Digest

Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...

Wednesday
Jan062016

Angel Tree adopts new statement of faith policy, may cost ministry volunteers

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) – In a move that could cost the ministry an untold number of volunteers, Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program is requiring its coordinators to affirm its statement of faith. The requirement, which became official Jan. 1, is an effort to ensure theological alignment between volunteers and the program that, for 33 years, has delivered gifts and the Gospel to inmates and their children.

The requirement is proactive and not in response to a specific problem, Prison Fellowship vice president Sara Nagelvoort Marlin told WORLD. But the organization's statement of faith does put it at odds with liberal churches that may share Prison Fellowship's conviction to help prisoners and their families but not its stand on issues of life, marriage and the inerrancy of scripture. Angel Tree's volunteer coordinators represent 7,700 U.S. churches.

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Tuesday
Jan052016

2,700 of Fanny Crosby's lost lyrics were overlooked in an archive, unsung and unpublished

NASHVILLE (BP) – Fanny Crosby's hymns have impacted lives for Christ worldwide for generations, but until recently 2,700 of them were overlooked in an archive, unsung and unpublished.

Now on the album "Blessed Assurance: The New Hymns of Fanny Crosby," some of those forgotten lyrics have come to life through today's worship writers and singers, introducing a new generation to one of the most substantive hymn writers of all time.

Fanny Crosby (1820-1915), undaunted by lifelong blindness, was "a songwriter for the people," Adrian Thompson, vice president of song and artist development at Integrity Music, told Baptist Press. "She wrote songs that the common man really grasped."

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Tuesday
Jan052016

Idaho cowboy churches fill ministry void

POCATELLO, Idaho (BP) – A rancher in eastern Idaho spends two months each spring living in his rustic calving barn. He "calfnaps" when he can, since he's awake at least every two hours 24/7, checking on the birthing process, helping when needed.

He doesn't like to miss church, though, so perhaps that's why he may choose to wear the same jeans, boots, shirt, vest and hat he wore while helping a mama cow or her calf, with vestiges of his work smeared, splattered and stained in various places on his attire.

"He couldn't do that in a traditional church, but nobody in a cowboy church thinks anything of it," said David Kite, who pastors two churches in eastern Idaho and has planted two others there.

"The cowboy church movement is getting strong," Kite said. "It's meeting a need for people not comfortable in a traditional church."

There are similarities as well as differences between these cowboy churches and other traditional Southern Baptist congregations. Among similarities, both support giving to missions through the Cooperative Program, the mechanism Southern Baptist churches use to undergird state, national and international ministries and missions.

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Tuesday
Jan052016

Muslims protect Christians in terrorist attack

NORTHEAST Kenya (BP) – Islamic militants with Somalia's al-Shabaab are suspected of attacking a commuter bus in northeast Kenya. The attack killed two people and injured at least six others in late December.

A group of Islamist gunmen ambushed the bus, boarded it, and attempted to divide passengers into Muslim and Christian groups. But Muslim passengers refused to cooperate, Reuters reported.

Gov. Ali Roba told Kenya's Daily Nation they "told the attackers to kill all passengers or leave," and their courage prevented a repeat of a previous massacre.

One Muslim passenger, Abdi Mohamud Abdi, told Reuters more than 10 al-Shabaab fighters told them to separate from the Christians, but they did not comply.

"We even gave some non-Muslims our religious attire to wear in the bus so that they would not be identified easily. We stuck together tightly," Abdi said of the Dec. 21 attack. "The militants threatened to shoot us, but we still refused and protected our brothers and sisters. Finally they gave up and left but warned that they would be back."

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Tuesday
Jan052016

GOP front runner Donald Trump to speak at Liberty University convocation

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty University – the country’s largest Christian school – will soon host GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump, Relevant reported. Presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson have also spoken at the university in recent months. Trump will address the student body at a mandatory convocation meeting on Jan. 18.

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