July 2005

Formations lesson for Aug. 21: Repairing Relationships with My Community : Friday, July 29, 2005

July 29 2005 by Haven Parrott

Formations lesson for Aug. 21: Repairing Relationships with My Community : Friday, July 29, 2005
Friday, July 29, 2005

Formations lesson for Aug. 21: Repairing Relationships with My Community

By Haven Parrott
Focal passage: Genesis 6:9-7:5

Life Boats

The most chilling scene in the movie "Titanic" is not of the elderly couple choosing to die wrapped in each other's arms on the bed in their stateroom as the unsinkable boat cracks up; it's not of the frantic passengers' vain scramble for higher ground as the full comprehension of their grave situation begins to flood their minds; it's not the poignant images of forced smiles on the faces of brave fathers, whose artificially cheery cries of "See you real soon!" ring horribly hollow as they help their women and children into lifeboats; and it's not even the heart-rending depiction of the doomed splashing and thrashing about, clambering atop one another to steal a few more seconds of oxygen before the freezing water of the North Atlantic exacts its fatal toll.

No, for me, the most chilling scene in the movie "Titanic" isn't even a scene. It's a sound. Not the terrible sound of savage screaming, pitiful pleading, or desperate cursing uttered by humans on the brink of their own destruction, but the sound that remains after: the sound of sheer silence. The sound of death accomplished, of eternal finality. The sound the survivors in lifeboats heard as they gingerly picked their way through the morbid maze of bloated blue bodies.

Surely the theme of their thoughts must've been some version of "there but for the grace of God go I," and the measure of their appreciation for a lifeboat in an ocean of death must've been somewhere in the realm of fathomless. And I'll bet they never, ever, ever took their salvation-by-lifeboat for granted.

The Life Boat

I imagine Noah and his family had a titanic appreciation of their salvation. From the safety of their lifeboat, they likely heard the scraping sound made by the fingernails of folks trying too late to claw their way into the wood of God's ark; the futile, fading cries of those drowning in the sea of God's wrath; and finally, the dreadful sound of nothing save the pounding of that righteous rain.

Surely the theme of Noah and his family's thoughts was some ancient version of "there but for the grace of God go I." Just try to imagine the measure of their gratitude for God's provision for their salvation-by-lifeboat, and then make the connection (oh, how I love an Old Testament story in which Christ is so thinly veiled He cannot be missed by even the most casual observer): do you, do I, appreciate our Ark of salvation to the extent that Noah and his family appreciated theirs?

By grace through faith in God's revealed word, Noah and his family were saved from God's righteous judgment upon sin. By grace through faith in God's living Word we are saved from the same.

Days of terror are coming, and the sound of that final silence will be deafening. Salvation is a titanic thing. God forbid we should ever take it for granted.

7/29/2005 12:00:00 AM by Haven Parrott | with 0 comments



Don't differ on scripture : Tuesday, July 26, 2005

July 26 2005 by

Don't differ on scripture : Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Don't differ on scripture

Brother Tony's article "Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parson" has to be one of the most disturbing he has ever written. How misleading to tell others that the "traditional Baptist freedom to differ on some issues" is at stake. Hogwash. Not to mention that he did not tell them that the issue that we Baptists are debating is the nature of Scripture. That is an issue we cannot differ on. Wouldn't you agree that there are issues that are foundational to our faith and must not be compromised? Surely, the nature of Scripture is one of those issues. Every other issue is wrapped up in it.

The part of the article that really seemed to reveal the spirit of the author was how he described the SBC coming to Greensboro next year. The terms "unsolicited plan," "showcase event" and "closed-tent cooperation" are clear evidence that he does not seek to "join hands for common mission."

Pastors of smaller churches on the east have often shared that they were not able to afford going to the bigger cities further west. Finally, the SBC graciously chooses to come to the east and you call it an "unsolicited plan to bring its showcase event?" Disgraceful.

Such harsh and uncalled for words plead for a repentant apology. There simply is no place for them in your paper.

Readers all across the board in the moderate/fundamentalist battle read this paper. Directly attacking either side is wrong. If we want to debate the issues, so be it. But seeking to "bite and devour one another" violates the very command of Scripture to avoid doing so (Galatians 5:15.)

Chris Hilliard

Timberlake, N.C.

7/26/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



Tangled state battles for Bible : Tuesday, July 26, 2005

July 26 2005 by

Tangled state battles for Bible : Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tangled state battles for Bible

In his letter Greg Magruder asks, "Why don't some more mature leaders in the SBC tell Moore and Mohler and the Baptist Press to get over the CBF-bashing?" This quote would have some merit if I had not just read the editor's article "Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin." Could the same thing be said of Tony Cartledge's bashing of our SBC?

The bottom line is that we are two distinct national conventions tangled in one state convention. I agree with Tim Andrews of Gaston. The battle in North Carolina is for the authority of the Bible.

Chris Byrne

Winston-Salem, N.C.

7/26/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



Baptists see Christ as key to identity : Monday, July 25, 2005

July 25 2005 by

Baptists see Christ as key to identity : Monday, July 25, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005

Baptists see Christ as key to identity

In 2000, moderate Baptists criticized the Southern Baptist Convention for deleting from the Baptist Faith and Message a reference to Jesus Christ as the criterion for interpreting the Bible. In 2005, fundamentalist Baptists are criticizing the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship for deleting the Christ's name from the "purpose statement" in its revised constitution. The organization's Coordinating Council may reconsider the change. Perhaps a little history can help. The first English Baptist confession of faith, published in 1611, included 27 articles. Of those articles, one mentioned the "Word" (referring to Christ's role in the Trinity). Three mentioned "Jesus Christ." Eleven mentioned "Christ" or "Christ's." Thus, 55 percent of the articles referred to such theological convictions as Christ's role in Creation, salvation, justification, Incarnation, the church, the Bible, the Lord's Supper, worship, and judgment. Article 9 designated Christ as Mediator, King, Priest, Prophet, and Law-giver.

The earliest Baptists made certain that they and the world knew that Christ was their Lord. They did not use the name Christ as some magic wand to wave about. Instead, they viewed Christ as the key to every phase of their existence and identity. Christ called the earliest Baptists to freedom, cooperation, and accountability, and they accepted the call. For them, Christ's name was important.

(Editor's note: Deweese is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist History and Heritage Society)

Charles Deweese

Brentwood, Tenn.

7/25/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



BP's CBF bashing hurts church : Monday, July 25, 2005

July 25 2005 by

BP's CBF bashing hurts church : Monday, July 25, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005

BP's CBF bashing hurts church

As the pastor of a church dually-aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) it is always difficult to explain to church members the on-going rift between the two entities. You see, we get along at our church and have come to the conclusion that the kingdom of God is much larger than the SBC or CBF. We believe both have a part in kingdom work and so we support both in their missionary endeavors.

Unfortunately we still have people who don't understand articles like the July 14 Baptist Press article "CBF removes reference to Jesus in purpose statement." Some wonder why CBF no longer believes in Jesus. Others wonder why two prominent leaders in the SBC would take petty potshots at CBF with statements like, "This represents the eclipse of Christ in the moderate Baptist movement" (Russell Moore) and, "My central concern is what this means about the true nature of the CBF and its commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ" (Al

Mohler).

I don't need Moore and Mohler to meddle with my congregation. We just baptized several new believers in Jesus Christ and returned from a mission trip to one of the poorest districts in the US where Jesus was shared and modeled among "at-risk" children. We love Jesus and serve him faithfully.

I also wonder if anyone looked to see what the SBC has in its own charter and constitution. A quick glance at the original SBC charter and the current SBC constitution reveals language similar to what the CBF Assembly just voted to accept. Jesus is not mentioned in the SBC purpose statements either. Does this mean the "eclipse of Christ" in the SBC?

By the way, the Florida Baptist Convention does mention the kingdom of Christ in Article 3 of its constitution. So maybe only Florida Baptists are "orthodox."

Why don't some more mature leaders in the SBC tell Moore and Mohler and the Baptist Press to get over the CBF-bashing? Why continue this animosity? Why disrupt my church family? Why not join us in reaching people for Jesus? After all, it's his church and his kingdom we are all a part of.

Gregory C. Magruder

Gainesville, Fla.

7/25/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



Stand on truth of God's word : Monday, July 25, 2005

July 25 2005 by

Stand on truth of God's word : Monday, July 25, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005

Stand on truth of God's word

I am writing in reference to a letter titled, "Where has the servant pastor model gone?" The remarks in the letter were uncalled for. This is an example of attacks against those who hold to correct biblical theology.

The writer mentions "angry power plays" in churches and says several churches in his association have withheld funds over questions of support for the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.

A pastor is to lead his people by teaching them biblical doctrine and letting it be applied to the life of the Christian. If a church chooses to support an association by its giving it is the choice of that church.

Yet a church that is being led by a pastor concerned about the people God has given to him will be concerned about the people and those who are in the association. If the association is not going in a direction which is in line with God's word then the pastor needs to let the people be aware of it.

When more pastors take a stand for biblical doctrine and want to see change, then eyes will be open.

The battle in the North Roanoke Baptist Association and in the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is the same battle that was in the Southern Baptist Convention - the battle for the Bible. May all pastors and in general all Bible believing Baptists stand on and for the truth of God's word.

Tim Andrews

Gaston, N.C.

7/25/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



Bulletin article conflicts with BF&M : Thursday, July 21, 2005

July 21 2005 by

Bulletin article conflicts with BF&M : Thursday, July 21, 2005
Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bulletin article conflicts with BF&M

I was rather surprised to see Jerry Price's comments on the back of a bulletin distributed by LifeWay Christian Resources for the July 3 service. His characterization of those "individuals and organizations who prattle on and on about the separation of church and state" stands in sharp contrast to Article XVII of the Baptist Faith and Message, which explicitly states that "church and state should be separate." In this era of doctrinal accountability at the SBC, I find it confusing that an associate editor at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) should make a statement countering the document the ERLC purports to uphold.

Todd Wagoner

Jonesville, N.C.

7/21/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



CBF committed to Christ : Thursday, July 21, 2005

July 21 2005 by

CBF committed to Christ : Thursday, July 21, 2005
Thursday, July 21, 2005

CBF committed to Christ

It is unfortunate the revisions to the purpose statement in the Constitution and Bylaws of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF), approved at the recent General Assembly in Grapevine, Texas have opened the door to criticism that Fellowship Christians have diminished our devotion to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and our commitment to the Great Commission. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I experienced firsthand this summer along with other North Carolina CBFers at Partners In Hope, a CBF sponsored mission in Arkansas, the gospel is being shared, lives are being touched, souls are being saved and communities are being transformed in the name of Christ through CBF.

Though CBF of North Carolina is legally, organizationally and financially autonomous from CBF (National), we highly value our missional partnership with the larger CBF family and are striving to be faithful to our stated mission of "bringing Baptists of North Carolina together for Christ-centered ministry."

Jesus told a parable about two brothers. One brother said he would obey the command of his father but he failed to follow through. The other brother made no promise, but did what his father asked. Jesus commended the one with the faithful walk, not the one with empty talk (Matthew 21:28-31).

CBF Christians realize that actions speak louder than words. Our ongoing missions and ministries reflect CBF's strong commitment to Christ and the Great Commission. Still, I'm grateful that CBF Moderator Joy Yee is leading the Coordinating Council to reconsider the revisions. This commitment has been primary in our movement since its beginning and will remain so, I pray, until our Lord returns.

Larry Hovis

Winston-Salem, N.C.

7/21/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



WMU team deserves support : Monday, July 18, 2005

July 18 2005 by

WMU team deserves support : Monday, July 18, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005

WMU team deserves support

I have just returned from an Associational Leadership Training Session at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute. The theme was "Christ Followers" (Luke 9:23). More than 100 women from across North Carolina met at the beautiful campus for inspiration and training to take back to their associations and churches. What a joy it was to sit in the general session and hear Ruby Fulbright, executive director, N.C. Women's Missionary Union (WMU), talk about the history of WMU and how missions has been the driving force of WMU throughout it's history. Having served as pastor, home missionary with the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board), and director of missions of the Buncombe Baptist Association, I have experienced and seen the tremendous work WMU has done and continues to do across North Carolina. I commend Ruby Fulbright, Jan High, Margaret Harding, Emily Harkey, Cara Lynn Vogel, and all the Resource Teams across the state for their commitment and hard work.

Norma Melton, church and community ministries director, Buncombe Baptist Association, concluded the meeting with a challenge for everyone to go back to their associations and churches and get women involved in missions.

Before the closing prayer, Sandra James, president, North Carolina WMU, led the congregation with a rousing cheer - "Give me a W" - "W".

"Give me a "M" - "M." The crowd responded.

"Give me a "U." - "U."

"What do you have?" Sandra asked. "MISSIONS," the response came.

"What do you have?" Sandra asked again. "MISSIONS," came the response. "What do you have?" Sandra asked for the third time.

"MISSIONS," the crowd roared.

I want to be on that team, don't you? I encourage every pastor and every director of missions in every association to "get on the team" and support WMU in your church and your association.

Gayle Brown

Asheville, N.C.

7/18/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



Baptist Children's Homes: bringing hope for 120 years : Friday, July 15, 2005

July 15 2005 by

Baptist Children's Homes: bringing hope for 120 years : Friday, July 15, 2005
Friday, July 15, 2005

Baptist Children's Homes: bringing hope for 120 years

From contributed reports

Laughter echoing across the Mills Home campus heralded an historic event on June 14. Baptist Children's Homes of N.C. (BCH) celebrated its 120th anniversary of serving hurting children and families by bringing together all staff and children in care from the agency's statewide facilities at its oldest residential campus in Thomasville.

FAMILY - Residents and staff of the Baptist Children's Homes gather June 14 to celebrate 120 years of service.
"Family Gathering 2" not only recognized BCH's rich history, but also celebrated the countless lives that have been changed for more than a century.

"'Awesome' is one of those words that has lost some of its meaning because it is so overused," said BCH president Michael C. Blackwell. "But, in the case of Family Gathering 2, I can't find a better word to describe the day."

The anniversary event is only the second time the entire BCH "family" has gathered at the same time and place. Approximately 600 BCH children and staff participated in a day of games, singing and a program in the campus church to end the day's festivities. Children competed in races, basketball, volleyball and other outdoor activities.

Because of the geographical separation between BCH's facilities across the state, many children and staff met for the first time at the event. Others renewed old friendships.

"This day is about meeting a lot of new people and just having fun," said sixteen-year-old Travis, who has lived at BCH's Broyhill Home in western North Carolina since 1997.

Children cheered loudly for one another during the games. Even though many had just met for the first time, friendships formed quickly. Common threads bind all the children, no matter where they live. Many come to BCH from unstable or unsafe conditions. Some children deal with low self-esteem, educational challenges or issues plaguing their entire family. But most importantly, they all need to be loved.

"We have the most dedicated and loving child care workers caring for the needs of our children," Blackwell said. "The commitment of our staff has helped ensure that BCH has been able to make a difference in the lives of children and families since the agency first began."

John Haymes Mills founded BCH, first known as the Baptist Orphanage, in 1885 with the support of North Carolina Baptists and other friends. A longtime advocate for children, Mills was the former editor of the Biblical Recorder and superintendent of the Oxford Orphanage.

Today, BCH offers services to children and families in 12 communities across the state. Mills Home stands on the original piece of property purchased just a few miles away from John Mills' Rich Fork community farm where he lived. The agency is Thomasville's oldest continuing business.

SMILING FACES - Residents and staff of Baptist Children's Homes particpated in games, music and worship at the Mills Home campus in Thomasville, celebrating 120 years of service.
Smiles and sweat marked the faces of hundreds of children and staff as the day came to a close. The celebration fell on one of the hottest days of the year, but no one seemed to mind. Instead, all were focused on the excitement and spirit of the day. A day for BCH to honor the past, but also look towards a future that promises to further its rich legacy while continuing to impact countless lives through its mission of helping hurting children, healing broken families.

"We're charting an exciting pathway to the future," Blackwell said. "Not only for the agency, but by bringing hope and the promise of a better tomorrow to those we serve."

7/15/2005 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments



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