Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fighting Fire with Diplomacy!

Thought you might be interested in this credible news report.

(Be careful - ONN has some links that are not appropriate)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Question about Race in America

I just read an AP article (http://news.aol.com/article/edwin-chandler-cleared-in-slaying/716286?icid=main|main|dl1|link3|http://news.aol.com/article/edwin-chandler-cleared-in-slaying/716286) on AOL about Edwin Chandler who was exonerated on a 1993 murder after spending 9 years in jail. New evidence proved him to be innocent.

I am a conservative, law-and-order man. I love America and respect our law enforcement system.
But, here is my question: When is the last time you saw an article like this and the person it was about WASN'T black?

How many Edwin Chandlers are there out there in jail and the only crime they are really guilty of is having dark skin (or at least a primary contributing factor)?

I don't know the answer to that. But I do know that every time I read a story about someone being proven innocent after 10 or 15 years in jail, that man is black!

That cannot be a coincidence!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Playing the Race Card to Stifle Debate

Let me say two things at the start of this little tirade.

1) I am not a fan of Barack Obama. Not even a little. I have yet to find a policy area in which he and I agree. I do not believe that my opposition to the president has anything to do with his race.

2) I think Joe Wilson was way out of line to shout "You lie" during the president's recent address. That kind of thing usually causes a backlash and it has in this case. It was wrong and foolish to stray from civility.

But the backlash to Wilson's comments have become startling and open a can of worms I would like to address.

I think there is an attempt on the part of the American left to limit the ability of conservative Americans to dissent from the president's policies by playing the race card. The left wing has been making shrill accusations of their own, intimating that the motive for Wilson's statement and last week's "tea party" in DC was racial in nature.

Maureen Dowd began the foolishness on Sunday in the (surprise) New York Times when she wrote, "I've been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer ... had much to do with race, but Wilson's shocking disrespect for the office of the president -- no Democrat ever shouted 'liar' at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq -- convinced me: Some people just can't believe a black man is president and will never accept it." She also wrote that Wilson "clearly did not like being lectured and even rebuked by the brainy black president presiding over the majestic chamber."

So, opposition to Obama is rooted in people not wanting to be told what to do by a black man? Does she have any evidence that Wilson is a racist? Does she offer any? In the absence of any evidence to support her claims, I am left with the conclusion that this is an ingenious way to stop people from dissenting from the president's viewpoints - a blatant attempt to intimidate the opposition. Note how she describes the opposition to the president's policy, "shrieking lunacy."

During the runup to Wilson's rebuke on the House floor this week, a Democrat from Georgia, Rep. Hank Johnson, accused Wilson of lending aid and comfort to the KKK. He warned that if Wilson did not receive a rebuke, people would don "white hoods and white uniforms again" and start "riding through the countryside." Here is his full comment. "He did not help the cause of diversity and tolerance with his remarks -- if I were a betting man I would say it instigated more racist sentiment. And so I guess we'll probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside intimidating people. ... That's the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked, and Congressman Wilson represents it. He's the face of it."

Why is it that so often, calls to "civility" are only directed at one side. Interesting that Wilson was rebuked, but this kind of race-baiting charge is accepted without question.

The capper, of course, was the comment of that great Baptist statesman, held up as the model of virtue and civility, Jimmy Carter. He said, "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American. I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time ... and I think it's bubbled up to the surface, because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country."

Again, he offers no evidence to support this harsh accusation. Opposition to the president is racially motivated because Jimmy says so.

Here is my thesis: the American left wants to intimidate the opposition into silence. If you do not support Barack Obama, you are a racist, even if you do not see it. You are supporting the efforts of the KKK and advancing racism in the land.

I say, do not listen. Do not be intimidated. If you do not like the policies of Barack Obama, speak out. Give reasoned, articulate expression to your opposition. Don't get angry and yell and shout - that just feeds into those who would play the race card to intimidate you. Do not let Jimmy Carter stop you from speaking out.

I do not care if Barack Obama is black or white. I care that he is plunging our nation into a debt load from which it may never recover. George W was criticized for driving the nation into huge debts in the order of about 400 billion a year. The debt next year is estimated to be 1.85 TRILLION dollars.

I do not want our nation's healthcare system to be socialized or even some kind of system like that. The government has not run anything well except an army (and sometimes, it has trouble with that).

My opposition to the president has little to do with the color of his skin. I oppose abortion, so I have to oppose Obama. I cannot understand why the government is giving people "cash for clunkers" when we are already drowning in debt. I think "cap and tax" is a bad idea.

If you like Obama, that is your right. I oppose his policies and the direction he wants to take America. And I will not let Jimmy Carter, Hank Johnson and Maureen Dowd intimidate me into silence by accusing me of racism.

It is about bad policies, not skin color.

(All the quotes here were pulled from news reports on the story)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Swine Flu Symptom Check - IMPORTANT

If you wake up looking like this - get help!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WOW! Words of Wisdom from "Between the Times"

If you only have time to read one blog (after you finish mine, of course) that blog almost certainly should be "Between the Times." I read something by Bruce Ashford on that blog today that was classic. He was talking about Christian Bookstores (I use the term loosely). Talking about Augustine, he said,

Another reason might be that the local bookstores don’t even have an Augustine section (True, Barnes & Noble and Borders carry books by Augustine, but Christian bookstores rarely do. The Christian stores are up to their necks in sales of Precious Moments figurines, tester tubes of anointing oil, boxes of Test-a-mints, and tee-shirts with inscriptions like “I’m Cross-Eyed.”)

Wow! Christian bookstores sell more Christian junk than they do serious books. Probably says something abou the tastes of modern Christians, right?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blogging about Something Important: The New York Yankees

Blogging about the SBC can get old. But blogging about the New York Yankees NEVER gets old. So, I've set up a new blog, for all you Yankee fans out there. We will devote ourselves to talking about the greatest single sports team in all of history, the New York Yankees, and their march to their 27th World Series Championship in 2009.

You are welcome to come and comment, though comments by Red Sox fans (even intelligent ones - if there is such a thing) may be deleted or ridiculed mercilessly by the blog administrator!

NAMB? Whatever.
Baptist Identity? Who Cares?

The New York Yankees - theres something we can rejoice about!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chapman, Akin Et Al: A Pleasing Dissension in the SBC

I have never been a fan of church splits. I have argued often for bloggers to seek unity rather than division in our discussion (and violated my own rules from time to time). But I think the current discussion and even disagreement among our convention leaders can be a healthy thing.

Press reports recently have showed that while Danny Akin, Al Mohler and most other leaders in the SBC are gung-ho behind the Great Commission Resurgence, Morris Chapman and several other denominational leaders are either opposing it or raising serious questions about it. My own state exec (Jimmy Barrentine - best exec in the USA)sent a letter that was critical of much of the rhetoric surrounding the GCR declaration. I am fully supportive of the GCR, but those who are not should have their say and be heard by all of us.

Put me down as someone who believes this is all healthy. I don't want the executives or denominational servants marching in lock step or having secret discussions behind closed doors. If Danny Akin is for something and Morris Chapman is against it, lets have a healthy debate! If the GCR is of God, as I believe, the Spirit will guide us through the discussion to a healthy and unified conclusion.

The last thing we need to do is stifle dissent in any way, even amongst our leaders.

As long as we keep our conversation godly and our spirits in check, that discussion is healthy. As long as we do not slander, backbite or treat one another disdainfully, the discussion will provoke us to love and good deeds.

I just hope it doesn't become another us against them thing. Jimmy Barrentine and I do not see eye to eye on this, evidently (haven't talked to him about it). But he is an "us" not a "them." Morris Chapman is "us" - even as a Calvinist I can say that.

So, I say, let the debate continue. I think it is healthy for all of us.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Best Preaching Ever?

You've probably heard this before, but this is what preaching is supposed to be!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, and the Art of Preaching

My sixteen-year-old daughter got me hooked on American Idol this year. I just used to watch the try-out shows when people who shouldn't sing in the church choir embarrassed themselves for my amusement. But this year, Bethany (and a DVR) got me watching all but a couple of episodes.

Last night, an amazing thing happened. The underdog, Kris Allen, pulled off the upset and beat the heavily favored Adam Lambert. Today, post-mortem examinations are being done. Many are criticizing the choice and are trying to figure out how this could happen.
I have a theory. Adam is an amazing singer. He is a once in a generation talent. But there was always a sense that he was "in character" - acting out a certain role. About the only thing Simon ever criticized him for was being over-dramatic. He's polished, but plastic. He amazed, but did not connect.
Kris is also a talented singer. His church in Conroy was blessed to have him on the worship team. But, he probably was not the talented singer that Adam was. But he connected. You felt like he was real, an average guy with golden pipes. He did not seem to be acting a part, but was just being his own talented self.
That's my armchair analysis. Kris won because he connected with people, because voters sensed his authenticity, integrity, and reality. He was himself and we liked that.
Now, what does that have to do with preaching? I believe that it is important when we proclaim God's Word that we do more than just give an eloquent pulpit performance. We should study and prepare to accurately communicate the Word. But we also need to be real. We need to communicate God's truth with integrity and authenticity.
I've seen a lot of Adam Lamberts in the pulpit - people with amazing homiletic skills, but you didn't sense it was real. We need to strive to preach Kris Allen messages - the simple truths of God's Word from real men with real struggles in real lives.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Mother Of All Baptists

Baptists like to trace their history back to New Testament days. The unbroken line of baptistic groups is called “The Trail of Blood.” Recently, as I read my Bible, I discovered the actual origin of Baptists. No, it was not John the Baptist, or the Apostle Paul. I am convinced the roots of Baptist life can be found in Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary; the Mother of All Baptists.

First, she was more comfortable with working for Him than waiting on Him. While Mary, probably a proto-charismatic, was sitting at the feet of Jesus basking in His presence, Martha was in the kitchen frying the chicken, and getting the Styrofoam plates and plastic forks ready. We have always been an active bunch, we Baptists. We are the worker bees of the Kingdom. Often, like Martha, we are more comfortable working for the Lord than walking with Him. As one denominational leader said, “Get out there and do something for God. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. Just do something.”

But notice something else in John 11:24. Martha’s brother Lazarus was dead and buried four days earlier. Finally, Jesus showed up. Martha thought he was running late, but Jesus was right on time. She gently remonstrated him, “If you had been here, he would not have died.” Then Jesus told her that her brother would rise again. She nodded and said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

The mother of all Baptists. She believed in Jesus, and in His power to save souls and raise the dead. She just did not believe He would do it today. We believe in the finished work of Christ for the salvation of souls, and in the certainty of heaven, the resurrection, and eternal life. We have charts detailing the end times. We just struggle with believing that God will work His power in our lives today. We are great with the beginning and the ending of the Christian life, but can be a little challenged in between.

But, wonder of wonders, Jesus still loved Martha the Baptist. He told her who He was, and she believed Him. “I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” The Mother of All Baptists knew the Word, and confessed Jesus without shame or doubt.

But she was still the Mother of All Baptists. When they got to the tomb, Jesus told them to roll the stone away. “But, Lord,” Martha said. “That’s not the way we do things.” As the King James says, “Lo, he stinketh.” It is hard for us to step out of the normal and expected, the proper and respectable, to follow Jesus in a walk of faith. Jesus gave them a strange command. Roll away the stone. Sometimes, Jesus calls us to strange and difficult things. There is always that difficult step of obedience. We want God to open the door, then we will walk through. God calls us to walk through the door, trusting Him that it will open before we run into it. God told Israel to walk into the Jordan and then He would stop the river. We stand on the banks saying, “God, if you will stop this thing, I will walk through it.”

But God still worked. He showed His awesome power to the Mother of All Baptists. Is there any miracle greater than the raising of the dead? God raised Lazarus from death, and showed Martha that His power is still real. May we know His awesome power, and His presence.

Like our Mother, Martha.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jonathan Merritt is Right! Unfair Attacks from Baptist Bloggers

It is my opinion that Jonathan Merritt has been the subject of unfair and unwarranted attacks by a few Baptist bloggers. He drew their ire, and subsequently their “friendly fire” because of an article he wrote that was printed in USA Today on April 20, 2009. In that article, he called evangelical Christians to task for their unloving, dismissive and un-Christlike treatment of homosexuals. He was careful to state that he regarded homosexual behavior as sinful and did not support gay marriage. He advocated loving actions to demonstrate to homosexuals the love that we Christians claim to have when we say that we “hate the sin and love the sinner.”

I only read the article after I had read a couple of blogs that had dealt pretty harshly with his article. I was disappointed that the son of a respected SBC leader would write the kind of compromising, unbiblical things that he evidently wrote. Then, I read his article. It is my opinion that what Jonathan Merritt wrote is godly, biblical and true. It is my further assertion that his rebukers (one in particular) have either willfully or negligently misread his statements and have leveled unwarranted and unfair attacks on him. I believe they should honestly and openly reread what Mr. Merritt has written, revise their false statements and apologize to him for misrepresenting what he said.

I do not know Jonathan Merritt and have certainly do not speak for him. I suspect he is well capable of defending himself. However, I have seen the tendency among some bloggers to attack without understanding, to fail to understand doctrinal or ethical subtlety and to level false charges based on their misunderstandings. I believe that such has happened here.

We cannot avoid the subject of homosexuality. We must deal with it biblically – both in our stand for the truth and in our response to those who are tempted by this sin.

One thing I found particularly interesting is that Jonathan Merritt’s view is very similar to Tim Guthrie’s (Welcome to SBC Today) and to Wes Kenney’s (SBC Today) viewpoints. They all expressed essentially the same thing. I share the viewpoints that all three expressed. We believe that homosexual behavior is a sin. We all believe that we must learn to stand for truth clearly and without compromise while demonstrating love to those who struggle with this sin. The only reason that Mr. Guthrie and Mr. Kenney leveled charges against Mr. Merritt is because they misread and misunderstood what he said. They are, essentially, attacking Mr. Merritt for holding the same viewpoint that they have, because they did not read what he wrote carefully, misunderstood, and jump to condemnatory conclusions based on their misunderstandings.

I would like to examine what all three have said. By the time I get this up, perhaps others will have weighed in. But I will deal first of all with what Jonathan Merritt said, then with what Tim and Wes said about his review. Each title will be linked to the original article. I would encourage you to read the originals, to see that I am fairly representing the thought as I make my points.

“An Evangelical’s Plea: Love the Sinner” by Jonathan Merritt

The offending article appeared in the Opinion section of USA Today.com on Monday. Mr. Merritt is described as a faith and culture writer and as a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative. Tim Guthrie rightly states that it would have been helpful if Mr. Merritt had made it clear that he did not represent or speak for Southern Baptists, an impression that his designation as a spokesman for an organization with the words Southern Baptist in the title could falsely give.

He makes the following major points:

1) That older evangelicals leaders engaged in harsh, even unkind rhetoric toward homosexuals. He asserts that evangelical opposition to the homosexual agenda has been “vitriolic and unbalanced by a message of love for our gay neighbors.”

2) He asserts that the rhetoric and behavior of American Christians is in stark contrast to that of Jesus Christ, who was a “friend of sinners.” He states that many Christians “live in opposition to the teachings of our Lord.” He uses 1 Corinthians 13 as a definition of love and claims that our actions toward homosexuals have often not met that standard.

3) He makes it very clear that he does not and will not compromise biblical truth. He believes that homosexual behavior is sin and that he opposes redefinition of marriage to accommodate homosexual marriage.

4) He does advocate non-discrimination against homosexuals in legal matters not involving marriage. Should secular workplaces be allowed to discriminate against gays and lesbians? Should homosexual partners have visitation and inheritance rights? Merritt would say yes.

His point, I think, is that we have put homosexuality into a special class of sin. We would not discriminate on the basis of heterosexual immorality in these things. Why should we make homosexual orientation a special class?

It is this point (and, I believe, the misunderstanding of his point) that opened the door to many of the attacks against his position.

5) He makes the point that younger Christians, more likely to have homosexual friends than older Christians, also demonstrate a greater tendency to show love to homosexuals.

His concluding paragraph includes these words: “Now is the time for those who bear the name of Jesus Christ to stop merely talking about love and start showing love to our gay and lesbian neighbors. It must be concrete and tangible. It must love beyond cheap rhetoric.”

It is clear that he is challenging evangelicals to a new attitude toward the homosexual community, but that he does not advocate changing our basic beliefs about homosexual behavior being a sin.

“SBC Today” Hate the Spin, by Wes Kenney

Wes Kenney wrote an article professing to hate the “spin” that Mr. Merritt put on the issue, while still loving the “spinner.” I always respect a good play on words, but I am afraid that Wes demonstrates a tendency (also seen in Tim’s articles) to misinterpret what was written and to draw false inferences from that misinterpretation, then to criticize Merritt based on his own misunderstanding of Merritt’s points.

Wes writes a forthright criticism, written in a graceful spirit, with one exception. My biggest problem with him is that I think he fails to understand what was written. He just needs to make an effort to read and understand before he criticizes.

I would point out the following about Wes’ article.

1) Again, he affirms the same view of homosexuality as Jonathan Merritt. His criticisms are directed more against his own misunderstandings than against what Merritt wrote.

2) Wes engages in pejorative in an unacceptable way. He describes Merritt’s writing as “spin.” That implies, deceit, false presentation of facts, designed to lead people away from truth. That is a harsh criticism. He also accuses Merritt of a willingness to “compromise biblical definitions of sin and salvation.” That is serious!

3) He criticizes Merritt for the quotes of evangelical luminaries.

4) He bases his second criticism on a factual error. Merritt quotes a Barna statistic that 80% of Christians are confusing. Kenney adds the words, “on this issue” to the statistic, then criticizes on that basis. This is, to me, indicative of his tendency here to jump to conclusions and not to read carefully. His criticism can only be described as spin, on that basis.

5) He insinuates serious and significant heresy (or doctrinal failure, at least) on Merritt’s part because he advocates non-discrimination against homosexuals in employment and other issues. He calls that normalization and implies that Merritt is helping to make the commission of homosexual sin easier by his viewpoint.

I would ask some questions of Wes Kenney. Do you believe that it will help our mission to homosexuals to maintain laws that would discriminate against homosexuals in matters of employment, housing, visitation rights, etc? Should we apply those same principles to heterosexual immorality?

I believe that anyone who reads Merritt and clearly understands him will read Kenney’s criticism and recognize it as unfair.

Again, I state that if you gave a series of questions about homosexuality to Kenney and Merritt, their answers would be very similar. Their viewpoints are remarkably similar. Kenney misunderstandings led to false inferences and unfair accusations.

“Welcome to SBC Today” Merritt and ACLU on the Same Page, by Tim Guthrie

The graceful spirit of Wes Kenney is largely absent in Tim’s post. He grossly misrepresents Merritt’s position and engages in a common tactic, “guilt by association.” It is not a post worthy of a preacher of Tim’s quality. Tim levels four specific charges against Merritt. Again, I make the following points about the article.

1) The whole “Merritt and the ACLU agree” argument is ridiculous, absurd, even shameful. The ACLU would in no way support Jonathan Merritt’s viewpoint that homosexuality is a sin. This is guilt by association at its worst. It is a shameful smear. Enough said. He also tends to engage in pejorative, labeling Merritt’s views as “dangerous” in terms of biblical understanding and application.

2) The first charge, again, is a complete misunderstanding of Merritt on Guthrie’s part. He criticizes Merritt for something he just does not say. He accuses Merritt of advocating that “Love should cause us to defend the normalization of the homosexual agenda.” Merritt doesn’t say that. Again, all he says is that gays and lesbians should receive basic protections under the law, something I imagine that Guthrie would support if he was willing to understand what Merritt was saying.

3) His second criticism is of Merritt’s view of the law. It is another misunderstanding of what Merritt was saying. I suspect that Merritt would agree with Tim’s point about Jesus fulfilling the law, not negating it.

4) Tim’s third criticism is a blatant misquote and factual misrepresentation (I will assume it is based on misunderstanding, not intentional deceit.) Tim says, “He seems to equate our command to love with a mandate to ‘affirm or endorse.’” He leaves the idea that Merritt advocates the affirmation of the gay agenda. That is simply not true. All you have to do is read the quote that follows to see that Tim got it wrong.

Merritt advocates that we “begin looking for ways to affirm, rather than undermine, our claims to love our gay neighbors.” He is not talking about affirming the gay lifestyle, but letting our actions affirm our claim to love gays.

Tim’s criticism therefore is unfair because his analysis is flawed.

5) His last criticism is of the byline I mentioned above, which might give the idea that Merritt represents the SBC in his opinions. I wish that Merritt’s opinion was universally held in the SBC, but Tim is right that the byline might give a false impression. All of us should be careful to make issues like this clear.

Again, I consider Tim’s use of the ACLU article inaccurate and a shameful smear of a brother in Christ, one that cries out for repentance, not critique.


Again, I think if you had Tim Guthrie, Wes Kenney, Jonathan Merritt and Dave Miller in one room and asked us a series of questions about homosexuality, we would give the same answers in unison.

Is homosexual behavior a sin? Four voices answer yes in unison.
Should the church treat homosexuals with love? Four voices answer yes in unison.
Should Christians be mean, demeaning to homosexuals? Four voices answer no in unison.
Should the church uphold truth even in the face of cultural opposition? Four voices answer yes in unison.
Should gays and lesbians be singled out for discrimination in matters of employment and other basic civil rights? Four voices answer no in unison.
Should we redefine marriage to include two men or two women? Four voices answer no in unison.

Why, then, do we have this debate? Because Wes and Tim failed to read carefully and understand what a brother wrote. They jumped to false conclusions and therefore made false accusations.

NOTE: I just noticed another voice chiming in to criticize Merritt (again, for the nomenclature issue). At some point, aren’t we just piling on?

That’s my read. What say you?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Patterson, Burleson and the CR: Answering a Thoughtful Question

Ron West asked a long and thoughtful question on my last post. Instead of answering it with a lengthy comment, I will respond with a new post. If you are interested in this, you might begin by reading both my previous post and Ron’s question (comment 11). I am going to answer his questions directly. I invite Ron and others to respond – hopefully in the same spirit Ron has exhibited.

First, Ron, thank you for the opportunity to dialogue. I know that you and I have some completely different perspectives on some of the CR issues, but the way you asked questions and responded to what I wrote deserved a response.

I will be as direct as I can be and brutally honest in answer to your question. I suspect that I will have no friends left among those who read this post.

Perspectives on the CR

As to the CR, it is probable that we will never agree on the facts of the CR. History can almost always be interpreted multiple ways. I look at the fall of the Berlin wall and think, “Ronald Reagan was amazing.” Liberals credit Gorbachev or other factors. It’s the nature of historical debate. I would offer the following perspectives.

1) The main difference between us, I think, is that I believe there was a real theological drift in the 70's, and you do not. Therefore, I believe the CR was necessary. You do not. Would you agree?

I went to a Baptist college and seminary. I saw the leftward drift firsthand. The Hebrew prof at my college said that Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed were just “different flags under which God flies his name.” When my school pushed him out, he went to teach at Midwestern. Belief in the substitutionary death of Christ, the existence of Satan, the supernatural nature of the Bible – all these were not just denied, they were ridiculed. I remember one of my profs leaning over my desk shouting at me, “You mean you actually believe that?” (So much for the vaunted “academic freedom.”) He went on to be a leader in founding of moderate seminaries as the CR progressed. My preaching prof at SWBTS’s doctoral thesis was written against the doctrine of inerrancy.

I lived it. I saw liberalism firsthand. I cannot speak for Paige Patterson, but for me, the CR was about doctrine. I did not want what I learned in my Baptist education to continue to spread.

2) I think that moderates have done a fair amount of historical revisionism looking back at the CR.

The “myth of the mean fundamentalists” is a great example. The rhetoric of the moderates, their political acumen, was no different than the conservatives. The only difference is that there were more of us, so they spent the next 20 years painting themselves as the victims of the conspiracy of the power-hungry mean-spirited fundamentalists. I see that as a myth.

Another myth was that Russell Dilday was a conservative. I went to school during his tenure. He was advocating something called “limited inerrancy.” What on earth is that. The Bible is either errant or inerrant. How can there be any such thing as a limited inerrancy? He was not a classic liberal in the general theological world, but he was hardly a conservative either.

3) The biggest flaw I saw in the CR was the tendency to judge people’s theology on the basis of how they voted in the CR. On this one, you and I agree totally.

I think there were three general groups of people. First, there were conservative Southern Baptists who supported the CR. Second there were liberals and true moderates who were undermining the doctrines we have held dear. One conservative leader estimated that at only 5% or less of the denomination. The third group was made up of biblical conservatives who would not support the CR but sided with the moderates politically.

My quarrel with the CR was that we should have reached out to the Winfred Moores, the Dan Vestals, the Richard Jacksons and made a place for them. They were conservative men who for one reason or another did not join the conservative cause. Many in the CR called their THEOLOGY into question because of their denominational POLITICS. I thought that was wrong (and said so then).

You mentioned Dr. Cauthen and Keith Parks. Dr. Cauthen was pretty much out of the way before the CR. Dr. Parks was in charge during the CR. Without saying too much, my father was heavily involved in the FMB at the end of the Parks era. Dr. Parks’ problems with the board were not so much theological as they were practical. It was a power-struggle.

However, he would be a good example of the kind of man I am talking about. Conservative, but politically-aligned moderate.

On the other hand, it is natural for the leaders of the CR to be a little reluctant to work with men like Dilday and Parks and others who said harsh, belittling things about the CR and engaged in what I consider to be character-assassination of its leaders. Should they have been more gracious when they came to power? Yes. But was it natural for them to want leaders in boards and agencies that were supportive of the cause? Yes.

So, on that point, I think we are in complete agreement, except that I would see the problem as two-sided, not just one-sided.

4) God uses flawed people to do his work. If it were not so, his work would never get done. I do not say that Adrian Rogers was perfect. Or Paige Patterson. In fact, I am sure they had their flaws.

I have a theory about megachurch pastors. You can’t be a successful megachurch pastor without some kind of ego, or self-confidence, or messianic complex or whatever. Those men are driven, self-confident, CEO-types. From what heard and read, so were the moderate men I mentioned above.

Throughout the Bible, God used flawed men to do his work and I think that is what he did with the CR. Our denomination needed theological reformation and God accomplished that using men who were there. Not perfect men. Sinful, flawed men.

But, see #2 above. The idea of the godly, innocent, couldn’t-care-less-about power moderate leaders is a myth, in my understanding. They acted to protect their power and crush the CR.

5) All of us need to learn that in Kingdom work, the means is as important as the end.

I said that often at conventions (never publicly, I was a young, nobody, Virginia pastor). I wish that the CR leaders had checked their tongues and been as careful about their means as they were of their ends.

6) The CR got off track when we won. I think that since 1995 or so, Paige Patterson has had an overall detrimental effect on the SBC. I do not like his campaign to rid the SBC of Dr. Rankin or his promotion of what I consider to be extreme doctrines such as Malcolm Yarnell advocates.

7) I view the GCR being advocated now by Danny Akin and others largely associated with the SEBTS to be the corrective, restoring the noble purposes of the CR. Dr. Patterson and some powerful leaders may have gotten off-track, but the GCR is putting us back where we need to be. Too little, too late? I hope and pray not.

Regarding Wade Burleson

It can hardly be argued, Ron, that Wade has not drifted to the left in terms of convention politics. He was a firebrand political conservative at one point. He now spends every blogging moment he has trashing (well, er...defending us against the evil of) SWBTS, Paige Patterson, and anyone else in power in the SBC.

Has he drifted in terms of theology? I don’t know. I would guess there would have been a day when the author of “The Shack” would not have been given his pulpit. I don’t really know Wade’s theology. Wade has spoken of his own evolution on certain issues. I think there is ample evidence to assert that theological shift has occurred.

Here’s the plain fact, Ron. I don’t care. You are thankful for him and see hope in the SBC because of him. I would, of course, disagree. Wade has made himself meaningless in the SBC debate. Outside of the few people who comment anonymously on his blog, I know of no one who really respects him or takes him seriously. He has made himself popular among the remnants of the moderate movement, in the CBF, and among those who feel disenfranchised by the CR.

For a long time, I supported him. I defended him. I wrote letters to John Floyd and Tom Hatley asking that they reverse their policies and their persecution of Wade. But I came to the point where I could no longer support him. I will not give my reasons on a public blog, but suffice it to say I do not believe he has either noble motives nor means in what he is doing.

I tried debating with him on his site. But the champion of “dissent” does not really foster open debate. He questions the spiritual motives and character of those who disagree with him. His gallery of anonymous hit-bloggers attacks anyone who disagrees with Wade. I honestly tried to engage on his site, but reasonable discussion is impossible on that site, if you disagree with Wade.
So, I just disengaged. I do not comment there and deleted his blog from my Google reader. It is amazing how much more enjoyable blogging is when you just leave “Grace and Truth to You” behind. By the way, I did the same thing with the anti-Wade BI sites. I see no difference between the moral quality of what Wade is doing and what they do. Its all the same blogging mud-slinging to me. And blogging is so much more fun when you just ignore both sides in that nonsense.

Is he conservative? I do not know and really don’t care anymore. I am trying to move into a Wade-free blogging world. I only gave this response because you asked about previous comments I had made.

Honestly, there was a time two years ago when Wade was a key figure. Had he chosen a different course and tactic, I think he could have substantially and positively impacted the SBC. But now, I think he is essentially irrelevant to any discussion of the future of the SBC.

Again, Ron, thank you for your questions and comments. I look forward to an honest dialogue with you. I have been as brutally honest as I could be. I encourage you to do the same. I will enjoy the dialogue.

I would love to meet you. I think you and I would probably agree on far more things than we disagree on.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Leaders for a Resurgent SBC

I got involved in blogging several years ago because I was concerned about what was happening with some of our SBC leaders. I am a big fan of Jerry Rankin and I did not like what I perceived to be an orchestrated move to push him out with the new (and silly) policies that were adopted there. There was a momentum for change among some of the young pastors and leaders in the convention. I do not qualify as young but I supported the need for reform in the SBC and the need to oppose the wrong direction many were forging - what has come to be known as Baptist Identity. There are noble proponents of that philosophy (as well as some stinkers) but I am convinced their direction is wrong for our convention.

The problem is that the "reform" movement didn't really have a noble leader. When it was time for the Conservative Resurgence, God raised up Adrian Rogers to lead us. He was neither perfect nor divine, but he was a statesman, a leader who seemed to have more than building a name for himself at heart, a leader who inspired others to follow, a leader who remained relentlessly gracious in the face of opposition. The reform movement had no such leader. It fractured and dwindled.

The biggest problem with the reform movement was that some of its leaders quickly subverted the conservative resurgence. I (and I think many others) wanted to reform the conservative SBC. However, many of the reform leaders have rejected the CR and denigrated its purposes and effects.

I will always be thankful for the leadership of Dr. Patterson in the CR. I think his leadership at SWBTS has been questionable at best. I think there are a lot of us who have this nuanced view - that we appreciate the CR but are suspect of the extremist views of some BI proponents. We want a conservative, but not rigid, legalistic, landmark or extremist denomination.

The reform movement floundered because there was no inspirational, motivational leader to rally us.

But, in recent months, there has been a new awakening. I read Alvin Reid's article "Tipping Point" on Between the Times. I can only hope and pray that the vision he articulates will win the day in the SBC. It seems that Southeastern Seminary is being raised up as a place for those of us who do not want to reject the CR but also do not want to buy into the BI movement. Instead of railing against each other about Calvinist/non-Calvinist idealogy, they did something unique. Nathan Finn and Alvin Reid wrote a series of articles on how a committed Calvinist and a committed non-Calvinist could co-exist. Southeastern is living that. They do not have a hard-core Calvinist Abstract, nor the militant anti-Calvinism that Dr. Patterson sometimes seems to exhibit. They are living together, modeling how it can be done.

Dr. Akin has spearheaded the "Great Commission Resurgence" movement which is providing some direction for our denomination as it faces the future.

My hope is that this movement to reform the SBC along committed conservative lines will continue to gather steam. They are committed to building up the SBC, not tearing it down as some blogs seem committed to doing. They are committed to focusing on reaching the lost, not on replicating one view of Baptist Identity.

I wish I was younger and could attend SEBTS. What a blessing that would be. I am so encouraged that God is raising up men such as these I have mentioned, and several others, who may be putting the SBC back on track to being the noble Great Commission denomination that it can be.

I am more hopeful about the future of the SBC than I have been in a long time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Blogging Gulag: Addition by Subtraction

I used to spend most of my blogging time on about 4 or 5 blog sites. I got into blogging because of the IMB controversy, and most of the sites I visited dealt with those SBC issues. I am passionate about the issues, but I would get so disgusted at the level of conversation and frustrated at the lack of real conversation. I wrongly assumed this was the sum total of Baptist blogging.

It has been an eye-opening experience and a blessing to find that those strife-producing, name-calling, anger-inducing sites are not all there is out there. There are real sites where people deal with real topics; where there is intelligent discussion of difficult issues with grace and kindness.

Of course, I think SBC Impact is the best of those sites. I'm probably a little prejudiced. But there are several others. SBC Voices not only has some great articles, it has the links to so many good blogs (and the stinkers as well). Bart Barber always makes me think, and only rarely makes me mad. Timmy Brister is also thought-provoking and there have been some really good comment exchanges there. Ed Stetzer has loads of stuff for me to learn and everyone ought to read "Between the Times" - even if they make me crazy by not allowing comments. There is a whole world of good blogs I didn't know existed. (I know, its my stupidity, but lets ignore that).

So, I have created my own blogging gulag. I have banished the petty arguers to Gulag Millerpeligo. I just stopped going there. I deleted them from my feed. And now, my blood pressure has dropped 20 points and I no longer see red as often. It is a liberating experience.

I don't have to read every wild accusation lodged against Dr. Patterson or those with traditional views of gender roles. I don't have to read the insulters who respond to the insults of Dr. P by insulting the original insulter. I am surviving without my daily dose of anti-SBC vitriol. Neither do I have to live in a Mad, Mad, Mad world or watch anyone Splat! Splat! anyone else. All I had to do was walk away.

Here's the thing I realized. These sites accomplish nothing. They insult each other and others. they harp and rail - and NOTHING changes.

I'm so glad there are better blogs. It has been a blessing to find them.

I wonder why I didn't figure this out sooner? After all, my IQ is well above 80.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thorns on a Rose: An Analysis of Dr. Yarnell’s Sermon

On SBC Tomorrow, Peter Lumpkins wrote a strong rebuke to Tom Ascol’s review of Dr. Malcolm Yarnell’s sermons at SWBTS on October 31, 2008. Peter had sharp criticism for the Founders’ position that the viewpoint presented by Dr. Yarnell was “dangerous to biblical Christianity.”

There is no doubt that this was a strong criticism. To say, “I disagree” is one thing. To challenge a view as “dangerous to biblical Christianity” is a weighty accusation. Tom Ascol thinks that it is a justified rebuke. Peter does not.

As I read the quotes, I was a little bit concerned. The things that Dr. Yarnell said in the quotes bothered me, but I know that a quote pulled from a 41 minute sermon may not represent that sermon accurately at all. So, I decided to listen to the sermon and make sure what Dr. Yarnell actually said.

The title above is a summary of what I think about this sermon. It is an amazing exposition of the Lordship of Christ, one which every Christian would do well to hear and heed. However, there are a couple of quotes, one at the beginning and one near the end that present, to me, some thorny problems.

The Rose

The sermon is 41 minutes long and is an exposition of Matthew 7:21-23. In that passage, people at the judgment claim to have served the Lord but are cast away because, “I never knew you.”

Dr. Yarnell draws three points, essentials of Christianity. It is essential to confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This section is fantastic. He explains the simple statement “Jesus Lord” – the confession of early Christianity. Jesus is the human Lord, the divine Lord, the universal Lord and the unique Lord.

He then goes on to talk about the essential of doing the will of God. Those of the reformed persuasion might not like everything in here, but all will agree with the essentials of what he says. He says that confession must lead to obedience. “Creeds without deeds” he says are empty and pointless. He tends to present the reformers (and those who follow them today) as more interested in confession than obedience, and presents the free, congregational churches as the more obedient. That will, of course, not please the Founders. But, the truth is clear. True faith in Christ will produce a walk of obedience to the will of God revealed in the Word of God.

He then, briefly deals with the third essential. Confessing and doing are not enough. We must be “known” by God. It is a personal relationship, not just doctrine or duty that is required.

I do not think anyone could be anything but blessed by the truths he presents here. Obviously, Calvinists will quarrel with his depiction of the reformers as confessors only and the Baptists as confessors and doers. But the point he made there still stands.

The Thorns

There were two quotes that cause me some difficulty in this powerful sermon. The first took place about 3:38 into the message. I have a minor disagreement with some things he said in that quote. The second was in the conclusion to the sermon, starting at about 34:11. This one contains the statement that Tom Ascol found dangerous. It is deeply troubling to me as well.

I will give each section completely. I listened a couple of times through after I transcribed the quotes and I think they are pretty accurate. I edited nothing out (at least not on purpose). I will present each quote and my concerns about it.

First Quote (3:38)

Dr. Yarnell said,Baptizing, free churches are unique in that their understanding of reformation chooses as the ideal as the form, not something out of post-biblical history, but the New Testament itself. As a New Testament Christian, I reject all but the ideal form of the church commanded by Jesus Christ in the NT revelation. Why? Because the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the essential basis of Christianity. Some of these other reformations bring us to perhaps penultimate forms of Christianity, but only the New Testament, the very Word of God brings us to the ultimate form of Christianity. In comparison to the goal of the baptizing free churches the other reformations are inevitably bound for failure for they have adopted the wrong form of the church

In the introduction, he makes the point that Reformers have tended to use the church of the 16th Century, or the Synod of Dort, or the Puritans as the gold standard for the church. He distinguishes the “baptizing free churches” as the only ones who appeal to the New Testament as the standard for the church. He later makes this statement, “New Testament congregationalism (which) is the only biblical form of Church governance.

I am Baptist by conviction, but I guess I have not come to the place of being quite as convinced that we are the only representation of the New Testament church or that congregationalism is the only acceptable form of church government as he has.

His confidence may reflect that he understands the Bible and theology better than I do (something on which there is probably little doubt) or that he is (in my opinion) making a universal pronouncement on an issue in which the biblical evidence does not support such dogmatism.

But, this section forms the basis of the second, more controversial statement that he will make. He is so utterly convinced that “free, baptizing congregationalism” is the only biblical form of government, and that baptism by immersion is essential to Christian living that anyone who disagrees with these is not walking in obedience to Christ. Since his sermon is about Christ’s Lordship, such disobedience cannot be overlooked. How can one walk in obedience to Christ and reject this crystal clear vision of the church?

Second Quote (34:11)

This is the one that has fanned the flames.

Christ commanded believers to be baptized after they become disciples. Those who change the Lord’s order disobey him. They work against his will. The one who knowingly works against his will will be judged by him. In other words, baptism, true Christian baptism, not the invention of baby baptism, baptism is for believers to obey. That’s why he included it in the Great Commission. You can’t separate the making of a disciple from proper baptism. If confessing Jesus as Lord, is essential, if knowing Jesus is Lord is essential, if doing the will of the Lord is essential, then NT obedience to Jesus Christ as he reveals himself here – that’s essential too.

You cannot perform theological triage on the Lordship of Jesus Christ without severing his will into pieces and picking and choosing what you want to do. You will find out what he says and you will do it all because you know your life is totally dependent on him. NT Christianity has no secondary doctrines when it comes to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That’s why I say baptism is not secondary nor is it tertiary, it is essential.

Now, does that mean that baptism saves you? NO. But if you are saved, you will obey and you will be baptized according to Christian baptism, not according to something of your own invention.”

The key statement is question here is in the last paragraph. “But if you are saved, you will obey and you will be baptized according to Christian baptism (Baptist).” Dr. Ascol read this as a statement questioning the salvation of those who have not received Baptist baptism, and called the statement dangerous on that basis.

My opinion will probably please no one. I cannot imagine that Dr. Yarnell really questions the salvation of those who have not received Baptist baptism. However, his statement certainly does lead one to believe that.

We can all, in a sermon, say something that will be misread and misinterpreted. I hope that is what is happening here. Does he really believe what is seems this statement implies? I hope not.

He anticipates one question: does baptism save? He answers that forcefully. But he does not answer the more pressing question. “Are you saying that there is something fundamentally flawed in the salvation of someone who does not receive Baptist baptism?” (By the way, I am using Baptist baptism to refer to baptism of believers by immersion, not to mean baptism in a certain denominational church – just to clarify.)

He says, “If you are saved, you will…” Not should, or ought to, but will! This clearly implies that if you do not do what is expected – Baptist baptism – then you have not been saved.

I think that is a fair interpretation of Yarnell’s statement. Is it what he intended? I have to believe it is not. Is it a logical inference from his words? I think it is.

So, to the Founders’ criticism of Dr. Yarnell, I would say two things. First, they are right. The concept that is presented by Dr. Yarnell’s words would be dangerous to biblical Christianity. However, I think that it is also clear that he did not intend to say that those who are not biblically baptized are not saved.

I could only hope that Dr. Yarnell would clarify his meaning. Then, we could know whether Ascol’s criticism is valid.


The ultimate point of the Founders’ article is beyond assail, though, in my opinion. There can be little doubt that Dr. Yarnell’s approach is vastly different than Dr. Mohler’s theological triage idea. There are, in fact, two visions competing for the attention of Southern Baptists.

Dr. Mohler classifies doctrine germaine to salvation as primary, that which is essential to the denomination as secondary, and other doctrines as tertiary. Dr. Yarnell rejects this and claims that all doctrine related to ecclesiology and polity is a manifestation of the Lordship of Christ, therefore primary.

I have picked my side in this conflict long ago. But, while I disagree with Dr. Yarnell’s vision, I do not think he meant to say that unbaptized people are not really believers. I could wish that he would clarify the statement, but I do not know if that will happen.

I encourage everyone to listen to the sermon. Overall, it is a beautiful rose, though I would warn you of a couple of thorns on the stem.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Baptist Blogging Conflagration

Let's face it folks, we have reached a new Baptist blogging low in the last week. First, Wade posted information (without any sources or proof) which reflects badly on Dr. Patterson (are you shocked? I am!)

Then, thing really heated up. Liar! Wild-Eyed Liberal! Fundamentalist! The name-calling got pretty intense.

But that was just the start. First, Wade was accused of altering his comments (which he did, by his own admission). Originally, his post referrred to conversations that had taken place "yesterday" (Monday), and that word was removed. He also, as I understand it, changed the word "said" to "implied" when speaking of Dr. Patterson's comments.

Thats when something really hit the fan. SBC Today is accused of altering time stamps on its comments to deceive the blog world. I, to be honest, don't really understand the thing much. An anonymous blogger named John 3:16 asked them to shut off comments. Wes Kenney agreed less than a minute later. Then, the time stamps of these comments were evidently changed to reflect a 10 hour or so time differential.

Wade has responded and explained his editing, which has satisfied his supporters, but not his critics (again, duh!). To my knowledge, SBC Today has not made any attempt to explain their altered time stamps. That may be forthcoming.

I have ever seen the kind of name calling that is taking place now. One blogger has taken to calling Wade, "Slick." Nice, huh? On Wade's site, commenters are engaging in a barrage of comment questioning the integrity of SBC Today.

Here's my take. Folks, we can do better!

We can disagree without name-calling or character assassination.

We can operate in the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, kindness, patience, self-control) and still speak the plain truth.

We can "love our enemies" and "bless those who persecute us."

(On a wholly inappropriate note, if I see one more person end a comment filled with bitter criticism of another with a smug and condescending "brother, I'm praying for you" I might throw up.)

Instead of smug condescension, we can honor one another and demonstrate grace as we pursue truth.

I am not sure I am going to glad of all my words when we stand before God and every idle word we speak is judged by the Savior.

I keep looking for a hero in this. It seems we have all accepted the motto, "If your brother disagrees with you about SBC issues, consign him to perdition."

Brothers (and sistern) WE CAN DO BETTER!!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Yellow Journalism and the SBC

NOTE: in the following post, I am and will be very critical of recent posts by Wade Burleson. However, I want to disassociate myself from some of the name-calling (liar, liberal) that is going around. I think the name-calling and character assassination is just as bad as Wade's post. )

First, since I have advocated regularly against the use of pejorative and derogation, let me define the specific use of this term here. Yellow journalism describes a very specific kind of writing.

Thinkquest.com defines yellow journalism as “biased opinion masquerading as objective fact. Moreover, the practice of yellow journalism involved sensationalism, distorted stories, and misleading images for the sole purpose of boosting newspaper sales and exciting public opinion.” This definition seems to be pretty much in line with the general understanding of the term.

At its core, yellow journalism is biased reporting for sensationalistic purposes. I am afraid that yellow journalism is alive and well in the SBC. Today, Wade Burleson has posted a story that is a primer in yellow journalism.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me tell you my general view of Wade Burleson. I am not a part of the “blame-Wade for everything” branch of blogging. I have argued forcefully that his ouster at the IMB was unjust. In the old days, Wade quoted me on his site in a positive way.

I am not, however, a fan of Wade’s blogging today. I think he has “jumped the shark” and has lost credibility by engaging in a constant barrage of attacks against the leaders of the SBC, especially Dr. Patterson. Again, I have said publicly that I wish that Paige Patterson would ride off into the sunset. I appreciate his work in the CR, but not much he has done since. But the attacks on him have gotten increasingly personal, hysterical and shrill to this man’s ears. And, in my view, Wade has abandoned sound hermeneutics as he has embarked on his recent crusade advocating for women in ministry.

My point is honest disclosure – I was a “supporter” of Wade’s in the beginning, but I think he has gone off the rails in the last couple of years. When I have confronted him recently, he has accused me of “questioning motives.” He has taken to deleting my comments, because he thinks I am “mean-spirited” toward him and his motives. Perspectives, I guess...

I consider myself neither a “Burleson Boy” nor a “Wade-hater.” I appreciated and supported him in the early days and have lost respect for him since.

But the post today was pretty close to yellow journalism, by the definition above. We all know that Wade has a problem with Paige Patterson. He has been relentless in his criticism of the man and his ministry. Today, he reports that Paige is going to fire all the Calvinist professors at SWBTS in a cost-cutting move, and claims this was all revealed at a meeting with professors. A SWBTS professor, who is known as a 5-point Calvinist wrote and said that Wade was totally wrong – no meeting had taken place and no firing of Calvinists was anticipated.

Wade responded that he had been right before and that maybe his sources knew more than Dr. Welty did. He also said conveniently that if this did not take place, it might be because Wade had brought it into the light and embarrassed the administration, preventing the action from taking place.

I would make the following observations:

1) Yellow Journalism is sensationalistic. This post hits a couple of the hot-button issues in the SBC – Paige Patterson and Calvinism.

2) Yellow Journalism is opinion masquerading as fact. This post never says, “I’ve heard a rumor,” or “I was told.” It states this as established fact. But there are no sources, no foot-notes, no references. Just Wade’s opinion presented as established fact. In fact, when his facts were challenged, he indicated that he might know more than the professor who was there.

3) Yellow Journalism is biased. I will let the reader decide if Wade might have a biased opinion and a tendency to believe the worst about Dr. Patterson.

4) Yellow Journalism is based on the attempt to up readership and sell newspapers. This is one which I really don't know. Why would Wade publish unsubstantiated rumor as fact? If he has a reason, other than distaste for Paige Patterson, I don't know it.

Here is what I think. Wade would not publish something he knew to be a lie. However, because of his dislike for Paige Patterson, he might easily be susceptible to believe anything someone tells him about Paige, whether true or not. He might well have been fed some unsubstantiated gossip which he then reported, in his zeal to expose Dr. Patterson, as established fact.

However, I agree with several commenters. The time in which any of us believe what Wade says about SBC issues just because he says it is long past. He should prove the post or retract it, delete it and repent of it.

Dr. Welty asked him to repent of his lies. Others have done the same. Wade either needs to prove that he is not lying or do what they have asked.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A New Opportunity

If anyone is still checking this site, I would refer you to the two places I will be writing in the days ahead.

First, I am now a regular contributor at SBC Impact and would encourage you to read at that site. It is a great site and I am honored to be writing there. The whole team is worth reading.

I will also be writing at my devotional site, "Word Processing." Check that. I hope to write regularly there.