Great time to be a Baptist!

What a great time it is to be a follower of Christ, a Southern Baptist and an Arkansas Baptist. What a great time it is to be associated with believers who hold to the truth of God’s Word when it is not popular.
Why is it a great time to be Southern Baptist?

Because we have Dr. Ronnie Floyd giving spiritual leadership to the convention. His keynote address at the convention was challenging and bold. His commitment to the truth of God’s Word and to upholding biblical and natural marriage was needed, emphatic and refreshing!

Because we have a state convention that is focusing on prayer, revival of the assembly of believers and an awakening for Arkansas, the United States and the world. The gathering of pastors on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 was an encouragement to every church leader in Arkansas.

We at Maranatha (Baptist Church) in Nashville are pleased with the direction of both the state and national convention. We are excited to the point that we are proposing to increase our giving to the Cooperative Program next year by 2 percent.

During this time of our seeking the Lord in prayer for revival and awakening, would it not be an appropriate time to consider that our mode of evangelism may be flawed? Is it not time that we stopped using an evangelism method that may produce more “false converts” than true followers of Christ?

Jonathan Edwards says, “A false conversion puts an end to convictions of conscience”!

God can overcome our flawed methods in saving the lost, but would it not be thought-provoking for us to consider focusing on sharing the gospel and leaving the results to the Lord?

Bruce Short


Christians and our place

I both appreciate and enjoy the (Arkansas) Baptist News. I am a member of FBC, Kensett. My pastor is Bro. Joe Clement. I turned 83 Aug. 3. I am a retired Sunday school teacher, 1970-2004. My husband, who died Feb. 7, 2012, was a deacon and teacher.

I would like to express my thoughts on all Christians and our place in life as I see it!

As a Christian, what are you a part of – family, church, work, community service, neighbor, public servant, school teacher or leader or some other thing?

Let the Christ in your life speak for you; not offensively (unless the hearer chooses it that way), but firmly stand and encourage unity of Christians in prayer for our nation, in our biblical beliefs and in our wholesome well-being!    

In our lifestyle, may we be a witness for our Savior, not a compromise for Satan nor acceptance to get along with opposites! Banding together as Christians to pray for revival, repentance and people to be saved and people listening to God for our own well-being and the preservation of our nation and Israel.    

Not just Baptist or any denomination, but all denominations in the name of Christ, praying to evangelize and renew our faith strong in our God (the only true God) and our Savior Jesus Christ!

God’s Word speaks louder than us!

Psalm 33:22: “Let Thy mercy, Oh Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee.”

Psalm 9:17 says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”

Now to the Supreme Court, read this from 2 Samuel 23:3b: “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”

To all, read Psalm 33:12a: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”
Imogene Hammond


John not Paul

I’m sure you have heard at least a dozen times about your article (Pressing On: “Study Revelation, then persevere and be watchful,” Aug. 27) in the Arkansas Baptist News.  I was unaware that Paul wrote the Revelation. All these years in a Baptist church I was taught it was the Apostle John exiled on the isle of Patmos. Oh well, we learn something new every day!

Clerry Jones

Editor’s Note: Thanks for reading, Clerry. Paul was listed incorrectly in my column due to an editing error. The author of Revelation, John, was listed correctly in the Scripture passage quoted, Rev. 1:1-3, just not in the text of the column itself. We regret the error and are in no way attempting to change the author of Revelation.


‘Offensive’ articles

With reference to your editorial remark about the offensive LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) flag: Please cite any location where this “offensive” flag is displayed upon public property by government authority (“Is the cross the next target?” ABN, July 16, page 4).

With reference to Larry Page’s remark about “obeying an unjust and unrighteous law,” please ask Mr. Page to cite the specific law that imposes incarceration or other punishment upon ministers or churches for refusal to obey (“Baptist leaders react to SC ruling,” ABN, July 16, pages 1, 7).

As I understand it, the Supreme Court of the United States decreed that state laws forbidding same-gender couples to marry are unconstitutional. I am not aware that any law has been enacted – at either the state or federal level – requiring any minister or church to perform any marriage ceremony for any couple of any gender or racial combination.

I have been authorized (permitted) to perform marriage ceremonies in behalf of five different states. I have never encountered any law requiring me to perform a ceremony in any state. It is my understanding that one cannot be punished for failure to obey a law that does not exist. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Bob Hartsell
Hot Springs


‘MulleTopia’ concerns

I was deeply troubled as I read about Camp Siloam’s “MulleTopia” (“Camp Siloam goes ‘Mulletopia’” ABN, July 16, page 1, 8). My concern wasn’t over using creative themes or unique approaches in presenting the gospel. As a 29-year-old, I’m all for that. My concern is if the gospel was even truly presented.

Allow me to explain. First, it was noted that the story of Jonah was presented outside of its traditional, “Hebrew context.” This seems alarming on multiple levels. First, taking Scripture out of its Hebrew context implies that salvation isn’t “to the Jew first” (Rom. 1:16), thus classifying it as “another gospel” (Gal. 1:8). Second, as a theology graduate from a SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) school, I was taught that context is everything when seeking to understand and teach a text. How are we going to understand the message that is being given in Scripture if we ignore the context in which it was given? “MulleTopia” would thus receive a failing grade in the classroom. Why would you separate a biblical narrative from the rest of the Bible? Camp Siloam changed the ending of the story to be more appeasing. How is this not adding to and taking away from Scripture (Rev. 22:18-19)? Do we think we can give a better ending than God did?

The children’s hit movie, “VeggieTales,” gave a more biblical account of Jonah then did Siloam. At what point is changing a biblical account to fit personal preference not blasphemy? My burden is this: Is this another example of a new SBC trend to make concession on clear biblical teaching if it will indeed boost our numbers? If this is what is meant by the new Christian phrase, “Radical,” maybe we need to examine ourselves.

Jamie Freeman

Editor’s Note: The ABN contacted Jason Wilkie, executive director at Camp Siloam, for his response to Jamie’s concerns. Following is his response: “I want to reassure Jamie and all Arkansas Baptists that the drama we write and perform each summer is supplemented with eight strong biblical, gospel-centered messages taught by pastors. I understand Jamie’s concern with the idea of taking a ‘story out of biblical context.’ In no way do we present our story as Scripture. Perhaps it would be better to describe what we do at Camp Siloam as ‘writing and performing a story which parallels a biblical story and reveals God’s Truth in a fun and exciting way.’ This is a technique that has been used by writers for years and years to help people see God’s Truth in a new and fresh way.”