SBC Digest: Greenway addresses Baptists in Texas; Spurgeon College's first-ever basketball game
Greenway calls for cooperation at SBTC meeting
By Alex Sibley
ODESSA, Texas (BP) -- "If there was ever a time where we must come together for the sake of reaching Texas and America and the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is now," said Adam W. Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, during his sermon address at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention in Odessa, Texas.
Speaking during the Tuesday morning session Oct. 29, Greenway preached Luke 5:17-26, wherein the friends of a paralyzed man go to great lengths to bring him to Jesus. Incorporating the convention theme of "Who's Your One?" Greenway stressed the importance of cooperation in bringing others to Jesus.
"Cooperation and evangelism, I believe, are inextricably linked given the God-sized task that is set before us," Greenway said. "... That's why I'm drawn to this passage. Because here we see an example of cooperation at its best, of these who found their one and what it meant to bring him to Jesus."
Greenway explained that even when the friends were initially unable to bring their friend to Jesus, they did not give up, but rather tried even harder.
"They were so determined to bring their one to Jesus, it didn't matter what the obstacle or the opposition was; they were going to get him there," Greenway said. "And they noticed that even the challenge was an opportunity to get creative."
"Dear friends, do we have that kind of faith?" Greenway asked. "... How many of us have given up on evangelism because we have allowed all the satanic schemes of the enemy to tell us it doesn't work anymore ...?
"Could I just remind you, 100 percent of those we do not share Christ with will not respond. One hundred percent of the people you do not invite to your church on Sunday are not going to come. Now, does that mean everyone that you do share Christ with and that you do invite is going to come? No. But guess what? More than you would imagine will respond. And so what would happen if we had the kind of faith that these friends had?"
As Greenway continued working through the text, he noted that the scribes and Pharisees were quick to criticize Jesus for forgiving the sins of the paralyzed man.
"One of the most discouraging realities of ministry today is that sometimes our greatest wounds come not from the enemy, but from people who claim to be our friends," Greenway said. "Let me just encourage you, before you talk about somebody, talk to somebody. Before you're tempted to fire off that drive-by tweet, think to yourself, 'Would I say that to that brother or sister if he or she were standing right here in front of me?'"
Greenway declared that it is time "we repent of the ways that we have slandered and libeled our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. These things ought not to characterize the New Testament people of God. And we ought to be working to find ways to cooperate rather than to separate, to not give the enemy the pleasure of seeing us go after each other rather than go after him."
One of his prayers for the SBTC as well as all the Baptist state conventions, Greenway said, is "that the Lord will continue to raise up men and women committed to doing everything we can to connecting all people to Jesus Christ right here in Texas and going to the nations."
"But for us to reach Texas, we have to do it together," he continued, "because the task is greater than any one individual, or any one church, can do. Baptists have recognized this from the beginning: we are better together."
Greenway said this is why Southwestern Seminary exists. "We were founded by a local church pastor, B.H. Carroll, here in Texas, to provide for a ministry -- an educated, faithful ministry -- that would help transform Texas with the Gospel of Jesus Christ," he explained. "That's why ... when we talk about Southwestern, it's not just a seminary or the seminary; it's 'our seminary.' And I want you to know Southwestern Seminary is 'our seminary' as the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention."
"I believe that the best days of Southwestern Seminary are ahead, not behind it," Greenway concluded. "But that can only happen as we keep the main thing, the main thing, and that is doing everything we can to equip God-called men and women to be found faithful in the task God has given to us and be fruitful in His Kingdom service. We want to be the best partner we can be with all of our state Baptist conventions, but especially with you.
"I am thankful for our Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. I am thankful we are partners together in the mission. I am thankful for what God has done. I believe the best is yet to come."
Spurgeon College holds first-ever basketball game
By T. Patrick Hudson
KANSAS CITY, Mo., (BP) -- Intercollegiate athletics at Spurgeon College became a reality Oct. 29, as the men's basketball team competed in their first-ever game against the Kansas Christian College Falcons in Overland Park, Kan.
In the end, the Falcons' quickness and hot shooting spoiled the Knights' first game; however, the scene inside the gym could've quickly been confused as a home game for the Knights. Upwards of 100 students, faculty and staff were in attendance to take in the historic moment for the Knights -- far outnumbering the home team's fan base.
"The environment for our first game was incredible, even if it was on the road," said President Jason Allen. "Walking into the gym and seeing it packed with Spurgeon College Knights fans was encouraging, and their excitement was palpable. We're praying that intercollegiate sports at Spurgeon College will take the sense of community on our campus to a whole new level.
"I can't be more thankful for the efforts of Coach Philip Parker, who is leading the team well. Their hustle, competitiveness, attitudes and, most of all, representation of Jesus Christ while on the court is so encouraging. We're very much looking forward to all the Lord has in store for this team in the days and years ahead."
The game was close for the first five minutes, but then the Falcons' sharp-shooting, dominance in the paint, and athleticism took over. These, combined with Knights turnovers, ended any hope of an opening game victory -- with the final score being 125-58.
Two Falcons, Rudy Ramirez and Ra'Shod Wilson, led all scorers with 18 points apiece. Ramirez set the pace for the game with 15 rebounds, and Serge Israel-Charles notched six blocks in the winning effort.
Noah McCubbin led the way for the Knights with 18 and Cameron Jinks contributed 17. Additionally, the Knights' leading rebounder was Jeremiah Copenhaver with nine. Jinks added a block, and Seth McCubbin had two steals. An encouraging highlight for the Knights was shooting 74 percent from the free throw line.
Among the firsts for the Knights included its first basket, made by Noah McCubbin a couple of minutes into the first half. The first three-point basket was nailed by Jeremiah Copenhaver, who also grabbed the team's first rebound. Overall, the team shot 23 percent from the floor, had 39 rebounds, and six steals on the night.
In summarizing the way his team played, Parker noted, "I thought our guys fought really hard last night against a talented team. Very few things went well for us offensively, but everyone kept working hard the entire game despite some major adversity. I was reminded of the fact that we simply have an incredible group of guys. God has providentially brought this team together, and they are a blessing to coach.
"Much of this year is simply building a foundation for the following seasons. Our team motto is 'We Strive,' which is taken from Philippians 2, where Paul tells the believers to strive together for the faith of the Gospel. That's really the heart of the team -- to create an atmosphere where men learn how striving together looks in a basketball context and be able to translate it into how they view their place in the church. I think we've done that well so far, and I'm excited to see where we'll be a few months from now."
Parker added that the team has opportunities to improve in the coming week, as they have a scrimmage game and then the home opener. He said the players will keep getting more comfortable with the new system that's being put into place, and the game against Kansas Christian was a starting point in learning what needs work and how they can improve moving forward.
Regardless of the outcome, Knights fans were encouraged by the effort and excited for the future of intercollegiate sports at Spurgeon College.
"Having intercollegiate athletics at Spurgeon College brings an exciting culture of competitiveness and pride to this institution," said Michael Crook, a M.Div. with Biblical Language student from Overbrook, Kan. "Being at the first Knights game and cheering from the stands was an exhilarating event. Helping make history of all sorts is fun! I truly believe the new team will provide a stronger sense of community as our campus gathers together to cheer on the Knights in a competitive atmosphere!"
The Knights home opener takes place on Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. versus Ottawa University.