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August 2003 Issue

SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Report to the Southern Baptist Convention, June 17, 2003

Last year, our Southern Baptist Convention adopted a new vision entitled Empowering Kingdom Growth (EKG). People often ask, "What is Empowering Kingdom Growth?"

Biblically, the definition is captured in Matthew 6:33, Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

EKG "is an initiative designed to call individual Southern Baptists to renew their passion for the Lord Jesus and the reign of His kingdom in their hearts, families, and churches from which God can forge a spiritual awakening marked by holy living, sacrificial service, and global witness."

God has answered many of the prayers of our EKG Task Force members. We had been asking God how we could pr...

Christian Leaders Challenge and Encourage the SBC

Charles Colson, Franklin Graham, John MacArthur, and other Christian leaders exhorted Southern Baptists to continue in sound doctrine and evangelism during a series of videotaped "Kingdom Voices" messages at the SBC's June 17-18 annual meeting in Phoenix.

SBC President Jack Graham told 7,000-plus messengers the "voices" were meant to encourage Southern Baptists in their 2003 "Kingdom First" convention theme.

Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and former Nixon administration "hatchet man," sent greetings to his fellow Southern Baptists, recalling that his first public testimony after his prison release was at the 1975 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.

In his video message, Colson said this is an "extraordinary time for the church&q...

King George III was just twenty-two years old in 1751 when he rose to the throne of England and assumed leadership of the most powerful kingdom on earth. It stretched westward and controlled the American colonies and dominated trade eastward through India as far as Hong Kong. However, just a little more than 250 years later, the United Kingdom once ruled by George III now is a fraction of the size and no longer a dominant world power.

But George's kingdom is not alone in its faded glory. The Roman Empire encompassed nearly all of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa for nearly 1,000 years. The Ming Dynasty in China governed a sizeable portion of the world's landmass. Persia and Syria were both aggressive kingdoms with far-flung influence. All of them failed to survive despite seemingly endless reso...

Each day of the year in America, more than 3,571 families end in divorce. More than 50 percent of the children in America's public schools live in single-parent homes. Of the nation's children who live apart from their biological fathers, 50 percent have never set foot in their father's home.

At a time when the family is disintegrating, Southern Baptists want to bring hope and healing.

In the Kingdom Family Rally June 16 in Phoenix, the SBC Council on Family Life enunciated "Seven Pillars of a Kingdom Family" by which families can embrace a Scripture-based path for the home.

James Dobson from Focus on the Family visited with the convention by video along with his wife Shirley. He commended Southern Baptists for their initiative.

"We simply can't let the institution of family be destroyed by the postmodernism that swirls around us," Dobson said.

Tom Elliff, chairman of the council, told the audience m...

They've seen you at your worst. They know your weaknesses. They remember most of your sins. They are aware that you are far from perfect.

And perhaps that's the reason it's so hard to witness to family members. Because they know all your inconsistencies and will never forget them, you don't feel you have credibility before lost family members.

That's the premise of Tony Nickel's workshop, Bringing Them Home: Leading Your Unsaved Family Members to Christ.

Nickel, pastor of First Baptist Church in Walters, Okla., said the idea for the workshop came from being pastor of three churches and noticing how many wives were coming to church without their husbands, and how many families attended church without one or more of their members.

"The ladies with unbelieving husbands were always in fear of coming to church because their husbands wanted them home," Nickel said. "I also noticed that no one was doing anything a...

Messengers to the 2003 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting repudiated previous resolutions on abortion from three decades ago, while reaffirming their commitment to the biblical view of marriage and the family and to religious liberty.

In its morning session June 18 at the Phoenix Civic Center, the convention voted with unanimity or near unanimity to approve each of eight resolutions.

The resolutions adopted:

• Reiterated the SBC's opposition to the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion thirty years ago and expressed regret that previous actions had supported abortion.

• Renewed Southern Baptists' commitment to the biblical model of the family and the permanence of marriage.

• Reaffirmed absolute religious liberty in this country and abroad, including the right to convert from the religion of a person's birth.

• Renounced all anti-Semitism.

• Restat...

AIDS/HIV Rate Slashed in Uganda After Ten Years of True Love Waits

"I've saved myself for you," Carol and Daudi told each other during their 1999 wedding ceremony. As they exchanged wedding vows at Kampala Baptist Church, this Ugandan couple also exchanged the True Love Waits commitment cards each had signed, promising to postpone sex until entering a biblical marriage.

Carol and Daudi met at the Baptist Student Center and fell in love while enrolled at Makerere University in Kampala. One of their common bonds was that both had decided to be sexually abstinent until they married.

Daudi decided to remain a virgin until marriage and to marry only one woman despite having a polygamist father. When Daudi's father died, ninety-eight of his children could be accounted for, while other children's whereabouts were unknown.

"I want...

Two recent studies have bolstered conservatives' claims about abstinence and teenage substance abuse.

A study published in a recent edition of the journal Adolescent & Family Health found that 67 percent of the drop in the single teen pregnancy rate from 1991-95 was due to abstinence, not birth control. This counters a study released by the Alan Guttmacher Institute in 1999 saying that contraception was the major factor in the drop.

Meanwhile, another study has shown the positive impact religion can have on a teen's life. According to the study — published in the March issue of the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors — teens who consider religion important in their lives are half as likely as other teens to drink heavily or smoke marijuana and cigarettes.

Three researchers at Yeshiva University in New York conducted the substance abuse study.

"These buffering effects could be occurring because religiosity ...

Pro-life activists need a firm grounding in science and apologetics — and a unique group of celebrities is trying to help ensure they get it.

When it comes to life issues, Oscar- and Emmy-winning folks like Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox aren't uncommon activists. They draw tons of media attention to their pet causes — and all too often, take positions that don't affirm the personhood of preborn children.

But now, a different group of celebrities is using its star power to help raise $1 million for the pro-life movement.

Instead of Hollywood, think Cooperstown. Instead of box-office champs, think World Series champs.

The program is called Battin' 1000 and is sponsored by the American Life League (ALL) in hopes that 1,000 people nationwide will each donate $1,000 to help build a pro-life university in Virginia.

"Baseball is our oldest sport and has wonderful associations with our heritage and cult...

A Review of A Handbook for Ministers' Wives: Sharing the Blessings of Your Marriage, Family, and Home

Perusing the shelves in a Christian bookstore one quickly finds a wealth of material available to aid, encourage, and challenge the minister in the local church. Rarely, however, does one encounter a book for the minister's wife. Meanwhile, the role of her husband as a minister automatically places her in a position of public scrutiny and it can be difficult for a minister's wife to develop her ministry in the midst of these outside expectations. Many women may enter this role ill equipped and with little preparation for the journey ahead. Dorothy Patterson has done a great service to the future of ministers' wives by taking on the challenge of addressing their roles and responsibilities in her book, A Handbook for Ministers' Wives.

In the first chapter, Patterson addresses the necessity of a minister's wife nourishing her own private spiritual growth before dealing with the public. She gives personal examples of approaches she has used in striving to foll...

Paul Reed is Minister of Music and Senior Adults at Hopeful Baptist Church in Lake City, Florida. I want you to hear his story about "A Plane — A Bible — A Bathroom — A Believer!"

As I was flying back from leading music at a revival in Oklahoma, I sat next to a man who looked to be about sixty years old. I took the opportunity to talk with him about Jesus and found out he had no church experience at all. I asked him if he ever thought about heaven. "No," he answered. I went on to try and talk with him about heaven, but he said he wasn't interested in talking about it. So, I decided to leave it at that and just wait until later.

The flight took a little over two hours. In that time I was finishing a drama script for our youth choir musical. I had been using the FAITH outline card as a guide and had a small New Testament. About fifteen minutes before we landed I decided to give this man the New Testament along with the ...

In the early eighties I moved to Dallas, Texas, to start a counseling center for the great Dr. W. A. Criswell. Those were some of the best years of my life. The last five years I was in Dallas, I preached for him on Sunday nights. It was a great combination. He was content. I was comedy. He was a brilliant man. Once I told him, "Wouldn't it be great if God would put your brain in my head." He said that would be like putting a grand piano inside a closet.

One of my greatest memories is a cruise that FBC sponsored. I was to speak in the morning and he was to speak at night. While we were on the cruise he told me that he would not speak but wanted me to emcee questions that had been submitted for him to answer about his ministry. The first night, I asked the questions and he responded-and the people loved it. We also had on board about 300 teenagers from our youth group. That night, after the service, the student pastor said the students would like to ask the pastor quest...

A Warrior's Witness and Love

Retired Dallas Police Officer William W. "Wes" Smith was recently honored for his "faithful Christian witness" during Crossover Dallas 1997 and the "continuing Kingdom implications inspired by this act of love" in the life of Philip Barber.

Barber and Ted Stone, ministry partners, were the guest speakers at both Sunday morning worship services June 15, 2003, at Mimosa Lane Church in Mesquite, Texas. On that occasion, Barber recalled to congregation members the account of Smith's evangelism efforts when the officer was summoned to intervene in a dispute between the former Dallas resident and a neighbor.

Barber remembered. "I clean up well enough, but I was a real mess that day ... long hair, tattoos, and drugged out. But he didn't interrogate me. He didn't beat me up. Can you believe it? A Dallas cop! Instead ...