In this article I intend to highlight some of the spiritual dangers of our current psychological milieu. My comments are not intended to dismiss the contributions of psychology or psychiatry, but rather to offer information to enable us to be biblically discerning. Continue reading →
Actively or passively facilitating or incentivizing illegal immigration only appears to be compassionate. In the long term, it is actually uncompassionate because it undermines legal immigration and fuels globalism, which deconstructs the USA as a sovereign nation, creates and perpetuates unnecessary border crises of suffering, promotes lawlessness, and it costs more to fund than securing the border and supporting only legal immigration. Ultimately such misdirected compassion changes the culture of the USA into the very culture illegal immigrants left, an impoverished dictatorship or mobocracy, which benefits no one. Continue reading →
Ethical decisions are a part of everyday life, and it is incumbent upon Christians to make moral and ethical decisions based upon the teaching of Scripture. Some of these decisions seem very easy; for example, murder, lying, and stealing are wrong, and truth-telling, mercy, and sacrifice are good. As clear as those seem to be, real-life experiences, recorded in the Scripture or lived out today, can create some nuances that becloud the issue.
For example, confusion can arise when a certain act that is condemned in Scripture has features similar to other acts that are not condemned and because of the similar features between that which is condemned and that which is not, the two acts are unjustifiably equated as being the same. An example of this would be the difference in being a martyr and committing suicide.
In The Round Table in Ethics, I have noticed a few things that tend to create confusion for Christians trying to understand and apply biblical ethics. This primarily revolves around making similar acts identical or equating God’s commendation of some elements of an event with God’s implied approval of all the elements of the event even when those elements are without exception said to be sin everywhere they are explicitly mentioned in Scripture. An example of this would be lying.
Consequently, in the second week of my Round Table in Ethics, I present something I call “Ethical Considerations and Clarifications”. In this presentation, I seek to address some distinctions that can be helpful in avoiding ethical dilemmas. The issues addressed in this paper do not address every relevant issue, but only those that seem to present problems when considering various ethical issues in The Round Table. I address the relationship of similarities and dissimilarities, the difference between intrinsically good or evil acts and extrinsically good or evil acts, the Is-Ought fallacy, the Sin of Omission, arguments from silence, and then I explain what a lie is. Continue reading →
It is often said that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America. The frequent implication seems to be, the church is the most racist gathering place in America. But is the presence of an all-white church evidence of a bigoted church? I think not, even though I recognize there are racially prejudice people and churches in America. Continue reading →
The imagery of a “wall of separation” was actually in use prior to Thomas Jefferson’s famous use of the phrase, and so it is wise to find out how it had been used in the context of religious freedom in America. This is particularly important in light of the fact that Jefferson used it while corresponding to Baptists, who had felt the brunt of government persecution in America. The phrase had a theological genesis as opposed to the modern supposed deistic, constitutional, or secular genesis. Continue reading →
Speaking of compassionate immigration should be more than a rhetorical stiletto to carve one’s opinion into law by portraying opponents as being uncompassionate if they do not support amnesty, weak borders, or fast-tracking illegals. Compassionate immigration needs to be just and just immigration needs to be compassionate. Continue reading →
Even a crusty old academe loves a pleasant surprise. And for much of my academic experience Ronnie W. Rogers, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, Oklahoma, has been regaling me with one surprise after another.
The other day, a copy of the book The Equipping Church: Somewhere Between Fundamentalism and Fluff, written by Ronnie Rogers comes to me. Since I have learned not to take a chance setting aside anything that he has written, I immediately took it with me on a journey and read almost every syllable of it before I could put it down. Here is a book that addresses in the most thoughtful and fair way I have ever observed the question of the church and the culture.
There has never been a time when the world has not been at odds with the church. The church is supposed to be “a little heaven on earth” in the midst of the upheaval of the lost and confused world. At its worst, the church has been a mirror to the world, mimicking its problems and doing absolutely nothing to be salt and light. At its best, the church has been both salt and light and has introduced the love of God and the love of the church into the human dilemma and presided over changed lives. Culture can be one of three things. It may be good; it may be evil; or, in rare cases, it may be neither.
Ronnie Rogers in The Equipping Church recognizes that the culture is neither universally good nor capriciously evil. As a matter of fact, Rogers sees that part of the duty of the church and of the pastor through his preaching is to help the sheep of the flock make wise decisions about their own response to the culture. In doing so, he is unafraid to take on the culture and state where it is a ubiquitous evil and when it is just not helpful. So often today pastors hesitate to make that identification or else they make the identification in a ranting fashion that causes the younger generation simply to turn them off. Rogers knows better. First, for years now, he has been the pastor of a church just off the campus of the University of Oklahoma. Although he has many people in the church who are unrelated to the University of Oklahoma, he has enjoyed a stupendous ministry to students, faculty, and staff members at the university; and none of them find him to be shrill. They find their pastor to be thoughtful, just, and, more often than not, right.
But Rogers does more in The Equipping of the Church. Having identified the limitations of the culture, he moves on to a discussion of how the church can respond positively to the culture and reach it for Christ. Having discussed the liabilities of the contemporary model as well as many positive attributes and contributions, he continues with the responsibility of the church in the secularizing world. In the process of this, he defines what the church is and stresses that it is not a matter of choice but a matter of faithfulness to Scripture that binds the church in the nature of its ministry. In the final chapter discussing the model of the church for carrying out his mandate, there is an incomparable exegesis of Ephesians 4:11–16.
I love it when a relatively unheralded pastor writes a book that not only will challenge the thought life of academics everywhere but also, due to his pastoral experience, will be easily comprehended by any thoughtful individual who reads it. The Equipping Church is exactly that kind of book. This pastor’s book needs to be carefully read by everyone interested in the relationship of the church to the culture.
Paige Patterson, President
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, Texas
John Leland, a Baptist preacher, “emerged a leader among the Commonwealth’s Baptists. He was instrumental in allying the Baptists with Jefferson and Madison in the bitter Virginia struggle to disestablish the Anglican Church and to secure freedom for religious dissenters.” According to L.H. Butterfield, Leland “was as courageous and resourceful a champion of the rights of conscience as America has produced.” Continue reading →
At Trinity, I lead a three-year men’s group called the Round Table. The first year focuses on Theology, the second on Ethics and the third year on Ideologies (Worldviews). Mike Tinney recently presented a paper on Law and Morality in The Roundtable in Ideology. Mike is an attorney by profession and has presented an excellent presentation of this subject that is well worth the read. Continue reading →
Below is a brief supportive comment that I wrote in response to an article by Peter Lumpkins on SBC Today entitled, Joe Carter, the ERLC and Division over Donald Trump (Parts 1 and 2). Peter’s article responds to some general statements from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) that continually positions those who may vote for Trump in a very dim light. In part two, he specifically analyzes the language of a particular article by Joe Carter (ERLC staffer) that juxtaposes the debate between the “Justice side” (those evangelicals who would vote for Trump) and the “Witness side” (those who would not). Unfortunately, the juxtaposition is unduly reductionistic and results in favoring the “Witness side” rather than equally presenting both. Lumpkins does a good job of pointing this out. Continue reading →