Younger Southern Baptists seek less partisan stance

August 4 2015 by Christine Wicker, Religion News Service

As Southern Baptists prepare to interview Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in Nashville, Tenn., on Aug. 4, a group of mostly younger pastors is challenging the methods used by the old religious right and urging a broader agenda and more qualified support for the Republican Party.
“There’s a whole generation of guys coming up saying we’re tired of being the lapdogs of the GOP and, worse than that, being tossed away like a Kleenex after the election is over,” said Ryan Abernathy, 40, teaching pastor at West Metro Community Church in Yukon, Okla.
“I know a ton of people saying we should no longer be blindly giving our allegiance to one political party.”
The group is fledgling and includes few prominent names, but it made itself known in June when bloggers successfully pressured Southern Baptist leaders to cancel a speech that Republican presidential contender and Seventh-day Adventist Ben Carson was to make at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual pastors’ conference.


Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney walks to his campaign plane with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), second left, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), second right, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), far right, after a campaign rally in Tampa, Fla., on October 31, 2012. 

To be sure, political firefights and name-calling aren’t generally the style for young pastors, but on this issue they feel they have an important case to make.
“Religious right methods rested on the idea that evangelicals were part of an American moral majority, and often came across as triumphalist,” said Matt Capps, 33, senior pastor of Fairview Baptist in Apex, N.C. “In contrast many evangelicals under 30 see themselves as representing ‘kingdom outposts in a broken world.’”
One reason these younger pastors are backing away from partisan engagement is because of social media, said Bart Barber, 45, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas.
“It’s no longer possible to talk about people as though they aren’t there. You have to speak as though they are in the same room with you, because they are,” he said. “Anything you say is likely to end up on social media and be commented on by a whole army of bloggers.”
Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, was forced to defend his decision to host interviews with presidential contenders Bush and Rubio at the Send North America Conference, which began Aug 3.
“I look forward to having conversations with all the candidates, of both parties,” Moore responded. The commission invited only those leading in the polls when invitations were issued in May. Scott Walker and Hillary Clinton were also invited to speak to the crowd of 13,000 evangelicals but declined to participate.
Moore, who is himself part of a younger generation of Southern Baptist ministers, is looked up to by the group precisely because he has been willing to re-examine the denomination’s combative, and some would say, defensive approach to public issues.
In 2013, after Moore met with President Obama to support bipartisanship in immigration reform, he promised to pray for Obama and said that he loved him, despite their disagreements on many issues.
More recently he called for South Carolina to take down the Confederate flag that flew over state Capitol grounds, which also made a lot of people mad, said Barber.
While the pastors generally supported Moore on the issue of inviting presidential candidates, they wondered if he’d picked the right forum.
“People coming for church planting aren’t coming to listen to politicians. They’re coming for best strategies for reaching people for Jesus,” said Abernathy.
Others questioned how hard Southern Baptists tried to reach out to other candidates.
Leaving out other conservative candidates was “inexcusable,” Don Hinkle, editor of The Pathway, the official newspaper of the Missouri Baptists, told CBN’s David Brody.
“There is an appearance of favoritism and a lot of people are asking, why do such a thing 15 months before a general election?”
These pastors would like to see more emphasis on issues and actions that might not commonly be seen as Republican or conservative evangelical concerns.
When immigrant children began to flood across the border in 2014, Daniel Darling, a staff member at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wrote that evangelicals should apply their “pro-life convictions” to children being called aliens, invaders, even lepers.
“My hope is that followers of Jesus begin to see immigrants as less of a threat to their way of life and more of an opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission and be a part of God’s sovereign plan to gather a people from every nation, tribe, and tongue,” he wrote in The Huffington Post.
Capps believes cooperating with groups outside evangelical circles on issues such as justice, the sanctity of human life, and environmental protection could be a good idea. Abernathy, a bivocational pastor who works with a poverty relief organization, deplores GOP policies that support inequity.
At the same time, many of the young pastors are more theologically exacting than their elders. Some felt Carson was an inappropriate speaker to preach at the pastor’s conference because his Seventh-day Adventist faith is considered a cult by some.
Barber was equally unhappy over evangelicals’ embrace of Mormon Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. When the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association took Mormonism off its cult list weeks before the election, Barber wrote that, “(W)alking away from the GOP in this election may be the only way to save the gospel from the pragmatic branch of evangelicalism that never met a doctrine it wouldn’t throw under the bus for the right price.
“I want to make sure that politics is the servant of our spiritual message rather than the other way around,” said Barber.
The new methods don’t mean giving up opposition to issues such as abortion.
“But we’ve elected all these pro-life people and nothing has changed,” said Abernathy. “Maybe we need to get to the root causes. We may not be able to change the law of the land, but maybe we can change some peoples’ hearts.”
Like a lot of Southern Baptists who are struggling to keep believers and attract new ones, Capps would like to see a “convictional kindness,” an approach that’s more winsome than confrontational.
“This generation is not going to be known for standing outside abortion clinics with picket signs,” he said. “I want us to be the generation that says, ‘We will adopt these children or we’ll stand beside you and help you raise those children.’”

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8/4/2015 11:53:42 AM by Christine Wicker, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

Satanist statue prompts Michigan Bapt. response

August 4 2015 by Benjamin Hawkins, Baptist Press

Michigan Baptists will not waver in their efforts to spread the gospel throughout their state, even after The Satanic Temple (TST) has unveiled a bronze, 9-foot-tall statue of Baphomet in Detroit, says Tim Patterson, a Baptist leader in the state.
“People have been worshipping Satan since Satan fell from heaven,” Patterson, executive director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, said. “That is nothing new at all. I think what is new about it is the public way it is being portrayed in the media.
“I’m not up in arms about it,” he noted. “I’m not worried about it, and Michigan Baptists should not be worried about it either. Our concern is what we’ve been called to do, and we’ve been called to proclaim the gospel, to plant churches, and to make a difference for the kingdom. … Our job is to punch holes in the darkness, and that’s what we’re going to be about.”
Nearly 700 people gathered July 25 in a Detroit warehouse around midnight for the unveiling of the Baphomet monument, which TST unsuccessfully tried to erect beside a 10 Commandments monument in Oklahoma two years ago.

8-4-15_statue_WEB.jpgImage captured from WXYZ Detroit video

According to The Christian Post, TST spokesperson Lucien Greaves said people received an e-ticket revealing the secret location of the event only after signing a contract, giving their souls to the devil. According to Time magazine, TST also overestimated the popularity of the event, telling possible attendees that it would be “the largest public satanic ceremony in history.”
Time also called Baphomet the “totem of contemporary Satanism.” The Detroit monument displays this demonic figure enthroned underneath a pentagram, with one child on each side looking up at its face in wonder.
But despite its centuries-old association with the occult, Baphomet is nowhere mentioned in scripture, according to Ryan Stokes, an assistant professor of Old Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of a forthcoming book tentatively called, The Rise of Satan: Sin, Suffering, and the Superhuman in the Hebrew Scriptures and Early Jewish Literature.
Nevertheless, according to Stokes, the Bible clearly affirms the reality of Satan and other demonic beings who were created by God, but who are in rebellion against God.
“According to the Bible, there are these spiritual beings out there that we would call evil spirits or demons or Satan,” Stokes said, “and the Bible says that they are responsible for a number of problems in the world, including sickness, in certain cases. And they are responsible for misleading humans into sin.
“And the Bible is clear also that God has defeated these beings, but that nevertheless people continue to be seduced by them.”
The Bible also speaks of Satan’s demand for worship from Jesus in Matthew 4 and Luke 4, and it refers to pagan idolatry – as practiced today, for example, in Buddhism and Hinduism – as the worship of demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-21).
“The Bible does seem to say that people who worship gods other than the God of the Bible are worshipping demons,” Stokes said. “So the worship of demonic beings doesn’t seem to be unique, according to the way that the Bible describes false religion.
“But, on the other hand, explicitly to identify that figure who is God’s enemy as the object of one’s worship does seem to be a more blatant statement – not just in favor of another god, but a statement in opposition to the God of the Bible.”
In a blogpost written for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Bart Barber addressed the Christian response to TST’s unveiling of this Baphomet statue. Like Stokes, he noted all idolatry is the worship of demons.
“Every golden Buddha in your city is a statue to Satan, as well as every Hindu idol,” Barber, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Farmersville, Texas, wrote. “So, the fact that this statue is dedicated to Satan adds nothing new and only serves to make what God has seen all along obvious to everyone. There are satanic idols all around us.”
In his post, Barber also noted, according to Exodus 20:4-6, “we are not in a monuments-and-statues race.” He said Christians should respond to Detroit’s Baphomet monument in the same way that Jesus or the apostle Paul responded to idolatry.
“They refuted idolatry and preached the gospel,” Barber wrote. “ … Neither Jesus, nor any of the apostles, ever tried to tear down the idols in their world. They were more interested in changing people than in changing the landscape.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Benjamin Hawkins is the associate editor for The Pathway, the newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.)

8/4/2015 11:30:10 AM by Benjamin Hawkins, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Lion’s death occasions defense of legal hunting

August 4 2015 by David Roach, Baptist Press

With mainstream and social media in an uproar over the apparently illegal killing of Cecil the lion, Baptist leaders have underscored the legitimacy of legal hunting and condemned the hypocrisy of valuing wildlife over unborn children.
“The Bible says much about hunting and without one derogatory word,” said Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “But it is not just hunting at issue. Fishing and the eating of any kind of meat is at issue since [with] all of these, [animals] must die in order to feed people. The Bible makes it clear that the animals were given to men to meet their various needs including food. I do distinguish between killers and hunters. I always taught my children that we use every animal taken. Skinning a rattlesnake, a porcupine and a skunk underscored all of this for my children. They discovered that clothing and in many cases food can be gained but that each creature is God’s artistic creation.”
The preciousness of God’s creation requires that humans “not just go out and shoot up the countryside,” Patterson, a veteran of some 20 African hunts, told Baptist Press in written comments. “Almost all the animals taken in Africa go to the poor of the countries to eat, for which, particularly in Zimbabwe, they are most grateful.”
Cecil, a 13-year-old Zimbabwean lion, was killed in early July by American dentist Walter Palmer after the animal was lured out of Hwange National Park, where hunting is illegal, the New York Times reported. Zimbabwean officials say they want to extradite Palmer to face charges, but Palmer claims he was following the lead of professional guides and did not know his actions were illegal, USA Today reported.
Cecil’s death had been the topic of more than 425,000 tweets as of Aug. 3, according to the social media analytics site


SWBTS photo
Paige Patterson and his son Armour killed a roan antelope during a hunt in Zambia.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe authorities have accused a second American – gynecological oncologist Jan Seski – of illegally killing a lion in April, the Associated Press reported.
Patterson denounced illegal hunting and said if any laws were broken related to Palmer’s hunt, “the local outfitter and professional hunter” should be prosecuted. He added that “a man is innocent until proven guilty and rush to judgment is in this case, as [in] all others, unwise.”
Most hunting outfits in Africa “are run by men of high ethical and moral conduct and in accordance with the laws of the land,” Patterson said. Hunters “are normally your leading conservationists. After all, they are dependent upon the prosperity of the herds. That is why almost all forms of African and Indian game thrive in Texas today. Well regulated practices of hunting guarantee their survival.”
Patterson called much of the press’ outrage over Cecil’s death “the ultimate in hypocrisy,” noting the relative lack of concern for aborted babies whose body parts have been sold by Planned Parenthood and for the evils perpetrated against the Zimbabwean people by President Robert Mugabe.
“Little or no outrage at the butchering of human babies and the selling of body parts by Planned Parenthood, but the death of a lion in Zimbabwe merits the ink,” Patterson said. “And what about Zimbabwe itself? Why no furor over Mugabe’s disregard for human life, the stealing of property by the government and the violence toward opposition leaders? What of the thousands of people that he has starved to death uselessly? And why not report on what hunters do to conserve the lions, elephants and rhinos both monetarily and in parks like Antelope Park in Zimbabwe where we have replaced every lion taken with multiple lions born and released into the wild? Why not tell people the truth about what happens in countries that stop hunting like Kenya and consequently lose all their rhinos to poachers?”
Mark Keith, pastor of Elkton (Ky.) Baptist Church and an avid hunter, said God has given humans responsibility to care for animal life, but that does not preclude hunting. He said humans should consume animals they kill during hunts and not engage in “the senseless killing of animals.”
There is “spirituality” about hunting, Keith said. Those who do not hunt may “think that all their meat comes from the butcher section of the store where they shop. When you hunt, you realize that in order to feed you, something had to give up its life. It helps you to remember the food chain.”
People who hunt, Keith said, tend to have “a deeper respect for animal life.”
Enjoying the sport of a hunt is legitimate ethically, Keith said, but “it’s not all about killing an animal.”
“I do enjoy the challenge of being able to go out on a field where an animal is probably more at home than I am and to be able to out-smart it or to be able to know that I can provide for my family,” Keith said. “It kind of brings out some primal stuff in you that goes way back ... before we had stores and markets.”
Patterson and Keith both cited hunting as a valuable means of building relationships between fathers and sons. Patterson added that speaking about hunting at men’s banquets has allowed him to lead “several thousand” men and boys to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Dan DeWitt, dean of Boyce College, wrote in a blog post that outrage over Cecil’s death illustrates indirectly the supreme worth of human life.
“Cecil was a neighborhood favorite in Zimbabwe,” DeWitt wrote. “That is, until he was lured out of an animal sanctuary and shot for sport. The closer animals are to humans the more worth we confer upon them. In this way, animals have proximate value. Their worth is often determined by their proximity to humans. If a wild dog gets hit by a car that’s one thing. If a poodle with a collar and nametag gets run over, that’s another. But what is it about humans that we have such value that it almost rubs off even on the animals we keep close to us? It’s because we are created with intrinsic worth.”
The intrinsic worth of human life makes absurd the mainstream media’s outrage over Cecil compared with its relative calm over the Planned Parenthood videos, DeWitt wrote. An alien who landed on earth and surveyed media outlets might conclude humans “are greatly concerned with the protection of lions. The rights of the unborn, not so much so.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

8/4/2015 11:17:32 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

ERLC presidential candidate forum sparks discussion

August 3 2015 by Baptist Press staff

A presidential candidate forum to be hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) Aug. 4 at the Send Conference in Nashville has sparked discussion – and a variety of opinions – among Southern Baptists.
Some have defended the ERLC’s scheduled interviews with Republicans Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio as consistent with the goals of a missions conference sponsored by the North American Mission Board and International Mission Board. Others have asked why the ERLC did not invite other candidates and how the Bush and Rubio interviews differ from a highly criticized decision by the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Pastors’ Conference to invite then-likely presidential candidate Ben Carson to speak.
The Pastors’ Conference and Carson, who is now officially in the presidential field, later “mutually agreed” that Carson would not address the Columbus, Ohio, gathering because his presence might have been a distraction from the meeting’s emphases of unity and prayer.
ERLC President Russell Moore told Religion News Service he believes the candidate forum at the Send Conference is different from Carson’s invitation to the Pastors’ Conference because Bush and Rubio will be participating in a dialog rather than preaching sermons.
“What we’re doing at [Send] is quite different,” Moore noted. “We’re having a conversation with people and not treating them as spiritual leaders. We’re instead treating them as what they are – people who are running to lead the country.”


An ERLC press release said Republican candidates were eligible to be invited if they were polling, at the time their invitations were issued, at 10 percent in the Real Clear Politics national average, an aggregation of multiple polls. The ERLC said in an email to Baptist Press that each Republican candidate to reach 10 percent between May 1 and a month before the Send Conference was invited. According to the Real Clear Politics website, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker both reached 10 percent during that time period along with Bush and Rubio.
Moore wrote in a blog post that he invited Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, but she declined.
Baptist21, a network of younger Southern Baptist leaders that objected to Carson’s invitation to the Pastors’ Conference, published a blog article containing “a few initial thoughts about why [they] aren’t as concerned with the Send invites.” The Send Conference “has been marketed for all people” rather than just pastors and “seems to be broader in scope” than the Pastors’ Conference, B21 wrote. Candidates at Send will be “interviewed specifically on religious liberty issues” rather than speaking “in a sermonic fashion,” and the ERLC invited candidates of both major parties.
B21 concluded, “Whether or not there is enough progress [from the Pastors’ Conference to the Send Conference] to avoid diluting our message and mission is yet to be seen. Some B21 members are skeptical.”
The SBC Voices blog, which also published an article critical of Carson’s invitation, published a more neutral article related to the Bush and Rubio interviews. SBC Voices editor Dave Miller wrote, “If we criticized the [Pastors’ Conference] ... when Dr. Carson was invited to speak, how can we not speak out and at least ask questions when something like this takes place?”
Miller, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, concluded that he would “reserve judgment” because there “seem to be some significant differences about this situation from the one at the Pastors’ Conference.”
Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., tweeted in response to an announcement of the Bush and Rubio interviews, “I like this but confused. After outcry over Carson at Pastors’ Conference this looks like a double standard.”
CBN News chief political correspondent David Brody asked in an online commentary why Southern Baptist presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee were not invited to the Aug. 4 event. Brody quoted Don Hinkle, editor of Missouri Baptists’ newsjournal The Pathway, as saying, “There is an appearance of favoritism and a lot of people are asking why do such a thing 15 months before a general election – at a missions conference, no less.”
Hinkle recommended, “Let the field thin out, then do something, say next spring or early summer ... The present situation is not prudent. Southern Baptists are open-minded and, at this point, want to maintain a sense of fairness.”
Moore told Brody in a statement, “When the North American Mission Board asked us to have a conversation with candidates, I wanted to have all the candidates. Unfortunately, there are roughly 144,000 candidates running this year. So we determined objective criteria for polling, as laid out in the press release and invited candidates from both parties who met that standard. I look forward to having conversations with all the candidates, of both parties. This is an ongoing conversation. We had to start somewhere and the polling averages gave us an objective criteria to do so.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)


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8/3/2015 12:44:01 PM by Baptist Press staff | with 0 comments

Platt: World missions ‘multiethnic issue’

August 3 2015 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

All ethnicities are called to world missions, International Mission Board (IMB) President David Platt told more than 600 black Southern Baptists gathered at Ridgecrest, N.C., acknowledging only 25 of the 4,700 IMB missionaries are African American.
“I don’t know all the reasons behind that [disparity]” he said during his July 23 sermon at the 2015 Black Church Leadership & Family Conference. “On behalf of the IMB I’m willing to take responsibility for it. And I long for that to change.”
More than 2 billion people have not heard the gospel worldwide, Platt said, urging Christians to fight all social injustices, not just those that appeal to us individually.
“This is not a white issue or a black issue, this is a multiethnic issue,” he said. “What is it going to take for the concept of unreached people to become totally intolerable to us in the church?’’
Platt spoke mainly from I Peter 4:12-5:12, incorporating the conference theme of “Stand” and conference scripture, I Peter 5:8-12.


He segued from encouraging listeners to stand for the truth of God’s Word, to challenging them to do their part to ensure every nation hears the Word.
“The theme of the conference is ‘Stand’ here and now, and that’s exactly what I want to call us to do tonight,” he said. “Stand here and now on the battle front where the war is raging, based on the Word of God in 1 Peter 4 and 5. I would call us tonight as individual followers of Christ and His church to stand firm in the grace of God, with the Word of God, for the glory of God, in a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christ.”
In both the culture and the church, Platt said, there is opposition to such ills including injustice, poverty, human trafficking, global starvation and slavery. He noted there also is passivity toward such evils as abortion and same-sex marriage.
“We pick and choose which social issues we are going to address, based on what’s least costly and most comfortable to us. And ladies and gentlemen we do not have that option,” Platt said. “The same gospel that compels us to draw back poverty compels us to defend marriage. The same gospel that compels us to war against sex trafficking compels us to war against sexual immorality in all of its forms.
“Brothers and sisters there are battles that are raging rapidly on the front lines of our culture, and we don’t have the option on deciding which battles we’re going to fight. ... If we are going to be the church in our culture, we must engage the battles that are being fought.”
The greatest offense to Christianity is not homosexuality per se, Platt said, but it is most offensive to Christianity when we object God’s authority and His delineations between right and wrong.
“God is a righteous judge, before Whom we all must stand, and to Whom every single person in this room will give an account,” Platt said. “And this, brothers and sisters, is a biblical truth that is at the core of the cultural confrontation today.”
Not only has the U.S. Supreme Court taken on a role as the “arbiter of morality,” Platt said, but churches of various denominations are maligning and manipulating God’s Word.
“God is the faithful creator of the world, so we fight for the life around the world,” Platt said, encouraging Christians to fight such ills as human trafficking and abortion, and to care for orphans. While God has overcome sin and death, too many individuals around the world suffer and die without ever hearing that truth, he noted.
“I hope to see the day when every child, and every nation, and every tongue, and every language will gather around the throne of our King, and we will give Him the glory that’s due,” Platt said. “So I invite, I implore you, I urge you to stand for Christ [until] that day when we will gather around His throne, we’ll look at His face, we’ll see His face, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last ... Stand firm until that day.”
Platt was among four pastors who preached during the evening worship services of the conference held July 20-24 in Spilman Auditorium at the Ridgecrest Conference Center. Other evening worship preachers were Herbert Lusk II, pastor of Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia; Frank I. Williams, treasurer of the National African American Fellowship and pastor of both the Bronx Baptist Church and Wake-Eden Baptist Church in New York, and Wayne Chaney, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Long Beach, Calif.
The conference, tailored for African Americans and sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources, IMB and others, offers training, education, preaching, inspiration, praise and worship, fellowship and recreation.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)

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8/3/2015 12:35:13 PM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

ERLC endorses bill to defund Planned Parenthood

August 3 2015 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) endorsed legislation to defund Planned Parenthood on the same day a fourth video was released showing an official of the abortion organization discussing trade in baby body parts.
ERLC President Russell Moore wrote the leaders of both houses of Congress July 30 to announce the entity’s support for a bill to eliminate federal funding for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates. In his letter, Moore told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner the ERLC backs “the swiftest of congressional action possible” to defund Planned Parenthood.
McConnell has promised to hold a vote on the ERLC-endorsed bill, S. 1881, before the Senate’s August recess, which officially begins Aug. 10. The House of Representatives held no vote on defunding Planned Parenthood before it essentially entered its August recess July 29.
Advocates of defunding Planned Parenthood face a difficult task. The Senate must have 60 votes, instead of just a majority, to prevent a filibuster and gain passage of the bill. President Obama opposes the defunding effort and would almost certainly veto a ban that reached his desk.


Most of the latest undercover video by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) shows a conversation between two individuals portraying representatives of a human biologics firm and a woman identified as Savita Ginde, vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) in Denver.
In the video recorded at the Planned Parenthood clinic by a hidden camera, Ginde discusses providing fetal parts from abortions, training workers to get intact organs, her preference for pricing specific to body parts and the clinic’s caution in protecting itself legally. The final portion of the edited video of more than 11 minutes shows workers in the clinic’s pathological laboratory identifying in clear dishes a heart, stomach, kidney and other parts from an aborted child.
The release of CMP undercover videos of PPFA executives the last two-and-a-half weeks has ignited renewed calls – even stronger than before – for eliminating federal funds for the country’s No. 1 abortion provider, which performs more than one-fourth of all the procedures annually in the United States.
In his letter, the ERLC’s Moore told McConnell and Boehner the inappropriateness of the federal government funding PPFA “has only been exacerbated by the recent discovery of the callous collection – and apparent sale – of fetal body parts. Federal tax dollars should not be entrusted to an organization that has chosen to engage in such horrific behavior.”
The proposed ban, introduced July 28 by Sen. Joni Ernst, R.-Iowa, would maintain federal funding for women’s health at the same level but would transfer money no longer available to Planned Parenthood to other eligible service providers. Her bill has 44 cosponsors, all Republicans.
Contrary to claims by Planned Parenthood and its allies, S. 1881 “will not separate women from services, but rather the federal government from scandal,” Moore wrote in his letter. “With regard to women’s access to healthcare, this legislation proposes to reallocate funds, not eliminate them. This is the right step that signals a commitment to not only protect taxpayer monies, but also provide for the healthcare needs of women across the country.”
Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, said S. 1881 “would push the snout of Planned Parenthood, a bloated abortion mega-marketer and a fetal organ trafficker, out of the U.S. Treasury feeding trough.”
Rep. Diane Black, R.-Tenn., has introduced legislation in the House that would place a one-year moratorium on federal money for Planned Parenthood while Congress investigates the organization. She also rejected PPFA’s contention that defunding it would result in a crisis for “underserved and low-income women.”
“This is a lie,” Black wrote in a July 30 opinion piece in The Nashville Tennessean. “Across the country, we have nearly 1,200 federally qualified health centers – places like county health departments and faith-based clinics – that are forced to compete with Planned Parenthood for scarce taxpayer dollars. In many cases, they are offering services that Planned Parenthood does not provide, such as mammograms, but they lack the lobbying power and Washington connections that have made Planned Parenthood the billion-dollar-a-year industry that it is today.”
Sen. James Lankford, R.-Okla., has introduced on the Senate side a bill identical to Black’s. Black’s bill has 162 cosponsors, while Lankford’s has only three.
In the video released July 30, Ginde tells the individuals working for CMP, “We’d have to do a little bit of training with the providers or something to make sure that they don’t crush” fetal organs during second-trimester abortions.
Responding on video to a recommendation of paying by the individual body part, Ginde says, “I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.”
Regarding the legal implications, Ginde says of PPRM’s lawyer, “He’s got it figured out that he knows that even if, because we talked to him in the beginning, you know, we were like, ‘We don’t want to get called on,’ you know, ‘selling fetal parts across states.’“
A July 28 California court order did not prevent CMP from releasing its latest video. A Superior Court in Los Angeles County temporarily blocked CMP from releasing video of three Stem Express executives apparently discussing the purchase of aborted baby parts. A hearing in the case is scheduled Aug. 21.
In CMP’s third video, which was released July 28, a former employee of Stem Express, which supplies human tissue to biomedical researchers, discussed her procurement of baby parts at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
The ERLC and other opponents of government funding of Planned Parenthood have tried in previous congressional sessions to cut off money for the organization and other abortion providers but have always fallen short.
In its latest financial report (2013-14), PPFA said it received more than $528 million in government grants, contracts and reimbursements. It performed 327,653 abortions during 2013.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service. With reporting by David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press.)

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8/3/2015 12:13:48 PM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Equip Panel: Conviction, kindness key to gay marriage response

August 3 2015 by Keith Collier, Southern Baptist TEXAN/Baptist Press

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, Christians and churches must respond by speaking with confidence, conviction and kindness while also creating biblical community, speakers at the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty’s inaugural (ERLC) Equip gathering, said.
“We have been called to be a people of both truth and grace, of both conviction and kindness, in a world that is often fearful and angry,” ERLC President Russell Moore said during his opening message, based on 2 Timothy 2:22-26, July 29, in Austin, Texas.
Moore acknowledged Christians often associate kindness with weakness or cowering to the culture, but sitting back silently while the world celebrates perversion of God’s design for sexuality is “not an option,” he said.
“If we capitulate or if we are silent about what the scripture teaches about marriage and sexuality, we are not just avoiding a social issue or a moral issue – we are avoiding a gospel issue,” Moore said.


Photo by Gary Ledbetter
Panelists discuss the Gospel and homosexuality at the ERLC's Equip Austin event, July 29.

“The church now has the opportunity to articulate a distinctively Christian witness to marriage and sexuality.”
Moore went on to say the church must learn to teach a biblical theology of marriage and singleness while recognizing that every member of the church is involved in the issue.
“We need the entire body of Christ together in the articulation, not only in what to avoid – ‘flee youthful passions’ – but also what to pursue – love, peace, righteousness – and embodying that within our own congregations,” Moore said.
Paul’s admonishment to Timothy to “patiently endure evil” means Christians must be confident in their convictions but speak truth “with a Christian accent,” he said.
“People don’t change their minds because of a pile of arguments … (or) because we humiliate them,” Moore said. “People have hearts changed when they encounter the risen Christ, who calls them by name.”
Moore concluded his message by calling churches to reach “refugees from the sexual revolution,” those who have followed after lustful passions and found their promises empty and damaging. Those who are best able to reach these hurting individuals will be those who are confident in the truth and gracious in their offer of the gospel.
The three-hour event, titled “The Gospel & Same-Sex Marriage,” featured pastors and formerly gay Christians and addressed how churches and Christians should respond to the issue. The event, which was hosted by The Austin Stone Community Church and funded by a grant from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, was simulcast live over the Internet to homes and churches across the country.
A common theme throughout the evening was that churches needed to cultivate gospel community, which involves intentional life-on-life relationships.
Mike Goeke shared his testimony of separating from his wife to pursue a homosexual lifestyle before repenting and returning to his marriage. Goeke, whose story could help reach those struggling with same-sex attraction in the church, warned that the solution is not in programs or special ministries but simply “for the church to be the church.”


Photo by Gary Ledbetter
Former lesbian and gay activist Rosaria Butterfield shares her testimony of how Christ saved her. Butterfield was one of the speakers at the ERLC's Equip Austin event, July 29.

Goeke, now associate pastor at First Baptist Church in San Francisco, said the primary reason many who are saved by Christ out of homosexuality often return to the lifestyle is because of loneliness. Several speakers noted the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community thrives on networks of close, personal relationships.
Churches, then, must model biblical community.
“When a gay person walks away from their entire world, when they walk away from their sexual identity and possibly their whole identity, when they walk away from their community to pursue Jesus, they often find no one in the church to walk alongside them,” Goeke said.
“Shiny, well-scrubbed, secret-bearing Christianity will never foster anything except more secrets. We need to pull community out of a list of programs and graft it into the DNA of our church.”
Healing community, Goeke said, is messy and inconvenient, but it is also life changing for every member in the church.
Rosaria Butterfield, a former English professor at Syracuse University who abandoned her life as a lesbian and gay activist when she converted to Christ, echoed Goeke’s plea for churches to display gospel community. Her own testimony includes a pastor and his wife who befriended her and welcomed her into their lives as they demonstrated and discussed the gospel with her.
Butterfield, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, stressed that just like every person who repents and believes in Christ, those coming out of homosexuality are exchanging their old identity for a new identity in Christ, yet this transition is not simple.
Jackie Hill Perry, who also was a lesbian before coming to Christ, explained the gospel creates community, saving individuals into communities of people called local churches.
For this reason, she encouraged Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction to pursue friendships in the church.
“If God has said and created people with roles that will equip us and mature us,” Perry said, “then those of us who are struggling can’t decide, ‘I’m going to grow apart from the way God taught me to grow.’ We have to go to a local body because that’s where these roles are expressed.
“We need people to help us, and I know it’s scary, but fear is a great place to trust God.”
At the same time, Perry challenged churches to get beyond conferences and programs on the topic and to simply be the body of Christ.
“Most of us may not be able to empathize or understand the struggle with a specific sin such as homosexuality, but I believe that all people can empathize with sin as a whole,” Perry said. “I think that’s even more crucial to why the church should actually exemplify community.
“The thing about the gay community is that it actually is a community – you feel safe, you feel listened to, you feel heard, you feel understood. So I think it’s a problem when those who are unbelievers feel way more safe in a room full of unregenerates than they do people whom God knows.”
Matt Carter, pastor of preaching at The Austin Stone, noted in a panel discussion at the end of the evening that it’s often easy for churches to stand for truth but more difficult for them to offer grace. He seeks in his preaching to “unashamedly preach the gospel in a loving way,” and by God’s grace, they have seen people drawn to Jesus as a result.
Carter encourages his church members to “look at people in this community the same way you would anybody that needs the love of Christ.” At the same time, Carter said, he has been asking himself and his church, “How can we be a family to these people whom we are calling to repentance? We’re calling these folks out of the only family they may have, and how can we be a real, genuine, authentic, biblical community for them?”
Butterfield said she appreciates this approach, and added, “We are calling people to lose a community, and of all people, Christians ought to be able to step into loneliness.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – ERLC plans to post sessions from the Equip event on its website,, in the coming weeks.)


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8/3/2015 12:04:02 PM by Keith Collier, Southern Baptist TEXAN/Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Royals GM: character key to team’s turnaround

August 3 2015 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Kansas City Royals general manager (GM) Dayton Moore was headed off the field during 2012 spring training when a Royals minor league coach approached him. “Dayton,” the coach said, “God asked me to tell you something.”
“Sure, what do you have, kid?” Moore replied.
Moore says he will never forget the response: “Do your fighting on your knees.”
The coach’s message was impactful in part because of the temptation to lash out at critics. The Royals had lost at least 90 games in five of the previous six seasons, with nearly 30 years elapsed since their last playoff appearance – and fans were growing impatient with Moore. But the GM, now in his 10th year with the Royals, knew that patience, trust in Christ and an emphasis on character within the organization marked the path to turning around the franchise.


Kansas City Royals photo
Dayton Moore

Moore told Baptist Press why character is important for a winning team in the Major Leagues.
Professional baseball players “are genetically gifted to play this sport,” he said. “They’re very talented. It’s the choices they make off the field that are going to allow their natural ability on the field to take over.” That’s why the Royals “have a lot of character and leadership programs put in place, and we talk a lot about the importance of being a great brother, a great son and someday growing up to be a great husband.”
Two years after the spring training message, Moore’s emphasis on character appeared to help pay off as the Royals won the American League title and fell in Game Seven of the World Series by just one run. Thus far in 2015, they have the best record in the American League.
Saved in the third grade, Moore recommitted his life to Christ as a junior college baseball player in Kansas – a recommitment described in his 2015 book More than a Season: Building a Championship Culture. As a follower of Jesus, becoming more Christ-like and instilling virtue in others played a role in Moore’s career as a player, coach, scout and eventually Major League GM.
When he arrived in Kansas City in 2006, Moore established three questions that had to be answered of all prospective Royals leaders. First among them was, “Are they able to apply moral principles in their lives?”
“Our goal from day one here in Kansas City was to create an organization we’d want our own sons and family to be a part of,” Moore said. “With scouts that we hire, [we ask] would we want this particular scout in our home representing the Royals, talking to our son about joining the Royals? Would we want this coach, this instructor, this manager around our sons on a daily basis?”
Cultivating character among minor league players was particularly important to Moore because of his goal to establish a winning team with a majority of the players developed through the Kansas City farm system. Consequently, minor leaguers with the Royals hear speakers address morality, and they participate in character and leadership development programs.
The investment in minor leaguers seemed to yield dividends in 2014, with 12 of 25 players on Kansas City’s World Series roster coming up through their farm system and four others acquired in trades for minor league players.
Though many players are young and unmarried, family is another important emphasis for Moore. He wants players to be exemplary husbands and fathers and seeks to model that with his own wife and three children. Following the 2013 season, for example, when the Royals narrowly missed the playoffs, Moore took his family on a two-week tour of the Holy Land rather than attend MLB general manager meetings.
Moore harkens back to the advice of an Atlanta Braves scout known to ask him how “the team” was doing. If Moore, who worked in the Braves organization for more than a decade, answered by referencing baseball, the scout would rebuke him and say, “No ... your team at home.”
To help players spiritually, Moore encourages them to get involved in MLB’s chapel program. Chaplains “pour into the lives of the players” and help them make “quality, consistent, good choices through [their] faith,” Moore said.
At times, being a Christian GM means giving a second chance to players and coaches who have made bad choices, like using steroids, but then repented, Moore said. One Royals minor league hitting coach was hired after serving 17 years in a federal penitentiary, where he committed his life to Christ and experienced a transformation, Moore said.
In the end, Moore cited perseverance and willingness to forgive as two traits that should set a Christian general manager apart from his peers. While his ultimate goal is to please God, Moore hopes those traits will also contribute to a World Series title this fall.
“The only thing we try to do each and every day as a leadership team is to lead ourselves well, make sure that we are the fathers and the husbands that we need to be,” Moore said.
He added, “If we lead ourselves well, it’s going to transition on down to our coaches, our scouts, our players.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

8/3/2015 11:45:32 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Tennesseans await ruling on physician-assisted suicide

July 31 2015 by Lonnie Wilkey, Baptist & Reflector

The issue of physician-assisted suicide or death with dignity has surfaced in Tennessee.
Earlier this year the Tennessee General Assembly failed to act on a bill which would have allowed doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs when requested by terminally ill patients.
In May, however, well-known Tennessee lawyer and politician John Jay Hooker filed a lawsuit challenging state law that makes it a felony to assist in a suicide, according to a report in The Tennessean on July 10. The Associate Press reported that the 84-year-old former candidate for governor of Tennessee has terminal cancer.
On that same day, Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy heard arguments on the issue from both sides.
Steven Hart, special counsel in the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, argued assisted suicide is not a constitutionally protected right, according to The Tennessean.
Hart noted that 45 states prohibit assisted suicide, which also is termed by some as death with dignity, the paper reported.


Randy C. Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, understands well the arguments of those who support physician-assisted suicide but makes it clear that he opposes any attempt to make it legal.
“I’ve stood beside the bed of many terminally ill friends in my three-plus decades as a pastor. It tears my heart out to see them suffer,” he said.
“I don’t begin to claim an understanding of why God does what He does in the lives of individuals but I do know this: God has a purpose in all that He does and He is with these friends through the finish line of this world and ushers them into eternity.”
For those who are suffering, Davis encouraged them “to lean into Jesus and on His promises to never leave you or forsake you even when it feels you are alone. If you are a relative or friend of someone suffering, the Bible clearly calls us to bear up one another’s burdens.”
Davis underscored that as “executive director of the Executive Board ministries of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, I categorically state that we in no way support any assisted suicide measures.
“Between abortion and a push to see assisted suicide legalized across our country, I’m extremely alarmed at the trend of devaluing of life in our culture. The inception and termination of life is not ours to determine. God has determined both an individual’s birth and death – He specifically says so in His Word – and it is not our place under any circumstance to usurp His authority.
“We must bend our lives to conform to the Bible, not conform the Bible to suit our convenience,” he said.
Southern Baptist ethicist Ben Mitchell, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Union University in Jackson, addressed physician-assisted suicide in an April opinion article in The Jackson Sun.
He wrote that “even though in assisted suicide it is the patient who administers the lethal drug, the practice distorts the healing relationship between doctors and their patients.
“Doctors have an ethical duty to do what they can to alleviate suffering, but they should not knowingly involve themselves in the active death of a patient, even if the patient requests it. Doctors must not be complicit in killing their patients,” Mitchell noted in the column.
Mitchell told the Baptist and Reflector that “one of the ironies” of Hooker’s lawsuit is that he “is asking for a future right that he cannot possibly be certain he will exercise when the time comes.”
“He may, in fact, choose palliative care and pain management. I hope he does, because far more physicians have excellent skills in that area of patient care than have practice killing people.”
Mitchell also observed that one “does not need a constitutional right to kill oneself. What Mr. Hooker is arguing is that he has a constitutional right to have others help him kill himself. There is nothing of the kind in either the Tennessee or U.S. Constitution. His right to end his own life does not entail an obligation on others to assist him.”
The Union provost also stressed that “physicians must not be accomplices in killing their patients. That would hardly be death with dignity.”
On July 23 the Family Action Council of Tennessee reported the Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a “friend of the court” brief on the Family Action Council’s behalf and for other organizations in Tennessee that support life. The brief defends the constitutionality of Tennessee’s law which prohibits physician-assisted suicide.
David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council, observed in a blog July 23 that the rationale used by the United States Supreme Court in its recent same-sex marriage ruling could eventually lead to the overturning of state laws prohibiting physician-assisted suicide.
He wrote, “The court’s rationale made our ability to govern ourselves and exist as a nation of sovereign states subject to the whims of this unelected ‘committee of nine lawyers’ we call the Supreme Court. Self government, states’ rights, and the Tenth Amendment may have died, too. They were, for sure, put on life support.
“But that’s not all that may have died. If the Court overrules our laws against physician-assisted suicide, it may just be your right to live that gets overruled if someday you get too old, too costly, or too infirm.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Baptist & Reflector, newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.)

7/31/2015 10:41:59 AM by Lonnie Wilkey, Baptist & Reflector | with 0 comments

Black church conference meets ministry needs

July 31 2015 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Retired International Mission Board (IMB) executive David Cornelius remembers the early 1990s fellowship that led to the formation of the Black Church Leadership & Family Conference, formerly known as Black Church Week.
At that time, African American Southern Baptists did not readily attend the various week-long training programs offered by LifeWay Christian Resources, such as the Sunday School training event at Glorieta Conference Center that Cornelius and a handful of other blacks attended.
During an evening fellowship, Cornelius and then California Southern Baptist pastor Jay Wells, now a retired LifeWay executive, discussed the importance of attracting blacks to the numerous training sessions offered for Southern Baptists.
“So the idea of Black Church Week was to provide all of the training in one week, the training in every area as opposed to having the individual weeks,” Cornelius told Baptist Press at the 2015 Black Church conference, held July 20-24 at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Ridgecrest, N.C. “And of course the hope was that [blacks] would eventually start attending the Sunday School week, and the preachers’ week, and so forth, offered by the convention apart from Black Church Week.”
Today, the Black Church conference annually attracts as many as 1,200 African American Southern Baptists from across the country, offering training, education, preaching, inspiration, praise and worship, fellowship and recreation. Cornelius has not missed one week since its formation more than 20 years ago. He, with his wife Elwanda, were one of only three African American IMB missionary couples in a field of over 4,000 before they returned to the U.S., where Cornelius headed black church mobilization in the northeast region for IMB. He retired in 2010.


Photo by Diana Chandler
Denton Harris, at the podium, leads the Black Church Leadership & Family Conference 2015 choir in singing "War." John Ray Jr. directs as Roy Cotton II plays keyboard.

“My hope would be that the time would come when it is not needed as such; the time will come when people will take advantage of all of the various training opportunities without having to be separated out, and yet I realize that time is not here yet,” Cornelius told BP. “There are some culturally relative things that take place during Black Church Week that’s not done in the other training opportunities as well. And I think [these culturally relative things] as much as anything contributed to the growth and the longevity of Black Church Week.”
Certain things are done differently in black churches than in worship settings among predominantly other ethnicities, he said.
“Ushering in the African American church is quite different from ushering in the white church. I know that because I’ve been a member of a predominantly white church for the past 22 years,” said Cornelius, a trustee and deacon at Huguenot Road Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. “So I know there are differences and that kind of training for example is not done to my knowledge in any specialized week that is offered by the Southern Baptist Convention, whereas in the black conventions, they do have special training opportunities for ushers and for choirs.
“But even during the choir week, I’m not sure how much training that is relevant to the way our black choirs operate is offered. And a lot of that is because it’s just not relevant to the Anglo experience,” he said. “Integration would be moved forward if we were more broad in our acceptance of various singing styles, worship styles and so forth, and that goes for whites and blacks.”
Registration at this year’s event totaled 818, including 62 children who were immersed in age-appropriate training and activities, and 116 teenagers who attended the concurrent Centrifuge camp, according to Mark Croston, LifeWay national director for Black Church Partnerships.
“What makes Black Church Leadership and Family Conference special is not just the great preaching, Bible exposition and training, it’s also the family environment,” Croston told Baptist Press. “I brought my children with me every year from the time they were in preschool. It is a week of training where there is a great experience waiting for people of all ages.”
“Stand” was the conference theme, taken from I Peter 5:8-12. Activities began with the July 20 opening worship service in Spilman Auditorium, followed by nearly 100 individual morning class sessions, morning corporate Bible study, gender-specific afternoon teaching sessions, evening praise and worship, and appreciation dinners for pastors, ministers, mission leaders, wives and women.
The “Whosoever Will” choir was recruited from the audience on opening night, and immediately began to sing praises under the direction of evening worship leader John Ray, Jr., minister of worship at Light of the World Christian Church in Indianapolis and worship auditorium coordinator Roy Cotton Sr., a church starter with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Volunteer ushers were also recruited in the same forum.
Evening worship preachers were Herbert Lusk II, pastor of Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia, who preached July 20; Frank I. Williams, treasurer of the National African American Fellowship and pastor of both the Bronx Baptist Church and Wake-Eden Baptist Church in New York, who preached July 21; Wayne Chaney, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Long Beach, Calif., July 22, and IMB President David Platt, July 23.
Other key speakers and teachers included, alphabetically, Diann Ash, minister of education at Greenforest Community Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga.; John Benton Jr., young adult pastor of First Baptist Church-West, Charlotte, N.C.; Myesha Chaney, wife of the pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Los Angeles; former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran; Victor Davis, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Richmond, Va.; Jason Earls, youth pastor of North Garland Baptist Fellowship in Garland, Texas; Penny Ellis, executive director of Sisters on Mission, Inc. of Lawrenceville, Ga., and Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, in Mansfield, Texas.
Also among key participants were D.A. Horton, national coordinator of Urban Mission Initiatives of the North American Mission Board; Jamale Johnson, pastor of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C.; James McCarroll, pastor of First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Morgan McCoy, a dramatist and teacher with Kingdom Pursuers Ministries in Richmond, Va.; Nik Ripken of Nik Ripken Ministries, and Morana St. Hilaire, immediate past minister of music at Suburban Baptist Church in New Orleans.
In addition to LifeWay, event sponsors included the SBC Executive Committee, IMB, NAMB, Guidestone Financial Resources, Woman’s Missionary Union, NAAF, and the National Pro-Life Coalition. The next conference is set for July 11–15, 2016 at Ridgecrest.


Black Denominational Servants

The Black Denominational Servants Network (BDSN), a professional organization composed of African Americans employed by the Southern Baptist Convention, its entities and the Woman’s Missionary Union, elected 2015–2017 officers during its business meeting at Ridgecrest.
Officers are president Eugene McCormick, a team strategist for African American Church Development Ministries of the Florida Baptist Convention; vice president Port Wilburn, pastor of Rock Harbor Christian Fellowship in San Pablo, Calif.; secretary Diana Chandler, general assignment writer/editor of Baptist Press, and treasurer Ira Antoine, coordinator of bivocational ministry with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
For BDSN membership information, contact McCormick at
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)


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7/31/2015 10:32:07 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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