Random thoughts on a friend, atheism, CP, ultrasounds
March 10, 2005
Some random thoughts after returning from a two-week road trip:
With the impending retirement of one of Missouri’s finest preacher/pastors, it is appropriate to pause and offer a personal word about Gerald Davidson, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Arnold.
Known for his zeal for missions and evangelism, for many years in this state Davidson was a theological conservative when being conservative wasn’t cool. Frustrated like most conservatives, he stood firm despite the deceiving allure of theological liberalism that invaded the Missouri Baptist Convention in the final two decades of the 20th century. He remained a loyal Missouri and Southern Baptist, while resisting more moderate voices who insisted the Bible only “contains” God’s words. He has remained steadfast in his belief that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God.
God has blessed Davidson’s ministry of nearly 50 years and in the process raised up one of the strongest missions-oriented, evangelistic churches in Missouri. FBC Arnold also consistently ranks among the leading churches in the Southern Baptist Convention in Sunday School attendance. A pastor who loves his flock will, in turn, see that the flock loves each other.
Davidson will always be remembered for his humor (a good thing to have when you stand 6-foot-5 and have a nice set of vocal chords), intelligence (he has had a pilots’ license for years), and loyalty to friends. I will never forget the night at the 2003 Real Evangelism Conference and how he called for me while I was out in the lobby, insisting that I come down to the front where he could introduce me to the nearly 2,000 people crammed into the sanctuary. When I heard his unexpected invitation, naturally I scampered down the aisle. While standing there Gerald publicly endorsed The Pathway, urging everyone in attendance to subscribe. The Pathway was barely one year old when he made that thoughtful gesture and I want him to know that it – and well as himself and his beautiful bride, Verlena – will never be forgotten by me or this newspaper.
God bless Gerald and Verlena Davidson.
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United Press International Religious Affairs Editor Uwe Siemon-Netto’s recent article that atheism is on the decline worldwide has caused quite a stir. He interviewed seven theologians and philosophers who agreed that godlessness is in deep trouble.
“Atheism as a theoretical position is in decline worldwide,” said the German Lutheran theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg. His Oxford colleague Alister McGrath concurred and followed Pannenberg’s assessment with a fascinating article in Christianity Today. Atheism’s “future seems increasingly to lie in the private beliefs of individuals rather than in the great public domain it once regarded as its habitat,” McGrath wrote.
The consensus of the theologians and philosophers interviewed attributes atheism’s decline in the world to two developments: (1) It appears to be losing its scientific underpinnings and (2) the historical experience of hundreds of millions of people worldwide that atheists are in no position to claim the moral high ground.
Atheism has long depended upon Darwinian evolution as its intellectual and scientific means of keeping God out schools, government and science. But Biblical Christianity and the more recent Intelligent Design movement is pulling Darwinian evolution up by its roots, casting serious doubt among people once open to atheism. Also, the assertion that history prevents atheism from claiming any moral high ground is supported by facts. For example, one of the 20th century’s most famous atheists, Russian dictator Joseph Stalin, was responsible for the deaths of 25 million of his countrymen.
“With time (atheism) turned out to have just as many frauds, psychopaths and careerists as religion does. … With Stalin and Madalyn Murray O’Hair, atheism seems to have ended up mimicking the vices of the Spanish Inquisition and the worst televangelists, respectively,” McGrath said.
Added Turkish philosopher Harun Yahya, “Atheism, which people have tried to for hundreds of years as ‘the ways of reason and science,’ is proving to be mere irrationality and ignorance.”
The UPI article also reported a correlation between faith, prayer and recovering from illness. Of course this got the humanists bent out of shape, for they have long felt that anyone who prays is fit for the nuthouse.
Predictably, the United Kingdom publication, New Humanist, called the article “garbage.”
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There has never been a better way for churches of all sizes to collectively obey the Great Commission than by regularly and generously giving to the Cooperative Program. From world missions and evangelism to disaster relief efforts and even this newspaper, Cooperative Program dollars make it all possible.
Did you realize that the Cooperative Program dollars that go to the Southern Baptist disaster relief effort is now the second largest relief organization in America, trailing only the Red Cross? When the Red Cross was authorized to enter Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, it was Cooperative Program-funded Southern Baptist relief workers who provided the Red Cross with food to deliver at the site.
If your church is looking for a way to carry out The Great Commission, I strongly urge you to consider giving to the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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The National Geographic Channel – of all things – dropped a bomb on the pro-abortion movement March 6 with its television special on the new generation of three- and four-dimensional ultrasound imagery.
The technology provides incredible views of babies inside the womb. Parents-to-be are sure to love the clear pictures of their new child and doctors will gain an improved understanding of human development and behavior. Meanwhile abortionists will likely throw a fit.
Why? Because, more than ever, ultrasound is showing that they are killing a baby.
“We see the earliest movements at eight weeks,” said one of the physicians featured in the TV special. “By 12 weeks or so they are seen yawning and performing individual finger movements that are often more complex than you’ll see in a newborn.”
The images are so sharp that they can reveal facial expressions, like smiling, at just 20 weeks. One doctor thinks the medical community will be able to diagnose abnormalities in the first 12 weeks. That could raise a whole new round of ethical questions about the value of life should some people use the technology to abort babies diagnosed as being “abnormal.”
One other thing bothered me about the TV special that overall was very well done: Throughout the program they kept referring to the babies in the wombs as “fetuses.” This is a common tactic among the pro-abortionists because “fetus” allows them to talk about the baby they are about to kill in a dehumanizing way. It is a disgusting attempt to make their immoral act seem morally acceptable.
It is not merely a fetus. It is a human being.