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SBC DIGEST: Pastor resigns after church disfellowshipped; Baptists respond to Kentucky flooding; SWBTS ‘worthy of imitation,’ Dockery says

Tennessee pastor resigns after SBC disfellowships church

By Baptist and Reflector Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) – After a Tennessee church was disfellowshipped by the SBC Executive Committee, its pastor resigned. Antioch Baptist Church in Sevierville, Tenn., was dropped for employing a pastor who is a convicted sex offender; it was among four churches disfellowshipped last month.

The EC decisions came during an executive session following the recommendations of the SBC Credentials Committee. The decisions were announced in a plenary session at the close of its two-day meeting in Nashville on Feb. 23.

Following the SBC action, Randy Leming Jr., pastor of Antioch Baptist Church since 2014, announced his resignation Sunday, Feb. 28. Leming declined to provide a statement to the Baptist and Reflector.

Leming pleaded guilty in 1998 to two counts of statutory rape of a minor when he served as pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Sevier County. The offenses occurred in May and June of 1994, when he was 31. He lost his appeal of the concurrent 18-month sentences he deemed harsh.

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Southern Baptists respond to historic Kentucky flood

By Natalie Sarrett/Send Relief

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – With some locations receiving more than 7.5 inches of rain in less than 24 hours last week, a large portion of Kentucky is experiencing historic levels of flooding. Many residents have never seen a weather phenomenon like this. Reports of nursing home evacuations, mass power outages and submerged vehicles continue to arise as relief efforts are ongoing.

“Hundreds and hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed in eight heavily impacted areas across the mountains of eastern Kentucky. This flooding is comparable to the 1957 floods that many claim to be the worst in Kentucky’s history,” Send Relief Crisis Response Director Coy Webb said. “The need is great, and it opens the door for us to reach out with the compassion of Christ and the hope of the Gospel. Send Relief is working with our valued SBDR partners to meet needs and change lives during this tragedy.”

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) teams from Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Missouri and Alabama are coming together to provide flood recovery, shower and laundry units, water purification and feeding units to the communities most devastated. Currently, feeding units are supplying about 3,000 meals a day, but many communities are still in great need of emergency food rations – especially those still under a “boil order” due to water contamination.

“No one could have planned for this, and people are hurting,” Kentucky SBDR Director Ron Crow said. “The important question to ask in this situation is ‘What can I give of myself to those who have just lost everything?’ We can all participate in some way, whether it’s with your time or finances or prayer on behalf of our brothers and sisters. Many hands make little work.”

Send Relief was able to send mold remediation products along with nearly 150 flood recovery buckets – which include essential cleaning materials such as industrial sponges, rubber gloves, N-95 masks and more – and several cases of Bibles to be used during SBDR’s response.

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Dockery at Founder’s Day: SWBTS tradition ‘worthy of imitation’

By Alex Sibley/SWBTS

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – The “Southwestern tradition” of theological education begun by founder and first president B.H. Carroll is “worthy of imitation” by today’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary community, Interim Provost David S. Dockery said during the seminary’s Founder’s Day chapel Wednesday (March 10).

In his introduction to the chapel service on the Fort Worth campus, President Adam W. Greenway explained that Founder’s Day, which had not been observed in recent years, historically has been celebrated at Southwestern Seminary during the chapel service closest to the day on which the seminary was chartered, March 14, 1908.

“Five score and 13 years ago,” Greenway said, “our founder, B.H. Carroll, brought forth a new institution that was committed to preserving and perpetuating the best of the first seminary of Southern Baptists, but that also would perpetuate a new vision for theological education. ….”

Greenway said Carroll’s vision was of a seminary “committed to the tasks not just of biblical, theological, historical study, but practical training for the equipping of the saints, for the edification of the church, and for the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Greenway said he had been looking forward to celebrating this day since he was elected president in February 2019. Though he hoped to celebrate it last year, “it became one of the first victims of the global pandemic known as COVID-19,” he said.

In his address, Dockery, a 1981 Master of Divinity graduate of Southwestern who also serves as distinguished professor of theology, among other roles at the institution, reviewed the context in which the seminary was founded, the contributions of B.H. Carroll to Texas Baptist life and to Southwestern Seminary, and the implementation of Carroll’s vision in the 113 years since the institution’s founding.

“We do this not as a history lesson, not just to look back and long for better days gone by, but to recognize what God has done and the privilege He has given to us to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us,” Dockery said. “And today we want to celebrate the distinctive Southwestern tradition with thanksgiving in our hearts for what God has done.”

Of Carroll, who died in 1914, Dockery said: “Though he only served as president for six years, and a few of those in less than good health, he had established a seminary committed to historic orthodoxy and denominational unity, characterized by a generous spirit of cooperation. Moreover, the seminary was known for its convictions regarding the transformational power of the Gospel, the full truthfulness of Scripture, and a pioneering spirit.

“The seminary’s founding president emphasized the importance of students having a thorough knowledge and understanding of the English Bible, while connecting the seminary’s purpose to the churches.”

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