Open/close communion

I have been on vacation and just came back and read the ABN. I was surprised to find the support of open communion (ABN, June 14, 2012). However, our church (First Baptist Church of Lowell) has been a strong supporter (and usually outnumbered) of the belief of open communion. We felt like we stood alone with most SBC churches. I like what Wyman Richardson said about open communion: “that it makes the door wide as the door to heaven and that open communion demonstrates the love that Christ has for all of His church.” I believe that when people are not offered communion (though believers) in a local church it sends a message that you are not good enough to be one of us … it appears to foster a sense of arrogance/pride … something I could not personally see Jesus doing. I know the other side and their arguments, but open communion seems to us at FBC, Lowell, the Christ-like thing to do and practice.

Gary E. Thomas



God help us!

Bob Hartsell’s letter “Presidential position” in the June 14 issue of ABN seems plausible at first reading, but upon reflection reveals a flawed understanding of our U.S. Constitution. He attempted to convince us that President Obama’s approval of same-sex marriage was only support of  “… the right of same-sex couples to marry and be treated as equal citizens under the law.” The presidential oath, he says, was to “… defend the Constitution of the United States” and not the Bible. Mr. Hartsell further indicated that the president was not endorsing same-sex marriage as a way of life. I wonder what Hartsell thinks the present administration’s endorsement of June as “gay pride” month signifies if not an endorsement of same-sex marriage as a way of life.

There is no mention of marriage in the constitution, and especially is there no right given by the federal government to regulate marriage. All powers not specifically given to the three branches of federal government are reserved for the states. Therefore, the states have the right to have state constitutions define marriage. Thankfully, we have done that here in Arkansas. By an overwhelming majority, our state has come down on the side of God’s definition of marriage (which is the only legitimate one).

The same reasoning used by Mr. Hartsell would nullify any ban on polygamy, which is also on the liberal agenda. Muslims will be clamoring for this new definition of marriage just as homosexuals have done. According to Mr. Hartsell’s reasoning, they have a rightful constitutional claim for “liberty and justice” for their view of marriage.

I believe the Founding Fathers could not imagine this country allowing and promoting the abominations now done by our federal government. God help us!

Larry Fisher


'Massive' Propaganda

This is in response to the letter regarding homosexuality and the Constitution (ABN, June 14, 2012). I think it is a massive stretch of propaganda to claim that the Founding Fathers were demanding that moral perversions were to be institutionally protected by law. On the contrary, virtually all the major leaders who laid the foundation for our nation agreed in explicit quotes that the Constitution can stand as a success only as long as we remain a moral people, and no longer. For example, John Adams remarked in 1789, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Thomas Jefferson, who has ironically become the poster boy for judicial activism (on account of his letter to the Baptists about the separation of church and state, but who hated judicial activism with a passion), famously suggested that homosexual soldiers ought to be castrated. We have other more popular and traditional perversions, such as polygamy and prostitution, that are abolished by our laws under the Constitution, so why should we show favoritism to the homosexual crowd ahead of the prostitutes and the polygamists? What’s next on the agenda – people who want to marry their dogs? When will enough be enough? Our civilization is being wrecked by this kind of hypocrisy. Just my 2 cents as a fellow American and Christian, and that and a couple of bucks might buy you a mocha.

Stephan Allsup
Little Rock


The real issue

The writer of “Presidential position” (ABN, June 14, 2012) is correct in stating that the Constitution of the United States is to be applied equally to all citizens, but is wrong in his application of that meaning. The protections provided under our Constitution apply to persons, not behaviors, and there is a difference between the two. A “person” is either male or female. Their “race” is a physical feature that further defines their personhood; they are still either male or female. “Behavior” refers to one’s actions, not to one’s personhood. Behaviors are driven by our desires, and homosexuality is a behavior driven by a same-sex desire; desires can be controlled and behaviors can change, but race cannot.

All of our laws, including our Constitution, do discriminate, but they discriminate against behaviors, not persons. For example, the First Amendment’s freedom of religion protection discriminates against those who, through their behavior, would try to force their form of worship on to others. It discriminates against their behavior, not them as persons. Laws must discriminate against certain behaviors for the betterment of society.

The issue of same-sex marriage is not an issue of equal rights. Homosexuals already have equal rights under the Constitution. There is nothing stopping same-sex couples from having a private marriage ceremony where they can pledge lifelong fidelity to one another; it just won’t be government sanctioned/endorsed, and that’s the real issue in this debate.

Why is government endorsement so important? This is the only way for those dealing with same-sex attraction to quell their conscience. If they can get society’s acceptance and approval of their behavior, then they will feel validated and their consciences cleared. The only venue available for making this happen is the institution of marriage. By redefining marriage, their immoral behavior now becomes natural and acceptable.

Joe Manning


Great Commission Baptists?

This new name would only describe us as what we should hope to attain to. Why not call ourselves “Good, and Faithful Servant Baptists” or “Humble Baptists?” Or even “Sinners Saved By Grace Baptists” (the SSBGB convention)? But “Great Commission Baptists?” Only God can know if we’re fulfilling the Great Commission. At least “Southern Baptist” accurately described something about us – our origin. Claiming anything as grandiose as Great Commission Baptists may be presumptuous, if not arrogant. Yes, we have worked fairly hard at sending Baptists to the uttermost parts of the earth, but how good of a job have we really done at “teaching them to observe everything” Christ taught His disciples, which is the often unmentioned, second portion of the Great Commission Christ issued in Mathew 28:19-20.

I’ve spent the vast part of my 54 years in various Southern Baptist churches, and I’ve seen very few individuals who evidence having been taught even most things that Christ taught – much less everything. I’ve personally heard thousands of messages pleading for the handful of unbelievers in the congregation to “come to Christ,” with very few messages aimed at teaching the vast majority of congregational believers the deep meat of the Word. This may very well be why we have so many weak churches, full of weak believers, still feeding off milk and unable to consume the “pure meat of the Word,” with the same levels of divorce and all other forms of immorality as the world. If we’re so petrified of identifying ourselves with anything “Southern,” let’s at least identify ourselves with something we can claim to be true, like just “Baptists,” plain and simple, as we all still experience full water immersion (I think?).

Jim Curlin