July 28, 2014
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SBC 2013 Annual Meeting Roundup
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WRAP-UP: SBC re-elects Luter, hears calls for unity, revival
HOUSTON (BP) -- Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention June 11-12 re-elected Fred Luter, the body's first African American president, to another one-year term and heard him deliver a rousing challenge to Southern Baptists to unite and pray for revival. The call for cooperation and revival was delivered by other leaders, including Executive Committee President Frank Page and from members of a Calvinism advisory committee who spoke in the exhibit hall the day prior to the convention. "Could it be," Luter asked during a special Tuesday evening service focused on revival, "that the reason that lost friend, that lost relative, that lost co-worker, that lost neighbor, that lost classmate, have not yet turned from darkness to light is because they don't see us as the body of Christ getting along? Friend, how is it that we say we love God, whom we've never seen, yet don't speak to our brother and sister that we see every day?"
'Do you love the saints of God enough to work together to impact lostness in America?'
Messengers also passed 12 resolutions that covered a variety of issues, including one that expressed "our continued opposition to and disappointment in" the Boy Scouts' decision to allow homosexual members. The resolution affirmed the right of churches to determine their affiliation with the Scouts. Another resolution that garnered significant attention addressed mental health, calling on Southern Baptists to fight the "stigmatization and prejudice" of those with mental health concerns and to "love and minister to" them. It passed in light of the suicidal death of Rick Warren's youngest son and the publication of a new book by Page about the suicide of his daughter Melissa. Luter was elected unopposed, getting a standing ovation from the messengers when Registration Secretary Jim Wells cast the ceremonial ballot for the convention. The overwhelming majority of the 5,100 registered messengers came to a special revival-focused Tuesday night service -- the annual meeting hadn't had night sessions the previous two years -- where Charles Billingsley of Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, Va.) led congregational worship in music for more than 45 minutes, likely a record in recent SBC history. Luter delivered his presidential sermon. For revival to fall on the SBC, Luter said in his message from John 13:34-35, Southern Baptists must have a love for the Scripture, the Savior and the saints (fellow Christians). Luter gave the most attention to the final point -- the need for Southern Baptists to love one another. The roadblock to a revival, Luter said, may be that the lost world does not see Christians loving one another with unconditional love. Southern Baptists "will never see revival in the world until we first see revival in the church," Luter said. It must begin with pastors and leaders, he added. "... Those saints who love contemporary music, do you really love them? Those saints who love traditional music, do you really love them? Those saints who love praise songs, do you really love them? Those saints who are Calvinist, do you really love them? Those saints who are not Calvinist, do you really love them? Those saints who love just a King James Version of the Bible … do you love them? Those saints who love the Holman Christian Standard Bible, do you love them? Those saints whose churches … have Baptist in their name, do you love them? Those churches that don't have Baptist in their name, do you love them? "The question of the hour my brothers and my sisters, [is] do we really love the saints of God," Luter said. "Do you love the saints of God enough to work together to impact lostness in America? Jesus says we should love each other like He loved us, and He loved us so much that he died for us" On Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon -- before the meeting was gaveled to a close -- Luter led messengers in saying, in unison multiple times, "Lord, send a revival, and let it begin with me." During his report, Executive Committee President Frank Page mentioned one barrier to unity -- the debate over Calvinism -- that led him to form a 19-member advisory committee. It issued its report in late May. "I am not naïve," Page said of the differences over Calvinism. "I know there will continue to be problems and difficulties but I am convinced that if we will talk to each other together we will see a unity that will allow us to win more men, women, boys and girls to Christ than ever before."
Crossover: 'a visible example of God's love'
HOUSTON (BP) -- A sun-soaked day broke over Houston Saturday (June 8) as thousands of volunteers scoured the city hosting block parties, renovating schools and homes, and sharing the Gospel.
New births emerge from Crossover witness
HOUSTON (BP) -- As Southern Baptists gather in Houston to conduct the business of the convention, the power of believers working together to intentionally share the Gospel is being felt in the SBC host city, with nearly 400 new believers recording faith decisions.
Luter: afflictions in ministry in God's script
HOUSTON (BP) -- Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter brought a rousing close to the first night of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference, with an encouraging message for discouraged pastors.
Richard Land honored for courage at ERLC
HOUSTON (BP)—The current president, as well as former presidents, of the Southern Baptist Convention commended Richard Land for his courage and faithfulness as head of the denomination's ethics entity for a quarter of a century in a dinner in his honor.
Directors of missions change name, structure
HOUSTON (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Directors of Missions changed its name and organizational structure during its annual conference, June 9 at Second Baptist Church in Houston.
Barber, J. Moore, Cass join list of nominees
HOUSTON (BP) -- Texas pastor Bart Barber will be nominated for first vice president at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting next week (June 11-12), while Kentucky pastor Jared Moore and Texas denominational leader Don Cass will be nominated for second vice president.
EC approves territorial change involving D.C.
HOUSTON (BP) -- The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention approved a recommendation at its June 10 meeting in Houston to designate the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware as a "defined territory" to determine eligibility for representation on SBC committees and entity boards.
Over-representation on SBC boards addressed
HOUSTON (BP) -- During the Executive Committee report June 11, messengers adopted a recommendation to designate the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware as a "defined territory" to determine eligibility for representation on SBC committees and entity boards.
Calvinism team addresses question: What's next?
HOUSTON (BP) -- Members of an advisory committee on Calvinism say that with their report now issued, the "next step" in cooperation and unity is up to individual Southern Baptists. Twelve of the 19 members of the committee appeared together Monday (June 10) in the exhibit hall's Cooperative Program booth, answering questions from messengers. The 3,200-word report, which urged Southern Baptists to "grant one another liberty" and "stand together" for the Great Commission, was unanimously approved and released in late May. "It's really up to all of you as to what happens with this," committee member Tammi Ledbetter told an audience gathered around the CP booth. "We can talk it to death, and I think we probably have. What matters is what you do with your life in the way you relate to other people. And every time you have a conversation about this document or you have a conversation about a fellow believer ... how you handle yourself will make the whole difference." The hope, Ledbetter added, is that both sides will put the focus "back on winning people to Jesus." Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and a committee member, agreed. "So some of this comes back to what Tammi said -- our own personal attitudes and dispositions," Akin said, adding that Southern Baptists need to be "men and women of honesty and integrity." "If we will pursue those types of agendas in the days ahead, I believe we can come together for the very purpose on which we fought the conservative resurgence -- that is, standing on an inerrant Bible to get the Gospel to every person on the planet." The advisory team -- not an official committee of the convention -- was assembled by Executive Committee President Frank Page in August 2012 to advise him on developing "a strategy whereby people of various theological persuasions can purposely work together in missions and evangelism." The committee was composed of Calvinists and non-Calvinists from different walks of life in the convention. "There has been a lot of talking about one another, and I decided it was time to talk to each other," Page said during the panel discussion, acknowledging he "had doubts" about whether the committee could come to an agreement on a report. "I am not naive. I know there are still differences," Page said. "There are people on this group that have strong wills, strong opinions. I am among that group. But I just want to see us work together so men, women, boys and girls can be won to Jesus." The writing committee consisted of Eric Hankins, pastor of First Baptist Church in Oxford, Miss., and R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Mohler is a Calvinist; Hankins is not. There were "several drafts" written before the final report was released, said Union University President David Dockery, the committee chair. "Everyone had an opportunity to participate in the final document," Dockery said. "Everyone had an opportunity to make suggestions." Hankins said he wants Southern Baptists to "grant one another liberty" and "cut out the meanness." "We sought to have something that would call all Southern Baptists together around the Gospel," Hankins said. "We sought to have something that would clearly express that there were real differences [while recognizing] we still want to partner together for the cause of Christ and the announcement of the Gospel all around the world. "We hoped to have a document that would ... return us to a time period that we were in not so long ago in which we shared theological differences, but the rhetoric wasn't so harsh," Hankins said. Said Mohler, referencing the year of the Southern Baptist Convention's formation, "If you go back to 1845, there were people like me in the room, and there were people like Eric Hankins in the room. And they wanted to be in the same room together, because they wanted to send missionaries together, and they wanted to do great things for the Great Commission together." Page said he sees a level of "anti-Calvinism" in the convention "that frightens me." On the flip side, he said, a Calvinist friend recently told him that the "extreme Calvinists" were driving the friend "crazy." There is "vitriol" on both sides, Page said. "It was my opinion that we need to deal with this because I think we've come to the point where trust is hitting a new low," Page said. "We need to act on this to say, 'We've co-existed for a long time, but it will only work when we do what we've said [we should do] -- talk to [one another], not at, not about.'"
Luter sails to second term as SBC president
HOUSTON (BP) -- Fred Luter, Jr., pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, La., was re-elected as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Pastors talk leadership & preaching
HOUSTON (BP) -- Leadership and preaching -- two key facets of ministry -- garnered added attention at the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference via panel discussions during this year's gathering in Houston.
Pastors & wives counsel family before ministry
HOUSTON (BP) -- A roundtable discussion on balancing family and ministry encouraged pastors to put their family foremost by focusing on calendaring, intentionality and the spiritual condition of their children.
Huckabee to pastors: 'Feed the sheep'
HOUSTON (BP) -- Contrasting Tim Tebow with Jason Collins while citing the moral slide of American culture, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee addressed the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference June 10 in Houston.
Pastors' Conf. speakers exhort faithfulness
HOUSTON (BP) -- Pastors received encouragement and challenge to remain strong in ministry and to champion the Gospel during the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference June 9-10 in Houston.

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