THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently called North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell to thank him for the work Southern Baptist Disaster Relief workers have done in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.
“She called to say how much she appreciates everything Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are doing and to acknowledge that our efforts are a key part of the response,” Ezell said. “The investment Southern Baptists have made in disaster relief over the years has helped us become a key partner in times of crisis.”
Baptist Press reports that in the days since Isaac hit, Disaster Relief feeding teams have cooked and delivered more than 130,500 meals at field kitchens in Louisiana and Mississippi. Volunteers have also recorded 78 chainsaw, 54 mud-out and 8 roofing jobs; provided almost 2,200 showers and laundry loads for victims and volunteers; provided childcare for 41 children; and made 2,231 ministry contacts and 47 Gospel presentations.
Isaac-related outreach has led to at least five professions of faith and nine other faith-related decisions. Read more, including New Orleans pastor and SBC President Fred Luter’s response, here.
Democrats wrestle with God language at national convention
God is back in the official platform of the Democratic party, but some evangelical and minority leaders are wondering if they still belong in their party.
The Christian Post reports that the flap over leaving God out of the platform at the Democratic National Convention (and then voting to put Him back in) has left some African American and Hispanic Christian Democrats worried their party will be labeled “the party that booed God.” (After a motion was approved to put “God” language back in the party’s platform, some delegates booed audibly.)
The news site blackchristiannew.com posted a column by Libertarian party leader Wayne Allen Root questioning whether the party can recover from the moment. “There is room for thousands of delegates at the Democratic Convention. Tens of thousands including the media. On Wednesday, the radical forces in the Democratic Party made it clear there is no room for God,” Root wrote.
Leaders also are concerned about other planks of the party’s platform, including abortion and same-sex marriage, and how they might affect the Democrats’ ability to connect with evangelicals this November. Read more at ChristianPost.com.
Iranian pastor freed after years in jail
Youcef Nadarkhani, a pastor who spent more than 1,000 days in jail, was acquitted of the apostasy charges against him and released Sept. 8. Nadarkhani was sentenced to death in Iran in 2010 for converting from Islam to Christianity, and was given several opportunities to recant his faith in court. He refused each time, and says he was never a Muslim. Although he was cleared of the apostasy charges, he was found guilty of converting Muslims to Christianity, which would have carried a three-year jail sentence. But Nadarkhani was released on time served. Read the full story at BPNews.net.
Death of IMB worker in Jordan ruled foul play
Cheryll Harvey, who had served 24 years with the International Mission Board in Jordan, was killed during a robbery attempt at her apartment in Irbid, Jordan’s second largest city. Police have arrested a suspect. Harvey, 55, originally from Texas, established the ESL language center in Jordan, where 300-400 college students study each semester.
“Cheryll was greatly loved by both our personnel in the Middle East and by her many students,” IMB President Tom Elliff said. “We are faced once again with a sobering reminder of the brevity of life and the importance of faithfully serving the Lord to the very end of our time on earth. Cheryll has left for us a great example that we should follow.” Read more about Harvey’s life at BPNews.net.
Professor and statesman Roy Fish dies at 82
Dr. Roy Fish, who served Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for nearly 50 years, passed away Sept. 10 at the age of 82. News of Fish’s death prompted words of admiration and memorial from many SBC leaders. “Dr. Roy Fish was at once a fabulous lecturer and the most consistent soul winner I know,” said Southwestern President Paige Patterson. “He lit a fire under thousands of students.” Read more here.