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NEWS DIGEST: Lifewayworship.com to be shut down; Salem Media cofounder dies; Smith to lead Hobbs School at OBU

Lifeway to discontinue lifewayworship.com

NASHVILLE (BP) – Lifeway Christian Resources announced today (July 18) it would be discontinue lifewayworship.com, a website providing arrangements, charts, sheet music and other music resources for church worship.

“These decisions are made for a number of reasons, but always with the goal of best stewarding our resources to serve Christ’s church even as some needs of the church may change over time,” said a statement at the site.

Church music leaders will have until Sept. 30 to download all content in their lifewayworship.com music libraries before the site shuts down. The last day for new purchases from the site will be Aug. 31.

A statement sent to Baptist Press said Lifeway Worship would continue to provide Lord’s Supper supplies, hymnals, trade music, bulletins, church supplies, digital graphics, seasonal supplies, Lifeway’s One Source and other areas of church worship ministry support.

“We’re also working to make our lifewayworship.com music library available at lifeway.com in the future. We’ll continue to look for new and fresh ways to serve churches and their worship ministries,” the statement said.

In the future, Lifeway recommends churches obtain similar music resources from praisecharts.com or songselect.com.

Salem Media cofounder dies

WASHINGTON (BP) – Stuart Epperson, cofounder of Christian media giant Salem Media Group, died Monday (July 17) from leukemia. He was 88.

Epperson founded the company as Salem Communications with his brother-in-law Edward Atsinger in 1986, and it became one of the fastest-growing networks in the country, currently serving more than 2,000 radio stations.

He was a longtime leader in Christian radio and a former board member of the National Religious Broadcasters Association, Inside Radio reported. In 2005, Time Magazine named him one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America.

“Stuart will be greatly missed by many,” Salem Media Group Executive Chairman Ed Atsinger said in a statement. “I will miss him, but I take comfort in realizing that he is already receiving his reward for a life well-lived. A life that personifies the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8: ‘I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. Now there Is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.’”

Epperson is survived by his wife, Nancy, four children, 21 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Smith joins OBU as chair of Hobbs School

SHAWNEE, Okla. (BP) – Oklahoma Baptist University has announced Brandon Smith will join the OBU faculty as associate professor of theology and early Christianity and chair of the Herschel H. Hobbs School of Theology and Ministry effective Jan. 1, 2024. He will likewise serve as the director of the Master of Arts in Christian Studies program.

Smith currently serves as assistant professor of theology and New Testament at Cedarville University. He joined the faculty at Cedarville in fall 2019 after spending the previous four years helping lead publishing, marketing and institutional relations for the Christian Standard Bible translation and serving as an elder at a church in the Nashville area. From 2012-2015, Smith served as director of communications, a member of the president’s leadership team, and associate editor for the Criswell Theological Review at Criswell College.

He also helped found the Center for Baptist Renewal and hosts the Church Grammar podcast. His research interests include the Trinity, canonical and theological interpretation, and patristic theology.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Brandon Smith, a committed churchman and proven scholar, has agreed to join the Hobbs School of Theology and Ministry,” said Dr. Matthew Y. Emerson, OBU dean of theology, arts and humanities. “In the classroom, in the church, and in his publications, he demonstrates a commitment to the core values of Hobbs, namely to be biblically rooted, theologically faithful, and practically relevant in everything he says and does. I believe he will bring vision and leadership to our outstanding faculty and students in Hobbs, and we look forward to him arriving in January.”

Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Baptist University and a Master of Arts in Theological and Biblical Studies from Criswell College. In 2020, Smith completed a Ph.D. in Theology from Ridley College (Melbourne). He is the author of numerous books, book contributions, journal articles, magazine articles and more. His books include The Trinity in the Book of Revelation (IVP Academic, 2022) and The Biblical Trinity (Lexham, 2023).

Smith and wife Christa have four children, Harper, Emma, Amelia, and another due in December.

“I’m overjoyed to join the faculty of Oklahoma Baptist University and the Hobbs School,” Smith said. “I have a deep love for teaching in a Christian liberal arts environment, where we can help students not only train for a particular vocation, but also become particular kinds of people – well-rounded, thoughtful, and kingdom-minded. Students trained in a liberal arts environment who can bring together head, heart and hands can develop into Christian laypeople, leaders and ministers who will make an impact on the world for the kingdom of God wherever God calls them to go.”

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