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October 2002 Issue

Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund

A dire United Nations report issued May 30 underscores the problem of hunger still looming large for many people around the world. And a recent 1996-98 U.S. Department of Agriculture study noted that some 10 million U.S. households did not have enough food to meet their family's basic needs.

"Most Americans hardly ever miss a meal unless it is their choice to do so, but many people in the U.S. and around the world are not so fortunate," said Steve Nelson, director of hunger concerns for the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "Even in this day of material abundance, hunger remains a serious life-threatening issue for many people."

Southern Baptists have an extremely efficient funding vehicle for domestic and international hunger projects, Nelson explained. Gifts to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund provide the means for Southern Baptist missionaries and volunteers in the United States and around the world to feed the needy whi...

Five Southern Baptist leaders — representing the Convention's mission boards, entities, institutions and state conventions - signed the covenant agreement to launch an Empowering Kingdom Growth initiative throughout the Southern Baptist Convention during the SBC's June 11-12 annual meeting in St. Louis.

The Baptist Courier recently interviewed the five signees: Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee; Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a member of the SBC Great Commission Council; Carlisle Driggers, executive director-treasurer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and co-chair of the EKG Task Force; Fermín Whittaker of California, president of the Southern Baptist Association of Executive Directors; and James Merritt, former SBC president, pastor of First Baptist Church, Snellville, Ga., and co-chair of the EKG Task Force.

In the last issue w...

Developing An Effective Answer To The Gay Rights Movement

Editor's Note: This article is the fourth and final in the Love Won Out series first presented as lectures at Southern Seminary in spring of this year.

The first time I was asked to address a congregation on the subject of homosexuality, the hosting Pastor ushered me into his study before the service began, to offer a warning:

"Some of my people will think you're too liberal, because you say we need more compassion for homosexuals, but some will also think you're too conservative, because you think homosexuality's a sin. Some of the teenagers here can't stand homosexuals, but some of the parents here have homosexual teenagers, so be aware of both groups. And by the way, we just got word that some AIDS activists are going to show up and heckle you....

On October 1, 1992, the SBC Executive Committee inaugurated a new president and chief executive officer who would not only lead them into the next century, but would have a profound impact upon the denominational structure and spiritual focus of the Southern Baptist Convention.

After thirteen years of leadership, Harold Bennett announced his retirement as executive secretary-treasurer of the Executive Committee in June 1991. At the time, Dr. Morris H. Chapman, pastor of Wichita Falls First Baptist Church in Texas, was just completing his first of two years as president of the Southern Baptist Convention in which he aggressively promoted prayer for spiritual renewal and the need to address the condition of families in America. After eight months of prayer and deliberation, the Search Committee nominated and the Executive Committee overwhelmingly approved Dr. Chapman as the fifth Executive Committee president...

A Classic Case Of Faulty Interpretation

Only forty years ago the most commonly quoted verse from the Bible was John 3:16. Most Americans, Christian and non-Christian alike — whether they believed it to be true or not — knew that the verse concerned "God's only begotten Son." It wasn't uncommon to see the verse written on signboards in the cheering sections on Monday Night Football.

Perhaps it was inevitable that our "post-Christian world" — as modern scholars have labeled it — would replace John 3:16 in an attempt to remove any effort to scrutinize moral laxity or confront it. Admonitions to cease and desist from immoral behavior are commonly met today with references to a permissive, milk toast Christ who doesn't demand change from those who follow Him.

Any attempt to claim the moral high ground in arguments about abortion, homosexuality, adultery, and assorted other activities until recently regarded as "sin" are opposed with a different ...

Roused from his sleep by the sudden jolt of waves crashing against the ship's hull and the roar of gale-force winds, and scrambling from his hammock as his cabin started to fill with seawater, he heard a shipmate on deck scream that the ship was sinking. He raced up the ladder to the deck but met the captain who shouted for him to bring a knife. As he rushed back down to retrieve it the man who had been behind him went ahead and was instantly washed overboard.

When John reached the deck he found chaos as the crew raced about the vessel making frenzied repairs, bailing water, and fighting to stay on board as the relentless swells swept across the deck. Several manned the pumps feverishly, but the rising water was gaining on them. Their cargo was beeswax and wood, both lighter than water, otherwise they would have been doomed.

An hour later the sun rose and the winds started to subside slightly, allowing the crew to make limited progress. All day they desperately patc...

A Book Review

Why are you in the ministry? How are you to conduct yourself as a minister? How are you to reach your goals in ministry? A pastor's ministry will be defined by the answer to each of these three questions. In Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry, Dr. John MacArthur, Jr. and the faculty of The Master's Seminary address these questions and challenge readers to evaluate their ministry according to the answers.

The initial question focuses on the essence of one's motivation for entering into Christian service. The pastorate by its very nature demands that a person should look inwardly and scrutinize what has driven him to take up the gauntlet of ministry. The authors guide the reader to earnestly consider the biblical and personal requirements for becoming a pastor. Appraising the process of self-examination, Alex Montoya articulates that "before one can learn how to lead, one must know why." The question of motivation moves the same author to observe that the N...

Momentum for the Southern Baptist Convention-wide 2003 Kingdom Family Rally continues to build, most recently thanks to the SBC Pastors' Conference.

Mac Brunson, president of the 2003 Pastors' Conference, has invited the SBC Council on Family Life to present the Kingdom Family Rally during the Monday evening Pastors' Conference session June 16 in Phoenix.

Brunson observed, "it would be great to have the rally on Monday night - and also to focus the whole theme of the Pastors' Conference around the family and the home and marriage."

Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, said an emphasis on strengthening families "is perhaps the most needed thing — right now — not just in the church but in the country."

The SBC Council on Family Life responded to Brunson's invitation with enthusiasm. Calling the invitation "a powerful display of unified concern for the family," Elliff said, "T...

A Mystery To Critics

Did you see the newspaper articles about the new study demonstrating that conservative evangelical fathers are more likely to be abusive, detached, and isolated from their families?

No?

That's because that's not the conclusion found by a new study. If it were, one can be certain it would be an above-the-fold headline in the major daily newspapers across the nation.

Instead, the study, reported in the Journal of Marriage and Family, concluded that conservative evangelicals make better fathers than their secular counterparts. The study suggests that evangelical dads are far more likely to read with their children, eat dinner with them, and engage in outside activities together. The Boston Globe reports that, according to the study, fathers in a nuclear family with "strong religious and community ties" are "most likely to show up at dinner and put their kids to sleep reading Goodnight Moon."

Of course, th...

Four recent studies find that sex doesn't sell as much as once believed, and teens are indeed aware that television impacts viewers' attitudes and actions. Researchers found that televisions in children's bedrooms have a negative impact, and in the latest viewing season, father figures returned to television shows in significant numbers.

The studies found:

• Television programs laden with strong sexual references or violence significantly reduce the viewer's ability to recall commercials included in the programs, according to a study conducted by researchers at Iowa State University.

The study concluded that people watching shows filled with sexual innuendo, performers with revealing clothes, or sexual scenes were much less likely to remember the ads both immediately after the show and a day later.

According to a June 16 Washington Post article, if the research is replicated and confirmed, it could severely challenge the popu...

Singapore is beautiful — and it's a great place for an international FAITH Clinic. My two partners and I talked about the affluence of the neighborhood as we were visiting door-to-door.

We rang the bell at the huge electric gate of a gorgeous Balinese home. The maid escorted us to another walled area where we were introduced to Dr. Lim, the delightful Chinese lady of the home. Mrs. Lim invited us inside and apologized that she was waiting for her husband, who was also a well known medical doctor, and that they were to soon be at a dinner engagement.

Mr. Lim arrived along with their thirteen-year-old son and all three listened intently as the gospel was presented finger-by-finger from the F.A.I.T.H. outline. We all then knelt on the floor, joining hands in a circle, as each of the three prayed aloud to receive Christ as their personal Savior. Immediately after standing, hugging, and rejoicing, Mr. Lim asked if we would return the next afternoon to speak to his bro...

We often have the idea that the church is like the Love Boat. We sit and eat, sit and eat, sit and eat, and Kathie Lee will sing "If they could see me now..." If this is our idea of church we will become spiritual fatsos and fall off the boat. Church is a life boat, not a Love Boat. We're the rescue crew searching for those without Christ. We retire to the love boat and forget the life boat.

Too often we emphasize the retirement plan that, by the way, is out of this world and forget about the business plan. God has made the church the local outlet for saving mankind. We are to be about the Father's business.

What is the Father's business? Remember two words — empower and empire. If we are not careful, we build an empire. "This is my church. Don't mess with my empire." God tells us to empower as many as we can to be in the life saving business. As a pastor of small churches throughout his life, my dad had members who built empire...

Cloning Confusion

Public opinion polls reveal that Americans are still largely uncertain about human cloning. Several studies suggest that depending on how the question is framed, many people change their opinions about cloning.

According to one poll, 63 percent of Americans support President Bush's opposition to human cloning for reproductive or research purposes. Another poll, however, shows that 68 percent of Americans want the government to allow scientists to do cloning research.

"The poll shows clearly that the more the American people know about this vital research, the more strongly they oppose government efforts to ban it," said Michael Manganiello, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, celebrating the pro-cloning survey.

A second researcher praises the other poll, however. "We're very pl...