"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Intelligence or Identity? The International Mission Board of the SBC and New President Paul Chitwood

From all accounts of those who are friends with the new President of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and from my brief interactions with Paul Chitwood while we served together as fellow trustees of the IMB during three contentious and controversial years (2005-2008), Paul Chitwood is a personable fellow.  I wish him the best in his new role as President of the largest missions sending organization in the world.

I also question Paul Chitwood's biblical intelligence and his adherence to Landmark Baptist identity (Please read this link very carefully).

Paul Chitwood was the Chairman of the Personnel Committee of the International Mission Board when trustee leadership unwisely and unsuccessfully sought to remove me from serving as a fellow trustee at the IMB in 2006.

I opposed internal IMB policies on baptism and private prayer language, policies which exceeded the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message and were surreptitiously passed in a veiled attempt to remove Jerry Rankin as President of the International Board. Ten years later, with little fanfare, the policies I initially opposed were officially reversed by the trustees of the International Mission Board. The labor and delivery times of the baby named wisdom are often painful and prolonged.

But in the end, wisdom was delivered by the International Mission Board. The unbliblical, unconstitutional policies were reversed.

J.D. Greear, a pastor in North Carolina in 2008 and elected the President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2018, put his name on a list of pastors who opposed the IMB's ill-advised policies way back in 2008.

That was the beginning of wisdom.

Paul Chitwood in 2008 was at the forefront of defending the unwise and unbiblical policies.

That, in my book, was the perpetuation of foolish, unconscionable, and indefensible leadership.

After Paul Chitwood and the Executive Committee of the International Mission Board sought to remove me as an IMB trustee in the spring of 2006, IMB Personnel Chairman Paul Chitwood wrote to Frank Page, asking for a "White Paper" to defend the new policies he had helped implement.

Let me repeat what I just wrote.

Paul Chitwood and the Executive Committee of the International Mission Board implemented doctrinal policies at the IMB in 2005 that exceeded the BFM 2000, violated the constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention in so doing, and only after my opposition to those two policies, then wrote a letter requesting a white paper defending the policy changes.

Typically a white paper is presented before a recommendation of policy changes. Visionary, astute leaders think before acting on behalf of an organization.  When organizational leaders act before thinking, that organization is in trouble.

Could it be...and I'm only asking...that Paul Chitwood and others who lean toward the Baptist Identity Movement (e.g. "Landmarkism") were taking orders from the one orchestrating Jerry Rankin's removal and "without whom the policies would never have been enacted."

I've been warning the Southern Baptist Convention for 15 years about the dangers of Baptist Identity (e.g. "Landmarkism").

Where Paul Chitwood leads the International Mission Board in the future will largely be dependent on whether or not Southern Baptists pay attention to what's happening in Richmond.

42 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

One might wonder whether the IMB Trustees' decision to impose those restrictions all those years ago wasn't tantamount to rejecting and disrespecting a sovereignly-bestowed Spiritual Gift ... bestowed at the will of the Holy Spirit. IF that's the case, then what's happened to the IMB may well be expected.

I hearken back to what I told the Convention, from the floor, in Greensboro. And I am afraid that might just be the case.

Rex Ray said...


Wade,

Maybe there’s only one comment so far by readers because everyone is still reading. :)
Goodness, I’ve not seen so much information in many of your post put together.

For instance, the link below caught my eye which stated: The Kentucky Baptist Convention will cut ties with a small group of churches that remain dually aligned with a liberal religious organization that took steps earlier this year to allow the hiring of LGBTQ staff members.

http://kentuckytoday.com/stories/kbc-messengers-vote-to-cut-ties-with-dually-aligned-churches,16180

“KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood said the move by messengers should be seen as “a call to those congregations to safeguard biblical teaching and maintain their historic relationships, understanding that the Bible speaks clearly on the issue of homosexuality and that they would not want to support groups that embrace unscriptural lifestyles.”

https://www.baptiststandard.com/news/baptists/cbf-revises-hiring-policy-lifts-lgbt-ban-posts/

“DECATUR, Ga.—The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Governing Board adopted a revised hiring policy and implementation procedure that allows LGBT individuals to be considered for some staff positions.”


Wade, you might think I’ve gone off on a ‘rabbit trail’, but I believe Peter when he wrote: “He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into heaps of ashes and blotted them off the face of the earth, making them an EXAMPLE for all the ungodly in the future to look back upon and fear.” (2 Peter 2:6 Living Bible)

Anonymous said...

"Wade, you might think I’ve gone off on a ‘rabbit trail’, but I believe Peter when he wrote: “He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into heaps of ashes and blotted them off the face of the earth, making them an EXAMPLE for all the ungodly in the future to look back upon and fear.” (2 Peter 2:6 Living Bible)"

Rex - maybe he used Directed Energy Weapons? :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWvuPcurB6Q

Wayne

Anonymous said...

I was saddened by the IMB BoT choice. I'm sure Chitwood, generally, is a good man.

But, evangelism and discipleship in vastly different cultures doesn't look the same as it does in the highly christianized parts of the US and and an IMB Pres with no field experience is ill-equipped to help others be successful at it. As long as the IMB has someone at the top who continues to drive traditional methods used by baptists in the American south down to field level, field work and M health will suffer. The IMB must stop being a top down, authority driven organization. It must begin serving its M's to fulfill the calling God placed on their lives. Currently, the M's are forced to serve in ways intended to make the organization look successuful; the M's are serving the organization. It should be the other way 'round. Chitwood won't reverse this. Things get even more dangerous when Landmarkist leanings are present.

Good things will still happen through the IMB, but old deficiencies will remain, sadly. So much unrealized potential.

-Former IMB M, current self-supporting M.

RB Kuter said...

I see this decision by the IMB Trustees as another portrayal of their making "insane" decisions. (Someone's definition of "insanity" - "doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results")
Like David Platt and Tom Eliff before him, none of these three men chosne as Presidents were qualified to serve as CEO's of an institution with the title, "International-Mission" Board.
- None of these 3 have had any experience in making their residence in a long-term capacity
abroad. (Even Eliff served less than 2 years abroad, not finishing language study)
- None had any experience forming and implementing a strategy to inject The Gospel into
cultures different than their own.
- None have any experience leading, training, directing a team of long-term, international
missionaries called for the specific purpose of answering God's call to move themselves
and their families to foreign lands to share the Gospel and plant churches.
- None of these men can empathize with the challenges faced by long-term missionary
families who face the tasks of language learning, cultural adaptation, health issues,
stress of being separated from extended family and home culture for the sake of serving
Christ abroad.

The results of the "insanity" of the Trustees' fiasco is evident in the bad fruit harvested like:
- The strength of the missionary force weakened in numbers and quality as we witnessed a
30% decrease in the number of our missionary force. Although under the guise of reducing
expenses, this done prior to significant austerity measures being taken in other
exorbitant spending areas.
- The method of implementing this reduction not only resulted in our having fewer called
missionaries serving abroad but resulted in the elimination of our most experienced,
valued personnel, many in leadership positions, leaving huge voids in our field
leadership and training positions.
- Low morale of our entire missionary force. They have the sense of sailors on a ship with
no captain.They have been abandoned, forgotten. They have the sense of being forsaken,
not only by the IMB Trustees, but by the entire SBC whose voice has remained silent in
the face of what should have been seen as destructive, disastrous, incompetent
administration going on at the top of the IMB hierarchy that impaired the well being of
what SBC has always claimed to be its "beloved missionary force".
- Our IMB field personnel have had NO global strategy for the past 8 years! This is due to
our not having leadership capable of creatively forming and implementing one. This has
resulted in our missionary force being required to function as independent entities
striving to remain functional in their local situations with no clue as to how their work
is intended to fit into a global effort that collectively moves in a singular direction.
It could be compared to abandoned troops in battle having to fight to "hold their own"
and fight as guerrilla fighters in enemy territory while waiting for senior officers to
re-group and form a comprehensive army unit.

The IMB Board of Trustees have received a lot of input along these lines to encourage them to fill this top position with a person who has experience and a God-given gift to serve as an apostle to the nations. Yet the Trustees insist on having their celebrity/Public Relations man fill this top position.

The IMB Trustees' recognition of the validity of those calling them to make a "sane" judgment call and install an experienced, gift-qualified person is evident by their ludicrous, conciliatory measure subsequently announced. Pastor Chitwood, one gifted as a "PR" man for international missions, will serve as "President of IMB". The Trustees would install an Executive VP with missionary leadership experience to serve under Chitwood! Is that insane or what?

Just another example of our dysfunctional SBC "Trustee Board" system.

Gerry Milligan said...

As an IMB missionary on the field during those times many of us wanted to support your efforts, all the while knowing that there would be reprisals. Some of us were quiet, some used pseudonyms and others tried to figure out if this was the end of the IMB as we knew it. I remain embarrassed about the non-Christ like treatment you received. But, you have remained strong. PTL.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I remember those days. I hope he has changed his mind but I was surprised that Paul Chitwood is now the President of the IMB, especially after David Platt did such a wonderful job of turning everything around. Two steps forward and four steps back? I hope not.

Rex Ray said...

Wayne,

WOW! Your link that tells of imaginary theories what started the fires in California are imaginary all right, but none that have seen the fire has changed to a pillar of salt. :)



My vote for President of IMB is RB Kuter.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Gerry: I am so blessed, we at Emmanuel are so blessed to have Wade and Rachelle as our ministers. Both are wonderful people in person and both are such a balm to our souls. I remember one Sunday long ago when Wade asked how many people came from different backgrounds other than Southern Baptist, almost the whole church raised their hands. This is how soothing and healing our church is, including the congregation. I sometimes feel that I am in heaven already as I was so damaged and battered when I came to Emmanuel, and today I am the opposite. I am among hundreds upon hundreds that can say that.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

Landmarkism is the same view of church history as the Mormons, JWs, and Moonies.

A Mythological Holy History where everything was Perfect through the Book of Acts but then went off the rails into Apostate Romish Popery (and Satanism) after the writing of Revelation and/or legalization under Caesar Constantine. And all was Darkness and Apostaty (and Satanism) until We Came Along, the One True Church just as it was in The Book of Acts. (So said Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russel, Sun Myung Moon, Mo David, Jim Jones...)

The difference is the Landmarkists trace an "Apostolic Succession" for themselves through a convoluted trail of splinter groups.

Wade Burleson said...

Debbie,

Your comment made our Thanksgiving brighter! Love to you and yours.

Wade Burleson said...

All,

Thanks for the comments - Happy Thanksgiving.

Rex Ray said...

Debbie,

You said most members of Emmanuel came from different backgrounds than Southern Baptist.

My missionary uncle, Rex Ray, said all Christians would be Baptists if no one had been messing with them.

There’ll be joy tomorrow at our house as 25 are joining us for turkey.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! It was very special that you and your lovely wife came to Rachelle's dad's funeral. That meant a lot to us both!

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Thanks, but we had the most joy in what was said about Rachelle’s dad and surprising you.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

You didn't mention that Chitwood's previous job was President of Kentucky Baptist Convention and that he is a Distinguished Alumnus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, both located in Louisville.

Your concerns about Chitwood don't matter as long as Pope Albert the 1st has blessed him. This is just my opinion based on common sense.

Ken P.

Wade Burleson said...

Ken,

Good point. I don't know I disagree.

Christiane said...

A very happy Thanksgiving Day to all. I hope you all are with family today. God Bless!


" Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, hamotzi lehem min ha'aretz.
"Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe,
Who brings forth bread from the earth."


""Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude." (A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

You wrote, “I appreciate my Landmark brothers, and I will fight for them to be able to express their views. I will not quietly sit back and allow them to seek to stifle my dissenting views.”

Until a few days ago, I did not know what “Landmark” meant.

“Train up a child the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV)

Maybe because of this Scripture I believe what my father told me: “If you’re asked if you’re Catholic or Protestant, say neither because I’m Baptist.” He explained that Baptist with many names started with Jesus and never were Catholics.

Some criticize C.M. Carrol’s “Trail of Blood” as originating from John the Baptist but his work starts with Jesus.

At one time his picture and his chart (shows the years Christians were persecuted) were on display at SWBTS. They were removed when Fundamentalists high-jacked the SBC with their smokescreen of “Battle for the Bible”.

I believe Carrol was criticized because he said large churches began to assume authority over small churches and referenced Third John 1:9. That Scripture states:

“I sent a brief letter to the church about this, but proud Diotrephes, who loves to push himself forward as the leader of the Christians there, DOES NOT ADMIT MY AUTHORITY OVER HIM and refuses to listen to me.” (Living Bible)

Rex Ray said...

Everybody,

Happy Thanksgiving! We didn’t furnish any food today, but 28 relatives brought more than enough to eat.

I never wore my graduation ring from North Texas University. Since one of my sons graduated from there without a ring, my daughter suggested it would be nice to give it to him.

He took it and said he wouldn’t let people see the date because it would show he graduated 6 years before he was born. (He was born in Alaska.)

I had a date with Judy that night and she was the only one I knew to see me receive a diploma.

RB Kuter said...

Debbie said: "especially after David Platt did such a wonderful job of turning everything around."

Wonder in what way Debbie thinks David Platt "turned everything around"? or "did such a wonderful job"?

Would be nice to hear.

Rex Ray said...

Here’s a story of long ago.

In 1954, our parents, Dave and Elizabeth taught school to Eskimos in Quinhagak, Alaska; a mile from the Bearing Sea. My twin brother, Hez, our two sisters, and our cousin, Claude Hicks went to visit them. We got worried when the pilot asked us to look for a river. We landed on it in a pontoon plane near their village.

The men-folks decided to hunt for bears on a mountain. To get there, we had to go five miles in the ocean and find a river that would lead to the mountain. There was a motor on a heavy iron boat with low sides that was used only on the river. We added wood to the sides to keep sea waves from swamping us. The boat didn’t go over waves but plowed through them causing us to get wet and cold. When we got to the river, we decided to build a fire and dry out.

We were there a long time and didn’t notice the tide was going out. Since I was the only one with hip boots, the others got in and I pushed off looking for deep enough water to start the motor. After a hundred yards, I gave up, and in a little while the ocean vanished, leaving nothing but mud. The river became one inch deep flowing over the mud.

We had to wait 12 hours for the tide to come back around mid-night. They slept on land and I stayed awake a long time in the boat worrying if it would stay stuck in the mud. They woke me up by shooting. It was slow going up river because the current was so fast. The water so clear we could see large fish. Claude had a fishing pole and we ate fish for supper. That was our second night.

The next day around noon, the water got too shallow so we walked. In order to find the boat on the return trip, we tied two oars together and made a flagpole with a flag from a red bandana.

We walked until it got dark. The next morning, it didn’t seem we had gotten much closer to the mountain. With our food gone and exhausted, we started back looking for the flag. Claude was so tired he would lay down until we were almost out of sight before he started walking; then we rested until he caught up. At each ‘stop’ Claude searched for the Red Flag with his binoculars. We repeated the process until Claude saw the flag. There was joy when he saw it.

Going with the current, we got to the ocean real fast, but there was nothing but mud. We walked to the village. I walked back the next day and got the boat. That hunt could be summed up as a ‘wild goose chase’.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, it's a wonder any of you survived. I imagine the reason you did was because you kept your "sanity"! I thought that you were going to say that you burned the wood sides to keep you warm that you had put on the boat to keep the waves from sinking you, rendering you stuck on the island. The makeshift flag marker was genius.

You didn't get to the mountain, but you didn't begin throwing people overboard to decrease weight to help the water function in more shallow water. You all made it home.

You have one very full life! Great story.

Christiane said...

Hello Mr. Kuter,

Having for years heard Rex Ray's wonderful stories, I have come to the conclusion that he lives under the protection of the angels. :)

Josiah Brooks said...

Thank you, Bro. Burleson, for initiating this conversation. Having served overseas, including 2 years with the IMB as an ISC/Journeyman, I find the current decision-making processes most troubling. When David Platt was chosen to lead the organization 4 years ago, I assumed it was a one-off decision based on the popularity of his Radical book. Regrettably, the "early retirement" plan he quickly implemented forced out a number of folks much more cross-culturally experienced than Dr. Platt, including several I've known. Some of these individuals continue to struggle with their readjustment to life in the US.

It did not surprise me when Dr. Platt announced earlier this year that he would be returning to full-time US-based church ministry. My hope and prayer was that the trustees would hear out the critics of their prior decision and elevate a qualified, long-term IMB regional leader to the presidency. Yet, it seems, as Mr. Kuter noted above, that there is minimal understanding about what is best for the organization at this time. One must ask, "What makes Mr. Chitwood more qualified than the regional leaders he'll be supervising?" and "What, in Mr. Chitwood's time at the KBC, did trustees find particularly qualifying?" I cannot answer the first question, and continue to grapple with the second.

In Kentucky, Mr. Chitwood's tenure as executive director is largely defined by budgetary realignments. As these have been common (and necessary) in other state conventions throughout the South in recent years, they have not seemed unusual to many observers. Perhaps most significantly, Campbellsville University (CU) and University of the Cumberlands (UC) initiated processes to sever official denominational ties while Dr. Chitwood led the KBC. As Georgetown College formally left the convention over ten years ago, this means there is no longer any SBC-affiliated liberal arts college in the state of Kentucky now. If the patterns of previous Baptist institutions such as Furman and Wake Forest hold true for CU and UC, adherence to biblical orthodoxy will eventually be a thing of the past. Kentucky Baptist students who desire an evangelical liberal arts education may thus have to look elsewhere in the future. Was this perspective even discussed as Chitwood's candidacy was deliberated? How could one with such a short tenure as executive director allow such a thing to happen?

Anonymous said...

I started here and, based on links provided, ended up back in 2005 in a discussion about baptism. Somewhere along the way someone wondered why you would present internal disagreements publically on a blog. Well, I have been reading for about 3 hours and have learned much, mainly from the comment sections. My learning would not have taken place without the comments. Those comments would not have happened if you didn't publish your blog.

Unintended consequences perhaps. But consequesnces just the same. Good consequences.

JDV said...

Rex, quick q:


"I believe Carrol was criticized because he said large churches began to assume authority over small churches and referenced Third John 1:9. That Scripture states:

“I sent a brief letter to the church about this, but proud Diotrephes, who loves to push himself forward as the leader of the Christians there, DOES NOT ADMIT MY AUTHORITY OVER HIM and refuses to listen to me.” (Living Bible)"

Did Carrol cite the translation of epidechetai (relates to the text you capitalized) in his assertion? It seems most render the term as welcoming, accepting, or receiving rather than an assumption of authority at least permthe immediate context.

Rex Ray said...

JDV,
Thanks for the reply.

https://archive.org/stream/TheTrailOfBlood/41344433-The-Trail-of-Blood_djvu.txt

This link has J. M. Carroll’s complete book which states:

“These great churches necessarily had many preachers or elders (Acts 20:17). Some of the bishops or pastors began to assume authority not given them in the New Testament. They began to claim authority over other and smaller churches. THEY, WITH THEIR MANY ELDERS, BEGAN TO LORD IT OVER GOD’S HERITAGE (III JOHN 9). Here was the beginning of an error which has grown and multiplied into many other seriously hurtful errors. Here was the beginning of different orders in the ministry running up finally to what is practiced now by others as well as Catholics. Here began what resulted in an entire change from the original democratic policy and government of the early churches. This irregularity began in a small way, even before the close of the second century. This was possibly the first serious departure from the New Testament church order.”

JDV, did you see he referred that an “elder” and NOT John the apostle was speaking in (III John 9)? II John even states, “From John the elder”.

Rex Ray said...

RB,

You’re funny.

One more story about Quinhagak. Before the search for bears (and sideboards for the boat), Hez and I decided to fish with a large gill-net that Eskimos used. They put the net across the river and when fish hit it they were caught. Using the boat we planned to do the same. Our net stayed behind us like a rope, but we still caught a large salmon.

For some reason the ‘shear-pin’ that made the propeller turn, broke. We didn’t have a replacement or paddles. The river headed us toward Russia. Fortunately, some kids saw us and told our father. He hired someone to look for us. We didn’t have the sideboards and were bailing hard when they found us. They tied our boats together side by side.

Their motor was a lot larger than ours and we made it fast to the river. But their motor was OLD and disaster hit when it threw a rod. We started back to Russia.

They had a coat-hanger and plyers. I made a make-shift shear-pin for our motor. It was slow going but we made it back.

RB Kuter said...

Okay, Rex Ray, you got me started.
A new Baptist church was planted when we were in Zambia that was located right on the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika next to borders of what was then, Zaire, and Tanzania. We Baptists missionaries promised we would provide tin roof sheets for the roof of churches if their members would make mud bricks, build a kiln, and fire the bricks to use to build the walls of their church building. The roof sheets were paid for by Southern Baptists' Lottie Moon Christmas Offerings, by the way.)

I got this assignment to load our 6-wheel flatbed up with the sheets and transport them to the church. My family lived in Kabwe, a two-day trip from the new-church village.

Two pastors went with me to show me the way. We picked up about 30 additional church members along the way and they all rode on the back of the truck sitting on the roofing sheets. Darkness fell as the paved roads ended and became dirt, then became ox-cart paths that we followed in the headlights. About 10:00 pm we came to a makeshift bridge over a deep culvert/mostly dry river bed. The "bridge" had depleted to being some logs on a old structure of support with the boards spaced about 8 inches apart. Then old planks had been placed perpendicular on the log-beams to serve as runners for wheels of whatever vehicles or pedestrians ventured to cross. There were no motor vehicles in villages out this far in the virtual, uninhabited jungle. No vehicle traffic would use this bridge other than the occasional ox-carts carrying charcoal that the villagers had made and carried to the market.

I stopped the truck with the headlights shining on the rickety bridge and told our pastors, "There's no way this truck with this load is going cross that bridge. Nothing but ox carts use this." They walked across the bridge stepping over all of the big spaces where the old planks had broken away leaving big spaces. "No, Ba Kuter! The bridge is good and solid! We can use it!". We discussed this for 10 minutes or so.

This was actually a truck assigned to another missionary who was an agricultural missionary and relied on it a great deal for his ministry work. I had borrowed it for this trip and could not risk breaking an axle 50 miles out from nowhere in the jungle. He would never forgive me and I wouldn't blame him.

But my Zambian brothers would not be denied. They told me to trust them. The truck would make it.

So I got back in the cab with a crowd of passengers backing along the plank-runners in front of me so as to direct me around the spaces caused by the broken boards. I crept along, literally, "inch by inch" and we made it about 6 feet across the 20-foot bridge before, "CRACK"!!! The board broke and the front right wheel plunged into the resulting hole in the bridge with the frame of the truck literally resting on the bridge.

It was pitch dark, of course, and we were probably 10 miles from the closest village, which was nothing but mud huts and grass roofs, no vehicles or repair facilities. So, we were on our own. Using flashlights to see how to work, we struggled to put pieces of boards under the truck frame that allowed enough support to put a jack under the truck, jack it up enough to put another board under the front wheel, and slowly back it up off the bridge.

At that point, one of our Zambian passengers who was from that area, graciously told us there was another way around this ravine, but we would have to go another 2 hours out of our way, which we gladly did. We arrived at our village destination before sunrise and the villagers came out from the darkness into the gleam of our headlights, cheering and singing and dancing! It was an awesome week!

Rex Ray said...

RB,

That is quite a story. Judy said, “Wow”.

The difference in our stories is that we got in bad circumstances NOT knowing; whereas you had the courage to go on a bridge pretty much knowing it was bad.

I can pretty much visualize that bridge as there is one crossing the Red River built in 1910. One side was for trains and the other for wagons. I have a picture of my dad with horses pulling a wagon. In time, the train tracks were converted to the width for one car. (You had to wait until no one was coming to cross.) The horse side was not maintained, and long legs are good when walking on it as there are as much as three foot gaps in places. Last year it was closed since a new MODERN bridge has been built nearby.

Long ago in Mexico I saw the location of a Baptist church to be built. They would lose the lot if the building was not completed in one year. There was a couple of months left and they had run out of money. All they had was the foundation for the outside walls. The plans called for a ten roof and a dirt floor.

I called my wife and she mailed a check for our Lottie Moon offering. I gave it to the Mexican pastor. His face grew pale and said, I’d be killed if it was know I had this much money. He gave it to the missionary there to put in the bank and the church was completed on time.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray,
Aren't we blessed to live in a country that is so prosperous? I believe it would be good for all we US citizens to live in a third world country for a little while, at least. When we had the mandatory military service it resulted in a lot of our young men serving abroad for a spell. Can't help but believe that would generate a lot more loyalty and devotion to our nation.

Would be interesting to visit the Mexican church to see if it's still going. Has been years since I was in Zambia. Wonder how many of those churches are still there today. Pray they are flourishing to God's glory.

Rex Ray said...

RB,

Yes, we’re blessed. I’ve been in several countries that ranged in poverty. I didn’t see any poverty in the 13 trips I made to Japan, but Kyrgyzstan (between Afghanistan and China) was like going back in time a hundred years.

The mission team bought lumber at a flea-market, and it was delivered in a wagon pulled by horses. I never saw an automobile. We built book shelves for the university there. The missionaries were undercover as it was controlled by Muslims. The name “Christian” was hated, so church members called themselves “believers’.

In Texas, several churches replaced their florescent lights and gave us the old ones to take to churches in Mexico. I’d paid $400 for a cargo-van with a dead motor. I built a box and attached it on top for the lights since the inside was filled with people. One church didn’t have electricity. We ran a 100 yard line to get some. The church got a lot of attention when a non-electric person attached the black wire to the white and put the small town in darkness for a while.

RB Kuter said...

I know. We lost a dear friend there after she was abducted.

Rex Ray said...

RB

Was it Mexico where your friend was abducted? I forgot to mention the poverty there. The worst was a place where many house frames were covered from cardboard boxes.

One church didn’t know that sheetrock could be ‘finished’ by ‘tape & bed’. (That’s what by brother and I learned when we were eighteen, and what I did on projects in Japan.) The sheetrock work on this church was horrible, but ‘tape & bed’ can make it look good. One corner where the walls and ceiling met had a hole so large it would require sheetrock to support the tape. But there was a bird nest there, so the nest was good enough to hold the tape in place. They thought I’d turned their church into a beautiful palace.

My brother-in-law owns a place in Mexico and once a year we’d go for vacation or work. There’s a Baptist Seminary in a nearby town that’s been worked on countless times. Once I spent two weeks working on their dormitory. It had an unprotected walkway on their second story. I welded a guard rail or fence around it. School was not going one at the time. I slept in the dormitory. Its caretaker’s name was George. He was going to school to be a preacher. (Since then our church has worked many times on his church.)

Before George became a Christian, he was a ‘policeman gone bad’. He became one of the largest ‘drug lords’ in Mexico and the police in America had him on their list. He was such a bad person, his wife became afraid of him. She took their small boy and went somewhere in New York.

He went there in search of them, but the Holy Spirt got hold of him. He thought what would his son think of him the way he was. He trusted Jesus. He went to the police and told them Jesus wanted him to confess. He was given a 50 year prison term in Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester that has around 750 inmates.

The prison had different gangs that fought and killed each other. He started preaching Jesus to everyone. Four years later, the Chaplin told him he had bad news: “They’re kicking you out.”
“They can’t do that; I have a ministry here!”

He never found his wife or son, but life goes on. He has happily remarried.

I saw on George’s desk at the Seminary, a ‘trophy’ that stated: “Thank you for making our job so much easier…Oklahoma State Penitentiary”.

RB Kuter said...

No, it was a Muslim country.

Praise God for George. We know it is all about God's power and His infinite ability to change circumstances and even the character of we sinful creatures.

Only God's grace could change George to actually want to be in prison for the purpose of serving God. Only God knows the impact made on the lives of inmates and then the impact those had on others.

God is good!

The meltdown in Mexico due to the anarchy caused by the international drug cartels. Their immense control and wealth (That is greater than the GDP of most countries) must render that nation to be similar to Somalia, Rwanda, Sudan, and others. It is troubling that Mexico is the adjoining land south of our border with its drug masters are bent on the US being its primary market for their deadly product.

Not that anyone is interested, but I stressed in the book "When I Am President-The President's Bible" Chapter 6-National Security, that this is the greatest national security threat to the US in real terms. It's a greater threat than any Muslim terrorist and even greater than the socialist movement being orchestrated within our borders. It is to the point that the US should be "declaring war" on the international drug cartels and either partnering with the structured governments of those occupied lands like Mexico to destroy the cartel-enemy. In the likely event those structured governments are puppets of the enemy, we would be justified in going in ourselves and wiping them out. Otherwise, we will see the same anarchy, terrorist attacks, bribed judicial system and bought-out politicians used to give the cartels control in Mexico taking place in our own nation. This is reality, not conjecture. Yet we are naive and complacent, like the perverbial frog being slowly cooked by being placed in a pot of cool water over a low heat burner on the stove.

Christiane said...

The season of Advent is coming

"But God is our king before ages: He hath wrought Salvation in the midst of the earth."
(Psalm 74:12)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpkdCQVnyvs

'Salvation is created in the midst of the Earth
O God, O Our God! Alleluia'

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

From the comments, the link that records a choir singing must give people a feeling that God is closer than we think.


Wade,

From Google, I’ve just printed four pages of “An Account of the Life and Persecutions of Martin Luther”.

I noticed he believed very strongly, “We are justified by faith”. Was he incorrect in believing James’s Book in the Bible was a “book of straw”?

Not the Bible, but history records James prayed for the sins of the people until he was martyred.

Without details, do you believe Paul would have lived longer if James had never been born?

No, I don’t think I’m crazy. :)

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Judy and I used your link to listen to the beautiful choir sing. On the side we saw a picture we liked. It was the actor that plays in “Person of interest” on Netflix. By using Google, I found this:

Jim Caviezel is a respectable actor with a respectable career. The Count of Monte Cristo, The Thin Red Line, Pay It Forward, and Angel Eyes are just a few of his films. But one of his most recent roles may jeopardize his respectability -- Jim plays Jesus in Mel Gibson's controversial film, The Passion of The Christ.
In an interview with CBN's Scott Ross, Caviezel went to great depths to help people understand what it means to play the crucified Savior.
Scott: How old were you when you played in the film?
Jim: I was 33, and my initials are J.C.
Scott: What was your main response to it?
Jim: I was half exhilarated and half terrified. I felt that the whole way through.
Scott: How did you prepare to play the Son of God?
Jim: It forced me to pray to overcome the physical pain. Hypothermia was bad, but on the cross my shoulder pulled out of socket.
Scott: You said you prayed. Is that something you believed prior to the part? Are you a believer?
Jim: There's no question that I believe. I was playing Christ, but a lot of times I felt like Satan. Obscenities wanted to come out of me when others were drinking coffee and laughing (indifferent to the pain I felt.) I was so cold it was like knives going through me. My mouth was shaking so bad I could barely get the lines out. My arms and legs went numb. I was suffocating on that cross. So, I had to seriously pray; not from the mind but from the heart.
Scott: The whipping and the scourging are hard to watch because that goes on for so long. I was literally counting the lashes. I watched people in the theatre in front of me turn their faces away because they couldn't continue to look.
Jim: You said something very critical there: People turn their eyes away when they see it, and what they're seeing is their own sin and not wanting to deal with it. It's that hard to look at. But this film forces you to see yourself, not the way you want to see yourself, but as God sees you. There are no passive onlookers here.
Scott: What part of this had the greatest effect on you?
Jim: There are things that I went through that I can't talk about. My prayer was, I didn’t want people to see me; I wanted them to see Jesus and make a decision to follow Him.

Christiane said...

Hello Rex Ray,

oh I remember watching The Passion of the Christ, and thank God no one was at home when I did because I ended up in the bathroom crying into a towel, very hard, quite a reaction!
I heard at the time the film came out that one lady had a heart attack in the audience, so I knew that it might be difficult to watch, but I still wasn't prepared for how graphic it was.
What a great actor! But why doesn't he have more roles? Maybe he has been type-cast and the industry won't try him in other roles that might suit him. (?) That film! It must have driven many people back to the faith, and introduced others to at least make inquiries . . . I do know that a lot of Catholics were strongly affected, and I was no exception.

I'll take a look at the link you are talking about and thanks for the heads-up on it.

As to this:
"No, I don’t think I’m crazy. :) "

no way are you crazy!!!! You just have a great deal of imagination and curiosity and an absolutely wonderful way of expressing yourself . . .

me, on the other hand . . . I thought about this and decided 'okay, you have a Catholic woman posting a Lutheran choir (singing a Russian hymn), on a Southern Baptist blog . . .
I suppose that IS a little strange, but these days it might do more good than not. :)

Best regards to Judy, and I hope she liked the hymn.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Thanks for the reply, and you ARE one funny lady.


It's been said of Saint Peter while welcoming a new arrival saying, "Don't let that group hear you; they think they're the only ones up here."

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