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Issue Date: 2006-02-16
Volume: 185
Number: 4

News

Are Southern Baptists moving toward a self-funded missionary force?

Securing a line of communication
Members of southwest Georgia Baptist church adopt platoon

After his arrival in Iraq, Lt. Nathan Hicks’ only news of home would come from his wife.
Coretta Scott King, a woman of faith and devotion

Coretta Scott King, who died Jan. 31, held firmly to her faith as one of the nation’s most famous pastor’s wives before becoming a civil rights leader in her own right.
Georgia fourth-largest for megachurches
Researchers reviewing the total number of megachurches found that the states with the most megachurches are California (178), Texas (157), Florida (85) and Georgia (73).
‘Outdoor Bible’ built to withstand the elements

While many believers have long believed the Christian Bible to be infallible, a publishing company has made it waterproof and tear-resistant, too.
Abilene honors Bill Harrell on his 25th anniversary as pastor

Abilene Baptist Church had a four-day preaching extravaganza Jan. 15-18 to honor Bill Harrell on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as pastor. David Miller, minister of education and administration, declared, “Brother Bill’s ministry has been built around the expository preaching of God’s Word. We could think of no better way to honor him for twenty-five years of ministry than to celebrate with a preaching conference with some of America’s greatest preachers.”
Jerry Vines retires, returns to Georgia

After fifty illustrious years as a pastor, including more than 23 as pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., Jerry Vines is transitioning to a new phase of Christian service, with Woodstock becoming his new home and the home for Jerry Vines Ministries.
Southern Baptists minister following deadly Florida auto crash

Standing bravely behind four white caskets trimmed in gold, 40 youth from Fellowship Baptist Church in Raiford, Fla., paid tribute to their friends Nikki, Elizabeth, Johnny and Heaven.
Sisters Who Care participate in missions

It was a simple stack of Sunday newspaper ads, brought in to protect the craft room tables from exuberant youngsters’ paint and glue. But to Kevin*, one of the young residents of the children’s home, it was an opportunity to sit with a caring woman, casually looking at and talking about the pictures of food in the random stack of ads. It was a poignant reminder of the tender love of ordinary days.
Southern Baptist baptism momentum

North America: Hanging in the balance
An Analysis

Expectations were high in 1997 when the North American Mission Board was forged out of three previous Southern Baptist entities during the ambitious Covenant for a New Century restructuring. Increased operational efficiencies from the merger into NAMB were projected to allow Southern Baptists to be more effective than ever in impacting the United States and Canada with the Gospel.
Southern Baptist church plants

Former Georgia Baptists feel at home in Canada

For 10 years now, North American missionaries Kevin and Alicia Madden have lived 2,200 miles away from Kevin’s birthplace in the historic little town of Washington – located about 100 miles east of Atlanta. Today, their home and hearts are firmly rooted in Canada.

Georgia Newsbriefs

Houston Association names Burnette as next leader
Ray Burnette has been named associational missionary for Houston Baptist Association, beginning his position Jan. 23. Previously, he served as pastor at Red Oak Baptist Church in Sylvester for seven years and at Arabi Baptist Church for ten years.
Foster succeeds Poole as Flint River associational missionary
Steve Foster, association director of missions for Flint River Association since 2003, was promoted Jan. 9 to associational missionary. Foster takes the place of Swayne Poole, who retired last year.
Floyd Association names Reynolds as associational missionary
Jim Reynolds, former pastor of Spring Creek Baptist Church in Rome, began his tenure as associational missionary for Floyd Association Jan. 30.

Religious Newsbriefs

Google China criticized for censorship
Although Google is fighting a U.S. Justice Department probe into Internet pornography, it has begun acquiescing to the Chinese government.
Muslims offended over newspaper cartoons
Muslim anger over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad is expected to rise after French and German newspapers reprinted the caricatures Feb. 1, saying they did so in support of free expression.
Swiss Guard marks 500 years of service
Jan. 22 marked 500 years of the most iconic unit of bodyguards protecting the popes of Rome.
Lawsuits filed against Walgreens on behalf of religious pharmacists
A conservative interest group has filed a series of lawsuits against Walgreens after the drugstore chain fired four pharmacists for refusing to dispense the “morning-after” pill to patients.

People and Places

Honors
Ordinations
Special Birthdays
Ministerial Moves
Obituaries

Cooperative Program Stories

Partnership brings about a home for Haitian believers

They were a church without a home.

Bible Study

Doing My Part

“God has a plan for your life” is a statement with which many Christians struggle. But God does have a plan and He desires His followers to involve themselves in it.
Put Christ First

There is a growing division between what goes for the “popular Gospel” and what we read in the Word of God. What is popular today is a Gospel of self-fulfillment. It is a message purposely driven to meet the “felt-needs” of self-centered people who look at Jesus for self-improvement. For example, if you come to Jesus you will hit more homeruns, increase sales, get better grades, and ultimately you will be healthy, wealthy, and comfortable.

Columns

The Open Door

We live in a world of incredible distractions. There has never been greater temptation to lose focus than that which we experience today.
Needed: Fearless Prophets

Several years before his death I heard Robert Greene Lee, perhaps the last great pulpit orator in America, preach. He said, “One of these days I am going to cast off this earthy tabernacle and do something common to all men. I am going to die; and they are going to bury me in this terrestrial soil. And there is some chance that some little pusillanimous preacher will stand over my grave and say, ‘There lies the body of R. G. Lee, a man who did not have an enemy in this world.’”
Will Southern Baptists keep their eyes on the ball?

Think about how many sports involve a ball – baseball, golf, football, just to name a few. The one thing they have in common is that if you don’t keep your eye on the ball, you’re not going to be very successful.
Don’t rock your child’s boat unless he’s ready to founder

Letters

SBC: Trendy or traditional?

As a conservative and somewhat of a traditionalist, I have concluded the SBC is in danger of becoming more “trendy” than traditional. Have you noticed all the “terms” used now? “Emerging church”; “emergent” (a member of an emerging church); “post modern”; “post modern sensibilities” (code for characteristics of a self-serving spoiled generation). We have young preacher “phenoms” who all but demand a seat at the SBC leadership table if we want them to remain in the SBC.
Tribute to slain missionary in Ecuador

While reading the interesting article concerning Mr. Saint’s father and four other missionaries losing their lives while ministering to Ecuadorian tribesmen I realized I had read an account of this true story several years ago written by the widow of one of the men killed.
Focus, focus, Amen!

I’ve just read the letters response (“Enough Said,”) in the Jan. 19 issue of the Index. Can I ask a simple question? Since when did “music” become the most important element of our churches?
Biblical conflict resolution

As a pastor new to Georgia, I have observed with interest the ongoing debate taking place in the pages of The Christian Index over the issue of worship. At a fundamental level, I believe those who have spoken have done so with a desire that our great God be honored and his truth preserved. The worship of our Lord – at least in my mind – should elicit a passionate response from his people.
Appreciates diversity in music

I have been hearing this debate over music types for sometime, and it seems to me it is simply a matter of taste. I’m 36 years old and I prefer the traditional hymns. To me there is nothing better than “Amazing Grace” and “Love Lifted Me”, but I can see where the modern praise music would appeal to many.
IMB questioning biblical baptisms

Thank you for covering the IMB trustee issue as it related to Wade Burleson of Oklahoma. This action is merely the logical outcome of the philosophy that is continually closing the parameters of cooperation in the SBC. It is this narrowing that led to the new guidelines passed in Huntsville, and has led to the unprecedented action against Burleson.
Gratitude for pro-life article

My mother-in-law receives The Christian Index and saves interesting articles for us to read. In the Jan. 19 issue there was an article by Editor J. Gerald Harris entitled “Down Syndrome babies targeted for abortion.” Being the mother of a 4-year-old with Down syndrome I read the article with grimace as I envisioned the countless babies thrown away into some hospital trash bin because they are not “perfect” in the eyes of man.
Tribute to Michael Flake

I just read in The Christian Index about the death of Georgia Baptist resort missionary Michael Flake. It breaks my heart that such a wonderful person is gone from this world but I know there is joy that He is with Christ.
Roger Wilkins – A pastor with a shepherd’s heart

The recent homegoing of Roger Wilkins, pastor of Gum Branch Baptist Church in Hinesville, was a tremendous shock to all of us who knew him. He will be greatly missed by many of us in the ministry.