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Dispelling a Rumor

As many of you are aware, a booklet titled Building Bridges was distributed to all the messengers at the SBC Annual Meeting. Drs. David Dockery and Timothy George were the authors of the booklet, which included their recent addresses from Union University's Baptist Identity II Conference. A rumor has begun to circulate in the SBC blogosphere that Dr. Richard Land verbally accosted Drs. Dockery and George in San Antonio because of the former's alleged disagreement with Building Bridges. According to Dr. Dockery, it did not happen. The rumor is not true. If you have posted this rumor on your blog, please be advised that it is false and kindly remove it from your blog or print a retraction.

This is another example of why it is incumbent upon bloggers to make sure they have their facts straight before they post their thoughts where the whole world can read them. Southern Baptist bloggers who claim the name of Christ should especially be known for the integrity with which they blog. No doubt we will all make mistakes from time to time. But we must be diligent to stick with the facts, especially during this period of our convention's history when information is so often used as a weapon and where internet rumors and innuendos damage the reputations of godly men, local churches, and the entire Southern Baptist Convention.

A Belated Father’s Day Charge

 As Dr. Al Mohler so aptly put it, “Father's Day is fast becoming America's most socially awkward holiday.” Indeed, the absence of many fathers in so many children’s lives make celebrating Father’s Day an awkward time – even in the church. Yesterday morning, I struggled to teach a children’s message that the kids would understand since many of them either (a) don’t have a father, or (b) hardly ever see their father. Kids are having a hard time relating to a simple biblical and social concept such as fatherhood.

Tragically, even in homes where fathers are present in body, these fathers are often absent in mind. Most of the time, even in Christian homes, fathers are either passive pansies or ultra aggressive cavemen. Thankfully, the Bible gives us many patterns of how to be fathers to our children. In our morally-inverted world, we would do well to look at what it says. I know that many of the readers of this site are spiritual leaders among their communities, but let's remember that being a spiritual leader starts first in the home. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says,

"4Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7"You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8"You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.9"You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (NASB)

This charge is given to all of Israel. However, fathers would do especially well to heed this command since they are called to pastor the home. It’s interesting to note that before we can be good fathers and leaders of our homes we have to first understand that the Father (YHWH) is God and that He is part of a Triune Godhead (v.4). In order to be a God-honoring father we must first honor God. Out of this command flows three others. We are to:

1. Love God (v.5) – We are to love God with all of our heart (our intellect, or mind), with all of our soul, (our will, our essential person), and with all of our might (or strength, literally with intense physicality). In summation, we are to love God with all of our being all the time, fully and completely. We will not be a God-honoring father until we love God entirely. Second, we are called to:

2. Live God (v.6-7) – Looking at verse seven, there are three main ways that we can live our faith to our children. First, by teaching our children the Bible. It is never too early to read Scripture to your children. Won't it be wonderful if your children never have a memory of you, their father, not daily reading them the Scriptures? Some fathers catechize their children, which is a good practice, but it should not be a substitute for Scripture-reading and studying.

The second way we can live God is by talking your children the Bible. Verse 7 states that you “shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” We should constantly be immersing ourselves and our family with Scripture so that we may practically live out a Christ-honoring life.

A third way we can live God is by showing your children the Bible. How do we talk to our children? Do we yell at them? Do we get visibly frustrated with them? Do we discipline them out of anger? Do we ignore them? If we claim to be Christ-followers and are consistently teaching and talking the Bible to our children we must show our children that we can walk the walk as well as talk the talk. It is not true that it’s better to see a sermon and not just hear one. Our children need both.

Finally, we are to:

3. Keep God (v.8-9) – Scripture tells us to bind these words as a sign on our hands and as frontals on our forehead and that we should write them on the doorposts of our house and on our gates. We must keep God around the house and present everywhere. Yes, it would be beneficial to have reminders of God in the house but let’s beware of how we do this. Jesus rebuked the Jews who took this command literally (Matt. 23:5) because they were doing this practice to glorify themselves.

Let’s be careful as we put fish symbols on our cars, wear Christian t-shirts and WWJD bracelets. When we wear these symbols we bear great responsibility to Christ. If we are going to speed, cut people off on the interstate, and be a reckless driver, let’s take the fish off the back of our car.

I believe the principle in these verses is to celebrate and confess God consistently and diligently.

Love God. Live God. Keep God. If we can even make an attempt to heed these words we will be better fathers, our children will have better mentors, and our churches will have better shepherds.