I sent this letter to the Executive Committee today in light of the Prestonwood Baptist Church, CP and ERLC controversy.
Dear Members of the Executive Committee,
The recent action on the part of Prestonwood Baptist Church (PBC) and other churches to withhold their Cooperative Program giving is extremely distressing and disturbing. Dr. Russell Moore has done a great job at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in leading Southern Baptists to pursue racial reconciliation, to uphold the necessity of strong and moral character and behavior in our public leaders, and to keep the Gospel central in all we do. The action of PBC and other churches seems like little more than extortion in order to force the Executive Committee and the Convention to bend to their will. This is not any different than a church member withholding his giving in order to force a pastor to do what the church member wants; in both situations, the action is borne out of pettiness and a need for control.
As a committed Southern Baptist pastor, I wholeheartedly support Dr. Moore and the work of the ERLC under his leadership. He and his staff have helped and will continue to help to give Southern Baptists a positive witness to the watching world. I ask you, the members of the Committee, to do two things:
- To public support and affirm Dr. Moore and his leadership of the ERLC;
- To not seat any messengers from churches that refuse to support the work of the Convention by not giving to the Cooperative Program.
I thank you for your time and you will be in my prayers.
Pastor, Duffau Baptist Church
These are some articles and other helpful information that I have found in my weekly journey through the Internet.
- Some helpful insight to help you connect with your church’s visitors.
- Tim Challies gives a excellent reason NOT to see film adaptation of The Shack: the second commandment.
- Douglas Wilson outlines the differences in approaches between conservatives and progressive in how to treat a person’s conscience.
- If you are a Verizon user, here are the “catches” on their new unlimited plan.
Early last Friday, as I searched my desk for my lesson plans so I could remember what I was going to teach my hooligans…er, I mean, students, my wife sent me an interesting text: “What’s our role in the fight against abortion?” I gave her a fairly generic, carbon copy answer about what Christians should do. Then she sent back an even more profound question: “No, what specifically should our family do?”
Abortion is a societal issue and I always have relegated it to something that happens “out there” and that should be dealt with by politicians and activists. After all, Duffau is not a hot bed of political activism or activity. Yet my wife’s question brought the issue home for me. What should I do and my family do to not just fight abortion, but to end abortion? John Stonestreet, a Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, stated well the goal of pro-life advocates the other day in a radio interview: “We do not just want to make abortion illegal. We want to make it unthinkable.” He went on to make the point that this is done, not by laws and regulations, but by changing people’s hearts and minds. As parents, we have the responsibility and the opportunity to do just that with our children; to raise up our children with a positive, God-fearing view of all human life from conception until natural death. How do we do that?
- Disciple your kids intentionally. Your children are your responsibility to disciple. Do not rely on their Sunday School teacher, or pastor, or children minister, or youth minister. God has given you your children and you should teach them what the Scripture teaches. Scripture teaches that each and every human being, no matter how small, disabled or old, bears God’s image (Gen. 1:26). It also teaches that God himself is knitting together the child in the womb (Ps. 139:13-16). Furthermore, it teaches that to take a human life is morally wrong (Exodus 20:13). These truths must be ingrained into our children’s minds, so that they can defend the rights of the unborn, as well as the disabled and the elderly who are targeted by euthanasia and assisted suicide policies. Being pro-life does not begin with going to a protest or a march. Being pro-life begins with you teaching your child that God created life and he alone has the right to decide how long or how short of a time a person should live.
- Become “fully” pro-life. Too often the perception of pro-lifers is that once the child gets out of the womb, we drop our interest in the child’s well-being and stop caring. May this never be! We should care about the child and help the child to flourish, not just care that they are alive. This means that as a family we should teach our children to care for the least of these. We need to teach our children (and ourselves) what James states in ch. 1 of his letter: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” As families, we should help organizations that aid impoverished or at-risk families. We should help and reach out to those who might be “undesirable” according to our societal standards. Befriend a poor family, take them to church, feed them a meal weekly, help them to help themselves out of poverty. Being pro-life means taking care of the least of these, even after the least of these are born.
- Teach your children a positive sexual ethic. When I was a teenager, Christian ethics revolved around 4 commands: Don’t drink; don’t smoke; don’t cuss; and don’t have sex before marriage. These rules are all true and applicable for teenagers in our society, but they are framed negatively. The problem with framing rules negatively is that children then seek to do that very thing. Paul even testifies to this when he talks about coveting in Romans 7:7-8; the law said, “Do not covet” and so what do people who are ruled by their sinful nature do? They covet! As parents, we do not need to tell our children just what not to do, but what to do. We need to tell them of the glorious gift of sex and that this gift is to be enjoyed only within the marriage relationship. We define sex, the sexual relationship and the confines of the sexual relationship in positive terms. Instead of “Do not have sex”, say “Enjoy sex in marriage.” Teach children that sex is a good thing and is to be enjoyed by marital partners.
- Teach your children personal responsibility. Our children need to learn that actions have consequences. Though our culture tries to negate this fact constantly, it is one of the things God built into nature. This begins early and it begins at home; do not rely on the schools to do this, because school administrators wring their hands so much over discipline issues that I am sure even detention will be outlawed before long due to adverse litigation. And again this does not have to be negative. Good actions have good consequences; bad actions have bad consequences. Children and teenagers do not understand this, but there are ways to teach them. At the school where I teach, a chess club has recently been started and I am very glad because chess is a game which teaches that actions have consequences. If you do not pay attention and move your queen where a pawn can take her, too bad; that is how the game is played. Chess is a game that teaches children to consider what affect their actions will have and to act accordingly. With trophies and participation ribbons being dispensed like candy, our children desperately need to learn that their actions do have consequences, either negative or positive.
What do these things have to do with abortion? Everything. Working to form your children’s minds according to Scripture is the most important weapon in the fight against abortion. Remember our goal is not just to make abortion illegal but to make abortion unthinkable. The only way to do this is to train children to understand how God views human life and what he demands of us in regard to human life.
The fight against abortion does not begin at picket line, or by protesting in front of Planned Parenthood. It begins on the real front line: the home. Are you ready to fight?