Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The prophets of the Hebrew scriptures are known for their warnings of doom and gloom, but even Jeremiah, arguably the gloomiest Old Testament sage, would have tipped his hat to the Rev. David Clippard at the Missouri Baptist Convention's annual meeting here this week.
In his opening address Monday night at Southeast Missouri State's Show Me Center, Clippard sounded off about a number of issues facing the state's 600,000 members, from a dwindling number of young churchgoers to the evils of embryonic stem cell research to falling contributions for international mission trips.
Clippard is the executive director of the state Convention, a fellowship of 2,000 congregations who cooperate with the 16-million member Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Baptist churches that are members of the Southern Baptist Convention operate autonomously, but cooperate on many issues. Sen. Jim Talent, R.-Mo., and Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, are scheduled to address the meeting today.
Clippard reserved his strongest words for what he said he considered paramount for all Americans: the threat of Islam. "Today, Islam has a strategic plan to defeat and occupy America," he told the 1,200-strong crowd of delegates (called "messengers"), pastors and lay people, many of whom cheered his words.