Today's BP Ledger contains items from:
Brentwood Baptist Church
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Morning Star News
Living Hope documentary to
premiere at Brentwood Baptist
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (Brentwood Baptist Church) -- On Sunday, Feb. 23, the Living Hope Documentary will premiere at 6:30 p.m. on Brentwood Baptist's campus, launching the U.S. tour for the film.
In 1999, a pastor of a local church in Cape Town, South Africa, realized an entire generation of his neighbors would soon be lost to HIV, AIDS and poverty. The action he took not only changed his city, but also attracted the attention of foreign dignitaries, musicians and U.S. Presidents.
Living Hope is a feature-length documentary film that tells the inspirational story of this pastor and the hundreds who came alongside him to fight poverty and disease in South Africa. Filmed in a visual style comparable to a National Geographic feature, it takes audiences on a cinematic journey to Cape Town.
Joel Smallbone, of the band For King & Country, who recently won the GMA Dove Award for Best New Artist in 2013, narrates the film. Also featured are Dana Perino, former White House Press Secretary and FOX News host, and Michael W. Smith, Grammy Award-winning musician -- both of whom have been personally involved with Living Hope.
Currently, 10 missionaries from Brentwood Baptist -- several of whom are featured in the film -- serve fulltime with Living Hope through one of their ministries -- in health care, substance abuse/homelessness, disease prevention, and economic empowerment/job creation.
Directed by David Kiern, a Brentwood Baptist member and filmmaker, Living Hope highlights:
-- John Thomas – Pastor of King of Kings Baptist Church and founder of Living Hope Ministries who led his congregation to serve the sick, hungry and dying in the local communities.
-- Leonie Rustin – A single mom and nursing assistant who turned from a life of drug addiction to follow Jesus Christ and help others in her community break the chains of addiction.
-- Joey Lankford – A Brentwood Baptist member and local businessman who sold everything and moved his family to Cape Town to equip people with job skills and lead them out of poverty.
The event is free and open to the public. For a sneak preview, go to http://livinghopedocumentary.com/home.html
Located in Brentwood, Tenn., and led by senior pastor Mike Glenn, Brentwood Baptist is an 9,000-member church that seeks to connect people to Jesus Christ through worship, discipleship and service.
At annual summit, Southern Seminary
emphasizes expository preaching
By RuthAnne Irvin & Aaron Cline Hanbury
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) -- The second annual Expositors Summit, hosted by The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 29-31, featured pastors H.B. Charles Jr., Alistair Begg and seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. The event, which opened and concluded with seminary chapel services, brought together more than 420 attendees from around the country.
Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., preached three sermons, the first from Philippians 2:5-11 about the humiliation and exaltation of Christ.
Charles emphasized Jesus' suffering, noting his selfless sacrifice for sinners.
"Christ made himself nothing in the role he adopted in the incarnation: a servant," he said. "We have never sacrificed anything in comparison to what Christ did for us."
Christ not only humbled himself, but God exalted him to a place of high honor. The proper response to Jesus, then, is worship, Charles said.
"The bowing of the knee is the proper response to Jesus' exaltation," Charles said. "The lordship of Christ is the ultimate confession of every Christian and all creation."
In his second sermon, Charles preached from Psalm 119 about the necessity of personal devotion for ministers.
He said, "We must have confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture that begins in our personal devotion before it will take real effect in our public ministries."
To know God's Word is to love God's Word, he said, giving three reasons loving the Bible is important.
The first reason is because the Word of God makes Christians wise. He said that Scripture is so sufficient that it will overcome whatever may stand against it, if ministers commit to preach it faithfully.
Age and wisdom don't always go together, and experience is not always the best teacher. Instead, Christians should intentionally fall in love with God's Word and submit themselves to it because it leads to wisdom, Charles said.
Charles' second reason was that Scripture aids in keeping Christians from sin.
And in his final point, Charles pointed out that Christians need to know and love Scripture because it brings joy.
Charles closed the summit, preaching from Psalm 46 about "a safe place in God."
The passage, Charles said, "seems to speak to any and every situation the people of God may face. The personal trials, the moral decline, the social upheaval, the economic reversals, the political shenanigans, the international conflict, the the terrorist threats — not to mention the spiritual challenges we face — cause our hearts to ask, 'Is any place safe?' Unfortunately, there is no safe place in this world.
"But I stand to say: there is a safe place in God. In fact, this is the message of Psalm 46: the only safe place in the world is in God alone."
Charles pointed to three aspects of God in which the psalmist finds safety: in the power, presence and purpose of God.
Mohler preached for the first general session of the Expositors Summit.He spoke from Matthew 7:24-29 — the parable about the man who built his house on the rock and the one who built his house on the sand — about the lack of authority in contemporary preaching and the problem this presents.
When Jesus concludes the parable, the scribes listening to him stood astonished, Mohler said, because he spoke with authority.
"What's missing today in pastors is authority," he said. "The one thing missing is the one thing necessary."
Mohler said preachers can recover this authority by preaching God's Word. Pastors and teachers, he said, do not teach on their own authority, but on God's.
He closed out the second day of the conference preaching from 1 Corinthians 9, where Paul says that he has became "all things to all people, that by all means I might save some." Mohler exposed common misinterpretations of this passage that creep into cultural Christianity.
With the growing moral revolution and churches that listen to the culture's ideologies, Christians must look out for the "wolves" who want theological reformulation in place of orthodox theology, Mohler said.
Mohler said the way to contextualize ministry is to live as resident aliens and understand the temptations that face the church. He argued that Paul does not intend to become "all to save all," giving up sound doctrine. Rather, he lets go of preferences and holds on to Scripture in order to save some.
"The first temptation is to hold on to what we're supposed to let go of, and the second is to let go of what we're supposed to hold on to," he said.
Begg, pastor of Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio, preached three times for the summit.
In an Oct. 29 chapel service, after he recounted advice he received early in his career that he should find his "thing," a brand that would define his ministry, Begg argued that, rather than a brand, the emphases of the Bible should define Christians. He discussed three statements — three "one things" — from three different passages of Scripture that should characterize believers.
Begg summarized the three: "One thing I know, says the Christian, I used to be blind but now I can see," he said. "One thing I do, I forget what lies behind; I press on toward that goal. And one thing I ask, that I might enjoy in all of its fullness to live in the house of God forever."
For the first "one thing," Begg pointed to John 9:25, where a blind beggar, after Jesus restores his sight, tells the Pharisees that the "one thing" he knows is, "I was blind but now I see!"
"Those words on the lips of this man born blind identify, in a radical way, the intervention of Jesus Christ in his life," Begg said." This 'one thing that I know,' says the man, is a reminder to us of something, of course, we must never forget: namely, the nature, the wonder, the absolute necessity of being converted. "
Begg drew his second "one thing" from Philippians 3:13-14, where Paul writes that the "one thing" he does is, "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead," press "toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
For his final statement, Begg looked at Psalm 27:4, where the psalmist asks "one thing" of the Lord, that he "may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of life."
Begg concluded the first day preaching from the Book of Jude.Jude calls his readers to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, Begg said. In his first general session, Begg contended that the church today, as in Jude's, faces a threat from the inside when Christians doubt the sufficiency of Scripture.
"Jude is saying to his hearers that in the climate they are living, it is imperative that they take a stand for their faith," Begg said. "This faith is not to be diluted; it is not to be distorted; it is not to be contaminated. The sum and substance of the gospel lies, in Luther's words, in the word substitution."
Begg expounded on Jude's message to Christians who are called, loved and kept by God. He noted that God alone accomplishes all of these aspects in the passage. Christians are saved as a result from something done for them, Begg said.
"This message is to be proclaimed clearly, wisely, sensitively and authoritatively," Begg said. "It is the conviction that what God has said is to be said with nothing else to be added, and what God has done he has done with nothing else needed."
In a second sermon from Jude, Begg noted that the apostle calls Christians to learn from the past and persevere in the present until Christ returns. Jude wants his readers to remember that building themselves up in the love of God is a "constant, lifelong activity," Begg said.
At the end of his sermon, Begg encouraged preachers to remember God's love toward them in order to build up believers in their congregations.
"The care of God for the pastors and shepherds of the flock is a care that is to extend to those who are our sheep and our lambs so that we may convey to them the mercy and love and the goodness and the intervention of God and together we might follow hard after him," he said.
In addition to the main sessions, the Expositors Summit offered breakout sessions about expository preaching led by Southern Seminary faculty members Kevin L. Smith, Hershael W. York, Daniel S. Dumas, Robert L. Plummer and James M. Hamilton. The event also included a panel discussion in which Begg, Charles, Mohler and Dumas discussed a range of topics related to expository preaching, from preparation time to application.
Audio and video from the Expositors Summit are available at sbts.edu/resources. Next year's Expositors Summit will be Oct. 28-30, 2014. More information about the Expositors Summit and other events at Southern Seminary are available at sbts.edu/events.
Samford dean & wife
featured at Judson College
MARION, Ala. (Judson College) -- Dr. Timothy George and his wife Denise George were the featured speakers at Judson College's annual Christian Emphasis Week.
Christian Emphasis Week, a time in which the campus community annually engages in additional intentional and focused worship and study, was held in the Ramsay-McCrummen Chapel on the school's campus in Marion, Ala., Jan. 14-16. This year's event was titled, “Following Jesus in Today's World: Life, Race, and Prejudice,” with presentations by the Georges at 11 a.m. all three days.
George, who serves Samford University as dean and professor of religion at Beeson Divinity School, spoke on Tuesday. Denise George, who works as a full-time author and speaker and serves the Beeson Divinity School as an adjunct instructor, spoke on Wednesday and on Thursday.
The common thread running through the messages delivered by the Georges is that all persons are created in God's image, and that this core doctrine deeply impacts the way in which we should live with and care for all persons. Thus, on the first day of the event, Dr. George presented, "Loving the Least of These: The Sacredness of Life." Dr. George's talk was far-ranging, yet he framed his message with what Jesus said in the Book of Matthew: "Inasmuch as you do unto the least of me, you do unto me."
Dr. George emphasized that all human life is sacred – from the point of conception to natural death. In October of 2009, he was part of a three-member committee that drafted the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience. This manifesto was issued by evangelical Christian leaders to affirm the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty. The Manhattan Declaration's website encourages supporters to sign the declaration and counts about 600,000 signatories to-date.
Dr. George used the analogy of the nineteenth century British anti-slavery activist, William Wilberforce, as an example to those wishing to protect unborn children. According to Dr. George, during the 1800s in England, Wilberforce faced strong opposition to ending the slave trade. But he worked steadfastly to end the entrenched tradition. After years of perseverance, Wilberforce won the battle – the British Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.
On the second and third days of Christian Emphasis Week, Denise George spoke to the assembly in Judson's Ramsay-McCrummen chapel. Addressing the issues of prejudice and forgiveness, Mrs. George looked deeply into the lives of two children who had survived the Birmingham church bombing; and the other, the holocaust of Hitler's concentration camps.
On Wednesday, Mrs. George's presentation was titled, "While the World Watched: Racial Reconciliation."
Mrs. George reminded the audience that on Sunday, Sept. 15, 1963, just 50 years ago, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham was shaken by the explosion of a bomb. Ironically, it was "Youth Sunday," and the pastor was prepared to give a sermon based on Luke 23:34, "A Love that Forgives."
But on that day, the sermon was never delivered. At 10:22 a.m. a bomb blast killed four young girls, who were buried under rubble in the basement of the church.
Mrs. George told the story of Carolyn McKinstry, a little girl who survived the bombing. But it was her friends who died. She never received grief counseling; in fact, the terrible event was not talked about very much. The child grew up with strong feelings of loss, guilt, bewilderment and anger. As an adult, she became an alcoholic.
However, McKinstry eventually changed her life through forgiveness. It wasn't until she could forgive the Klansmen who had set off the bomb that killed her friends, that she could live again a life of purpose and faith.
Similarly on Thursday, Mrs. George's message, titled "Secret Holocaust Diaries: Standing with the Victims," presented the story of a girl who became empowered through forgiveness.
Nonna, a Russian Orthodox Christian, was a refugee from the Ukraine caught in the holocaust of World War II. On August 7, 1942, her mother, Theodocia, her sister, Anna, and she were arrested and sent to a Nazi concentration camp. They spent four years in six different camps.
A total of 35 family members were interred in labor and concentration camps. Nonna was the only person of her family to survive.
However, rather than let weeds of bitterness grow in her heart, she was able to forgive her captors. Despite the horrendous acts committed against herself and family, she forgave them.
While still a young woman, Nonna came to the United States where she married a man named Henry Bannister. In her book entitled "The Secret Holocaust Diaries," Mrs. George writes about Nonna's experiences during the holocaust. The book became a best-seller and is in print today. Nonna Bannister died in August of 2004.
At the conclusion of the week's event, Dr. David Potts, President of Judson College, graciously expressed his deep appreciation to Dr. and Mrs. George for their outstanding presentations. He also thanked Dr. Harold Arnold, who was instrumental in organizing this year's Christian Emphasis Week activities, as well as students, faculty, and staff members for their support.
'Proselytism' Conviction of Convert
from Islam in Morocco Overturned
By Morning Star News Middle East Correspondent
CAIRO, Egypt (Morning Star News) – An appeals court judge in Morocco has overturned a conviction against a Christian convert from Islam who had been sentenced to 30 months in prison for alleged proselytizing.
The judge in the Court of Appeal in Fez dismissed the case Feb. 6 against Mohamed El Baladi, 31, because of lack of evidence, sources close to him told Morning Star News.
“The case has ended,” said one source close to El Baladi who requested anonymity. “The file will be closed on the 13th of February after a routine administrative process is finished.”
On Aug. 28, in the remote town of Ain Aicha, Taounate Province, 50 miles from Fez, security officials arrested El Baladi for alleged proselytizing two Muslims after someone complained to police about a conversation he allegedly had with them about his faith. During the arrest, police insulted El Baladi for leaving Islam and tried to force him to reveal names of other converts to Christianity.
Police eventually raided his home, where they seized several Christian CDs, books and magazines, along with the 5,000 dirhams, sources said.
On Sept. 3, no more than a week after his arrest, a court in Taounate found El Baladi guilty of attempting to incite at least one young Muslim to leave Islam and sentenced him to 30 months in prison, along with fining him 1,500 Moroccan dirhams (US$182). (See Morning Star News, Sept. 13, 2013.)
Human rights advocates said his hearing was irregular at best, with authorities finding El Baladi guilty without any legal representation and handing down the fine exceeding the maximum allowed by law. The penalty for violating Article 220 of Morocco’s penal code regarding “proselytism” is six months to three years in prison and a fine of up to 500 dirhams (US$60).
The penal code describes proselytizing as any attempt to stop someone from exercising their religious beliefs or from attending religious services. It is also illegal for anyone to employ “incitements to shake the faith of a Muslim or to convert him to another religion.”
Authorities on Sept. 26, 2013, made the unusual decision to release him from prison until his appeal hearing. There were two scheduled court hearings for the appeal, one on Oct. 10, which was postponed, and one scheduled for Dec. 26, when the judge was absent; a previous report from Morocco published by Morning Star News that the court heard arguments on that date was later found to be inaccurate, although long-denied defense arguments were filed and the hearing was rescheduled for today (Feb. 6).
Having a conversation about one’s faith is not generally considered proselytizing in Morocco, but sources confirmed reports that El Baladi was set up by an uncle with whom he had a previous dispute. The uncle hired two teenage boys to feign interest in Christianity, and police were on hand to arrest him for proselytizing minors when he met with them a second time (see Morning Star News, Oct. 11, 2013).
Strict interpretation of sharia (Islamic law) condemns apostates from Islam to death, though that is not the case in Morocco. Moreover, converts from Islam in Morocco say the government tends to prosecute more noticeable evangelists. A quiet Christian convert is unlikely to run into problems other than from family, but “active” Christians who attempt to tell others about their faith will likely face harassment from authorities, especially if they live in a rural area or a small city.
Police monitoring of converts, including phone conversations, is common, one convert from Islam said.
The West has generally applauded Morocco’s new constitution of 2011, which provides for a fair trial and presumption of innocence until proven guilty for those accused of breaking the law. But a fatwa issued in 2012 by the governmental High Council of Ulemas, the highest religious authority in Morocco that called for the execution of converts, has caused concern among human rights and religious freedom advocates.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI is seen as a moderate, but Islam is the official religion of the state, and the king’s titles include “The Defender of the Faithful.” Christians are also suspicious as his government shares power in a coalition that includes the Justice and Development Party, which is considered to have links with the Muslim Brotherhood; the group calls for a society governed by Islam.
On Dec. 28, 2005, Christian convert Jamaa Ait Bakrim was sentenced to 15 years in prison for proselytism and for destroying the goods of others by burning two abandoned telephone poles touching his property.
In March 2010, the government expelled at least 33 Christian foreign residents from the country. Among them were 10 adult Christians, along with their children, who were running The Village of Hope, a foster daycare center for orphans. The foster children were turned over to the care of people they did not know.
In addition to the expulsions, roughly 81 people were declared “persona non grata” for alleged proselytizing.
There are about 8,000 Moroccan Christians out of a population of almost 35 million people, according to the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report of the U.S. Department of State.
22nd Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. (Movieguide) -- The 22nd Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry honored the best, most family–friendly, and most inspiring movies and television programs of 2013 at its annual awards show Feb. 7 in the Grand Ballroom of the Universal Hilton Hotel.
"What we're celebrating tonight is you," Movieguide founder and publisher Dr. Ted Baehr told the honorees and audience members from the entertainment industry.
He said people want great movies, and "great movies are great stories well told, with a positive worldview, and that are spiritually uplifting."
"In 2013, Superman had to go to church in MAN OF STEEL," he added. "People want Superman to win after he goes to church."
Baehr noted that 87% of Americans say they believe in God and that more than 123 million go to church every week, but only 26 million go to the movies every week on average. He also noted that there are 2.38 billion Christians around the world.
"Put that audience in the mix of everything you're doing," he told the honorees and industry folk.
One of the highlights of the evening was a performance by quadriplegic celebrity Joni Eareckson Tada, who got a standing ovation for her performance of the Christian song that Oscar snubbed, "Alone Yet Not Alone," from the movie by the same name.
"God's power always shows up best in weakness," Joni told the audience.
"We're so honored we are here," Korie Robertson of the popular TV show DUCK DYNASTY, which was up for several awards. "You get to vote on what kind of entertainment you want to see."
"I'm thankful I get to work with my family every day," added Korie's husband, Willie Robertson.
Roma Downey, star of TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL and the executive producer of the History Channel's popular BIBLE miniseries with her husband Mark Burnett, the creative genius behind such shows as SURVIVOR and SHARK TANK, said about the success of THE BIBLE:
"This has been quite a journey for us, for my husband and I, as a married couple. We were very encouraged all last year."
THE BIBLE was one of the nominees for the $100,000 Epiphany Prize for Most Inspiring TV Program of 2013, supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Mark was also one of the nominees for the $50,000 Friess Free Enterprise Prize for SHARK TANK.
During the awards, Mark noted, "America was built on the Bible and free enterprise."
The 22nd Annual Movieguide® Awards will be telecast March 1, 11 a.m. Pacific Time and 2 p.m. Eastern Time on the ReelzChannel.
Below is a list of the winners for the 22nd Annual Faith & Values Awards:
$100,000 EPIPHANY PRIZE FOR MOST INSPIRING MOVIE OF 2013
Winner: GRACE UNPLUGGED
2 -- BLACK NATIVITY
3 -- 42
4 -- MAN OF STEEL
5 -- THE TOWER
Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
$100,000 EPIPHANY PRIZE FOR MOST INSPIRING TELEVISION PROGRAM OF 2013
Winner: THE BIBLE
2 -- LAST MAN STANDING: Back to School
3 -- THE CROSS
4 -- DUCK DYNASTY: TILL DUCK DO US PART
5 -- BLUE BLOODS: Bad Blood
Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
10 BEST MOVIES FOR FAMILIES
WINNER: #1 -- FROZEN (2013)
2 -- DESPICABLE ME 2
3 -- THE CROODS
4 -- TURBO
5 -- GRACE UNPLUGGED
6 -- MONSTERS UNIVERSITY
7 -- BLACK NATIVITY
8 -- OZ, THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
9 -- CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2
10 -- LINSANITY
10 BEST MOVIES FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
WINNER: #1 -- IRON MAN 3
2 -- 42
3 -- THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
4 -- THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
5 -- GRAVITY
6 -- MAN OF STEEL
7 -- THOR: THE DARK WORLD
8 -- CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
9 -- JACK THE GIANT SLAYER
10 -- THE TOWER
FAITH & FREEDOM AWARD MOVIES
WINNER: #1 -- IRON MAN 3
2 -- 42
3 -- THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
4 -- THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
5 -- TURBO
6 -- MAN OF STEEL
FAITH & FREEDOM AWARD TELEVISION
WINNER: #1 -- DUCK DYNASTY: TILL DUCK DO US PART
2 -- LAST MAN STANDING: Back to School
3 -- CHRISTMAS IN CONWAY
4 -- REMEMBER SUNDAY
5 -- BLUE BLOODS: Bad Blood
6 -- SECRET MILLIONAIRE: George & Kym Rapier: Oakridge, Oregon
$50,000 FRIESS FOUNDATION FREE ENTERPRISE PRIZE
WINNER: SHARK TANK: Episode 4.20
2 -- TURBO
3 -- LAST MAN STANDING: Shoveling Snow
4 -- MONSTERS UNIVERSITY
5 -- CHRISTMAS IN CONWAY
6 -- REMEMBER SUNDAY
7 -- THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
8 -- SECRET MILLIONAIRE: George & Kym Rapier: Oakridge, Oregon
Supported by a grant from the Friess Family Foundation.
GRACE AWARD MOVIES
Actress -- 1 -- AJ Michalka -- GRACE UNPLUGGED
Actor -- 1 -- James Denton -- GRACE UNPLUGGED
3 -- Forest Whittaker -- BLACK NATIVITY
4 -- Harrison Ford -- 42
5 -- Sandra Bullock -- GRAVITY
6 -- Russell Crowe -- MAN OF STEEL
7 -- Henry Cavill -- MAN OF STEEL
GRACE AWARD TELEVISION
Actress -- 1 -- Roma Downey -- THE BIBLE
Actor -- 1 -- Willie Robertson -- LAST MAN STANDING: Back to School
2 -- Diogo Morgado -- THE BIBLE
3 -- Tim Allen -- LAST MAN STANDING: Back to School
4 -- Billy Graham -- THE CROSS
5 -- Len Cariou -- BLUE BLOODS: Bad Blood
6 -- Tom Selleck -- BLUE BLOODS: Bad Blood
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