July 2014

Afraid of being labeled ‘homophobic’?

July 31 2014 by Robert Helton, Stanley, N.C.

As a Christian since 1954, I was appalled by the letter from the S.C. pastor, a graduate of Gardner-Webb University, who remarked that the SBC should get over their obsession with homosexuality. I was even more stunned that no pastor or church leader would refute this irrational and un-Biblical statement! Are we so afraid of being labeled “homophobic” or “hateful” that we don’t stand on the truth of God’s Word?
Anyone who reads the first chapter of Romans, among many other verses, can come to no other conclusion that this is a sinful lifestyle.
Have we reached a point in our church life that we are afraid to call sin of every description sin? The late Dr. Vance Havner said in a sermon he preached at the First Baptist in Spartanburg, S.C., in the 1970’s that the late Charles G. Finney had a sermon entitled “How to preach so as to convert nobody.” Finney said to preach about sin, just don’t name any!
The last word from Christ was not to go into all the world, but to repent (Revelation 2:14-16). In 1 John 1:9 forgiveness is assured if we CONFESS our sins. It’s about time we agreed with God that we are a sinful people and repent!

Robert Helton
Stanley, N.C.

7/31/2014 9:12:40 AM by Robert Helton, Stanley, N.C. | with 1 comments

Encouraged, but concerned

July 15 2014 by Ricky Mason, Maggie Valley, N.C.

Having just returned from the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, I was encouraged to see more young pastors and staff members attending than in recent years. I was also happy to hear positive reports of record giving to our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and a slight increase in our Cooperative Program giving after several years of decline. It was exciting to hear of the new church starts across the U.S., especially in our strategic cities. But along with the positive reports, there were some concerns that were shared.
About 6,000 churches in the U.S. are closing their doors each year. Only one in 10 pastors starting out in ministry today are still in the ministry when they retire. One fourth of our Southern Baptist churches, more than 11,000, had no baptisms last year; 26,000 of our 46,000 SBC churches baptized no teenagers last year, and 9,000 more of our churches baptized only one. It appears we are losing the battle as we seek to reach this generation for Jesus Christ. With that in mind, let me share what has happened in Western N.C. Since 2006 we’ve been having “Ignite Youth Explosion” events. So far we have had 16 area-wide events in nine counties. Over 4,000 total decisions for Christ have been recorded with more than 2,700 first time professions of faith and 575 called into ministry. In every event, more than enough money has come in to meet the budget, and after every event the local leaders have been willing to send at least $1,000 of their excess money to the location of the next scheduled event to help them reach their budget.
Leading worship for the events has been Dove Award recipient Carl Cartee and his praise band from Nashville, Tenn., “3D” from Sevierville, Tenn., and “The Leap of Faith” praise team from Haywood County. Evangelist Clayton King has been doing the preaching. Admission is always free. Would you prayerfully consider having an “Ignite Youth Explosion” event in your association or area? Contact pastor Ricky Mason, (828) 926-0065, First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 309, Maggie Valley, NC 28751; rickymasonfbmv@gmail.com.

Ricky Mason
Maggie Valley

7/15/2014 11:41:02 AM by Ricky Mason, Maggie Valley, N.C. | with 0 comments

Where are the protestors?

July 3 2014 by Mark Perko, Wadesboro, N.C.

I am now in my 25th year of pastoral ministry and have been a faithful attender of the [Southern Baptist Convention] each summer only missing two or three times. I vividly remember being in St. Louis where our facility was briefly locked down, and the handful of protestors who actually charged the platform were subdued. I remember in New Orleans when the pro-homosexual crowd staged the mock funeral, and the New Orleans police were there in force arresting them and loading them on a bus to be processed.
For the longest time the John the Baptist guy promoting “Go Veg” and the other person who wore the chicken outfit (they may have just been protesting each other) along with the Westboro Baptist Church crowd were there in full force. They have all but disappeared. The last couple of years I have not seen any protesters at all, and I am wondering: “Is the devil and his army not even worried about us anymore?
Have we lost our saltiness and light? Have we lost our impact? Is there some link between this and our drop in baptisms?” I have always felt that when the devil is getting stirred up the most is when the church is giving him the most anguish. I do not wish to sound critical but would love to hear more thoughts about this from others.

Mark Perko
Wadesboro, N.C.

7/3/2014 11:21:22 AM by Mark Perko, Wadesboro, N.C. | with 1 comments

Lost people in the South, too

July 1 2014 by David Gasperson, pastor, Warsaw Baptist Church

Recently I sat in the Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore listening to convention leaders praise Southern Baptists for supporting the redirection of resources away from the south and to the “Send Cities.”
Yet he was addressing the smallest attendance at a convention I have ever witnessed, and I couldn’t help but wonder if that says something about the tepid enthusiasm for such a redirection of resources.
It’s hard to argue with the need of our cities and the host of unreached people in them whether one is considering the “Send Cities” advocated by [North American Mission Board] or the target cities of our own state convention programs. But the southern state conventions without identified “Send Cities” in them also have huge numbers of lost and many crying needs that must be addressed. In our own state, the towns and communities that fall outside the urbanized targets also have enormous challenges.
Perhaps it’s time to be more assertive about the fact that we are called to confront lostness everywhere and to meet needs at home as well as in the urban centers. Surely there is a reciprocal Acts 1:8 truth that when we go to “the ends of the earth,” we do not in doing so neglect our “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.”

David Gasperson, pastor
Warsaw Baptist Church

7/1/2014 10:34:47 AM by David Gasperson, pastor, Warsaw Baptist Church | with 0 comments