I know it's the Christmas season, but recently having read once again the claim that all Baptists are Calvinists, I must now draw this line in the sand and, of my own free will, form a covenant with my Calvinist brothers that I will "slap upside the head" the next person who tells me I'm a Calvinist! Of course, God already possesses the foreknowledge that I will do this thing. He has given me free will, a functioning right arm and a right hand fully capable of an open-faced slap. I will not make a fist. I will not break any bones. I will probably not miss you unless you duck. Your skin … [Read more...] about Predestined to Punch
Raised in what is now Big Twelve country, my football allegiance is to a certain burnt orange team currently rebuilding. However, when Oklahoma wins a football game or Kansas wins a basketball game, it frankly has never occurred to me to start chanting "Big Twelve! Big Twelve! Big Twelve!" Because we are part of the same conference organization, our interests often overlap, but I normally do not celebrate the victories of other teams within the Big Twelve as if their victory had anything to do with mine, at least not in the same way SEC teams often do. Of course, everyone doesn't do … [Read more...] about Why Don’t We Chant SBC?
While the Penn State scandal is a wake up call to all organizations--civic, government, commercial, educational and religious--it is especially a challenge for churches, which provide predators an environment of naively trusting children and adults interacting socially--exactly what they need to commit their crimes. Many Measures Protect the Organization In the aftermath of such a tragedy, people with good intentions often recommend a wide variety of measures which we assume will help reduce the risk of abuse and protect the children. Sadly, although these measures may help somewhat, … [Read more...] about No Child Left Alone
Yes, it is sometimes hard to hug a Calvinist. While I don't mind them embracing a different theology, I often find it hard to get past two key issues: (1) a superior attitude, and (2) a takeover mentality. Lest I be accused of stereotyping, of lumping and dumping, let me say at the start that while every Calvinist does not fit this mold, so many do that it poisons the pot for everyone else. Let me briefly illustrate the two offenses before I run for cover. 1. Superior Attitude The superior attitude suggests that no reasonably thinking Christian scholar, pastor or theologian who takes … [Read more...] about Is it Hard to Hug a Calvinist?
Here's an article I was honored to have published in the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions section of "The Alabama Baptist" this past week. Alabama is not the largest state convention, nor are we the richest state convention. However, we lead all states in both total Cooperative Program giving and per capita Cooperative Program giving. In contrast to the growing popularity of many other missions giving paradigms, the Cooperative Program is a tried and true avenue for supporting the Great Commission. May we continue to do missions right! In 1988, when Kentucky Fried Chicken said, … [Read more...] about We Do Missions Right!
My first experience with task forces came 25 years ago while I was a Resident Assistant at the University of Texas. The Director of Residence Hall Housing selected several RA's to serve on a task force addressing, if I recall, the subject of vandalism. We met a few times, made suggestions, shot most of them down and never really did anything. I was later informed by someone in the know that our task force was formed so the Director could say, whenever the subject came up: "I have formed a task force to look into this problem." It sounds decisive, no? A entire "force" of people were … [Read more...] about Fun With Task Forces
Having just listened to part of Russell Moore's sermon on rebranding, linked on SBC Voices, for which comments were closed, I am compelled to respond. Once again, the issue of our name change is being framed by Baptist leaders as a response to the despicable slavery and racism of our past, for which we have already publicly repented as a denomination. Problems exist with the use of this line of reasoning to promote a name change. I beg my fellow Southern Baptists not to take us down this road, for I believe in my heart that it will result in our greater embarrassment and serve no lofty … [Read more...] about Please Don’t Go There
My real name is John Earle Patrick, Jr. It's on my driver's license and diplomas, but I've always gone by the nickname "Rick." Long story short: my grandfather, Earle Patrick, went by the nickname "Pat" all his life, and to avoid confusion with my father's name, my nickname took the other half of our surname, and I've always gone by "Rick." However, I now believe it is time for me to change my legal name, since it is offensive on so many levels. Let us begin by examining my first name "John." As you may know, john is slang for both a toilet and a prostitute's customer. This is … [Read more...] about I’m Changing My Name
You may have noticed that some decisions in church life are less popular than others. It's easy for people who may not have all the facts to make unfair assumptions about the motivations, strategies and choices being handed down. At times, church leaders somewhere in the "chain of command" may be called upon to explain a difficult decision to the church as a whole or to one specific group within the Body. If a reasonable chance for misunderstanding exists, the best way to promote unity in the fellowship is to carefully explain the LOGIC of the decision rather than merely citing the … [Read more...] about The WHY and WHO of Tough Calls
Upon its tenth anniversary, the tragedy of 9/11 will be considered from many different perspectives. One, however, fascinates me the most, as it provides such a stark contrast between the mission of the Islamo-fascist terrorist and the evangelical Christian missionary. While their methods are surprisingly similar, their mandates are polar opposites. We can observe a contrast between love and hate, life and death, martyrdom and suicide. Both groups seek to influence the other in completely different ways, which I believe points to the supremacy of the vision Jesus gave His church through … [Read more...] about Contrasting Missions