Social media currents today flow with a discussion over sexual assault, consent, and the story of David's encounter with Bathsheba, as recorded in 2 Samuel 11. I've discussed the matter with students in some of my classes at a small Christian university. As well, I've spent hours debating it with myself while I'm at my night job; a more challenging debate partner would probably serve me better. And so I'm wading into the matter, but not in order to answer the question of whether King David raped or sexually assaulted one of his subjects, the woman Bathsheba. Instead, I want to use this … [Read more...] about Assumptions, Filters, and Eisegesis: A Study of David and Bathsheba
Practical Considerations for Deaf Work in the SBC
This the third in an accidental trilogy of articles. The first addressed the difficulties Deaf churches face when considering becoming SBC members. While Deaf and hearing churches share the same kingdom goals, values and priorities do not always match, and Deaf churches are relatively powerless to affect any sort of change in the relationship. The second missive pushed readers to consider what goals they might have in starting a Deaf ministry. The post ended with the question of "What sort of ministry model has the best chance of creating opportunities for Deaf people to become full … [Read more...] about Practical Considerations for Deaf Work in the SBC
So You Want Your Own Deaf Ministry, Eh?
I've had conversations with local pastors and associational leaders who expressed fascination with Deaf ministry and missions. "We," the response comes, "need to do something like that." Everyone has a wife, or a friend, or an aunt who knows sign language and many of them "used to interpret down at the church." But one guy took it farther and said, "What would we need to do?" Well, that depends on what you want. What is your aim? What do you need to hold in your hands at the moment you cry, "Ha! We made it!"? For your reading pleasure and thoughtful consideration, I've included several … [Read more...] about So You Want Your Own Deaf Ministry, Eh?
A much-valued tenet of Southern Baptist life is the emphasis we place on cooperation among churches. We even have an entire funding program named for this; it's apparently a Very Big Deal. Cooperation is how we fund seminaries, send missionaries, reach America, fight for religious liberty, and support Southern Baptist churches in general. Personally, my family is a product of SBC life, and therefore of the Cooperative Program (CP). Wife and I work as church planters among the Deaf. The IMB covers us through gifts from churches across the nation. We are eternally grateful for the support … [Read more...] about Pointless Cooperation
Letting God Go
Comic Bill Burr riffed on religion during one of his many performances. Actually, he mentions religion somewhat often, though not in this detail. He spoke of leaving his religion behind, and the choices he faced as he headed for the door. He said: “I just had to make a decision. What am I gonna do with this? What am I gonna do? Am I gonna cling to it, be that person, ya know? The guy who says (whiny voice), ‘That’s very offensive to me and other Christians and…’ Really? I’m gonna become that [moron]? “Or be like the casual Christian, ya know, right with, like, one foot on base, … [Read more...] about Letting God Go
Preferential Hiring of a Minority Candidate for IMB President?
Dave Miller recently committed to cyberspace his view of minority hiring in light of the five entity leadership roles which are or shortly will be vacant: IMB, Lifeway, Executive Committee of the SBC, Southwestern Seminary, and New Orleans Seminary. To summarize, Dave believes it would be a shameful turn of events if the SBC failed to appoint at least one minority leader to fill one of the five empty slots. Perusing the 165+ comments (yes, I read them all) leads one to believe there are four major schools of thought. Yes, please it is about time. Prioritize hiring of a qualified … [Read more...] about Preferential Hiring of a Minority Candidate for IMB President?
Sebastian Traeger Resigns as Executive VP of IMB
Just announced this afternoon, Sebastian Traeger will resign in November from his position as Executive Vice President of the IMB. See below his comments, set off by ****, and a little commentary from me at the bottom. **** Brothers and sisters, With a full and thankful heart, I am writing this email to let you know that I will soon be transitioning out of my role as Executive Vice President. My heart’s desire is to remain and work alongside you all. At the same time, I am trusting God’s Word in Proverbs 16:9, which says: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD … [Read more...] about Sebastian Traeger Resigns as Executive VP of IMB
Requesting and Utilizing an IMB Missionary at Your Church
This is the third in what has become a three-part series. Section one lightly sketches some reasons why IMB missionaries don't frequent many churches, with the main thesis being churches no longer request missionaries as speakers. Part two is a more in-depth treatment of that initial thesis, pointing to trends and patterns which have led the SBC to this condition. Today we'll look over how to request an IMB missionary and what to do with them once they arrive. Do not expect a comprehensive listing; I imagine comments from current and former IMB workers will far outshine my own in terms of … [Read more...] about Requesting and Utilizing an IMB Missionary at Your Church
The Case of the Missing Missionaries and the Local Church
I've already written about how to get an IMB missionary to come to your church; basically it boils down to requesting someone to come. Today, I'd like to examine what might possibly have led churches to stop requesting missionaries and why missionaries, for their part, don't seem to aggressively pursue venues in which to speak. A disclaimer: please, no blame-game discussions. We can seek causes without vilifying those attached to them. The goal behind a search for causes should always be to ameliorate the effects. As well, I'm painting with broad strokes here and as such there will be … [Read more...] about The Case of the Missing Missionaries and the Local Church
Why Don’t IMB Missionaries Ever Visit My Church?
I've come across an increasing number of comments in recent years regarding the absence of IMB missionaries from average churches across the SBC. Of course, this might be simply because I'm old and I've had more time to note these items; as well, this perspective might flow from chronological myopia. To review, IMB missionaries live internationally for at least 22 months and up to 5 years before returning the US for what they now call stateside assignment (see also "furlough"). How long they remain in the States depends both on personal preference and the length of their most recent term. … [Read more...] about Why Don’t IMB Missionaries Ever Visit My Church?