BP Ledger, Dec. 16 edition

EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.

Today's BP Ledger contains items from:

Ouachita Baptist University

World Congress of Families

Judson College

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Ouachita unveils plans to construct

new stadium in honor of Cliff Harris

By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. -- Ouachita Baptist University President Rex Horne has announced plans for a "100-Yard Campaign" to raise funds to construct Cliff Harris Stadium. Horne presented the plans during Ouachita's Dec. 13 Board of Trustees meeting on the Ouachita campus.

The stadium upgrade, projected to be completed for the 2014 football season, will include updated stadium seating, press box, parking lot and related improvements. The Ouachita Tigers, who just completed their sixth straight winning season under Head Coach Todd Knight, have compiled the most consecutive winning seasons of any college team in Arkansas.

Harris, an All-Conference and All-America safety for the Tigers in the 1960s and All-Pro safety for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s, played in six Pro Bowls and five Super Bowls for the Cowboys. A major donor has provided a lead gift as a matching challenge for the project, with additional funds being solicited over the next 120 days through the 100-Yard Campaign.

"I could not be more thrilled with the prospect of having a new football stadium for our Tigers to play in beginning next fall," Horne said. "Our stadium is the first thing many people pass on the way to our beautiful campus. For many years improvements have been needed. Now a generous gift and challenge makes this construction possible.

"I am delighted that the stadium will be named after our own Cliff Harris," Horne added. "Cliff was an All-Pro, played in five Super Bowls and his name is one of very few in Dallas Cowboys history that is in the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Cliff's devotion to Ouachita across the years is exemplary. I expect friends and alumni of Ouachita will make this possibility of a new stadium a reality.

"My priority for the next 120 days is leading this effort," Horne said. "If we make a strong effort in gifts and pledges in the next few months, we will open the season in the new and improved Cliff Harris Stadium. I am asking for all the Tiger faithful and friends to join us in this vital project."

"Honoring Cliff Harris with the naming of the new football stadium has great significance," Coach Knight said. "Cliff has been able to accomplish things that very few have coming from any level of college football. Super Bowls and Pro Bowls say a great deal about his contributions to the game but what many don't know is the way he did it. Hard work and the values he learned in the Ouachita football program make him so unique! Cliff is a great representative of the game of football and especially Ouachita Baptist University.

"This is such an important move for the university and the football program," Knight said. "Everyone around the country is updating facilities. We must upgrade facilities as well to compete for the best student athletes that can represent the university and the football program in a great way."

"This project is long overdue," emphasized Scott Street, a former Ouachita quarterback who is chairing the 100-Yard Campaign. "OBU's stadium is the first structure you see driving by the campus. It is the first impression and needs a facelift. Coach Knight and the coaching staff have brought OBU's football program to a new level over the past few years and we need to bring our facilities up a level also. It has a huge impact on recruitment.

"Naming the stadium after Cliff Harris is such a natural fit," Street added. "He has helped put the football program on the map. We encourage generous contributions toward this much-needed project."

For more information about Cliff Harris Stadium and the 100-Yard Campaign, contact the Ouachita Office of Development at (870) 245-5169 or www.obu.edu/give.

**********

World Congress of Families Hails Victories for Life and Family in Croatia, Russia & Ecuador

CROATIA (World Congress of Families) -- In the nation's first-ever, citizen-initiated referendum, Croatians asked their government to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman, by a vote of 65.8%. Larry Jacobs, a spokesman for the World Congress of Families, observed: "This is all the more impressive in light of the opposition from Croatia's left-wing government and biased media."

He noted that supporters of the referendum collected over 750,000 signatures, double the number required to put such a measure on the ballot. "While opponents claim the outcome is due to 'extraordinary pressure' by the Catholic Church in this majority-Catholic country, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zietung observed that the question enjoyed broad support among all faith communities -- including Orthodox, Jewish and Protestant. Support for natural marriage isn't a sectarian issue."

RUSSIA

A week earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning abortion advertising. Some legislators are talking about going further and banning the procedure itself. In October, an official representative of the Russian Orthodox Church called abortion a "mutiny against God."

Jacobs disclosed: "Russia is ground-zero for demographic winter and new policies to protect the sanctity of human life. Due to low fertility, abetted by abortion, Russia's population could decline from 140 million to as low as 104 million by the year 2015." According to the Russian Health Ministry, there are 1.7 abortions for every live birth in the country.

"World Congress of Families working with the Russian pro-life movement organized the world's first Demographic Summit at the Russian State Social University in Moscow in 2011," Jacobs said. "Shortly thereafter, a law was passed banning abortion for unborn babies older than 12 weeks, mandating a waiting period for 2-7 days for those wanting an abortion, and requiring a health warning in advertising to indicate that abortion is hazardous to a woman's health. These were the first restrictions on abortion since the Bolshevik Revolution when Russia became the first country on earth to legalize abortion during all weeks of pregnancy without restriction.

"In fact during the 1920s, the communists in Russia were such promoters of abortion that they developed many of the abortion techniques that are used today by abortionists to kill unborn babies. After abortion became so widespread that the average women in Russia was having seven abortions during her lifetime, even The New York Times was forced to admit that abortions were hazardous to a woman's health and fertility. In 2003, The Times Editorial Board said, 'Now the Russian government is attempting to slow the abortion rate. It is an admirable goal, given the toll that multiple abortions have taken on the health and fertility of Russia's women.'"

ECUADOR

And in October of this year, there was another victory for human rights and the sanctity of human life. Opposition by Ecuador's President Rafael Correa (who governs from the left) caused his party to withdraw a bill legalizing abortion from consideration by the National Assembly. Correa threatened to resign if the legislation passed. "They can do whatever they want. I will never approve the decriminalization of abortion," Correa declared.

Jacobs said all three developments offered cause for hope. "When the people are able to overcome elites, the natural family always wins. People understand that humanity's future and 'real' human rights lie with the family and not in deconstructing marriage or killing unborn children."

World Congress of Families VIII with the theme "Every Child A Gift: Large Families, the Future of Humanity" will be held in Moscow, September 10-12, 2014. The opening session of WCF VIII will be in the Congress Hall of the Kremlin Palace. A special WCF parliamentary session will also be held in the Russian Duma and a WCF scientific forum at Lomonosov Moscow State University. The closing ceremony will be held at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral -- the tallest Orthodox Cathedral in the world. For more information, visit the Russian websites at www.worldcongress.ru and www.familypolicy.ru.

For more information on World Congress of Families, visit www.worldcongress.org.

**********

Judson prof's writings in 2 books on religion

MARION, Ala. (Judson College) -- A Judson College professor has published his latest works in a pair of books about worship in the Baptist church. The author is Dr. Scott W. Bullard, Vice President and Academic Dean at Judson.

Both titles are from Cascade Books, a division of WIPF and Stock Publishers

Dr. Bullard was recently named President of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion.

His newest book is Re-membering the Body, the Lord's Supper and Ecclesial Unity in the Free Church Tradition; the book was released in November 2013.

The book offers Baptists, as well as all theologians, a fresh perspective on the Lord's Supper. It considers sacramental understandings of the Supper and focuses on the way in which the meal conveys grace by drawing the church together as the body of Christ.

Especially influential on the book's direction is the work of James Wm. McClendon Jr., who as a Louisiana Baptist writing in the 1970s took what he called a "political risk" to point out that in Scripture and in early church literature it is apparent that through the Eucharist God "re-members" the church as the body of Christ. McClendon's work has had an enormous impact on contemporary free church discussions about the Supper and ecclesial unity.

Dr. Bullard's book has garnered much praise: "This book recounts and appropriates serious theological reflection among a number of Baptist theologians aimed a retrieving a sacramental understanding of their tradition and of the Christian life," according to Timothy George of Breeson Divinity School at Samford University.

"Scott Bullard's focus on the Eucharist and Christian unity adds to this discussion in a significant way. A book to be welcomed and read," George said.

Dr. Bullard also wrote the essay, "Communing Together: Baptists Worshiping in the Eucharist," which appears in the book, "Gathering Together: Baptists at Work in Worship," a September 2013 release.

Endorsements for Gathering Together include: "This is the book I have been looking for! Richly theological and practical, this collection of essays offers constructive guidance for our worship as Baptists. I am grateful to have this resource," Molly T. Marshall, President, Central Baptist Theological Seminary.

Further support for Gathering Together came from Daniel Day, Campbell University Divinity School: "Pastors as well as academics blend their voices to sing a new song concerning worship that's infinitely more than most Baptists have experienced. Enjoy something new!"

Judson College is a Christian liberal arts school for women located in Marion, Ala. The college is celebrating its 175th anniversary during this 2013-2014 academic year.

**********

Eavesdropping on the SBC Council of Seminary Presidents

By Jason Allen/Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) – I attended my second Council of Seminary Presidents retreat in November, an annual event when the six SBC seminary presidents and their spouses gather for prayer, fellowship, and planning. My wife and I returned to Kansas City on a high note, and not just because we were thrilled to see our children and celebrate Thanksgiving.

As I shared with a number of friends, my encouragement is rooted in those five men, the institutions they lead, and our collective effort to serve Southern Baptist churches and advance the cause of Christ. Our time together strengthened my conviction that we have before us a kairos moment, an opportunity to accomplish much for the church and the Great Commission.

A SACRED TASK, A SINGULAR STEWARDSHIP

In order to understand the retreat, and our every gathering for that matter, one must understand the sense of gravity that hovers over each seminary president. Each one feels called to a sacred task and understands he enjoys a singular stewardship.

The task of theological education is as old as Holy Scripture itself. From Moses mandating the teaching and transmitting of the Shema in Deuteronomy 6, to Paul charging Timothy to, "entrust these things to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" in II Timothy 2, the Bible is replete with the call to proclaim, explain, and defend the faith. This sacred task, at its core, is quintessentially theological education.

The sacred task of theological education channels itself to the SBC seminaries in a unique and profound way. Some 16 million Southern Baptists, congregated in some 46,000 local churches, entrust six seminaries to train their pastors, ministers, and missionaries. The numbers are astounding. Collectively, the six Southern Baptist seminaries now enroll more than 18,000 students, with each one rating in the top-10 largest seminaries in North America. These numbers are staggering and remind us that those who lead the six SBC seminaries assume a singular stewardship.

THE LOGISTICS

This year, Dr. and Mrs. Paige Patterson hosted the retreat in Dallas, Texas. The retreat formally began Friday morning and ended Monday morning. The promise of inclement weather—and significant flight delays and/or cancellations—necessitated some early departures on Sunday afternoon. Nonetheless, from start to finish, the Pattersons hosted the event with great care, unmatched hospitality, and perfectionist detail. Those who have experienced Southwestern Seminary hospitality know exactly what I mean.

In addition to our formal meetings, we also enjoyed an unforgettable dinner with Dr. Charles Ryrie, an enjoyable tour of Guidestone and luncheon with Dr. and Mrs. O.S. Hawkins, gratifying worship with and tour of First Baptist Dallas, and a warm luncheon with Dr. and Mrs. Robert Jeffress.

DOWN TO BUSINESS

The primary reason for the CSP retreat is the nearly three days of formal meetings themselves. The presidents discuss institutional and denominational matters while the wives plan women's ministry and seminary wives' curriculum, strategies, and events.

While formal business takes place, the event itself is much more than a business meeting. Significant portions of each day were given to Scripture reading and prayer. These times were not perfunctory. On the contrary, they consisted of protracted times of praying for one another, each seminary, and the particular needs and opportunities facing us and the churches we serve.

The most important "item of business" at the retreat was formally to approve each seminary's full-time equivalency (FTE) report, which tabulates enrollment and thus Cooperative Program funding. Beyond funding the reports -- which are available in the SBC Annual—also reveal seminary trends and broader movements in theological education.

Other topics of discussion included how we can best serve the churches of the SBC, strengthen our denomination's Great Commission efforts, and provide theological education as broadly as possible. Additionally, we discussed theological education -- and higher education in general -- in the new normal of a soft economy and changing educational models.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT

To me, the most memorable moment of the retreat was an appeal made by Dr. Patterson, who movingly recounted the state of the seminaries three decades ago, the effort undertaken to recover them, and the doctrinal health the seminaries now enjoy. Hearing "the Lion" himself recount all that was nearly lost and all that has been gained—punctuated by an appeal for us to now serve with humility, godliness, and unity—was especially stirring and memorable.

Dr. Patterson's plea was well-delivered and well-received. As SBC institutions, we more complement one another than compete with one another, and we stand united as men who love and respect their fellow seminary presidents. This is not due to a gentleman's agreement about not meddling in one another's affairs. On the contrary, if doctrinal compromise took place in one of the seminaries, the other seminary presidents would draw swords, as would I.

Our mutual appreciation is based in gratitude for what God has done in the seminaries in recent decades, what he is doing through them now, and the skill and care with which the other men fulfill their leadership responsibilities on behalf of Southern Baptists.

CONCLUSION

I left the CSP retreat deeply encouraged by our collective gospel work, and once again impressed by the men I am honored to know as colleagues. So much so, I've committed to pray daily—Monday through Friday—for each of my sister seminaries, the presidents who lead them, and their families, faculty, staff, and students. Would you join me in doing the same? Moreover, would you join me in praying that indeed we realize a kairos moment, and that God will accomplish an awakening through his seminaries, in his church, and to the advancement of the Great Commission?


Jason Allen is president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., one of six seminaries of the Southern Baptist Convention.

**********

Southern communications team wins graphic design awards for 4th year

By Aaron Cline Hanbury

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) -- For the fourth year in a row, Southern Seminary's Office of Communications received five awards at the 24th-annual Louisville Graphic Design Association (LGDA) 100 Show, Dec. 6.

"The mission of Southern Seminary has attracted a talented creative team committed to producing innovative communication materials," said Steve Watters, vice president for communications at the seminary, who leads the office. "It's a testimony to their commitment that Southern's work should not only be recognized by an organization as prestigious as LGDA, but that the gospel-centered materials Southern submitted should be recognized so highly, including the Best in Show award."

Of the six compositions the office submitted, five won. The design team received the highest available award, the Best in Show award for the 2013-14 Southern Seminary Viewbook. The office also received a gold award for the design and layout of The Call to Ministry journal; a silver award for DVD packaging of "Don't just stand there: say something," the 2013 convocation address by Southern Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr.; and bronze awards both for a Women at Southern booklet and photography from a recent study tour to Israel. Southern's photographer, Emil Handke, also won a "people's choice" award for a portrait submitted as a personal entry.

Southern Seminary's creative team includes creative director Eric Jimenez, lead designer Andrea Stember, graphic designers Daniel Carroll and Gabriel Reyes, photographer Handke, account executive Lindsey Poenie, special projects manager Jason Thacker and production coordinator Brittany Loop, as well as interns Ashley Dunn and Amy Loh. The lead writer for the viewbook and The Call to Ministry was Matt Damico.

The LGDA 100 Show accepts entries from professional graphic designers and creative service agencies in the Louisville, Ky., area. The show's panel of judges include directors, designers and entrepreneurs from leading creative service companies around the country. Judges for the 2013 show were Katie Heit Gardner of Tomorrow Studio in San Francisco, Calif.; Kevin Grady of Ideo in Boston, Mass.; and Eric Thoelke of Toky in St. Louis, Mo.

The 2013 100 Show is the final LGDA events, as the organization will become a chapter of the 23,000-member American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). More information about the LGDA is available at gda.org; information about AIGA is available at aiga.org.