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:
Christian Newswire (2 items)
WORLD News Service
Movie debunking evolution to premiere in Tenn. near Scopes anniversary
LOS ANGELES (Christian Newswire) — A new movie that debunks evolution will premiere in Tennessee, nearly 88 years to the day after the famous Scopes “Monkey Trial.”
Titled “Evolution vs. God,” its producer Ray Comfort says, “Hollywood’s 1960 movie Inherit the Wind was their own fictionalized version of the Tennessee-based Scopes trial, intentionally portraying creationists as simple-minded hicks who had blind faith in the Bible and rejected the evidence for evolution. But this new film is going to show that it is Darwinian evolution that rests on nothing but blind faith, and that it is bogus science.”
According to Comfort, the film is essentially a second Scopes trial, putting evolutionary scientists from UCLA and USC on the witness stand and challenging them to present evidence for the theory. The movie includes a statement by professor Richard Dawkins about faith, which Comfort believes will “put a nail in the coffin of evolution.”
“We haven’t misrepresented the professors in the slightest, but have just taken what they blindly believe and made it public,” the producer noted. “It’s going to show that the emperor Darwin has no clothes. Evolution vs. God reveals, from the mouths of the ‘experts,’ that Darwinian evolution is not only unproven and unprovable, but is unscientific. If you believe in evolution, prepare to have your faith shaken.”
Ken Ham, founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis and the popular Creation Museum, said, “Evolution vs. God will rock the creation and evolution world!”
The Scopes trial, held in Dayton, TN, was decided on July 21, 1925. The world premiere of “Evolution vs. God” will be held on Monday, July 22, one day after the 88th anniversary of the famous decision. Comfort will attend the film’s premiere in Sevierville, TN, at the Answers Mega Conference hosted by Answers in Genesis.
Evolution vs. God will be released on DVD and YouTube on Aug. 7 and can be seen on www.EvolutionVsGod.com.
Creation Moments celebrates 50 years of ministry
FOLEY, Minn. (Christian Newswire) — One of the oldest biblical creation ministries in the nation — Creation Moments — is now celebrating its 50th year of proclaiming biblical creation. To thank the ministry’s supporters, the ministry is hosting the Creation Moments 50th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 7, at University of Northwestern-St. Paul (formerly Northwestern College). There is no cost to attend the event, but reservations are required.
Speakers will include: Ian Taylor, longtime host of the Creation Moments radio program and author of the classic “In the Minds of Men”; Mark Cadwallader, author and chairman of the Creation Moments board of directors; and special guest Mike Snavely, popular creation speaker and president of Mission: Imperative.
Creation Moments was started in 1963 by Walter Lang, a Lutheran pastor who knew that scientific evidence existed which favored a biblical creation model. His heart grieved for the many young people who left the faith of their upbringing because evolution was virtually unopposed. He began the Bible-Science Newsletter and shortly afterwards the Bible-Science Association, which later became Creation Moments. Lang became a full-time, tireless crusader for creation science.
In 1986 the two-minute international Christian radio broadcast “Creation Moments” was born. Creation Moments became one of the top U.S. syndicated radio programs of five minutes or less. The broadcast is now heard on more than 1,200 radio stations and outlets throughout the world and carried on five major networks: Bible Broadcast, Moody, LifeTalk Network, Family Radio and Bott Radio. The ministry provides free programs for Christian radio stations, resources for churches and parents, a bookstore outreach and a website filled with thousands of articles and radio scripts. The ministry also publishes a series of Letting God Create Your Day books.
For more information about Creation Moments, contact Lu Ann Strombeck at [email protected] or at 800-422-4253. Creation Moments is a nonprofit charitable IRS 501(c)(3) organization on the Web at www.creationmoments.com.
Leaving Exodus: Alan Chambers gives up his ministry to ‘step back’ from a focus on homosexual sin
By Jamie Dean
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WORLD News Service) — For nearly a decade, Alan Chambers often awoke to a fight. The president of Exodus International—a Christian group that helped men and women struggling with homosexuality—faced nasty emails, angry phone messages, and hostile media interviews. Many opposed his message that homosexuals could leave their sin and follow Christ.
By mid-June, the battle was over: Exodus leaders announced on June 19 the group would shut down after nearly 40 years of operations. One core reason: Leaders said the group’s tone had grown too judgmental. Another: Chambers told the homosexual community he didn’t apologize for his beliefs about marriage, but added: “I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.”
The desire not to fight may be key in Chambers’ shift. In 2011, WORLD named Chambers its Daniel of the Year for years of work that drew intense criticism from many. Some accused Chambers of hating homosexuals. One critic called Exodus “as dangerous to Christianity as al-Qaeda is to Islam.” A handful called in bomb threats to Exodus headquarters.
The end-of-Exodus announcement came less than a day after Chambers issued an online apology to homosexuals. He apologized for promoting reparative therapy — a method that focuses on relationships between homosexuals and their parents when examining causes for homosexuality. Many Christian counselors don’t use this method, but Exodus endorsed it until last year.
Chambers also apologized for concealing his ongoing struggle with same-sex attraction. He found help at Exodus more than 20 years ago while leading an active homosexual lifestyle. Several years later, he married a woman and adopted two children. Since then, Chambers has said his marriage is healthy but has also said marriage doesn’t “cure” homosexuality or eliminate same-sex attractions.
Chambers said he retains his belief that homosexual activity is sinful, but over the past year he has riled many conservative Christians by suggesting that children do equally well with two gay parents as with a mother and a father, and telling a gathering of the Gay Christian Network: “We’re Christians, all of us.”
That statement drew alarm from some Christians who noted that continual, unrepentant sin could indicate a person isn’t a true believer. They noted that Jesus taught the fruit of a person’s life points to the state of his heart. Chambers replied in part that while “behavior matters,” he couldn’t judge a person’s relationship with Christ.
As Chambers moved away from some conservative Christian positions, Exodus suffered significant financial losses. Chambers says donations dropped in 2012, and especially in the first few months of 2013. The group had 20 full-time staff members three years ago, nine last month, and planned to have three as of July 3—all volunteers. Chambers attributed the drop to the shift in his language last year but insisted the group isn’t closing due to financial losses.
In an interview with WORLD, Chambers said he and Exodus board members would start a new group with a more welcoming tone that doesn’t emphasize the sinfulness of homosexuality: “I’m not saying that we pretend sin doesn’t exist. But it’s been the lead in our conversation for so long, I do think it’s time we step back from it.?… Since Exodus has been used as a weapon, we’re retiring this weapon.”
It isn’t clear exactly what a new organization will do, though Chambers said he hopes to “promote dialogue” and continue to relate his story about redemption in Christ, “as we put many things we’ve led with into the backseat for the purpose of building relationships.”
The closing of Exodus marks a significant moment, but other Christian groups, churches, and individuals continue to help those who desire to leave homosexuality and embrace Christ.
Harvest USA — a Pennsylvania-based group — offers Christian teaching and discipleship for those struggling with sexual sin of all kinds, including homosexuality.
Executive Director Tim Geiger — a Westminster Theological Seminary graduate and Presbyterian Church in America elder — says Harvest also trains churches to “create a climate of grace” where people feel free to come forward for help. The group helps churches learn to talk with people about a relationship with Christ and the idols in their hearts that lead them to sin.
Geiger found the same help from Harvest more than 15 years ago: After a 20-year struggle with homosexuality and pornography, Geiger (who has since married) says he learned “my sin didn’t have to define me.”
Christopher Yuan learned the same thing. The author of Out of a Far Country embraced Christ and left an active life of homosexuality and drug use more than a decade ago. He says it wasn’t easy and has involved “the gradual surrender of the core of my being to Christ. … Change isn’t the absence of struggle, but the freedom to choose holiness in the midst of the struggle.”
For Yuan, that means celibacy in singleness — a lifestyle he says Christian churches should work harder to affirm as a robust way of life.
Yuan says Christians should also show deep compassion as they speak about homosexuality, but remain firm about the seriousness of sin. It’s not a popular message, and Yuan has faced pushback at some secular universities. (A Yale magazine responded to his 2011 campus visit with a column entitled “The Nonsense of Christopher Yuan.”) Yuan says he persists despite criticism because he wants to serve the church: “I love how God takes our past and uses it for His glory.”
Rosaria Butterfield shares Yuan’s conviction. The author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert chronicles her journey from a lesbian professor of queer theory to a Christian, homeschooling mom and pastor’s wife (see “Journey of grace,” March 8, 2013).
Butterfield says parachurch ministries come and go, but local churches should seize the opportunity to reach those in need, including homosexuals. That means desiring and seeking to disciple hurting people: “I hope the church can now be more intentionally ready. We appeal to a great God who in His sovereignty knows better than we do what we need and where we are.”
Campbellsville campus ministry sponsors Girls Day Out for 71 girls
By Rebekah Southwood, student newswriter
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University) — Campbellsville University’s Baptist Campus Ministry hosts many activities during the year and one recent one was Girls Day Out which allowed local youngsters a time of feeling beautiful and being like “princesses.”
Coordinated by women ministry leader Anna Stepp, Girls Day Out brought together 71 girls from the Campbellsville community and 26 volunteers from Campbellsville University to show the importance of inner beauty.
BCM president Kristina Critcher said beauty is an inward appearance and God measures our beauty from the inside, not the outside. The girls ranged from first to fifth grade, and they traveled to four stations, makeup, hair, nails and crafts in the Ransdell Chapel on campus.
Their hair was French braided and colored, and their nails were polished every color of the rainbow. They were given the makeup of a beauty princess and a princess crown to top it all off.
God can use petty things like hair or makeup to further His Kingdom, CU student Audrey Wunderlich said.
Another student Summer Rines said she loved hearing the girls talk. “They were all so excited to be getting dolled up.”
As Jennifer Hatley said, “The Lord works using the smallest of details.”
Stepp said the event originated last year. BCM desired to show elementary age girls their worth is not on the outside or wrapped up in what others believe. “It is about Jesus, who loves them!”
CU student Emily Scott said, “There was one girl who told me not to call her by her name, but to call her Princess because she was a beautiful princess for the day! It was a great experience!”
Student Marissa Rehmet and Scott said they loved being able to share their faith with the next generation. The planning was extensive and important because of the number of children, and Stepp said, “The college volunteers were absolutely amazing.”
Another student Katlin Weeks said, “I was really encouraged by seeing all the girls wanting to find the source of true beauty, Jesus, and just getting to love on them was a blessing!”
“The elementary school girls walked away knowing God loves them and cares about their hearts, and they got to meet amazing examples of college girls living for God. It was an amazing experience to reach out to the community and spread the Gospel,” Stepp said.
The volunteers included CU students: Annie Schakat of Springfield, Ohio; Julie Smith of Horseheads, N.Y.; Nikki Bowman of Lawrenceburg, Ky.; Jordan Johnson of Leitchfield, Ky.; Mariana Sanders of Louisville, Ky.; Audrey Wunderlich of Frankfort, Ky.; Hannah Nunn of Radcliff, Ky.;
Kristin King of Tompkinsville, Ky.; Ashley Newman of Hainesville, Ill.; Sarah Haven of Shelbyville, Ky.; Manique Powell of Elizabethtown, Ky.; Katlin Weeks of Louisville; Courtney Cox of Taylorsville, Ky.; Marissa Rehmet of Independence, Ky.; sisters Emily and Jennifer Hatley of Mayfield, Ky.; Kristina Critcher of Deep Gap, N.C.; Rebekah Southwood of Campbellsville, Ky.;
Summer Rines of Louisville, Ky.; Emily Scott of Eddyville, Ky.; Katie Johnson of Leitchfield, Ky.; Courtney Mills and Barbara Queiroz of Campbellsville, Ky.; and Sarah Morris of North Vernon, Ind.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.