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BAPTISTS IN THE NEWS: ‘Courageous,’ David Platt & Gary Chapman

RIVES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (BP) — A former white supremacist whose body is etched with Nazi and white pride tattoos is evidence of the continuing impact of “Courageous,” released by the movie outreach of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., in September 2011.

Chris Simpson, 38, and his family watched the police- and fatherhood-themed movie at home and then were drawn to an evangelical church in Jackson, Mich., which was showing the movie for free.

A month later, Simpson was baptized. In his new faith in Christ, the father of five children under age 10 said “it was like this whole house was transformed.” Simpson’s exit from white supremacy was featured in the Citizen Patriot newspaper in Jackson and distributed nationally by Religion News Service in July.

Simpson, a former Marine, is now participating in a tattoo removal program offered by the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation.

According to the Citizen Patriot, “‘PURE HATE’ is tattooed across his knuckles. His forearms read ‘BLOOD’ and ‘HONOR.’ There are four battle-axes in the shape of a swastika on his left shoulder with the words ‘Supreme White Power’ over them. There are several wolf’s hooks, a Nazi symbol. The iconic lightning bolts associated with Nazi Germany’s Schutzstaffel, the SS, are above his right wrist. There’s a Nazi war bird on his chest. There are tattoos of a Valkyrie, a Viking, and Thor with swastikas drawn in his helmet. There are 42 in all, he thinks.”

The loss of his first child — who had severe medical problems at birth in 2000 and lived only two and a half hours — fueled Simpson’s entry into white supremacy.

“I was feeling a lot of anger and hatred, and I was confused,” Simpson told the local newspaper. “I just built up this hatred, or what I thought was hatred.”

Hatred, he said, “will blind you…. It consumes you.”

Jerry Lyon, pastor of New Horizons Community Church, which is affiliated with the Church of God based in Anderson, Ind., baptized Simpson after praying: “God, I know that there are things from his past life that need to be buried. And God, today we enjoy the opportunity. We take glory in that opportunity to bury that old life and to say to you, God, I am a new creation in Jesus Christ.”

DAVID PLATT, FRANCIS CHAN TEAM UP — A discipleship initiative named “Multiply” is being launched by David Platt and Francis Chan from a burden “about the commitment level of the local church to make disciples of all nations.”

According to a news release from Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., and Chan, who is working with an inner-city San Francisco church-planting movement, “Over the past year Chan and Platt have been working together to develop resources and materials that introduce foundational topics for those seeking to learn God’s Word with the intent to disciple others. They developed Multiply to encourage and equip the church to make disciples.”

The initiative encompasses “Multiply Gatherings,” free webcasts to be led by Chan and Platt, the first of which will be Friday, Nov. 9, from 7-10 p.m. Central from The Church at Brook Hills followed by a similar webcast Saturday, Nov. 10, from 6-9 p.m. Pacific from the SF City Impact Mission in San Francisco.

Another facet of the initiative will be a free 24-session discipleship download on what it means to follow Jesus, study Scripture and to be a part of Christ’s mission for the church. This material is still in process, as is the website for the Multiply initiative — www.MultiplyMovement.com, according to the Aug. 23 news release. A book titled “Multiply” by Chan and coauthor Mark Beuving is scheduled for release Nov. 1 by the David C. Cook publishing house.

MOODY HONORS GARY CHAPMAN — Moody Bible Institute and its seminary have established The Gary D. Chapman Chair for Marriage and Family, which has been endowed by a gift from Chapman, a 1958 graduate of Moody, and his wife Karolyn.

It is the first endowed chair in Moody’s 126-year history, according to an Aug. 28 news release, and will serve as Moody’s “voice on marriage and family.”

Chapman, author of “The 5 Love Languages” and numerous other books, is a nationally known marriage and family speaker and senior associate pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Recruitment for a professor for the chair is expected to be completed by July 1 of next year.

Chapman said he and his wife of 45 years are praying “that God will use this chair to further equip students to have God-honoring marriages and learn how to help others do the same.”

The endowed chair “uniquely and strategically combines education, radio and publishing to utilize Moody’s media platforms, reaching a broad audience with the biblical perspective on marriage and family,” the news release stated. “The responsibilities of this chair will include teaching courses in counseling and marriage and family each semester at [Moody Theological Seminary]; guest lecturing in Moody’s undergraduate school; serving as a regular voice on Moody Radio; and publishing with Moody Publishers on marriage and family topics.”

In addition to graduating from Moody, Chapman holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College in Illinois and Wake Forest University, respectively, and M.R.E. and Ph.D. degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas.
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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