TENNESSEE MINISTERS CALL FOR COOPERATION IN OPEN LETTER

By David Roach
Baptist Press

Micah Fries, Nathan Finn, Jon Akin

Micah Fries, Nathan Finn, Jon Akin

NASHVILLE — Controversy surrounding ethicist Russell Moore’s past comments on President-elect Donald Trump has led three Tennessee Baptists — all under the age of 40 — to issue an open letter calling “conservative resurgence generation and their protégés” to “be the statesmen we need them to be in this season of denominational tension.”

Jonathan Akin, Nathan Finn, and Micah Fries wrote in a Dec. 21 open letter provided to Baptist Press, “Now isn’t the time for acrimonious debates over secondary and tertiary doctrinal matters,” such as the extent of the atonement, church polity, methodology, and the appropriate means of cultural engagement.

They directed their comments especially toward Southern Baptists who led the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s as well as those mentored by that generation, noting, “Our real enemy is the Prince of Darkness.” The resurgence attempted to make biblical inerrancy a bedrock commitment of Southern Baptist Convention entities. [Read more…]

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GAINES ADJUSTS TO ROLE AS SBC PRESIDENT

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

(Left to right) Outgoing Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd together with presidential nominee J.D. Greear congratulate president-elect Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., after he is elected president of the SBC by acclamation after Greear withdrew from the race and moved that the convention elect Gaines by acclamation during the SBC's annual meeting at America's Center in St. Louis Wednesday, June 15. -Photo by Bill Bangham

Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, is congratulated by outgoing SBC President Ronnie Floyd, left, and J.D. Greear, center, after Gaines was elected president of the SBC in June. After two ballots failed to produce a winning candidate, Greear withdrew in favor of Gaines.
— Photo by Bill Bangham

CORDOVA — After what may have been one of the most unusual presidential elections in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention, reality has sunk in for Steve Gaines.

Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention in June during the annual meeting in St. Louis. After two elections failed to produce a winning candidate, both Gaines and J.D. Greear made the decision to withdraw from the race.

Gaines noted he decided soon after the second vote he was going to withdraw his candidacy. “I did not want to be divisive.” Greear had decided the same thing — he would yield to Gaines.

After a meeting between the two men and mutual friends, Gaines noted that Greear insisted he would be the one to pull out. “That’s what we went with. When we walked out on the platform, it was a sweet time,” he recalled. [Read more…]

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ALL LIVES MATTER, REGARDLESS OF COLOR

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie-Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

One thing I have learned after working on newspapers for 30-plus years is that you have to be flexible. Quite frankly, this column was not planned, but the events of Thursday, July 7, caused me to completely change the plans that had been made for this issue. We had to delay the printed publication of some stories (some have appeared or will appear on the website at baptistandreflector.org).

Five Dallas police officers and seven others were wounded last week after they were ambushed while trying to protect people who were protesting police brutality under the umbrella of “Black Lives Matter.” Those marching were protesting the deaths of two black males (one in Minnesota and one in Louisiana) who were killed recently by police officers.  Details are just beginning to surface about the attack that was apparently the plan of a single sniper.

Let me be perfectly clear. Black lives do matter. But so do white (Anglo) lives, Hispanic lives, etc., name the nationality. Unfortunately, when some leaders seemingly tout one race over another, it gives the impression (whether intended or not) that some lives do not matter. They all matter.

What’s more, the lives of police officers and public servants matter. Some national leaders and media have cast police officers in a negative light. They have become villains. And, now police officers are paying the price with their lives. [Read more…]

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RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IS FOR ALL: MOORE

By Baptist Press

160620russell-moore

Russell Moore

WASHINGTON — Baptists and other Christians should defend religious freedom for non-Christians, including Muslims, because it is morally right, as well as helpful to their own cause, says Southern Baptist religious liberty leader Russell Moore.

Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), advocated for religious freedom for people of all faiths in a blog post June 8, which came two days after a Baptist state editor (Gerald Harris of The Christian Index in Georgia) questioned providing such liberty for Muslims.

Religious freedom is not a government benefit “but a natural and inalienable right granted by God,” Moore wrote. “At issue is whether or not the civil state has the power to zone mosques or Islamic cemeteries or synagogues or houses of worship of whatever kind out of existence because of what those groups believe. [Read more…]

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BAPTIST MINISTRY RECEIVES NEW RESOURCE

Wallace Memorial’s healthcare ministry receives ultrasound machine from ERLC

By Tom Strode
Baptist Press

Dan Darling of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, speaks to the congregation of Wallace Memorial Baptist Church. Looking on, from left, are Mike Boyd, pastor; Sandy Bolton, director of missions for Wallace Memorial; John Swisher, president, Wallace Mobile Healthcare; Joe Sorah, compassion ministry specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention; Phil Young, director of missions, Knox County Association of Baptists; and Tom Hodges, director, Montgomery Village Baptist Center, Knoxville.

Dan Darling of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, speaks to the congregation of Wallace Memorial Baptist Church. Looking on, from left, are Mike Boyd, pastor; Sandy Bolton, director of missions for Wallace Memorial; John Swisher, president, Wallace Mobile Healthcare; Joe Sorah, compassion ministry specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention; Phil Young, director of missions, Knox County Association of Baptists; and Tom Hodges, director, Montgomery Village Baptist Center, Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE — An East Tennessee ministry has a new resource provided by Southern Baptists for its mission to serve the needy — in this case, underprivileged, pregnant women.

Wallace Mobile Healthcare, based in Knoxville, received an ultrasound machine March 6 from the Psalm 139 Project of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The gift — the latest made by the ERLC to centers across the country — occurred during the morning worship service of Wallace Memorial Baptist Church in Knoxville.

The ERLC is “honored to work with Wallace Mobile Healthcare (a ministry of Wallace Memorial Baptist) to provide hope for pregnant women in crisis,” said Dan Darling, the ERLC’s vice president for communications, after making the presentation.

“Wallace Memorial has such a wonderful legacy, inspired by the great missionary Bill Wallace, of providing gospel hope to the most vulnerable,” Darling said in a March 7 news release. “This ultrasound machine is just one more way the heroes working here every day can serve the community with a holistic, pro-life ethic.” [Read more…]

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