Before the 2021 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in Nashville last week, I thought that the new President would probably be Georgia pastor and outgoing Executive Committee (EC) Chairman Mike Stone or Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler. I really liked Stone’s conservative stances. As for Mohler, he represented the establishment, which opposes false teaching like Critical Race Theory (CRT) publicly, but seems to allow it to be taught in the seminaries.
Northwest Baptist Convention Executive Director/Treasurer Randy Adams was also running. I liked Adams’ platform which pushed for transparency and local control, but I wondered whether he had the name recognition to win the race. The person I least expected to win was Alabama pastor Ed Litton. I really didn’t think he had a shot. I considered him the woke candidate, and I felt like he would bring the same left-wing policies of his predecessor, J.D. Greear.
So I was surprised and very disappointed when I heard that Ed Litton had won. In the first round of voting, Albert Mohler received 26.32% of the vote, Mike Stone received 36.48%, Ed Litton received 32.38%, and Randy Adams received 4.71%. In the runoff (the winner had to get a majority), Ed Litton won with 6,834 for 52.04% of the vote, and Mike Stone had 6,278 for 47.81% of the vote.
Many people think that former Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore was to blame for Stone’s loss. In the days leading up to the annual meeting, there were two letters written by Moore which were leaked. They painted Stone and the Executive Committee in a very negative light. The first letter was written to the ERLC trustees; the second one was written to former SBC President J.D. Greear. In the first letter, Moore said that SBC leaders wanted him to live in “psychological terror.” In the second letter, Moore slandered Stone by accusing him of stonewalling investigations into abuse allegations.
Many suspect that Moore leaked the letters himself. Moore’s sleazy actions appeared political and vindictive. Moore was likely upset with Stone and the EC for assigning a task force to investigate the ERLC’s effectiveness in February 2020. Some see Moore’s actions as an act of revenge. It seemed to work in the short term. Stone lost the election, and the woke candidate won.
It wasn’t just the presidential election that was a disappointment. SBC leaders were also dismissive of messengers on the floor. A motion to rescind 2019’s infamous Resolution 9 (which approved CRT as an analytical tool) was rejected on procedural grounds. A motion on women’s responsibility in abortion was also rejected. And Kevin Ezell deferred to someone else when a messenger asked him about transparency of salaries within the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
So it was more of the same from a denomination that continues to drift leftward. Even though 15,726 messengers showed up to Nashville (the most since 1995), conservatives within the SBC continue to feel like the elites at the top refuse to listen to them and are doubling down on their woke ideologies, though at times they may throw us a bone by giving lip service to conservative causes.
Next year’s meeting is in Anaheim. It will likely be harder for conservatives to gather in large numbers there since it’s on the West Coast. In addition, many conservatives are already fleeing the denomination. At this point, we may have to also consider pulling out of a denomination which no longer listens to or respects the people sitting in the pews–people who just want to be faithful to the Word of God.
Men with courage and conviction are in short supply these days. I’m often discouraged by the lack of men who are willing to take a bold, biblical stand on the issues du jour. This is true not just for society, but within the church as well.
It seems many are just too afraid to speak openly on what the Bible says on issues like human sexuality, gender, politics, freedom, etc. Many leaders seem more concerned with their prestige and position, being accepted by the Academy, pleasing people, and being popular. As a result, many leaders speak out of both sides of their mouths. It’s often difficult to tell where they stand on a certain issue. They are often silent when they should be speaking up.
President Ronald Reagan warned against being all things to all people. He spoke of raising a banner:
A banner of bold colors, no pale pastels. A banner instantly recognizable as standing for certain values which will not be compromised.
We need this kind of bold, clear thinking in the church. In an age when moral and theological lines are blurred, and society is more confused than ever about right and wrong, we need the church to be the pillar and foundation of the truth. Leaders should quit worrying about being “nice” and start being concerned with being faithful.
I’m convinced many churchgoers in the pew don’t know the Biblical position on certain issues because their pastor never speaks about them. Thus, they probably get their ideas about what to think about those issues from the world. And we know the world is not telling them the truth.
What causes this silence among Christian leaders? Fear of persecution, fear of losing a job, and fear of losing friends are just a few of the reasons. More than ever, we need singularly focused men of God who care only about what the Word of God says; men who will speak that truth boldly and unapologetically regardless of the pushback. We need men who won’t calculate how many people will leave or quit giving money. We need men who will obey God rather than men. We need men of courage and conviction.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
Matthew 7:7-8 KJV
Thursday, May 6, is the National Day of Prayer. Our nation desperately needs God, but sadly it has rebelled against the principles found in the Word of God. So let us pray for repentance and revival in our land. The Bible also commands us to pray for our leaders.
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 KJV
In addition to our leaders, here are some other things that you can pray for on the National Day of Prayer: national repentance and revival, national security, the military, policemen and other first responders, health care workers, families, pastors and churches, schools and teachers, and the news media.
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34
Let us humble ourselves, confess our sins, and seek God’s mercy and forgiveness. Only God can solve the multitude of problems which face our nation. He is compassionate and ready to forgive, if only we would seek Him.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV
Here is a link to the National Day of Prayer website:
“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; The world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the floods.”
Psalm 24:1-2 KJV
The first Earth Day was celebrated on the 100th anniversary of the birthday of the Russian Communist leader, Vladimir Lenin. Whether this was planned or a coincidence is unclear, but many associate Earth Day with left-wing politics.
According to Wikipedia, Earth Day was first proposed in 1969 at a UNESCO conference in San Francisco by peace activist, John McConnell. He wanted it to be on the first day of Spring, March 21, 1970. A month later, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed an environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970, making him the founder of Earth Day.
Many people, who are unaware of the leftist beginnings of Earth Day, become emotional when it comes to ecological issues and treat environmentalism as a quasi-religion. Clear thinking is important on this topic, however, and it’s important that we have a Biblical worldview of the earth and mankind’s relation to it. A brief overview of some of what the Bible says on this topic might be helpful.
In Genesis 1:1, we learn that, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” It took God six days, and on the seventh day He rested. God saw that his creation was good. He put Adam in charge of dressing and keeping (tending and cultivating) the garden.
In Genesis 3, we read about the serpent and the sin of Adam and Eve. This event is called The Fall. The curse of sin came upon the human race, as well as all of creation.
In Genesis 6 and 7, we read about how God sent a universal flood upon the earth as judgment upon mankind for the widespread violence and wickedness. Noah built an ark, and he and his family were the only eight survivors of the Flood.
In Genesis 9:1, God blessed Noah and his sons, and told them to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish (fill) the earth.” God established the Noahic Covenant, which dealt with man’s relationship to earth and nature, and it also set up human government.
“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”
Genesis 9:2-3 KJV
In Genesis 11, mankind united to rebel against God and built the Tower of Babel. God confounded their language and scattered the people over all the earth. Then in Genesis 12, we read of the call of Abram, and the story of the nation of Israel begins.
In Psalm 8, David tells us that God made man “a little lower than the angels”, made him “to have dominion over the works of thy hands”, and “has put all things under his feet.” So it’s clear from this passage that God has put man in charge of the earth. The Lord owns it, and man is the steward of His creation.
Of course in the New Testament, we have the Good News of the Gospel, in which Jesus Christ redeems us from sin by his sacrificial death upon the cross and his resurrection from the dead three days later. This has implications for creation, too, as we’ll see in the book of Romans.
In fact, the book of Romans has much to say about the topic of creation. In Romans 1, the Apostle Paul talks about the witness of creation to mankind. He discusses how the invisible things of God, His eternal power and divine nature, are clearly seen from the creation. He speaks of how men failed to give glory and thanks to God, and became vain in their imaginations, with their foolish hearts becoming darkened. Man descended into idolatry and began to worship and serve the “creature more than the Creator.”
In Romans 8, Paul talks about how the creation was made subject to vanity but waits for the manifestation of the sons of God when it will “be delivered from the bondage of corruption into glorious liberty of the children of God.”
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
Romans 8:22 KJV
Then in 2 Peter 3, the Apostle Peter tells us that the earth will be destroyed a second time (the first being the Flood) with fire–“the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” This is the real global warming.
“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
2 Peter 3:13 KJV
Finally, in Revelation 21, the Apostle John also tells us, like Peter, that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. So the effects of the Fall will be reversed as God redeems and restores mankind, as well as creation.
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
So what can we conclude from these passages, and how does all of this relate to Earth Day? First, God is the Creator. He made the earth as well mankind. He alone deserves our worship. Second, God has given man dominion over His creation. We are to be responsible in our stewardship of creation. We shouldn’t pollute it, waste natural resources, or do unnecessary harm to it. Third, we need to recognize that sin has marred creation, and it is not in the condition which God originally intended. Fourth, we need to remember that this earth is temporary. It will eventually be destroyed. And that is the fundamental problem with Earth Day. It encourages us to put our hope in temporary things and neglects to mention the Creator. Our hope should be in God, not in things which are passing away. A new heaven and earth await believers in Jesus Christ. So as Christians, we look forward to when Christ returns to reign over the earth. Our focus is not on Earth Day, but on the Day of the Lord.
In the opening narration of the classic Twilight Zone episode, The Obsolete Man, Rod Serling states that in this dictatorship:
“Logic is the enemy, and truth is a menace.”
If there were ever a statement that describes our society, that might be it. Don’t believe me? Try telling someone on the Left that there are only two genders and see the response that you get. Or ask why it was acceptable for protestors and rioters to gather in large crowds last year, but it was not permissible to attend church in certain places. Or why it makes sense to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill when our government was already $27 trillion in debt? Or why certain Dr. Seuss books are harmful to children, but drag queen story hour is allowed? Or why we are going backward in race relations by holding separate graduation ceremonies based upon categories such as race, as they did at Columbia University?
Now, it is true that not all these violations of logic are coming from the federal government. Some of these unwritten edicts are from corporations, academia, or just society in general. It is tyranny nevertheless. And Orwellian tyranny at that because like it says in the Serling quote above, it is based upon attacks against truth and logic. We are being gaslighted. We self-censor and question our own sanity for using what was considered common sense just a few short years ago.
In Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, the great communicator said:
“Our government has no power except that granted it by the people.”
Sadly, we as a people are granting the government the power to suppress the truth, criminalize logic, and ultimately tell us how to think. In 1984, Winston had to worry about thoughtcrimes, newspeak, and doublethink. We aren’t far off from such horrors.
Our First Amendment promises freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, and the freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. All of these are under attack today.
Serling concluded The Obsolete Man with the statement:
Any state, any entity, any ideology which fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of Man…that state is obsolete.
And Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence:
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
So let us not tolerate tyranny, but declare it obsolete. Let us not promote it, but let us overthrow it. For we do not want the proverbial boot upon our face. We desire a society which honors truth and uses logic. If we accept the insanity in our culture, we ourselves become insane as well. Let us not become what we hate. Let us instead be lovers of freedom.
The Bitter Days is a collection of poems with mostly common themes: sorrow, injustice, bitterness, longing, and frustration. They came out of a painful time in my life and are sometimes biting and harsh.
Yet something beautiful and constructive came out of that misery. God is faithful, and the bitterness of yesterday has been transformed into the blessings of today. This collection provides a window into my heart and mind during that time. It outlines the progression of my struggle to overcome bitterness. This is resolved in the final poem, Forgive.
These poems were the culmination of five years of creative effort. I hope you enjoyed them. They came from my heart.