Dr. Robert Jeffress and conservative evangelical Christians who oppose open immigration are not “utilitarians” who think like abortionists as one SBC blogger wrote. Such a charge is a damnable lie and mischaracterization, but we should expect no less of the followers of Russell Moore and his progressive fellow travelers who have infiltrated the Southern Baptist Convention.
The key charge from SBC Voices is that Dr. Jeffress views immigrants no differently than abortion supporters view infants. “At the core, Jeffress uses the same logic to restrict certain groups of people from entering the country as abortion lobbyists use to restrict babies from entering life outside the womb. On the one hand it is perceived value to the person and on the other hand it is perceived value to the nation.”
This is nonsense. Carrying this logic to its conclusion presents its absurdity. When hiring someone for a job, may I consider their qualifications? Is that using abortion logic if I hire based on talent and skills instead of God’s view of the person? Or, are the situations different? Perhaps, as in hiring, determining immigration policy isn’t a Gospel issue or any type of moral issue, but rather a reasonable wisdom issue where Christians should look to the merits of the policy instead of condemning one another. Continue reading
Dr. Rick Patrick, Pastor
FBC Sylacauga, Alabama
Exec. Director, Connect 316
In the vocabulary of the immigration debate, DREAMers were brought to America by their illegal immigrant parents when they were too young to bear any responsibility for the crime. Their name derives from the DREAM Act first introduced in 2001, which never passed. (Perhaps we should simply speak of the DREAM Bill.) The acronym stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, a group of people generally innocent of any wrongdoing. But what happens when a DREAMer becomes an adult? They are neither citizens nor criminals. Their unique status has resulted in no small amount of controversy regarding what to do with them. In addition to the ethical concerns, political strategists clearly covet these 3.6 million potential voters.
The aim of this essay is not to discuss the ethical or political implications of the debate, but rather, to explore the underlying philosophical and theological arguments concerning injustice that have been presented by those who oppose DREAMer Deportation, on the one hand, and those who oppose Reformed Reprobation, on the other. In listening to the logic of deportation opponents, I have been struck by the similarities and parallels with my own line of reasoning concerning the basic unfairness of the Calvinist doctrine of Reprobation. Continue reading
At the outset of this commentary, it should be stated that the opinions stated herein are the byproduct of closely watching the actions of people over the years. It would be human nature for one to read this article and try to attach names to it. If one does so then they are doing something this author is not intending.
So much is happening so quickly in the universe of our Southern Baptist Zion that people cannot absorb all that is being said and done. Many things are sliding right past the conscious minds of people which are extremely important. Fewer people are analyzing what is being said and more of them are evaluating things based on personal feelings and what “just seems right to me.” A good example of what this writer sees is this thing we call transparency. Everyone wants to be known as a person who is honest, clean, wholesome and transparent. Transparency is nothing more than a public and personal display of a life which is based on truth and goodness. It is a characteristic of a life lived in such a way that the one living it doesn’t mind if anyone and everyone sees him as he actually is. He is open. He welcomes investigation knowing that one will find nothing that he would not want discussed or openly known.
Transparency is not a trait a person acquires only after they are caught in some sin or failure. For one to suddenly desire transparency when he is caught is like the thief who is sorry for his actions only after he is arrested. Suddenly the person seeks to appear noble by being transparent. Why wasn’t he so interested in that transparency before? If he had been, then he probably wouldn’t have found himself in a pickle because he was involved in some action that he could not be transparent about. But, all of a sudden, with his hand in the cookie jar, this person tries to engender some sense of nobility and honesty by showing people how sorry he is and how transparently he can deal with it.
There is a huge problem here that most are letting go right past them. Most people will extol the virtues of the transparency of the person involved. They will speak of him in glowing terms and point to his bravery and honesty. Remember, by this time the person is appealing to honesty and transparency only because it pays him to do so. The failing fades into the background as the quality of transparency is elevated to a status that it does not command. The problem is that many people will reveal their lack of spiritual maturity by equating transparency with repentance. Repentance deals with sin in the right way. Transparency does not deal with the sin. It only begs for tolerance in how the person is evaluated or treated. The Holy Spirit of God will lead us into a life that can be lived in a transparent way. The world and its sinful ways will cause a willing person to fall into that which must be hidden. So, just because a person is suddenly transparent, we must not ascribe to him some kind of noble status which is far short of repentance. This writer has noted that those who suddenly become transparent under pressure will reveal only what is necessary. One will often find that there is more to the story which the sudden transparency didn’t get around to dealing with.
My concern is that we can observe that many people confuse transparency with repentance and are perfectly happy with their conclusion. The individual who is suddenly so transparent is held up as a spiritual person of high moral character due to his willingness to “come clean” and be transparent. One living in obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit will not find himself in such a position as having to appeal to transparency for survival and sympathy. Remember, a person begging transparency is usually doing so because he is caught and facing severe consequences.
So, the point is made. Transparency is not and cannot be equated with repentance. One would have to be evaluating a spiritual situation from an emotional position to think that it can be. In fact, for a person to have to appeal to transparency in the midst of a discovered sin is for them to use it for a selfish purpose when that very quality, transparency, should be a normal byproduct of a Godly life. To have to appeal to it says that it was not a part of that person’s life beforehand.
May we all live our lives in such obedience to the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit that we would live transparency and not have to appeal to it.