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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CONFESSIONS OF A WHITE BOY ON MLK JR. DAY

By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, TBMB

martin-luther-kingConfession One: I struggle with racial prejudice against blacks.

There, I said it. God has consistently convicted me of that and increasingly helped me let a lot of that go over the past 20 years. It occasionally rises up, but He reminds me that racial prejudice is rooted in pride, one race believing it is superior to other races, and that in His eyes, all men are truly created equal since He created all men. [Read more…]

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CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR A NATION IN TURMOIL

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

In most sporting events, there is a clear cut winner. A team wins or loses.

It’s not as simple in life. Sometimes things happen and there are no winners — only losers.

Such is the case in our nation today. The most recent example is in Charlotte, N.C., where a black man was shot by police on Sept. 20 and rioting broke out in that city. Videos of the rioting and the violence are disturbing. What’s even more disturbing is that news media have reported that approximately 70 percent of those doing the rioting aren’t even from Charlotte. They are people who are intentionally taking advantage of a tragic situation to cause more harm to a devastated city.

At least one person has been killed in the riots and property has been stolen or destroyed. The violence has to stop before more people are killed. [Read more…]

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SERVING A DIVIDED COMMUNITY

By David Evans
TBC Evangelism Specialist

David Evans

David Evans

As you are aware, our nation is struggling with a great divide. Those that stand in the middle of the divide are our men and women police officers.  They wake every morning to fears that most of us cannot comprehend. They face the unknown everyday to protect and serve their communities. Lately they have been compensated with news of fallen officers. They are not paid enough and are not encouraged enough. [Read more…]

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BATON ROUGE SHOOTING STIRS NEARBY CHURCHES

Baptist Message & Baptist Press

"There was an air of heaviness" Sunday at Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., said pastor Jeff Ginn, following the fatal shootings of three law enforcement officers nearby.  -Photo: Baptist Message

“There was an air of heaviness” Sunday at Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., said pastor Jeff Ginn, following the fatal shootings of three law enforcement officers nearby.
-Photo: Baptist Message

BATON ROUGE, La. (BP) — Though heartbroken from Sunday’s deadly attack on Baton Rouge law enforcement officers, the community has hope for the future through Christ, said the pastor of a church mere feet away from a police barricade of the incident, which left three law enforcement personnel dead and three others wounded.

“In the midst of our sorrow there is hope that God will redeem even this for His good purpose,” said Jeff Ginn, pastor of Istrouma Baptist Church. “What Satan intends to destroy and divide, God will use to unite.”

The Louisiana church was about to start its first morning service July 17 when Ginn learned a shooter had ambushed officers responding to a call nearby. They quickly changed the order of service, focusing on a time of prayer for the situation.

A shooter later identified as Gavin Long of Kansas City, Mo., killed two officers with the Baton Rouge Police Department and an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy before being shot by police, according to media reports. The murders occurred less than two weeks after two white police officers shot Alton Sterling, an African-American, in a Baton Rouge parking lot, inciting a wave of demonstrations that have led to more than 200 protestors being arrested, the Associated Press reported. [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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RACIAL RECONCILIATION BEGINS IN HEART

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie-WilkeyAnother annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention has come and gone. By all accounts it was historic and for the most part Southern Baptists left with a good feeling. Tennessee Baptists should be extremely proud as one of our own — Steve Gaines of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, was elected president in an unusual and historic election (see also column by Chris Turner).

There was an emphasis on prayer, soul winning, racial reconciliation, and revival/spiritual awakening. Those are desperately needed in our world today. It’s not a matter of Southern Baptists not knowing what to do. It’s a matter of getting the job done.

Southern Baptists dealt with a number of resolutions ranging from gratitude to supporting the nation of Israel to freedom of the press. Perhaps the resolution that drew the most interest and debate from the floor dealt with the Confederate flag.

The original resolution called on believers “to consider prayerfully whether to limit, or even more so, discontinue its display,” while noting that for some people the Confederate battle flag is not “a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism.” [Read more…]

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EXHIBIT EXAMINES CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

Public invited to open house event at Carson-Newman on Sunday, Jan. 31

Carson-Newman News Office

Recent Carson-Newman graduate Darius Childs works with other students in preparing the university’s new “We March with Selma” exhibit. Housed in the Appalachian Cultural Center on Russell Avenue, the exhibit will be the focus of an open house on Sunday, Jan. 31.The display is free and open to the public.

Recent Carson-Newman graduate Darius Childs works with other students in preparing the university’s new “We March with Selma” exhibit. Housed in the Appalachian Cultural Center on Russell Avenue, the exhibit will be the focus of an open house on Sunday, Jan. 31.The display is free and open to the public.

JEFFERSON CITY – A new exhibit on Carson-Newman University’s campus focuses on the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Student-curated, the display will be housed in the University’s Appalachian Cultural Center throughout the spring semester.

The public is invited to an open house event scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 31, from 3-5 p.m.

The “We March with Selma” exhibit is part of the University’s “A Simple Justice: The Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act,” a year-long observance of the historical event. [Read more…]

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RACISM SATAN’S TOOL, FLOYD TELLS BAPTISTS

By Diana Chandler
Baptist Press

SBC President Ronnie Floyd and Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., delivered joint keynote addresses at Mission Mississippi's racial reconciliation celebration at the Jackson Convention Center Nov. 4.

SBC President Ronnie Floyd and Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., delivered joint keynote addresses at Mission Mississippi’s racial reconciliation celebration at the Jackson Convention Center Nov. 4.

JACKSON, Miss. (BP) — Racism is from Satan and his demonic forces, and the only hope for its defeat is the church of Jesus Christ united across societal divisions, Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd told a culturally diverse group of Baptists in Mississippi Nov. 4.

“I believe that the issue of racism is from Satan and the demonic forces of hell,” Floyd told hundreds gathered at Mission Mississippi’s racial reconciliation celebration at the Jackson Convention Center. “Racism is completely opposite from the message of Jesus Christ; it is completely opposite of the message of love, it is completely opposite of the message of dignity, value and the sanctity of human life. It is completely opposite of the message of reconciliation.”

Floyd spoke to Southern Baptists, National Baptists and others at the event aimed at exhorting and energizing pastors and the church to demonstrate the love of God in ending racism in Mississippi and the nation.

“One of the reasons I came to this city was to notify Satan and his demonic forces that … enough is enough,” Floyd said. “The power of God is greater than the forces of evil, even the evil of racism, because greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.” [Read more…]

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CHURCHES CROSS RACIAL BARRIERS

Churches in Columbia more concerned about winning people for Christ than racial issues

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Members of a multicultural church in Columbia, Immanuel Baptist Church, include, from left, Jeanne and Francisco De La Rosa; their daughter-in-law Stephanie De La Rosa; Sam Seagraves; and Dwight Church, pastor.

Members of a multicultural church in Columbia, Immanuel Baptist Church, include, from left, Jeanne and Francisco De La Rosa; their daughter-in-law Stephanie De La Rosa; Sam Seagraves; and Dwight Church, pastor.

COLUMBIA — Race relations often are tense across the United States, but in Columbia, especially in several Baptist churches, “we work together,” reported Dale Ledbetter, director of missions, Maury Baptist Association, based here.

During his 15-year tenure as DOM, racial tensions here have always been minimal, but recently, some great things have occurred which should encourage and be refreshing to all Tennessee Baptists, he said.

“Others should see God’s work in our little corner of the world to counteract all the negative we see and hear,” Ledbetter reported recently.

African-American and Anglo Baptist congregations in Columbia are crossing the racial divide, he noted.

Two players in these instances agreed. [Read more…]

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