September 18, 2013 • ISSUE 16
Abortion clinic closing ‘stands as an Ebenezer’ As pro-lifers mark the end of abortion in Bryan-College Station and the birth of a movement, they are aiming their success nationally.
San Antonio nondiscrimination law could prevent SBC, SBTC from meeting in city facilities
SBTC Bible Conference messages follow ‘Set Like Flint’ theme
The right Man on our side
s anyone else dizzy or disoriented? The last six months of cultural developments have come across the plate with the heat of a Nolan Ryan fastball. Step outside the batter’s box and get your bearings if need be. We’ll all understand. In fact, just since June when the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the changes have seemed to accelerate. Without DOMA, chaos is coming, sooner or later, to every state where the federal government does business. Emboldened, homosexual activists and their enablers are on a cultural blitzkrieg. This issue of TEXAN Digital features several stories (here, here and here) that show how the newest sacred cow demands religious adherence. There are other problems we could get ulcers over. Our economic system is on borrowed time, nearing $17 billion in federal debt, a currency that is increasingly weak and a looming federal healthcare law that looks from here like an iceberg 20 feet from the bow. Then there’s the Syrian problem, which is potentially cataclysmic. Worst of all and most fundamentally, our homes, and by extension, our churches, are struggling too. Researchers tell us about the rise of the “nones.” We hear that Christian parents are not giving children a sufficient biblical worldview that is “owned” by the kids when they leave home. One speaker I heard recently said the most looming challenge for the church is a fading belief in the exclusivity of Christ among the young. Depressed yet? If Christian believers were to get discouraged right about now, who would blame them? Far as the eye can see, things are not friendly toward the things of God. But our walk is by faith, not by sight. And remember, we are citizens of two kingdoms, the current one being temporal, even vaporous, the Word tells us. It would be easy to hold grudges, to put up our dukes for a cultural fistfight. Certainly, we
If the sky is falling, we may be the cause of it. But if the sky does fall, be of good cheer, Jesus said. He’s overcome all of it. He’s our Mighty Fortress and Strong Tower. contend for truth and do well where we can. That involves cultural and political engagement in a fashion that does justice and loves mercy. We are, after all, our brothers’ keepers. But winning the culture war is not the aim of the church. Winning souls is. The two endeavors may aid each other at times, but they are not equally important. As Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore said in his inauguration sermon, we cannot be reaching back for Mayberry, as if we could. If we ever were a moral majority, we aren’t now. The kingdom of God is “not made up of the moral. The kingdom of God is made up of the crucified,” Moore reminded his audience. We have nothing to say to a haughty and rebellious culture if our own lives are rotten, if our marriages are fleshy, if our pulpits lack a prophetic voice—in short, if we are not living crucified lives. If the sky is falling, we may be the cause of it. But if the sky does fall, be of good cheer, Jesus said. He’s overcome all of it. He’s our Mighty Fortress and Strong Tower. I like how Martin Luther said it, translated to English, of course: “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing; Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He; Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same, And He must win the battle.” This is no time to fear. Nor is it a time to retreat from the mission of the gospel. We rest under a Mighty Fortress in the temporal with the expectant joy of a new home to come. We grieve for those who have no such hope and bring along as many as will come into our shelter. We have a rescue mission. Jesus was clear at the end of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:20 that he is with us always, “even to the end of the age.” There is no depth or height and no power able to separate us from his loving grasp (Romans 8:38 and John 10:28-30). David found strength in the God of Israel while breathlessly on the run from oppressors. Paul was tested and perplexed but not defeated. Stephen in his martyrdom uttered God’s words and glowed with God’s glory. So rest easy and stay on mission. The Creator of the cosmos has got this.
Fox Sports fires commentator for gay marriage stance
Only days after former NFL running back and one-time Senate hopeful Craig James took a job as a commentator for Fox Sports Southwest (FSSW), the network fired him, saying they would not tolerate his beliefs about gay marriage.
COVER STORY: Closing of Bryan-College Station abortion clinic marked by celebration
While Planned Parenthood blamed attacks on “women’s health” for the closing of the lone abortion clinic in town, a group of Christians in the Brazos Valley credits prayer and looks to replicate success elsewhere.
San Antonio nondiscrimination law could prevent SBC, SBTC from meeting in city facilities A new San Antonio nondiscrimination ordinance likely will prevent the SBC and the SBTC from holding annual meetings in the city’s convention facilities because of the conventions’ views on homosexuality as sinful, said an attorney who represents both conventions.
Disaster Relief receives nearly $200K in unexpected donations Amid the rash of disasters this year, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) churches and individuals have responded loudly and lovingly, giving $171,000 toward SBTC Disaster Relief.
SBTC Bible Conference messages follow ‘Set Like Flint’ theme “Set Like Flint,” based on Isaiah 50:7, is the theme for the Oct. 27-28 pre-convention Bible Conference in Amarillo. The event will feature music and preaching designed to encourage lay leaders and pastors alike.
Airman who charged discrimination for gay marriage views now being investigated A senior master sergeant who filed a formal complaint after being relieved of his duties for disagreeing with his lesbian commander about same-sex marriage was read his Miranda rights, his attorney said.
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, David Roach, Joshua Crutchfield To contact the TEXAN office, visit texanonline.net/contact or call toll free 877.953.7282 (SBTC)
Briefly //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// NORTH AMERICA
Webcam abortions banned in Iowa A state medical panel has put a stop to Planned Parenthood’s Webcam abortion system in Iowa. In an 8-2 vote, the Iowa Board of Medicine adopted new rules Aug. 30 that require doctors to meet in person with women before giving them abortion drugs, thereby prohibiting “telemedicine” abortions. Planned Parenthood pioneered the video-conferencing system of abortion services in Iowa in 2008. More than 3,000 abortions have been performed in the state since then, according to The Des Moines Register. The Iowa “telemed” system has involved a doctor in Des Moines or another city videoconferencing patients in a Planned Parenthood clinic in another town in the state, avoiding in office visits. The doctor can dispense the two-step abortion drug known as RU 486 to the woman seeking an abortion by typing in a computer command. The action opens a drawer from which the woman in the remote clinic may remove the pills. The physician is able to observe her take the first dose of mifepristone, known as RU 486. The patient returns home to take the second pill, known as misoprostol, two days later. Mifepristone causes the lining of the uterus to release the embryonic child, resulting in its death. Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract, expelling the baby. Board of Medicine members who voted in the majority expressed concern about the safety of women seeking “telemed” abortions. “How can any of us possibly find that a medical abortion performed over the Internet is as safe as one provided by a physician in person?” asked board chairman Greg Hoversten, The Register reported. “The woman essentially goes home and labors and delivers a fetus. It’s very bloody. It’s painful.” 2 TEXANONLINE.NET September 18, 2013
Lord of the Rings actor narrates Bible course Actor John Rhys-Davies (Gimli in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy) has partnered with the website BibleMesh. com as narrator of The Biblical Story, an online Bible survey course on how all of Scripture points to Christ. Among the Southern Baptists on the BibleMesh editorial team are Greg Thornbury, president of The King’s College in New York; Mark Coppenger, vice president for extension education at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and C. Ben Mitchell, Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. Teaching videos in the course feature professors from Southern Seminary, Union University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.; an International Mission Board missionary; and New York pastor and author Tim Keller. Eric Metaxas, author of the bestseller “Bonhoeffer,” co-authored the script along with Thornbury. “BibleMesh is blessed with a gifted and diverse team of contributors,” publisher Emmanuel Kampouris said, adding that Rhys-Davies’ narration “helps present the Bible in a vivid and engaging way.” The Biblical Story is entirely online, does not require any downloading or
printing of material and can be used as a textbook replacement in colleges and seminaries. In addition to the overview video, the course provides hundreds of one-page articles on key Bible ideas and short teaching videos expound crucial points. Among the personalities featured are Alistair Begg, pastor of Parkside Church in metropolitan Cleveland; Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College in Illinois; J. Ligon Duncan, newly elected chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss.; and Christopher Ash, director of London’s Cornhill Training Course. “BibleMesh is not just facts,” said Thornbury, one of the course’s theological editors. “It’s a wholeBible theology approach to learning Scripture.” For more information, visit BibleMesh.com.
Rebranded Boeing 727 ready for first aviation class California Baptist University’s Boeing 727 aircraft began a new life Sept. 3 as CBU’s inaugural class of 25 aviation science students began using the former cargo jet, now re-painted in CBU colors and logos, as a teaching lab. FedEx Express donated the Boeing 727-200F to the university in January for use by the aviation science program to train future pilots. “Although this aircraft has reached the end of its useful life in commercial service after 33 years, it is beginning a new life here at the Riverside
Municipal Airport,” said Daniel Prather, founding chair of the CBU aviation science department. Before its final flight, the aircraft provided FedEx with 20 years of service, transporting packages to destinations throughout the United States. The plane was the 60th donation of a Boeing 727 aircraft to various organizations for educational purposes. Prior to its service with FedEx, the aircraft served as a passenger plane for Air Canada.
Pornography likened to temple prostitution Russell D. Moore assessed the “weaponized epidemic of porn” during a chapel sermon at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Sept. 5. Preaching from 1 Corinthians 6:15– 7:5, Moore likened the present-day cultural saturation of pornography with the first-century pagan practice of temple prostitution. “The temple prostitution of Corinth has been digitalized and weaponized,” the president of Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission said of pornography’s modern-day onslaught, “and brings with it the kind of illusion and anonymity that the temple prostitutes could never promise.” People often view their bodies like machines detached from spiritual consequences, Moore observed, warning those called to ministry to recognize the satanic powers in the
world seeking to destroy families, ministries and gospel witness. “The strategies of Satan have become so crafty that they are able to promise a cover of darkness, including to ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in a way that is able to communicate with alarming regularity ‘you shall not surely die,’” Moore said. “As you are headed out into the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ, if you are not arming yourself right now to recognize what is happening with this demonic strain of sexual immorality, you are not going to be able to stand. “You are living in the kind of world in which there are digital harems of prostitutes, available and pushed upon every single population in the United States of America and increasingly every single population in the world,” Moore said.
Fox Sports fires commentator for gay marriage stance Only days after former NFL running back and one-time Senate hopeful Craig James took a job as a commentator for Fox Sports Southwest (FSSW), the network fired him, saying they would not tolerate his beliefs about gay marriage. The Daily Mail reported that during his unsuccessful campaign for Senate in 2012, James, a Republican from Celina, said in a debate that homosexuality “is a choice” and that those who “choose to do that” will “have to answer to the Lord for their actions.” After network officials saw the remarks in the resurfaced debate video, they decided to cut ties with James, according to the Washington Times. James starred alongside another famous running back, Eric Dickerson, at Southern Methodist University in the famed “Pony Express” of the early 1980s. Fox hired James in late August, and he worked only Aug. 31 before the network reportedly fired him the
next day. The Dallas Morning News reported that the network had yet to finalize a formal contract with James when they announced their decision to terminate him. A Fox spokesman told Sports Illustrated that James “will not be making any further appearances on Fox Sports Southwest’s football coverage this season.” Another spokesman told the Dallas Morning News that James’ comments would not be welcome or accepted at Fox Sports. “We just asked ourselves how James’ statements would play in our human resources department,” the spokesman told the Dallas Morning News. “He couldn’t say those things here.” James, who played for the New England Patriots in the 1980s, served as a broadcaster for ESPN before leaving to run for the U.S. Senate.
—Briefly section was compiled from staff reports and Baptist Press
Biola president apologizes to pro-lifers, affirms sanctity of life at univ. Biola University’s president has apologized publicly for the school’s treatment of a pro-life student and has outlined a plan to strengthen the Christian school’s longstanding commitment to the sanctity of human life. Biola President Barry Corey issued an open apology to pro-lifers Aug. 20, saying the La Mirada, Calif., school committed “missteps” in its response to senior nursing student Diana Jimenez and her participation in displaying on campus graphic images of aborted babies. After Jimenez showed a graphic photo a second time, a Biola administration official threatened to ban her from her graduation and the campus if she committed a third such infraction, according to pro-life blogger Jill Stanek. The school’s dean of nursing subsequently ordered faculty in the department not to write employment letters of reference for Jimenez. “For actions on our part that were perceived to be heavy-handed and retaliatory, I have apologized to [Jimenez] and stand by this apology publicly,” Corey wrote in his open letter. “I acknowledge and regret our errors, and steps have been taken to correct them.” He said, “In so many ways, Diana is the kind of student with the deep Christian convictions I hoped to see when I came to Biola six years ago. In her convictions about saving the unborn, she represents what Biola is about—the desire to speak up against injustices that break the heart of God. Like Diana, Biola is and has been passionately pro-life.” Among the ways the school will reaffirm its pro-life position, Corey said, are an article in a September issue of the school newspaper, a pro-life chapel service and curricula changes that make certain that “each student graduating from Biola understands and can articulate the biblical message of the sanctity of human life, so that students demonstrate these values in their own communities.”
September 18, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 3
SBTC Disaster Relief receives nearly $200K in donations
Flooding around El Paso from torrential rains in mid-September caused mudslides in some areas. In the town of Socorro, three chaplains and a fiveman clean-up and recovery team from the SBTC were working to clear debris on 25 home sites. More DR volunteers were expected to arrive on Sept. 18. Photo by Monte Furrh
Amid the rash of disasters this year, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) churches and individuals have responded loudly and lovingly, giving $171,000 toward SBTC Disaster Relief. These gifts—above and beyond monthly giving—allow the SBTC to minister even more effectively to those affected by tragedies such as the fertilizer plant explosion in West, tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma, floods in Texas and Missouri and wildfires in Colorado. SBTC Disaster Relief Director Jim Richardson said the gifts enable the convention to meet recovery needs that remain after the immediate disaster response has been completed. “In Oklahoma, the SBTC has been able to send funds to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma to assist families and churches in the recovery process,” Richardson said. “The generous donations for the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas enabled SBTC Disaster Relief volunteers to meet the immediate needs of the families with cleanup and recovery teams, feeding teams and chaplains immediately after the explosions. At the present, we continue to assist families with unmet needs through DR Care (Disaster Relief Church Adoption and Restoration Effort), the SBTC ministry that connects families with churches to assist in the rebuilding of homes and lives.” Rick Head, with DR Care, is working with the Long-Term Rebuild Committee of West to identify and assist the families that continue to have needs, Richardson added. In 2013, the SBTC has responded to eight disasters, worked 1,805 volunteer days, presented the gospel 324 times and seen 85 people make a profession of faith in Christ.
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ERLC unveils new website & logo With the inauguration of Russell D. Moore as its new president, the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has unveiled a new website and logo. The ERLC’s newly designed website went live Sept. 10, the same day Moore was inaugurated in Washington, D.C., as the entity’s eighth president. The trustees elected Moore to lead the ERLC in March, and he took office in June. The website’s goal, Moore says in a video on the site, is to equip Southern Baptists and other Christians “to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” The website includes the ERLC’s new logo, which features images of a crown at the center, an open book below and three stars above. The crown symbolizes the kingdom of God; the book signifies the Bible; and the stars stand for the state or government. The number of stars, three, represents the entity’s emphases—kingdom, culture and mission. The website is accessible at erlc.com.
sbtexas.com/am13 CHILDCARE AND CHILDREN’S WORSHIP EXPERIENCE
Must pre-register by Oct 23 at Ages: birth through 9 years old Location: Amarillo Civic Center
September 18, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 5
Closing of Bryan-College Station abortion clinic marked by celebration While Planned Parenthood blamed attacks on ‘women’s health,’ a group of Christians in the Brazos Valley credits prayer and God’s grace, eyes success elsewhere.
By Bonnie Pritchett
iting “budget cuts and persistent attacks on women’s health,” the lone Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Bryan-College Station closed down on Aug. 1. But a coalition of Christians from throughout the Brazos Valley credits the power of prayer and God’s grace for the closure and believes it could be a singular moment in the fight against abortion. Some confessed they never believed the clinic would close in the college town where 50,000plus Texas A&M students reside. Still others were certain it would
happen in God’s time. And all of them, for 15 years, prayed for and ministered to countless women and their unborn babies. Yet while they mourned the loss of 6,400 babies at the Bryan Health Center, they praised God on Sept. 7 for the birth of an international movement, 40 Days for Life, which they credited with breaking the back of this facility and some others across the nation. “God used you and abortion is now ended in the Brazos Valley,” said Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life campaign director, at the “Breakthrough” celebration held across the street from the former clinic. Bobby Reynoso, director of Co-
Karen Hall, director of Central Texas Orphan Mission Alliance, told the crowd abortion-minded women sometimes mistakenly turned intoSeptember the drive of CTOMA 6 TEXANONLINE.NET 18, 2013facility, which has an ultrasound machine. Lives were consequently saved, she said. Photos by Bonnie Pritchett
alition for Life in Bryan-College Station, said pro-life leaders there believe what happened could be the breakthrough or “tipping point for the pro-life cause in helping end abortion across the nation.” The coalition is exploring ways to replicate the success in other cities. Speakers at the celebration included former abortion clinic employees, pastors and priests, prayer volunteers, crisis pregnancy center volunteers, health care ministry volunteers and the mayor of Bryan. Jason Bienski said as mayor he is always glad to see new businesses start, but not any kind of business. “Today we celebrate the closing of a business. Planned Parent-
hood was never welcome in BryanCollege Station,” Bienski told those gathered. Speakers recounted story after story of spiritual interventions and the renewing of their faith in a seemingly endless fight. Karen Hall, director of Central Texas Orphan Missions Alliance (CTOMA) and member of Central Baptist Church, said the driveway into her offices was sometimes mistaken for the driveway into the neighboring abortion clinic. Once inside the CTOMA facility the women, thinking they were at Planned Parenthood, announced they had arrived for their ultrasound. CTOMA has a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine as part of its pro-life ministry. While the women completed forms an ultra-sound nurse was hurriedly making her way to the clinic. “There was joy in heaven every time a woman missed that Planned Parenthood drive and came into our office,” she said. David Bereit, 40 Days for Life national director, told the crowd, “I believed the end of abortion would begin in this community. For 15 years you prayed. You never gave up. Today we understand why this community is shaping the abortion debate.” According to their website, Planned Parenthood blamed a lack of state funding for the closure, adding that low-income women would suffer for the loss of their services. The statement failed to note such services included abortions. In 2011 the Texas Legislature ended state funding to Planned Parenthood, an act many attribute to the closing of clinics across the state. Women from that region of Texas seeking abortions must now drive almost two hours to Houston, home to the largest abortion clinic in North America.
In 1998, when Planned Parenthood announced it would open an abortion clinic here, Lauren Gulde, a Roman Catholic, was appalled. She rallied like-minded pro-life advocates to stand in opposition to the clinic. To her amazement, representatives from 60 churches attended the first strategy meeting and the Bryan-College Station Coalition for Life was born. The coalition illustrates the unity of pro-lifers drawing volunteers and donors from evangelical and Catholic backgrounds. And already well-established pregnancy centers welcomed the arrival of a new partner in the fight. For Tracy Frank, director of the Hope Pregnancy Center, “the Marines had landed.” “It is generally accepted in warfare that if you claim sanctuary status, you don’t snipe or fire on the enemy. If you do so, you lose that status and will draw incoming fire,” Frank told the crowd. The evangelical organization has for 28 years operated behind the scenes in Bryan-College Station, never drawing attention to itself through protests but effectively and quietly working behind the scenes leading women to Christ and away from Planned Parenthood. So Frank, a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Bryan, was elated when the Coalition for Life stepped into the fray. As a fledgling organization the coalition sought counsel from similar organizations. A trip to Los Angeles taught the volunteers the increasingly popular and peaceful tactic of sidewalk praying and counseling. With training and faith, volunteers showed up regularly to pray and counsel with women entering the clinic. Local police told Carney the sidewalk in front of the Bryan Planned Parenthood clinic was the
“I believed the end of abortion would begin in this community. For 15 years you prayed. You never gave up. Today we understand why this community is shaping the abortion debate.” —David Bereit, 40 Days for Life national director
Maria Fidone of Central Baptist Church prays outside the closed Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan. She was just one of a score of volunteers who prayed faithfully for years outside the clinic. “God is faithful,” she said.
September 18, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 7
“I want to leave you with this—it’s not done. It’s far from over.” —Abby johnson
Abby Johnson told the pro-life crowd she never believed she would someday call them friends. She urged them to continue the fight and not become complacent in the victory in Bryan. Photos by Bonnie Pritchett
most protested piece of Planned Parenthood property in the country. And Planned Parenthood noticed. Jim Sedlak, an early volunteer, recalled a fund-raising visit from Gloria Feldt, then president of Planned Parenthood. When Sedlak told the crowd Feldt declared Bryan-College Station “the most anti-choice place in the nation,” they cheered. “They were really upset about you,” he said to more cheers and laughter. Clinic directors did not like the quiet protests so fences were erected. But the metal bars did not block views or voices and volunteers passed pro-life tracts through the gaps. So another director put up a screen across the fence. That director was Abby Johnson who, in 2009 after viewing an ultrasound during an abortion, walked out of the clinic and around the corner to the Coalition for Life offices. When she returned to the Planned Parenthood clinic weeks later it was as a prayer volunteer on the sidewalk. Choking back tears, she addressed the crowd. “I never thought I would call some of you 8 TEXANONLINE.NET September 18, 2013
friends.” The 40 Days for Life volunteers persistently prayed outside her office. Carney developed a cordial relationship with her. But Johnson remained committed to what she believed was a woman’s right to choose—until that fateful day. Bereit said Johnson is just one of 83 confirmed abortion clinic workers across the nation who left their jobs since the beginning of the 40 Days for Life campaign. The movement calls on volunteers to pray around the clock for 40 days. Each volunteer takes a shift praying at the clinic so someone is always there, praying, 24 hours a day. The 40 Days for Life movement grew from a desperate time in the coalition. In 2004 Bereit said the Coalition for Life leadership believed they were at an impasse. They were tired and the way forward was unclear. In search of answers the leadership team committed to pray together for one hour. “That prayer gave life to 40 Days for Life,” Bereit said. When Bereit recounted the prayer meeting to friend Jim Olson, he responded, “Planned Parenthood doesn’t know what a bad day they just had.”
That was 2004. By 2007 the movement spread throughout the U.S. and 19 countries. By 2009 Abby Johnson walked out her clinic door. And by 2013 Planned Parenthood’s Bryan clinic closed. “Never again will a single baby be lost at 4112 29th Street. Never again will a young college woman walk briskly to her car with tears in her eyes,” Gulde said. Bereit said, “You’ve shown the world that with God all things are possible.” But Johnson said, “I want to leave you with this—it’s not done. It’s far from over.” She believes abortion will end with the help of former abortion workers like Haywood Robinson and Noreen Johnson. The husband and wife were abortion doctors in Los Angeles before leaving the industry and promoting the pro-life cause. They now practice medicine in College Station and are Christians. Pointing to the barred and locked clinic gates, Robinson told the crowd, “Those gates across the street represent the gates of hell and it shall not stand. That building stands as an Ebenezer as to how God and his people triumph over evil.”
SBTC ANNUAL MEETING: AMARILLO, OCT. 27-29
2013 Bible Conference messages follow ‘Set Like Flint’ theme AMARILLO
“Set Like Flint,” based on Isaiah 50:7, is the theme for the Oct. 27-28 pre-convention Bible Conference. The event will feature music and preaching designed to encourage participants, said conference President Gil Lain, pastor of Paramount Baptist Church in Amarillo. Speakers for the Bible Conference include Jimmy Draper of Colleyville, president emeritus of LifeWay Christian Resources; Al Meredith, pastor of Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth; Fredy Pavez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Fuente Viva in Amarillo; Tim Skaggs, pastor of Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood; David Walker, pastor of Alamo City Church in San Antonio, and Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla., and former pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas. In addition to the choir and praise team from Paramount Baptist, the Caleb Lain Band of Northside Baptist Church in Weatherford will also perform at the Bible Conference. “We hope to encourage those in ministry with inspiring music and messages to hang in there,” Lain said. “There are a lot of hurting people out there. We want to help and encourage. I think pastors are going to leave encouraged, refreshed and maybe have new hope.” Following the Bible Conference Monday morning session, the Ministry Café will offer a cross-generational dialogue for pastors and ministry leaders. Two seasoned pastors, T.C. Melton, former SBTC area coordinator for West Texas who pastored Elmcrest Baptist in Abilene, and Draper who pastored First Baptist Church of Euless, and
two younger pastors, John Powell of First Baptist Church of Hamlin and Wes Hinote of First Baptist Church of Plum Grove in Cleveland, will dialogue, asking questions and sharing ministry experiences. “We are going to have the young guys ask the older guys about ministry,” Lain said. As the audience listens, Lain said he hopes they gain useful insights. Especially, “I hope the young guys will take advantage of this opportunity,” Lain said. Registration for the Ministry Café is available at sbtexas.com/am13. Tickets are $5. Draper has announced his intention to nominate Michael Dean, pastor of Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, to serve as president of next year’s Bible Conference. SPANISH-LANGUAGE SESSION A Spanish-language pre-convention session will be held on Sunday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. in the Grand Plaza, featuring mission testimonies and preaching. MEALS & FELLOWSHIPS @ ANNUAL MEETING Other gatherings on Monday include a free dinner at 4:30 p.m. focusing on church revitalization. Also, Criswell College will host a dessert reception from 9-10 p.m. with a discussion of future plans
for a residential campus at a new location, expanded curriculum and online classes. Other Tuesday events include the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Alumni and Friends Breakfast at 7 a.m., and the President’s Luncheon at noon featuring a testimony from evangelist Tim Lee, a Vietnam veteran who received the Purple Heart. Then at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday a free “Bless the West” steak dinner will be held prior to Tuesday night’s session highlighting ministry in West Texas. Reservations for all meals, including the free “Bless the West” dinner on Tuesday may be made online at sbtexas.com/am13. DAY OF PRAYER/FASTING The Day of Fasting & Prayer for the SBTC annual meeting will be Sunday, Oct. 13 with an emphasis on spiritual awakening. Resources are available on the SBTC website at sbtexas.com/prayer. The SBTC officers and staff are inviting churches to pray that the meeting and related events will be God-honoring.
RESOLUTIONS DEADLINE The deadline to submit resolutions to the SBTC Resolutions Committee is close of business Thursday, Oct. 17. Members of SBTC-affiliated churches may submit resolutions by email to email@example.com or by mail to Stephanie Barksdale, SBTC communications, PO Box 1988, Grapevine, TX 76099. Resolutions must be accompanied by the author’s contact information and church membership. A set of resolutions will be offered by the committee and considered by messengers during Tuesday’s session at the SBTC annual meeting in Amarillo.
September 18, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 9
Airman who disagreed with commander over gay marriage now being investigated “I was stunned and immediately felt that this was a retaliation against me for coming forward with my religious discrimination complaint.” —Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk
By Bonnie Pritchett
n Air Force senior master sergeant who filed a formal complaint after being relieved of his duties for disagreeing with his lesbian commander about same-sex marriage suspects that complaint may have led to his being read Miranda rights during questioning over the case, his attorney said. In an ironic turn, Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk could face court martial if formal charges are filed, attorney Michael Berry of the Plano-based Liberty Institute said. Monk was Mirandized on Aug. 27 during an on-base 10 TEXANONLINE.NET September 18, 2013
interview with Air Force investigators over Monk’s allegations that his Lackland Air Force Base commanding officer, Maj. Elisa Valenzuela, violated his religious and free speech liberties. No formal charges have been filed against Monk, but being Mirandized indicates he is under suspicion of filing a false complaint by military authorities, Berry said. The standard fact-finding interview with Monk was turned on its ear when the investigator stopped the interview and read Monk his rights, shocking Berry, who said he has never seen that happen in his seven years active duty as a Marine Corps lawyer and subsequent time as a reservist. Berry said the investigator likely believed Monk was lying about his encounter with Valenzuela, giving him probable cause to Mirandize the airman. Filing a false complaint against a commanding officer is punishable by court martial. Monk has been appointed a military defense attorney but Berry will stay on as lead counsel. In a press release issued by Liberty Institute, Monk stated, “I was stunned and immediately felt that this was a retaliation against me for coming forward with my religious discrimination complaint.” In his original grievance filed late last month Monk alleged Valenzuela violated his religious liberties when she relieved him of duty for not agreeing with her that opposing same-sex marriage is discriminatory. Valen-
zuela, a lesbian, has been open about her sexuality and relationship with a female partner since assuming her role as commander earlier this year. The allegation against Monk creates an unusual circumstance. Monk’s wing commander, who is responsible for ruling on such complaints, could be presented with two investigations for ruling—one based on a complaint by Monk and the other a complaint against Monk—in the same investigation. “That’s why this is so ridiculous,” Berry told the TEXAN. “The Air Force must now decide whether it will charge SMSgt Monk with the crime of making a false official statement,” Berry said in the press release. This latest incident is not the first in which Monk and his attorney suspect reprisals. Berry said initial testimony vindicates Monk of wrongdoing in the original conflict and, instead, reveals he became the target of a vendetta by the commander, who meted out punishment for perceived anti-homosexual discrimination. The original disagreement between Monk and Valenzuela about same-sex marriage did not arise until the master sergeant began an investigation of another airman charged with making antihomosexual remarks, according to Monk. In the course of discussing disciplinary options with Valenzuela, Monk was pressed for his opinion. According to Monk, Valenzuela became incensed when she realized Monk did not agree with her view on same-sex marriage and relieved him of duty. “I believed I was being coerced to answer in the way she wanted,”
Monk said. “As a Christian I could not answer the way she wanted me to.” Berry contends Monk’s dismissal was due to his Christian convictions, not actionable conduct. He stated in an Aug. 20 letter to Valenzuela that her actions were a violation of specific military codes and religious liberty protections under the First Amendment. On Aug. 9 Monk received a call informing him he was separated from his unit and his reassignment to the Lackland medic unit was being expedited. Although the reassignment was planned before his disagreement with Valenzuela, Monk was in the midst of a weekslong process of training his replacement when he was relieved of duty and told to refrain from all contact with his replacement. He was also told to clear out his office but was barred from doing so while Valenzuela was in hers just down the hall. “I was made to feel that because I have a deeply held religious view different from hers, I was unworthy of being in her vicinity,” he said. “We’re crossing a line. You can now be punished for believing something,” Berry said. As Monk awaits the outcome of both investigations, he is continuing to work in his new assignment with the Lackland medic unit. This is not the first time Monk has been involved in controversy at Lackland Air Force Base. In 2012, Staff Sgt. Luis Walker was convicted of the sexual assault of female recruits. Rumors of Walker’s actions had been circulating around the base when commanders told Monk to “get to the bottom of it.” Monk’s initial interview with one of the first victims led to the investigation of Walker and his ultimate conviction. Monk, a master sergeant at the time, helped facilitate the investigation.
September 18, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 11
San Antonio nondiscrimination law could prevent SBC, SBTC from meeting in city facilities By David Roach
new San Antonio nondiscrimination ordinance likely will prevent the Southern Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention from holding annual meetings in the city’s convention facilities because the law requires all city contracts to include a statement that the contracting party will not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, said an attorney who represents both conventions. “The likelihood is that if there is any ambiguity in the minds of the conventions as to what it is they’re agreeing to, that city will simply be bypassed. Or at least the city-owned facilities will be bypassed,” James Guenther, general counsel for the SBC and SBTC, told the TEXAN. The ordinance, passed Sept. 5 by an 8-3 vote of the City Council, also allows city officials to be removed from office if they discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and forbids businesses in the city, with few exceptions, from discriminating based on their opposition to homosexuality. An earlier draft of the ordinance that would have made it illegal to demonstrate “bias by word or deed” was removed in the final version in favor
12 TEXANONLINE.NET September 18, 2013
of the term “discrimination.” Religious organizations, according to the text of the law, would be exempt from the law’s hiring requirements. The SBC last met in San Antonio in 2007 in a cityowned convention hall. The SBTC met in San Antonio last year, but at Castle Hills First Baptist Church. It’s not clear how the new ordinance would apply to a convention leasing the city’s facilities, Guenther said. One possible interpretation is that no official statement of the convention would be allowed to denounce homosexuality. Another interpretation is that the convention would only be barred from denying seating to homosexual messengers. Either interpretation is problematic, Guenther said. Neither SBC nor SBTC governing documents specifically exclude homosexuals from being messengers, he said, but they forbid churches that affirm homosexuality from sending messengers. The SBTC constitution, article IV, states, “The SBTC will not consider for affiliation or continued affiliation any church that has taken action affirming, approving, or endorsing the practice of homosexuality. Such actions include but are not limited to the licensure or ordination of homosexuals, marriage or blessing of homosexual relationships, and endorsing homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.” The document only allows affiliated church-
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (center, blue shirt) marches in a Martin Luther King Day parade. Castro and City Council member Diego Bernal successfully led efforts to add the category of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. Efforts are underway to unseat Bernal, Castro and the six others who voted for the new ordinance, which passed 8-3 on Sept. 5. City of San Antonio media photo
es to send messengers to annual meetings. The SBC constitution, article III, states, “The Convention shall consist of messengers who are members of missionary Baptist churches cooperating with the Convention.” It goes on to specify, “Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.” Whether either convention “discriminates” against homosexuals is a “nuanced” and complicated issue, Guenther said. “If someone walks in off the street and is not a messenger but is known to be homosexual somehow, he’s still welcome (at an annual meeting),” he said. “Obviously if he misconducts himself, then he’s not welcome. But we do not, to my knowledge, bar the presence of persons who are homosexual per se in the meeting.” But “if a church sent a person as a messenger and that person was known to be one who himself was
homosexual or one who championed homosexual causes, that would raise the question of whether the church is in friendly cooperation. And if the church is deemed to be not in friendly cooperation, as evidenced by the church’s selection of that messenger, then the convention could act to deny the seating of that messenger,” Guenther said. Other cities have nondiscrimination ordinances, but neither the SBC nor SBTC has been forced to sign a contract for an annual meeting promising not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, Guenther said, adding that the San Antonio ordinance is particularly problematic. “When one reads the San Antonio ordinance, I think one would conclude that the convention commission, or whoever operates the convention center that a convention wants to lease, would have no authority to execute a contract unless it contained this provision,” he said. The SBC and SBTC are “very sensi-
tive” to the development of nondiscrimination ordinances and will “take care on the first occasion” that a contract is presented barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, Guenther said. “We have discussed this development with both conventions, and those officers who make convention arrangements are sensitive to them,” he said. “We’ll simply have to wait and see how these ordinances get interpreted.” Multiple groups have announced plans to file legal challenges to the ordinance, and efforts are underway to recall Councilman Diego Bernal, the measure’s author, and Mayor Julian Castro, who supported it. Elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, have raised concerns as well. Under the law, wedding-related businesses, such as photography studios and caterers, could be targeted for legal action if they refuse to participate in homosexual commitment ceremonies, for example, said Jonathan Saenz, an attorney with the conservative Texas Values. Printing businesses could also be cited if they refuse to print literature or articles of clothing for gay pride events. “Primarily, you’re going to see small businesses targeted,” Saenz said. “They don’t have the type of support or financial ability to withstand any type of attack or challenge on these types of issues.” Businesses that deal with the city government must include in their city contracts a statement that they do not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Violation of the law by businesses or property owners is a Class C misdemeanor. September 18, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 13
Moore inaugurated as ERLC president By Tom Strode
ent” than other historical eras. raphy, in which there is no aborThe message Jesus shared, and tion, in which there is no malaria, his followers should share, is one in which there is no trafficking, in WASHINGTON, D.C. which there is no poverty, as long as of judgment and of hope, not fear, The mission of the Southern there is no cross,” Moore said. “[W]e Moore said. Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty “The word that Jesus has given cannot be longing for Mayberry. We Commission is not primarily to his church is a word that is must have a voice that speaks to declare biblical moralfilled with optimism and joy,” he to the conscience, a voice ity but to proclaim the told inaugural guests. “We are not that is spattered with gospel of Jesus, Russell slouching toward Gomorrah; we are blood.” D. Moore said upon his marching to Zion.” The kingdom of God, inauguration as the Moore said, is “not made entity’s new president. up of the moral. The kingAGGIE NAMED ERLC VP Moore was inaugurated dom of God is made up of During its annual gathering of Sept. 10 in a ceremony the crucified.” trustees Sept. 11, the Ethics & ReliRussell Moore at Capitol Hill Baptist In an address based on gious Liberty Commission appointed Church in Washington, Luke 4:14-30, Moore also delivered Phillip Bethancourt as the organizaabout six months after ERLC trusttion’s executive vice president. ees elected him in March to lead the words of caution for American Christians. “[F]or too long we have Bethancourt, a native of Texas commission. He took office in June. Members of Congress, at least one assumed that the church is a means and graduate of Texas A&M Univerto an end to save America,” he said. sity, previously served as associate Obama administration official, re“America is important. vice president of enrollment ligious leaders, advocacy organiza“But the end goal of the management and stution representatives and most of the gospel is not a Christian dent life, as well as an Southern Baptist Convention’s enAmerica. The end goal of assistant professor of tity heads participated or observed the gospel is redeemed Christian theology, at as Moore received encouragement from every tribe and Southern Baptist Theoand challenges from speakers in a tongue and nation and logical Seminary. He service marked by hymn singing, language” dwelling in the also received a master of Bible reading and prayer. new Jerusalem, Moore told divinity and a doctorate in The ERLC addresses moral, social Phillip Bethancourt the audience. systematic theology from and church-state issues—and their “We will stand as good Amerithe seminary. public policy implications—on can citizens, and we will fight for “A proud Texan and an even behalf of Southern Baptists, but Moore said in his inaugural address justice, and we will fight for liberty, prouder Aggie, Phillip Bethancourt is one of the most dynamic leaders the gospel is the focus of the entity’s and we will fight with our forefathers for all of those things that I’ve ever known,” said Russell D. charge. have been [guaranteed to us] by Moore, president of the ERLC. “HavThe mission of God’s people and the Constitution as Americans, but ing served with excellence as an the ERLC, Moore said, “is not simwe will also remember that we are associate vice president at Southply to speak about what the law of not Americans first,” he said. “We ern Seminary, Dr. Bethancourt has God has revealed. It is not simply belong to another kingdom.” demonstrated a truly amazing track to speak of the ethical norms that Baptist Christians “can no longer record for innovation and creativthe Scripture has given to us. It is to pretend that we are a moral majority, along with a deep burden to speak primarily with the gospel of ity in this country,” Moore said. “We see the kingdom of God transform Jesus Christ.” people, families and churches.” Satan “is more than happy to have are a prophetic minority who must a world in which there is no pornog- speak into a world that is not differ14 TEXANONLINE.NET September 18, 2013
IMB’s Elliff laments Christians’ callousness By Kate Gregory ROCKVILLE, Va.
International Mission Board President Tom Elliff is concerned that Christians have become desensitized to everyone’s need for a Savior. Christians pray for others’ hearts to be stirred toward Christ but they also need to pray that their own hearts are continually stirred by a deep burden for the spiritually lost, Elliff told IMB trustees during their Aug. 27-28 meeting at the IMB International Learning Center in Rockville, Va. Elliff said he has a hard time sleeping after watching the evening news, not just because of wars, disasters and other tragedies, but because “every one of us has learned how to look at the most horrific things you can imagine and be unmoved by them.” “We know where the great tragedies are, we see people running for their lives and starving physically,” Elliff said. But most often they also are starving spiritually. “We’ve learned how to be aware of lostness but not be moved by lostness,” Elliff said. “We have a tendency when speaking of lostness to speak of it statistically.” But statistical overload, he said, doesn’t equate those numbers with individuals in dire need of Jesus. The words of Proverbs 24:11 haunt Elliff: “Deliver those who are being taken away to death and those who are staggering to slaughter. Oh, hold them back” (NASB). “’Hold them back,’ God says. That’s our mandate,” Elliff said. “Everything we do must be framed in the light of the lostness of this earth. That’s what we’re about.” Southern Baptist churches need to be focused together in one sacred
effort of pulling people back from lostness and an eternity separated from God, he said. “Missions is the stack pole of the Southern Baptist Convention,” he stated. “Missions is all about lostness.” When Southern Baptists give to the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, it isn’t to meet a need the IMB has, Elliff stressed. It’s to meet the need the world has for the gospel.
approved IMB’s launching of a new initiative called the Kairos Project to mobilize Hispanic Southern Baptists to serve as cross-cultural missionaries. They will serve in strategic More willing missionaries roles around the world where their than funds language skills and cultural affiniEvery penny of the $175 million ties will provide greater access to LMCO goal is absolutely needed, Da- reach others with the gospel. Kairos vid Steverson, IMB vice president of is a Greek word that means “at the finance and treasurer, told trustees opportune moment.” during his report. Hispanics are one of the fastestSouthern Baptists’ international growing segments of the U.S. evanmissionary count remains under gelical community, including South5,000, a limit necessitated by the ern Baptists. It is estimated that the economic downturn of the past few number of Hispanic Baptist churchyears. es will double to 7,000 by 2020. The LMCO goal since 2009 of reIMB is seeking qualified applicants ceiving $175 million within one year for the Kairos Project within the has not been reached. The closest the International Service Corps (ISC) offering has come to $175 million category of missionary service. ISC was slightly more than $150 million terms are typically two to three in 2006 and 2007 and nearly $150 years. It is anticipated they will serve million in 2012. in Europe, Central Asia, Southeast “People ask, ‘Why not lower the Asia, South Asia and Latin America. goal?’” Elliff told trustees. “The Applications to serve in the Kairos problem is not the goal; it’s not high Project are being accepted at the enough. imb.org website. Within the online “We need to reach that goal just as application form, type “Kairos Proja testimony of our awareness of the ect” in the box titled, “Type of Job lostness of the world,” he continued. Assignment Preferred.” “I am grateful for every coin that Hispanics who want to be considhas come, for every person that has ered for Kairos Project missionary sacrificed, but now is not the time to deployment to the field by the end of retrench.... There has never been a 2014 should initiate the ISC applicagreater time for missions than this.” tion process this fall. More information on the project is available from Hispanics engaging lostness IMB initial contacts at 888-422-6461; Underlining that point, trustees email, firstname.lastname@example.org. September 18, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 15
At 94, longtime Bible teacher publishes book By Sharayah Colter
about which to write and speak. She said there is no other life as exciting as a life lived in submission and obeDorothy Mae Walden never planned on writing a book. Actually, dience to the Lord and his plan. “I just had such a life that I could she never even desired to become an not have planned it,” Walden said. author. But just like everything else in her life, the opportunity came just “That’s why I tell everyone he has a when the Lord sent it her way. At age plan for your life. You’ve got to listen to God and obey what he tells you to 94, Walden published “Let’s Have do.” a Visit,” in which she, a long-time Walden, who met her late husband Bible teacher and radio personality, Benton Thomas Walden Sr., known describes her life and walk with her as Buddy, while studying at CoSavior, Jesus Christ. lumbia School of Radio and Drama After having been approached about writing such a book, Walden, a in Chicago, spent 18 years hosting a radio show called “Let’s Have a member of Castle Hills First Baptist Church in San Antonio, recalled tell- Visit.” In addition to that task, she ing her sons, Tommy and David, that also raised two sons, co-hosted a she would not be doing such a thing. monthly, city-wide prayer breakfast with her husband and became a real“David said, ‘Mother, would you write it if God told you to?’” Walden tor after her sons had grown. She recalled the days of the past 94 years said, recalling their conversation. as joyous because of the relationship “[I said], ‘David, I’d do anything I she began with Christ as a 10-yearthought the Lord wanted me to.” old girl. And so, after the Lord confirmed “I have had a beautiful life, and that she should write about her life it starts with prayer. Start the day and his role in it, she began, she recalled. At that point the words just in prayer. God has let me wake up singing, and I’m not good at singcame. Then, as easily as they came, ing. God just gives us joy,” Walden they were gone after the book had been written in its entirety, she said, said, adding that she counts true joy as putting “J-Jesus first, O-Others explaining that she knew then the second and Y-Yourself third. Lord had shown her the book’s end“This has been an exciting advening place and had given her just the ture for me, and I use the word excitright amount of words for what he ing sincerely.” she said. “We have wanted her to communicate. not had a perfect existence. We’ve Since the book’s publication in 2012, Walden has attended multiple had some sad things, of course. Everyone does. But nothing he didn’t book signings and said she is honwalk us through.” ored by the response the book has In a 1982 interview, Walden dereceived, but she said she sends all the glory and praise straight to God, scribed her passion for leading others to the same saving knowledge of not only for her book, but for the Christ that changed and shaped her Christ-ruled life he has given her 16 TEXANONLINE.NET September 18, 2013
life and coming eternity. “I want others to be sure that they really know Jesus Christ personally—really know him, not about him. Too many people have only a head knowledge. … This is the one thing that all my life, he has impressed on me: that people can go to church, they can study religion, they can be so intellectually bright, but if they’ve not known him, they’ve missed it all.” Walden said she takes the Great Commission literally and personally and received it as her duty, becoming in essence, a “home missionary,” sharing the good news of the gospel with anyone the Lord placed in her path. Tommy and David, who together with their wives, edited the book, say that is exactly who they have witnessed their mother to be. “She’s the real deal,” Tommy Walden said. “Everything you read in the book is true, because we lived it. We are still seeing the person of Jesus Christ living his life out through my mother. As my mother says, we are not perfect. We all have feet of clay; But she has done what the Lord’s asked of her.” Walden’s ministry website is letshaveavisit.com.
Reach Texas Offering exceeds two giving goals in one year ‘Hometown Texas’ is the theme for the 2013-14 giving year
By Jerry Pierce The way Terry Coy sees it, the Reach Texas Offering has certifiably arrived as the state missions offering for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. In years past, occasional questions would arise about whether or not the SBTC had a state missions offering or if Reach Texas was synonymous with an older offering named for a person. But 15 years into the convention’s life, the Reach Texas Offering is a source of strength, helping advance the gospel in densely and sparsely populated areas of the Lone Star State. In mid-August, two weeks before the giving year ended, Coy was ecstatic with giving of $1.238 million— exceeding not only this year’s goal of $1.1 million but next year’s goal of $1.2 million. Last year’s giving was boosted by a large year-end gift, “which when that happens you thank God for it but think that’s not going to come in next year,” Coy admitted. So when $1.2 million was chosen as a challenge goal for 2013-14, it seemed reasonable. Coy was right. No large year-end gifts came in this year—just hundreds of Texas Southern Baptist churches giving generously over and above their Cooperative
Program (CP) gifts, Coy said. Every dollar from the Reach Texas Offering is used for evangelism and missions, with church planting being the largest beneficiary. That’s possible because administrative costs are covered through CP giving—the shared funding stream that fuels Southern Baptists’ cooperative work in Texas and worldwide. “Of course, thanks for the churches’ faithfulness and generosity,” Coy said. This month, the offering year begins anew. The 201314 Reach Texas Offering Week of Prayer and Emphasis is Sept. 22-29 with the theme “Hometown Texas,” following last year’s theme of “Life in the Big City.” “The emphasis for ‘Hometown Texas’ is on what churches are doing in smaller and mid-sized cities in the varied regions of Texas,” Coy said. Of 27 million Texans, more than 3 million live outside the large metropolitan areas and more than 7 million live in small or mid-sized cities. Coy noted that the theme each year is merely an emphasis and not a reflection of the broad missions engagement in urban and rural settings where Reach Texas dollars further gospel work. “For example, we have emphasized the Borderlands— Laredo and El Paso are two cities where we are active— and the Reach Texas Offering assists us in funding new church plants and training and deploying new church planters there and elsewhere, of course. And it supplements disaster relief, evangelism strategies and missions mobilization.” Keeping pace with church planting needs is a primary concern. The SBTC missions team reports that to keep up with population growth, 300 rural and 5,060 urban churches would need to be started every 10 years. Also, Texas has 6.8 million residents who speak a language other than English at home, almost double the national percentage. Glenmary Research Data reports that 76 percent of Texans would beconsidered “unchurched.” To learn more about the Reach Texas Offering or to download offering resources, visit sbtexas.com/reachtexas. September 18, 2013 TEXANONLINE.NET 17
Up close, the collaborative power of cooperation
t has been nearly 10 years since I took the class “Baptist History and Distinctives.” This class focused on the origin and history of Baptists. We studied the hardships of the early Anabaptists, heroic founders such as John Smyth, Christopher Blackwood and John Tombes who faced the fires of hostility but refused to compromise their biblical convictions. We reviewed the cooperation and struggles of Baptists, including those of 20th-century Southern Baptists, and how great men stood their ground and fought for their biblical convictions. The class was excellent, but the class added no understanding of the function, purpose and benefit of the convention to the Southern Baptist churches that support it through the Cooperative Program (CP)—Southern Baptists’ shared funding stream for missions here and abroad. Prior to my first pastorate, I had the privilege of serving as the SBTC’s first intern for a year, serving directly under Executive Director Jim Richards. This experience provided insight into the function of the convention and the fruit of Southern Baptist churches cooperating with one another. One of the greatest moments I had while serving that year was going to Amarillo to see and celebrate a commissioning service for International Mission Board missionaries. It was the first time I had ever been to a commissioning. In awe, I watched those who would commit themselves to peoples abroad, leaving families and comforts they have always known and embracing the risks and dangers that lay before them because the gospel compelled them. It was incredible to see so many coming together to support the mission of the gospel. After hearing from those who would serve all over the world—some had their names mentioned, others remained anonymous be18 TEXANONLINE.NET September 18, 2013
cause they were bound for a land hostile toward the gospel—I saw first-hand the beauty of the CP, and the need. The SBTC stands out among state conventions due to its standard-setting support for the Cooperative Program. As most state conventions operate on the larger share of undesignated giving, the SBTC gives most of their budget through the CP for national and international ministry. While serving as an intern, I had the chance to attend an SBTC informational meeting at the invitation of a church near Fort Worth. The church was relatively small in number, small in budget, but grandiose in concern for spreading the gospel. I watched as SBTC staff members presented the convention’s mission, purpose and heart, and I noticed that they were not prejudiced by the size of the church or its budget, but rather they regarded the church’s love for God’s Word and their motivation for sharing the gospel. For pastors who may be interested in affiliating with the convention and cooperating with other Southern Baptist churches, it is easy to ask, “What’s in it for me?” While this attitude toward the convention and CP giving is unfortunate, there is an answer. In my experience, the SBTC has supported, encouraged, trained and equipped me as a pastor to effectively lead my church to reach our community with the gospel. Just after our honeymoon, my wife and I began our new life together serving a small country church in San Saba. The church had endured much and could only offer a parsonage and a small salary, with the expectation of growth. This scenario is common for pastors in Texas and other states. While the roof over our heads was greatly appreciated, the salary was not quite enough to live on. The SBTC stepped in with a short-term supplement as we served in that small community. Later that year, my wife and I were invited to a pastors and wives retreat. Not only was it refreshing to fellowship with other couples who were in ministries similar to ours, it was the first time we were able to go on what we considered to be a vacation. Now I pastor in Trenton and have received support and tools through the annual Equip Conference as well as a Sunday School evaluation from one of the convention’s staff who posed as a “secret-shopper.” I could go on and list more of the ways I have been personally blessed by our state convention, but I would rather take this opportunity to encourage others to support our state convention. We live in a very individualistic society and that mindset has influenced my generation of pastors. We must continue to cooperate with one another as we seek to “Reach Texas” and “Touch the World.” —Joshua Crutchfield is pastor of First Baptist Church of Trenton and a member of the SBTC Executive Board.