November 28, 2019 www.mbcb.org
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Chick-fil-A slammed for altering donations
BRIEFS GROUP PROMOTES IDEA FOR HOLIDAY SHOPPING LOS ANGELES (BP) — Parents can use their Christmas shopping dollars to tell television advertisers which shows to promote, the Parents Television Council (PTC) advises. “Although we’ve never called for boycotts, I think it’s important for us to vote our values when we shop.” PTC program director Melissa Henson told Baptist Press Nov. 21. Conversely, “[If] there are companies out there that are really making a conscientious effort to do the right thing, to put their ad dollars behind responsible family-friendly programming, we should be applauding and supporting that by buying from those companies,” she said.
ASIAN AMERICANS CONFER IN DALLAS DALLAS (BP) — Discipleship was the main topic of discussion during two gatherings of Asian American church leaders and seminary students in the Dallas area organized by Next Generation CoLab in partnership with the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Alpharetta, Ga. Chris Wong, second-generation church mobilizer for NAMB, led discussions on discipleship, mobilization, and multiplication, while Hyung Lee, vice president of the NextGen CoLab, explained the fellowship’s goal to encourage younger Asian Americans to participate within the SBC family and to connect with national SBC entities.
KID SEXUAL VIDEOS DEBUT IN CANADA TORONTO (BP) — Sex education videos in Canada targeted to children ages 9-12 include details on transgenderism, masturbation, and other perverse forms of sexuality, according to a Nov. 15 CBN report. “Christian parents are going to have to make hard choices and seriously re-evaluate whether they can keep their children in institutions that teach such error,” said Andrew Walker, associate dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
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is among an estimated 65 million Christians facing increased persecution in the nation of 1.4 billion people. Persecution is spiking under extreme rightwing Hindu nationalism encouraged by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), according to reports from across the Asian nation. Christians in the former state of Jammu and in Kashmir in northern India have suffered increased persecution since the
NASHVILLE (BP and local reports) — Chick-fil-A, Inc., announced a new policy Nov. 18 that will refocus the company’s charitable donations to the areas of hunger, homelessness, and education — a move condemned by scores of political pundits and religious leaders as a cave-in to criticism by LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) activists who alleged the chicken sandwich restaurant was supporting “hate groups” such as the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes with its donations. Under the new policy, the Chick-fil-A Foundation will close out its donations to those two groups along with the Paul Anderson Youth Home, three former partner organizations that are Biblebased regarding homosexuality and recognize marriage as only between one man and one woman. Chick-fil-A is one of the nation’s fastest growing restaurant chains. With total sales in 2019 topping $10 billion, Chick-fil-A is currently the third largest food chain in its category in the United States,
see INDIA on p. 6
see DONATIONS on p. 7
PERSISTENT VIOLENCE — Lakhpati Devi (right), 68-year-old mother of pastor Basant Kumar Paul, remains in a coma after being struck in the head with an ax during a Nov. 12 attack by Hindu extremists on Paul’s home-based church in Jharkhand, India. Protesters (left) flee police tear gas directed at protesting Kashmiris last August. (Photos courtesy of Morning Star News)
Christians persecuted in India Murders, beatings, and rapes ignored as extremists rage on INDIA (BP and local reports) — Basant Kumar Paul, pastor of the Evangelical Church of the Calvary Gospel Ministry in Jharkhand, India, proclaimed he no longer fears persecution and is certain of his heavenly home — after regaining consciousness when attackers left him for dead in his home. “My physical body might be weak, but my spirit is very
strong, it will not break with persecution,” as Morning Star News quoted Paul on Nov. 22. “They tried to kill me twice, I was almost dead, but I still did not die. “I will not die until the Lord calls me back home. This assurance drives away all my fears.” Still recovering from the Nov. 12 attack on his immediate and extended family, Paul
Church Library Media Ministry leaders New officers elected at the 48th annual Church Media Library (CLM) Conference in late September at First Church, Columbus, were (front left) Loretta Brown, First Church, Summit – Historian; Judy Boggan, First Church, Corinth – Secretary-Treasurer; Sandra Fitts, First Church, Corinth – Associational Coordinator; Cathy Moss, First Church, Natchez – President; Mary Quandt, First Church, Tupelo – Vice-President; Mary Curtis, Prentiss Church, Prentiss – Program Chairman; and Melissa Holeman, First Church, McComb – Publicity Chairman. CLM is a ministry of the Mississippi Cooperative Program. (Photo by Ian Richardson)
Prepping for the Holidays
O WILLIAM PERKINS
Shades of Madalyn
hristians were hoodwinked for many years about atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her supposed attempt to completely remove religious programming from American television airwaves. That was a frightening thought, considering the successes she had achieved in her long campaign to wipe the practice of religion from the cognitive culture of this country. Rallies were held. Petitions were distributed. Telephone banks were set up to raise money for the cause. The calls for Christians to rise up and fight for religious television programming were manifold. O’Hair was a fervent topic of conversation in the halls of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting every year. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates U.S. television programming from Washington, D.C., was so inundated with complaints and petitions that they were forced to place a disclaimer on the first page of their web site explaining no such action by O’Hair was pending before the agency. The disclaimer stayed put for many years. No such action? How could that be? What about all the unsourced petitions that Christians – entire churches – were signing? Verifications (again unsourced) were all over the Internet. Radio talk shows in need of ratings were sensationalizing the story. Christian television broadcasters were all over it. How could it not be true? People continued to argue about Madalyn Murray O’Hair for a number of years, even after the FCC had unequivocally put the matter to rest. That is, until officials were able to confirm that O’Hair died in 1995 at the hands of an atheist acquaintance and felon named David Roland Waters, who led authorities to her dismembered and burned body buried on a remote ranch in Texas after he was convicted of her murder in 2001. She was positively identified by the un-degraded serial number on her metal hip replacement. In the Madalyn Murray O’Hair fiasco – and there are many more – Christians were made to look angry, foolish, and reactionary. That’s not a description of the way Jesus followers should live. Too, some Christians see such behavior as a punch on their ticket to heaven. They may not witness to the lost all around them and they may skip church for
every football game that pops up, but they are petition-signers and boycotters. That should be enough, in their eyes. Now we have Chick-fil-A, the professing Christian chicken sandwich restaurant chain that has been under withering attack for many years from LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) activists for supporting what the company’s detractors describe as “hate groups,” such as the Salvation Army, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and other organizations that have codified their Bible-based stances on modern cultural issues. Chick-fil-A has decided to move their corporate charitable giving into other areas, which means the Salvation Army and FCA and the others will no longer receive Chickfil-A donations. Many Christians have taken to social media to accuse the company of caving in to the LGBTQ crowd. Once again, angry Christians are calling for petitions and boycotts. One social media poster described how he had done his Christian duty by storming into the nearest Chickfil-A restaurant, demanding to talk with the manager, and promising him that neither he nor his family would ever set foot in that restaurant again. He was proud. Come on, brothers and sisters. Chick-fil-A headquarters has not turned into a den of Satan worshippers. The company’s untimely decision to designate charitable contributions elsewhere may be legitimately suspect, and this is not meant to ridicule anyone’s viewpoint on the matter. Fact is, though, Chick-fil-A will continue to provide a consistent – and rare – Christian witness in the secular marketplace. They’re still going to be closed on Sunday. They’re still going to support the communities where they do business. They’re still going to set up the Empty Table on Memorial Day for the U.S. Armed Forces members who don’t make it back home. It doesn’t further our witness to overreact in anger to events that don’t go the way we think they should. It doesn’t further our witness to quote unsourced, unfounded, and manipulated information from social media. Let’s be reasonable. Even more importantly, let’s be Christian.
ur family, just like many others, is made up of broken people. Even though it’s the holiday season, we’re still the same people. We bring unique personalities that grind against each other; past hurts and unhealed wounds; differing points of view; and various personal preferences to every family gathering. Paul’s letter to the Galatians is written to a group of people feeling mental and emotional pressure under the strain of relationships. He encourages these young Christians to remember the power of the Holy Spirit as they endure this difficulty. When preparing for a family gathering, especially one where you know there is a good chance of conflict, why not spend some time thinking about ways to bring goodwill? It could be in your attitude or demeanor. Perhaps you can think of encouraging or helpful things to say to family members. It may be easy to spend time dreading a family gathering, but what if that time was used thinking of ways to deliver goodwill to the group? Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness will need to be fully implemented if we hope to have a peaceful interaction with those we love. Seeking the goodwill of all doesn’t mean we ignore problems; it means we deal with them graciously and wisely. We realize the family gathering may not be the place for a conversation that needs to happen in private between a few family members. The goodwill you brought should be more than a warm greeting at the door. To maintain it may require action. Kindness and goodness are the tools you need. Faithfulness and gentleness will provide the strength you need. The thought behind kindness in Galatians 5:23 is mellowing. Think of it as deescalating a situation that would lead to a volatile event. Kindness aims to calm or defuse a conversation or event that could be explosive. Maybe a simple comment would defuse the situation, or you could help shift the focus of the room. There are times, though, when a kind suggestion isn’t enough. That’s when goodness kicks in. It is time for more deliberate action. Scholar Warren Baker believes this form of goodness is what drove Jesus to cleanse the temple as he drove out the
Guest opinion with Brandon Porter money changers. In Matthew 21:12-17, Jesus returns the temple to a place of prayer where the sick and hurting could receive care. In this instance, Jesus did more than speak. He acted. At a family gathering, there are times for words and there are times for actions. When a family member is going too far, someone needs to intervene in a kind way, offering gracious and specific direction. That may sound like, “That will be enough of that...,” or, “Can I speak with you in the other room?” You know your family. You know the possibilities. Will you be prepared to intervene if necessary? Maybe you’re wondering where you’ll get the confidence or wisdom to do something like that. These last attributes of the fruit of the Spirit provide what you need. Faithfulness and gentleness are rooted in the Lord’s provision for His people. We can risk being embarrassed by a family member because we know the Lord has acted on our behalf through the Gospel. A Christian’s identity is rooted in more than their family name. It is rooted in their faith in Jesus. His work in us moves us to action and shapes the way we act. Not out of weakness, but out of courage, because our confidence is in Christ. All of these attributes lead to selfcontrol. Before we assume someone else is going to ruin the family gathering, we better make sure it isn’t us. Bringing this important fruit basket to the get together, we can join with God in helping to deliver goodwill to all during this holiday season. Porter is communications director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention in Louisville His commentary appears courtesy of Baptist Press. Edited for style and length.
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VOLUME 143 • NUMBER 47 • ISSN-0005-5778 Published weekly except weeks of July 4 and Christmas by the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, 515 Mississippi Street, Jackson, MS 39201. Subscription $11.99 per year payable in advance. Economy plans available for cooperating Mississippi churches. Periodicals postage paid at Jackson, MS. Member, Association of State Baptist Papers. Deadlines: News items — one calendar week prior to requested publication date. Advertising — two calendar weeks prior to requested publication date. All submissions are subject to editing.
2 November 28, 2019 The Baptist Record
First Person: Expanding opportunities to serve in SBC By Ronnie Floyd Correspondent Southern Baptists have proven and affirmed upon several occasions our commitment to stand on the Word of God, that the Bible is truth without any mixture of error. We stand FLOYD on this truth as stated in the Baptist Faith and Message and its call to take the Gospel to every person in every town, every city, every state, and every nation. Our commitment to inerrancy
starts at the local church but when it comes to our cooperative efforts, it must be carried through at every level. We as leaders should be committed to this not just in our belief in the inerrant Word of God, but in strengthening our commitment as a Great Commission people to becoming a multi-ethnic, multilingual convention of churches (Matthew 28:18-20). These two are not mutually exclusive, but go hand in hand. One key to a healthier culture in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is to empower all churches, all generations, all ethnicities, and all languages for Gospel service. This is one of the main reasons
we are restructuring our staff at the SBC Executive Committee in Nashville to include three separate positions for multi-ethnic relations and mobilization. It’s also one of the main reasons I was so intentional about my appointments as SBC president in 2015 and 2016. Among the many responsibilities that fall to the president of the SBC, making committee appointments often gets the most scrutiny. The process requires due diligence because it is one of the most significant long-term effects of the president of the SBC. When I served in the role, one of my greatest desires was for us to move forward in racial unity and I knew
that committee appointments were essential to that. At that time, around 20% of our churches were multi-ethnic and I was determined to match or exceed that number in our committee representation. In 2016, we had a Committee on Committees that was 22% nonwhite. At that time, this was unprecedented in our history but it has now been surpassed by our current president, J.D. Greear. I am convinced that this intentionality is fundamental to a healthy future in the SBC. Strengthening our commitment to becoming a multiethnic, multi-lingual denomination begins in the local churches of the SBC and should
be carried all the way through our presidential appointment process and trustee appointment process. It’s my prayer that Southern Baptists remain a people of The Book while also realizing we have no choice but to become as diverse as possible both in our churches and our leadership. This is imperative if we are going to reach the people of America and the peoples across the globe. Now is the time to lead.
required to create and implement policies.” Chip Dean, global student pastor at Liberty Live Church in the Hampton, Va., area, also reviewed the guide and said it is well designed for every student ministry size. “Every student pastor needs to not only read this guide, but also adopt, apply and train their leaders with these important principles and guidelines,” he told BP by e-mail. “We not only live in a new world today, but the new world of today will be an old world tomorrow with new issues coming every day. “Student pastors must be wise and equipped with the tools needed to protect their students, leaders, families and themselves from the strategies of the evil one.” Dean also encouraged every student pastor “to make your student ministry a safe place for those who have experienced abuse. “The only way to do this is by first protecting your ministry, and then teaching your ministry (including your stu-
dents) that your ministry is a safe place that they can bring their friends for love, safety and healing through the power of Jesus.” The Introductory Guide to Caring Well acknowledges it is a starting point for helping leaders guide their churches in ministering to survivors and prevent abuse. “Whether you are reviewing existing care policies or creating them for the first time, this guide will walk you through practical steps to take as you seek to prevent abuse and care well for survivors,” according to the introduction. “It provides a foundation of topics to think through, provides sample language and policies provided by leading sexual abuse prevention advocates, and links to further resources to help you dive deeper into each area of prevention and care.” After the enhancement of its policies, a church currently participating in the Caring Well Challenge committed to two more steps:
n Dedicating Sunday services on May 3, 2020, or a similar date to addressing abuse. n Reflecting on the Caring Well Challenge at the 2020 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Orlando, Fl. SAAG and the ERLC began their collaboration when J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area, formed the fluid study group shortly after his election as SBC president in June 2018 SAAG and the ERLC worked with LifeWay Christian Resources to produce Becoming a Church That Cares Well for the Abused. The free multimedia resource released in June is a comprehensive training curriculum that consists of a handbook with 12 video lessons from experts in a variety of areas. SAAG issued a 52-page report in June that recommended several steps of action intended to help combat abuse and to care for survivors. These and other resources are available at caringwell.com.
Floyd is president of the SBC Executive Committee in Nashville. His commentary appears courtesy of Baptist Press. Edited for style and clarity.
Abuse prevention in churches is topic of resource guide NASHVILLE (BP) — Churches may access a new resource produced by a Southern Baptist partnership to provide guidance on preventing sexual abuse and providing care for survivors of such abuse. The Sexual Abuse Advisory Group (SAAG) and the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) in Nashville on Nov. 19 unveiled the resource entitled, The Introductory Guide to Caring Well: A Resource to Help Churches Care Well for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Implement Policies and Procedures to Prevent Abuse. The new guide is the latest in a series of resources produced by SAAG and ERLC as part of a multi-faceted effort in the Southern Baptist Convention to address the failure of some churches to protect and care for hundreds of sex abuse victims and to prevent perpetrators in many cases from continuing their abuses. The Introductory Guide to Caring Well was designed to help churches fulfill the Caring Well Challenge’s sixth step, which is to enhance church policies, procedures, and practices related to abuse. The Caring Well Challenge, announced in June by SAAG and ERLC, is a yearlong, eight-step effort in which about 750 churches are currently participating. The new guide provides information on such topics as preparing church leadership for disclosure by a sexual abuse victim, screening and training volunteers and staff mem-
bers, implementing policies to protect the vulnerable in the church, and establishing a Caring Well team. “The Sexual Abuse Advisory Group encourages every church to do all it can to prevent abuse,” ERLC executive vice president Phillip Bethancourt told Baptist Press (BP) in written comments. “This resource is one step toward pointing our churches to be safe from abuse.” Faye Scott, minister to children at First Church, New Orleans, reviewed the guide before publication and said it provides an educational and practical venue for church leadership in the prevention of child sexual abuse in the church. “Education of church leaders, volunteers, parents, and children is key to the elimination of child sexual abuse,” she told BP in e-mailed remarks. “Implementation of preventive measures and effective screening tools will help to safeguard the children the Lord entrusts to us. “When church leaders learn the statistics of child sexual abuse and hear real stories of abuse in churches, they often gain an understanding for the need of preventive measures,” said Scott, who defended in early November her doctoral dissertation on child sexual abuse in the church. “Many times churches do not know where to obtain the type of resource the ERLC and Advisory Group has created. This resource will no longer allow churches to claim they did not have access to information
The Baptist Record November 28, 2019 3
urtherance is not a word that you hear very often. In fact, it may be that you’ve never heard anybody use the word furtherance. I suppose it used to be more popular than it is now and we have no doubt in the English language found some ways of coming up with a better, cuter way of saying things. Furtherance still has a lot of meaning. It is interesting to me that it is found only two times in the Bible. In the King James Version of Scripture it is found twice, both in the same book, both in the same chapter, of course written by the same person, the Apostle Paul. It was to the church at Philippi that he was writing, and in chapter one he uses furtherance in verse 12 and in verse 25. Of course the word in English and the word that he is conveying to them is the thought that there is a world beyond the borders that we let hinder us or stop us sometimes. There is a dimension beyond points that we fail to let God work in our lives. Listen to what he says in verse12. He’s talking about his imprisonment and he said, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). The troubles, the trials, and the imprisonments had been a launching pad for the Gospel to go forward. I don’t think any of us would want to have the kind of difficulties that the Apostle Paul had been through. I’m not sure that he would relish having the trials and troubles that he often faced, but what he had discovered was that what appeared to everybody else to be a harmful, hurtful, painful, difficult situation in his life and in his ministry, God had taken that and moved the Gospel into areas and into dimensions beyond what they had ever been. The furtherance of the Gospel. The other verse, verse 25, Paul is addressing the furtherance, not of the Gospel, but the furtherance of the joy in the believer’s life because they had been obedient unto Him. Here’s the way he said it, “And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith” (Phil. 1:25). Just pause and let that sink in for a moment. He’s saying the work is going on and what it is doing is moving into your heart beyond the borders, the barriers, the hindrances that you have put up that keep God from pouring out wonderful, joyful blessings in your life. It’s as though he looked into their hearts and saw that God had let some things come that would remove those barriers and fill their lives with joy and celebration, the great things that God was doing in a way that they had never experienced before. It’s the furtherance of their joy. What a marvelous thing to stop and think about how God works in our lives and is constantly working in you and me to bring about furtherance. Truly, the furtherance of the Gospel that will go to the ends of the earth and
couldn’t get worse they just got worse. An earthquake hit and shook that place and the prison bars began to pop open and the prisoners could escape. It looks like a jail riot is about to be underway. The jailer knew that this was the end of the road for him. He might as well hang it up. He might as well take his life, and so that’s what he was about to do. The darkness of the night was coupled with the darkness in his spirit and the darkness of his emotions. Paul said, “Whoa. Wait a minute. Do thyself no harm. We’re all here. All the prisoners are here. We’re not going anywhere.” You know the story as the Philippian jailer became a Christ follower before sunup (Acts 16:16-34). Now for me and maybe you, there are oftentimes in our lives when things don’t seem to be going well. Our ministry seems to be going downhill instead of equally the furtherance of joy in your life faith. True, if you don’t walk with God uphill. The joy seems to be drained out because of the faithful obedience in your and trust Him, you may not even in rather than joy filling our lives, and then walk with Christ. Let me give you just the years ahead look back and realize, something else comes along and shakes two or three thoughts to ponder as you my goodness, He was working in that us again. I understand. Paul certainly think about furtherance. for the furtherance of the Gospel in my understood, but he wanted the PhilipThe first thought is that God life, in my family, and I didn’t even see pians to know that in all these situations working in our lives is not limited it. God doesn’t work in ways to hurt us to Him simply doing good things and make things bad for us. He works to God working is not dependent upon our individual comfort. It’s dependent on the for us. Really, that’s what Paul had bring about blessings and works ultipower of God and the receptive hearts told the Philippians. His difficulties, his mately to the glory of His Son, Jesus. imprisonments, the way even the church That brings me to say that I think Paul coming to know Jesus as Savior and had treated him, all of those things God was saying to the Philippians to stop wor- Lord. Let me give you one other thought used for Paul to be put in position that rying about, stop complaining about, stop about furtherance and it has to do with the Philippians themselves as Paul uses the Gospel would be spread in ways that fussing and fuming about the fact that the word in verse twenty-five. it had never before had opportunity. I’m in prison and have a bunch of folks The point seems to be that God Think about this: Paul is probably who are constantly guarding me. Jesus not only expands the Gospel and under Roman guard, not just in prison, is at work and the Gospel is going forth enlarges our vision and our fields but guards there standing day and night and it is penetrating a culture that was of impact when we share Jesus, overlooking this terrible criminal in resistant, unbelieving, and had totally but He also increases the joy in our their minds. Paul is sitting there writing tuned Him out, but not now. Is that not letters to Philippi and to other churches glorious? It still happens, but sometimes believing in Him. He is restoring our joy, enlarging our capacity, expanding but more importantly, these soldiers are you and I miss it which brings me to the there day and night, standing right there second thought that I think Paul was try- our happiness in the Lord to overflowing because of our faith, our faithfulness to with him. Paul wakes up in the middle ing to convey to them. of the night. He can start talking about Not only was God working when Him. Regardless of the circumstances, we can have spiritual joy, personal, heavJesus to one of them and the only sound they thought He was working enly optimism, because God is at work that you would hear would be out in the against them, God’s promise and not only in the lives of others but in the distance, maybe a frog croaking or maybe God’s progress in Kingdom work a cricket chirping, but Paul’s voice, loving is not dependent on our individual lives of each one of us to bring renewed and positive, sharing Jesus one-to-one comfort nor circumstances. It never joy regardless of what may be shaking with a guy who has no choice. He can’t has been. It never will be. Paul is in pris- around us. I can assure you that all of us can get up and go home. He has no choice. on and it is not easy street. The Gospel ignore God at work both to carry out His He can’t even go to sleep during the is being proclaimed and it is prospering, message or to let Him work in us to the sermon. He has no choice but to listen to but things are not ideal and the world point that we can live in the sour spots the amazing presentation of the Gospel of is not good and people are not treating of life, ignore that God could be doing Jesus by the apostle Paul. the Apostle Paul like he wanted to be There’s no question but that many of treated for sure. How important for us to something bigger than what we understand He’s doing, but when we trust Him, them began to come to the Lord, and so properly see how God works His Gospel here is a man under lock and key and message into places and experiences that when we look to Him, what an incredible thing He does to bring about the furtherphysical oversight day and night. What seem absolutely hopeless. ance of the Gospel and the furtherance does he do? He sees it as an opportunity In the book of Acts, chapter 16, Paul of joy in us. You’re probably reading this that God had given him that he never and Silas were stopped in silence for somewhere post-Thanksgiving. It’s all would have otherwise ever had to see their testimony for Jesus. They were good when you give thanks for all the any of these people, to have shared the beaten. You remember? Thrown into good turkey and dressing and all the stuff Gospel with any of these men, to have the innermost prison and there at the you ate. Now pause and ask Him to give been right where God wanted him to be, midnight hour – now God never sleeps right there in the prison lockup. This nor slumbers – but there at the midnight you the kind of faith and confidence that the furtherance of the Gospel because of hour, Paul and Silas began to praise God. whatever has been taking place in your life you will trust Him, lean upon His what looked like his difficulties. It seemed like a terrible thing. I mean strong arms for help, and let Him restore life just goes from bad to worse to bitter. Sometimes the greatest things that Paul and Silas were beaten. the joy in your life. God does for us may at the moment There they are in the darkness of the look like the worst thing that ever hapdungeon and they begin to sing and lo pened, yet it is used of God to glorify The author can be contacted at direcand behold, it looks like when things His Son, Jesus. True, you have to have email@example.com.
College News The BLUE MOUNTAIN COLLEGE Alpha Theta Pi chapter of the Theta Alpha Kappa (TAK) honor society recently held its fall induction ceremony. TAK is a national honor society for students of Religious Studies and Theology. The Alpha Theta Pi Chapter was established at Blue Mountain College in 2007. Chapter members include: (first row, l to r) Tim Mims, TAK sponsor; Zac Carter (Winona); Will Livingston (Vardaman), chapter president; Destin Beach (Olive Branch); Justin Stark (Dumas); Ron Meeks, TAK sponsor; (second row, l to r) Lane Scribner (Mooreville), James Shea (Corinth), and Logan Chunn (Pontotoc).
November 28, 2019 The Baptist Record
VOL. 3 | ISSUE 11 | WWW.CHRISTIANACTION.COM
ife is filled with adjustments. If something is being adjusted, there is change; there is movement; there is variation. Many of us do not like change — we avoid adjustment. There are valid reasons we abhor adjustments and do not adhere to adjustments. Change can bring conflict. Alterations can bring altercations. For Israel, “there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” We find this in Exodus 1:8. The number “8” means new beginnings, but this adjustment for God’s people meant hard times ahead. The unknown future can elicit fear or faith. When a chiropractor makes an adjustment, he realigns your body so that joints and vertebrae fit together properly. There can be soreness and stiffness in the aftermath, but normally things improve with time. With any adjustment, you sacrifice the present (comfort, ease, familiarity) for the future. What an adjustment, when Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden. They move from a garden to a field, from flowers and fruit to weeds and work, from paradise, peace, and perfection to “blood, sweat and tears.” Their move to East of Eden (Genesis 3:24) was a tough adjustment. East of Eden, they lost two sons the same day. The death of a loved one, especially of a spouse or child, is one of the biggest adjustments anyone faces — it is tough. We have been without our son
Adjustments Austin five years — hard to believe. You don’t get through it; you learn to live with it — the new normal. Moses had adjustment after adjustment. He was born a Jew; grew up an Egyptian. He forsook the palace but was forsaken by his own people. Burning bushes are not campfires to sit around and make smores. When Moses needed a critical adjustment (speak to the rock the second time — not strike the rock as the first time), he did not comply and did not get to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. He finally got there on the Mount of Transfiguration 1,500 years later, but what an adjustment. Paul had adjustments — the big one came on the Damascus Road. He went on to Damascus, but his life and ministry did an “about face.” He shares some of his experiences in II Corinthians 11:23 - 27 (stoning, shipwreck, imprisonment). As he made adjustments, he “learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content,” Philippians 4:11 KJV. I am so very grateful for my three years of working with Dr. Futral — what a blessing! We need to pray for him and his family and for our search committee. For all of us, there will be an adjustment.
There will be an army of new public servants across the street come January. There will be adjustments here and back home for these newly elected state officials. We need to pray for them and their spouses and families. Many men and women who have devoted their lives to our state will stay home in January — a huge adjustment. I am the pot calling the kettle black when it comes to adjustments. Confession is good for the soul. When I took the battery of tests to enter the doctoral program at New Orleans Seminary, they called me in for a consultation. They explained that I was one of the most “rigid” personalities they had tested at New Orleans. I joked that in northeast Mississippi we didn’t call it “rigid,” we called it “a man of convictions.” They didn’t think it was funny. Adjustments are needed in our Christian walk. Flexibility is required. On a mission trip to Rome, in orientation, they said we needed to be “fluid.” I recognize a need to be more flexible, but not fluid. While playing the game of chess, you protect your king and queen. But as the game progresses, the board changes. What was safe is now at
risk. My family knows that when I say, “I don’t play chess well,” I mean I don’t adjust to life easily. But we must learn to adjust. Justification is a positional adjustment. Sanctification is an ongoing, progressive adjustment. Glorification is a permanent adjustment — Hallelujah! Once we get our glorified body at the rapture and resurrection (I John 3:2), there will be no more mortal adjustments. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus. There are good adjustments and bad adjustments. There are big adjustments — aging or a baby — and there are small adjustments — keeping up with your coat when winter is new. There are physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual adjustments. Too often, in my experiences, it is “the little foxes, that spoil the grapes,” Song of Solomon 2:15 KJV. An “attitude adjustment” can be the hardest of all. Your next adjustment or lack thereof will make you better or bitter; will make you or break you. The holidays are a critical time to make needed adjustments. Enjoy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! Digby is executive director-treasurer of the Christian Action Commission. He can be reached at (601) 292-3329/office, (662) 284-9163/ cell, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Baptist Record November 28, 2019 5
BJP-led government revoked a 1949 law that allowed Jammu and Kashmir to form its own constitution, reported Morning Star News and religious persecution watchdog groups including Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs. New security measures issued as recently as Nov. 6 make it “nearly impossible” for Christian congregations to meet, Morning Star reported. Gatherings of four or more people are now illegal in Jammu and Kashmir. The new restrictions have further emboldened Hindutva extremists in personal attacks on Christians, which number only about one-quarter of one percent of the 12.5 million people in the former Jammu.
in the school hostel, ACN reported. An extremist group complained to the government that the Christian school was evangelizing the students, which the headmaster denied. Muslims are also persecuted under the Hindu government, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) reported in a Nov. 19 press release. In the northeastern state of Assam, USCIRF said about 1.9 million non-Hindu residents were omitted from the National Register of Citizens (NRC). “Close to two million long-time residents of Assam may soon be deemed stateless. They are being stripped of their citizenship without a fair, transparent, and wellregulated NRC process,” USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava said in the press release.
Home church eyed
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Christians were attacked in at least 24 of India’s 29 states in a two-year period ending in July, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reported Nov. 14 in its latest report, Persecuted and Forgotten?, which studied Christian persecution in India and 11 other countries. Indian Christians were murdered, beaten, and raped, with ACN calculating at least 117 incidents in the first quarter of 2019; 477 incidents in 2018; and 440 incidents in 2017. “More than 100 churches closed in 2018, because of extremist attacks or intervention by authorities,” ACN said in its report. “Not only has communal violence remained high, but the failure of authorities to address attacks on religious minorities has engendered a climate of impunity.” As recently as May, the government demolished a churchrun school and hostel in Odisha State in eastern India, displacing at least 100 students who lived
In the case of pastor Paul in Jharkland, he and other family members are being investigated for holding church services in his home where about 35 gather for worship, Morning Star reported.
Paul’s family is the only Christian family in his village, but others come from as far as 12 miles away to worship in his home. “I have faced so much opposition from my own family, my clan, and from the [Hindu extremist group] Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, where I was deeply involved as a teacher before I came to Christ, that I have become immune to persecution now,” he told Morning Star. “I am not scared of persecution anymore. Though in the initial years of my faith, I would be scared.” In the attack on his family, eight extremists entered his home and beat Paul until they thought he was dead. They also beat his family members as each tried to help. Attackers broke the leg of Paul’s son and hit his mother and brother in the head with axes, Paul said. According to the CIA World Fact Book, about 80% of India’s population is Hindu. Open Doors included India for the first time in 2019 on their top ten list of countries most guilty of persecuting Christians.
MS POSITIONS GUM GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH LOCATED IN BROOKHAVEN, MS HAS A PART-TIME STUDENT MINISTER POSITION AVAILABLE. Please email resumes to email@example.com. MARS HILL BAPTIST CHURCH IN SMITHDALE, MS SEEKING PART-TIME YOUTH/ CHILDREN MINISTER. Please email resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 601-248-1925 HEUCKS RETREAT BAPTIST CHURCH, BROOKHAVEN, MS, IS SEEKING A BIVOCATIONAL PIANIST. Persons interested may email resume to Andrew Different at email@example.com or mail to Heucks Retreat Baptist Church, 2167 Heucks Retreat Rd NE, Brookhaven, MS 39601, Attention: Andrew Different. Position description available upon request. Deadline to apply is November 28, 2019.
Submission Guidelines The Baptist Record is pleased to publish news and photographs of special events that take place in cooperating churches of the Mississippi Baptist Convention. News items and/or photographs depicting benefits and activities for secular or outside organizations will not be published. Preferred method: news may be submitted electronically to the e-mail address below, and must be included in the message segment of an e-mail form. Secondary method: news may be typewritten or neatly printed on 8 1/2 by 11-inch paper and mailed. All articles must be received in writing; no articles will be accepted over the telephone. Due to ever-present virus threats, no text attachments will be accepted. Photograph attachments in JPEG format are permissible. Please make articles concise. Include the who, what, when, where details of the story, along with a contact person’s address and telephone number. Photographs must be submitted electronically
NEW ZION BC IN CRYSTAL SPRINGS, MS IS SEEKING A FULL-TIME OR PART-TIME YOUTH PASTOR. Submit resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org. FAIRFIELD BAPTIST IN MOSELLE, MS IS SEEKING A F/T PASTOR. Send resume’ to Search Committee, 942 Moselle-Seminary Rd., Moselle, MS 39459 SEEKING BI-VOCATIONAL PASTOR FOR POPPS FERRY BAPTIST CHURCH, BILOXI. Resumes can be sent to email@example.com. STILL SEEKING OUR FULL-TIME PASTOR - BETHANY BAPTIST CHURCH, WHYNOT COMMUNITY IN LAUDERDALE COUNTY. We have a new search committee and ask that resumes be submitted. Even if you have already submitted one, we ask that you resubmit. Email resumes to office@ whynotbethany.org or mail to 4475 Ponds Road, Meridian, MS 39301.
via e-mail, as attachments in JPEG format. Hard copy photographs mailed through the postal service will not be accepted. Photographs must be clear, sharp, and well-lighted. Photographs must depict people. No landscape-, building-, or object-only photographs will be printed. Photographs containing inappropriate gestures and objectionable clothing will not be published. Cell phone photographs and other low resolution items that do not reproduce well on newsprint are generally not publishable. There is no guarantee that news items and/ or photographs will be published, and unsolicited material will not be acknowledged or returned. All news items are subject to editing, and all photographs are subject to cropping. News items and/or photographs can be published one time only. Deadline for submitting news is one week prior to requested publication date. Articles that are not date-sensitive will be published on a space-available basis. These guidelines are not meant to be exhaustive. Submit news to The Baptist Record, P.O. Box 530, Jackson, MS 39205-0530. FAX: (601) 2923330. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SGK ITFRF SYF ITFW NTQET SYF RANG AG MAAK MYADGK; RDET SR TFSY ITF NAYK, SGK YFEFQBF QI, SGK UYQGM XAYIT XYDQI. RAJF ITQYIWXAPK, RAJF RQLIW, SGK RAJF SG TDGKYFK. JSYV XADY: INFGIW Clue: J = M Have fun with cryptography and exercise your Bible knowledge. A King James Version Bible verse has been encoded by letter substitution. The same letter is substituted throughout the puzzle. Solve by trial and error. Answer to last week’s puzzle: Isaiah Forty: Eight By Charles Marx, 1932–2004, © 2005
Need a light?
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Simply share the following prayer with God in your own words: 1. Lord, I admit that I need you. (I have sinned.) 2. I want forgiveness for my sins and freedom from eternal death. (I repent.) 3. I believe Jesus died and rose from the grave to forgive my sins and to restore my relationship with you. (I believe in Jesus.) 4. By faith, I invite Jesus Christ into my life. From this time on, I want to live in a loving relationship with Him. (I receive Christ as my Savior and Lord.) “But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name.” (John 1:12) If you make a decision for Christ today, contact a local Southern Baptist church for spiritual guidance.
6 November 28, 2019 The Baptist Record
Sunday School Lessons for December 1, 2019 God Leads • Numbers 9:15-23 One of the most reassuring aspects of being a Christian is knowing that God will guide us in following His will. As we shall see from today’s focal passage, the Lord always has provided a tangible witness to His abiding presence among His people. The Presence (Numbers 9:1516). During the time when God was leading His people out of Egyptian bondage through the wilderness to the Promised Land, He provided a visible symbol of His presence. The tabernacle was prescribed in detail in Exodus 25:1–31:11. As we read Exod. 35:1-40:38, we discover that Moses led the people to construct the tabernacle and its furnishings just as the Lord commanded him (Exodus 40:16,19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 32). This strong theme of obedience to the word of the Lord reveals the secret to living in His presence. The tabernacle would be the place where God would manifest His presence. Numbers 9:15-16 refers back to Exodus 40:33-35. God made His presence known as a cloud that settled on the tabernacle. The entire tent of testimony, as the tabernacle was called, was filled with His glory (Exodus 40:34-35). The cloud appeared as a fire over the tabernacle during the night (Exodus 40:38; Numbers 9:15-16). Believers today can experience the presence of God in tangible ways too.
First, the Bible is a source of daily commu- nection between the action of the Lord in nion with God. Persistent prayer enables lifting or settling the cloud, and the people believers to commune with the Lord. Liv- setting out or camping, mirrors the coning out the principles of love for God and nection between God’s word and the peolove for neighbors reveals our attitude of ple’s obedience. They did not have to find obedience toward God, the very thing that their own way; they merely had to follow assured His abiding presence. The Holy the Lord in His Way. Spirit empowers us to do what God wills Obedience is a daily requirement for for us to do. His empowerment and our those who would follow God. Obedience reobedience assure God’s presence. quires readiness to act when God so leads. The Practice (Num. 9:17-22). The In Numbers 9:20-22, Moses indicated that people of sometimes Israel had during their to journey journey, God from Egypt had lifted through the the cloud afSinai desert ter only brief to approach respites of a with W. Wayne VanHorn the land God day or two. had promThen the ised to their people were father Abraexpected to ham more move out as than 400 years earlier. Numbers 9:17-22 the cloud lifted. reveals that they only journeyed when Obedience also requires patience to wait God so led. Whenever the cloud lifted up on the Lord. Moses recounted how the from over the tabernacle, the children of cloud might rest on the tabernacle for “a Israel would follow. They did not set camp month or a year” (Numbers 9:22 NASB). again until the cloud “settled down” again During these longer sojourns, the people (NASB). “At the command of the LORD had to trust God’s leadership and His prothe sons of Israel would set out, and at visions in a hostile environment. the command of the LORD they would Christians today feel the joy of the Lord camp…” (Numbers 9:18 NASB). This con- when they walk in step with God. By sub-
Explore the Bible
mitting to God’s timing, they perfectly position themselves to sense His guidance and leadership and to experience His blessings and provisions along the journey of life. The Principle (Num. 9:23). Our final verse provides the appropriate summary of our lesson. The phrase, at the command of the LORD, provided both the impetus to remain camped and the signal for moving on. “The command of the Lord” is mentioned three times in this verse as an emphasis on listening to what God has spoken. The phrase renders the literal Hebrew wording “upon the mouth of the Lord.” What proceeds from God’s mouth is what Christians should obey. Jesus rebuked Satan with those now familiar words, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4 NASB). Thus, our life principle should be to obey the Lord in all things. Jesus reminded His followers, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 NASB). As we approach the celebration of Christmas this year, may we all remember that God leads. He leads us out of darkness into His marvelous light by fully saving us from our sins. VanHorn is dean of Christian Studies at Mississippi College, Clinton.
Do We Need to Defend Our Faith? • Jude 1-4; 20-25 The book of Jude was written by a follower of Jesus named Jude. Most scholars believe that Jude was a half-brother of Jesus. Jude must have been the brother who didn’t get in as many words as the rest of his family because his entire book is one chapter and only 25 verses, but Jude’s words not only resonated with Christians at the time of his writing but the truth of his written words is imperative today. This book starts off with Jude greeting the Christians, his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. He states that he was eager to write and then he found it necessary to write. That tells us Jude is going to address some type of problem among Christians. He is about to confront those fellow brothers and sisters. I admire this because I think it’s easy to put off confrontation. When a friend begins to act in ways that are less than ideal or begins to repeat behavior that is harmful, I seldom confront. I often retreat and pray instead. I think the prayer part is great but the retreating is often not the best decision. Jude did not retreat when he needed to confront and warn. He provides a great example of leaning in to problems that need to be addressed. In verse three, Jude asks the people to “contend for the faith.” The word, “con-
DONATIONS cont. from p.1
behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks. “Our goal is to donate to the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger... Faith-
tend,” has origins related to the wrestling encourages them to “build yourselves mat. To contend means to wrestle, to vie to up in your most holy faith.” This is an work hard, or to strive for. Jude wants the interesting concept, for in the church topeople to know that they have a challenge day we have so many people who expect and then he explains the challenge to them the church to teach them all they need in verse four. Certain men — false teach- to know about following Christ. They ers — had crept in unnoticed by the Chris- want their Sunday School or small group tians. These false teachers were turning teacher to read, study, and teach the lesthe truth of Jesus and His Resurrection son; the pastor to deliver all they need in into something else altogether. The Bible a sermon; and for their weekly spiritual is not specific about all of their behaviors intake to be accomplished on Sunday at but we know at minimum these people noon. The writer of this book puts the were in the responsibilchurch and ity of spiriespousing tual growth and misussquarely on ing the grace the Chrisof the Lord tian. He confor their tinues by givwith Beth S. Bowman own selfish ing ways to teaching. In accomplish verses 12this spiri13, Jude detual growth: scribes them praying in as “dangerous blemishes… selfish shep- the Holy Spirit, keeping in the love of herds… waterless clouds… fruitless trees… God, and waiting for the mercy of Jesus wild waves… wandering stars.” Jude gives for eternal life. He continues by encourus terrific imagery that these people were aging mercy and giving Christians a rebad news for the church. sponsibility to “Save others by snatching Jude describes a plan of enactment them from the fire.” for the Christians to guard against these The “save others” in verse 23 connects false teachers. Beginning in verse 20, he with verse three, to “contend with the
Bible Studies for Life
based or non-faith-based, no organization will be excluded from future consideration,” said Tim Tassopoulos, president and chief operating officer of Chickfil-A, Inc., in a public statement. “In Aug. 2012, I coordinated a national Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day after they were
being bullied by militant hate groups,” said Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Baptist pastor, Arkansas governor, and U.S. presidential candidate in a Twitter social media post on Nov. 18. “Today, Chick-fil-A betrayed loyal customers for $$. I regret believing they would stay
faith.” We have to be ready to give a defense for the faith that we have. 1 Peter 3:15 states, “But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (CSB). This doctrine of apologetics (giving a defense of our faith) is imperative in a society where truth is relative and tied more closely with emotion than with facts. Giving a defense of our faith requires study, discipline, and resources. It demands a dedication to understanding doctrinal truth in order to share this truth. Jude concludes his letter with a startling reminder: We give glory, honor, and authority to the one who can help protect us from stumbling and make us stand before God without blemish and with great joy. It is because of Jesus and the power of His life, death, and resurrection that we have any standing before God. This is the message that we have to teach today. Our good works, our kindness, our paying it forward — while none of these are harmful, they do not substitute the truth of the Gospel. God sent His son, Jesus, to die for the sins of the world. Beth S Bowman is a conference speaker, Lifeway contract writer and member of West Carthage Church, Carthage.
true to convictions of founder Truett Cathy. Sad.” At least one activist indicated his pro-LGBTQ organization is not finished with Chick-fil-A. In an e-mailed statement to news outlets, Drew Anderson, director of campaigns and rapid response for Gays and Lesbian
Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in Los Angeles, Ca., said, “If Chick-fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive antiLGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family.”
The Baptist Record November 28, 2019 7
Just for the Record
MEADVILLE CHURCH, MEADVILLE, recently honored Chuck McMinn, minister of music, for 25 years of service. Shown are Trey Hill, McMinn, and Jim Nix.
NEW LIBERTY CHURCH, MORTON, licensed Austin Anderson to the ministry Nov. 17.
WILLIAMSVILLE CHURCH, KOSCIUSKO, ordained Jeff Gowan as deacon. Shown are pastor Jeremy Tillman, Gowan, and his wife Shana.
CALVARY CHURCH, COLUMBIA, held a baby dedication Nov. 17. Shown are Issac Hayes and Benjamin Grayson Fortenberry with parents Nakia & Julia Fortenberry; Haizley Parker Messer with parents Henry & Stacy Messer; and Leah Lauren Fortenberry with parents Drew & Leslie Fortenberry.
Pastor Mike and Vanessa Brazeal were honored by CENTER CHURCH, BLUE SPRINGS, with a luncheon celebrating 10 years of service.
The children of CALVARY CHURCH, EUPORA, made thank you cards for individuals in the military for Thanksgiving. A mission group from ESCATAWPA CHURCH, MOSS POINT, assisted Greg Johnston, pastor, The Grove Church, Hattiesburg, in beginning construction of a new church building.
FIRST CHURCH, HOUSTON, recognized GA’s and RA’s participating in the church’s awards ceremony Nov. 17.
FERNWOOD CHURCH, MCCOMB, recognized veterans on Nov. 10.