Letter From a Director of Missions

The following is the monthly letter our Barry County Southern Baptist Associational Director of Missions, Jerry L. Williams, wrote for the Monthly Newsletter. I pray you will hear his heart.

“Look not thou upon the wine when it is read, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” (Proverbs 23:31-32)

“I do not believe that our Lord contradicts Himself in His Word, do you?

‘I also believe that when His word states, “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright…” that that is referring to when the wine is fermenting.’

‘I am sharing this because it seems that today there are some ministers in SBC and MBC that believes it is alright to drink alcoholic beverages. I never thought that we would hae to deal with this issue in Southern Baptist life, but I guess I was wrong.

Now I know that there are some in our churches that probably drink and think nothing of it, but that doesn’t make it right and I feel that they are wrong in doing it. Look at what he alcohol industry has done to the lives of so many; deaths, ruined families, homes, marrigaes and on and on I could write.

The Acts 29 and Emerging Church movement claims to be “theologically conservative and culturally liberal.” Alcohol, Acts 29 and the Missouri Baptist Convention…, below is an excerpt from the St. Louis Post Dispatch:’

“As Tolliver (MBC Interim Executive Director) was speaking, another group of pastors gathered at a lake house a couple of miles away, drinking Red stripe and Fat Tire beer, watching football and talking shop: the influence of music in their worship services, their inner-city social justice efforts, the challenge of having so many new babies in their congregations.”

“The young men are part of Acts 29, a network of more than 100 emerging churches across the country that have a conservative theology but a more liberal take on some aspects of the culture than do traditional Southern Baptists. The group’s focus is on starting more new churches. The Journey in south St. Louis is one such church, and there are others in the State — St. Charles, Eureka, Hannibal, Columbia and Ozark.

Our MBC Executive Board met last Dec. 10, 2007 in part to discuss their concerns about alcohol use and alcohol-based evangelism strategies within the greater Missouori Baptist family. They concluded by taking significant action on the issue.

In an historic move members of the board voted by a nearly 3-1 margin to cut off state convention Cooperative Program support to Acts 29 Network churches/church plants in Missouri. The vote does not impact MBC churches who, on their own are assisting Acts 29 churches.

The controversy over Acts 29 began when one church, the Journey, started holding regular discussion sessions in a bar where some participants drank alcohol. The “Theology at the Bottle Works” (the name of the bar).

I agree with Roger Moran when he stated, ‘One of the most dangerous and deceptive movements to infiltrate the ranks of Southern Baptist life has been the Emerging/Emergent Church Movement”.

I will be bringing a message this month at our worker’s conference dealing with this issue. May we as Barry County Southern Baptist stand firm on our doctrine, the Word of God, and the teaching of abstinence when it comes to the use of alcohol beverages.

My we send our number of messengers to this years MBC in October and stand with our State Executive Board Members and what they did in Dec. 2007. Let’s go and vote with them to hold the line on this movement within our convention.”

Bro. Jerry

The Barry County Southern Baptist Association has sent a letter to the Executive Board of the MBC voicing the approval of their December 2007 actions.  We do fully support this action of the Board, and will continue to do so.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus, The Greater

The Greater

“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.” Matthew 12:38 (KJV).

“But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” Matthew 12:39-41 (KJV)

What more could Jesus give as a sign? He had fulfilled every prophecy concerning himself. He had done many mighty deeds in their presence which should have no doubt in their minds, except for the cause of the blindness of their hearts. He has met all the Old Testament criteria of the prophets who fortold His coming to die for the sins of the people.

According to the prophet Isaiah (7:14) and in Matthew 1:23 Jesus was born of a virgin. According to the prophet Micah (5:2) and Matthew 2:6 He was born in Bethlehem. He was called out of Egypt according to Matthew 2:15 and the prophet Hosea 11:1. Innocent babies died for Him shortly after His birth according to Matthew 2:18, and Jeremiah 31:15. This is only a few samples of prophecies which Jesus Himself fulfilled. These religious leaders, full of themselves were so blind that they could not see the truth.

In their willfull ignorance they asked for a sign. “If You want us to believe you, then, you have to meet our demands”. In truth, no sign would have satisfied them. They would not believe even though He rose up from the grave. The challenge was actually an open challenge to the power and authority of God.

Note: Three times in this chapter of Matthew Jesus uses the words, “…One greater than the temple…” (v. 6); “…a greater than Jonah is here…”(v. 41), and “…a greater than Solomon is here…”(v. 42). The One Priest who is greater than all priests; the One Prophet who is greatest of all prophets; and the One King who is greater than all kings – even greater than Solomon is here. Seeking signs when you see the obvious comes of wickedness, and their hearts are wicked. Similarly, seeking for God’s guidance concerning His unknown will when we are not doing His known will. These people were laying claim to knowing the Scriptures and missed the obvious through willful ignorance; and a possible fear that their whole way of life and ministry was at stake.

The only sign given that should have opened their blind eyes was the sign of Jonah. Jonah having been cast into the sea due to His rebellious flight was swallowed by a large fish, which was prepared by God, for the prophet to get him where he was supposed to be. By the power and miraculous working of God Jonah survived the belly of the fish, and was vomited back out on land. For three days and three nights in the fishes belly he was dead to the world. I am sure the sailors who threw him overboard thought him dead. The sign Jesus refers to of course would be His own resurrection. The Pharisees seem to miss the point, since He is not yet dead. Even when they later do hear news of His resurrection they bribe the guards, saving their lives, and then propagate the story of the body of Jesus being stolen by the disciples.

Nineveh received no sign from Jonah, yet they repented. The prophet, cold heartedly, I might add; went through the city of Nineveh proclaiming, “40 days and this city will be destroyed; forty days and this city and its inhabitants will be destroyed…”, and the people repented. Jesus says that those who repented at the preaching of Jonah will rise up and “condemn” those who had the sign of the resurrection and did not believe.

Christians today need no sign of or from the Lord Jesus. We have His bodily resurrection, the promise of His soon return, and the world is growing worse and worse just as He said it would. He is the greatest Priest, Prophet and He is the King of Kings.

-by Tim A. Blankenship