In a recent post, I referenced my time spent reading old works on Baptist ecclesiology. I'm still trudging through Dargan's massive work. In light of the recent (and sometimes heated) discussion on changes in IMB baptism guidelines, I ran across a quote that I think is appropriate.
After surveying the duty of Baptists to defend their beliefs on baptism against pedobaptists, anti-immersionists, and baptismal regenerationists, Dargan locates a fourth category of interlocutors: those who disagree on the issues of 'sucessionism' and 'alien immersion'. Of course, he is referring to Landmarkers (at least that's the plain reading to me). The quote is a bit long, but worthy of reading.
Among themselves [Baptists] to find some way of mutual peace and love in regard to the questions of 'succession,' 'alien immersion,' and the like. So far as appears there is little prospect of any speedy and final settlement of these points of controversy among us. We are now, and for some time are likely to be, face to face with the question: Shall we agree to differ on these two points, live together in peace, or divide the denomination upon them? The wisdom of the past may be our light. Our fathers differed widely and earnestly. They argued logically and strongly, but they held the great denomination together and loved each other, though they could not see eye to eye upon these two particular points. Let this be the attitude of their children, and holding as firmly as we do to the sound scriptural positions as to the mode and subjects of baptism, let us in the spirit of love and fairness oppose those who maintain any other; and on the unsettled questions in our own ranks maintain the spirit of mutual toleration and respect. (Dargan, Ecclesiology, 217)
Dargan's point, I think, is that there are some things regarding baptism worth fighting for (for the regenerate, by immersion, as symbolic). On issues of baptismal (or church) succession and (the rejection of?) alien immersion, let us act with love and civility, remembering always that this is nothing to be rigid about, or to divide over.
I'm looking forward to the next few weeks. On Saturday, I'm heading for OK, where I will be helping with the BGCO State Evangelism Conference. My mentor is heading it up and I'm going up to assist him (read: be his slave). I'll have a chance to see some old friends and hopefully meet some new ones.
On Wednesday, I'm off to Atlanta for the second annual Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum. This year's topic is Intelligent Design. To me, it's not as exciting as last year's topic, a debate on the resurrection between Tom Wright and John Dominic Crossen, but it's a good excuse to allow me to go to Atlanta, where many of my NOBTS friends fled in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. If nothing else, I'll have a chance to see some old friends that I've not seen since the hurricane.
Then, I'm heading to Kentucky to visit some friends. My friend Blake is pastor of a church in Lexington. He and Rachel have been some of my best friends since I began seminary over 5 years ago. We evacuated the Gulf Coast together and sat on the same couch and watched as New Orleans flooded. A jot to the west a bit places me in Frankfort, KY, where my best friend lives. Kelly was my first roommate in seminary and we've been close ever since. He corrects my grammar and I teach him about sports (as if he cares!). Because his cat will bother my allergies (stupid cat), after a few days I'll slide further west to Louisville to visit my younger brother, who starts his first year of seminary at SBTS (though not without many, many attempts to get him to come to NOBTS; oh well). After some time hanging with friends and family in KY, I've got one more stop to make.
My fourth stop is New Orleans. Ah, the Big Easy. I never realized how much I liked it until I had to leave. I've been back once since Katrina, to walk through my apartment and take some pictures. That was all I could do as it was a first floor apartment that was completely destroyed. I'll be in New Orleans for the weekend of Feb. 12, when my church has it's first Sunday worship service since the hurricane. A small group has been meeting in a home on Saturday evenings for the last few months, but our new pastor will preach for the first time on that Sunday. I'm not missing it for the world. Someone donated a tent and we will set up in the parking lot. Worshipping outside in New Orleans will be great in February; it won't 'smell' so good come July! But for now, I'm more than grateful. I'll spend a few days visiting my friends and driving around town, remembering good times and seeing the progress (or lackthereof) of the rebuilding effort. I'm still waiting to hear from FEMA about getting my own trailer so I can move back to New Orleans permanently; I just keep waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and . . .
What's the point of all of this? Two things. First, this gives some of you who live in these areas a general guide to my timeline. It will be a three-week road trip. Why not? What else do I have to do? Second, I'm quite positive I will have limited internet access at best. This means little or no posting for a while, as well as minimal responses to comments made. I'll try my best to respond occasionally, but no frequency can be guaranteed.
Most of my life, I've heard the phrase "baptism is the door to the church." I took this as gospel truth for I had no reason to think otherwise. However, when the issue arose with IMB trustees redefining what acceptable baptism is, I began to rethink my views on this issue. In tandem, I've been reading significantly in the area of Baptist ordinances for my dissertation. I've not come to a final decision, but I can say my views are not what they used to be.
In one of my readings today, I ran across a 'gem' of a statement by a well-respected Baptist ecclesiologist, E. C. Dargan. He taught homiletics and ecclesiology at Southern Seminary when there was only one SBC sponsored seminary. In 1897, he published a work entitled Ecclesiology: A Study of the Churches. As best I can tell, it is the most comprehensive Baptist ecclesiology ever published. In his opening remarks on the ordinances, he writes the following about baptism:
Baptism, while it is not the "door of the church" in any proper sense, is a necessary prerequisite to admission through the door, which is the vote of the church itself.
In this manner, baptism is still considered an ordinance of the church because the church must affirm the authenticity of each person's baptism. However, at least with this quote, baptism is not identification with a church. It is an exercise of obedience that each believer participates in before s/he applies for church membership.
I've got more quotes, from more Baptists, but I want us to chew on this for awhile. In light of the IMB guideline changes, let us consider again what baptism means, and its relationship to church membership.
Many of you may have heard of the tragic accident yesterday in Florida, where a 15 year old was driving a van with six of her relatives. They were all coming home from school when a tractor-trailer rear-ended them into a bus, causing the van to catch on fire. All seven passengers died. They ranged in age from 15 years to 20 months. My heart broke for the mother of this family, as she lost 6 adopted children and the youngest was about to be adopted.
Today CNN.com is reporting that the grandfather of the adopted children was so overcome with grief that he had a massive heart attack and died last night. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and grief that Barbara Mann is experiencing. I grieved first-hand over the destruction of New Orleans as I watched my city and my apartment were overcome with floodwater. However, I could never imagine such grief on a personal scale.
May we pray that God assuages her grief and that she rests in His sovereignty during such painful times.
Sometimes I'm amazed at funny little parts of Scripture. Have you ever been reading along and noticed that sometimes something's just not right with the picture?
A funny passage I ran across the other day in my Bible reading time is found in Acts 23. If anything, it's a lesson in learning what kind of promises to make. After Paul is arrested in Jerusalem for causing a 'disturbance' in the Temple, he is put in jail. While in jail, v. 12-13 teach that more than 40 men bound themselves to an oath, "saying they would entire eat nor drink until they had killed Paul." The only problem with their plan was that Paul's nephew heard about the plot and told the Roman officials. So, late in the night, the transported Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea, under the protection of governor Felix. It turns out that the men were never able to accomplish their goal of killing Paul. So I wonder, how long did they keep their oath? Did they all end up dying of a 'hunger strike'? I seriously doubt it. Did some give up sooner than others? Probably. If so, did those who held out longer pick on them for being sissies? Maybe. I doubt we'll ever know. I think it's funny, though.
To be honest, there's no agenda for this post. The moral, maybe, is that you should be careful what you promise; you may not be able to deliver. Sometimes, I'm just struck with the occasional humor of the Scriptures. I hope you are as well.
[Update: Some of you have already contributed your 'funny Scripture passage'. If others have examples they would like to post, please do. I love that there are many of these passages in the Bible that most of us skim over without ever noticing. We need to be reminded of such humor. It helps us remember that, although the authors of Scripture were inspired, and their writings inerrant, they were also humans just like we are. They record the silly stuff and it reminds us that the saints of old are often times no better than the saints of now.]
Over the last few days, I've felt that something in my life is a bit out of whack lately. I figured it out this morning when I woke up and the first thing that i wanted to do was hit the internet to scan the blogs for activity. I realized that i spend way too much time online looking at blogs.
Therefore, I am taking a two-day break from blogging (some might say, that's no different than normal, you usually go 5-10 days between posting a new blog!!!). I am refraining from posting on my blog, reading comments on my blog, or replying to new comments. I am also taking a break from reading other people's blogs. I realized that time spent on blog reading could be invested elsewhere. Am I backing down from my disagreement with the IMB trustees on baptism? No. I just need to intentionally spend some time away from the internet to clear my mind and re-adjust my priorities.
If you post a comment, thank you for your patience over these next two days as I am absent. I will reply to all comments when I return on Friday.
P.S. There will be a proxy administrator monitoring my blog for the next few days. If inappropriate comments are made during this time, they will be deleted.
There seems to be some confusion, mostly my fault I think, regarding what my major issues with the IMB trustees are. Some of the readers of my blog may think that my cause is defending Wade Burleson. This is not my major issue. Do I think he is being treated unfairly? Most likely yes, but I don't know all of the sides. If the IMB Trustees are going to wait until Greensboro to present their side, then the only information I have comes from Wade's side. This leads me to conclude he is being treated unfairly, but I may be wrong.
My beef with the trustees is doctrinal. I disagree with their theology, or specifically the new guidelines that have enacted regarding baptism and prayer languages. The purpose of posting trustee contact information was primarily so that Southern Baptists could write to inquire of the justification for these changes. In addition, they could also ask about the Burleson issue.
In an effort to present my thoughts on this matter, I submitted an essay to the Baptist paper in my state. Whether they will publish it is uncertain. However, I have decided to post it here so that you may understand my differences with the IMB trustees. The article is not a full-fledged argument. In order to make it publication worthy, I had a word limit. Therefore, there are some issues that are not fully developed, but this was for the sake of publication. Below is the article that was submitted yesterday:
As Baptists, we call ourselves a “People of the Book”. We pride ourselves on our desire to conform to the whole counsel of Scripture when it comes to our religious practices and to the teachings of the New Testament in matters of church life. In addition, Baptists have consistently been a confessional people. Confessions express shared beliefs among a cooperating group of believers or churches. Southern Baptists have composed three confessions in our one 160 year history, the most recent being 2000’s revised Baptist Faith and Message (BFM2000). What happens, though, when some Baptists begin to redefine core doctrines of our faith in a way that does not adhere to Biblical teachings or with our most recent confession? Could some Baptists formulate guidelines/beliefs that overstep the Bible or our confession?
This scenario is exactly what has happened recently. In November 2005, the trustees of the International Mission Board (IMB) voted to change certain policies regarding the requirements for missionary candidates. In an effort to narrow the requirements for missionary candidates, trustees revised their understanding of the issue of private prayer language and what constitutes proper baptism. The size of this article does not allow for me to provide an in-depth analysis of the entire situation. Instead, I will focus specifically on why I believe the changes to candidate baptism requirements should be revoked.
The previous IMB policy for proper baptism of missionary candidates can be summarized as follows: 1) baptism by immersion following conversion; 2) baptism is viewed as an expression of faith in Christ, not seen as part of the salvation process; 3) the candidate’s home church must be SBC affiliated which testifies that the candidate’s baptism is sound and biblical; and 4) the candidate must have been in good standing for at least three years. These guidelines sufficiently express Biblical and Baptist theology. However, the new policy adds additional requirements to the old guidelines. The church which baptizes the candidate must: 1) baptize by immersion only; 2) reject baptismal regeneration; 3) and believe in the doctrine of eternal security. These additions seem harmless enough on the surface, but on closer examination, may turn out to be not just extra-biblical and un-Baptistic, but harmful as well. In fact, my contention is that these new guidelines fall in line much closer with Roman Catholic theology than Baptist beliefs. Why would I suggest these things?
First, baptism is identification with Christ, not with a particular church (Acts 8.12, 8.38; 10.47-48; Rom. 6.3-5; Gal. 3.27). If baptism identified a person with a church, then logically one should be rebaptized every time he or she joins a new church. These new changes explicitly make the baptizing church’s theology vital to “proper” baptism. The BFM2000 defines proper baptism as symbolic of a believer’s faith in Jesus. Although it is considered a church ordinance, baptism does not identify a person with a local church. Baptism comes first, then church membership. The latter is dependent upon the former, but not vice versa. There seems to be an underlying assumption on the part of the trustees that one’s baptism is an endorsement of the theology of the baptizing church. I have been a Southern Baptist all of my Christian life. I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, but that does not mean I believed everything my church believed. I have disagreed on more than a few points of doctrine with various churches over the years, but I still worshipped and served in a cooperative manner. My baptism was not an endorsement of every doctrine of my baptizing church. It was my identification with Christ.
Second, baptism is identification with Christ, not with particular doctrines. We do not expect new converts who are baptized to understand everything about theology. Theological growth is expected after conversion, not before (e.g., the Great Commission’s order to “baptize” precedes the commandment to “[teach] them to observe all that I commanded you”). We all have grown and refined our theology as we have walked with Christ longer and studied our Bibles more. Even more significantly, though, the IMB trustees are not regulating what a convert must believe at the time of baptism, but what the baptizing church must believe. As Baptists, we believe in the eternal security of those Christ has saved, but we do not think that eternal security validates our baptism. If this was the case, it would follow that those having been scripturally baptized (by immersion as believers in a symbolic manner) who did not believe in eternal security were not really baptized! Do the IMB trustees really believe that?
As far as I can tell, no Baptist confession or theologian has ever required a church to hold certain doctrines before considering their baptisms to be valid. Baptist confessions tie proper baptism to identification with Christ, not a host of other systematic doctrines. So, what is the problem? First, eternal security has nothing to do with proper baptism. Second, these trustees have started with this doctrine, but who is to say this will be the only one? What if they later add other doctrinal requirement for baptism? What if the baptizing church does not believe in a literal seven-day view of creation? Will baptisms performed in a church like that be considered invalid by the IMB? What about churches that practice elder (instead of deacon) leadership? Will missionary candidates from elder-led churches one day be required to resubmit to ‘proper’ baptism by deacon-led churches? What about Calvinistic versus Arminian churches? How absurd is this? I’m not predicting that the trustees will continue to restrict the rules for right baptism and slide down this slippery slope, but even if they stop here they have already gone too far.
Third, this policy is more in line with Roman Catholic theology than with Baptist theology. Men such as Cyprian and Augustine, and events such as the Donatist Controversy, were vital in the formulation Roman Catholic theology on baptism. In these instances, the Roman Catholic Church defended the view that proper baptism depends on the doctrine of the church for the right administration of baptism. For Catholics, proper baptism is tied directly to the transfer of the church’s right doctrine to the baptized person. In other words, the correctness of Church doctrine validates the act of baptism. Am I accusing IMB trustees of being Roman Catholic? No. However, a similar line of thinking taking place: the Church possesses right doctrine, confers it upon baptismal candidates, and validates one’s baptism.
Fourth, IMB trustees have overstepped biblical and confessional beliefs and must be corrected. Trustees are elected by SBC church messengers at annual national conventions. Trustees are elected to oversee and to hold accountable the various SBC entities (IMB, North American Mission Board, seminaries, etc.). They are elected by us and are accountable to us. When they err, they should be corrected. I am not one of the IMB trustees. I was not part of their discussion on this issue, although I sincerely believe they gave this issue much thought before voting. I hold no ill will toward any of them; rather, I am extremely thankful for their hard work and for their gifts in overseeing a most treasured organization, the IMB. However, one of our responsibilities as Baptists is to hold trustees responsible for their decisions. In this case, I believe they are biblically and Baptistically wrong in adding these new restrictions to “proper” baptism. Therefore, I urge you to consider this issue carefully. Then, inquire about how you can become a messenger for your church and attend the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro, North Carolina this June. I suspect there will be a motion to rescind this latest policy change. Search the Scriptures, read the BFM2000, and decide if these policy changes are necessary. Then, vote your conscience.
As I've thought on this more, I am changing an earlier statement I made. Instead of contacting the IMB trustees from your state, I think people should contact EVERY trustee. This change is based on two reasons:
First, unlike the federal govenernment, the trustees in the SBC are not the representatives of each state's constituents. That is, they are not polling for the interests of their state alone. In addition, they represent all Southern Baptists, not just those residing in their state. Therefore, every trustee is accountable to every Southern Baptist, regardless of regional differences.
Second, if trustees only hear from those in their state, they may not think this issue is as important as it really is. If all of us contact all of them, they will see the enormity of the problem. By contacting each trustee individually, either with phone calls or personal emails, they will most likely respond. Sending a form email to the entire list seems very impersonal and will most likely lead to minimal response. Individual emails and phone calls should ilicit a higher percentage of interaction between the trustees and those demanding an explanation.
So, start now. Begin composing emails to each of the trustees. Thank them for their service and inquire of their position on this issue. They are not allowed to tell you the inside information of the meetings, but they should discuss their position on the matter. Then, make plans to be in Greensboro in June. For the first time, younger leaders will have the chance to showcase their thoughts and the Convention may be forced to listen.
Wade Burleson has announced that the trustees of the IMB have requested that the convention vote to remove him from the IMB trustee board. As best I can tell, the by-laws of the constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention state that a majority vote is needed to remove him from the board. There is a proviso, stating the possibility that provisions may be made to make it a 'greater than majority vote'. See below:
34. Voting: A. All propositions, decisions, and choices shall be by a majority vote of the registered messengers present and voting, except where provisions have been made for a greater than majority vote. The vote shall be taken by ballot, by voice, by rising, by show of hands, by common consent, or by some other acceptable method. B. In order to cast a vote, a messenger must be present at the time the vote is taken. Voting by proxy is not permitted.
What does this have to do with me/you/us? Well, if you are a Southern Baptist, you most likely sat by and watched others be blackballed from our convention in the past. Maybe you felt they deserved it because they were moderates and had no place in our convention. I've felt that way. The tables turn, though, when it is one of your own that is being attacked. Burleson is no moderate. He happens to hold to a philosophy of cooperation instead of a philosophy of exclusion. For that, he is being maligned.
As far as I can tell, Wade has been nothing but gracious in his exposure of bad IMB trustee theology and policies. In return, they accuse him of being a gossip and a slander. I am grateful for a man who sticks by his convictions. Thank you, Wade.
Now, what can you do? First, you can read up on the issues at Wade's blog or at Marty's blog. Second, you can write/email/call your state trustee(s) and ask for an explanation (see previous post for contact info). As trustees, they are accountable to you (if you are a member of an SBC church). Ask them for biblical justification for their position on baptism and prayer language. Ask them if they believe Wade was ever slanderous or ever treated anyone with malcontent. Third, you can join me in Greensboro, NC in June 13-14 for the annual SB Convention. I am not a fan of politics, especially religious politics. However, I think this will be a defining moment for me. If my convention blindly follows the lead of 10-12 trustees and evicts a godly man for disagreeing with their unbiblical theology, then I will have serious reservations about future affiliation with said convention.
If we as a convention do not see the gravity of this issue, then we have serious blind spots. If we continue to press for this definition of baptism, then we truly must renounce any claim that we are 'people of the book.'
I am providing contact information for every IMB trustee. Please take the time to contact every trustee in your state. Be gracious and loving, honoring Christ with your words and your thoughts. Be firm, also. They are accountable to you for their actions and decisions. The names are arrainged by state, making it easier for you to find and contact all of your trustees.
I tried to avoid posting home numbers. For those trustees who did not provide office numbers, however, I am posting home numbers. I feel there should be some way to contact them via phone, whether in the office or at home. All trustee information was obtained from the Contact Center of the International Mission Board. If you wish for more information, please contact the IMB.
AK Nichols, Mrs. Mary Jo (Mary) PO Box 3412 Kenai, AK 99611-3412 Church: First Baptist Church Home: (907) 283-7337 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2001-2007 (E) Vocation: Homemaker State Representing: AK
AL Hickman, Mr. Bill (Bill) PO Box 772 Dothan, AL 36302-0772 Church: First Baptist Church Ashford Office: (334) 792-3557 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2000-2008 (I) Vocation: Insurance/Investments State Representing: AL
Hudgins, Dr. Billy F. (Billy) 3120 Appalachian Hwy Apt 5 Hokes Bluff, AL 35903 Church: Crosscreek Community Church Office: (256) 492-6900 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 1998-2006 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: AL
Pair, Rev. Herman (Herman) 136 Twin Oaks Drive Oneonta, AL 35121-2916 Church: Lakeview Baptist Church Office: (205) 247-0807 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2000-2008 (I) Vocation: Evangelism/Missions State Representing: AL
Pruett, Rev. James W. (Jamey) 1519 Arcade Terrace Bessemer, AL 35023-1060 Church: Concord Baptist Church Office: (205) 491-2166 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2003-2007 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: AL
Stoudenmire, Mrs. Laurelle (Laurelle) 351 Safford Avenue W Thomasville, AL 36784-3109 Church: State Missionary Parent Fellowships Home: (334) 636-5265 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 1999-2007 (I) Vocation: Retired Nurse State Representing: AL
AR Hatley, Dr. Thomas E. (Tom) Immanuel Baptist Church 506 W Poplar Street Rogers, AR 72756-4492 Church: Immanuel Baptist Church Office: (479) 636-1230 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 1999-2007 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: AR
Hewgley, Mr. Joseph W. (Joe) 10 Fitch Circle Rogers, AR 72756-8213 Church: Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Office: (479) 366-1398 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2003-2007 (E) Vocation: Property Manager State Representing: AR
McAlister, Dr. Charles E. (Chuck) The Church of Crossgate Center 3100 East Grand Avenue Hot Springs, AR 71901 Church: The Church of Crossgate Center Office: (501) 262-9779 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2002-2006 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: AR
AZ Tsoi, Dr. Simon H. (Simon) 5139 E Pinchot Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85018 Church: Valley Chinese Baptist Church Office: (602) 327-1834 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2004-2008 (E) Vocation: Executive Director, Bapt Fellowship State Representing: AZ
CA Callis, Mrs. Juli Anne (Juli Anne) 6231 Running Springs Road San Jose, CA 95135-2217 Church: Alum. Rock Baptist Church Office: (408) 731-4109 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2003-2007 (E) Vocation: CEO financial services State Representing: CA
Corbaley, Dr. Jerry (Jerry) 1890 Cliff Avenue McKinleyville, CA 95519 Church: Fresh Air Church Office: (707) 834-3971 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2002-2006 (E) Vocation: Director of Missions State Representing: CA
Withers, Rev. R. Blake (Blake) Las Brisas Bible Fellowship 24270 Adams Avenue Murrieta, CA 92562-7213 Church: Las Brisas Bible Fellowship Office: (951) 677-8272 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2005-2007 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: CA
CO King, Dr. Kevin (Kevin) Archor Way Baptist Church 40650 Anchor Way Steamboat Springs, CO, 80487 Church: Anchor Way Baptist Church Office: (970) 879-7062 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: CO
DC Johnson, Dr. Andrew Floyd (Andy) 623 21st Street, NE Washington, DC 20002 Church: Capitol Hill Baptist Church Office: (202) 225-6395 E-mail: DCTexan_95@yahoo.com Term of Service: 2005-2007 (E) Vocation: Senate Staff State Representing: DC
FL Crawford, Dr. Gary L. (Gary) 10000 W Newberry Road Gainesville, FL 32606-5544 Church: Westside Baptist Church Office: (352) 333-7700 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2003-2006 (E) Vocation: Senior Pastor State Representing: FL
Harness, Rev. Clytee (Clytee) First Baptist Church PO Box 98 Elfers, FL 34680-0098 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (727) 849-6352 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 1997-2007 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: FL
Reeves, Rev. Gerald B. (Gerald) 622 Bayshore Drive Niceville, FL 32578-2545 Church: Niceville First Baptist Church Office: (850) 678-4621 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2001-2008 (I) Vocation: Senior Pastor State Representing: FL
Russell, Rev. John C. (John) Bell Shoals Baptist Church 2102 Bell Shoals Road Brandon, FL 33511 Church: Bell Shoals Baptist Church Office: (813) 689-4229 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2000-2008 (I) Vocation: Senior Associate Pastor State Representing: FL
*Welch, Rev. Bobby H. (Bobby) First Baptist Church 118 N Palmetto Avenue Daytona Beach, FL 32114-3277 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (386) 253-5691 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2004-2006 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: FL
Whitten, Rev. Kenneth C. (Ken) Idlewild Baptist Church P.O. Box 44 Lutz, FL 33548-0044 Church: Idlewild Baptist Church Office: (813) 264-8722 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2001-2009 (I) Vocation: Senior Pastor State Representing: FL
GA Baxter, Dr. David (David) 5914 Love Street Austell, GA 30168-4033 Church: Mt Harmony Baptist Church Office: (770) 739-9971 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2001-2006 (E) Vocation: Medical Doctor State Representing: GA
Brugh, Dr. Robert L. (Bob) 140 Arbor View Drive Athens, GA 30605-3302 Church: Prince Avenue Baptist Church Home: (706) 543-5214 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 1999-2007 (I) Vocation: Retired Engineer State Representing: GA
Jackson, Mrs. Nedra (Nedra) PO Box 428 Social Circle, GA 30025-0357 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (770) 464-3474 x35 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2000-2007 (I) Vocation: Minister of Missions State Representing: GA
Merck, Rev. Douglas W. (Doug) 3268 Helen Hwy Cleveland, GA 30528 Church: Mt Yonah Baptist Church Office: (706) 219-0272 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2001-2009 (I) Vocation: Director of Missions State Representing: GA
Ricketson, Mr. Edward D. (Ed) 556 Main Street Warrenton, GA 30828-8111 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (706) 465-3313 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 1998-2006 (I) Vocation: Insurance Agent State Representing: GA
Schaefer, Mr. John N. (John) 1123 Colony Drive Marietta, GA 30068 Church: Johnson Ferry Baptist Church Office: (800) 433-3154 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2000-2008 (I) Vocation: Company president State Representing: GA
HI Kuwahara, Mr. Kenneth (Kenneth) 1100 Ward Avenue, Suite 600 Honolulu, HI 96814-1600 Church: Mililani Baptist Church Office: (808) 527-7264 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Insurance Sales State Representing: HI
IL Booze, Mr. Harold C. (Harold) 109 Fawn Haven Drive East Peoria, IL 61611 Church: Woodland Baptist Church Office: (309) 256-0925 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Retired HR State Representing: IL
Stevens, Mrs. Joyce (Joyce) PO Box 327 Carterville, IL 62918 0327 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (618) 985-3362 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2001-2009 (I) Vocation: Homemaker State Representing: IL
IN Elam, Mr. Charles L. (Charles) 9720 Clarmonte Drive Saint John, IN 46373-9451 Church: Cline Avenue Fellowship Office: (219) 791-9000 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2005-2008 (E) Vocation: General Manager, hotel State Representing: IN
KS-NE Click, Rev. John C. (John) 11725 Alderny Court Unit 41 Wichita, KS 67212-6510 Winter address: c/o First Baptist Church Drive 100 South Forest Beach Hilton Head Island, SC 29928 Church: Immanuel Baptist Church Office: (316) 262-1452 KS/(843) 785-4478 SC E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Emeritus Pastor State Representing: KS-NE
KY Alexander, Rev. Timothy I. (Tim) Florence Baptist Church PO Box 456 Florence, KY 41022-2028 Church: Florence Baptist Church Office: (859) 371-7141 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 1999-2009 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: KY
Chitwood, Dr. Paul H. (Paul) 1029 Equinox Blvd. Mt. Washington, KY 40047-6504 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (502) 538-7361 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2002-2006 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: KY
Coe, Rev. Norman W. (Norman) Highview Baptist Church 7711 Fegenbush Lane Louisville, KY 40228-1707 Church: Highview Baptist Church Office: (502) 239-7711 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2004-2008 (E) Vocation: Associate Pastor State Representing: KY
Hill, Rev. Steven R. (Steve) 255 Hunt Road Elizabethtown, KY 42701-9637 Church: New Horizon Baptist Fellowship Office: (270) 737-4386 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2000-2007 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: KY
LA Landry, Dr. Richard E. (Richard) 101 Melrose Lane Lake Charles, LA 76605 Church: Trinity Baptist Church Office: (337) 439-4000 Home: (337) 477-6206 Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Medical Doctor Spouse: Gaye State Representing: LA
Towns, Mrs. Kathy T. (Kathy) 5997 Highway 80 Arcadia, LA 71001-5307 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (318) 263-3000 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2003-2007 (E) Vocation: Office Manager State Representing: LA
Wascom, Dr. Lonnie L. (Lonnie) 702 Rue Cannes Hammond, LA 70403 Temporary: P.O. Box 2174 Albany, LA 70711 Church: Crossroads Baptist Church Office: (225) 567-5086 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2001-2008 (I) Vocation: Director of Missions State Representing: LA
MA Jack, Mr. George A (Jack) 1216 Cedar Corner Road Perryville, MD 21903-2302 Church: First Baptist Church Perryville Office: (410) 278-5187 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2003-2007 (E) Vocation: Mathematician State Representing: MD
MI Davis, Rev. Rochelle (Rochelle) 15801 W Chicago Street Detroit, MI 48228 Church: Temple of Faith Baptist Church Office: (313) 836-0720 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2001-2009 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: MI
MO Barnhart, Rev. James (Jim) 117 David Drive Sikeston, MO 63801-4701 Church: Miner Baptist Church Office: (573) 471-1331 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Associate Pastor State Representing: MO
Curp, Rev. William D. (Bill) 2211 Carlton Drive Festus, MO 63028 Church: Faith Baptist Church Office: (636) 937-8608 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2001-2007 (E) Vocation: Director of Missions State Representing: MO
MS Boone, Dr. Donald M. (Don) PO Box 547 Louisville, MS 39339-0547 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (662) 773-6246 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2003-2006 (E) Vocation: Senior Pastor State Representing: MS
Marshall, Dr. Wayne (Wayne) 5355 Southbranch Cove Olive Branch, MS 38654 Church: Longview Heights Baptist Church Office: (662) 895-1900 E-mail: wayneLHBC@yahoo.com Term of Service: 2000-2008 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: MS
Smith, Rev. W. Mike (Mike) PO Box 949 Jacksonville, TX 75766 Church: Central Baptist Church Office: (903) 586-5156 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2001-2009 (I) Vocation: Director of Missions State Representing: MS
New England Kim, Dr. Paul K.S. (Paul) 254 Concord Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138-1337 Church: Berkland Baptist Church Boston Office: (617) 864-5948 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 1996-2006 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: BCNE
NC Barrett, Rev. Michael J. (Mike) Pleasant Garden Baptist Church PO Box 157 Pleasant Garden, NC 27313-0157 Church: Pleasant Garden Baptist Church Office: (336) 674-5382 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 1998-2006 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: NC
Brown, Mr. Paul D. (Paul) 52 Whitfield Lane Weaverville, NC 28787-6207 Church: Woodland Hills Church Home: (828) 689-9090 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 1998-2007 (I) Vocation: Retired HS Principal State Representing: NC
Byrd, Dr. Richard A. (Rick) Cornerstone Southern Baptist Church 6008 Early Trail Road Summerfield, NC 27358-9069 Church: Cornerstone Baptist Church Office: (336) 665-1944 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2004-2009 (E) Vocation: Senior Pastor State Representing: NC
Locher, Mr. O. G. (Tim) 1911 Country Club Road Hendersonville, NC 28739-5945 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (828) 697-1849 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2004-2008 (E) Vocation: Retired airline pilot State Representing: NC
Nealy, Mrs. Donna L. (Donna) 656 Appalachian Drive Boone, NC 28607-4348 Church: Lawndale Baptist Church Office: (828) 264-4450 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2004-2008 (E) Vocation: Homemaker State Representing: NC
Sanderson, Rev. William R. (Bill) 1421 Marshburn Road Wendell, NC 27591-9332 Church: Hephzibah Baptist Church Office: (919) 365-7847 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2001-2009 (I) Vocation: Senior Pastor State Representing: NC
NM Tillery, Mrs. Sharon D. (Shanon) 1602 Centre Avenue Artesia, NM 88210 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (505) 746-2729 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2002-2006 (E) Vocation: Nurse State Representing: NM
Northwest Morgan, Rev. Sam Whittier (Sam) 1128 Cedar Place Creswell, OR 97426 Church: New Hope Baptist Church Office: (541) 895-4436 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2001-2009 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: NW
NV Nantz, Rev. Johnny L. (Johnny) Spring Valley Baptist Church 3135 S Rainbow Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89146 Church: Spring Valley Baptist Church Office: (702) 871-0150 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 1998-2006 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: NV
NY Button, Mr. David T. (David) 56 Park Street Canton, NY 13617 Church: Emmanuel Baptist Church Office: (315) 386-2962 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2004-2008 (E) Vocation: NYS Supervisor State Representing: NY
OH Copeland, Dr. Edward B. (Ed) 1851 Weather Stone Lane Columbus, OH 43235-1987 Church: Dublin Baptist Church Home: (614) 761-9659 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 1998-2006 (I) Vocation: Retired DOM State Representing: OH
OK Burleson, Rev. Wade (Wade) Emmanuel Baptist Church 2505 W Garriott Enid, OK 73703 Church: Emmanuel Baptist Church Office: (580) 237-0602 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: OK
Butler, Dr. Michael A. (Mike) PO Box 160 Inola, OK 74036-0160 Church: First Baptist Church Inola Office: (918) 543-2756 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2003-2009 (E) Vocation: Pastor
State Representing: OK
Curtis, Rev. Winston (Winston) 1603 Terrace Drive Duncan, OK 73533-5499 Church: Highland Park Baptist Church Office: (580) 255-9665 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2002-2006 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: OK
Thompson, Dr. Richard Harris (Rick) Council Road Baptist Church c/o Nieta St. Clair 2900 N. Council Road Bethany, OK 73008-4404 Church: Council Road Baptist Church Office: (405) 789-3175 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2004-2008 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: OK
PA-SJ Cademartori, Rev. Kenneth P. (Kenneth) 117 S Shaffer Drive New Freedom, PA 17349-9630 Church: Mason Dixon Baptist Church Office: (717) 235-5690 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: PA-SJ
SC Bryan, Rev. Ronald (Ron) 620 Cold Branch Drive Columbia, SC 29223-5578 Church: Crescent Hill Baptist Church Office: (803) 254-5549 E-mail: RNBryan1@msn.com Term of Service: 2004-2008 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: SC
Caldwell, Mrs. Barbara C. (Bobbie) 160 Club Drive Simpsonville, SC 29681 Church: Temple Baptist Church Home: (864) 963-6170 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 1998-2006 (I) Vocation: Homemaker State Representing: SC
McWhite, Dr. David Allen (Allen) North Greenville College PO Box 1892 Tigerville, SC 29688-1892 Church: North Greenville College Office: (864) 977-7076 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2003-2007 (E) Vocation: Global Missions director State Representing: SC
TN Davis, Dr. Randy C. (Randy) First Baptist Church 317 Parkway Sevierville, TN 37862-3446 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (865) 453-9001 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 1998-2006 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: TN
Floyd, Dr. John D. (John) 2533 Brotherwood Cv Collierville, TN 38017-8972 Church: Kirby Woods Baptist Office: (901) 751-3067 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2001-2007 (E) Vocation: Seminary Administrator State Representing: TN
Fowler, Dr. Charles Allen (Charles) Union University 1050 Union University Drive Jackson, TN 38305 Church: West Jackson Baptist Church Office: (731) 661-5281 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Vice President, university State Representing: TN
Nelson, Mr. Phillip W. (Phil) 11704 Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN 37922-3827 Church: First Baptist Concord Office: (865) 671-5587 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2004-2008 (E) Vocation: Associate Pastor State Representing: TN
Washington, Mr. Joseph S. (Joe) 2722 Varnell Road SW Cleveland, TN 37311-8137 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (423) 478-1600 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2001-2009 (I) Vocation: Wholesale Nurseryman State Representing: TN
TX Brunson, Mrs. Debora D. (Debbie) 5223 Lincolnshire Court Dallas, TX 75287-5429 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (214) 969-2401 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2003-2007 (E) Vocation: Administrative Assistant State Representing: TX
Cox, Dr. Stephen Kyle (Kyle) 2615 Bunker Street New Braunfels, TX 78132-4527 Church: Eastside Baptist Church Office: (830) 832-2332 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 1999-2007 (I) Vocation: Ministry Consultant State Representing: TX
Gonzales, Dr. Michael (Mike) 2708 Fox Glenn Court Hurst, TX 76054-2778 Church: First Baptist Church, Colleyville Office: (817) 552-2500 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Hispanic Director State Representing: TX
Graham, Rev. Robert A. (Bob) Field Street Baptist Church 1215 Hilltop Drive Cleburne, TX 76033-6000 Church: Field Street Baptist Church Home: (817) 641-9607 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2004-2008 (E) Vocation: Emeritus Pastor State Representing: TX
Green, Rev. Albert Lee (Albert) First Baptist Church P.O. Box 438 Rocksprings, TX 78880-0438 Church: First Baptist Church Rocksprings Office: (830) 683-5186 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 1998-2006 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: TX
Halsell, Mr. A. C. (A.C.) 2722 N Colfax Circle Plano, TX 75075-3156 Church: Prestonwood Baptist Church Home: (972) 867-0161 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2002-2008 (E) Vocation: Retired, investment manager State Representing: TX
Moore, Mr. Louis (Louis) 313 S 11th Street Garland, TX 75040 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (800) 747-0738 FAX: (888) 252-3022 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2004-2006 (E) Vocation: Publisher State Representing: TX
Pearle, Dr. Robert A. (Bob) Birchman Baptist Church 9100 N Normandale Street Fort Worth, TX 76116-2702 Church: Birchman Baptist Church Office: (817) 244-6590 ext103 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 1997-2006 (I) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: TX
Smith, Rev. Charles E. (Charles) 2466 Oglesby Road Sturgis, MS 39769-9418 Church: Meadowview Baptist Church Office: (662) 465-8848 E-mail: Charlesgotell@wmconnect.com Term of Service: 2003-2007 (E) Vocation: Evangelist State Representing: TX
Sutton, Rev. William B. (Bill) First Baptist Church 1200 Beech Avenue McAllen, TX 78501-4606 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (956) 686-7418 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2002-2006 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: TX
Swofford, Rev. Stephen K. (Steve) First Baptist Church 610 S Goliad Street Rockwall, TX 75087-4020 Church: First Baptist Church Office: (972) 771-8459 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2002-2006 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: TX
Workman, Mrs. Skeet (Skeet) 3507 Nightingale Road Ropesville, TX 79358 Church: Southcrest Baptist Church Office: (806) 866-4019 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2001-2008 (I) Vocation: Sales, farming/ranching State Representing: TX
UT-ID Henry, Rev. Clinton E. (Clint) Central Valley Baptist 600 N. Ten Mile Road Meridian, ID 83642 Church: Central Valley Baptist Church Office: (208) 888-4189 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2001-2009 (I) Vocation: Senior Pastor State Representing: UT-ID
VA Blankinship, Mrs. Paulette (Paulette) 3416 Darden Place Williamsburg, VA 23188-2446 Church: Smith Memorial Baptist Church Home: (757) 258-0865 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 1999-2007 (I) Vocation: Homemaker State Representing: VA
Ginn, Dr. Jeffrey B. (Jeff) Mount Pleasant Baptist Church 131 Old Brickhouse Lane Colonial Heights, VA 23834-2179 Church: Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Office: (804) 526-0816 E-mail: Jeff.email@example.com Term of Service: 2004-2008 (E) Vocation: Senior Pastor State Representing: VA
Hayes, Dr. Thurman Rawls (Thurman) 6 Channelwalk Drive Poquoson, VA 23662 Church: Bethel Baptist Church Office: (757) 867-8082 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Term of Service: 2005-2009 (E) Vocation: Pastor State Representing: VA
WV Cherry, Mrs. Karen M. (Karen) 315 Broad Street Summersville, WV 26651-1103 Church: Southern Baptist Fellowship Home: (304) 872-0581 E-mail: email@example.com Term of Service: 2005-2008 (E) Vocation: NAMB missionary State Representing: WV
* SBC President EX Officio member, IMB E Eligible for re-election I Ineligible for re-election
As I was driving from state to state over the Christmas holiday, I was listening to the Bible on CD. I picked out one of the Genesis cd's and listened to the last half of the book. When I got to chapter 38, I was reminded of an interesting story. Judah, the fourth son of Jacob/Israel, leaves his father's house to find a wife. He marries and has three sons. The firstborn marries a woman named Tamar, but the Lord considers him evil and kills him. Judah instructs his second son to fulfill the leverite marriage code by impregnating Tamar for his older brother's sake. When the second son 'fails' in his duty, the Lord strikes him down as well.
Judah, having lost two sons, instructs his daughter-in-law to return to her home as a widow and wait until his third son is old enough to marry, and then he will send for her. After waiting (although the text does not say explicitly) a long period, Tamar gets tired of being childless. She changes her appearance and disguises herself as a city prostitute. When Judah comes to town, she entices him and he sleeps with her. He has no money to pay her, but offers her his ring and staff as a guarantee that payment will come. Months pass and Judah hears that Tamar is pregnant. He calls her a harlot and demands she be burned.
When she appears before Judah, she presents the ring and staff and declares that they belong to the father of her child. Judah recongnizes them and claims she is more righteous than he is, for he failed to give his third son to her. She eventually gives birth to twins, Perez and Zerah, and the chapter ends.
When I was listening to the story, I didn't give it much thought. My initial reaction was that she had sinned in her deception and adultery with Judah. I kept driving down the road as the cd progressed to chapter 39. Then, a few days ago, I was reading everyone's favorite NT passage, Matthew 1, the genealogy of the Messiah. I noticed that the story of Judah and Tamar were part of the lineage. That caused me to dwell on the story even more.
I must confess, I've done only a little reading of Matthean commentaries on this issue and no reading in Genesis commentaries (hence, I now reserve the right to change my opinion about what I am about to write, based on future research). However, I have given this story much thought in recent days. The more I consider it, the more I believe Tamar was not the one at fault in this story. She had a right to bear a child, and it was Judah's responsibility to provide his daughter-in-law with another husband to produce an heir for his first son. By fearing his third son would meet the same end as his first two sons, Judah withheld giving his third son to Tamar (Gen 38.11). Although her method was not what we would consider ethical, she procured a stable future for herself by becoming pregnant (that is, a widow w/o a son in those days had no hope for economic security). Judah was the one at fault, by not fulfilling his duty for his first son. What does this have to do with redemption? The more I consider God's sovereignty, the more I am convinced that there are more occasions than we are aware of where He redeems our bad choices. This is the case with Judah. His sin (in failing to compose a leverite marriage and in sleeping with a 'temple prostitute') produced Perez, who was one of many in Jesus' genealogy. We always hear of Jesus being from the Tribe of Judah, but we often forget of the circumstances of the relationship between Judah and Tamar.
It has happened to me before. When I was in open rebellion towards God about seven years ago, He orchestrated my circumstances so that while living in Nebraska I would meet a person that would influence my decision and bring me to New Orleans for seminary. Meeting this person in Nebraska allowed me to get my first year of tuition paid for; otherwise, I would never have been able to pay for the tuition. God worked through my sinful rebellion and brought about a 'chance' encounter that turned out for my good.
Now, as I live in Ft. Worth due to Katrina and begin to worry about where I should live or what I will do, part of me is scared to make the wrong decision. However, I trust God's sovereignty to guide my steps and, if necessary, even to redeem my sinful choices. I think that is what He did with Judah in Genesis 38 and I know that is what He did for me in 1999. I am grateful for a God that turns our mistakes into blessings.