December 10, 2009 Print Edition

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Retired highway patrolman leads church renewal journeys

MAYO (FBC)—The pastor had befriended the sheriff’s deputy and counseled him on numerous occasions about personal issues. He even shared the Gospel with the man in uniform.

Yet it wasn’t until after New Hope Baptist Church in Mayo, led by Pastor Charlie Walker, held a prayerwalk around the sheriff’s office that deputy Lonnie Hempstead made a profession of faith.

Cross names de Armas to head Florida’s GCR Task Force

ORLANDO (FBW)—Florida Baptist State Convention president John Cross told Florida Baptist Witness Dec. 3 that Danny de Armas, 47, executive pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, will serve as chairman of the “Imagine If ... Great Commission Task Force.”

The task force’s first meeting is set for Dec. 14 in Orlando, although that date was pending confirmation from members that at least a quorum would be available.

Reunion sparks memories

MONTICELLO (FBW)—After nearly three years of not seeing many former fellow members of Little River Baptist Church, 94-year-old Amanda Oucts took the initiative and organized a three-day reunion in October.

Transitional pastor training offered across state through interactive video

JACKSONVILLE (FBC)—Three events designed to train persons to serve as transitional pastors will be broadcast in four locations through interactive video during 2010.

The “Transitional Pastor” conference, set for Jan. 21-22, July 29-30, and Sept. 9-10, will be broadcast at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola; First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, First Baptist Church in Orlando, and the Urban Ministries Center in Hialeah.

‘Growing pains’ sets Plant City church on new path

PLANT CITY (FBC)—Change is stirring in a Plant City church.

In a quiet neighborhood, a few miles from the I-4 interstate, a congregation of 120 people has begun a transformation from within.

Once a church with self proclaimed “growing pains,” Eastside Baptist Church has renewed its passion and has its sights set on the future.

The Cooperative Program, 1925

The Cooperative Program ministry was begun in 1925. It is a focused appeal to all Southern Baptist Convention churches to cooperate with one another and support Kingdom business on the state and Southern Baptist Convention levels. Financially, it is “putting all your begs in one basket.” The concept of the Cooperative Program was born in the context of theological upheaval, economic crisis and administrative frustration.

Baptist Confessions of Faith

A confession of faith is a voluntary statement as to what a person or church or group believes. Baptists have claimed to be non-creedal for a creed seems to indicate a final, perfect authoritative statement of beliefs that are required for salvation and service. Worldwide Baptists should be able to agree that Jesus is Lord, salvation is through grace by faith, baptism is for believers and a free church should practice its beliefs in a free state. Beyond these basic tenets Baptists have written words, statements, tracts, articles and volumes in stating their convictions but seldom get Baptist universal support. The Bible is an objective authority but interpretation of the Bible produces doctrinal statements that are poles apart. Since the early 1600’s Baptists have seen a need to produce documents that state what they believe. These documents only speak for those Baptists who commit themselves to that particular confession or statement.

10 Chinese house church leaders sentenced to prison & labor camps

WASHINGTON (BP)—Ten leaders of a Chinese house church have received years-long criminal detention and “re-education” labor camp sentences for their attempts to protest an attack against their facilities in mid-September, according to reports by the ChinaAid human rights organization.

The harshest punishments—criminal detention sentences handed down Nov. 25—entail incarceration in a high-security prison where inmates often are mentally abused, starved and beaten, according to a spokeswoman for ChinaAid. Yang Rongli, wife of pastor Wang Xiaoguang of the Linfen House Church in the northeastern Chinese city of Linfen with more than 4 million people, received a seven-year sentence while her husband, Wang Xiaoquang, received three years. Three others also received criminal detentions.

First Person: A must-see DVD on ID

WACO, Texas (BP)—I recently watched “Darwin’s Dilemma,” the latest production by Illustra Media supporting the Intelligent Design (ID) view of various findings of science.

The DVD is a thorough examination of a big mystery in the study of fossils: the sudden appearance of complex creatures with no evidence of ancestors of even remotely similar complexity. It is aptly named “Darwin’s Dilemma” because Darwin himself was disturbed by the problems these very fossils represented for his theory of gradualism. He hoped that future discoveries would provide an explanation, but 150 years of intense fossil-hunting later, that looks to be increasingly unlikely.

Iranian converts released from jail, still face charges

WASHINGTON (BP)—Two Iranian women who are converts to Christianity were released Nov. 18 after being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison since March 5.

Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, and Maryam Rostampour, 27, were released without bail after 256 days in jail, but they still face charges of apostasy (conversion from Islam to Christianity), the human rights organization International Christian Concern reported within hours after their release. No court date has been set by Iranian authorities.

Theological grad students move to biweekly schedule in Orlando, Miami & Graceville

ORLANDO (FBC)—Beginning with the spring semester, Florida Baptist Theological Education will offer biweekly, instead of weekly, graduate classes in Orlando, Graceville and Miami.

Undergraduate classes in Tampa have been meeting biweekly for the past two years.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor may not reflect the views or opinions of the Witness. Letters may be mailed, faxed or submitted using our online form. Only letters marked clearly for publication, signed with address will be considered for use. Letters are subject to editing. Please limit letters to 250 words.

Point of View: Dave Says

Dave Says is a column featuring the financial advice of nationally syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey, the Dave Says column is filled with timely, relevant questions and answers taken from actual calls on Ramsey's radio program, The Dave Ramsey Show.

Developmentally delayed adults at FBCH

Linda Livingston, program manager for Florida Baptist Children's Homes' Adult Day Training program in Lakeland, works on a project with clients.

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