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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell… “Your Christian Values!”

USA-Today is reporting that; 'Don't Ask' repeal raises concerns for chaplains.

The first flush of speed-dialed and pre-composed e-mail reactions to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell came from gay clergy applauding the vote. Now, Sunday morning brings the conservative evangelical voices with dire predictions for its impact on military chaplains.

While some fret over the stress to those chaplains whose religion teaches homosexual behavior is unbiblical, others worry that members of our religiously diverse armed forces could be treated like a captive audience for evangelism.

The Alliance Defense Fund's Daniel Blomberg argues that by bowing to activists, the Senate is placing thereligious liberty of troops and chaplains in "unprecedented jeopardy.

... No Americans, and especially not our troops, should be forced to abandon their religious beliefs. We hope that our nation's leaders will work to ensure that none of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are ever made to choose between serving their country or obeying their God as result of this damaging policy decision.

A Pentagon study concluded that open service would not affect military readiness but it also included some concerns about military "prayerfulness." Some of the military's 3,000 chaplains voiced fears that they would not be able to preach the truth of a religious belief that homosexual behavior is unbiblical.

The Pentagon study summary said,

A large number of military chaplains (and their followers) believe that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination, and that they are required by God to condemn it as such.

Terry Mattingly, founder of the religion media critique site Get Religion, writes in October that thepotential chaplain problem wasn't being fully addressed in the media.

He wondered,

What happens if the conservatives are right and that any advocacy of traditional doctrines by chaplains is labeled "hate speech," with offenders either being punished or simply denied the ability to advance in rank? If you read the views of theological liberals, there will be no problems after repeal, unless there are problems. No one is talking about "hate speech," except for those who believe that conservatives are already guilty of "hate speech."

A few years ago a Military Chaplain shared his concern with me that in the near future it would be the Christians in the Military who would be ordered to “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell… Your Christian Values!”

At the time I did not take his prediction very serious… However, driving to work today I heard the Marine Commandant on the radio saying "the Marine Corps will step out smartly to faithfully implement this new policy. I, and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, will personally lead this effort, thus ensuring the respect and dignity due all Marines." In other words… there will be “Zero Tolerance” for any Marine who does not fully accept Homosexuality as normal behavior. This is a very sad day for all Christians serving in the military.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cotton Picking Days

My father was in the Cotton business in the late 1940’s to early 1950's in Arkansas where he provided gangs of pickers to the farmers. The first order of business in hiring a gang of cotton pickers was to negotiate with the “Community Elder”, without whom you could not hire a single picker. After the negotiations were over, and the number pickers and cost per pound of cotton picked were settled on, my father would go around and pick up all the cotton pickers in a covered flat bed truck with benches on both sides and take them to the fields before daybreak, then drive them back home again in the evening. My father told me that most good pickers could earn enough money in the four months of cotton picking season that they did not have to work very much the rest of the year. It was hard work for sure, and nothing I would like to even attempt to do in order to put food on my family’s table. However, unknown to most people today, it paid good money for the 1950’s.

My father and I have a very close relationship that began when I was in diapers and (I am told) he would take me quail hunting on his shoulders. On one occasion my father, who is now 83 years old, and I were returning home from a deer hunting trip to Camden Alabama, where I spent many a weekend and holiday as a young boy following my father through the oak and pine wooded hills of Wilcox County. Being a little tired we stopped for gas and a cup of coffee at a filling station out by the Interstate highway in Evergreen Alabama. My father, who has never met a stranger, struck up a conversation with the store clerk, a black man, and somehow the clerk caught my father's last name and asked him if he ever lived in Arkansas. My father said, yes but that was back in the 1950's and we have now lived in Florida for the past 50 years. The man then smiled and said your Mr. Alford... the same Mr. Alford that used to come pick me and my brother up each morning to pick cotton.

As someone who grew up in the Old South where calling someone a “Cotton Picker” was a racial insult, I was not sure just where this conversation was headed. I needn’t have worried; for it was like both men had stepped back in time. These were two different men from two very different worlds, one black and one white, whose lives had intersected but briefly in the cotton fields of Arkansas many years ago… yet it became clear very quickly as they embraced that this brief intersection of two different worlds during the “Cotton Picking Days”, now long past, had left loving memories that both men cherished for a lifetime. They sat and talked like old friends for over half an hour, as I tried to absorb as much as I could.

As we were leaving, the clerk (I wish I knew this man’s name) embraced my father once more and ask him to stop by and see him again the next time we came that way. A few weeks later we stopped for gas and coffee on our way back from Camden again, but he no longer worked there and the new clerk did not know him. Over the years we stopped at the same filling station many times, but we never saw him again. Life is like that I suppose, our lives intersect but for a brief moment in time and then moves on.

I am reminded by this story that as I travel through this life of the importance to take time to make friends along the way. "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24 NIV)

Grace Always,

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Christian Faith is a Journey… Not a Destination!

In so much of our religious vocabulary today we here people speak of their faith as if they had already arrived. They say things like; “I got saved back in 2001”, or “I became a Christian when I was in collage”, or “Pastor Jim came to my home and shared the plan of salvation with me and I accepted Christ as my Savior”. Now there is nothing wrong with any of these statements, but I want you to notice that they are all in the past tense.

The apostle Paul spoke of his faith much differently… in Philippians chapter 3 he writes;

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus…”

“…Brethren, be followers together of (with) me”

It is important as we interact with one another in our daily lives, on Facebook, Tweeter, and the Blogs that we understand that we are “all” on a Journey of faith… And that we also make allowances for, and are patient with, those who are not where we are in our understanding of Scriptures and obedience thereunto. Maturity of faith is not a fruit that we ourselves can produce, but is instead a work of the Holy Spirit produced in us by the slow and patient process of conviction and learning to yield to His leading.

So let us learn to be patient, even longsuffering, with one another… For if the apostle Paul would say of himself; “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect” how much more must we say this of ourselves… and how much more must we give allowance unto others for their Journey.

Grace Always,

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

AVATAR - "I See You..."

In the movie Avatar the blue natives of Pandora use the phrase "I see you" as a way of saying; "I see who you really are... behind the mask... beneath the surface... I see your heart!".

This is the way God sees us. He does not see the brave face we put on for the world, or the happy smile that hides our pain. He does not see the spotless image we put forth out of fear that we would be rejected if others knew the depths of our sins... No my friends, God sees us! Let that sink deep into your soul... ... ... God sees us, and the truly incredible part is that he loves us anyway, and he always will!

"Father, may I learn to see others like you see them... and love them like you love them! --- in Jesus name I pray, AMEN"

Monday, November 29, 2010

Waiting on Christmas…

Thanksgiving is over, the turkey is now just a sad looking bunch of bones wrapped in tinfoil on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. The kids have all gone home… and this morning I find myself waiting on Christmas. Waiting is not something I am very good at (just ask my wife), yet it is something that is woven into the very fabric of our faith. Abraham waited for the fulfillment of God’s promise to make of him a great nation; Sarah waited on Isaac; Noah waited first for the rains to come, and then for the rain to stop; Moses waited forty years on the back side of the desert; Jesus himself waited thirty years to begin his earthly ministry; and there are many more examples we could quote. Waiting it seems is a part of God’s perfect plan.

It is important that in our fast paced world of jet aircraft, microwave meals, cell phones, the Internet, and hurrying from one meeting to the next, we remind ourselves once again that God is never rushed, He is never in a hurry, and He is never late. All things will be accomplished according to his perfect will and in his perfect time. In these four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year let me encourage you to slow down, take some time out from your busy schedule each day and from all the shopping and preparing to go “over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house”, and reflect on what Christmas is really all about… and while we may be waiting on Christmas, we are no longer waiting on the Messiah. Christ has come, and the long wait for the fulfillment of God’s promise to save his people from their sins is now over… Salvation has come! That my friends, is why we may debate about the proper way to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus… there is no debate about the significance of this event in redemptive history.

Grace Always,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

(PM)SBC Voices

Is it just me, or has anyone else become annoyed by all the whining going on over at SBC Voices lately?

If it were not for the big SBC Voices logo at the top of the page (claiming to be “open source Southern Baptist news & opinions”) one might think they had stumbled into a bad episode of the Jerry Springer show.

Here is an example of what I am talking about… it comes from an article written by Howell Scott titled Radically Redefining Transparency in the SBC: Part 1”

Scott opens this episode of the show with this outlandish accusation leveled against the members of the Great Commission Task Force… Howell says:

”…the GCR has led to more division and distrust among Southern Baptists,… Not that they will take any responsibility for the increased level of division and distrust within the convention,”

And the show only gets nastier from there.

Scott next claims that by voting to seal the records of the meeting of the GCRTF for 15 years, in order that we not break the assurance of confidentially given to all who were encouraged to freely speak their mind about what was wrong and needed fixing in the SBC, the members of the Convention itself are guilty of voting to radically “redefine transparency within the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Let’s see now… we have been on the air for, what, 5 minutes now, and Scott has accused the members of the GCRTF of causing “division and distrust among Southern Baptists…” and the members of the Convention itself of being dishonest… all because Scott did not get what he wanted in Orlando.

”How dare you not give me what I want… I’ll come over there and scratch your eyes out… You big…

Yep, this is a bad episode of the Jerry Springer show all right… think I will turn the channel.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Humbling Election --- For the Media!

The day after a Historic Republican landslide in the midterm elections the Leftist Secular Media is having a hard time finding anything to smile about.

Gone are the jubilant smiles and laughter that filled the room after the election of President Oboma two years ago… If there was any lingering doubt about the Secular Media being "in the tank" for the Oboma administration, take a hard look at all the sad faces in the room during President Oboma’s speech today.

A Picture is worth a thousand words.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Tyranny of the Two Party System!

The 17th amendment turned the "United States" into an "Empire" ruled by a Totalitarian Government in Washington DC. This is not what our Founding Fathers gave their lives and fortunes to establish… It is blatantly unconstitutional, and should be repealed! If you love freedom and are feed up with living under the Tyranny of the two party system… Be a voice for freedom and repost this article to your Blog and your Facebook page.

Republican Candidates Call for Repeal of Seventeenth Amendment

Monday, October 25, 2010


Thanks to "Radical" Judicial Activism, and Bill McCollum, HOMOSEXUAL ADOPTION is now legal in the Socialist Republic of Florida! The Florida Family Policy Council just released the following disturbing announcement.



Gill Decision, Which Now Appears to Be the
Judge-Made Law of the Land in Florida, Elevates the
Adult Desires of a Radical Minority Over what is Best for Children

(Orlando, FL) Today, Friday, October 22, 2010, the Attorney General of the State of Florida, Bill McCollum, announced that his office would not be taking an appeal of the Gill case, which struck down Florida’s long standing prohibition on homosexual adoptions, to the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Family Policy Council, a leading opponent and legal critic of the Miami Court’s decision, released the following statement:

We are disappointed that DCF, the Governor, and now the Attorney General has failed to take the appeal and defend Florida’s adoption law that rightly seeks to place children in homes with both a mother and a father. We have been in active communication with the Attorney General’s office on this matter and understand there are some legitimate and complex legal issues which have persuaded his office to make this decision. We also recognize that the current 5-2 left leaning make up of Florida’s Supreme Court (directly created by Governor Crist’s recent judicial appointments) would likely have not ruled to uphold the statute either. Nonetheless, for both the sake of legal finality, and the accountability of the judiciary, we believe the appeal should have been taken.
Gay-identified activists will herald the Gill case as some sort of a victory. But sadly, the decision only comes at the expense of the children who the social science research overwhelmingly demonstrates do better in every category when raised by both a married mom and dad. The Court only asked the narrow question of whether homosexual parents “harm” children. The Court never asked what research shows is best for children. Arguably, orphanages don’t “harm” children either, but this is certainly not what is best. The court’s illegitimate decision, which appears to now be the judge-made law of the land, has elevated the adult desires of a radical minority over what is clearly best for children-- namely to be placed with both a mother and a father. The official public policy in Florida is now that two dads are just as good as a mom and a dad, and yet research bears out that this is empirically false.

# # #
For More Information Contact:
Nathan Dunn, Vice President of Public Policy

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Wish You Enough

Recently I overheard a Father and daughter in their last moments, together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate they hugged and the Father said, 'I love you, and I wish you enough.'

The daughter replied, 'Dad, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Dad.'

They kissed and she left. The Father walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'

'Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?' 'I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral,' he said.

'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?'

He began to smile. 'That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone...' He paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and he smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them. Then turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright, no matter how gray the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

He then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them; but then an entire life to forget them.

(Author Unknown)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Plea for Help!


I have just received word at our Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting last night that our small local Christian School in Defuniak Springs, that is run by a 86 year old saint of a Christian Lady that volunteers her time in order to keep the doors of the School open, is behind in paying their bills by more than $6,000 dollars due to the downturn in the economy. That may not sound like much to you, but it is huge to this very small Christian School. The School is really suffering and the Children are now selling donuts to try and keep the lights on.

If anyone would like to help me keep the doors of “The Galilean Academy” in Defuniak Springs, Florida, open for our children you can send a check to [First Baptist Church, 2877 Highway 81 N., Ponce de Leon, Florida 32455] Please make any checks out to First Baptist Church and put “Galilean Academy” in the note…


Friday, September 17, 2010

“Doctrine - and the Face of God”

As men and women of faith; we do never hold our opinions on any matter of doctrine, or issue of life, independent and separate from our views concerning the very nature and character of God. To the contrary, our understanding of the nature and character of God underpins and greatly influences all our opinions, doctrine, and general overall worldview.

Each individual opinion, or doctrine, that we hold tells us something about our personal convictions concerning who God truly is.

Therefore, the doctrines we believe are, as it were, single threads that when woven together make up the fabric of our faith upon which a mosaic of the face of our God may be clearly seen.

This is a profound truth that many, who engage in theological debate, do never stop to consider. What do my opinions, and the doctrines I defend, say about my God?

Grace Always,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Defense of Virginia and the South

‎"A Defense of Virginia and the South" by R.L. Dabney is a book that every Southern Christian should read carefully, and then re-read it again! I am very much aware that many of my fellow Southerners may be a little embarrassed that I now take up the cause to defend the Christian nature of the Old South, but I like Dabney do so without hesitation and without apology.

Dabney explains his motivation for writing his ‘A Defense of Virginia and the South’ by saying:

To the conquerors of my native State, and perhaps to some of her sons, a large part of the following defense will appear wholly unseasonable… But my purpose in the following pages is, first and chiefly, to lay this pious and final defense upon the tomb of my murdered mother, Virginia… The last and only office that remains to her sons is to leave their testimony for her righteous fame – feeble it may be now, amidst the din of passion and material power, yet inextinguishable as Truth’s own torch.
The most fearful consequence of the despotic government to which the South is now subjected, is not the plundering of our goods, nor the abridgment of privileges, nor the death of innocent men, but the degrading and debauching of the moral sensibilities and principles of the helpless victims… The wisest, kindest, most patriotic thing which any man can do for his country, amidst such calamities, is to aid in preserving and reinstating the tottering principles of his countrymen; to teach them, while they give place to inexorable force, to abate nothing of righteous convictions and of self –respect.
--- R.L. Dabney

Irrespective of one’s personal convictions concerning the institution of slavery in all the States (Northern and Southern) of the former United States of America no honest student of American history can point to an age in which it’s people were more deeply pious than we find in the southern states of the Old South prior to the war of northern aggression that brought an end to one form of slavery only to give birth to another in which all its citizens would eventually become indentured servants (slaves) to the government through an ever increasing and unconstitutional system of federal taxation upon the person income (labor) of its once free citizens. If the contest between the states truly ever freed any of the citizens of this nation, that freedom was to endure less than a hundred years.

I say “former United States of America” for the union of coequal commonwealth states that existed prior to the war of northern aggression is long dead, and long replaced by an Imperial and Unconstitutional Federal Government that is an anathema to the principals of a union between free, coequal, and self-governing states envisioned by the Founding Fathers of this nation. The opening words to the movie ‘Lord of the Rings’ rings hauntingly true when viewed toward the history of this nation; “Much that once was has now been lost, for there are none now alive who remember.”

Get the book ‎"A Defense of Virginia and the South" by R.L. Dabney and read it carefully for it was written by one who lived through the great disaster of that time, and it’s truths are so well documented that no historian has ever attempted to refute what Dabney writes. It will change your understanding of life in the former Free States of the Old South, and it will challenge your former opinions of the character of her people.

Deo Vindice ........."God Will Vindicate"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Evolution? It's a Lie!"

“Evolution? It’s a Lie!”

Charles Brock put this on our Church Sign at First Baptist Church of Ponce de Leon Florida two weeks ago and people from out of state (Tennessee, Alabama, etc) have been stopping in our church parking lot to have their picture taken with our sign. I found that just a little unsettling… Have we so bought into the lie of Evolution that no one will even speak out against it in our day for fear of being labeled a religious nut?

Regardless of how you interpret the creation account in Genesis… Evolution is an insidious lie and perhaps the greatest scientific “Hoax” of all time. The falsified evidence in support of this key doctrine of the secular/atheist worldview has been fully exposed and refuted by modern molecular biology and yet we continue to “tip toe” around this issue. Please get “The Truth Project” videos from Focus on the Family and show them to your church, family, and everyone else you can get to watch them. Dr Del Tackett is just awesome in this video series!

Grace Always,

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Are The Children of The Conservative Resurgence becoming "Moderates"?

With the results of the 2010 SBC Convention in Orlando now in the history books, specifically the passing of the GCRTF recommendations by an overwhelming margin, the election of Frank Page as Executive Committee President, and the election of Bryant Wright as SBC President some have ask if the SBC is becoming more "Moderate".

I can see how some would ask this question, yet in my opinion, the positive changes we are beginning to see in the SBC are not a result of the "Children of the Conservative Resurgence" becoming more moderate or even "Moderates". From my perspective, if anything, the Children of the Conservative Resurgence are becoming more Biblical.

The Conservative Resurgence taught their Children that "The Holy Bible... is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author... without any mixture of error... Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy... and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world... the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried..."

The Children of the Conservative Resurgence believed what their fathers taught them... and as a result have rejected both Liberalism, which denies the clear teaching of Scripture, and Fundamentalism, which adds the opinions of man to the clear teaching of Scripture. So it is that we can expect both the Liberal and the Fundamentalist to view the Children of the Conservative Resurgence as becoming more "Moderate" (and from their point of view they are), but in truth they are becoming more "Biblical".

And this is the most positive thing I see coming out of the preceding of the 2010 SBC Convention in Orlando.

Grace Always,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The GCRTF “Secret Agenda” Revealed!

In a post on his Blog, Between the Times, today Daniel Akin, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, made a stunning admission to the reality of the “True” Agenda behind the GCRTF. Concerning the GCRTF recommendations Akin makes the following comment:

It sends a strong signal where Southern Baptists want to go in terms of what we emphasize and what we support. In the “Axioms of a GCR” message, it was stated that Southern Baptists could come together and would support that which promotes 1) International Missions, 2) Aggressive Church Planting and 3) Healthy Theological Education. Here is a 3-prong vision that transcends generational and methodological differences. Here is a captivating agenda that can lead us into our greatest days as a Great Commission people”

Absolutely Stunning!

Grace Always,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SBC Convention Update

2010 SBC Annual Meeting Update (July 15, 5:20)

The (Southern Baptist) World has changed…

I have been glued to my computer screen all day today watching the live-stream of the 2010 Convention in Orlando, and I thought that I might post on some of what I have seen so far.

There were 10,994 messengers registered (I think I got that number correct, if not I am not off by much.) This number was well up from previous years, and is a good sign. I do not know yet, but it is my suspicion the increased numbers are due to many of the younger generation attending for the first time in many years.

The Great Commission Resurgence Taskforce Recommendation was approved by a majority of the messengers in Orlando. Not being there and no numbers given I do not know by how large of percent this passed. But pass it did! So bring on the naysayers…

There was much (and sometimes passionate) debate and many attempts to modify the recommendations failed, however one amendment to modify the language of recommendation number 3 to basically say that direct giving is to be considered “supplemental to Cooperative Program giving” did pass. This amendment was in reality just semantics and does not change the substance of recommendation number 3 at all. In a powerful display of seeking to preserve the unity of the convention the GCRTF committee itself joined in with the messenger who made the motion to create a compromise language on recommendation number 3 that in the end may very well have won the day for the entire GCRTF Recommendations which went on to pass easily.

First Round of voting on the next President of the SBC:

Bryant Wright 36.84%

Ted Traylor 29.18%

Jimmy Jackson 26%

Leo Endel 6.32%

Wright and Traylor will advance to the second round of voting.

The low-point (and low blow) of today’s proceedings at the convention, was the address by outgoing Executive Committee President, Morris Chapman. Who last year used his time before the convention to bash Calvinism and this year used his time to bash the GCRTF recommendations. One good thing that Morris Chapman said and to which I gave a hearty amen (howbeit in my office) was when he said this would be his “Last Address to the Southern Baptist Convention.” Amen, and Amen!

Morris Chapman should be the poster boy for a campaign to limit the term of anyone serving as Executive Committee President to no more than 8 years.

By the way Frank Page has been elected to be the next Executive Committee President…

Grace Always,

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

“Baptist Identity" Movement Endorses Jimmy Jackson

The Baptist Identity Movement have chosen their man for SBC President and it’s Jimmy Jackson.

If the Fighting Fundamentalist over at SBC Today have found their man in Jimmy Jackson, that is enough to give me pause in considering him for President of the SBC.

Just saying…

GCRTF and Fading Fundamentalism

In the ebb and flow of the ever changing tides of influence in the Southern Baptist Convention; Fundamentalism, with it ridged set of qualifications for acceptance in SBC Leadership circles, appears (Thankfully) to be fading.

DISCLAIMER: “For those of you who do not truly know me; I am a Biblical Conservative, a 100% supporter of the Conservative Resurgence, and have been for over 20 years now! Additionally, I do not equate the Conservative Resurgence with Fundamentalism as some of the critics of the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC often do."

The influence of Fundamentalist ideology has certainly found fertile ground and expression among some members of the Conservative Resurgence over the last twenty plus years , perhaps hitting its high-water mark with the disastrous IMB policies that sought to regulate the private devotion of our missionaries and the baptism policy of the autonomous churches that make up the Southern Baptist Convention. Be that as it may, the Conservative Resurgence as a whole cannot in any reasonable discussion be considered a Fundamentalist movement. The battle cry of the Conservative Resurgence, around which the autonomous churches of the SBC rallied, was the inerrancy of Scripture (Solo Scriptoria) and not conformity to the leaders of the Conservative Resurgence idea of a “Baptist Identity”.

Some bloggers have tried to equate the work of the GCRTF with the end of the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC and have even ask if the adoption of GCRTF recommendations will actually amount to a takeover of the SBC and an end to the Conservative Resurgence itself. In a recent Blog post titled "GCRTF Takeover of the SBC?", Les Puryear lays out the argument that the passing of the GCRTF recommendations will mark the end of the “Conservative Resurgence” and sweep prominent members of the Task force into key leadership positions within the SBC.

Les writes:

“Word on the street is that after the GCR recommendations are passed in Orlando and the controversy dies down, that Ronnie Floyd will be the next NAMB President. Also, word on the street has it that Danny Akin will take the IMB Presidential slot. If Ted Traylor wins the SBC Presidential election in Orlando, then the GCRTF will have their members in all four key positions in the SBC. Thus, the transition from the "old guard" Conservative Resurgence will be complete and the Hunt/Akin/Floyd/ coalition, who can arm-twist with the best of them, will be in power.

I am not that well connected to the political network inside the SBC to be able to say whether or not Les knows what he is talking about here, and really I don’t want to be that connected. Regardless of that, I do think that Les is correct in that clearly a transition is in the making. Les appears to believe that this transition will mark an end to the “old guard” Conservative Resurgence (whatever that is?), and that this will be a bad thing for the SBC.

I, on the other hand, believe that in the passing of the GCRTF recommendations we will be witnessing the passing of the baton from one generation of Conservatives in the SBC to the next generation of Conservatives in the SBC, and far from being something bad for the SBC, this will be something very positive for the SBC. Why? Well, for without fanfare or applause the passing of the GCRTF recommendations, and the selection of new leadership that will surely follow, will mark a turning point in the SBC… and a defeat (at least in part) of the Fundamentalist Ideology that has caused so much harm to our cooperation in the last few years.

Honestly, I am not sure (and I don’t think anyone else is) exactly how the adoption of the GCRTF recommendations will impact the various ministries of the SBC… But one thing I know for sure is this; the adoption of the GCRTF recommendations will be a huge blow to the Fundamentalist Ideology of the Baptist Identity Movement in the SBC. And this is a very good thing for the future of cooperation in the Convention.

Grace Always,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The C.P. 10% Idol

The SBC Majority Initiative has Endorsed Jimmy Jackson for SBC President.

In light of the SBC Majority’s own list of qualifications for SBC candidates, which says A man whose church gives a minimum of 10% of total undesignated funds to the Cooperative Program. and the fact that Jimmy Jacksons’s church gives just 5% to the CP, has raised some questions about the proper percentage a church in the SBC should be giving to the CP.

Let me start this discussion by saying that Jimmy Jackson is, by all accounts, a good choice for President of the SBC and unless something changes my mind I will be supporting Brother Jimmy.

Now, concerning the main point of this post, I personally (and I don’t want to pick a fight with my friends here) think we need to be very careful that we do not make the percentage one’s church gives to the CP the end all “litmus test” for one being qualified for the position of SBC President.

There are a number of real and valid reasons why a church, large or small, may not give 10% to the CP. One of which might be providing food and shelter for a Widow within the local church, or writing a check to the local crises pregnancy center in order that they might keep their lights on and their doors open for another month, instead of sending an extra 1% to the CP in order that their Pastor might be considered “qualified” for SBC President. In such cases as these I don’t think that any of us would vote for a man who chose to ignore the needs of his own church and community in order to send his 10% to the CP.

Giving to the CP in order that we might equip and send missionaries to a lost and dying world is, of course, a noble and worthy cause… I ’m just saying that this 10% “litmus test” can become is “slippery slope” and we need to be careful that we do not create a false standard of righteousness by which we measure our leaders in the SBC.

Grace Always,

Monday, April 05, 2010

SBC Today - Three Blind Mice

The “Three Blind Mice” over at SBC Today are now decrying, of all things; “Great Commission Giving”.

Are you kidding me? I wish I were making this up… but, sadly it is not April fool’s Day, and I am not making this up. Today Tim Rogers posted a lengthy screed entitled “Great Commission Giving–The Dumbing Down of the Cooperative Program”

Apparently Tim is deeply concerned about the Great Commission Task Force recommendation to give the local Baptist Church the authority to direct its mission giving to the Southern Baptist causes it deems are the most important and worthy of receiving their missions offerings.

Just how Tim equates this recommendation of the Great Commission Task Force with the “Dumbing Down of the Cooperative Program” is anyone’s guess. Personally, I think Tim is just spewing inflammatory rhetoric here, but that is nothing new. Beyond the absurd title, Tim goes on in this article to make the ridiculous claim that this recommendation actually mutes the Cooperative Program while quashing local church autonomy.

Yes, Tim I can clearly see how actually giving local churches a voice in the SBC as to how their mission dollars are being spent would quash the Baptist Principal of local church autonomy… NOT!

Tim tries, unsuccessfully, in this article to build his argument against this recommendation by bringing in charts and comments from other bloggers and by saying over and over that this will dumb down the Cooperative Program. As if saying it over and over will win the day. It will not.

Reading this article through it is not difficult to discover what has set Tim off… He writes:

The combining of the CP with other designated mission monies has not seen this problem in the past. Why? Churches were not supposed to be wooed by entities to give for special projects. No one knows when this changed but it did and we are reaping the bad fruit from this practice. Now we have churches giving more of their funds directly to various entities.”

O the tragedy of it all!!! Southern Baptist Churches have had their local autonomy quashed… Local Southern Baptist Churches are in ever increasing numbers deciding (of all things at the local church level) just where their missions giving will go. This must not be allowed to happen in the Southern Baptist Convention!!! --- [Sarcasm Intended]

To truly understand what has the Blind Mice over at SBC Today so upset with this recommendation, one only need to realize just WHO these local churches in ever increasing numbers are NOT sending their missions offering to, and the fact that under this recommendation direct giving to entities would be counted toward qualifying churches for sending messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Contrary to Tim’s opinion, this recommendation is a huge step in the right direction for building a brighter future for the SBC… It is in my opinion long overdue and is something that will in practice build greater cooperation throughout the SBC by getting the local churches directly involved in the work of the SBC (something sorely missing today). And just the opposite of what Tim says; by keeping these decisions at the local church level it will empower and undergird the autonomy of the local church… not quash it. Any claim to the contrary is absurd at best, and perhaps even disingenuous.

Grace Always,

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

SBC Today and Spurgeon

In his ongoing attempt to defend the peculiar doctrine of the “Baptist Identity” movement, David Worley posted a quote by Spurgeon on the SBC Today Blog where Spurgeon makes several comments that have been used for years by the proponents of the Landmark (Now Baptist Identity) movement to bolster support for their inflated claims concerning Baptist History.

Here is Spurgeon’s comment:

”We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the Reformation, we were reformers before Luther or Calvin was born; we never came from the Church of Rome, for we were never in it, but we have an unbroken line up to the Apostles themselves. We have always existed from the very days of Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel underground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents. Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect, yet there has never existed a government holding Baptist principles which persecuted others; nor, I believe, any body of Baptists ever held it to be right to put the consciences of others under the control of man. We have ever been ready to suffer, as our martyrologies will prove, but we are not ready to accept any help from the State, to prostitute the purity of the Bride of Christ to any alliance with Government, and we will never make the Church, although the Queen, the despot over the consciences of men.”

I am not at all embarrassed that Spurgeon made these comments… I believe the “Baptist Identity” guys take these comments and grossly overstate Spurgeon’s agreement with the peculiar view of Baptist and Church history promoted by their fringe movement, but I am not embarrassed by Spurgeon making them. If Spurgeon were alive today I think it would be very enlightening to hear his explanation of these comments, and I think David would be very disappointed with Spurgeon’s explanation.

On a slightly different note, I am very pleased to see that the guys over at SBC Today have decided to adopt Spurgeon as the authority on Baptist doctrine and Identity… Very Pleased Indeed! Why? Because the same Spurgeon who made the above comment also made the following comment:

"The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again."—C. H. Spurgeon

Are you guys at SBC Today sure you like Spurgeon?

Grace Always,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Earliest Known Hebrew Writing

The topic of the following article by Clara Moskowitz at is worthy of discussion in and of itself… (I just love it when science finally discovers that, in spite of all the cynicism from those who have scoffed at the Biblical record for the last two hundred years, what the Bible says is true after all.)

However, in this post I do not so much want to discus the implications of this discovery on our understanding of when the Bible was possibly written… but instead I want to discuss the content of this discovery. Indeed it is quite fascinating to discover a pottery shard with Hebrew writing dating back to the period of King David’s reign… But what is equally amazing to me it that the scientists get all excited about the age of this discovery, and completely ignore the content of the message itself. To me this is like being the caption of the Titanic and getting a warning message of a massive iceberg directly in your path and being so excited over this wonderful new technology (wireless) that allows ships to talk to one another that you completely forget to read the message.

Anyway, I digress… It’s the message that’s important not the pottery shard itself.

(Article begins here)

Bible Possibly Written Centuries Earlier, Text Suggests

Clara Moskowitz
LiveScience Staff Writer

Scientists have discovered the earliest known Hebrew writing - an inscription dating from the 10th century B.C., during the period of King David's reign.

The breakthrough could mean that portions of the Bible were written centuries earlier than previously thought. (The Bible's Old Testament is thought to have been first written down in an ancient form of Hebrew.)

Until now, many scholars have held that the Hebrew Bible originated in the 6th century B.C., because Hebrew writing was thought to stretch back no further. But the newly deciphered Hebrew text is about four centuries older, scientists announced this month.

"It indicates that the Kingdom of Israel already existed in the 10th century BCE and that at least some of the biblical texts were written hundreds of years before the dates presented in current research," said Gershon Galil, a professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa in Israel, who deciphered the ancient text.

BCE stands for "before common era," and is equivalent to B.C., or before Christ.

The writing was discovered more than a year ago on a pottery shard dug up during excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, near Israel's Elah valley. The excavations were carried out by archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At first, scientists could not tell if the writing was Hebrew or some other local language.

Finally, Galil was able to decipher the text. He identified words particular to the Hebrew language and content specific to Hebrew culture to prove that the writing was, in fact, Hebrew.

"It uses verbs that were characteristic of Hebrew, such as asah ('did') and avad ('worked'), which were rarely used in other regional languages," Galil said. "Particular words that appear in the text, such as almanah ('widow') are specific to Hebrew and are written differently in other local languages."

The ancient text is written in ink on a trapezoid-shaped piece of pottery about 6 inches by 6.5 inches (15 cm by 16.5 cm). It appears to be a social statement about how people should treat slaves, widows and orphans. In English, it reads (by numbered line):

1' you shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
2' Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an]
3' [and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and]
4' the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king.
5' Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger.

The content, which has some missing letters, is similar to some Biblical scriptures, such as Isaiah 1:17, Psalms 72:3, and Exodus 23:3, but does not appear to be copied from any Biblical text.

(End of article)

The principals (ideals) of social conduct contained on this simple shard of pottery dating back to the period of King David are simply extraordinary.

1st – That it was written upon a clay tablet indicates that the wisdom it contented (the message) was of such importance that it should be persevered for all future generations.

2nd – The text is in essence a “Constitution” or “Social Contract” laying down the very foundational rules for this society.

3rd – This society is first of all to be a “Religious Society” and not a “Secular Society”. The establishment of a purely secular state, so entrenched in the thinking of our society today, is not found here.

4th – In this society “Religious Tolerance” is NOT a virtue. God alone is to be worshiped.

5th – Justice for all, regardless of their station in life, is to be one of the foundational principals upon which this society is built. Regarless if one is a slave, a widow, an orphan, or even a stranger (Immigrant) in the land, all are to be treated justly.

6th – Unlike in other societies, where the strong rule over the weak and the defenseless, in this society the rights of the weak and the defenseless are to be earnestly protected. I am deeply moved by the fact that the earliest known Hebrew writing ever discovered says; “Plead for the Infant” . Which I strongly believe applies to the unborn child and the ongoing abortion holocaust of the last fifty years.

7th – And lastly the Poor, the Slave, and the Stranger (Immigrant) are not to be abused, or taken advantage of.

I may come back and expand upon my initial observations latter (depending upon if anyone is interested or not), but duty calls me away and I must end this post for now.

Grace Always,