November 14, 2013 • ISSUE 20
For more than 140 weeks, Cana Baptist Church has prayed: ‘Lord, let someone in our church lead at least one person to faith in Christ this week.’
HUCKABEE URGES SCHOLARSHIP SUPPORT FOR THE COLLEGE AT SOUTHWESTERN
RICHARDS TO COLLEGE: PASTOR ROLE AN INEXPLICABLE CALL
Speaking for God above the noise
ust recently I read about a musical parody debuting in New York about the Phelps family and their bizarre Westboro “Baptist” Church in Topeka, Kan. Unless you’re a doomsday prepper who just emerged from your bunker after a long nap, you know this strange group as those sign-carrying folks who protest everything from military funerals to Southern Baptist Conventions—the latter because real Baptists dare think that God seeks to redeem all kinds, homosexuals included. Of course, the people behind the musical, called “God Hates This Show”—a play on words from the signs the Westboro people carry— don’t appear to be sympathetic towards biblical Christianity or the God who invented sex. But neither is Fred Phelps, the church’s leader. The devil is clever. In God, there is no shadow of turning. With the evil one, every conceivable contortion is used to twist the truth—outlandishly or ever so slightly. Anything to tarnish the pure truth of God that leads to life. Death is his end game. I cringe when I hear the words “Baptist” and “church” preceding Westboro. My inner PR man wants to cry foul from the rooftops. Between the “God Hates” rhetoric of Westboro and the propaganda of the homosexual movement, it’s hard to get a hearing on what’s true. God never promised us an easy path. But we are to proclaim God’s truth, noise or no noise. Somewhere out there are unconverted people with no reference point and only the word on the street from which to form their views about God and the Bible. Their only knowledge of Baptists might be from TMZ’s coverage of the latest concert where the Westboro cult showed up. If you find that far-fetched, go watch some man-on-the-street interviews.
These people desperately need to know that: 4God created. It’s the foundational truth that gets in the way of purely materialistic narratives about the nature of man and meaning (or meaninglessness) of life. If we are explained only by the fortuitous joining of electrical impulses and physical matter minus any real spiritual essence, then the gods of this world have a point. But if there is a Creator, it might be wise to hear what, if anything, he has to say. God’s people must continue to make that case. 4God created made man in his image, male and female. Not only has God made everything, but he has exclusively made men and women in his image. His fingerprints are all over us. That imagery is evident not only in our differences as male and female, but also in our distinction from the animals and all other creation. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us God has set eternity in our hearts. We are hard-wired for him. Also, our sexuality is directly tied to his image in us. We glorify God through our masculinity or femininity, including the sexual union of husband and wife. Even so, the closest marital relationship leaves the heart dissatisfied. Only God can fill our void. 4Sin marred God’s image in man. Romans 1:18-32 depicts a downward spiral of truth suppression despite men’s innate awareness of God—“namely, his eternal power and divine nature”—leaving them without excuse. Working backwards from redemption, in hindsight, the biblical narrative makes sense of the disordered world and universal sin. C.S. Lewis wrote that, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Yet the natural man “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Those we seek to reach are walking a darkened path without the illumination of the Holy Spirit. 4The gospel brings resolution to the world’s fallen state. Christianity stands alone among world religions in that it provides a sacrifice for sin. The God-man, Jesus Christ, is our scapegoat and our kinsman-redeemer, who through faith trades our rags for his riches because he has taken our just punishment and prevailed over sin and death. Whatever miserable and disordered state we find ourselves, we are not too far removed from the Lord, whose arm is plenty long to save (Isaiah 59:1). In a world of disorder, confusion and demonic noise, the grand narrative of the Bible brings hope and healing. So don’t grow weary in doing good. The harvest still beckons.
Texas HB 2 lands at Supreme Court State lawyers on Tuesday (Nov. 12) urged U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to allow the state’s abortion regulations in House Bill 2 to stand while waiting for the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on it early next year.
Souls overshadow the DR work in flooded Austin Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief volunteers continue to serve victims of flash floods that ravaged Central Texas on Oct. 31. But the work has been overshadowed by conversions. About 60 people have made professions of faith through the witness of DR volunteers.
Huckabee urges scholarship support for the College at Southwestern Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee spoke to a capacity crowd at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on Oct. 4, asking them to invest in the future of America by supporting the College at Southwestern’s Legacy Scholarship.
Tattooed Jesus billboards prompt discussions, decisions
Copeland, Barton to PTSD sufferers: ‘get rid of it’ The Word of Faith teachings of Texas televangelist Kenneth Copeland were brought to bear on the question of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during a Veteran’s Day program, according to a report by Religion News Service.
COVER STORY: Church outreach marks nearly 600 salvation decisions, more than 100 baptisms In the summer of 2010, God burdened the heart of Pastor Charles Stewart about two matters: the Great Commission and Cana Baptist Church’s implementation of it. Now nearing the end of 2013, the Burleson church also is nearing 600 professions of faith and more than 100 baptisms through members sharing the gospel.
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 Bonnie Pritchett, Tammi Reed Ledbetter, Jane Rodgers, Norm Miller, Keith Collier, Michelle Tyer
Not a driver in Lubbock can avoid them. They’re everywhere. Literally. And they’ve got people talking.
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Briefly //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// TEXAS HB 2 LANDS AT SUPREME COURT State lawyers on Tuesday (Nov. 12) urged U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to allow the state’s abortion regulations in House Bill 2 to stand while waiting for the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on it early next year. Abortion proponents had asked Scalia, the Supreme Court justice over the circuit that includes Texas, to reinstate a lower court’s injunction against HB 2’s requirement that abortion doctors hold hospital privileges within 30 miles of their clinics. The requirement is reportedly forcing a dozen or more Texas abortion clinics to close because their doctors lack admitting privileges. The injunction by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel last month said the requirement placed an undue burden on women seeking abortions and was medically unnecessary. But last week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Yeakel and set oral arguments on the bill’s requirements for early January. In a brief filed by Attorney General Greg Abbott with the Supreme Court on Tuesday, that state argued, “The closure of abortion clinics cannot be an undue burden absent findings or evidence that patients will encounter a substantial obstacle to obtaining abortions from other providers,” the brief said. Scalia may either rule to reinstate the injunction or refer the case to the rest of the court. 2 TEXANONLINE.NET NOVEMBER 14, 2013
COPELAND, BARTON TO PTSD SUFFERERS: ‘GET RID OF IT’
Kenneth Copeland (left) and David Barton discuss post-traumatic stress disorder in light of God’s promise to the Israelite army in Numbers 32 during a Veteran’s Day telecast of Copeland’s show.
The Word of Faith teachings of Texas televangelist Kenneth Copeland were brought to bear on the question of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during a Veteran’s Day program, according to a report by Religion News Service. During the show, Copeland and WallBuilders founder David Barton of Aledo told viewers to Copeland’s “Believers’ Voice of Victory” program that returning military members don’t need to suffer from PTSD. Copeland read from Numbers 32:20-22—a promise given to Israel stating that their soldiers would return from the battle and be guiltless—and then added, “Any of you suffering from PTSD right now, you listen to me. You get rid of that right now. You don’t take drugs to get rid of it. It doesn’t take psychology. That promise right there will get rid of it.” Barton affirmed Copeland repeatedly, stating, “That’s right, that’s right, that’s right. Right there.” “If you didn’t know that when you were in the military, all you need to do right now is just repent and then you can take the Word of God and go over to 2 Corinthians, the 10th chapter, and take authority over your thinking, bring every thought to obedience,” Copeland told viewers. Joe Carter, communications director for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told RNS, “[F]or them to denigrate the suffering of men and women traumatized by war—and to claim biblical support for their callow and doltish views—is both shocking and unconscionable. Rather than downplaying the pain of PTSD, they should be asking God to heal our brothers and sisters.” Mental health was the subject of a resolution by Southern Baptists messengers last summer urging “the wise use of medical intervention for mental health concerns when appropriate” and “research and treatment of mental health concerns when undertaken in a manner consistent with a biblical worldview.”
CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA FACE MOUNTING HORRORS For Hanna, a Syrian Christian mother living in Damascus, the country’s civil war is more than just statistics and news articles. “Every day when I walk to the school I work at I hold my breath; every minute something can happen,” she wrote in a first-person account to Open Doors USA, an organization supporting persecuted Christians. “Many streets are closed and when you walk the streets you see the traces of the battle: little fires all over the streets. Also in our house you see the traces of the war: we already noticed a bullet hole in our guest room, but recently I also discovered one in the room of my girls.” As the conflict between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and rebel fighters rages on, the country’s Christians fear they are becoming easy targets for Islamic extremists. “In fact attacks on churches happen
a lot now. They are also targeting Christians,” Hanna wrote. “Many of them are killed or kidnapped. When they are kidnapped they ask their families for ransom or they force them to convert to Islam. Women are often raped. The people that return from such events are traumatized. One of the men I know that came back from a kidnapping didn’t speak a word since he came back. He is crying a lot. Nobody knows what happened to him.” Nina Shea, who directs the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, wrote in the National Review Online about the plight of Syria’s Christians. She relayed a report by the Vatican news agency Fides about the discovery of a mass grave containing 30 bodies near the ancient Christian town of Sadad. Since Oct. 21, rebelallied Islamist militias have killed 45 people there in total.
“Surviving relatives and friends uncovered the graves after government forces recently recaptured the town from rebels,” Shea wrote. “Those killed were reported by the local Syriac Orthodox metropolitan, who presided over 30 of their funerals this week, to be Christian civilians, including women and children.”
GRAHAM, MOHLER VISIT ON 20-YEAR MARK OF GRAHAM SCHOOL AT SOUTHERN At the 20-year anniversary of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry, the famed evangelist received a report from the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, R. Albert Mohler Jr., and the school’s new dean, Adam W. Greenway. The Graham School was founded at Southern in 1993 when Mohler became the seminary’s ninth president. Mohler said the visit with Graham, Oct. 29 at the evangelist’s home in Montreat, N.C., provided the privilege “to affirm the friendship that has existed between him and Southern Seminary for so many decades.” Graham played “such a pivotal role in the establishment of the Graham School,” Mohler said, “and in my inauguration as president” when the evangelist addressed a worship service
Billy Graham visits with R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, during an Oct. 29 meeting at the evangelist’s home in Montreat, N.C.
the evening before the inauguration. Graham’s words have proven both prophetic and as source of encouragement to Mohler. “Dr. Graham’s coming in 1993 to speak at my inauguration was such an incredible gift, and it was not only a gift in his presence, but in his words,” Mohler said.
Now, 20 years later, Graham “continues to marvel at what he calls the ‘new Southern,’” said Graham’s chief of staff, David Bruce, who was present at the meeting. Graham expressed to Mohler his “joy at knowing that the school is reliant on the truth of God’s Word as the focus of study,” Bruce recounted. NOVEMBER 14, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 3
LEAD ACTRESS IN BURLESON CHURCH’S FILM WINS AWARD By Jane Rodgers CLARK, N.J.
Kate Randall, star of “My Son,” the film produced by Retta Baptist Church in Burleson, was named “Best Actress in a Leading Role” by the CMM (Churches Making Movies) Christian Film Festival at the organization’s inaugural event and award ceremony in Clark, N.J. last month. The selection came as a surprise to Randall, who was unable to attend the ceremony. Randall was awaiting her prize at her home in California’s Mojave desert, where her husband is a soldier stationed at Fort Irwin. The Ohio native had acted in church-produced videos before director Jarod O’Flaherty tapped her for the lead role in “My Son” in 2012. Then recently married and relocated to California with her husband, Randall found the time in 2012 to devote a month to filming in Texas. “If we hadn’t been in California, I’d have been in Ohio supporting myself or in the middle of school,” she said. The timing of the filming of worked out perfectly, Randall added. The former Ohio State University coed is pursuing an undergraduate degree in early childhood development and plans on a career as a child life specialist. “I hope to work in care centers or hospitals with kids who have dealt with traumatic experiences, to help them heal,” Randall said. O’Flaherty said of Randall’s performance, “Kate is a humble person. She worked hard every day with a great attitude. She was better than we could have ever imagined.” The CMM film festival jury agreed. Like all involved with the production of “My Son,” Randall was a volunteer. At the CMM awards, she beat out actresses with significantly more professional acting experience, O’Flaherty said. The inclusion of My Son in the CMM Christian Film Festival was as unexpected as Randall’s award. Festival executive director LaVonne McIver James contacted the filmmakers with an invitation to participate in the event after the deadline for entries had passed. “She had seen the national news coverage on our movie and she reached out to us,” O’Flaherty said. The film’s unanticipated R rating handed 4 TEXANONLINE.NET NOVEMBER 14, 2013
down by the Motion Picture Association of America generated significant press and surprise from the church. “The R rating brought us a lot of attention,” said Retta Baptist Pastor Chuck Kitchens, the film’s executive producer. “We have been told that the news coverage brought us exposure that would have cost thousands and thousands of dollars,” Kitchens said. Kitchens, O’Flaherty, and Randall all maintain that the film’s rating is undeserved. Although it is an edgy and atypical faith-based film, its violence is not gratuitous. The drug use featured in the film is not an endorsement of such behavior; rather, the main characters face negative consequences for their actions, they said. And yet the film is being seen. Kitchens spoke enthusiastically about the film’s inclusion in the CMM festival. “Most Christian film festivals are used to movies that are made for the choir, basically,” Kitchens said. “Ours is different. There’s a need to get the type of movies out there that will reach an audience that needs to be reached. Christians are still going to have to encourage their unsaved friends to watch these movies, because we are not going to have Hollywood on our side advertising them,” said Kitchens, who added that he hoped “My Son” would be “groundbreaking.” Theater showings were scheduled in Houston, Amarillo, central Ohio, and Chicago this month, O’Flaherty said. Negotiations are also underway with a large retail distributor to market DVDs of the film nationally and internationally in major chains, according to Kitchens and O’Flaherty. “Not every film needs to end with everybody riding off into the sunset,” Kitchens said. “Life does not work that way. We can believe on God even when everything seems to go wrong.” That, the filmmakers said, is the intended message of “My Son.”
MINN.-WIS. BAPTISTS UP CP COMMITMENT Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptists will operate next year on a slightly smaller budget than this year’s, while giving a greater percentage of Cooperative Program receipts to Southern Baptist national and international missions, the MinnesotaWisconsin Baptist Convention reported. The MWBC approved a $1,967,851 budget for 2014, 1 percent smaller in 2013, but with a 0.5 percentage point increase in CP gifts to be forwarded to Southern Baptist Convention causes. Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptists will provide 15 percent of CP receipts from affiliated churches, or $69,224, to the SBC next year, toward the two-state convention’s goal of forwarding 50 percent of CP receipts to SBC missions and ministries. The MWBC adopted the budget at their Oct. 25-26 annual meeting at Trinity Baptist Church in Reedsburg, Wis., with “Hands of Hope” as their theme. The 94 messengers present represented 54 churches and were joined by 65 guests.
—Briefly section was compiled from staff reports and Baptist Press
Texas abortion law takes effect as 5th Circuit reverses ruling By Bonnie Pritchett
conclude that the State has made a strong showing of likelihood of success on the merits, at least in AUSTIN part, as to its appeal of the injuncA Texas law regulating abortions tion pertaining to medication abormay take effect as drafted, the tions,” namely, the use of mifeprisfederal 5th Circuit Court of Aptone (RU-486) and misoprostol. peals in New Orleans ruled on Oct. Wright said she was thrilled with 31, arguing that challenges to the the decision and believed it would constitutionality of the law would have a significant impact on the likely fail. The ruling would force abortion industry in Texas. Accordthe closure of about a dozen Texas abortion clinics, according to abor- ing to information from the Oct. 28 district court hearing, clinics tion provider Planned Parenthood. in Lubbock, Killeen, Waco, McAlThe decision reversed an Oct. 28 len, Fort Worth and possibly Dallas ruling by a U.S. district judge who declared a provision in House Bill 2 would cease abortions because their staff physicians lack admitting that an abortion doctor have hosprivileges. pital privileges within 30 miles of The Fort Worth Whole Women’s his practice unconstitutional. Judge Lee Yeakel also partially blocked the Health Clinic, which opened in June, law’s more stringent guidelines for meets all standards outlined in HB 2 with the exception of the physician how the abortion drug RU-486 is privileges provision, even though administered. Texas Attorney General and 2014 the clinic sits across the street from a hospital. gubernatorial candidate Greg AbThe clinics could close temporarbott said in a statement of the latest ruling, “This unanimous decision is ily and reopen when their doctors become compliant. But they might a vindication of the careful delibnot be able to recover from the loss eration by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and of revenue generated by abortions, Wright said. safety of Texas women.” NARAL called the decision “devas“God is so good,” said Kyleen Wright, president of Texans for Life. tating.” The pro-abortion organization retweeted a post from Planned The three-judge panel—Jennifer Walker Elrod, Priscilla R. Owen and Parenthood, “Abortion providers in #Texas are cancelling their paCatharina Haynes—wrote that, tients’ appointments: ‘It’s a sad and “There is a substantial likelihood dark day.’” that the State will prevail in its In a report from Dallas CBS televiargument that Planned Parenthood failed to establish an undue burden sion affiliate KTVT, Marva Sadler on women seeking abortions or that with the Whole Women’s Health Clinic in Fort Worth, said, “Those the hospital-admitting-privileges who were scheduled to come in requirement creates a substantial Friday had to be notified about the obstacle in the path of a woman last-minute change. We called a seeking an abortion. … We also
SCOTUS UPDATE: PAGE 2 total of 15 patients this morning and, of those 15 patients, 14 of them agreed that they’re going to be forced to be mothers.” Social media feeds from prochoice advocates decried the decision, with one notable exception. The Twitter feed for Wendy Davis, Abbott’s presumed Democrat opponent in the governor’s race, was conspicuously silent following the ruling. In July Davis stood for an 11hour filibuster in a failed attempt to stop the pro-life legislation. She received national notoriety for her efforts and joined forces with NARAL and Planned Parenthood in their “Stand with Texas Women” campaign fighting to maintain the late-term abortion standards. According to the Think Progress website, Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Women’s Health and owner of five abortion clinics, said, “We have regressed backwards about 30 years.” She said three of her clinics were closing. “It’s a big financial hit for her,” Wright said. Planned Parenthood, the primary complainant named in the suit against the State of Texas, could appeal the 5th Circuit Court’s ruling to the Supreme Court, but Wright said she thought that was doubtful. Abbott has asked for and was granted an expedited appeals hearing, which could go to court by late January.
NOVEMBER 14, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 5
Souls overshadow the DR work in flooded Austin By Jane Rodgers AUSTIN
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief volunteers continue to serve victims of flash floods that ravaged Central Texas on Oct. 31. Feeding teams, chaplain assessors and mud-out teams are deployed to the Austin area and expect to remain for several weeks. “The main thing we are doing is mass feeding. One mud-out team is here. Chaplains and assessors are out roaming the neighborhoods,” Doug Scott, SBTC incident leader, said following the floods. But the eternal results of disaster relief ministry have overshadowed the work. DR volunteer Wayne Barber reported that he and his team of interpreters saw 44 people trust Christ last week. By Wednesday the number was around 60. On Nov. 8, Barber and an interpreter approached a home that chaplains Bob and Mary Sapp had visited earlier in the week. The Sapps had prayed with the homeowner and given her a Bible, but she was reluctant to trust Christ. By Friday, that had changed as Barber and an interpreter followed up with her. The woman and a friend both trusted Christ. “I am ready now,” she told Barber. Assessment efforts were focused on the southeast side of Austin in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood and Bluff Springs Road, where work on about 30 homes was ongoing. “We are encountering mostly water damage,” said Scott, who noted that several neighborhood residents died during the flooding. The last death toll reported was four, according to the Associated Press. One woman told Scott that the floodwaters sounded like a “freight train” when they unexpectedly hit on Oct. 31. The woman escaped to higher ground. Scott commended city and county services for quickly removing damaged items piled outside homes in the flooded areas. SBTC volunteers under the direction of Ralph Britt were manning the feeding unit from First Baptist Church Pflugerville, which was set up at Austin’s Oak Meadows Baptist Church. SBTC DR volunteers were also 6 TEXANONLINE.NET NOVEMBER 14, 2013
housed at Oak Meadows. In Austin, the SBTC crew had prepared and packaged around 4,400 meals per day, said Britt, with feeding volunteers working long days that begin at 4 a.m. In the neighborhoods, spiritual encounters were frequent and fruitful. A family of four was among the 16 who accepted Christ on Nov. 5, Barber said. The father’s initial hesitance was overcome by the enthusiasm of his sons and daughter-in-law. “What was so sweet was getting to talk to that man and share with him that he was the head of the house and the spiritual leader. He was so excited about getting to be the spiritual leader of the family,” Barber said. A Spanish-speaking volunteer from Oak Meadows Baptist Church who had come to complete a work order ended up sharing the gospel. “Art, do your thing,” Barber told the Oak Meadows member. “He presented the gospel in Spanish and the lady accepted Jesus.” Eight people had trusted Christ in the Oak Meadows church service on Nov. 3, Barber reported. An older Hispanic couple gratefully received Bibles provided by First Baptist Jasper. The woman’s niece walked out while Barber and crew were witnessing to the couple. She, too, wanted to receive Jesus. “Most had a Catholic background. We shared with them that we don’t teach religion and we don’t teach church. We share Jesus and him crucified,” Barber said. “We’d be witnessing to one group and some others would walk up. One lady was witnessing to a woman and another woman walked up and accepted Christ. It’s kind of like the crowds when Jesus was out and teaching. When people see these yellow shirts, they know we know Jesus and they want what we have in their lives. They see us talking and they just come up,” Barber added. One middle-aged couple that sought safety on the roof of their home during the flood trusted Christ. They
had encouraged rescue workers to help neighbors across the street who were stranded in trees. The Lord had been dealing with the husband, who shared that he had inexplicably been moved to tears earlier. “He said the other night he cried for 20 minutes. He didn’t know what was happening. Now he knew. God was dealing with him,” Barber said. Bob Sapp followed up with the man later, jokingly asking him if Barber had “charged” him much. “He didn’t charge me anything,” said the man. “He gave me Jesus.” Sapp also told of a couple with a toddler who was trying vainly to access their roof amid the flooding. A car floated up and they stepped on the top, but the roof was just out of reach. Then two logs floated up, boosting the car just enough so that the family could climb on the roof. “We didn’t have to tell them about Jesus,” Sapp said. “They told us about Jesus!”
SBTC team helping assess Filipino needs From TEXAN Staff & Baptist Press CEBU, Philippines
A specialized disaster relief team from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is in Cebu, Philippines helping Baptist Global Response assess needs following Typhoon Haiyan. The SBTC team is serving alongside local churches, Filipino nationals and fellow Baptist Global Response workers following Haiyan’s devastation, which has affected 9 million people, left an estimated 660,000 homeless and at least 2,275 dead, according to the United Nations. The death toll was expected to rise much higher. More volunteer teams will likely mobilize following initial assessments, SBTC DR Director Jim Richardson said. Updates on mobilization needs will be posted periodically at sbtexas.com/dr. Pat Melancon, managing director of disaster response and management for Baptist Global Response, said the “rapid assistance” team from the SBTC will be followed by a group that will make detailed assessments and formulate a longer-term strategy for helping survivors rebuild their lives. In Baptist Press on Tuesday (Nov. 10), Richardson asked Baptists to pray for them as they step into the chaos of the storm zone. “The team is preparing to assist the churches and brothers and sisters in Christ to share the help, healing and hope of our Lord Jesus with the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan,” Richardson said. “Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide their thoughts and actions.” Baptist Global Response has released an initial $15,000 in relief funds to humanitarian partners who are focusing their efforts on three areas: Tacloban, which is the hardest-hit area, and northern Cebu and Panay provinces, said Jeff Palmer, BGR’s executive director. Baptist churches in the Philippines and Filipino teams trained in disaster relief
The Philippines military, in a scene being repeated countless times since Typhoon Haiyan’s landfall on Nov. 8, assists survivors in the aftermath of the largest typhoon ever recorded. The Philippines government has declared a national state of calamity. PHOTO: CC FOTER.COM VIA BP
will be working alongside Southern Baptist workers in efforts focusing on immediate needs such as water, food and shelter. The extent of the damage—a national state of calamity has been declared—begs for Christian compassion, Baltero said. “For Christians, every disaster is a call to action; we are called to help those who are suffering when they need it,” Baltero said. “This is one ministry we cannot turn our backs on.” According to BP, IMB representative Mark Moses met with key Filipino leaders on the island of Panay and discussed relief plans there. Food and clean water are urgent needs in many remote areas of Panay. Moses purchased bags of rice and canned goods using relief funds donated by Southern Baptists. Moses and his team plan to pack the goods into family sized portions. “Currently, we still have no communications with these areas; electrical lines and communication towers are still down,” Moses said on Monday. “Hopefully by tomorrow, some roads will be passable so we can reach them.” Moses said after assessments are completed, relief funds would be used to help displaced Filipinos rebuild their homes. Funds also will be used to purchase basic medicine. NOVEMBER 14, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 7
CHURCH OUTREACH MARKS NEARLY 600 SALVATION DECISIONS, MORE THAN 100 BAPTIZED AS MEMBERS PRAY FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE JESUS IN THE NORMAL RHYTHMS OF LIFE. By Norm Miller BURLESON
n the summer of 2010, God burdened the heart of Pastor Charles Stewart about two matters: the Great Commission and Cana Baptist Church’s implementation of it. In February 2011, Stewart launched Cana’s “Shattering the Darkness” campaign while preaching an evangelistic message from 1 Corinthians 9:22-23; Acts 1:8-9; and Mark 16:15-16 which was based on LifeWay’s Transformational Church program. Now nearing the end of 2013, the Burleson church also is nearing 600 professions of faith and has logged more than 100 baptisms. “The Lord burdened me to lead Cana members to trust him for one soul led to Jesus each week by a church member,” Stewart told the TEXAN. “Frankly, I was uncomfortable in going out on this limb be8 TEXANONLINE.NET NOVEMBER 14, 2013
cause I believed God wanted the evangelistic effort to be led by the Spirit, not the flesh. God wanted Cana people sharing Christ out of love for the Lord and compassion for the lost, not out of a legalistic fear or loyalty to the pastor.” “Humbly, I confess that God wrestled with my own heart for nine months before we began. This was something that I believe he initiated, not I,” said Stewart, who also is an adjunct professor at Southwestern Seminary. Winning one every week When Stewart preached that February sermon, he asked the congregation in each Sunday worship service, “Do you believe it would honor the Lord for us to ask him to allow someone in our church to lead one soul to the Lord in the coming week?” “They agreed,” Stewart recounted. “So, we stopped and prayed as a church a simple prayer we have prayed for more than 140 weeks: ‘Father, if it would please and honor you, would you allow someone in our church family to have the joy and privilege this week of leading one soul to faith in the Lord Jesus?’” Professing not to have the gift of evangelism, Stew-
In 2011, Pastor Charles Stewart of Cana Baptist Church in Burleson launched a “Shattering the Darkness” campaign during an evangelistic preaching series. Since then, church members have led nearly 600 people to Christ and the church has baptized more than 100 people. PHOTO BY RICK LINTHICUM
plained the differential, saying the tally comes from professions at the nearby Beautiful Feet Mission to the homeless, mission trips across the U.S. and overseas, the results of sermons preached by Cana members in other churches and retreat settings, and converts from Vacation Bible School, musical presentations and other events that draw people from neighboring communities and other churches. “Some professions occur on jets, on vacations, during business trips, et cetera, and those converts are not available for baptism,” Stewart said. Similarly, some professions are from church members’ involvement in the North American Mission Board’s Evangelism Response Center, where converts from across the U.S. call for spiritual counseling. “We strongly encourage our members to record new believers’ contact information so if someone professes their faith at work, in a restaurant, or at a park, and they live elsewhere in the Metroplex, we can contact a good, local church for follow-up. Using a variety of means, Professions, baptisms & follow-up we make sincere attempts to follow up with each convert,” Stewart said. Having baptized about one-fifth Stewart explained the camof nearly 600 converts, Stewart exart, since his college involvement with Campus Crusade for Christ, has attempted to remain a consistent witness, he said. “I also have prayed daily during our Shattering the Darkness campaign for God to allow someone in our church to have the joy of leading someone to Christ, and I personally volunteer to be that one.” Stewart and a growing number of Cana’s members carry gospel tracts, consistently seeking witnessing opportunities. “I think I am more sensitive to the Spirit’s convictions to share the gospel with others,” he said. “Frankly, I think what has happened to me is similar to what is happening to many people in our congregation.” When church members lead their first person to Christ, they express “unbelievable exhilaration, and sometimes bewilderment that they previously have been so reluctant to witness,” said Stewart, adding that Cana members grow “increasingly excited as souls come to faith in Christ, week after week.”
paign’s name came from an “idea the Lord gave me to demonstrate conversions each week. We placed seven electric candles on a stand in front of the pulpit, and whenever I receive a testimony of someone coming to Christ, I light a candle the next Sunday morning honoring God’s mercies in that sinner’s life. Since I was using the candles, and because John 1:4-5 states, ‘In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it,’ then ‘Shattering the Darkness’ seemed to me an appropriate title.” When announcing conversions, Stewart cites only the converts’ first names and then shares their testimonies. “I never share the names of the evangelists,” he said. “This gives God the glory, keeps our folks’ motives pure, demonstrates God uses ordinary people in ordinary circumstances to lead the lost to Jesus, and helps members become more sensitive to the Spirit’s prompting to witness to the lost.” Shattering the Darkness required evangelism training for members and a steady resupply of evangelism materials on the church’s tract rack. NOVEMBER 14, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 9
“I think many of our Baptist programs can easily become exploits of our own strength and wisdom as some pastors try to motivate members with legalistic imperatives. From the beginning, I desired that we respond to the Spirit’s leadership in sharing Christ with the lost as our weekly prayer indicates.” —CHARLES STEWART, PASTOR OF CANA BAPTIST CHURCH
Evangelism affects total church Being in relatively close proximity to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Cana has become home to many professors, staff and students from the seminary. The unique calling the Lord has placed on their lives for vocational ministry has allowed them to help bolster the evangelism efforts at the church. Matt Queen, assistant professor of evangelism, said he and his colleagues’ contribution at the church is twofold. “First, a number of our seminary personnel go and preach revivals and do supply preaching,” Queen said, explaining that the gap in nearly 600 salvations and slightly more than 100 baptisms is largely due to professors and students seeing lost people saved in cities across the world where they’ve preached and called for a response. Those people, he said, are referred to local churches that can begin the discipleship process and baptize believers into their own memberships. “Second, Beau Brewer, who is on the staff of Southwestern Seminary, provided the Evangelism Response Center (ERC) training.” The ERC training has helped equip lay members in the church to share their faith and engage the lost in conversations that lead to a recognition of sin and the need of a savior—creating a congregationwide preparedness for sharing the gospel that expands far beyond the reach of only those called to fulltime ministry. 10 TEXANONLINE.NET NOVEMBER 14, 2013
“It is great to see the Shattering the Darkness efforts clearly declare that the pastor and staff are not the only soul winners at church, nor even the five seminary professors, all of whom are soul winners themselves,” Stewart said. “The Holy Spirit is at work, energizing our people with compassion for the lost.” Terry Wilder, one of those five seminary professors whose membership is at Cana, agreed and stressed that the church as a whole has come together to reach the lost. “As we—not just seminary professors or students—advance the gospel, the church does so in unity and is careful not to take any credit for these salvations; rather, Cana Baptist attributes all glory to God,” said Wilder, professor of New Testament at Southwestern. “We have seen God miraculously work with divine appointment after divine appointment. I have never seen anything like it in a local church.” Evangelism emphases have spilled over into other church ministries, Stewart said, as they “all seek to be evangelistic with intentionality. Every ministry should have this component, and any ministry can become evangelistic when evangelism is the intention of that ministry’s leadership.” “Evangelistic intentionality cannot be overstressed,” he continued, “unless it somehow could distract us from our complete dependency upon the Father’s Spirit to accomplish the Father’s work through the Father’s children.”
Words of advice “I think many of our Baptist programs can easily become exploits of our own strength and wisdom as some pastors try to motivate members with legalistic imperatives,” Stewart said. “From the beginning, I desired that we respond to the Spirit’s leadership in sharing Christ with the lost as our weekly prayer indicates.” Additional cautions included Stewart’s suggestion that “no pastor engage his congregation in an evangelistic campaign like this without due prayer and perhaps even fasting beforehand. Otherwise, selfish motives will taint the effort and possibly quench the Spirit.” “Prayer will confirm what the Spirit desires to do,” Stewart continued. “Only as the Spirit confirms his willingness to bless any campaign should we advance. We know the Father is drawing the lost to Christ, and that we are under a divine mandate to take the gospel to all the earth, especially our community. The Spirit must call the saints to prayer for the lost, sensitize the saints with compassion for the lost and impart to them boldness to share the gospel with the lost. Flesh and blood cannot do any of these things.” Reiterating the foundational importance of prayer and its results, Stewart said, “God is answering our congregation’s prayers most graciously because they are in tune with his heart.”
Huckabee urges scholarship support for the College at Southwestern By Keith Collier
ormer Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee spoke to a capacity crowd at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on Oct. 4, asking them to invest in the future of America by supporting the College at Southwestern’s Legacy Scholarship. “The reason that the College at Southwestern is an incredibly important part of America’s future is because there just aren’t too many places in all of this country that are truly equipping young people beyond the ‘what’ and deep into the ‘why,’” said Huckabee, host of the hit show “Huckabee” on Fox News. He expressed gratitude to Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson and his vision for the college, stating, “He still believes that training students not in just what to think but how to think is the greatest kind of education that a student can have.” By exposing the college students to the great works of human history, the books that defined Western civilization and teaching them in the art of apologetics, Huckabee said they will have “the ability to not simply parrot out what someone has told them about their faith,” but will be “able to understand it to the point that they can explain it with conviction and with depth.”
“This campus is still dedicated to the belief that the Bible is the Word of the living God—inerrant, infallible, trustworthy—with no apologies. And this campus is still dedicated to putting the fire of missions and evangelism into every student who walks onto these grounds.” —MIKE HUCKABEE
Fox News’ Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, shares a laugh with audience members as seminary President Paige Patterson shows a seminary paper from Huckabee’s time as a Southwestern student. Huckabee received a 98 on the assignment, joking that “I would have made 100, but let me just say that somebody here was being a little bit of a nitpicker.”
Huckabee, who received the distinguished alumnus award from Southwestern in 2012, explained that America needs institutions that do not treat students as computer hard drives into which they can simply pour information but rather like computer processors who take the data and “actually process it and do something significant with it.” Describing the work of the College at Southwestern in training students to process “the greatest truth of the world of all time from all the disciplines in the liberal arts setting,” Huckabee amused the audience by telling them not to worry about the school becoming liberal. “As long as Paige Patterson is president, I’m not worried about that.” He commended a liberal arts education for exposing the student to a variety of disciplines so that he is conversant in science, literature and the arts, and able to translate and transmit the gospel of Jesus Christ to the culture. “That is a powerful tool in our world today.” Huckabee lamented that the reason the world is in such a mess is because people disregard God’s way and merely “make it up as they go.” “An education changes that, but not just any education. It has to be an education that grounds us in the Word of God,” he said. “Imagine a student coming out of the College at Southwestern not only knowing what the truth is but NOVEMBER 14, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 11
being able to defend it, and most importantly, being able to lovingly share it. “This campus is still dedicated to the belief that the Bible is the Word of the living God—inerrant, infallible, trustworthy—with no apologies. And this campus is still dedicated to putting the fire of missions and evangelism into every student who walks onto these grounds,” characteristics he said he appreciated while in seminary. During his introduction, Patterson surprised Huckabee with one of his own papers on the topic of Jesus and personal evangelism. Grateful he picked one for which he earned an A, Huckabee looked at the grade of 98 and added, “I would have made 100, but let me just say that somebody here was being a little bit of a nitpicker. I think Jesus would have been a lot more understanding than the professor was,” said Huckabee, drawing laughter. Prior to Huckabee’s presentation, college senior Sarah Jo Thomas told of leaving behind a full scholarship for a nursing program at a secular school in order to prepare for ministry at the Fort Worth campus. “When I see someone like Sarah Jo, who comes and so eloquently is able to state her convictions to serve God—this calling she’s had since she was 11 years old,
willing to follow the Lord no matter what—I’m reminded that God must still be somewhat hopeful about our future or else he wouldn’t be calling people that young to be out there serving.” Asking the audience to consider where those type of students might prepare for ministry, Huckabee said, “I’m not saying that a person going to an Ivy League school won’t be able to be steeped in missions, but I’ve spoken in most of the Ivy League campuses, and if there’s a groundswell of Christian fervor on those campuses, I missed it when I was there.” In contrast, he said, “preparing people for the kind of life that will change the world is what the College at Southwestern is committed to doing.” Tammi Ledbetter contributed to this report.
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To some, ministry becomes boring and ineffective. The annual statewide Empower Conference is designed to challenge, inspire and motivate believers to take the message of Jesus Christ everywhere. You will find the preaching and music inspirational and can connect with other pastors and ministry leaders.
Over 1,000 hear priority of home at seminary’s homemaking conference By Michelle Tyer & Keith Collier FORT WORTH
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson referred to the home as God’s “first and most important institution” during the opening session of a women’s conference on campus Oct. 25–26. “If the home fails, not far behind it will come the whole social order. Destroy the home and you will destroy the social backbone of any republic wherever it may be.” More than 1,000 women attended the Art of Homemaking Conference, which drew not only seminary students but also women from across Texas and even out of state. The conference, sponsored by Crossway Books, featured main sessions speakers Michelle Duggar, Elizabeth George and Dorothy Patterson. Michelle Duggar of TLC’s hit cable reality show “19 Kids & Counting,” said her goal during her time at the conference was to pass on wisdom she had received from godly mentors and to give practical advice on how to bring unity and peace to the home. To achieve this, Duggar said, mothers first need to teach their children to love God and to love others by training them to exhibit biblical character qualities while the mothers also live them out as an example. “True character is not dictated by our circumstances; it just reveals it. What’s deep in our heart comes out when we’re squeezed,” Duggar said. Dorothy Patterson, wife of Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson, taught a session from Proverbs 31 concerning a noble, or virtuous, woman. Marriage is a lifetime commitment, Patterson said, noting that this is a concept largely abandoned in current society. “Are you just following the women in front of you, are you just following the culture … or are you looking at the light that can be found in Scripture and from God himself?” The Proverbs 31 woman provides for her family diligently, but Patterson also believes it refers to her tending to her family’s spiritual condition. “That’s our responsibility to be able to teach them about the Lord and to be sure that, more than anything
Art of Homemaking conference participants enjoy one of the 17 breakout sessions, Oct. 26. SWBTS PHOTO/NEIL WILLIAMS
else, we have explained to them how to be saved and we have helped bring them to the blessed Jesus even as children,” Patterson said. Author and national speaker Elizabeth George spoke on how to be a woman after God’s own heart. George’s book, “A Woman After God’s Own Heart,” has sold more than 1 million copies. Women must make a daily decision to seek after God, George said. And that daily commitment should start with time in God’s Word. “A woman after God’s own heart is a woman of the Word,” George said. She advised women to give God the first part of their day as if it were a tithe so that nothing else will rob that time from them later on. That time with Christ will give strength. “We need to be women who wait on the Lord; there is no other place for us to get what we need to get through one day,” George said. Along with the plenary sessions, the conference gave women opportunities to choose from 17 breakout sessions throughout the weekend, with topics including the ministry of prayer, raising teens, raising preschoolers, planning holidays, working from the home, the effects of feminism, and how to bring joy to one’s husband without losing her own. A flash drive with all of the conference sessions is available for purchase by contacting Michelle Bullens at 817-923-1921 ext. 3600 or emailing mbullens@ swbts.edu. Patterson’s message on Proverbs 31 can be viewed online at swbts.edu/prov31. NOVEMBER 14, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 13
Richards to college: Pastor role an inexplicable call
SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards told a Nov. 7 chapel audience at Criswell College that God’s call to ministry is not merely a vocation but “a supernatural calling from God.”
By Tammi Reed Ledbetter DALLAS
Preaching to a Nov. 7 chapel audience at Criswell College, Jim Richards said the biblically qualified minister has an inexplicable call of God on his life. Therefore, said Richards, the SBTC’s executive director, the pastoral role is not merely a job or vocation but rather “a supernatural calling from God that he pulls up from within and puts in our lives.” With 1 Timothy 3:1-7 as his text, Richards told students preparing for ministry, “If you can do anything else, do it. But if you can’t do anything else but serve God in that vocational call that he has placed in you, then you will not be happy doing anything else.” 14 TEXANONLINE.NET NOVEMBER 14, 2013
As chairman of the presidential search committee for the college, Richards said many of the principles for seeking a pastor are transferable in finding the next leader for the Dallas-based school envisioned by W.A. Criswell in 1969. Pointing to verses 2, 3 and 7 of the passage, Richards encouraged churches seeking a pastor to notice the character of his life and find a man who is more concerned with complementing Christ than contextualizing with the culture, and less concerned with liberty and more concerned with lordship. “Let it be said that our lifestyles complement our message,” he added. As the “husband of one wife” and head of the home, a minister must demonstrate spiritual leadership in the domestic setting, Richards said. “Nothing ruins a man’s effectiveness more than a poor home life.” He turned to Hebrews 13:7, 17, and 24 as evidence of God’s expectations of a leader, recalling a remark of Adrian Rogers when he was accused of being a dictator at his church. “He said, ‘I am not the dictator, but I am the head tater.’” Richards added, “There must be that leadership by example and instruction, control that is allowed so that the leadership may be able to set the course in the home, in the church and in an institution like a college.” Explaining that leadership must be earned, Richards said, “The pastor can’t make a church follow him and even a president of a school can’t make the faculty, the board of trustees or the student body follow him.” Leaders can only go as far as people will let them, he added. From verses 6-7 Richards observed that the minister should have experience and training, addressing the credibility that comes from preparation. “It can be a young man with training and even some experience or an older man with maybe less training and more experience. But the idea would be to have a man with training and experience so he would not be carried away by every wind of doctrine.” From verse 2 he gleaned the only functional requirement of a pastor—that he is apt to teach. “Styles may vary, tastes may be different and factors come and go, but the non-negotiable is the Word of God.” Making application to the college, Richards said, “So the president of the school must be a man who is
committed to the inerrant, infallible Word of God, to our doctrinal statement at Criswell College, to the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, and to those things that we believe about the Word of God.” Regarding his ability to teach and preach, Richards said it must be expository, citing Isaiah 28:13 to describe the pattern of “line upon line, precept upon precept, taking the Word of God as it is, preaching it book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, and line by line.” It also must be evangelistic, Richards insisted, citing Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 9:16 to preach the gospel as well as “edifying to the saints,” quoting 1 Corinthians 14:12. That pulpit ministry will involve “preaching against sin, for
righteousness and spiritual maturity—the whole counsel of God,” Richards said. “God is going to use the man who fills the qualifications so that when God gets ready to do a great work he raises up his man.” While reiterating that the Bible teaches that the office of pastor should be held by a male, Richards encouraged women preparing for ministry not to settle for anything less than God’s will should they decide to marry. “If God chooses singleness for your life you might be like Lottie Moon or Rebekah Naylor and others who have contributed to the kingdom beyond estimation, but if God gives you a life mate, let it be God’s man for you and don’t settle.” Closing with a pledge to seek
God’s will in seeking a president, Richards said, “Let’s find God’s man for Criswell College—a president who can lead the school and be what God would have him to be.” “No one has an inside track,” he said in regard to the solicitation of recommendations through Dec. 2. While a bylaw requires that the president hold an earned Ph.D. and affirm a pre-tribulation, pre-millennial eschatological viewpoint, Richards acknowledged that the board “may choose to suspend” some of those conditions of employment if led to a person deemed to be the best candidate. Resumes should be sent to email@example.com and prayer is requested for the committee as it seeks God’s leader.
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Tattooed Jesus billboards prompt discussions, decisions
By Bonnie Pritchett LUBBOCK
Not a driver in Lubbock can avoid them. They’re everywhere. Literally. And they’ve got people talking. The tattoo-covered depiction of Jesus—arms outstretched and hands pierced—was on 59 billboards in and around the West Texas city for four weeks in October. The only words on the billboard read “www.jesustattoo.org.” Using the unconventional Jesus image, an anonymous group of Lubbock residents have kick-started a conversation about the gospel among those who do not know its message and, incidentally, among those who do. “Obviously it’s a little unorthodox but it’s not about tattoos at all,” said David Wilson, pastor of Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock. “If nothing else it’s created a lot of talk.” And that was the idea. The billboards went up the beginning of October for a four-week campaign. The amount of coverage 16 TEXANONLINE.NET NOVEMBER 14, 2013
“Obviously it’s a little unorthodox but it’s not about tattoos at all. If nothing else it’s created a lot of talk.” —DAVID WILSON, PASTOR OF SOUTHCREST BAPTIST CHURCH IN LUBBOCK
ensured 100 percent saturation of the advertising market, said Shirley Schleuse with Lamar Outdoor Advertising. The anonymous group wanted everyone on any particular commute to see the image, said Ashleigh Sawyer, vice president of account services at RD Thomas Advertising, the agency hired to help create and disseminate the message of Jesustattoo.org. Citing Matthew 6:1-4, spokesman David Miller said the group wanted anonymity to keep the message the center of attention. Miller said the founder, who has a marketing background, about a year ago wondered why churches did not “take an active role in advertising the greatest message.”
Since asking that question about $100,000 has been invested in marketing this unique gospel presentation. Miller said response to the images was mixed. Some were curious. Others quoted Leviticus and God’s admonition against marking the body. He said the group does not take a stand on tattoos but used the culturally ubiquitous body art to draw attention to a message that goes deeper than the flesh. Barry Creamer, Criswell College vice president of academic affairs and professor of humanities, said the provocative nature of the advertising campaign can be off-putting. Some Christians balk at the modernization of Jesus—making him “look like us.” Those who hold
“It belongs to God. If God wants to do something with it, we want to do that.” —DAVID MILLER
a strident interpretation of the second commandment believe no image of Jesus should ever be portrayed. Were lines crossed in depicting Jesus as a tattoocovered savior? Few illustrations of Jesus are without controversy. Creamer said those who believe tattoos are a sin will be offended. But there are limits. “People go too far, when they’re wrong, by depicting error. Is what’s up there wrong?” he asked. Upon close inspection—when the viewer reads the tattoos—the message becomes clearer, especially for those who understand the work of the cross. The indelible ink impressed upon the Christ-figure’s chest and arms speak of our sins and burdens. “Depressed.” “Fear.” “Addicted.” “Self-righteous.” “Useless.” “Outcast.” Miller said the campaign was not about tattoos but “the transferring of sins from us to the cross.” “I think it’s a visual demonstration of what Jesus did for us,” Wilson said. He said the campaign appears to target “those who would never darken the doorway of a church. Folks are going to that website and they’re going to hear the gospel.” Wilson said he has not heard any complaints among his congregation. And the image has garnered national and international attention. Wilson said he has received calls from media outlets from as far away as London, Ontario. Miller said the campaign has been featured on “Good Morning America,” Fox News with Greta Van Susteren, and in Texas Monthly magazine. In less than three weeks the billboards generated 180,000 hits to the www.jesustattoo.org website. Miller said most of the hits came from outside Lubbock and even outside the United States. People in 20 countries had logged onto the site. The anonymous group is already working on Spanish and Portuguese translations. “We’ve lost control of it,” Miller said, noting that was a good thing. Churches have embedded the video on their own
webpages and asked for a DVD version. One Jesustattoo.org volunteer created his own DVD of the website videos and presented it during a prison ministry visit. The DVD testimonies sparked a three-hour discussion with inmates, most of whom have tattoos that remind them of their criminal past. Because of that encounter the group is considering creating a curriculum to accompany the video testimonies. At least 50 people registered on the website that they made professions of faith because of the testimony of those featured on the link. Miller said that number may be low because not everyone goes through all of the prompts to register. But those who do are contacted by a Jesustattoo.org volunteer who assists the new Christian in finding a local church. “We are very focused on trying to get them plugged into a church. That’s the biblical mandate,” Miller said. The sponsoring group contacted Lubbock-area churches prior to the campaign. Wilson admitted he wasn’t sure what to make of the postcard delivered to the church but now believes the campaign can be a jumping off point of discussion from the pulpit or among individuals. Creamer said the image of a tattooed Jesus might force some congregations to consider who they might be excluding from their outreach, intentionally or not. The Jesustattoo.org group is considering its next move. “It belongs to God. If God wants to do something with it, we want to do that,” Miller said. Previous billboard campaigns—“I am Second” and “GodSpeaks”—served as a point of reference for the Jesustattoo.org creative team. “I am Second” continues what began as a billboard campaign using new media. When “GodSpeaks” launched in the pre-Facebook days of 1998 their simple billboard messages went viral when the Outdoor Advertising Association of America donated 10,000 billboard spaces in 200 U.S. cities in 1999. Inactive for 10 years, “GodSpeaks” announced in October the comeback of the campaign, beginning again in Florida with billboards and expanding to social media. Miller said the Jesustattoo.org campaign takes a different tack than its predecessors by starting the conversation at the very basic level of the gospel message, which is the transforming love of Christ. NOVEMBER 14, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 17
Los adultos jóvenes que abandonan la fe pudieran reflejar una crianza “tibia” BP en Espanol COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado
La idea de que enormes multitudes de adultos jóvenes están abandonando su fe puede ser aceptada por muchos aunque no es certera del todo. Así lo dice un estudio de Focus on the Family que ilumina las tendencias de los adultos jóvenes y que puede contradecir las predicciones apocalípticas para la fe cristiana. El estudio, titulado “Participación y Retención de la Fe Milenial,” siguió las tendencias religiosas de la generación milenial (usualmente aquellos nacidos entre 1980 y el 2000) y encontró que sólo una fracción de ellos están abandonando la fe de su niñez—usualmente debido a que ni siquiera habían tenido una fe sólida desde el principio. El estudio utiliza la información de los recursos de investigación de Pew y del Sondeo General Social de la Fundación Nacional de Ciencia. Cerca de un quinto (18 por ciento) de los adultos jóvenes criados en hogares con cualquier concentración de influencia religiosa ahora no están afiliados con una fe especifica, según el análisis de Focus on the Family. Mientras tanto, el sesenta (60) por ciento de los mileniales se categoriza a sí mismo como “conservando la fe.” Entre los no afiliados, solamente el 11 por ciento dijo que tuvieron una fe fuerte en su infancia y vivieron en un hogar donde se practicaba y enseñaba una fe vibrante. En otras palabras, la gran mayoría de los jóvenes adultos que están abandonando el cristianismo nunca tuvieron una fe fuerte desde el inicio. “Esta no es una crisis de la fe per 18 TEXANONLINE.NET NOVEMBER 14, 2013
se, si no de la crianza de los padres,” señaló el estudio de Focus on the Family.“ Los padres que proveen un hogar donde la fe se practica vibrantemente—incluso imperfectamente— tienen muchas más posibilidades de criar adultos jóvenes que continúen siendo cristianos serios, incluso si a veces pasaron por obstáculos en el camino,” dijo el estudio. “ [N]o es sorprendente entonces que las casas que modelaron una fe tibia no desarrollaron una fe perdurable en sus hijos. “El estudio también encontró que el 20 por ciento de los adultos jóvenes están cambiando de fe, y que la mayoría de las transiciones son de una denominación cristiana a otra. Entre denominaciones, el estudio mostró peligro para las iglesias protestantes históricas. Citando el Sondeo General Social (GSS, por sus siglas en inglés), el estudio señaló que las iglesias históricas sufrieron una baja del 2.2 por ciento entre 1991 y el 2012 de personas que se identifican con ellas, mientras que las iglesias evangélicas más conservadoras ganaron unas cuantas (0.6 por ciento). El GSS también indicó un crecimiento comúnmente reportado en la cantidad de estadounidenses que no marcan una afiliación religiosa particular (del 8.1 por ciento en 1991 al 19.7 por ciento en el 2012). Sin embargo, entre los mileniales, el estudio dice que muchos de los no afiliados no han abandonado la fe por completo, si no que eligieron una espiritualidad más generalizada. El estudio, dado a conocer en agosto, citó algunas teorías principales para explicar el aumento de
los no afiliados entre los mileniales: los adultos jóvenes tienden a involucrarse menos en la participación en la comunidad (la cual incluye a la iglesia); tienen más probabilidades de ver a la gente religiosa como falsa, hipócrita o que critica; y cada vez más se alejan de las iglesias y personas que practican “lo que ellos perciben como una estridente retórica política conservadora.” Además, el estudio señaló que los eruditos líderes asocian el distanciamiento religioso con la tendencia a posponer el matrimonio y ser padres. “Sentar cabeza en una familia usualmente significa sentar cabeza en la iglesia,” dijo el estudio. “Desarrollar matrimonios fuertes y familias que florecen es una importante estrategia de crecimiento de la iglesia que no puede ignorarse.” Estas son algunas conclusiones claves del estudio en relación con el ministerio: 4Las iglesias que claramente están enseñando la Biblia (iglesias evangélicas conservadoras) crecieron mientras que las que no la enseñan (las denominaciones históricas) han disminuido. Los adultos jóvenes quieren una “verdad absoluta” que los “llame hacia algo más allá de ellos mismos.” 4Los hogares con una fe seria producen hijos que preservan la fe en la adultez. Los cristianos deben crear hogares donde los hijos “sean testigos de una fe vibrante que se vive honestamente e intencionalmente.” 4Los mileniales quieren una fe seria, substanciosa –no una que los entretenga o sea un espectáculo. “La verdad triunfa por encima de la faramalla,” dijo el estudio.