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November 2000 Issue

The SBC President's Address to the Executive Committee, September 18, 2000

As our Southern Baptist Convention embarks on a journey into a new millennium, I can say with absolute certainty that our future is as bright as the promises of God. Yes, there are some storm clouds on the horizon, but no storm cloud yet has ever overpowered the sun — neither the "sun" we see by sight nor the "Son" we see by faith.

I believe at this point in time there is a word from God for our Convention. It is Isaiah 54:2-3:

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your habitations; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.

For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations; and make the desolate cities inhabited.

God said to the nation of I...

From the SBC Executive Committee President's Report

In his report to the Executive Committee on September 18, Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer, challenged the proposed plan for the Baptist General Convention of Texas to dramatically cut support for SBC seminaries and other SBC causes. He defended the Cooperative Program's effectiveness in advancing the gospel and concluded with the following doctrinal defense and challenge:

Southern Baptists believe in the autonomy of the local church.

Southern Baptists believe in the priesthood of the believer.

Southern Baptists believe in soul competency.

Southern Baptists believe in the pre-existence of Christ, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His atoning death, His bodily resurrection, and His glorious return.

Southern Baptists believe in the inspired, infallible Word of God, inerrant in the original manuscripts.

I must say to you, doctrine does make a difference. Contrary to some opinions, doctrine, like fait...

From the Report to the Executive Committee, September 18, 2000

When you look at the landscape of theological education across America, and you look over the last couple of centuries, it is one tragedy after another. When you consider what has happened in denomination after denomination, control and accountability have been forfeited and lost in terms of the seminaries. Once that happens, inevitably those institutions become the instruments of ruin for the denominations they serve. I am thankful that Southern Baptists are the contrary in example.

Theological fidelity is worth the price, and indeed beyond compare, when considering the cost of forfeiting that responsibility. There are some who would have you to think that those who teach on our faculties are rebels who are constrained by the chains of a repressive confession of faith. There are those who would imply that the seminaries have a difficult time finding those who are willing to teach within the parameters of what Southern Baptists believe and would expect their theology professors and ...

A World Changers Report

A student working with World Changers led a man to the Lord who worked as a "bouncer" in a bar in Waukegan, Ill., earlier this summer.

"Each day this bouncer would go get his car loaded with his friends and bring them back, saying, 'You've got to hear this. You got to hear this,'" said Jon Hodge, a World Changers national missionary for the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.

Also in Waukegan, one of the World Changers youth led two children, 8 and 11 years old, to Christ near one of the group's work sites. The next day, their dad came with them — and became one of 175 people who accepted Christ through World Changers that week in Waukegan.

In that project and sixty-four others like it across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico this summer, World Changers demonstrated a concern not only for patching up substandard housing - but also for introducing people to a Savior who can rebuild lives.


Stewardship on a denominational, church, or individual basis is an act of worship. How wonderful it is when Christians can collectively practice good stewardship. More than a year ago the chief financial officers of Southern Baptist Convention entities reported that the SBC had realized savings of more than $2 million through cooperative purchasing agreements.

This effort to leverage the collective buying power of SBC entities and free up operational funds for ministry began about four years ago at the national level. Eight agreements have now been completed for copiers, vehicles, software, hardware, long distance and cellular telephone service, office supplies, and relocation. Thirteen national organizations and nine state conventions have participated in these cooperative purchasing agreements.

"We felt it was a matter of Christian stewardship to explore ways to save money on these items so that more could be used for missions and ministry," Jim Carter, vice...

A Forthright Account of Failure and Renewal

Editor's Note: From 1962 to 1978, Bob Harrington, the "Chaplain of Bourbon Street," was arguably one of the best known, and inarguably one of the most flamboyant ministers in America. His decline and fall took him off the front pages of newspapers and the circuit of television talk shows into a life he freely acknowledges of a highly public backslider.

Bob Harrington has come home, and in this interview he candidly details how his highly publicized fall, and his less publicized return to the Lord came about.

We offer this to our readers as both a warning and as a testimony to the forgiveness and grace of our Lord.

SBC LIFE Tell us how you came to know the Lord.

BH I gave my heart to the Lord at the age of 30 the night the Holy Spirit let me see myself a sinner. I was a Methodist visiting a Baptist chu...

A weight-loss program that has been criticized for its controversial health practices now is drawing fire for the questionable theological views of its leader, whose publisher has shelved plans for her next book.

Christians had earlier found fault with the Weigh Down Diet because it places no restrictions on what types of foods participants may eat. Apologists and church leaders are now asking whether founder Gwen Shamblin holds heretical views of the Trinity, based on her comments on the Weigh Down Web site.

Since 1992, Shamblin has taken her business from a garage start-up to a multimillion-dollar Nashville corporation. Her 1997 book The Weigh Down Diet has sold more than 1 million copies. There are 30,000 Weigh Down Workshop locations meeting weekly around the world, including in thousands of evangelical churches.

The controversy intensified after Shamblin posted a weekly e-mail communiqué to her followers on Aug. 10. "As a ministry, ...

WHEREAS, For 75 years the Southern Baptist Convention, for reasons of economy, efficiency, and cooperation, has recognized the state Baptist conventions as the trusted agents for the collection of Southern Baptist Convention funding from the churches; and

WHEREAS, This arrangement, as delineated in the "RELATION OF SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION TO OTHER BAPTIST BODIES" (adopted at the 1928 Southern Baptist Convention), has served both the Southern Baptist Convention and the state conventions well without violating the principle of autonomy and self-determination of the various conventions; and

WHEREAS, The state conventions have recognized in this arrangement that the Southern Baptist Convention "retains as inalienable and inherent the right to direct appeal to the churches"* and "in all matters other than money raising it retains complete control of its own affairs, with the right to fix its own objectives and to determine the amounts of money allocated to its various objects;" and

WHEREAS, Both state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention have followed the principle that neither has "authorit...

Make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord
Joyful noises are to waken those who've grown too
Solemn in their solemn assemblies.
So, get joyful!
Turn loose of your up-tight propriety, your thumb-worn impiety,
Your tiresome society.
Release your hold on your self-image.
Get emphatic, ecstatic even if it seems erratic,

All Ye Lands
No lands may apply for exception.
All must participate.
Those lands torn by war must patch their shredded banners and rejoice,
Fat lands whose fat citizens overeat and underpray.
Those harsh lands who whimper their way into the silent graves of starvation must lift up praise for the finality of thin broth, and rationed rice.

Worship the Lord with Gladness
Gladness cannot be restrained with sensibility.
Gladness is a loud mouth which cannot be shushed.
Be gladder than the gladdest.
Let y...

A Baby Step in the Right Direction

In September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, by a vote of 380-15. The bill ensures that a breathing fetus will always be legally treated as a human being regardless of the circumstances under which it was extracted from the womb. This legislation states that an infant would be considered to have been born alive if he or she is completely extracted or expelled from the mother, breathes, has a beating heart, and definite movement of the voluntary muscles. Supporters of the act say that it is necessary in the wake of several recent Supreme Court decisions ruling that the government's interest in protecting an unborn child is related only to "viability," or the point at which the child can survive independently of the mother.

Pro-choice opponents of the bill claim that it is unnecessary because infants are al...

When I was younger there was a popular song that went something like this, "Time is on my side." Then the backup singers would chime in, "Yes it is, yes it is." Well I want to tell you that time is not on your side, no it isn't, no it isn't. If you don't believe it, look at your stomach. Everything is headed south. The fact is that you're on Golden Pond and your boat is sinking.

I heard about a clock that was advertised as the perfect gift idea. The digital clock, by punching in your age and your gender, would constantly remind you of how many years you could expect to live. It displays your running time (based on life-expectancy tables) in hours, minutes, and seconds. This clock would tell you exactly, down to the last second, how much time you have left. No it won't. No one knows how long he or she has left.

Whatever you need to do, you need to do it now. A boy and a girl returned to the girl's home after their first date. Stan...