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.

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:

-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.
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.