June 5, 2013 â€˘ ISSUE 11
God used 14 years of friendship, coffee and often intense conversation with a Christian to gently, patiently goad a non-observant Jew to the foot of the cross.
Oklahoma tornadoes: Disaster relief volunteers see God at work amid destruction
Intimidation tactics? N.C. Baptist paper among IRS targets after it ran pro-marriage ads
Calvinism and the SBC, tensions
admire the people involved in the Calvinism Advisory Committee (CAC) convened by Executive Committee President Frank Page to help Southern Baptists move forward together even as we have small differences in our views of how our salvation is accomplished. I’m married to one committee member but do believe I’m objective in affirming their work. The “unofficial” committee consisted of notables representing the span of SBC opinions about Calvinism. I recognized names I’d consider “fiery” on one side of the subject or the other as well as those more statesmanlike by reputation. The participants represented their viewpoints thoroughly enough to produce a document all can consider reasonable. I appreciate that the report noted tensions as well as many points of agreement. Some brethren get nervous when we acknowledge disagreement. Their concern may be that we will be distracted and neglect the Great Commission. It’s a good point; we do get distracted pretty easily. The sensitivities of the practical-minded should warn us against magnifying details of doctrine inappropriately but should not discourage lively discussions of doctrine. The practitioners among us are less patient with doctrine just as the philosophers among us struggle with application. A maturing Christian needs to have some investment in both camps. The forming of our committee, though, was occasioned not by a neglect of missions so much as a neglect of unity, even courtesy. We have been led now to face that threat to unity without neglecting the beneficial discussion of doctrine. The committee report suggests to me a couple of ideas about how we go forward from here. Face the facts - Calvinists will always be an influential minority within Southern Baptist life. We need to be OK with that. In our day, Calvinistic Baptists lead us to highlight and teach doctrine. Our Calvinists have helped exalt expository preaching and the need for care in how we
Not all will—I’m not even sure some people are capable of courteous speech—and when that happens we should take it seriously. share the gospel. This means that our non-Calvinist brothers need to drop the reference to Calvinism as heresy. Calvinists are influential within the SBC, but they are also a minority and will likely remain so. Our Calvinist brothers need to be at peace with that status without a desperate effort to convert those who do not accept that “Calvinism is simply the gospel.” Talk about something else, vigorously - I’ve heard, participated in and enjoyed debates about Calvinism since I first became familiar with the term. It’s fun to discuss important things with those who can do so in good humor. It is divisive to discuss important things with those who take themselves too seriously. The constant series of discussions over Calvinism seems to have multiplied the company of the self-important rather than that of the good-humored. And I know at least as many humorless non-Calvinists as I do humorless Calvinists. Please don’t stop talking about doctrine but how about adding some others to our list? Theology of missions, Christians and public policy, eschatology, cooperative missions in the 21st century—all these things and others can be beneficially controversial. Sometimes I think we only have these panels and debates to draw a crowd. It would also be nice if some of these other important issues could draw a crowd occasionally. Discipline your own tribe - If we do or if we don’t widen our repertoire of spicy topics we will still have different camps over any issue we bring up. I think that’s also just fine. Unity will require that we keep even our intramural conversations more high-minded than they often are. Our CAC included leaders, men who get an audience when they speak. Leaders have followers, even disciples. In addition to greater attention to their own speech, spokesmen for diverse opinions should admonish their followers to speak their opinions in love and even courtesy. Not all will—I’m not even sure some people are capable of courteous speech—and when that happens we should take it seriously. That may mean undisciplined brethren don’t get invited to preach at a conference or pastor the next church. If we believe that the unity of the body is significant and if we can affirm our Baptist confession of faith or even the matters of agreement included in the CAC report, we need to “in humility, count others more significant than [our]selves.” And to the degree that we are leaders, we need to call on those who listen to us to do the same. As a fan of theological debate, I hope we can continue to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron. This is a great opportunity to return to a more constructive pattern for discussing important issues in our churches and in our denomination. Perhaps even in our rude society we can be an example of how transformed people disagree.
California Senate pushes Scouts to allow gay leaders
N.C. Baptist paper among IRS targets
The California Senate passed a bill that would revoke non-profit youth organizations’ tax exemptions if they don’t allow homosexual leaders.
The Biblical Recorder, newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, received an audit letter in March that may be related to its association with a pro-marriage group whose donor list was allegedly leaked by an IRS employee to gay marriage advocates.
SBTC volunteers endure second Okla. storm SBTC volunteers found themselves “hunkered down in the hallway” of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, riding out the second wave of tornadoes to strike the area in two weeks.
Apple removes another ministry app The app was pulled by Apple following protest because it includes a segment that seeks to help users be free from “the bondage of homosexuality” through Christ and the cross.
th a he artt hear wiwith to argue’
For Fran Querio, a Jewish transplant to Texas, kicking against the goads came to an end when she reached hers. Following Jesus as Messiah came next.
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
Houston pastors reaffirm immigration reform position Pastors group says support for immigration reform is rising and Christians seeking a biblical solution to the politically charged issue should speak out to ensure just and compassionate laws.
Gary Ledbetter, Editor Jerry Pierce, Managing Editor Russell Lightner, Design & Layout Stephanie Barksdale, Subscriptions Contributing Writers Bonnie Pritchett, Jane Rodgers, Melissa Deming, Keith Collier To contact the TEXAN office, visit texanonline.net/contact or call toll free 877.953.7282 (SBTC)
Briefly ///////////////////////////////////////////////// NORTH AMERICA
California Senate pushes Scouts to allow gay leaders
Less than a week after the Boy Scouts changed its policy to allow gay-identifying youth, the California Senate passed a law that would revoke the organization’s tax-exempt status if it doesn’t also allow gay leaders. The bill is aimed at all taxexempt youth organizations, but it was evident from the getgo—when Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara introduced the bill in February—that the Scouts were the primary target. On May 23, delegates at the Boy Scouts’ national meeting approved new guidelines allowing homosexual-identifying youth to be members. The policy still prohibits openly homosexual adults from serving as leaders. Six days later the California Senate, by a vote of 27-9, passed a bill that would reverse the tax-exempt status of youth organizations that discriminate on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. “They are out of line with the 2 TEXANONLINE.NET june 5, 2013
values of California and should be ineligible for a tax benefit paid for by all Californians,” Lara said of the Scouts, according to The Sacramento Bee. “... We’ve given the Boy Scouts ample time to solve their discrimination problem. And they’ve chosen a path that still leads to discrimination.” The bill now moves to the Assembly, the lower house of California’s Legislature. Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute, criticized the Senate for passing the bill. “Senator Lara did not speak for us all ... when he claimed SB 323 brings our laws in line with our values,” England said. “This bill is about government vilifying our values and abusing its power to penalize, through taxation, those who hold different beliefs and values. SB 323 is an unprecedented intrusion by the government and a far reaching assault on freedoms of association, speech, and religion.
Iranian Christians face ‘Systematic Persecution’ Iran’s treatment of its Christian minority has come under fresh scrutiny in recent months with some harsh reports on the country’s human rights record. Reports from the United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) cite evidence of “systematic persecution and prosecution” of Protestants and Christian converts, as part of a widespread violation of international laws. Reports from the United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) cite evidence of “systematic persecution and prosecution” of Protestants and Christian converts, as part of a widespread violation of international laws. The United Nation’s special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, noted in September 2012 that more than 300 Christians have been arrested and detained since 2010, while at least 41 were detained for periods ranging from one month to over a year, sometimes without official charges. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in February that Iran “refuted” the UN’s claim of an increase in discrimination towards religious minorities, claiming “all people of Iran regardless of their religion or ethnicity enjoy equal citizenship rights.” However, ICHRI’s January report, “The Cost of Faith: Persecution of Christian Protestants and Converts in Iran,” based on interviews with 31 Iranian Christians between April 2011 and July 2012, claims that “despite the Iranian government’s assertions that it respects the rights of its recognised religious minorities, the Christian community in Iran faces systematic state persecution and discrimination.” This view is supported by Mansour Borji, advocacy officer for the human rights initiative Article18. “Sometimes the phrase ‘systematic persecution’ is used so loosely that it sounds like a cliché. However, in the case of Iran’s persecution of Christians, it fits the criteria,” Borji told World Watch Monitor.
Survey shows that people turn to God after a disaster When natural disasters occur, most Americans take increased interest in God and donate to relief agencies— and they trust faith-based agencies more than their secular counterparts. A third also believe prayer can avert natural disasters. Those are among the findings of a LifeWay Research survey conducted days after an historic EF5 tornado devastated parts of Oklahoma May 20, killing two dozen people and causing billions of dollars in damages. According to the study, commissioned by LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum, a third of Americans increase their trust in God during times of suffering. In response to the question, “How do you feel about God when suffering occurs that appears unfair?” the most common response is “I trust God more” (33 percent). Other responses include: “I am confused about God” (25 percent). “I don’t think about God in these situations” (16 percent). “I wonder if God cares” (11 percent). “I doubt God exists” (7 percent). “I am angry toward God” (5 percent). “I am resentful toward God” (3 percent). “Disasters, particularly natural disasters, perplex all of us,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “While some call them ‘acts of God,’ others question why a good and loving God would do such a thing. The fact is, God does not give us all the answers. “But, as Christians, we believe that God gives us himself—and that is why we have faith,” Stetzer said. “Faith is believing God when you don’t have all the answers. But disasters test that faith—some people draw closer to God, some pull away.” LifeWay reported Southerners, frequent church attendees and those without a college degree are likely to trust God more during disasters, while younger Americans are more likely to doubt God exists. Nearly six in 10 Americans (57 percent) agree with the statement, “When a natural disaster occurs, my interest in God increases.” Thirty-one percent disagree and 12 percent don’t know. Nearly twothirds of respondents living in the South agree (62 percent), compared with just over half in the West (54 percent) and Northeast (51 percent). Women, people with a college degree, and those who attend worship services once a week are also likely to be more interested in God during a disaster. Despite their increased interest in God following disasters, most Americans doubt prayer can avert natural disasters. Fifty-one percent disagree that praying can avert natural disasters, with a third (32 percent) strongly disagreeing. Still, 34 percent believe prayer can avert natural disasters. Americans in the South (40 percent) are more likely to believe than those in the Northeast (26 percent) and West (28 percent).
Apple removes ministry app aimed at battling habitual sins The Apple Corporation has recently pulled from its iTunes store a mobile app created by Setting Captives Free, a nondenominational ministry which offers free courses aimed at helping users battle “habitual sins,” such as sexual impurity, substance abuse, self-injury, and gambling. The app was pulled by Apple following protest over one of the courses, titled ”Door of Hope,” seeks to free users from “the bondage of homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ and the cross!” “If you will apply the biblical principles found here, you can walk through the Door of Hope into a new life with Christ, free from sexual impurity and self-gratification,” the course description reads. The Apple store reportedly removed the app after the group AllOut circulated a petition, signed by 65,000 people, which denounced the app as being capable of causing “terrible harm to lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people, or anyone forced to try to change who they are or who they love.” Apple reportedly confirmed to MacWorld that the Setting Captives Free app violates the company’s developer guidelines, which do not allow “the promotion of hatred toward groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity.” While Apple has pulled the app, Android users still have the ability to download the app from the Google store. Many of those commenting on the app on Google Play have chosen to focus on the ministry’s single sexual impurity course. But the app, as detailed in its product description, focuses equally on other “habitual sins,” not just homosexuality. “Every day we help people just like you find freedom from habitual sins and learn to grow in grace,” the description reads. The ministry was founded by evangelical Mike Cleveland and claims that more than 500,000 people have benefited from the courses. This isn’t the first time Apple has removed an app in response to protest from gay rights activists. In 2010, the Manhattan Declaration app was pulled from the App Store after some denounced it as anti-gay. Those behind the
Manhattan Declaration—drafted by such conservatives as the late evangelical leader
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Baptist paper among IRS targets after marriage ads The Biblical Recorder newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, received an IRS audit in March after publishing ads supporting the state’s marriage amendment, World magazine’s website reports. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) suspects that someone at the IRS leaked confidential donor information to a rival advocacy group in the heat of last year’s elections. The group receiving the information, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), calls itself the nation’s largest LGBT organization. HRC’s head, Joe Solmonese, soon became a co-chair of Obama’s reelection campaign. Touting the information as never-before-seen, HRC published NOM’s donor data on its website in March 2012. Publication of the list led gay-marriage groups to push for boycotts of the donors’ businesses. A forensic specialist hired by NOM determined that the leaked document originated from the IRS after uncovering a redacted IRS watermark that only appears in documents in the agency’s internal computer system. NOM is filing a lawsuit to discover who is behind this illegal breach of information that is punishable by up to five years in prison. “I remind people that the abuse of the IRS for political purposes was one of the charges of impeachment that had been drawn up against Richard Nixon before he resigned back in 1974,” said John Eastman, NOM’s chairman. He added that some of NOM’s major donors are reluctant to continue giving if their personal information can’t be kept private. Eastman recognized that the prolife groups, the traditional marriage groups, and the Tea Party groups all are guilty of being on the wrong side of the Obama administration. Pro-life groups were also targeted. Susan Martinek founded Coalition for Life of Iowa because she wanted the pro-life movement to do bigger things in Cedar Rapids. Churches in
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the town of about 120,000 already held their own events, but Martinek thought coordinating resources would lead to greater outreach. The small-business owner sought tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service in October 2008. Like the head of most fledging nonprofits, she knew more donors would be inclined to give if they could claim tax deductions. Martinek mailed the application and waited. In April 2009, the IRS asked for more information, including “advertisements, schedules, syllabuses, handouts, a summary of each person’s speech.” After complying with this exhaustive record request, Martinek called the IRS on June 6, 2009. An agent told her to submit just one more item for approval: a letter with signatures from every member of the coalition’s board pledging, under the threat of perjury, that they would not organize groups to picket or protest outside of the local Planned Parenthood chapter. Martinek’s board debated the demand. Some agreed to sign. Others refused, saying it was a violation of their First Amendment rights. On June 22, the group received an IRS letter with more requirements: “Please explain how all of your activities, including the prayer meetings held outside of Planned Parenthood are considered educational,” the letter read. “Please explain in detail the activities at these prayer meetings.” The IRS asked for
the “percentage of time” the group spent in prayer and to explain how signs were educational. “When the government starts talking about people of faith as people that need to be scrutinized more because of the negative implications they can have against the government, that ought to be frightening to most Americans,” said U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., the chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. Participants with the Coalition for Life of Iowa go to a Planned Parenthood site every week to pray. Martinek’s own preferred prayer time is Wednesday nights when there is a teen clinic. It is something she wouldn’t have been able to do if she had given in to the IRS. With the money raised as a nonprofit, the Iowa coalition from more than 15 area churches has expanded its offerings. It holds educational forums on such topics as stem-cell research and end-of-life decisions. And, several times a year, hundreds of coalition members gather at a local church. Carrying signs, they march a mile along busy First Avenue toward Planned Parenthood. Once there, they spread out along the front of the building and pray. Sometimes they hear testimonies. Sometimes they wave to the people passing. Sometimes they write messages in chalk on the sidewalk: Jesus Loves You. Life. Often they draw a cross beside the words. That’s about as confrontational as the coalition gets. They don’t obstruct Planned Parenthood’s parking lot or entrance. Martinek likes to think they have been effective. She said local abortions have gone down 37 percent in the last three years. The local Planned Parenthood office has reduced its hours. After the rallies and prayers the coalition members do what many groups in middle America do: head over to the local pizza joint. They did not have to report that activity to the IRS.
—This is an edited version of a story by Edward Lee Pitts of World News Service and is accessible in full form here. —Briefly section compiled from Baptist Press with Christian Post and World News Service reports
t r a e h a h it w t r a e with
to argue’ By Bonnie Pritchett HOUSTON
A broken relationship, ancient music, a flat tire and a canceled lunch date each contributed to the moment when Fran Querio finally surrendered her life to Christ. With 20/20 hindsight she sees that. But pulling back the lens focused on that day draws into perspective years of divinely inspired conversations, prayers, books and the dogged friendship of Myriam Faulk.
For Fran Querio, kicking against the goads came to an end when she reached hers. Following Jesus as Messiah came next.
Two decades ago two women from two continents left their respective homes and ended up teaching in the same elementary school just east of Houston. The relationship between Faulk, a Christian from Bogotá, Colombia, and Querio, a non-practicing Jew from Detroit, “just clicked” over a cup of coffee and a book. It was the beginning of a 14-year conversation—sometimes impassioned—about life and God. Looking back Querio recognizes the convergence of circumstances that led to her salvation. And she is grateful for the gracious, persistent love of Faulk that brought her to that point. But along
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the way, Querio resisted any inclination toward Christ, filling her life with idols including philosophy, New Age spiritualism and yoga (the latter being a vain attempt at anger management). “If it was wrong, I was there,” she admitted. Along the way Faulk kept pointing toward the truth. “I always tried to share my faith but in a roundabout way,” Faulk said . In early March the long-time friends met for lunch to recount the story of their friendship and Querio’s surrender to Christ. Faulk admitted being surreptitious in her witnessing for fear of offending Querio and ending any future opportunities to discuss the gospel. Querio admits she was an angry woman. After her salvation she saw the anger as the “disease of sin” and the result of choices she made. So Faulk trod lightly at first, beginning conversations about God from a point of mutual interest. When they met over coffee in 1992 both women were reading the pop culture blockbuster “The Road Less Traveled.” Faulk used the self-help book as a springboard for deeper discussions. They also read Chuck Colson’s “How Now Shall We Live?”—a book Querio said she found to be narrow-minded and disagreeable. But since her salvation, she said the late Colson has become “the wisest
Fran Querio (right) is grateful for the gracious, persistent love of her friend Myriam Faulk. Through 14 years of friendship and frequent conversations, God brought down Querio’s resistance to the gospel message. Photo by Bonnie Pritchett
man on earth.” More books and social activities became the impetus for faith conversations. Because Querio was divorced and Faulk’s husband traveled often, their time together filled lonely gaps in each other’s lives. They talked over dinner and attended the symphony and movies. “I admired her intellect,” Querio said. “She would ask very thoughtprovoking questions to make me say what I believe.” She said Faulk was never judgmental but pressed her enough to make her substantiate what she did and did not believe and why. Faulk said Christians should avoid appearing accusatory or legalistic in their friendships with
non-believers. Querio said, “God knows I need a witness who does not judge me.” Faulk admitted that Querio’s sometimes quarrelsome nature and resistance to the gospel challenged her. “Don’t you know I pushed her buttons?” Querio said laughingly. Faulk grew used to it. She said Querio was never hateful, just argumentative. Always pressing her point. Scores of conversations about God and faith became intense. But they shared a mutual respect that allowed for differing opinions on substantive matters. Finally Faulk pressed Querio to come as her guest to Champion Forest Baptist Church. The pastor was beginning a series on Genesis.
“I admired her intellect. She would ask very thoughtprovoking questions to make me say what I believe.” 6 TEXANONLINE.NET june 5, 2013
“My life was empty. I was broken— finally at the bottom.” She challenged Querio to listen to the stories foundational to the Jewish faith. Querio admitted she did not know what it meant to be Jewish. “All I knew was Jews don’t believe in Jesus,” she recalled. Faulk would not take “No” for an answer. She told her friend, “You need to come and hear what you don’t believe.” Querio attended, but “I came with a heart to argue,” she said. The pastor then, Mark Lanier, kept bringing the message back to Jesus. Though confounded by the message, Querio continued to attend church until the fateful morning in 2006. Joel Chernoff, a messianic Jew of the 1980s praise band Lamb, was the guest music leader in the Sunday School class. The songs he sang—Christian lyrics carried on the style of Israeli music—aroused something in Querio. Later, at the close of the worship service, Chernoff headed for the exit and a lunch date with Pastor Lanier. Querio stopped him and, with tears streaming down her
face and her hand to her heart, said, “Your music is making my ancestors dance.” Querio was puzzled by her own words. Faulk tried to explain her friend’s statement by telling Chernoff that Querio was Jewish. At that moment Lanier approached and apologized for having to cancel his lunch with Chernoff. A flat tire had left Lanier’s mother stranded and she had called for his help. Realizing he had time to speak with a fellow Jew, Chernoff turned to Querio and asked if there was anything that prohibited her from accepting Jesus as Messiah and Savior. Faulk was stunned and mortified. She remembered thinking, “This is terrible! What is he doing? She won’t come back.” But to her dismay Querio responded, albeit in her customary contrarian manner, “At this moment?” Had Chernoff asked the question the previous Sunday, Querio would have had an excuse for begging off. She admitted to “living an unbecoming lifestyle” that had ended a week earlier. The week
up to that confrontation with Chernoff had been filled with pain and tears. Today Querio recognizes God was bringing her to her knees. When she was finally asked if anything was keeping her from accepting Jesus as Messiah, she was without excuse. “My life was empty. I was broken—finally at the bottom,” she said. She does not remember what Chernoff prayed, only that it had a “Hebrew flavor.” Faulk said she is grateful God allowed her to be a part of Querio’s salvation experience. She recognizes God could have used her for a season in Querio’s life and allowed someone else to see the harvest reaped. “I have been with her the whole process,” Faulk said. “That is a blessing of the Lord.” In hindsight, Querio said she recognizes there was more to Faulk’s message than the words of their conversations. “I don’t discount the love she had for me. That speaks highly of her message.”
“I don’t discount the love she had for me. That speaks highly of her message.” JUNE 5, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 7
SBTC volunteers endure second wave of Oklahoma tornadoes By Jane Rodgers MOORE, Okla.
Wayne and Ann Barber didn’t start out to be storm chasers but it seems to have worked out that way. The SBTC Disaster Relief volunteers deployed to Moore, Okla., from their East Texas home in Jasper on May 26. Last Friday (May 31), they found themselves “hunkered down in the hallway” of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, riding out the second wave of tornadoes to strike the Oklahoma City area in two weeks, Wayne Barber told the TEXAN. Five tornadoes were confirmed in the Oklahoma City area on Friday, NBC News reported. At last count, nine adults and five children died in that day’s storms. One of Friday’s tornadoes turned south and swept through Moore, the area ravaged 11 days earlier by a massive EF-5 tornado that killed 24 people. One of Friday’s tornadoes passed over Southern Hills Baptist Church, just a couple of miles north of west Moore, Wayne Barber said. Southern Hills was hosting the SBTC
The May 20 tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., left thousands of homes like this one in ruin, and damaged thousands of cars, trucks and motorcycles in the process. SBTC Disaster Relief volunteers continued working this week as they wrap up ministry there. Photo: SBTC Disaster Relief
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DR volunteers. The clouds Friday afternoon seemed threatening, prompting DR workers and others to seek shelter, Wayne Barber said. “One of the tornadoes went right over the church. It destroyed a little bit of the steeple. People started banging on the church doors. A lot of people were caught in this. We let people in,” he said. Some 75-80 people sought refuge in the church, including DR workers, people from the neighborhood and stranded motorists, Wayne Barber explained. “We heard there were four tornadoes within a 10-mile radius of the church,” he added. One of the tornadoes crisscrossed the area where SBTC DR workers had cleared debris through the week. The tornado scattered much of the debris, which had been stacked up. “We got home [to Jasper] on Saturday. We decided we had had all the tornadoes we wanted and we were coming home,” he quipped. The couple approached Dallas only to find tornado warnings in effect. They continued south to Jasper, where early Sunday morning a storm hit, knocking out electricity. “It’s been a rough week,” Wayne Barber said. But it was a fruitful week as well. On Monday, two people accepted Christ. Ann Barber led a 15-year-old girl to Christ and later that afternoon Wayne Barber led a man to Christ who lived across the street from the girl. The 54-year-old man’s wife had died two years before. “He said that his life was just empty. He had nothing,” Wayne Barber related. “If the Lord had taken you home during this storm, do you know where you would spend eternity?” Wayne asked the man, whose name was Tracy. “I’ve been thinking a bunch. No, I wouldn’t,” Tracy replied. “Would you like to know?” Wayne Barber asked. “Yes, I’ve been thinking a bunch about that, too,” Tracy answered. “He was just ready. He was ready to be picked. The Lord just sent us there. We just shared with him. He went with us to share with his neighbor. He was so empty and exhausted; now he was full. He was totally different,” Wayne Barber related. The Barbers gave Tracy a Bible supplied by their home church, Hillcrest Baptist of Jasper. He
confirmed that he had begun reading it enthusiastically, according to the Barbers. Stories of faith that was confirmed and even rekindled abound as well. Another man told the Barbers he hadn’t prayed in 42 years. The man, Tracy’s neighbor, told DR volunteers he had accepted Christ at age 7 but an unfortunate experience with his parents on the mission field left him bitter towards God, he said. When the tornado struck, the man and his wife got in their bathtub. The storm damaged the tub but spared the couple. During the tornado, the man who hadn’t prayed in four decades asked the Lord to forgive him. “He told us he said, ‘Lord, if you want to take me, please take me fast and easy. But if you don’t, I’ll turn to you from now on,’” Wayne Barber stated. “He was ready to share the Lord. He was so glad we had come by. He could not wait to share his story with us.” Wayne said he also got to pray with an 83-year-old biker known for being cantankerous. The biker and his wife sought refuge in a closet during the May 20 tornado. “Their home was totally destroyed and they were under all of the debris,” Wayne Barber said. A neighbor rescued the couple. He asked the crusty gentleman about his faith. “He said that when he was 21 years old, he had accepted Christ as his savior but he never read his Bible and had never gone to church. He had never worshiped God or served him until now. We gave him a Bible and he was excited about that,” Wayne Barber said. “He may have already been a Christian, but he is a stronger Christian
today,” Wayne remarked. “He was proud of his new Bible; he was protecting that.” The words of one tornado victim, a middle-aged believer who had also survived the 1999 tornado that devastated Moore, inspired Ann Barber, who said the couple lost everything then and again this time. The two-time victim’s response of faith was simply this: “I feel fresh and renewed. It’s like being saved. The past is washed away and we are going to start afresh and anew and not worry about all the things we have lost,” Ann Barber explained in quoting the woman. “We also prayed with a lot of the policemen who were there,” Ann Barber said. “Quite a few told us they were Christians. They said, ‘I couldn’t do this job if I didn’t know Christ.’” The Barbers haven’t been home much lately. They volunteered after the fertilizer plant explosion in West, assisting SBTC efforts to aid victims there. They spent a week at DR training before deploying to Oklahoma. The couple even celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary in Moore on May 28. “Two people had accepted Christ that Monday. We thought that was the greatest anniversary present we’d ever had,” Wayne Barber said. SBTC DR teams were continuing their work with Baptist groups in the Moore area this week. Chaplains, clean-up/recovery and chainsaw teams have rotated in and out. Meanwhile, the lights were back on at Southern Hills Baptist following Friday’s storm. The church held only one service on Sunday, but VBS began on Monday. JUNE 5, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 9
Texan encourages church planter wives to embrace their call with joy By Melissa Deming CHARLOTTESVILLE, S.C.
With more than 1,400 church planting personnel appointed by the North American Mission Board last year, the nationwide push toward church planting has opened up a niche in the market—specifically the need to resource these men and women, many of whom are serving in pioneer areas. Christine Hoover, a church planter with Texas ties, is meeting that demand head on by encouraging the wives of church planters with a new book, “The Church Planting Wife.” Recently released by Moody Publishers, her book offers women serving alongside their husbands in new work regions the practical tools to embrace their call with joy. The Hoovers’ call to church planting began in 2008 when Christine and her husband Kyle, a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary who served on staff at Central Baptist Church in College Station, planted Charlottesville Community Church in South Carolina. The new plant targeted a transient community comprised of military and university personnel. Starting out as a living room Bible study of 10 people, the church now averages 400, has already helped plant two more area churches, and is hoping to launch a third plant in the D.C. area. In her book, Hoover chronicles this journey to growth—the growth of her church and her personal role as a pastor’s wife—and the struggles unique to women in church planting. Hoover said she wrote the book she needed before entering the church planting process. “When my husband and I planted [our] church in 2008, we attended church planting conferences and read countless resources, but none specifically spoke to me as the church planter’s wife,” she told the TEXAN. “Then we actually planted the church … and my want for resources turned to craving.” In light of the absence of resources available for women in church planting, Hoover said she turned to books that encouraged her faith such as missionary biographies and books about spiritual warfare. “All along, however, I longed for a book that addressed the specific needs and struggles that I had as a church planting wife.” Framed around the heart, “The Church Planting Wife” addresses the common problems—external and internal—faced by wives of church 10 TEXANONLINE.NET june 5, 2013
planters. These struggles, Hoover said, change as new plants progress through different growth cycles. “Through every stage, the church planting wife faces a constant struggle of maintaining proper boundaries and priorities,” Hoover said. “The lines between ministry and family life are so blurred in church planting that it easily can affect the marriage relationship between the church planter and his wife. Priorities require constant attention and adjustment in church planting.” In church’s initial stage, uncertainty and discouragement can easily choke out faith, Hoover said. “In the exhaustion of the second year, [the church planter’s wife] must decide if she is willing to continue sacrificially serving and giving, even if there are few ‘results’ to show for what she has already given.” As the plant stabilizes, Hoover said the church planter’s wife must learn to “eradicate pride” that can come with new growth while adjusting “to a church where she no longer knows everyone.” Sharing from her own battle to walk by faith, Hoover said she grew easily discouraged when visitors did not return to the church after she
had extended personal invitations. “One particular family stands out,” she said, recounting the time she met a family at her son’s soccer game. “When we invited them to visit our church, the husband came alone, seemed to connect well with people in our church and with the worship and the sermon, but he and his family never returned.” From that experience, Hoover said she struggled to separate her personal performance as the pastor’s wife from the Spirit’s work in the church’s growth. “It’s difficult not to turn to strategy in reaching people rather than turn to the Spirit of God.” “With that family, I began to recognize and trust God as the true head of the church. I am not responsible for outcomes and results; I am just responsible for my faithful obedience. I cannot change the hearts of people or heal marriages; the Spirit alone can do that. I can rest and rejoice knowing that God is responsible for his church.” Along with addressing the common struggles of women in church planting, Hoover also seeks to dispel certain myths surrounding the church planting wife and her role. “The main myth surrounding the church planting wife, I believe, is that she is not as essential to the church plant as her husband,” Hoover said, noting that wives of church planters often serve as sounding boards for their husbands, lead major ministries in the church, and are key components of hospitality. “… I believe the wife is equally as essential as the church planter and her attitude and willingness toward God’s call on her husband is a large indicator of the true health
of the church. “Church planting wives are quietly and powerfully influencing our communities, churches, and our culture,” she said. “My book celebrates the church planting wife’s role and offers her help in embracing her unique role.” Hoover also hopes the book dispels a second myth—often held by church planting wives themselves—that the pastor’s wife is responsible for doing everything in the church. “I … hope readers remember the church planting wife’s ‘job description’ that God reiterated to me over and over through the beginning stages of our church plant: ‘Follow me, serve your family, love people, and practice hospitality,’” she said. “In church planting, it appears so much more complicated than that but it’s really quite simple.” But despite targeting women in church planting, Hoover said the book resonates with any woman in ministry because it focuses on heart issues common to life in community. “All women who are ministryminded face issues related to pride, sacrifice, fear, criticism, discouragement, and assisting their husband as he fulfills his calling. The book speaks to those heart issues so, in that regard, I hope it helps any woman who picks up the book align her heart with truth, walk in faith, and continue to sacrificially serve with joy.” Hoover is particularly hopeful that women from existing or traditional churches will use her book to find ways to encourage the church planting wives in their area. “…We, without a doubt, could not have planted a church without the assistance and support of existing
churches,” Hoover said, noting that their initial support came from ‘sending churches’ such as their home church in Texas. “When Kyle went to our pastor, Chris Osborne at Central Baptist in College Station, and laid out what he felt God was calling us to do, Chris immediately said, ‘We’re on board with you and will help you in whatever way we can.’ Central provided strong financial support and, in the years we’ve been in Charlottesville, has sent mission teams to help us serve our city. The partnership has not only helped us establish a church here but it has also encouraged us personally. We were not sent out and then forgotten.” Women’s ministries in existing churches have opportunities to bless church planting wives specifically, Hoover added. “When churches help our church plant, this blesses me personally,” she said. “In our early days, when our children were the only children in the church, I inevitably had to leave our service to care for my children. After a few months, at my husband’s request, another church provided a few college students for us for a few months so that I could attend church. This was such a blessing to me and probably is what kept me sane!” For this reason, Hoover said she hopes the book sparks faith in women who have influence. “My prayer is that women will be challenged and encouraged and, through that, marriages, churches, and communities will be strengthened and changed.” You can find more about Kyle and Christine Hoover at cvillechurch. org or her ministry blog, GraceCoversMe.com. JUNE 5, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 11
Houston pastors reaffirm immigration reform effort, encourage advocacy
David Fleming, pastor of Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, addresses the Houston Pastor Council on May 31. Fleming encouraged his fellow ministry leaders to speak out to ensure that Congress passes just and compassionate immigration reform legislation. Fleming said a rising tide is supporting a middle way between the wholesale deportation of millions and unconditional amnesty for all.
By Bonnie Pritchett HOUSTON
Pastor David Fleming told a gathering of pastors and ministry representatives that public support of immigration reform is rising and Christians seeking a biblical solution to the politically charged issue should speak out to ensure that Congress passes just and compassionate legislation. Fleming, pastor of Champion Forest Baptist Church, was one of four speakers at the Southeast Texas Immigration and Reform Summit on May 31 at Houston’s First Baptist Church. Also addressing the summit’s 130 attendees was Norman Adams, founder of Texans for Sensible Immigration Policy, Charles Foster, immigration attorney, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Mike Sullivan, Harris County tax assessor-collector. The Houston Area Pastor Council (HAPC) sponsored the event to reaffirm the organization’s support of immigration reform and provide a forum for questions about the heated issue. “This is a critical window of time,” Fleming told the audience. More than 80 of those attending were pastors and dozens more were leaders of ministries, according to the summit moderator, Dave Welch, executive director of Texas Pastors Council. He said response from the event has been positive. 12 TEXANONLINE.NET june 5, 2013
Participants said the summit provided critical information on immigration legislation before the U.S. Senate and showed that reform “must be done right versus just doing something and repeating mistakes,” Welch said in an email response to the TEXAN. The speakers agreed public sentiment for resolving the illegal immigration problem is rising. Debate for years has been characterized by two poles—those who espouse rounding up and deporting the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants and those favoring amnesty to all, Fleming said. But a “middle voice” is making itself heard. “Now there is a rising voice. A conservative voice,” Fleming said. Joining in that dialogue is HAPC, aligning itself with the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT). Last year the national coalition of evangelical pastors and ministry leaders, including Southern Baptist pastors and the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called on Congress to reform current immigration policy and humanely deal with the millions of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. EIT based their resolution on the 2010 HAPC immigration declaration, which Fleming helped draft. The documents call for reforms based on biblical precepts. Legislation before the Senate addresses the issue of immigration reform from the middle ground, the speakers said. Neither HAPC nor EIT will endorse legislation but leaders from both organizations urged Christians to contact their senators and representatives to support the congressional efforts. EIT is airing radio ads featuring Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land and Philadelphia pastor Luis Cortés calling Christians to pray for reform. Poe repeatedly stated the House of Representatives has yet to author a bill that serves as a counter measure to the Senate’s Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. Instead of one 844-page bill “that is easy to defeat,” Poe
recommended the House address each of the myriad employees—American and foreign—can barter for issues singularly and present the group of bills en better wages. masse for a vote. Americans must be considered first for any Confronting the weakest link of the Senate bill employment. Foster said the Senate bill requires and echoing the clarion call of Republicans, Poe said employers to prove there are no American workers border security should top the list of any immigration available at the prevailing wage or above before hiring reform legislation. Fleming admitted the Senate bill foreign nationals. is “not as tough on the border” as many would like But opposition to any migrant workforce is strong, it to be. The EIT resolution calls for “secure national Adams said. borders.” “It’s tough to find an elected Republican who will Attorney Charles Foster of FosterQuan LLP blamed even talk to you about immigration reform,” he said. immigration law on the illegal immigration problem. Because of pressure by “anti-population growth” He said prior to 1968 the U.S. had no immigration organizations petitioning for zero U.S. population quotas for people coming from Latin America. Since growth through immigration, Adams said senators then caps have incrementally—and arbitrarily, Foster like Texas’ John Cornyn get 500 emails or phone argues—dwindled the number of calls opposing reform for every laborers from around the world who one communication favoring the can obtain work visas. policy. He said elected officials need “Congress created illegal assurance from their constituents immigration,” he said. that endorsing immigration reform Foster and the other panelists will not be political suicide. contend the creation of a Welch said electing people who comprehensive guest worker will address immigration and other program would be the most effective issues of concern to Christians is way to stem the tide of illegal paramount. He urged pastors to immigrants. If foreign workers can register their church members to —Dave Welch, legally gain access to U.S. jobs and vote. He called the low voter turnout executive director have their stay and exit tracked, the in recent elections an “abomination.” of Texas Pastors Council illegal immigrant population would “If you don’t vote you don’t count,” be substantially reduced. The policy he told the audience. should apply to those already in the country and those Christians, he said, have bought into the lie that they applying for access, they said. should not be involved in political discourse. Poe and Norman Adams, president of Adams That is why he invited Mike Sullivan, the Harris Insurance Services Inc., said there is truth to the adage County official, to participate in the forum. Sullivan that migrant workers accept jobs Americans will not said his office will help churches register their do. Poe lamented the number of Americans “getting members or train deputy voter registrars in the paid not to work” while Adams told anecdotal stories congregation to do the same. of employers so desperate for workers they will hire Welch said he recognized many conservative anyone in order to get their product to market. And he Christians do not trust the government at large or argued Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the current presidential administration in particular regulations hamper employers’ ability to substantiate to deal honestly in creating or implementing a potential employee’s residency or citizenship status, immigration reform legislation. But that should not thereby exacerbating the problem. prevent them from calling on Congress to do what Panelists said Americans would benefit from is right by scriptural standards, he said. To continue immigration reform policy with higher wages and with the status quo is to declare de facto amnesty for secure job opportunities. Currently, wages in some the millions of illegals—a situation that is neither just fields are kept artificially low by the influx of illegal nor compassionate. workers who will not negotiate for higher pay for fear “If we always deal biblically with the ‘What now?’ of deportation or losing their jobs. But legally hired God takes care of the ‘What if?’” Welch said.
“If we always deal biblically with the ‘What now?’ God takes care of the ‘What if?’”
JUNE 5, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 13
Patterson shares mixed emotions regarding faculty departures By Keith Collier | SWBTS writer FORT WORTH
“Mixed emotions are what happen to you when you are told that your best friend just joined the bull riding competition,” Southwestern Seminary president Paige Patterson said, adding, “You are thrilled for your friend and grateful for his courage, but you know what lies ahead.” Patterson made these remarks, June 5, as he addressed the departure of several prominent faculty members. Patterson expressed excitement for new leadership opportunities for Thomas White, Jason Lee and Stephen Johnson, noting that the institutions to which they go have found the highest quality of men. Thomas White, vice president for student services and communications, has been called as the new president of Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. Jason Lee, professor of historical theology and chair of the church history department, has accepted the position as dean for the new School of Biblical and Ministry Studies at Cedarville University. Stephen Johnson, dean of Southwestern’s School of Church Music, has accepted the invitation of Azusa Pacific University to become dean of the new College of Music and the Arts. “We will miss these gracious leaders,” Patterson concluded, “but we are, at the same moment, deeply honored that prestigious schools like these look to Southwestern for leadership.” White and Johnson begin their new assignments on July 1, while Lee begins on Aug. 1.
HONORARY DOCTORATE: SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards receives an honorary doctorate from Criswell College during recent commencement exercises. President Jerry Johnson paid tribute to Richards as Biblical Research Prof. Alan Streett and Academic Affairs Vice President Barry Creamer assist with the hooding ceremony.
14 TEXANONLINE.NET june 5, 2013
PHOTO by Jeff Smith
Cover Story: Slow brew God used 14 years of friendship, coffee and often intense conversation with a Christian to gently, patiently goad a...