For the week of July 11, 2002
Gifts through the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program totaled $14.7 million last month, a drop of $929,060 (5.9 percent) from the previous June. With three months remaining in the Southern Baptist Conventions fiscal year, Cooperative Program gifts total $138.4 million, an increase of $5.2 million (3.9 percent) ahead of the same time last year. The total also stands about $4.7 million (3.5 percent) ahead of budget at this time. Meanwhile, designated gifts totaled $14.4 million last month, a drop of more than $7.1 million (33.1 percent) from the previous June. For the year, designated gifts total $157.6 million, an increase of $4.2 million (2.7 percent) from the same time last year.
September 11 foretold?
Almost a quarter of Americans surveyed say the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States were predicted by the Book of Revelation, a joint poll by Time magazine and CNN has found. Twenty-three percent of American adults surveyed said they believe the attacks were predicted in the last book of the Bible. Almost three times that percentage – 64 percent – disagreed. Meanwhile, 17 percent of Americans said they believed the end of the world as described in Revelation will occur in their lifetimes, compared to 42 percent who said it would occur “eventually” and 33 percent who said “it will not occur.” Poll results were released in the June 24 edition of Time, whose cover story is “The Bible & The Apocalypse.” In the accompanying articles, Time editors note that interest in end-of-the-world events has risen since September 11. On another front, the magazines poll also found 36 percent of Americans who said they believe the Bible is the Word of God and should be taken literally, compared to 44 percent who said it should not be taken literally. In addition, 36 percent of those surveyed said they have spoken to others since September 11 about what the Bible says concerning the end of the world.
Two persons with Louisiana ties recently earned doctor of ministry degrees from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. Alexander Himaya is the son of Dr. and Dr. M.A. Himaya of Bossier City. Clyde Sanchez is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Sanchez of Oak Grove and pastor at New Chapel Hill Baptist Church in West Monroe.
Thirty-four Chinese church leaders who were kidnapped in April have been released and are safe, leaders of an interdenominational ministry based in Thailand reported recently. The kidnapping was “a horrible terrorist event, … deliberately planned by the top leaders of the Eastern Lightning cult, and was entirely without precedent in the history of the Chinese Church,” reported the China For Jesus Web site, sponsored by the China Gospel Fellowship. The kidnappings were carefully planned by the cult for more than a year, with the house church leaders taken by force to separate locations. Leaders said the Eastern Lightning cult has a record of brutal tactics against house church leaders and members, including torture, brainwashing and murder. Mission workers asked Christians to continue to pray for the released Chinese leaders as they recover. “Lets pray for these leaders who have endured much for the cause of Christ,” said Randy Sprinkle, director of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board prayer strategy office. “Ask the Lord to heal and help them as they recover, and pray that those who persecuted them will come under conviction of the Holy Spirit because of the faithful testimonies, both in word and life, of these Christian leaders.”
One hundred Christian leaders recently signed a statement urging others not to used the gender-neutral Todays New International Version in preaching or Bible study. The new translation was introduced in January and has been criticized for its gender-neutral approach by a number of evangelical leaders, including Southern Baptists. The statement charges the new translation goes “beyond acceptable translation standards in several important respects.” It is signed by almost two dozen Southern Baptist leaders, including several former convention presidents and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley.
In the June 27 issue of the Louisiana Baptist Message, Larry Thompson was misidentified as Larry Bruce in the “person on the street” center spread. Thompson is pastor at First Baptist Church of Westlake. He was asked to respond to a question about churches and taxes in the “person on the street” feature.