Thursday
Jul022015

Planting the Baptist way 

I want to commend the South Side Baptist Church in Pine Bluff for doing missions and church planting the historic Baptist way and, I believe, the biblical way. According to the June 18, 2015, issue of the Arkansas Baptist News,  they sponsored a church plant that eventually led to an autonomous independent local church instead of establishing a “second campus.” The trend of churches starting multiple campuses to me is a departure from historic Baptist ecclesiology. It really amounts to an Episcopal type of church government not much different from the Methodists and Episcopalians. They have several congregations with several pastors with a bishop over them. No doubt some church plants have to remain in a mission status under the supervision and support of a mother church for a long period of time, but the ultimate goal is for them to become self-supporting autonomous churches.

Jimmy A. Millikin
Marion

Thursday
Jul022015

We are born with a sex 

Gays and liberals say they’re just keeping up with the world by making same-sex marriages legal, but the Republic of Ireland is the only country to have passed such a law (Letter written prior to U.S. legalization of same-sex marriage).

As for “sex change” operations – which by the way are funded by the federal and state governments – here are facts.

Before babies can be told (differentiated) from boys or girls, they have mostly male or female hormones, which will decide their sex. Mutilating their bodies can’t change that.

Yet the law says they’ve got to use the wrong restrooms.

Nick Nixon
Charleston

Thursday
Jul022015

IMB and the BF&M

Are the changes to the International Mission Board (IMB) the key to reaching a lost world?

I have never been an IMB missionary. However, I was a Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) missionary. There was a serious problem with missionaries saying they agreed with the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M), but not standing by it in practice. This was in the area of baptism being a prerequisite to the Lord’s Supper. They would often say, “We have no creed but the Bible.” This is surely true. However, someone who differs with us drastically from a doctrinal standpoint can say that they agree with the Bible.

The BF&M is not binding on any local autonomous Baptist church. However, it is normative and an appropriate guideline for missionary appointment. Further, I believe some mandatory follow-up questions are appropriate. No legitimate missionary candidate will hesitate to answer. This will help insure that they really do agree with the BF&M.

Bill Chambers
Newport

Thursday
May072015

COM rally set for June in NC

MARION, N.C. - The 2015 Campers on Mission national rally will be held June 16-18 at Tom Johnson's Rally Park, Marion, N.C. The event will include breakout sessions, spiritual speakers and Christian entertainers. For more information, visit North Carolina Campers on Mission at campersonmission.org.

Thursday
May072015

Editorial cartoon in bad taste

I was dismayed to see the cartoon printed in the April 9 edition of the Arkansas Baptist News where an ISIS extremist is compared to an American liberal activist. This type of caricature is harmful to our witness in today’s world. There may be some liberal activists that would like to see the end of Christianity, but there is a major difference that the cartoonist absolutely ignores – American liberals and progressives are not beheading Christians. The difference is real, and the comparison made in the cartoon is blatantly false.

As soon as I finished looking at the cartoon, I saw that another group of Christians had been murdered by ISIS. The juxtaposition of this ill-conceived and distasteful cartoon and the horrifying news of more Christians
being murdered illustrates perfectly how absurd this cartoon really is.

The kingdom of God is far beyond any one political philosophy. The New Testament calls us to hospitality and love – among all people – not just Southern evangelical Republican conservatives. The vision of the kingdom of God is challenging because all are welcome who call upon Christ Jesus. There is no political prerequisite for God’s kingdom.

In Matthew 9, when Jesus looks upon the crowds of humanity, we see His response. Instead of hatred, judgment, fear or disgust, Jesus had compassion because they were helpless, like a sheep without a shepherd. Jesus’ response of compassion must challenge us. In today’s world, evangelicals often look around society with disgust, judgment, fear and even hatred.

I would challenge Arkansas Baptists to consider this: Is your church willing to minister to those who disagree with you? Are our churches willing to minister to and to love all people? Or are we going to continue creating caricatures like the one printed in our newsmagazine?

Eric Moffett
Pocahontas