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August 2000 Issue

From Dr. Morris H. Chapman's Address to the Southern Baptist Convention

My primary assigned role as president of the Executive Committee is administrative. While I am grateful for the privilege of serving our Lord and Southern Baptists in this manner, I have found it increasingly difficult to find complete fulfillment and rest in this role as it has been defined.

The reason, I have concluded, is that one of God's called servants cannot find rest and fulfillment in the minutia of facts and figures as critical as they are to our accountability. Every minister of the gospel has a higher calling than dealing with facts and figures. Our calling is grounded in faith "for we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is the ability to see with spiritual eyes in a world groping its way through the darkness. Through faith we are able to know the unknowable, see the invisible, think the unthinkable, hear the unheard, and plumb the depths of God's revelation.

A moral, ethical, and spiritual crisis is gripping this n...

It's better to be a lizard than a frog, Southern Baptist missionaries say. "Frog churches" that sit fat and complacent on their lily pads and wait for the world to come to them are a thing of the past, according to the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Missionaries today are starting "lizard churches" that adapt to their surroundings and aggressively pursue converts, an IMB report says. "They are willing to change their colors and expend enormous energy to bring the lost into the family of God."

"It's a 'whatever it takes' to get the job done attitude, within certain bounds," said Ray Franklin, a twenty-year IMB missionary to Japan. "We have broadened our perspective while maintaining our theological grounding."

Welcome to New Directions, the SBC's updated strategy for evangelizing the world. IMB leaders have overhauled the organization's structure and ...

When it comes to supporting the Southern Baptist Convention's Cooperative Program, Fairlawn Baptist Church prefers to live and give with a spiritual edge.

"We tell our people that we want to be on the cutting edge of trusting God with our gifts," said Don Yeager, pastor of the Parkersburg, W.Va., church. And that means giving 22 percent of the church budget to CP, associational missions and other outreach opportunities.

"The Lord has been good to us," Yeager said. "And the church has been responsive with their gifts. They understand how important mission work is to spreading the gospel of Christ."

Without missions and the Cooperative Program, Fairlawn Baptist Church wouldn't exist. The church was started more than thirty years ago as a mission extension of a sister church in the city.

"We are so grateful CP was there for us in the early days," said Yeager, the church's only full-time staff member. &qu...

John Morgan, who followed in the footsteps of his father as a Baptist pastor, understandably has a heart for pastors and their families. And what touches his heart most is the plight of retired ministers and widows across the Southern Baptist Convention who live near the poverty line.

Several years ago, Morgan decided to act on his concerns. He led Sagemont Baptist Church in Houston to reach out and minister to the needs of aged ministers and their widows living in the Houston area. The church began gathering the names of individuals with specific needs and responded by sending them $100 to $400 each month. The number grew to thirteen.

"As our church began to invest in the lives of these dear people, we were blessed," Morgan said. "I would receive monthly thank you notes from these retired pastors with a 10 percent tithe to my church. The notes of these faithful servants touched my heart.

"Then I heard about the Annuity Board's Adopt An ...

Retired Farmer Turns Energies to Soul-winning

Over the past six and a half years, Walt Durant has led 629 people to the Lord.

Durant is not flashy, tall, or handsome. He is more comfortable wearing blue jeans and a cowboy hat than a suit and tie. He doesn't have a seminary degree; in fact, he never completed high school.

Oh, and one other thing: He's seventy-three years old.

Durant retired in 1992 and moved to Rogers, Ark., from his farm, where he had raised beef cattle. He said he had been involved with the visitation program at his previous church, but it consisted of "visiting people who had been members there for forty years." In all his years of visiting, he had only led one person to Christ.

In Rogers, he joined Immanuel Baptist Church. When pastor Thomas Hatley preached on soul-winning, Durant felt convicted and went forward, committing his life to evangelism. Shortly thereafter, Durant attended a class on soul-winning, and "I've been running ever since."

NAMB Appoints First Cyber-missionary

Siam Rogers, a telecommunications specialist who for five years has operated a ministry dedicated to sharing the gospel over the Internet, has been appointed as the North American Mission Board's first missionary devoted entirely to Internet evangelism.

Rogers, a resident of Sugar Hill, Ga., began serving May 1 as a national missionary with responsibilities for helping coordinate all of the agency's Internet evangelism efforts. Also appointed was his wife, Jennifer, who will serve in a family and church support role.

"Our historic entry into the cyber world with a missionary force is the recognition of the technology and computer community that has developed rapidly," said John Yarbrough, NAMB's vice president for evangelization. "Siam Rogers has been using this technology to s...

Student Ministry in the New Millennium

When 1999 began, who would have thought that the last year of the second millennium A.D. would be remembered as the year martyrdom came to the American church? Who could have imagined that these martyrs would not be high profile, mature leaders, but young people? When Cassie Bernall and Rachel Scott at Columbine died for their Christian convictions in April, and when seven teenagers and seminary students also lost their lives because of their faith at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, in September, Christians across America began to take notice. Even the alarming occurrences of shootings in schools across the nation in the 1990s failed to prepare us for these tragedies.

Violence in schools continues to escalate. School shootings no longer shock us like they did, unless it involves a six-year-old as occurred in Michigan this past March. What will it take for the church to awaken to the need to make an impact in our society?

The violence that shocked the nation b...

National Geographic Retracts Dinosaur Boast

An independent group of scientists has described as unfounded National Geographic Society's report late last year of "a true missing link in the complex chain that connects dinosaurs to birds."

A panel of paleontologists and ornithologists released their findings April 6, confirming speculation by outside scientists that National Geographic Society's media blitz touting a feathered dinosaur fossil lacked independent scientific confirmation.

The panel was convened by National Geographic after a number of media reports, such as one in USA Today, questioned the supposed discovery.

Further examination by the scientists of the fossil has revealed that it is a composite of at least two different animals. The fossil was smuggled into the United States from China and was sold for $80,000 to the owner of a dinosaur museum in Monticello, Utah, before it eventually landed in the halls of the National Geographic Society in Washington.

While ...

Narrow-mindedness Targets the Christian Right

Bigotry is bad. Everybody knows that much. That's why political correctness thrives. It's supposed to protect the feelings as well as the rights of vulnerable minorities, whoever they may be.

Political correctness was born on the left and can be extremely narrow-minded, but the motivation behind it is not always bad. It strives to reduce offense, and sometimes it works. It's no longer socially permissible to be blatantly anti-Semitic or anti-papist. Rarely do you hear the insults and epithets that our grandparents often did - such as "kikes," "fish-eaters," "holy rollers," "Bible thumpers," "wops," "harps," "Chinks," and "dagos."

But conspicuously alive and well in this land of the free and home of the brave is one last permissible bigotry, one target of prejudice on the receiving end of acceptable slurs. It's open season on Christian fundamentalists.

I rarely sit at ...

On March 27, 2000, Jesus was once again the coverboy on Newsweek magazine - this time in response to the Pope's visit to Jerusalem. It was an odd, eclectic Newsweek, faced with reporting the news in a non-news week. But if life was dull that week, U.S.A. Christology was even more so. The Christ who once ruled the classic center of the faith is now pictured as the gelatinous Jesus of interfaith compromise. Cutting and pasting from Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism, the Newsweek Jesus didn't look so much like the Christ of the Gospels anymore. John Paul II declared, "Christ is absolutely original, and absolutely unique. If he were only a wise man like Socrates, if he were a prophet like Muhammad, if he were enlightenment like the Buddha, without doubt, he would not be what he is."

Abraham's Seed: Genetic Support for the Genesis Record

Jews and Arabs are truly all children of Abraham according to genetic research by University of Arizona in Tucson. Researchers studied and compared the genes of more than 1,300 males from twenty-nine different populations. They concluded that both groups have preserved their Middle Eastern genetic roots over 4,000 years.

They also found that Jews had remained remarkably similar on the genetic level over the millennia.

The researchers looked at the Y chromosome, which only males have and which is passed down with little change from father to son. These small changes can be tracked and provide a kind of molecular road map to the genetic past.

They found that grouping Jews and Arabs together - both are Semites - is based on genetic as well as historical and linguistic reality. Jews descended from Isaac, while Arabs have descen...

I've had my share of mess-ups even before I became a pastor. In my last year of graduate school, during a course called Psychotherapy, I was given my first patient. Thinking I was the next Sigmond Freud, I had a beard and a pipe and I looked psychological.

My patient had test anxiety, and I was to do relaxation training, slowly relaxing him so he could take a test. My instructors were watching through a one-way mirror.

Psychologists like to be behind one-way mirrors. There is a little voyeurism in every psychologist. It has been said that when a pretty girl enters the room, people will watch the pretty girl, but a psychologist will watch the people watch the pretty girl. I was never that good - I always watched the pretty girl.

I started the relaxation training of my patient and he went to sleep. He was supposed to relax, not sleep. How could I do the procedure? The guy began to snore and I panicked. I looked at the one-way mirror for advice and all I saw wa...