Louis Lehman Dies At 72

Well-known pastor and radio preacher Louis Paul Lehman collapsed during a Christmas Eve service at his Grand Rapids, Michigan, church. He was pronounced dead shortly after midnight at a local hospital.

The 72-year-old pastor of Calvary Undenominational Church was performing a 45-minute skit in front of 2,500 churchgoers. When he collapsed, Lehman was walking toward a Christmas tree on stage, carrying a paper chain that he and one of his granddaughters had made.

Lehman became a Christian at age six in a Sunday school class at Chicago’s Moody Church. He started preaching at the age of nine, and three years later he and his parents began traveling around the Midwest, where he preached in tent meetings. At age 15, he founded Franklin Gospel Tabernacle in Franklin, Pennsylvania. He was ordained as a Baptist minister at age 17, and for the next 40 years he was heard over more than 80 radio stations.

“The ministry is a calling, rather than a career,” Lehman wrote. “It is a passion, not just a profession.”

He pastored Calvary Undenominational Church in Grand Rapids from 1952 to 1964, when he resigned to assume a full-time position as radio preacher and Bible conference speaker. He retired in 1983, but was later called back to Calvary when its pastor became seriously ill. Lehman served as the church’s interim pastor until his death.


A New Mission Agency

A group of conservative Southern Baptists has created a missions organization, called the Genesis Commission, to recruit and finance like-minded pastors who will plant Baptist churches.

“About eight months ago I felt led to start an organization to plant churches,” said Bill Darnell, a former Memphis pastor who serves as executive director of the Genesis Commission. “We’re targeting Mexico for church planting work, using national pastors indigenous to their areas. We’d like to start thousands of churches [in many countries].”

Darnell said the Genesis Commission will not compete for support with the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board. “I think there’s so much money in this world, we’re petty and little when we think this way [about competition]. If we’re winning people to Jesus, that’s the bottom line.…”

However, Foreign Mission Board president R. Keith Parks views it differently. “The only support we have comes from Southern Baptists,” he said. “If they [the Genesis Commission] go to the same Southern Baptists for support, I can’t see it as being anything else than direct competition.”

The 14.5 million-member Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has been divided since 1979 by a power struggle between conservatives and moderates. But SBC president Adrian Rogers said the formation of the Genesis Commission is not related to the power struggle.


Sexually Active Teens

A poll conducted by Louis Harris and Associates indicates that more than half of all American teenagers are sexually active by the age of 17. The poll, conducted for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, also found that one-third of teenagers have never discussed sex with their parents.

“Almost three out of every ten teens, aged 12 to 17, say they have had sexual intercourse,” said Humphrey Taylor, president of the Harris polling organization. “… The proportion increases with age, from 4 percent of 12-year-olds and 10 percent of 13-year-olds to 46 percent of 16-year-olds and 57 percent of 17-year-olds.”

According to the survey, teens begin sexual activity at a younger age if they come from families of lower socio-economic status, have below-average grades, do not attend school, are unemployed, live with only one parent, or have parents who are not college graduates.

The teenagers polled cited social pressure as the chief reason most teens do not delay sexual intercourse. Girls mentioned peer pressure most frequently, followed by pressure from boys. Boys cited social pressure first, followed by sexual needs and curiosity.

The survey results are based on in-person interviews with 1,000 American youth, aged 12 to 17, during September and October 1986.


Briefly Noted

Died: Hulda A. Maier, widow of the late Walter A. Maier, founder of “The Lutheran Hour” radio program. Mrs. Maier died December 27, her 96th birthday, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She helped edit many of her huband’s 31 books and assisted in responding to many of the hundreds of thousands of letters he received every year. She also authored articles and booklets of her own.

Dismissed: By a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, a lawsuit contending that rock singer Ozzy Osbourne’s music drove a teenager to commit suicide. Superior Court Judge John L. Cole rejected the plaintiffs’ assertions that hidden lyrics in the song “Suicide Solution” exempt the recording from First Amendment protection. The attorney representing the parents filing the suit said he would appeal for a dismissal of Cole’s ruling.

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Increased: The number of unmarried American couples that live together. The number of such couples topped the 2 million mark for the first time last year, according to the Census Bureau, reaching 2.22 million. The figure for 1985 was 1.98 million.

Upheld: By the Supreme Court of Canada, an Ontario law that requires most retailers to close on Sunday. The province’s Retail Business Holidays Act sets fines of up to $10,000 for nonexempt stores that do business on Sundays. The law is supported by church and organized labor groups. But large retail chains and some religious groups, including the Canadian Jewish Congress, oppose the law.

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