Month: November 2010

Bible Conference preachers emphasize Scripture exposition

@font-face {
font-family: “Cambria”;
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

CORPUS CHRISTI?Preachers from Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky,
Mississippi, and Virginia spoke at the 2010 SBTC Bible Conference, gleaning
from various passages a recurring theme of the necessity and urgency of
preaching Scripture to their congregations.

The Bible must be preached effectively for the Holy Spirit
to move in people, convert souls, and positively influence society, speakers
told those present for the conference preceding the SBTC annual meeting.

The Bible Conference elected as officers for 2010-11: Terry
Turner, pastor of Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church in Mesquite, as conference president. First vice
president for the coming year will be Alex Gonzales, pastor of Hickory Tree
Baptist Church in Balch Springs, and serving as second vice president will be
Scott Gray, pastor of Sycamore Baptist Church in Decatur.


Tony Merida, pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Meridian,
Miss., told the Bible Conference that he identifies with Timothy, the recipient
of the New Testament letter, “because he was not a stained-glass saint” but
timid and fearful among the “jacked-up church” he was leading in Ephesus.

Paul’s advice to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1-8, Merida said, is
a prescription for a gospel-centered ministry that draws on the grace of

“The key in our day is to keep what is central [the gospel],
central, and to not put it in the middle.”

In the passage, Merida said Paul exhorts Timothy to be daily
strengthened in the gospel, to multiply the gospel intentionally, to suffer for
it faithfully, and to hope in it wholeheartedly.

“My strength is not in how long I’ve been a Christian, how
much I know about the Bible or how long I’ve been in ministry” but by his grace
in the gospel.

Noting that Paul was not physically impressive or persuasive
but instead was conscious of his weakness, pastors must also recognize their
inherent weaknesses.

“This is the key to faithfulness; we live out of our
weakness and into his strength,” Merida said?. “Grace comes to us as we open
the Word of God.”

Quoting 2 Timothy 2:2’s command to entrust the gospel to
faithful men who are able to teach others, “This verse is really a life verse
for me,” Merida said.

The fact that the Bible Conference was gathered in Corpus
Christi for gospel purposes is proof “somebody did 2 Timothy 2:2 and they’ve
been doing it for 2,000 years.”

Using a golf analogy, Merida said if preaching is the driver
in a pastor’s golf bag, then small groups are the irons and one-on-one
mentoring is the putter.

“You drive for show but you putt for dough,” Merida said,
repeating the oft-quoted mantra and lamenting that many pastors are not
involved in personal mentoring.

“I think if Paul wrote your job description he would
[include it],” Merida said. “This is an important thing; we are missing an
entire generation.”

“You might find yourself rejuvenated if you’d start doing 2
Timothy 2:2.”


Steven Smith, dean of the College at Southwestern and
professor of preaching, asked the gathering, “Do you think there is any future
for the gospel?”

The question was not facetious or rhetorical. Smith said
studies show 26 percent of Americans (even as few as 14 percent) attend church.
Of those, only a fraction attends evangelical churches. And amongst that small
band only 50 percent believe in the exclusivity of salvation in Christ.

“So,” he concluded, “if you believe in what we call the
gospel you are in the minority of the minority, of

RESOLUTIONS: From racial reconciliation to sex trafficking

@font-face {
font-family: “Cambria”;
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

CORPUS CHRISTI?Messengers to the 2010 SBTC annual meeting
approved five resolutions, including statements on racial reconciliation,
life-affirming stem cell research and sex trafficking.

The resolutions, which are non-binding consensus statements
of voting messengers elected by member churches, also covered gambling and
adoption and orphan care.


The racial reconciliation resolution acknowledged the
“nearly 400 ethno-linguistic groups” in Texas and commended “continuing efforts
to make the representative diversity of our convention” reflected in

Noting the gospel’s universal message of sin and redemption
“irrespective of ethnicity, language or culture” and the ethnic diversity
awaiting believers in Heaven, the resolution expressed “love for all people of
every ethnicity.”

Further, “we condemn any action which is racist in nature or
intent” and “we encourage churches to consider ways in which their church
committee and leadership structures can accurately reflect ethnic diversity
within their congregations.”


Also of note was the stem-cell research resolution, which
referred to the research of “Dr. Shinya Yamanaka [who] while at Kyoto
University in 2007 discovered a method of transforming somatic cells into
induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells?thus making embryo-destructive research

The resolution affirms man created in God’s image (Genesis 2:7)
“and thus human life has value (Jeremiah 1:5),” and life beginning at
conception (Psalm 139:13-16) until “God’s appointed time” (Jeremiah 29:11).”

“Resolved, we encourage our elected officials to promote
adult stem cell research and defund embryo-destructive research.”


The sex trafficking resolution decried the 293,000 minors
exploited annually in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of
Justice, and encouraged churches to “support victim rescue and restoration

The resolution came within a week of the Texas attorney
general’s office announcing its intention to aid law enforcement agencies in
combating sex trafficking during Super Bowl week next February, when the game
comes to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

The resolution noted “the ever-expanding and increasingly
mainstream pornography industry?which seeks ever-younger children for its
lucrative films, videos and printed materials?[which] drives the demand for
child sexual exploitation.”

Further, the resolution quotes Proverbs 24:11-12, which
speaks of rescuing “those who are being taken away to death” and “stumbling to
the slaughter” and condemns those who would turn a blind eye from it.

A national sex-trafficking exploitation hotline is included
in the resolution: 1-888-373-7888.

“Resolved, we encourage churches to support victim rescue
and restoration ministries, demonstrating the spirit of Psalm 82:3-4, ‘Give
justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and
destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the


Following a theme at the Bible Conference, where a portion
of the offering went to adoption ministry, this resolution spoke of God as a
“father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) and the approximately 40 biblical
references to care for orphans.

It also recognizes the metaphors of Israel as God’s
“firstborn son” (Exodus 4:22) and the adoption of believers as God’s children
and “fellow heirs with Christ.”

“Resolved, we encourage our pastors and church leaders in
their continuing efforts to preach and teach on God’s concern for orphans and
to commend ministries that provide financial resources to families desiring to
adopt?” the resolution stated.

<p style="fon

Ezell to missionaries: ‘Do whatever it takes’

@font-face {
font-family: “Cambria”;
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

CORPUS CHRISTI?Millions of people are lost and in need of
the gospel?and that’s just in the United States and Canada, North American
Mission Board (NAMB) President Kevin Ezell told SBTC messengers and guests.

According to NAMB statistics, 258 million people in those
regions need to hear the message of the 36 missionaries commissioned during the
annual meeting’s closing session on Nov. 16 at the American Bank Center in
Corpus Christi.

The missionaries were young and old, single and married,
American born and foreign born. They asked for prayer support in native English
and in heavily accented English as they embark on gospel ministry among
collegians, immigrants, post-modern urbanites and those in more rural outposts.

All will share common experiences, Ezell told them. They
will have days of celebration and days of challenge. But they can draw
encouragement from others who did all they could, who did things in an
unconventional way, to bring someone to Christ.

The cripple in Mark 2 had four good friends who were not
going to be deterred as they sought the means to see him healed, Ezell pointed
out. Someone had the idea, he said, to take their friend to Jesus. The
reputation for healing miracles performed by the rabbi had not been lost on the
men. They carried their friend on his mat to the home where Jesus was teaching
only to find the building filled with people.

Not deterred, they took their friend to the roof and, from
there, clawed their way down into the presence of Christ. The single-minded
intent of the men resulted in the miraculous healing of their friend.

“I love these fellas because ‘whatever it takes’ is their
attitude,” he said.

Speaking directly to the missionaries, Ezell said, “You’re
going to get [to your assigned location] and there are going to be roadblocks.
But you have to have the attitude of ‘whatever it takes.'”

In his closing prayer over the missionaries Ezell pleaded,
“May we be tenacious, fearless to do whatever it takes.”

During the commissioning, each missionary or missionary
couple told messengers their names and where they would be serving. Following
that, messengers and guests were invited to gather around each missionary
family and pray for them.

Praying, Listening’ for God’s presence, power

@font-face {
font-family: “Cambria”;
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

This year’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas
Convention was one of the best ever. President Byron McWilliams did a superb
job moderating the sessions and preaching a powerful sermon. Pastor Jim
Pritchard brought the convention sermon. It was timely and anointed. The North
American Mission Board missionary commissioning service was special. Numerous
others contributed to the spiritual atmosphere through speaking, singing,
testifying and even reporting. A huge “thank you” is in order to the churches
in the Corpus Christi area for their work. The Crossover evangelism effort
resulted in new followers of Jesus. The SBTC staff did a fine job too.

God spoke to my heart during the time in Corpus Christi. The
“Praying and Listening” theme for the annual meeting provided a highlight
during the sessions. The spiritual impact of people going before the Lord was
experienced in my heart and among the other messengers as well. As we continue
to place ourselves before Him we will see even more powerful displays of His

The Praying and Listening emphasis is extended through 2011.
There are SBTC staff who live among the churches across Texas. To better serve
the churches your staff has created 18 specific zones of ministry. Starting in
March, I along with other SBTC staff will be joining you in prayer meetings in
each zone. We will pray with you and for the churches, associations, the SBTC,
our nation, and the lost. Volunteer prayer facilitators have been secured in
every zone. Through prayer we have the possibility of God breaking through in
our lives. We need a spiritual renewal among God’s people and a spiritual
awakening among those without Christ. Only God can do it.

We will also have a time of “listening.” The context of the
meetings will be sharing the SBTC staff’s vision statement and asking the
question, “How can we help your church accomplish the vision?” The vision
statement is, “We envision every SBTC church effectively fulfilling the Great
Commission by being intentionally evangelistic, missionally engaged and
equipping disciples.” This vision is simply “the Great Commission.” As your
staff, we are listening to God and we want to hear from His people too. Join
with us in praying and listening throughout 2011.

SBTC hosting Frisco leadership retreat

@font-face {
font-family: “Cambria”;
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is sponsoring a
college and young adult leadership retreat called Intersect, Jan. 13-15 in

Speakers for the retreat include Mark Dever, pastor of
Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.; John Meador, pastor of First
Baptist Church of Euless; Tim Elmore of; Wes Hamiliton,
speaker; and musician Matt Boswell.

The theme for the Intersect Retreat is “Signals,” which
plays off of traffic light signals of stop, caution and go.

“This conference is about developing the next generation of
leaders. It is for collegiate and young adult ministry leaders and their
leadership teams or those that they are developing to be leadership teams,”
said Lance Crowell, SBTC church ministries associate.

“This concept came from some of our leaders who said that
they could take their students to several different conferences around the
country, but there was really nothing that helped develop them to be the
leaders?spiritually and in ministry?that God has called them to be. We have two
tracks with some incredible leaders coming to encourage, challenge, and train.”

Registration covers two nights at the host site, the Embassy
Suites Frisco, based on four people to a room. Married couples will have their
own room.

Cost is $79 before Dec. 15 and $89 after for singles;
married couples are $139 before Dec. 15 and $149 after.

For more information or to register, visit

Bible expositions extol primacy of praying

@font-face {
font-family: “Cambria”;
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

CORPUS CHRISTI?The 2010 SBTC annual meeting theme of
“Praying and Listening” included times of prayer for people, places and issues
on which Southern Baptists have influence. Also spread throughout the
convention program were brief expository messages extolling the primacy of
prayer. What follows are summaries of those messages.

Terry Turner

“Prayer is a wonderful thing. It is our warfare in the
spiritual realm,” said Turner, pastor of Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church in
Mesquite. He referenced the relationship between Paul and Timothy, using
Ephesians 6:18 to encourage the pastors to be in prayer at all times for all

A Christian soldier, he said, must talk to the commander
from time to time. And having a prayer and accountability partner to help is
vital. He told of a time he asked his prayer partner to pray for a certain
matter only to find out this partner was already praying for that issue.

He said prayer takes the believer’s life to the “next
level.” Turner recommended the pastors read C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters”
for an illustration of the power of prayer at work in the spiritual and
physical realms. The demon apprentice Wormwood complains to his mentor
Screwtape that his efforts to deceive and draw Christians away from God were
thwarted by the prayers of the believers.

Two millennia earlier Paul exhorted his apprentice Timothy
to pray in the Spirit, being mindful of the battles at hand. Praying in the
Spirit as defined in Galatians 5:22 leads Christians to pray in and for all

Turner said in the early days of his ministry he would drive
out into the darkness and stillness of the country at night and “cry out” to

“In the midst of that I learned supplication and fervent
prayer,” he said.

Josh Smith

When Christians comprehend the desperate reality in which
they live, their prayers will be more intense and serious, said Smith, pastor
of MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving.

“The intensity of the moment often determines the intensity
of our prayer,” he said.

Facing the difficulties and trials of life like cancer,
broken marriages, and wayward children “puts us to the greater reality of how
desperately we need God.” The need for a miracle accentuates the fact that we
have a miracle-working God.

But it is in 1 Peter, Smith said, that there is a statement
that seems out of context. Peter was writing to the persecuted church?a group
of people intimately familiar with praying in the intensity of the moment. But then Peter said this, “The end of all things is near.
Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”

If there is one thing that can draw a believer out of the
inwardly focused prayers is the reality of Christ’s return. Smith said the
passage does not speak to the fact that Jesus is coming back some day, but
rather the assurance that his redemptive work begins the end times.

“The last stage of God’s redemptive plan was inaugurated,”
he said. It is time to live in that reality, time to sober up to the
reason Christ left us here “to be about his work for the purpose of prayer.”

“This is what should drive us to pray,” Smith said. We are living in the last times but God has allowed us to
live in this time to exalt him among the lost. Their only hope, Smith said, is
the serious-minded believer who seeks God’s face.

“May God in his grace wake us up to the reality of this

Loui Canchola

“The beauty of prayer is that it reminds us of the promises
of God,” said Pastor Loui Canchola of Cornerstone Church in McAllen.

Canchola said prayer allows Christians to minister to people
in need. It is an opportunity to rejoice in trials, seek God’s face, and read
his Word. Using Philippians 4 as an example, Canchola said the words are
comforting because in the moments of feeling anxious or worried we know God is
a prayer away.

“We can be reminded that God is with us. We can speak to our
God,” he declared. Praying with thanksgiving takes the prayer from an anxious
state to a state of peace.

The power and presence of the Lord is manifest in the

Criswell College unleashed

@font-face {
font-family: “Cambria”;
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

I’m an alumnus from the early days of Criswell College. We
met in Sunday School classrooms at First Baptist, Dallas. Most of us bought
hard-sided briefcases so we’d have something to set in our laps to provide a
smooth surface for note taking. We used First Baptist’s library and our book
store was a moderately sized walk-in closet. It was pretty basic and mighty
good. First Baptist’s pastor, for whom the school is named, envisioned a
“preacher school” and worked to make that happen. We students were
beneficiaries of the church’s generosity in so many ways. I’m grateful for that
vision and generosity.

Things change. The school now has its own place and plans
beyond what even W.A. Criswell ever expressed. First Baptist also has new
vision and new ministry directions. We alums watched anxiously as the two
nearly independent bodies negotiated a legal separation. And I believe that the
agreement reached between First Baptist and Criswell College will benefit both
ministries. I’m grateful to God for the outcome of those talks.

President Jerry Johnson is God’s man to lead the college in
this new day. His comments during our recent alumni dinner showed that he has
plans to hit the ground running. Dr. Johnson is a hard-working guy, a good
leader, a proven scholar, and an effective fund raiser. I believe he’ll
accomplish a great deal during the first quarter of 2011.

The Southern Baptist Convention needs Criswell College and
has been richly blessed by Dr. Criswell’s school over the past 40 years. In
those days, the little college functioned as a sort of West Point for the
leadership of our denomination’s reformation. In a day when so many colleges
called “Baptist” are overly concerned about the opinion of the more atheist
academy, Criswell remains focused on God’s message, as expressed in his written
Word. This is not the only school so focused but it is one of only a few
accredited schools that have not wavered in message or purpose.

I’m convinced God will bless that focus as he has up to now.
I’ve never been happier to call myself a Criswell man.

Christ is the hope of glory, women reminded

CORPUS CHRISTI  Dorothy Patterson, keynote speaker at the
SBTC Women’s Luncheon on Nov. 15, exhorted the women to live in God’s reality,
not the world’s, being especially mindful of Satan’s efforts to mislead and
distract. The reality of Christ in them should be the source of strength and
discernment that women need in order to live and succeed on God’s terms, she

Patterson, a popular speaker, author and professor of
theology in women’s studies, claims her most prized credentials are those of
wife of Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson, mother and
grandmother. She encouraged the women to find their worth in their calling and
the fact that Christ in them is their hope of glory.

Drawing from the theme “Christ: His reality, not mine” and
Colossians 2:8-10, Patterson said the apostle Paul was writing to affirm the
members of the church in Colossae and warn them of false teachings. She
cautioned that the warning is just as applicable today as it was 2,000 years

“Don’t think Satan is not crafty enough to interject false
teaching. If we live under Christ, we will not go wrong,” she said.

Using the text from Colossians 2:1-15, Patterson shared with
SBTC women the same message Paul sent to the church. Paul, she said, wanted to
encourage the church, instruct them to love, and assure them of the confidence
and boldness available in Christ.

Unpacking the passage, she referenced the Greek language to
explain in detail the meaning of Paul’s exhortation. She urged women to depend
on Scripture, not the “fine-tuned rhetoric” of the world, when making
decisions, recognizing the role of God in their lives.

“God gives us the ability to be discerning,” she said.

Referencing the military nature of the terms in the passage,
Patterson told the women be confident that they are in the place God would have
them. Although it flies in the face of feminist ideals for American women,
Patterson emphasized her most important job is not as an author or seminary
professor, but as wife and mother.

“I am a homemaker and helper to my husband. It is the heart
of who I am.”

The world, she said, minimizes that role, calling it
“traditional” as if that were a bad word. She said she is a Baptist because,
historically, Baptists have held to traditions that are based on Scripture. The
concept of tradition does not fit the feminist or liberal view of the world but
when women’s ministry is built on traditions that are scripturally grounded
there is no need for apologies.

“Let them argue with Scripture. They have to argue with God,
not us,” she said.

Being confident in who they are in Christ requires women to
live as his representatives. Though that is not an easy task, Colossians 2:6-7
outlines the principles to do it. The key, she said, is having an attitude of
thankfulness despite circumstances.

Referencing the conclusion of verse seven, she said, “We
have to be able to say thank you in the hurts of life.”

Patterson thanked Shirley Moses, SBTC women’s ministry
consultant, for selecting the passage from Colossians. She said studying for
that portion of Scripture caused her to remember?as she is often in need of
reminding, she said?that Christ is her hope.

“I needed to know Christ is
sufficient,” she said. “You will be reminded when you are at the end of
everything you can do, ‘In you, Christ, the hope of glory.'”

A nation that despises its children?

@font-face {
font-family: “Cambria”;
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

The report from the Pew Research Center is titled “The
Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families,” but the bit that most people
noted was that 40 percent of respondents think marriage is becoming obsolete.
That’s a catchy headline. The full report is over 120 pages, including
appendixes, and contains interesting clues regarding the psyche of our society.
Questions addressed within the survey include broad subjects related to
marriage, family, and children. Even more than the changing attitudes toward
marriage, our cultural ambivalence toward children, indicated in this survey
report, should trouble and mobilize pro-family people in America.

Perhaps we don’t know what we think, only what we feel.
About two-thirds of those surveyed believed that the growth in the variety of
family types (same-sex, single parent, cohabiting heterosexuals, etc.) was
positive or at least harmless. Most, 60 percent, also said that premarital sex
is not wrong. But, and it’s fair to see this as a related issue, 69 percent
disapprove of the rising trend of single motherhood. Single women often become
mothers because of premarital sex, and they are an example of expanding variety
in family types.

Nothing new here; we often answer “yes” when asked if a
thing is right or wrong. All through the survey, respondents were more likely
to be relativistic when addressing subjects personal to themselves. Divorced
parents were less likely to see divorce as a handicap to their own children,
for example.

Here are some responses that seem important to me. In
keeping with our nation’s increasing lack of discernment, respondents affirmed
the increasing number of same-sex couples raising kids, increasing numbers of
unmarried couples raising kids, and even a rise in the number of unmarried
single parents. These trends were judged neutral or good by a little more than
half of our representative spokesmen. At the same time, a larger number (61
percent) said that it is best for children to grow up in a home led by both a
mother and a father. So the message must be, other types of families are OK but
a traditional family structure is best for the kids. That’s not really a

Here’s a contradiction, unless we really are ambivalent
about kids; respondents broadly agreed that the very things they affirmed were
harmful to kids. A whopping 78 percent said the children of same-sex couples
would face more difficulty, more than half believed that these kids would face
“a lot more” difficulty. A larger percentage still say that the children of
divorce face more difficulty. The same 78 percent also say that children raised
in single-parent homes will face more difficulty. This is not a Baptist
preacher moralizing against the opinions of his neighbors. This is those very
neighbors saying, “Yes, I believe that these trends are fine, even good; and
yes, I believe that they make lives of children harder.” They would likely be
offended if I cut the corner and asked them if they considered making the lives
of children more difficult a positive thing.

So what are we to think when people beat their breasts about
the need to raise money for schools or social programs aimed at improving the
lives of children? What do we make of initiatives to ban fast-food deemed
unhealthful? The most ardent of these pro-child advocates are often the most
tolerant Americans when it comes to the definition of “family” or of the bad
choices people find self-nurturing. Is our work on behalf of children
insincere? I don’t think we are insincere but we do work at cross purposes with
ourselves. Our society is sometimes a forlorn collection of people who spend
half our time throwing grounded starfishes back into the water one by one, and
the other half pushing hundreds up onto the dry sand with bulldozers. We lose a
lot of starfishes and employ thousands of people to study why.

Our progressive culture shuns traditional mores with little
regard for the strengths that made some practices and opinions “traditional.”
Granted, we sometimes also embrace tradition without considering why, but a
mistake in this direction is not as likely to be immediately as harmful as a
mistake in the other direction. Because we love novel ideas, our thoughtless
response is to say that the proliferation of new definitions of “family” are
good although the consequences of such proliferation are bad. Intuitively, we
have warm feelings regarding anything with “new” attached to it. Rationally, we
recognize the downside of impulsive decisions. Between our embrace of
politicians and ideas that promise us something new and our realization that
the change is not without a price, helpless people become victims of our little

Our desire to be sympathetic toward the circumstances of a
person’s life often affirms the elements behind those negative circumstances.
Thus, we embrace sex without marriage while regretting its predictable
consequences. We see a pregnant teenager and we’re sorry for the newly
difficult life she is living, but we’d never suggest that she should mend her
ways. A committed same-sex couple really wants to provide a home for a child
languishing in a bad situation, so we affirm this new kind of “family” because
we wish them happier than they’ll ever actually be.

Then there’s divorce. This is the most socially affirmed
evil we bring upon children. At this point, our nation has an industry with
thousands of employees that depends on the continuation of no-fault divorce. We
approve of it many times each day by actually divorcing and facilitating easy
divorce. And 80 percent of us think it harms our children. Our friend or
neighbor or brother tearfully says he’s miserable in his marriage and we just
don’t have the character to tell him to stay with his wife even if he

IMB report: 500k baptized internationally

@font-face {
font-family: “Cambria”;
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

CORPUS CHRISTI?More than 500,000 people were baptized and
29,000 congregations were birthed last year internationally because of Southern
Baptist missionary engagement.

Gordon Fort, the International Mission Board vice president
for global strategies, told messengers and guests at the SBTC annual meeting on
Nov. 16 that SBC international missionaries have “continued to engage ? at a
rate of over 100 new people groups a year.”

To flourish and make other disciples, new believers must
“must be grounded theologically,” said Fort, noting that 12,500 converts were
trained last year in theological education.

And in many places, persecution for following Jesus is the
norm. For example, in southern Bangladesh, Hindus persecuted new converts and
more than 500 homes were burned, Fort said.

In China, God is moving in unprecedented ways, he added.

“The Zhuang Chinese are one of the most responsive people in
the world today. They are simply waiting for someone to present the gospel to

In Cuba, more than 75 percent of the population has either
personally been witnessed to or received a gospel tract from the Baptists
there, he said.

“We’re grateful to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
for your support,” Fort said.

Fort also spoke at the SBTC President’s Luncheon, stating
that every believer “ought to have a passport. We ought to put our name on the
altar and say, ‘Lord, anytime, anywhere ? you want me to go. What part of ‘go’
don’t we understand?'”

Churches should “tithe” their membership to go out and reach
others, he said.

Other nations are setting an example to American believers,
he noted. For example, Argentine Baptists have sent out 700 missionaries; in
Europe the gypsy population has dispatched 33 missionaries.

Southern Baptists are not held back for lack of money, Fort

“It’s not the economy, it’s priority.”