Teacher killed in Libya had Southern Baptist ties

Meredith Flynn —  December 10, 2013

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Ronnie SmithAn American killed in Libya Dec. 5 once served on staff at a Southern Baptist church, Baptist Press reports. Ronnie Smith, who was shot while on a morning run in Benghazi, worked from 2009 to 2011 as director of equipping and resources at The Austin Stone Community Church, affiliated with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Smith, 33, moved to Libya 18 months ago with his wife, Anita, and their young son to teach high school chemistry at the International School Benghazi. It’s still unknown why Smith was killed and who is responsible.

“Ronnie was a brother in Christ and a faithful servant of this church for many years,” reads a statement on Austin Stone’s website. “Although we grieve because we have lost a friend, a husband, and a father, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has a greater purpose than we can imagine right now.”

Go to austinstone.org/Ronnie for more information, or to order a copy of Smith’s book “The History of Redemption.” Proceeds will support his family.

Warren stands firm on marriage
Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren told CNN’s Piers Morgan that he doesn’t see a day in the future when he will espouse same-sex marriage.

“I fear the disapproval of God more than I fear your disapproval or the disapproval of society,” Warren said in front of a studio audience, a few of whom applauded.

The pastor of Saddleback Church also talked about tolerance in the Dec. 6 interview, saying the word “used to mean we treat each other with mutual respect even if we have major disagreements.

“Today, tolerance has been changed to mean all ideas are equally valid. Well, that’s nonsense.”

Morgan told Warren they would keep talking about the topic for years to come and, “eventually, I’ll beat you down,” the host said with a smile.

Warren laughed and replied, “Oh, ye of little faith.”

Watch the video at CNN.com.

Satanists want capitol statue
An ongoing dispute over a Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma state capitol got a new wrinkle this month, when a group called the Temple of Satan lobbied to get their own statue. “We feel like the Satanic Temple has a very strong argument to say that, if the state allows one religious monument, you have to allow others,” Brady Henderson of the American Civil Liberty Union told CNN. The ACLU currently is fighting for the removal of the Ten Commandments monument approved by Oklahoma lawmakers in 2009. Read more on CNN’s Belief blog.

Rice to keynote Judson forum
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will speak at Judson University’s 2014 World Leaders Forum. The event March 19 is the fourth in a series that has featured George W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and Tony Blair. Read more at judsonu.edu.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.