Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dobson and Obama

EDITORIAL: Dobson is right, Obama distortsthe Bible & presents a 'confused theology'By Will HallNASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--In his radio show June 24, James Dobson examined Democrat presidential contender Barack Obama's use of Scripture and concluded Obama "deliberately" distorts the Bible "to fit his own worldview -- his own confused theology."Dobson was commenting on a speech Obama gave in 2006 to liberals and moderates gathered for "A Call for Renewal" organized by former Marxist Jim Wallis' Sojourner organization:"Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount -- a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?"Largely, the secular press and Obama's handlers have responded by treating Dobson's remarks as controversial, rather than Obama's. Others dismissed Dobson's criticisms because Obama delivered the speech in 2006. Both badly minimize the seriousness of Obama's error.Obama's questions about Leviticus and Deuteronomy aren't simply rhetorical in nature, but were posed to create doubts about the sufficiency of Scripture.Without doubt, the Old Testament is relevant today and teaches us moral truths and principles God used to shape Israel to be His nation. However, it is disingenuous at best for Obama to suggest the dietary laws God delivered specifically to Israel somehow are in play today; nor is it right to imply there is serious discussion on any scale that such laws apply to the New Testament church (Peter's experience in Acts 10:9-16 puts this issue to rest).The same is true about Obama's suggestions regarding the stoning of a child and slavery. For the record:-- 1 Timothy 1:8-11 condemns slave traders, and the book of Philemon is Paul's passionate appeal to secure the freedom of the runaway slave Onesimus.-- The story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) gives insights about the New Testament teaching about how to deal with children who stray from the faith.Moreover, Obama's 2006 offense wasn't a single incident.In March 2008, during a Q&A at a campaign event in Nelsonville, Ohio, Obama justified his support of legal recognition of same-sex unions by misappropriating Matthew 5-7 and disparaging Romans 1."I don't think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state," Obama said. "If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans."Never mind that the Sermon on the Mount does not contradict biblical teaching about marriage. In fact, in that passage of Scripture, Jesus actually strengthens His instructions regarding marriage as a union between a man and a woman.However, again, Obama disrespected a portion of the Word of God simply because it does not fit his worldview. The passage he dismissed, Romans 1:24-32 presents a view that homosexuality is sin (along with greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, etc.) and condemns people who "give hearty approval to those who practice" such things.During his radio show, Dobson delved into political issues -- in part because of Obama's view that "democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values." There are many biblical examples that contradict such a position (see Daniel 3:16-18 and Acts 5:29), but Dobson chose to call it a "fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution."My concern and motivation are spiritual, not political. I don't mean to downplay what could be serious constitutional and other public policy concerns. However, Obama's misappropriation of Scripture to fit a political worldview is more grave than its implications for a presidential election. The consequences for him and for anyone deceived by his distortions are truly biblical in proportion.--30--Will Hall is executive editor of Baptist Press. Parts of this column were reprised from an earlier editorial published March 5, 2008,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pastoral Authority

Where does the pastor get his authority to lead? What are the boundaries for this authority? Does the congregation have authority over the pastor's leadership? How far should the pastor assert this given authority as he conducts his church ministry?

For Scriptural reference one may wish to review Ephesians 4:11-12. What other Scriptures deal with this "pastoral authority" issue?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Requesting Information

I have seen it happen many times: churches contact the state convention requesting resources or to get information out to other churches, many times in an association. When I was in N.C. as a pastor, when I called the N.C. State Convention, they responded, "Have you first contacted your local association?" As a new DOM, it is frustrating to be the last to hear about a church's ministry or request. I know that things would work more efficiently if requests were made through the association, and the association would seek the resource through the state convention or through agencies like LifeWay. How can we change this or work more efficiently?
Offer your suggestions. Thanks. David

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Article from Larry Richmond

I recently sent an attachment about the relationships between SBC entities and the local churches. The article was by Larry Richmond, DOM in Illinois. From that article the following pastors have responded. Please respond and let's have a chat about this important issue. Because the article is so long, I have resent the article over email to you.