My wife and I served as FMB/IMB missionaries for twenty-four years, and I’ve taught missions at three SBC seminaries. You can mark me down as a fan of the Southern Baptist Convention’s method of funding missions. The International Mission Board (formerly Foreign Mission Board) receives 55% of its funds from the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) for International Missions, 40% from the Cooperative Program, and about 5% from special gifts, bequests, and interest income. To explain the last, the IMB receives most of the money from the LMCO in the first three months of the year. So, the IMB … [Read more...] about In Praise of SBC Missions Funding
Baptist Distinctives (by Dr. Mark Terry)
As I mentioned in the previous post (on Baptist Confessions of Faith) the administration at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary asked me to write an essay on Baptist confessions and distinctives. For Voices, I divided the essay into two parts: one on Baptist confessions of faith and one on Baptist distinctives. You can find the previous post in this series here. In a university course on world religions, the unit on Christianity would note that Christianity can be divided into three main branches: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants. For its part, Protestantism can be … [Read more...] about Baptist Distinctives (by Dr. Mark Terry)
An Explanation of Baptist Confessions of Faith
The administration of Mid-America Baptist Seminary asked me to write an essay on Baptist confessions of faith and Baptist distinctives. You can find the entire essay here: The discussion of Baptist distinctives must wait for an explanation of Baptist confessions. This is because Baptist distinctives are derived from Baptist confessions, which are based on the Scriptures. Some denominations write creeds, but Baptists do not develop creeds. Instead, they write confessions of faith. The late William R. Estep, a long-time professor of church history at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, explains … [Read more...] about An Explanation of Baptist Confessions of Faith
Expectations of a Pastor
I’ve been reading John S. Dickson’s book, The Great Evangelical Recession. It is an accurate, but not uplifting, analysis of the state of evangelicalism in the USA. In one chapter he discusses the expectations church members have of their pastors. He writes about how those expectations have changed over the years. Fifty Years Ago Pastors were expected to: Study the Bible Pray for the members Be friendly Preach Visit the sick Witness to lost people Marry and bury Thirty Years Ago Church members added these expectations: Visionary leader Aggressive … [Read more...] about Expectations of a Pastor
After the Pandemic, What Then?
I’ve been reading articles about what life will be like after the pandemic. Lots of folks long for things to “return to normal,” but many commentators express doubt that things ever will be the same. For example, all the buffet restaurants in our area have closed, and most will never reopen. The Chinese buffet in our town has closed, and our granddaughter is really sad about that. Lots of employees have been working from home since March. For some companies that has gone so well, that the companies plan to downsize their office space or eliminate it altogether. This is expected to cause a … [Read more...] about After the Pandemic, What Then?
Your Favorite Bible Verse
Some of our recent posts on Voices have proven controversial. Folks have strong opinions about SBC politics, racial reconciliation, and especially President Trump. I thought I would write a post that would be noncontroversial. In the old days, when William Thornton and I were young, pastors would ask their congregations to recite their favorite Bible verses. This was usually done during the Sunday night service. (You must be really old to remember those.) One by one the members would stand and recite their favorite verse and explain why they chose that verse. So, I thought we might do that. … [Read more...] about Your Favorite Bible Verse
Bible translations [Mark Terry]
I realize Voices published a post on this several years ago, but I thought it would be interesting to discuss this topic again. This week on his blog Thom Rainer published the list of best-selling Bible translations as of 2020. This list came from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Rankings as January 2020 (numbers in parentheses are 2011 rankings) New International Version (NIV) (1) King James Version (KJV) (2) New Living Translation (NLT) (4) English Standard Version (ESV) (5) New King James Version (NKJV) (3) Christian Standard Bible (CSB) (6) Reina … [Read more...] about Bible translations [Mark Terry]
Double Trouble for the IMB
I learned several weeks ago that the IMB had evacuated and relocated many of its missionaries around the world. The IMB took action after the US State Department advised all American citizens abroad to return to the USA as soon as possible. The IMB offered its missionaries the option of staying or evacuating. Of course, as you would expect, many chose to remain in their places of service. Others deemed it wise to accept evacuation. Last evening, I received this message from Dr. Paul Chitwood, President of the IMB. It reads in part: The impact of Covid-19, however, upon local churches — … [Read more...] about Double Trouble for the IMB
When Shall We Resume Public Worship?
I have been posting about our church’s efforts to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, and I thought I would bring you up to date. We ended public worship on March 22nd. We’ve webcast our worship services now for six weeks, and more people have viewed our services online than came to public worship. We observed the Lord’s Supper online, and we held a business meeting by asking people to vote by email. In the last three weeks, we’ve used ZOOM for some of our adult Sunday school classes, and that has gone well. We never closed the church office. Except for the first week of shut down, our offerings … [Read more...] about When Shall We Resume Public Worship?
Our Church: A COVID-19 Update
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how our church was coping with the pandemic and its effects on our church. I thought I would give you an update and invite our readers to share their experiences, also. We have now presented our Sunday morning worship online for four Sundays. We’ve posted our worship videos on Facebook and Utube, and we’ve also posted them on our church’s website. Our viewing audience has increased each week. It hard to determine exactly how many people watch the whole service, but we estimate that 685 people watched on Easter Sunday. We’re confident that many more people … [Read more...] about Our Church: A COVID-19 Update