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September 2006 Issue

Frank Page thought he was prepared for New Orleans in his first official visit as president of the Southern Baptist Convention since his election in mid-June.

But that was before pastors David Crosby of First Baptist Church in New Orleans and Waylon Bailey of First Baptist in nearby Covington drove Page around the still-devastated metropolitan area July 17.

They stopped where a house was being gutted — everything inside torn out and piled on the street — and where forty houses were being built this summer in a joint SBC/Habitat for Humanity project; they drove through numerous neighborhoods that sat in as much as fourteen feet of salt water for more than two weeks last September; and they toured the sparklingly repaired New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Page spoke at a "Miracle Mondays in July" inspirational evening session at First Baptist in Covington on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and, the next morning, at the weekly gathering of past...

The New Southern Baptist Convention

To be writing this article is truly an overwhelming feeling. As I have said previously, the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention is not something I ever sought or ever believed to be possible. However, God directed this entire scenario in an incredible fashion. I also stated my belief that my election would simply not occur. Today, I confess that my belief was totally shortsighted. I believe that my election as president of the Southern Baptist Convention did not belong to any one subset of leaders of people. This Convention belongs to the Lord!

As a baby boomer (in relationship to generations), I confess that I, like many of my generation, am not institutionally loyal by nature. I am loyal by choice. We, as a generation, tend to judge institutions by their value and lack thereof. Therefore, I have often wondered if a denomination like the Southern Baptist Convention is going to have a great future. A...

All those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. ~ Acts 2:44-47

Is it possible? Could you belong to a 21st-century church that embodied the dynamic of that first-century church? Was that Acts 2 church simply a New Testament phenomenon, never to be repeated, or is it our birthright?

Can we find a church that has such a deep level of community that people respond t...

The Southern Baptist Convention has a rich heritage, but unfortunately many local church members have little knowledge about that heritage.

That could all change with the release of the Forged by Faith video series produced by the SBC Executive Committee.

The first two installments in the series, entitled "A History of the Southern Baptist Convention: The Early Years" and "The Cooperative Program: One Sacred Effort," show in a narrated documentary form how the SBC was founded and developed and how it established its cooperative funding mechanism. Future videos are expected to cover topics such as the Baptist Faith & Message and how the Convention's entities work together to further the Gospel.

Approximately fifteen minutes each, churches can use each video in the series for Sunday School classes, new member classes, or special programs. Segments of each video can also be used for sermon illustrations and in worship servi...

By all rights, if any evangelicals should understand the doctrine and practice of baptism, it should be Southern Baptists.
Lessons from Two Giants

The Southern Baptist Convention has an extended history and rich heritage of biblical preachers, but some are warning that "the character and centrality of preaching in the church" is currently being debated and challenged.1

The fact that a debate is even taking place is tragic, but the tragedy is compounded by the urgent need today for solid, biblical preachers; which begs the question: Where have all the biblical expositors gone?

Over the last twenty-six months we have lost two of, arguably, the greatest expository preachers of the last century: Stephen Olford and Adrian Rogers. Their lives and ministries exemplified the power and effectiveness of expository preaching. Each left behind more than an expository legacy; both left outstanding examples and stirring admoni...

One of my favorite questions to ask people at conferences is whether or not they like to fish. A usual response is for about 40 percent of the hands to go up immediately. After a brief moment, I always ask another probing question: "How many of you like to catch fish?" After some laughter, about 70 percent of the hands go into the air with much more zeal!

This raises a great point: most people want to reap the benefits of their labor. Therefore, when fishing, we would like to catch fish as often as possible! In other words, we prefer fishing in stocked ponds over community swimming pools! For a fisherman, the attraction is obvious.

Jesus had a few things to say about fishing. In fact, wasn't His initial call to Simon Peter and Andrew an invitation to go fishing? In Matthew 4:19, Jesus simply stated, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

So, where are these ponds where we can "fish for men?" Well, with the start...

Every pastor has encountered a situation of grief, and all of us have been brokenhearted over the loss of a loved one. What better time to reach out and tell people how much Jesus loves them and share your testimony about how important it is to know that you have eternal life. Consider this account from Donnie Lovette, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Four years ago my father died, and I preached his funeral message. You and I both know there are no accidents with God. In the congregation that day was a young man, Chris, who was a friend of my brother. Chris and his wife, Jamie, were expecting twins, and complications had arisen in Jamie's fourth month. That evening, Chris had to take Jamie to the hospital. He did not go to church, and I was the only preacher that came to mind, so he called my brother, who then called me. I immediately headed for the hospital in Concord, North Carolina.

When I arrived at the hospital, I found the n...

When a hunter in Kentucky had his cap shot right off of the top of his head during deer season, he made a hunting suit from black and white awning cloth. The first time he wore it he was shot! At the inquest, the judge told the other hunter that he was not being charged; but it did seem strange to him that he had shot a hunter dressed in black and white stripes. How could anyone mistake him for a deer? The hunter then replied that he didn't mistake him for a deer at all; he thought he was a zebra. That's life. Just when you think you have it all under control, someone shoots you for the wrong reason.

I have been shot with criticism and rejection by other people but what is tough is when you get fried in your own grease - when you shoot yourself in the foot. Let me explain.

I was flying into Albuquerque for Saturday night church with a connection in El Paso. When our flight arrived in El Paso, the monitor showed that my connecting flight was delayed, so I got out my...

Former KKK Operative Transformed and Serving God

Once billed as "the most dangerous man in Mississippi," former Ku Klux Klan member and terrorist Tom Tarrants became a Christian while in prison for attempted murder and now serves as president of the C.S. Lewis Institute in Washington, D.C.

Tarrants shared his testimony with a group of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary faculty, students, and friends as part of this summer's study program at England's Oxford University. The NOBTS program offers seminary course credit and the opportunity to study under evangelical thinkers in combination with visiting religious and historic sites in England and Scotland.

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, durin...