Month: April 2013

Southern Baptist DR does “our thing” in hardest-hit area of West

WEST—Southern Baptist Disaster Relief workers, including SBTC volunteers and chaplains, were among those allowed to accompany residents returning to their homes Saturday (April 27) into the area of the town of West most heavily devastated by the deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant on April 17.

These Southern Baptist volunteers are known as the men and women in the yellow hats.

“Yellow caps, yellow hats, yellow shirts, that’s us,” said Darryl Cason of the characteristic garb of Southern Baptist disaster relief workers. Cason has served as SBTC incident commander since April 18, rotating that duty with others, including Mike Jansen and Scottie Stice.

The yellow hats, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross were the only three relief groups allowed unlimited access to what was deemed “Zone 3”—the most devastated area—over the weekend, Cason said.

“On Saturday morning we arrived at Zone 3 at 6 a.m. Authorities were supposed to escort us in. Instead, when we arrived, officials told us to go on in and do our thing. So we did our thing,” Cason said.

Southern Baptist volunteers and chaplains walked through Zone 3, checked with homeowners, checked on the status of work orders and helped people retrieve things from their homes.

A group from West Side Baptist Church of Atlanta, Texas, led by Pastor Jim Howard, cleared out a woman’s home where sheetrock was crumbling. They also helped her get her car out of the garage.

Meanwhile, SBTC chaplains and workers ministered in practical and spiritual ways.

“Many of the folks, when we start talking to them, start crying,” Cason said. “Then you pray with them and try to console them.”

“One lady, who was French and who had married and come to West, did arts and crafts. When workers brought out some of her crafts, she broke down. I comforted her and prayed with her. We helped her husband get his car out of the garage too,” said Cason, describing a typical encounter.

Other residents were simply prayed for, Cason said.

Much of the work in Zone 3 has involved helping retrieve homeowners’ prized possessions.

Cason said SBTC chaplains and other Southern Baptist volunteers have also had long conversations with police and emergency workers. “They need comforting too,” Cason said.

The fatality count for the West disaster remains at 15, most of whom were first responders.

The total could have been much higher. The fact that so many people had gone outside to watch the fire may have spared many lives, Cason said.

“When the roofs fell in, the people were outside. We have talked to a number of people who were outside. They were glad they were when they saw the inside of their homes,” he added.

One example of the devastation: “You can stand in front of the apartment complex [adjacent to the blast site] and see through to the back of almost every apartment,” Cason said.

First Baptist Church of Gholson was continuing to house SBTC chaplains and volunteers, generously providing meals and places to sleep after long days.

Southern Baptist volunteers joined in worship Sunday (April 28) at First Baptist Church of West, whose pastor, John Crowder, lost his home in the explosion. Last Sunday, the congregation worshiped in a hayfield.

“The church was full,” Cason said. “Several yellow shirts were there. The Texas Baptist Men [of the Baptist General Convention of Texas] cooked a meal and served the church members and others, probably 200-300, including several commanding officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety.”

Among those served was Captain Jim Smith, the DPS officer in charge of operations in West. Motorcycle policemen and game wardens stopped to eat also.

“We’ve had a good relationship with the authorities here,” said Cason, who noted that SBTC volunteers had moved the shower unit from the fairgrounds to the emergency operations center now located at West High School at the request of state emergency management.

The shower unit will be used by forest service workers and other emergency workers. The SBTC cleans and maintains it.

Also, the SBTC laundry unit continues to do service for displaced families at the Best Western hotel.

“The laundry unit has washed and dried over 150 loads of laundry,” said Jim Richardson, SBTC Disaster Relief director. Richardson also noted that churches across the convention provided vans and buses to transport the families of fallen firefighters to the memorial service at Baylor University’s Ferrell Center.

The SBTC feeding unit from Pflugerville was brought to the Baylor campus where volunteers, including Red Cross volunteers, local citizens and Baylor students, prepared and served thousands of breakfasts and snack lunches to those attending the memorial, Richardson said.

Field ministry strategist Ted Elmore represented the SBTC at Thursday’s three-hour memorial service, with Elmore calling it “impressive” and “emotional.”

President Obama and Gov. Rick Perry spoke, with the president speaking from Psalm 66:10-12.

Each family provided video recorded comments and photos of their deceased loved ones. “The Scripture on the screen was John 15:13, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,’” Elmore said.

The SBTC will continue to deploy disaster relief workers, chaplains, the shower unit and laundry unit as long as necessary, Richardson said.

“The West community leadership has requested no further donations of water and clothes. If churches want to help, financial contributions are encouraged,” Richardson said.

Newly dedicated presidential library features influence of faith in Bush administration

DALLAS—Faith and family are foundational elements guiding a visitor through the newly dedicated George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Just a few feet into the exhibit area is the testimony to the 43rd United State president’s faith in God that turned his life around in 1986.

“At age forty, I finally found the strength to [quit drinking], a strength that came from love I had felt from my earliest days, and from faith that I didn’t fully discover for many years,” Bush wrote. “Faith changes lives,” he said. “I know because faith changed mine.”

The excerpt appears in a series of biographical panels portraying the strength of family, power of faith, call to service and a campaign of character.      

Located at the entry to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the 226,000-square-foot facility houses the library and museum, as well as the George W. Bush Institute. The surrounding grounds are a 15-acre urban park that recreates a historic native prairie landscape, Former First Lady Laura Bush told reporters the Texas rose garden outside the museum provides “a chance to refresh” after walking through the Sept. 11th portion of the museum.

Not one to shy away from controversy, President Bush encouraged museum planners to give the public a look into key decisions during his two terms between 2001 and 2009, including the War on Terror, the response to Hurricane Katrina, the surge in military troops in Iraq to combat the insurgency and management of the financial crisis.

“One of the things George really wanted was for people to realize and know how many decisions come to the desk of the president,” explained Laura Bush during a news conference with media previewing the museum April 24. “Nearly every world problem comes to the desk of the president of the United States,” she said, crediting Bush Foundation President Mark Langdale, former ambassador to Costa Rica, with recreation of an interactive “decision points theater” where visitors consider options based on facts and advice offered.

“The idea was to show people what it’s like to have to make decisions quickly with the press hounding you on when you’re going to decide and what you’re going to do and rely on information given from every source, from his own advisors and many other sources as well.”

Bush Center Senior Editorial Director Brendan Miniter told the Southern Baptist TEXAN, “President Bush provided guidance for us in developing this, of course. The museum is constructed not necessarily as a tribute to him, but to the principles that guided him in public life and from that you tell the stories,” he explained.

“So he set the final goal and guiding principles, and the rest of it we built around that,” Miniter said.

That goal was pursued from the opening biographical orientation, he noted. “If you know anything about the Bush family you know that family is very important to them and how important faith was in President Bush answering the call to service to run for office.”

The next section features the faith-based community initiative, a theme woven through the introductory film as well. “One of the things he wanted to do in his presidency was to help shape the culture in a way to lead people to engage their community. His faith helped guide him in public life to policies that were characterized as compassionate conservatism,” Miniter said.

Winding down the exhibit area, visitors see the priorities Bush intended to be the hallmarks of his presidency, including education reform, tax relief, an enhanced relationship with neighboring Mexico and care for AIDS victims around the world. As the chronology is told, the upsetting events of 9/11 arose on the heels of a state dinner with the president of Mexico and the first lady’s bright red ball gown is overshadowed by a towering beam from the ruins at Ground Zero in New York City.

The 13th presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) was signed over on April 24. The extensive collection of 43,000 artifacts include a full-sized Oval office, the bullhorn President Bush used to encourage first responders working in the rubble of the Twin Towers on Sept. 14, 2001, and a custom-designed dress worn by Mrs. Bush for a state dinner honoring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Permanent exhibits in the entry feature just a few of the gifts to the president from every continent, as well as a handful given to him by U.S. citizens. Those artifacts are as diverse as a steel dog bowl with paw-shaped feet to an eagle sculpture to an artillery shell casing passed along by an Air Force lieutenant general commemorating a successful operation.

Hands-on displays are geared to every age with a kid-friendly finale that draws upon the worldwide appeal of the Bush family dogs, Scottish Terriers Barney and Mizz Beasley, as well as Millie, the English Springer Spaniel of Barbara and George H. W. Bush when they resided in the White House.

President Bush’s conviction that “each individual is equal and equally important” is communicated in displays honoring volunteerism and neighborly concern. “We followed a principle rooted both in our Constitution and the best traditions of our nation,” he declared at a 2008 conference recalled in one panel. “Government should never fund the teaching of faith, but it should support the good works of the faithful,” Bush reminded.

Describing his West Texas roots, Bush wrote, “My background leaves more than an accent. It leaves an outlook–optimism–impatient with pretense, confident that people can chart their own course.”

He noted, “Laura and I share the same basic values. We share a West Texas upbringing that taught us that each individual is equal and equally important, but also that each individual has a responsibility to be a good neighbor and a good citizen.”

Bush Library dedication accented by spiritual references

DALLAS—An affair that drew all five living American presidents to Dallas on Thursday (April 25) opened and closed in prayers that referenced the prophet Micah’s call “to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with our God” and success that “yet ultimately rests in your providential care.”

And as an estimated 10,000 people waited for George W. Bush to speak during the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the Southern Methodist University campus, a choir sang the words “as He died to make men holy let us die to make men free” in a rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Such spiritual language accented the dedication of the library named for a president who counted himself among the Christian evangelicals who so strongly supported him.

A host of dignitaries—world leaders, senators and congressmen among them—and a large media contingent attended the invitation-only, outdoor event on a still, sunny day with temperatures in the 60s.

The 43rd president was honored in word by the former presidents, including his father, and by President Obama, who echoed President Bill Clinton in stating that despite political differences “to know the man is to like the man because he is comfortable in his own skin.”

Obama recalled that one of the first things he did the day he took office was read a handwritten note from Bush that he had left for Obama in an Oval Office desk. Obama said the note demonstrated Bush’s “compassion and his generosity. For he knew that I would come to learn what he had learned: Being president above all is a humbling job.”

Obama also spoke of the weight of the presidency, lauding Bush for his resolve and leadership after 9/11 and recalling Bush’s speaking through a bullhorn to hurting New Yorkers, “promising justice to those who sought to destroy our way of life.”

The president used the occasion to press for immigration reform as he praised Bush’s efforts on the issue while in office. Obama told the crowd that “if we [pass a reform bill] it will be in large part to the hard work of President George W. Bush.”

Obama mentioned a note President Kennedy’s secretary found that JFK had written after negotiating with Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev. It stated, “I know there is a God and I see a storm coming. If he has a place for me I believe I am ready.”

“No one can be completely ready for this office,” Obama said, “but America needs leaders who are willing to face the storm head-on even as they pray to God for strength and wisdom so they can do what they believe is right. That’s what leaders with whom I share this stage have all done. That’s what President George W. Bush chose to do.”

Former President Jimmy Carter praised Bush’s commitment to development and peace in Africa. Carter told the crowd how that early in Bush’s presidency, Bush had promised him he would help a peace effort in the bloody, war-torn Sudan.

“President Bush kept his promise,” Carter recalled, noting how he was called back to the White House three weeks later to discuss a strategy.

In 2005, thanks to Bush’s efforts, the 21-year civil war ended with a peace treaty, Carter said. He also praised Bush for increasing development aid to Africa to combat AIDS and other problems.

Bill Clinton, whom Bush succeeded, praised Bush’s inclusion of the former presidents as advisers when major decisions were faced. During Bush’s second term, Clinton said the two talked politics on numerous occasions.

Clinton said the two men “do a lot of speeches together” and Clinton said he finds it enjoyable to debate his successor, largely because Bush is likeable. Being able to debate differences “is an important part of a free society,” Clinton said.

To loud applause, the elder Bush, sitting in a wheelchair, spoke only briefly, noting the “beautiful day in Dallas” to honor his oldest son. “Glad to be here. God bless America and thank you very much.”

In addressing the crowd, the younger Bush thanked his peers and especially President Obama for attending. “Unlike the other presidents here, he actually has a job,” Bush quipped.

Reflecting on his political career, Bush said the job of a public servant is “not to fulfill personal ambition” despite poll numbers or trends. “But in the end, leaders are defined by the convictions they hold. My deepest conviction—the guiding principle of the administration—is that the United States of America must strive to expand the reach of freedom,” he said to applause.

“I believe that freedom is a gift from God and the hope of every human heart. Freedom inspired our founders and preserved our union through civil war and the secured promise of civil rights,” Bush continued. “Freedom sustains dissidents bound by chains, believers huddled in underground churches and voters who risk their lives to cast ballots. Freedom unleashes creativity, replaces poverty with prosperity. And ultimately, freedom lights the path to peace.”

Such freedom “brings responsibility” and thrives “when neighbors help neighbors and when the strong protect the weak,” Bush said.

Bush said visitors to the library “will find that we stayed true to our convictions.”

In closing, Bush said he has an “unshakable faith in our country.” Whatever the challenge, said Bush, his voice cracking and his eyes tearing up, “I will always believe our nation’s best days lie ahead. God bless.”

Southern Baptists aid West, Texas recovery effort

WEST, Texas – Recovery from the devastation caused by the April 17’s deadly explosion at Adair Grain Inc. in West, Texas, is underway, aided by Texas Southern Baptists. The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief ministry and Texas Baptist Men of the Baptist General Convention of Texas are working together to provide chaplaincy and practical helps such as portable shower units for weary emergency workers.

The SBTC deployed 12 disaster relief chaplains, eleven of whom worked through the weekend with emergency responders and families affected by the deadly blast.

SBTC efforts in West have been coordinated with those of the Texas Baptist Men (TBM) of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Through the weekend, the blast had claimed 14 lives, including 11 area firefighters and emergency medical personnel. At least 200 were treated for injuries.

The explosion damaged or destroyed more than 100 homes, a nursing home, apartment complex and middle school within several blocks of the blast and registered a 2.1 on the Richter scale, according to news reports.

SBTC chaplains arrived early the morning after the blast and were sent to a family assistance center at the West city library and to the West fire station, where they ministered to first responders and families.
One of them, Wade Taylor, pastor of First Baptist of Alvarado, counseled the family of one of the fallen firefighters at the fire station. The couple had driven from Houston after learning from Facebook posts that their son, a firefighter with the Abbott, Texas, fire department, was among the victims.
“They were trying to get some kind of official word and the official word was not being released. They were able to receive confirmation from some of the rescue workers that their son had been in the building. I counseled with them and prayed with them and was part of the conversation when they were told,” Taylor said. He also spoke with the father on the phone the following day to see how the family was doing.
Taylor also ministered to a school teacher who requested prayer for colleagues and students who lived in the area of the explosion.

The chaplains registered 94 such visits on Thursday. Among those counseled were first responders who had lost friends.

DR personnel attended official briefings and all memorial services and escorted some families into the least damaged area at the request of emergency management officials.

“That can be a very traumatic time for victims and families, when they come in to see the damage to their homes,” said Darryl Cason, SBTC disaster relief trainer and the SBTC’s incident commander with the first wave of DR volunteers.

By Saturday (April 21), officials had divided the blast area into three zones, and started allowing families from the least damaged area limited access to their homes to retrieve belongings.
SBTC chaplains teamed with TBM volunteers to hand out empty packing boxes to families as they drove into their damaged neighborhoods on April 20. The boxes were brought to the site on the TBM box truck and trailer unit.
“SBTC churches across the convention are also going to provide church vans to transport the families of the fallen firefighters to a memorial service [at Baylor University’s Ferrell Center at 2 p.m.] on Thursday, April 25,” said Jim Richardson, SBTC’s director of disaster relief.

“The SBTC has also provided a laundry unit to help families with their laundry needs” at the request of the Best Western in West, where many of the displaced families are staying, Richardson said.

Also, the SBTC and TBM jointly are manning a table at the joint assistance center at the Knights of Columbus hall, where TBM has set up two portable shower units for use by displaced families.

Wade Taylor, who returned to West on Saturday, echoed Cason’s description of the unified effort. Taylor said he would go back as needed, especially as families return to their homes.

Taylor also spent some of his time Saturday at the victim’s assistance center at the West Church of Christ. The center, under the auspices of the Texas Department of Mental Health, offers counseling services from various groups, including chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and SBTC chaplains. Other relief ministries and agencies are also represented.
Mike Jansen, who replaced Cason as incident commander over the weekend, said: “We will be going door to door, telling people what services we have to provide for them and otherwise ministering to their needs.”

Residents on Monday were trying to remain in their houses, but most lacked water pressure or gas, Jansen said.

Jansen with other volunteers attended Monday morning’s official briefing in West where authorities said that they have been “swamped with donations” from around the country.

National Public Radio, NBC and other news sources reported that some 1,500 West students were to return to classes Monday, either in temporary buildings or in a neighboring school district.

Kindness by church after blast spawns more kindness

GHOLSON, Texas — As soon as news broke of the fertilizer plant fire and explosion, Pastor James Stevens of First Baptist Church of Gholson contacted local media to offer the use of church facilities to victims. The church is also hosting Southern Baptists of Texas Convention chaplains and Texas Baptist Men volunteers who have responded to the crisis in West.
Stevens was quick to note that plenty of assistance came to his church after the announcement of FBC Gholson’s offer of help.
“The community is really banding together,” Stevens said. “I sent an email to KWTX, the local news station in Waco, saying that FBC Gholson was opening our church doors to anyone needing a place to sleep. Without even being asked, the [Gholson] community started bringing us blankets, food and water. Before long we had piles of it in our fellowship hall.”
Some of the donors were church members, but many were simply community residents who wanted to help the church minister to others.
“It was neat to see how the community rallied around everybody,” said Stevens, who has been pastor at FBC Gholson since October 2008.
Two victims stayed overnight at the church the night of the explosion.

“A lady from an apartment complex in Waco came and invited them to stay as long as they liked in a fully furnished apartment with food,” Stevens said.

With no displaced persons remaining at the church, FBC Gholson transported “four or five truckloads” of water, clothing and supplies to West for distribution to those in need, Stevens said.

Gholson is approximately 10 miles northwest of Waco and about 10 miles from West.

The church has also opened its doors to house the SBTC chaplains deployed to the area for disaster relief. At least two TBM volunteers have stayed at the church as well.

“Our church family has been providing meals. We’ve been cooking breakfast for them. They are on the ground at lunch, but we cook them dinner,” said Stevens, who noted that some of the church’s men were preparing dinner during our interview.

“It’s a great way to minister to these chaplains,” Stevens said.

“They have really been feeding us well and taking care of us there,” said Darryl Cason, SBTC disaster relief trainer and incident commander.

Others outside the community have been generous as well.

“I received a phone call at 2 a.m. Thursday from Patty Hilburn of Unclaimed Freight in Ennis, Texas,” Stevens said . “She offered to donate a large amount of frozen meat and food, but we had no way to store it.”

For several hours, Stevens tried unsuccessfully to locate a refrigerated truck.

“The next morning I got a call from Heritage Dedicated Trucking Company in Waco offering the use of one of their refrigerated trucks as long as we needed it,” Stevens said . “I had no idea they were going to call.”

A woman connected to FBC Gholson works at Heritage, but she did not know her company planned to offer the truck either.

 “It really is amazing,” Stevens said.

Unclaimed Freight delivered four pallets of frozen food and one pallet of clothing, all of which were distributed to the people of West.

“Our church wanted to show the love of Christ to those affected by the tragedy. We just think it’s the right thing to do in this time,” Stevens said.

Southwestern prof challenges women to be neighborly along the way

MILL VALLEY, Calif.—Followers of Jesus must treat everyone as a neighbor regardless of racial or geographic boundaries, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Alicia Wong said at the 2013 Women’s Leadership Consultation at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif.

Quoting from the parable of the Good Samaritan, from which the theme verses of the conference were taken, Wong explained, “This parable demonstrates we are to be neighborly to everyone along the way on our journey, not only our next-door neighbor.” Wong is a Golden Gate graduate who serves as assistant professor of women’s ministry at Southwestern in Fort Worth.

“We live in very diverse world, even in our own neighborhood,” said Ann Iorg, wife of Golden Gate Seminary President Jeff Iorg and host of this year’s Women’s  Leadership Consultation, an annual conference which rotates between the six Southern Baptist seminaries.

“Jesus challenges us to be observant and reach out to those around us,” Iorg reminded. “No one person can do everything, but together we can make quite a difference in the lives of people both near and far.”

More than 200 participants came from the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Washington and Nevada, including ministerial students as well as church leaders.

In addition to Wong’s two keynote addresses, 14 seminars were offered by a variety of Southern Baptist women, including two from Southwestern Seminary: “Studying the Bible for Personal Growth and Teaching” led by Dorothy Patterson, professor of theology in women’s studies and “Discovering and Using Your Gifts” led by Terri Stovall, dean of women’s studies. Jaye Martin, a member of Houston’s First Baptist Church who leads an evangelistic ministry, also presented a seminar.

Next year’s consultation will be held in New Orleans. The event returns to Southwestern in 2015.

A birthday like no other

There’s never been a 95th birthday like the one planned for Billy Graham. The Nov. 7th event next fall will be the culmination of years of planning, sustained prayer and the investment of time and money to get the gospel message in homes across America through the most effective evangelist of all time.

With the singular purpose of helping people find a personal relationship with God through knowing Christ, Graham has preached the gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history—nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories—through various meetings, including Mission World and Global Mission. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts.

Now he’s counting on “Matthews” from across the country, including scores who are being trained at events like the one at Prestonwood Baptist the afternoon of April 18 and Denton Bible Church on May 23 to join the My Hope in Christ with Billy Graham effort. Like the New Testament era apostle, “Matthews” will invite their friends over for dinner or refreshments and show them a video that utilizes effective testimonies from believers to whom neighbors will relate.

The Matthew then gives a brief testimony of his or her own before inviting guests to make a commitment to follow Jesus.

If the turnout April 16 at The Church on Rush Creek was any indication, Southern Baptists are embracing Graham’s strategy with enthusiasm. Well over 100 people packed the Arlington church and gave their attention to Jerry Pipes of Georgia, a former staffer at North American Mission Board, as he described “the marriage of a national media event with New Testament style relationships.”

With the kind of integrity for which Graham is known, Pipes said, “This is not a bait and switch,” explaining the process of Christians cultivating relationships with their neighbors over the summer and fall to earn the right to present the gospel message utilizing the simple, straight-forward My Hope in Christ method.

Many of the remaining 27 training events in Texas are hosted at Southern Baptist churches, while local organizer Adam Morgan is a Criswell College alum and Pipes earned a master’s degree at Southwestern Seminary. Over 11,000 people made decisions for Christ when Graham preached at Texas Stadium a decade ago and thousands more have heard grandson Will in towns and cities across the Lone Star state.

The training I received along with over a hundred other Texans is the key to unleashing God’s power through personal witnesses all over America. With Graham’s emphasis on quick follow-up and discipleship through local churches, pastors will find the strategy to be an exciting opportunity.

Richard Land selected as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary

NASHVILLE—Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, confirmed to Baptist Press Thursday (April 11) that he has been selected as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary.

The seminary, based in Charlotte, N.C., was co-founded in 1992 by Norman Geisler, longtime seminary professor and apologist, and Ross Rhoads, former evangelist and then-pastor of Calvary Church in Charlotte.

According to the seminary’s website, the launch of the seminary stemmed from “Geisler’s concern to defend the historic Christian faith” and “Rhoads’ burden for evangelism.”

Geisler was the seminary’s first president and dean.

Land’s selection was tweeted by Geisler Thursday morning: “I wish to commend the Board of Southern Evangelical Seminary for its excellent choice of a new president Dr. Richard Land.”

Land, 66, announced his retirement from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission July 31 of last year. At the time, he scheduled his retirement to be effective Oct. 23, 2013 — 25 years from the date he assumed the ERLC’s presidency in 1988.

ERLC trustees, on March 26, elected Russell Moore as the SBC entity’s new president, to be effective June 1. Moore, 41, currently is dean of the school of theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

When contacted by Baptist Press Thursday morning, Land confirmed that he had been selected as the seminary’s president but said he would prefer to wait for a news release slated to be released later in the day before answering additional questions.

Land, as of April 11, remained listed as executive editor of The Christian Post, a news service affiliated with Olivet University in California. Land has said he is affiliated with The Christian Post primarily in an advisory capacity.

—Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach and editor Art Toalston.