Some random ruminations from a rambling mind
March 7, 2006
There have been some intensive prayer sessions at the Baptist Building recently asking God for a third great spiritual awakening in America. Closely tied to this is a call to personal holiness among the children of God. Unfortunately, a recent study suggests that many Christians are falling way short in a quest to be holy before God.
A survey, conducted by the Barna Research Group, found that only 21 percent of Americans consider themselves holy. Seventy three percent believe that a person can become holy, regardless of his past, while half of those surveyed said they knew someone whom they considered holy.
When asked to define holy 21 percent said they did not know how to. Some 19 percent said being holy meant “being Christ-like,” while 18 percent said “making faith your top priority.”
Barna said the results “portray a body of Christians who attend church but do not understand the concept or significance of holiness. The challenge to the nation’s Christian ministries is to foster a genuine hunger for holiness among the masses who claim they love God but who are ignorant about biblical teachings regarding holiness.”
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There is just something that bothers me about U.S. government leaders – including President Bush — calling for American taxpayers to help Shiite Muslims in Iraq rebuild one of their shrines after it was bombed Feb. 22 by terrorists, thought to be Sunni Muslims.
Fast forward now to Alabama, where six Baptist Churches have burned, the target of arsonists. Not one U.S. official has called for our government to help rebuild them.
Is it me or is there something wrong with this picture?
I understand the acts of goodwill by our nation toward the Iraqi people are part of our strategy to bring democracy and liberty to a portion of the world that desperately needs it. But there is no evidence that such goodwill will change a thing. The day after President Bush called for Americans to rebuild a Muslim shrine we did not destroy, Muslim rioters took to the streets in Kashmir, Pakistan. Why? To denounce the United States for a bombing it did not commit.
Hasn’t the United States already expressed its goodwill? How much more millions of dollars and gallons of American blood will it take for the Muslim world to see America’s goodwill in standing firm against world terrorism?
It seems to me that there may also be a separation of church and state issue here. Since when do our tax dollars go toward advancing Islam? Not one Southern Baptist has called on the government to help rebuild the torched churches in Alabama. Why? Because Southern Baptists understand that if you take government money, strings are attached that will likely compromise the Gospel.
Our government has no business building mosques or churches unless it is responsible for their destruction.
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The front page photo of this edition of The Pathway shows how vandals recently defaced one of four St. Louis-area billboard signs sponsored by a network of former homosexuals. A second billboard was reportedly defaced in similar fashion. The damaged billboard campaign featured pictures of former homosexuals with the words “I Questioned Homosexuality. Change is Possible. Discover How.” Exodus International, a Christian organization that helps homosexuals leave their destructive lifestyle, sponsored the ads in anticipation of Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out Conference held Feb. 25 in St. Louis. The defacing of the ad is disturbing because it demonstrates contempt for those who have left the homosexual lifestyle and is not an action consistent with the call for tolerance and diversity of opinions.
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While this issue of The Pathway marks the first edition printed in full-color, the Web site recently hit a milestone. The site in January logged the largest number of visitors, more than 25,000, than in any month in its nearly four-year existence.
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The Pathway , because of space limitations, does not run obituaries unless they are of statewide or national news interest. But I am going to break that rule.
The Pathway recently lost a dear friend. Joyce Noland, wife of Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board Member Bob Noland, passed away unexpectedly. Joyce was a huge supporter of The Pathway and no doubt many of you met her as she often volunteered to help staff The Pathway exhibit at the MBC’s annual meeting and at each year’s State Evangelism Conference. Her exemplary Christian testimony, thoughtful disposition and warm smile will be missed, but not forgotten.
However, Joyce’s support went beyond volunteerism as she and Bob have given financially to help The Pathway flourish. Bob’s contributions to The Pathway have been substantial and, no doubt, at Joyce’s behest. Please remember in your prayers the Noland family and their extending family at First Baptist Church, Exeter, during these difficult days.