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    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    Did you see James Merritt's comments about Ben Cole?

    Is it us, or does Merritt sound really bitter here as he tries to muddy the waters? This came in response to Ben's Dallas Morning News Oped on alcohol:

    Just a few notes of observation in chronological order:

    1. To label anyone who advocates abstinence as "older, narrow fundamentalists" is a gross and misleading caricature. First which of the 5 fundamentals does Ben Cole deny? Second, there were more than a few of the "younger" crowd that voted for the resolution. Third does "diverse" mean liberal? There are "diverse" people who call themselves Christians and even evangelicals that support gay marriage and monogamous homosexuality--is Ben Cole one of them?

    2. Is alcohol abuse and drunkenness possible without alcohol? Can the "nth" drink which finally causes the line to be crossed to drunkenness and alcoholism be taken if the first drink never is? With the answer obvious, these tragedies then can indeed be traced back to alcohol!

    3. No one is condemning all use of alcohol--this is a straw man. Alcohol has its medicinal purposes (just as Paul said to Timothy) and no one is putting taking one drink or moderate drinking in the same category as drunkenness as indeed Akin make plain.

    4. Cole exhibits a gross ignorance of the difference between the wine/strong drink of Bible days and that of today. His entire argument in one sense is irrelevant because it is comparing apples and oranges. It would be as if one would advocate that a car should not travel more than 25 mph because a horse at that speed traveling through the streets of Jerusalem would be dangerous in bible days so the speed limit of today applies accordingly. The alcohol content of wine today would be the equivalent of much strong drink in bible days!

    5. Again marriages cannot fail because of alcohol if neither party drinks, no one gets killed by drunk drivers if no one drinks, and children do not have food robbed from their tables if no one drinks. So, alcohol is indeed a destroyer of marriages, menace to families, and a highway murderer. The gun/bullet analogy is laughable. A person with a bullet in a gun knows exactly when he is a menace to others--when he points his gun at an innocent person and fires. No one knows when their line of moderation in drinking is crossed into the danger zone--which is exactly why some people can "hold their liquor" better than others. There is no one "line fits all" standard for moderation which is why the bullet analogy fails. Furthermore there is no harm to a Christian's witness by having a bullet or a gun in their home--the same cannot be said if Budweiser cans fill the refrigerators and litter the house.

    6. No one is trying to deny anyone their 21st Amendment rights--again another straw man. On the other hand just because something is legal doesn't make it right. The Supreme Court has ruled abortion on demand for all intents and purposes legal--is Ben Cole pro-life? Would Ben Cole have fought the abolitionists 150 years ago because slavery was then legal? When it comes to Christian convictions and biblical morality the Constitution is to put it bluntly irrelevant--at least to an older narrow fundamentalist!

    7. Again the statement that "it is not true that the temperate consumption of alcoholic beverages leads to debauchery" simply is not universally true. The chain smoker comes from the one who smoked his first cigarette. The drug addict comes from the one who first tried drugs. It is true that not all temperate consumers of alcohol become alcoholics but this is a totally different statement than Cole makes and no one is saying any thing differently. Furthermore, no one is saying categorically that abstinence is the only acceptable position for Christian believers (as opposed to say a pro-life position which Southern Baptists do believe is the only "acceptable" position for Christian believers). What Akin and others are saying is that the abstinence position is the wisest and most responsible position for a Christian believer where Cole would say a moderation position would be--the question is which case has the strongest biblical backing.

    8. Concerning alcohol and church leadership, God himself holds Christian leaders to higher standards as evidenced by who was eligible for the priesthood in the Old Testament and the requirements given for pastors and deacons in the New Testament (see also James 3:1). It is neither out of line from a biblical standpoint nor from a practical standpoint for the church to require a higher standard from their leadership in terms of alcohol use or tobacco use for that matter.

    9. Cole himself stretches the "flexibility" and "nuances" of the bible to the breaking point. It is glaringly evident that nowhere does he mention the key text in this matter (and other matters of potential gray areas) which is I. Cor. 8. That text is the sine qua non for any discussion on alcohol. Paul's entire point (which is so plain it cannot be denied or diluted) is the trump card over Christian liberty is Christian love. In other words liberty which is not limited by love becomes license. Paul knew there was nothing inherently wrong with eating meat sacrificed to idols just as Akin and others know that there is nothing inherently wrong with taking a drink of wine with a meal. But then Paul dropped the love bomb on the liberty platform--if steak becomes a stumbling block I will not eat it (v.9)--and according to verse 13 he never did again. Now the key question--is there anyway that having a Budweiser at a ballgame or wine-- or a Bloody Mary, rum and coke, gin and tonic for that matter--in a restaurant can be an enhancement to one's Christian witness? Put another way is there anyway those scenarios can be stepping stones to a weaker brother's walk with God? Conversely is it more likely those scenarios would harm one's Christian witness and be stumbling blocks to a weaker brother's walk with God? To most if not all (except to some young, "diverse" evangelicals) the answer is patently obvious. So, although I have the right to drink, because of Christian love and my desire to avoid any potential stumbling block to other Christians not to mention anything that could damage my witness to unbelievers I will pass-- as I have all of my life to no regrets.

    Dr. Merritt, doesn't want to get in a spitting contest with Cole.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 7/22/2006 10:48:00 PM

    you can post here: [8 comment(s)]

    From today's New York Times
    This should spark some discussion.

    Feeling Strains, Baptist Colleges Cut Church Ties

    GEORGETOWN, Ky. — The request seemed simple enough to the Rev. Hershael W. York, then the president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He asked Georgetown College, a small Baptist liberal arts institution here, to consider hiring for its religion department someone who would teach a literal interpretation of the Bible.

    Read the full story here

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 7/22/2006 05:23:00 PM

    you can post here: [2 comment(s)]

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Go to Kevin Bussey's blog and comment on this post:
    Why do you blog?

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 7/21/2006 05:30:00 PM

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

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Bob Allen Responds
    -------------- Original message --------------

    From: arkrazorbaptist@aol.com


    How are you? I was just wondering who shared the information about Frank Page's dissertation with you? We have been hearing for a few weeks now that a certain individual has been shopping the story around the state Baptist presses. We wondered who would bite first. In fact, we know of one person in particular who received a phone call from a certain SBC agency head about the matter.


    The Arkansas Razorbaptist

    (Bob's Response)

    Nothing like that. A friend of mine got curious about what his dissertation was about and searched the Southwestern Seminary Web site.

    Thanks for the response Bob. We wonder about your friend's curiosity.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 7/20/2006 04:55:00 PM

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

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Shopping a Story To Make Frank Page Look Bad
    The Phantom Menace Looms Large

    It is no great secret that there are those in the SBC who are not happy with Frank Page's election as president. The day his candidacy was announced, whisper campaigns were started by those who supported other candidates. They claimed that Dr. Page was not an inerrantist and by extension was a closet liberal. All this was said leading up to the convention.

    We incorrectly viewed Dr. Page's election as a chance for Southern Baptists to come together. It seems those who like to do business in the shadows of dark rooms had a different idea. The whisper campaign against our elected president never stopped.

    We have heard stories for weeks that a certain high-profile individual was shopping a negative story about Dr. Page's decade's old dissertation, which was written while he was a student at Southwestern.

    The person peddling the story visited with a few friendly editors of state Baptist presses in an attempt to get the negative story into the public domain.
    The dissertation supposedly provided evidence of liberal theology. Well it appears this person found a willing accomplice in his campaign to undercut Dr. Frank Page.

    Today, Ethicsdaily.com posted "SBC President Once Endorsed Women's Ordination." The piece was written by Ethics Daily's managing editor Bob Allen. His work wasn't very imaginative or journalistic. He might have made an attempt to contact Frank Page about the decades old dissertation and ask him his view on the matter today. He might have talked to any number of people who might be able to talk about how one's view could change on theological matters over a period of years -- Dr. Al Mohler would have been a good one to call.

    He might have written about how he came into possession of the 190 page document. He might have discussed the motivations of the person who sent to him, but he didn't. No, this "managing editor" served it up to his readers the same way it was served up to him.

    It appears Bob is simply a (willing) pawn in larger war being waged by a phantom menace, a menace whose ultimate goal is to keep Dr. Frank Page playing defense and focused things other than moving the convention forward.

    At some point enough is enough.

    Here's the e-mail we sent Bob Allen today:

    How are you? I was just wondering who shared the information about Frank Page's dissertation with you? We have been hearing for a few weeks now that a certain individual has been shopping the story around the state Baptist presses. We wondered who would bite first. In fact, we know of one person in particular who received a phone call from a certain SBC agency head about the matter.


    The Arkansas Razorbaptist

    We know the answer to our question, but we are awaiting his response.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 7/19/2006 05:07:00 PM

    you can post here: [34 comment(s)]

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Q&A with Rev. Benjamin S. Cole
    By Batman

    We at the ARB were granted an instant message interview with Rev. Benjamin Cole, pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Arlington,Texas, about his new book project. We think we break news here about something that will be of interest to many Southern Baptists.

    ARB: Is it true that you are writing a book about Paige Patterson?

    BSC: It is certainly true that I'm involved in several writing projects right now. Among those projects is a book that reflects upon the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention, and especially as it relates to the leadership of that particular movement as I have observed it.

    ARB: When will your book be published?

    BSC: Well, I will have to find a publisher for it, but I have already been approached by someone who is very interested in having first cut at publishing the book. As of yet, I have submitted no manuscript. The book is not my first publishing priority, however, and I have no set date of completion.

    ARB: Is this book going to be a personal memoir, an expose, or a history?

    BSC: The answer is yes. It is going to have a little of all those things. For the past several years I've been compiling notes and conducting interviews. Some of them are on the record, some of them have been off the record. I've been privileged to become friends with folks on all sides of the divide in our convention. By the time I'm done, there are some people in Southern Baptist life who will be angry that I didn't tell it all. Others will be angry that I told too much. I'm striving to be fair, but I recognize in the beginning my own biases, which will be understandable to readers by the end of the book, even if they don't like my conclusions.

    ARB: Have you had any difficulty getting people to talk to you for interviews?

    BSC: Every person I've asked for an interview has granted me one, except for one man, and we are still working out the details. I've received boxes of correspondence from folks who share my concerns and have documentation and corroboration to substantiate my thesis.

    ARB: And what thesis is that?

    BSC: Well, I don't want to tip my hand too much, but essentially it is this: The children of the resurgence/takeover have grown up idolizing the conservative leadership and villifying the moderates, or vice versa. I hope to demonstrate that the devils aren't quite as devilish, nor are the angels quite as angelic.

    ARB: Do you have a working title?

    BSC: Yes.

    ARB: And what is that?

    BSC: It's a secret. But it's a zinger.

    ARB: Are you worried about losing influence in the convention by publishing this book?

    BSC: The only people who are worried about gaining and losing influence are those people who never have it. Influence comes and goes. I always try to think of the words of the Apostle Paul when I get asked that question: "If I am seeking to please men, I'm not longer pleasing to God."

    ARB: But do you have to seek to anger men in order to please God?

    BSC: Good question. Pray for me that I don't cultivate such a spirit.

    ARB: Anything else you'd like to tell us about the book?

    BSC: Sure. Don't expect it before San Antonio.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 7/18/2006 10:55:00 PM

    you can post here: [10 comment(s)]

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Can't Get Enough Alcohol?
    The Dallas Morning News stages
    Alcohol vs. Drunkenness

    Both men do a good job in their guest columns, but Ben Cole certainly wins the courage award for continuously taking on the establishment and their popular positions with scripture. We hear he is working on a book about Paige Patterson; we look forward to reading it.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 7/17/2006 02:02:00 PM

    you can post here: [7 comment(s)]

    Sunday, July 16, 2006


    Lt. Governor Win Rockefeller, 57, died peacefully at 10:37 a.m. today at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. He was surrounded by his family.
    Rockefeller had undergone two bone marrow transplants in Seattle through the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine - the first on October 7, 2005, the second on March 29 - after he was diagnosed with a blood condition described at the time as an unclassified myeloproliferative disorder. Neither achieved the desired results. He arrived in Little Rock early in the morning of July 8 and was admitted to UAMS.

    He is survived by his wife, Lisenne, his mother, Barbara, three daughters, five sons, a granddaughter, a step-brother and a step-sister. He is the son of the late Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller.

    Rockefeller lived in Little Rock and at Winrock Farms on Petit Jean Mountain, where a plaque outside his home quotes Micah 6:8: "And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" That verse summarized Rockefeller's views on his life and his responsibilities as a member of one of the world's wealthiest and most powerful families.

    Rockefeller was elected lieutenant governor during a special election in November 1996 and by wide majorities was elected to a four-year term in 1998 and re-elected in 2002. As lieutenant governor he focused on economic development, education and literacy. As acting governor on September 11, 2001, the day terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, he resisted calls to declare a state of emergency and instead urged Arkansans to remain calm and to donate blood, which they did. He sponsored Project ChildSafe, a national firearms safety program that has distributed hundreds of thousands of free trigger locks in Arkansas, and he served as honorary chairman of the Arkansas Literary Festival. In 2004, he served as chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas.

    He was running for governor of Arkansas when doctors discovered his medical condition and he was forced to announce he was withdrawing from the race July 19, 2005. In the year since that announcement, he drew strength from the thousands of well-wishers who sent him cards, letters and e-mails and phoned his offices to tell him they were thinking of him and praying for him.

    Rockefeller was involved in numerous philanthropic and charitable ventures, but his favorite organization was the Boy Scouts of America, with which he had a three decades relationship. When once asked by Lisenne whether he would rather quit politics or Scouting, he replied that politics is less important because it is temporal, while his work with Scouting had eternal benefits. As in all of his endeavors, he contributed not only his financial resources but also his time and talents. He served on the executive board of the national council, and he was president of the Quapaw Area Council in 1997 and was a vice president in the years following. In 1997, he created Books in the Attic, in which Boy Scouts collect used books to distribute to families. Most importantly, he served for many years as an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 12 and attended Scout camp regularly. Although he did not have the opportunity to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout as a boy, he was very proud that one of his sons is an Eagle Scout and that three others are working toward that rank. Two Boy Scout councils, including the Quapaw Area Council, awarded him the prestigious Silver Beaver Award for his sustained and exemplary volunteer service in Scouting. He also was awarded the District Award of Merit. Camp Rockefeller, the summer camp at the Quapaw Council's Gus Blass Scout Reservation, was dedicated in his honor in July 2005.

    The parents of two children with special needs, the Rockefellers in 2000 founded what is now the Academy at Riverdale, a school for children with learning differences. The school has tripled its enrollment since it moved into a state-of-the-art facility in Little Rock in 2004.

    Rockefeller was involved in numerous other service organizations. He served from 1981 until 1995 on the Arkansas State Police Commission. He was appointed in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush to serve on the President's Council on Rural America and was elected chairman. An accomplished saltwater fisherman, in 1986 he founded The Billfish Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting marlin, swordfish and other billfish. Through the foundation, he established the practice of tag and release as the conservation standard for offshore fishing. He served as a Texas Christian University trustee and was on the national boards of Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy. He served on the boards of the Arkansas Cancer Research Center and the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation. He was a trustee of the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust and was vice chairman of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

    He received numerous awards in recognition of his service, including the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice's Lifetime Advocate for Arkansas Youth Award, the Arkansas Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2003 President's Award, the U.S. Baltic Foundation's Baltic-American Public Service Achievement Award, the Arkansas Aids Foundation's Compassion Award, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas' 2005 International Award of Excellence in Conservation, the American Red Cross of Greater Arkansas' first annual Clara Barton Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service, and the National Conference for Community and Justice's 2001 National Humanitarian Award.

    Born September 17, 1948, Rockefeller was the great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, who founded Standard Oil, and the grandson of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
    Rockefeller's father, Winthrop, moved to Petit Jean Mountain in 1953 and established Winrock Farms, which became one of the world's premier producers of Santa Gertrudis cattle. Winthrop Rockefeller soon became an active philanthropist and corporate citizen. During his tenure as head of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission from March 1955 until April 1964, more than 600 plants were established and 90,000 jobs were created in Arkansas. After running unsuccessfully for governor in 1964, he was elected in 1966 and re-elected in 1968.

    Lt. Governor Rockefeller spent his early childhood on an Indiana farm with his mother and his grandparents. The language spoken in the home was his grandparents' mother tongue, Lithuanian. He was educated in New York, Switzerland, France and England, and often spent part of his summers on Petit Jean Mountain.

    He graduated from the ranch management program at Texas Christian University and became chief executive of Winrock Farms after his father died in 1973. He had interests in timber and minerals and owned four automobile dealerships in Little Rock and Conway. He also had interests in retailing, development and the resort industry.
    He was an active member of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 7/16/2006 12:41:00 PM

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

    ARB cited on EthicsDaily.com
    We laughed when we referred too as "A popular Southern Baptist blog"

    Bob Allen writing for Ethics Daily wrote about recent even during the CBF Annual meeting:

    A throwaway line at last month's Baptist Center for Ethics 15th anniversary luncheon earned the attention of Fox News and rebuttal on a conservative Web site.

    In his June 22 keynote address at the Atlanta meeting, Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, quipped that his organization is trying to "address fear, fundamentalism and Fox television."

    Edgar has used the line before, but Fox News reported it as an "attack" and "challenge," linking to an NCC news release about the speech and inviting Fox News Web readers to e-mail their thoughts.

    A follow-up NCC release said Edgar's comments "hit a nerve" with Fox editors, noting that about 4,000 Fox viewers visited the NCC Web site to read the message. While most reactions criticized Edgar, the NCC said a surprising number of Fox viewers believed he hit the nail on the head.

    The conservative Front Page Magazine wrongly reported July 13 that Edgar's made the remark "while speaking at the 15th anniversary luncheon of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's (CBF) General Assembly on June 23.

    It seems that the luncheon was not "sponsored by the CFB" by was held during its annual meeting.

    Here is where we come in:

    A popular Southern Baptist blog commended the article: "For those who think conservative Baptists are the only Baptists who are political, Mark Tooley writes about an interesting speech delivered to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, where the speaker was reading from his Democrat Party talking points."

    This is the post to which they refer.

    Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics responded that "BCE always welcomes the opportunity to make the crooked way straight, a Christian virtue apparently unshared by Fox News, Front Page Magazine, the Institute on Religion and Democracy and fundamentalist bloggers."

    The crux of the story is that the luncheon in question was not sponsored by the CBF, but the fact that the gathering was held in conjuction with and during the CBF's annual meeting is quite significant. We don't figure many Episcopalians attended the luncheon. Those who dined while listening to the Democratic Party's talking points were liberal Baptists.

    Remember, birds of a feather flock together.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 7/16/2006 11:54:00 AM

    you can post here: [2 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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    COULD THIS MAN BE Paige Patterson's NEXT TARGET? ...


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