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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Adele and Contemporary Christian Worship Songs

Recently our contemporary worship team at Emmanuel Enid (e.g., Refuge Band) spent a creative planning time discussing the possibility of Emmanuel beginning to write its own music. We have a very talented team of musicians and writers, particularly when you consider the population of cattle outnumbers humans by 100 times in western Oklahoma.

I registered a concern to our worship leaders that though I enjoy the stylistic approach of contemporary Christian worship, I sometimes wonder about the words of the songs we sing. I enjoy contemporary worship because it is not vapid, meaning "missing life or energy" in its lyrical style, but sometimes the words of contemporary worship songs seem void of content and meaning.

In response to my concern, I was told that there is a 'beat' or 'style' of contemporary worship that seems to drive the train in writing new music. The phrase Golden Ratio was used, and I discovered that Christian song writers will often create a rhythmic style first, a musical formula that sounds good, and then will add words later. It's one of the reasons, I was told, that popular contemporary worship sounds similar. I responded that I don't necessarily object to songs sounding similar--classical music carries a distinct lyrical sound--as much as I object to the words of contemporary worship songs which sometimes lack meaning, depth or theological content. 

I suggested a solution to the dilemma might be to go to Google books and find some wonderful ancient hymns, songs rich in theological and Christological content, adapt them to modern English and begin writing contemporary worship songs around the meaning and content of words. I suggested that if we write music ourselves, we shift the way the songs are written: Words will always be primary, lyrical sound secondary. 

I even offered an illustration. There is a hymn written in Latin nearly two hundred years ago (1837) by Reverend John Chandler of Oxford, England. The song, now in public domain, is available on Google books, It is based on Psalm 59:12, "O look upon me and be merciful to me." The song's English translation (page 13) goes like this:

Lord, on the Cross Thine Arms
were stretched,
To draw Thy people nigh; 
O grant us then that cross to love,
And in those arms to die.

All glory to the Father be,
All glory to the Son,
All glory to the Holy Ghost, to Thee, 
While endless ages run.

I suggested a new song be written using the same concepts of God's effectual love in drawing us to the cross, the importance of never abandoning faith and love for the cross, and the blessing of dying while resting in the love of the One who died for us. In the newer version I offered, I changed the "Thine" and "Thy" to "You" and "Your's," and I also changed the objects of God's love in the hymn from the third person plural to the second person singular. 

The Refuge team was quiet and respectful, but I could sense their mental wheels were turning. Mark Twain once said, "It's not what you don't know that hurts you. It's what you do know that ain't so." Modern contemporary worship leaders might need to rethink (in my opinion) how songs are written. We have the good news. Let's be sure that we always sing about the Christ who made the news.

My digital copy of Time Magazine came on my phone today. The cover story is on Adele. In reading the article I came across four paragraphs that sought to explain the counter-cultural popularity of Adele (emphasis mine).
Much of what’s on the radio is cooked up by A-list producers and songwriters who churn out hooks, snippets of melody, lyrics and song concepts. Their work is then mined for precious No. 1 hits. It’s a sound rooted in the late ’90s, when artists like Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys began recording tracks written by superproducers like Max Martin and his Stockholm team of songwriters, who expertly blended American R&B and European dance music. Nearly two decades later, Martin is still shaping hits for artists including Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.
Top songs are also often written to track, which means a producer makes a beat, then a songwriter listens to it and attempts to generate words that fit that beat, sometimes singing nonsense until the language begins to take shape. It’s more about how lyrics sound than what they mean. This has become a bedrock part of the industry, as laid out in John Seabrook’s recent book The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory. And it’s how you end up with something like Ariana Grande’s dance-pop confection “Break Free”: “I only wanna die alive … Now that I’ve become who I really am.”
"Break Free" is a popular contemporary secular song with stupid words which are void of meaning. Some popular contemporary worship songs seemingly follow the pattern of  "Break Free" -  amazing lyrical sound and emotion, but void in meaning and content. The next two paragraphs explain how Adele does it differently.
Adele writes the way music used to be written, decades ago, before that teen-pop boom of the late ’90s. “I’m not precious about writing credits—it’s whatever makes the best song,” she says. “But I can’t do that. I can’t write a song based on a track.” Her songs aren’t a Frankenstein’s monster of her best ideas, either. “I write a song from beginning to end,” she says. “I don’t go in sections. It’s a story.” Even though she, too, recorded songs for 25 with Martin, their cut—“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”—doesn’t have the stitched-together feel of many radio hits.
Greg Kurstin, who co-wrote and produced “Hello,” says Adele’s process is increasingly rare. “She would start out with actual lyrics,” he says. “I don’t see that in the pop world.” Accordingly, Adele’s songs stand out against much of what’s popular now. “I’m not saying my album is incredible, but there’s conviction in it,” she says. “
My hope is that we can see a movement toward writing contemporary worship songs with an emphasis on the content of what is being sung. Maybe we can be a part of a new breed of contemporary Christian songwriters who begin with the the authentic gospel story of  the Person and work of Jesus Christ. 

Gospel power is not so much about the way we feel as it is about the way we think. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Biblical Response to "It's Not Christian" to Arm Yourself by Carrying a Concealed Weapon

John Piper recently wrote an article entitled Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?. I really respect the tone and content of Piper's article. He wrote in response to Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University, who recently said his university campus would be safer if the students were armed, and went on to encourage students to obtain conceal carry permits. I understand completely the position Piper is taking.

Piper's article has been shared by numerous friends of mine who agree with Piper's nine biblical reasons for why a Christian should not carry a weapon. Their views are not too dissimilar from Pope Francis who said, "Those who manufacture or sale weapons cannot call themselves Christians." This issue is often divisive among Christians.

My response to Christian's arming or not arming themselves is similar to my take on whether the consumption of beer or wine is permissable, or whether the Bible allows women in positions of church leadership, or other controversial issues within evangelical, Bible-believing circles. I understand both sides, and do not believe I'm called to convince others of their "error" unless someone begins saying "It's not Christian" to hold a particular view.

Thus, this article.

We who follow Jesus are called to be prepared to give a reason for our beliefs and behaviors, grant grace and freedom to those who disagree, and continue to live life based on our understanding of New Testament biblical principles. In short, it's important for me to accept unconditionally those who disagree, which is the empowering relationship principle of grace, and yet be personally unconcerned with whether or not people accept me, which is the practical implication of understanding Christ's personal and eternal full acceptance of me.

With that in mind, I'll give you the Biblical principle which grants me the freedom (from my perspective) to obtain a concealed weapons permit and carry a concealed handgun. Remember, I'm not trying to convince anyone else that the Spirit is leading them to do what I've done. I'm only sharing with you the biblical basis by which I carry a concealed weapon.

Romans 13:4 is specific:
"For (government authority) is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for (government authority) is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil."
Back in the day - before the invention of firearms - the sword was the best and most effective weapon against evil doers. Government authorities are ordained by God to stop evil through force.

The United States Constitution is also specific:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
The United States is not an aristocracy, nor a monarchy - We the People form the government. Our Founding Fathers made it very clear that the People of the United States were the highest authority in the newly established country. God makes nations, but the people of this nation (the United States) are the authority behind the government. Listen to the Founding Fathers:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men…. 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. … Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Declaration of Independence (1776).
It was for this purpose that the Second Amendment was established - guaranteeing the right of the People of the United States to "keep and bear arms."

Contrary to almost every other nation in the world, the People of the United States of America are the highest authority and have the right and duty to abolish their government and form a new government to provide "new Guards for the nation's future security and to provide for the common defense." I arm myself as a citizen of the United States of America. I am the government.

I have often worked through my mind whether or not I would give my life for the good news and gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a question that I take seriously. Would I allow myself "to be burned at the stake," or to "have my head chopped off" because I refuse to deny Christ? Answer: Of course. I'm ready to die, and will never be ashamed to die for Christ. I will not deny Him in order to live.

However, I live in America. And as long as our founding documents remain, and the citizens of the United States are called the highest authority in the land, then I will hold a concealed weapons permit and carry a concealed weapon. I will not hesitate to use it if I'm in a mall and someone opens fire on innocent bystanders, or I'm in a movie theater and someone opens up on American moms and dads and children, or I'm in any other public forum and evil doers seek to do harm on citizens of the United States.

I'm a Baptist by conviction, so I believe in the separation of church and state. As a member of my state, I will arm myself to insure domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense. As a member of the church, I will be willing to die for Christ. But as long as I'm an American, I will defend the right of all Americans, even American Christians who give primary allegiance to the New Testament, to arm themselves if they so desire.

I realize John Piper's problem with Jerry Falwell is that Falwell was encouraging other Christians to arm themselves as American citizens. However, Piper does precisely what Falwell did; he's encouraging Christians in America not to arm themselves.

I'm doing what neither man has done. I'm telling you to follow the Spirit and do as He leads. As a Christian who lives in America, I do not have one stab of conviction from the Spirit of God that carrying a concealed weapon is wrong from a New Testament perspective. Were I to live in another country, say Germany, then maybe I'd rethink what I'm doing.

But I don't live in Germany. I live in America. I carry a concealed weapon as a follower of Jesus Christ who loves my country and the principles upon which it was founded. In America, citizens are the authority mentioned in Romans 13:4, and we "do not carry the sword (weapon) in vain."

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hymns Called Whims and Changing Worship Styles

Monday night my wife and I listed to Jordan Smith sing an amazing vocal rendition of the Christmas hymn "Mary Did You Know?" on the television show The Voice. Rachelle told me later that she found herself worshiping while listening to Jordan sing, another confirmation that worship does not require one's personal vocal chords vibrating. Few evangelicals know that Mary Did You Know? is a recent hymn. Christian comedian and songwriter Mark Lowry helped write this classic song in 1991.

When it is considered that Silent Night was written in 1818 and Joy to the World in 1719, it shouldn't surprise us that mega-pop star Adam Levine confessed on national television he'd never before heard "Mary Did You Know?" 

The strength of Mary Did You Know? is in the message of the song. Read the words in verse two:
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.
Oh Mary did you know?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the Lamb.
This song is a very powerful presentation of the gospel. It is a modern Christmas hymn, quickly becoming as popular as other classics like Silent Night and Joy to the World.

Isaac Watts wrote Joy to the World in 1719. Many evangelicals in Watt's day opposed the writing of hymns to be sung in worship. One of those leading evangelicals, William Romaine (1714-1795), saw contemporary hymns as a departure from the Scriptural norm. Romaine believed that the decline in psalmody (i.e. "singing the psalms in worship") had gone hand in hand with the decline in "vital religion." 

 Romaine felt people were losing their spirituality because they were now preferring the words of man to the Word of God. He said, 
“I have no quarrel with Dr Watts, or with any living or dead versifier. I would not have all their poems burnt. My concern is to see Christian congregations shut out divinely inspired Psalms, and take in Dr Watts’ flights of fancy, as if the words of a poet were better than those of a prophet." (Abbey and Overton, Sacred Poetry, pages 269-272)
William Romaine’s voice was far from being a lone one in his day. It became a running joke among English churchmen in the first half of the 18th century that ‘Watts’ hymns’ were ‘Watts’ whims’.
 My point of is Christian music has always been in a state of flux. Even those who say, "It's not the style of music, but the message that matters," need to remember that churchmen in the 1700's denigrated doctrinally sound and complex hymns like Joy to the World as whims. In the end, personal taste is what drives one's enjoyment of worship. Some like classical styles of worship, others like contemporary expressions with phrases repeated over and over, while others like more doctrinally complex narratives (hymns), while some insist one should only sing the Scriptures.
In my study of church history, I've concluded that worship wars are mostly wars of the flesh and not of the Spirit.

Monday, December 07, 2015

A "More Devout" Muslim Is a Danger to Civilization

I have some very good friends who are Muslims. I must repeat that first sentence. I have some very good friends who are Muslims. These Muslim friends of mine have treated me superbly, invited me to dinners and banquets, and have come to Enid (from OKC) to spend some time with me. A couple of them are highly influential in Oklahoma and Texas, friends of mine on Facebook, and will be among those who read this article.

I'm not convinced my Muslim friends will agree with what I'm about to write, but I want them to know that my friendship is not on the line. I write what I perceive to be truth. I will not be silent in order to not jeopardize my friendships.  What I write is not about my Muslim friends personally, but it is about the Muslim religion philosophically. I do not consider my friends "devout" Muslims in the same manner growing numbers of Muslims around the world consider real "devotion" to their religion.

The ABC News headline about the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California states that the Islamic woman involved in the California shooting had become "more devout". Think about that headline. The Muslim woman had become "more devout." Those two words are chilling. Our President and other "politically correct" Americans want us to believe that this 21st century war on Islamic terrorism is not about religion. They are wrong.

This war is with a people who believe in their religion so devoutly that they believe anyone who refuses to submit to their god, to their law, and to their authority should be killed. ABC got it right; the California terrorists had become "more devout" in their Islamic faith.

An Atlantic Monthly reporter  spent several months embedded in ISIS and writes that American politicians have misled the American people.
We are misled ... by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. The religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.
Pretending that ISIS isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. Excluding ideology in explaining ISIS presents a Western bias. "If religious ideology doesn’t matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul." When a masked executioner says Allahu akbar while beheading an apostate, sometimes he’s doing so for religious reasons.
My Muslim friends have told me that ISIS, Islamic terrorists, and other Muslims who kill are un-Islamic. Not so says the Atlantic Monthly (and I agree):
Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic. It is, of course, reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment. But Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.” 
Of course, after the appearance of the Atlantic Monthly article, progressives immediately went on the offensive, doing all they could to repudiate the conclusions drawn by the Atlantic Monthly and Muslim scholar Bernard Haykel. The major argument against the California husband and wife team being "more devout" Muslims as they brutally killed and maimed three dozen Americans is that "they don't represent the Muslim faith."

That's a weak argument. Do you know why? Those two killers - and other ISIS' terrorists - are telling  Muslims who disagree with killing infidels that they are not devout enough in their Muslim faith.

In the Christian faith, if you lack devotion, you lack love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. Why is it in the Muslim faith (at least in the eyes of the California killers and ISIS terrorists) the lack of devotion means the unwillingness to kill, torture, and maim non-believers?

I believe it is the unwillingness of American leaders to acknowledge the religious devotion and philosophical ideology of the Islamic terrorists that makes our government weak and ineffective in its response to the modern-day terrorism all Americans are now facing.

To my Muslim friends: Please, for the sake of civilization, remain less devoted than your ISIS counterparts . I also urge you to speak out loudly and clearly to the self-radicalization that is happening within our borders among Muslims. The better Way is to love others, express grace and forgiveness, and unconditionally accept people of all faiths because of their intrinsic worth as those created in the image of God.

I have no problem with my friends who are Muslim. It's the way some Muslims are becoming "more devout" that is chilling.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Thomas Jefferson, Founder of the Democratic Party, Advocated Walking with a Gun for Exercise

In the wake of another mass shooting in California, some politicians are calling for tighter gun control. Regardless of one's opinion on guns, it's interesting to read what Thomas Jefferson, founder of the Democratic Party, had to say about Americans and guns.

Jefferson believed you should walk daily with your gun. He wrote to his nephew Peter Carr and said:
"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."
That's right. Thomas Jefferson advocated that the best exercise for Americans were long walks with their guns. He felt holding a rifle while walking worked the arms, the legs, and the mind at the same time. Jefferson would later give further details on when one should exercise with a gun:
"There is no habit you will value so much as that of walking far without fatigue. I would advise you to take your exercise in the afternoon. Not because it is the best time for exercise for certainly it is not: but because it is the best time to spare from your studies; and habit will soon reconcile it to health, and render it nearly as useful as if you gave to that the more precious hours of the day. A little walk of half an hour in the morning when you first rise is advisable also. It shakes off sleep, and produces other good effects."
Can you imagine Americans today, young and old (Jefferson's nephew was fifteen), walking through their neighborhood streets, city park trails, and their town squares with rifles and shotguns? If not, why not?

Could it be that the desire to ban guns from the hands of Americans is a misplaced concern? Maybe the root problem with gun violence is the mental and emotional instability in the heads and hearts of those who kill innocent people?

Could it be (just asking) that if Americans were to become comfortable with fellow Americans carrying guns and rifles in the open during their morning and afternoon walks, that the few socio-paths among us who wish to kill innocent people might be stopped before they even start?

I wonder how Thomas Jefferson would respond if he were asked how America could solve its gun violence problem today?

Maybe he'd tell us to take a walk.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Defalcation of Clinton Samuel (C.S.) Carnes: The Southern Baptist Convention's Worst Fraud

Defalcation - n. (dē-ˌfal-ˈkā-shən) - Def.  The act or an instance of embezzling

The picture to the left is a never before published 1928 press photo of a group of Southern Baptists and other interested persons waiting for a glimpse of the recently captured Home Mission Board Treasurer Clinton Samuel (C.S.) Carnes at the Atlanta train station.

C.S Carnes stole $909,461 from Southern Baptists, the Home Mission Board, and the recently formed Cooperative Program. In today's dollars, the amount Carnes embezzled is a staggering $12,344,066, the worst fraud ever perpetrated on Southern Baptists.

On Wednesday, August 15, 1928, C.S. Carnes locked up his desk in Atlanta, Georgia and said he was going out of state on business. The Home Mission Board's treasurer's job was to lend money to financial strapped rural churches through Home Mission funds. But Carnes went even further. On the good name of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Home Mission Board, he began to make unauthorized contacts and contracts with many small town banks on behalf of Southern Baptist rural churches. Carnes won the banks over with his word alone, often negotiating and borrowing $15,000, $10,000 and other round dollar sums "for the Board." Carnes established accounts "for the board" in 18 different states, using over 150 separate banks, with each bank either "holding funds for the board" or "paper covering loans" made by Carnes.  Unfortunately, all the monies "for the board" promptly went into C.S. Carnes' deep pockets, with Carne's intention to "pay back" the bank loans with future money he would earn through his nefarious personal investments.

As Carnes left Georgia for "business" that hot August day, auditors for the Home Mission Board
began examining his books. Soon, they discovered Carnes' massive fraud. Possibly either tipped off, or sensing imminent discovery of his malfeasance, Carnes never returned to Atlanta, leaving his wife and adult children to face the shame of his actions. After a warrant for Carnes' arrest was issued, newspapers across the nation headlined the nationwide search for the Baptist treasurer. Reporters began digging into Carnes' past, asking questions like "How could this happen?" and "What ever happened to all that money?" 

It was soon discovered that Carnes' embezzlement included the financing of the Hollywood careers of Swedish beauty Sonya Nordlie and American starlet Lois Griffin.  Carnes had the two aspiring actresses sign agreements that they would give him 10% of their future Hollywood earnings in return for his gifts of cash. However, it wasn't just beautiful women that Carnes financed. He became a real estate mogul, investing in commercial property and purchasing a personal mansion in Atlanta. He paid cash for at least four high-end personal vehicles, funded his boys' college education with cash, and soon became a regular in the high society benefits of the greater metropolitan area of Atlanta. Carnes' annual salary was only $4,500, but his lifestyle was extravagant. For the decade he served as the treasurer of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention nobody seems to have officially questioned Carnes about his material excess. 

Six weeks after C.S. Carnes fled Atlanta on August 15, 1928, he was captured by police in Winnipeg, Canada. One month later, singer/songwriter Dan Hornsby released a hit folk song, putting the story of C.S. Carnes to music. You may listen to the catchy song here.  Time Magazine declared the defalcation of C.S. Carnes "a devastating blow to the image of the Southern Baptist Convention and extremely damaging to the trust Baptists have in their Boards." That was probably a rare understatement for Time.

After a plea bargain agreement, Clinton Samuel Carnes was sentenced in early 1929 to five to seven years imprisonment. Prosecutors stated the agreement would save the state of Georgia a long, expensive trial. Justice would be served, they argued, because of Carnes' advanced age. It was stated at sentencing that Carnes had agreed to aid in untangling the board's accounts on which auditors had been working since his disappearance the previous summer. Only one of the 20 indictments was returned against Carnes, as the state announced the others would be dismissed if the 61-year-old former layman did not seek a pardon or parole before the expiration of his minimum sentence.

In 1933 Carnes' wife (Maude), still living in Atlanta, listed herself as a (wid C S) "widow to C.S." in the city directory. Though her husband was still in prison, and though he would soon be released, shame ended Maude Carnes marriage before death did. In 1935 C.S. Carnes finished serving his prison sentence.  He never returned to Atlanta, but moved to Denver, Colorado. He eventually settled in Salt Lake City, Utah and died there in obscurity on July 31, 1950, one day after his eighty-second birthday. 

Lessons from Carnes' Defalcation

Clinton Samuel (CS) Carnes
I'll close this sad saga by pointing out four little known facts from Carnes' extraordinary embezzlement and include a few of the important lessons worth remembering. Before Carnes went to trial, he grew a mustache and allowed his hair to grow longer (compare the picture of Carnes at the top right to the one bottom left).

(1). C.S. Carnes had been in prison just two years prior to being hired as the treasurer for the Home Mission Board. His first imprisonment (1914-1916) was for "mail fraud," and it seems nobody from the Home Mission Board performed due diligence in checking the background of Mr. Carnes. The surest expectation of future conduct are certified anecdotes of past character. 

(2). C.S. Carnes was known to the Home Mission Board because he had somehow obtained a job with an independent company that sent a team of workers for a perfunctory audit of the Home Mission Board books in 1917. When the audit team gave its report, a tall, ascetic-looking auditor made appropriate suggestions, impressing Home Mission board members.  A few months later when the treasurer of the Home Mission Board resigned, the Board went looking for the man whose bearing and appearance impressed them. The Board hired Carnes in 1918 and for the next decade, the treasurer of the Home Mission Board stole from Southern Baptists. Outward appearance is never a qualification for Kingdom ministry, for some of God's choices servants are often cultures' outcasts. 

(3). C.S. Carnes rewarded loyalist with financial gifts, loans, and ministry appointments. Due to his position of influence and "authority" no Southern Baptists stepped to the microphone to question the expenditures and lifestyle of their Home Mission Board treasurer. Sycophants enable swindlers, and an organization that bestows "authority and power" to its leaders only creates more sycophants, and thus more swindlers. 

(4). C.S. Carnes took nearly a million dollars. On Armistice Day, November 11, 1929, the Southern Baptist Convention asked "each Southern Baptist to give" in order to cover the million dollar debt of C.S. Carnes. The promotional committee of the Convention could not have known when they announced the Armistice Day campaign that the stock market would crash two weeks prior to the event. Unable to cover the financial shortfall, the Southern Baptist Convention's Home Mission Board went out of business and ceased to exist for eight years (1929-1937). It is not always a bad thing when a convention runs short of money, for during dark times, the systemic problems that led to the shortfall are often corrected.