He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

Thursday, November 30, 2006 

Baptists Are Right

Over the weekend, I went to my parents church that I dearly love, the founding church of the PCA. It is jokingly referred to as the largest Baptist church in Birmingham because of all the former Baptists who are now Presbyterian. I have a sneaky suspicion that most who have made that switch did not at one time believe in baptism of believers only and now believe in infant baptism, but probably found themselves dry, unchallenged, hungry for more, deeper teaching, and found it at this church and were all too happy to disregard baptism of believers alone in order to join a more vibrant community of believers where they could grow more in the faith.

That said, over the last 2 years, in looking high & low for every reason to escape out of the SBC, I am committed, barring a movement of God to remove me, to stay in the SBC to bring about any, no matter how little, good to a people who are amazing at getting the Gospel out, but then fail to disciple so often.

So, when I was in my parents Sunday School class (which my dad was teaching on a brief history of major heresies), this one woman, who at one time was a Baptist too, raised her hand to inform us all that Baptists were not Protestant - they were just, Baptist. Then she proceeded to inform the class that Arminianism came from the Baptist. I'm not patient and loving as I should be, so as a Baptist studying at THE Southern Baptist seminary, my blood went cold & I wanted to blurt out a rebuke. Fortunately, my dad, a former Baptist, was teaching, and lovingly informed her that Baptists were Protestant and actually had Reformed roots. To this woman's defense, I can understand today why she would think that Baptists were the Arminian fathers.

But, as a Baptist, I've heard comments like, "what are Baptists anyways?" referring at the minimum to the leadership structure. Methodists, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian all believe their structures are Biblical while ours is a hodge podge of nothingness. Baptist autonomy does separate us from most Protestants, so this may also help clear up misunderstandings like the woman in the Sunday School class. So, because of all the misunderstandings about Baptist, I want to point out Biblically two major areas where I think Baptists are the one's who are right when it comes to local church autonomy.

1. Election of Officers and Appointment of Ministers.

Acts 6 shows the local church in Jerusalem appointing seven deacons who are to oversee the ministry of that local church. Then in Acts 13, it is the local church in Antioch appointing Paul and Barnabas as ministers and sends them out as their missionaries. There is no ruling body or presbytery or bishop that appoints the pastor of a local church.

2. Church Discipline

Matthew 18 deals with disciplining a member of a local church who is in sin. It describes members of the local church meeting with him to discuss the problem. It describes the local pastor desiring to restore that person. Ultimately it involves separation from an unrepentant individual.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 

Persecuted Church Resources

Christian Freedom International
Voice of the Martyrs
International Christian Concern
Persecution Blog
Stand Today
Open Doors
Christians of Iraq
Friends of the Martyred Church
Release International

Monday, November 20, 2006 

Missional Mindset

"Let's take a brief quiz together. What do you call a woman who works in a hospital assisting doctors? Here in America we call her a nurse. But if that nurse gets on an airplane and goes to the Philippines, what is she called? A medical missionary, right? Do you see the difference in persepctive? Why do we not view her (& why does she not often view herself) as a medical missionary here?

Some years ago while visiting a church I overheard a conversation in which a woman was asked what she did for a living. I have never forgotten her reply: 'What do I do? I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, on mission for Him, cleverly disguised as an emergency room nurse.' That is the perspective we need to cultivate in our day! What advances would we make in kingdom work if all believers answered the questions about the occupation this way: ' What do I do? I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, on mission for Him, clevery disguised as a __________.'"

-Dr. Timothy Beougher, SBTS professor of Evangelism & Church Growth & Associate Dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism & Church Growth, from The Challenge of the Great Commission: Essays on God's Mandate for the Local Church.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 

What I Am Learning at the Alabama Baptist Convention

-Alcahol & Tabacco use (not just abuse) will send you to Hell
-We're okay with gluttony
-Dorothy & Paige - etertainment for hours
-The balcony is yours if you want it bad enough
-The ultimate purpose of life is evangelism, not worship, not God
-Poo in the balcony will melt if it's hot enough
-Ear wax finds its way onto pen tops
-Chik-Fil-A now serves chicken flavored human hair
-Baptists have amazing, gravity-defying hair
-I should never, ever, ever, ever complain about my church again
-If you're under the age of 91 you're looked at with suspicion
-The terms Gospel, worship, glory, and God all mean different things to different people
-Grace is not irresistible
-Sausage is not in Scripture & you can eat it during Lent
-Mars is probably similar to SBC state convention atomospheres
-You can actually fit & sleep under pews at Hunter Street (observation)
-Depression is caused by conventions which leads to delirium
-Story telling & joke telling & chicken soup for the soul are paramount
-Some people use your tithe & cooperative money for plastic surgery
-Others use it for a lifetime membership at the tanning bed
-Others still use it for cuff links and teeth whitener and hair spray
-If you don't give your church money to liberal Baptist colleges you get blackballed
-I'm convicted to remain SB until God remove me or SB kick me out
-The national convention suddenly doesn't seem so terrible any more
-In spite of all the insanity, you have an incredible time with your friends, & you get blessed

Thursday, November 09, 2006 

Believing God

At the root of every sin there is a consistent cause. Lack of faith. It doesn't matter if the sin is from a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ or if it comes from a muslim, atheist, buddhist, or a person who isn't a Christian who claims to be. All sin comes from not believing God.

Just think of every scenario:

You don't come to faith in Jesus - you don't believe God that Jesus was God & God's only Son & through His perfect life, death, & resurrection, that He is the only way to be reconciled to God.

You flatter man - you don't believe that God is jealous or so glorious & so steal or share His glory with others

You don't forgive someone or you are holding a grudge - you don't believe God who through His Son said, "if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you, but if you don't forgive others, the Father will not forgive your trespasses." Not to mention the fact that you lose complete sight of the Gospel which exposes our desperate need for forgiveness in spite of the fact that we in no way deserve it.

You are prideful - you don't believe that God gave you every thing you have received, from your very breath to your gifts and abilities, & that He doesn't need you or anyone. You have actually convinced yourself that you are capable of being something apart from the One who gives you life & sustains it for His purposes.

You are lustful - you don't believe that you will find pleasures forevermore at the right hand of God, but instead think you will find them in a glance, in skin, in embrace, in addiction.

You are anxious - you don't really believe that God will care for you and bless you more abundantly than the flowers and the birds.

You are lazy - you don't really believe that God can & will equip you for His purposes or that every limb that does not abide in Him withers & is thrown into the fire.

This list could be endless. This reality should cause us to cry out...

"I believe; help my unbelief!"

Friday, November 03, 2006 

God Help Us

..."sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." Genesis 4:7b


Southern Baptist Possible Solutions

Several weeks ago, Nathan Finn made public the plethora of reasons he does not want to be a Southern Baptist sometimes. Fortunately, he didn't just complain and carry on, he has offered possible, helpful solutions, 9 so far, & counting.

Solutions Part 1
Solutions Part 2
Solutions Part 3
Solutions Part 4
Solutions Part 5
Solutions Part 6
Solutions Part 7
Solutions Part 8
Solutions Part 9

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 

God at Work

Jeremiah 1:4-19 records God's call of Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations. Yet, what is amazing to me, is that it seems almost as if Jeremiah's call is God calling on Himself to accomplish the task. Notice God at work:

v. 5 - "I formed you" - "I knew you" - "I set you apart"
v. 7 - "I send you" - "I command you"
v. 8 - "I am with you" - "I will rescue you"
v. 9 - "I have put my words in your mouth"
v.10- "I appoint you"
v.12- "I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled"
v.14- "I am about to summon all the peoples"
v.16- "I will pronounce my judgments"
v.17- "say to them whatever I command you" - "or I will terrify you"
v.18- "I have made you a fortified city" - "I have made you an iron pillar" - "I have made you a bronze wall"
v.19- "I am with you" - "I will rescue you"

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