By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
How do we really know? “For the Bible tells me so.”
Do a “Google” search on the internet and you will find a multitude of verses that proclaim evil is real. I John 5:19 leaves no doubt: “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one” (CSB). That’s about as plain as it gets.
I experienced darkness firsthand last week. Chris Turner, Willie McLaurin and myself attended the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Summer Study Committee on Aug. 12 to support Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. He was on the agenda as a pro-life advocate (see story). As most Tennessee Baptists are aware, Dr. Davis initiated “I Stand for Life,” an effort to mobilize Tennessee Baptists to let our state legislators know where Tennessee Baptists stand on abortion.
In just three weeks, the effort garnered more than 16,000 signatures on a petition (and two thousand more since then), along with nearly 1,000 signatures from Tennessee Baptist pastors.
Due to the large crowd (both pro-life and abortion proponents) that attended, most people were unable to stay in the room where the committee hearing was held due to the size of the crowd and fire code. Many of us, including Willie McLaurin and myself, found one of the overflow rooms. Within a few minutes, Willie and I were surrounded by dozens of Planned Parenthood supporters.
As they entered, I truly felt Satan’s presence. The room was dark, not literally but figuratively. It was, without a doubt, one of the most uncomfortable meetings I have ever attended during my 32 years with the Baptist and Reflector.
As I heard them talk among themselves, I kept wondering how their hearts could be so hardened that they could not understand they were supporting the termination of a human life or that they simply did not care.
But Scripture once again puts it in perspective: “From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits” (Psalm 73:7, NIV).
Facts don’t matter to a hardened heart and a mind that is already made up.
We were there during the “pro-life” testimony. Abortion advocates had their time before the senate committee the following day.
As speaker after speaker spoke from a pro-life perspective, it was evident the abortion advocates were not interested in “truth.” They were there to be seen and to be heard. For the most part, they behaved well, but a few times, especially when our TBMB executive director spoke, they were loud with their disapproval.
Though they abhor truth, it strikes a chord when heard. Tennessee Baptists have reason to be proud of their leader. Randy C. Davis stood tall last week as he shared the truth of God’s Word. His light illuminated that room though they were oblivious.
Years ago, when I helped with Royal Ambassadors at my former church, we would take the boys on trips to caves. We would go deep inside the earth and get to a point where my friend and caving expert Steve York would have everyone turn off their flashlight. There was complete darkness. You could not see your hand in front of your face. Slowly, a light would flicker on, if only for an instant. But that was all it took — one light to penetrate the darkness.
Our world today is dark. Last week, Dr. Davis and Tennessee Baptists were gospel lights in advocating for the value of life.
Scripture reminds Christians that we “are the light of the world. … No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15, CBS).
As darkness continues to permeate our nation, Tennessee Baptists must continue to lead the charge and be “salt and light” to a world that desperately needs Jesus Christ. The only thing that will ultimately stop abortion is changed hearts and changed lives. May the light of Tennessee Baptists never be extinguished.