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Judge reminds: Faith ‘permeated our culture’ since the Pilgrims

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Judge Robert G. Ulrich of the Missouri Court of Appeals – Western District underscored America’s Christian heritage during Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s spring convocation. It is “worthy of preservation,” Ulrich said, “because it is significant to what our nation is today.”

Ulrich, who is a member of the seminary’s board of regents and has taken classes at the Kansas City, Mo., campus, spoke on “Christian Secular Duty in an Evil World” in his Jan. 30 message.

Ulrich urged Christians not to retreat from the secular world, agreeing with John Calvin that both the earthly and heavenly worlds were put in place to serve God. Thus, Christians in America should understand not only their faith but also the Christian political and cultural heritage on which this country was established.

Ulrich cited several founding fathers and other key leaders in U.S. history whose words clearly acknowledged God’s role in the establishment and endurance of the nation.

“Christianity permeated our culture from the arrival of the Pilgrims well into the last century and this century,” Ulrich said.

However, the Missouri judge sounded the warning that if Christians do not intentionally preserve that heritage -– if they do not even learn about it themselves -– the nation is in danger of forgetting its heritage altogether.

“Today, issues and assailants continue to confront Christianity,” Ulrich noted. “What we must guard against, however, is the effort to obscure our nation’s Christian culture. It was the very foundation of our country; it protects and provides a basis for Christ’s directive to take the Gospel into the world.

“It is incumbent on each of us, then, to know our Christian culture, to protect it and to participate in its institutions,” Ulrich said.

After Ulrich’s message, he received Midwestern’s presidential medallion from MBTS President R. Philip Roberts -– an honor given to individuals who have made a significant impact on Midwestern and Christian higher education.

“We recognize and appreciate Judge Ulrich for his service to Christ and dedication to the advancement of the Gospel,” Roberts said. “He has been generously involved and supportive of the ministry of MBTS in helping to achieve its mission of preparing pastors, evangelists, missionaries and other God-called men and women for service in the United States and around the world.”

The seminary was scheduled to award another presidential medallion Feb. 6 to Charles J. Briscoe, pastor emeritus of Paseo Baptist Church in Kansas City.

Briscoe, a native of Kansas City who has served his community for more than 50 years, retired from Paseo Baptist Church in 2003 after 35 years as senior pastor.

Briscoe currently serves as urban director of PastorServe, a ministry that supports pastors in the greater Kansas City area by seeking to foster reconciliation across denominational and racial lines. He also has taught adjunctively at Midwestern in biblical studies and homiletics.

In June 2004, Briscoe received the 2004 “City Father” Award from the National Center for Fathering.

Briscoe also serves on the board of directors of Calvary Theological Seminary in Kansas City and the Carver International Mission Board in Atlanta.

Phillips, in a seminary news release, noted that Briscoe’s “commitment to building strong relationships within families, the church and the community is a wonderful testimony to others.”

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  • Rachel Waligorski