DIRECTORS OF MISSIONS: VITAL SERVANTS

By Nathan A. Finn
Dean, School Of Theology & Missions, Union University

Nathan Finn

Nathan Finn

As Baptists, we believe that “ground zero” for the Great Commission’s advance is the local church. Ministries, kingdom-minded institutions, and even denominations come and go over time, but the local church will endure until Jesus returns. As such, we argue that being the pastor of a local church is the most strategic ministry role in the kingdom. But it’s not the only strategic role. Aside from local church pastors, I’m increasingly convinced that directors of missions (DOMs) are the most strategic kingdom servants in Baptist life.  [Read more…]

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REMEMBER THIS: IT’S NEVER WRONG TO PRAY

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

PrayHands-portraitChalk up another victory for political correctness.

A school system in Tennessee has to go to the time and expense of providing training to employees on the constitutional law concerning “the application of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses in public schools” (see story here).

All of this is happening because a Tennessee Baptist youth pastor dared to do what’s right — pray for an injured high school football player. [Read more…]

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WHY PLATT’S APOLOGY IS IMPORTANT

By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, TBMB

“I’m sorry.”

Two words that carry profound meaning and trigger acts of reconciliation. They admit a wrong, communicate humility, express a desire for forgiveness and move people toward a unified future.

David Platt

David Platt

And that’s precisely why David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, needed to say he was sorry to Southern Baptists for the amicus brief the IMB offered last summer in support of the building of a New Jersey mosque.

Platt’s apology was delivered to state convention executives, state paper editors and a number of other denominational leaders recently gathered in California for meetings. The reaction to a story written by Baptist and Reflector Editor Lonnie Wilkey titled, “Platt Apologizes to Southern Baptists,” has been interesting. One friend of mine categorically stated, “Platt has nothing for which he needs to apologize.” [Read more…]

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NOT ALL ROCKS ARE EBENEZERS

By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, TBMB

rock-in-gardenThere is an 80-pound rock in my flower bed that looks like a meteorite. I pried it loose from a mountaintop in North Carolina about 13 years ago. I then grunted, pushed, rolled, chucked, yelled at, and tripped over it trying to get it — and me — to the bottom of a challenging descent. It was supposed to be my “Ebenezer,” but it felt a lot more like a millstone.

You know, “Ebenezer,” like the one found in 1 Samuel 7:13-14. It’s mentioned at the end of a passage where God intercedes on Israel’s behalf to defeat the Philistines in a decisive battle. To commemorate the divine victory, “Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the LORD has helped us’ ” (verse 12). That rock served as a visual reminder of the Lord’s power and protection. [Read more…]

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A PLEA FOR UNITY AND COOPERATION

By Randy C. Davis
TBMB Executive Director

There is a fog of divisiveness settling across the Southern Baptist Convention and it is spreading like a poisonous gas, and we must address it rather than allow it to linger and destroy our Great Commission calling.

There is a litany of issues causing the increasing tension that seemingly permeates every conversation taking place across our denomination and we no longer have the luxury of pretending there isn’t a problem. There is tension between national entities and state conventions, between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, between entity leaders and Southern Baptists, and the list goes on. It seems there is division almost anywhere two or more are gathered with differing opinions. If you doubt the veracity of my comments, check the news. Southern Baptists are making more headlines these days for our in fighting than for being known as a people of grace and peace sharing the gospel with a dying world. [Read more…]

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BELIEVER’S BAPTISM – MUCH MORE THAN NUMBERS

By Nathan A. Finn
Dean, School Of Theology & Missions, Union University

Nathan Finn

Nathan Finn

As Baptist followers of Jesus Christ, we Southern Baptists have always emphasized the importance of believer’s baptism.

As we see it in Scripture, believer’s baptism is:

  • A public testimony of a new believer’s faith in Christ and the church’s recognition of that faith (Acts 2:38-41; I Peter 3:21).
  • A pictorial representation of the gospel the believer has responded to in faith (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:11-12).
  • The new covenant sign that a believer is part of the body of Christ (Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:5).
  • A key component in faithfully fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

[Read more…]

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KEEPING LOVE IN MARRIAGE

By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Columnist, B&R

senior-couple-silhouetteRecently a friend mentioned that she attended a class reunion with others who graduated from the same college. “I had not seen many of these people in years,” she said, “but like me, most of these couples had been married 45 years or more. With today’s high divorce rate, I was a bit surprised.”

According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 1900 there were 709,000 (9.3 percent) marriages per 1,000 total population and 55,751 (0.7  percent) divorces per 1,000 total population. In 2015 estimates were 2,221,379 (6.4 percent) marriages per 1,000 total population and 800,909 (3.7  percent) divorce rate per 1,000 population. Not only are there more divorces, but both males and females marry later than several generations ago. With improvements in health care, the longevity rate rises. This means many couples can expect to celebrate a golden wedding anniversary and beyond. [Read more…]

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IS FACEBOOK FROM THE PIT OF HELL?

By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, TBMB

FacebookThumbsI was recently talking with a pastor and the conversation migrated to social media. It didn’t take long to understand his perspective. 

“Facebook is straight from the pit of hell,” he said. “All it does is cause problems.”

He’s not the only person who feels that way, and it isn’t a new conversation. I remember years ago being told the same thing about television. My argument then is the same as it is with social media. The medium itself is neither good nor evil. It is the created content that determines if either has any redeeming value.  [Read more…]

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 2-9-17

Supports Haun

letter-to-the-editor-typewriterI felt a great deal of sadness and a broken heart when I read the article “Tennessee Pastor Resigns As IMB Trustee” in the Baptist & Reflector.

I have known Dean Haun since 1985 when he was pastor of First Baptist Church, Sparta. I am a retired pastor and have had many conversations with Brother Dean throughout the years. He is a godly man who walks daily with his Lord and he has been a faithful pastor/preacher of God’s Word. He has been a mighty prayer warrior with and for me and many other pastors all across our Southern Baptist Convention.

I stand with Brother Dean on his decision to resign as a trustee of the IMB. May God give us many more pastors like Dean Haun! We live in perilous times and it is time all our leaders of God’s churches and entities stand strong and together.

It is my fervent prayer that the International Mission Board and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission will unanimously reconsider their signing of the amicus brief. To my knowledge, these entities had no authority from our Southern Baptist Convention to sign the amicus brief.
— Carl Scarlett, Cookeville

 

Applauds Decision

Dean Haun’s resignation as a trustee of the International Mission Board due to its decision to sign an amicus brief in support of a mosque to be built in New Jersey should be applauded by every pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention.

He quoted the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 6:14-15 as giving a biblical mandate for Christianity not to form an “ungodly scriptural alliance” with any false religion.

Regardless of David Platt’s statement rationalizing the action of the IMB, it is indeed a sad day for Southern Baptists when we forget that saved people purchased by the blood of Christ have now been identified through the amicus brief as standing with, as Haun stated, “a geo-political movement that seeks to replace our values and even our faith with Sharia law.” This movement has vowed to eradicate everyone who does not adhere to the teachings of Islam. Once an amicus brief is filed it becomes part of the official case record.

In seeking to affirm religious liberty two of our most visible entities in the SBC have neglected their Christian responsibility. Religious expediency has nullified spiritual correctness. And the ones most damaged by these actions are once again those who have been called to defend the faith — namely our missionaries.
— Jerry Drace, Friendsville

 

Religious Liberty

Regarding Pastor Dean Haun’s resignation as trustee of the International Mission Board, despite his protestation otherwise, I do not believe he really does understand religious liberty implications. Religious liberty is simply not liberty at all unless it is for all. Rejecting and/or denying liberty for one group while claiming it for ourselves is not liberty.  It is tyranny, and simply not a Christian concept.

Therefore, I commend the IMB for signing the amicus brief supporting rights of Muslims to build the mosque in New Jersey. Contrary to Haun’s opinion, I believe this does fit with, and in fact actively supports, the IMB’s mission to spread the gospel throughout the world. We want our IMB missionaries to have the right to share their faith and to build local houses of worship for growing Christians in other countries.  Thus, it is simply the right action for the IMB to support others’ rights to do the same here in the United States.

He also muses that Muslims would not stand up for our religious liberty. But Christ did not teach a tit-for-tat doctrine. He did the right thing regardless of what the responses of others would be, in fact, even when He knew the response would not be in kind. To imitate our Lord we, also, must do the right thing regardless of response.
— Ken Tatum, Tullahoma

 

Disappointed

I am very disappointed to read that the International Mission Board and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission filed a brief supporting the building of a mosque in New Jersey. I always felt that God was pleased with Israel’s kings and people when they tore down the groves, temples, and idols of foreign worship.

Also, in my experience, Jesus would not have supported the building of a temple to Molich or a church for the purpose of worshiping Satan. I feel their stand on this subject lessens my support for the IMB and the continuance of this type of stand will further hurt the good work of the IMB.
— Truley Ponder, Shelbyville

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AVOIDING THE PROLIFERATION OF FAKE NEWS

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

crumpled-newspapersFake news is a big deal today, but it is not “new.”

Fake news has been around forever. Those of us who have been in Baptist journalism for decades can remember the countless news stories we have had to produce assuring Baptists that the Madalyn Murray O’Hair and Proctor & Gamble rumors from the 1980s and 1990s were just that — rumors and hoaxes.

As a teenager I can still remember staring at the headlines of the newspaper tabloids while standing in line to buy food in the local grocery stores. A headline like “Alien Lands in North Dakota” sounds interesting and will make you pick up the publication, but that doesn’t make the story true. [Read more…]

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