by Ken Hamrick
Having debated Calvinism for many years, I’m beginning to see the wisdom of leaving to mystery that which can never really be figured out—a view espoused by many others before me. Such a position is disdained by both sides as something of a weak and anti-intellectual compromise. But arriving at this Antinomist position after thoroughly studying the issues is to arrive in strength, not in weakness. I’ve always argued from the middle anyway, previously confident in the power of reason to explain truth. But unless the intellect is tempered by faith, it is a hindrance to real understanding; and only by faith can reason be humble enough to see its limits. Reason is just not equipped to take us beyond our finite, temporal thinking so that we can grasp the ways of the infinite, timeless God who transcends creation—that is faith’s role. Seeing that there is more to the equations involved in reality than the merely finite and temporal is also faith’s role. Accepting this, I find that I now have little interest in arguing with either side (which may be why the middle is so rarely heard from). As such, this article is intended to appeal to those who are not yet “sold out” to one side or the other, rather than to debate with those who are. The latter may strongly disagree, but I no longer feel the need to answer them beyond what is offered below. Continue reading
by Russell Moore
Tabletalk: How did you come to pursue a career as a systematic theologian and Christian ethicist?
Russell Moore: I felt a call to ministry early on and preached my first sermon at my home church in Biloxi, Miss., when I was twelve. I then drifted from that calling toward a career in politics. When I was working on Capitol Hill as a very young man, I picked up in the Library of Congress a copy of a Free Will Baptist manual on weddings, funerals, and so forth. After I returned home I wondered, “Why did I want this?” The Lord used that to rekindle my sense of His call to ministry. I never imagined how God would merge these callings together.
by Ken Hamrick
Old-Earth Creationists, who accept the evidence-based claims that the earth is billions of years old, ought to honestly acknowledge that their view does not rest on natural evidence, but upon their own prior skeptical denial of creation by divine fiat (or, command). It is dishonest to put forth such a view as being based on the evidence. Without first denying that a miraculous creation by fiat might have occurred, they would have no basis for giving weight to any natural evidence. This doesn’t mean that they have properly thought this out and realized that they must first deny the plausibility of a miraculous creation by fiat; rather, for most of them, their preconceived skeptical denial remains unrecognized, like a hidden assumption.
To answer the question, How long ago did God create the world?, they immediately look—as a matter of course—to what the scientific evidence ‘reveals.’ Ostensibly, this supposes to give equal weight to all sources of truth, whether God’s revelation in Scripture or God’s revelation in the physical world (nature). However, the bias of the scales toward nature becomes evident: whenever the two (the plain reading of Scripture and natural evidence) seem to contradict, they never opt for reinterpreting natural evidence in light of the inerrant Scripture, but always insist on reinterpreting Scripture in light of the inerrant natural evidence (at least where creation is concerned). Continue reading
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column by Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, is part of his ongoing call to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world.
NASHVILLE (BP) — Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this year was the year during which we live as “more than conquerors”? The Lord gives us the key to see how this may be accomplished in our lives — it can only be done “through Him who loved us.”
These words from Romans 8:37–39 shine as one of God’s brightest promises to His children. The passage says: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Continue reading →
by Ken Hamrick
There’s something insincere about any repentant admission that says, “Yes, I’m guilty—and so are you.” I do not admit to being a racist, and neither do I think most Americans—white or otherwise—are. Many are racists, but most—or even, all? Contrary to the popular Evangelical party line these days, that cannot be established. It is not enough to point out that racism is sin, and as such, it comes from the fall of man, which affects us all. All are sinners, but not all are racists.
Some good Christian black leader, whose article I’ve since lost track of, has explained that black people view things from a racial/ethnic solidarity—that when one is unjustly treated, all feel the pain. This, I think, illuminates the differences in thinking and explains why most white people just don’t get it when it comes to racial reconciliation. Continue reading
As we near the coming of the Lord, we should be more focused than ever before. As our 50,000 plus churches and congregations partner together in gospel causes, the time is now for us to rise up like never before.
I want to ask you to consider these four things with me in 2015.
1. Personally, collectively, and cooperatively, we need to own the Great Commission.
As Southern Baptists, our missional vision is to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations. There is not one of us that can escape this vision, not because it our vision as Southern Baptists, but because it is the vision of Jesus Christ for each of us as His disciples.
When I challenge us to own the Great Commission, I mean we must own this responsibility personally. Continue reading →
SOUTH ASIA (BP) — A group of Southern Baptist pastors squeezed their way into a small area with crowds of Hindu faithful to watch the ritual slaughter of goats at the Kali temple in Kolkata, India. Those with cameras were swatted with batons by temple security guards adamant the group not capture images of the beheadings.
That scene, combined with earlier scenes of idol worship and ritualistic cleansing in other South Asian cities, was a clear reminder of why these pastors — which included Fred Luter, who was Southern Baptist Convention president at the time — had journeyed there. The Old Testament was played out right in front of them, real and tangible, even brutal. But they had come to tell South Asians that the fulfillment of the Gospel in Jesus changed everything — for all. Continue reading →
NASHVILLE (BP) — President Obama’s opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba may fuel an already-vibrant evangelistic movement there, or it may fuel a repressive regime, Southern Baptist leaders and pastors said in voicing divergent opinions to Baptist Press.
“Our prayer is that the Cuban church planting movement continue to expand. The Cuban people are very receptive to the Gospel,” Kurt Urbanek, IMB strategist for Cuba, said in a statement to BP.
“We praise the Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual awakening in Cuba which has seen over 500,000 Cubans come to saving faith in Baptist churches during the past 13 years,” Urbanek noted. Continue reading →
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — The phrase “Whatever it takes” is one of the North American Mission Board’s operating values. Staff members are reminded that the mission agency exists to serve Southern Baptists and Southern Baptist churches. Giving back to the community in service was a tangible demonstration of this value as staff participated Dec. 12 in the annual NAMB Day of Service.
Staff from the NAMB’s Alpharetta, Ga., office joined local ministries in a variety of service activities at Peace Baptist Church of Decatur, Clarkston International Bible Church in Clarkston and No Longer Bound of Cumming. Continue reading →
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — Southern Baptist pastor Terry Turner has a newspaper clipping from the early 1900s telling of a family member taken from jail by a mob of southern whites and lynched, never tried or convicted of a crime.
Turner’s memory of growing up as an African American under Jim Crow segregation laws in Guthrie, Okla., partly fuels his support of Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd’s racial reconciliation initiative launched today (Dec. 15), calling for Southern Baptists to repent of racism and unite in love. Twenty other Southern Baptist pastors signed the appeal, including leaders from the white, black, Asian, Native American and Latino communities. Continue reading →
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — As a local church pastor, I am thrilled when I get to share the vision of how Southern Baptists are praying and working to reach the world for Jesus Christ. When I share with our people this grand vision and how our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions is significant to what we are doing around the world, they immediately join in helping fund this vision.
With world crises occurring daily and the severity of lostness ever increasing, we have no other choice as Southern Baptists than to do all we can to take the Gospel to every person in the world. Continue reading →
NASHVILLE (BP) — Not long ago, I was reminded again that our view of evangelism is closely tied to our view of eschatology. If we really believe Jesus is coming again soon, it will motivate us to tell as many people as possible about Christ.
The Week of Prayer for International Missions, an annual event planned at Christmas, is designed to remind us of the urgency of the hour. At the moment of Jesus’ first coming, few truly expected Messiah to come. But He did. And, oh what a difference He has made in our lives! Continue reading →
NAIROBI, Kenya (BP) — Rosemary opened up the five-gallon plastic bucket and pulled out gifts, including a set of new bed sheets. She clutched them to her chest. Her eyes filled with tears.
Rosemary wouldn’t even let her visitors help her put the sheets on her mattress. She wanted to clean her entire house before spreading such a precious gift across her bed.
The bucket and its contents were delivered to Rosemary by CARE for AIDS in Kenya, a partner organization of Baptist Global Response (BGR). Continue reading →
Dr. Randy White | Pastor
First Baptist Church, Katy, TX
**This article was previously posted by Dr. Randy White on his website http://www.randywhiteministries.org and is used by permission.
Ferguson, MO has erupted in barbaric violence that should cause all law-abiding citizens to demand the restoration of the rule-of-law, but the Evangelical world is preaching kum-ba-ya sermons about race-relations.
I’ve gotta say, I just don’t get it.
Am I a racist because I’m a white Christian male? Am I a racist because I believe that the people who burn down buildings after they’ve looted the businesses within them should be arrested on the spot and placed before a jury trial to receive a fair and just penalty for their crime? Am I a racist because I think a Grand Jury indictment is necessary before judging a man guilty (whether that man is white, black, or purple)? I don’t think I’m a racist at all. I think I’m a responsible citizen with a Biblical worldview. But when I see what the ever-more-left-leaning Evangelicals (like my fellow Southern Baptists) are preaching about the Ferguson fiasco, I am made to feel like I’m a racist. Continue reading →
The mood in Ferguson, Missouri, is tense, after a grand jury decided against indicting a police officer for the killing of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. The tension ought to remind us, as the church, that we are living in a time in which racial division is hardly behind us. That reality ought to motivate us as citizens to work for justice, but also as the church to seek to embody the kingdom of Christ.
We haven’t as of yet sorted through all the evidence the grand jury saw and we don’t know precisely what happened in this nightmarish incident. What we do know is that the Ferguson situation is one of several in just the past couple of years where white and black Americans have viewed a situation in starkly different terms. White Americans tend, in public polling, to view the presenting situations as though they exist in isolation, dealing only with the known facts of the case at hand, of whether there is evidence of murder. Black Americans, polls show, tend to view these crises through a wider lens, the question of whether African-American youth are too often profiled and killed in America. Continue reading →
Confession time – many of you have followed the events in Ferguson, Missouri, a lot more carefully than I have. I have followed the story but not delved into every eyewitness report or followed the debates closely. I did, however, follow the news coverage Monday and watched the St. Louis County DA’s press conference. I have a few opinions and observations that I’d like to proffer for your consideration.
It is with great trepidation that I wade into this quagmire. Racial issues can be explosive, even on a Baptist blog. But here’s my take. Continue reading →
WASHINGTON (BP) — President Obama’s new executive actions to change immigration policy imperil the growing, widespread agreement on reform, said the Southern Baptist Convention’s lead ethicist.
Obama announced in prime time Thursday (Nov. 20) his orders, which include most controversially a plan to protect an estimated five million undocumented immigrants from deportation. The president’s actions came after years of his own contentions that he did not have the legal authority to make or ignore immigration law. He chose to act at this time after a comprehensive reform bill approved by the Senate in 2013 failed to gain a vote in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Obama said.
The president’s decision to act on his own is an “unwise and counterproductive move,” said Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Continue reading →
When pride walks on the platform, God walks off. Under major conviction from the Holy Spirit in 1995, in the early morning on a night when I could not sleep, God revealed this truth to me. It was not a truth about someone else, but a truth about me. During those early hours, God began a work within me that He is still doing in and through me daily.
Every pastor I know, but mostly this pastor, needs to continually learn the powerful truth from 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die every day!” May the Lord teach us this truth. Continue reading →
My church has a benevolence fund, and it is my great joy as pastor to be the one who delivers checks to those in need. We’ve been able to give and give generously to those in the church family who lose a job or have some other family hardship. That is a pastor’s joy.
It is not quite so much fun when one of the Siouxland “regulars” calls the church asking for a handout. Continue reading →
I think every church in the Southern Baptist Convention and beyond would want their people to engage in preparing weekly for the worship services of their church. Just imagine the power that would be upon God’s preachers and the power that would come upon worship services around the world if the church consistently prepared for these moments spiritually. It would be God-sized!
Consider letting the sunset on Saturdays or the sunrises on Sundays serve as a reminder that it is time to pray for your church for 3 minutes or 180 seconds, as referenced in Pleading With Southern Baptists. There is nothing holy or biblical about three minutes of concentrated prayer, but it is an attainable goal for every Christ-follower I know. It does not matter where you are or whom you may be with. 3 minutes to slip away and pray for your church should be possible most weeks, if not all. You could set a 3-minute timer on your cell phone, and pray until the alarm goes off. This will help increase your focus in prayer. Continue reading →