Archives For Baptist Press

David PlattDavid Platt was elected president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board today (Aug. 27) by board trustees, meeting at the IMB’s International Learning Center in Rockville, Va.

Platt, 36, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, a Southern Baptist congregation in Birmingham, Ala., will take office effective immediately as president of the 169-year-old organization, the largest denominational missionary-sending body among American evangelicals. More than 4,800 Southern Baptist international missionaries serve worldwide.

Platt succeeds former missionary, pastor and Southern Baptist Convention president Tom Elliff, 70, who has served as IMB president since March 2011. Elliff asked the agency’s trustees earlier this year to begin an active search for his successor. Elliff and his wife Jeannie plan to return to their home state, Oklahoma.

The author of the bestselling books “Radical” and “Follow Me,” among others, Platt has been pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, which counts about 4,500 members, since 2006. He also founded and leads Radical, a ministry that exists to serve the church in accomplishing the mission of Christ. Radical provides resources that support disciple-making in local churches worldwide, organizing events and facilitating opportunities through multiple avenues, all aimed at…

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Helping Hands

It’s a moment many Christians have had to face: a family member’s announcement that he or she is gay.

Amid feelings of sorrow, guilt, fear and anger that families may experience surrounding such an announcement, biblical counseling experts say believers must have hope and realize that Jesus always changes those who come to Him in repentance and faith.

The “lie” that “change is impossible” for people who experience same-sex attraction “is an offense against the Gospel because change is Jesus’ gig,” Heath Lambert, assistant professor of biblical counseling at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told Baptist Press. “We need to be infusing people with hope. We need to be infusing them with the deep conviction that Jesus has been changing people for 2,000 years and He will change you if you have faith in Him.”

Lambert; John Babler, associate professor of counseling at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Sam Williams, professor of counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, suggested several ways Christians can help family members struggling with same-sex attraction.

Develop a culture of honesty where family members can confess their sins and ask for help.

“In view of the mercy of God, if there is…

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Ukraine Man

KIEV, Ukraine (BP) — Tensions rose to dangerous levels as Russian forces occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in late February, but Ukrainian Baptists aren’t slowing down their ministry to a nation battered by months of internal crisis.

In fact, they’re picking up the pace.

“The response from the churches has been fantastic,” said IMB worker Shannon Ford, who lives in Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev, during a March 4 interview. “It really has been a time for prayer — not simply saying we’re going to pray, but actually going and being seen and guiding other people to pray,” even in the far east near the Russian border.

IMB personnel are serving right beside them.

“We’re able to do our ministry,” Ford insisted. “We have a family in right where the Russian fleet is parked. I talked to them this morning, and they were telling me all the different ministry things they did last week and what they’re planning this week. So despite all the uneasiness and the frightening pictures from the zoom lens of the media, our personnel and our national brothers and sisters are still doing their job, still having outreach…

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Ukraine Violence

KIEV, Ukraine (BP) — Scripture portions helped provide a flicker of faith as violence escalated in Ukraine on Feb. 18. At least 25 were killed and hundreds injured as government forces acted to forcibly remove protesters from Kiev’s Independence Square. The dead include civilians and police officers.

The Interior Ministry demanded that protesters leave the square by 8 p.m. Tuesday. When the deadline passed, riot police dismantled barricades with the help of armored vehicles, water cannons and stun grenades.

Some protesters responded by throwing Molotov cocktails and paving stones dug up from the streets.

But churches near the mayhem responded differently.

“Thousands of Scripture portions have been distributed and the prayer tent on Independence Square is very active,” said International Mission Board worker Tim Johnson*, who was in close proximity to the violence Tuesday.

Many churches have been using a tent-based outreach in Independence Square to pray for individuals, serve hot tea, hand out tracts and share their faith during the three-month upheaval in Ukraine and its capital city, Kiev.

It is unclear what sparked the mid-February sudden rise in violence, with each side blaming the other. Protests began Nov. 21 when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych…

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Rick and PiersPastor Rick Warren spoke a line to CNN’s Piers Morgan that has resonated with people who, like him, have tried repeatedly to explain why they won’t change their stance to support same-sex marriage.

“I fear the disapproval of God more than I fear your disapproval or the disapproval of society,” Warren, of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., told the host of “Piers Morgan Live.”

Warren appeared on the show amid a media blitz for his new book “The Daniel Plan” about getting healthy for the glory of God, but his stand for biblical marriage continues to draw attention.

A discussion of Warren’s admiration of Pope Francis turned to same-sex marriage when Morgan asked whether Warren’s views had evolved during the two years since the two discussed the issue on air.

“Have you moved at all now? Are you recognizing that there is this seemingly unstoppable movement?” Morgan asked Warren during the show that aired Dec. 6.

Warren responded, “Well, I don’t get to change what God says is right and what God says is wrong. And I think God is real clear that all sex outside of marriage is wrong. But the issue…

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Ronnie SmithAUSTIN, Texas (BP) — American teacher Ronnie Smith, who was gunned down during his morning jog near the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, served on staff at Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, before moving to Libya.

The church is affiliated with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Acts 29, an independent church planting network. Smith was director of equipping and resources at Austin Stone from 2009-11, and before that he served for two years as a pastoral intern.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Smith’s Dec. 5 murder, but Islamist militants in October had called for the kidnapping of U.S. citizens in Libya. Hospital officials said the teacher had been shot multiple times. His death came 15 months after an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Grieving friends on opposite sides of the globe remembered Smith, 33, as a devoted teacher, family man and Christian.

Smith held a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and had been teaching chemistry at the International School Benghazi for 18 months. His wife Anita and their young son had returned to the United…

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PRETORIA, South Africa (BP) — Former South African President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s ‘long walk to freedom’ has ended. He died today (Dec. 5) at age 95 at home after months of declining health.

“All of us in the country must accept that Madiba is now old,” South African President Jacob Zuma had said when Mandela seemed near death this summer. “As he ages, his health will trouble him.”

Southern Baptists joined diverse leaders worldwide who hailed the civil rights champion for his life’s work against apartheid, economic injustice, AIDS and other ills.

Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, noted the heroism of the leader who rose from 27 years of incarceration to become the first black South African president as well as a hallmark of freedom and a leader of worldwide acclaim.

“Nelson Mandela’s heroism will outlast him throughout untold generations. Mandela will be remembered for standing up to a racist regime, for persevering under persecution, and for leading his country toward democracy,” Moore told Baptist Press. “Mandela’s move from prison cell to president’s office…

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C S LewisC.S. Lewis died the same day as John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. Twenty years before that in the midst of World War II — before the Normandy invasion when the outcome of the war was still uncertain — Lewis delivered a series of lectures for the University of Durham that he published as “The Abolition of Man.” Had he written nothing else, Lewis would be important for how Christians understand culture because of his analysis of the great change occurring in our culture that, now, almost has come to completion.

Lewis only wrote one more piece of philosophical apologetics after writing The Abolition of Man, as he shifted to a different form of apologetics that would speak to the changing culture more effectively.

Lewis argued that our educational system had begun to teach children that all values are only statements about how we feel. If values are only statements of feelings, then nothing is right or wrong in itself. We may not like something, but that is only the way we feel about it. Objective value does not exist from this point of view. This perspective frees people from any…

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Cross Church Pinnacle HillsTo create a culture in your church, business or nonprofit organization, you must be clear about two things: your vision and mission.

Vision is a future picture of what you see or what you want to become. Mission tells you why your church, business or nonprofit organization exists and what it does.

An organization’s culture, then, is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that flow from vision and mission.

As Southern Baptists, our missional vision, or mission statement, is clear: “As a convention of churches, our missional vision is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations.”

When your mission and vision are clear, then you establish a set of core values. Core values are how we behave — how we treat each other. These values are our guiding principles; they guide us in our decision-making processes and help align our decisions with the future we want our organization to experience.

For Southern Baptists, our core values are:

— Christ-likeness

— Truth

— Unity

— Relationships

— Trust

— Future

— Local church

— Kingdom

We as individual Christians can impact our church and organizational culture through…

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Ever wondered how you know when someone needs encouragement? Here’s a simple test. It works every time. Check and see if they have a pulse.

Pastor, one of the members in your congregation whose heart beats regularly for you is your wife. She’s your No. 1 fan and your No. 2 responsibility after your relationship with Jesus. She needs encouragement.

Here are five practical ways you can do that:

1. Pray with your wife. One of the most important and encouraging activities you can do with your wife is join with her in prayer. When she hears your struggles and sees your vulnerabilities, she knows you trust her with your heart. She also knows the man behind the pulpit not only needs God’s power and grace but he also needs his partner in ministry.

2. Publicly praise her ministry. Many times a pastor believes that to praise his wife publicly shows favoritism and a sense of entitlement, but it truly demonstrates a spirit of gratefulness for her calling and recognition for the sacrifices she makes every day for your ministry. Keep in mind, her greatest ministry may be…

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