Posts by EC

REVIEW: Fall 2016

“Sexuality and Gender” by Lawrence S. Mayer and Paul R. McHugh, The New Atlantis, Fall 2016.

 by Dr. Ralph Blair

(PDF version available here.)

Plain Reasons for the Growth of Sodomy in England, a 1728 tome, blamed tea and the  “pernicious influence” of Italian opera.  Today, there’s still alarm over the growth of what folks still confuse with that ancient xenophobic gang’s attempted rapes at Sodom.  During the intervening centuries, same-sex orientation and relationship for which we’ve not been adequately prepared has been blamed on astrological quirks, demons, masturbation, fluoride, trauma in utero, genes, smothering mothers, distant fathers, child sex abuse, “lifestyle choice” and almost anything else but the kitchen sink.

A conservative policy group focusing on “crucial moral and political questions” has published this survey of selected studies culled by Mayer, a psychologist, and McHugh, a psychiatrist, though the authors claim not to be dealing with “morality”.

“Born that way” is an oft-repeated catchphrase that does catch the fact that everyone – whether heterosexual or homosexual – feels “born that way”.  But these authors’ assumed purpose is that, in the case of homosexuals, “born that way” must be debunked.

Also, the authors reject the view that, “homosexuality or heterosexuality is in any given person unchangeable and determined entirely apart from choices, behaviors, life experiences, and social contexts.”  But, the data from many decades of failed “ex-gay” efforts and prior decades of psychoanalysis indicate the immutability of the orientation of one’s sex drive, at least in males, whatever fluidity some females may experience.  Of course, one’s circumstances, e.g., religious scruples or the unavailability of a preferred sex partner, may prompt a male homosexual to marry a woman or a heterosexual prisoner to rape a cellmate.  But neither case demonstrates any “fluidity” of sexual orientation.

Oddly, the report claims the term, “orientation”, is itself, “highly ambiguous” and that it “can refer to a set of behaviors, to feelings of attraction, or to a sense of identity”.  But, the very common, everyday use of the term is for the direction of one’s involuntary sexual attraction.  All who tried for so long and failed to get rid of their sex drive’s same-sex direction, still sense their orientation as anything but ambiguous. They chose to change their behavior and identity but that never changed their involuntary sexual orientation. Read more →

RECORD: Fall 2016

(PDF version available here.)

Kirk Franklin, black contemporary Gospel singer, is apologizing to gays for the homophobia in the black churches.  Says Franklin: “More than anything, I’m trying to peel back those layers [that] keep people away from God and keep people away from experiencing the love of God, [and all that] gets in the way of the true essence of one of the most simplest things we could ever say to somebody: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life’.”  Referring to the “hurtful and painful things that have been said” about gays in the black churches, he says: “It is horrible that we have made it where the Bible is a homophobic manual.  That’s not what the Bible is.  I mean, you want to talk about things that God gets at – pride and jealousy and envy and arrogance.  But what we also see is God sending his son to save us all, because we are all, straight, gay or whatever, lost and in need of a savior, and there’s room at the cross for all of us.”

Sammy Rhodes blogs: “An Apology to LGBTQ Brothers and Sisters from a Theological Conservative”.   He is a college chaplain in the Reformed University Fellowship of the conservative Presbyterian Church in America.

After the mass murders in Orlando, Rhodes humbly confessed his and his fellow evangelicals’ silence: “I’ve (often) cared more about my theology appearing ‘correct’ and orthodox than I have about loving millions of LGBTQ brothers and sisters.  … I’m speaking mainly for myself, although I hope I’m not alone.”  He asked for forgiveness for, among other things, the hate and injustice, for jokes, for not listening and “for being more like Job’s counselors than anything resembling Jesus.”

Rhodes has also written a book, This is Awkward: How Life’s Uncomfortable Moments Open the Door to Intimacy and Connection. The Religious Right’s World magazine reviewed the book with a note of caution.  Jen Wilkin said his “discussions of sexual dysfunction may be too much information for younger teens” and his “quotes from movies like Brokeback Mountain might also be construed as recommendations”.  Yet, his book addresses college students, not “younger teens”.

A “Shame List” of the “absolute worst” Christian colleges for LGBT students is meant to point up “harmful and shameful acts of religion-based prejudice and bigotry”. “Shame List” schools have requested or received religious exemptions to the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX.

Yet, for decades, some administrators, professors, students and alumni of these “Shame List” schools supported gay students.  But much of that was certainly unofficial, under the radar and before the muscle of the Religious Right began to be exercised and scared off likely donors. Read more →

THY Kingdom Come”

“THY Kingdom Come”
by Dr. Ralph Blair
Dr. Blair’s keynote address at connECtion 2016, the summer conferences of Evangelicals Concerned at Kirkridge in the eastern Pennsylvania mountains.

(PDF version here)


Have you noticed how “un-Presidential” presidential campaigns can get? Instead of what we might assume befits a wannabe president, we get mere precedent and more prestidigitation. Huh? Dirty card tricks of class, sex, gender, faith, ethnicity and race!

Political “establishments” are accused of offering “been there, done that” that doesn’t do it. So, there’s an opting for outliers as if they’re from a whole different realm. Dah!

But, whether “establishment” or “outlier”, voters fall for the idiocy of idolatry – worshipping at shrines of two ancient temptresses, Nostalgia and Fantasy. Nostalgia’s stuck in her delusions of the past, swamped as ever, in her historical illiteracy and self-serving selective recall. And habitually blindsided Fantasy, too, is stuck in her delusions – her expectations of all she blindly predicts and then projects, though it’s nothing but figments of her delusional daydreams or nightmares. So, whether wistful, wishful or worried, voters flock in lockstep, following in the faltering footsteps of Nostalgia or Fantasy, while getting hung up on politicians’ plans and promises.

Well, what else do most folks know to do? What is there to do, if politicians’ plans and promises are the only options? Indeed, these are the only options, if there’s insufficient or no awareness of the Hope that’s ours in the Reign of God, already here, with so much more on the way.

In Christ’s return to reign, Bob Dylan is mindful of what so many resist. As he puts it: “Of every earthly plan that be known to man, He is unconcerned. He’s got plans of His own to set up His throne when He returns.”

Keep this in mind. Before we conclude, we’ll return to this blessed Hope of Christ’s return to reign, while others are adrift, unanchored and awash in nostalgia and fantasy of mere political hope. In the prayer Jesus authorized for us, we petition: “Thy Kingdom come!” Bring Your Reign! And we have his assurance that we’re asking by his authority, and so, it will come to pass. (John 14:13) Read more →

RECORD: Summer 2016

(PDF version available here.)

“We’re actually looking to revel in the partisan divide”, laments Joe Clark, after the killings at the Orlando gay club, Pulse. Writing at the Presbyterian Church in America’s byFaith website, he observes: “In the wake of mass violence, a common pattern is emerging among tech-literate, socially connected Christians. Rather than hearing the news and turning to God, we turn first to social media. If we wanted to learn the facts about the incident we would look to news agencies. Too often, though, we’re actually looking to revel in the partisan divide. Even without looking we know the various angles that will be played out (e.g., gun control, the violence of Islam) and want to jump into the fray to join our ‘team’.” Clark urges that Christians, instead, move through prayer, pause, grieving, love and Christian hope.

“Now is not a time for returning rhetorical fire.” And, “It is certainly not a time for people on either, or any, side of a moral or political dispute to attempt to score points or advance an agenda.” These comments from Robert George, a conservative Christian activist and a Princeton University professor of law, followed news of the Pulse tragedy. “Outrageous and defamatory [responses] can be forgiven” immediately after such a “truly traumatizing event when people are angry and grieving.” Some blame all Muslims or all Christians, the Left or the Right but, said George, it’s “time for grieving and solidarity”.

Bruce Bawer wonders why, “on CNN and Fox News, one politician after another professed to be ‘shocked’ by the jihadist terror attack in Orlando.” This veteran gay writer reminds his readers: “Islamic law, after all, is crystal clear on homosexuality. … In Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, as well as in parts of Nigeria, Somalia, Syria and Iraq, homosexuality is indeed punishable by death.” He acknowledges, “Yes, there are self-identified Muslims who harbor no antigay prejudice; I suspect that more than a few of them are actually apostates who – aware that Islam considers apostasy too, a capital crime – choose to keep quiet about their infidel status.” Against media mantras that Islam’s 1.5 billion adherents are “tolerant, peace-loving, etc.”, Bawer observes, “The fact is that the great majority of those 1.5 billion Muslims also belong to varieties of Islam that preach contempt for, and sever punishment of, homosexuals”.

Bawer states: “Incredibly, many gays still don’t get this – or refuse to get it. They cling – mindlessly, one wants to say – to leftist ideology, which tells them that Muslims, like gays, are an official victim group, and thus their natural allies. They see Christians as their enemies – though even the most aggressively antigay Christians in America, namely the ‘God hates fags’ crowd at the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, don’t go around killing anybody. Perversely, some gays support the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, which demonizes the only gay-friendly country in the Middle East.” Read more →

REVIEW: Summer 2016

“The Sin of Sodom Revisited: Reading Genesis 19 in Light of Torah” by Brian Neal Peterson, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, March 2016
“Christian Rock Singer Announces He Is Gay” by Jim Denison, Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, June 2, 2016
“Salty Christianity” by Richard Doster, byFaith, Q2.16.

by Dr. Ralph Blair

(PDF version available here.)

In 1979, the Evangelical Theological Society president was Marten H. Woudstra, Calvin Seminary’s most conservative professor. He was also the OT translation chair for the NIV Bible. As advisor on homosexuality for the Christian Reformed Church, he stated: “There is nothing in the Old Testament that corresponds to homosexuality as we understand it today.” Now, four decades later, ETS publishes Peterson’s anachronistic search for gays in ancient Sodom.

Sodom’s story is irrelevant to today’s gay issues according to Evangelical biblical scholars Stephen Hayner, Gerald Sheppard, Miguel De La Torre and James Brownson – all supporters of Evangelicals Concerned – and Christopher Wright, Richard Hayes, Joshua Jipp and even antigay scholars, e.g., Gene Haas and Robert Gagnon.

Ezekiel said Sodom’s sin was “prideful abundance without helping the poor and needy” (Ezek 16:49). Midrash tells of Sodom’s killing those who did indeed help the poor and needy. Raging mobs at Lot’s door (Gen 19) were bent on rapes, not gay dates. They meant to demean and subjugate male sojourners as mere women and their property. There’s nothing in the Bible of “a caring homosexual relationship between consenting partners” says InterVarsity’s New Bible Dictionary. It notes: “The Bible says nothing specifically about the homosexual condition” and the Evangelical author laments that, “too often [so-called antigay verses] have been used as tools of a homophobic polemic which has claimed too much.” Peterson is yet another of these homophobic polemicists.

When he says he’s against the “rise of same-sex ‘affirming’ interpretations of the Bible within the evangelical church”, he shows no awareness of Evangelical affirmation during his – and many of his readers’ – childhoods. He resents that, “Today, one is hard pressed to find a good contemporary biblical commentator willing to point out the clear sexual nature” of Sodom’s story. Of course the intended rapes were to be “sexual”, but violent abuse was motive and context of that “sexuality”. He can find no gay love at Lot’s door.

Peterson is upset over “the inhospitality” argument. But didn’t Ezekiel use it? Didn’t Josephus? Peterson insists that the men of Sodom wanted simply “to satisfy their sexual urges”. Does he find his gay fantasy more “exceedingly wicked” (Gen 13:13) than Sodom’s pride and neglect of the needy? Read more →

ENTHUSIASM

by Dr. Ralph Blair

This booklet is based on material presented by Dr. Blair at the two 1997 summer conferences of Evangelicals Concerned held in Pennsylvania and California.
Copyright 1997 Evangelicals Concerned, Inc.

INTRODUCTION

There’s way too much enthusiasm. And there’s also way too little. That’s because there’s enthusiasm and enthusiasm. So we’d better not be too quick to enthuse over just any enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is supposed to be enlivening, but much of it is rather short-lived. Remember these words? “Get other names at 100,000 or more, 50,000 or more… . Ready to start overnights right away.” That’s from the White House memo launching Bill Clinton’s bed and breakfast deal. The New York Times headlined: “His Enthusiasm is Made Clear in a Memo.” But his enthusiasm didn’t last. It was dashed by the press’s enthusiasm for scandal — real or imagined. But even the enthusiasm of self-righteous journalists can be sustained by any particular scandal for only so long. Here’s another Times headline of erstwhile enthusiasm: “Addition of Kemp Offers Strength to Dole, Foremost on Tax Policy and Enthusiasm.” The publisher of a talk-radio digest enthused: “For the first time, there’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm about Dole-Kemp.” He might just as well have said it was for the last time. The enthusiasm didn’t last.

So enthusiasm can be fleeting. It can also be forced and false. A British prime minister once said that “It’s unfortunate … that so few enthusiasts can be trusted to speak the truth.” [Arthur James Balfour] Is this a clue that much enthusiasm depends on something less than the truth, something not quite the fuller story? When a private Old South military school was forced by the Supreme Court to drop its long-standing “men only” policy, it wasn’t only feminists who voiced enthusiasm. The Citadel itself announced it would “enthusiastically accept” women. But soon after the school year began, two of the female cadets were set on fire.

Enthusiasm can run hot and cold. It can be contradictory and confusing. Andrew Sullivan says Newt Gingrich “burst[s] with messianic enthusiasm that alternately inspires and bewilders.” Some enthusiasm makes no sense and apparently doesn’t even have to make any sense. If those of us who aren’t lesbians can’t comprehend the baseballese that fans throw at us, we’re told we should just interject an occasional comment that’s “thoughtful, enthusiastic and content free.” [John Leo]

There’s enthusiasm that’s merely hype. A New Age learning center in New York City promises evenings with assorted gurus that will be “amazing … electrifying … explosive … exhilarating … sensational … extraordinary … and [as it’s stated repeatedly] much more!” Prospective students are promised “enhanced energy” and even “boundless energy, … incredible power” and even “unlimited power”—though I do notice that there will be only “limited seating” for the session on “unlimited power!” They’re told that they’ll learn “techniques to maximize spiritual quotient, … heighten psychic abilities … ignite inner potential … [and] learn how to achieve, have and do all [they] want and desire.” They’ll learn the “secrets of a detailed plan for meeting and marrying money” and they’ll even be shown “how to attract every man in a room” and become a “man-magnet!” Read more →

RECORD: Spring 2016

The 74th summer conference of Evangelicals Concerned is set for June 3 – 5, 2016. Guest speakers will be Tony Campolo and Abigail Santamaria. Campolo, a world-renowned preacher and a bestselling author, is emeritus professor of sociology at Eastern University. Santamaria is a first-time author with Joy, her acclaimed biography of C. S. Lewis’ late-in-life wife, Joy Davidman, published in 2015, the centennial year of Davidman’s birth. EC founder Ralph Blair will also be speaking.

Yet again, since 1980, this summer retreat will be at the beautiful mountaintop site of all our eastern connECtions – Kirkridge Lodge on Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Trail.

Steve Hayner, once the national President of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, endorsed a same-sex married housing policy as President of Columbia Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian Church (USA) school in Atlanta. A Hebrew Bible scholar who taught at Fuller, Gordon-Conwell and Trinity Evangelical seminaries as well as at Regent College, Hayner passed away in 2015, a year after being diagnosed with cancer. He was a longtime friend of our EC ministry and he’d hoped to keynote an EC retreat someday.

In conversations with Steve Hayner, “my views on [same-sex married housing] were crystallized”, says John Azumah, CTS professor of World Christianity and Islam, in his comments in First Things. Azumah explains that, “since we cannot discriminate in our enrollment on the basis of sexuality, we cannot discriminate in housing either.”

Azumah, a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, goes on to assert that the popular liberal “dismissal of African objections to homosexuality as not indigenous but as ‘echoes of Western missionary positions’ is rather symptomatic of the condescending and patronizing attitudes” he’s encountered and repeatedly rebuked in the rhetoric of “progressive” Protestants. “Africans”, he points out, “have not changed their position and have never needed Americans like [antigay Fundamentalist preacher] Scott Lively to educate them about sexuality.” Says Azumah: “American Evangelicals might have gone to Uganda to campaign for anti-gay legislation, but so did other powerful figures on the gay lobby side, including President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, threatening African governments with the withdrawal of aid if they didn’t conform to the new Western normal.” Azumah concludes: “Until liberal American Christians begin to take interest in African Christian thought and seriously engage with it, dialogue between the two will remain tortuous, if not impossible. As a senior African scholar recently remarked, liberal Christianity is a totally different religion and Christian Africans will have to learn to dialogue with it as we do with Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism.”

Brad Harper teaches Bible and theology at evangelical Multnomah University and his eldest son, Drew, is openly gay and has left his Christian faith. Together, they’ve written a book, Space at the Table, about their father-son relation that has gone from the wondrous early years through painfully strained years during Drew’s coming out, and on to a rekindled warmth and respectful disagreement. Enthusiastic about the opportunity to write their book, they both are concerned that their respective communities will label them sellouts. Brad regrets the harm done by the “ex-gay” movement and advises other parents to steer clear of it.   Still, Drew says: “Who am I, if I’m not my father’s son?” and Brad says: “Who are you, if you’re not my son? Of course you are my son. No matter what you do, no matter where you go, no matter whether you agree or disagree with me, rebel against me and my ways, you will never stop being my son.” Read more →

REVIEW: Spring 2016

“Celibacy at Gay Christian Network: What’s That All About?” by Stephen Parelli, Other Sheep Exec Site, January 12, 2016; “Why this Christian Lesbian was Not at the Gay Christian Network Conference” by Kimberly Knight, Progressive Christian Channel, January 11, 2016.

by Dr. Ralph Blair

(PDF version available here.)

The Gay Christian Network was founded in 2001 by Justin Lee, a young Southern Baptist who, since 1997, had been hosting online conversations on evangelical Christian faith and same-sex attraction. GCN’s first conference was held in 2005. With sensitivity, Lee has made room for those who are same-sex oriented and committed to celibacy (Side B) as well as for those aimed at a committed same-sex relationship (Side A). GCN presents conference speakers from both perspectives but has never supported “ex-gay” claims. Lee has been a keynoter for Evangelicals Concerned conferences in the east and west.

Founded in 1975, EC began our summer conferences in 1980 and, to date, we’ve had seventy-three. We’ve always been supportive of those on both Side A and Side B as it’s psychologically and spiritually unhealthy to violate conscience. However, we’ve always featured only Side A speakers. That’s because, back in those mid-70s, few evangelicals had “come out” and many of the openly gay men who came to our first EC Bible studies and conferences were only just beginning to explore Christian faith. Side B speakers would have been a discouraging distraction in their quest. By 2005, GCN conference folks were familiar with the Side B view from their conservative church backgrounds yet, out of this context, many have been able to move to Side A through GCN fellowship with solidly evangelical peers in committed same-sex relationship. Still, those who stay on Side B enjoy empathic, supportive fellowship with both Side A and Side B Christians.

In 1992, missionary Tom Hanks founded Other Sheep. Stephen Parelli now leads this LGBT group. Both men tried to overcome the homosexuality by “ex-gay” efforts and in heterosexual marriage. Both failed. Both now accept and embrace their homosexuality.

Parelli, a first-time attendee at a GCN conference, is upset and angry over the inclusion of Side B speakers. He claims he found it “a conundrum” that a Side B speaker “would expose the ‘ex-gay’ movement as a myth while defending celibacy, the exact same practical outcome of the ‘ex-gay’ movement.” Says Parelli: “I could see no real practical difference between [her] position on celibacy and the ‘ex-gay’ movement’s position.”

Read more →

Paul Who?

Paul Who?

by Dr. Ralph Blair

This is an expanded version of Dr. Blair’s keynote address at connECtion87, the summer conferences of Evangelicals Concerned. The section on homosexuality was also presented at the 199th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1987.

(PDF version available here)


He was not the first Jew for Jesus. He would not be the last. But more than any other Jew or Gentile in nearly 2,000 years, and time and again, he has jolted his readers back to a Jesus that neither he nor they, by orthodox religious tradition or wild wishful thinking, were ever prepared to recognize.

A very few years after Jesus’ execution, he was offending fellow Pharisees with a shocking law-free proclamation of good news: Jesus’ death and resurrection opened God’s kingdom to everyone everywhere — without their having to become Jews or obey commandments in the Hebrew Bible. Some 15 years later, this rebel rabbi dictated a letter to faithing assemblies in Galatia. He warned them not to let legalistic religionist “trouble-makers” load them up with rules and rituals and thereby deprive them of their freedom in Jesus Christ.

Twenty centuries later and half a world away, the most powerful leader on earth was copying one of these sentences, inscribing it into a book already containing several of the rabbi’s letters.

The first century rabbi was Paul. The twentieth century leader was Ronald Reagan. The book? A Bible purchased by Ollie North and autographed in the Oval Office in October, 1986. It was intended for Iranian officials ruling ancient Persian territory some 900 miles east of where Paul’s Galatians had lived. The inscription was this: “And the Scripture, farseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations shall be blest in you.'” It isn’t clear why the President chose these words to bless the secret sale of weapons from what they call “the Great Satan” to what he called “loony tunes” of an “international version of Murder Incorporated.” It’s been suggested that it was to confirm some sort of brotherhood between Moslems, Jews, and Christians. Church Lady would snap: “Well, isn’t that special.” It’s enigmatic how weapons meant to kill Iraqis (half way back to old Galatia) are expressions of the good news of God’s grace and peace, justification by faith, and blessings to all nations. Actually, maybe it wasn’t even meant to be read for it wasn’t in Persian or Kurdish or Farsi. This Bible was in English.

But we shouldn’t be too hard on the President for not quite getting Paul’s point, even in translation. After all, Paul’s contemporaries didn’t always get it. His own dear “foolish Galatians” were confused. And II Peter warns that Paul’s letters “contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort.” There have always been people who never take the trouble to understand. People who like what they say Paul says and people who hate what they say Paul says maybe don’t much know what Paul says. And maybe they don’t much want to know. They invent appalling pop Pauls. Such pseudo Pauls are anti-sex, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-Semitic, anti-everything someone might innocently value. It’s hard to believe that the earliest pop Paul was an “anything goes” antinomian. That would surprise Dudley Moore who fictionalized Paul writing: “Ah, dear Ephiscans, … stop enjoying yourself … stop having a good time, resign yourself not to have a picnic, cover yourself with ashes and start flailing yourselves.” Read more →

Evangelism: Proclaiming God’s Good News—with every bad -ism crossed out

Evangelism: Proclaiming God’s Good News—with every bad -ism crossed out

by Dr. Ralph Blair
This booklet is an expanded version of Dr. Blair’s keynote address at connECtion 1994, the summer conferences of Evangelicals Concerned at Kirkridge in the eastern Pennsylvania mountains and at Chapman University in Orange, California.

Introduction

Have you ever seen the guy who goes to ball games with his John 3:16 sign? I’m sure that at least you lesbians have. You gay men may have been watching a different channel. The John 3:16 guy gets into trouble with sports stadium officials. When they say his evangelism violates “good taste / bad taste policy,” his lawyer gets a judge to say that the policy violates free speech rights. When the Cincinnati Reds then responded by prohibiting all signs that were not related to baseball, he showed up with a sign that said: “Go Reds! John 3:16.” The Reds management then reacted by banning all non-commercial signs, claiming thereby “to protect the family-oriented atmosphere.” The supposedly “family-oriented” beer and cigarette signs remained and the John 3:16 guy has gone elsewhere. According to his lawyer: “It’s unfortunate that the Reds have to take the fun out of baseball.”

Did you ever think of evangelism as fun? To say it’s fun may be to trivialize the gospel, but fun is at least a hint of the joy that is the good news. Too much evangelism is so dreary or full of self-righteous spite and fright that it’s anything but fun—anything but good news. Why shouldn’t it be a real pleasure to proclaim the truly joyous news that “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that no one need be destroyed but, by relying on him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life?”

Last September the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board estimated that 46.1 percent of the folks down in Alabama are going to hell. Now how did that Mission Board know what Paul says all “creation is eagerly waiting to have revealed” only on the last day? (Rom 8:19) Well, the Board did a county by county statistical analysis. They subtracted the Southern Baptists from the population of each county and then estimated the “unsaved” in the remaining churches on the basis of how closely those groups’ beliefs matched Southern Baptist doctrine. Why did they do this? It wasn’t for idle curiosity. It wasn’t only to look good in their own eyes. It wasn’t in order to look bad in the eyes of southern Methodists, Roman Catholics or Crimson Tide secularists over at the University. And it wasn’t in order to be ridiculed by hostile national news media. It was in order to strategize for evangelism.

Last July, strategists from the Southern Baptist Convention, Campus Crusade for Christ, and other rightward religious efforts met in Colorado Springs—the antigay capital of America—to plan what they call “Assessment 2000: A Global Survey of the Unfinished Task” of world evangelization. Read more →

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