Last Monday (October 24, 2011) I delivered what we call a Faculty Forum Paper during the chapel time at Baptist Bible Seminary. The topic was “The Biblical Basis of the United States Constitution.” Although I have made presentations of this topic in Sunday School classes, ABFs, and small groups, this is the first time I have committed my thoughts to a formal paper format. It is my conviction that the Founding Fathers were steeped deeply in Judeo-Christian ethics and not secular Enlightenment thought. While they may have adopted a kind of “Christian Enlightenment” in the sense of using reason more strongly than past generations, they nonetheless did not erase a predominately Protestant view of the Bible and the world as the underpinning for life. I would not mind getting feedback from others on my paper. The link is given below.
Archive for October, 2011
Yesterday (Tuesday, October 25, 2011) I was a witness at a trial for the first time in my life. I was a witness for Northmoreland Baptist Church (Pastor Howell) in the Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania area. The church is challenging a tax assessment of its multi-purpose room by the county. As I was sitting there, I was thinking that this was an honorable way or method for people to work out their complaints with each other. In some places in the world, this kind of disagreement would not be handled this way at all–in fact disagreement with authorities would not even be allowed.
My testimony was for the purpose of showing Baptist views of worship and that the church in question was using its facilities in a way consistent with Baptist theology and tradition. In doing so, I feel like I not only supported the cause of Christ for the church but also did my civic duty for the community.
I graduated from Butler High School in Huntsville, Alabama in 1971. It was that year that a song came out in an album with the same name — “Come Back Home” (shown here–released by United Artists). It was by Bobby Goldsboro who had already become my favorite songwriter and singer. He crossed over from country to soft rock to pop and all around. I enjoyed his style. But this song more than all the others got my attention. “Come Back Home” is a song that is a prayer asking for the Lord Jesus to return to earth– “if only for the children, come back home” says the last line of the chorus.
What is especially intriguing is that I did not become a Christian until 1974. Why would I listen to this kind of a song? I played it over and over and over. I think the reason was that the Spirit of God was speaking to my heart. I was listening to Billy Graham whenever he came on television. I had picked up a Bible to try to understand it. I was in search mode for my life. This was one aspect of my search. The song captivated me and made me think about the fact that the Bible said Jesus was still alive and that he was coming back. The song told me we would not make it on our own if He did not come back.
I can never hate the man who should receive a lot of credit for me coming to Christ. Over the years I have disagreed with him on many things he has said and practiced. I believe differently about the details and I do things in church work differently than Dr. Graham. But I have never come to a place where it seems ok for me to vilify him as I have seen others do over the years.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was the only preacher I would give serious attention to. I do not know why that is the case. But when he came on television I was riveted and I paid attention and thought about his words.
Then in June 1974 my twin brother and I began a spiritual search to find a church that “sounded” like Billy Graham. We were twenty years old and not raised in church. We began to attend various kinds of churches, listening to see if it sounded like Billy.
When we came to the West Huntsville Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, we knew we had come to the right place. While mulling over the claims of the gospel of Christ, my brother and I spent two months attending services and studying the Bible’s teachings. Then on August 18, 1974 through the message and ministry of Dr. Sam Wolfe, the pastor of the church, both my brother and I answered the call to trust Christ. That day I trusted him as my savior. I certainly cannot deliver myself from my sin. I have not gotten over the impact the gospel of Christ had in my life that day. Much of the credit goes to Dr. Graham. Because of that, I will never ever be able to express an out of bounds negativity or downright hatred for such a man who has served as a servant of the Lord to bring many to Christ. When I get to heaven, I will look him up and hug his neck and say “thanks.”