Today's BP Ledger includes items from:
The Pathway/Missouri Baptist Convention
Joni and Friends
American Public Policy Alliance
Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability
Gary Taylor, 'Missouri's prime minister,' dead at 70
By Don Hinkle
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (The Pathway)--Following a ministry that spanned five decades, Missouri Baptist pastor Gary Taylor died Tuesday, May 29, at Jefferson City's Capitol Regional Medical Center following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 70.
Once dubbed "Missouri's prime minister" by a former Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) leader, Taylor was pastor for several Missouri Southern Baptist churches prior to serving as state evangelism director for the MBC from April 2, 2007, until his death. For the past two years Taylor was a popular columnist for The Pathway, penning articles that focused attention on his passion: evangelism. Taylor was elected president of the MBC in 1998-99.
"Gary Taylor's life and ministry is the stuff of legends," said John Yeats, MBC executive director. "One of my greatest remembrances is that of being on my face in prayer with Gary. He wept for specific people. He cried out for the lostness in our cities. He was a warrior for Christ.
"One of the things Gary and I spoke about was the vision of mobilizing our churches to distribute one million Bibles in 2014. With his broad winning smile, he looked me square in the eye and said, 'We can do this!'"
MBC President John Marshall, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Springfield, said, "To many of us Gary Taylor was a gentle giant. He was tall, towering over a crowd, but had a humble heart. He was one of the most beloved and respected pastors in the history of the Missouri Baptist Convention."
Wrote Hannibal-LaGrange University President Woodrow Burt in an e-mail reaction: "The Lord has welcomed one of His most faithful servants."
As recently as a week before his death, Taylor taught several pastors attending a conference at the Baptist Building -- from a wheelchair.
Bott Radio Network personality Harold Hendrick of First Baptist Church, Ferguson, said Taylor was a dear friend for more than 30 years. "What a great, godly, and faithful man. He finished the course in victory," he said.
Prior to serving with the MBC, Taylor was pastor of First Baptist Church, O'Fallon, dating back to 1989. Under his leadership the church grew from 328 to 840 in average attendance with high attendance days running more than 2,000. During his tenure at First O'Fallon the church baptized more than 1,000 people.
Taylor began in the ministry in 1963 when Dresden Baptist Church called him as pastor. While there he helped the church grow from 15 to 40 in Sunday School attendance. Taylor also served as pastor of First Baptist Church, Lamont and at two other St. Louis-area churches, Tower Grove Baptist Church and Rock Hill Baptist Church.
Taylor was active in MBC life, serving in a variety of leadership positions besides the MBC presidency. He was also an original member of the MBC Legal Task Force, which for more than a decade, directed the convention's efforts to retrieve the five breakaway agencies. While Taylor strongly supported the legal action by the MBC, he met with leaders from the breakaway agencies in an effort to avoid legal action, repeatedly urging them to submit to binding Christian arbitration, which they refused. Taylor, a staunch believer in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible, was also a supporter of Project 1000, the theologically conservative movement that successfully saved the MBC from liberalism.
Taylor was a graduate of William Jewell College and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He is survived by his wife, Cindy, and three children from a previous marriage: Debra Shinkle of Novelty, Mark Taylor of St. Louis and Gary Paul Taylor of Florida. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Joyce.
The Missouri Baptist Convention has established the R. Gary Taylor Memorial Fund for Evangelism. Donations should be addressed to the R. Gary Taylor Memorial Fund for Evangelism, Missouri Baptist Convention, 400 E. High St., Jefferson City, MO 65101.
Don Hinkle is editor of The Pathway.
Joni and Friends Radio Celebrates 30 Years
AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (Joni and Friends)--Following the founding of Joni and Friends International Disability Center as a way for Joni Eareckson Tada to minister to others affected by disability, she was approached in 1982 by Al Sanders and Jon Campbell of the Ambassador Advertising Agency with the idea of a radio program as a new way to deliver her messages of hope and encouragement. Sanders had founded Ambassador in 1959 to begin sharing Christian programs via radio.
Joined by Campbell, who became president of the agency in 1989, the two recognized a potential audience for Joni and Friends, and presented a proposal in May 1982. Now, 30 years and more than 7,800 programs later, Tada's messages are heard worldwide. With topics ranging beyond disability awareness to prayer, marriage, poetry and worship, the programs provide inspiration for people from all walks of life.
Originally airing as Joni and Friends Radio, the daily programs were five minutes in length and tackled wide-ranging topics, but always from a biblical perspective. The programs were recently updated with a new sound and contemporary style, introducing Joni and Friends to a new generation of listeners across the U.S. and around the world. The one-minute shortened format, christened "Diamonds in the Dust," is now airing on hundreds of radio stations daily, along with the new four-minute "Joni and Friends" program.
"I thank my Savior for the energy, breath and the insights from His Word and, I'm looking forward to sharing more with our listeners in the months and years to come," said Tada of the 30th anniversary milestone and her continued ability to reach audiences via Joni and Friends Radio.
Tada was honored by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) earlier this year with the NRB Hall of Fame Award for her contributions and commitment to Christian radio through the years. Previously, NRB had honored Joni and Friends Radio as Radio Program of the Year in 2002, and in 2010 "Diamonds in the Dust" received the same recognition in the short program category.
The radio show is one of many facets of the Joni and Friends ministry that contributes to the overall mission of communicating the Gospel and equipping Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disabilities.
For more than 30 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries to people with disabilities around the world. Joni and Friends does this through the Christian Institute on Disability; the International Disability Center; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; Wheels for the World, which every year sees thousands of individuals receive wheelchairs and the life-giving message of the Gospel; and family retreats where families affected by disability learn they are not alone.
Kansas governor Sam Brownback signs American Laws for American Courts bill into law
TOPEKA, Kan. (American Public Policy Alliance)--Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed into law American Laws for American Courts legislation (SB79) on May 21 to protect the fundamental constitutional rights of Kansans. The legislation was approved by a bipartisan 33-3 vote in the Kansas Senate following unanimous 120-0 passage in the Kansas House of Representatives.
The Kansas legislation, sponsored by Rep. Peggy Mast, is based closely on the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model legislation put forth by the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA).
"This bill should provide protection for Kansas citizens from the application of foreign laws," Stephen Gele, attorney spokesman for APPA told the Associated Press. "The bill does not read, in any way, to be discriminatory against any religion. It is perfectly constitutional."
The passage of American Laws for American Courts legislation in Kansas is the latest in a long-term national trend supporting constitutional protections for Americans -- especially women and children who would be most adversely affected -- against foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines which have found their way into the U.S. courts.
ALAC previously passed with broad bipartisan support in Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona. Versions of ALAC have been in force in Tennessee and Louisiana since 2010 and have never been challenged in court.
ALAC's passage in Kansas comes despite well-funded efforts opposing the bill by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American Islamic Relations as well as a $3 million national pro-Shariah campaign by the Muslim Brotherhood-tied Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).
CAIR in particular has spread disinformation on the Kansas law, declaring it is discriminatory against Muslims. But a reading of the actual bill as passed into law clearly shows it is oriented toward protecting the fundamental constitutional rights of all Kansans, and will be especially useful in protecting the rights of Muslim-Americans who have come to America to escape totalitarian legal systems in nations such as Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt.
Previously, Center for Security Policy CEO Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. and ACT for America CEO Brigitte Gabriel collaborated on an article titled "Ten Questions for the Council on American Islamic Relations," challenging CAIR's campaign aimed at American Laws for American Courts.
While some observers have mistakenly assumed that foreign legal systems based on Shariah (Islamic law) never appear in U.S. court cases, the Center for Security Policy conducted research refuting that claim, publishing a report highlighting 50 such cases in U.S. state courts.
New ECFA initiative makes accreditation, services and resources accessible to more church congregations
WINCHESTER, VA. (Christian Newswire)--As part of its mission to help Christian nonprofit organizations - including church congregations - be more financially accountable, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability has launched its new Church Initiative, making accreditation, services and resources accessible to more churches.
The Church Initiative also makes it simpler for existing ECFA-accredited churches to access exclusive governance, financial and stewardship resources and to take advantage of the organization's "5/50/500" member-referral program.
"ECFA's new Church Initiative is essential for leading churches to faithfully demonstrate their commitment to established standards in financial accountability, fundraising and board governance," said Dan Busby, ECFA president. "Fraud is on the increase in churches, and a lack of accountability continues to be a black eye to the Gospel."
"A commitment to excellence in church administration that comes through obtaining ECFA accreditation will further the cause of Christ both within and outside the church," he said.
Under the Church Initiative, modification to the prior fee schedule makes it more affordable for local congregations to earn ECFA accreditation. Smaller congregations unable to take advantage of accreditation services can subscribe to ChurchWise, a three-tiered subscription service that provides access to church-related governance, financial, and stewardship documents, and webinar training.
Through the Church Initiative, ECFA's website has been revamped to make it simpler for churches to access the information they need to be accountable to their members and the public.
ECFA accreditation reflects biblical doctrinal mandates that govern board policies and makeup, financial oversight, use of resources and legal compliance, transparency at all levels and faithful stewardship.
"In a world filled with doubts, the last thing a church needs are doubts about how it handles its finances. And it never will if it opens its doors to ECFA," said Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor at Northland Church, A Church Distributed, in Longwood, Fla.
"ECFA's role as an advocate for evangelical organizations helps defend churches' interests as the government establishes policy for religious institutions," Hunter said.
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