Monday, June 22, 2015

SBC Resolution On Gambling

On Ending Government Sponsorship Of Casinos And Lotteries
Baltimore, MD - 2014

WHEREAS, A growing body of independent evidence from the health and social sciences shows government sponsorship of casinos and state lotteries perpetuates a system of exploitation; and

WHEREAS, Casinos and lotteries are permitted by government and its policies and are instituted to provide a separate revenue source distinct from direct taxation; and

WHEREAS, Casinos and lotteries enjoy governmentally established privileges without which they would not be spreading into mainstream American life as they are today; and

WHEREAS, Government has become an advocate for the transformation of gambling from a private and local activity into a revenue source as significant and accepted as taxation; and

WHEREAS, Government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries is predatory in that it exploits primarily poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged citizens by promoting participation in highly addictive behaviors which often result in financial disadvantage or ruin; and

WHEREAS, Government, by sponsoring and promoting gambling, is actively encouraging and profiting from the statistical certainty of citizens losing their money over time; and permitting such a process to occur under the full protection of the law conflicts with the public interest and historically has been viewed as dishonest; and

WHEREAS, Government-sponsored casinos and lotteries promote and perpetuate the mentality of getting something for nothing, which is contrary to Scripture and replaces biblical teachings of working for a living (Proverbs 13:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 6:9–10); and

WHEREAS, Both federal and state governments are now considering authorizing, regulating, or sponsoring internet gambling, which would open a casino or a lottery outlet virtually everywhere in America; and

WHEREAS, Government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries is inconsistent with its role to protect the people (
Romans 13:1–7; 1 Peter 2:13–17); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, reaffirm our long-standing opposition to government sponsorship of gambling; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we believe no taxpayer dollars should be used by government to lure citizens into gambling, no government should depend on gambling to fund its activities, and no state legislature or Congress should pass laws to promote or sponsor gambling; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we believe that after four decades of unfulfilled promises, corrupt deals, and broken dreams, government partnership with organized gambling interests has failed, and it is time for government to end these partnerships and embrace a fundamentally different and higher vision of the path to American prosperity; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and all Southern Baptists to continue working to end government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge American citizens from all backgrounds, religious faiths, political convictions, and life circumstances, to join with us to make the United States free and independent of government-sponsored gambling, and once again able to resume its place as protector of our security, a leader in building a shared prosperity, and an example to the world.


*******
For those who may wonder, this is basically what Southern Baptists believe about gambling, casinos, and lotteries. Many more such resolutions against gambling have been passed through the years. It is not just that we oppose gambling, but that we are for those who are seriously hurt because of gambling.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 22, AD 2015.

Articles:
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
SBC Resolution on Alcohol, 1988
SBC Resolution on Tithing
More articles in lower right margin. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Southern Baptists On Natural Marriage; Same-Sex Marriage


As Southern Baptist Christians, we are committed to Biblical faith and ethics. As a result, this body of Believers stands on the authority of Scripture and God's Truth as central to our lives.

What the Bible says about marriage is clear, definitive and unchanging. We affirm biblical, traditional, natural marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The Scriptures' teaching on marriage is not negotiable. We stake our lives upon the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

Consequently, we will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize same-sex "marriages", our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies.

While we affirm our love for all people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God's design for marriage. We also believe religious freedom is at stake within this critical issue – that our first duty is to love and obey God, not man.

Therefore, we strongly encourage all Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, educators, and churches to openly reject any mandated legal redefinition of marriage and to use their influence to affirm God's design for life and relationships. As the nation's largest non-Catholic denomination with over 16 million members, we stake our very lives and future on the Truth of God's Word.

We also join together to support those who stand for natural marriage in the corporate world, the marketplace, education, entertainment, media and elsewhere with our prayers and influence, and resources.

Former SBC presidents signing the statement: Bailey E. Smith, SBC president, 1981-82; James T. Draper Jr., 1983-84; Charles F. Stanley, 1985-86; Jerry Vines, 1989-90; Morris H. Chapman, 1991-92; H. Edwin Young, 1993-94; James B. Henry, 1995-96; Tom Elliff, 1997-98; Paige Patterson, 1999-2000; James Merritt, 2001-02; Jack Graham, 2003-04; Bobby Welch, 2005-06; Frank S. Page, 2007-08; Johnny M. Hunt, 2009-10; Bryant Wright, 2011-12; Fred Luter, 2013,14; Ronnie Floyd, 2014-15 (current SBC president).

See more at:
http://bpnews.net/44950/floyd-and-former-sbc-presidents-take-marriage-stance 

http://bpnews.net/44960/sbc-presidents-unite-declare-stand-on-marriage

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 17, AD 2015.

Jesus Christ on Same-Sex Marriage
More Articles in lower right margin. 
 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Suicide And Pastors

I recently learned of a prominent pastor who struggled with depression and finally took his life. He was not the first. While unusual, sadly, he will not the be last pastor to do so. 

Can a pastor commit suicide? Can a Christian commit suicide? Yes, I believe they can. Suicide is not the unpardonable sin. While suicide is wrong, Christians are not perfect. They are not immune from depression, pain, loss, mental illness, and other struggles of life. I believe in Eternal Security (John 5:24, etc.); if a person has truly trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, even in the case of suicide, they will go to Heaven. And I believe they will be embarrassed when they arrive. God is faithful, even when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13). We are kept by the power of God, not by our own strength (Jude 1:24).

We should be careful not to be too judgmental. You never fully understand what the other person is going through. But God knows, loves us, and understands (Psalm 103:14). I know of an outstanding Christian man who was dying of a very painful condition. He committed suicide. While I can understand, sympathize, and I still look up to him, I nevertheless believe his suicide was wrong.

If you are a pastor or Christian minister - Realize you are not immune to struggles others endure. In some ways you may be more susceptible because of the stress in your life and ministry. You must, however, not only tell people how to live, but show them how to live and handle adversity.

Does the Bible speak against suicide?
Yes, at least indirectly.

You shall not murder. -Exodus 20:13.
Suicide is the murder of yourself. 

Man in made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. -1 Corinthians 6:19

Suicide is often a spur of the moment decision.
If you can get someone to not commit suicide, they may not try to do so later.

I heard a counselor say years ago, if someone says they are considering suicide, ask them how they are going to do it. If they have a definite plan, they are in serious danger. If they don’t have a plan, they may not be all that serious (but this is not always true!; just a rule of thumb).
Another special concern is if a person begins giving away their most prized possessions.

For someone considering suicide: 
1. Stay close to your support system, or create one.
Family
Friends
Church
Relationship to Jesus

Read the Bible (there is good reason why so many old saints start their day by reading God‘s Word; Psalm 119:50), pray, listen to good Christian music.
Read good Christian literature. 
Read Happiness is a Choice by Minirth & Meier (both M.D.s); and Melissa: A Father’s Lessons From a Daughter’s Suicide by Frank Page. 

2. Realize your situation is temporary and will change.
Some have said, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Sometimes we must learn to weather the storm. 

3. Seek help.
Seek help from a pastor, Christian friend, Christian psychologist, medical doctor, spouse, suicide hotline. 
You do not, however, have to share your struggles with everyone. 
Focus on the Family can direct you to a Christian psychologist near you. Many Baptist Associations, State Conventions, or churches can direct you to a good Christian Psychologist. 

4. Realize depression is often normal.
Frequently after a big event, good or bad, we may go through a time of depression. On a slightly humorous note, pastors are usually depressed every Monday! Sometimes you need to remind yourself after what you’ve been through, that you would not be normal if you weren’t depressed for a time. Some of the most outstanding preachers have struggled with depression. 

5. Clinical depression (very serious depression) needs the help of a professional.
Some mental or physical conditions need the help of a professional. 

6. Do not isolate yourself.
Force yourself to go to church, get out around friends, get outside, go to the store, start a garden, volunteer… 

7. Remove any temptations you may have toward suicide.
Guns, poison, pills, etc. 

8. Think of all the people you will seriously hurt by your suicide.

9. Consider the bad example you would set if you gave in to suicide.

10. Realize you really have no right to take your own life.

11. Take care of the basics:
Plenty of sleep; R&R, rest and relaxation, whatever you find fun and relaxing; eat and drink right, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; moderate exercise. Also, take care of the basic responsibilities of life. 

12. Develop something in your life you can seriously look forward to.

13. Get involved in helping others.
Get your mind off yourself and on others. 

14. In the midst of your struggles, remind yourself often of the good and beautiful things of life (Philippians 4:8).

15. Learn to laugh.
Don’t take yourself too seriously (Proverbs 17:22). 

If a friend or family member commits suicide:
1. Realize it is over and there is nothing you can do.
That is one of the most frustrating things about suicide. 

2. As much as possible, try to get over it, and make your life the best and most productive it can be.
They are gone, but there is still much you can do in this life for others and for the Lord. 

3. Leave the unknowns in the hands of God.
Trust Him to do what is right. 

This is certainly not intended to be an exhaustive or professional paper on suicide. But hopefully it can answer some questions and offer a little help. May God help us to end well.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 10, AD 2015.

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 2 of 2


Body Without The Spirit Is Dead
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. -James 2:26 (see also Ecclesiastes 12:7).  The body is buried in the grave, the spirit goes to Heaven to be with the Lord. As 2 Corinthians 5:8 teaches, absent from the body, present with the Lord.

Eternal Life / Everlasting Life
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. -Jesus; John 5:24
Everlasting life is not a picture of unconscious existence, but of conscious, abundant life with God that lasts forever. 

In referring to 1 John 5:11-13 and eternal life, Walter Martin says,

“In the grammar and context of this passage eternal life is the present possession of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and if the term eternal life does not include conscious fellowship then the whole New Testament meaning is destroyed.” -Walter R. Martin, Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany Fellowship; 1977.

Shall Never Die
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” -John 11:25-26
Eternal life and “shall never die” speak of the believer never being separated from God. 

Spiritual death is when a person is separated from God. How can you call it eternal life, if you are separated from God in the grave until the resurrection? Soul sleep sounds more like spiritual death than spiritual life and eternal life.

Today In Paradise
Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” -Luke 23:43
Jesus’ promise to the thief on the cross sounds a little hollow if it only meant an unconscious 2,000 year sleep. Implied is you will consciously be with Me today in Paradise. 

I Commend My Spirit
And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last. -Luke 23:46
This picture does not seem to align with Jesus being unconscious for the next three days. 

Jesus Standing At The Right Hand Of God
55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” -Acts 7:55-56, 59 
The picture is Jesus standing to receive the first martyr of the Christian faith. This glorious scene seems disappointing if only Stephen’s unconscious soul made it to Heaven; or, as some believe, his soul was destroyed to only be recreated in the far, distant future. 

Whether We Wake Or Sleep
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. -1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
Whether we are alive or dead, we will live with Jesus Christ. Living with Christ does not seem to match up with sleeping for centuries. 

Death Cannot Separate Us
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39 
Would 2,000 years of unconscious existence count as being separated from God? 

I Saw The Souls
9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. -Revelation 6:9-11
Apostle John saw the souls of those martyred. What were they doing at this particular time? Speaking to the Lord about judgment. And they were spoken to. Not a picture of unconscious existence. 

Elijah Goes Straight To Heaven
Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. -2 Kings 2:11
Strongly implied is that Elijah consciously went straight to heaven. 

Departure
The time of my departure is at hand. -2 Timothy 4:6
Paul was facing death. He is about to depart, leave his body behind to be with the Lord. His spirit was not going to sleep with his lifeless body, but depart to Heaven. 

If Our Earthly Body Is Destroyed
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
-2 Corinthians 5:1 
The picture is of the Christian’s conscious life continuing uninterrupted after death. 

These are some of the reasons most Baptists, and Christians in general, reject the concept of soul sleep and believe that upon the death of a Christian, the body sleeps and returns to dust, the spirit goes immediately and consciously to Heaven to be with the Lord.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 12, AD 2015. 

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 1 of 2
Our First Great Sorrow
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs
The Roman Road of Salvation
 
 
 
More articles in lower right margin. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 1 of 2

Soul Sleep is the belief when a Christian dies, the soul sleeps until the resurrection. The soul is in an unconscious state until the resurrection. 
Some have said the soul sleeps with the body; others have said the soul goes to Heaven, but is unconscious. Or even that the soul is destroyed at death and later recreated by God.

There are verses that may seem to indicate Soul Sleep. For example:

5 For the living know that they will die;
But the dead know nothing,
And they have no more reward,
For the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished;
Nevermore will they have a share
In anything done under the sun.
-Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes “under the sun.” In other words, without God in the picture and as though this life was all there was to life. In that sense, this passage is true. But Solomon concludes this book acknowledging God, and that life has no real meaning and satisfaction apart from God (Ecclesiastes 11:9; 12:1, 13-14).

Another way to put it is that a dead body doesn’t know anything because, when a person dies, the body sleeps in the grave, the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The New Testament uses the word “sleep” as a symbol of death. A doctrine should not be developed from a figure of speech. The body sleeps, but the spirit goes to be with the Lord.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 4:14

Notice those who are departed believers are with the Lord now, and at the Rapture / Return of Christ, God will bring with Him those whose bodies are asleep. At that time they will be reunited with their resurrected bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).


Scripture gives strong evidence against Soul Sleep:

Absent From The Body, Present With The Lord
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. -2 Corinthians 5:8 
Notice there is no hint of an unconscious state, but we will immediately be present with the Lord.


Death Is Gain

21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. -Philippians 1:21, 23
Why would death be gain for the Apostle Paul if he has now been in an unconscious state for 2,000 years? How can death be far better, if it only means unconsciousness for centuries? Rather, when a Christian dies they are immediately and consciously in the presence of the Lord, and that is great gain. 

Story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. 

22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. -Luke 16:22-23
I am among those who do not believe the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a parable. It does not have characteristics of a parable, and does not say it is a parable. Unlike parables, it names one of the individuals. Scripture presents it as a real, literal story. 
The Rich Man died, was buried, and was in torment in Hell. Lazarus was immediately in Abraham’s bosom, Paradise. In this story both the Rich Man and Lazarus are presented as being conscious immediately after death.

Mount of Transfiguration

And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. -Matthew 17:3

And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. -Mark 9:4

30 And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah,
31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. -Luke 9:30-31
Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) had long since departed this earth - yet here in New Testament times they were not sleeping or unconscious. They were alive and well, and speaking with Jesus about his coming sacrificial death.

Not God of the Dead, But of the Living

31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,
32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” -Matthew 22:31-32

He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.” -Mark 12:27

For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him. -Luke 20:38
The body may be dead, the soul, spirit is alive.


Definition of Death

According to the Bible, death is not ceasing to exist. It is not annihilation. According to the Bible, death is separation.

To be spiritually dead, simply means to be separated from God.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they immediately died, spiritually.
They did not cease to exist. They still walked, talked, breathed. They still could hear the voice of God.
But they were spiritually separated from God.

To be physically dead, does not mean you cease to exist. It does not mean you are annihilated. It does not mean you know nothing or are unconscious.
To be physically dead simply means you, your soul, spirit, are separated from your body. The spirit, the real you, is separated from the physical body.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 11, AD 2015. 

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 2 of 2
 
More articles in lower right margin.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Problem With Drunk Preachers

In 1886 in the Tennessee Baptist a preacher wrote of years before seeing a Baptist pastor drunk in the pulpit. So intoxicated he could not stand alone and had to hold on to the pulpit. His speech was difficult to understand. When the church tried to discipline him he declared he was not drunk because he did not fall down. He reproved them for being judgmental and said if he was disciplined he would expose the sins of other church members. The minister was not punished and according to the writer the church eventually died of strong drink. (-from Liquor in the Land of the Lost Cause by Joe L. Coker)

Such common abuse of alcohol is one reason Baptists, Methodists, and others began to speak against “distilled damnation” in the late 1700s and early 1800s. When you condone moderate drinking of alcohol, you have more immoderate drinking of alcohol.

Moderate drinking, is moderate intoxication. Many have pointed out moderate drinking is not the solution to drunkenness, it is the cause of drunkenness. That was true two hundred years ago, and it is true today.

Today many young pastors are being told the Bible condones moderate drinking of alcohol. In other words, it’s perfectly fine for even a preacher to partake of a recreational, mind altering drug. Yet, when moderate recreational drugs are accepted, it often leads to immoderate recreational drugs.

Today when Christian convictions against drinking are weakening, do we really have a problem with intoxicated preachers? Yes. For example, in his 2010 book Church Planter, Acts 29 pastor Darrin Patrick laments the significant problem of drunk preachers today:

“As I coach and mentor church planters and pastors, I am shocked at the number of them who are either addicted or headed toward addiction to alcohol. Increasingly, the same is true with prescription drugs. One pastor I know could not relax without several beers after work and could not sleep without the aid of a sleeping pill.”

For good reason, for well over 100 years, Southern Baptists and many other believers, have opposed the use of alcohol.

It is past time that believers return to the safest, sanest, most biblical conviction of opposing all use of beverage alcohol. Stay away from it. As Proverbs 23:29 says, don’t even look at it. Have nothing to do with it, and you will save yourself and others from a world of heartache.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 13, AD 2015.

For more information see the books:
Ancient Wine and the Bible by Brumbelow
Alcohol Today by Lumpkins

Articles: 
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?
Acts 29, Alcohol, and the Southern Baptist Convention
B. H. Carroll on Pastors and Alcohol
Dr. R. L. Sumner on "Ancient Wine and the Bible"
Wine for Your Stomach's Sake; 1 Timothy 5:23

Other articles in lower right hand margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels).
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

God Let Me Be A Preacher; B. H. Carroll

"I magnify my office, O my God, as I get nearer home. I can say more truthfully every year, 'I thank God that He put me in this office;' I thank Him that He would not let me have any other; that He shut me up to this glorious work; and when I get home among the blessed on the bank of the everlasting deliverance and look back toward time and all of its clouds and sorrows, and pains, and privations, I expect to stand up and shout for joy that down here in the fog and mists, down here in the dust and struggle, God let me be a preacher. I magnify my office in life; I magnify it in death; I magnify it in heaven; I magnify it, whether poor, or rich, whether sick or well, whether strong or weak, anywhere, everywhere, among all people, in any crowd. Lord God, I am glad that I am a preacher, that I am a preacher of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.” 
-B. H. Carroll, Belton, Texas; 1892. Carroll (AD 1843-1914), was a pastor and founding president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

I recall Evangelist Tom Clawson printing this statement by B. H. Carroll and handing it out at a state convention.

My dad, Joe Brumbelow, used to say he would not step down from the office of pastor to be the president of the United States of America.

Pastors, remember your high calling.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, March 16, AD 2015.

How To Keep Your Pastor
Random Advice to Pastors, Part 1
The Girl Who Saved His Ministry
How to Get a Life When Ministry Drains it Out of You
More articles in lower right margin.