The Wrongful Death of Marriage

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News that District Judge John G. Heyburn once again usurped the will of Kentucky voters is tragic and disappointing. By declaring gay marriage legal in the Commonwealth, Heyburn defied the essential, foundational governing document that ensures order and justice, the Constitution of Kentucky. While the sin of homosexuality may be no more offensive to God than other sexual sins, for a society to be forced to endorse it through the sacred institution of marriage is both objectionable and dangerous, moving us further down the slippery slope toward moral chaos. Why is gay marriage wrong for Kentucky?

First, as Governor Beshear’s legal counsel argued, gay marriage precludes one of the state’s primary interests in marriage, i.e., procreation. While I agree with the state’s argument, it was presented weakly and, left to stand alone, was hardly persuasive. Judge Heyburn remarked, “These arguments are not those of serious people.” I must agree and am left to conclude that Beshear, like Attorney General Jack Conway, has no desire to mount a serious defense of our constitution.

Second, gay marriage is wrong because it denies the natural order. Whether one is a Bible believing creationist or a secular evolutionist, any rational observer of our world must admit that the survival of any and every species on the planet depends upon a natural order that includes reproduction. Homosexuality perverts the natural order and homosexual marriage cheapens the institution of marriage by removing from it the essence of its purpose.

Third, state-endorsed homosexual marriage further legitimizes homosexual couples as parents. Thus, the state tragically endorses depriving children of their innate need of both a father and a mother. With regard to mommy and daddy, children raised by homosexual couples have either/or not both/and. Heyburn’s decision not only thwarts nature, it robs children of an intrinsic need.

Fourth, in states all across the country homosexual marriage is being forced upon the citizens by liberal judges even though most states, like Kentucky, have overwhelmingly voted to refuse it. These judges are subverting the democratic process in tyrannical fashion. Simply put, that is wrong.

Fifth, homosexual marriage is a headlong leap down the slippery slope toward moral chaos. One of the sound bites from gay activists regarding Heyburn’s ruling was, “Love wins!” If the mere profession of an individual’s love for someone or something else were to become the new standard for marriage, gay marriage clearly opens the doorway to bigamy and polygamy and at least cracks the doorway of state-sanctioned childhood brides and even bestiality. This type of government-sanctioned perversion has teenage girls in locker rooms at Louisville’s Atherton High School being required to undress in front of teenage boys pretending to be girls. That kind of moral outrage denies the rights of children to be protected.

Sixth, and not inconsequential for those who adhere to the teachings of Scripture or who at least concede that the success of any democratic government depends upon a society’s willingness to embrace certain values and moral norms, is the matter of morality. Biblical morality is not fuzzy when it comes to homosexuality. Both Testaments unequivocally condemn it and in Matthew 19, Jesus clearly defines marriage in heterosexual terms, being perfectly consistent with Genesis 2.

John Heyburn and judges who share his views represent a departure from the entire scope of civilized human history. They turn a blind eye to the historic teachings of every major religion in the world. Determined to alter our society, they have thrown nature, the needs of children, and the rights of voters to the wind and cast marriage to the moral gutter.

Posted in Culture, Family, Gay Marriage, Public Affairs | 19 Responses

The Tangled Web ‘We’ Weave …

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Guest Article by Curtis Woods, KBC Associate Executive Director

In 2012, our mission board staff adopted five core values—trustworthy, encouraging, accountable, mature, and sensitive—the first letters of which spell the word “Teams.”

Every team member evaluates ministerial effectiveness according to these core values. Our core values guide our conduct as we help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. While each value is indispensable, one value lays the foundation for the rest—trustworthy.

We define trustworthy as: “Can be relied upon as a resource to ease ministry pain, not create more.” The axiom is simple: trustworthy people are truthful people. They embrace truth in order to reject duplicity’s demonic lure.

Scripture illustrates how the master of duplicity convinced the first family to question, and subsequently reject, God’s authoritative decree. In the garden, Eve, accompanied by Adam, acquiesced to the serpent’s proposition to embrace intellectual freedom apart from the wisdom of God.

The serpent gleefully invited the first family to sip from his duplicitous chalice. Eve accepted the offer when the serpent piqued her interest, saying, “Has God indeed said…” (Gen 3:1)? Eve thus questioned God’s sovereignty and his truthfulness. She was “deceived and fell into transgression,” taking matters into her own hands (1Tim 2:14). Adam, not immune from culpability, failed on his watch. He allowed the serpent to wreak havoc within the family and then willing participated in sin himself.

Michael James Williams, in his work Deception in Genesis,describes a duplicitous personality thusly: “Deception [duplicity] takes place when an agent intentionally distorts, withholds, or otherwise manipulates information reaching some person(s) in order to stimulate in the person(s) a belief that the agent does not believe in order to serve the agent’s purpose.”

That is to say, a duplicitous person expresses ideas contrary to personal belief in order to win followers. These leaders are extremely dangerous because their only commitment is to themselves, not the kingdom of God. They have tattooed above their brow, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

Ironically, these leaders will eventually choke on the poison of their own venomous bite when the Sovereign One says, “Enough!”

The very nature of duplicity destroys one’s ability to discern good and evil.

Conversely, in the book of Hebrews, believers learn to discern good and evil by breathing in God’s Word (Heb 5:14). Without submitting to the authority of God’s Word in all of its parts, trustworthiness is an elusive dream. Time will be spent spinning tangled webs and victimizing those who follow.

As a mission board staff, we refuse to weave tangled webs because our churches deserve truth. We strive to be trustworthy as opposed to duplicitous.

The Lord is watching.

Posted in Denominational Life, Leader Training, Mission Board | Leave a comment

Cornbread anyone?

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Guest article by Rev. Ed Amundson, currently serving as 2nd Vice President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Ed also serves as pastor of High Street Baptist Church in Somerset, Kentucky.

The mere mention of the word “cornbread” gets my attention! I love the smell, taste, texture and touch! I don’t care if it’s white or yellow, sweet or straight-up, baked in a pone or fried into a fritter. I like cornbread! In fact, the only kind of cornbread I don’t like is cornbread that is perfectly round and doesn’t crumble. My wife Shannon’s late Poppa used to say, “If it doesn’t crumble all to pieces, it’s no good.” 

My life-verse this year is Luke 15:2–“The Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, ‘This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.’” In John 14:12, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” If I say I am a disciple of Jesus Christ but I’m not doing what Jesus did, who is lying? Me or Jesus?

To be clear, I don’t think Jesus meant that just because He walked upon the water that you and I have to walk an inch above it! But when it comes to Jesus modeling what He obviously wanted His disciples to emulate during New Testament times, I believe His disciples should still be emulating it in our time. Above all else, Jesus came to make disciples, modeled disciple-making, and call on all of His disciples to make disciples.

The disciple-making process begins with sinners. That’s where the cornbread comes in. I don’t know what part of the state of Kentucky you minister in, but down in Somerset cornbread makes friends of sinners! I call it “eating evangelism.” You see where I am going. Again, Luke 15:2 says, “This man (Jesus) receiveth sinners (He doesn’t accept sin, but He makes Himself presently available to sinners) and eateth with them.”

Everyone needs physical food and everyone needs spiritual food. For physical food, cornbread is just about as good as it gets, at least in my opinion. For spiritual food, Jesus called Himself “the bread of life.” Everyone needs Jesus! To introduce Himself to sinners as the bread of life, Jesus often shared a meal with them. Note, He didn’t take food and drop it off with them; He ate the same food, in the same place with the same people He was trying to reach!

Conclusion? Do eating evangelism! Go and break bread with sinners! Bring fresh bread from both the bakery and Jesus Christ. And remember, a pone of cornbread is made up of thousands of granules of ground-up corn kernels, but good cornbread granules don’t stay together long. They break away from the group and get all over people! Catch the drift?

Posted in Evangelism | 4 Responses

Oneida Baptist Institute changing lives for ‘time and eternity’

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Oneida StudentsI recently traveled out of Manchester on Highway 11 to the Oneida Baptist Institute, a boarding school for students grade 6-12. Founded in 1899, OBI has a rich history of ministry to children in the mountains that has grown into a school boasting graduates from around the world. OBI’s stated mission is “to provide a Christian living, learning and working environment in which each of its students, Christian or non-Christian, is diligently challenged to grow mentally, physically, socially and spiritually in order to acquire an education for time and eternity.”

In 1946 OBI entered a Covenant Agreement with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and became partially funded thru the Cooperative Program. That agreement and funding remain in place today, with Kentucky Baptists providing close to $350,000 in annual CP funds, plus proceeds from the Barkley Moore Father’s Day Offering, and individual donations.

In addition to investing in a sound Christian education, funds given to OBI serve an evangelistic purpose since many of the students who enroll are not professing Christians. Before graduation, however, through daily chapel services, Sunday morning worship, and the testimonies of their teachers and peers, most have heard and believed the gospel.

On my visit I received a personal tour from OBI’s new president, Larry Gritton. Gritton began his work last fall but not unfamiliar with OBI. He and his lovely wife, Angie, are both OBI graduates and served on staff from 1997-2004. For the past decade Larry had been working in Christian schools and pastoring a church in Ft. Myers, Florida. Now, the Lord has brought the Grittons and their three children back home.

As we walked the campus, what I immediately noticed was Gritton’s connection with the students. He called each by name and was able to tell their story as he introduced them to me. One young man was from China, only a province away from where my daughter was living in an orphanage before our adoption. A young lady, soon to graduate, was from Thailand and is heading to my alma mater, the University of the Cumberlands, in the fall. I also met several students from Kentucky and surrounding states, as well as a young man from Ethiopia. Although I missed seeing a student from India whose father is one of my personal friends, Gritton assured me the boy is thriving in his studies.

What drew Gritton back to OBI? His deep love for the school, the students, and for the Lord Jesus. In short, he was called.

In addition to giving a gift to Oneida through the Barkley Moore Father’s Day Offering emphasis, let me encourage you to share about this ministry with others. A life could be changed “for time and eternity.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Part 3: Mission Board Report

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The Bible says, “It is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Cor 4:2). In an era of diminishing resources, when times are lean and money is scarce, our faithful stewardship of what the Lord has entrusted to us is more critical than ever.

The-Great-Evangelical-Recession

Great Evangelical Recession, The: 6 Factors That Will Crash the American Church…and How to Prepare

In his book The Great Evangelical Recession, John Dickerson sounds a startling alarm when he writes, “The generation that gives almost half of total donations began passing away about three years ago. … Over the next twelve years, this faithful and reliable generation will pass away. As they do, total giving will decrease by as much as half. … This continuing decrease will challenge the most creative and forward-thinking ministries, and it will bankrupt the unprepared. A great crisis of funding is swelling on the horizon—a silent tsunami that has already broken—unnoticed and miles off the coast. Most ministries are entirely unprepared.”

What does this prediction mean for the KBC? Like Joseph interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh, we must warn the churches and help them to prepare for years of famine. As a Mission Board, we must keep our budgeting in check and remain light afoot as an organization, ever pressing to do more with less and stretch the missions dollars further.

One of the areas that could be hardest hit is the local association. Already many of our associations are struggling financially and in ongoing decline. The financial “tsunami” threatens to wash away some if intentional steps are not taken to preserve this strategic level of church partnership. The window of opportunity stands open for many associations to combine their resources, thereby increasing the numbers of churches and their capacity to have a strong, missional leader as a Director of Missions. But this window may not remain open for very long. While each association is autonomous, the KBC is committed to assisting but never interfering in their work.

In these and many other areas the sand beneath our feet is shifting as wave after wave of cultural change come crashing against the church. But, thanks be to God, the house of God has been built upon the rock and even the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. As for our work as Kentucky Baptists, let us be as wise as that builder and keep all of our work firmly established upon the Chief Cornerstone and the word of God. And let us be as faithful in our stewardship of the work to which God has called us as the servant who was put in charge of his master’s household and, upon the master’s return, was found carrying out that charge.

Posted in Baptist Associations, Mission Board, Stewardship | Tagged | Leave a comment
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