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Patterson to Texas conservatives: God blesses witnessing churches

GARLAND, Texas (BP)–Being “inadequately grateful” is the only conceivable reason why Christians do not become soul-winning or witnessing people, said Paige Patterson, who will be nominated as Southern Baptist Convention president in June, in a keynote address at a statewide rally of the Southern Baptists of Texas April 24.
The SBT, which held its rally at Orchard Hills Baptist Church in the Dallas suburb of Garland, is in the process of moving from a “fellowship” to a “convention” with full recognition and participation in the SBC and its agencies, according to Dee Slocum, vice president of SBT and an Amarillo pastor.
The process of becoming a convention will be finalized at the SBT fall meeting at which time a constitution, budget, personnel and other matters will be adopted officially and the transition will have been made to an autonomous and democratic organization, SBT officials reported in printed materials distributed at the rally. The SBT constitutional convention will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 10, and will coincide with the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Nov. 9-10 in Houston.
Challenging the 300 churches that have so far expressed an interest in the Southern Baptists of Texas, Patterson urged that they make witnessing their top priority.
Patterson, known as an architect of the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention, is president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., and former president of Criswell College in Dallas.
Voicing his vision of all Southern Baptist churches becoming soul-winning churches as the only way to guarantee the blessing of God, Patterson told the SBT rally, “If Southern Baptists of Texas make their priority soul-winning, witnessing, church-planting, getting people to Christ, then it doesn’t matter who is against you. If God be for you, who can be against you?”
“How can you guarantee the smile of God?” Patterson asked in a sermon from Revelation 11. “How can you have the anointing of God on your life, your ministry, your church? It’s so unbelievably simple. You don’t have to write church-growth books about it; thank God for every one of them that says anything good, but you don’t have to do it. It’s as simple as this: Great churches blessed of God are witnessing churches; they are soul-winning churches.
“If SBT (churches) want to prosper and want to have the smile of God and the anointing of God on what they’re doing, then don’t worry about what anybody else in the state of Texas is doing,” Patterson said. “But (say), `We are going to show the love of Christ to a lost and dying generation; we are going to excel in one thing: Our love for Christ is going to manifest itself in our love for lost men and women … .’ The blessings of God rest upon you if you’re a soul-winning, Christ-honoring group.”
As an example of the kind of church-planting and growth that he envisions for the SBT and the SBC in general, Patterson told of a partnership between Southeastern and Baptists in New Hampshire of the Baptist Convention of New England. The seminary has agreed to start 50 new Southern Baptist churches in New Hampshire over the next 10 years in response to a request by the director of missions there. Patterson said he had been looking for just such a project for Southeastern graduates. When he heard about the need in New Hampshire, which has only 19 Southern Baptist churches, he accepted the challenge on behalf of the seminary.
Texas has always been the most Southern Baptist state, but New Hampshire may deserve that designation in the next 10 years, Patterson remarked.

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  • Dave Couric