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.
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?
I am thankful Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd has led our convention with a call for revival, spiritual awakening and commitment to the Cooperative Program.
Henry Blackaby once wrote, “Revival has always been, and remains to this day, God dealing with the sin of His own – not the world. Therefore, if we never recognize our need for repentance of sin, then our call for revival is in vain.”
A few years ago our convention publicly confessed our past sins of racism and discrimination. Today we again have unconfessed sin in our convention. Leaders in our convention have committed the sins of slander and sowing discord by accusing our missionaries of being controlled by liberals, spreading heresy and being neo-orthodox. During a particularly bitter attack against our missionaries by one of the leaders of the conservative resurgence, former International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin said, “Disrespect for leadership and policies is being nurtured, nonbiblical subversive behavior is encouraged and blatant disregard for truth is propagated.”
Seminary professors have been labeled as liberal because they would not endorse the conservative resurgence. A purge of theological conservatives has taken place at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and at other convention entities. Thousands of theological conservative pastors and laypersons have been banished from consideration for places of leadership and trustee posts in our convention because they were not deemed politically reliable.
2 Chronicles 7:14 is often read when we call for revival. We Southern Baptists have a problem getting past the requirement to humble ourselves. Corporate sin requires corporate repentance.
As Blackaby said, “If we never recognize our need for repentance of sin, then our call for revival is in vain.”
I pray Ronnie Floyd will lead us in a call for repentance for these sins by our leaders.
I was blessed to read the article in the Jan. 15 Arkansas Baptist News concerning First Baptist Church, Alymra, and their longtime commitment to give 30 percent of undesignated funds to the Cooperative Program. Their example of sacrificial giving and trust shown to our state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is to be commended. While most churches are not able to give 30 percent, it might surprise some of our readers to know that in the not-too-distant past, the percentage giving by Southern Baptist churches averaged more than 10 percent. Today’s average is around 5 percent. In recent years, the traditional Cooperative Program giving channel through our state conventions has been criticized by many influential leaders in the SBC. Every SBC church benefits directly or indirectly from the ministries of our state convention. Our state conventions and associations contribute more to strengthening our common theological convictions, missions support and education, evangelistic zeal, disaster relief efforts, social ministries and public perception than any other element of SBC life.
When I was serving with the International Mission Board (IMB) of the SBC, we were told that when encouraging churches to support the Lottie Moon (Christmas Offering for International Missions), we should remind them to not take that money from their Cooperative Program giving. Now North American Mission Board and IMB missionaries are being told to go to individuals and churches to solicit funds for their direct support and their budget items outside the money given to the Cooperative Program through the state conventions. Many churches are giving directly to the SBC Executive Committee. I am afraid we are going down a slippery slope to a societal giving approach in the SBC. The Cooperative Program was developed as one of the finest methods of missions support in history. Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to make the mistakes of the past.
I would like to respond to Dr. Gore’s well-written article (“Baptists Ask” column: “Why do some Baptists only use the King James Bible translation,” Page 5) in the Oct. 2 Arkansas Baptist News.
There are some substantial arguments for usage of the King James Bible.
There are philosophical arguments. Would God not protect and superintend the transmission of the original text?
There are logical arguments. Perhaps the reason that some manuscripts or fragments on which modern versions are based are in good shape is that they were used very little. They were used very little because they were deemed inaccurate by early Christians.
There are textual arguments. These relate primarily to the New Testament. The traditional text of the New Testament is represented by the Received Text. It is far more representative of the type of Greek used in New Testament times. For example, Greek in the first century used a moveable “nu” – this is similar to our “n.” It is a spelling variant. Its usage in the Received Text is proportionally similar to that found in New Testament times. While this variation has no effect on meaning, it would seem to indicate the meticulous degree to which the text was very carefully and accurately transmitted.