For the week of November 22, 2001
Almost 1,600 messengers registered for last weeks Louisiana
Baptist Convention at the Alario Center in Westwego. The unofficial final tally
of 1,592 falls far short of last years total of 2,169 and the previous
years total of 1,952. However, it represents an increase from the last
time the state convention met in the New Orleans area. That 1992 convention
drew 1,026 messengers.
Louisiana Baptist convention messengers approved program personalities
for the 2002 annual meeting, scheduled for Nov. 11-12 in the Shreveport/Bossier
City area. The convention sermon at that gathering is scheduled to be delivered
by David Uth, pastor at First Baptist Church of West Monroe. The alternate preacher
is Chuck Pourciau, pastor at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport. Music director
for the 2002 annual meeting will be Jim Faull, director of church music and
worship development for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. The alternate music
director is Herb Armentrout, minister of music at Broadmoor Baptist Church in
Shreveport. In addition to those personalities, messengers last week agreed
with a Committee on Arrangements recommendation to hold the 2005 annual meeting
in the Monroe/West Monroe area.
Louisiana Baptist Convention messengers approved reports of
the Committee on Committees and Committee on Nominations without change, challenge
or discussion last week. In previous years, some moves have been made to replace
committee nominees. In approving this years reports as presented, messengers
elected 96 Louisiana Baptists to positions of service on various convention
committees and boards, including the LBC Executive Board and the trustee boards
of all state convention agencies.
Outgoing Louisiana Baptist Convention President Tommy French
named 26 persons to serve as members of the Tellers Committee during last weeks
annual meeting. Roy Davis of Shreveport served as chair of the group. Committee
members included: Randy Brown, Dennis Terry, Larry Thompson, Woody Janise, Patrick
Sexton, Jerry Chaddick, Carl Lane, Tony Perkins, Richard Lear, Charles Young,
Alan Weishampel, Bill Cantrell, Gerald Monceaux, Paul Blange, Charles Starnes,
Wayne Miller, Karl Tingle, Joe Nesom, Weyland Gauntt, Dennis Hackler, Carlton
Vance, Michael Stewart, Gordon (Sonny) Steen, Jeff Pardue, Ken Schroeder and
Mike Walker. The committee was responsible for gathering and counting ballots.
Louisiana Baptist Convention messengers cast three ballots
during last weeks annual meeting. In the first for state president, all
but a handful of messengers did not vote. All in all 1,549 voted in the election,
which represents 97.3 percent of the 1,592 messengers who registered for the
annual meeting. Less than 90 minutes later, 1,375 messengers voted in the election
of a first vice president, representing 86.4 percent of the total registration.
A few hours later, 614 messengers voted in the afternoon session to elect a
second vice president, representing 38.6 percent of the total registration.
State missions services
During the annual state missions services report, Louisiana
Baptist Convention Executive Director Dean Doster urged persons to present Christ
in the midst of changing and unstable times. “I personally dont think
Louisiana Baptists could have chosen a more timely theme to start the 21st century.
Truly, “Changing Lives in Changing Times” appropriately describes
our ministry and our times, …” Doster told convention messengers. “We,
indeed, live in changing times. However, there is an anchor of stability …
and encouragement as we hear God say, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday
and today and forever. Jesus is the anchor of stability. Our goal is to
anchor every soul in Jesus Christ.”
Louisiana College report
Louisiana College is committed to providing the best in academics and student
growth for students, school President Rory Lee told convention messengers last
week. “Theres no where I can find where we are told to be mediocre
in any regard,” Lee said in delivering the annual Louisiana College report.
“At Louisiana College, we will always stand for excellence in academics.
We will always stand for excellence in spiritual growth.” During the report,
Lee reviewed various developments at the school, including the fact that 14
football players have made professions of faith during the season and the 31
percent increase in enrollment in the past four years. He urged messengers to
recognize that the school exists to serve all Louisiana Baptists, to pray for
the school and to let leaders know of prospective students.
Salvation Army update
Less than two weeks after regional officials of the Salvation
Army extended health benefits in a way that would have included homosexual partners
in 13 western states, national officials have rescinded the order. After being
praised by homosexual-rights groups and derided by Christian pro-family groups
for the original action, the Christian organization changed course and now will
offer health benefits only to married couples. “Weve been listening
to our … constituencies, and we now confirm adherence to biblical principles
concerning marriage and the family,” a Salvation Army spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the Armys national office was deluged with thousands
of calls about the policy. In October, Salvation Armys commissioners had
decided to let their four regional offices to determine their healthcare policies.
The Western Territory was the only one to make the decision to expand benefits.
However, last week, Salvation Army officials decided to return healthcare policymaking
to the national level, thereby rescinding the Western Territorys decision.
Focus on the Family President James Dobson praised the about-face. “They
have done whats right, it was not easy, and I just thank God that they
had the courage to do it,” he said.
Arab Bible sales
Facing the threat of a widening war against terrorism, Arab
Christian booksellers report record sales of Bibles and Christian books at international
book fairs held in Baghdad and Damascus in October. More than 35,000 Bibles
and Christian books were sold at the fairs, leaders of the Bible Societies of
Lebanon and Jordan report. For Christians in the Arab world, international book
fairs provide a unique access to buy new Christian titles published in Arabic,
as well as their own copy of a Bible or the New Testament.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has reversed a ruling by his predecessor
that allowed the use of federally-regulated drugs by doctors assisting patients
in committing suicide. The decision immediately affects the state of Oregon,
which has permitted physician-assisted suicide since 1997. While Ashcrofts
ruling does not overturn Oregon law, it means physicians who prescribe or pharmacists
who distribute federally-controlled substances to aid in suicide may have their
licenses to prescribe and dispense such drugs rescinded. The Oregon attorney
general immediately filed suit to block implementation of the new ruling, while
opponents of assisted suicide hailed Ashcrofts decision.