By Dr. Jim Parker, Associate Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Associate Vice President for Facilities at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Parker previously served as Pastor of one of the nine Alabama Baptist churches burned by arsonists in 2006.
In Part One, Dr. Parker began the story of his personal journey toward forgiveness. This article continues that story.
Normally, this would be the end of the story, but in fact, it was just the beginning. As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now for the rest of the story.” On one cold, dark, foggy morning in early February 2006, not long after the events described above, I received a call from one of the deacons at the church I was pastoring. B.C. Crocker said, “Pastor, the Church is on fire.” Within a few hours my church, Ashby Baptist Church in Brierfield, Alabama, along with five other churches in the area, would be burned to the ground. A few days later, four more in the state would be torched.
My wife and I had made our way to the church on that foggy morning, thinking at first that something at the church had happened to set the fire, but we soon realized after hearing of other churches burning that we had been the victim of arson. We very soon confirmed this. Everything was lost, up in ashes. As the early morning darkness turned to pale daylight, the first realization that something devastating had occurred. FBI, ATF, and many other law enforcement agencies began to show up. Local media and then state and national media outlets began to show up on the site. Phone calls began to pour in. Churches had been burned. Five at first, with four to follow. What a dastardly deed! Who could have done this? Theories abounded and within a few days as many as 600 leads would come in, most dead ends.
By Tim Rogers, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Indian Trail, NC
We are at the time of the year when many families plan to take a vacation some place on the globe. Many take vacations only to return from a time of rest and relaxation completely exhausted. Some return exhausted because of the stress experienced due to mishaps or disagreements among the very ones the vacation intended to help—family members. However, many times families will spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to try and build the perfect memory and to relax and rest from the daily grind of living life. Some churches plan short-term mission trips that are more of a vacation than a mission trip. I determined long ago that vacation time with my family was just that—a vacation—and yet we would live our lives missionally. However, I also determined that we would not call our family vacation a short-term mission trip; and we would not raise funds by asking friend, family, and church members to supplement our vacation.
I have tried to take a short-term mission trip every year since 1990. It was in 1988 that I received salvation and less than two years later I embarked on a short-term mission trip with the Raleigh Baptist Association to Brazil. This experience was embraced with negatives and positives. A couple of negatives come to mind whenever I am planning for a short-term trip. I experienced firsthand how just one negative and selfish person can inject a team with bitterness and discouragement. I also found the political situation of the Southern Baptist Convention has the ability to invade an entire associational mission directive. The positives of that trip were played out in the salvation of souls as well as with the bonding between those who held different theological perspectives but served the same Lord Jesus as the Lord Jesus.
Monday Sermon Workshop:
The Anatomy of Temptation (James 1:12-15)
By Craig Price, Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek,
occupying the Bob Hamblin Chair of New Testament Exposition, and
Associate Dean of Online Learning at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
This is the second of three step-by-step expositions by Dr. Price SBC is offering to assist pastors and other church leaders in developing sermon ideas or Bible studies for their ministries. If you missed the first exposition on James 1:1-4, you can see it here: Joy in the Midst of Tribulation.
To see more expositions from James such as this, see Dr. Price’s workbook on James: Biblical Exegesis of New Testament Greek: James (Cascade Books, 2008).
In this series of expositions, we are looking at small sections of text from the letter of James and performing “phrasing” exercises on the passages. William Mounce teaches the method of phrasing in his Graded Reader for Biblical Greek published by Zondervan. The phrasing technique also works well with English text. The interpreter may find Mounce’s same technique for English text in his Greek for the Rest of Us, also published by Zondervan.
The Text: James 1:12-15 (HSCB)
12 A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. 13 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. 14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.
By Dr. Jim Parker, Associate Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Associate Vice President for Facilities at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
C. S. Lewis once remarked that “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have someone to forgive. “ We always want to be forgiven when we are the offenders, but what about when we have received an offense or someone has hurt us? We are never as quick to give forgiveness as we are to want it.
Some determine the speed with which forgiveness is given or the depth of the forgiveness extended based on the perceived severity of the offense. The severity of the offense is usually based on the consequential damage of the offense. For instance, it is easier, we feel, to forgive someone for stealing $20 from us than someone who has perhaps murdered a family member. Based on the severity of consequences then, we feel we are able to delay forgiveness until such a time as we deem is appropriate or in some cases (I fear many cases) we withhold it altogether. This just seems like the right thing to do, doesn’t it?
In 1998 a professing Christian man that was performing a professional service for me literally stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from me. At first I was in denial about it and believed that this man would not really do this to me, a friend, a brother in Christ. Soon it became apparent that he had done it and was doing everything he could to avoid me and my attempts to get my money back. Weeks turned to months and months to years. I was forced to go through the processes of law to try and recover my money, paying out even more money to a legal system that ultimately failed to help me. I never got one dime of the money that was stolen. If anyone ever had a reason to withhold forgiveness, certainly it was me and surely these circumstances dictated that I do so. Don’t you think so?
This is a list of recent blog posts which we found interesting. That we found them interesting doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with or endorse the ideas presented in the posts, but that we found them to be intriguing and thought-provoking. (They are listed in no particular order of interest). Please post your comments to discuss any article that strikes your interest. If you have recent blog posts to nominate, please send the link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the SBC
“Southern Baptists, Immigration, and Ducks,” by Howell Scott on the From Law to Grace blog, expressing concern about the resolution on immigration approved by the SBC Phoenix.
“Deporting Compassion, the Gospel, and Illegals,” by Andrew Wencl on the SBC Impact blog, with further commentary on the SBC Phoenix resolution on immigration.
“Al Mohler, Homosexuality, and Continued Moral Confusion, Part 1 and Part 2,” by Peter Lumpkins, with further reflection on Dr. Mohler’s comments about homosexuality at and after the SBC convention in Phoenix.
“Help Me Understand, Dr. Mohler,” by Tim Rogers at the Southern Baptist in North Carolina blog, with further conversation about Dr. Mohler’s comments about homosexuality.
“Mohler on Homosexuality: Read and Comprehend,” by Matt Svoboda on the SBC Voices blog, with further conversation about Dr. Mohler’s comments about homosexuality.