EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
WORLD News Service
Association of Christian Schools International
ERLC trustee, ethics leader Ray Newman of Georgia died from brain tumor
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) — H. Ray Newman Sr., a trustee of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and executive director of the Georgia Citizen Action Project, died Nov. 25 at the age of 69 after being recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Newman also served as pastor of Macedonia Community Baptist Church in Braselton, Ga.
Newman previously served at the Georgia Baptist Convention for over twenty years, including serving as director of ethics and public affairs for eight years. He was widely recognized as an authority on moral issues among legislators, laymen and pastors.
Newman was elected as a trustee of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in June 2007. Russell D. Moore, president of the ERLC, commented on his passing.
“Ray Newman is a heroic Baptist leader who devoted his life to preaching the gospel to the world and to combating injustice in the public arena. He fought the social ills of alcoholism, gambling, pornography and the mistreatment of the poor, the aged and the unborn. All the while, he held forth the Word of Life and modeled for the church what it looks like to be a man of God with integrity and courage.
“Bro. Ray served on the presidential search committee here at the ERLC. No one was more of an encouragement to me and to my family. Even more than that, it was humbling to talk to this great man after he received the devastating news of this brain tumor. He stood unafraid of death, grateful for the blessings of God.
“In heaven, unlike on earth, there’s no need for public advocacy. Ray Newman has received a new assignment and has heard the words from his Lord, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'”
Richard Piles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Camden, Ark., is chairman of the ERLC trustee board and worked closely with Newman.
“It has been my privilege to know and serve with Ray Newman for the past five years on the trustee board of the ERLC,” Piles said. “From my first introduction to him, Ray was a Christian gentleman. It wasn’t until later that I discovered his passion for biblical ethics and his service to Southern Baptists and the bride of Christ, the local church. Our relationship only grew closer as Ray graciously served on the Presidential Search Team that brought Dr. Russell Moore to the ERLC. It has been said previously, but certainly is worth repeating regarding Ray, ‘Our loss is heaven’s gain!'”
Newman was recently recognized for his service by the Georgia Baptist Convention during its annual meeting. He and his wife Gwen, who were married 47 years, were described as examples of faith and courage during a presentation there. A lecture series on ethics and religious liberty was named in his honor at Truett-McConnell College last month.
His funeral was held Nov. 27 at Union Baptist Church in Winder, Ga., with burial at Lakeview Memory Gardens in Phenix City, Ala.
64 Make Professions of Faith during Bluefield College Christian Emphasis Week
BLUEFIELD, Va. (Bluefield College) — Sixty-four students made professions of faith during Bluefield College’s 22nd Annual Duremdes Christian Emphasis Week, September 25-27.
Sponsored by longtime Bluefield College supporters Drs. Gene and Jane Duremdes of Princeton, West Virginia, and designed for students and the community to set aside time to “examine their spiritual lives,” the 2013 version of Christian Emphasis Week featured keynote speaker Clayton King, a teaching pastor, campus minister and author who challenged listeners to consider the difference between “being religious” and “having a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“You can be a religious person,” King said, “attending church, going to a Christian school, participating in a Bible study, going to chapel, but do you really know what it’s like to experience Jesus, to have an authentic relationship with Him?”
To demonstrate his point, King, the founder and president of Crossroads Worldwide Ministries and Crossroads Summer Camps and Winter Conferences, shared a comical story of his first experience eating sushi. While he had been told for years how much he would enjoy sushi, he said, he really never knew just how much until he actually experienced it for himself. That story, he likened to thelives of many professing Christians.
“Sometimes we’re just too busy for God,” said King, who has traveled to 31 countries and 45 states preaching the Good News. “We get so wrapped up in other things that we don’t spend time in our relationship with Him. Or, we get so caught up in talking about God that we don’t even recognize he’s standing right in front of our face.”
Even Jesus’ early followers were guilty of this, King said, including the apostles who walked with Jesus after His crucifixion on the road to Emmaus not even realizing they were in the presence of the risen Savior. King shared their story from the scriptures of Luke 24.
“They’re looking for Jesus, and they don’t even realize he’s right there in front of them,” said King, a teaching pastor at New Spring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, and a former campus minister at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. “They’re close to Him, but He doesn’t enter their home until they invite Him. You can be close to Jesus, but He’s not going to come into your heart and into your life until you invite Him in.”
Sixty-four BC students responded to King’s message, inviting Jesus into their hearts. In addition to King’s remarks, the Christian Emphasis Week program included music and worship led by Robbie Alderman, a worship leader for Lifeway Ministries, Baptist Collegiate Ministries at the University of Central Florida, The Warehouse Church in Etowah, Tennessee, and the 407 youth group in Winter Park, Florida.
“I absolutely love Christian Emphasis Week,” said Bluefield College senior Caitlin Allen. “It means so much to me and the rest of campus, because it gives us a break in our busy lives to be still and refocus our attention on God. It especially meant a lot to the students who gave their lives to Christ this week. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the BC campus.”
Sensing a “special calling” to “share with the students of Bluefield College some of the blessings they have received from the Lord,” the Duremdes have funded Christian Emphasis Week at BC since 1992. As a result, dozens of students each year have committed or rededicated their lives to God — something the Duremdes are honored to be a part of.
“It’s their (the Duremdes) desire that every student at Bluefield College know the love of God,” said David Taylor, BC’s vice president for student development, “and that through Christian Emphasis Week students have a genuine encounter with Christ.”
Muslim Official Stands Up For Persecuted Christians
By Julia A. Seymour
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WORLD News Service) — The United Kingdom’s highest-ranking Muslim spoke out against the religious persecution of Christians minorities around the world earlier this month.
Minister of Faith Baronness Sayeeda Warsi addressed the violence against religious minorities—especially Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians—in the Middle East in a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
“A mass exodus is taking place, on a biblical scale,” Warsi warned in her speech. “In some places, there is a real danger that Christianity will become extinct.” She previously called the persecution in the region a global crisis.
Persecution of Christians is widespread in the Middle East: Blasphemy laws in many countries mean Muslim converts to Christianity risk arrest and death. In September, Islamic terrorists increased attacks against Christians across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
Before Warsi was appointed to her ministry position in September 2012, she spoke out against Muslim veil bans and condemned Muslim vigilantes in London who were telling women how to dress, according to the BBC. She helped secure the release of a British teacher in Sudan who was jailed on blasphemy charges in 2007, CNN reported.
The U.K. government says her role is to promote faith and religious tolerance and to strengthen communities. A member of the Conservative Party, Warsi became part of the House of Lords in 2007. Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her to his cabinet in 2010. She became the Minister of Faith after a cabinet reshuffle, according to the BBC.
Warsi intends to make religion a cornerstone of foreign policy for Britain and Western counties. “It shouldn’t just be for Christians to speak for Christians, and Jews to speak for Jews, and Muslims to speak for Muslims,” she said in her speech.
She believes the solution to violent extremism and religious persecution will be through the cooperation of Muslims from the West and Christians in the East. In her Georgetown speech, Warsi said religious leaders and Western governments can oppose the rise of sectarianism by encouraging leaders of major religions to defend other faiths, according to World Watch Monitor.
For Warsi, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants with a family composed of both Shiite and Sunni Muslims, the issue is personal. While campaigning, she’s had expletives hurled at her because of her Muslim faith, according to The Hoya, the Georgetown University newspaper.
“For me, rejection of another faith just reveals a weakness in your own,” Warsi said in her speech.
Association of Christian Schools International forms strategic partnership to guide ACSI schools through financial challenges
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Association of Christian Schools International) — The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) has announced the formation of a new strategic partnership with Business Financial Solutions (BFS) to assist ACSI schools. BFS provides consulting services to ACSI schools in the following areas:
— Debt negotiation
— Banking relationship management
— Strategic planning
— Financial management
“BFS recognizes the external threats to Christian schools and the fact that these can impact financial soundness and long-term viability,” said John Warren, BFS Managing Partner.
“We at ACSI consider it a privilege to work with BFS. The leaders’ heart for ministry to ACSI schools and humble demeanor are an inspiration. Several member schools are already working with BFS and getting positive results,” said Taylor Smith, Executive Vice President, ACSI USA.
John Warren and Tom Coletta, managing partners of BFS, worked in commercial banking for almost 50 combined years. They were led by God to use their banking experience to minister financially to schools and churches during this time of unprecedented financial difficulty. “We consider the work we are doing with BFS a calling, and we treat the work we do on behalf of our clients accordingly.” said Tom Coletta
ACSI, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., serves nearly 24,000 member Christian schools in more than 100 nations. ACSI is a leader in strengthening Christian schools and equipping Christian educators worldwide, providing services through a network of 28 regional offices. The organization accredits Protestant pre-K–12 schools.