Dr. HL Champion

Preview by Dr. HL Champion
Southern Baptists have been in a evangelism decline and many believe that it is due to the growing trends of Pastors toward the doctrines of Limited Atonement and Predestination.  Baptist.org will focus upon this issue in forthcoming reports and studies.

500 years later, Calvinism debate still simmers among Southern Baptists

Written by TRAVIS LOLLER Associated Press from the archives of the Tennessean 06/09/2013
John Calvin 01Is God’s saving grace free to anyone who accepts Jesus, or did God predestine certain people for heaven and hell before the beginning of the world? That’s a 500-year-old question, but it is creating real divisions in 2013 in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Calvinism is named for the 16th Century theologian John Calvin. Among other things, it teaches that Jesus died only for those who have been elected by God for salvation. That idea does not sit well with many non-Calvinist Baptists, who believe Jesus died for the whole world.

Some of the theological differences between Calvinists and non-Calvinists can get pretty far into the weeds, but what may seem an arcane controversy has become very heated, especially over the past few months.

In January, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Louisiana College, Joe Aguillard, wrote in his “President’s Pen” column, “My love for all Baptists including Calvinists, does not constitute our approval of its being advocated at Louisiana College.”

That came at the same time three Calvinist-leaning professors learned that their contracts would not be renewed. Although Aguillard has not given a reason for the dismissals, many people have connected them to the column.

On blog posts, some defended the move, citing it as payback for an inclination at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., to hire Calvinists over non-Calvinists.

More fuel was added to the fire when the SBC’s Campbellsville University declined to renew a professor’s contract this spring. Although there was little evidence, observers speculated online that it was because the professor espoused Calvinist views.

Scott McConnell, vice-president of research for the Southern Baptist’s Lifeway Research group, said one of the reasons that such a theological debate can seem divisive to an outsider is because Southern Baptists are used to being very united on doctrinal issues.

“From my perspective as a researcher, when we ask many questions of Southern Baptist pastors, they are usually in the same space. …Typically we see nine out of ten or 95 percent agreeing to something.”

My Son First!

by Dr. HL Champion on April 21, 2013

“A doctor entered the hospital in hurry after being called in for an urgent surgery. He answered the call asap, changed his clothes and went directly to the surgery block. He found the boy’s father going and coming in the hall waiting for the doctor. Once seeing him, the dad yelled:

“Why did you take all this time to come? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have the sense of responsibility?”

The doctor smiled and said, “I am sorry, I wasn’t in the hospital and I came the fastest I could after receiving the call… And now, I wish you’d calm down so that I can do my work”

“Calm down?! What if your son was in this room right now, would you calm down? If your own son dies now what will you do??” said the father angrily

The doctor smiled again and replied: “I will say what Job said in the Holy Book “From dust we came and to dust we return, blessed be the name of God”. Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go and intercede for your son, we will do our best by God’s grace”

“Giving advice when we’re not concerned is so easy,” murmured the father.

The surgery took some hours after which the doctor exited happily, “Thank goodness! Your son is saved!” Without waiting for the father’s reply he carried on his way running. “If you have any question, ask the nurse!!”

“Why is he so arrogant? He couldn’t wait some minutes so that I ask about my son’s state” Commented the father when seeing the nurse minutes after the doctor left.

The nurse answered, tears coming down her face: ‘His son died yesterday in a road accident, he was at the burial when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he left running to finish his son’s burial.’”

Michael Foust of Baptist Press does a good job in presenting the true imbalance of those opposing Boy Scouts being expanded to Gay Scouts!  However, while the nation’s attention was turned to Boston on Friday morning, the Boy Scouts of America announced that it intends to end its ban on gay members, as long as its board approves the change. The organization would still, however, prohibit gay adults from serving as troop leaders or volunteers.

The proposed new policy states, “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The proposed policy also reinforces the organization’s position that “Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.”

The change would apply only to members; it does not change the policy regarding gay troop leaders or other volunteers. “The BSA will maintain the current membership policy for all adults,” said Deron Smith, the group’s spokesman.

Facebook.com/brochampion

 

Scouts propose allowing gay-identifying youth

Posted on Apr 19, 2013 | by Michael Foust

IRVING, Texas (BP) — Members at the Boy Scouts national convention in May will consider a proposal that would leave in place the prohibition on homosexual Scout leaders but would allow youth who identify as gay to join, it was announced Friday (Ap

bsaEmblemThe proposed policy, unanimously approved by the Boy Scouts executive committee, differs significantly from a proposal that was discussed in February that would have allowed openly gay leaders and youth to join. That policy would have made it a “local option,” whereby each sponsoring organization would decide the policy. Under the new proposal, there is a national standard and no local option.

“No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” the proposed resolution states in part.

The resolution criticizes sexual activity by youth, saying Scouting “is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.” Two paragraphs later it further says that “youth are still developing, learning about themselves and who they are, developing their sense of right and wrong, and understanding their duty to God to live a moral life.”

The Boy Scouts leadership appeared poised in early February to lift its prohibition on gay Scout leaders and youth but — facing pressure from its base — decided to put the matter before its 1,400 voting members at the national convention, which will be in May.

Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, was outspoken earlier this year in urging the Boy Scouts to keep their current policy.
Frank_Page5ap
“We said in January we wished the Scouts would listen to the whole scouting family, not just a few,” Page said Friday. “The leadership listened. Chief among the concerns they heard is the influence of adult leaders on impressionable youth. Though this resolution is more acceptable to those who hold a biblical form of morality than what was being considered before, we would still prefer no change in the policy. A No vote keeps the current policy in place, an outcome we would overwhelmingly support.”

Also on Friday, the Boy Scouts released the results of a series of surveys it conducted.

Among the findings:

– 61 percent of adult Scout members favor the current policy, while 34 percent oppose it.

– 61 percent of Boy Scout parents support the current policy, while 50 percent of Cub Scout parents back it (45 percent of Cub Scout parents oppose it).

– 51 percent of major donors support the current policy while 33 percent oppose it. But a majority of Fortune 500 companies want to see the policy changed.

– A majority of teens ages 16-18 in the Boy Scouts program oppose the current policy. A percentage was not given.

Scouts Moral 01The Boy Scouts also said that parents, teens and the Scouting community “do not favor” a local option as proposed in February.

 

Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Dr. Ben Carson presented at the 2013 White House Presidential Prayer Breakfast 180 degree principles from that of President Obama. Within eight feet from the podium, our president experienced for thirty minutes a devotional – politico speech that disconcerted him and the liberal left. As a result of this conservative boom-bust, Republicans, Conservatives, and anti-Obama supporters loomed with adulation to their new and descript spokesperson.

As a result, this non political doctor is being catapulted to political stardom. Such is a hungry right wing America. In spite of Dr Carson’s Seventh Day Adventist identification, Bible Believing and Practicing Christians are relieved that basic logic and biblical principals are catapulted into the media. Learn from this interview by Baltimore’s WJZ-TV.


Neurosurgeon reacts to Republican praise after speech goes viral

Dr. Ben Carson talks to WJZ-TV

Dr. Ben Carson talks to WJZ-TV / CBS BALTIMORE

Dr. Ben Carson was already a world-renowned doctor when he was invited to speak at a Washington, D.C. panel a week ago. But he was launched into the political spotlight — and perked the ears of conservatives — when he spoke out against President Obama’s health care and economic policies with the president just feet away.

In an exclusive interview with CBS Baltimore WJZ, the neurosurgeon responded to speculation about his political future and what he plans on doing when he retires from Johns Hopkins in four months.

Although Republicans have expressed a lot of support, Carson said he doesn’t align himself with a political party.

“I call myself a logical person,” Carson told WJZ-TV’s Adam May. “I happen to be an independent — registered as an independent — but anything I talk about or advocate, I would challenge anybody to show me where it’s not logical.”

“If Democrats happen to agree with what I’m talking about, great. If Republicans happen to be the ones who agree with what I’m talking about, great,” Carson added.

Carson spoke earlier this month at the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event hosted by members of Congress and the conservative Christian organization The Fellowship Foundation. In a charismatic, 22-minute speech, he lambasted fear of “political correctness” and called for a flat tax, a private health care savings plan and smaller, less involved government.

A YouTube video of the speech has since gotten over 2 million views and earned praised from conservative pundits. He’s been invited on numerous talk shows and his book has shot up to number one on Amazon’s best seller list. A Wall Street Journal editorial called on Carson to run for president.

Carson has said he doesn’t plan on running for office, but continues to keep the door open. “That calling has to come from God,” he said. “I never rule anything out because I’m not totally in control.”

The National Prayer Breakfast is not Carson’s debut into politics. In 2008, President George Bush honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest national civilian honor. He has also offered the White House advice on national policy. In his interview with WJZ, Carson reiterated his platform on welfare and the economy.

“The best thing they can do is stop trying to interfere with everyone’s life, particularly businesses,” Carson said of government.

Carson, whose bio states he grew up in poverty in a single parent home, said that includes the welfare system.

“There are a lot of unwed mothers who had three or four children,” Carson said. “The government and your fellow taxpayers will not be responsible for it.”

The complicated tax code, he also said, should be thrown out for something simpler.

“It’s not fair to sit and say, `You’re working exceptionally well so we’re going to hit you extra hard.’ What is fair is the way God did it. You make $10, you pay $1. You make $10 billion, you pay one,” Carson said.

While others have praised his speech, Dr. Lester Spence, who specializes in black politics at Johns Hopkins, said he’s skeptical about Carson’s political future. He said a lot of the buzz surrounding Carson has to do with the fact the Republican Party is desperate for a fresh face that appeals to minorities.

“The simple reading – it’s not right – but the simple reading is that ‘Wow, if we can find someone black and intelligent who thinks like us, we can get back on the path to political success,’” Spence told May.

Watch WJZ-TV’s full interview below:

<script type=’text/javascript’ src=’http://CBSBALT.images.worldnow.com/interface/js/WNVideo.js?rnd=876065;hostDomain=video.baltimore.cbslocal.com;playerWidth=385;playerHeight=288;isShowIcon=true;clipId=8441399;flvUri=;partnerclipid=;adTag=News;advertisingZone=CBS.BALTIMORE%252Fworldnowplayer;enableAds=true;landingPage=;islandingPageoverride=false;playerType=STANDARD_EMBEDDEDscript_EMBEDDEDscript;controlsType=fixed’></script><a href=”http://video.baltimore.cbslocal.com” title=”"></a>

The homosexual political agenda has gained a momentum that may overwhelm Baptist churches. Most pastors are just attending to their congregational priorities without paying too much attention to the potential of law suits that could jeopardize local church autonomy as well as every member’s First Amendment  There is a lot of conversation among Southern Baptist leaders that local church bylaws should define Marriage and Sexuality.
This conversation is one that is important for all churches who have incorporated with their states.  Most Associational Baptist churches as well as Independent churches have a statement of their bylaws registered with their incorporation. Attending to this subject and amending church bylaws now may save heart aches
later. 
You may access Dr. Champions Facebook and post comments - www.Facebook.com/brochampion
  Every Baptist Church should heed this  article and schedule Church Wide Meetings on this issue.
 
 

NASHVILLE (BP) — With the U.S. Supreme Court set to take up gay marriage and potentially legalize it this summer, churches that host wedding ceremonies or other events for traditional couples should examine their bylaws and shield themselves from the impact of possible litigation, says an attorney who specializes in religious liberty issues.

“We’re in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality.” – ADF attorney

The justices are scheduled in March to hear two cases concerning gay marriage, and by June could either uphold the traditional definition of marriage or legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — a religious liberty legal organization — is hoping for the former but preparing churches for the latter, just in case.

A number of situations could place churches in legal trouble, such as congregations who would:– allow a traditional couple but not a same-sex couple to use their facility for a wedding ceremony.

– allow a traditional couple but not a same-sex couple to take part in a marriage class or retreat.
– terminate an employee involved in a same-sex wedding.

Bylaw language defining marriage in the biblical sense doesn’t mean a church won’t face a suit or a complaint, but it does mean the church would be in a much better situation legally, said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for ADF.

“I think we’re in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality,” Stanley told Baptist Press. “This is a proactive approach that churches can take to head off any claims of discrimination in the future, should they occur. There’s no magic language for such a bylaw statement, but it should be some form of a statement of the church’s religious beliefs.”What that does is it allows for a good defense of a church to any type of discrimination claim that may arise, by saying, ‘Look, this is part of our religious beliefs.’ When we fight on the ground of protecting a church’s religious belief, then we have a lot of ammunition in our arsenal from a constitutional perspective.”Even without gay marriage legal nationwide, there have been lawsuits against churches.

In 1999 a woman who had worked as a youth minister at a Colorado Episcopal church was terminated after it was learned she was a lesbian living with another woman. She sued in federal court, but the lawsuit was dismissed, with the court ruling her suit was barred by the First Amendment. (The case was Bryce v. Episcopal Church in Diocese of Colorado.)

In 2001, a California church’s worship minister, Bob Gunn, was let go when it was discovered he was gay. He sued the church, primarily because the pastor told the congregation why Gunn — who was popular with members — had been fired. The church won in court. (The case was Gunn v. Mariners Church.)

Some churches have affirmed the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and calls homosexuality sinful. Asked whether the BF&M would be sufficient, Stanley replied, “That would be just fine for churches to adopt the BF&M 2000 in their bylaws on this issue. But the BF&M 2000 does not necessarily address the issue of human sexuality in depth, especially the issue of homosexual behavior. Churches may want to consider adopting a fuller statement regarding their biblical beliefs on human sexuality.”

ADF has listed on its website suggested bylaw language for churches. (Read the two ADF articles on the subject – http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/content/docs/issues/church/Suggested-Lang-Church-bylaws.pdf andhttp://www.speakupmovement.org/Church/Content/userfiles/Resources/church_seven_bylaws.pdf. Also, read the suggested language at the end of this article.)

“What we tell churches is that the clearer and the more explicit you can make your religious beliefs about those issues, the better off you are going to be in defending yourself against a claim of discrimination,” Stanley said. “Because then it becomes: You’re not discriminating against an individual based upon their sexual orientation or marital status. You’re making a decision to abide by your religious beliefs. And that’s protected by the Constitution. The more that we can move this from the ground of a claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation or marital status to the ground of ‘We are simply abiding by our deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs,’ the better off a legal defense is going to be.”

The legalization of gay marriage, Stanley said, will impact religious freedoms.

“Religious liberty is on the chopping block any time same-sex marriage is legalized or normalized in the culture,” he said. “But we’re not defenseless and we’re not left hopeless. If same-sex marriage is legalized by the Supreme Court, these types of cases that we see pop up, they’re just going to become more commonplace.”

In January, Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, urged Southern Baptists and other Christians to pray for the Supreme Court as it takes up the issue of marriage. Read his column here.

Following is ADF’s suggested language on marriage and sexuality for church bylaws:

“We believe that term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.

“We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.

“We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.

“We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.

“We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

“We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the church.”
–30–
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Christians of similar platforms often conflict politically. Such was the case of Tim Tebow and Robert Jeffress.  Baptist.org commends both parties for their respective convictions on issues facing those who are believers in the Holy Bible.  Tim Tebow has the sports world as a virtual congregation to present the basic truth of Jesus Christ as Saviour to a blinded world. Robert Jeffress  as a pastor to a physical congregation opts to be fundamentally bold to stand on comprehensive applications of the Christ life in a decadent world.  We applaud both, for their testimonies for Faith and Practice as commanded by God’s Word.
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow speaks at the Easter service of Celebration Church in Georgetown, Texas, Sunday, April 8, 2012. (AP Photo/William Philpott)

WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AP

NY Jets QB Tim Tebow has spoken at mega-churches in the past, including this appearance at the Easter service of Celebration Church in Georgetown, Texas last year.

Tim Tebow apparently consulted a higher power – Twitter – and decided not to speak at the controversial First Baptist Church of Dallas in April.

Tebow, still on the Jets’ roster until further notice, tweeted Thursday that he would cancel the appearance “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”

From @TimTebow: “While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic … First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my … upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those … needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!”

Tebow was scheduled to speak at the mega-church on Sunday, April 28, but reports quickly surfaced, pointing out that the views of the church’s lead pastor, Robert Jeffress, didn’t exactly coincide with Tebow’s squeaky-clean image.

According to a statement from Jeffress, Tebow has told the pastor that he would like to come to First Baptist Dallas to speak at a future date.

Jeffress has spoken out in the past against Muslims, Jews, Mormons and homosexuals, claiming that Islam “promoted pedophila” and has said that “Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and virtually everyone else” are members of cults, according to reports. He has said Islam and Mormonism are “heresy from the pit of hell” and tied Catholicism to “a Babylonian mystery religion” that corrupted the early Christian church.

He makes no apologies for his comments.

“I think as pastors we have a duty to preach ‘the whole counsel of God,’ and not just discuss those that are politically correct,” Jeffress said. “It’s my role to speak clearly on the issues on which the Bible speaks clearly. It’s my role to preach what the Bible says, and that includes the controversial issues.

TEBOWWEB22S_2_WEB

FREDERICK BREEDON/GETTY IMAGES

Tim Tebow sees little action after the Jets trade for him before the 2012 season.

“The reason for this firestorm is not because the word of God has changed. It’s because society has changed.”

“I applaud Tim Tebow’s decision to cancel his appearance,” Hudson Taylor, the founder of the non-profit Athlete Ally, said in a statement. “Regardless of his reasoning, his absence serves as a reminder that the discrimination of gay and lesbian athletes and individuals has no place in sports or society. I hope Tim will take this opportunity to speak out for respect and acceptance of all people, regardless of a persons sexual orientation.”

Statement by First Baptist Church Dallas:

The leaders and congregation of First Baptist Church Dallas are disappointed that New York Jets’ Quarterback Tim Tebow today has announced he will no longer speak at First Baptist Church Dallas on April 28, 2013, as part of the month-long celebration events surrounding the grand opening of our new $130 million, state-of-the-art campus on Easter Sunday.

Mr Tebow called Dr. Jeffress Wednesday evening saying that for personal and professional reasons he needed to avoid controversy at this time, but would like to come to First Baptist Dallas to speak  at a future date.

We are saddened that Mr. Tebow felt pressure to back out of his long-planned commitment to First Baptist Dallas from numerous New York and national sports and news media who grossly misrepresented past comments made by our pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, specifically related to issues of homosexuality and AIDS, as well as Judaism.

As a Christian pastor, Dr. Jeffress takes a biblical approach to moral and social issues, closely following his duty to preach ‘the whole counsel of God,’ and not just address issues that are politically correct. First Baptist is a church built on the truth of Scripture, even though at times that approach can be perceived as controversial or counter to the prevailing winds of culture.

The reason for the recent media firestorm is not because the Word of God has changed, but because society has changed.

More important, contrary to editorializing in the media, Dr. Jeffress shares a message of hope, not hate; salvation, not judgment; and a Gospel of God’s love, grace and new beginnings available to all.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/tebow-cancels-gig-controversial-dallas-church-article-1.1269712#ixzz2LrDaDz47

One of the dynamics of church growth is member retention. Keeping Christians engaged in attendance has become a task of entertainment for too many congregations. Discipleship according to the three facets of the Great Commission has become just a theory and not a practicum.  I am featuring this article to be one of many of those who are addressing Church Absentee-ism.

 

Thom S. Rainer  - President, LifeWay Christian Resources Feb 1, 2013 - http://tnbaptist.org/BRARticle.asp?ID=4636

Church folks leave and others come for the same reasons.

 

Numbers of gifted persons and organizations have studied the phenomenon of the church “back door,” the metaphorical way we describe people leaving the church. And there will always be the anticipated themes of relocation or personal crises. We should recognize those issues, though we can respond to the latter more than the former.

But all the research studies of which I am aware, including my own, return to one major theme to explain the exodus of church members: a sense of some need not being filled. In other words, these members have ideas of what a local congregation should provide for them, and they leave because those provisions have not been realized.

Certainly we recognize there are many legitimate claims by church members of unfulfilled expectations. It can undoubtedly be the fault of the local congregation and its leaders.

But many times, probably more than we would like to believe, a church member leaves a local body because he or she has a sense of entitlement. I would therefore suggest that the main reason people leave a church is because they have an entitlement mentality rather than a servant mentality.

Look at some of the direct quotes from exit interviews of people who left local congregations:

• “The worship leader refused to listen to me about the songs and music I wanted.”

• “The pastor did not feed me.”

• “No one from my church visited me.”

• “I was not about to support the building program they wanted.”

• “I was out two weeks and no one called me.”

• “They moved the times of the worship services and it messed up my schedule.”

• “I told my pastor to go visit my cousin and he never did.”

Please hear me clearly. Church members should expect some level of ministry and concern. But, for a myriad of reasons beyond the scope of this one column, we have turned church membership into country club membership. You pay your dues and you are entitled to certain benefits.

The biblical basis of church membership is clear in Scripture. The Apostle Paul even uses the “member” metaphor to describe what every believer should be like in a local congregation. In I Corinthians 12:12-31, Paul describes church members not by what they should “receive” in a local church, but by the ministry they should “give.”

The solution to closing the back door, at least a major part of the solution, is therefore to move members from an entitlement mentality to a servant mentality. Of course, it is easy for me to write about it, but it is a greater challenge to effect this change.

May I then offer a few steps of a somewhat practical nature to help close the back door by changing the membership mentality? Here are five:

(1) Inform church members. Though I do not have precise numbers, I would conjecture that more than half of church members do not have a biblical understanding about church membership. Providing that information in a new members’ class can move an entire congregation toward a servant mentality.

(2) Raise the bar of expectations. We have dumbed down church membership in many congregations to where it has little meaning. Clarify expectations of members. Again, doing so in the context of a new members’ class is a great way to begin.

(3) Mentor members. Take two or three members and begin to mentor them to become biblical church members. After a season, ask them to mentor two or three as well. Let the process grow exponentially.

(4) Train members. Almost 100 percent of pastors agree that their role is to train and equip members. But almost three-fourths of these pastors have no plans on how they will train them (see Ephesians 4:11-13).

(5) Encourage people to be in small groups. Those in Sunday School classes and small groups are more likely to be informed and functioning church members. In others words, there is a much greater likelihood of a member with a servant mentality to be in a small group than not.

What are you doing in your church to close the back door?

What are you doing to move members from an entitlement mentality to a servant mentality?

___________________________________________________________________________________________

President, LifeWay Christian Resources

On Feb. 1, 2006, Dr. Thom S. Rainer became the ninth president of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Before coming to LifeWay, Rainer served as the dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as pastor of churches in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and Indiana prior to joining Southern in 1994 as founding dean of the Billy Graham School.

He has served as a church consultant and church growth conference speaker for several years and is in frequent demand as a speaker today. Rainer is author of more than 23 books, including Simple Church,Transformational Church, and The Millennials.

Rainer was founder of the Rainer Group, one of the nation’s leading church and denominational consultant organizations. He led the Rainer Group until assuming LifeWay’s presidency.

He and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel, respectively.

By Robert J. Thomas;  Director of Calvary Ministries to Catholics

As we begin this study let me first state that part of our ministry is to examine the doctrinal differences between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity by comparing official Catholic doctrines with the clear teachings of the Bible. The world needs to know that the majority of Catholic doctrine is at variance with the clear teachings of the Bible. The Catholic Church pronounces anathemas (curses) on all who oppose their false and heretical teachings.. For instance Council of Trent SIXTH SESSION CANONS ON JUSTIFICATION CANON 9 “If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.”

My dear friends, what the Catholic Church has actually done in this Canon and others is condemn the very Gospel. I am reminded of what Paul clearly stated in Galatians 1:8-9

“But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him by accursed. As we said before, so say I again. If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which ye have received, let him be accursed.”

Having been born and raised in a Roman Catholic Church, I learned at an early age that attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist was the most important sacrament a Catholic could receive. It is the Mass and Eucharist that the Church of Rome points to with great pride to distinguish herself from other denominations. The very life-line of the whole religious system rests upon the Mass. I was taught that it was the foundation-the pinnacle- the very heartbeat of Catholicism. In the Book, The What and Why of Catholicism, the Mass is described as follows: “The Sacrifice of the Mass forms a pivot upon which all else turns. If it is what Catholics believe it is, then here is the greatest external manifestation of the love of God for man and the most magnificent testimonial to the validity of Catholicism; but if it be false, it is the worst farce and blasphemy ever perpetrated upon God or man and the Catholic faith collapses into nothingness.”

John’s Gospel has a total of seven “I am’s.”

John 10:9-“I am the door.”

John 15:1-“I am the true vine.”

John 8:12-“I am the light of the world.”

John 10:11-“I am the good shepherd.”

John 11:25-“I am the resurrection and the life.”

John 14:6-“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

John 6:48-“I am the bread of life.”

All seven of these I am sayings are clearly figures of speech. It is interesting that our Catholics friends will usually readily admit that the first six are figures of speech; however, they insist that the last one “I am the bread of life” must be taken literally. All seven of these statements are figurative or symbolic statements and are meant to convey literal truth regarding the Lord Jesus; that He is the source of spiritual life and salvation. So, let’s examine John 6 and see if this chapter establishes the Mass.

Roman Catholics refer to verses 51 to 58 to try to prove the Mass.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove amongst themselves, saying, How can this man give us 

his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread that came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”

Let’s once again remember that Scripture always reaffirms Scripture. Our Catholic friends pull this passage of Scripture out of its context and use it in an attempt to establish and prove the Mass. In order to fully understand what Jesus is talking about in verses 51 to 58, we must look at the context of the entire sixth chapter of John. Taken as a whole, John chapter six has both literal and spiritual aspects.

In the Old Testament, there are many examples of God speaking figuratively in regard to eating and drinking. For example, in Hosea 10:13, we see, “ye have eaten the fruit of lies.” Again we read in Proverbs 4:17-“they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.” Isaiah 30:20-“The bread of adversity, and the water of affliction.” Psalm 34:8-“O taste and see that the Lord is good.” One final passage is Psalm 60:3-“Drink the wine of astonishment.”

Let me set the stage by looking at several Old Testament passages dealing with the drinking of blood.

Leviticus 3:17-“It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.”

Leviticus 7:26-“Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings.”

Leviticus 17:10-12-“And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

Therefore, I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.”

Deuteronomy 12:16-“Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water.”

Deuteronomy 12:23-“Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.”

Deuteronomy 15:23-“Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof; thou shalt pour it upon the ground as water.”

I Samuel 14:33-34-“Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the Lord, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day. And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the Lord in eating with the blood.”

How often does God have to say not to eat or drink blood before it is so?

JOHN 6 occurs Twelve Months Before The Death of Jesus.

To set the stage for John 6, we need to first examine that miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 in verses 1 -14. There was a lad that had five barley loaves and two small fishes. Jesus performed a miracle and fed the 5,000 with loaves and fishes. The Jews were all filled; they had their needs met; and that was all they cared about. They were not even aroused by the fact that Jesus had performed a miracle. They had gotten a free meal and that was all that was on their mind. Next in verses 15-21, Jesus sends the apostles across the sea of Galilee and he comes to them walking on the water in the midst of a storm.

Beginning in verse 22, the Jews are searching for Jesus the next day for one purpose and one purpose only. They want another free meal. This is very evident by the words of Jesus in verse 26-“Jesus answered and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” This statement of Jesus is literal.” In verse 27, Jesus speaks to the Jews on a spiritual basis. “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the father sealed.” These Jews that Jesus was speaking to had absolutely no spiritual understanding. They were unregenerate individuals and therefore they could not understand the spiritual aspects of what Jesus was teaching.

Romans 8:7-“Bccause the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

I Corinthians 2:14-“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

In verse 28, the Jews inquire as to what they need to do to please God. In verse 29, Jesus addresses their spiritual condition. “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” What does Jesus clearly state the solution to their spiritual problem is? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Plain and simple! They were lost in sin and needed to believe on Jesus. They needed to be saved

by grace through faith alone. Why? Because salvation is in Christ and Christ alone. Their Jewish religion would not save them. No religion has ever saved a single person. That is why the Roman Catholic Church is in error when she makes the statement, “The one true holy mother church without which there is no salvation.” Please don’t waste my time by telling me that the Catholic Church does not teach this. I can post multitudes of official information from the Catholic Church including direct quotes from Benedict XVI that will prove my point. In fact, I am looking at a statement that Benedict XVI made on July 7, 2007: “All non Catholic congregations are not true churches in the Biblical sense of the word. There is absolutely no salvation outside of the Holy Catholic Church.”

In verses 30 and 31, the Jews once again show their obvious lack of spiritual understanding. They want Jesus to give them a sign (another miracle). They remind Jesus about the physical manna that their fathers had received while they were wondering forty years in the wilderness. The Jews were merely looking at the literal aspects of the manna for food and not the spiritual significance that God had provided the manna. In verses 32 and 33, Jesus reminds them that God gave them the manna and not Moses. This manna from God took care of their physical needs. However, Jesus wants to take care of their spiritual needs. In verse 34, the Jews still with no spiritual understanding, desire an everlasting buffet. They want to be provided with literal food on a daily basis just as their fathers were in the wilderness. They were completely missing the spiritual aspects.

The pivotal part of the entire chapter is in verses 35 and 36. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.” In verse 35, Jesus is speaking spiritually. In this chapter Jesus is clearly teaching about salvation. Jesus is referring to the spiritual hunger in man for salvation. He promises to everyone who will “come to him” that he will satisfy their spiritual hunger for salvation forever. Likewise, we also drink to satisfy thirst. A one time coming to Jesus and believing on Jesus will satisfy man’s spiritual need of salvation forever. This is accomplished by grace through faith alone. (Rom. 10:9-10, 13: Eph 2:8-9; John 3:16) According to verse 36, the Jews have seen Jesus and all the miracles that he has done (including the feeding of the 5,000); however, they are still spiritually ignorant.

Jesus once again in verses 37 to 39 is speaking about the results of salvation. All who come to Jesus by grace through faith alone seeking eternal life will receive eternal salvation. Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life, and no man cometh unto the Father except by me.”

Now let’s look at verse 40 very carefully and compare it with verse 54.

John 6:40-“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:54-Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

According to verse 40, anyone who sees the Son and believes on him has everlasting life. This verse is literally true. All who come to Christ by grace through faith alone have eternal life. According to verse 54, all who eat the body and drink the blood of Jesus also have eternal life. If verse 54 is to be also taken literally as our Catholic friends insist, we have a real dilemma. I often put the following situation to my Catholic friends and have yet to receive a satisfactory answer. According to verse 40, I have seen the Son and I have laterally by grace through faith alone believed on him. Therefore, I have eternal life and will never perish. I do not accept the Roman Catholic premise that I must literally eat Christ’s flesh and literally drink his blood to experience eternal life (the Eucharist). According to Catholic teaching then, I do not have eternal life. However, according to verse 40, I have eternal life because I have believed on Christ unto salvation. Solve my dilemma. No, my dear Catholic friends, verse 54 is not to be taken literally, Jesus is merely conveying a spiritual truth. The only possible solution to this dilemma is for us to understand that Jesus was speaking figuratively or spiritually in verse 54 to explain what he had literally taught in verse 40.

In verses 43 to 47, Jesus is very clearly speaking about salvation and once again the Jews don’t have a clue. Verse 47 sums it up, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” In review, Jesus very clearly told the unbelieving Jews in verses 28, 29 and 30 that they needed salvation. Next, in verses 48 to 51, Jesus is speaking spiritually again and comparing Himself spiritually to the manna that came down from God in the wilderness. Just as the Jews physical needs were met by the manna in the wilderness; just as their physical needs were met the day before when the 5,000 were fed, Jesus can and will meet their spiritual needs if they will believe on him unto salvation.

Verse 52 once again clearly demonstrates the lack of spiritual understanding on the part of the Jews. They were only thinking about physical food when they asked, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” In verses 53 to 58, Jesus is comparing the physical manna in the wilderness to his spiritual flesh and spiritual blood. We must remember that this event occurred one year prior to his death. According to verse 58 the fathers ate the literal manna in the wilderness and are all dead. However, if anyone believes on Jesus and experiences eternal life by grace through faith alone, they can spiritually partake of his flesh and blood because they have eternal life. Remember that the Jews certainly knew and understood the Old Testament warnings against drinking blood!

It is quite interesting that beginning in verse 60, many went away because they did not want the spiritual aspect of Christ’s ministry and only desired the physical bread. They had the wrong motives. Let’s finally look at verses 68-69: “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” The disciples had correctly understood the teachings of Christ because they had eternal life and therefore had spiritual discernment. They understood completely that salvation was in Christ and in Him alone.

Calvary Ministries to Catholics  
132 Powder Springs Dr.   Duncan,SC 29334

(864)9491375
E-mail [email protected] 

Website: http://excatholic.baptist.org 

President Barack Obama regained the White House for another four years in an election that proved a convincing setback on moral issues for evangelical Christians and other social conservatives.
The country’s first African American president turned back the challenge of Republican Mitt Romney Nov. 6 by winning the popular vote and more than 300 electoral votes. The day after the election, Obama led 303-206 in the Electoral College, with Florida still too close to call. The president’s popular vote margin stood at 60,097,107 (50 percent) to 57,412,778 (48 percent) for Romney.
The election did nothing to change the balance of power in Washington, which has been gripped by a legislative stalemate the last two years. Democrats not only maintained control of the White House, but they slightly strengthened their majority in the Senate. Republicans lost some seats in the House of Representatives but kept their majority.
Obama won re-election despite governing to the left on moral issues — most notably in his unrestricted backing for abortion and its funding, as well as his endorsement of same-sex marriage earlier this year — and even campaigning explicitly in favor of abortion rights. The Democrats’ hold on the Senate — which will swear in its first openly homosexual member in newly elected Democrat Tammy Baldwin — appears to assure Congress will take no steps for at least two more years to rein in the president’s liberal policies.
In votes on state initiatives, Maine, Maryland and possibly Washington state became the first states to support same-sex marriage in popular votes. Voters in Colorado and Washington approved recreational use of marijuana.
Fred Luter, the Southern Baptist Convention’s first African American president, said the Bible encourages Christians to pray for those in authority regardless of their political affiliation.
“As citizens of the United States, it’s now time for us to put away our yard signs and buttons and [pray for] our president,” Luter told Baptist Press. “Our nation is in trouble, and we need Believers to pray God’s will be done in America. We need to understand it’s only going to happen because the people of God start praying for revival in America.”
Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, said God made a promise to His people, not to the government, then quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’ So, even though we’ve just elected a president, it’s not dependent on the president, but on the people of God doing our part,” Luter said.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said, “[I]t is remarkable how little has changed in spite of hundreds of millions of dollars being spent and countless months of debates.”
The divided state of Congress “is a recipe for gridlock and division, which the nation cannot afford,” Land said.
“I call upon all elected leaders to seek to lead us in ways that will restore both moral and economic health in our nation,” he said. “I call upon all Christians and other people of faith to heed the biblical admonition to pray for all those in authority and to communicate their concerns to their elected representatives.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said evangelicals “must see the 2012 election as a catastrophe for crucial moral concerns.”
The election results and accompanying data, Mohler wrote in a Nov. 7 blog post, “indicate that President Obama’s ‘evolution’ on the issue of same-sex marriage cost him nothing. That probably surprised both sides in that controversy.”
“Clearly, we face a new moral landscape in America, and huge challenge to those of us who care passionately about these issues,” he said. “We face a worldview challenge that is far greater than any political challenge, as we must learn how to winsomely convince Americans to share our moral convictions about marriage, sex, the sanctity of life, and a range of moral issues. This will not be easy. It is, however, an urgent call to action.”
During the last year, Southern Baptist and other evangelical leaders joined Roman Catholics in contesting the Obama administration’s abortion/contraception mandate, which requires all health insurance plans to cover contraceptives — even ones that can cause abortions — and has a religious exemption that covers churches but not most religious organizations.
New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote Obama to congratulate him and to say the bishops would be praying for him.
“[W]e pray that you will exercise your office to pursue the common good, especially in care of the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn, the poor, and the immigrant,” Dolan wrote. “We will continue to stand in defense of life, marriage, and our first, most cherished liberty, religious freedom. We pray, too, that you will help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone.”

From the website of  John And Wanda Casias Missionaries to Mexico -  http://www.casias.org
“On Janury 31st 2012 John and Wanda graduated to be with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as their lives were suddenly taken in a home invasion.

Thank you all for your prayers and your continued support for the Ministry they started 29 years ago in The Republic of Mexico. Their love for the Mexican people and the burden they had for winning souls to the Lord will always be remembered.”

"Faithful unto death"

We at Baptist.org grieve with family, friends and congregation there in Santiago, Mexico. We remember the word of the Lord about those who are killed in the midst of service to Christ,”

Rev 14:13 ”And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. “

 The bodies of John and Wanda Casias came one last time to the Baptist church they founded in a violence-plagued region of northern Mexico as mourners paid homage Thursday to the Texas couple who were discovered strangled in their home.

More than a dozen mourners passed to view the open caskets, one an American who came from Texas because John Casias officiated at his wedding. He did not want to give his name for security reasons.

Shawn Casias said he discovered the body of his mother at about 4 p.m. Tuesday when he went to their home in the town of Santiago to pick up a trailer.

He said she was lying on the floor with an electrical cord around her neck and a gash from a blunt object on her head.

The house had been ransacked and was missing a couple of computers, a plasma television and a safe that had been chiseled out of the wall.

The couple’s Chevrolet Suburban was also missing, and Casias said he initially thought his father had been kidnapped.

But about four or five hours later, he said, a forensic investigator informed him that the body of his father had been found in a storage room of a small building on the property. His father also had an electrical cord around his neck.

John and Wanda Casias were originally from Amarillo, Texas, but relatives said they moved to an area outside the city of Monterrey in 1983 and later founded the First Fundamentalist Independent Baptist Church.

Fighting between the Zetas and Gulf drug cartels has brought a surge of violence and other crimes to Monterrey and the surrounding region since 2010. In poorer suburbs, entire blocks have been held up by gunmen and young people snatched off the streets.

Another son, John Casias, said his parents had devoted 29 years of their lives to their ministry in Mexico and spent each day in prayer and saving souls.

They were well aware of the violence around them and the risks, but were so secure in their faith that they did not fear it, he said.

They spent Christmas with him in San Diego, and Casias said he told them, “It’s getting kind of rough there” and offered to let them stay at his home for awhile. They refused.

“We were called to Mexico,” Casias said his mother told him. “These are our people.”

Casias said he hoped the bodies would return to the U.S. later Thursday. He was organizing a service to be held at their home church in Lewisville, Texas.

Shawn Casias said a sister-in-law in Dallas had spoken to their mother around 11 a.m. Tuesday and everything was fine. So he believes there was about a five-hour window when the killings could have occurred before he showed up.

He said the killers did not take everything they could have, leaving two of the three TV sets. He said perhaps they were warned that he was coming, because anyone watching the winding road approaching the home could have alerted them.

“They’re scum. They’re not sophisticated,” he said.

Speaking from his parents’ home, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) southwest of the Texas border, Casias said the house was burglarized two years ago when the couple were on one of their periodic visits to the United States to talk at churches about their work in Mexico.

“We’re convinced that it’s somebody he knew,” Casias said of the killers. He said authorities had some leads based on people seen around the home.

John Casias was 76. He had recently priced a knee replacement because he couldn’t walk more than 100 yards (100 meters) without having to sit down, Shawn Casias said. Wanda Casias was 67.

Casias said his parents held services and prayer meetings at a church about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from their home.

The couple maintained a website, http://www.casias.org , with details of their lives and their missionary work

“The only hope for the Mexican people today is Jesus in them, the HOPE of glory,” they wrote in one dispatch from last summer. “I confess that it’s getting easier to witness to the wealthy, at least they are listening. The wealthy are fleeing to Canada and the USA for protection. The only problem is that when they return to renew their visas the cartel is waiting, and either kill them of (sic) kidnap them for thousands of dollars, in some cases millions. The cartel has NO mercy or value for life. They are ruthless murderers!”

It was the second slaying involving American missionaries in a year in the Mexican region bordering Texas.

In January 2011, a Texas couple who had been doing missionary work in Mexico for three decades were attacked at an illegal roadblock in one of the country’s most violent areas.

Nancy Davis, 59, was fatally shot in the head while her husband, Sam, sped away from suspected drug cartel gunmen who may have wanted to steal their pickup truck, authorities said.

The Davises were driving along the two-lane road that connects the city of San Fernando with the border city of Reynosa in the state of Tamaulipas, which borders Nuevo Leon.

Information gathered from AP and Fox News

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...