April 2018

Two words of encour­age­ment for my friends who are lead­ing the church:

Lead your church to prac­tice hos­pi­tal­i­ty and preach the glo­ri­ous res­ur­rect­ed Christ!

Remem­ber, the Greek word for hos­pi­tal­i­ty is a com­bi­na­tion of phileo and xenoPhileois the love we have for a friend and xenorefers to a stranger. Philoxenoi then, is to love a stranger as if they are a friend.

Think of some of the things you do when peo­ple vis­it your home. First thing you do, is expect them to vis­it (Are you expect­ing vis­i­tors?), and you wait for them to arrive. You tidy up before they get to your home, espe­cial­ly the bath­rooms (that’s impor­tant). You greet them at the door and wel­come them. You ori­ent them to your home and may even give them the grand tour. You give them your full atten­tion. You ask them if you can get them any­thing and you are ready to serve them. You engage them in friend­ly con­ver­sa­tion. They may be a lit­tle uncom­fort­able in unfa­mil­iar sur­round­ings, so you do what you can to make them feel at ease. If they have chil­dren, you might move some things around and make your home safe and enjoy­able for their kids. When they leave, you let them know that you enjoyed hav­ing them over and that you look for­ward to get­ting togeth­er again soon. If you don’t have their con­tact infor­ma­tion, you get it so you can shoot them a text and meet them for lunch or just to let them know you hope that they are hav­ing a good day and you’re pray­ing for the con­cern they shared with you when they vis­it­ed. That’s what I would do for a friend.

Con­sid­er some vers­es from our Scrip­ture and ask, “What can our con­gre­ga­tion do to make our guests feel val­ued and wel­comed?” (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:1–2; 1 Peter 4:8–10)

Sec­ond, preach the res­ur­rec­tion my friends! As the day drew near for Christ to die for our sins, He set his mind on the res­ur­rec­tion. Why? Because the res­ur­rec­tion is vital to our jus­ti­fi­ca­tion and sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Romans 4:24–25 tells us that God will cred­it right­eous­ness to those who believe in him who res­ur­rect­ed our Lord for “He was deliv­ered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.” He was raised for our jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. If Christ was not raised from the dead, then he is not the sav­ior.  Jesus was declared the son of God by the res­ur­rec­tion from the dead (Romans 1:4), and 1 Corinthi­ans 15:17 tells us that with­out the res­ur­rec­tion, we would still be in our sins. A dead sav­ior, is no sav­ior at all.

The res­ur­rec­tion is vital to our jus­ti­fi­ca­tion and it is vital for our sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion. One of the great­est and cel­e­brat­ed acts of faith in the scrip­ture is Abraham’s will­ing­ness to sac­ri­fice the son of promise, Isaac. Hebrews 11:17–19 tells what enabled Abra­ham to obey such a dif­fi­cult and seem­ing­ly coun­ter­in­tu­itive com­mand from God. Abra­ham believed that God had the pow­er to res­ur­rect Isaac and restore all things. A heart and mind that is stayed on the res­ur­rec­tion can take up its cross and obey the call of God.

My friends, call the peo­ple of God to focus on the res­ur­rec­tion for their sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion!

This is going to be a great month! I’m look­ing for­ward to the many sto­ries of sal­va­tion and redemp­tion that our God will accom­plish through the blood of the Lamb and the res­ur­rect­ing pow­er of his Holy Spir­it.
Bro. Bil­ly
 

March 2018

Ter­rif­ic round­table dis­cus­sion on mis­sions this past Mon­day.

Chris Vin­son, Trin­i­ty Bap­tist Church, start­ed off the dis­cus­sion on the rela­tion­ship between mis­sions and evan­ge­lism. We were able to think deeply about the mis­sion of the church and the cen­tral­i­ty of the gospel to the mis­sion of the church.

Dan­nie Williams, FBC Lyons, empha­sized the inter­weav­ing of lov­ing oth­ers through acts of ser­vice and the pre­sen­ta­tion of the gospel, with an encour­age­ment to be sure to nev­er leave out the gospel as we meet needs. It was great dis­cus­sion. We cov­ered a lot of ground and I left edi­fied and encour­aged, and I believe most every­one did.

Jes­si­ca Bolin served and blessed the pas­tors with a won­der­ful lunch.

Dur­ing lunch, Malin­da Glad­den gave a report on the suc­cess of our local med­ical den­tal mis­sion effort. Malin­da reports:

… we have great things to cel­e­brate from the den­tal min­istry this past week.  God pro­vid­ed us with great den­tist, hygien­ist and stu­dents, assis­tants, nurs­es and stu­dents, pas­tors, dea­cons that were will­ing to step up to min­is­ter­ing to our patients, trans­la­tors, meals, peo­ple that just prayed for the min­istry, and oth­er vol­un­teers for paper­work.  With­out each of these, this min­istry would not hap­pen because each of these men­tion is a very impor­tant part of these min­istry. We all know God is at the top of the list, … but it would be hard to put this on with­out help from our local church­es.

The most impor­tant part of the min­istry is the get­ting God’s word out to each patient before they are seen of the den­tal unit, through this we had 4 sal­va­tions. Praise the Lord for that and the men that were able to present God’s words for these patients.   We prayed for every patient, got to talk with patient and if you don’t already know, lots of peo­ple are just hurt­ing …

Our vol­un­teers con­sist of 9 den­tists, 1 Oral Sur­geon, 4 den­tal hygien­ists, 3 hygiene stu­dents, 3 nurs­es, 3 nurs­ing stu­dents, 3 trans­la­tors, 8 pas­tors or oth­er will­ing to share the gospel, 5 church­es sup­plied meals, and about 8 vol­un­teers that just gave up their time to help this week any way they could.

We screened a total of 98 patients; We saw 87 patients; We cleaned 30 patients; We extract­ed 85 teeth; We filled 18 teeth

Joey Davis, El Camino & Igle­sia Bautista De Cedar Cross­ing, shared and encour­ag­ing word about how God was mov­ing in our local church plant­i­ng effort in our His­pan­ic com­mu­ni­ty.

We wrapped up as Dan­ny Williams and Jeff Scog­gins shared about their astound­ing mis­sion trip India. These broth­ers expe­ri­enced a move of God in which, lit­er­al­ly thou­sands of peo­ple respond­ed to gospel.

Below are but a few of the mis­sion oppor­tu­ni­ties we are engaged in togeth­er as an asso­ci­a­tion. These are mis­sion works that you are giv­ing toward. These are oppor­tu­ni­ties for you to pray over and con­sid­er if our Lord is lead­ing you and/or some from your con­gre­ga­tion to go and do.

Dis­as­ter Relief:

We held a train­ing ses­sion for GBMB Dis­as­ter Relief cer­ti­fi­ca­tion at Cedar Cross­ing Bap­tist Church. We now have a sub­stan­tial num­ber of peo­ple who are cre­den­tialed and bet­ter equipped to par­tic­i­pate in a dis­as­ter relief mis­sion trip. I’m look­ing for­ward to being on mis­sion with these good folks and thanks to Cedar Cross­ing for host­ing the train­ing.

The GBMB rolled out a new train­ing method that can be done via video in one morn­ing, so if you would like to hold a train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for your peo­ple, give us a call and we can come along side and sup­port the effort.

SK4:

The SK4 chil­dren on mis­sion bike-a-thon will take place on Sat­ur­day, April 21 at 8:30am at Taber­na­cle Bap­tist Church. This is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for your chil­dren to learn a great deal about the process of being on mis­sion for Christ. For more infor­ma­tion about SK4, con­tact your DBA office.

India:

Our part­ner in India, Pan­du and the Vic­to­ry Bap­tist Asso­ci­a­tion, is inter­est­ed in host­ing mis­sion teams in 2019.

Also, our asso­ci­a­tion wants to help Pan­du finan­cial­ly, to dis­trib­ute Bibles to new believ­ers. Con­tact your asso­ci­a­tion office or Jeff Scog­gins at First Bap­tist Lyons.

Kan­tu­nilkin, Mex­i­co:

We are con­tin­u­ing in our part­ner­ship with the new and grow­ing church in Mex­i­co, Vida Nue­va, Pas­tor Luis Rodriguez. We have a team going this sum­mer and we will con­tin­ue to go, as long as our Lord directs us to this king­dom work in Mex­i­co. Please pray about this oppor­tu­ni­ty and if you and your con­gre­ga­tion are inter­est­ed in serv­ing our friends in Mex­i­co, please con­tact your DBA office for more infor­ma­tion.

We have local mis­sions oppor­tu­ni­ties:

  •      to serve refugee com­mu­ni­ties only a few hours away in Clark­ston, GA.
  •      to serve our His­pan­ic church plant­i­ng effort along­side Joey Davis.
  •      to serve the Dream Cen­ter.

All of the oppor­tu­ni­ties list­ed above involve rela­tion­ship build­ing, con­struc­tion, evan­ge­lism and com­mu­ni­ty out­reach, so every­one has on oppor­tu­ni­ty to use their gifts and tal­ents on mis­sion for the king­dom of Christ. We are avail­able to assist you in con­nect­ing to any of these oppor­tu­ni­ties.

We have a won­der­ful and mis­sion mind­ed asso­ci­a­tion of church­es. I encour­age you, please engage in every way. Talk about it, pray about, give to it and go do it.

And may The Lamb receive the reward of His suf­fer­ing!

Bil­ly

 

From the desk of Bro. Bil­ly

Pan­du Madala

Many of us were blessed to spend time with Pan­du Madala, Direc­tor of the Vic­to­ry Bap­tist Asso­ci­a­tion (VBA), in Gudi­va­da, India. Pan­du serves Christ among the largest unreached peo­ple group pop­u­la­tion in the world. South Asia con­sists of approx­i­mate­ly 1.5 bil­lion peo­ple with only 2% pro­fess­ing Christ.

Check out this fact sheet on South Asia pro­duced by our IMB:

https://www.imb.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/SA_FastFacts.pdf

Our Lord has giv­en us the bless­ing to part­ner with Pan­du in the spread of the gospel in India through our Ped­als for Pas­tors ini­tia­tive. Pan­du requests med­ical mis­sion teams from our area to trav­el to India and engage in min­istry and evan­ge­lism in part­ner­ship with VBA. He also needs finan­cial help pur­chas­ing Bibles for new con­verts. Last year VBA dis­trib­uted around 90,000 gospel tracts with approx­i­mate­ly 9,000 peo­ple.

Thanks from the Puck­ett fam­i­ly.

The Puck­ett fam­i­ly, in South­east Texas, want­ed me to extend their heart­felt grat­i­tude for our work in restor­ing their home after flood­ing from hur­ri­cane Har­vey. Our Lord used us to redeem their home, may he also redeem their souls and give them an imper­ish­able home with him in glo­ry. The Puckett’s write, “Thank you very much for what you did to help us after the hur­ri­cane. We would not be in our home today with­out your help. Thank you for the gifts you sent and for allow­ing Bil­ly Jr. to come work on the house.”

Brew­ton-Park­er stu­dents ready to serve

Sev­er­al Brew­ton-Park­er stu­dents have expressed inter­est in oppor­tu­ni­ties to serve. Below is  a list of BPC stu­dents who are avail­able to sup­ply preach or lead wor­ship on an occa­sion or for inter­im.

Steven Collins – preacher/pastor, 478–363-3869, scollins@bpc.edu

(Steven will grad­u­ate soon and is look­ing for God’s assign­ment for he and his wife)

Nathan Pris­tavec – preach­er, 912–996-5851, npristavec@bpc.edu

Hunter Young – preach­er, 706–836-3173, hyoung1@bpc.edu

Jeff Cov­ing­ton — wor­ship leader, 912–547-7227, jcovington@bpc.edu

Joseph Duke – wor­ship leader, 229–425-6666, jduke@bpc.edu

Flori­da Irma Dis­as­ter Relief Trip

Our Flori­da Dis­as­ter Relief Mis­sion Trip was blessed. We had around 10–12 peo­ple on the trip (some came for part of the trip). We con­nect­ed with First Bap­tist Church, Mid­dle­burg. FBC Mid­dle­burg con­nect­ed us with three fam­i­lies that expe­ri­enced sub­stan­tial flood­ing dur­ing the storm. We were able to reme­di­ate their homes and infuse hope into them in the midst of their dis­cour­ag­ing sit­u­a­tion. Chris­t­ian Wal­ton was on the trip and com­ment­ed, “I learned how it feels to tru­ly be the hands and feet of Jesus.” Guid­ing your peo­ple into mis­sions is tru­ly one of the great­est dis­ci­ple mak­ing tools at the pastor’s dis­pos­al.

 

Novem­ber 6, 2017

I believe I may have worked myself into a doc­tors vis­it recent­ly. I start­ed by gut­ting my par­ents flood­ed home in Texas and then gut­ting flood­ed homes in Flori­da after Irma, along with try­ing to keep up with teach­ing and grad­ing papers and work­ing on the DBA bud­get and annu­al meet­ing, the prison min­istry, … and the list goes on. You’re prob­a­bly famil­iar with what I’m talk­ing about, most min­is­ters are. Upon return from Flori­da, I find myself in the doc­tors office. I’ve had to slow down. I’m not com­plete­ly still, but even slow­ing down gives you a lit­tle mar­gin to reflect. I’ve had sev­er­al thoughts on recent devel­op­ments.

First, I need to obey the Sab­bath. The Sab­bath was made for me, I wasn’t made for the Sab­bath. I need to heed the wise com­mands of my Heav­en­ly Father. For one, I don’t make the world go round. God does. Two, If I’m down, phys­i­cal­ly and spir­i­tu­al­ly, then I’m not much use to any­one.

Sec­ond, turns out, I don’t want to be sick and I don’t want to die. I’m not as “ok” with endur­ing sick­ness, suf­fer­ing and death as I thought I was. At first, I felt dis­heart­ened. I com­pared myself to Peter, who told Jesus he would die with him, but it turned out, at that point, Peter wasn’t real­ly ok with suf­fer­ing and dying for Jesus. Peter didn’t know where he was in his rela­tion­ship with Christ, but a dif­fi­cult  sit­u­a­tion revealed to Peter the truth about him­self.

But after I con­sid­ered things fur­ther, there’s a sense in which I’m not sup­posed to be con­tent with the state of death and suf­fer­ing of this present age. Death and suf­fer­ing are a result of sin and Satan and the bro­ken­ness of our world. I’m not sup­posed to be “ok” with that. I think I’m sup­posed to be sad­dened over it, fight against it and long for the full­ness of redemp­tion that will be ours at the reveal­ing of the sons of God.

That being said, I can think of no bet­ter rea­son to use up my body than on mis­sion for king­dom pur­pos­es. We have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to offer our bod­ies as a liv­ing and holy sac­ri­fice, for the joy set before us. Our bod­ies are going to ache, break and even­tu­al­ly, wear out. If I live long enough, I will even­tu­al­ly have a bad back, decay­ing teeth, weak­en­ing eyes and thou­sand dis­eases and futil­i­ties will bring me to my grave. It is the result of sin, Satan and the bro­ken­ness of our world. It comes to us all, it is inevitable, but the cause for which I live, suf­fer and die, that will make all the dif­fer­ence. 

Accord­ing to news reports, on this past Sun­day, 26 of our broth­ers and sis­ters at First Bap­tist Church Suther­land Springs in Texas were killed by a gun­man as they gath­ered to wor­ship. I cer­tain­ly pray that this hor­ror does not hap­pen again, but we draw com­fort in know­ing that these broth­ers and sis­ters met Christ in wor­ship. May we all be wor­ship­ping our Lord when we cross the Jor­don into that great Sab­bath rest.

The moral of the sto­ry: Wor­ship! Work hard for the king­dom. Be spent on behalf of the King, but be wise and obey the Sab­bath. In the end we will be bet­ter able to live and die well, if we do things God’s way. I pray you enjoy the hol­i­days and wor­ship well.

 

Sep­tem­ber 1, 2017

Christ referred to us as his body. The

mem­bers of our phys­i­cal body have a spe­cial kind of union with one anoth­er. They have a con­nec­tion that goes beyond uni­ty. When I think of uni­ty, I think of a col­lec­tion of dif­fer­ent parts that are orga­nized and work togeth­er to accom­plish a task. A mechan­i­cal watch, for exam­ple, is a col­lec­tion of sep­a­rate parts that are orga­nized to keep time. If one were to dis­as­sem­ble the watch, each part could exist inde­pen­dent­ly from the oth­ers.

The church, how­ev­er, is not mere­ly assem­bled parts, placed togeth­er to accom­plish a task. The church is a body, and the mem­bers of a body are liv­ing, and they impart life to one anoth­er. Sep­a­rat­ed, the mem­bers of a body will die. My fin­gers, toes, heart and lungs, with their spe­cial func­tions and abil­i­ties, are designed to be life giv­ing. As each mem­ber of the body of Christ walks in the Spir­it, we con­tribute some­thing life giv­ing to the oth­er mem­bers of the body.

I’m encour­aged by the life giv­ing rela­tion­ships that we have with­in our Asso­ci­a­tion. Over the past 7 months, many of you have breathed spir­i­tu­al life into me through our dis­cus­sions, prayer and serv­ing togeth­er. Our Asso­ci­a­tion has the poten­tial for more and deep­er con­nec­tions, and that is a very excit­ing and ener­giz­ing prospect. My hope and prayer and work is increased fel­low­ship among the saints, so that we might impart spir­i­tu­al life and vital­i­ty to one anoth­er.

July 17, 2016

The SBC and the Atone­ment

At the 2017 South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion our denom­i­na­tion affirmed a res­o­lu­tion regard­ing Penal Sub­sti­tu­tion­ary Atone­ment. A com­pact ver­sion of the res­o­lu­tion might read like this:

Where­as in recent days numer­ous voic­es have attacked the doc­trine of penal sub­sti­tu­tion­ary atone­ment; and have pub­licly labeled penal sub­sti­tu­tion ‘evil,’ and indica­tive of ‘the Father mur­der­ing a son’; and Where­as God is per­fect in His jus­tice and love; and the denial of penal sub­sti­tu­tion­ary atone­ment in effect denies the holy and lov­ing God the exer­cise of His jus­tice, the over­flow of which in a sin­ful world is the out­pour­ing of His just ret­ribu­tive wrath; and Where­as the denial of penal sub­sti­tu­tion­ary atone­ment con­sti­tutes false teach­ing that leads the flock astray; and the Bible teach­es that “with­out the shed­ding of blood there is no for­give­ness” of sin; now, there­fore, be it resolved, that the mes­sen­gers to the South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion reaf­firm the truth­ful­ness, effi­ca­cy, and beau­ty of the bib­li­cal doc­trine of penal sub­sti­tu­tion­ary atone­ment as the burn­ing core of the Gospel mes­sage and the only hope of a fall­en race.”

Penal Sub­sti­tu­tion­ary Atone­ment has sev­er­al facets. Each per­son is guilty of trans­gress­ing a law or com­mand­ment of God. In order to be just, God, the cos­mic judge, must pun­ish the guilty law break­er. God’s holi­ness demands that he respond appro­pri­ate­ly to the law break­er. The appro­pri­ate pun­ish­ment for a finite being who has des­e­crat­ed some­thing of infi­nite worth is the death penal­ty and eter­nal impris­on­ment.

In the Old Tes­ta­ment, the idea of trans­fer­ring guilt and pun­ish­ment from one par­ty to anoth­er is estab­lished in the sac­ri­fi­cial sys­tem. The pun­ish­ment mer­it­ed by the guilty par­ty is trans­ferred to the ani­mal, which would then be slain. The sac­ri­fice is a sub­sti­tute, receiv­ing the pun­ish­ment due the guilty par­ty and dying on behalf of the trans­gres­sor. The sac­ri­fice atones for the crimes of the guilty par­ty and sat­is­fies the wrath of the judge.

The dis­po­si­tion of God towards unbe­liev­ers is one of the pri­ma­ry points on which the dis­cus­sion cen­ters. The scrip­ture teach­es that while we were yet sin­ners God loved us and died for us. Part of the stan­dard pitch in south­ern bap­tist evan­ge­lism is, “God loves you,” and “God wants to save you.” The ques­tion is, what does God want to save you from? Death and hell, the con­se­quences of your sin? His wrath and anger? Is God angry at humankind and ready to pour out his wrath, or is he lov­ing, long­ing for a rela­tion­ship? You can see the poten­tial for con­fu­sion.

I’m con­fi­dent that those who stand against penal sub­sti­tu­tion­ary atone­ment dis­dain the depic­tion of God as a cos­mic deity that is angry at us and will pour out his wrath on us unless his jus­tice and wrath is appeased by a legal trans­ac­tion, a blood sac­ri­fice, and from his own child no less. The God of PSA is not com­men­su­rate with their idea of a lov­ing heav­en­ly Father.

Alter­na­tive under­stand­ings of the atone­ment are akin to the Chris­tus Vic­tor mod­el or the Gov­ern­men­tal The­o­ry. Through his life, death, bur­ial and res­ur­rec­tion, Christ over­comes the pow­er of sin, over­throws Satan, breaks the chains of death and makes a path for humankind to recon­nect with God by break­ing through all of the obsta­cles that hin­der a right rela­tion­ship. Christ’s per­fect blood wash­es away our sin. The life, death and res­ur­rec­tion of Christ is restora­tive, not puni­tive and ret­ribu­tive. Christ did not become our sin and then God crush him so he doesn’t have crush us. Christ’s per­fect obe­di­ence breaks through the obsta­cles that stand in the way of each of us hav­ing a right rela­tion­ship with God. We only need to place our faith in Christ to begin the restora­tion process which will cul­mi­nate ful­ly in the heav­en.

I cer­tain­ly agree that Christ dis­armed Satan and defanged death. The blood of Christ wash­es away my sin and send it to the bot­tom of the ocean, nev­er to be remem­bered again. I also think we find PAS in the teach­ing of the Scrip­ture as well. Romans 3:21–26 appears to present a cos­mic prob­lem, God can­not declare sin­ners jus­ti­fied and remain just him­self. God can­not pass over sins. The rela­tion­al dynam­ic of the atone­ment pre­sent­ed in Romans 3 lends itself to a penal sub­sti­tu­tion­ary mod­el. Through the work of Christ, God remains just while declar­ing sin­ners right­eous through faith. Isa­iah 53:10–11 also appears to sup­port the view of PSA, “…it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offer­ing for guilt, he shall see his off­spring; he shall pro­long his days; the will of the Lord shall pro­long his days; the will of the Lord shall pros­per in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be sat­is­fied; by his knowl­edge shall the right­eous one, my ser­vant, make many to be account­ed right­eous, and he shall bear their iniq­ui­ties.” Regard­ing wrath, John 3:36 com­ments, “ Who­ev­er believe in the Son has eter­nal life; who­ev­er does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him,” and Romans 5:9 says, “since, there­fore, we have now been jus­ti­fied by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

Our under­stand­ing of the work of Christ will impact our preach­ing and evan­ge­lism. Con­sid­er the tracts we some­times use in evan­ge­lism. When we get to the part in which we dis­cuss humanity’s “prob­lem,” the Eter­nal LIfe tract uti­lizes a draw­ing of a per­son being burned by fire. On the oth­er hand, the 3 Cir­cles Life Con­ver­sion Guide, which seems to have some pop­u­lar­i­ty today, focus­es on the idea of “bro­ken­ness” as the prob­lem of the human con­di­tion. Because of the fall­en con­di­tion of man, our rela­tion­ship with God, oth­ers and the cre­ation is bro­ken. The work of Christ ulti­mate­ly restores all rela­tion­ships.

The gospel mes­sage can sound like a mixed mes­sage regard­ing the work of Christ in the atone­ment. The Chris­t­ian world­view answers our big ques­tions, “What am I? Why am I here? What is the prob­lem? What is the solu­tion?” The Church must do its best to com­mu­ni­cate all the dimen­sions of the work of Christ, in the full­ness of its vast and mar­velous grandeur. May our Lord enable us, by the pow­er of his Spir­it, to effec­tive­ly pro­claim the full­ness of the love of God in the work of Christ.


June 26, 2017

South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion: Res­o­lu­tion #10

The South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion is always a won­der­ful time of fel­low­ship and encour­age­ment. I attend­ed this year’s con­ven­tion in Phoenix, AZ. Our con­ven­tion is basi­cal­ly a two day busi­ness meet­ing. The con­ven­tion is a very pub­lic event that is cov­ered by many news pub­li­ca­tions.
My com­mit­tee chair and men­tor at New Orleans Bap­tist The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary was Dr. Jeff Riley, pro­fes­sor of the­ol­o­gy and ethics. This year Jeff was on the convention’s Res­o­lu­tion Com­mit­tee. Res­o­lu­tions are sub­mit­ted by pas­tors and lead­ers for adop­tion by our denom­i­na­tion. A Res­o­lu­tion is a state­ment adopt­ed by the con­ven­tion that pub­licly express­es our thoughts and gen­er­al dis­po­si­tion regard­ing a mat­ter of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance. The Res­o­lu­tion com­mit­tee sifts the res­o­lu­tions to iden­ti­fy those that are well writ­ten, rep­re­sent the spir­it of our denom­i­na­tion, are time­ly and deal with issues that have not been thor­ough­ly cov­ered in recent­ly adopt­ed res­o­lu­tions. The Res­o­lu­tion com­mit­tee received and con­sid­ered 12+ res­o­lu­tions this year. The Res­o­lu­tion Com­mit­tee decides which res­o­lu­tions to bring forth for the con­sid­er­a­tion and vote of the mes­sen­gers in the gen­er­al assem­bly.

This year pro­posed res­o­lu­tion #10 was sub­mit­ted by Texas pas­tor Dwight McKissic. Res­o­lu­tion #10 denounced “white suprema­cy and every form of racial and eth­nic hatred as of the dev­il.” Sounds good. How­ev­er, the Res­o­lu­tion com­mit­tee chose not to bring the res­o­lu­tion to the gen­er­al assem­bly for vote. Why? Could be because South­ern Bap­tist are sym­pa­thet­ic to the white suprema­cist agen­da. How­ev­er, while we were hav­ing din­ner togeth­er after the first day of the con­ven­tion, my friend Jeff Riley told me that Res­o­lu­tion #10 was not brought to the gen­er­al assem­bly because it was not well writ­ten, using inflam­ma­to­ry lan­guage and repu­di­at­ing not only “white-nation­al­ism,” but sen­ti­ments of nation­al­ism and patri­o­tism gen­er­al­ly speak­ing. Jeff also not­ed that South­ern Bap­tists have addressed the issues of racism through res­o­lu­tions passed at our past three con­ven­tions. “In recent res­o­lu­tions the South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion called on ‘all Chris­t­ian men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prej­u­dice and injus­tice will be no more’ (2014); expressed con­tin­ued grief ‘over the pres­ence of racism and the recent esca­la­tion of racial ten­sion in our nation’ (2015); and urged fel­low Chris­tians to dis­con­tin­ue using the Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag, acknowl­edg­ing that it is a sym­bol of hatred, big­otry, and racism, offend­ing mil­lions of peo­ple’ (2016).”

Pas­tor McKissic, the author of Res­o­lu­tion #10 request­ed for the gen­er­al assem­bly to vote on allow­ing his res­o­lu­tion to come to the gen­er­al assem­bly. The assem­bly vot­ed and denied the res­o­lu­tion the oppor­tu­ni­ty to come to the gen­er­al assem­bly. Was this a vote in favor of the alt-right move­ment and white suprema­cy? No, not even a pas­sive affir­ma­tion of racism. No south­ern bap­tist, at any point, argued in favor of the alt-right agen­da. The assem­bly did not vote down a well writ­ten res­o­lu­tion that made a stand against dis­crim­i­na­tion, but instead sim­ply vot­ed not to bring to the floor a poor­ly writ­ten res­o­lu­tion cov­er­ing the issue of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, which we have addressed recent­ly.

How­ev­er, a media storm ensued, pro­claim­ing that South­ern Bap­tists are torn over racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and the alt-right move­ment. The Res­o­lu­tions Com­mit­tee was recon­vened and the Res­o­lu­tion Com­mit­tee wrote a res­o­lu­tion repu­di­at­ing the alt-right and white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy and request­ed a vote by the gen­er­al assem­bly to allow this new res­o­lu­tion to be brought to the gen­er­al assem­bly. The gen­er­al assem­bly vot­ed to allow the new res­o­lu­tion on the floor and the next day, the gen­er­al assem­bly vot­ed, almost unan­i­mous­ly, to adopt the res­o­lu­tion.

I’m not insin­u­at­ing that South­ern Bap­tists do not have racism and dis­crim­i­na­tion in our past, nor would I argue that we all have repent­ed and turned away from racism and dis­crim­i­na­tion and these ugly, anti-gospel sen­ti­ments can no longer be found in our denom­i­na­tion. How­ev­er, I am con­fi­dent that, regard­ing res­o­lu­tion #10 at this year’s con­ven­tion, we were not being sym­pa­thet­ic to the ide­ol­o­gy of white suprema­cy.

So what do I take away from this event? One, a watch­ing world is eager to place the label of racists on South­ern Bap­tists. We can respond by say­ing “we don’t care what you think about us,” but that is not true and we should care because we are to live in such a way as to adorn the gospel and be ambas­sadors for Christ. Two, we cer­tain­ly must be vig­i­lant and inten­tion­al to guard our rep­u­ta­tion. Because of our past, we need to be very clear and even very pub­lic on where we stand regard­ing the gospel and our love for all the eth­nic­i­ties of this world. We cer­tain­ly must be faith­ful to the truth of the gospel and vig­i­lant and inten­tion­al about the work of the gospel. Your con­gre­ga­tion will fol­low you in this mat­ter. Teach them that the love of Christ breaks through all bar­ri­ers.

Con­sid­er also this arti­cle in Chris­tian­i­ty Today

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/june/southern-baptists-racism-alt-right-five-things-you-need-to-.html