Who Are the Weak Among Us Today?

J.D. Greear recently published an article on his blog discussing how as he finished preaching through a series on the book of Judges at his church he realized how easy it is to read Judges and condemn the people for their heinous acts. But, as J.D. writes:

[W]e’ve got to realize that we aren’t any different. What we see in Judges 17–21 is just the inevitable result of casting off the rule of God. It begins with re-defining morality, and it always ends with the strong oppressing the weak.

This raises the question for us: who are the weak among us today? Where has our society, in a frantic rush to dismiss the wisdom of God, left a trail of pain and brokenness in its wake?

To read the entire article, head over to J.D.’s blog.

Southern Baptists, Slavery and Same-Sex Marriage

By: Dr. Brent Aucoin

Proponents of Same-Sex Marriage frequently seek to win over their opponents by warning them that they will end up on the “wrong side of history.”  This appeal is predicated on the notion that it is primarily evangelical Christians who are opposed to same-sex marriage, and that it was evangelical Christians who in years past took the wrong side in controversies over slavery and the civil rights movement.

This line of argument, of course, is not without its flaws.

As others have pointed out, the admonition to not be on the wrong side of history will carry little weight with those whose theology correctly informs them that it is infinitely more important to be on the right side of eternity than it is to be on the right side of history.  In addition, the blanket assertion that evangelicals who oppose same-sex marriage today were wrong about the civil rights movement is historically inaccurate as it not only dismisses the relatively few white evangelicals who championed black equality but egregiously ignores the numerous black evangelical Christians who supported civil rights (and who today oppose same-sex marriage).

Though the argument is flawed, I think there is another way that we can respond to, and learn from, this call for us to not end up on the wrong side of history.  Although it is true that self-proclaimed Christians spearheaded the movements for the abolition of slavery and for civil rights, it is nevertheless best for us to acknowledge that evangelicals (particularly Southern Baptists) were more often than not on the wrong side of both of those righteous crusades. But then we are to ask why that was the case?

Part of the answer, I believe, is because far too many white evangelicals listened to what society said about matters such as slavery and segregation than what the Scriptures say.

So, if our evangelical ancestors went astray on matters of social justice as a result of allowing themselves to be unduly influenced by the spirit of the age and area in which they lived, then what lesson are we to learn from their mistake?  Is it not that we are to be more diligent now than ever before to have our views shaped by God’s Word rather than by man’s opinion?  Will we dismiss what the Bible says about homosexuality because the culture in which we live urges us to do so?

Remember, far too many of our evangelical and Baptist predecessors in the South supported white supremacy because the culture in which they lived urged them to do so.  Rather than worrying about being on the wrong side of history, let us rather learn from history and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Dr. Brent Aucoin is a Professor of History and Associate Dean of The College at Southeastern.

In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week, Dr. Stephen Wade published an article which offers a few foundational thoughts relative to understanding addictions biblically, and in it he also suggests some practical tips relative to ministering to addicts. In his article Dr. Wade writes:

Addictions are typically associated with alcohol and drug abuse, but when we dig deep into the human heart, we find that a clear understanding of what is going on is really a picture of the battle going on in the heart of every sinner. Pastors will find that both believers and non-believers struggle with addictive tendencies, to a greater or lesser extent, with many different things in their lives. Indeed, the grace and power of the gospel applied to the struggle of an addict is the same grace and power that every believer needs in the battle with sin.

Thom Rainer published an article describing five reasons pastors have guest blindness at the Lifeway blog earlier this week. Dr. Rainer writes:

In light of the woeful reports from mystery guests, I was very surprised at one facet of some research we conducted as we interviewed pastors across America.* One of our questions asked if the pastor’s church does a good job of meeting the needs of first time guests. Surprisingly, 90 percent of the pastors said “yes.” Did you get that? Less than 20 percent of the guests said their visit was good, but 90 percent of the pastors perceive the opposite, that most guests have a good visit.

At The Gospel Coalition, Camille Cates writes: “Why I Don’t Blame Planned Parenthood.

In Genesis 3, we see Adam shift blame to his wife, Eve, and even to God himself. Likewise, Eve shifts blame onto the serpent. Neither takes responsibility for his or her own actions; instead, they simply act as if their sin is someone else’s fault. In the years immediately following my abortion, I shifted the blame too. I blamed my baby’s father. I blamed my parents who took me to the clinic. I even blamed God.

In a recent post on his blog, Dr. Waylon Bailey gives five practical steps for wise speech.

How many times have you asked yourself: “Why did I say that?” Or, maybe you asked: “How could I say that?” Nothing seems to be as easy as saying something dumb. None of us wants to misspeak or say things we shouldn’t. What can we do to minimize our unwise words?

Reflecting on a question he was once asked about Christians eating black pudding in light of Old Testament regulations about eating blood (Lev. 17:10ff), Sinclair Ferguson writes on four principles for the exercise of Christian liberty over at Ligonier:

Although (as far as I am aware) no theological dictionary contains an entry under B for “The Black Pudding Controversy,” this unusual discussion raised some most basic hermeneutical and theological issues:

  • How is the Old Testament related to the New?
  • How is the Law of Moses related to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
  • How should a Christian exercise freedom in Christ?

Yesterday in Chapel at Southeastern, Dr. Chuck Lawless, Dean of Graduate Studies warns students not to become hard hearted to where they destroy their witness. Watch the entire message here: