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    Friday, April 28, 2006

    From the Culture Desk¦

    The Jesus Cartoons, Way Over the Edge

    By now, you have all heard of the controversy and violent response that followed the publishing of a handful of political cartoons depicting the "Prophet"? Muhammad. First printed in a Denmark newspaper, they made their way around the world and a firestorm was ignited by violent extremists. People were killed amidst the raucus and embassies were even torched. There seemed to be a groundswell of incitement. Ironically, and absurdly, more violence was called for -- by those upset that Muhammad was portrayed as a violent figure! I feared the much-discussed "clash of civilizations" was coming ever closer.

    The thought crossed my mind at the time, that in the interest of not singling out one group to be religiously offended, someone would probably come out with sets of cartoons to equally offend Jews and Christians. Indeed, an Iranian paper called held a Holocaust cartoon contest soon after. Of course, anti-Semitism is nothing new in the Middle East.

    In Christendom, most people following the freedom of speech vs. religion debate here in the US are now also familiar with the various ways Christ has been blasphemed in the name of government-funded art in various galleries around the country. When I thought that Jesus might soon be coming to an editorial cartoon near me, I figured that yes, it would be terrible and offensive, but I would just be disappointed it was printed and chalk it up as no big surprise, given the atmosphere of anti-Christian sentiment in today’s liberal media.

    Well, it seems the cartoons have now been printed…and I have seen them…and I was not prepared. I was not aware until it blighted the space before the lenses of my eyes how truly and deeply offended I would be. There, on a virtual page, was my Lord being ridiculed once again on the cross. Although we know it was all our sin that crucified Him, it was as if the perpetrators of this blasphemy were wearing Roman robes themselves and were casting lots before him as he suffered, for us.

    The images I speak of were printed in a Marxist/Anarchist publication aptly named the Student Insurgent, published at the University of Oregon. A conservative journal, The Oregon Commentator, has published a scan of the paper on their website as a PDF file. [Go here, then click the image to bring up the PDF. I must warn you that the images are GRAPHIC.]

    I looked further in the paper and read the scoffing and ignorant editorial that accompanied the images and found the author to be blatantly lost and unknowing of The Truth. Such was their enthusiasm toward being offensive toward Christians, yet they found understanding and sympathy for the rage and violent action of extremist Muslims. They had refused to print the Muhammad cartoons because they didn’t want to offend Muslims. They just thought it would be a real laugh riot to poke fun at the Christians.

    Enraged and upset, tears wanting to come, I was pained at the mockery of the suffering Our Lord bore for us and I wondered what to think about such a thing. I believed they had a right to print such a thing, but I hated the fact that they chose to print such a thing. Then I found a statement on another blog that hit home. Dave Price at the Dean's World blog said this:

    ...as a Christian, I’m deeply offended by this obscene mockery of my Lord and Saviour. So in response, I’m going to unleash my religion’s most powerful weapon: I forgive them.

    There it was. That was the perfect response. Forgive themfor they know not what they do.

    It was my duty to see it that way. For they are answerable for their own sin, as we all are. The real illustration here was not the cartoons themselves. It was that evil still lurks in this world and it deceives those who will not hear. But, we know who is King.

    For Galatians 6:7 says, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap?" Only God can judge them.

    Related coverage at: Pajamas Media, Protein Wisdom, and Hot Air

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/28/2006 09:27:00 PM

    you can post here: [0 comment(s)]

    Thanks for a great first week!

    I started this blog last Friday with the intention of participating in the conversation about our convention’s future and with the idea of injecting some good ole gospel preaching into the dialogue.

    We are getting a lot of visits(hits) here at ARB.

    I appreciate the comments and e-mails from readers. We didn't hit the 900, as shown on the counter (we're all big on truth in reporting church numbers in the SBC, so I have to he honest about our blog). Some of those hits were from my practicing with html last night, trying to get the banners and clock working correctly.

    We have had several hundred visitors, with hundreds of you coming back -- I've been impressed. You folks are very cool and truly love the Lord. I pray for each of you and your particular ministries. We'll keep blogging all the way to Greensboro and then hopefully from the convention floor in Greensboro.

    Thanks for your support!


    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/28/2006 11:54:00 AM

    you can post here: [5 comment(s)]

    Thursday, April 27, 2006

    IMB president speaks candidly on a variety of issues

    Part I: Rankin on new baptism and prayer language actions, leadership

    Managing Editor, Florida Baptist Witness

    Published April 27, 2006

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part one of a two-part series based on a March 31 interview with International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin. Part two will appear in the May 4 print edition of Florida Baptist Witness. Both parts will also appear online at: www.FloridaBaptistWitness.com.

    MARIANNA (FBW)–A week after the trustees of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board met in Tampa and hammered out how they would handle disagreement in the future, IMB president, Jerry Rankin, told Florida Baptist Witness the board’s actions were “healthy,� though the mission entity cannot be distracted by “controversies, perceptions and conjecture.�

    In a wide-ranging interview March 31 in Marianna, Rankin spoke readily about his submission to the board despite his disagreement with recent decisions about baptism and private prayer language; his leadership style; blogging and the news media; his relationship with other SBC entity heads and inspiration for ministry; and his views on goals and retirement.

    Read the full story here

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/27/2006 03:45:00 PM

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    Baptists should agree about disagreeing, minister says


    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    Baptists' freedoms are being eroded.

    At least that's the view of a Texas pastor, the Rev. Benjamin Cole, who will offer at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June a resolution urging the denomination to reassert its tradition of freedom of dissent.

    His resolution, "On Baptist Dissent," states, "we regard all attempts to silence principled dissent by fellow Baptists ... as a compromise of our cherished Baptist witness and an egregious disservice to the Kingdom of God."

    Read the full article here

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/27/2006 03:32:00 PM

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    Dr. Norman C. Blackaby: The Tree's Apple Lands in Little Rock.

    Norman Blackaby, the son of famed Christian author, Henry Blackaby, is now the Senior Pastor at Markham Street Church in Little Rock. He holds a PhD in Biblical Backgrounds and has taught for two Southern Baptist seminaries in the fields of Backgrounds and Spiritual Development. In addition, Norman is the co-author of Called & Accountable: Discovering Your Place in God's Eternal Purpose, Experiencing the Prayer Life of Jesus: The Power of His Presence and Example, and The Encounter Study Bible (Nelson, Fall 2006).

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/27/2006 05:34:00 AM

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    Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    "There is no room for prejudice in the Kingdom of God," Wade Burleson.

    The Nations Divided Through Christ United

    Listen to Wade

    Genesis 10
    The tenth chapter of Genesis is the oldest Table of Nations in existence. This chapter explains how descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth became the progenitors of the nations.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/26/2006 07:57:00 PM

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    The Spirit of Greensboro?

    (Yes, that is a picture from Wedding Crashers)

    Like most of you, I believe our dear denomination is fractured: Old leaders, young leaders, Calvinists (a few), anti-Calvinists (more), fundamentalists, legalists, cooperating conservatives, programatic types, a couple Charismatics, disenfranchised moderate leaning people, the pro-Mohlers, anti -Mohlers, pro-Pattersons, anti-Pattersons, the oust-Jerry Rankin crowd and on and on.... I'm sure many of you could add to the list.

    The more people I talk to, I'm increasingly convinced that most folks will walk into the Greensboro meeting with their guns drawn and fingers on triggers.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/26/2006 01:00:00 PM

    you can post here: [6 comment(s)]

    What Happens When You Cross a MIT Graduate With an SBC Pulpit?

    Dr. Andrew Davis was born in Boston, Massachusetts where he later earned his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 1984. He is now the senior pastor of the First Church, Durham, NC.

    He brings a heart and an amazing intellect to the pastorate. Listen to some great sermons.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/26/2006 09:11:00 AM

    you can post here: [1 comment(s)]

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    Bono: "Grace over Karma"
    A Christian I Could Cooperate With

    Read the interview at Christianity Today

    Buy Bono's Biography by Michka Assaya

    The following exchange between Bono and biographer Michka Assayas took place just days after the Madrid train bombings in March 2004, an act of terrorism that left 191 dead and more than 1,800 wounded. The two men were discussing how terrorism is often carried out in the name of religion when Bono turned the conversation to Christianity, expressing his preference for God's grace over "karma," offering an articulate apologetic for the deity of Christ, and giving a clear presentation of the gospel message.

    Assayas: I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

    Bono: Yes, I think that's normal. It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

    Assayas: I haven't heard you talk about that.

    Bono: I really believe we've moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

    Assayas: Well, that doesn't make it clearer for me.

    Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.

    Assayas: I'd be interested to hear that.

    Bono: That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.

    Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

    Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled… . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/25/2006 05:56:00 PM

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    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/25/2006 05:18:00 PM

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    Questions about Convenants

    If you listened to Mark Dever's message (below) you would have heard that Capitol Hill Church reverted back to a church covenant from 1878.

    Why did they do that?

    According to Dever, that particular covenant makes no mention of the use of alcohol. He said in the sermon, that there are differing opinions on the matter and that scripture places no prohibition on consumption (drunkenness yes). I know that Capitol Hill Church actively practices church discipline; not knowing anything other than what I have listened to and read, I suspect their belief in Sola Scriptura dictates that their church's documents line up with the Scriptura.

    (In full disclosure, Dever also said in the message that he personally abstains from the use of alcohol.)

    Now this sparks a couple of questions:

    1) Are church covenants important?

    2) If so, should they only reflect the scripture or should they contain cultural biases and/or particular interpretations of scripture on secondary theological matters?

    I want to know what you think. Comment please! Do so anonymously if you are worried a church deacon or some other busybody may read what you write.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/25/2006 09:02:00 AM

    you can post here: [13 comment(s)]

    Another Spurgeonesque Sermon from Mark Dever (link)

    Romans 14
    Basic Christianity: Accountability
    By:Mark Dever| 5-4-2003

    I think the story of Romans provides great message for our convention. I'm not talking about Weaker vs. Stronger Christians; Legalism vs. Liberty; Wine vs. Abstinence, but I think we could use a good word on ACCEPTANCE -- perhaps a little wine too.

    WARNING: Mark Dever preaches hour-long sermons, but don't fear, you'll not want to turn it off.
    FURTHER WARNING: Listening to Dever can become addictive, and may actually sour you on the preaching you normally receive on Sundays.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/25/2006 07:07:00 AM

    you can post here: [1 comment(s)]

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Big Shoes to Fill

    With Dr. Rex Horne set to take the helm as president of Ouachita Baptist University, there will soon be huge a gap at Little Rock's Immanuel Church. Word around the Arkansas Baptist Convention is that Immanuel will seek a pastor with national notoriety, who has a history of growing large churches into larger churches.

    Immanuel has its positives:

    1)With Bill Clinton safely tucked away as a former President, the next pastor will not have to negotiate the tough terrain Horne was forced to navigate during the 1990s. Clinton was a member and there were several "Friends of Bill" who attended the church; who were part of its power structure, and who were supportive of the President. Immanuel Church became a lightning rod because of Clinton's liberal policies and extracurricular activities with the ladies. (I would say a little church discipline should have been exercised.)

    2) The Church is no longer in its landlocked location in downtown Little Rock. It now boasts a multi-million dollar facility in growing West Little Rock.

    3) Two other churches in the area are without senior pastors. First Church, Little Rock, and Park Hill Church, North Little Rock, are without pastors. If Immanuel lands a pastor first, then there will be little chance it will suffer any member drift.

    Horne led Immanuel with class, dignity and solid direction. His successor will have big shoes to fill, but he will have a solid foundation on which to stand.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/24/2006 02:23:00 PM

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    Monday Morning Review
    "Broadcasting from the Third Notch of the Bible Belt!"

    This came to me via an e-mail this early morning. I listened to the FISH this morning. If any of you enjoy Contemporary Christian music this Web station will be a blessing. Nothing against American Family Radio, but you won't find any political commentary on this station -- just music. Praise be to God for Mondays, I have all week to get my work done.

    Thanks to Wade Burleson, my hit count is going through the roof!

    Wade linked to my blog on his blog last night. Wade has become a hero of mine and I appreciate him visiting the site. I truly believe he will be a wonderful leader for our convention someday -- maybe not this summer, but someday.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/24/2006 07:34:00 AM

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    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    Who is on your dream team to lead the SBC into the future?

    First-Vice President
    Second-Vice President
    Recording Secretary
    Registration Secretary

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/23/2006 02:51:00 PM

    you can post here: [5 comment(s)]

    On Tap for the Hogs

    Arkansas vs. Ole Miss
    Saturday, October 21, 2006
    Fayetteville 11:30 A.M. On TV. [Lincoln Financial Sports]

    Opposing Team Sites:

    Official Ole Miss Football
    Rivals Ole Miss
    Scout Ole Miss


    Clarion Ledger

    The Arkansas Razorbaptists

    The hearts of once quiet, passive pew sitters who have since become fired up for spreading the good news about the life transforming power of a relationship with Jesus Christ: Sola Gratia, Solo Christo, Sola Fide, Sola Dei Gloria, Sola Scriptura, Sola Cruce, Solo Evangelio.

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