The Baptist Messenger is first and foremost a news journal. The Messenger has never sought to be a hard-driving, investigative news outlet; rather it is designed to tell the story of the work of Oklahoma and Southern Baptists. We want you to be informed of what is happening in our local churches, associations, state and national conventions. Each week, the Messenger includes numerous articles that describe the people of God called Southern Baptists serving on mission for Christ locally and to the ends of the Earth.
The Messenger staff is committed to keeping our Baptist family informed regarding moral and ethical issues confronting us. These often are played on the stage of deliberating bodies of government. Since our government is for the people and by the people, we have opportunity to influence the actions of our legislative bodies. While we will not support a political party or candidate, we will address political issues of significant moral and ethical nature. We unapologetically call for action consistent with our biblical worldview.
The Messenger also serves as a promotional outlet for the ministries and mission work of our cooperative effort. The hallmark of Southern Baptists is willingness to cooperate together to do more than we could do alone. Our convention and Messenger staff want to keep you informed about our “together” ministries. Partnership mission stories and promotion of major events are central to the work of the Messenger. Our publication is more than a church newsletter, but we make no apology for utilizing this tool for promoting the various ministry events and the work of our affiliates—Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Baptist Village Communities and The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma.
The Messenger provides more than news and promotion. Across the years, we have sought to use the Messenger as a teaching and discipling tool. For many years, Herschel Hobbs wrote an article each week focused on one area of doctrine from the Baptist Faith and Message. Later, Alan Day did the same. Our goal was to educate Baptist people about the core beliefs we jointly hold dear. Today, articles by convention staff, pastors and staff of our churches, and leaders from across the Southern Baptist Convention focus on areas designed to grow us individually and our churches corporately in ministry skills, doctrine and spiritual growth.
This week, we are introducing a new informational tool called Messenger Insight. It is a quarterly, four-page insert that deals with issues of importance to Baptist faith and practices. Messenger Insight speaks to doctrinal, ethical and practical issues that impact our churches, the convention and Baptists in general. Our desire is to present the subject from multiple viewpoints. Theologians, pastors, denominational leaders and others will be utilized to provide a kaleidoscope of perspectives on issues addressed.
The first Messenger Insight is included in this edition of the Messenger. The subject is the public invitation. While the public invitation has long been a staple among Southern Baptists, a new wind is blowing among younger leaders to modify and, in some cases, stop its use. We believe it is an issue worthy of discussion and thoughtful consideration, and we have sought to give a historical and theological foundation to the discussion. Pastors are utilized to address the issue from the perspective of practitioners. We are very pleased with this first edition of Messenger Insight and hope you will find it informative and interesting.
Future issues will focus on eschatology, doctrines of grace (sometimes called Calvinism), Christian worldview and other topics of interest. Give us feedback—suggest subjects you would like for us to tackle. We would love to hear from you regarding Messenger Insight.
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.