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Ohio Baptists encourage schools to present intelligent design

SOUTH LEBANON, Ohio (BP)–Baptists at the 49th annual meeting of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio meeting at First Baptist Church in South Lebanon Nov. 6-7 passed a resolution encouraging all school districts in the state to present intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in keeping with a recent state board of education ruling.

A State Board of Education of Ohio committee approved a measure Oct. 14 to amend the state’s science standards to include teaching the debate over evolution. The full 19-member board will vote on the proposed science standards in December following a time of public comment.

In other news, Ohio Baptists reduced their 2003 budget by 7 percent in light of a shortfall of 6 to 8 percent for the 2002 budget. The 2003 budget calls for Cooperative Program giving of $4,648,619. If fully funded, it will continue to allocate 60 percent of CP receipts — $2,789,171 — to Mission Ohio initiatives and 40 percent — $1,859,447 — to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries. Additionally, income from Southern Baptist entities is projected at $1,310,371 and fees, rental and miscellaneous other income are projected at $367,001, for a total of $7,636,416, which includes a state mission offering goal of $200,000.

Guy Morton, pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church in Vemilion, was elected to a second term as president. The convention’s first vice president, Bill Hounshell, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Loveland, and David Rakes, pastor of First Baptist Church, Fairborn in Dayton, were nominated for the post, with Hounshell gaining a second term. David Gray, pastor of First Baptist Church, Garrettsville, was elected second vice president after he and Darrell Deer, pastor of College Heights Baptist Church in Elyria, were nominated for the post. Elected without opposition: Faye Rodgers, a member of Northside Baptist Church in Mechanicsburg, recording secretary.

In other resolutions, messengers encouraged pastors to preach the full biblical revelation, including both the evangelistic and the prophetic messages, while encouraging all Ohio Baptists to take seriously their calling to be an involved Christian citizen in light of the nation’s cultural crisis. The resolution noted that Christians are called to apply biblical principles to every area of life including family, work, school, government, home, relationships, cultural problems and social and moral issues because “ultimately the only true transformation of society and culture comes from a spiritual transformation of individual lives.”

Another resolution affirmed human life from conception and opposed embryonic stem cell research on aborted fetal tissue. The resolution described human cloning as seeking to put man in the place of God in regard to creation, calling it a dangerous, inexact science. The failure rate of cloning, the resolution said, will lead to further destruction of human life.

The theme of the 49th annual meeting was “Mission Ohio: By All Means.” Each of the five sessions of the meeting emphasized one of the goals of Mission Ohio.

Attendance included 451 messengers and 196 guests representing 170 of the 604 congregations of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, including 45 new churches added during the year. The convention encompasses 141,614 church members.

The 2003 annual meeting will be Nov. 5-6 in Chillicothe.

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