Vol. 5 No. 10
The Jesse Mercer Plaza
Mercer University, Macon Campus
Produced by The Center for Baptist
Studies, Mercer University
A Monthly EMagazine, Bridging Baptists
Yesterday and Today
Walter B. Shurden, Executive Editor, The
Baptist Studies Bulletin
Bruce T. Gourley, Editor, The
Baptist Studies Bulletin
Wil Platt, Associate Editor, The Baptist Studies
Visit The Center for Baptist
Studies' Web Site at www.centerforbaptiststudies.org
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I Believe . . .
: Walter B. Shurden
Baptist Most of You Readers Have Never Heard Of"
The Baptist Soapbox: Samuel Nixon,
Carey HIV/AIDS Initiative"
Creative Ministries in the Local Baptist Church:
First Baptist, Huntsville, AL
"Special Needs Ministry"
Baptists and Peacemaking:
"Practicing Peace: A Thoughtful
Baptists, the Bible,
and the Poor: Charles E.
Near to God by Being Among the Poor"
In Response To . . .
: Bruce T. Gourley
"In Response to . . . The Current Affairs Bookshelf"
Dates to Note
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"A Baptist Most
of You Readers Have Never Heard Of"
By Walter B. Shurden
I believe . . .
and I would wager that most of the Baptists who are
readers of The Baptist Studies Bulletin have never heard of Peter
Randolph. I met him only recently myself, so I am certainly not in a bragging
state. I do want to introduce you to him, however.
A Baptist preacher, he
lived from 1825 (?) to 1897. Randolph was a slave for the first twenty-seven
years of his life. Having spent his slave years in Prince George County,
Virginia, he spent his years of liberation primarily in Boston. After his
liberation, he traveled extensively, preaching the gospel and acting on behalf
of African Americans.
Unschooled, he learned to
read and write basically on his own. He wrote two books. He wrote the first
volume in 1855, and he entitled it Sketches of Slave Life. Don’t read it
after dinner, because it will sour your supper! One recent reader of
Sketches said, “This book impacted me physically.” Another could not hold
back tears. Another had trouble even continuing the book. Read it and you will
understand these responses. You can read it in less than an hour.
Peter Randolph called his
second book From Slave Cabin to the Pulpit: The Autobiography of Rev. Peter
Randolph: the Southern Question Illustrated. It was first published in
1893. Read it and you will be struck by this ex-slave’s courage to confront.
You will be inspired by his incredible hope and belief in justice. Given that
white Baptist Christians in the South overwhelmingly blessed the evil of
slavery, their descendents today will probably be amazed at the fact that
Randolph stayed within the Christian church generally and the Baptist
denomination in particular. (And many of us turn our backs on church with such
giant cynicism and for such petulant reasons!) You will be awed by his
gratitude for friendship. He had many, many friends. Indeed he lists 187 of
them by name at the end of the book, not counting those he mentions within the
book. Numbered among those friends were Senator Charles Sumner of
Massachusetts, William Loyd Garrison, and Frederick Douglas. He had
friendships with white Baptist preachers such as A. J. Gordon of Boston and A.
E. Dickenson and J. B. Jeter of the Religious Herald in Virginia. Jeter
said of Randolph that he was “as good a colored preacher as he ever heard (p.
74, online edition).”
Maybe the most incredible
lines in the autobiography appear in the last chapter: “The river has its bend
and the longest road must terminate. As I look backward and take a
retrospective view of my past toils and sorrows, and the vicissitudes through
which I have passed, I FEEL THAT I HAVE MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR (p.
131, online edition; caps and bold are mine).” Thankfully, for us, his
gratitude trumped his understandable anger.
Personally, I am thankful
to Sandy Martin, a Baptist scholar who heads the Religious Studies department at
the University of Georgia, for introducing me to Peter Randolph and his
writings. And Sandy Martin and Peter Randolph both made me aware that white
Baptists must take their place at the feet of their African American Baptist
sisters and brothers. We white folk must learn a different kind of Baptist
history in America, one that is laced with unspeakable suffering and buoyed by
You can read Randolph’s
two books online,
courtesy of the University of North Carolina, or you can order From
Slave Cabin to Pulpit: Peter Randolph, edited by Paul D. Sporer (Chester,
NY: Anza Publishing, 2004). I prefer the online account, but either will
introduce you to a Baptist that you probably have never heard of but
desperately need to know.
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The Baptist Soapbox: Invited guests
speak up and out on things Baptist (therefore, the views expressed in this
space are not necessarily those of The Baptist Studies Bulletin, though
sometimes they are).
Climbing upon the Soapbox this month is Reverend
Samuel Nixon, Jr. The director of HIV/AIDS Initiative of Lott Carey
International (LCI), Nixon is a leading voice among Baptists for HIV/AIDS
education and ministry. Lott
Carey International (LCI) is a Washington, DC headquartered, faith-based,
not-for-profit agency committed to helping empower impoverished people around
the world to improve their qualities of life.
Carey HIV/AIDS Initiative"
By Samuel Nixon, Jr.
In 2000, the Lott Carey leadership initiated
the Lott Carey HIV/AIDS Initiative to seek to to
engage comprehensive, replicable, and sustainable models of prevention and
care for persons impacted by HIV/AIDS globally, primarily in collaboration
with indigenous faith communities, organizations, governmental agencies, and
other entities committed to this cause.
The Initiative expands
the reach of our services and the number of patients and families we serve
- Providing HIV/AIDS
education for prevention through faith communities and community
- Supporting and
developing programs and infrastructures for the growing number of children
whose parents have died from AIDS related diseases;
community health workers who provide care for AIDS patients in villages and
- Strengthening the
capacity of village and community clinics and hospitals to prevent HIV/AIDS
infections and to care for those living with HIV/AIDS.
- Support for and
participation in HIV/AIDS conferences in the two-thirds world:
(2001,2003,2005) with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)
- Jamaica (2003) with
the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and the Jamaican Baptist
- United States
(2004-2006) Samuel DeWitt Proctor Pastors’ Conference
- South Africa (2006)
U.S. Office of Global AIDS Coordinator’s (OGAC) President’s Emergency Plan
for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Lott Carey Presentation
- Ontario 2006
International AIDS Conference (IAC)
- Youth education and
awareness training for more than 500 youth each summer (2001- 2006) at the
Lott Carey Annual Youth Seminar held at Shaw University, Raleigh, NC
What is Lott Carey Doing Now?
Lott Carey is helping over 1200 orphans a month through partnership with the
AIDS Orphans Education Trust (AOET) in Uganda. This year, the
organization launched a new HIV/AIDS initiative with the Friendly Integrated
Development Initiatives in Poverty Alleviation (FIDIPA), helping Kenyans
address stigma issues. Lott Carey also began work on a new HIV/AIDS project
with the African AIDS Initiative International (AAII) to support voluntary
counseling and testing (VCT) needs for HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. Another
HIV/AIDS initiative is in conjunction with our partners in Bangalore (MRORT)
and New Delhi (LCBM), India to support their work in education and prevention
for people of the country.
Lott Carey continues to
support the women and families of South Africa who produce the “Sign of Hope”
Pins through our mission partner, the Baptist Convention of South Africa (BCSA)
to remind us of their and our hope to reduce the spread of and eliminate the
HIV/AIDS pandemic. These projects include the following areas: care and
support, education and prevention, voluntary counseling and testing, orphans
and vulnerable children support, income generation programs, and empowerment
of women. The projects engage people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWAs) as integral
to the projects’ development and implementation.
Opportunities to Work with Lott
You can be a witness to the work of the Kingdom of God by giving through Lott
Carey to further the Baptist witness in combating this global crisis. Please
contact us, via the following ways, and we’ll look to “hear” from you soon:
1. Give financially to combat the
HIV/AIDS pandemic through Lott Carey. Send check(s) to “Lott Carey” at 220 I
Street, NE, Ste. 220, Washington, DC 20002. Make sure to note “HIV/AIDS
Initiative” on the check.
2. Volunteer for service at the
address given above, to the attention of the “Lott Carey HIV/AIDS Initiative,”
or contact us at 202-543-3200.
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Baptist Studies Bulletin Recommends
The Mainstream Baptists Web Blog
"Baptists for the Separation of Church and State and for Compassionate
A collaborate effort of 19 Baptists who are committed to the Baptist
Join the Discussion Today!
Creative Ministries in
the Local Baptist Church:
This series highlights local churches who are
intentionally creative in their approach to ministry. This month's
featured local church ministry emphasis focuses on the Special Needs Ministry of First Baptist Church,
Huntsville, Alabama. The following article was gleaned from the church's
First Baptist, Huntsville, Alabama
First Baptist Huntsville is
committed to ministering to every one of God's children. As the church's
web site explains, this goal is achieved through a five-pronged approach:
Restrooms meeting ADA requirements are available on both the 1st and 2nd
floors near the elevator. There is also a family restroom near the 2nd floor
elevator, and additional restrooms are available on the same floor near the
Sanctuary. Also, the Sanctuary is completely wheelchair accessible.
Wheelchairs are available for those who need assistance for worship, and
Ushers at the door are available to help.
Large print Hymnals and Orders of Worship are available for those who may need
them. In addition, hearing devices are available upon request from the Ushers.
American Sign Language (ASL) is available upon request.
Special Needs Adult
Sunday School: This Sunday School class meets in the Christian Life
Center. Supported by the church at large, some members have been
attending the class for decades. Transportation to the class is provided
in a church mini-bus with wheelchair capabilities.
This special ministry is for children and youth who have "difficulty with
transitions, a learning disability, developmental delay, vision or hearing
difficulty, a physical disability, a medical condition, behavior difficulties,
with mental retardation or who need special equipment." The Buddy
Ministry is available during the Sunday School time as well as other church
activities. "The purpose of the Buddy Ministry is to provide the
assistance necessary to enable all children and youth to learn about God's
love and grow in faith."
Special Maintenance And Repair Team is a "group of members who are available
to help with maintenance, building of wheelchair ramps, and minor repairs at
homes of members."
responsibilities associated with the above multi-dimensional Special Needs
Ministry are divided among a number of church members, making this a true team
effort by First Baptist Huntsville. For more information about this
visit the First Baptist Huntsville web site.
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IN THE CONGREGATION”
McAfee Institute for Healthy
McAfee School of Theology,
Center For Baptist Studies and
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia
October 26, 2006 @ Religious Life Center,
Begins at 9:30 AM, Concludes at 3:30 PM
Dennis Burton, Workshop Leader
For more information and to
register, contact Dr. Larry McSwain.
Baptists and Peacemaking:
A noted theologian and ethicist, Glen
Stassen is the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller
Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Prior to his current
position, he taught at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for 20 years.
He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, Duke University and
"Practicing Peace: A
By Glen Stassen
my August Baptist soapbox, I wrote:
commanded us to go make peace with our neighbor when there is something wrong
between us. I cited the New York Times editorial (August 8) titled, "Start
Talking." It urged President Bush to stop refusing to talk with Syria, Iran,
and North Korea.
see talking as a reward. It is a command. And talking works a whole lot better
to deliver us from these vicious cycles of nuclear weapons buildups, missile
launches, and wars. Who's the realist—Jesus or George W. Bush?
Now this week
North Korea test-exploded a nuclear bomb, demonstrating that President Bush's
refusal to talk did not work very well. This threatens to induce neighboring
nations to want to go nuclear. And North Korea has been selling missiles for
the money they desperately need. Whom will they sell nuclear weapons to?
President Bush made war against the first of the nations he called "the axis
of evil," and Iran and North Korea feared they needed a deterrent. They said
that if the U.S. would give them a treaty of nonaggression, they would halt
their nuclear developments. Our U.S. government refused such a treaty and
refused direct talks.
What would you think if we started a Christian movement to urge our next
president to follow practices of just peacemaking?—A
thoughtful movement, not a highly partisan or self-righteous movement. Like:
a threat to humankind from weapons of mass destruction—nuclear weapons,
chemical weapons, and biological weapons. They could fall into the hands of
terrorist networks or nations that could use them for unimaginable evil. The
Bible warns of judgment coming, the destruction of war and exile, for those
who trust not in God but in the false gods of weapons of war (Isaiah 31:1-3;
Jeremiah 2:5-18; Hosea 7:11 and 10:13-15).
We have sometimes been overly individualistic, thinking only of threats to
ourselves. But we are loyal to a church and a gospel that are worldwide, and a
Lord who teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Leviticus 19:17-18;
Luke 10:29; Matthew 5:43-48 and 22:39). God gives warm sunshine and nurturing
rain to the just and unjust alike, and we participate in God's love when we
include even our enemies in the community of neighbors. Therefore, we need to
find ways to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destructive by becoming
more internationally cooperative.
effective human response to threat is not fight or flight, but to band
together and cooperate. Jesus teaches the way of cooperation to solve these
problems. Love your neighbor as yourself; love your enemy as God does; work
together with all neighbors as much as you can, cooperatively, to solve
advocate that our country and all countries talk together to curtail
these weapons. That is what has worked ever since the nonproliferation treaty
was signed in 1968 to prevent nuclear weapons from spreading. Refusing to talk
with antagonists is not an effective way to persuade them to curtail weapons
of mass destruction.
We advocate that nations, including our nation, be
law-abiding. All are sinners (Romans 3:23). Therefore we need laws to
check and balance the human propensity to sin. That applies to our nation as
well as other nations. We commit ourselves to work for laws that seek to
prevent the manufacture of poison gases, chemical weapons, weapons designed to
spread biological diseases, and fissile material like highly enriched uranium
and plutonium for nuclear bombs. Treaties that do this already exist; but
our government has refused to sign and support the treaties or inspections
that verify compliance. We do not want more of these weapons to be developed,
ready for some terrorist network to steal.
his disciple to put up his sword, and says, "Those who take up the sword, by
the sword will perish" (Matthew 26:52). We don't want to take up weapons of
mass destruction against others, and we don't want to die by weapons of mass
I'm serious about
starting such a movement. Let me know what you think:
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Bible and Poor
Baptists, the Bible, and the Poor: Charles E. Poole is a Baptist minister with Lifeshare
Community Ministries in Jackson, Mississippi where he delights in
ministering alongside the poor. "Chuck" Poole, a provocative
preacher and servant pastor, served Baptist churches for twenty-five years. Among
the churches he has served are First Baptist Church, Macon, GA, First Baptist
Church, Washington, DC, and Northminster Baptist Church, Jackson, MS.
"Drawing Near to God by
Being Among the Poor"
By Charles E. Poole
As I write these words, the sun is setting on an October Wednesday in Jackson,
Mississippi. I have spent this day as I spend all weekdays, in neighborhoods
that are variously described as Jackson’s “worst” or “most disadvantaged” or
“most dangerous,” with varying degrees of accuracy and exaggeration.
My ministry in these
neighborhoods is on the decidedly practical side of pastoral: delivering
diapers to this apartment, getting lights restored to that house, providing
groceries to this family, beds for that family—all in the context of prayer
and pastoral care, but also all very practical, and very “cornbread and peas,” to
invoke a Shurdenism.
But, in the midst of all
that practical simplicity, there is the occasional “rustle of a wing,” the
occasional moment when, in the words of the mystical poet Edward Taylor,
“There are no words to wield this wonder.” It happens, actually, with some
frequency. I’ll be driving along on a street littered with rusted-out cars,
lined by fallen-down houses, populated by people living on the hardest edges
of North American poverty, and it will happen. In my ear, or my head, or my
heart (Who can say?) I will hear that old hymn,
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings,
The music of the spheres.
And over and over it will play, “This is my Father’s world.” THIS is my
Father’s world; this side of town, this housing project, this “dangerous”
corner, this netless basketball rim in the parking lot, this abandoned house
that is home to a family, this charity hospital, this two-bedroom apartment
with eight children; this is my Father’s world. And the practical
becomes mystical, and the rustle of grocery bags delivered is somehow joined
by the rustle of a wing or a wind or a voice or Something.
All of which is simply to
say what you probably already know, which is that being among the poor is
somehow to draw near to God in ways that can be different and mystically
surprising. You already know that because you have read the Bible, especially
that long part in Matthew 25. So you already know that, actually, we should
never be surprised to have a mystical meeting with God while on a practical
mission among the poor. To the contrary, we should expect to be “hearing
things” while we’re out there doing things.
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Response To ...
"In Response to . . . The Current Affairs Bookshelf"
By Bruce T. Gourley
As America was being rocked by a lurid Republican sex scandal just weeks
before fall congressional elections, I visited the Current Affairs section of
my local Barnes and Noble on a mission to determine just how many recent
volumes have been written about the theocratic tendencies of the Religious
Right, a theme that has become somewhat of a hot topic within the book world
during the past two years
In recent months I have
repeatedly been asked for recommendations of books that examine the growing
Christian nationalistic movement in America. Readers of this Bulletin
are already aware of several important volumes which analyze the efforts of the Religious Right to
conform American government to their so-called “biblical worldview” on issues
of morality. These volumes include
Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical’s Lament, by
Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism,
by Michelle Goldberg;
American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips; and
Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis by
Jimmy Carter. All of these are excellent volumes worthy of a close read.
What you may not be aware of, however, is just how many other books have been
published in the past sixty days and are now readily available in the Current
Affairs section of your local bookstore. These newest volumes turn a
critical eye to the ambitions of the Religious Right in relation to the Republican Party and
the American government in general.
Among important August
releases that examine the theocratic impulses of the Religious
The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America,
by National Public Radio’s Ray Suarez. This volume examines the political and
religious polarization created by the rise of the Religious Right.
Building Red America: The New Conservative Coalition and the Drive For
Permanent Power by the Washington Post’s Thomas
Edsall details the manner in which the Bush administration has effectively
played to Religious Right core issues such as abortion and gay rights. Ryan Sager’s
The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians and the Battle to Control
the Republican Party demonstrates that in a
battle between the South and the West, religious conservatives are going to
the mat to wrest control of their Party from its non-sectarian wing. Losing
Our Democracy: How Bush, the Far Right and Big Business Are Betraying
Americans for Power and Profit by Mark Green,
president of the New Democracy Project, argues that the theocons are helping
lead America into a era of “new authoritarianism” characterized by religious
In September, the
publishing industry produced even more volumes focusing on Christian
Nationalism. Damon Linker’s
The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege
examines how evangelical Christians have partnered with Catholic intellectuals
to shape the Republican Party into the Party of God.
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris takes
the Religious Right to task from a non-Christian perspective. Mel White’s
Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right
offers an inside examination (White was a long-time ghost writer for Jerry
Falwell) of James Dobson and Falwell’s efforts to force fundamentalist views
of sexuality on American society through the government. Barry Lynn’s
Piety & Politics: The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom
draws from the author’s civil liberties expertise and experience in analyzing theocon's attempt to curtail religious freedom in America. Missouri Sen.
Faith and Politics: How the “Moral Values” Debate Divides America and How to
Move Forward Together offers a Christian
politician’s insight (Danforth is an Episcopal minister) into why the
Christian fundamentalist attempt to merge church and state is dangerous for
the cause of Christ, the integrity of government and the world at large.
Is the recent,
torrid interest in the theocratic impulses of the Republican-allied Religious
Right a result of the upcoming congressional elections? Most likely.
The unprecedented attention given to the subject of Christian Nationalism is indicative of the concerns
that at least some Americans have with an increasingly hostile and militant-sounding Religious
Right which dismisses Bush administration lies, cover up and deception while
claiming that the fiasco that is the Iraq War is a “noble cause”;
is so embedded with the Republican Party as to dismiss the current homosexual
child predator sex scandal as
nothing more than a prank played by wayward teenagers;
treats homosexuals as something other than full-fledged Americans; and looks
to Puritan colonial America as a model for government.
And if further
evidence is needed to demonstrate that Americans have finally been stirred
from their lethargy to take a stand against the dangerous designs of the
Religious Right’s alliance with the Republican Party, consider these tidbits:
of the approximately 500 volumes in the Current Affairs section of Barnes and
Noble, only two are anti-Hillary Clinton volumes, while the most common book
topic is opposition to the Iraq War.
In short, the Party
appears to be over for the Religious Right. If the recent bookshelf
expose of their theocratic impulses is not enough to motivate voters to
opposition, the homosexual child predator scandal should be the nail in the
coffin of theocon ambitions for America, at least for the immediate future. Nonetheless, I do hope that the
literary world will continue to train a critical eye on the Christian
nationalistic movement, as would
our Baptist forefathers if were they alive today.
Visit Bruce's personal website
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Recommended Online Reading
for Informed Baptists
Compiled by Bruce Gourley
"Already, this latest surge of Reformed theology has divided Southern
Baptist churches and raised questions about the future of missions. Its
exuberant young advocates reject generic evangelicalism and tout the benefits
of in-depth biblical doctrine. They have once again brought the perennial
debate about God's sovereignty and humans' free will to the forefront."
The Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals
The 50th anniversary edition of CT includes a list of the top 50 books that
have shaped the evangelical movement in America. Some of the volumes you
will recognize, some you may not. The #1 selection is probably not what
Who Has Been Using Whom?
New York Times
The Religious Right embraces the Republican Party as the Party of God, yet
former deputy director of the President Bush's Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives charges that Bush is merely using his religious allies for his own
In God's Name
New York Times
Read the Times investigation into how "American religious organizations
benefit from an increasingly accommodating government."
Dates to Note
October 26, 2006, Negotiating Conflict in the
Congregation, Religious Life Center, Mercer University, Macon, GA.
Sponsored by McAfee Institute for
Healthy Congregations, McAfee School of Theology, The Center For Baptist
Studies and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia. To register, mail
to Dr. Larry McSwain, McAfee School of Theology, 3001 Mercer University Drive,
Atlanta, GA 30341-4115 a check payable to McAfee School of Theology in the
amount of $39 by October 20, 2006. Registration at the door: $49.
November 5-6, 2006, CBF/GA Fall Convocation, "A
Gift Too Good to Keep!" First Baptist Church of Christ of Macon.
Speakers: Rob Nash, CBF National Global Mission Coordinator, and Bill
Underwood, Mercer University President. For more information, visit
December 29, 2006 - January 2, 2007, Antiphony,
"Call and Response." Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, Georgia. For more
February 7-10, 2007, Current Retreat, "Let
Justice Roll." First Baptist Church, Austin, Texas. Registration cost is
$100 for ministers and lay leaders, $55 for seminary students.
Click here for more information.
February 19-20, 2007, Self Preaching Lectures,
McAfee School of Theology, Atlanta, Georgia. Speaker: Tom Long.
For more information, email
For a full calendar of Baptist events, visit the
Online Baptist Community Calendar.
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