Greg Mathias on (Not) Fearing the Beard

Every Wednesday morning we highlight the writing and work of Southeastern’s Center for Great Commission Studies. This week, Associate Director Greg Mathias writes about evangelism and mission to Mormons by way of a bearded case study.

Here’s an excerpt:

Yes, our Mormon friends are in the news again. This time it is not for multiple wives, celestial planets, or sacred undergarments. It’s not even a news flash telling us of the changing fashion trends of your favorite Mormon missionary on two wheels. It is a brouhaha over facial hair choices often associated with No Shave November.

 

A growing group of BYU students are petitioning to have the beard-ban lifted on campus. What’s wrong with beard glory, you ask? Well, from the 1970s onward, the beard is a spiritual faux pas since it is identified with hippies, protesters, revolution, immodest fashion trends, and lack of spiritual cleanliness.

 

While the battle of the beard wages on the BYU campus, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: the beard is not to be feared. Mormons too often try and cozy up to Christianity, but the beard ban is just another example of the incongruity between these two worldviews.

Read the full post here.

The CGCS on Sam and Rachel James

Every so often you meet a person or couple who exude Christ and his love for the nations. Southeastern faculty, staff, and students met such a couple earlier this month when former IMB missionaries Sam and Rachel James visited the campus. The CGCS has a good write up on Sam and Rachel and his book.

Here’s an excerpt:

Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of hosting Sam and Rachel James on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Wisdom, humility, and graciousness were the hallmark of the James family time here on campus, and of course, for over 50 years of missionary service with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Until their retirement in 2013, the majority of their missionary service was among the Vietnamese people.

 

When asked, “What do you need to persevere on the mission field?” Sam James responded with three things: 1) Spiritual maturity, 2) A strong sense of calling, and 3) A sense of humor. His book, Servant on the Edge of History: Risking All for the Gospel in War-Ravaged Vietnam, is replete with all three of these characteristics.

Read the full post here.

The CGCS on Evangelism and Church Planting

As we do every Wednesday morning, today we highlight the work of the Center for Great Commission Studies at Southeastern. Recently, the CGCS folks published a series on evangelism and church planting. Below is an excerpt from part 4 in that series. 

If church planting is an effective method of evangelism, then we need to give attention to strengthening our church planting efforts. In 2007, the Center for Missional Research produced the “Church Plant Survivability and Health Study,” assessing the factors contributing to growth and survivability of SBC plants. One of the study’s central criteria is baptism numbers. Factors associated with higher baptisms included: conducting new member’s classes, having members sign a church covenant, and lead planters being assessed prior to planting.

Click here to read the full post.