J. Gerald Harris

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‘Genuine burden’ needed for the lost, Hunt says

PHOENIX (BP) -- Looking at the apostle Paul's passion for lost souls, former SBC President Johnny Hunt preached from Romans 9:1-3 at the Southern Baptist Convention June 13 in Phoenix. "The apostle Paul writes with a burdened heart," Hunt said, "because his own brethren, those near and dear to him had refused to accept the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior and Messiah."

Wright exhorts traditionalists & Calvinists

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — The “elephant in the room” in the Southern Baptist Convention is the tension between “traditional” Southern Baptists and “Calvinists,” Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright said in his message to the SBC annual meeting June 19 in New Orleans. Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., for over […]

U.S. citizenship strengthens his ministry

EATONTON, Ga. (BP) — Neftali Coronado, pastor of El Buen Pastor (Church) in Georgia, took his U.S. citizenship test and passed with flying colors. He is now proud to claim the United States as his new country. “I love this country and I am grateful for the opportunity it has given to me and my […]

Ex-wrestler Lex Luger talks of new life in Christ

CLARKDALE, Ga. (BP) -- Lex Luger -- also known as "The Total Package" and "The Narcissist" -- gained worldwide fame as a pro wrestling champion. He stood at 6-feet 4-inches tall, weighed 265 pounds and had a 32-inch waist. His muscles were like polished steel and his perfectly sculptured body added to the wrestling mania that had gripped the nation....

Reclaiming Our First Love

The starting point for Southern Baptists is not the Great Commission, but "falling in love with Jesus once again," Bryant Wright told messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 14. Wright, president of the SBC and pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, likened Southern Baptists to the New Testament church […]

Wright urges adoption of 3,800 unengaged peoples

PHOENIX (BP)--The starting point for Southern Baptists is not the Great Commission, but "falling in love with Jesus once again," Bryant Wright told messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 14. Wright, president of the SBC and pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., likened Southern Baptists to the New Testament church of Ephesus that Jesus rebuked for having abandoned its first love. Taking his text from Revelation 2:1-7, Wright noted that Christ began his message to the Ephesian church with words of commendation -- and Wright acknowledged that Southern Baptists are doing thousands of good things at home and around the world. "Ephesus had existed for 40 years and endured hardship in the midst of a pagan culture," Wright said. "The Southern Baptist Convention, formed in 1845 in Augusta, Ga., has survived a civil war, two world wars, the Great Depression, the recent years of economic recession and years of abundance and great prosperity. In the past 50 years our convention has persevered in the midst of the most rapid moral and social change in the history of the American culture." Like the church at Ephesus, Southern Baptists have resisted and exposed false doctrine, Wright said. "Unlike other mainline denominations that have chosen to take one pro-sin position after another, Southern Baptists have stood unapologetically upon the Word of God," he declared. Wright continued: "Southern Baptists years ago decided that we must be faithful to the perfectly true written Word of God. In our seminaries, it is unbelievable what has happened in the last 30 years. Seeing the sound doctrine and the passion for Christ, for missions and church planting among our faculty and students, is an absolute miracle." After Christ affirmed the church at Ephesus, Wright noted, He offered a word of rebuke because the church had lost its first love. "We leave our first love when other priorities begin to be bigger priorities in our lives than our relationship with Jesus," Wright said. "I believe the No. 1 idol within the lives of our people and in the lives of our churches is materialism. "Studies have shown that less than 2.5 percent of every dollar is given by evangelical Christians in America today [to missions causes]. What it clearly says to us is that no matter how much our people profess that they love Jesus, they love their money more," Wright said. "There is no way that when a person is continuing to steal from God, they can claim they love Jesus Christ." America's hedonistic culture influences today's church, and pornography is sapping the spiritual life from men in congregations, Wright asserted. "There is also an incredible lust for the latest, up-to-date technology," the Georgia pastor said. "To stay connected through the latest social network technology becomes the dominant focus of the lives of many people. "We can even let good things cause us to leave our first love -- our families, our work, even our ministry," Wright continued. "I believe the major temptation for anyone who serves in Christian ministry is to begin to confuse their ministry with their relationship to Jesus Christ. Not our family, our work or our ministry is to come before Jesus Christ." Wright pointed out that Christ told the church at Ephesus to do three things to reclaim their first love: remember, repent and then repeat what they did in their "honeymoon" days.

Ezell discusses mission board’s future

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Following is an interview of Kevin Ezell, the new president of Southern Baptists’ North American Mission Board, by J. Gerald Harris, editor of The Christian Index, newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Q: I know you have indicated that looking to what occurred in the past concerning the opposition to your election is […]

Hunt sees SBC at its Kadesh Barnea

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)--With the passion that typifies his preaching, SBC President Johnny Hunt used his presidential address to appeal to messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention to embrace the recommendations of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.

Herrod to be 1st VP nominee

ATLANTA (BP)–Evangelist Bailey Smith, a former Southern Baptist Convention president and former pastor, will nominate evangelist Ron Herrod for first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention during the June 15-16 annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. Herrod is the current president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists. “I feel that Ron Herrod’s years of […]

Ga. EC vote: CP ‘historical and proven’

EDITOR’S NOTE: The article below was published March 25 by the Georgia Christian Index as a follow-up to an earlier report on the March 16 meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention executive committee. Baptist Press reported on that article March 17. DULUTH, Ga. (BP)–The Georgia Baptist Convention’s executive committee has endorsed the Cooperative Program as […]