SBC DIGEST: Iorg on Calif. porn vote; Fla. paper pares print editions; Blackaby Study Bible's re-release; 'Duck Dynasty' couple recounts reconciliation

by BP & SBC Seminary Staff, posted Monday, November 07, 2016 (one year ago)

Iorg jabs at porn industry's Prop 60 opposition

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) -- Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention, has expressed intrigue over the pornography industry's opposition to a Nov. 8 California ballot measure, Proposition 60.

As described by Iorg, Prop 60 would require persons participating in pornographic films to use condoms; increase the porn industry's cost for health care for their employees; and make it easier for citizens to file complaints about risky behavior by industry participants.

Iorg, in a column at the seminary's website, noted that the porn industry's opposition "reveals the blatant selfishness at the root of their industry."

"They oppose Prop 60 -- their literature rests their argument on the 'civil rights' of porn participants to make their own choices on these matters -- because it would limit free expression and somehow violate the privacy of porn workers. That's comical to the point of sadness.

"The opponents to Prop 60 are saying, in essence, 'We really don't care what happens to you when you perform sexual acts. Create opportunities for self-gratification that make us rich at your expense. If you get sick or die in the process, well, that's your right! We will defend your right to die to make us rich, no matter the cost.'"

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Fla. paper shifting to monthly print edition

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP) – The Florida Baptist Witness will move to a monthly print edition beginning in January while expediting its online news content, editor Kevin Bumgarner has announced.

Bumgarner, reporting on changes approved by the newsjournal's board of directors, noted that the Witness print edition, which has averaged 16 pages roughly once every two weeks, will expanded to an average of 28 pages monthly.

Online, at www.gofbw.com, the Witness plans "to take all of the content we generate that has a specific time element attached to it and make it available to readers on our website as soon as the content is produced," Bumgarner wrote in an Oct. 20 article.

The content in the paper's news/blogs section will continue to be available at no charge, said Bumgarner, who became editor of the Witness in February 2014.

Younger readers "expect greater immediacy from their news sources. They have been trained they do not have to wait for information, and if we are to capture millennials and those in Gen Z who have an allegiance to Florida Baptists then we must do a better job of meeting those expectations," Bumgarner wrote, adding, "Of course, we think all readers will benefit by knowing about relevant information as soon as it is available."

The monthly print edition, Bumgarner wrote, will include "everything you have told us you liked about the current setup while adding several more pages of additional features and expanded commentary and analysis with a Christian worldview."

The print edition's exclusive content will aim to provide "a better understanding of what the news meant"; a complete overview of actions at the Florida Baptist Convention's annual meeting along with interviews of key figures; Q&A articles with Florida Baptist leaders; "a page designed to help you see what you've been missing if you haven't been on our website or interacting with us on social media"; and the paper's regular columnists and Bible study writers.

The look of both the website and the print edition will be enhanced, Bumgarner also wrote.

The Florida paper joins numerous state papers that have moved from weekly print editions to biweekly or monthly schedules as well as venturing into online news. In 2013, the Texas Baptist Standard moved to a quarterly print edition named CommonCall and the Religious Herald of the Baptist General Association of Virginia merged with Associated Baptist Press to form the digital Baptist News Global and a Herald print edition published five times a year.

The Christian Index of the Georgia Baptist Convention eliminated its print edition in January, while the Baptist Digest of Kansas-Nebraska has announced its print edition will end after this year. Other state conventions with online-only publications include Alaska, the Dakotas, Michigan, Montana, New England, Penn/Jersey and Utah/Idaho.

Five state conventions continue to publish weekly editions: Alabama, The Alabama Baptist; Kentucky, Western Recorder; Mississippi, Baptist Record; New Mexico, Baptist New Mexican; and Oklahoma, Baptist Messenger.

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Blackaby Study Bible to be re-released

ATLANTA (BP) -- Blackaby Ministries International is producing a limited re-printing of the Blackaby Study Bible to be available in January.

The Blackaby Study Bible, originally published in 2006, includes notes and biblical insights by Henry Blackaby, bestselling author of "Experiencing God," and his four sons, Richard, Thomas, Melvin and Norman Blackaby.

According to a Blackaby Ministries news release, "The Blackaby Study Bible teaches people how to have daily encounters with God and encourages them to develop a regular habit of Bible reading and prayer, expecting great things to happen as God speaks to them through His Word. Many of the Blackabys' transformational teachings are incorporated into 'Encounter' notes interspersed throughout the text."

"Since the publisher stopped printing the Blackaby Study Bible several years ago, we have been inundated with requests for it," said Richard Blackaby, president of Blackaby Ministries International.

For information about pre-release orders, go to www.blackaby.org and click the Blackaby Study Bible banner on the main website page.

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'Duck Dynasty' couple recounts marriage journey

By Alex Sibley

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- Alan Robertson, eldest son of Phil and Kay Robertson on the TV series "Duck Dynasty," spoke alongside his wife Lisa in conjunction with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's Art of Homemaking Conference.

"Our marriage was forged through the fires of pain" for the first 15 years, Alan said in the seminary's MacGorman Chapel during the Oct. 27-29 sessions.

"And now, after 32 years [of marriage], we can both say with confidence what we could never say before: We would go through everything we've gone through again for the last 17; it's been that good -- because of God's glory, and not because of anything we've done."

Alan and Lisa's story began with their respective upbringings in West Monroe, La., both of which were characterized by rebellion. The two dated in high school but their relationship was an unhealthy one, ending abruptly when Alan, still a teenager, left his parents' home and moved to New Orleans.

Devastated by his departure, Lisa sought contentment through worldly pleasures. More unhealthy relationships, substance abuse and an abortion followed, all before she graduated high school.

As Lisa found herself at rock bottom, Alan found himself at the "wrong end of a crowbar" from a jealous husband, which served as the wakeup call Alan needed. When he returned home from New Orleans much like the prodigal son in Luke 15, his family welcomed him with open arms, and Alan was reconciled to God at that time.

Realizing his need for a "good girl," Alan reached out to Lisa, who immediately agreed to meet up with him again. They spent their first date discussing what it would look like to be a Christian couple living for God, and they married eight months later.

"[But] we made a big mistake," Alan said, "because we went into our marriage with a lot of bags packed with a lot of stuff -- something we really never gave to the Almighty or allowed to be unpacked to get it out of our lives. A lot of young married couples just go in thinking that the junk that was around is all in the past, but it has a way of coming back when you don't really let God deal with it. And that's what happened with us."

Alan served as associate pastor in a local church and soon began to put his ministry ahead of his wife. Lisa, still dealing with issues from childhood, suffered as a result. At the 15-year mark of their marriage, Lisa had an affair.

"Whenever I married Alan, I thought I found Christ," Lisa said. "But instead of making Jesus Christ the Lord of my life, I made Alan my god. And whenever you put anything in that place besides God, it's going to fall."

Following the revelation of her adultery, Lisa went into the backyard of their home and lay face down on the ground, "because at that point," she said, "I could not go any lower." There, she cried out to God.

"I said, 'God, I thought I knew You. I thought I had a relationship with You. But I have nothing. If You're there, if You're real, please come and rescue me.' And He met me right there."

Over the next few weeks, Lisa, with the aid of some friends from church, finally "gave it all to God." After becoming reconciled to her husband, their lives and the lives of their two daughters changed as they experienced God's grace.

Soon, the Robertsons became "first responders" for marriage issues within the church, performing pre-marital and marriage counseling and hosting marriage conferences, "because," as Lisa explained, "we were the beggars who found bread, and we had a story to tell. … [God] made us new. He made our family new. And He met us right where we were. … He will meet you wherever you call out to Him."

Alan and Lisa's counsel for marriage, as found in their book "A New Season," is based on Ephesians 5:33, which commands husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. Alan pointed out that, implicitly, this means husbands and wives should be lovable and respectable.

The couple pointed to Job 31 and Proverbs 31 as important Scriptures for husbands and wives, respectively. Applications for husbands included making a covenant with one's eyes not to look lustfully at women and not being vengeful but rather forgiving. Applications for wives included managing one's family well and deriving beauty not from outward adornment but from fearing the Lord.

Following their presentation, Southwestern President Paige Patterson called their story a "marvelous testimony of the grace of God." He continued, "I pray everybody in America will hear it; we don't have any political problems that you couldn't solve in America if we got the homes right."


Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston. Alex Sibley is associate news director for Southwestern Seminary.

Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston. Alex Sibley is associate news director for Southwestern Seminary.
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