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August 2001 Issue

Despite seven straight years of growth in the Southern Baptist Convention's primary funding mechanism — the Cooperative Program — Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee, said he predicts the end of the convention if the method is dismantled.

Speaking to messengers at the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans June 12, Chapman said the convention's unique system of cooperation has led to what is referred to as "the most effective Christian missionary enterprise in the world" and the envy of other denominations because of its "cooperative spirit, ... missions, ... giving, and ... Bible teaching literature."

The Cooperative Program is the method by which Southern Baptists fund the Convention's missions agencies, seminaries, and other ventures as nearly 41,000 SBC churches contribute to and through their state conventions.

"But as I look across the horizon, I see the red flag of...

Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee, has been awarded the Good Shepherd Emblem by the Association of Baptists for Scouting for his commitment to spiritual, physical, mental, and moral development of Baptist youth.

The award is granted to adults who have made exemplary contributions to youth through both their church and a youth-serving agency (Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., or Camp Fire, Inc.). The presentation was made June 12 during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in New Orleans.

"I am grateful that the Boy Scouts of America have stood for those principles that are true and right," Chapman said. "They have been unapologetic in standing for those things which are moral and strong and founded in the Word of God."

While the Boy Scouts have come under mounting criticism from homosexual activists, the Supreme Court last year affirmed Scouting's constitutio...

Focus on the Family's James Dobson said the family is disintegrating, and Christians may soon lose the ability to win younger generations for Christ.

Citing Barna research showing that individuals only have a 6 percent chance of accepting Christ once they pass their eighteenth birthday, Dobson said if the family collapses, then the "soil in which the seed of the gospel is planted will turn acidic."

Dobson made his comments June 13 at the closing session of this year's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, where he was scheduled to appear live but instead spoke via satellite uplink when mechanical problems forced his plane to make an emergency landing back in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Saying the latest U.S. Census reveals "the dam has broken" in regards to the family, Dobson said households with unmarried partners have increased 72 percent, single mothers have increased 25 percent, single fathers have increased 62 percent, and for ...

In his address before the Southern Baptist Convention meeting at the Louisiana Superdome, SBC President James Merritt urged the 16-million-member denomination to make sure they fight the right battles.

"There are battles raging outside of this arena, and we need to be on the frontlines," Merritt said in his president's address June 12, referring to attacks on the institution of marriage, sanctity of life, and sacredness toward God, as well as the battle for the souls of men and the very survival of society.

He drew from the illustration of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans when a collection of American volunteers commanded by Andrew Jackson successfully held off an attack from twice as many British soldiers, saving the strategic port city to hold control of the Mississippi.

"But there was only one problem," Merritt explained. "The battle was really not worth fighting. Unbeknownst to Jackson, the war had ended two weeks earlier when the...

An estimated 154 million Americans, 56 percent of the U.S. population, accessed the Internet last November. Though some estimates vary, the online community has grown by more than 900 percent over the past six years. User profiles indicate that the average user age (thirty-nine) is rising, and the average educational level (38 percent hold a college degree) is falling. Men and women, rich and poor, old and young — all may be found in the American online community. The Internet has now taken the front seat in worldwide communications, business applications, educational institutions, and media. The Internet has radically changed the way we think and the way we live. For many of us, it seemed to appear overnight. In reality, the Internet has been around for more than thirty years.

The Past
In 1957, the USSR took the lead in science and technology at the launch of the earth's first artificial satellite, Sputnik. In response, the United S...

Lessons On Evangelism From The Success Of "The Crocodile Hunter"

I have always had an interest in snakes and other reptiles. I have a python in my office, my son has a corn snake in his bedroom, and my eight-year-old daughter loves to play with her little ball python who dwells in her room. My wife has no reptiles, but she does possess a great amount of patience! I am most proud of my newest addition, a five-foot-long, black-throated monitor lizard named Goliath. We like to take him for walks on a leash — he does draw a crowd! I often quip that as an evangelism prof who likes herps (that is, reptiles), I actually teach soul winning and snake handling. Don't worry, we do not handle serpents in church!

With this in mind, you might guess my favorite television show — you got it — The Crocodile Hunter. It has been a long time since I was as excited about a television show as I am about The Crocodile Hunter, or the shorter Croc Files for kids.

Whenever I speak to young people, I ask how many of them...

An Interview With Robert Greenlaw

There is little debate among observers that a crisis exists in education and in the youth culture at large. It is easy to curse the darkness, but lighting a light is far better. A program designed to address the needs for character development among our youth is the product of a Southern Baptist layman who saw — and took — the opportunity to light a light. Character First! is designed to promote character development in workplace, classroom, and civic settings. Tom Hill, the founder of the Character Training Institute (CTI) and originator of the Character First! training is a member of First Southern Baptist Church of Del City, Oklahoma. Robert Greenlaw is assistant to the director of CTI. He and his sister, Rebekah, are responsible for international training and curriculum development for Character First! Education.

SBC LIFE Robert, what is the ultimate goal of the Character First! program...

At times we all want to quit. After sixteen years as a pastor I have faced discouragement more times than I care to remember. So why haven't I quit? Because the Lord has called me to this high and holy task. But I have also learned a few lessons about discouragement that have kept me going in those difficult days.

Discouragement affects all of us from time to time. For those in ministry, discouragement is very real and not uncommon. In fact, the Bible reveals that even such men as Elijah, Jeremiah, and David struggled with discouragement.

The causes of discouragement are numerous, but in my life most of the struggles have been related to one of the following areas.

Neglecting Personal Worship
I'll be the first to admit that my quiet time isn...

When You're Rich, They Think You Really Know

Reb Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof provides a sound examination of Ted Turner's theology. Tevye confesses that if he were a rich man he could sit with the Rabbi all day long and talk theology. He admits that he wouldn't really know any more than he knew when he was poor, but he boasts, "when you're rich they think you really know."

On Tuesday, August 29, 2000, Ted Turner spoke to the Millennium World Peace Summit to a thousand delegates from around the world. Turner had helped to make the summit possible by donating $300,000 to the effort through his "Better World Fund." Thus, the religious heads of the world gathered — different garbs, colors, and doctrines — to listen to "theologian" Ted Turner solve the mass complexities of world diversity with Sesame Street brainpower. Among those items Ted used to enlighten this vast ecumenical host were these:

On Religion
"When I was...

I have sung in public twice in my life, my first and my last. I was in a trio when I was about eight-years-old and it was my introduction to church life. The Music Lady, who was "The Church Lady's" sister, said, "It wasn't as bad as it sounded." I decided to be a psychologist.

I was a preacher's kid and I lived in a sanatorium, I mean, pastorium. Our family lived at the church with a cemetery in the backyard. My backyard was a cemetery! I decided to be a psychologist. The deacons would come over and inspect our house, which was actually their house. At that point I developed a real attitude toward self-righteous deacons and critics. And to this day, if you ask me what to do with a group of church critics up to their necks in cement, I'll say, "Get more cement."

The finance committee thought God fed us with manna in the backyard. The personnel committee thought a vacation was three days at the Baptist Convention in a half-star ...

75 Years Serving Southern Baptists

LifeWay Christian Stores — the retail arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention — has reached a major milestone: 75 years of service to SBC constituents through its various retail locations and channels, all beginning with one small store in Louisville, Kentucky three-quarters of a century ago.

More than twenty Christian artists joined with LifeWay in praising God for providing LifeWay Christian Stores with seventy-five years of opportunity to serve Him through Christ-centered resources and service. Speaking on behalf of all Christian artists, Michael W. Smith, 4Him, Jennifer Knapp, and Phillips, Craig & Dean also expressed, through words and music, their genuine appreciation to LifeWay for their partnership in ministry to win this generation for Jesus.

Between choruses of corporate praise and worship led by Ch...