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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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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ARE WE REALLY SURPRISED?

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Before it Hits the PressThe Boy Scouts of America announced Jan. 30 that the organization would begin accepting transgender members. In other words, what’s on the birth certificate doesn’t matter anymore.

The BSA stated: “Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application.”

While sad to hear, is anyone really surprised? [Read more…]

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CHURCHES EXEMPLIFY RACE RELATIONS

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

They stood together at the pulpit of Rialto Baptist Church in Covington on Sunday, Jan. 15 — Thomas Bester, a 63-year-old African-American pastor, and Carl Funderburk, an almost 80-year-old Anglo pastor.

As I watched them I could only imagine the stories they could tell from having witnessed first hand the racial strife of the civil rights movement in the 1960s-70s. On this occasion, however, these two pastors were united under the spirit of the God that both have faithfully served for decades. [Read more…]

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HELP CAN HURT

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

I recently came across an article on the International Mission Board website (www.imb.org) by former president Jerry Rankin. The title immediately caught my attention: “Help that Hurts: Considering the Long-Term Cost of Missions Subsidy.”

Rankin observed: “We have made many mistakes over the years of missions work around the world. One of the errors has been trying to accelerate growth by an infusion of financial aid to build churches and support pastors. The result almost invariably was a welfare mentality among the recipients of the support.”

Jerry Rankin understands missions. In addition to serving as president of the IMB for 17 years, he and his wife were missionaries for 23 years prior to that. [Read more…]

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FORGET THE RESOLUTIONS; OBEY SCRIPTURE

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

new-years-resolutions-notesAs January gets into full swing, people are excited about a new year and new opportunities. No doubt Tennessee Baptists are among the millions who made “resolutions” for the new year, ranging from losing weight to reading your Bible daily to countless other things that individuals deem important.

Hopefully, those who made resolutions will be able to keep them. I don’t make many resolutions anymore. I have a standard resolution that my doctor keeps before me every time I go visit him — lose weight. Haven’t been very successful on that one so I decided to limit my resolutions until I can meet the one I most need to meet.

During worship service on Jan. 1 at Tulip Grove Baptist Church in Old Hickory, Gerald Bontrager offered a novel idea. Instead of making resolutions, follow Scripture. Pastor Gerald provided a “spiritual reference guide for living out the gospel” in 2017. [Read more…]

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SUMMIT’S OVER; HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

thanksgiving-turkey-mealThe 2016 Summit in Sevierville is over and by all accounts it was one of the best ever.

The number of registered messengers was low by East Tennessee standards — 1,211, but attendance at some sessions neared or topped 2,000 people. The decision to add a worship service to Summit on Sunday night proved to be a “home run.” Tennessee pastor and Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines delivered a powerful message. Combined with a testimony from University of Tennessee football great Todd Kelly Sr., and music by the Tennessee Men’s Chorale, those who attended left the sessions with their “cups full.” [Read more…]

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AVOIDING THE DEADLY SIN OF COMPLACENCY

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

man-head-on-deskThe Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary defines “complacency” as “a feeling of calm satisfaction with your own abilities or situation that prevents you from trying harder.”

Complacency can apply to individuals or organizations, including the church.

I found the word “complacency” in the Bible only once in Proverbs 1:32, HCBS: “For the waywardness of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.” There may be other verses that actually use the word itself, but there are many verses throughout Scripture that refer to the meaning of complacency. [Read more…]

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REMEMBER AMERICA’S HEROES — OUR VETERANS

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

sunrise-flag-soldiersI recently saw a video that made my blood boil. Denasia Lawrence knelt while singing the national anthem prior to a Miami Heat preseason basketball game.

Lawrence said she was protesting the number of blacks that she feels have been “unjustly killed and overly criminalized.” That’s her opinion and that’s what makes this country so great. She can express it. [Read more…]

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STUDY REVEALS NEED FOR DISCIPLESHIP

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

Long gone are the days of “Training Union” and “Church Training.” As a child I remember those as programs in the church that were used to teach Christian doctrines and Baptist beliefs. They truly discipled new believers and reminded long-time believers of what Jesus expects of His followers once they accept Him as Lord and Savior.

Now, the term “discipleship” can refer to almost anything including the latest, greatest Christian book. [Read more…]

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