NOBTS hears from Chitwood, receives Judson Bible
By Marilyn Stewart/NOBTS
NEW ORLEANS (BP) – IMB President Paul Chitwood’s recent chapel address at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary coincided with the arrival of an 1840 Burmese Bible, translated by Adoniram Judson.
Judson endured great hardship while serving in Burma (now Myanmar) for almost 40 years. The Burmese Bible, second edition, will be housed and displayed at the NOBTS Museum of the Bible and Archaeology.
In chapel, Chitwood urged listeners to answer God’s call to live on mission for Christ.
“The world needs you. The world is broken and suffering. You know the One who heals, who comforts,” Chitwood said. “The world is wrecked with sin and lostness. You know the Savior. The world needs you.”
The church needs them, as well, Chitwood told the seminary audience, saying the church needs “shepherds who love the sheep, preachers and teachers who love the Word, evangelists who love the lost and missionaries who love the nations.”
Chitwood then added a surprising point – “Heaven needs you.” Drawing from Revelation 7:9-10, Chitwood explained that believers on mission are needed because heaven is not yet what it “will be.”
Every people group will be gathered around God’s throne, Chitwood said, adding that this means every believer is called to either be a missionary or be one who mobilizes others to go.
“There really aren’t any other options,” he said.
In heaven, “No nation is excluded, no tribe is excluded, no people is excluded, no language is excluded,” Chitwood said. “John uses two adjectives – ‘every’ and ‘all.’”
This is the “who” of heaven, Chitwood said, but then pointed out that more than 3,000 people groups of the world’s 11,000 people groups remain “unreached and unengaged.”
“That’s why the church is still here,” he said. “Until the ‘who’ are there, we have a mission to carry out.”
SEBTS Professor Braswell releases book on engaging world religions
By SEBTS Staff
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – George Braswell knows what it means to be on mission.
He’s traveled to far off places, conversed with leaders of world religions, and was the only Christian to be invited to teach at the Faculty of Islamic Theology of the University of Tehran. He has led students to engage with world religions in their own communities and has pioneered mission work in Muslim contexts. As the first Southern Baptist missionary to Iran in 1968, Braswell has influenced thousands of students to give their lives to fulfilling the Great Commission and has led churches to be missions-minded for over 50 years.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary announced Monday (March 29) the release of Braswell’s new book “14 Journeys: Learning to Engage with Christian Civility and Charity in an Increasingly Pluralistic World.”
A prolific author in the field of evangelical missions, Braswell outlines his encounters with religious leaders across a variety of faith traditions. His desire is for the church to be encouraged and equipped to engage in Gospel conversations in an increasingly pluralistic society. As the nations are coming to the United States, Braswell’s hope is that his book will serve as a guide for those seeking to better understanding how to converse with those of other faiths in their own backyard.
“[Our country] is growing tremendously in religious pluralism, and our churches need to be awakened. This book tells a more personal journey,” said Braswell, who from an early age, was drawn to foreign missions. Through Sunday school lessons on the Magi and hearing missionaries speak in church, the Lord was stirring a desire in him to one day go to the nations.
Braswell was called to ministry in high school and went to college at Wake Forest University, where he met his wife Joan in his sophomore year. After graduating from Wake Forest, he earned a master’s from Yale Divinity School. Braswell became pastor of Cullowhee Baptist Church in Cullowhee, N.C., after graduating from Yale.
Throughout his five years as pastor, he organized an annual trip for high schoolers from his church to attend Foreign Mission Week at the Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly, where missionaries would come to share about their experiences on the field.
While Braswell prayed for students to walk the aisle to accept the call to missions, he felt the Lord tugging on his own heart to go. Before he knew it, he and his wife Joan were walking down the aisle at the 1966 conference to say yes to God’s call to go to the mission field.
Two years later, they were commissioned by the Foreign Mission Board as the first Southern Baptist missionaries to Iran. The Braswells set sail with their three children to Rome, boarded a flight to Beirut, and finally arrived in Iran – their home for the next five years.