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Chapman urges ‘a new vision,
new voices, new victories’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“The time has come to cast a new vision, hear new voices and get ready to declare new victories in Jesus,” Morris H. Chapman said in an address to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee Feb. 18.

Chapman, the Executive Committee’s president and chief executive officer, observed of today’s world: “Christians are under increasing persecution. The secular world is attempting to marginalize and demonize conservative evangelical Christianity. Secularists accuse us of intolerance, while being intolerant of our beliefs. They are systematically removing all reference to God from public places, including our schools. Our faith is beginning to be sorely tested, and the persecution is just beginning in our nation. There is much more to come.

“To be ready with an answer today and tomorrow, we must have a new vision,” Chapman said.

“We must lay our all on the altar and hold back nothing for Jesus’ sake. We must trust and obey. There’s no other way. We must pray for God to renew our spirit and refresh our souls. We must linger no longer at the altar of our own selfish desires. We must have a closer walk with [God]. We must love him with our whole heart, soul and mind.

“Across this vast [Southern Baptist] Convention, we need to have a longing in our hearts for Jesus,” Chapman said. “He is the only One who will sustain us. He is the only One who will comfort us. He is the only One who will empower us. He is the only One who will give us courage in the face of our enemies. He is the only One who will give us the spirit of forgiveness when we are wronged. He is the only One who will make a brand new man out of an old hardened sinner. He is the only One who has the power to heal our hearts. As the sinless Son of God, he is the only One who died that sinners might be saved from their sins.

“Whatever else in the church has taken the focus from Jesus must be cast away,” Chapman said. “There is no room for any other. Only he is worthy. There is no room for apathy or indifference to Jesus in his church. The church is what it is because of who Jesus is.”

Concerning “new voices,” Chapman said:

“When God has a job to do, he raises up new voices. We need those people who sit in the pews, stand in the pulpits and kneel in the prayer rooms to speak in unison like a mighty voice for God. We need the world to hear fresh, new voices. These voices must lead Southern Baptists to ‘contend for the faith’ against all the opposition of the world. The volume of these voices must be raised until there is thundering power in the declaration, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’

“These voices must belong to hearts so pure that when they are heard it will strike the fear of the Lord in the hearts of sinners,” Chapman continued. “These voices must belong to those whose lives are blameless and whose love for Jesus is interwoven into every emotion, every thought and every deed.”

Empowered by new vision and new voices, Southern Baptists can see new victories, Chapman then said.

“What are the victories we long to see and experience?

“The victory of regaining the joy of [God’s] salvation.

“The victory of living under God’s grace.

“The victory of seeing another soul saved by faith in Jesus.

“The victory of daily studying the Bible, God’s Holy Word.

“The victory of hearing God’s voice in God’s house week after week.

“The victory of preaching and teaching the unsearchable riches of Jesus.

“The victory of telling boys and girls that Jesus loves them.

“The victory of knowing whatever comes, Jesus will not leave nor forsake you.

“The victory of knowing the undeserved blessings of God.

“The victory of being in his presence.

“The victory of a couple putting the other before self and Christ above all. …

“Let all who love him and believe the absolute authority of his Word march side-by-side and shoulder-to-shoulder from victory unto victory,” Chapman exhorted.

“There is a price to be paid, our energies, time, resources and devotion,” he said. “But then, Jesus paid his all on the cross. Southern Baptists are a conservative, Bible-believing people who have a love for the Lord, a burden for the lost and the world on their hearts. … We need to mobilize men and women in the pews. We need to mobilize pastors in the pulpits and evangelists in the ‘fields that are white unto harvest.’ … We have no time for anything but the pursuit of a kingdom vision or for anyone but Jesus.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: NEW VISION.