want to be...

Millions of Americans Observing the National Day of Prayer

This year, America will celebrate its forty-ninth National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 4. In the past, more than 20,000 prayer events have taken place across the country. Millions of Americans gather in churches, schools, courthouses, prisons, and a variety of other locations to pray for the nation and its leaders.

"Our hope for America as we press into the new millennium is rooted in reverence for God and our dependence on His continued blessing and guidance," says Shirley Dobson, chairman of the National Day of Prayer. "That expression of faith inspired our founding fathers at the birth of this nation, and it will be our strength in the days ahead."

The theme for 2000 is "PRAY2K: America's Hope for the New Millennium" and is based on Romans 12:12, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (NIV)

On May 5, 1988, the 100th Congress of the United States passed a bill, signed by President Ro...

Perhaps it is that loathsome act of allurement and betrayal that has led us to have such a high disregard for snakes. Who could like them? I once wrote a children's poem celebrating the low esteem we all feel for them:

Snakes have a bad reputation.
It's what they deserve, after all!
Some rattle their tails,
Some fan out their necks,
Some hang in the trees,
Where you'd never suspect.
But they all crawl around,
And look sneaky and snakey.
Snakes prove that it's hard,
To like anyone,
Who lies in the grass,
And sticks out his tongue.
(Calvin Miller, Apples, Snakes and Bellyaches, p. 122)

Hildegard of Bingen was born in 1098 at Bermersheim near Mainz. Nine centuries later she has come into a new focus of mystical scholarship, and I must confess that I am taken with her walk of faith. To be sure it is less Southern Baptist than many would like, with her poems and hom...

Wholesome Role Models?

Two teachers in Broward County, Florida were suspended without pay last fall for performing lewd acts in a sex club. Both teachers were arrested in sheriff's office raids on the club, and the school board immediately voted to suspend the teachers indefinitely without pay. According to media accounts, however, public outcry in protest of the severity of the punishment arose so vehemently that the school board reversed itself just two weeks later so that the teachers remained within the public school system at full pay, but did not return to the classroom.

Edwin Darden, a spokesman for the National Association of State Boards of Education, said that the initial decision was fraught with difficulties. "It can't simply reflect the board's moral judgment. The members have to look at what sort of impact the behavior will have on the teacher's ability of be effective in the classroom."

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Been to battle lately? Conflict can actually be good for you. Criticism separates people, but conflict stimulates people. If you ignore things, they build up and get worse. You might as well fight the battle before you have to go to war.

A little boy asked his dad, "How does a war start? "Which war?" replied his father. "The big war, how did it start?" "Well, it started when Germany invaded Belgium." His wife interrupted, "That isn't how the war started. It started when Germany invaded Poland." He argued, "That's not right, it was Belgium. I know my history." She said, "You don't know history. I'm the one who got you through college." He said, "You couldn't get me through anything, you've never been right about anything in your life." They continued to argue back and forth as the boy watched. Finally his father looked at his son and said, "What was your question again?" Th...