It was just one article, but its publishing in 1896 ignited a flashfire reaction across the Southern Baptist Convention. Sides formed. People postured. Proverbial lines were drawn in the sand. Rhetorical flames fueled by passionate conviction rose higher and higher and threatened to gut any good work Southern Baptists had accomplished.
One of the greatest and constant needs of the church since its birth at Pentecost is God-called, Spirit-filled, well-equipped leaders. Are you like me, some days just wondering: How much more can we stand?
Some days it seems our entire culture is wondering the same. How much more can we collectively stand?
Even a half-hearted glance at the news is overwhelming. Culture wars and racial conflict like we’ve not seen in 50 years; political upheaval; riots, lawlessness and constant protests paralyzing many of our nation’s cities; and a lack of social decorum and mutual respect in society but especially within our government. Continue reading “How Much More Can You Stand?”→
Tennessee state representatives took an important step toward protecting life last week when pro-life legislation passed in both the House and the Senate. The legislative approval makes a way for the bill to move on to Governor Bill Lee, who will probably sign it into law since it closely resembles the pro-life legislation he outlined in January of this year.
The bill includes a “laddered” approach, meaning it offers abortion restrictions from most restrictive to less restrictive. The intent is that if the courts strike down the most restrictive it will then hopefully allow the next tier. The restrictions are defined by the number of weeks into a pregnancy the fetus is. Continue reading “I Stand for Life, Now More Than Ever”→
Children have a way of getting to the heart of the matter, don’t they? Their questions come at you unfiltered and often at the most unexpected times. That’s the way my daughters were and that is the way my grandchildren are. Their forthright insight can often catch adults unprepared. Continue reading “Having an Answer for the ‘Why’ Question”→
Tennessee Baptists stood for life in 2019. In 2020, we need to mobilize for life.
You may recall that back in August I had the opportunity to represent Tennessee Baptists before a special study committee comprised of Tennessee Senators tasked with more comprehensively reviewing pro-life legislation that had been proposed during last year’s legislative session. The bill being considered was in essence what has become known as a “heartbeat bill;” legislation that would protect unborn babies once a heartbeat is detected. Many surrounding states, and other states around the country, have passed similar legislation.
However, there were many concerns expressed with that legislation and it was moved to a summer senate study committee. In the process, the bill that was being considered was reworked and the proposed legislation for which I advocated is titled SB 1236. It potentially represents one of the most – if not the most – comprehensive piece of pro-life legislation ever written. It clearly protects life from the point of conception, even before a heartbeat is detected. For everyone who recognizes God as the author of life, SB 1236 undoubtedly embodies an opportunity to legally protect unborn children in a way that hasn’t been possible since the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973. Continue reading “It’s Time to Do More Than Simply Stand”→
This one has always been clear cut for me. Any person with a moral compass, common sense and even a little knowledge of abortion’s horrors is against the taking of a life in the womb.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that not only demands the right to murder these sweet gifts of God, it celebrates the murderous practice. The image is seared in my mind of celebration that followed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing into law late-term abortions up to the point of birth. How perverse is that? I never want to see that celebration in Tennessee, and as Tennessee Baptists we not only have an obligation to our Lord to protect unborn children, we have an opportunity to stand and be counted for life. Continue reading “Anti-Abortion to Comprehensively Pro-Life”→
President George W. Bush once stood in front of a group of people trying to make sense of the world that seemed to be coming undone around them. “One thing is for certain,” he said. “We did not ask for these challenges, but we will meet them. I say that with certainty because this nation has strong foundations and won’t be shaken. In this hour of our country’s history we stand in the need of prayer.”
That comment was made at the first post-9/11 National Prayer Breakfast and prior to the beginning of the longest war, the war on terrorism, in our nation’s history. I was at that prayer breakfast. I saw the resolute courage in our president’s eyes; I heard it in the tone of his voice. Continue reading “Reasons for Optimism About the SBC’s Future”→
The most gut-wrenching and soul-devastating site in the world is seeing women militantly demanding the right to kill their unborn babies.
I was reminded of this last week when I saw a photo of women vociferously protesting for the right to “keep abortion legal.” How I pray to God that in my lifetime I’d see the end of the systematic killing of the precious babies God knits together in the wombs of their mothers. Unfortunately, the systematic killing of unborn children is a global epidemic of unimaginable proportion.
According to research done by the Guttmacher Institute, an organization founded 50 years ago and heavily supported by Planned Parenthood, more than 55 million unborn lives per year – 55 million per year – are terminated as a result of “induced abortion” as the report describes it.
Let me offer some perspective. That total is the equivalent of annually killing everyone in South Korea (population 50 million), Kenya (48 million), Colombia (48 million), Spain (46 million), Argentina (43 million) and Canada (36 million). In fact, more babies are murdered every year through induced abortion than the population of 198 of the 233 countries listed in the United Nations database. Let those figures sink in. Read this paragraph again. Every year it is like we terminate the people of entire nations.
I struggle to comprehend these numbers. The atrocity of such mass murder is a scourge on humanity and a tangible example of the inherent depravity vigorously alive in the heart of man.
I confess to feeling over-whelmed, and if not careful, I can find myself wringing my hands in despair. I sometimes feel helpless, wondering what one man can do against such a tsunami of death.
But then I remember Scripture like, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21); “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4).
And there are so many more passages that call me – call us – to stand against such evil and fight for the unborn.
We are called by a loving Father to love these babies because He loves them.
I wish with one stroke we could end this global genocide, but that isn’t going to happen. We will have to chip away one opportunity at a time.
As a Tennessean and as a Tennessee Baptist, I am proud that nearly five years ago we fought back by voting for Amendment 1, the so-called “abortion amendment” that made it much more difficult to obtain an abortion in our state.
If you recall, Tennessee had become the “abortion destination” for the surrounding states because of how lax abortion laws were here compared to more stringent laws in neighboring states. Tennessee abortion providers even promoted in other states the ease with which someone could travel to Tennessee to obtain an abortion. It was big business. It was an embarrassing stain on a state that claimed to be the Buckle of the Bible Belt.
Fortunately, Christians along with other like-minded people rose up and together led a grassroots charge to change that stigma through the Yes On 1 movement.
Despite organizations like Planned Parenthood pumping millions of dollars into the campaign to defeat Yes On 1, Tennesseans cooperated together and voted in favor of the amendment by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent.
Never one to accept defeat of their murderous practices, Planned Parenthood and others fought back. They appealed the vote through the Sixth Circuit Court then to the Supreme Court, which upheld the circuit court’s unanimous decision that Amendment 1 was legal and could stand.
In December, the Tennessean reported that the last remaining abortion clinic in Nashville was closing its doors. Cooperating together, we struck a blow against evil, but we must not become prideful, satisfied or complacent. Evil does not rest or quietly die in defeat. It fights back with a vengeance.
At the time of the Supreme Court’s decision last fall, Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life said, “Pro-life Tennesseans must be resolute not only in our commitment to defending this victory, but also to being measured in the introduction of new laws that can’t yet be held as constitutional under existing court precedent. Equally important is the election of a pro-life Governor and pro-life legislative super-majorities who understand where we’ve been as a movement, where we want to go, and how to best get there.”
We must be diligent and participate in the process of protecting life. However, this battle is ultimately not won in the court system but in the hearts of people. The greatest way to see abortion die is to see lives changed by the saving power of the gospel. The greatest way we can love Tennessee’s unborn children is to share the love of Jesus with their mommas.
It is a challenging road at times, but it is a joy to be on the journey with you.
We have a problem and we can’t ignore it any longer.
It’s time we were honest with ourselves and with each other. To pretend we don’t face a serious issue would be a life-threatening mistake. I’m talking about depression among pastors and ministers (and everyone else). Depression is a reality, and I can’t bear the thought of losing one more pastor, one more person, to depression that ends in suicide. Continue reading “Depression: It’s Time to Openly Talk About It”→
I’ve got an old black and white photo of my father-in-law, Wilkerson V. Jones, standing next to Babe Ruth, one of baseball’s greatest players. Ruth of course, went on to baseball immortality and is among the sport’s pantheon of stars.
But in my book, Wilkerson went on to immortality too. His legacy is revealed in the lives he positively affected, including me. The interesting connection between Ruth and Wilkerson is that they both grew up in boys’ homes. Both had rough starts to life and it was effectively at a boys home where their lives took a turn for the better. It was people investing in them that made a difference. Continue reading “Don’t Forget Tennessee’s ‘Least of These’”→