REMINISCENCES OF A DECEASED FRIEND

By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, Tennessee Baptist Convention

Chris Turner

Chris Turner

An old and influential friend died Jan. 13 and the best way I know to honor my friend is to reminisce about the good times.

My friend actually isn’t a person, it is – or was – the communications department of the International Mission board made up of extremely gifted people who became my friends. At one time, many of these friends, before I knew them as friends, bordered on being my idols. I read their stories, I gazed endlessly at their photos and let their videos wash over me. I wanted to be like them.

The writers who produced copy for The Commission magazine were rock stars to me. I knew them by name and could give you a rundown of their story packages from around the world like reciting stats from the back of a Ryne Sandberg baseball card. I still can 20 years later. People like Erich Bridges, Mike Creswell, Don Martin, Craig Bird, Mark Kelly, Marty Croll, Mary Jane Welch and Anita Bowden took me places I had to find in an atlas. And then there was Mary Speidel. [Read more…]

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SHOULD PASTORS SHARE THEIR VIEWS WITH THE MEDIA?

By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, TBC

Chris Turner

Chris Turner

You know the adage, “Whenever you get two Baptists together you always have three (or more) opinions.” And I know this is hard to fathom, but preachers can sometimes be, well, opinionated. Almost all of them see the world through the lens of a biblical worldview so it is difficult to look at the culture around them and not express their view as it relates to God’s Word. However, the question is: Should they?

The answer is no — and yes. It’s complicated. First, let’s recognize that not every opinion a pastor expresses flows forth from the fount of Scripture. Pastors, opinions and the media can have all the makings of a chemistry experiment gone bad. There is more than one example of pastors saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. And let’s face it. It only takes seconds for something possibly taken out of context to go viral in this age of social media saturation.

However, more and more pastors and church members are being asked by media to comment on social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. Am I advocating suppressing a prophetic word to a culture that needs salt and light? Of course not. As Christians we are called to proclaim the gospel to a decaying world. However, what I am saying is that pastors — and all Christians for that matter — must exercise biblical instruction when it comes to communicating, especially when the media is involved. Remember, “Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.”

Here are four tips all Christians would do well to consider if asked by the media to participate in an interview or if simply engaging in a public conversation. [Read more…]

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