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January 2004 Issue

The Heartening Results of the Partial-Birth Abortion Debate

Though it required more than eight years of effort and though it has been criticized by a few pro-life advocates, enactment of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act has been a worthy enterprise that already has saved lives, supporters of the new law said.

Even before the ban was first introduced in 1995, the focus of the abortion debate began moving toward the grisly procedure pro-lifers labeled partial-birth abortion. Descriptions and drawings of a method that left all but a baby's head delivered from his mother's womb before he was killed stunned many Americans.

After two congressional attempts to outlaw the procedure were vetoed by President Clinton in the last half of the 1990s, supporters of the ban saw their efforts rewarded November 5 when President Bush signed it into law.

Yet, a few pro-lifers criticized the measure when it was enacted.

"The devil himself would have signed this bill," said Flip Benham, national director of Opera...

The parents of a California teenager who died after taking RU 486 have endorsed a congressional attempt to withdraw federal approval of the abortion drug.

Monty and Helen Patterson of Livermore, Calif., released an open letter about the abortion drug and their daughter's death on the same day the RU 486 Suspension and Review Act, H.R. 3453, was introduced in the House of Representatives. The measure would suspend the Food and Drug Administration's approval of RU 486 pending a review of the FDA's process in certifying the abortion drug for use in the United States. The FDA approved RU 486 in 2000.

Holly Patterson, 18, died September 17, one week after beginning the two-drug regimen to abort her unborn child. She died as a result of complications from "therapeutic drug-induced abortion," the Alameda County coroner's office ruled October 30 after a preliminary autopsy, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The San Francisco-area resident received RU 4...

Survey Indicates Teens More Pro-Life Than General Population
by Michael Foust

American teenagers are more pro-life than the general adult population, a new survey by Gallup shows.

The survey of 517 teens ages 13-17 found that on every abortion-related question they are more conservative when compared to all adults in a separate Gallup poll.

Thirty-two percent of teens, but only 17 percent of all adults, said that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Forty-seven percent of teens, compared to 55 percent of all adults, said abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances. Additionally, 19 percent of teens and 26 percent of adults said abortion should be legal in all circumstances.

The findings mirror other research of recent years showing that teens are more pro-life than other adults.

Richard Land, pres...

Am I a Kingdom person? Dr. Morris H. Chapman has been challenging Southern Baptists to ask themselves this question. I think we would agree that it is a penetrating and challenging question that will help to ensure that we are focusing on those things that are on the heart of our Father.

As I have been studying the concept of the Kingdom of God in Scripture, I have isolated three primary issues that are at the heart of Kingdom thinking. God is looking for a people that will embody His name, embrace His mission to the nations, and obey His Word. Let's focus together on what it means to embody His name.

In His great high priestly prayer, Jesus declared: "I manifested Thy name to the men Thou gavest me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy wor...

Does your church have some specific prayer concerns? Could other believers link with you in prayer to pray for a mighty movement of God in your congregation? Could your prayers, undergirding another congregation, be just the spark that God honors to move that other congregation and yours to the next level?

Yes! The answer is obvious. Prayer is foundational to the Kingdom enterprise. Churches Praying for Churches is an Empowering Kingdom Growth initiative that focuses on building a network of churches and believers to pray specifically for one another by name and by need.

Each Southern Baptist congregation has the opportunity to list specific prayer needs for their particular congregation. Other believers and churches who enlist to be part of this prayer venture will be asked to ...

The Fourth Pillar of a Kingdom Family

Ask people to describe "church" and you will get a variety of answers. For some, church is more of a place than a fellowship. For others, the association between church and a place is never made because, for differing reasons, they must meet in a wide variety of locations. Still others will tell you that their church is their life and all their activities revolve around the events scheduled for each week. Then there are those for whom church is reserved for special days and occasions, a theological icing on a celebratory cake.

Members of God's Kingdom Family speak of the Church (capital "C") as the Bride of Christ, comprised of all the redeemed who will one day be caught up to heaven to spend eternity with Him. In the meantime they realize that their church (lower case "c") is the local representation of the Body of Christ. Members of their church are each uniquely gifted by the Spirit of God so that, in fellows...

From an Interview with George Barna

SBC LIFE The Barna Research Group has been providing information and analysis regarding cultural trends and churches for almost twenty years. Over that period of time, what would you say are the five most significant changes, trends, or shifts you have observed?

Barna Certainly, one of them would be the decline in biblical literacy. Fewer and fewer people have any clue what Scripture really teaches, as opposed to what they feel it should teach.

Secondly would be an increased emphasis on mega churches and the corresponding stress on the importance of numbers rather than upon the transformation of lives.

The third change would be the rise and importance of the parachurch ministry and how much of what churches traditionally used to do now has been taken over by parachurch ministries.

The fourth would probably be increased negativity of ...

It is doubtful that many children — or adults for that matter — got dominos for Christmas this year. If any did, it's likely they have already lost a few of them before New Years.

Maybe we'd all be better off if we bought some dominos just to stand them up, line them up, and give the gentlest touch to watch them all fall over. Or perhaps there is even a more worthwhile and rewarding "domino effect." Here's a story to illustrate that point.

Our lives before we became Christians were lives that centered on drugs and alcohol. We looked forward only to the weekend so that we could fill it with a bottle of liquor and a bag of drugs.

We had no hope or purpose in our lives. We were angry, lonely, and fed up with just about everything. The booze and drugs helped to drown out all these feelings, or so we thought. Life had no meaning to us. I say us, because my wife shared a lot of these feelings as well. We were both in sear...

One of my early strategies as a speaker was to mention in churches that I also speak to businesses so that people would recommend me to their business. One pastor told me there was a flaw in my strategy. He said many church people have little or no influence in the business community. When he said that, I recalled asking a man in our church if a fellow businessman had a positive spiritual influence in the community. He looked me in the eye and replied that he had zero influence. He said that the man was a nut, and people just wrote him off as a joke.

A friend of mine heads a Christian organization. He told me, "You know, at times I feel like I would rather hire non-Christians, because the Christians I hire take advantage of me all the time. They're always spiritualizing everything. They say, 'You care for families. Surely I can take off for this. Surely I can take off for that. You believe in church. Surely I don't have to go to this since I need to be at church....

Homosexual Myth of Immutability

Dr. Bill Maier, vice president and psychologist in residence at Colorado-based Focus on the Family, reported that new research by Dr. Robert Spitzer at Columbia University shows conclusively that a significant number of homosexuals are able to change their orientation to heterosexual. Maier said claims by homosexual activist organizations that change is impossible are "politically motivated," and that homosexuals who are unhappy with their sexual orientation are being "deceived by their own leaders."

Spitzer, a psychiatrist and active supporter of "gay" rights, led the 1973 effort to have the American Psychiatric Association remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. In research published in the October issue of the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, he reported on the results of his study of 200 homosexuals who par...