a baptist perspective

 

About Me


Jason Sampler
New Orleans, Louisiana

My Education

B.A. History Education, SWOSU
M.A. Theology, NOBTS
Th.M. Theology, NOBTS

Most Popular Posts

IMB Trustee Contact Info
IMB Trustees and My Beef
And Behind Door Number Two...

Sites I Visit

Edgewater Baptist Church
New Orleans Seminary
Dip2000
Seinfeld Scripts
Pearls Before Swine

SBC Issues

Wade Burleson
Marty Duren
Art Rogers
Villa Rica
Micah Fries
Rick Thompson
Missional Baptist
Dorcas Hawker
Wes Kenney
Tim Sweatman

Friends

David Platt
D.R. (Daniel Randle)
Steve McCoy
Kevin Bussey
Joe Kennedy
Joe Thorn
Joe McKeever
Kiki Cherry
Cynthia Mathis
Panis Circenses
 

Friday, January 27, 2006

Some wisdom from E. C. Dargan

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.

posted by Jason Sampler at 11:00 PM

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A great prank

I'm all for clean pranks, and I think this is hilarious, though I'd never have the guts to do it. I think it's even funnier that they pulled it on Chirac.

posted by Jason Sampler at 10:51 PM

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On the road again

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.

Blessings,
Jason

posted by Jason Sampler at 10:05 PM

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

And Behind Door Number Two . . .

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.

What are your thoughts?

posted by Jason Sampler at 6:31 PM

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Tragedy Begets Tragedy

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.

posted by Jason Sampler at 9:38 AM

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Humor in the Scriptures [Updated]

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.]

posted by Jason Sampler at 10:07 AM

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Taking a Break

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.

Love in Christ,
Jason Sampler

posted by Jason Sampler at 7:42 AM

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Monday, January 16, 2006

IMB Trustees and My Beef

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.

posted by Jason Sampler at 2:23 PM

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More Thoughts on Contacting Trustees

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.

See you in Greensboro!

posted by Jason Sampler at 5:44 PM

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Burleson Being Voted Out

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.'

posted by Jason Sampler at 10:28 AM

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IMB Trustee Contact Info

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:
dnichols@gci.net
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:
hickmanw@graceba.net
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:
bill_hudgins@bellsouth.net
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:
hpair@aol.com
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:
pathes@pobox.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:
allenandlaurellestoudenmire@yahoo.com
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:
tom@ibcfamily.net
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:
joedem@cox-internet.com
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:
pastor@crossgate.org
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:
simontsoi@email.com
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:
inheaven1@sbcglobal.net
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:
jerry@corbaley.com
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:
bwithers@lbbf.org
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:
kking@anchorway.com
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:
gcrawford@westsidebaptist.org
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:
fbcelfers@verison.net
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:
gbrdesk@fbcniceville.org
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:
jrussell@bellshoals.com
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:
sbc@firstbaptist.org
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:
kwhitten@idlewild.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:
david@thebaxterclinic.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:
rlbrugh@charter.net
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:
nedrajackson@bellsouth.net
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:
dmerck@alltel.net
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:
rickjr@classicsouth.net
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:
jschaefer@efloodzone.com
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:
kkuwaclu@hotmail.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:
boozeh44@aol.com
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:
jeeccjdq@midwest.net
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:
chazelam@aol.com
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:
jcclick99@aol.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:
tim.alexander@florencechurch.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:
pchitwood@hotmail.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:
ncoe@highviewbaptist.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:
pastor@newhorizonbaptist.org
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:
kathytowns@bellsouth.net
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:
lwascom@i-55.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:
georgejack2@aol.com
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:
tofbaptist@aol.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:
jbarnhart@minerbaptist.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:
jba4@jcn.net
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:
don@fbclouisville.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:
dogwoodtrailsba@cox-internet.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:
paulkim@berkland.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:
mjbarrett@triad.rr.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:
brown52w@charter.net
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:
rick.byrd@cornerstonesbc.org
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:
ktlocher@bellsouth.net
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:
dln310@juno.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:
wsanderson@nc.rr.com
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:
tillerysharon@aol.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:
swmoregon@aol.com
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:
jnantz@springvalleybc.org
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:
david.button@starscomm.net
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:
egcopeland@columbus.rr.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:
wade@emmanuelenid.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:
prophet@future-link.net
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:
wincurtis@hotmail.com
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:
info@councilroad.org
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:
pastorrken@aol.com
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:
matthew_caldwell2000@yahoo.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:
amcwhite@ngc.edu
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:
rdavis@fbcsev.org
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:
jdfloyd@mabts.edu
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:
cfowler@uu.edu
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:
pnelson@fbconcord.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:
jwash624@aol.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:
dbrunson@firstdallas.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:
kcox@sbtexas.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:
mgonzales@sbtexas.com
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:
bobgraham@digitex.net
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:
albertlgreen@yahoo.com
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:
achmmh@comcast.net
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:
louismoore@yahoo.com
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:
bob.pearle@birchman.org
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:
billsutton@fbcmcallen.com
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:
steveswofford@usa.net
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:
sworkman@door.net
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:
clint@centralvalleybaptist.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:
paulette3416@msn.com
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.ginn@mpbc.us
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:
thayes@bbcyorktown.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:
kcherry@citynet.net
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

posted by Jason Sampler at 9:42 AM

you can post here: [3 comment(s)]

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Lesson in Redemption

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.

posted by Jason Sampler at 5:23 PM

you can post here: [5 comment(s)]
 

Current Reading


A Treatise on Church Order by John L. Dagg


Christian Doctrine by W. T. Conner


Future Reading


The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (Revised Edition) by Wayne Grudem


Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 by D. A. Carson

Previous Posts

Some R & R
My House is Condemned???
No Respecter of Age
Thoughts on Theological Disagreement from a "Young...
The SBC, Confessions, and the IMB Trustees
Contemplating Hell By Contemplating the Cross
Some Pics of Our Work in New Orleans
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The views presented on this blog do not represent the opinions or positions of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, the SBC, any local, or state Baptist association, or of Edgewater Baptist Church. The views represented here are solely the personal views of the author. Also, it should be made public that I am a rabid University of Oklahoma sports fan . . . BOOMER SOONER!

 

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