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:
Home School Legal Defense Association
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Oklahoma Baptist University
Christian Newswire (two items)
University of Mobile
Proposed bill offers asylum to homeschoolers
PURCELLVILLE, Va. (Home School Legal Defense Association) — Amid the immigration debate in Washington, D.C., a new bill would make it possible for families who are persecuted for homeschooling to find refuge in the United States.
This legislation — introduced as H.R. 1153, the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act of 2015 — was developed by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) along with supportive members of Congress in the wake of the Romeike family’s 2013 asylum case after they fled their home country of Germany under the threat of fines and imprisonment for homeschooling their children.
“We did not want to have to leave our home in Germany in order to homeschool,” Uwe Romeike explained. “But when we were harshly treated, America opened its doors to us. America has become our new home. We want to be citizens of this great country, and we are so grateful to the congressmen for writing this bill.”
Michael Farris, HSLDA’s chairman, who argued before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the Romeike family, was pleased with the congressional action. “No one should be forced to flee their homeland in order to homeschool,” Farris said. “But that is what the Romeikes and scores of other families have had to do in order to escape crushing fines, criminal penalties and even the seizure of their children in countries like Germany and Sweden. Homeschooling is no threat to free societies, and I applaud the Congress for taking action so that families like the Romeikes and others who experience ill treatment may find refuge and legal status in the land of the free.”
H.R. 1153 sponsor Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT), original cosponsors Daniel Webster (FL) and Rep. Robert Goodlatte (VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have included specific language that would allow up to 500 grants of asylum per year to family members fleeing homeschool persecution. The Romeike family would be able to reopen their case under the proposed law. Among the measure’s changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act, it would also require the U.S. attorney general to hire at least 50 more immigration judges, making it easier for families who come to the U.S. because of homeschooling to be granted asylum.
The bill explicitly refers to homeschooling as a particular social group and specifies that a person is deemed to be eligible for asylum if he or she is persecuted for homeschooling or if the person resists anti-homeschooling laws in his country of origin.
Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Visit us online at www.HSLDA.org
Daniel Block: a fresh perspective on the theology of worship
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) — Daniel Block lectured on at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) on Feb. 10-11 as a part of the Adams lecture series.
Block is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He is also the author and editor of several books and publications, including “For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship.”
Block’s first lecture was on the theology of worship and focused on the Christian’s object of worship: God.
He reflected on worship trends in the past half-century and raised the question “what is worship?” Block thinks that people often “equate worship with a type of music,” but biblically, “music is rarely associated with worship.”
He believes true worship involves all of life, action, reverence and awe of God. “The reward of true and authentic worship is the divine gift of rest,” he said.
Block said that to worship is to ascribe worth to someone or something, but it is different than praise. “Worship is far bigger than praise,” he said. “Everyone worships, but not everyone worships rightly.”
Block stated that, “the Scriptures call for worship that is true rather than false.” He challenged the audience to be consistent in worship by confession and practice. “True worship comes from hearts totally devoted to God and determined to please him.”
Block reminded the audience that only God is worthy of worship as “the source and sustainer of all things.”
He highlighted Psalm 95 and 23, exploring God’s terms for worship and why God is worthy of all worship. “If that’s true, how can worship be casual?” he said. “A covenant relationship is not a call to casualness.”
Block noted that “the more we talk about worship, the less we do it,” and there is often a lack of reverence and submission before God.
Pleasing worship is joyful obedience motivated by the glory of God’s gracious actions and awe “why me?”
According to Block, Christians should respond to God’s invitation to worship with unrestrained celebration, gestures of humiliation and submission and open ears and tender hearts.
Block’s Wednesday lecture was titled, “Fire on the Mountain: A Call for True and Transforming Worship.” He challenged the audience to refine their worship practices in light of the God they worship.
“There is a vast difference between the One who calls for the audience and the audience,” he said.
He reminded listeners that, “the gospel always precedes commands” which should lead one to worship God.
Block taught from Exodus 19 and highlighted the external and formal prerequisites to acceptable worship by recognizing God’s holiness and consecrating oneself. He believes that it is sinful to be trivial in the worship of God.
He encouraged listeners to take a fresh look at the “awesome and glorious God we serve” by focusing on genuine worship. “We don’t have to [worship]; we get to by his grace,” Block said.
The dimensions of covenant relationship found in Deuteronomy 10:12-13 include fearing God, walking in all his ways, serving wholeheartedly and keeping God’s commands.
“What the Lord says to the worshipper is more important than what we say to him,” he added.
Moral prerequisites to acceptable worship involve a clean heart and uncompromising devotion. “If anything other than God is the object of my allegiance, my worship will not be accepted,” Block said.
To view photos from these lectures, please go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/southeastern/sets/72157648069791903.
To watch these messages online, go to http://multimedia.sebts.edu.
Doug Tolin retires from OBU
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University) — The Doug Tolin era ended at Oklahoma Baptist March 12 when the longtime basketball coach announced his retirement.
Tolin, who enters the NAIA Hall of Fame March 17 in Kansas City, retires as the all-time leader in OBU men’s basketball wins with 402. OBU inducted Tolin into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011. The Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame did the same last summer.
“Doug has represented this university incredibly well over his 15 seasons,” said OBU Director of Athletics Robert Davenport. “His players, colleagues in the profession and everyone in the OBU community has the highest respect for his integrity and what he has achieved here.”
Tolin, coach at OBU since 2000-01, led the Bison to 14 consecutive NAIA tournaments, including the national championship in 2010. His teams have reached at least the quarterfinal round seven times. He has led the Bison to the NAIA championship game three times. Voted SAC Coach of the Year in 2002, 2003 and 2012, Tolin was NAIA Coach of the Year in 2010.
Tolin led his Bison to three consecutive regular season conference titles from 2002-04 and another three in a row from 2010-12. He put together six 30-or-more-win teams, with his lowest win total being a pair of 19-win campaigns.
Tolin has coached nine All-NAIA Tournament picks; nine first-team All-Americans; three NAIA Players of the Year; and 11 NAIA All-America Scholar Athletes.
A 1975 graduate of East Central University, Tolin holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in secondary education, also from ECU. He attended high school at Bartlesville Sooner High School, graduating in 1971.
Tolin and his wife Susan have three grown children, Christy, Kyle and Keely.
Sentenced to die for being a Christian
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Christian Newswire) — Christian Lives Matter, LLC, a faith/family film company, is in pre-production for the feature film “I Am a Christian” — the true story of Meriam Ibrahim and the people who here in America who worked tirelessly to rescue her from the Sudan.
In May 2014 Meriam was sentenced to death under Sharia law for the “crime” of being a Christian.
Although Meriam was born to a Muslim father, she was a lifelong Christian. She was turned in by one of her own Muslim family members to Sudanese authorities for the alleged crime of apostasy. Apostasy is the crime of leaving the religion of Islam and is punishable by death.
Pregnant, frightened and alone, Meriam was chained to the floor in a filthy prison, according to the Christian Lives Matter film company. Meriam was forced to give birth while still chained to the prison’s floor. She was denied any medical care.
Muslim clerics would visit her during the course of her captivity, giving her a chance to renounce Christ and convert to Islam. She refused, stating repeatedly, “I am a Christian.” Despite the knowledge that she, and quite possibly her children, would be put to death, she held true to her faith in Jesus.
Christian Lives Matter has assembled a seasoned Christian cast for the film:
Stacey Dash – actress and Fox News contributor
Kevin Sorbo – star of “God’s Not Dead”
Rachel Hendrix – star of “October Baby”
Ben Davies – star of “Courageous”
For further information, go to www.YesIAmAChristian.com.
Disney filmmaker producing new audio drama
THOMSON, Ill. (Christian Newswire) — Bob Garner, a well-known Disney producer and director who has worked with Star Wars creator George Lucas and actress Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music), is producing a “behind the scenes” mini-documentary for “With Lee In Virginia,” a family-friendly Christian audio drama CD set during the Civil War and will be released this summer.
The project has been recorded in Hollywood and is the third audio theater CD from executive producer Bill Heid and Heirloom Audio Productions.
“Having been in and around the Hollywood industry for many years, writing, producing and directing for major TV networks and film studios, I have come to appreciate true quality and utmost professionalism … exemplified in the people on a given team,” Garner said. “This fascinating and intriguing audio drama, With Lee In Virginia, is a superb example of all those disciplines mentioned and more.”
With Lee In Virginia is based on a novel by G.A. Henty and features Academy Award nominee Sean Astin (Rudy, The Lord Of The Rings, The Goonies), Kirk Cameron (Monumental, Fireproof), Chris Anthony (Adventures In Odyssey) and Kelsey Landsdowne (Curious George film). With Lee In Virginia is the third project from Heirloom Audio Productions, which released “In Freedom’s Cause” in 2014 and “Under Drake’s Flag” in 2013. Under Drake’s Flag was nominated for two Audie awards for best audio drama and best package design.
Heid founded Heirloom Audio in a desire to give families positive, Christ-centered entertainment that not only engages the mind but also educates and inspires.
“What we’re trying to do is put Christian faith back into history,” Heid said. “History in our culture has been sterilized and secularized, with the faith of great men and women completely removed from textbooks. These projects are all about putting Christ back into history in a meaningful and exciting way.”
All of Heirloom Audio’s projects are based on real historical events. In Freedom’s Cause told the story of 14th-century Scottish hero William Wallace and his fight for independence from England, while Under Drake’s Flag recounted the adventures of 16th-century sailor Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman to circle the globe. The projects have been especially popular among homeschooling families, who view them as a way of making history fun. The productions are now gaining wider audiences as a result of their pure entertainment value and all-star casts.
Movieguide Awards celebrate inspiring entertainment
CAMARILLO, Calif. (Movieguide.org) — More than 490 celebrities, filmmakers, Hollywood executives, TV artists and supporters celebrated faith-and-values movies and television programs Feb. 6 at the 23rd Annual Movieguide Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry held in Los Angeles.
“It was our biggest event yet,” said Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher and founder of Movieguide: The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment, now celebrating its 30th year of “redeeming the values of the mass media of entertainment.”
At the Awards, music legend Stevie Wonder joined fellow Grammy winners and nominees Take 6, Donnie McClurkin, Ledisi and Jonathan Butler to pay tribute to the late Andraé Crouch, the Grammy-winning artist who transformed contemporary Gospel music.
Popular rapper Lecrae also performed.
Comedian Bill Engvall hosted the awards show, which also was attended by Korie and Sadie Robertson of TV’s “Duck Dynasty”: Corbin Bernsen of “Psych”: and legendary entertainer Pat Boone.
Pure Flix’s “God’s Not Dead” and UP TV’s “Love Finds You in Sugarcreek” won the two $100,000 Epiphany Prizes for Inspiring Movies & TV. Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the Epiphany Prizes honor the best, most inspiring movie and TV program of the previous year that “greatly increases man’s love or understanding of God.”
“Heaven Is for Real” was named the Best Movie for Families and “Unbroken” was named the Best Movie for Mature Audiences.
Also, Lifetime and A&E’s “The Gabby Douglas Story” received two awards, one for the Faith & Freedom Award for Promoting Positive American Values in Television and a Grace Award for star Imani Hakim for the Most Inspiring Performance in Television.
“The Giver” received the Faith & Freedom Award for Promoting Positive American Values in Movies, and Diogo Morgado, who played Jesus in “Son of God,” won the Grace Award for the Most Inspiring Performance in Movies.
Dave Alan Johnson, Gary R. Johnson and Joan Considine Johnson won the 2nd Annual $50,000 Chronos Prize for Inspiring Screenplays by Established Filmmakers for their script “The Star of Bethlehem” about an 11-year-old girl and her father who go up against a politically correct school system to prove the science behind the Star of Bethlehem. Jeff Peabody of Federal Way, Wash., took home the $25,000 Grand Prize in the Kairos Prizes competition for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays by First-Time or Beginning Screenwriters” with his script “When Mountains Moved,” which is about an investigation by author Charles Dickens into the incredible tales he has heard of George Muller, a dirt-poor preacher from Victorian England saving thousands of poor orphans from the streets.
At the gala following the awards ceremony, Baehr presented highlights from Movieguide’s 2015 Report to the Entertainment Industry, an analysis of the major movies released by Hollywood and the entertainment industry in 2014 that showed family-friendly movies and movies with strong Christian, biblical, redemptive and moral content and values made far more money at the box office here and overseas, and on home video, than movies with strong non-Christian or anti-biblical, immoral content and values.
For example, movies with very strong Christian, redemptive, biblical or moral worldviews averaged $75.39 million per movie at the domestic box office in 2014 versus only $20.13 million for movies with very strong Non-Christian or anti-biblical, immoral or deceitful worldviews.
Movies with very strong humanist/atheist movies fared even worse, averaging only $4.39 million per movie.
Also, movies having no foul language, no sexual content, no nudity and no alcohol or tobacco/drug use or abuse earned much more money than movies with such use or abuse.
Named at the 10 best movies for families:
1 – HEAVEN IS FOR REAL – Winner of Best Movie for Families
2 – SON OF GOD
3 – GOD’S NOT DEAD
4 – BIG HERO 6
5 – MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN
6 – DOLPHIN TALE 2
7 – PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR
8 – BEARS
9 – MUPPETS MOST WANTED
10 – PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE
10 best movies for mature audiences:
1 – UNBROKEN – Winner of Best Movie for Mature Audiences
2 – CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
3 – THE GIVER
4 – THE GOOD LIE
5 – TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014)
6 – THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
7 – THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1
8 – DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
9 – DIVERGENT
10 – THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
UMobile earns marketing awards
MOBILE, Ala. (University of Mobile) — The University of Mobile earned nine national awards, including a “Best of Show,” in the 30th Annual Educational Advertising Awards, the largest educational advertising awards competition in the United States.
UMobile was among 14 institutions recognized by the judges as a “Best of Show” winner in the competition sponsored by Higher Education Marketing Report. This year, over 2,000 entries were received from over 1,000 colleges, universities and secondary schools from all 50 states and several foreign countries.
The university’s “Belief in U” total advertising campaign, created with Hummingbird Ideas in Mobile, Ala., was named a Best of Show. The campaign focuses on belief as the foundation of the Christian university, and the university’s belief that a higher education that focuses on academics and spiritual growth prepares graduates to make a real difference in the world.
“Our ‘Belief in U’ message captures so well what is unique about the University of Mobile experience,” said Lesa Moore, executive director of marketing and public relations.
The university’s marketing department worked with Hummingbird Ideas founding partner and creative director Johnny Gwin to produce the award-winning advertising materials, from brochures and billboards to television ads and social media.
“Creating effective advertising and design is so much easier when you get to work with a client that knows their product,” said Johnny Gwin, partner and creative director at Hummingbird Ideas. “The University of Mobile Marketing Department guided and challenged us to create work that would stand out in a crowded category, but still ring true to the uniqueness of their university. The ‘Belief in U’ campaign inspiration came directly from President Mark Foley’s published essays and new student visitation presentations. Our team just helped them uncover what they were already preaching.”
The university also worked with Jay Adcock of JWA Creative in Atlanta to design award-winning materials including the University of Mobile Magazine (umobilemagazine.com), newsletters and the annual Leadership Banquet banners and advertising.
To see UMobile’s winning materials, go to umobile.edu/news.