Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


Georgia Baptist's Brewton-Parker College loses accreditation, plans to challenge SACS decision

MOUNT VERNON, Ga. – Brewton-Parker College, a Christian college affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention, has been stripped of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Committee on Colleges (SACS COC), it was announced June 19.

The action against the college came following a formal interview with the college’s key leaders in San Antonio, Texas, June 17, a Brewton-Parker College news release said.

Ergun Caner, who was elected president of Brewton-Parker in December 2013, relayed the news to the college’s board of trustees by email, then shared the news in a called meeting for all staff, faculty and administration. “Of course we are disappointed in the decision of the executive committee of SACS COC taken today. 

Brewton-Parker College has been accredited by SACS for over fifty years (since 1962) and today is another step in the arduous journey that we have traveled since 2009.” Caner continued, “The most important points I can relay to you is that immediately after receiving the phone call, we have taken immediate steps to challenge this ruling and stay the loss of accreditation.” Another Georgia Baptist-affliated college, Shorter University, received SACS accreditation June 19. 

Shorter has cleared up any questions accreditation officials had about the number of the school’s faculty member and their qualification, the university announced June 19, according to the Rome (Ga.) newspaper.

Shorter University’s accreditation was approved by the commission in December 2012, renewing its status as a regionally accredited institution for 10 years. The commission, however, required Shorter to demonstrate that its staff is large enough and properly credentialed, the newspaper said.

SACS acknowledged that Shorter employs enough faculty to accomplish its mission and that the faculty’s credentials are satisfactory, the university said.

Read: Brewton-Parker College news release


ERLC honors heroic Christians at SBC

Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Committee, gives an award to the Green family during a report June 11 at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center. The family, founders of the crafts chain Hobby Lobby, is fighting in court the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance covering medical technologies that can cause the death of an unborn child. The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on their case later this month. The Green family "believe[s] that every human life from the moment of conception is sacred, and they believe that the government is not the Lord of their consciences," Moore said. Messengers gave the Greens a standing ovation and prayed for the Supreme Court's decision. Photo by Van Payne

BALTIMORE (BP) – Members of two families who are standing heroically for the Christian faith received awards from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and grateful affirmation from messengers to the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention.

The ERLC honored the Greens, who own Hobby Lobby, and Saeed Abedini, a prisoner in Iran, Wednesday morning, June 11, during the SBC's annual meeting. ERLC President Russell D. Moore presented the John Leland Religious Liberty Award to Steve and Jackie Green for their family's refusal to abide by the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate, which requires employers to provide abortion-causing drugs to their workers. Moore gave the Richard Land Distinguished Service Award to Naghmeh Abedini on behalf of her husband, Saeed, an American citizen imprisoned since 2012 by Iran's oppressive regime for his Christian service in that country.

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Floyd delivers opening House prayer

WASHINGTON - Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd, who was recently elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), opened the U.S. House of Representatives in prayer Thursday, June 12.

Floyd was invited to give the prayer by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack (R-Rogers).

The Cross Church pastor's prayer was delivered one day following the conclusion of the SBC Annual Meeting, June 10-11 in Baltimore.

Floyd's prayer is recorded in the official record of the U.S. House of Representative. It reads:

Our God, as Your prophet Daniel spoke to the king in his day with humility and honor as recorded in the Book of Daniel 4:37: "The God of Heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and glory."

Lord, as these gifted men and women serve the people of the United States, may they know You have them here by divine appointment, giving to them the influence, strength, and recognition they receive.

As they make decisions that influence the entire world, I pray that You will fill them with supernatural insight, compassionate sensitivity, convictional kindness, and abounding wisdom.

The needs are many, and the tasks are overwhelming. They need You, and they need each other, in order to provide hope for the American people and the entire world. So use them today to change the world for Your glory and for Your Name, I pray.



Hindus urge new SBC president to promote dialogue

Hindus hope Ronnie Floyd, newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), will promote interfaith dialogue in the United States and the world, according to a press release from Hindu statesman Rajan Zed.

The press release announced that Zed said in a recent statement made in Nevada that he hopes the SBC, under Floyd, will work for promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperating in common causes such as peace, ecological responsibility, social development and human rights with different religions and denominations. Zed added that dialogue has brought mutual enrichment and helped with the overcoming of prejudices that have been passed down from previous generations.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted that religion is a complex component of human life and that dialogue helps people see interconnections and interdependencies between religions.

According to the release, Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world and has about 1 billion adherents, about 3 million of whom are in the United States.


GuideStone announces new enrollment guidelines for medical Personal Plans

DALLAS — GuideStone has announced new guidelines for enrollment in its medical Personal Plans, effective July 1.

Churches and ministries eligible to offer GuideStone’s medical Personal Plans will be able to add new employees and their families to the Personal Plans within 60 days of employment.

For the first half of 2014, due to the uncertainties in the health care market as a result of the Affordable Care Act, GuideStone imposed temporary guidelines that limited enrollment to participants experiencing HIPAA special enrollment events, such as marriage, birth, adoption or loss of coverage.

Under the new guidelines, new employees of an eligible Personal Plan church or ministry can enter the health plan within 60 days of employment or HIPAA special enrollment event. Further, covered individuals may continue to add dependents to the health plan due to such events.

Church employees who began their employment between January 1 and July 1, 2014 may enroll themselves and eligible family members through August 1, 2014.

“The Affordable Care Act has created unprecedented changes and challenges for all health plans, including church health plans,” said GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins.

“GuideStone has been diligently seeking legislative, regulatory and judicial recognition of the unique nature and needs of church plans, with the continued goal of keeping the plan strong and stable. At the same time, GuideStone continues to explore ways of providing coverage to new enrollees in a manner consistent with that goal. GuideStone has determined that this change will enable us to balance ministry objectives with good stewardship," he said.

- From a GuideStone news release

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