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Acceptable Sins?

Have you ever considered how much our God cares about details? His creation is a marvelous compilation of little details, from the intricacies of the eye to your individual fingerprints. In the Old Testament, He gave intricate descriptions of the construction of the tabernacle, and the Mosaic Law is equally detailed. The New Testament starts with a detailed genealogy of our Lord to demonstrate that He was the promised Messiah, Savior, and Davidic King. Later in the New Testament, there are details about the qualifications of a pastor and even more details about what relationships in the Church are to be like and how to live the Christian life. God is particularly detailed about His holiness. He is 100% pure (I John 1: 5). It is obvious that God cares about details, but it’s easy for us to...

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A Concern about the Law Amendment

The Law Amendment is the current effort to add the biblical requirement for male pastors into the constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). I have been a strong supporter of this effort, but that support does not mean I’ve had no concerns. My support for this amendment has not come cheap. Initially, I Had Doubts I had three initial doubts about the amendment. First, I believed the amendment was unnecessary because our statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM), already states that the office of pastor is limited to qualified men. Why would we repeat what is already clear? Second, I believed the amendment was unnecessary because our convention was already working to remove churches that were in error on this issue. Why go to the work of adding a constitutional provision...

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The Sword Tearing the SBC Asunder: Confessional Statements, The Cooperation Group, and The Future of Our Convention

At this moment, a committee is meeting to decide whether the Southern Baptist Convention as we know it will continue to exist. That committee is called The Cooperation Group, and more is at stake in their work than you may know. This group was created at the 2023 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in New Orleans because some of our leaders believe the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) is too high a standard for cooperation and must be lowered to maintain the unity of our Great Commission efforts. The Cooperation Group is tasked with making recommendations to SBC messengers at our 2024 meeting in Indianapolis about what doctrinal standards should control the boundaries of our convention. Two Basic Options I am not a member of this committee, but it doesn’t take a brain surgeon...

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SBC 2024: The Law Amendment

The Law Amendment is one of the most crucial issues facing messengers headed to Indianapolis for the 2024 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The amendment passed by an overwhelming margin in New Orleans and is required to be approved by a 2/3 majority this year in order to be added to the Constitution. I want to help Southern Baptists understand the importance of this decision by examining what the Law Amendment is, what issues are not involved in this decision, and what is really at stake. What Is the Law Amendment? The so-called Law Amendment is an effort to change the SBC Constitution to clarify that the only kind of church in friendly cooperation with the convention is one that “Affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.” There...

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Practical Help for Anger

The Bible isn’t relevant for life if the Bible isn’t practical. Our theology must be practical or else it will be irrelevant. This is because we obey or disobey God in specific ways. Our idolatries are not vague. Our sins are not general. When we are fearful, we think fearful thoughts in our mind. When we are sinfully depressed, we neglect real responsibilities. When we act in anger, we do things with our tongues and our hands. Thankfully, the Bible offers practical ways to overcome our sin and change us in concrete ways. The practical nature of the Scriptures for counseling can be seen in three verses in the New Testament. Romans 12:19-21 is just one example that gives us insight into the powerful and tangible ways the Bible can be used in counseling. Verse 19: Beloved, never avenge yourselves,...

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Six Ordinary Sins

Are you a good person? Our initial gut reaction to this question most likely is to answer in the affirmative. We may even think to ourselves, “Of course I’m a good person! I haven’t killed anyone or robbed a bank, and I don’t cheat on my taxes.” Oftentimes, we look at a list like this as “evidence” to convince ourselves that we are, in fact, a good person. However, upon deeper reflection, we may find that our positive self-evaluation does not match reality. We are sinners who still live in a sinful world where we give in to temptation and do wrong. And if we find ourselves giving in to sin more often than not, we should pause to reassess our commitment to the Lord. Followers of Christ are called to holiness and away from iniquity. Therefore, the believer must battle against sin and turn...

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Why Trust the Bible?

Christianity is an experiential religion because a convert must be born again (John 3:3-8). This conversion involves genuine faith and repentance in Christ which creates a new love for Jesus in the heart of the believer (Romans 5:5). Someone can’t simply claim to be a Christian, you have to experience Christ. You are saved not only when “you confess with your mouth” but also when you “believe with your heart” (Romans 10:9-10). Yet, that experience of new life does not happen in a vacuum. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). We must hear the word of Christ to be saved! Where do we find the word of Christ? How can we continue to hear the word of Christ? This answer is simple for every Christian because we have rightly been called “People of the...

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Children’s Bibles

The new year is a time when Christians think about Bible reading plans (First Baptist Church Bible Reading Plan) and are often looking to purchase a new Bible as they set goals for the next 365 days. There are tons of great options for adults, but there are also many delightful options available for kids. I am often asked by parents of younger children which Bibles I would recommend. Children’s Bibles are typically collections of biblical stories retold in age-appropriate ways that are accompanied by pictures. Not all children’s Bibles are created equal, and some are better than others. The authors of children’s Bibles do pick and choose which biblical stories to re-tell, and they even select which details of those stories to highlight or neglect. The artwork itself interprets the...

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The Day After Christmas

I hate the day after Christmas. Some call it the “post-Christmas blues” or “post-Christmas depression.” It happens when the most wonderful time of the year screeches to a halt. No more Christmas movies. No more Christmas food. No more get-togethers with family and friends. You go back to work. You go back to school. The Christmas cards come down off the mantle. It just feels wrong to take down words like “love,” “joy,” “peace,” and “hope” from the walls of my house. But we dutifully do it. How could something so good fade after only a month? The good news is that it doesn’t have to fade. Let me tell you why. Christmas Came to Us We tend to treat Christmas like a mood – something you get into and out of. With the right combination of music, movies, lights, and eggnog – you can get into Christmas....

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How Should Baptists Apply the Regulative Principle to Worship?

Whenever anyone asks me if I am an adherent to the Regulative Principle (RP), I cannot give a simple “yes” or “no” response. I must first ask about their version of the Regulative Principle. For those who do not know what I am talking about, the RP is a means of governing the corporate worship life of a church that affirms the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. John Calvin seems to be the first to formally codify it in response to the Reformation, and Westminster later enshrined it in their 1647 Confession. It has been applied in so many different ways since I must know the terms of the application before I can confirm or deny my allegiance to their version. The way Baptists first affirmed it is shown below: The acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself and...

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