Digest

Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...

Thursday
Oct232014

Former International Mission Board missionary pleads guilty to wire fraud

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) – Former Southern Baptist missionary Brady Nurse pleaded guilty Oct. 21 in a federal court to fraudulently obtaining approximately $300,000 in mission funds over a period of five years while working as a logistics and business coordinator for the International Mission Board (IMB) in Portugal.

Nurse, 37, who resigned as a missionary in January, could face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and an order to make full restitution of the money he took. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2015, by U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer. 

Nurse and his wife Andrea were appointed IMB missionaries in March 2006. His wire fraud activity was discovered earlier this year by the mission board's internal auditing procedures. It was reported by the board's internal auditor and general counsel to the FBI, which began a months-long investigation resulting in federal charges against the Montana native. Nurse's plea agreement was announced Oct. 21 by Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, Va., and FBI special agent Adam S. Lee after it was accepted by United States Magistrate Judge David J. Novak.

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Thursday
Oct232014

SBC not 'third way' on divorce, Moore exclaims

NASHVILLE (BP) -- It is not inconsistent for a church to accept divorced and remarried members with "mercy and grace" but require homosexuals to leave their gay lifestyle before joining the congregation, Southern Baptists' lead ethicist said in response to arguments posed by the pastor of a church that was disfellowshipped from the Southern Baptist Convention because of its stance on homosexuality. 

Charging Southern Baptists with hypocrisy is valid in some respects because "the divorce culture" in churches is an indication that Baptists have embraced "elements of the sexual revolution," Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, wrote in a blog post. "But divorce and remarriage is not, beyond that, applicable to the same-sex marriage debate." 

Moore's post answered arguments made in an Oct. 21 Huffington Post article by Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Calif. Acting on behalf of the SBC, its Executive Committee voted Sept. 23 to withdraw fellowship from New Heart, where some members including Cortez believe "same-sex marriage can be blessed by God."

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Thursday
Oct232014

IMB's Platt reflects on listening, learning in meeting with missionaries


ASIA (BP) – A gathering of Southern Baptist missionaries grappling with what's working in missions – and what isn't – welcomed a new colleague to the strategic discussion: International Mission Board President David Platt.
 

The long-planned conference, held earlier this fall in Asia, came at an ideal time for Platt, 36. The influential pastor, mission mobilizer and "Radical" author was elected a few weeks earlier by IMB trustees to lead Southern Baptists' international mission enterprise. Now he's focused on absorbing the huge amount of knowledge required for his new job. The five-day gathering enabled him to meet face to face with missionaries working in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe -- something that might have taken him months or years to do otherwise.

"I was encouraged that the Lord orchestrated all of this, that He [brought] all these leaders together at this time of transition to be on the same page together, to study the Word together, to pray together, to worship together, to plan and work together," Platt said. "I walked away totally energized that God's doing something unique here – and just overwhelmed that I get to be a part of it."

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Thursday
Oct232014

Small churches may receive free the new My Hope DVD "Heaven" due out Nov. 7

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (BP) – Small churches in particular can benefit from the free evangelism outreach My Hope 2014 with Billy Graham, releasing the new DVD "Heaven" in advance of Graham's 96th birthday Nov. 7, said Southern Baptist church planter Terry Dorsett.

"All churches are struggling with evangelism. How do we get our friends and neighbors to listen to us share the Gospel? Most of us are scared to do it. We're afraid to be rejected," Dorsett said. "It gives us an opportunity to do what we should be doing already, but we don't really know how to."

Dorsett is a joint My Hope coordinator for the northeastern U.S., working in Connecticut, Rhode Island and a portion of New York. He's serving in conjunction with Bruce James, evangelism director for the Baptist Convention of New England, who is concentrating on other New England states.

"A lot of the churches in this area ... are very, very small," Dorsett said. "They don't have a lot of money. These pastors are bivocational. We'll actually give the churches in this area up to five DVDs for free ... and then we give them the follow-up materials for free.

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Thursday
Oct092014

CP aids Arab, Ala. church's global focus

 

ARAB, Ala. (BP) – The small town of Arab, Ala. has no connection to the 22 nations of the Arab League, other than the missionary interests of the pastor of Gilliam Springs Baptist Church located there.

Pastor Jamey Pruett and his wife Ashleigh served one tour as missionaries to the Middle East through the International Mission Board before moving to Arab three years ago.

"I have a sensitivity to the Middle East," Pruett said. "I learned [while serving there] that Arabs in general are beautiful people and they have as much right to hear the Gospel as anyone, and I learned Jesus died for Muslims as well." 

Pruett is focused on bringing people to Christ wherever they may be found, and the Cooperative Program allows him to extend the reach of the church beyond its northern Alabama hometown of about 8,000 people. The church gives 10 percent of its undesignated receipts to the CP.

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