February 13, 2014 • ISSUE 24
Through a series of divine orchestrations and fervent praying, the Lord set the sights of Calvary Baptist Church in Tyler on a people group in a remote village 10,000 feet up and halfway across the globe.
PATTERSON TO POLITICIANS: ‘STOP PLAYING FOR POLITICAL FAVOR’ ON IMMIGRATION
Q&A WITH DENNY BURK, AUTHOR OF ‘WHAT IS THE MEANING OF SEX?’
FEBRUARY 24-26, 2014
Herb Reavis Jr.
H.B. Charles Jr.
Sagemont Church • Houston
MUSIC Afshin Ziafat MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH YOUR COOPERATIVE PROGRAM GIVING
The Old Paths
OR CALL THE SBTC OFFICE AT 877.953.SBTC (7282)
Phillips Craig & Dean
OPINION: Church, nonetheless Donald Miller, of “Blue Like Jazz” fame, has done us a service and set off a bomb with his column about abandoning the traditional church. He misses the biblical mark, but do we also miss the mark in the reasons we give for attending?
Patterson to politicians: ‘Stop playing for political favor’ on immigration Despite inequities in any solution, Christians must love the stranger and pray earnestly for God to move policy-makers toward a bipartisan solution, seminary president says.
Texas churches urged to join Harvest Crusade effort Harvest Crusades and California Pastor Greg Laurie announced plans for a Dallas Harvest Crusade on Oct. 5 at American Airlines Center with support coming from several notable Southern Baptists, including Dallas-area pastors Jack Graham, Robert Jeffress and Matt Chandler.
10 COVER STORY: UUPG challenge sent church on 2-year prayer journey and an ambitious climb Last October, a team from Calvary Baptist Church traveled to a rural town halfway around the globe, trusting God to lead them to an isolated, unengaged and unreached people group (UUPG) for whom they had been praying for more than two years.
‘Look Like Heaven’ committee leading by example The ‘Look Like Heaven’ initiative approved by messengers to the SBTC annual meeting in Amarillo last October urges churches to emphasize cross-cultural fellowship and shared ministry efforts throughout the year and especially each July for at least the next five years.
TEXAN Digital is e-published twice monthly by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, 4500 State Highway 360, Grapevine, TX 76099-1988. Jim Richards, Executive Director Gary Ledbetter, Editor Jerry Pierce, Managing Editor Sharayah Colter, Staff Writer Russell Lightner, Design & Layout Stephanie Barksdale, Subscriptions Contributing Writers Tom Strode, Jane Rodgers, Rob Collingsworth, Kay Adkins, Art Toalston To contact the TEXAN office, visit texanonline.net/contact or call toll free 877.953.7282 (SBTC)
onald Miller, of “Blue Like Jazz” fame, has done us a service and set off a bomb with his column about abandoning the traditional church; I’ll admit I found his follow-up more clarifying as he responded to a great deal of criticism. For those of you who are impatient I’ll spill that I don’t agree with Miller’s points about the irrelevance of traditional churches to those who have matured beyond it. But I’ll admit that much of what we might say to encourage loyalty to church attendance is a bit off point. He, for example, considers the idea that all believers have a duty to stand and sit through a musical performance followed by a “lecture” to be comparable to people who intentionally suffer to show their devotion to Christ. That comparison seems overblown to me, but the argument that attending is a mere duty is a hard sell to many. I’ll also admit that limiting the word “worship” to primarily what occurs on Sunday morning misses an important point. Miller describes himself as having graduated from church attendance so he can just as easily worship while planting a flower garden. While I’m dubious of his statement, most of us do consider the Sunday (or Saturday night) service a very small percentage of all that we call worship. Many would say that church is the place we go to be “fed” by our teachers and preachers. This is also an inadequate argument. If God grants you years and maturity you will eventually reach a point when a younger and less mature person is your pastor. Do you wait him out, help him grow, switch churches or help him leave? None of us is so mature that others cannot teach 2 TEXANONLINE.NET FEBRUARY 13, 2014
us something from God, but the “come to church to get fed” argument is less appealing as we grow in Christ. Donald Miller says that he finds ways to live in community with others quite apart from church, and without regard for what these folks believe. He prefers “kind” people. And I could see an argument that a person could surround himself with people who exercise their own spiritual gifts and benefit from his without a traditional church model—although this fellowship of believers is behaving in a church-like way if they are operating like a spiritual body. He goes on to say that many of the prominent Christian leaders he knows have also forsaken church attendance, outside of being on the program. I’m not sure if his point is that other respectable people have made this choice or that others should also face the criticism he’s getting. Two points jump out at me in this episode. First, abandoning church attendance—in effect choosing your own customized body of Christ—misses one of the crucial things about a body or a family, the best metaphors for church. Living in covenant with those with whom we share creed but not hobbies, politics or preferences is good for our sanctification. If you must, think of it as being like Paul’s thorn in the flesh, given lest you be “exalted above measure.” Putting up with each other is an act of humility and often joy, a point made well by C.S. Lewis as he talked about his antipathy toward most church music. Christianity in solitude misses this; so does niche Christianity. A second point is about our Christian leaders and celebrities. I know a few and love them but I also wonder if always being the guest or presenter or VIP doesn’t prevent or even war against their sanctification. Do they actually live in fellowship with a local body of Christ? Many times I believe they do not, regardless of their hearts and good intentions for local churches. Perhaps the stewardship of these ministries belongs to the talent, to his audience and to the church of which he is a member. More accountability sounds like wise counsel. Our discussion of why so many have abandoned church attendance risks becoming useless if we don’t uplift what’s essential. I agree that there is an “ought to” in this discussion. But we who advocate for joining in a specific covenant with believers in our own community need to understand the timeless significance of our fellowship. I don’t think the best reasons for church attendance will become irrelevant as generations turn. A focus on what we like or feel is certainly less important than our responsibility to prepare one another for heaven.
Briefly //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// TEXAS
Texas churches urged to join Harvest Crusade effort Harvest Crusades and California Pastor Greg Laurie announced plans for a Dallas Harvest Crusade on Oct. 5 at American Airlines Center with support coming from several notable Southern Baptists, including Dallas-area pastors Jack Graham, Robert Jeffress and Matt Chandler. “We haven’t had a major cooperative, collaborative evangelistic event since the Billy Graham crusade 12 years ago, and it’s time we get together again for the sake of the gospel,” Graham said in welcoming the Harvest team to a pre-event news conference Jan. 28 at the American Airlines Center. “And to use technology to bring us together all across the nation, it’s a brilliant idea. We live in an incredible era in the use of technology, and the Harvest team does it really well. We are very happy you are coming to Dallas!” “This is a critical time in our nation’s history, but we have two secret weapons,” Laurie said. “They’re not ‘register’ and ‘vote,’ but ‘pray’ and ‘preach.’ The only solutions are spiritual, not political. We can’t create revival, God does that for us. But evangelism, we can do.” Laurie serves as pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, based in Riverside, Calif., which oversees Harvest Crusades. More information on the crusade is available at harvestamerica.com.
MINISTERS ASKED TO PARTICIPATE IN COMPENSATION SURVEY Ministers and church employees are invited to participate in the 2014 SBC Church Compensation Survey: a tool used by churches of all sizes to determine fair wages and benefits. Participants will be entered for a chance to win an iPad. The survey and complete contest rules are available at GuideStone. org/CompensationSurvey. “GuideStone continues to be an advocate for pastors and church staff, ensuring that they are compensated fairly,” said O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources. “That’s why we partner with LifeWay Christian Resources and Baptist state conventions to produce this bi-annual study.” Survey results are not reported individually. Compensation and benefit information can be contributed anonymously. Each Southern Baptist church employee who participates in the survey plays a vital role in building one of the largest databases of church compensation information in the United States. Survey results provide a baseline of compensation data among similar-sized churches within each state convention. Therefore, a higher number of participants leads to a more accurate baseline of compensation data. “We receive numerous requests to answer compensation surveys throughout the year,” said Al Fausch, director of business and financial administration at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. “We don’t participate in them all, but we always try to complete GuideStone’s survey.” Churches often don’t contribute to salary surveys because they don’t have time or receive enough valuable information in return. But Fausch said GuideStone’s survey is worth the time because it provides customized reports to allow administrators, personnel/finance committees and minister search teams to better determine adequate compensation for ministers and staff. That can be essential information for thousands of churches, which makes the survey worth the few minutes it takes to complete. Like many other church leaders, Fausch has accessed previous survey results when hiring new staff to ensure that employees are being compensated at competitive levels. “The results are easy to navigate,” Fausch said. “I encourage everyone to participate. We are helping each other as well as ourselves by establishing accurate benchmarks.” At the conclusion of the survey, GuideStone and LifeWay will compile the submitted data and provide all users with access to the results. “This survey, which is one of the most comprehensive of its kind, will help scores of churches as they seek to provide for those who are called to lead their congregations,” Hawkins said. Southern Baptist church ministers and staff have until May 31 to complete the online survey. Survey results will be released this summer. Survey participants will receive advance notification of the results and can begin to access the data upon notice. The winner of the iPad will be notified via email. FEBRUARY 13, 2014 TEXANONLINE.NET 3
DOCUMENTARY EXAMINES ‘TRUE LOVE WAITS’ After 20 years and millions of pledge cards, has True Love Waits had a positive impact and does it still matter? A new documentary by LifeWay Films examines the history and future of True Love Waits. The international purity movement captured the national conversation in 1994 by covering the National Mall with cards from teenagers promising to remain sexually pure. The documentary “True Love Waits: The Complicated Struggle for Sexual Purity,” traces the story from the beginning to the present day relaunch, including the lives of individuals involved. Scott Mills, executive producer of the movie and manager of LifeWay Films, said the documentary unflinchingly deals with the reality of what began as an idea sketched on a napkin and exploded as an international movement. “Millions of teenagers of the past two decades have made commitments to stay pure,” Mills said. “Many have kept those commitments and at the same time many have struggled.” “We knew from the beginning we wanted to address the criticisms as well as the successes of the True Love Waits movement,” Travis Hawkins, documentary director, said. “We knew viewers would see through any spin we put on the story. We weren’t afraid to have an honest conversation.” The documentary, available on DVD Feb. 15, goes back to the cultural climate before True Love Waits. Many adults in America had given up hope that teenagers could refrain from sex, according to Richard Ross, a TLW cofounder and professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. “It was as if the big powerful people, the people that are smart, the people that are knowledgeable, are saying teenagers are out of control,” Ross said. In the midst of this environment, Ross and Jimmy Hester, then director of student ministry at LifeWay, created True Love Waits. Immediately, they saw it take off with students at Ross’ church, Tulip Grove Baptist Church in Old Hickory, Tenn. It began to garner national headlines and amazement from many in the 4 TEXANONLINE.NET FEBRUARY 13, 2014
media. “They couldn’t believe students would stand up and make statements about their beliefs about abstinence,” Hester said. To practically measure the success of TLW, Ross points to an unbroken increase in teenage sexuality from 1973 to 1993, after which it plateaued and declined for 20 years. Hawkins said, “At the outset, I confess I thought of True Love Waits as dated and kind of irrelevant. I had no idea the kind of impact it did have.” The film also documents True Love Waits’ impact in nations ravaged with AIDS. “Before True Love Waits came to Uganda, one out of three adults was dying of AIDS,” Ross said. “After True Love Waits, it’s about one out of 10 or one out of 11, and the statistics are getting better by the day.” While DVDs are available for preorders at LifeWay.com, customers can
download a digital version now. For more information and to view a trailer for the film, visit LifeWay.com/TrueLoveWaitsFilm.
2014 SBTC MISSION OPPORTUNITIES LONGVIEW JULY 12 MOBBERLY BAPTIST CHURCH
Come learn to think and live missionally
Evangelism & church planting. Planned 2014 vision tour dates: March 10-12, May 5-7, Sept. 8-10 and Oct. 27-29 Contact Barry Calhoun at email@example.com or 817.552.2500
Evangelism and church planting. Planned 2014 vision tour dates: April 29-30 and Sept. 30-Oct.1 Contact Barry Calhoun at firstname.lastname@example.org or 817.552.2500
UTAH-IDAHO STATE CONVENTION
Evangelism, church planting, leadership training and more. Planned 2014 vision tour: March 23-27. Contact Terry Coy at email@example.com or 817.552.2500
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Planned 2014 vision tour: Aug. 16-23 Contact Barry Calhoun at firstname.lastname@example.org or 817-552-2500
—Briefly section was compiled from staff reports and Baptist Press
SBC LEADER: TRANSPARENCY, DIVINE HELP AIDS RACIAL HEALING Ethnic and racial tensions still exist in the Southern Baptist Convention but can heal through transparency, honesty and divine intervention, SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page told the African American Advisory Council assembled in Atlanta. To be colorblind is not always the answer because doing so can demean another’s culture, Page told the African American pastors, ministers and denominational leaders he named to the council in 2012 to advise him on ethnically relevant SBC issues. “But there is still an ethnic and racial fault line running through our convention. Accompanying those pressure points, there’s a lack of trust. There’s a lack of confidence and that is causing continued tension in our convention,” Page told the group that gathered Feb. 6-7, likening the tension to an earthquake fault line. “And I do know, as I have gotten to know so many people … there is suspicion among many of them, and yes, among some African American leaders that there is still an incipient racism at work. “I’m trying to understand, even better, what it might be like to be a person of another race. And that’s not easy for me because I’m not another, I mean, I am me,” Page said. “I have over the years, … as hopefully a white man who tries to do that which is right,” tried to be colorblind, he said. “But now I realize that’s not right. To be colorblind is to be insensitive to real issues.” The council, under the chairmanship of K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pa., expressed appreciation to Page for his honesty, openness and sincerity. In other discussions, the group addressed key ways the SBC can
Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank Page, seated second from right, met with the SBC African American Advisory Council Feb. 6-7 at the Westin Hotel in Atlanta. Among the council members in attendance were Terry Turner (far right), pastor of Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church and immediate past president of the SBTC, and Leroy Fountain (back row, blue tie), church health strategist at the New Orleans Baptist Association and a former SBTC church planting strategist. BP PHOTO
become more relevant to the African American community and become more fruitful in winning souls for Christ. The council plans to submit a final report to Page in June. Page pledged to continue work to unite the SBC across racial and ethnic divisions. “While I have discouraging days as I look at these fault lines … I am not ready to give up. So I’m going to continue doing what God has called me to do,” Page told the council, “build relationships, to encourage trust, to encourage people working together, to respect each other, to seek the involvement of men and women of every ethnic group, of African American and other ethnic groups, at every level of convention ministry and involvement.” In addition to Croston, Vines and Page, in attendance were council members K. Marshall Williams, chairman, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa.; Roscoe Belton, senior pastor/teacher,
Middlebelt Baptist Church, Inkster, Mich.; Leroy Fountain, church health strategist, New Orleans Baptist Association, and a former SBTC church planting strategist; Mark Hammond, director of missions, Los Angeles Southern Baptist Association; Kim Hardy, speaker, author and wife of church planter and pastor Dexter Hardy, Marietta, Ga.; Keith Jefferson, African American mobilization strategist, International Mission Board. The group also included Marvin Parker, pastor, Broadview Missionary Baptist Church, Broadview, Ill.; Bucas Sterling III, pastor, Kettering Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro, Md.; Terry Turner of Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church in Mesquite who just finished two terms as SBTC president; Ken Weathersby, vice president for convention advancement, SBC Executive Committee, and Frank Williams, assistant pastor, Bronx Baptist Church and interim pastor, Wake Eden Community Baptist Church, both in Bronx, N.Y. FEBRUARY 13, 2014 TEXANONLINE.NET 5
NEW HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE RULES HAMPER STATES By Tom Strode WASHINGTON—The U.S. Justice Department’s new, wide-ranging policies supporting same-sex marriages even in states where such unions are illegal came as no shock but will hamper states’ efforts to govern on the issue, says a Southern Baptist public policy expert. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Monday (Feb. 10) memorandum officially announcing the changes marked the latest in a series of actions by the Obama administration to extend federal benefits to people in legally recognized same-sex marriages. The policy shifts followed the Supreme Court’s June invalidation of a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. The court ruling enabled same-sex couples to gain access to benefits previously limited to heterosexual, married couples. In a first, the new memorandum formally notified Justice Department employees “to give lawful same-sex marriages full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent possible under the law,” Holder said in a Feb. 8 speech revealing his intentions. “This means that, in every courthouse, in every proceeding, and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice [DOJ] stands on behalf of the United States—they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges,
protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law.” Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the DOJ’s action “did not come as a surprise.” The Obama administration, he said, “was emboldened to take this step” by the high court’s June opinion. The justices’ decision, however, refused to say states cannot limit marriage to a man and a woman. “Despite the Supreme Court’s assertions that marriage is an issue best dealt with by the states, the Department of Justice has made it harder for the states to independently regulate marriage within their borders,” Duke told Baptist Press Tuesday (Feb. 11). “The DOJ decision is going to increase the determination of activists to force states to adopt unbiblical views of marriage.” He pointed to the ongoing responsibility of churches in the current situation. “Churches must be vigilant in teaching a biblical view of marriage to their members and helping their communities understand why God’s design for marriage matters to children and society,” Duke said. Holder’s directive means the DOJ will recognize gay marriages in cases of marital privilege and federal prison policies, even in states that do not allow same-sex unions. Same-sex partners married in states where their unions are legal, but living in states where they are not, will have the right under the DOJ
memorandum to invoke the marital privilege of refusing to testify against a spouse. Same-sex spouses of federal prisoners will have the same rights of visitation and “next-of-kin notification” as heterosexual spouses. The memorandum gives people in same-sex marriages the same rights as heterosexual spouses in bankruptcy cases and in carrying on the licensed firearms or explosives businesses of dead spouses. It also grants equivalent rights to same-sex marriages under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Before the Feb. 10 memorandum, the Obama administration had acted on the Supreme Court’s ruling by announcing same-sex married couples would be treated the same as heterosexual married couples for purposes of all federal taxes, Medicare coverage in nursing homes, health insurance and other benefits for federal employees, immigration and the military. In January, the DOJ also recognized nearly 1,000 same-sex marriages that were entered into in Utah during the 17 days a federal court decision legalizing the unions was in effect. The Supreme Court stayed that ruling, however, leaving the legality of those unions in question. Same-sex marriage has gained legalization in 19 states, although challenges to court rulings permitting gay marriage are pending in some cases.
HOBBY LOBBY FILES BRIEF AT SUPREME COURT In a case that could reverberate for decades, Hobby Lobby filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday (Feb. 10) asking the court to protect the religious liberty of the craft chain’s owners in regard to the Health and Human Services contraception mandate. “Our argument at the Supreme Court is simple and straightforward: The plain terms of federal law protect religious exercise wherever it occurs—in the home, in a church, in a charity or in 6 TEXANONLINE.NET FEBRUARY 13, 2014
a family business,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby. “There’s no loophole in the First Amendment that excludes people who run a business.” The high court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case March 25. Hobby Lobby’s brief explains that the U.S. Constitution and civil rights laws protect citizens from being forced to
comply with the HHS mandate, a federal regulation that would make them provide health coverage for contraceptives that can cause abortions.
JEWISH EVANGELISM CONFERENCE FEB. 21-22 IN DALLAS By Rob Collingsworth The Adat Shalom Messianic Congregation in Dallas is hosting an evangelism conference the last weekend in February on reaching out to those of the Jewish faith. “There is a real need to share the gospel with our Jewish neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances,” said Sharron Blood, a member of Adat Shalom involved in planning the conference. “They need to be introduced to their Jewish messiah, Yeshua HaMashiach— Jesus, the messiah.” The conference theme, “Sharing the Messianic Hope,” will include expert speakers teaching on multiple topics, including key messianic prophecies in Scripture, historical objections to Jesus, Jewish cultural objections and an exposition of Romans 10. Robin David Rose, congregational leader at Adat Shalom, was raised in a conservative Jewish family before coming to faith in Jesus in 1972. Rose will teach on “God’s Plural Oneness,” a theological concept he said is crucial in overcoming Jewish objections to Jesus as messiah. “We want to equip believers with a better-balanced working knowledge of things that they might encounter as they reach out to Jewish people,” Rose stated. “The Jewish people have rejected Yeshua as messiah for over 2,000 years,
and there’s been a difficult time reaching them because of various cultural and historical objections. They don’t see that Christianity comes from Judaism.” Adat Shalom, which meets in the middle of Dallas’ Jewish community, was established in 1991 by W.A. Criswell during his tenure as pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas. According to the church’s website, Adat Shalom is “a congregation of believers, both Jews and Gentiles, who have joined together for the main purpose of reaching out to the Jewish community with the good news of the Jewish Messiah.” In addition to Rose, speakers include Todd Baker of B’rit Hadasha Ministries; Jeffrey Gutterman of My Firstborn Son Ministry; Amy Downey of Tzedakah Ministries; and Steven McHenry from Adat Shalom. “The history of the Jewish people tends to make them resistive to evangelistic efforts,” Blood added. “Our hope is to help believers grasp the theological, historical and cultural perspective so that they may witness to their Jewish friends and acquaintances with confidence, in ways that are particularly meaningful to them.” The conference is free, but participants must register to be included. To register or receive more information, call 972-2714976 or email email@example.com.
FEBRUARY 13, 2014 TEXANONLINE.NET 7
Patterson to politicians: ‘Stop playing for political favor’ on immigration Christians must love the stranger and pray earnestly for God to move policy makers toward a bipartisan solution, seminary president says. By Jane Rodgers DALLAS
“Santo, santo, santo . . . yo quiero verte,” Spanish lyrics to Michael W. Smith’s “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord,” resounded throughout the sanctuary of Nueva Vida “New Life” Baptist Church in Dallas on Sunday (Feb. 9) as about 400 people participated in the Pray4Reform service sponsored by New Life and the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT). Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered a sermon reproving politicians in both parties whose positions are politically calculated and challenging his hearers to act biblically toward the immigrant. New Life Pastor David Galvan introduced Patterson, whom he sat under in classes when Patterson was president of Criswell College in the 1970s. After expressing his “consummate joy” at being in the church of his former student, Patterson related the account of his ancestors’ move to Texas, noting that such migration points “to the inevitability of the movements of people from generation to generation.” “What we are experiencing here [in modern immigration] is absolutely nothing new,” Patterson said. Noting the scourges of human trafficking and the illicit drug trade, Patterson offered a biblical admonition, reminding the congregation that the Lord frequently commanded ancient Israel to “love the stranger.” Regarding immigration reform, Patterson called upon Republican politicians to “stop playing for political favor,” and for Democratic politicians to “stop trying to take advantage of [the issue] for your political party.” “We do not need Congress to act in order to support any party, but in order to take care of those whom God has put in our care,” Patterson said, calling legislators to enact “genuinely bipartisan” immigration reform. Patterson commended the “genius of the prayer 8 TEXANONLINE.NET FEBRUARY 13, 2014
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson (right) delivers a sermon at the Evangelical Immigration Table summit held at New Life Baptist Church in Dallas on Feb. 9. New Life Pastor David Galvan, who studied under Patterson at Criswell College in the 1970s, is seen translating for Patterson into Spanish. Patterson urged prayer for Christians to lovingly engage the strangers among us and for politicians to reach bipartisan agreement on immigration reform that can only come by God moving the hearts of lawmakers. SWBTS PHOTO BY JASON DAVIS
meeting” as the key to reform, using as his text for the evening Acts 5, where the early church gathered to pray for Peter’s release from prison and saw their prayers answered miraculously. “In all the history of the church, when the church has become militant and taken up weapons, they have left a sad mark on the church of the living God. But the church in this case realized it had a weapon that is stronger than the sword. They had the ability to go to God in earnest prayer,” Patterson said. Applying the text to immigration, Patterson commented on the improbability of congressmen “getting together.” The issue is not merely “Hispanic, not just a circumstance of people coming across the border,” Patterson said. True reform must include “the intervention of God,” Patterson said. “God is going to have to change some hearts.” “A great movement of God is needed, and he could
“I don’t know what the church can do about immigration . . . [or] the lawless society. But I know what we can do. We can see every single person we come in contact with as a person that God put in our path.” do it now,” said Patterson, who called upon the congregation to pray. “If we are praying as we should, maybe we wake up in the morning and we are as surprised as the early church was. It is not Peter standing on the front step, but it is our congressmen standing there with a law, saying, ‘We have worked it out.’” But immigration reform will not be easy, Patterson said. “What guarantees justice for one person often tends to take it away from another.” The key will not be “social legislation,” but rather the “intervention of God.” Patterson noted the truth that “God guides the hands of the ruler,” evident in the Old Testament examples of Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus. “God is not limited by human motives,” he added, recalling his own upbringing with an older sister and three step-siblings of Arab, Hispanic, and Japanese heritage, all of whom became Christ followers. “I don’t know what the church can do about immigration . . . [or] the lawless society. But I know what we can do. We can see every single person we come in contact with as a person that God put in our path. They are not accidentally there. They are there to be the objects of our love. They are there to be the objects of our witness. And every single one of us is obligated to do everything within our power
to see them through, that each of those individuals has a wonderfully happy life here and eternal life with God in heaven. May God help us to do our part and then may Congress follow our lead.” While Patterson’s sermon capped the evening, the service began with remarks from Galvan and Tim C. Moore, Texas mobilizer for EIT and pastor of Walk Worthy Baptist Church in Austin. Recounting the movement of Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus from Bethlehem to Egypt, Moore noted, “I don’t find where Joseph and Mary stopped to get a visa.” “The Bible says that Jesus himself never sinned, the sinless one, and this I know, whatever we do on immigration reform, the children of those who came here illegally . . . have done nothing wrong, and they ought to have citizenship,” Moore said. Moore enumerated some of the evangelical organizations, including Southern Baptists, World Vision and Bread of Life—groups representing 68 million Christians—whose leadership is aligned with EIT principles. EIT publications list the organization’s principles as follows: respect for the God-given dignity of every person, promotion of family unity, respect for the rule of law, advocacy of a path towards legal status or citizenship for those who qualify, border security and fairness to taxpayers. “Dr. Patterson has agreed to have
his name added to the signatories supporting EIT principles,” Moore said after Sunday’s service. Moore directed the audience to communicate with Congress using the materials provided by the EIT. He expressed optimism about immigration reform, noting the recent bipartisan committee passage of five immigration bills. “The divide is not over policy but over time,” said Moore, who claimed lawmakers are not debating issues of citizenship, legalization or border security, but rather when policy changes will occur. “If churches do not begin to weigh in, if your voices are not heard, immigration reform will be kicked down the road,” said Moore, who admitted that until a year ago, he had not been an advocate of immigration reform. In contrast to Moore’s more recent involvement in the cause, Galvan has long been a voice for immigration reform. “I am simply a pastor of a local church who realized that as an evangelical Hispanic congregation, we needed to get involved collectively in this effort. Immigration reform is something that we have been praying about for many years,” Galvan said in an interview after Sunday’s event. Galvan said he became a signer of the EIT principles when the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission first commended them. The Pray4Reform service at New Life was accompanied by a churchwide 40 days of fasting and prayer, Galvan said. “I think Dr. Patterson’s message was on target, because whatever happens in Washington D.C. has to be a movement of God. FEBRUARY 13, 2014 TEXANONLINE.NET 9
SENT CHURCH ON 2-YEAR PRAYER JOURNEY AND AN AMBITIOUS CLIMB Calvary Baptist in Tyler followed God’s providence in identifying their unengaged, unreached people group (UUPG) before making their first contact last fall in the mountains of Southeast Asia. By Kay Adkins TYLER
ast October, a team from Calvary Baptist Church traveled to a rural town halfway around the globe, trusting God to lead them to an isolated, unengaged and unreached people group (UUPG) for whom they had been praying for more than two years. But the Tyler church’s international journey really began in summer 2011. Pastor Fred Smith 10 TEXANONLINE.NET FEBRUARY 13, 2014
read a news article that noted the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s challenge to Texas Southern Baptists to embrace and engage 1,000 of what was then about 3,800 UUPGs worldwide—a number that has shrunk to a little more than 3,000 UUPGs today, the SBC’s International Mission Board reported in January. “I called the SBTC and they told me the challenge had just happened and that more information would be coming,” Smith said. “I started praying and watching for more information to see what this meant.” Soon after, a team from the church attended the IMB’s Embrace Conference in Cedar Hill to learn more about the process of embracing a UUPG.
Calvary Baptist, a church that runs about 120 in attendance with an annual budget of about $200,000, was already actively pursuing missions, providing financial and prayer support to three International Mission Board missionaries in three different countries. As they began to research UUPGs, they began to look at groups located in regions surrounding the IMB missionaries they were supporting in Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa. “After about four or five months, we had narrowed it down to Southeast Asia, and we saw that there was a triangle of UUPGs around our missionaries there. We looked up each group on the UUPG map and began to pray,” Smith explained.
An IMB guide with experience in Southeast Asia (left) and Fred Smith (right), pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Tyler, talk with a villager during the church’s first trip to engage the people group they have taken on as part of the effort to reach the more than 3,000 unreached, unengaged people groups (UUPGs) worldwide.
Smith and his ministry partner and wife, Lisa, said scant information was available about the group they eventually felt led to engage. From the Joshua Project site, joshuaproject.net, they learned that their UUPG had once been enslaved and that their emancipation had occurred less than 100 years ago. The UUPG then dispersed into mountain regions to escape maltreatment by their former oppressors. “We were excited that we might have an opportunity to take the gospel to them so that they could also be set free from slavery to sin,” Fred Smith said. In January 2013, wanting to find a way to get more information about the UUPG and how to connect with them, Fred Smith called the IMB office, not knowing whom he should ask for, or what he should ask. He selected an option from the IMB’s automated response system. Then he began to explain his query to the person who answered. “Hi, I am looking at doing a 12-week sabbatical in our UUPG country to take some classes and do research on a UUPG with the aim of bringing a group from my church,” Fred Smith told the man who answered. Smith then explained more about the UUPG the church felt led to reach. He was about to be amazed by what he called the first “divine encounter” related to this vision. The IMB missionary on the phone responded: “You’re not going to believe this, but I have been a missionary to that region. You can come with me, and I can drive you to the doorstep of your people group and drop you off.” Smith, awed by God’s intervention, invited the IMB missionary to come to Tyler and share with the congregation more about the
people group and what it would take to engage them. Nine months later a group of six from Calvary Baptist, and two IMB missionaries were together for Calvary’s first vision trip in their UUPG country. Because so little was known of their UUPG at this point, Lisa Smith confessed, “I fully expected to make the long journey, and never be able to find the people group we wanted to reach.” But God had arranged another divine encounter. Upon arriving in the township that would be the group’s base camp, team member and Calvary’s family ministry coordinator, Phil Baker, recounted, “The first thing we saw was a police officer who looked at us with a ‘what are you doing here?’ expression. Here we are, obviously at a place where no tourists would typically come, and certainly no white people. Some of us are over six feet tall—tall, giant white people.” Their IMB guide explained to the officer that the group was interested in seeing the rural areas and needed a place to stay. Baker watched the officer’s demeanor change from being skeptical, to being friendly, much to the relief of the group. Baker said, “One of the things we had been told to pray for was that we would meet a person of peace—a person open to the group or open to the gospel.” He said he believed God had answered that prayer. The officer was pleased to lead them to a local hotel. They met the innkeeper who thought the group should check out the facilities before they paid their $2.50 per night in American currency to stay there. Baker and the others “had never imagined this kind of a set up” in which the restroom facilities were quite a distance from the rooms, down an open-air walkway, past a semi-dry pig waste area, down some steep stairs that led to a narrow path through a gate, and finally to the restroom building itself. Smith described the sleeping accommodations as cardboard boxes serving as mattresses, “hard and filthy” and “not for the faint-of-heart.” Despite the rough accommodations, the FEBRUARY 13, 2014 TEXANONLINE.NET 11
group accepted them gratefully. They were invited by the innkeeper to the lobby area for some pears and green tea. To their amazement, also enjoying some refreshments in the lobby was a group of six indigenous people in colorful clothing—members of the UUPG for whom the team had come. “So within five minutes we had met six people from our people group. It was an incredible blessing,” Fred Smith said. The native group had come into town and were delayed in returning to their village because of a health problem with one of the men, which was why they were at the hotel. The native people invited the Calvary team to sit with them, men at the men’s table and women at the women’s table. One of the female Calvary team members knew a common language spoken in the region and was able to assist in communicating with the women while the IMB missionary guides translated at the men’s table. Lisa Smith said, “They made sure we felt welcomed and they provided us with food. We discussed general topics, like food. We asked about their children and they asked about ours. We admired their dress.” The natives also provided directions to their village in the mountains inhabited by Calvary’s UUPG, and they offered to cook a meal for the team while they were in the village, as long as the team could provide the food. As the Calvary group experienced more of the town, their eyes were opened to spiritual influences present, such as the many Buddhist and Hindu idols visible. After midnight they listened as villagers set off firecrackers intended to ward off evil spirits. “They were afraid, and part of their spiritual training, which includes ancestor worship, is to set off fireworks,” Fred Smith explained, speculating that the presence of Americans in the village had evidently caused some to be alarmed. He said, “We knew it was a dark place, but it is very different when you go into a dark place. It made us realize that we must fast and pray daily. We prayed for a Lydia, or a Cornelius—someone open to the message. We prayed that God would go before us.” The next day, the Calvary team and the IMB missionary guides loaded into their van and began the strenuous journey into the mountains to find the village and the village people they had come to engage with the gospel of Christ. Following the directions given to them, they drove the van as far as the rugged road would per12 TEXANONLINE.NET FEBRUARY 13, 2014
As the six-person team from Calvary Baptist Church began their hike up a narrow, mountainous path to meet their adopted people group for the first time, they encountered the man in the photo carrying a large bag on his back. The area is heavily Buddhist and Hindu.
“We knew it was a dark place, but it is very different when you go into a dark place. It made us realize that we must fast and pray daily. We prayed for a Lydia, or a Cornelius—someone open to the message. We prayed that God would go before us.” mit, then they hiked on foot into the village. Baker noted that they were able to recognize the people belonging to their UUPG when they saw them because of the group they had encountered at the hotel; women traditionally wear a recognizable head dress and sash. He added, “One thing that really surprised me—up until then it had been very vague—we had just seen pictures when praying for them. But when we met, as soon as I saw them, I thought, ‘I love these people. I care about them, and I want to be involved in ministry to these people.’” He compared it to his family’s experience of adopting a foster child, noting that the moment
he saw his soon-to-be-adopted daughter he immediately loved her. “Through God we have an enormous capacity to love them,” Baker explained. Now that the Calvary team has found one village inhabited by their UUPG, they are strategizing how to connect with them. “We decided the best thing is to get our own missionaries on the ground there,” Fred Smith said. “We want to send a missionary couple to our region at that base camp to organize our mission trips.” Lisa Smith speculated that teams of two might be less alarming to the local residents and might have a better chance of building relationships and learning about the needs. Language will be a challenging barrier to overcome, as their UUPG speaks a language that has not yet been fully documented. Some of the younger generation speaks a more familiar dialect, but Lisa Smith said
the older generation speaks only the minority dialect. Fred Smith said his current missions philosophy is one he picked up from another pastor: “We used to go hundreds of places one time. Now we will go to one place hundreds of times.” In a trembling voice, Lisa Smith reflected on a key reason for being a part of reaching UUPGs worldwide, recalling the prayer of one of their church elders before they went on their vision trip. “In his prayer he said that one day, when we are all in heaven bowing before God on his throne, we will be able to look over the crowd of people there, and we will see our people group—there, with us, also bowing before the Lord. That is just awesome.” For information about UUPG’s worldwide and how to get involved in reaching them, visit embrace.imbresources.org and joshuaproject.net.
FEBRUARY 13, 2014 TEXANONLINE.NET 13
‘Look Like Heaven’ committee leading by example SBTC initiative toward multi-ethnic diversity and fellowship taking shape with plans for July emphasis. By Sharayah Colter For nearly 10 years, Texas has been considered a “majority-minority” state, with the number of ethnic minorities now exceeding the number of whites. As this shift became clear in Terry Turner’s mind, the Mesquite pastor, who finished two terms as president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention last year, cast a vision before the convention’s Executive Board. The result: An initiative called “Look Like Heaven.” An ad hoc committee led by Champion Forest Baptist Church Pastor David Fleming presented plans for Look Like Heaven at the SBTC annual meeting in Amarillo last October, urging churches to emphasize cross-cultural fellowship and shared ministry efforts throughout the year and especially each July for at least the next five years. “As a convention, we understand we can more effectively reach our community for Christ when we more intentionally reflect the diversity that is in our community” 14 TEXANONLINE.NET FEBRUARY 13, 2014
Southern Baptist churches across Texas increasingly strive to reach people from a variety of ethnicities, better representing the folks who live in surrounding neighborhoods. PHOTO BY RICK LINTHICUM
Fleming said. “The New Testament world was divided and diverse as is our world today. God did something amazing in the early church. He brought Gentiles and Jews together. So as we come together, [we’re] celebrating unity in the midst of diversity. As a convention, we are looking beyond our differences and embracing our diversity to see Jesus in each other and to let him be the draw that brings us together.” Fleming and the six members of his committee said they plan to lead by example with the Look Like Heaven emphasis within their own congregations and talked about just how they plan to do that. “At Champion Forest, we have an annual event called All Together at Ten,” Fleming said. “We pull everyone together from all of our services for a multi-generational and multi-cultural experience in
worship. Last year, we sang and preached in English, Spanish and Portuguese. We also share in the Lord’s Supper, which is a powerful unifying experience for us all. “Champion Forest Baptist Church and Fallbrook Church, an African American church nearby, have been very intentional in building fellowship and partnership between the two churches. We work together, worship together, and this year we are even combining our choirs for a community-wide Christmas program.” Paul Garcia, pastor of Bobtown Baptist Church in Garland, said in translating the convention-wide emphasis into a church-size reality, he, too, plans to focus on intentionally spending his time and energies ministering among people of varied ethnicities and ages. “I am planning on not only focusing on the cross-cultural, but the
cross-generational as well,” Garcia said. “I am currently and planning to continue to spend time with the students at Criswell College. There are multicultural students that I spend time with on a weekly basis.” For Denny Gorena, pastor of First Baptist Church of Leonard, the shift in his community toward a more heavily Hispanic population has spurred his church to make a greater effort to reach them. “The city of Leonard is a diverse place,” Gorena said. “There are people of different nationalities and locales who have moved into our city. First Baptist Church of Leonard is seeking to advance the gospel by using the 1Cross app and other means to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Moreover, there are a few of us who are now learning to speak Spanish as our Hispanic population continues to increase in our area.” Gwyn Tidwell, Look Like Heaven committee member and member of Northgate Church in Haslet, says that even as a layperson, she hopes to find ways to foster the Look Like Heaven emphasis in her church as well. “Since I am a layperson in my church, I am not in a decision-making position for the entire church,” Tidwell said. “I do, however, lead our women’s ministry. I have used luncheons, retreats and Bible studies as opportunities to include women from other churches and ethnic backgrounds to join us in these events. It is always a richer time together when we share these special experiences. Hearts unified in learning and worship amidst diversity not only ‘looks like heaven’—it is a foretaste of it. The church that radiates this is blessed indeed to serve as a shining reflection of the kingdom in our culture today.” Meanwhile, Turner says his church plans to “go all out” for Look Like Heaven. “During the month of July, we plan to worship in collaboration with other churches,” Turner said. “I’ll be inviting churches and pastors to come to our 8 a.m. worship service. Then, I’ll make myself available to those pastors at 11 a.m. and bring a group from our church. We’ll take the entire month, and we will wor-
ship each Sunday that month with several churches from several different backgrounds. We’ve already been involved in some of that, so it won’t be a culture shock to our congregation.” Turner said the convention’s intentional efforts in Look Like Heaven make him even more grateful to be part of the SBTC and the effort to reflect heaven in local congregations. “I am so proud and thankful for our convention that took the initiative to make it a five-year plan to have churches be a part of,” Turner said. “It’s just exciting to be a part of a convention that thinks like that and is moving in that direction. I can see how it is really going to be a blessing to congregations and pastors as they represent heaven during that time. God is going to be really pleased.” Seoul Baptist Church of Houston Pastor Sookwan Lee says even with a language barrier, his church has found ways to reflect heaven in special services throughout the year. “Our church is Seoul Baptist Church of Houston, and we have two congregations,” Lee said. “One is a Korean-speaking congregation, and the other is Englishspeaking. The English-speaking congregation is known as New Life Fellowship of Houston. So what we do is we have just one time a year, we switch the preachers, because even though they are an English-speaking congregation, I can speak to that congregation [in English], and their pastor can speak Korean. Also, we have one time Christmas Eve service where we combine the service. We can have English preaching, but we also have—simultaneously—Korean translation, so that we can possibly share the service.” Lee also said that among the English-speaking congregation, 60 percent of the members are Korean and 40 percent are multi-ethnic. Jeremy Rogers, pastor of Arlington Park Baptist Church in Arlington, says the community surrounding his church is diverse as well. He says he intends to lead his church in evangelism among the many peoples represented in their area. “In our immediate area we are beginning an emphasis on intentional evangelistic outreach to our neighbors who are made up of numerous cultures, languages and ethnicities,” Rogers said. “We are planning on reaching out to them in tangible ways at least five times each year through acts of kindness and service. By doing so, we pray the Lord will see fit to make our congregation look even more like heaven.” FEBRUARY 13, 2014 TEXANONLINE.NET 15
SEX ... for God’s glory Q&A with Denny Burk, author of ‘What Is the Meaning of Sex?’ Editor’s Note: Since 2008, Denny Burk has served as an associate professor of biblical studies and ethics at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Formerly at Criswell College in Dallas, he is editor of the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. His website, DennyBurk.com, includes commentary on theology, politics and culture. Burk also serves as pastor of Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. Burk’s most recent book, “What Is the Meaning of Sex?” (Crossway), tackles one of the most challenging subjects facing the body of Christ. TEXAN correspondent Paul South interviewed Burk about the book. Q: A number of prominent pastors and theologians have written books about sex in the context of the Christian worldview. How is this book distinct? Some books on sexual ethics focus on the question, “How far is too far?” That approach boils down to finding out what the Bible prohibits us from doing sexually and exhorting us not to cross those boundaries. I agree that the Bible’s prohibitions are absolutely foundational for our discipleship, but I think we fall short if we leave the matter there. Our fundamental question is not “What does the Bible prohibit?” but “How can I glorify God with my sexuality?” There are many issues that we face today that are not explicitly addressed in Scripture (e.g., Internet pornography, modern birth control methods, etc.). If you limit your reading to the prohibitions, you will miss how the Bible’s overall message addresses the many complicated issues we are facing today. That is why we must know the purposes for our sexuality. In the book I argue that our sexuality glorifies God by consummating marriage, expressing love, procreating, and bringing pleasure. Any sexual act that falls short of those purposes falls short of the glory of God. Q: One reviewer notes that you take a teleological approach to sex. For the benefit of the lay person, can 16 TEXANONLINE.NET FEBRUARY 13, 2014
you define that within the context of your book? Teleology is technical jargon for a certain approach to ethics: it assumes God made everything with purpose. Thus all sexual morality must be measured against God’s purpose for sexuality. In this book, I argue that God’s glory is the ultimate purpose of our sexuality. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6:20 are a case in point. When he commands the Corinthians to “glorify God with your body,” he clearly has in mind the use of the body for sex. Thus to enjoy sex for God’s glory is to enjoy it the way he has determined. We were not made to be people who are constantly in and out of sexual relationships and who are exploiting one another sexually. We were made to enjoy this gift exclusively within the one-flesh union of marriage. Q: At its heart, the book argues that sex ultimately was created not merely for human pleasure and procreation but to glorify God. How does average Joe get his mind around the idea that sex with his wife “glorifies God?” He got married and suddenly was “allowed” to do it. Have we taught, in a subtle
way, that sex is that dirty thing that married couples get to do because God allows it? After all, Paul seemed to tolerate those who were better off marrying than burning with passion. Some people view Christians as killjoys when it comes to sex. They think us to be puritanical, cold people who don’t like sex. But if we are, then we fall far short of understanding God’s purpose for sex and sexuality. Sex is not the problem. It is the perversion of sex that is the problem. Sex is a good gift designed to glorify God by consummating marriage, expressing love, procreating, and bringing pleasure. A Christian sex ethic seeks to maximize joy and pleasure in God’s gift of sex by enjoying this gift for his sake and according to his design. Our culture has fallen short of this by making an idol of sex. For many people, sex is the end-all, be-all of human existence. But in idolizing a good thing, that good thing becomes perverted, and joy diminishes. The average Joe glorifies God in his sexuality by enjoying it according to the purposes described in Scripture: consummation of marriage, expression of love, procreation, and pleasure. Q: Are there other ways in which churches have gotten it wrong in how we teach about sexuality? The sexual revolution has not only transformed our culture, but in too many cases it has also transformed our churches. Unfortunately, many Christians and many churches have been completely swept up into the spirit of the age. I could list a number of shortcomings on this score, but I will mention one conspicuous example: No-fault divorce laws have swept across this country since 1970, and now our churches are filled with
serial monogamists who have no idea what covenant marriage is according to Scripture. There are too many churches that have capitulated to this divorce culture. When a couple divorces in the congregation, many churches do absolutely nothing about it. The issue is not clearly addressed from the pulpit and neither is it addressed in measures of discipline. Churches must to recover the biblical norm of marriage in both teaching and discipline. Q: How do you respond to the argument on the one hand that homosexuality, cohabitation and abortion are private matters the government and religious folk should avoid, and on the other hand that one must publicly proclaim support for deviant sexual behavior in order to have politically correct bonafides? The definition of marriage and abortion are not private matters. Take marriage, for example. The state has an interest in regulating what unions will be considered marriages and what unions will not be recognized. Adoption law, divorce law, inheritance law, child custody norms all presume a certain definition of marriage. This is plainly not a private matter. It will affect every citizen. Until very recently, our laws have privileged the covenanted union of one man and one woman. Those days are coming to an end, and the change is having enormous social consequences. Christians cannot be indifferent about these consequences—not if we love our neighbors. And that is why we have a stewardship in our public life to press our democratic privileges in favor of what is best for our neighbors (especially for children). There will be a legally recognized definition of marriage,
and all citizens will be required to live under that norm. The question that we are facing now is, “Whose definition will win the day?” Christians need to speak clearly into that debate. Q: With more and more churches rejecting biblical authority, how should evangelicals—specifically Southern Baptists—respond? Our main duty is to speak the truth in love. That means that we have an unchanging message to preach to a changing culture. Even if our culture stands foursquare against the gospel, we must preach it anyway. But in disagreeing with our culture, we do not have to be disagreeable in our disposition. We need to be winsome even as we engage those who oppose us. We need to be in the world, not of the world, for the sake of the world. Q: How does a pastor preach about “sex for the glory of God” in a way that is contextually appropriate, biblical and bold? My main advice to pastors is to preach the Word. If pastors will commit themselves to a strict regime of expository preaching— verse by verse, book by book—they will find that they never run out of material and that they will address all the issues that need to be addressed. When pastors preach this way, they will not have to do a special series on sexual ethics. God’s design for our sexuality is woven throughout the fabric of Scripture, and our congregations will hear that message if their pastors will give themselves to preaching it. Scripture says that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). We will find that the Bible really is sufficient for these current challenges if we will just preach it faithfully. FEBRUARY 13, 2014 TEXANONLINE.NET 17
New ‘traditional’ fellowship plans Baltimore kickoff event Group partly a response to SBC Calvinists, leader says. By Jerry Pierce SYLACAUGA, Ala.
A group of pastors has announced the forming of a new fellowship championing what they term a “traditionalist” Southern Baptist view of salvation doctrine with plans for a kick-off event during the Southern Baptist Convention in June. The Connect 316 website shows more than 860 signatures for its doctrinal statement, crafted last year by Mississippi pastor Eric Hankins. The website offers visitors the chance to join previous signers of Hankins’ “Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” One of the group’s founders and its executive director, Rick Patrick of Alabama, said in a Jan. 20 news release that the fellowship is partly an alternative to “Calvinist-leaning” groups—such as the Founders Ministry, The Gospel Coalition, 9 Marks Ministries, Acts 29, Together for the Gospel and Baptist 21—but not its core identity. “We are also a theologically driven ministry fellowship that helps like-minded believers connect with one another, share resources and discuss the doctrines that we hold 18 TEXANONLINE.NET FEBRUARY 13, 2014
dear,” said Patrick, pastor of First Baptist Church of Sylacauga, Ala. “But in another sense,” he added, the group is hesitant “to define ourselves merely in relation to Calvinism. There is a richness in the robust Hobbs-Rogers theological tradition that we seek to express on our own terms, without demonstrating opposition to anyone or anything else.” The group is planning a kick-off breakfast on June 10 during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Baltimore and will host the “Whosoever Will Conference” June 6-8 at Northwest Baptist Church in Reisterstown, Md. The news release notes the theological lineage of 20th century nonCalvinist Southern Baptists such as E.Y. Mullins, Herschel Hobbs and Adrian Rogers—men who chaired the committee that shaped revisions to the Baptist Faith and Message confessional statement in 1925, 1963 and 2000. The group’s website acknowledges the SBC’s movement away from more Calvinistic confessions beginning with
the 1925 statement. The Connect 316 website says the group “is a voluntary partnering of like-minded individuals, churches and organizations. When we use the term Traditionalist, we are not claiming that ours is the only tradition in Southern Baptist life, but simply that our Hobbs-Rogers theological tradition deserves a fair and appropriate expression.” A graphic on the website notes the group’s affirmation of baptism by immersion, man’s free will, altar calls, repentance, grace, transformation and faith. Other board members for Connect 316 are Tim Rogers, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trail, N.C., Ron Hale, associate pastor at West Jackson Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn., and Tim Guthrie, pastor of Arlington Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. Patrick, the executive director, is a former Texas pastor. Guthrie, in addition to leading his church in Tennessee, is president of Dallasbased Eklund Stewardship Ministries.
Prominent Hispanic leaders Martinez and Rangel remembered By Rob Collingsworth Valeriano Martinez and David Rangel, two pastors prominent in the Dallas-Fort Worth area Hispanic community, died last month. Martinez, pastor of the Hispanic Mission at First Baptist Church in Roanoke, died Jan. 20. He was 68. Martinez was born in San Benito in 1946 and finished high school while in the Army. After leaving the military, he worked as an aircraft mechanic in Grand Prairie for 34 years. He was converted in 1987 at Primera Iglesia Bautista of Grand Prairie and was later licensed and ordained there, eventually serving as the church’s associate pastor. In preparing for ministry, Martinez attended the Baptist Hispanic Seminary in Dallas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He was also very involved with Bible Study Fellowship International. In addition to his role at First Baptist Roanoke, Martinez was chaplain for the Roanoke police and fire departments. Martinez was known for his evangelistic and missions fervor, leading multiple mission trips to Mexico. “I asked Bro. Martinez to take charge of the mission trips to Monterrey, Mexico, and he did a fantastic job organizing and planning everything,” said Domingo Ozuna, former pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Grand Prairie. “They love him in Mexico.” Martinez and his wife planted the Hispanic Mission at First Baptist
Church in Roanoke in 2009. Widely respected among the Hispanic community, Martinez was known as a man committed to the gospel and to his family, friends said. “Indeed we are going to miss him, but God is enjoying his presence in heaven right now,” Ozuna stated. Martinez is survived by Lupe, his wife of 44 years, five children and 10 grandchildren. Rangel, assistant pastor at Lakeview Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, died Jan. 29 after an extended illness. He was 69. A native Texan, Rangel served on staff at a number of Baptist churches, including Iglesia Bautista Central before coming to serve at Lakeview in late 2011 under Pastor Charles Kendall. In addition to his church role, Rangel had been a Dallas Police Department chaplain—a ministry Ozuna described as “taking Christ to the scene of a crisis.” “David was well loved and respected by his extended family, peers, church and friends who are legion,” Kendall stated. “He has been a very effective gospel preacher, pastor, church starter, missionary and witness for King Jesus.” Martha Bochenko, a member at Inglewood Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, participated in several mission trips with Rangel. “I met David because I was looking for translators for our dental mission trip to Guatemala,” Bochenko said. “He invited himself along and became the team’s chaplain and preacher to the local church there. He also became a
good dental assistant to my husband and post-op instructor.” So much so, that Dr. Bochenko enlisted Rangel to extract a tooth on one occasion, and then nicknamed him “Pastor Doctor David.” Rangel, who worked in restaurant management at El Chico before surrendering to ministry in 1974, planted churches in Antiqua, Seagoville, Cedar Temple and Grand Prairie. Initially a mission, the Grand Prairie church met in the facilities of Inglewood Baptist before relocating on the east side of the city. Among many good qualities, friends recall that Rangel was known as a man with a passion for missions and evangelism. “David Rangel was noted for his humor, his passion for the truth of God’s Word, his love of preaching and his persistent personal and door to door witness,” Kendall added. “His passing leaves a huge void that is felt by all who knew him.” “David was a Baptist’s Baptist,” added Tammi Ledbetter, a friend from Grand Prairie. “He cared passionately about what should be foremost in the mind of every Southern Baptist—drawing people to Jesus Christ with every breath he took. The standing room only crowd at his funeral was a reminder of that lifelong commitment as Hispanics, African Americans and Anglos gathered to pay tribute to a brother who got it right.” Rangel is survived by Estela, his wife of 51 years, along with daughters Laura Medrano and Carol Lopez, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. FEBRUARY 13, 2014 TEXANONLINE.NET 19
CALL TO PRAYER: Obey? EDITOR’S NOTE: This column is part of the call to prayer issued by Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, to pray for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world. Why does God have to be so insistent? Without doubt, one of the facts of faith is that we must obey God. Moms and dads, in varying ways, yearn for their children to obey. And we surely marvel at children who indeed obey their parents. Citizens, sometimes grudgingly, understand they must obey the law. And if we think about it, we’re glad for every moment of safety that the law, when obeyed, accords us in our homes, our automobiles and in our communities. But obey God? We tend to accuse God of unilaterally issuing an edict: “Just do as I say.” God is far from the only one, however, with an expectation of obedience in today’s cultural milieu. Pro-choice advocates, though they don’t use the word, strive for the society to obey, or yield to, even laud their beliefs for abortion rights. And yes, those who see the hand of God in all moments of human life also attempt to sway people to their moral ground. The same push and shove to obey, sometimes with civility, is evident among homosexual rights advocates and among those who see a loving God calling humankind to refrain from homosexuality. The tussle for public opinion is evident between proponents of marijuana legalization and those who sorrow over anyone’s flight from reality—a reality that can be elevated by God’s redemption and his wisdom in Scripture. And certainly the sexual liberationists and the popularizers of pornography have much to celebrate in a culture that regularly obeys their 20 TEXANONLINE.NET FEBRUARY 13, 2014
Citizens, sometimes grudgingly, understand they must obey the law. And if we think about it, we’re glad for every moment of safety that the law, when obeyed, accords us in our homes, our automobiles and in our communities. But obey God? We tend to accuse God of unilaterally issuing an edict: “Just do as I say.” beliefs, especially the obedience of so many who produce today’s movies, TV shows and popular music and the masses who tune in to them. Meanwhile, those who see the centrality of marriage and family to human well-being may feel they increasingly are “a voice crying in the wilderness.” Bob Dylan penned and sang it so profoundly: “... you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” Serve, obey, follow, acquiesce—simple words for the life-consuming realities that confront us every day. If you’re in a quandary about whom to obey, you’re far from alone. Yet there’s a turning point; it begins when you pray. Get alone for a few minutes and just begin to pray. Here are two simple, clear sentences from Scripture to pray about, from the New Testament book of John, chapter 15, verses 10 and 11. Jesus tells us, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Abortion, homosexual behavior, marijuana use, unchecked sexuality, pornography—do these offer the love and joy intended by our Creator? To obey, pray. Pray over each Scripture verse that you read. Pray that, with your life surrendered to Jesus, you will obey the one who can lead you to a healing repentance for sin and a wholesome way of living guided by the Holy Spirit of a marvelous Creator/Redeemer in a world of brokenness and lostness. Indeed, pray to obey. —Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press and author of “When I Meditate” and “Meditation & Morality,” available at eBookIt.com here & here as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online sites. For an earlier article new birth, go to Toalston/new birth.
UUPG challenge sent church on 2-year prayer journey and an ambitious climb, Patterson to politicians: ‘Stop playing for political favor’ on...