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August 2008 Issue

From the statement on Sexual Abuse Prevention by the President and Chief Executive Officer of the SBC Executive Committee to the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10, 2008.

As Southern Baptists, we have much for which to be thankful. Our pastors preach the Word of God with power. Our churches witness effectively to the unsaved in cities and communities throughout the country. God continues to call many of our young people to the mission fields of the world; a new strategy for evangelizing the United States has been launched. Our seminaries excel in teaching new theologians and training new pastors. Our moral and religious liberty convictions are well represented in the public square. Our publications are some of the finest Bible study materials in the world. Our pulpits are filled with anointed preachers. Our classrooms are filled with brilliant teachers.

In church after Southern Baptist church across our country, God has called out many o...

From the Office of the President of the Southern Baptist Convention

Jesus prayed that His followers would be unified so that the world may know You sent Me (John 17:23). That prayer is desperately needed for our Convention today.

I will never forget Dr. Adrian Rogers' Convention message, "Unity in Diversity," during the early days of the Conservative Resurgence. We are once again in need of being reminded that we can do far more together than we can do alone. We are in need of unity; we must major on that which unites us and keep our distance from that which divides us. If not, what's at stake? The world will find it difficult to believe the Gospel, namely, that God sent Jesus Christ!

We are many members but one body (1 Corinthians 12:12). And in the SBC we are part of a denominational family — a group of people with a common confession and a common mission. As the Southern Baptist Convention determines together to turn the tide of decline and embraces God's heart for the nations, let&...

Any preacher worth his salt can preach a moving Mother's Day message; it takes a skilled expositor to move the crowd on Father's Day. I had worked hard on my Father's Day message and had illustrated it with anecdotes from my own father, who had loved me with an unconditional love. Dad was a man's man, a country preacher, and a great dad. I was proud of my effort and the members of my small seminary church were rewarding me with warm accolades as they filed by me on their way to the parking lot. I happened to notice a young teenage girl waiting in line. Her countenance told me she had not enjoyed my message. When it was her turn to speak, she sobbed, "My father left me and my stepfather hates me. Now tell me about a father's love." My stunned silence indicated I was not prepared to respond t...

Southern Baptist Convention messengers meeting in Indianapolis on June 10-11 elected a new president, launched a bold initiative to share the Gospel with every person in North America by 2020, accepted a detailed report from the Executive Committee on the subject of child sexual abuse prevention, and adopted a much-discussed resolution on regenerate church membership.

Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia, was elected president on the first ballot at the annual meeting by receiving 52.94 percent of the vote in a crowded field of six candidates. Many of the approximately 7,200 registered messengers no doubt expected to witness the convention's first presidential runoff since 1982, but Hunt avoided that to become what is believed to be the denomination's first Native American president. Hunt is a Lumbee Indian, a North Carolina-based tribe.

Hunt long has been known among Southern Baptists for his passion for evangelism, discipleship, and...

Americans hold differing opinions on the issue of homosexuality, including whether homosexual behavior is sinful. A similar percentage of Americans consider homosexual behavior sinful to those who do not, and neither view gains a majority, according to a new study by LifeWay Research. The study also found that Americans' views of homosexuality affects their openness to participation in a church.

A telephone survey of 1,201 American adults conducted in April revealed that 48 percent of all Americans believe homosexual behavior is sinful, while 45 percent believe it is not sinful, almost a statistical tie when considering the margin of error.

The percentage is slightly different when the respondent indicates he or she knows someone with same-sex attraction, with 49 percent indicating it is not sinful. Among those who have a religious affiliation, 55 percent of Catholics and 31 percent of Protestants said they do not believe homosexual behavior is sinful. That number droppe...

Hazen Christian Fellowship


Spurred by a vast reservoir of oil shale and a readiness to share the Gospel, Hazen Christian Fellowship in Hazen, North Dakota, wants to be ready for an influx of workers and their families into the western part of their state.

According to a U.S. Geological Survey news release in April, the twenty-five thousand-square-mile Bakken Foundation has an estimated 3 to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. A Kiplinger report described the Bakken field as "twice the size of Alaska's reserves." About two-thirds of the oil-laden shale is located in western North Dakota, but the formation also extends into Montana and Saskatchewan, Canada.

Hazen Christian Fellowship pastor Bob Pittman envisions a hoped-for activiti...

Nineteenth-century Protestant liberal theologian Adolf von Harnack described the Christian faith as "the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man." But today even this liberal theologian would be accused of using sexist language and pressed to revise his statement to something like "the motherhood/parenthood of God and the family of humanity."

A growing trend seeks to redefine God's character in feminine terms as "mother," or at the very least, in gender-inclusive language. The ever-increasing evidence leaves no doubt — our culture is growing increasingly hostile to the fatherhood of God.

As people who base our faith and practice on God's authoritative inerrant Word, such a trend compels us to ask: What does the Bible say about God the Father? Does it ever describe God in feminine or gender-inclusive language and instruct us to address Him in such terms? Should we speak to God as 'mother?' Many would suggest there is...

LifeWay Christian Resources

J.M. Frost started small and dreamed big. In 1891, the forty-three-year-old pastor had a desk in a corner of a newspaper office and a little money that he borrowed from his wife. With the Southern Baptist Convention's blessing, he launched what is today one of the world's largest providers of Christian resources — Bibles, church literature, books, music, audio and video recordings, church supplies, and Internet services.

LifeWay Christian Resources, originally the Sunday School Board, began in Nashville publishing Sunday School literature. Today, LifeWay ministries touch lives throughout the United States and around the world.

LifeWay operates as a 501(c)(3) religious nonprofit organization and is the only SBC entity that has never received Cooperative Program dollars or other financial support from the denomination. What's more, LifeWay reinvests income above operating expenses in mission work and other ministries around the world.

In 2007, L...

God is at work around the world, and He is using those who are willing to obey and be used by Him. Consider this testimony from Steve Grose, pastor of Newcastle Baptist Tabernacle in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. It speaks for itself of what God can and will do through those who are simply willing to obey Him. One Thursday night while my wife and daughters were away on trip to Melbourne (Australia) some five hundred miles away, Nev and Daphne, some lovely church members, invited me to their home for a real meal.

My big "60" birthday is coming and my high school class is having a reunion because most of us are almost 60! We are now officially too old to die young. It is funny how we describe age. When you are a kid, you are so proud of your age that you talk about it in fractions. "I'm five and a half." Well, I guess I'm fifty-nine and a half. I turned 30, I reached 40, I made 50, and I guess someday I'll hit 70. After that it's day-to-day — you are happy to hit Wednesday. In your 80s, you hit dinner. Then it is really day-to-day. The insurance company sends you calendars weekly. I'm not going to live in denial. My wild oats have turned to shredded wheat, and my narrow waist and broad shoulders have switched places. It is the autumn of life and all of my organs have headed south.

Let me give you a few signs that you may have too much sand in the bottom of the hour glass. It takes longer to rest...

Iowa Town Shows Gratitude to Baptists

Flood debris sitting in the sun produced a foul odor in Lamont, Iowa, a small town of 490 people about thirty-five miles east of Waterloo. Some residents piled debris on the curb for sanitation workers to haul away, but they were at a loss for what to do next.

Many of the town's senior adults and some with physical disabilities had been waiting for assistance to clean out their homes, which were damaged by floodwaters when eight inches of rain fell the evening of May 25.

The mayor of Lamont, Alfred Hotchkiss, heard about Southern Baptist disaster relief at a meeting of the emergency management council in the county seat about twenty miles away. He asked if SBC workers could come to the town and help the residents who were having trouble getting assistance.

Ty Berry, disaster relief coordinator for the Baptist Convention of Iowa, respond...