April 2012

State cooperative agreements: A change is needed

By R. Albert Mohler, President Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – Reaching the people of North America with the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been a primary purpose of the Southern Baptist Convention since its beginning in 1845. Over the last 150 years and more, Southern Baptists have been working together to evangelize and plant churches throughout this continent.

[img_assist|nid=6186|title=R. Albert Mohler President Southern Baptist Theological Seminary|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=72|height=100]Of course, reaching North America is a far larger task in terms of both geography and population than it was in 1845 – and far more complex as well. Looking to the future, Southern Baptists must make the adjustments that will focus our work in order to make maximum impact on this land.


Judge rules in favor of LC in faith-based teaching suit

[img_assist|nid=8043|title=Lawsuit Press Conference|desc=Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard comments at a April 4 news conference at the school on a judge’s favorable ruling for LC in a lawsuit over the school’s faith-based teachings. Photo by Al Quartemont.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=427]By Kelly Boggs, Baptist Message Editor

PINEVILLE -- After almost seven years, the Ninth Judicial District Court has ruled in favor of Louisiana College and defended the school’s right to determine the content of its faith curriculum.

The decision concerned a law suit filed by former professors who “sued to gain control of how religion would be taught,” Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard said April 3 during a news conference on campus.

The lawsuit, filed in 2005, was heard by Judge Mary Lauve Doggett of the Ninth Judicial District Court ruled March 27. The professors who sued the college alleging loss of academic freedom and infliction of emotional distress were Carlton L. Winbery, Fredrick L. Downing, James R. Heath and Connie R. Douglas.


Wave of Prayer intensity builds as it draws near April 29 finale

[img_assist|nid=8045|title=Prayer under the Oaks|desc=LBC Executive Director David Hankins (right) addresses a small crowd under the stately oak trees that surround the St. Martin Parish Courthouse in St. Martinville before leading them in prayer. As the Wave of Prayer rolls through the state, it is building in intensity toward the April 29 finale on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=360]By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor

BATON ROUGE – The Wave of Prayer that started in early March is building in intensity as it rolls south through Louisiana, stretching between the borders of Mississippi and Texas, and from as far north as the border with Arkansas to as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.

Southern Baptists across Louisiana are invited to gather for the final stop of this two-month journey on at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 29, on the steps of the State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Hundreds are expected to participate in the late afternoon event, which will feature a 100-voice combined choir,

David Hankins, Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, and, perhaps, Governor Bobby Jindal.


LC receives largest gift in school history from alumnus family

[img_assist|nid=8047|title=Memorable Gift|desc=Louisiana College’s Randall Hargis, Vice President for Business Affairs, and Luana Cunningham, Director of Alumni and Foundation Relations, hold a $2.5 million check from the Carl and Helen Vogel Trust. It is the largest financial gift in LC history. Photo by Al Quartemont.|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=427]By Kelly Boggs, Baptist Message Editor

PINEVILLE – Louisiana College announced April 5 at a news conference held on its campus that it has received the largest single gift in the history of the school. 

The Carl and Helen Vogel Trust totals approximately $2.5 million and has been donated to LC as an unrestricted endowment.

Carl Vogel, a 1931 graduate of LC, was a postman who, along with his wife, for years bought savings bonds. The couple had no children and left all they had to LC.


What ‘Reason Rally’ lacked in reason, it made up for it in attacks

By Kelly Boggs, Baptist Message Editor

The “non-religious” from across America gathered in Washington D.C. for what was dubbed as the “Reason Rally.” Self-identified atheists, agnostics, secular humanists came to a meeting that had been promoted for months as “the largest secular event in world history.”

While the event was touted as emphasizing reason, it seemed that some participating in the rally believed ridicule and bullying were the preferred ways for combating religious belief and spreading the joys of atheism.

One lady attending the rally held a sign that read: “So many Christians, so few lions,” according to the Washington Post. The sign was an obvious reference to Christian persecution by the Roman Empire.


Sacrifice: Is 2.56 percent really all we love Jesus?

By Ronnie Floyd, Senior Pastor Cross Church in Arkansas

Imagine what your life would look like if you only committed 2.56 percent of yourself to the things you do.

How healthy would your marriage be if you told your spouse, “I love you with 2.56 percent of my heart”? Where would your career be if you performed at only 2.56 percent of your capability?

We wouldn’t dream of doing such things. Yet, this is exactly the attitude the average Christian has when it comes to financing the work of the church.


Should Christians boycott Starbucks? Is this the right way?

By Russell Moore, Dean at SBTS

A respected pro-family organization has announced a boycott of Starbucks coffee. The group, which supports legal protection for traditional marriage, launched the “Dump Starbucks” campaign after a national board meeting in which the Seattle-based coffee company mentioned support for same-sex marriage as a core value of the company.

Some Christians are wondering whether we ought to join in the boycott. I say no.

It’s not that I’m saying a boycott in and of itself is always evil or wrong. It’s just that, in this case (and in many like it) a boycott exposes us to all of our worst tendencies. Christians are tempted, again and again, to fight like the devil to please the Lord.


One step closer to Heaven and what do we have to show for it

By Craig Beeman, Pastor First Baptist Winnsboro

As we participate in the Annie Armstrong Mission Offering, one of our three major missions offerings in which we participate as Louisiana Baptists, many thoughts come to mind. “How much will we raise?” “Will we give sacrificially this year?” “It sure is nice we can sit in a padded pew and reach out to the rest of the world through someone else who is called as a full-time missionary.” Ouch.

I’m afraid that that has been one of our problems as Southern Baptists. We sometime seem content to just fund the largest mission sending agency in the United States. There is nothing wrong with being part of the funding, but what are we, as individuals and churches, doing to share the gospel?

Sending missionaries should not be all we do. We are Baptist Christians who have “a story to tell to the nations.” We hold in our hearts the message which gives people hope, the love of God and freedom from the eternal effects of sin. This message changes lives, or does it?


Preparing for summertime mission work

By Jason Hiles, Associate Dean of Caskey School of Divinity

As spring gives way to summer, folks in many of Louisiana’s churches will embark on short term mission trips in the United States and overseas. In carrying the gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus as Savior, they will participate in a work commissioned by Christ and carried out initially by his apostles.

For generations now believers have responded to this Great Commission with concern for the glory of Jesus’ name and diligence for the sake of those who live apart from Christ and under the wrath of a holy God.

Unfortunately the enemy resists at virtually every point where the Kingdom of God advances.


Questions We've Pondered

By Archie England, Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at NOBTS

Question: How can I live confident that my life is pleasing to God?

Archie England responds: To answer this, let’s investigate Proverbs 3, which concludes with two possible outcomes: blessing or cursing. Those living wisely will be rewarded with blessings, honor, and grace; those who don’t, will be cursed, mocked, and shamed (as fools).

 First, Proverbs 3 presents several principles, along with corresponding benefits, in verses 1-12 (bound by “my son” statements). Six commands (three prohibitions and three exhortations) comprise this section: (1) Keep, 3:1; (2) Don’t let go, 3:3; (3) Trust, 3:5; (4) Don’t be wise, 3:7; (5) Honor, 3:9; and (6) Don’t reject, 3:11. Likewise, each command attaches a corresponding guarantee – 1) long life and peace; (2) favor and reputation; (3) straight paths; (4) health; (5) abundance; and (6) delightful, parental relationship. All six reflect what pleases God, that is, a life based upon the word of God. His Law is indeed the truth that prepares a “faithful child” for life.