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:
Florida Baptist Convention (2 items)
B&H Publishing Group
North Greenville University
Compass Direct News
World News Service
Nancy Sullivan recovering well after second heart surgery
SHREVEPORT, La. (Florida Baptist Convention)–Nancy Sullivan is recovering well after successful surgery to place two stents in her heart on Sept. 22, John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, reported to the State Board of Missions (SBOM) Sept. 23.
Following the surgery, Sullivan traveled by air to Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center to attend the SBOM meeting while their daughters stayed by Nancy’s bedside.
The attending cardiologist who has monitored Nancy Sullivan since inserting a cardiac arterial stent on Sunday morning, Sept. 18, determined that a second artery had ninety percent blockage. As a result a second surgery was scheduled and two cardiac arterial stents were installed. Mrs. Sullivan is a patient at the Christus Schumpert Highland Clinic in Shreveport.
Sullivan told the SBOM he would return to Shreveport Friday, Sept. 23 and anticipated Nancy would be released the following day.
Sullivan thanked Florida Baptists for their prayers and expressions of concern. At the beginning of the SBOM plenary session Sept. 23, a time of prayer for the Sullivans was led by SBOM President Tim Maynard, pastor of Fruit Cove Baptist Church in Jacksonville.
Language missions pioneer Hubert Hurt dies in Fort Smith, Ark.
FORT SMITH, Ark. (Florida Baptist Convention)–Language missions pioneer Hubert Hurt died in the morning hours of Sept. 21, 2011 while in hospice care in Fort Smith, Ark. He was 86.
Hurt directed Florida’s language work from 1964 until his retirement in 1990, first under the appointment of the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) from 1965 to-1974, residing in Miami; and then as an employee of the Florida Baptist Convention from 1974 until 1980; and from 1981 until his retirement.
For a brief period in 1980, Hurt served as director of the HMB’s transcultural outreach. He returned to the state convention as director of the Language Missions Department in 1981.
Prior to serving as Florida Baptists’ first language mission director, Hurt and his wife, Eva, served as home missionaries in Cuba from 1957 to 1961 and Panama from 1961 through 1965. At that time Cuba and Panama were considered as home mission territories. During those years, he witnessed the Communist revolution in Cuba and riots in Panama.
When Hurt arrived in Florida in 1965, ethnic churches in the state include 29 Hispanic congregations and seven congregations representing six other language groups. When he retired, Florida Baptists were reaching the state’s 3.5 million ethnics with 275 congregations worshipping in 21 languages.
Hurt was born May 30 1925 in Louisville, Miss. He had been placed in a nursing home earlier this month.
He held the bachelor of arts degree from Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss.; the master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, La., and the master of arts degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss.
His wife, Eva, worked at the Baptist Building after his retirement.
Funeral Services will be held in Fort Smith, Ark. A memorial service will be held in Deermeadows Baptist Church in Jacksonville, at a later date.
Status of deceased infants
discussed by Truett-McConnell prof
By Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga. (Truett-McConnell College)–The death of an infant. Few things are “more painful or perplexing,” said Adam Harwood — assistant professor of Christian Studies at Truett-McConnell College, Cleveland, Ga. — during a Sept. 15 chapel sermon.
Harwood drew the sermon from his book titled “The Spiritual Condition of Infants,” which he said examines 10 biblical texts and key writings from 16 theologians throughout church history, has more than 400 footnotes and interacts with more than 200 books and academic articles.
“Before we consider the salvation of infants, we need to be clear about what the Bible says and doesn’t say about their current spiritual condition,” said Harwood, noting that Genesis 3 and Romans 5 describe humanity’s fall into sin.
“We all have a relationship with the first Adam, and that relationship results in our being sinners,” he said. “Even before we can understand the difference between right and wrong, we are sin-stained people.”
Everyone has an eternal destiny, but the “good news is that God did not abandon his broken creation. At the very moment we were hopeless and helpless in our sin, Christ died for us … to provide the forgiveness of sin and to offer peace between God and man,” Harwood added.
Some won’t appropriate this “good news,” Harwood said. “Thankfully, some people will go to heaven. And those people … will have heard … the saving message of the Gospel … [and] will have responded by turning from their sin and turning to Christ.”
Regarding deceased infants, Harwood described them as 1-year-old or younger, “including the pre-born,” saying all infants are part of “sinful humanity.” Ignorant that they’re sinners, infants have a sinful nature and will knowingly commit acts of sin.
“But infants who die never have a chance to hear, understand, and respond to the Gospel. It’s not just that they do not hear and respond; infants cannot hear and respond to the Gospel,” Harwood emphasized.
It “seems wrong” for infants to go to hell, he said. But it seems “equally wrong” for God to “welcome sinful people — no matter how young — into heaven. Thus, the dilemma: How does God welcome some, or any sinful infants into heaven?”
Harwood quoted the Baptist forebear, Anabaptist leader Balthtasar Hubmaier (1480–1528), whose response to this dilemma was, “I confess here publicly my ignorance. I am not ashamed not to know what God did not want to reveal to us with a clear and plain word.”
Nonetheless, Harwood builds his case on Scripture regarding the eternal destiny of deceased infants.
Harwood noted seven biblical positions mitigating for his stance that deceased infants do not go to hell, saying that:
— Infants are people. Whereas modern culture deems even an unborn baby as merely a potential person, “Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, did not distinguish grammatically between pre-born and born-alive infants. He used the same Greek word (brephos) to refer to John the Baptist as a baby inside the womb (Luke 1:41) and to Jesus as a baby outside of the womb (Luke 2:12). The womb is the place where God creates people,” Harwood said.
Harwood also cited the Old Testament records of Ps. 139 and Jeremiah 1, where God formed David in his mother’s womb, and knew Jeremiah before He formed him in the womb.
— Infants are impacted by sin. Though they may die as a result of someone else’s sin, “it does not follow that their deaths are a result of either personal or inherited guilt. Instead, death is the result of God’s universal judgment against sin,” Harwood said, citing the demise of the child resulting from the adultery of King David and Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12).
— Infants are not sinless. Some speak of infants’ innocence, but they are not innocent as were Adam and Eve before the fall or like Jesus. “So, all orthodox Christians agree that infants are not sinless,” he said. “What they disagree on is guilt.”
— Infants inherit from Adam death, not guilt, Harwood said, noting contra-opinions of Augustine and John Calvin, who argued and taught that sinful guilt was inherited from Adam. Calvinists cite Rom 5:12-21, where “Paul parallels the work of Adam and the work of Christ. But despite the teachings of Augustine and Calvin, Paul was not arguing for our guilt in Adam. Rom 5:12 states, ‘Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.’ Paul connects sin to death and states that all have sinned,” Harwood said. “We need to be careful not to read a theological system into the text of Scripture.”
Citing theologian Millard Erickson, Harwood said that if all people were “present and guilty because of Adam’s disobedience, then an exact correspondence would be that we’re all made right with God through Christ’s obedience. That’s not the case. We must personally ratify the work of Christ in our life by responding in repentance and faith to be saved. In the same way, we must personally ratify the work of Adam in our life by committing an act of sin after we know the difference between right and wrong.”
“The Scriptures teach substitutionary atonement — Christ died in our place — not substitutionary guilt — Adam sinned in our place,” Harwood added.
— Inherited guilt requires extra-biblical ways of understanding salvation. If one assumes infants are guilty, then attempts to construct views of infant salvation are difficult. If one begins with infant guilt, then the infant might have a hope of heaven due to baptismal regeneration. This was Augustine’s solution.
Harwood also summarized other extra-biblical views that sometimes result from theologians who begin with infant guilt when they explain infant salvation. Those views include infant salvation via parental faith, forgiveness due to post-mortem repentance by the infant, and forgiveness of guilt before the commission of any sinful actions.
— “Infants are free from condemnation but will later become guilty for sins committed after they develop moral knowledge,” said Harwood, noting there is no precise scriptural reference supporting the statement. But he appealed to Deuteronomy 1 and Numbers 14, where offspring of those who agreed with the 10 spies to stay out of the Promised Land were spared the death of their doubting parents. “What was the only reason the younger generation was spared God’s judgment? Their age. I’m not suggesting that 20 is the age of accountability, but according to Deut 1:39, that younger generation had ‘no knowledge of good or evil.’ They lacked moral knowledge and were spared from God’s judgment,” Harwood said. “Whether you affirm inherited guilt or sinful nature, it’s clear that all infants are descendants of the first Adam and have inherited at least a sinful nature.”
— God judges sinful actions, not nature. Consider 2 Cor. 5:10, ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.’ What is the basis of God’s judgment in this verse? Our nature or our actions?” Harwood asked.
Citing New Testament scholar Harold Hoehner, Harwood said that Paul makes that willful, sinful bring God’s wrath in Rom. 1-3. “The significance? Augustinian-Calvinists argue for our guilt and the judgment of God based upon our sinful nature,” Harwood said, “but Paul argues for our guilt and the judgment of God based upon our sinful actions, which excludes infants.”
Shifting from biblical exposition to pastoral application, Harwood noted several Bible passages offering comfort to parents whose infant child has died. “These Scriptures are meant to bring hope and encouragement and can be affirmed regardless of the position you take on inheriting guilt or a sinful nature,” said Harwood, noting that:
— Children are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139);
— Parents should never have to bury a child. King David brought his questions and pain to God — continually stating that his hope and trust were in God (Ps. 13);
— Infant death demonstrates in painful clarity that the world is broken. But Christ through His death on the Cross defeated death and will remake and restore His broken world. Rev. 21:4, There will one day be no more death and mourning;
— God is present, and He can provide comfort and peace (Rom. 15:13);
— In Mark 10, Jesus welcomed little children as examples for adults of citizens of God’s kingdom. Jesus still does as He did 2,000 years ago. He takes infants in His arms and blesses them (v. 16);
— Like King David, who mourned the death of his infant son, parents who know the Lord are the only parents who can say “One day, I’ll go to be with him” (2 Sam 12:23); and,
— In John 11:25, Jesus is the only hope for resurrection and reunion with loved ones, whether they are adults, children, or infants.
John Bisagno’s ‘Pastor’s Handbook’ released by B&H
Bisagno handbook provides updated answers for new generation of pastors and church planters
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (B&H Publishing Group)–In ministry, a field plagued by high dropout rates, pastoral encouragement and guidance is paramount. One veteran pastor is trying to help: Dr. John Bisagno is a “pastor’s pastor,” and while nearly 1,500 quit the ministry every month — 18,000 each year — Bisagno continues to mentor young pastors, even a decade into his retirement.
Thousands of church leaders have been touched by Bisagno’s pastoral care, including Rick Warren who credits him for growing one of the world’s greatest churches, Houston’s 25,000-member First Baptist Church.
Recognizing the new challenges and troubling dropout rates in church leadership, Bisagno is passing down all the insights, lessons, and wisdom he’s gathered from 60 years in ministry into a single volume.
The book, Pastor’s Handbook, is a major expansion and revision of Bisagno’s Letters to Timothy: A Handbook for Pastors, a collection of more than 100 brief chapters of practical insight for handling real life pastoral issues — “things that might have fallen through the cracks in seminary.” Originally published in 2001, it is currently being used as a textbook in all Southern Baptist seminaries.
“These truths were produced in the crucible of trial and error and refined at both the cost of failure and the surprise of success,” he says. “For years I have longed to see something in print that would spell out the ABC’s, the practical “what-to-do’s” and “what-not-to-do’s” of the ministry, which could have made it so much easier. Now I’ve had the opportunity to revise and update my original book.”
More than a decade later, the fully-revised Pastor’s Handbook now includes 160 chapters encapsulating dozens of topics relevant to today’s church: “The Seeker Friendly Church,” “Solving Worship Wars,” “Multiple Campuses,” “New Media,” “Home Groups, “Internet Pornography,” “Biblical Inerrancy,” “The High Cost of Overnight Change,” “Homosexuality,” “Elder Rule, “The Church Boss” and more.
In addition to new chapters, all of the original ones were also updated, factoring in new world issues and the author’s survey of pastoral colleagues.
“My prayer is that an entire new generation of pastors and church planters will use this book to develop the necessary perspective, convictions, character, and skills needed for ministry in the 21st century,” says Warren, in the book’s foreword.
John R. Bisagno is pastor emeritus of the 25,000-member Houston’s First Baptist Church where he preached for 30 years. He has also authored 30 books and now serves on the adjunct faculty of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Bisagno and his wife, Uldine, have three children and eight grandchildren. They live in Houston, Texas.
Ryken lauds King James Version as ‘greatest English Bible ever’
By Whitney Jones (’12)
JACKSON, Tenn. (Union University)–The King James Version of the Bible is considered a great book because of how it was compiled and received, but also because its legacy continues today, said Leland Ryken at a Union University conference held Sept. 15-17.
Ryken, a professor of English at Wheaton College, spoke in two sessions at the “KJV400: Legacy and Impact” festival, which celebrated the 400th anniversary of the King James translation. He has written or edited several books including “The Word of God in English,” “The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery” and “The Complete Literary Guide to the Bible,” and he served as the literal stylist for the English Standard Version of the Bible.
Ryken’s first presentation, which served as the conference’s third plenary session, focused on reasons why the King James Version is so significant.
“The greatness of the King James Bible would not exist if something even greater than it did not exist before it, namely the words that God superintended human authors of the Bible to write,” he said. “What we call the Word of God is greater than the King James Version of that word.
“On the other hand, we should not be lulled into thinking that all English Bible translations are created equal. I think that the King James Bible is demonstrably the greatest English Bible ever.”
He divided his eight-point list of reasons into two categories: external and internal traits that make the King James translation exceptional.
Two external reasons Ryken said contributed to the King James Version’s greatness were God’s use of the power of King James I, an ungodly king, to translate the holy text and the people and process that created the translation.
“The King James Version is great because God chose to override the bad behavior of an ungodly king who lent his name to the King James Version,” Ryken said. He then added, “I want to give credit where credit is due. We would not have the King James Bible without the initiation and ongoing involvement of King James during the process of the translation.”
He also said the King James Version was the culmination of excellence throughout the 16th century — the hundred years that preceded the translation — and noted that William Tyndale, the first scholar to translate the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew to English, played a significant role in the King James translation of the text.
“What Tyndale chiefly contributed was such an excellent translation in terms of both content and style that his translation provided a baseline upon which subsequent translators could do their work of refinement,” Ryken said.
Many people want to paint the translation as an initial failure, he said, by claiming that its success did not come until much later after its publication.
While the King James translation was never officially sanctioned, Ryken said it received popular acceptance, which was “an even better authorization than either a king with his crown (or) bishops in their vestments could have imposed on the translation.”
Ryken’s next point was the first of the internal traits and related to the philosophy of translation called verbal equivalence, which is when every word or phrase in the original language of the text was given an equivalent word or phrase in English.
Tyndale used this method before the King James translators, and by doing so Ryken said he created as many as 2,000 new words to the English language.
Ryken’s last three points on why the King James Version was great included its beautiful style, pleasing oral qualities and literary characteristics, such as figurative language and imagery.
“The King James Bible — and I believe the Bible in its original form — does not sound like the idiom of the bus stop or the dorm room,” he said. “A Bible that is made to sound like the daily newspaper is given the attention and credence that we give to the newspaper, which is considerably less than what the Word of God deserves.”
Ryken also spoke at the conference’s fourth plenary session, where he explained the far-reaching legacy of the King James translation and lamented the loss of a common Bible.
One way the King James Version has been kept alive, Ryken said, is because of the many public inscriptions all over the world — Yale, Cambridge, the Liberty Bell — that were written in that translation.
“While the King James Bible made it onto these public inscriptions in the first place because of its cultural dominance, once the inscriptions were in place they kept the King James Bible continuously alive in people’s sight and awareness,” Ryken said.
While proving the influence of the King James Version is difficult, he said that its presence is self-evident.
Ryken added that the King James Bible has had a strong presence even in his own life.
He said as a child he heard reading from the King James translation at every meal and twice a day on Sundays. He added that a verse from the King James Version that he made in elementary school with dried alphabet soup letters on pegboard hangs on the wall of his guest bedroom.
Ryken closed the conference noting that many newer translations of the Bible stray from the beautiful style of the earlier translation and are dangerous because they eliminate the feeling of grandeur and awe that elevated language provides.
However, he said he was assured of the King James translation’s legacy because there is “no (English) conversation that it has not adorned.”
KJV 400th Anniversary Conference at Hardin-Simmons University Explores Translation from All Academic Angles
ABILENE, Texas (Hardin-Simmons University)–Hardin-Simmons University’s senior professor of English, Dr. Larry Brunner, says references from the King James Version of the Bible are profoundly everywhere. Expressions like “to see eye to eye” or “labor of love” all have made it to our modern times today because they are expressions used in the King James translation of the Bible.
As the King James translation turns 400 years old, it still undisputedly remains the most read book of all-time. Even though the highest lauded of all versions of the Bible, it is neither the oldest nor the first to be translated from ancient scripture into English. It is also not among the first “authorized” English Bibles. Still, the KJV is one of the most recognized and widely used Bibles today.
Hardin-Simmons University has four first editions of the King James Bible among its two extensive Bible collections, and those are the books that inspired the two-day celebration of the 400th anniversary of the KJV, September 12 – 13, 2011.
“As the best-selling book in world history, the King James Bible has had an incalculable impact on the English-speaking world and the church,” says Dr. Bob Ellis, professor of Old Testament and associate dean at HSU’s Logsdon Seminary.
“There have been more allusions, more references to the King James Version than any other literary work. It’s central to any understanding of English literature,” exclaims Brunner.
The conference aimed to explore the translation from every academic angle and included presentations from faculty members in the history department, Logsdon School of Theology and Seminary, the English department, the School of Music, and even business and art professors explored how the KJV has impacted the way we live our lives and do business today.
Professor of art and head of the department, Mike Jones, discussed the role of the KJV Bible in book design and production, and from the Kelley College of Business, assistant professor of management, Dr. John Davis, discussed the influence the KJV has had on management styles and management literature.
One of the driving forces behind the HSU event was Ellis. “Because we have these two remarkable Bible collections, the 400th anniversary of the KJV provided an ideal context for celebrating the rich history of the Bible in English,” he said.
The Bible collections and the original KJVs housed at Hardin-Simmons come from two donors, Mrs. Inez Kelley and her late husband Dr. Doyle Kelley, and Dr. Charles Tandy along with his wife Roena.
The Kelleys met and married while at HSU and moved into their first apartment. During one of the seminar sessions, Inez Kelley described how her husband filled that apartment with orange crates full of books. “He had a real love for the written word,” says Mrs. Kelley. “But I have learned more about his Bible collection now since his death (in October 2009) than I did when he was alive,” says Kelley.
“Doyle bought his first Bible in London 30 years ago this October,” Inez told the audience gathered for a dinner session. “I went to Harrods Department Store; he went to museums and used book stores.”
“That day I bought a cashmere sweater; he bought a Bible. The very next winter when I got that cashmere sweater out of the closet, our Houston moths had made it threadbare. The Bible Doyle bought that day was a 1599 Geneva Bible which is now at HSU. I ask you,” she questions rhetorically, “who made the better purchase.”
Dr. Tandy, who attended HSU from 1946 to 1949, and is now an anesthesiologist in Dallas, told attendees that collecting Bibles has engrossed him since his attendance at a Sunday school party in 1960. Dr. Charles Ryrie, the class teacher, was reading the Ten Commandments. Everything seemed to be in order, until he reached the seventh item on the list: “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
As it turned out, Ryrie was reading from the so-called “Wicked Bible,” a 1631 reprint of the original King James Version that contained the infamous misprint. Tandy’s curiosity about the Wicked Bible soon became an obsession, as he and his wife began amassing a collection of rare Bibles, many more than 400 years old.
“You never truly own anything,” says Tandy. “It’s been a pleasure to have had them and enjoy them for a period of time,” he says of his gift to HSU. Mrs. Kelley knows her late husband would concur with that assessment, “Doyle just considered himself a caretaker.”
NGU hosts tenth annual Global Missions Conference
Over 500 commitments made by NGU students during the three-day conference
TIGERVILLE, S.C. (North Greenville University)–Forty missionaries from across the United States and almost every region of the world were present on the campus of North Greenville University September 12-14 for the university’s tenth annual Global Missions Conference. The theme for this year’s conference was “Give It All Away,” and students were challenged to count the cost of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ into those places of great spiritual darkness in our world.
Dr. Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, was the keynote speaker for the Conference, speaking in four chapel services and encouraging students, faculty, and staff not to pray, “Lord, should I go?” but, instead, “Lord, why should I stay?”
At the closing commitment service on Wednesday morning, September 14, more than 500 students turned in Commitment Cards, responding in a variety of ways to God’s call to take the good news of Jesus to the nations. Some commitments reflected a willingness to participate in a short-term mission trip for the very first time, while others committed to taking take the gospel to most difficult places and to the remaining unreached people groups in our world.
North Greenville University continues to be a leader among all colleges and universities in the United States in the sending of student missionaries to the nations.
The University anticipates the opening of the new Craft-Hemphill Center for Evangelism, Missions and Christian Worldview during this fall semester. This facility will enable NGU to be even more effective in promoting missions, preparing missionaries, and partnering with South Carolina Baptist Convention churches in sharing the gospel with those peoples in North America and around the world who have yet to experience the difference that only Jesus Christ can make.
Wildlife Inpersonator Encourages Students to Find Their Talents
By Tori Banks, Student News Writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University)–“God has a better plan for you than you can come up with on your own,” Ralph Duren, wildlife professional, wildlife impersonator, humorist and outdoorsmen, said.
Duren, who is Two-time Grand National Wild Turkey Gobbling Champion and first World Quail Calling Champion, spoke at Campbellsville University’s weekly chapel service Sept. 21.
Duren explained how his love for wildlife began at a very early age. Living on a farm and hunting and trapping with his father created a passion for the outdoors that he has carried with him throughout his entire life.
This passion allowed Duren the opportunity to work with the Missouri Department of Conservation for 26 years. “I never went to work,” said Duren, “I went to fun.”
The large amount of time Duren spent working, hunting and trapping helped him to perfect the skill that he is perhaps best known for today; Duren can perfectly mimic the sounds made by over 150 animals in the wild.
Duren explained that this talent has allowed him the opportunity to live out several of his lifelong dreams including making an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and performing on the Mississippi Queen.
“I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian, but God had other plans for my life,” Duren said. “God knew the desires of my heart.”
Duren encouraged the audience to turn themselves completely over to God. He explained that God has a specific design for all of our lives, and he expressed that if we allow Him to, God will unfold a plan for us that will enable us to fulfill the purpose we were made for.
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.
More than 100 Christians Killed in Nigeria’s Plateau State
Entire families slaughtered in month of attacks, apparently with military help.
By Obed Minchakpu
JOS, Nigeria (Compass Direct News)–A rash of attacks by armed Muslim extremists on villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state in the past month have left more than 100 Christians dead, including the elimination of entire families, sources said.
In a guerilla-type “hit and run” attack on the Christian community of Vwang Kogot, Muslim attackers at about 8 p.m. on Sept. 9 killed 14 Christians, including a pregnant woman. Survivors of the attack told Compass that the assailants raided the village with the aid of men in military uniforms of the Nigerian Army.
Many of the victims were members of a single family surnamed Danboyi.
“We heard gunshots in our village and realized that the sound was coming from a neighbor’s house, so we quickly ran to find out what was happening but saw a soldier at the entrance of the house with a gun ready to shoot at anybody who comes around, and at the same time preventing those inside from escaping,” village resident Markus Mamba told Compass. “We couldn’t get any closer because we were hearing gunshots at random, and we had no weapons with us to use to withstand the might of those soldiers, as there were quite a number of them around the house.”
Hiding, Mamba and others could only observe the killing, he said.
“After the soldiers and the Muslims left, we rushed into the place to see the destruction they did,” he said. “We discovered that 14 people were killed. Among them was a pregnant woman who died with a child in her womb – bringing the number of deaths to 15 persons. We also observed that the victims died from gun and machete wounds.”
Gyang Badung survived the attack, but his wife, four children, mother, grandmother and a nephew did not, he told Compass.
“I came home in the evening and had my meal, and right after I finished, I heard strange movement around our house and suddenly heard gunshots everywhere as my house was being attacked,” Badung said.
He jumped through his bedroom window and ran to a farm behind his house, he said.
“I waited in the bush, helpless, not knowing what to do until they left,” he said. “I saw more than nine people who came to attack us leaving into the bush and going away from our village. When I returned home, I found out that my whole family had been killed except for two sons, who were injured but survived, and my father who also narrowly escaped and ran into the bush.”
The ages of the children he lost were 15, 9, 5, and 4. His two injured sons are receiving hospital treatment.
Vou Mallam, another survivor of the attack, was with her husband and children when the raiders broke into their house. She escaped death when she found a hiding place in one of the rooms. Her husband, only son and grandchildren were killed.
“After our evening meal, we prayed and asked the children to go to bed,” she told Compass. “Suddenly we heard gunshots in our house, so I quickly crawled into the children’s room and put off the lamp and crawled again to hide under the bed in another place. I saw a soldier with a gun coming into the room, but he did not see me, and I heard some of them saying by the window, ‘There is nobody here.’
“But it was like they heard a movement and immediately started shooting. That was how they killed my husband in the place he was hiding, and my only son and his children in the other room were all killed.”
She said she heard the assailants speaking the Fulani language. Ethnic Fulani are primarily Muslim nomads in Nigeria whom militant Muslims appear to be enlisting to attack Christian communities due to the Fulanis’ expert understanding of the terrain of rural communities, area Christians said. Having lived their lives as nomads with their cattle, the Fulani have acquired the skills to surmount tough environmental challenges, area residents believe.
Dachung Dagai, pastor of a Church of Christ in Nigeria congregation in Vwang Kogot, told Compass that the village has been attacked three times since he arrived eight months ago.
“I was transferred here on Jan. 5,” he said. “The second day of my being in this place, the Muslim attackers attacked this village, and after two weeks they came again and attacked our village, killing two of our members.”
Dagi reported that assault and two subsequent attacks to security agencies, but no action has been taken, he said.
“No help or relief from the government has been received by our people,” Dagai said. “We’ve just been living with the horror of not knowing what will happen next.”
Dagai said their main concern is that Nigerian army soldiers have been involved in each attack.
“What is the government doing about the soldiers?” he said. “In some places, enough evidence has been found against these Muslim soldiers and nothing has been done. Can’t the soldiers be withdrawn from the state? We are not in a war situation on the plateau, and the soldiers were brought for peace-keeping, but they are the ones leading attacks against us. Why can’t they be withdrawn? The government officials have always said they will look into the problems, but nothing has been done.”
Adamu Tsuka, community leader in Vwang Kogot, told Compass that Christians killed in the attack were Mallam Danboyi; Zaka Danboyi; Ngyem Danboyi; Hjan Badung; Naomi Gyang; Rifkatu, 15; Patience, 9; Ishaku, 5; Nerat, 4; Dauda Badung, 22; Martha Dauda, 20; Mary Dauda, 6; Isaac Dauda, 4; Mafeng Bulus, 18; and the unborn child.
“This is the fifth time our people have been murdered,” Tsuka said. “There is nothing we can do. Many of my people have been killed. Please, we want the government to help us do something; if not, we can’t live here again.”
The January attack in Vwang Kogot village left no casualties. The second attack took place in the same month, resulting in the killing of Baba Wang Mwantap. The third raid this year took place in May, when two Christians, Bulus Pam and Irimiya Maisaje, were killed, area residents said.
On Sept. 10, Muslim extremists stormed Vwang Fwil village at about 3 a.m. and killed 13 Christians. Several others were being treated at Vom Christian Hospital, sources said.
On Sept. 8, Muslim extremists attacked Tsohon Foron village, killing 10 Christians, all members of the family of Danjuma Gyang Tsok. The attackers, surviving members of the community say, were assisted in the attack by armed military personnel of the Nigerian Army.
Those killed included Danjuma Gyang Tsok; Polohlis Mwanti; Perewat Polohlis, 9; Patience Polohlis, 3; Blessing Polohlis, 5; Paulina Pam, 13; Maimuna Garba; Kale Garba; Hadiza Garba, 10; and Aisha Garba, 3.
In the village of Zakalio in Jos North Local Government Area, at about 2 a.m. on Sept. 5, Muslim extremists killed seven Christians. The same day another group of Muslim attackers raided the Christian communities of Dabwak Kuru and Farin Lamba in Jos South and Riyom Local Government Areas, killing four Christians.
On Sept. 4, Muslim extremists attacked Tatu village near Heipang, killing eight Christian members of a family – Chollom Gyang and his wife Hannatu and their six children, including a 3-year-old, sources said. They were shot and then butchered with machetes.
The attack on Tatu village occurred less than three weeks after the killing of the family of a Christian identified only by the surname of Agbo and a staff member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God at Heipang on Aug. 15. In addition, on Aug. 20, three Christians were killed at Kwi village and one at Loton village.
Emmanuel Dachollom Loman, chairman of the Barkin Ladi Local Government Council, told Compass that there was no doubt that those who attacked were Muslims.
“I was sleeping when I received a phone call at about 12:30, shortly after midnight, that some unknown persons came to attack and killed all members of a family,” he said. “A few weeks ago, seven members of a family were killed in a similar attack. This is becoming too much to bear; the government should help us in this local government before Muslims come and wipe all of us out one day. I can’t contain this anymore; it’s too much.”
Loman said he has repeatedly reported the attacks to security agencies and the Nigerian government, but nothing has been done to protect his people.
“We have made appeals to the federal government,” Loman said. “We have told them that the Muslims in the area of Mahangar village have lots of sophisticated weapons, and that they are the ones attacking my people, but the federal government has refused to do anything about it.”
He complained to a federal government delegation that came to investigate the killing of eight family members of another family last month, he said, “but our concerns and fears have been ignored.”
Other villages attacked in the past month were Rassa and Rabwat.
Students Facing Tough Job Market Shouldn’t Despair
Career counselors at Christian colleges stress faith, perseverance in face of worst job market in decades
By Leigh Jones
WHEATON, Ill. (World News Service)–Students graduating from college in the next few years face the worst job market since World War II, according to census data released in September.
Just slightly more than half of young adults under 30 — 55.3 percent — have jobs, a drop of 12 percent during the last decade. And economists don’t expect the job market to improve dramatically for several years.
Despite the dismal outlook, career counselors at Christian colleges insist their students have no reason to despair.
Ita Fischer, director of career services at Wheaton College, tells her students that persistence and faith are key to finding a job. “It’s not going to be instantaneous, which is really a head twister for this generation,” she said. “But we tell them, you’re in this for a long marathon. This is not a sprint.”
Fischer also reminds her students to consider the promise in Jeremiah 29:11, that God has plans to give you hope and a future.
Although graduates might suffer as they wait longer than they would like to find a job, the struggle is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it teaches them to rely on God, Fischer said.
Students at Baylor University know they’ll face a tough time when they graduate, but they don’t seem too worried about it, said Kevin Nall, the school’s associate director for career services. “I just don’t see the doom and gloom with these guys,” Nall said.
When Nall asks students what they know about the job market, they tell him they’ve heard it’s terrible. Some even say they plan to go to graduate school because they don’t think they’ll be able to get a job. But few seem to be really alarmed, he said.
The challenge for career counselors is to convince the students they do have some control over what happens to them after graduation. Nall tells students they have to be more assertive and competitive as they prepare to meet with prospective employers. “You can no longer just show up and expect to get a job just because you can fog a mirror,” he said.
In the past, students would wait until their last semester to start looking for a job. That process now needs to start at the beginning of their junior year, Nall said.
Students need to start thinking about what they want to do and then start preparing to answer the question every employer is going to ask: What benefit are you going to bring to my company?
Both Fischer and Nall said coming of age in a tough economy had the advantage of teaching today’s students what their immediate predecessors forgot: they’re not entitled to anything.
The lesson is paying off, Fischer said.
“Students are hungrier and willing to work faster and harder than in previous years,” she said.