Enjoy the ABN

I really enjoy the Baptist news and pass it on to someone else. Thanks for a great newspaper that has such interesting things other churches are doing.

Only a few in our church, First Baptist, get it, but it is nice to know how God is working in great ways so many places in our state. 

I lived in Greenville, Miss., had a great church and a great newspaper like this one. We have been gone from there 29 years, so the news would be much different, as we wouldn’t be acquainted with the church. Thanks again.

Wanda Blackman
First Baptist, Clarksville


Preserve church history

I appreciate the latest edition of the ABN article on the history of the magazine. P.S.G. Watson is mentioned as having edited a previous magazine in 1859. Rev. Watson came to Arkansas in 1853 and pastored the Liberty Baptist Church in Lee County, east of Marianna. He wrote an article for the American Baptist Memorial (I haven’t been able to find out much about this publication) in 1855 that Liberty was the oldest Baptist church in the county and was organized on June 25, 1848 on the St. Francis Road, northwest from Helena, 25 miles. It had 40 members, four of whom were black. This church belonged to the Rocky Bayou Association. Because of a distance of 160 miles, the Mt. Vernon Association was organized. I believe this might have been Missionary Baptist at that time.  

Recently, an old Liberty Church minute book was found at Tri-County genealogy in Marvell. Of course, Rev. Watson is mentioned. The minute book for present-day First Baptist Church in Marianna begins with this statement dated September 1868: “Marianna Baptist Church was organized from the scattered membership of what was formerly known as the Liberty Church located a few miles from this place. Our little village, promising to become a thriving inland town, was considered a much better location ... as the war had left us in a torn and broken-up condition.”  

The Liberty minute book mentions several votes taken to publish members’ obituaries in the Tennessee Baptist that is also mentioned in your article. Rev. Watson was in Kentucky in 1840, Independence County, Ark., in 1850, and in Pulaski County in 1860 and was back in Kentucky in 1870. He died in 1889 in McGregory, Texas. Our plans at First Baptist in Marianna are to celebrate our 165 years in June 2013. I encourage all churches to preserve their history. Your article is helping to do that.

Sue Moore


Name change conspiracy

I’m absolutely against changing the name of the Southern Baptist Convention, but I must be missing something here. 

What’s that got to do with the name of your local church? Are they going to dictate to your autonomous church that you’ve got to change your name as well? 

I don’t think they can.

Someone took Baptist off of our bookstore and repackaged it with a generic name. They took Southern Baptist off of our Annuity Board and repackaged it with a generic name. They took Southern Baptist off our Sunday school literature, and no one even noticed it.  Now there is a proposal that they change the name of our convention. I will prophesy that they will try to take Southern off the name and even Baptist if they can. 

Don’t argue geography. According to, 99 percent of all Southern Baptist are in the South. I pastored seven years in Homer, Alaska, and putting SBC on our sign was an asset, not a liability.

Greg Pierce



Return to God’s plan

The emphasis in churches today seems to be on change. 

We are told, “The world has changed. The church must change too, but the message never changes.” 

Actually, when the church sets out to please the world, the message does change. For instance, the church used to teach the depravity of man. Today, it teaches the value and worth of man.

Nowhere in the Bible that I know of does it teach that the church is to pattern its programs and methods after the methods of the world. 

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Cor. 3:19a).

The change the church needs is a return to her first love and repentance toward God for being more desirous of pleasing the world than of pleasing Him.

Another need is to once again put emphasis on studying and teaching His Word; in other words, emphasizing Sunday school. Teaching is part of the Great Commission just as making disciples is. 

“… the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). 

 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge … seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also reject thy children” (Hosea 4:6).

My prayer for the church is that she will return to the plan of God, which is making disciples through preaching and teaching them to observe all things He has commanded. 

Rosemary Looney   


SBC name change talk ‘interesting’ discussion 

This talk of a new name change for Southern Baptists is interesting. I am as sentimental as the next man for our traditions, but wish to point out that the name “Southern” has more than merely regional connotations – it is a relic of the Civil War, of old Dixie Land, and as such, one of the better things to result from the Confederacy. Unlike the states of the Union, however, the Southern Baptists never rejoined the Northern Baptists from whom they had separated at the time of the war. We have thrived since, thank God. I definitely think that our name should at least have the word “Baptist” in it because it refers to one of our denomination’s major contributions to the Reformation, of moving beyond infant christening back to the believer’s baptism by immersion of the first century apostles. To change the word “Baptist” would be moving into the new nondenominational craze, it seems to me. Why would we want to just be another new-fangled church? I hope that God will reveal a good name change for us, if He so desires one, to some prominent pastor in a vision or dream. Then, give that pastor a lie detector test. 

Stephan Allsup   
Little Rock