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 →
I have written and spoken about the many fruits that still exist from God’s Conservative Resurgence which restored the primacy of the inerrant Scripture in and throughout all of our Southern Baptist entities. I have also written and spoken in a series In Defense of God’s Order and the Gospel about the present peddling of destructive ideas such as social justice, Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, feminism, women preachers and prophetesses in the local church, Me Too excessive right by might, reducing biblical complementarianism to soft complementarianism (or one could say soft egalitarianism) and obscuring the unambiguous message and language regarding homosexuality and gender fluidity. Continue reading →
Phoebe Cates wrote an article that is posted on the ERLC website entitled, “Why our hearts matter when talking about Abortion.”
I agree with the title of the article. We should have a broken heart over the tragedy of every abortion and a tender heart toward every person who needs Christ. We should approach the woman who is contemplating abortion or has had one with love, truth, and gentleness (Eph 4:15; 1 Pet 3:15). I appreciate Phoebe reminding us of the importance of our heart when we engage women who struggle with or have had an abortion. Continue reading →
In the quest to seem with it in our present scientistic milieu, preachers and Christians often pursue fluency regarding the latest polls, statistics, and studies (punctiliar thinking) more than they seek understanding of the Scripture and linear thinking. This quest is often characterized by indiscriminate reliance upon and usage of these tools, which actually leads people further from the truth both in their thinking processes and in their conclusions. Although these tools are useful at times, they should be used judiciously and sparingly lest one unwittingly becomes a scientistic myrmidon, and by his example leads others to do likewise. Continue reading →
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 →
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