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September 2000 Issue

Indonesian Christians Face Extermination by Jihad

Twenty-three Christians were massacred in In-donesia as they fled from their village in late July and early August, The Hindustan Times of India has reported.

Christians are under threat of extermination by thousands of Jihad troops that have entered from outside the region, according to Newsroom, an online publication cited by The troops announced over loudspeakers that they would kill all Christians who remained after July 31, Ambon church leaders told U.S. church workers.

The killings were the latest Muslim-Christian violence that has swept the Malukus Islands since January 1999, leaving about 4,000 dead, according to's assessment of news reports.

Muslim assailants killed the latest victims as they tried to escape into the jungles of the Indonesian island of Ambon, a Christian activist told The Hindustan Times.

Jihad fighters are preparing lists of Christian leaders for "elimination," a ...

A Task Force on Cooperation was approved unanimously by the presidents of Southern Baptist Convention entities and executive directors of state Baptist conventions at the conclusion of a July 26 meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

The meeting was moderated by Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, and Wyndell O. Jones, president of the Association of State Baptist Executive Directors. The meeting was conducted according to press background rules, meaning that no one would be quoted directly and individual attribution would not be given. It was also decided that only Chapman and Jones, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Iowa, would issue statements to the news media. The statement noted that the meeting was held at the invitation of Chapman and Jones.

The eight-member task force, according to the motion made for its formation, will "be initiated for on-going dialogue between the presidents of SBC entities and executive directors of the state B...

"For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure."

These words of Emerson from a not-too-distant century ring true for the Southern Baptist Convention as we enter a new millennium under the hostile gaze of an increasingly secular society. Public policy analyst Francis Fukuyama recently wrote that a number of cultural forces including moral relativism, radical individualism, and the loss of trust in institutional authority have lead to what he refers to as "The Great Disruption" in society. He further notes that the resultant cultural vacuum cries out for the reconstitution of a new social order. It is incumbent upon us as a Bible believing denomination to seize this opportunity, as the early Christians did, to be primary shapers of the new state of affairs in the midst of our contemporary cultured despisers.

The same culturally disruptive forces mentioned above have had their insidious corrosive effect on even our own denomination. Th...

In his book How Much Is Enough? 30 Days to Personal Revival, author and financial expert Larry Burkett says, "Money is never a problem. It's a symptom."

Expounding on that statement, Ted and Jeanette Warren led workshops on the whys and hows of sound Christian financial planning during Sunday School Leadership Week at Glorieta, N.M., this summer. Ted Warren is chief operating officer of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, and his wife, Jeanette, is a certified public accountant.

In church "we always seem to make stewardship as give, give, give. But what we are realizing is that the average person is in a bad financial place," Ted Warren said. Giving the person in the pew sound, biblically based financial advice is a first step in good stewardship, he said.

How someone answers the question, "How much is enough?" reveals several things about him or her, he continued. It reveals a person's prio...

Southern Baptist Ministry to Chechen Refugees

Death, devastation, and suffering are as plentiful as dirt. Hope is a scarce and precious commodity.

That's how a three-man team of Southern Baptist mission workers described life in and around Chechnya, the republic in the Caucasus region south of Russia. Many thousands have died and untold thousands have fled their homes after Chechen rebels waged an unsuccessful war for independence from Russia.

Southern Baptists will give more than $120,000 in relief aid to help Russian Baptists and local authorities provide food, clothing, shelter, and rehabilitation for some of the refugees who have flooded out of Chechnya.

Missionaries Mark Edworthy and Richard Bell traveled with International Mission Board human needs consultant Jim Brown for eight days in early June along the outskirts of Chechnya to see war's ugly results.

The team got only as far as Nal'chik, in Russia's Karbardino-Balkarskaya republic, some sixty miles from the Chechen border...

Missionaries have unearthed a Scriptural approach to evangelism that's often been ignored: find a "man of peace."

When Jesus sent out the seventy to preach the good news, he commanded, "When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house,' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him ... . Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you ... . Do not move around from house to house ... . Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you'" (Luke 10:5-9, NIV).

A Southern Baptist missionary in Asia discovered the power of that advice when he entered a potentially hostile unreached village with a co-worker:

"We prayed, 'God, we know you're at work here or we wouldn't be here. We need a man of peace who will take care of us until we can feel our way around this village and know if it's safe or unsafe.'

"I started my stopwatch. We...

Cybersex is the new drug of choice - and pastors are not immune.

A study by Zogby International and Focus on the Family reported that as many as one in five adults has sought out pornography on the Internet. Eighteen percent of those who confessed to looking for pornography also professed to be born again Christians.

What's even more alarming is the number of pastors struggling with online pornography. Though exact figures aren't available, Steve Watters of Focus on the Family reports, "one out of every five individuals who contact a phone line specifically set up to counsel families in Christian ministry admit to having a pornography problem."1

For the pastor caught with online pornography the consequences are severe: guilt; embarrassment; a lost ministry; scandalized congregation; shattered reputation; sabotaged marriage; devastated family; the cause of Christ obstructed. Even if he's not discovered, the fear of discovery, guilt, and silent...

People in a postmodern, relativistic world need to be asked, "got life?" - and shown evidence that Christianity is true - before they will turn to Jesus.

A new evangelism tool, "got life?", is designed to make presenting and defending the gospel in a postmodern world more effective and simple.

"This new system is designed so you can do the whole presentation of the gospel in less than eight minutes," said Frank Harber, a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor of evangelism.

Harber and Southwestern President Kenneth S. Hemphill developed the "got life?" evangelism tool, which uses apologetics and simple acrostics to communicate the salvation message.

The idea for "got life?" came about after a meeting between Harber and Hemphill about two years ago. The two decided someone needed to create a simple evangelism tool that also used apologetics.

"We haven't found any other go...

As Jesus approached Jerusalem for that final time during his earthly walk, Scripture records that He wept - not because the evil of unregenerate humans surprised Him, but because He was deeply grieved by it. Such a time is now. We are not surprised, but this is indeed "a time to weep."

The U.S. Supreme Court decided June 28 by the narrowest of margins, 5-4, to reject the ban on partial birth abortions. A few years ago I delivered a lecture to my colleagues in obstetrics and gynecology. I felt certain that among this group of men and women, though diverse in their worldviews and religious beliefs, consensus regarding partial birth abortion was guaranteed. However, as I stated my conviction to the general affirmation of this esteemed audience, one doctor - a colleague and friend - raised his hand.

"I don't want the government telling me what I can and can't do," he said. With a smug look on his face, his seemingly simple objection hung like the...

It's September and back-to-school month. There is a general widespread agreement that public schools are not necessarily the best place to be if you want to improve your mind. Since 1925, the public schools have been relatively free to teach evolution. The problem is they don't seem to be teaching it or anything else very well. Increasingly, since 1925, homeschoolers and private schools of all sorts have taken up the slack left in education not provided by public systems.

In 1925, a group of Tennessee men, sipping cokes in Robinson's Drug Store in Dayton, Tennessee, agreed that things had gotten pretty dull (and were continuing so) in Dayton. On U.S. Highway 27, thirty miles north of Chattanooga, all things religious were generally slow. But the word was out that a certain high school teacher, John Scopes, had been using a book that taught the theory of evolution in the classroom. It seemed to the coke-sippers at Robinson's drug that this was a fairly reasonable pl...

Helping Ministers' Children Embrace the Faith

Participants at the Minister's Family Weekend, July 7-10, at Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center in New Mexico listed ten actions ministry couples can take to help their children have their own faith and personal relationship with God:

1. Take them with you to visit for the church and talk with them about the experience.

2. Let them know that you have a personal relationship with God and that your work is not just a job.

3. Encourage them to witness to their classmates by explaining their personal relationship to God.

4. Teach them how to pray about their concerns.

5. Help them to be involved in their own ministry out of their own interests.

6. Help them to know people who are experiencing God.

7. Allow them to express themselves fully in discussing what a specific Scripture passa...

A college president friend of mine called and said something like this: "Do you believe in free speech?" I say, "Yes." He said, "Good. Do you believe in education?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Good, I want you to make a free speech for education at my university." On this particular occasion I agreed.

One of the college students picked me up at the airport. College students' cars are a cross between old clunkers and bicycles. I remember my college roommate's car was called "The Lucite Queen." He had painted it with semi-gloss Lucite wall paint because it was cheaper. I knew I was in trouble when the student asked me not only to buckle my seatbelt but also to put on a helmet. He said we would have to reach top speed in order to merge onto the Interstate.

We left the airport for the university, which was in another town. All of a sudden I heard a loud "boom!" It sounded like a truck backfiring. The stud...