EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each Monday from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger includes items from:
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC)
University of the Cumberlands — two items
Charleston Southern University
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
World Congress of Families
Recent items from Life Digest (ERLC)
— Obama administration stymies state, funds Planned Parenthood
The Obama administration overruled the New Hampshire government and granted $1.8 million in federal and state family planning contracts to Planned Parenthood Sept. 13.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made the move, which had been forecast in news reports the previous week, to restore contracts for six New Hampshire clinics operated by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
The state’s Executive Council, made up entirely of Republicans, voted 3-2 in June to prevent the Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving the funds. The council, which is the only one among the 50 state governments, cited Planned Parenthood’s abortion practice in making its decision. N.H. Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas said no other providers expressed the desire to assume the family planning contracts, The Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph reported.
“Instead of honoring the decision of New Hampshire’s Executive Council, Obama has once again allowed his unwavering support for the largest provider of abortions in our country to take precedent,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, in a written statement. “The people of New Hampshire deserve to have the representatives they elected make the decisions they were elected to make without fear of President Obama usurping those decisions to curry favor with his political ally – Planned Parenthood.”
Affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) reported more than 332,000 abortions in 2009. PPFA and its affiliates received more than $363 million in government grants and contracts during 2008-09. Both years are the most recent for which statistics are available.
— Liechtenstein’s voters maintain abortion ban
Liechtenstein’s voters have defeated a proposal to legalize abortion in the tiny European country.
On Sept. 16, voters turned back by 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent an initiative to make abortion legal in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and when the unborn child is severely disabled, according to the Associated Press. The current abortion ban in the Catholic majority country can result in a three-year prison sentence for a doctor who performs the procedure and one year in prison for a woman who has an abortion, AP reported. Exceptions exist for a woman whose life is endangered or who is under 14 years of age.
— Cohabiting women abort more often
Cohabiting women who become unexpectedly pregnant are eight times more likely to get abortions than married women with unplanned pregnancies.
A study published in August in the journal Contraception found 59.3 cohabiting women of every 1,000 between the ages of 15 and 44 abort their children, while 31.8 divorced women, 28.1 never-married women and 7.7 married women choose abortion, according to CitizenLink.
New Riders Chosen for Six White Horses Team
ABILENE, Texas (Hardin-Simmons University)–A new team of Hardin-Simmons University Six White Horses Riders are excited about their upcoming schedule. The world-famous horses and their riders have been performing in parades and shows since the early 1930s and have marched in inaugural parades for six U.S. presidents.
Debbie Jones, director of the Six White Horses Program, says, “We had an amazing turn out at the tryouts this week. The girls really stepped up their game this year. We also had lots of friends and families come out and cheer on the girls.”
A new team of riders are chosen every year, with last year’s riders also having to prove they are among the best at the tryouts. Students competing for the coveted spots are judged on horsemanship, personality, and appearance.
Judges are primarily former Six White Horses riders or may have ridden on HSU rodeo teams; they know what qualities make a good rider.
“This is not an easy task,” says Jones. Horses and riders are often required to gallop around an arena. The rider has to control the horse with one hand, and hold one of the six flags that have flown over Texas in the other hand.”
The new riders are:
Courtney Qujas, sophomore, Fort Worth, TX
Jennifer Mitchell, senior, Breckenridge, TX
Jessie Forrest, junior, Frisco, TX
Kate West, freshman, Denton, TX
Kayla Willis, sophomore, Granbury, TX
Krystal Pence, sophomore, Coleman, TX
Rachel Newman, senior, Paris, TX
Tisha Bristow, junior, Hawley, TX
“The team practices three nights a week to get ready for the season,” says Jones. “They also have to prep the horses with haircuts, scrubbing and manicuring, and prepare their riding gear and outfits for the upcoming shows.
“Our schedule starts out with homecoming parades such as Aspermont, Breckenridge, and Woodson. Christmas parades start soon after that. But our next really huge event is the HSU Homecoming in October,” says Jones.
2011 Major Event Schedule:
October 1, Breckenridge Homecoming
October 15, Woodson Homecoming
October 20-23, HSU Homecoming
November 30, Abilene Christmas Parade
December 2, Ranger Christmas Parade
December 3, Dallas Children’s Christmas Parade
University of the Cumberlands at Heart of New Community Center
WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (University of the Cumberlands )–Mid-Springs Community Park was, for over 25 years, a place for children to play, families to meet, and for University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) Appalachian Ministries program to minister to the children of western Whitley County, Kentucky.
As time progressed, however, committee member squabbles, community disinterest, and severe vandalism forced the children to leave, families to meet somewhere else, and UC’s Appalachian Ministries to meet in local churches.
For 14 years, the park stood nearly abandoned and in severe disrepair until UC’s Appalachian Ministries needed a new place to meet and community members responded favorably to reopening the park as a family meeting place. In the fall of 2010, Appalachian Ministries began to hold their Monday and Wednesday evening Bible studies in the park.
Slowly but steadily, work progressed on the park. UC students, individuals from the community, members of the South Union Mount Zion Baptist Association, and visiting groups from churches as far away as Kansas City, Missouri have contributed time, materials, and labor toward reconstructing and refurbishing the park. During the summer of 2010, Mountain Outreach, another UC ministry, donated time and materials to rebuild the 24′ X 60′ picnic shelter while a group from Verona, Kentucky built a 12′ X 28′ storage building.
“The community center is an answer to almost 20 years of prayer,” said Magan Atwood, UC’s Appalachian Ministries Director. “Appalachian Ministries has been praying for a steady place to hold our weekly ministries for years. We are so thankful for the way God has provided. It’s been incredible to watch the community, local and out of state churches, and the students of the University of the Cumberlands come together to make this dream a reality. It’s been really neat to watch the progression as so many people have volunteered their time and resources.”
The new centerpiece of the park, however, is the new 1,800-square-foot Mid-Springs Community Center, built in part by a group from Kansas City, Mo.
The Center consists of a large gathering room, two classrooms, a kitchenette, restrooms, and rustic front and back porches. The Center was dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Whitley County Judge Executive Pat White, Community President Raleigh Meadors, and UC Appalachian Ministries Director Magan Atwood.
“Expectations for future generations are promising and we are happy to work in conjunction with UC to help our community,” says South Union Mount Zion Baptist Association Director of Missions, David Aker.
Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.
Mountain Outreach, wrestling and track teams assist with Repair Affair
WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (University of the Cumberlands )–A gray, chilly morning did nothing to dampen the spirits of close to 100 University of the Cumberlands (UC) students who gathered to do community outreach in Williamsburg on Saturday, Sept. 17. The students, part of UC’s Mountain Outreach, wrestling and track and field teams, volunteered for the Bell-Whitley Repair Affair, a one-day annual event in which people can volunteer to help the elderly and disabled with home repairs.
The Repair Affair is organized by the Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency, Inc., an organization designed to help people in poverty-stricken areas become self-sufficient. This year, Repair Affair volunteers worked on six different jobs thought Whitley Co., doing yard work, painting, and building ramps.
“The need is great,” said Charles Lester, BWCAA’s Whitley Co. coordinator. “I wish we could do more than we do.”
Seven groups showed up Saturday morning to help with repairs, including groups from as far away as Knoxville and Lynchfield, Ky. “It’s the most volunteers we’ve ever had,” said Lester.
Twenty-two UC track and field athletes and close to 40 male wrestlers and their coaches joined with experienced MO builders to work on three different homes. Two UC professors, Dr. Chris Leskiw and Dr. Eric Stephens, joined the teams as well.
Together the teams did a large amount of work, including building three wheelchair ramps, one set of stairs, painting and extensive yard work.
“We feel blessed to be here, to be able to make a difference,” said B.J. Temple, assistant track and field coach. Temple stated that the event provided team-building training to the athletes while allowing them to help others. Enock Francois, assistant coach of UC’s men’s wrestling team, agreed, saying the team-building activity allowed the wrestlers to do something good for the community.
Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.
Christian Cultural Apologist speaks of Global Great Awakening at Campbellsville University chapel service
By Aaron C. Presley
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University)–“Connecting faith and culture by engaging contemporary issues with Biblical truth” — this is the mission of Dr. Jim Denison, president of Denison Forum on Truth and Culture of Dallas, Texas.
Denison presented a view of the current world in terms of Christianity to students and faculty Sept. 28 during the university’s weekly chapel series.
Denison gave statistics about the growth of Christianity around the world — what he and other scholars call “the Fifth Great Awakening.” He said this awakening has caused the largest “explosion of evangelism” in 20 centuries.
Denison said this explosion is causing quick and radical change in countries all over the world. He also shared his experiences from traveling to various countries and the spiritual awakenings he has witnessed:
Denison cited the Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea as a likely beginning of this Great Awakening. The church began in 1958 with just six people, and has grown to 1.2 million members to become the largest church in the world.
“In Nigeria, 90 percent of people attend church on a given Sunday, but in America, only 23 percent of people attend church on Sunday,” he said.
The People’s Republic of China, he said, can now be considered the largest Christian nation ever, with over 300 million Christian citizens; it is estimated that over 100,000 people convert to Christianity every day in China.
While preaching at a service in Cuba, Denison witnessed 330 professions of faith in just one service.
Currently, more Muslims are converting to Christianity than ever before — there are an estimated 16,000 conversions daily — many because of amazing dreams and visions of Christ these people experience.
Denison said that unlike the “booming” growth of Christianity around the world, America is experiencing an increase in atheism and agnosticism, a demographic that has grown four times greater in the past 20 years.
He encouraged those in attendance to take part in the current Great Awakening and to pray for our nation. “Every one of the great awakenings either started on a college campus or went there immediately. Every spiritual awakening has been fueled by young people,” he said.
Denison stressed the importance of trying to bring the Great Awakening to America where Christianity is decreasing, in what some scholars call the “demise” of the country.
Denison describes the choice of becoming a Christian as an individual and daily decision that must be made now. He urged audience members to accept the Lord and to become active as a group in prayer and duty in hopes of furthering the Great Awakening and making America a part of the growth.
“God is the great ‘I am,'” said Denison in closing, “not ‘will be!'”
Denison is a cultural apologist, building a bridge between faith and culture by engaging contemporary issues with biblical truth. He founded the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture in February 2009 in order to engage contemporary culture with moral truth, according to his website, www.denisonforum.org.
The Denison Forum on Truth and Culture was launched to respond to the critical need of rebuilding the moral foundations upon which our democracy depends.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 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.
Truth and Trust: Two scoops are better than one
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Charleston Southern University)–Greg Koukl grabbed the attention of Charleston Southern University students Wednesday when he decided to substitute the Christian faith with ice cream. Like, butter pecan ice cream? Yes, exactly.
Koukl, the CEO of Stand to Reason, an online Christian education resource and author of Tactics: A Game Plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions, began dishing out his theory with a question: Häagen-Dazs butter pecan ice cream is delicious.
True or false?
He snapped back with a follow-up question, “What if I said, ‘Häagen-Dazs butter pecan ice cream controls diabetes.'”
True or false?
What Koukl was driving at is the difference between ice cream and insulin.
“When choosing ice cream, you can choose what you like,” he explained. “When choosing medicine, you must choose what heals. When choosing ice cream you can choose what’s true — for you; when choosing medicine you must choose what’s true.”
Koukl believes most Americans think of God, religion and morals as “more like ice cream kind of truth” referring to it as the “dessert claim.”
“They choose religious views according to tastes, according to what they prefer rather than according to what’s true,” said Koukl. “Nonbelievers view religion like ice cream. Take the insulin out of Christianity and it’s turned into a dessert. Remarkably, Christians often do the same thing.”
Koukl was on Charleston Southern’s campus on his 38th birthday — his spiritual birthday, that is. On September 28, 1973, Koukl committed his life to Jesus Christ. For the past 18 years he’s led Stand to Reason on a mission to “equip Christian ambassadors with knowledge, wisdom, and character.”
“I don’t like the word faith,” Koukl confessed. “It’s a religious placebo.”
Faith, in Koukl’s view, is often preceded by words like “blind” or “leap of (faith).”
“I prefer trust,” said Koukl.
In his STR.org blog on this topic Koukl wrote:
This view of faith reduces Christian conviction to wishful thinking. That is, what one is convinced of is the opposite of what one only hopes for. It’s almost as if on this view if you want to have faith this is something you squeeze out like a spiritual hope by acts of sheer will. Don’t ask questions, just have faith.
My question is this: How is that notion different from wishing? Maybe more critically, what makes the Christian’s wishing any different from the Mormon’s wishing, or the Hindu’s wishing, or even the wishing of an atheist, if it’s all not based on facts and evidence?
Referencing Biblical truths, Koukl added:
Peter was up in front of this massive crowd. He was talking about the resurrection to which he was an eyewitness. Do you think this is physical evidence to those people? Do you know how he ends his sermon?
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” — Acts 2:36
“These things,” John says, “I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.” — 1 John 5:13
We’ve got the evidence. Therefore our faith is not vain hope. It is not simply wishing. We’ve got convictions. We have put our trust in God based on the evidence, and that’s what Biblical faith entails.
Koukl challenged the audience with his thought-provoking claims. As part of Charleston Southern University’s vision to integrate faith in the classroom and community, Koukl led three additional discussions designed specifically for faculty, staff and students.
To learn more about Greg Koukl and Stand to Reason, visit STR.org.
“There is Nothing I Can’t Handle”
Claybon Lea, Jr. — Chapel Speaker September 22, 2011
By Phyllis Evans, Director of Communications
MILL VALLEY, Calif. (Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary)–“Some things in life appear to be too much for us to handle,” Claybon Lea, Jr. said to students, faculty and staff of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary at chapel on September 22, 2011. “Losing a husband, a parent or child, physical illness, divorce, poverty, financial reversals -– fill in the blank from your own life. Being a seminary student and a Christian does not make us immune from having to endure hardship. Some things just seem to be too much. But, as a child of God, there is nothing I can’t handle.”
Lea is senior pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield and Suison City, California; president of the California State Baptist Convention, and an adjunct professor as well as Ph.D. student at Golden Gate Seminary.
Lea asked his listeners, “How has it been possible that there is nothing in your life that you have not yet been able to handle? By God’s grace, you have miraculously been able to handle it all. You have had the fortitude to push through.”
Referring to Philippians 4:10 Lea said, “God is with you and consequently there is nothing you can’t handle. In this passage, Paul reminds us, ‘I can do everything through him who gives me strength.’ How can Paul say this? How can we join Paul in declaring there is nothing I can’t handle?” asked Lea.
He explained to his listeners that Paul wrote, ‘I’ve learned to be content whatever the circumstances.’ Lea noted, “This is difficult to achieve, but contentment is found in the Lord Jesus Christ, and is learned over time. Paul learned contentment through a myriad of experiences. This contentment came not from himself, but from reliance on Jesus Christ.”
When we learn contentment, we learn to handle anything, Lea said. “Don’t allow things that happen to you to control you. There is nothing you can’t handle. Contentment comes from Christ, not from cars, cash, or creature comforts.”
Paul had learned to adjust, said Lea. He had developed the trait of being adaptable, of being able to handle things through Christ. “Paul uses contrasts to demonstrate that whichever way he found himself, he made adjustments: in plenty or want, well-fed or hungry, economic prosperity or poverty. When you know Christ, you face whatever comes and you learn to adjust. Because there’s nothing you can’t handle.”
Lea pointed out that Paul never suggested he relied on himself, but that he was totally dependent on Jesus. “Are you totally dependent on Christ?” Lea asked the seminarians. Quoting from Proverbs 3, Lea said “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Lea urged his listeners to learn how to lean on the Lord. “He will sustain you. He will give you strength you could never access on your own.”
Lea concluded by telling his listeners, “Jesus Christ gives us strength to handle what we never imagined we could handle –- hardships, tragedies, sorrows, trials, setbacks –- we can handle them through Christ because we can do everything through Him who gives us strength, just as God gave strength to his people throughout the scriptures.
“Next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself you have strength from the Lord. You don’t have to act like you’re always strong, you don’t have to act like you can handle everything –- you can lean on the Lord. Rely on Jesus for strength, for contentment, and know there is nothing you can’t handle.”
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program Ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five, fully-accredited campuses in Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and Colorado. For more information: www.ggbts.edu.
World Congress of Families Mourns Dr. Margaret Ogola — Author, Humanitarian, and True Modern-Day Heroine for the Natural Family
ROCKFORD, Ill. (World Congress of Families)–Dr. Margaret Ogola, renowned Kenyan author and medical director of Cottolengo HIV and AIDS Hospice, passed away on September 22. At World Congress of Families II in Geneva (1999), Dr. Ogola received the WCF Familias Award for Humanitarian Service.
A pediatrician based in Nairobi, Dr. Ogola was the author of two highly acclaimed novels about the lives of four generations of Kenyan women in a rapidly changing world — “The River And The Source” and “I Swear By Apollo.”
Besides her service at the Cottolengo Hospice, Dr. Ogola was Vice President of Family Life Counseling in Kenya, which works to improve the condition of Kenyan women. From 1998 to 2002, she was National Executive Director of the Commission for Health and Family Life of the Kenya Episcopal Conference.
Commenting on her passing, WCF International Secretary Dr. Allan Carlson observed: “Margaret Ogola was a true and important friend of the Natural Family. As a wife, mother, and medical doctor, she lived an exemplary life. As a Christian, she inspired us all to greater service. As a writer, she showed remarkable insight into the human soul and underscored the power of love to transform the world. And as a speaker [especially at our World Congress of Families sessions], she was Lincolnesque in her wisdom, brevity, and power.”
Christine Vollmer, a member of the World Congress of Families Management Committee, who visited Dr. Ogola’s hospice in Nairobi, reported: “The beauty and order in this hospital and the happy little faces was very striking. Margaret’s care for these children was giving them a survival rate unparalleled, I believe, anywhere. Her motherly love and her extraordinary medical excellence, combined with her vocation to defend every single life were quite overwhelming. What a beautiful woman! The Lord be praised for raising up such wonderful pro-life people!”
On accepting The Familias Award in Geneva, Dr. Ogola reflected: “It appears that the general instinct of humanity — standing in awe of the power of the procreative act — was to shield the sexual act from misuse, and also to shield the society from the impact the misuse of sex could unleash on a populace….. However, by the late Sixties, this ideal of sex between only men and women committed to each other in the bond of marriage began to come apart.”
There followed “the collapse of the ideal of the sacred nature of sex,” leading to “children being born out of wedlock, marital breakdown, abandonment of children and the elderly who used to be held in great esteem, and of course an explosive increase in sexually transmitted disease of every kind.”
Dr. Ogola, who also spoke at World Congress of Families IV in Warsaw in 2007, was a true champion of the natural family and will be sorely missed.
World Congress of Families VI will be held in Madrid, Spain — May 28-30, 2012. Go to www.worldcongress.es for more information or contact Ignacio Arsuaga at [email protected]
WCF VII will be in Sydney, Australia — May 15-18, 2013. For more information on Sydney 2013, contact Mary-Louise Fowler, Vice-President of the Australian Family Association and Chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee at [email protected]
For information on World Congress of Families go to www.worldcongress.org. To schedule an interview with Dr. Allan Carlson, contact Larry Jacobs at 815-964-5819, [email protected]