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Issue Date: 2008-01-17
Volume: 187
Number: 2


Those with links to Georgia walk at Southern Seminary commencement
Fourteen graduates with Georgia ties were among the 204 who participated in Southern Seminary’s 200th commencement Dec. 7.
Five with Georgia connections receive Doctor of Philosophy degrees at New Orleans
Obscure Mandaean faith risks extinction in Iraq
Religious groups with links to Christianity’s roots struggle during war

The Iraq war has claimed many victims, but perhaps the least known is a small religion that scholars say is the last remaining link to ancient faiths that flourished during the time of the Roman Empire.
Study: Fewer young people attending SBC

A new study of attendance at Southern Baptist Convention annual meetings shows the percentage of messengers in the 18-39 age group steadily declining since 1980 – the early days of the SBC’s Conservative Resurgence – and dropping sharply since 2004. The percentage of messengers in the 60-plus age group, however, has increased dramatically.
'In God We Trust' will move from edge of new coins

The national motto “In God We Trust” will move from the edge of new dollar coins honoring U.S. presidents to the front or back of the currency.
Mercury a hidden and dangerous part of Santeria

The woman told her friend she was looking for her luck to change. She needed positive energy and hoped to rid her home of evil spirits.
Coordinated blasts target Iraqi churches

Several Iraqi Christian sites were damaged in coordinated bomb blasts Sunday morning, Jan. 6, the day many Iraqi Christians celebrated either Epiphany or Christmas Eve according to some Eastern liturgical calendars. At least six people were injured, one seriously.
Legalized abortion: How it began, how it must end

The 1960s were years of unrest, tumult, ferment, and revolution in American. In 1962 the Supreme Court decided in Engel v. Vitale that prayer in the public schools was unconstitutional. As the 1960s progressed, many young people turned from mainstream protestant churches to mystic eastern religions. Respect for authority declined among the youth and crime rates soared. The use of marijuana and hallucinatory drugs skyrocketed.
On-the-go Bibles hit the fast lane

Often when Mike Sheppard listens to the stories of the Crucifixion or Mary’s discovery of the empty tomb, he gets so distracted that he almost forgets he’s behind the wheel.
Study results find limits to Willow Creek's model

Willow Creek Community Church, the suburban Chicago megachurch that has become a model for some of the nation’s largest churches, started more than a quarter-century ago by asking the question: Why don’t people go to church.
Communities feeling the squeeze of rapid church growth

Some neighbors tend to complain about too many Wal-Marts or too many strip joints in their midst. In southeast Orlando, it’s too many churches.
Pro-life memorial service, walk set for Jan. 22 at state Capitol
The Together for Life Memorial Service and Walk, Georgia’s largest annual pro-life gathering, will be held Jan. 22 on the steps of the Capitol Building.
Rincon minister's hometown church among those burned in Alabama

Greg Hartzog remembers growing up in Woodland Baptist Church in Ladonia, Ala. His father was longtime choir director. While a student at Troy State University, Hartzog would drive home on weekends to help with the youth choir. He still has extended family who attend.
New Veggie Tales movie now in theaters

A gourd, a grape, and a cucumber who risk limbless life on the 17th Century high seas to save a princess are the featured characters in a new Veggie Tales movie, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, appearing in movie theaters since Jan. 11.
REAPing benefits of missions relationship
Short-term involvement has led to long-term commitment for members of Douglas County church

It was less than a year after meeting international missionaries Mike and Kathy Weaver that Dale Pickens found himself ministering in Peru. Now, he and other members of First Baptist Lithia Springs regularly travel there to train others in spreading the gospel.
Eleven with Georgia ties graduate from New Orleans Seminary
Of those graduates receiving degrees from New Orleans Seminary Dec. 15, eleven claimed ties to Georgia.
NAMB's Woodalls minister in Hawaii and see the state's less exotic side

For most Americans and even for world travelers, Hawaii is the ultimate tourist destination.
Churches hesitant to sue the NFL over right to air Super Bowl

John Whitehead is aching to take the National Football League to court but can’t find a church willing to take on the influential pro football colossus.
Jeannie Fuller: new heart with a stirring testimony

Jeannie Fuller had a heart transplant last year. The discovery of a heart problem, the deteriorating health condition that followed for months after the initial shocking discovery, the agonizing waiting for a donor’s heart, and the recovery process significantly impacted the whole family.
Hotels ban Gideon Bibles
Each Bible placed in a hotel room has the potential to reach up to 2,300 people in its estimated six-year life span, and about 25 percent of travelers read the Bibles in their hotel rooms, according to The Gideons International, a group that has been placing Bibles in hotel rooms since 1908.
North Korea coat drive approaches 10,000 goal

Georgia Newsbriefs

Everson named MRC for Southeast Georgia region
Mike Everson will begin his tenure as Ministry Resource Consultant for the Southwest Georgia region Feb. 1. He attended Georgia Tech, Mid-America Seminary, and Luther Rice Seminary, and previously served as pastor of Pray’s Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville.

Baptist News Summary

Church compensation survey underway
The 2008 Compensation Survey for Southern Baptist churches, a joint effort of Baptist state conventions, LifeWay Christian Resources, and GuideStone Financial Resources, is now online at All ministers and employees of Southern Baptist churches are encouraged to participate.
Missouri convention votes to move headquarters
The Missouri Baptist Convention’s executive board has voted to construct a new convention building in California, Mo., 22 miles west of the convention’s current headquarters in Jefferson City.
Father-son duos graduate from Southern Seminary
Two fathers experienced something exceedingly rare Dec. 7 at Southern Seminary: They completed seminary with their sons.
Mohler nominated for SBC presidency
First Baptist Church of Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress announced his intention Jan. 2 to nominate Southern Seminary president R. Albert Mohler for Southern Baptist Convention president at the SBC annual meeting in June.
Lawsuit against Nashville church dismissed
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by about 50 current or former church members of Two Rivers Baptist Church against pastor Jerry Sutton and church leaders.
Names in the News
New Orleans Seminary expands Mississippi prison classes
Trustees at New Orleans Seminary approved the expansion of the prison training program in Mississippi during the board’s executive committee meeting Dec. 4.
Awaiting Rose Parade, crowds hear gospel
In the hours before the Tournament of Roses Parade, 70-plus volunteers led 12 people in making decisions for Christ among thousands who staked out a spot to view the festivities along Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard.

Religious Newsbriefs

Prayer cures a Briton's legs, but bureaucracy stumbles for lack of a miracle button
A British pastor’s wife who claims the power of prayer cured her injuries was told her incapacity benefits could not be stopped because the government’s computers didn’t have a “miracle” button.
PSU alumnus sues to put Bible verse on brick
James Pursley says he is a “proud alumnus of Penn State University” and a “devout Christian” who wants to memorialize pride in his alma mater by buying a brick on the Alumni Walk.
Former British PM Blair converts to Catholicism
After months of speculation, former British prime minister Tony Blair converted to Roman Catholicism in a low-key ceremony at an archbishop’s chapel in London just before Christmas.
Unitarians take ad campaign to bowl games
College football fans opening their programs at 13 bowl games got a taste of religion – but not the kind that gets players thanking Jesus on the gridiron.

People and Places

Ministerial Moves

Cooperative Program Stories

Leaders charge youth to be immersed in reaching their generation

He kneels at the front of the stage to plug in his chalk-smudged iPod, then without another word, he picks up a sturdy piece of square chalk and makes wide sweeps across a Wal-Mart bed sheet hanging at center stage.

Bible Study

Breakthrough in Confidence

Psalms 23:1-6
Related Sunday School Lesson, Bible Studies for Life, Jan. 27
The Motive

Luke 15:1-2, 11-24
Related Sunday School Lesson, Bible Studies for Life, Feb. 3


Stranded whales and aborted babies

I like whales. Ever since I read Herman Melville’s 1851 novel, Moby Dick, in the sixth grade I have been fascinated by whales. I find the biblical story of Jonah and his encounter with a whale even more intriguing.
Talking so your children listen

Do you ever get the feeling that your children aren’t listening to your instructions? You have just offered an ocean of wise counsel but your little sailor seems to be floating in an entirely different sea.
The Open Door

The process of selecting the next president of the United States has begun.
Remember to rekindle romance in long-term relationships


Gratitude for pastors in smaller churches

As a previous pastor of several small churches I have been waiting for years to read such an article as penned by Milton Wood in the Forum in the Dec. 20 issue.
Rethink need to view "Golden Compass" movie

In regards to the letter published in the December 20th issue concerning the Golden Compass movie, the writer errs in urging Christian parents and children to see this anti-Christian movie. His reasoning, that by seeing this movie Christians can engage the culture instead of isolating from the discussion about anti-Christian themes depicted in this movie, is flawed.
SBC, not just Willow Creek needs to rethink discipleship

Concerning the recent flap over the Willow Creek “confession,” our denomination’s 2006 Annual Church Profile reports that there were 16,306,246 Southern Baptists, yet attendance at the primary worship service averaged 6,138,776.
Willow Creek "Confession" misunderstood by many

Until about three years ago, my overall impressions of Willow Creek were negative.