Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


Baptist evangelist’s film available at national video chain

SHERMAN, Ill. – Bruce Kugler produced the film “God’s Courtroom” with the help of his church, Living Faith Baptist in Sherman, Ill. Now, the video presentation of the gospel – set in some of Illinois’ most historic courtrooms – is available through more than 770 Family Video stores across the country. And a recent translation project aims to make it available to Arabic-speaking people around the world.

The team behind the film probably would have been hard-pressed to imagine these developments when they began production on “God’s Courtroom” a few years ago. Kugler, an attorney by trade, first had the idea in the late 1980s when he was trying cases before a northern Illinois judge known for his fairness and precision.

Outside Judge Alan Cargerman’s courtroom, Kugler remembered, “People were very nonchalant, pompous often.” But when they stood before the judge, “Everything was very serious, somber, there was no messing around.”

The experience made Kugler wonder what it would be like when people one day stood before God, the ultimate judge. He began creating a presentation of the gospel based on principles and terminology used in the legal system.

Kugler eventually gave the presentation in some local churches in central Illinois, and it was at a Dairy Queen after one of those messages that the idea came to film “God’s Courtroom” in a courthouse. Several courthouses, actually.

Over a period of months, Kugler and his team shot the film at historical sites in Illinois, including some courthouses where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. In each segment of the one-hour film, Kugler gives some history of the site, and also explains a different element of the Gospel.

“Bruce Kugler’s analysis of the biblical and judiciary intersection is very powerful, and we are pleased to offer this DVD,” John A. Furton, Family Video’s vice president of purchasing, said in a statement. And, in keeping with Kugler’s commitment to offer the film to individuals and churches free of charge, the video is a free rental.

The evangelism tool’s reach also is extending outside the U.S. “God’s Courtroom” was dubbed in Arabic this summer by Nashat Filmon, executive director of the Palestinian Bible Society, who traveled to Illinois from his home in Jerusalem to give voice to the project. His organization will give the DVD’s to judges and lawyers in the Palestinian territories, he said, and also make it available on their website and in bookstores.

“When Bruce gave me the video ‘God’s Courtroom,’ I went and I watched it, and I liked it very much,” Filmon said. “I thought, ‘This is a straightforward message that’s coming from a lawyer, and it explains in a court setting what is to be expected.”

More than 20 countries have Arabic as their official language, Kugler acknowledged, representing millions of people who “have never heard that God's offers them a pardon from the penalty of their sin. This is the best news a person can ever be told.

“It is perplexing why many people in the United States have the opportunity to hear the Gospel dozens of times, but people living in Arabic speaking countries may have never heard the Gospel one time. We are praying that the Holy Spirit will use Arabic version of God’s Courtroom to impact millions of people.”

The film has been shown in the U.S. on the National Religious Broadcasters television network, as well as the TCT Network and Total Living Network. Kugler, a member of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, also has shared the message in Nicaragua, Argentina, India, Taiwan and China. It also has been dubbed in Spanish, and plans are in place for a Chinese version.

“The message crosses cultures because it’s the Word of God that impacts people’s hearts,” Kugler said. He gives God the credit for every outlet he finds to showcase “God’s Courtroom.”

“How is it possible that we could get a film aired on major networks around the nation, speak in different parts of the world, and have it in 770 video stores? 

“We can’t,” he admitted.

“This is a good example of taking a small project and really bathing it in prayer and fasting, and trying to do this the right way with the right motives, for the glory of God.”

“God’s Courtroom” is available for viewing and download at www.godscourtroom.org.


Brewton-Parker College SACSCOC accreditation under reconsideration

MOUNT VERNON, Ga. – Brewton-Parker College announced Sept. 30 that it remains an accredited member on probation of The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (“SACSCOC”).

“Yesterday, Brewton-Parker College was informed that the Appeals Committee of SACSCOC ordered a remand of the decision of the Board of Trustees of SACSCOC to remove Brewton-Parker College as a member,” reads a news release issued by the college, which is affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.

“Brewton-Parker College’s case will now go to the Committee on Compliance and Reports of SACSCOC for reconsideration. The effect of this decision is to continue SACSCOC’s accreditation of Brewton-Parker College as it existed before the June 19, 2014 vote of the Board of Trustees of SACSCOC.”

The news release said the SACSCOC “Appeals Committee found that Brewton-Parker College presented new material evidence demonstrating improvement in its financial position that warranted a remand and the continuation of its accreditation.”

The college accreditation organization will continue to review the new evidence in greater detail for compliance with SACSCOC’s standards, the release said.

“This decision by the appeals committee of SACSCOC is a validation of SACSCOC’s own processes and shows that the system works. We are thankful the appeals committee recognized what we knew all along – that Brewton-Parker College is a financially stable and viable institution of higher learning,” said Ergun Caner, Brewton-Parker College president.

Caner added, “This decision is the result of thousands of hours of work by the entire Brewton-Parker College community. This victory is shared, not only by our trustees, faculty, staff and students, but also the entire community of dedicated friends around us. The people of Mount Vernon, Ailey, Montgomery County, and the entire region stood by us. Today that trust was validated. Our students, faculty, staff and partners in the community who have stood by our side should know that we are confident that Brewton-Parker College will remain accredited by SACSCOC.”

Caner said that Brewton-Parker College continues to work closely and cooperatively with SACSCOC.

“Brewton-Parker College will continue to work closely with SACSCOC to remove Brewton-Parker College from probation. Brewton-Parker College will continue on its march to grow enrollment to record heights. The greatest legacy of Brewton-Parker College’s 110-year history is ahead. However, today we give thanks to God for this decision, for it was by His guidance that this positive decision was made.”

Brewton-Parker College, founded in 1904, has experienced financial difficulties experienced since the late 1990s. Over the last three years, Brewton-Parker College has taken steps to balance its operational budget, restructure its debt and cut its expenses.


See You at the Pole marks 24 years

Students pray at DeQueen High School in DeQueen.NASHVILLE (BP) – An estimated 3 million or more elementary through college Christian students gathered at flagpoles on campuses across the United States and many foreign countries Wednesday (Sept. 24) to pray for moral and spiritual awakening for their schools and communities.

"See You at the Pole" marked its 24th year. The global prayer meeting was held on campuses preferably at 7 a.m. local time. Last year event organizers added Global Week of Student Prayer to the event, set this year Sept. 21-27, to accommodate schools closed or engaged in other events on the 24th. 

Founded in 1990 by a group of students from Burleson, Texas, the student-led event seeks to encourage students to continue in prayer and ministry as a lifelong discipline, event promotion coordinator Doug Clark told Baptist Press. 

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Williams Baptist College marks 5th year in U.S News & World Report top tier  

Henry Pineda of Green Forest., receives his bachelor’s degree from Williams Baptist College President Tom Jones during 2014 commencement exercises in May.WALNUT RIDGE – For the fifth year in a row, Williams Baptist College (WBC) is ranked in the top tier of Southern liberal arts colleges by US News & World Report. The magazine released its 2015 college rankings on Sept. 9, showing Williams to once again be a top tier institution.

"This is a great affirmation of the quality education provided at Williams Baptist College. The data and our peers at other colleges and universities confirm what Williams students and alumni have known all along, which is that WBC is an outstanding institution of higher learning," said Tom Jones, WBC's president.

Located at Walnut Ridge, Williams is ranked 59th among colleges in the South. The rankings are based on a variety of statistical data, as well as reviews from administrators at other colleges.

"The US News rankings place WBC in the company of other fine institutions in this region of the country," Jones said.  "We appreciate this distinction and what it says about the good work being done at Williams."

WBC is a four-year, liberal arts college owned and operated by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.


North American Mission Board's disaster relief leader appointed to FEMA council

WilsonALPHARETTA, Ga. – Fritz Wilson, executive director of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) for the North American Mission Board, was one of 12 new appointees to the National Advisory Council (NAC) for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Wilson was selected for the three-year term from among 200 outstanding leaders from across the U.S. that includes elected officials, first responders, scientists, emergency management specialists and cyber security professionals.

Established following Hurricane Katrina, Wilson said the 35 member council is an "advisory board" that studies service gaps and recommends possible solutions to the FEMA Administrator in the areas of disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.

"It's a high honor to represent Southern Baptists and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief," Wilson said. "I am humbled to serve. Southern Baptists are willing to do whatever it takes to bring help, healing and hope to communities in need."

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