Archive for September, 2014

The only way

September 25, 2014

Over the years I have not always agreed with actions taken by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. Sometimes I have publicly disagreed with them.

So, it’s only fair that I give the Executive Committee credit for an action that I wholeheartedly endorse. Baptist Press reported Sept. 23 that the Executive Committee withdrew fellowship from a California church, where some members, including the  pastor, are in favor of same-sex marriage.

The Executive Committee voted without opposition that New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Calif., “does not presently meet the definition of a cooperating church” under Article III of the SBC Constitution which specifies “churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior” are not cooperating churches.

On the surface, this is a no-brainer and most Southern Baptists will affirm what the Executive Committee did. But there will no doubt be people, including Christians, who will bash the Executive Committee for maintaining a biblical but unpopular stand on homosexuality in a culture that now labels it as “normal.”

Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said it well, noting the church has “walked away from us as Southern Baptists. We have not walked away from them.”

The Executive Committee received a letter from the deacons of New Heart Community Church in which the deacons noted some members believe same-sex marriage can be blessed by God while others hold to the biblical view that marriage is between one man and one woman.

The church’s pastor, Danny Cortez, who told his congregation in February that he had “changed his stance on homosexuality,” has called New Heart a “third way” church in which members can hold varying perspectives regarding same-sex marriage.

There is no “third way.” There is the ONLY WAY, and that is God’s way as clearly defined in Scripture.

Christians who continue to preach a message affirming same-sex marriage ultimately will face His judgment. We need to stick to His way, the only way.

 

 

A community comes together

September 3, 2014

A  fire destroyed  the Baptist Collegiate Ministries building at Cumberland  University in Lebanon on Sept. 3, but it did not damage the spirit of the people.

I visited the fire scene later that morning. While it was disheartening to see the BCM building destroyed, it was encouraging to see a community rallying together to support the BCM and Wilson County Baptist  Association which owns the building.

As I walked to the site I witnessed a circle of people praying. The circle included students and staff of the BCM, the association, and Cumberland University.

Dave Shelley, director of missions for Wilson County Association, was pleased with the response of the university and the community to their tragedy. It was terrific, Shelley noted. “I applaud the fire department, the police, and Cumberland University,” he said.

It was evident that those fighting the fire had a vested interest. Chris Dowell, chief of the Lebanon Fire Department, is a member of Hillcrest Baptist Church, and at least three of the firefighters are former members of the Cumberland BCM. “We wanted to get there and do what we could to get it (the fire) out,” Dowell said. He noted this is a setback for the BCM but “hopefully they will come back strong.”

I witnessed something I had never seen before. As the firefighters were preparing to leave, they gathered together with local Baptists and Darrin Reynolds, student pastor at nearby Immanuel Baptist Church, prayed for them and thanked them for trying to save the BCM facility.

With the support of the Baptist churches in the association, along with community and university involvement, I have no doubt that the BCM will rebuild and come back stronger than ever.

Evan Owens, BCM director at Cumberland, said it well: “It’s just a building. We can keep ministering.”

Pray for the BCM at Cumberland University and Wilson County Baptist Association in the days ahead.