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May – June 2018 Issue

God makes up the difference

Faith-lined path leads from abject poverty to historic judgeship Judge Albert Kirby grew up “down east” in Clinton, N.C. “We were poor, very poor,” he acknowledged. His mother, Lu Ellen, “a good seamstress,” would get and repair old clothes from others and buy groceries on credit. She worked hard to provide life’s necessities for her […]

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Worth Repeating

“Thoughts and prayers’ has reached that full semantic satiation.” CNN digital writer A.J. Willingham on the phenomenon in which an overused word or phrase loses its meaning “Don’t ever be ashamed to ask for help.” Veteran pastor Greg Rogers of Oakmont Baptist Church in Greenville, N.C., in his charge to students at Campbell University Divinity […]

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Reducing people to an issue adds to their abuse

To alert observers of the swirling world of American evangelical Christianity, it comes as no surprise that we are witnessing or engaging in the ongoing debate over biblical understandings of homosexuality and gender identity. The topic — after years of attempts to tamp it down to avoid division — keeps bubbling up like a well-pressured […]

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EDITORIAL: Rain & change

A conversation with singer/songwriter Ken Medema For decades musician Ken Medema has moved audiences toward meaningful worship, thoughtful reflection and a lived-out faith with a wide embrace. His music comforts the weary while challenging the self-satisfaction of a too-comfortable faith. Year after year, Ken continues to create new musical vehicles to carry his message and […]

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REBLOG: Ringing the bell for freedom

The shiny bell in my home study is beautiful in appearance and sound. But it is more than that: It is gift that reminds me to be bold in “ringing the bell for freedom” — as I was charged by the generous man who gave it to me. David M. Smith of Houston, Texas, reminded […]

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This I Know

Author/pastor Jim Dant offers brief, biblical defense for LGBTQ Christians No issue impacts congregational and denominational life today more than how to include or exclude LGBTQ persons. Some churches and Christian organizations try to ignore the subject to avoid division — but it doesn’t go away. Highly conservative persons and groups solidly condemn same-sex relationships […]

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THEOLOGY IN THE PEWS: The Mission of the Church

In considering the mission of the church in relation to the mission of God (discussed in the March/April issue) we return to John 20:21-23: “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to […]

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REBLOG: Making our moments count

As a mom, there have been moments when I truly wanted to stop time. Moments so special and so sacred, I didn’t want them to end. Moments where the slight weight of my newborn daughter was cradled in my arms and the moonlight drifted through the cracks in the blinds providing the softest glow on […]

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THE LIGHTER SIDE: Stop making sense

“I can listen to the news while I brush my teeth.” “I can get the reading done on the way there.” “I was going to eat lunch at my desk again, but this Lean Cuisine lasagna takes nine minutes! Nine minutes!” Efficiency is ruining our lives, and we are always looking for more of it. […]

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RECOGNITION & REMEMBRANCE

Rollin Armour died March 2. He was the former dean of the College of Liberal Arts and a Christianity professor at Mercer University. He also taught at Stetson and Auburn universities. Phaedra Blocker is director of programs for the New Baptist Covenant. She previously served as affiliate professor in leadership and formation at Palmer Theological […]

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Honoring the Judson-Rice Society — and inviting YOU to join!

Individuals making total annual gifts of $1,000 or more to Baptists Today, Inc. (Nurturing Faith) comprise the Judson-Rice Society. The honor society was formed when the Judson-Rice Award was conceived in 2000. The faithfulness of these donors is recognized at the annual award dinner — the latest being April 26 in Winston-Salem, N.C., honoring Melissa […]

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Being church in changing times

The church needs more artists A column provided in collaboration with the Center for Healthy Churches (chchurches.org) A few minutes into a summer art class, I cried helplessly until the teacher called my mom to come get me. I remember being handed a piece of popped popcorn with the instructions to draw the three-dimensional shape […]

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Pre-millennial dispensationalism

How heretical end-times teaching became evangelical orthodoxy Amid many global upheavals last year, the White House’s declaration of Jerusalem as the new capital of Israel elicited perhaps the greatest enthusiasm among a wide swath of white American Christians. Such evangelical joy is based on a widespread belief among conservative to fundamentalist Christians that a re-emergence […]

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RELIGION AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS: William Howard Taft (1909–1913)

Theodore Roosevelt, president from 1901 to 1909, departed from office having effected an aggressively transformational legacy of socially progressive legislation, significant business reforms, and unparalleled conservation achievements. At the same time, his accomplishments angered social and cultural conservatives. Into this conflicted political environment stepped William Howard Taft, Roosevelt’s successor. Taft, born in 1857 in Cincinnati, […]

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Students on mission

Oh, the difference a summer makes! Decades later many adult Christian lay leaders, ministers and missionaries still point to a summer experience as a college student that changed their lives. While dates, locations and stories vary, the repeated common thread is that comfort zones were shattered, gifts were discovered, and that service to others became […]

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Mutual benefits

Church internships connect students and congregations “I want to help students fall in love with the church and I want to help the church fall in love with young adults,” says Wanda Kidd, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF/CBFNC) college ministry coordinator. To that end, what is now called Student.Church was born nine years ago to match […]

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Jimmy Carter’s latest book affirms his faith

Anyone who grew up in church where “testimony times” were frequent will feel at home reading Jimmy Carter’s latest book, Faith: A Journey for All (2018, Simon & Schuster). Indeed the personal Christian testimony of the Baptist layman from rural southwest Georgia who became the 39th U.S. president reveals a life of growing faith and […]

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Deception & danger

Frederick Clarkson talks about Dominionism’s threat to faith and freedom Domionism is a theological/political ideology that has been infecting American Christianity and the nation at large for many decades. Yet few people recognize its appearance and negative impact when advanced under the guise of biblical fidelity. Frederick Clarkson, senior research analyst for Political Research Associates, […]

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What is a Christian’s highest allegiance?

Over the past year Nurturing Faith has been exploring creative and collaborative ways to restore the call to follow Jesus as the highest Christian priority above all other ideologies and allegiances — and in doing so to enhance congregational life and offer a positive public witness. The Jesus Worldview Initiative (JWVI) — still in its […]

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Questions Christians ask scientists

What are we to make of the two creation accounts in Genesis? Science provides a stiff challenge to those who would read Genesis 1–3 in a literal, historical way. Such a reading is plainly incompatible with a 13.8-billion-year-old, evolving cosmos. But the text itself provides its own difficulties for a historical interpretation, starting with the […]

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