Missing IMB missionaries

I’ve been crunching the numbers from the 2012 annual Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meeting.

The reports continue to show a drastic decline in our foreign mission force, which is supposed to be our best effort to win the 6 billion lost folks in the world. The number of international missionaries sent out by the SBC fell again in 2011 from 5,031 to 4,857, a drop of 174 or almost 4 percent. This follows the drop of 2010, in which the total was 5,031, down from 5,441 in 2009, a net loss of 410 missionaries or over 7 percent of the foreign mission workforce.

In the last two years, our foreign mission force has gone down by 584 missionaries, a loss of 11 percent.

Warren Watkins


Mixed-up marriage

Could the following already happen: “same-sex heterosexual family marriage”? States are redefining marriage. Let me be the devil’s advocate.  Why can’t a father marry his son, a brother his brother, an uncle his nephew and a first male cousin his first male cousin? Why can’t a mother marry her daughter, a sister her sister, an aunt her niece and a first female cousin her first female cousin?  All are of the same sex and will not conceive children. Laws that would apply to a related man or woman (heterosexual), do not apply to same-sex heterosexual family members.  

I don’t believe sex would be a reason for these same-sex heterosexual family members to marry. A good reason would be financial or to provide health benefits. Our new society passes laws saying, “The same sex can marry.” How can government prevent these same-sex heterosexual family members from legally marrying each other? In our sectarian society, the rights of these same-sex heterosexual family members have simply not been addressed yet.                                                                                                                                      

Same-sex marriage laws are more than simply allowing homosexuals to get married. The same-sex marriage laws have to include allowing same-sex heterosexual family members to marry. A son becomes a spouse of his father and a daughter becomes a spouse of her mother. Pandora’s box is opened. The law of karma says, “For every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first.”

Is this an extension of same-sex marriage that we will eventually have to deal with?

Murl Douglas Pilcher
West Fork


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


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


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

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