For the week of February 7, 2002
Three 2002 Louisiana Baptist Annual Doctrine Training sessions
have been scheduled. Training will focus on the book, “How to be Holy”
by Rick Melick and will be taught by Stephen Trammell, pastor at Florida Boulevard
Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. The sessions are open to pastors, staff members
and adult church members. Cost is $14 per person. Sessions are set for March
2 at 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Tall Timbers Baptist Conference Center in Woodworth;
March 4 at 5:15-9 p.m. at Temple Baptist Church in Ruston; and March 5 at 5:15-9
p.m. at Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. To register, send registration
fee, name, address, phone, church name and choice of conference to Louisiana
Baptist Convention, Attn: Kenneth Mooney/Doctrine Study, P.O. Box 311, Alexandria,
LA 71309. For details, call (800) 622-6549 or (318) 448-3402.
Southern Baptist Cooperative Program gifts totaled $17.4 million
last month, an increase of $1.8 million (11.8 percent) from the previous January.
Four months into the Southern Baptist Conventions fiscal year, overall
gifts total almost $60.8 million, an increase of $1.57 million (2.7 percent)
from the same time last year. Meanwhile, designated gifts totaled $19.5 million
last month, an increase of $61,874 (0.3 percent) from the previous January.
For the year, designated gifts total $31.6 million, an increase of almost $2.1
million (7.1 percent) from the same time last year.
Georgia Baptist Convention and Shorter College officials issued
a statement last week, announcing that the schools trustee executive committee
has rescinded action shifting the colleges assets and control to a self-perpetuating
foundation board. In turn, college and convention leaders have agreed to form
an ad hoc committee to study the trustee selection process. Shorter officials
had said the self-perpetuating action was taken to meet an accreditation requirement
enabling the trustees to remove one of its own with cause. The new statement
says Georgia Baptist leaders have agreed to provide the college with a written
procedure for trustee removal.
China prison term
A Hong Kong businessman who allegedly smuggled thousands of
Bibles onto Chinas mainland received a two-year prison sentence for illegally
running a business. Some observers had feared Lai Kwong-keung could have faced
execution. Lai, 38, was detained after bringing 33,080 Bibles for an underground
Christian sect. China permits the distribution of Bibles but only those printed
in China. The case has renewed criticism of Chinas religious freedom record.
American officials are expected to turn up the heat on the issue in light of
an upcoming visit to China by President George Bush.
The Florida Baptist Convention has withdrawn an invitation
to former Southern Baptist Womans Missionary Union leader Dellanna OBrien
to speak at its state WMU meeting. The action came because of OBriens
ties to a new missions organization, Global Women. “We do not believe that
a person involved in a third-party parachurch missions organization would prove
to be a valuable spokesperson for … Florida Baptists,” a convention official
said. “We support Southern Baptist missions.” OBrien said she
had no animosity about the action. OBrien retired as national Womans
Missionary Union leader in 1999 and is one of several past WMU leaders to serve
as a Global Women incorporator. Leaders say the new group is open to all “missions-minded
evangelicals” and plans to appoint missionaries. OBrien helped incorporate
Global Women but withdrew from leadership after realizing some perceived it
as being in conflict with WMU. She said she was surprised having her name linked
with the group would cause anyone to question her support for WMU. “I would
be so happy if we would remember who the enemy is and … be able to work together,”
Zondervan and the International Bible Society have announced
plans for an updated New International Version that uses more gender-neutral
language. Publishers say Todays New International Version will translate
the Bible more accurately and present it more clearly. One method of doing that
is to use gender-neutral language when the text is meant to include both men
and women. For instance, “sons of God,” will become “children
of God.” The publishers earlier withdrew plans to replace the New International
Version with a more gender-neutral version amid widespread criticism. In this
instance, they will publish the new version while continuing to make the original
New International Version available. The New Testament of the new version is
due out this spring. The whole Bible is expected in 2005.
Mississippi College choice
Mississippi College trustees have chosen Anderson (S.C.) College President
Lee Royce to become the 19th president of the Mississippi Baptist school. Election
of a new Mississippi College president was of interest because current Louisiana
College President Rory Lee was considered one of the top choices for the school.