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May 2001 Issue

The Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting left behind a lasting legacy when it came to "The Big Easy" in 1996, but it wasn't necessarily from the business and reports in the convention center.

The impact came through nearly 3,000 individuals who made professions of faith during the pre-convention Crossover New Orleans evangelistic initiative. The changed lives helped push the number of baptisms to an all-time high in the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans the following year.

The convention returns to New Orleans this June, and local leaders once again are asking their Southern Baptist brethren to join them in impacting the city with the gospel.

"We really need people across the nation to pray that people would be receptive to the gospel, and that people would be willing to come from across the nation," said Fred Dyess, director of missions for the association.

The Crossover evangelistic ...

The recently formed Council on Family Life announced plans Thursday, March 15, 2001, to introduce during the SBC in New Orleans a motion aimed at establishing "Great Commission Families." This action is but the first by the Council, which was proposed by Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, at the 2000 SBC in Orlando. The Council was assigned to lead SBC churches to help families not only survive, but thrive. Starting initially as an ad hoc study committee, it was changed to a special "blue ribbon" council by action of the Executive Committee in its February meeting.

Many Southern Baptists have become dulled to shocking statistics revealing divorce rates that are as high among church attenders as nonchurch attenders. The proliferation of violent media programming and reporting has apparently created a society that is no longer alarmed by accounts of the most recent bizarre ...

Our families are under siege. The battle is raging and the most recent casualties are at our schools — Columbine High School, Santana High School, and El Cajon High School. The names of children make up the list of those who have fallen in battle.

What is happening? Why does it continue? Very simply, enemy number one, Satan, has determined to infiltrate and sabotage our families. This is the battle. How do we respond? We look to the Bible for answers — only God's Word can guide us safely through the enemy's landmines.

We can have strong families; we can parent our children in a way that leads them to godly, healthy lives; we can survive the enemy's salvos, but only if we will parent by the right book — the Bible! The Bible is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). The Word of God is "sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12)...

An Interview With Jerry Spencer, President

SBC LIFE Tell us how this year's Pastors' Conference is unique.

Jerry This year the conference preachers represent ten different states, which is more than a typical year. This will give a broader exposure. Also, the speakers are more representative of the pastors who will be coming to hear them. They're grassroots guys, mostly from medium-sized churches. Less than 1 percent of the pastors in the SBC serve in mega-churches. Of course, we thank God for those mega-churches and their pastors. Those pastors have leadership ability that is crucial to our denomination. But approximately 86 percent of our pastors are from churches with average Sunday school attendance of 500 or less — they're wonderful people! They may never pastor a "large" church, but they're men of integrity, they're successful, and they&#...

Postmodernism Intolerant Of Biblical Evangelism

More than eight in ten Americans hunger to experience spiritual growth, according to a 1999 Gallup poll.

Sounds good. But the spirituality they hunger for often is "free-floating and vague," observes Michael Lindsay, a Gallup consultant in religion and culture. Another survey says one in five Americans now considers himself "spiritual" rather than religious.

A woman who teaches high-priced, trendy seminars for seekers of something or other certainly fits that category. She started out Pentecostal, but has since sampled Santeria, Hinduism, and "white voodoo." Currently she practices Tibetan Buddhism.

"Don't worry about which method you use" to seek a higher power, she confidently advises. "Just pick one. They all lead to the same place."

Hence, many Americans now seek enlightenment from the Dalai Lama, not the Bible, and cleansing of sins from the waters of the Ganges, not the blood of Christ. Or the...

Expository Preaching, The Antidote to Postmoderism

"Until the Enlightenment, philosophers and theologians traveled a single road, 'Authority Avenue.' In the 18th century, however, these travelers came to a fork in the road. The old road was marked with the old sign 'Authority of Revelation.' The new road sign, marking the new fork, was erected by Immanuel Kant and read 'Autonomy of Reason.'"

With these words David Allen, senior pastor of MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church and director of the Jerry Vines Institute of Biblical Preaching at Criswell College, began the three-day H.I. Hester Lecture Series on preaching at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Allen, who also serves as a professor of preaching at the Dallas college, is the co-author with Jerry Vines of "Biblical Authority and Homiletics" in the book Authority and Interpretation: A Baptist Perspective, and has written a number of articles on preaching, including "Hermeneutics, Exegesis, and Proclamat...

New Orleans, Louisiana


8:00 Inspirational Music - First Baptist Church, Snellville, GA, Rick Forbus, minister of music

8:15 Congregational Praise and Worship - Bruce Hardy, associate minister of music, First Baptist Church, Snellville, GA

8:20 Call to Order - James Merritt, president, Southern Baptist Convention, pastor, First Baptist Church, Snellville, GA
Registration Report and Constitution of the Convention - Lee Porter, SBC registration secretary, retired, Lawrenceville, GA

8:30 Prayer - Lee Mabry, senior pastor, Fortified Hills Baptist Church, Dallas, GA

8:35 Committee on Order of Business (First Report) - Jerry A. Johnson, chairman, assistant director of development, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY

8:40 Welcome - Mayor Marc H. Morial, City of New Orlean...

Pastors' Conference 2001
June 10-11, 2001
Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Until He Comes ... Go!

Session I, Sunday Evening, June 10

6:00 Welcome - Jerry Spencer, President, Pastors' Conference 2001

Go Quickly!
6:15 Message - Frank Cox, pastor, North Metro First Baptist Church, Lawrenceville, GA

Go Joyfully!
7:00 Message - Bob Pitman, pastor, Kirby Woods Baptist Church, Memphis, TN

7:30 SBC President's Welcome - James Merritt, President Southern Baptist Convention

Go Together!
7:50 Message - Rick Gage, evange...

The following excerpts from the writings of C.S. Lewis were addressed to the liberal protestant theologians and clergy of his day.

A theology which denies the historicity of nearly everything in the Gospels to which Christian life and affections and thought have been fastened for nearly two millennia-which either denies the miraculous altogether or, more strangely, after swallowing the camel of the Resurrection strains at such gnats as the feeding of the multitudes - if offered to the uneducated man can produce only one or other of two effects. It will make him a Roman Catholic or an atheist. What you offer him he will not recognize as Christianity. If he holds to what he calls Christianity he will leave a Church in which it is no longer taught and look for one where it is. If he agrees with your version he will no longer call himself a Christian and no longer come to church. In his crude, coarse way, he would respect you much more if you did the same. An experi...

Mother's Day is not a point of celebration for all motherhood. Mother Nature for instance, can sometimes be a wretched mother. Some species eat their young — a horror that few mothers could ever understand. Black widow spiders become widows by eating their male consorts soon after they've fertilized their next generation of spiderlets. It's a dysfunctional family practice, but then you expect arachnids to be dysfunctional.

But what about homo-sapiens? Not all Mother's Day honorees are worthy role models. Still, I want to tip my hat to all the bad mamas of history. Why? Because even these femme fatales have their place. Bad mamas provide a much needed contrast in motherhood that helps the world recognize the good mamas. So moms-of-the-world-unite: Mother's Day is your day. If you sometimes feel that your motherhood is not as exemplary as you want it to be, hold up and think it over. And if you really want to feel like a great mother compare y...

Michigan Scout Funding

A Boy Scouts chapter in Michigan received more than enough money from concerned citizens to offset funds withheld by the local United Way. In response to the Boy Scouts' refusal to appoint homosexuals as troop leaders, the Allegan County United Way opted to withhold $3,500 from the Gerald R. Ford Scout Council in Grand Rapids. Since then, however, pro-family groups and citizens have sent the Scouts more than $5,000.

Among the contributors were Save Our Scouts (a Utah-based group formed in response to backlash against the Boy Scouts of America's policy to exclude homosexual leaders) and the American Family Association of Michigan.

Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, commented, "Financially, certainly they have received appropriate support for their defense of the best interests of young men. And as a matter of principle and philosophy, we're convinc...

Weddings are confusing these days. I read that there is a rock star's son who will marry his ex-wife's mother. His son from a previous marriage announced his engagement to the mother of the rock star's former wife. The marriage will make the rock star his ex-wife's step-grandfather — I think.

People marry over and over. A pastor's phone rang on Tuesday morning. It was a call from a young woman who didn't identify herself. She stated that she wanted to be married on Friday of that week. This was to be her sixth marriage. Not wanting to sound rude, the pastor said that he did not do "spur-of-the-moment weddings." He told her he liked to counsel with the couple before the wedding. She sounded somewhat irritated by his response. After a pause, she continued, "Well, I'll find someone else to perform the ceremony, but I want you to know that I believe you are wrong about 'spur-of-the-moment weddings.' Some of my best marriages hav...