News Articles

BP Ledger, Nov. 24, 2014

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:
Courier Publishing
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Barna Group
WORLD News Service
National Religious Brodcasters
Oklahoma Baptist University

Close Encounters: Sharing Jesus
With Someone You Love

GREENVILLE, S.C. (Courier Publishing) — Sharing Christ with the people who are closest to you is often the hardest thing to do. You worry about the awkward moment. You are concerned that talking about your faith will spoil your relationship. You don’t feel adequate to talk with a family member about the need for Jesus in their life because that person knows you — warts and all — better than anyone.

In “Close Encounters: Sharing Jesus with Someone You Love” (2014, Courier Publishing, $3.95), Lee Clamp, evangelism director for the South Carolina Baptist Convention, strips away the excuses and fears and helps Christ-followers recognize the urgency of sharing the life-changing gift of God’s grace through Jesus Christ with the people who are closest to them.

He offers strategies and tips to ease Christians into that all-important conversation. In this short, easy-to-read book, Clamp offers tangible advice and encouragement on sharing Jesus with loved ones in the home, those outside the home and those not yet in the home.

“God has planted you as a missionary to your family,” Clamp writes. “If you don’t tell them of Jesus’ love and forgiveness, who will?”

“Close Encounters” can be purchased at BaptistCourier.com/publishing. This book is excellent as a short-term study resource for small groups. Volume discounts are available for purchases of 10 or more copies.
In McCall Lecture, Hewitt examines leadership examples from political leaders
By RuthAnne Irvin

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Successful leaders need a strong will and disciplined life, said broadcaster Hugh Hewitt in the fourth annual Duke K. McCall Leadership Lecture at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Nov. 6. The lecture, Hewitt said, is important because of the mission of the seminary to send out leaders into the world with the Great Commission.

“I know what the mission of this institution is: it’s a volcano of leadership and it throws out leaders across the world,” Hewitt. “Long it’s done that and long may it do so.”

McCall, the leader who the lecture honors, was Southern Seminary’s seventh and longest serving president (1950-82). Hewitt, a broadcast journalist and lawyer hosts the Hugh Hewitt Show with more than two million listeners each week, lectured to the seminary community about the need for strong leaders in today’s society. He examined three leaders he esteems as important, and examined character qualities that he believes make each of the men good leaders. Hewitt knew some may not agree with him, so he asked the audience to suspend their judgments on the individuals he lectured about.

Early in his career, Hewitt worked on Richard Nixon’s writing staff. He noted that even though Nixon’s presidency ended with failure when he resigned following the Watergate scandal, he was able to provide counsel to world leaders up until his death. This, Hewitt said, exemplifies failures do not have to define a leader.

“There is no setback that is final; there is no permanent failure,” he said.

Hewitt, who also worked for President Ronald Reagan as assistant counsel in the White House and special assistant to two attorneys general, also discussed the leadership qualities of Chief Justice John Roberts, his officemate during his time with the administration. He praised Roberts’ humility despite the accomplishments and intelligence demonstrated by his work in the White House. Hewitt said Roberts showed courage and conviction in the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, an unpopular decision among conservatives.

“Leaders do what leaders have to do even when they know that those upon whom they’ve counted for support will not be there for them,” Hewitt said. “Leaders must be ready to get hit from behind.”

The third leader Hewitt examined was Mitt Romney, 2012 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor. Although he disagrees with his Mormon faith, Hewitt described Romney as a man committed to his family and faith, emphasizing the importance of family in leadership roles. It is not inconsistent to live faithfully toward a family, Hewitt said, and Christian leaders need more of this in their lives.

“I’ve seen too many leaders lose their leadership because they first lost the love of their spouses and children,” he said.

Hewitt also offered students five practical tips for growth in leadership qualities: be physically prepared to endure the hardships that accompany leadership positions; spend ample time with spouse and family because leaders can never do it too often; read consistently and widely, both for growth and enjoyment; embrace social media with discipline and purpose; and be deeply involved with politics. He gave 10 suggestions for good citizenship, including several ways to support schools, politicians and community.

Hewitt closed the lecture lauding President George W. Bush and his leadership during and after his presidency. He illustrated Bush’s humble leadership with several stories including his private encouragement during his last week in office to radio talk show hosts to give his successor, Barack Obama, a chance as the new commander in chief.
“The best and worst thing about being a leader is you get to decide,” he said, emphasizing that the president, no matter who he is, makes difficult decisions on a daily basis that affect a whole nation, which is why it is important to cultivate good leadership skills.

Audio and video from the lecture is available online at sbts.edu/resources.
2nd Annual Southeastern Theological Fellowship Meets at ETS

SAN DIEGO (SEBTS) — The meeting of the Southeastern Theological Fellowship was held at the 66th annual Evangelical Theological Society meeting in San Diego on the evening of Nov. 19. The purpose of the event was to recognize and encourage theological scholarship.

Bruce Ashford, provost of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, “At Southeastern we often speak about our desire to fulfill the Great Commission. We all recognize the gravity of this mission and the importance of the role we play in training the next generation of Christian leaders.

“We all do what we do because we believe in the hope of Jesus Christ, and we have heard his call to go and make disciples of every tribe, nation, tongue and people,” Ashford said.

Ashford recognized five scholars that exemplify excellence in their disciplines, including Scott Bridger, assistant professor of World Religions and Islamic Studies and director of Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; David S. Dockery, president of Trinity International University; and George Guthrie, Benjamin W. Perry professor of Bible and senior fellow of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies at Union University.

Ekhard Schnabel, Mary F. Rockefeller distinguished professor of New Testament studies at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and Malcom Yarnell, professor of systematic theology, director of the Center for Theological Research, and chair of the systematic theology department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary also were honored.

“These academicians have shown themselves to be effective communicators of the depths of Christian Scholarship while providing outstanding oversight in the classroom or in academic administration,” Ashford said.

Addressing the attendees, Ashford said, “We appreciate the way in which you train and prepare men and women for their respective vocations. We recognize that part of your contribution is serving and training the next generation of Christian leaders and scholars.”

Ashford quoted John Henry Newman, a 19th-century religious historian, who said, “Excellence needs a center.”

“As Christian academicians the center for excellence must be Christ and his glory,” Ashford said. “As Christian scholars we bear the burden of wedding together the depths of academic rigor while fanning the flame of affections for Christ. This is no easy task.”

Dockery provided a plenary address titled “Confession, Church and Community: A Distinctive Approach to Evangelical Scholarship.” He charged theological scholars to educate from the Christian tradition that is rooted in the Trinitarian God.

“We recognize we are not alone,” Dockery said. “We are part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Dockery encouraged the audience to train men and women to provide culturally appropriate responses to “the great questions of the day.” He utilized Augustine’s thesis in “The City of God” as an example of how to prepare students for ministry.

“Faith seeking understanding must issue forth in faith speaking understanding,” Dockery said.

He also believes that theological education should be done for the purpose of sending men and women into great commission ministry.

Jonathan Six, director of alumni development at Southeastern, reflecting on the evening, said, “It brings me great joy to be able to bring together the faculty, students, alumni and friends of Southeastern Seminary to encourage and celebrate excellence in evangelical theological scholarship. From the outset, our desire has been to provide a sense of camaraderie and appreciation for the contributions of those involved in academia.”
George Barna & David Kinnaman
reflect on 30 years of Barna Group

VENTURA, Calif. (Barna Group) — In 1984, George and Nancy Barna set aside their spare bedroom as the headquarters for the newly founded Barna Research Group. Both the culture and the company have undergone significant changes over the course of three decades, but the driving vision of Barna Group remains the same: to provide Church and cultural leaders with knowledge to navigate a changing world.

To celebrate the occasion, George and current Barna president and owner David Kinnaman sat down to share what they’ve learned about leading, staying on mission and speaking the truth even when it’s painful or unpopular.

On what motivated him to push beyond the early obstacles, Barna says, “As I looked at the state of the church across the country, I could see enormous potential that wasn’t even being pursued. I thought, ‘There is so much room for growth, so much opportunity for churches to impact people’s lives! If we can bring this information to them in a way they can understand, the church will be so much better off.’ That’s what kept me excited.”

Speaking about his approach to leadership, he continues, “Find great people and turn them loose. David is a great example of somebody who came in and really got [the vision] and ran with it—and then ran past me. And that was great. You always want people to be doing better stuff than you can do. Because it’s not about you.”

The two veteran researchers also commiserate on the pros and cons of the company’s mission. Kinnaman says, “You have to be honest. You have to say what the data are telling you.” Agreeing, Barna adds, “So much of what we do is to contradict the prevailing wisdom. Our job is to tell people, ‘You may feel that way, but that’s not how reality is. Whether we like it or not, this is what the data seem to say.’ And a lot of times, that gets you into hot water.”

Reflecting on what excites and concerns him about the future, Kinnaman says, “A concern I have is how well we will use information—use good wisdom and good discernment to make sense of our opportunities as leaders. But I’m also very hopeful, because I see great leaders who are trying to wrestle with this, who are trying to get their arms around what’s happening in our culture.”

To watch their full conversation, go to https://vimeo.com/111654180.

Barna Group (which includes its research division, Barna Research Group) is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, Calif., Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.
Oklahoma pro-life laws on
hold pending court challenges
By Courtney Crandell

OKLAHOMA CITY (WORLD News Service) — Oklahoma’s Supreme Court blocked two pro-life laws Nov. 4 while lawsuits challenging their constitutionality make their way through lower courts. 

Both laws took effect Nov. 1. One required adherence to Food and Drug Administration guidelines when administering the abortifacient RU-486. A district court in Oklahoma had recently decided to allow the law to take effect. The other law required that abortionists obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) filed suit in October against both laws. CRR’s president, Nancy Northrup, called Tuesday’s decision a “crucial victory” for protecting constitutional rights and safe abortions. 

But the court’s decision is out of step with the state’s voters, said Tony Lauinger, president of Oklahomans for Life. “We are disappointed in yet another example of arbitrariness by the Oklahoma Supreme Court,” he said. “The Supreme Court is the last bastion of pro-abortion liberalism in Oklahoma. And our state Supreme Court does not reflect the values of the people of Oklahoma.”  

Though CRR attorney Autumn Katz argued the RU-486 regulations would push women into surgical abortions, the law’s sponsor, Rep. Randy Grau, said the law increases safety for women. “The intent of the law is to protect patients and ensure the safe practice of medicine, especially as it relates to the prescribing of RU-486,” he told WORLDin October. “The only way to do that is to follow the FDA protocol.”

CRR filed suit against the admitting privileges law on behalf of Larry Burns, an abortionist responsible for nearly half of the abortions in the state. Burns said he had unsuccessfully attempted to obtain admitting privileges at 16 hospitals.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who signed the legislation in May, maintained her support for the admitting privileges law after CRR filed suit. She said she was “proud to work with lawmakers in both parties to support legislation that protects the health and lives of both mothers and their unborn children.”

And Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt promised to continue defending the laws. “It’s disappointing these laws were blocked from taking effect, but it’s important to note the Oklahoma Supreme Court didn’t comment on the validity of the laws in referring these issues to the district court for further consideration,” Aaron Cooper, director of communications for the attorney general’s office, told me in an email. “The Oklahoma Legislature was well within its authority to enact these laws to protect the health and safety of Oklahoma women.” 
NRB Film & Entertainment
Summit to debut in 2015

MANASSAS, Va. (National Religious Broadcasters) — The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) will debut the Film & Entertainment Summit at the NRB 2015 International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

The NRB Film & Entertainment Summit is an all-day event on Monday, Feb. 23, that will bring together Hollywood entertainment professionals, distributors, filmmakers, and executives for keynotes, panels, and seminars. It will continue with networking events and film screenings throughout the four days of the NRB Convention, Feb. 23-26.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for filmmakers and future filmmakers to have all the resources in one place at one time,” remarked NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson.

Speakers for the day so far include, among others, notable filmmakers and industry thought leaders such as Simon Swart, EVP of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; Christopher C. Chen, Co-Vice Chair, Sr. VP of Endgame Entertainment; Cale Boyter, Producer at Disruption Entertainment; DeVon Franklin, President/CEO of Franklin Entertainment; Michael Van Dyke, TV Packaging Agent/TV Lit Agent; Todd Komarnicki, Producer of Elf; Scott Mednick, Co-Founder of Legendary Pictures; Scott Waugh, Co-Founder of Bandito Brothers; Phil Cooke, Founder & CEO of Cooke Pictures; Ted Baehr, Founder and Publisher of Movieguide.

Session topics will include “The Process: NRB’s Immersive Experience in the Process of Filmmaking and Creating Media,” “How to Succeed in Mass Audience Movies, Television & Entertainment (Without Losing Your Soul),” script writing, development, directing, production, post production, distribution, and marketing. Activities also include late night film talks, filmmaker Q&As in the main sessions, and a pitch-a-thon for enterprising individuals with a dream.

For the pitch-a-thon, those who sign up will have a unique opportunity to pitch their story, script, or even a finished product one-on-one to representatives of participating distribution companies. Those on the receiving end of the pitch-a-thon include, among others, Christopher C. Chen (Endgame), Micheal Flaherty (Walden), Cale Boyter (Paramount), and Simon Swart (Fox). The Film & Entertainment Summit opens with the pitch-a-thon.

In addition, following the day’s sessions, there will be a special dinner event featuring Alex and Stephen Kendrick (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous), and an evening session featuring Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (The Bible TV miniseries, Son of God), and Priscilla Shirer of Going Beyond Ministries. 

The Film & Entertainment Summit is included with an NRB Convention registration. A pass to the one-day summit and the 130,000-sq. ft. Exposition floor are also available for $275. Meal tickets for the Monday dinner event are available for purchase and are not included with the day pass. The Exposition is open Tuesday through Thursday.

For the schedule, speakers, and additional details, visit nrbconvention.org/film.
McElroy honored for 25
years as OBU cheer coach
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University) — Dr. Linda McElroy was honored Saturday, Nov. 8, for 25 years as cheerleading coach at Oklahoma Baptist University. A reception was held in the Mabee Suite in the Noble Complex on the OBU campus in Shawnee during homecoming festivities.

No amount of chants or cheers could fully capture McElroy’s enthusiasm for standing at the helm of OBU’s Cheerleading Squad. This year is McElroy’s 25th and final year of coaching the group. One of the longest tenured coaches in OBU’s history fondly bids farewell to a coaching career of lasting impact on generations of Bison.

McElroy joined OBU in the spring of 1990 as a professor of kinesiology and leisure studies. With a long history of cheering, she was the obvious choice to coach OBU’s cheerleaders.

“Cheerleading was a part of who I was,” said McElroy. “Coaching OBU’s squad was a continuation of what I’d done all my life.”
In her first year as coach, McElroy transformed the squad by providing a new form of leadership. The group now had structure, guidelines and a defined mission; but more than that, they had a leader with vested interest and a commitment to be at every practice and game. Quickly, McElroy – affectionately known as “Coach Mac” – became the heart and soul of the team.
“She was determined the school and spectators would be proud of their cheerleaders,” said Heather (Rhea) Streich, a 1993 OBU graduate. “She immediately began to change the standard from cheerleaders as performers for crowd entertainment to spirit leaders whose goal was to encourage crowd participation whether on the sidelines or at half court.”
Throughout the years that high standard continues to hold, even as OBU added new athletic teams and by doing so increased the responsibilities of her cheerleaders. Ever faithful to the squad’s mission to motivate fans and athletes, Coach Mac’s leadership model and investment in her cheerleaders has paid off. When asked what her greatest achievement to date as coach has been, her response is simple: “For whatever reason, they tend to stay.”
Third generation Bison cheerleader Becka (Weber) Pillmore, a 2008 OBU graduate, was one of many who cheered all four years, in part due to McElroy’s influence. “Coach Mac was not just a cheerleading coach, she was my campus mom,” said Pillmore. “She is responsible for some of my favorite college memories and supported me during some very hard times.”
Countless other cheerleaders would quickly echo Pillmore’s sentiments, and yet, those relationships were and continue to be just as meaningful to McElroy.
“All of those that took time to come and be a part of the squad were truly part of my life,” said McElroy. “They’re my kids – they know that.”
McElroy has been and will continue to be a longstanding presence on Bison Hill. Although her coaching career comes to an end next spring, her stint in the classroom will continue. Those students who know her outside of cheerleading and class will still recognize her as faculty marshal, leading her colleagues at convocation and commencement ceremonies. She will also be present at plenty of basketball and football games, with one caveat. “I will always be more interested in the cheerleaders than the game,” she said.
For more information on McElroy, cheerleading at OBU or the university, visit www.okbu.edu.

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