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William F. Buckley’s Advice for Christian Activists

William F. Buckley (1925-2008), who was perhaps the most well-known conservative in America over the last fifty years, passed away yesterday. He was 82. Like many political and ideological conservatives, I am a Buckley fan, though admittedly a latecomer to Buckley fan-dom; I am a bit too young to have known much about Buckley when he was active in public life. But I like what I do know. Check out the numerous summaries and assessments of Buckley’s life and contribution at National Review Online, the website of the influential conservative periodical that Buckley founded in 1955.

In memory of Buckley, Christianity Today has reprinted a 1995 interview that Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center conducted with Buckley. The topic was the role of Christian conservatives in politics. It was a major (and controversial) topic in 1995, just a year after Newt Gingrich and company captured control of Congress with no small assistance from the Christian Coalition. It remains a major (and controversial) topic in 2008 as Christian conservatives wrestle with the realities of the current political landscape. I commend the article to you.

Race and the SBC

I just read an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (excerpted from an article originally in The Washington Post, which is much better by the way) about the Southern Baptist Convention reaching out to minorities. The featured picture was of Eric Redmond, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Temple Hills, MD, and 2nd VP of the SBC. The article basically states that many of the larger denominations in the US have seen a departure of members or at least stagnant growth in recent years.

One way that some denominations are countering this decline is by reaching out to African-Americans, Hispanics, and other minority groups. The article notes that the SBC has probably the farthest to go in order to diversify due to our history of poor treatment of African-Americans and our predominant "whiteness."

In honor of Black History Month and just an interest in racial issues, does the SBC have any hope in this area? Can we overcome our history and become a multicultural convention? What do you think?

On an related note for you history buffs, PBS has been showing "Eyes on the Prize" all month, which is a multi-part documentary of the Civil Rights movement.

What Kind of Man Are You?



I have heard it said before, “You can tell a lot about a man by what is on his I-Pod. We live in a day that is much different than that of our forerunners in the faith, in that we can listen to the sermons of men on a weekly basis even if we live far from them. In the past chapel sermons from our Southern Baptist Seminaries would have been unavailable for listeners that could not attend or would require pounds of cassette tapes delivered to their front door. Now, I can put sermons from all six of our Southern Baptist Seminaries from years at a time on a device that weighs about a pound. It is an intriguing time, so with all this technology and the ability to listen to men from all over the country I became inquisitive about what others have on their podcast folders.

Here is what I have on my I-Pod:

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Josiah Roberts Coppenger!!

Here's my little man. You can read and see more here.


Asleep on momma

Tornado at Union University

*Updated 2/5/08 9:16 p.m. CST* David Dockery was just interviewed by phone on WREG. Major damage at Union including all women's dorms destroyed and heavy damage at men's dorms and academic buildings. See below for more. 

According to news reports out of ABC 33/40 in Alabama (here and here) and the Commercial Appeal in Memphis (here), a tornado has apparently hit two dorms at Union University in Jackson, TN. There are no reports of injuries as far as the reports say, but there seem to be people trapped in the dorms. I will update as soon as more info becomes available. Please keep Union University, Dr. David Dockery, and the students at the university in your prayers tonight. There is a second round of storms heading through Arkansas right now and are due to hit West Tennessee overnight or tomorrow.

*Updated 2/5/08 8:20 p.m. CST* More reports out of Memphis reporting the same at www.wreg.com.

*Updated 2/5/08 8:36 p.m. CST* Dr. Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist in Memphis, was just interviewed live on WREG Channel 3 in Memphis. Dr. Gaines has 2 daughters at Union and they called their dad to tell him that their dorms were hit by tornadoes as well as a commons building. Apparently, the campus was prepared and the students were huddled in inner rooms/bathrooms. According to Dr. Gaines, Dr. Dockery has asked faculty members to come get students whose dorms have been damaged and take them to their homes. Continue to pray for Union as well as the entire Mid-South area. One of the meterologists on WREG stated that in 30 years of covering weather in Memphis, this was the worst set of storms he had ever seen.

*Updated 2/5/08 9:16 p.m. CST* Dr. David Dockery was interviewed on WREG. 8 male students are trapped in a dorm. They are okay, but stuck in a dorm. All women's dorms have been destroyed. Men's dorms have been heavily damaged. All students have been moved to the Penock building. There are 1,100 students living on campus. All classes have been cancelled through Feb 13. At that time, a decision will be made about the rest of the campus. 2 academic buildings were heavily damaged. They had another tornado hit in 2002, and he said that this damage was 10 times worse.

*Updated 2/5/08 9:53 p.m. CST* A new report was posted at the Commercial Appeal out of Memphis (available here). The news story reports that 2 dorms were destroyed and the roof of a classroom building was sheared off. According to Tim Ellsworth, Union's communications director, most of the cars on campus have been destroyed or damaged and 2 dorms "have been reduced to rubble." Jennings Hall, which houses the Christian Studies, Communications, and Music departments has sustained major roof damage. 

*Updated 2/5/08 10:08 p.m. CST* WREG Channel 3 in Memphis just showed video from Union's campus on their 10:00 news. The damage is devastating. I imagine it will be even worse when video can be taken in the daylight. Please pray for Union University and the people of the Mid-South area. There are 2 confirmed deaths–one in Shelby Co. (Memphis) and one in Fayette Co. (Somerville, TN, east of Memphis).

*Updated 2/5/08 10:28 p.m. CST* News report posted by the Jackson Sun (newspaper in Jackson, TN) available here.

New Article Available on Betrothal View of Divorce

Back in October, I posted an entry discussing the betrothal view of divorce and remarriage. The issue of divorce and remarriage continues to be a hot topic and one that I find my students are struggling to come to a consistent position. This issue probably generates the most response in my classes, and I have devoted an extra week of class this semester to the topic based on last semester’s discussion.

In the October 20, 2007 issue of Christianity Today, David Instone-Brewer wrote an article regarding his view of divorce and remarriage that is perhaps the most permissive view found within evangelical circles. Now there is a new article on the other end of the evangelical spectrum from Instone-Brewer. David W. Jones, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has recently had an article published in Bibliotheca Sacra. His article is entitled "The Betrothal View of Divorce and Remarriage" and can be found in the January-March 2008 edition of BibSac. This is an academic journal that can be found at the libraries of your nearest seminary, divinity school, or university with a religion department.

Much of what Jones discusses in the article may also be found in the audio from his presentation at Southwestern Seminary’s 2007 Baptist Distinctives Conference on "The Family." Jones offers lexical and contextual support for the betrothal view and provides and academic source for those doing research on the issue of divorce and remarriage, specifically as it relates to the betrothal view.