June 23, 1999

LifeWay name change called successful
___By Lacy Thompson
___Louisiana Baptist Message
___ATLANTA--Changing the name of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board to LifeWay Christian Resources has been received with enthusiasm, Jimmy Draper told messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 15.
___Draper, president of the Nashville, Tenn.-based publishing house, said the LifeWay name is based on John 14:6, which proclaims Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. "We
JIMMY DRAPER gives the report of LifeWay Christian Resources, saying the agency's name change was well-received during the last year. (BP photo by Gibbs Frazeur)
feel that the very name itself is an opportunity for us to say that our task is to help introduce people to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior."
___Draper cited several projects underway at the publishing agency, including the preparation of a new strategy for Sunday school and a new Bible translation.
___"It is a Bible without compromise," Draper said of the translation. "It is a Bible for the 21st century and beyond. ... It is accurate and literal, yet smooth and readable. It invites memorization and reading aloud and dedicated study. ... Pray for us. We want to preserve the integrity of God's word into the 21st century."
___In response to the report, a messenger voiced a concern that LifeWay's mission seems to have changed from the service of Southern Baptist churches to one of making profits. The messenger cited the decision not to allow non-LifeWay stores to sell Sunday school material, the publication of the new Bible translation and the markup on materials published by other Southern Baptist agencies.
___Draper responded that LifeWay seeks to provide materials at the lowest-possible cost to churches. Providing materials to non-LifeWay stores would affect the agency's ability to make such prices available to churches, he said.
___Also, the new Bible translation is designed simply to preserve the integrity of the Bible and actually will be completed at quite a cost to the agency, he said.
___Finally, Draper responsed, LifeWay simply charges what other agencies tell them to charge for their materials.
___Another messenger expressed a concern that the new Bible translation would push aside the King James Version.
___Draper said LifeWay will continue to make the King James and New KingJames versions available. However, he said, both versions are losing readership to translations that may not be adequate.
___"We will still have a place in our materials for the King James. We have no desire to replace that," he said. "But we really prefer to replace some of the more recent translations that are becoming more interested in political correctness than biblical accuracy."
___A third messenger asked why radio advertisements for new LifeWay stores referred to them as owned by a non-profit organization instead of by the Southern Baptist Convention. Draper said he could not answer the question but would get an answer if the messenger would write to him.
___Also during LifeWay's presentation, Draper presented leatherbound copies of "A Hill on Which to Die" to Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson. The book, written by Pressler, is an account of the organized movement to turn the convention in a more conservative direction beginning in 1979. Pressler and Patterson are credited as architects of that shift.
___"This is not a tract for victory, but it's rather an explanation of what occurred," Pressler said in response. "I had to wait until the battle was over to write this because I did not want to write it in such a way that people would think that I was arguing for victory.
___"The greatest joy that ... I have is to see the young people who are now in our Southern Baptist seminaries and to realize the instruction that they are receiving," Pressler said. "God has brought our convention a long way. And I have tried in this book to explain the pitfalls and the dangers I see ahead.
___"It has been well said that the only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history," Pressler continued.
___"If Southern Baptists fail to learn from history, we are in real trouble. And it is in the hope that Southern Baptists learn from history that this book has been written."

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