HOUSTON – Pastors and church leaders attending the Southern Baptist Convention's Annual Meeting are being challenged to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission by sharing the Gospel with the growing Muslim populations in the United States and abroad.
John Brady, vice president of global strategies for the International Mission Board, and Nik Ripken, a 28-year mission veteran and author of the book, The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected, emphasized the urgent need for Christians to drop their complacency and misconceptions about Muslims and to start sharing the life-saving message of Jesus Christ, during a panel discussion on Tuesday, titled "An unexpected harvest: God's work among Muslims."
"One of the things that's got to be clear is that the Lord really doesn't give us a choice, because He's said we're to go to all people. He exempted none," Brady said. "One of the other things that must be understood when you speak about Muslims is that Muslims are a wide variety of people around the world, and some of the most hospitable. So when you paint the whole religion with the actions of a few, then you really miss the context in which the Great Commission has come to us." more >>
HOUSTON – In an impassioned sermon during his first opportunity to address the Southern Baptist Convention after being re-elected as president for a second term, Fred Luter, Jr. said the time for debating and arguing over theological differences among church members could be used instead to reach out to non-believers.
"Because of our love for the Scripture we've had some differences of opinion, but the problem is that while we are arguing about these topics, lost men, women, boys, and girls are dying and going to hell every single day," said Luter on the first night of the denomination's 2013 annual meeting.
"While we are arguing about these topics and debating about these topics, America is going to hell every day," he continued. "Time is running out. We do not have time for debate. We do not have time for arguing. The world needs to know that Jesus saves … for the sake of those who are lost." more >>
HOUSTON – Instead of business as usual at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting held today and Wednesday, SBC President Fred Luter said he is hoping the meeting will spark a revival in the United States.
"We will have our first evening service in several years; but not just an ordinary service," Luter wrote in a letter to attendees prior to the conference. "Tuesday night will be an old-fashioned revival service! No business, other than doing business with God! No reports, no resolutions, no announcements, just dynamic music led by the gifted and talented Charles Billingsley, followed by the president's sermon."
Yes, the issues of SBC church's ties to the Boy Scouts of America, differences of opinion on Calvinism, and religious liberty are planned for discussion. However, the special session set for Tuesday evening at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, where the two-day meeting is held, is designed to set the tone for something more. more >>
Statistics compiled from churches belonging to Southern Baptist Convention for the association's Annual Church Profile for last year show declining numbers in several key areas, including membership, average attendance, baptisms and total monetary giving. Despite some positive news shown by an increase in the amount of membership churches, SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page expressed his discouragement.
"When I first heard the report of our ACP, I said, 'God forgive us and God help us.' We are thankful for every person won to Christ and every person enrolled in Bible study and discipleship and involved in missions," said Page, as reported in a Baptist Press article by the communications director for LifeWay Christian Resources.
"We are thankful for the millions who are a part of worship in our Southern Baptist churches," he said. "However, my heart breaks when we realize the overall decline in our numbers." more >>
Dr. Richard Land, outgoing president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and incoming president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES), received the 2013 Watchmen Award by the Family Research Council (FRC) last week.
"I am humbled and honored that the Family Research Council has presented me with the esteemed 2013 Watchmen Award," Land began his acceptance speech upon receiving the award on May 23.
"The Church must stand strong against our own immorality in America. That immorality is a greater threat to our survival than we ever faced from the Japanese navy or the German air force or the Soviet missile command or the al-Qaeda terrorist network. We have an enemy that never sleeps but we have God on our side and He is always at work and more powerful than our greatest enemy or fears," Land, who is also the executive editor of The Christian Post, said. more >>
The Southern Baptist Convention issued a joint statement Monday urging Christians to avoid sensationalism and misrepresentations, while also raising issues of concern regarding recent reports that the U.S. military may be violating the religious freedom of Christians.
"We reject any and all attempts to sensationalize or misrepresent situations, in this or any other context. Having said that, we are concerned," the statement says. "While rejecting any conspiracy theory linking the reports above, we believe there are in some of these cases elements that are indicative of a troubling lack of respect for true religious diversity in our military. Furthermore, problematic attempts in some sectors of the military to compromise the free exercise of religion have given a sense of plausibility when other such reports emerge, even when those reports are not grounded in fact."
The impetus for the statement was four separate recent incidents: 1) In a presentation at a U.S. Army training briefing, evangelical Christians were listed alongside other religious sects and the terrorist group al-Qaida under the heading "Religious Extremism." 2) The Southern Baptist Convention's website was blocked on military bases. 3) U.S. military officials met with Mikey Weinstein, who has made anti-Christian inflammatory remarks, on religious issues in the military. And 4) military spokespersons announced that Christian soldiers could be punished for "proselytization." more >>