Author Archive

Merritt and the ACLU On Same Page


Below is a post from guest contributor Tim Guthrie. Tim is Senior Pastor of Arlington Baptist Church in Knoxville Tennessee. To comment on this post, you can go to Tim’s blog here.

USA Today ran an article by Jonathan Merritt exposing his own views (not those of the norm in SBC life) related to homosexuality. Though Merritt, the son of SBC Pastor James Merritt and Liberty Grad (of which I am) presents his heart for loving people, he also reveals a dangerous view of Biblical understanding and application.

I do not question his heart. I do question several things in the article and I also question his use of “title” in describing who he is and what he does which I will explain later.

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Rebuke One Who Has Understanding and He Will Discern Knowledge

We welcome back Dr. Malcolm Yarnell as a guest contributor. Below are his thoughts concerning Mark Driscoll and the comments of Dr. John MacArthur concerning Driscoll.

For over a year now, I have been deeply concerned about some of the teaching that is being propagated by the leader of a Seattle church and of the Acts 29 movement, Mark Driscoll. Although previously expressing misgivings about the man’s flippancy in an interview with New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in March 2008, I have since remained relatively silent. However, one of his more recent missives, released in November 2008, was absolutely horrifying to my wife and me. And now, at this time, because Mark Driscoll continues to gain recognition, and in order to support publicly the sober response of another minister, I have chosen to speak again to the matter.

One man’s ministry that has repeatedly inspired many ministers to be more biblical and thus more like our Lord Jesus Christ, in word and in deed, over the years, is Dr. John MacArthur. Dr. MacArthur recently concluded a short series in Pulpit Magazine on proper and improper exegesis of the Song of Solomon and on the need for purity in the pulpit. His four-part series is a restrained approach to a recent rash of improper but otherwise unchallenged conduct by Mark Driscoll. MacArthur has shown incredible foresight even as other ministers, who continue to support Mark Driscoll, have apparently been rather reluctant to register rebuke.

The doctrinal moral of this sad tale is that any time that a preacher attempts to appropriate worldly methods to aid in the propagation of the gospel, he has already fundamentally compromised the gospel. The recent movement towards claiming that, “As long as our doctrine is correct, we can agree to use various methods,” certainly carries some truth, but such a position is not to be taken naively. Methodology, too, is restrained by the commands of Christ, both positively with regard to the church’s actions (preaching the Word, celebrating the ordinances, worshiping in spirit and in truth, etc.) and negatively with regard to personal and communal doctrinal and moral integrity. The issue in the present case is moral integrity: there simply is no way that the sacred and the profane, or Christianity and Hedonism, may be blended, even for altruistic “missional” reasons. In the very act of combining the holy–that which has been separated unto God–with the unholy, the result is assured to be profane (1 Cor. 5:6, 10:21).

Earlier this evening, as I spoke tenderly but firmly to my oldest son about how to treat a young lady properly when on a date, I prayed for him to have wisdom in such situations and he bowed his head in agreement. And later, as I tucked my two precious daughters into bed, moved in the depths of my heart by concern for them in a sinful world, I prayed for the Lord to give these girls godly husbands, who would treat them with a holy respect, in word and in deed, and they smiled in agreement. And tonight, as I conclude this post, I pray that the ministers of our nation, young and old, will see their task not to engage their cultures with reckless abandon but to carry their Christ-given crosses with bold holiness. Oh, Lord, hear this prayer! And, oh, reader, consider the wisdom of Proverbs 19:25!

Thank you, Dr. MacArthur, for your bold and needed stance in reminding us of these truths. May others see the wisdom in your words. (Note: If you are not a mature believer, please do not read the posts linked here. Although Dr. MacArthur handles the issues circumspectly, they are nevertheless for the mature.)

Dr. John MacArthur, “The Rape of Solomon’s Song” (part 1)
“The Rape of Solomon’s Song” (part 2)
“The Rape of Solomon’s Song” (part 3)
“The Rape of Solomon’s Song” (conclusion)

A Resource From Dr. Emir Caner

SBC Today is proud to announce another quality resource our readers may find beneficial. Recently inaugurated President of Truett McConnell College, Dr. Emir Caner, has updated his web site. Dr. Caner’s site contains all sorts of multimedia as well as a daily news summary involving the Islamic world. Additionally, he has started a weekly blog entry on the major issues of the day. Below we post his first article for his site.

Harvard, the United Nations, and Militant Islam:

How Liberals in the West Enable Islamic Violence

In an email intended to be kept private, Harvard Islamic chaplain Taha Abdul-Basser endorsed the traditional punishment for leaving the Islamic faith, the death penalty. The final paragraph of the email reads:

I would finally note that there is great wisdom (hikma) associated with the established and preserved position (capital punishment) and so, even if it makes some uncomfortable in the face of the hegemonic modern human rights discourse, one should not dismiss it out of hand. The formal consideration of excuses for the accused and the absence of Muslim governmental authority in our case here in the North/West is for dealing with the issue practically. And Allah knows best.

According to this educated cleric who serves one of America’s leading institutions, the only barrier in implementing Islamic law on America is the present “governmental authority” and the “modern rights discourse.” In other words, pesky democracy and anti-Islamic freedoms are rudely, and perhaps temporarily, standing in the way of true peace as defined by traditional Islamic thought.

Basser’s advocacy of violence should not be surprising, especially considering that capital punishment for apostasy was implemented by the prophet himself. Muhammad stated clearly, “If a Muslim changes his Islamic religion, kill him” (Bukhari hadith 9.57). In fact, the very next verse in thehadith – the sayings of Muhammad – details the execution of a Jew turned Muslim who reverted back to his old faith. Muhammad demanded this infidel’s death and then subsequently went to dinner and flippantly discussed various issues of the day. The peaceful prophet slept peacefully that night.

Now, fourteen centuries later, Western liberals are only enabling the violence wrought within traditional Islam. While an Islamic chaplain advocates the death of millions of infidels across the globe, Harvard remains as cowardly and silent as a Scandinavian government discussing the cartoons of Muhammad. Perhaps the leaders at Harvard will also apologize for the narrow-minded views of the West and their inability to understand the enlightening aspects of Islamic law. More likely, the administrators were blinded by the $20 million endowment given by the Saudi royal family to begin an Islamic Studies program. Receiving millions of dollars from a nation the proudly adheres to beheadings and maiming (Qur’an 5:33) has a way of being kinder and gentler with Islamofascists.

Of course, the liberal track record of bestowing privileges to the most deserving of nations is less than pristine. The United Nations gave Libya, which rejected the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the high honor of chairing the United Nations Human Rights Commission. In return for the privilege, Libya continued to follow Islamic law and exile, imprison, and kill innocent citizens. Surprisingly, Libya was not cited for any violations of human rights that year…

And now, America has changed. We no longer speak about a “war on terror,” but only contingency plans. Now, according to our own Department of Homeland Security, terrorists are defined as those right-wing, pro-life,anti-immigration, men and women who desire limited government and constitutional freedoms. Their definition of a terrorist makes it more likely that the government is watching a Southerner than a Saudi. According to our own government, you are most likely more dangerous to the world if you are named Bubba and not Osama. As Basser so aptly states, “Allah knows best.”


The Rick Warren Shuffle

Rick Warren has backed away from his earlier support of California’s “Proposition 8.”  You can read about it here.  One may seem to wonder why Warren would do such a thing?  Dr. Jim Garlow, the senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church seems to have is own idea as reported in the article linked above.  In it Garlow says,

Historically when institutions and individuals back away from convictional biblical truth, it is driven primarily by one single factor — and that is the respectability of other people. In other words, much more caring about what other people think about them than what God thinks about them,

I don’t know if this is the case with Warren, but I am disappointed in his recent shuffle away from supporting Proposition 8.

A Text Driven Devotion

Below is a brief devotional I was asked to compose for the Stillwater News Press. Further down, after the devotion, I will provide some analysis on how I came up with my four points, specifically focusing on verse thirteen of the passage.

People search for answers during tough times. There is no doubt that things are getting tougher for many. But, how can the community of faith navigate through difficult times? The Apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:13-25) offers us four checkpoints to follow. First, while in this world, we are to look beyond our present situation to the grace we will fully realize when Jesus returns for His church. While things may be unstable here, we can be assured of our hope in Jesus when he returns to set this fallen world straight. Second, while in this world, we are to live our lives in a manner that reflects a growing holiness in our actions that stems from a relationship with Jesus. The old ways that was conducted in worldly ignorance must not be our habit as Jesus is now our new example. Third, we are to do all things with reverence, not with sloppy aimlessness. The Father gave the most precious thing He could, His Son, and the lives of those who call upon the name of the Lord should reflect the price that was paid to redeem them from their iniquity. Finally, we are to love one another in the community of faith. Not superficially, but in such a way that the true believer displays passion and finds pleasure in loving his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Our closest friends and confidants should be found in the household of God and it is where we should find our greatest encouragement. Ultimately, our love comes from God and we are able to love during difficulty because God has brought us to a new birth that was supernaturally seeded by His Word. The answer to these tough days is Jesus as told to us in the scriptures. May all who are being transformed by His Holy Writ search for Him, live in Him, honor Him, and love each other through Him.

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