Wednesday
Aug082012

Small churches need voice

Why drop the name “Southern Baptist” after 150-plus years? Nobody believes in slavery nowadays, and Catholics didn’t change their name because of what happened in the Middle Ages, and they shouldn’t. The trouble is the richest and biggest churches can send delegates, while most of us can’t.

I think everybody ought to get a right in vote. That way the No. 2 church in the land could be ruled by all of us. 

Nick Nixon
Charleston

Wednesday
Aug082012

Support, don’t slander

Thank you for your editorial on cooperation in the July 12 Arkansas Baptist News. I agree with your thoughts on changes in the Southern Baptist Convention and the continued importance of the Cooperative Program as a source of unity.

Your statement that “we got all that business about the Bible settled” reminded me of how thankful I am to be an Arkansas Baptist. We didn’t have to settle any business about the Bible. That is also true of the International Mission Board (IMB) where I served for 30 years. There was no conservative resurgence in the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) or at the IMB.

The ABSC and the IMB were theologically conservative and worthy of the trust and support of Southern Baptist before the so-called “Conservative Resurgence” began.

Unfortunately, that did not keep leaders of this political movement from making dishonest claims of liberalism and heresy against our IMB missionaries and our state convention leaders. I can remember mass mailings from northwest Arkansas attacking the veracity and the theology of our state convention.

At the same time trustees, including some from Arkansas, slandered our IMB missionaries with charges of liberalism and heresy. It is my prayer that in the future our leaders will have the courage to condemn slander and the use of labels against those who represent us on the mission fields of Arkansas and around the world.

Ron West
Booneville

Thursday
Jul122012

Scouting standards strong

During the recent meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, a number of concerned messengers visited the Association of Baptists for Scouting booth to ask if they had heard correctly that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) were planning to loosen their standards regarding requirements for adult leaders. I am pleased to say this is NOT the case. The BSA remains committed to the moral and ethical standards, which have been affirmed several times in Southern Baptist Convention resolutions.  

Scouting remains one of the finest evangelism, family ministry and religious education tools available for established churches, as well as new church plants. Scouts and their families involved in the religious emblems program are often reached for Christ, and it is not uncommon for youth participants to clarify their calling to vocational ministry.   

While I am happy to report scouting’s commitment to the leadership standards, I remind readers that opponents to these policies are relentless and highly vocal. Unfortunately, the “silent majority” remains largely unheard. I believe this is an opportune time to encourage Southern Baptist churches and individual members to send a note of affirmation to BSA for the moral and ethical commitments to which they have remained true for 102 years.

R. Chip Turner
Past president of the Association
of Baptists for Scouting

Thursday
Jul122012

Witnessed change in SBC 

It is with a sense of melancholy that I seek to add my voice to the opinion page. I have served in the ministry for approximately 23 years in Arkansas. I have, over the course of those years, witnessed the transformation of the SBC. We were (at least in my memory) individuals whose greatest desire was to share the gospel and ease the suffering of all persons by fulfilling the Great Commission. The SBC that I view today appears to be something that looks and feels a lot like a political action committee with a moral superiority complex (we seem to forget that a sense of self-righteous pride, not unlike that of a Pharisee, is as much hated by God as those things we protest). It appears from reading the comments in the “Letter and Opinion” pages of the ABN or resolutions from New Orleans that this SBC or at least its most vocal part cares more for a type of forced social reformation than it does witnessing the changing of lives through regeneration. After much thought, I feel that I understand why this is so – it truly is easier to pound our chests, slap on a bumper sticker, pick up a sign that says “God Hates You” and claim to be the self-appointed mouth piece of God than it is to actually be the heart, hands and feet of Jesus Christ to this lost world. Paul exhorts us to “let your moderation be known unto all men,” Philippians 4:5, or as the HCSB renders it, “Let your graciousness be known to everyone.” I do not find a lot of graciousness in the comments of my fellow Arkansas Baptists these days, nor do I find very much religious freedom for those with a moderate viewpoint.

Robert Loudermilk
Norman

Thursday
Jul122012

What are we becoming?

What are we becoming? The Southern Baptist Convention has been blessed by God down through the years. … One of the reasons is because we have been people of the Book (the Bible).

We need to take heed to what Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:3-7 (KJV), “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightiest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”

Does being a Baptist mean anything anymore? Are we heading down the ecumenical highway? What are we going to become? If we start forgiving the devil, then we are certainly in for ruin. I think it is time to start preaching what the Bible says and certainly following the Great Commission; just because you change your name does not mean you are going to be faithful.

Mike Griffith
Crossett

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