First Thoughts

Author: Heath Lambert

Roe Is Over—Now What?

A Day I Never Thought Would Come I was born in 1979, just six years after the Supreme Court effectively made abortion the law of the land in Roe v. Wade. My entire life has been overshadowed by the legality of the vile practice of abortion. Since becoming a Christian in 1994 I have done whatever I could to help bring an end to this era of death. I have longed for it, prayed for it, voted for it, and raised money for it. But, in retrospect, I realize I never saw a true path to ending it. I believed my efforts were faithful, but I never really saw how they could be fruitful. The deck always seemed stacked against reversing the decision. And then came this glorious day, June 24, 2022. A day which will be remembered in eternity as one of justice, righteousness, and faithfulness. It is a day...

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The Southern Baptist Convention in 2022: A Sketch of Where We Are

A Glorious Mugging Participating in the Southern Baptist Convention can feel like a mugging. The days are long, disorienting, often brutal, and when it is all over you feel sore. Don’t get me wrong. I love the SBC, and always appreciate the unpretentious majesty of a room where celebrity pastors and rural preachers all get a ballot and an opportunity to speak. But we all know the days can be long and the issues painful. If the SBC in 2022 was a glorious mugging, then I want to provide a police sketch of the event. That is to say, I want to describe where we are as a convention now that the votes have all taken place in Anaheim. Here are five broad strokes describing the SBC as I see it today. 1. The SBC Wants to be Conservative There has been a lot of talk about liberal drift in the SBC....

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Five Sins Regarding Abuse

I should start by being clear that I am not saying there are precisely five—and only five—sins regarding the issue of abuse and that you will find those five sins catalogued here in an authoritative fashion. That is not my point. My point is that we are living in a time when many in the church are dealing constantly with issues related to abuse. As we go through this season, it is crucial to make clear that when we are talking about abuse, we are talking about sin. This issue is about something that is morally repugnant in the eyes of God. And we are not only talking about sin—singular but sin—plural. There is more than one moral monster in view here. Here I am going to talk about five sins that Christians must grapple with if we are ever to find our way out of this current darkness into...

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Taking Back the Rainbow: Christianity, Homosexuality, and Gay Pride Month

The Ironies of Gay Pride Month Four strikingly sinister ironies define the secular celebration of gay pride month. First, is the false advertising that says we are devoting merely a month to the celebration of homosexuality when, in truth, our culture demands the near-constant celebration of homosexuality every day and every month of every year. Second, is waving the banner of “pride” over a lifestyle choice that is transparently sinful. God has the sovereign right to dictate the attitudes of our heart, and God’s own Word says that he opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Third, is the insistence from our sinful culture that anyone who opposes the infinite manifestations of the LGBTQ+ lifestyle is on the “wrong side of history.” God has the exclusive right to determine...

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God Has Been Merciful to Us: Three Reasons to be Encouraged by the Devastating SBC Report on Sexual Abuse

The SBC Report on Sexual Abuse We have been waiting for months for the Report of the Independent Investigation to detail sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention and the response to that abuse. That report was released yesterday afternoon; I read it with great interest and a broken heart. The report is full of abuse, pain, cover-up, and sin. Every Christian must mourn the shocking mistreatment that so many precious people received at the hands of those charged with their care. The report is long and complex with many details, but at the risk of oversimplification, I want to communicate the report’s findings in one sentence. For years a group of leaders in the Southern Baptist Executive Committee resisted openness, transparency, and protection of sexual abuse victims out of a...

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Celebrating Your Resurrection This Easter

Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4  Celebrating Easter Every year at Easter, Christians celebrate the historical, literal, physical, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus was really dead, and he really came back to life. He is alive now and reigning in heaven, and we are awaiting his historical, literal, physical, and bodily return to earth to reclaim his bride. The Bible teaches that when Jesus returns, every person who has believed in him will be transformed and will receive a glorious and perfect resurrection body (1 Corinthians 15:35-49). There is another resurrection that Christians experience, however. It is the resurrection...

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SBC Survival Guide | Part 5: Hope

The previous posts in this SBC Survival Series on abuse, the ERLC, the Baptist Faith and Message, and race might all seem a little discouraging. Emphasizing all we must overcome might seem overwhelming. It is true that we have much to overcome in the serious problems we are facing as a convention. The problems are not overwhelming, however. Our Hope in Times of Hardship You begin to see that the problems are not overwhelming when you notice a common thread in each of the issues I addressed. Overcoming our division on the issue of abuse requires setting aside our efforts at personal kingdom-building to focus on preaching Jesus to abused people. Division regarding politics can only be overcome as we focus on Jesus more than partisan political bickering. We must preserve our commitment to Jesus...

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SBC Survival Guide | Part 4: Race

Divisions Over Race Division over the issue of race is one of the greatest threats to unity in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). This breaks my heart. Some of that heartbreak goes back to something I learned from my mom in childhood. Before my mother became a Christian, she would never have been confused with a virtuous woman, but with all her faults she was never a racist. My mom won scorn and lost friends when she invited an African American woman to join her and several other women at a party in our home in Kentucky. Several of the women were embarrassed, some of them left, and all of them talked about it. My mom knew it would happen and did not care. She loved her friend and thought the fault was with the women who were wrongly offended. That example always meant a lot to me. It...

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SBC Survival Guide | Part 3: The Baptist Faith and Message

Unity and Truth The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is as divided now as it has been at any point since the conservative resurgence. That resurgence began in the 1970s, long enough ago that we can no longer take for granted that it is understood by the youngest in denominational life. The conservative resurgence began in response to division in the SBC, and that division was over theology. On one side of the division were the liberals (called moderates) who proved to be the minority in Southern Baptist life but had taken over leadership of various institutions in the SBC. On the other side of the division were the conservatives, a majority of those in the convention, who were unwilling to allow the convention to slide into liberalism and death. Conservatives knew that if the SBC was going...

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A Christian Response to the Ukraine Invasion

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine Since last week the world has held its breath as Vladimir Putin engaged in a reckless, corrupt, shocking, and terrifying invasion of Ukraine. Everyone is waiting with bated breath to see where this all goes. The reality is that nobody knows. Now that the invasion has begun, not even President Putin knows how this will end. As I have been watching the news and trying to think through a faithful, biblical response, I have been transfixed by the way several striking images are illustrating the headlines. I want to point to three images from three news stories that help identify three faithful Christian responses to this tragedy. Response 1: Heartbreak The first image is absolutely horrifying. It is a picture of a nameless and defenseless woman that was released...

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