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


Name good for 166 years

I totally agree with you about changing the name of our Southern Baptist Convention (“What would you change the name of the SBC to?” ABN, Oct. 8). What is our purpose – to squabble over a name or to spend our time and energies presenting the gospel to people? If the name “Southern Baptist Convention” has stood for 166 years, it should work for another 166. Let us give it a try, and then we can talk about it.

Kaye Adams


Grateful to have served

Arkansas Baptists are among God’s chosen, and I say this with a heart of gratitude to each of you for allowing me to serve on the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) staff for nine years. Without reservation, I am able to say that the churches across Arkansas will find no better servants in God’s kingdom on earth than are found in the offices of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. 

Nothing that comes from the ABSC offices is accomplished without a great deal of prayer and preparation. Many hours of prayer and meetings are involved in every strategy. There is a great sense of God’s presence in the work of the ministry teams, and Arkansas Baptist churches should be grateful to God of His servants in those offices.

These teams that serve under the direction of Dr. Emil Turner are committed to the Great Commission – which begins at the local church where you worship and serve. All mission efforts certainly begin at the local church, but without the support and direction of the staff at the ABSC, the local churches would not be as successful in reaching Arkansas and our world with the gospel message. 

The Arkansas Baptist State Convention has another annual meeting coming up on Nov. 1-2 at First Baptist Church in Little Rock. The 2011 meeting will happen because each of these folks began planning this year’s meeting the moment the closing prayer of last year’s meeting ended. I will be there this year, and hopefully, you will be, too.

“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:26, NASB).

Bob Williford


Applying Scripture

We must diligently study and apply Scripture in order to defeat Satan and fight the good fight of faith. Each application must be in harmony with the total meaning and message of Scripture, not from an isolated verse taken out of context.

Knowing what the text is actually saying, (from a) historical context, word study, etc., is helpful. The Bereans were commended for searching the Scriptures to see if what the Apostle Paul said agreed with what was in the Old Testament. Meditation on the text is necessary so God may reveal underlying principles or application and to imprint the text in our memory. Still, if necessary, the Holy Spirit can recall to our mind any Scripture we have heard or read. 2 Timothy 2:15 says study to show yourself approved unto God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed knowing how to rightly divide the Word of truth. King David said, “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (Psa. 119:99).

Just as Jesus withstood Satan with Scripture when He was tested in the wilderness, so too, we will stand in the evil day when the Holy Spirit uses us to wield the Sword of Scripture we have diligently meditated and studied. For such a time as this, we have been called. Let us by faith be faithful.

Katherine Gossien
Little Rock