Archives For the Bible

A gentle and quiet spirit is not about volume.

“Woo-hoo! Otherwise, I’d be in trouble.

“It’s about a heart that fears and loves the Lord.”

Trillia Newbell, speaking on biblical womanhood

Take a closer look at Noah’s ‘rock monsters’

Photo is unavailable for the "Noah" rock giants, but for those who haven't seen the movie, they're less like the Fraggles and more like Easter Island.

Photo is unavailable for the “Noah” rock monsters, but for those who haven’t seen the movie, they’re less like the Fraggles and more like Easter Island.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Noah” has made around $61 million since its March 28 release, keeping alive a debate about the film’s biblical-ness that started well before it hit theaters. Indeed, the movie presents some head-scratchers for those who thought they knew Noah’s story: A magical Methusaleh, rock monsters (read on for more about them), and a stowaway on the ark, among others.

It seems many movie goers are looking to another source for the full story. According to a story on, Bible app YouVersion and website Bible Gateway both reported big increases in the number of users reading the Noah story.

And the newest edition of the “Questions and Ethics” podcast looks specifically at the movie’s rock monsters, depicted as the Nephilim mentioned in Genesis 6:4, as well as how the film can spark helpful conversations between Christians and non-Christians. All in less than nine minutes. Click here to hear the latest commentary from Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore.

Baptist to helm Chicago university
David Dockery, a leading Southern Baptist thinker and college president for 18 years, will serve as the next president of Trinity International University, headquartered in Deerfield, Ill. Dockery has served as president of Union University, affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, since 1995.

As president of Trinity, whose primary campus is 30 miles north of downtown Chicago, Dockery will lead the institution’s four schools: a liberal arts college, graduate school, law school, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, known as TEDS. Trinity has numerous notable alumni, including pastors Bill Hybels and James MacDonald, historian Mark Noll, and apologist Ravi Zacharias. Read the full story here.

Supreme Court won’t hear photographers’ case
The U.S. Supreme court said April 7 it will not consider the ruling by a lower court against Elane Photography, a business run by New Mexico photographers Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin. The couple was found to be in violation of their state’s discrimination ban when they refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. Some religious liberty advocates say the Court’s decision could have far-reaching implications for people in a variety of professions. Read the full story at

CEO ousted for marriage views
Employees at tech company Mozilla protested their new CEO, Brendan Eich, after it was revealed he supported Prop 8, a measure in California to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Eich co-founded Mozilla, maker of the Internet browser Firefox, and was named CEO on March 24. He resigned just 10 days later, after online dating site OkCupid encouraged a Firefox boycott because of Eich’s views. “Can we avoid the consequences of speaking the truth in love?” blogger Denny Burk asks in a post about the controversy surrounding Eich.

Golden Gate heads south
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary President Jeff Iorg announced this month the school will sell its Mill Valley, Ca., property and relocate its primary campus to southern California. The seminary, located near San Francisco, had been unable to develop its current campus because of zoning laws.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to build a new kind of seminary campus for education in the 21st century,” Iorg told students and faculty. The seminary plans to operate a commuter campus in the Bay Area after relocation. Read more at

Church gets kicked out of school
A New York appeals court ruled last week that public schools can forbid churches from meeting in their buildings. “We’re very sad about it,” Pastor Robert Hall told the New York Daily News. His church, the Bronx Household of Faith, has been fighting almost 20 years for meeting space. “There seems to be an increasing attempt to marginalize Christianity in civilization,” Hall said. The Christian Post reports the church’s attorneys are considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case in 2011. Read more at



Jaide Soppe, 8, makes a fleece blanket for a Springfield shelter on Children's Ministry Day March 15.

Jaide Soppe, 8, makes a fleece blanket for a Springfield shelter on Children’s Ministry Day March 15.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

For the fourth consecutive year, kids and their leaders served across Illinois  through Children’s Ministry Day, a one-day missions experience that culminates with a celebration service at each project site.

Created by national Woman’s Missionary Union, the day of service for kids has taken on a life of its own in Illinois. Nearly 1,100 children, leaders and volunteers representing 75 churches served at nine locations around the state on March 15.

This year’s theme, “Make a Splash,” came from Matthew 10:42, where Jesus says, “And whoever gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple – I assure you: He will never lose his reward!”

Children’s Ministry Day is now IBSA’s most successful mission involvement activity, said Mark Emerson, who leads the organization’s missions team. The event has grown in number of locations and participants each year since 2011, when he organized the first set of projects in Springfield. Local associations began hosting the projects last year, and the service day expanded to nine cities in 2014, including first-time locations Bridgeport, Chicago, Decatur, Granite City and Peoria.

“I think more churches identify that this is a high impact project with an easy engagement possibility,” Emerson said. “The logistics of the day are already complete, so all the church has to do is to figure out how to get the kids enlisted, and get the kids to the event.”

Pastor David Brown has led kids from his church, Dow Southern Baptist, to Children’s Ministry Day each of the last four years. Standing outside an urban ministry center in Springfield, he recalled each of their projects: making baby blankets, baking cookies for police officers, visiting with nursing home residents, and this year, raking leaves and sorting donated supplies.

“This is one of the best events that we can do, because we’re starting at a foundational age,” Brown said. His fourth grade daughter, Cameryn, accompanied him to Springfield this year and has participated in every Children’s Ministry Day.

“And if they fall in love with serving when they’re kids,” Brown said, “they’re going to keep serving when they’re teens, and hopefully when they’re adults and grandparents. It’s foundational; it’s what the church is all about.” Read more here.

Other news:

Franklin Graham on Putin’s policies
America has “abdicated our moral leadership,” Franklin Graham wrote in this month’s issue of Decision Magazine. The son of evangelist Billy Graham said that converse to the current U.S. administration, Russian President Vladimir Putin is right to want to protect his country’s children from a homosexual agenda. (Graham’s comments came before Russia’s controversial action in Crimea.)

“To be clear, I am not endorsing President Putin,” Graham wrote. “…His enemies say he is ruthless. To some, he is a modern version of a czar. His personal life has its own controversies.

“Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue – protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda – Russia’s standard is higher than our own?” Read the full story at

KJV is king of translations
Americans read the King James Version of the Bible more often than any other version, according to a new national survey on “The Bible in American Life.” The research, from the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, found just over half of Americans (50.2%) read Scripture in the past year, and 17% of those did so daily. The KJV was read most often by 55% of respondents, followed by the NIV at 19%. Read more findings here.

Bible Drill for the digital age
There’s an app for that – Scripture memorization, that is. The Georgia Baptist Convention has developed a Bible Drill app for smartphones and tablets designed to help kids learn verses and review Bible books. “We hope to have a whole new generation of children who will have a passion for studying God’s Word,” said GBC state missionary Maria Brannen. The app is available from iTunes for $0.99. Read the full story at

Your mood in tweets
Twitter can tell us a lot about how people are feeling, according to data released by the social media giant this month. The network analyzed words used in tweets throughout 2013, noting when “feeling sad” occurs most often (December Sundays and October Mondays), as well as when users are “feeling happy” (Tuesdays in December or January).

Twitter measured tardiness too: Users were most likely to tweet “late for work” on Wednesdays and Fridays in January, and Monday through Wednesday in July. Read more at Twitter’s blog.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

The images in a new video produced by the North American Mission Board serve as reminders of how devastating were the tornadoes that ripped through Illinois, Indiana, and other Midwest states Nov. 17.The two-and-a-half minute clip also tells how Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and local churches, like FBC Washington, helped residents begin to pick up the pieces.

“I don’t know what we would have done, honestly,” says one storm victim helped by DR volunteers. “And it’s such a blessing.” Read more about tornado relief efforts in the Dec. 16 issue of the Illinois Baptist, online here.

Other stories:

Race, religion and Santa Claus
Fox News’ Megyn Kelly stirred up controversy when she said on air that Santa Claus is white – and Jesus is too. Her comments, made in response to a story on, have revived a national conversation on the intersection of faith and race. Kelly’s reference to Santa got plenty of press, probably more than her statement about Jesus’ race. But culture writer Jonathan Merritt says it’s important to remember the Bible is mostly mum on the Messiah’s appearance.

“As some historians and theologians have posited, the silence of the Scriptures on the issue of Jesus’ skin color is critical to Christianity’s broad appeal with people of various ethnicities,” Merritt wrote for The Atlantic. “In a world where race often divides communities and even churches, the Biblical depictions of God’s son positions him as one who can bridge those divides.”

View Kelly’s response to the controversy on

Bible reading tips for everyone
“Stress the simplicity of the Bible, and the people you are hoping will read the Bible next year may begin to wonder if they’re just too dumb to understand it,” says LifeWay’s Trevin Wax. On his blog, he offers advice on “How to get people to read the Bible without making them feel dumb.”

Thousands leave jobs for restaurant gigs
Not really, but @tipsforjesus probably has some considering a change of vocation. Across the country, people are leaving huge tips for restaurant servers under that tag line. The gratuities – some for thousands of dollars – haven’t yet been linked to a specific group or organization, but some believe former Pay Pal executive Jack Selby is behind the generous tips. Read the full story at

Jesus is most successful meme ever
Two researchers have named Jesus the most successful meme in history, based on an analysis of Wikipedia entries about Him. Wondering exactly what a meme is? We were too. Merriam-Webster (via Wikipedia) defines is as “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”

Steven Skiena and Charles Ward have compiled their findings in a book, “Who’s Bigger? Where Historical Figures Really Rank.” Following Jesus on their top 10 list: Napolean, William Shakespeare, Mohammad, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Adolf Hitler, Aristotle, Alexander the Great and Thomas Jefferson.

Read the full story at