By Greg Tomlin, President of Christus Films
Note: This article is a response to a recently published Harvard University study which claimed to prove, among other things, that persons attending Fourth of July parades tended to be more patriotic and to vote Republican, whereas those who didn’t tend to be Democrats.
The title of this little essay is not indicative of my position. It is what I can only imagine is the mercurial rant of liberal New England, socialist elite parents who recently had their fears confirmed that 4th of July parades and other exhibitions of patriotism breed Republicans.
After all, Harvard confirmed it in a new study, timed for release just before our nation’s most profound and sacred holiday.
I’m not “joshing” here, as the patriotic folk in rural Texas say. The press release for the Harvard study claims, “Attending one Fourth of July [parade/event] before age 18 increases the likelihood of identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent and voting for the Republican candidate by 4 percent. It also increases voter turnout by 0.9 percent and boosts political campaign contributions by 3 percent.” In an era of narrow voting margins, we can’t have that, now can we?
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 email@example.com.
About the SBC
“Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists: Calvinism, Revivals, Evangelism, Tracts,” by David Brumbelow at the Gulf Coast Pastor blog, with his reflections on the COSBE conference in Phoenix.
“Why Are We So Worried about Church Growth?” by Ryan Johnston at the Helwys Society Forum blog, with some reflections on church growth.
“What Is a Moderate Baptist?” http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6518/9/ and “Call Me a Cooperative Baptist” http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6522/9/ by Barry Howard, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida (a CBF affiliated congregation), posted as opinion articles in Associated Baptist Press, arguing for the term “Cooperative Baptist” over “Moderate Baptist” for that tradition.
Theological Vocabulary Thursday
Free Will: Two Versions in Southern Baptist Life
By L. Manning Garrett III, Ph.D., Pastor, East Laurel Baptist Church, Jackson, TN
This article is intended to be of interest to pastors and lay persons. I do not begin with the assumption that all of the readers of SBC Today are familiar with the philosophical discussion surrounding the issue of free will. Nonetheless, the writer’s motivation is to encourage the reader to check out his/her view about free will with regard to an issue that is foremost in the mind of every evangelical Christian: whether one who rejects Jesus Christ as Savior, Son of God, Messiah, and Lord does so by one’s own free will choice and if so to ask: what does free will mean? It is assumed that most Southern Baptists will affirm that the decision to reject Jesus follows from a free will decision. In Southern Baptist life there are and probably have always been two versions of free will that separate most NonCalvinist and Calvinist Southern Baptists: libertarian free will and compatibilistic free will.
Most NonCalvinist advocates of libertarian free will maintain that in regard to a choice or action that was exercised the agent had a real option to have wanted to do otherwise. In other words, there were genuine alternatives other than the choice and action that was made. Most Calvinists who hold to compatibilistic free will maintain that determinism eliminates real options but determinism does coexist with a free will. So, the choice is determined but the agent also can be said to have exercised free will. Clearly, there is a definitional difference among Southern Baptists over what it means to exercise a free choice.
Monday Sermon Idea
To Be a Christian
(Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; and 1 Peter 4:16)
By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, AL
These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material.
To be a Christian is a contradiction in many ways. Dr. A. W. Tozer shares in That Incredible Christian:
Let us . . . simply observe the true Christian as he puts into practice the teachings of Christ and His apostles. Note the contradictions:
The Christian believes that in Christ he has died, yet he is more alive than before and he fully expects to live forever. He walks on earth while seated in heaven and though born on earth he finds that after his conversion he is not at home here. Like the nighthawk, which in the air is the essence of grace and beauty but on the ground is awkward and ugly, so the Christian appears at his best in the heavenly places but does not fit well into the ways of the very society into which he was born.
The Christian soon learns that if he would be victorious as a son of heaven among men on earth he must not follow the common pattern of mankind, but rather the contrary. That he may be safe he puts himself in jeopardy; he loses his life to save it and is in danger of losing it if he attempts to preserve it. He goes down to get up. If he refuses to go down he is already down, but when he starts down he is on his way up.
He is strongest when he is weakest and weakest when he is strong. Though poor he has the power to make others rich, but when he becomes rich his ability to enrich others vanishes. He has most after he has given most away and has least when he possesses most.
He may be and often is highest when he feels lowest and most sinless when he is most conscious of sin. He is wisest when he knows that he knows not and knows least when he has acquired the greatest amount of knowledge. He sometimes does most by doing nothing and goes furthest when standing still. In heaviness he manages to rejoice and keeps his heart glad even in sorrow.
The Best of A. W. Tozer: Book One, compiled by Warren W. Wiersbe, Chapter 20, (Camp Hill, PA: Wingspread Publishers, 1978, 2000) [Originally published, A. W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian: How Heaven”s Children Live on Earth (Harrisburg, Pa.: Christian Publications, 1964)] © 1978, 2000 by Zur Ltd.. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.
By Wes Kenney, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Valliant, OK
At its annual meeting in Indianapolis in 2008, the Southern Baptist Convention spoke clearly on the issue of regenerate church membership. This is an area in which many SBC churches (my own included) have struggled greatly. At an earlier time in our convention’s history, it was not at all uncommon for a church with 100 members to average 200 or more in weekly attendance. We have turned that right around in the last century or so, and that’s not a good thing. We’ve taken membership and discipline far less seriously than we ought, and our witness as churches has suffered for it. It is indeed sad that a person who may have walked an aisle, repeated a prayer, and been immersed in a tank of water when they were seven years old can, at the age of 50, say with a straight face that they are a member of the church where these events took place when they have not attended a service for three decades or more. What is even sadder is that the church might be more concerned with offending someone than they are with the spiritual condition of their erstwhile “member.” Yet this situation, in some variation or other, is played out countless times in churches throughout our convention.