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
 

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Integrity

One of the things that should characterize us as Christians is our integrity. We should be strong enough to stand up for our beliefs and we should have enough integrity that, if we are wrong, we admit it. I am asking, in the name of Jesus, for someone to speak the truth in integrity. Here is the context:

On Wednesday, January 10, 2006, the Board of Trustees of the International Mission Board accused fellow trustee, Wade Burleson, of "slander and gossip". The IMB BoT requested that Burleson be removed from the BoT by a vote of the messengers at the next SBC Convention in June of this year. Later, the official press release stated the reasons for seeking dismissal revolved around "issues involving broken trust and resistance to accountability". Now, last week, the chairman of the BoT, Tom Hatley, has announced that executive committee of the IMB BoT is "recommending that the board withdraw its . . . request to the [SBC] to remove . . . Wade Burleson, as a trustee." This recommendation will be presented at the next BoT meeting March 20-21 in Tampa, FL.

There is a very high probability that the BoT will agree to the executive committee's request to rescind the removal of Burleson. This, then, begs the question: What was it that Burleson did wrong? If the trustees do, in fact, rescind their proposal to the Convention to have Burleson removed, what then? Does this story just 'go away'? I can hardly imagine so. The BoT have accused Burleson, publicly, of very serious matters. Whether you take Burleson's terms (slander and gossip) or the BoT official press release ("broken trust and resistance to accountability"), such charges cannot, and for the sake of Christian integrity, must not be swept under the rug. The trustees, whether they like it or not, have made this a public issue. They should not be allowed to pull it back 'in-house', as if local churches and members of the SBC have no need to bother with such matters of accountability and discipline.

As a Southern Baptist, and as a Christian, I am requesting that the BoT make public the facts that substantiate their claims against Burleson. If you are going to accuse him in public, then present your evidence in public. If he is guilty of slander, gossip, broken trust, or resistance to accountability, then he should be dealt with. However, if there is no evidence of wrong doing on his part, then there should be a public apology by the BoT.

There will be a decision made at some point during the next trustee meeting. The IMB trustees will either decide to press on with their charges against Burleson or they will drop them. If they press forward with their charges against him, then they are obligated to inform the entire convention of the justification for their accusations. If they decide to drop the charges, than anything less than a public apology should be grounds for an investigation into the integrity of the BoT.

It is unconscionable for a person, much less a Christian, much less trustees in our denomination, to make slanderous claims against a fellow Christian and trustee and, if then dropping those charges, do not provide a sincere apology for their actions against his character and his name. What will it be? Will you press on with your charges against Burleson or will you drop them? If you press on, when will you inform us of his sins? If you drop them, will you act with integrity and give him the apology he deserves as your brother in Christ?

posted by Jason Sampler at 4:46 PM

30 Comments:

Blogger John Stickley said...

Well put, Jason...

8:18 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Jason,

Okay, I agree with you completely. But here's what I suppose they will do: they'll do some sort of censure or punishment of Dr. Burleson, but in a way that it never leaves "executive session" of the BOT. That way, according to their confidentiality rules, neither Dr. B nor any one else can tell us what happened!

Love in Christ,

Jeff

3:34 AM, February 24, 2006  
Blogger Jason Sampler said...

Jeff,

Thanks for the comment. The purpose of my post was to encourage the trustees to do exactly the opposite of what you, and others, have speculated. If they 'drop' the charges, then there MUST be a public apology. Keeping it in-house lacks Christian charity and integrity, as well as the black eye it creates for their credibility as an entity board.

My sincere prayer is that the trustees either make a public apology to Mr. Burleson or they continue with their charges and provide the justification for their accusations. It has been almost two months since the charges were leveled against him, but we still have no idea if they are justified. I am asking the BoT to give an account of their accusations.

5:23 AM, February 24, 2006  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

You are right! We need accountability

6:07 AM, February 24, 2006  
Blogger Lot said...

(... tee hee hee hee ... can't wait fer June!)

Lots Tusej

6:20 AM, February 24, 2006  
Blogger Jason Sampler said...

Lots,

Please correct me if I am wrong, but are reveling in conflict? Do you enjoy tension? Those who are being vocal about these issues take no pleasure in voicing dissent, but you seem to receive gratification from these issues. Am I understanding you correctly?

8:24 AM, February 24, 2006  
Anonymous Michael W. Smith said...

Jason thanks for your call for integrity. I too think that we as Christians, and especially as Southern Baptists, dismiss the importance of integrity. Honestly, don't you think it is time to treat the biblical text with integrity? We look like fools for our "drink'n is a sin" card. We speak out of both sides of our mouths. We champion inerrancy all the while we place its brother, inspiration, on the backburner. Once again, inspiration is biblical, whereas you and no one else can find an argument for inerrancy from scripture, that is through an interpretation that treats the text with integrity. You my friend have the personality, conviction, and the brains to help propel the convention into a new, and better situation.

10:19 AM, February 24, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Michael W. Smith,

Are you, uh, you know, are you THAT Michael W. Smith?

Jeff

7:40 PM, February 24, 2006  
Blogger Lot said...

Jason,

You're wrong.

Not always.

No.

Things are not always as they seem, Sweetie! ... but, good questions ... Keep up the good work! You'll be a doctor soon.

Cieja in June!

Lots Tusej

7:19 AM, February 26, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

Excuse me for this off topic post (though you do it to my blog all the time), but I was searching for "most famous sermons" from my wife's cousin who is doing a series on 4 of the greatest sermons of all time and who preached them, and I came across a link to "Famous Baptists Who Were Freemasons." And guess who was on that list -- your boy W.T. Conner. Does this mean you are going to have to take down to link to his book from your website. Just to let you know, others that were included were B.H. Carroll, George Truett, John T. Christian, and Robert Baylor. Quite a list, huh? Just thought you should know.
WE HOLLA

11:15 AM, February 26, 2006  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Jason,

Sometimes when people mess up they decide to ignore it and hope it will go away (e.g. Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick...if you are unfamiliar with this check out http://www.ytedk.com/). Admittedly this is an extreme example but it makes the point.

I feel that what you are calling for--a public apology--is justified. I was told by a friend that you "wanted someone's head." If you're out for blood (i.e. wanting a trustee's head on a platter, so to speak), then I think you're going a little far. After reading your post, however, I didn't get that impression. Please let me know if I've misread you.

JW

10:15 AM, February 27, 2006  
Anonymous JSF said...

For several weeks now (roughly 6) I have been monitoring your entries and responses written by many bloggers. Naturally, several comments were made by clowns trying to start problems. After wading through the jargon, however, I have formulated several questions pertaining to this blog and all the others. What is a blog? What is a blogger? How accurate is blogging? Is blogging true journalism? Does blogging provide an "ACCURATE" portrayal of both sides of an issue? Do the presuppositions and agendas of each blogger cloud the thinking process of the blog? And finally, is blogging worth anything? These questions and others are some that I have been struggling with. I think you too should ask yourself the same questions pertaining to your blog. For me, blogging is a method of self-expression, which outwardly records one's life, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. I think this defines your blog perfectly. Next, I would argue that blogging is not journalism nor is it accurate reporting. In fact, it cannot be accurate reporting or quality dialogue because even you threaten to censor all arguments deemed contra to yours. With this said, I have to ask, "What is the value of your blog Jason?" The way you attack issues on your blog remind me of small rat terrier who constantly barks, but never attacks. Jason, do you really see yourself as the keeper of morality within the SBC? Furthermore, is that your calling to point out the shortcoming and disagreements you have with fellow believers? If so, you have a long, long life ahead of you. Jason remember we are all sinners and no sin is greater than the other (at least I hope you believe that). I think the issues you bring up, at times, are worthy of discussion, but you seem to chase voices in the wind.

A curious onlooker,

11:45 AM, February 27, 2006  
Anonymous Woody said...

Jason,

I have to agree with JFS. Thus far, your blog has really only been an attempt to entice others in a fruitless wonderment of jargon. As a scholar you shoud be able to allow other the freedom to express themselves without censorship. I know that there are idoits who will drop the F-word along with others, but that is the nature of man. Do you really give a **** as to what other are writing. I challenge you to write an article posted on this blog that is worthy of being called journalism, or at least something that resembles academia. Get off your high horse of riding one side of the fence and show some integrity yourself. Stop sounding like a **** stamped out theologian, and demonstrate some original thought.

12:21 PM, February 27, 2006  
Blogger Dorcas said...

Reading JSF's and Woody's comments I can see how a blog is read with the tone of the reader inflicted upon it. What I read as the strong words of a man with conviction, another reads as those of a "rat terrier". Quite interesting really ... if I was going to use a negative analogy for the younger leader blogs, I should think "velociraptor" would be the more appropriate description. But of course, I do not read in such negativity because I know that is not the tone intended at all. Continue to stand firm and speak boldly Jason. When the naysayers begin to speak, you know what you are saying is beginning to make a difference in the world.

2:17 PM, February 27, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

I think you too should ask yourself the same questions pertaining to your blog. For me, blogging is a method of self-expression, which outwardly records one's life, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs.

Yes, this is a legitimate description of some blogs, but not all. Blogs can certainly be what you have described, but they are just as certainly not limited to your narrow definition.

Are they objective and accurate? These two words are manifestly not synonymous. If all writing had to pass the "objectivity" test prior to publication (and, yes, blogging is a form of publication), then there would be no writing. No one save God views the world from an objective viewpoint. And no one should expect written expression of any stripe to conform to this unattainable standard.

The way you attack issues on your blog remind [sic] me of small rat terrier who constantly barks, but never attacks.

I'm not sure what the purpose of this ad hominem attack is. Or perhaps this is constitutive of the fallacy of juxtaposition. At any rate, what you won't find on Jason's blog is this sort of cavalier dismissal of opposing views. I applaud him for that. Jason has a real heart for his local church and for the convention as a whole. He has, on more than one occasion called for his readers to pray for the IMB trustees and the convention generally.

Another note on the worth of blogging. I sense that this commenter relegates the
"self-expression" of SBC bloggers and perhaps bloggers generally to the nether regions of cultural irrelevancy. To this I would say, "Let truth come whence it may."

I consider Jason's blog and many, many others to be a public service. And I tend to discount the opinions of those whose critique of (X), whatever it happens to be, comes in the form of pejorative name-calling.

Another commenter writes:
Get off your high horse of riding one side of the fence and show some integrity yourself. Stop sounding like a **** stamped out theologian, and demonstrate some original thought.

Since when did conviction come to be equated with conformity? This is certainly a category mistake. Moreover, I find your hidden expletives to be an incredibly vaccuous attempt to bolster your argument. How 'bout this: Stop sounding like a seventh grader and make an argument that does not need to resort to profanity (cloaked though it may be).

Next, I would argue that blogging is not journalism nor is it accurate reporting. In fact, it cannot be accurate reporting or quality dialogue because even you threaten to censor all arguments deemed contra to yours.

Where, please show us, has Jason threatened to censor all opposing viewpoints? What he will censor is foul language--but, no, not general cantankerousness and certainly not an opposing view. Doesn't the appearance of your comment here rather more than negate your less-than-astute observation?

Jason, do you really see yourself as the keeper of morality within the SBC?

This is the job of all who are hopeful of the God-ordained mission of the SBC. You view Jason's convictions, leading to action, as some sort of self-righteous mumbo-jumbo? If so, you are asking Jason to abdicate his position as a thinking, reasoning, biblical human being. We need not less of this sort of thing, but more. Jason, I agree with Dorcas. You've obviously touched a nerve here. And that's OK.

Some folks aren't prepared to be open to the newest forms of communication. They will attempt to marginalize and thwart them. They will call your integrity into question. They will call your blog worthless. Keep on keepin' on. Truth will out in the end.

4:16 PM, February 27, 2006  
Anonymous JSF said...

CKS,

You make some excellent points (and thanks for correcting my typos). I will not attempt to get into some philosophical dialogue since you seem to be more qualified--I will just punt to Jesus. In this post, I want to ask you two questions. First, do you honestly think blogging furthers the field of academia? Before you answer the question, I am not referring to Jason's blog, but blogs in general. My personal opinion, one of little value, believes that blogging can negate the value of true journalism. The same can be said for the thousands of "web designers" who claim to be an expert only because they know the programs. Unless one possesses the God given creative and art talents one will just be a hack. In short, they would steal what others have done before them. I know this is a loose parallel, but some similarities can be found. Second, do you really think Jason is making a difference in all of this? From the start let me say you know him and I don't. From my basic reading of the blog it seems Jason is being cavalier with his posts. His profile says he is a PhD student (about to graduate) and he is calling out all these leaders in the SBC. Do you think this will come back to bite him? I hope not he seems to be a great guy with a great passion; however, both of you need to learn the convention is larger than what you read in a book. People remember comments made whether by mouth or blog. I have seen people (including professors) lose their jobs over small things written in books, none of which carried the need for dismissal (and yes I know the situation surrounding it). Readers of a blog don't always know the background behind one's words. Do you think a trustee from the IMB would get offended by Jason's remarks? Do you think a trustee would try to get one over on Jason if he could? The answer would hopefully be no to both questions. But the way some our leaders have shown their colors over the last 3-4 years that assumption is simply empty. Both of you continue your wonderful dialogue, but be careful in your endeavors. Maybe you are right, my definition of blogging, though basic, might be wrong, but on the hole I think the majority of blogs adhere to such a definition. Thanks for your insightful comments CKS. Oh by the way, neither of you "hit a nerve" with me even though my "terrier" comment seems a little out of place now.

JSF

5:36 PM, February 27, 2006  
Anonymous JSF said...

CKS,

I forgot to address one issue, censorship. You noted, "Where, please show us, has Jason threatened to censor all opposing viewpoints? What he will censor is foul language--but, no, not general cantankerousness and certainly not an opposing view." You must have overlooked Jason's comments found in his article, http://jasonsampler.blogspot.com/2006/01/imb-trustees-and-my-beef.html. I am all for censoring foul language. Yet, he seems to threaten censorship for "cantankerousness" and "opposing views." Sure, the guy makes some radical comments, which Jason takes offense to those and as a result threatens censorship. Since he didn't commit the "foul-language" rule, should Jason censor his comments? Am I totally off base with this one or are you right once again?

JSF

5:48 PM, February 27, 2006  
Anonymous JSF said...

CKS,

I forgot to address one issue, censorship. You noted, "Where, please show us, has Jason threatened to censor all opposing viewpoints? What he will censor is foul language--but, no, not general cantankerousness and certainly not an opposing view." You must have overlooked Jason's comments found in his article, http://jasonsampler.blogspot.com/2006/01/imb-trustees-and-my-beef.html. I am all for censoring foul language. Yet, he seems to threaten censorship for "cantankerousness" and "opposing views." Sure, the guy makes some radical comments, which Jason takes offense to those and as a result threatens censorship. Since he didn't commit the "foul-language" rule, should Jason censor his comments? Am I totally off base with this one or are you right once again? If I am wrong so are other bloggers since they also contend that censoring "opposing views" is unethical. You need to read the back issues before making some argument you can't stand by.

JSF

5:49 PM, February 27, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

JSF,
First let me say that I appreciate your willingness to admit that you came on a bit strong and that you don't know Jason that well. I do know him, and while this post brought up similar feelings of worry that his strong stance might come back to bite him, I feel that he speaks on behalf on not just himself, but many, many others who think that retraction and apology is the right thing to do.

Now, to your questions about blogs -- one thing that you need to realize is that blogs cannot be generalized in any way. They are used for many different purposes. Some are personal diaries, some are information sites, some are created to set forth a certain political or religious view, and some are even created to report stories for news.

But, because of that you cannot make any general statements regarding blogs. You could say, "Are blogs by Southern Baptists reputable sources?" or "Are blogs on the IMB controversy unbiased and do they qualify as journalism?" In the end, though blogs like Jason's are less about reporting facts and more about interpreting and commenting on facts that we already have. You can dispute Jason's opinion, you can dispute the "facts" that he bases them on, but I don't think you can dispute the relevancy of blogs commenting on the facts. Just as the role of the pastor-teacher is to explicate Scripture, we need guys like Jason, Al Mohler, Russell Moore, Marty Duren, Joe Kennedy, and countless others to help us to think outside the box by commenting on what is happening in the SBC and the world in general.

Finally, while I rarely support censorship in blogging, there are times when it is legitimate to employ it. Obviously when someone is writing threatening or explicit statements, they ought to be censored. And I would add to that when one is being beligerant in such a way that it is obvious that his or her only desire is to stir up and cause strife. You will see this employed by many TV and radio commentators and at times it might be necessary. I think that is what Jason was trying to do -- keep out siliness in order to make sure the main point stays in the forefront.

I am sorry that you do not now see the positive effects of blogs. But let me remind you that it was informal bloggers that brought down Dan Rather's bad reporting during the election, it is blogging that is revolutionizing how information is spread. For blogs like Jason's, often times that information needs to be analyzed and passed on to others to help them to think and assess what is happening in the world around them. I think they do a great service for us all (but I have to admit that I might be a bit biased since I am a blogger as well).

7:54 PM, February 27, 2006  
Anonymous JSF said...

DR

Good points, but I still disagree with you on the total value of a blog. I am not posting to argue that with you; however, I am posting about your censorship comment. You seem to be contradicting yourself per your earlier comments (see Jan 18). I agree anyone that is going to use inappropriate language or be beligerant doesn't have to be tolerated. If I read your earlier posts correctly, you chided Jason for using censorship when it wasn't needed. Another question, I am all for integrity especially among our leaders. So what if Burrelson decided he would change his mind and start cooperating with the other trustees? Would the trustees allow that? What if, the EC trustees, which met last week, issued a statement to the IMB trustees to drop the issue? Who is to blame? I think the questions surrounding the Burrelson vs. IMB trustees is a lot deeper than what is discussed here. I am only warning people, and Jason to be careful because there are 2 sides to the every story. Do I know both sides? Maybe or maybe not. Am I not thinking clearly? Am I not being openminded enough? Too much? I don't know, I guess the recent blogs to my posts only tell me that I am a fool and should leave. Yet, I think I have voiced some really good questions, which I have to say few have been answered. The issue surrounding Burrelson and the trustee will never be fully uncovered. To issue a call for intergrity seemed premature especially since no definitive answer as to WHY the change occured. Am I the only person here that sees the issue at hand? We are immediately labeling someone guilty, which could be the case or it could be another prime example of backdoor baptist polity (Good 'ole boy syndrome).

8:23 PM, February 27, 2006  
Blogger Jason Sampler said...

JW,

Thanks for the comment and the honesty. Not sure which 'friend' spoke on my behalf, but I have no beef with anyone in particular. I certainly don't want to see a head on a platter; that's just silly.

The point is simple. There is a feeling (whether perceived or substantiated) that the BoT will try to make the Burleson fiasco go away as quietly as possible. I am hoping by drawing attention to that tempation to sweep it under the rug, the BoT will do the right thing and act with integrity. My contention is that if they make the accusations public, then they should either try him publicly or apologize publicly. No more, no less.

If i need to provide further elaboration, i will be more than happy.

Miss you, my friend,
Jason

10:39 PM, February 27, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

From the post you referred to above. Thanks to his childish ability to refrain from the exact thing I explicitely told him not to do, one of Lot's comments will be removed. I don't mind him commenting on my blog, but I won't tolerate mean spiritedness or blatant pot-shots at the IMB.

Yes, I'd forgotten about this. No, I don't think it was the best thing to do. (Sorry, Jason.) Personally, I would have left it. So, you're right there. (Interesting, however, that his censorship was in defense of the IMB...)

Will it come back to bite him? Maybe. Maybe not. Personally, I don't want to be part of an institution in which one would be blacklisted for (a) endeavoring to promote a very basic and biblical understanding of integrity, (b) being firmly convinced in one's own mind about an issue (when that conviction is not outside, but clearly inside, the parameters of orthodox Christian [and even Southern Baptist] thought). It seems like we're starting to have to kind of convention. Again. And, fundamentally, I think one very important purpose blogs like Jason's serve is that they allow for critical discussion and debate on issues that most SBC-ers wouldn't even know about otherwise. How am I supposed to know, for example, about the apparently-shady goings-on in recent IMB BoT meetings? If bloggers hadn't opened this issue up to public scrutiny, it would have continued to remain veiled in secrecy.

RE: grammar. Nothing personal. I teach grammar to Japanese students and proofread disserations and whatnot for friends. Occupational hazard.

7:16 AM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger Jason Sampler said...

CKS,
I do remember deleting the post. I had informed Lots that i would not tolerate mean-spiritedness or derrogotory comments regarding the IMB as being a gravy-train. He ignored my request and i felt compelled to remove his comments. i understand that you have changed your mind on supporting my decision, but i still stand by it.

it is tough enough to have a civil conversation in public. as you know, the tendency to elevate rhetoric and use electrifying words intensifies online. i will not be party to, nor foster, such comments. i still stand by my decision to delete his post.

i hope that clarifies some things.

Blessings,
Jason

8:32 AM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger Dorcas said...

Jason,

I think it is fair to delete inappropriate comments. If we did consider blogs to be a news source of sorts ... we could compare it to the local newspaper. Comments are like letters to the editor. You can be sure the print newspapers do not feel obligated to publish everything that comes across the news desk. So too, you have the right to maintain a standard for your blog. I appreciate you keeping your blog and its comments on as professional a level as possible in this debate.

Thanks,
Dorcas

9:29 AM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

Jason--

I would have left it on. I think you have every right to employ editorial discretion on your own blog.

I just think those sorts of comments tend to negate the force of whatever position the offending commenter has chosen to defend. And if folks have already shot themselves in the foot (by the time you read the comment), why not let it stand as a monument to their inability to aim.

But, again, that's just my personal position. (And I don't have a blog--not a Baptist blog anyway.) But once the UMI blog gets rolling, I'll then be in a position to know whether I have the force of my conviction, so to speak.

10:49 AM, February 28, 2006  
Anonymous J. G. A. said...

Can't we all just get along?

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f373/that_creative_guy/littlenapoleon3ei.jpg

4:34 PM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

derrogotory

Just to spread the grammar Nazism around: please provide me a definition of your coinage here.

Love ya, man.

5:31 PM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger Jerry Corbaley said...

Hi Jason,

Thought I would focus on the Integrity of the Board of Trustees.
As an IMB Trustee, I am rather familiar with their decision making process.
I have started a blog (corbaley.blogspot.com) to address the issues from my own "odd" point of view.
If you find the information worthy, please consider directing inquiring minds in my direction.
Feel free to include my blog address in your "how to contact trustees" info.
Thanks brother.

11:29 AM, March 01, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

Jason--

I can't seem to get Dr. Corbaley to post my questions.

Are you having any better luck?

12:27 PM, March 03, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

DISCLAIMER: Before you send folks to Corbaley's blog for answers, you should know this. I have commented with several questions on his blog--legitimate, but apparently tough, questions--the majority of which he has refused to post. When I emailed him about this, he suggested that I was welcome to visit his site, but I should post elsewhere until the Burleson debacle is past. So, no, not lots of answers to direct questions there. FYI.

5:43 AM, March 04, 2006  

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