It’s been a busy, fun week! We of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Communications Group welcomed two new co-workers on Monday.
Stephanie Boone is a new ministry assistant, and she has a great eye for editing, as I experienced while we were doing final proofs of the upcoming Baptist Messenger.
Emily Howsden joins as staff writer for the Baptist Messenger. She also will be a regular contributor to WordSlingers, and she added her first blog post this week. Check out “Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?” to read Emily’s take on observing the upcoming holiday.
Welcome to the BGCO Comm Group, Stephanie and Emily! Now, here’s my thoughts on six timely topics in the latest edition of Doyle’s Half Dozen.
- Vote ‘Yes’ on SQ790
Some Oklahoma voters have been confused on how to vote on the state questions that will be on the ballot Nov. 8. Many of the questions can be challenging to discern what would be best. Farming, criminal reform, death penalty methods, understanding why chilled beer makes us “modern” and not more susceptible to DUI, realizing there’s a difference between a penny and a one percent rate – these are the issues we are to consider when coloring in dots on a card.
But allow me to make it easy for you on how to vote on one particular state question. If you are somebody who values religious freedom, vote “Yes” on State Question 790. SQ790 removes what is known as the Blaine Amendment, which originated in the 19th century and has been an unnecessary menace to religious entities that benefit communities in numerous ways.
One reason the Blaine Amendment is unnecessary is due to the jurisdiction of the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is sufficient, while Blaine is an extreme misinterpretation that purposely intends to keep any religious entity out of the public square.
Groups that support a “No” vote on SQ790 include the ACLU, Freedom FROM Religion Foundation and the Satanic Church. Sen. James Lankford and Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb are some of the champions of religious liberty who are supporting “Yes” on SQ790.
Also, for those who are concerned about public school funding, approving SQ790 has no bearing on this education issue. Just like the First Amendment makes sure there is no misapplication of religion on society, the state congressional voting process is too strong that the removal of the Blaine Amendment would not even be considered a threat to hindering the funding of public school systems. I sincerely hope you trust the lawmakers you elect to represent you to keep schools funded more than you trust an unnecessary, archaic amendment that you probably never knew existed a year ago.
- What to make of Jen Hatmaker
I don’t know much about Jen Hatmaker, other than she’s caused a stir this week. The latest news involving Hatmaker is LifeWay Christian Resources decided to remove her books from LifeWay’s stores.
This resulted from Hatmaker’s interview that was featured on Religion News Service’s website. The author and reality TV star expressed views approving same-sex marriage, admitting she believed an LGBT relationship can be holy.
A couple of things I would point out from this experience is, first, make sure your eyes are fixed on Jesus. Follow Him as your pattern of living the Christian life, not a popular Christian personality who expressed views that were against the teachings from Scripture.
Secondly, in Denny Burk’s blog, he addresses a right understanding of the grace of the Gospel. This is where many expressing Christians who approve of homosexuality and other sexual immorality appear to be either confused or unwilling to fully understand.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus is sufficient for every sinner and saves to the uttermost,” Burk said. “We must communicate that. But this grace must be received on His terms–by repentance and faith (Mark 1:15). If it is not received on those terms, then it is not received at all.
“The grace of God ‘teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age’ (Titus 2:11-12). That means that the grace of God is not unconditional affirmation of sinners in their sin. It’s the unconditional transformation of sinners from darkness to light. The grace that saves us transforms us, or it doesn’t save us at all (2 Cor. 3:18). To say, therefore, that sexual immorality can be ‘holy’ is to deny this core message of the Christian faith.”
Jen Hatmaker is not the first Christian personality to express unbiblical views, and she will not be the last. But for you, my Christian friend, hold strong to your faith and to what you know is right, according to Scripture. Pray for God to raise up other strong Christian leaders who will lead others through the powerful message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Mohler on Francis Schaefer
I was quite wordy on my first two DHD topics, but those were two of the hottest issues this week. I’ll be more brief the rest of the way.
Check out Al Mohler’s blog piece about Francis Schaefer and his book How Should We Then Live? I found this a fascinating read for two reasons: 1) it shared a bit about Mohler’s younger years. Dr. Mohler is somebody who intrigues me, and I’d love to read his presumed autobiography someday. Until then, this blog whetted enough of my interest; 2) Francis Schaefer is a legendary figure in modern apologetics, and Mohler shared great information about this influential philosopher who may not be as well-known but should be.
- The best explainer on Evangelical voters regarding the election
I would have shared this blog piece in last week’s DHD had I read it before last Saturday, but believe me, Christian friend, you need to take time to read Joe Carter’s “Why Evangelicals Are Divided over Trump.”
It is excellent. It gives a clear understanding of the two opposing views about Donald Trump and how Evangelicals view this year’s presidential election. Carter speaks respectfully about the two camps: Justice and Witness. And I admit, I understand both groups and respect both.
- Best Thunder blog I’ve read
I’m mad at Ryan Smith. I’m mad at him because he wrote a blog this week about the Oklahoma City Thunder that I wish I was smart enough to write.
Of course, I’m joking. I think the world of Ryan and his great writing talents. He submitted a fantastic piece to WordSlingers this week titled, “Why This Year’s Thunder Team is the Most ‘Oklahoman’ Yet.”
If I could give Ryan an award for “Best Thunder Blog Ever,” I’d do it and hand him the best framed image Hobby Lobby could offer. There were literal tears forming as I read this, even on my third perusal.
Have I convinced you enough to read Ryan’s blog?
- Farewell Kelly King
I conclude this week’s DHD with a note on Kelly King who has served 11 years as BGCO women’s ministry specialist. This was Kelly’s last week at the Baptist Building, as she has accepted a position to work in a similar role for LifeWay in Nashville, Tenn.
Kelly is an amazing woman who worked passionately hard, uplifting women’s ministry across Oklahoma as well as promoting mission work support through, among other entities, the Oklahoma State Missions Offering. There’s much to be said about Kelly and her accomplishments, but one in particular is how she united Baptist women across Oklahoma. There’s a small army of ladies who have followed Kelly’s lead, and she leaves behind a strong nucleus of women leaders in Oklahoma who I believe will continue serving in our churches and adding to the legacy Kelly built.
Kelly also has been a contributing blogger to WordSlingers and mentioned to me she intends to make future submissions.
Thank you, Kelly, for all the great work you have done! May God bless you as He will continue to use you while serving at LifeWay!