Archive for September, 2010

This holiday’s not for me

September 29, 2010

Whether you knew it or not, or whether you observed it or not, Wednesday, Sept. 29, was considered National Coffee Day.

While I have countless friends who can’t get their day started without coffee, I am not one of them.

Now, I do need my morning caffeine. I just prefer mine cold — Diet Coke or tea.

I am not totally anti-coffee. I will drink it when no other caffeine is available. I am especially appreciative of coffee in foreign countries when a soft drink or cup of tea can’t be found. In Cuba, for instance, usually one or two sips of their coffee gives me the caffeine impact of four or five Diet Cokes. Very strong stuff.

Again, while National Coffee Day was not for me, it is for a lot of folks. I read a statistic (there are statistics for everything these days), more than 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year. And, in addition, coffee is a world commodity second only to oil. I hope those two little tidbits of coffee trivia made your day!

And, if you missed National Coffee Day this year, don’t despair. There is always next year!

Anyway, Happy National Coffee Day!

Southern Baptists honor Chapman

September 21, 2010

The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee honored its retiring leader, Morris Chapman, during a retirement dinner on Sept. 20 in Nashville. Chapman steps down from his role at the end of this month.

The event was a fitting tribute for Chapman, who became president and chief executive officer of the SBC entity in 1992, after having served two years as the convention president.

During the retirement dinner, one speaker noted that Chapman’s election as SBC president sealed the “conservative resurgence” that took place during the late 1970s and 1980s. That is probably true. Without looking it up, I am fairly certain that the “moderates” never seriously challenged for the presidency after Chapman’s election.

Unlike some of the men who preceded him as SBC president, Chapman was a champion of the Cooperative Program, leading First Baptist Church, Wichita Falls, Texas, to increase its Cooperative Program giving to more than 16 percent of its undesignated receipts. During each of his 13 years at FBC, Wichita Falls, the church’s CP gifts and baptisms were both in the top 1 percent in the SBC, according to a Baptist Press news report on Sept. 20.

Chapman remained a strong supporter of the Cooperative Program once he arrived to lead the Executive Committee until the end of his tenure. The thing that impressed me about Chapman over the years is that he was not afraid to stand up for what he believed, whether it be over the inerrancy of God’s Word or the Cooperative Program.

Chapman was very vocal in his opposition to the report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force released earlier this year and approved by SBC messengers in June. He felt that an element of the report which added the term “Great Commission Giving” was detrimental to the Cooperative Program. He made it clear that the Cooperative Program needs to be the primary method of financial support for SBC ministry and missions efforts. Chapman was not afraid to oppose those currently in SBC leadership including outgoing SBC president Johnny Hunt. He stood tall in his support of the Cooperative Program.

In a question and answer article with BP on Sept. 20, Chapman said, “Because I have always believed so strongly in the Cooperative Program, I was grateful that Cooperative Program promotion and Stewardship education returned to the Executive Committee. Southern Baptists historically have returned the assignment of Cooperative Program promotion to the Executive Committee each time it has been transferred to other entities.

“At the last Southern Baptist Convention, the messengers approved a vision that removes from the Executive Committee all but a token responsibility for Cooperative Program promotion and transfers it to the state conventions. If it proves to be a beneficial and healthy decision, I will rejoice. If not, I will be deeply disappointed in what may become the erosion and ultimate demise of the Cooperative Program as we have known it.”

He called it as he saw it. That is to be commended.

During his retirement dinner, Chapman was given the title of president emeritus of the Executive Committee and presented the M.E. Dodd Award, named after the longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., who helped establish the Cooperative Program. The award is presented annually to a person, congregation or organization for sustained achievement in CP missions support.

Based on Chapman’s record, it is an honor well deserved.

Two cents worth

September 9, 2010

Everybody and his or her brother seems to be commenting on the announced plan by a Florida church to burn large quantities of the Quran so I may as well add my “two cents worth.”

Part of me hates to do it because I am falling into the same trap as most every secular media outlet. We are giving this pastor tons of publicity at no cost. We are allowing him to spew his hatred toward another religion at will.

Yes, it is “news” and merits coverage, but it is sad to me as a Christian that this action by pastor Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., a congregation of reportedly 30-50 people, has completely overshadowed the “good things” done by Christians every single day without fanfare.

You would be hard pressed to find news stories right now of relief work still being done by Christians in Haiti, Pakistan and other countries that have been hard hit by natural disasters in recent weeks. Instead the focus is on a small group who has taken it upon themselves an “act of warning radical Islam.”

Instead, they are showing the world radical Christianity.

I don’t always agree with Richard Land of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, but he was on target in a Sept. 8 Baptist Press release when he stated, “The behavior of this church is not Christian. I cannot imagine Christ burning any religious texts. This behavior is unfortunately one of the prices we pay for living in a free society with freedom of speech and freedom of expression, even when it is odious and reprehensible. I believe it is incumbent upon Christians across the country to denounce this action by this local church and its pastor to make it as clear as possible that they do not speak for any sizable portion of the Christian faith community in any way, shape or form.”

As a Christian I totally disagree with the Islam faith, but any hope of trying to develop relationships with Muslims in order to eventually share the truth of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will be damaged by actions of people like those at this Florida church.

The “International Burn a Koran Day” is set for Sept. 11, just two days away. Pray that common sense prevails and this event will be cancelled.

Disturbing study

September 1, 2010

LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources, released a report on Sept. 1 that is very disturbing.

The report indicates that six out of 10 American “millennials,” those born between 1980 and 1991, see nothing wrong with two people of the same gender getting married.

I think back 30 years ago when I would be in that age range between 21 and 30. I saw something wrong with homosexuality then (same-sex marriage wasn’t even on the radar) and I still do today, perhaps even more so.

So why do those today who are ages 21-30 more acceptable of homosexuality and same-sex marriage?

Is it because the church is now saying it is ok? I think not.

Is it because culture has made it more acceptable? Definitely. Even 30 years ago, I cannot recall very many, if any, television shows that had homosexual characters. Today, they are commonplace on the movie and television screens.

Sad to say, culture has had more influence on the younger generation today than the church has. What troubles me even more about the study is that one out of seven people who profess Christ as Savior agrees that same-sex marriage is ok. How can Christians endorse any type of marriage other than that between one man and one woman as found in God’s Holy Word?

I agree with Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, who along with his son Jess, will be writing a book based on the research. He notes, “that if it is to find relevance with the Millennials, the church must be willing to deal directly with the issue of same-sex attraction and relationships. The church must voice a clear, biblical ethic of sexuality.”

I take it even a step farther. If the church is to have relevance with anyone, we must not deviate from what the Bible says in order to be “politically correct.” When culture is leading our people astray, the church must continue to preach God’s Word without fear or compromise.