Monday, February 23, 2009


Now to the word "honor." You will recall I am addressing the charge laid at the feet of someone that the thing they did was "unreasonable" and "dishonorable." This said because the accuser disagreed with the action taken. Check the last two posts if there is any need for further context.

I do confess that I often wonder about this honor thing when faced with a difficult action I am thinking of performing that may be questioned. This, because it may be that my greatest concern for any thing I do is that I might hear said of it, "That wasn't an honorable thing to do." [Lacking in integrity] So I have some additional and final thoughts on this difficult word...honor.

I say difficult because I'm not sure I often see it in myself. Maybe that's because I sometimes have all these secret or hidden from view thoughts and feelings that I have to fight through when making a difficult choice in an action. Add to that my inability, often times, to honestly examine my own motives [Owning them truthfully since I tend to want to assign good motives to myself too quickly.] and I find myself in a conundrum about my own honor. But I do often think, correctly or incorrectly, I recognize it when I see it in others. [Or don't see it.] Oh how wrong a person can be as we shall see. But wherever this difficult word is really present in reality, I think, as a virtue, it has little to do with being reasonable. [There's THAT word again.]

I do know, however, that it is just as "dishonorable" [lacking in integrity] for a person to allow themselves to be used or abused by others out of a fear of offending the abuser OR standing by while others are used/abused when it is within one's power to stop it, as it is "dishonorable" for a person to personally use/abuse other people.

I also think that we as preachers may have honed the using of other people, which may be our greatest sin, to an art as revealed in our rhetoric which is the stuff of legend in the ministerial fraternity. [Consider the attendance and decision reports at years end as if it validates the success or failure of the ministry of a church...."my church" pastors often revealingly say.]

If one asks "how should we report?" I would simply say, after questioning if reporting is truly needed at all, that... until... we start talking in our reports about the number of marriages saved through counseling or families assisted in needs, food clothes and shelter being provided, or people with addictions [be they food, money, sex, drugs, religion, power, addictions] being helped, as well as the number of people brought to faith in Christ and discipled in their walk... and... when we speak of our serving the congregation who has decided on certain doctrinal issues after study and prayer as a body, we haven't begun to address what I'm refering to here.

We have become, IMHO, a generation of professed christians, especially preachers, who may be more likened to users and abusers seeking control and power, sold under a different name, [doing ministry or serving] but looking nothing like real biblical ministry or service. But I digress.

I realize all this goes to motivation and only affirms the truth Paul delivered in 1 Corinthians 4:5 when he said, "Therefore judge nothing
[who was the greatest pastor/servant-Paul-Peter-Apollos] before the time...[the return of the Lord]...who will bring to light hidden things that are in the dark...and will reveal the motives of the heart...etc..." [The Message]

I guess we are ALL forced to wait until then to know the truth about some things one does that may seem honorable to some and dishonorable to others. Integrity or honor may be a bit more elusive than one would think at first glance.

One thing I know with one can say with any certainty about another that they are a dishonorable person [or honorable for that matter] and have any real veracity attached to their assessment. All we can truthfully evaluate is what they have DONE that we are aware of personally. We may challenge things done as to their being right or wrong according to our moral, ethical, or perceived biblical standard but the person's honor/character/integrity will have to be left with God whose servant they are. The day WILL declare it. Maybe Robert Frost was right after all.

Paul B.

Friday, February 20, 2009


To finish [partially at least] what was started last time.....I'm going to turn to some thoughts about the charge recently made about someone who did something that some people thought unreasonable and dishonorable.

[For context read my last post]

Well is the charge true or not? Was the writer of the incident who used an anonymous source both unreasonable and dishonorable to do so? Are YOU better off knowing that what you do is thought of as reasonable? Should YOU make certain they know YOU were right so YOU can erase any idea of unreasonableness to what YOU have done? You can see what I'm writing is not about one person but it's about all of us

Webster's says that 'reason' [among some other things] is the 'due exercise of the faculty of logical thought.' My assumption is this was the critic's intended meaning since their statement was that it was 'unreasonable' to ask anyone to accept what was said without knowing the source.

You've gathered I'm sure that I am going to address the reason/unreasonable issue first.

Someone has said that sometimes you don't do the -right- thing by doing the -reasonable- thing. I think that is likely true. To equate reasonable with right may be making a big mistake. Our Lord would have been reasonable had He taken the crown offered by the crowd just fed when they wanted to make Him King. It was only reasonable for them to want someone who fed them miraculously since they got hungry so regularly and it was certainly reasonable for Him to pass on the personal pain and suffering of the Cross. But it would not have been the right to do within the purposes of God at all. Reasonable and right are not synonyms.

But how can I vindicate my self if what I do seems so unreasonable to others? I want people to know I'm right. It's important for others to know you're right isn't it?

It is if you're keeping score. But for a believer vindication is really of no value because we are NOT keeping score and we believe we are better off in the hands of the One who DOES know the true score and is, in fact, calling the game. He's the only one who ultimately matters.

It was Robert Frost, the poet, who said correctly I think [though no spiritual giant himself] and I quote, "The fear of God asks the question, is my action acceptable, is it worthy, in His sight?" It seems to me, when it's all over and done with, that that is the only legitimate issue when deciding, "Is the action I'm performing reasonable or right? "

Don't hear me saying you are to check your mind and intellect at the door when you become a christian. Far from it. The most genuinely thinking person you can find is one who has considered the eternal nature of things. That is the point I am making. Because it is true that our standard of measurement is different entirely as christians. It is the standard of faith. We are saved by it. We are to live by it. Whatever action is not of it, no matter how reasonable or unreasonable that action might appear, is not valid.

Add to that the fact that what seems so reasonable to the world is foolishness to faith and what is so unreasonable to the world is sensible to faith and one would be wise to recognize a charge of some one being unreasonable may not be, in fact, wise at all. It may take someone greater than any of us to measure whether another's action is one of faith or not.

Next time some thoughts on Honor.

Paul B.

Monday, February 16, 2009


A couple of weeks back a war of words was fought on the Internet via the blogs about whether anonymous sources should/should not be used to report plans that may/may not be in play, depending on the validity of the source, in dealing with the discussed removal of some seminary faculty members at one of our seminaries who personally hold to a particular theological view not shared by the leaders of that seminary.

The bearer of the information provided by that anon source was praised and applauded by some but also criticized and castigated beyond belief by others. Those praising him did so based on a belief that things which are done unjustly and then hidden by leaders need to be brought to light and his track record was of a person willing to pay the price to do so and was the honorable thing to do.

Those who criticized him did so saying the use of anon sources was both unreasonable and dishonorable. [Both words were used in comments.] Unreasonable because to ask people to accept the validity of such remarks based on an unnamed source was flat out wrong and didn't meet the "reasonable" expectation test. Dishonorable because to say anything without fully revealing sources shows a "lack of integrity." Was it either? I didn't know. The originating messenger had come to his conclusion but I like to come to my own. So I investigated.

Two things are, and always have been, foundational to my way of thinking. One is that the end NEVER justifies the means. So if the means to achieving an end are illegitimate or unscriptural then the end can never justify their use. The second is that if the scripture forbids something it is not to be done. Period. If the scripture commands something it is to be done. Period. But where the scripture is SILENT everyone is free in the Lord to find what He desires done. Armed with those two foundational concepts I began a CSI style journey for the truth about anon sources being used.

Knowing the scriptures could settle it for me I investigated the biblical reference books I had for instruction on "anonymous sources and their use in reporting information" that could be found in the text of scripture. [There was none except it takes two when the negative information is concerning an elder.] In fact I found that some of the books of the bible itself are anonymous as to authorship. Hebrews comes to mind.

I DID find that the scriptures speak to integrity and character issues galore and will not give a pass for lying, deceitfulness, or dishonesty in motivations. It also speaks to how we are to respond if we disagree with brothers about something or are offended by what a brother/sister, in the Lord, does. With this in mind I hurried off to the Internet for clues to solve the crime. [Or lack thereof whichever the case might be.]

Some sources on the Internet said anon sources of critical information must never be used. They say it is never justified. Look at how it has been abused. [They then quoted some news man who made up a story pretending an anon source had given the information but was then found out and fired.] Who will keep that from happening again? they ask. So...NO anon sources..EVER...for any reason.

Others say anon sources must be used, albeit cautiously, otherwise legitimate ends such as Watergate and My Lai would never make the light of day. The cautious spirit is because anonymity is to never be a cover for revenge or getting even. Thus the motivation for anonymity is extremely important. [Think 'deep throat.'] This is the reason IMB participants can tell stories or report facts using anon sources from the field.

My final conclusion about anon sources is that they are sometimes legitimate and are to be used with caution but are not automatically a no-no. But that also means that sometimes they are not legitimate. A Professor of Journalism said to his class one day something on the order of it would need to be a case by case decision and should never be done without a great deal of soul searching. His conclusion was that the thing coming to light would need to warrant such anonymity. definitive answer could I find. It would probably depend on what one knows of the issue being addressed and what one knows of the character of the messenger.

Since I know the character of the messenger who originally presented the information mentioned at the beginning and the depth of the issue being addressed, [even the source] I have settled my wondering about it all. For the sake of full disclosure I need to say I do have an on-going connection to the bearer of the original story in which an anon source was used. But I'm totally objective as any good CSI guy would be. :)

But what I really was struck by was what I've come to see about saying someone is "unreasonable" to think of doing something someone thinks is wrong and "dishonorable" if they choose to do said thing anyway. Oh really? It may be that a fresh look at "reason" and "honor" is needed. Next time we'll take that look.

Paul B.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I'm writing this JUST BECAUSE it's Friday and I don't have anything else to say.


Q without A

1. Why is it called tourist season if we can't shoot at them?

2.If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

3. If the #2 pencil is the most popular, why is it still #2?

4. If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?

5. Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?

6.What was the best thing before sliced bread?

7.If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless or naked?

8.Why do they lock gas station restrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?

9.Would a fly without wings be called a walk?

10.What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

11. Is there another word for synonym?

12. Why are we told to not sweat the petty things but not told don't pet the sweaty things.

13. Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?

14. If the truth is that men are from Earth, and women are from Earth,
can we deal with it?

C C about L

I always do what I can't I will have done it, me.

Never do anything you don't want to, you.

If everybody agrees upon it, it's got to be wrong, that.

I think rather than the eagle, the crawfish should be the symbol of the USA, me. It you put an eagle on a RR track and A train comes by, what's the eagle going to do? He's going to fly away, him. But you put a crawfish on that track and what's he going to do? He's going to put up his claws and stop that train, him. Or die trying.

When facing a problem and needing an answer when you've hunted and can't find one, you. Do like the cajun that lost his hog to a gator, him. He hunted through the whole marsh for that bull gator and came up empty. So he went back and commenced again. He had walked right over it, him.

Paul B.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Note.....The following started out as a comment to be put up on Wade's blog but got too wordy. I post it here in response to the idea put forth by a Seminary President that he would not have anyone on faculty who could not look every person in the eye and say "Jesus died for you." My main point is to show why it is dangerous to make a belief statement that will not allow for a bit of variation as to how someone might see or say a point of theology. That Jesus died for the purpose of declaring God Righteous in saving whomever He saves and just to do so is not the issue. That Jesus died for sinners is not the issue. The categoical statement that was made I see a little bit differently than does that Seminary President. My view follows.

With respect to missions and evangelism [ie.. telling people what Jesus did at the Cross and what happens to anyone who receives the truth of that message] what I'm about to say I've believed all my converted life and have practiced as a Southern Baptist pastor/teacher for fifty three years of ministry.

I'm also a...[boy I hate labels but for clarity sake I'll use one.]....five-point Calvinist and have been longer than most of you have been alive. But here goes...perhaps nothing.

I would never stand before a human being and say "Jesus DID NOT die for you." I WOULD stand before every human being and say Jesus died for sinners. If YOU are WILLING to recognize you are one and are WILLING to call upon Him as Lord and Savior you WILL be saved." No one IS saved because they are elected or IS NOT saved because they are not elected. [And I believe in election.] Anyone who is ever saved will be so because of the finished work of Christ that is received as a broken, repentant sinner.

Where in the scripture does it say or proclaim that anyone has the right/responsibility to stand before anyone and say "Jesus DIDN'T die for you" OR to say or proclaim that "Jesus DID die for you?" [Every textual reference I read that says "Jesus died for you" is said to people AFTER they have experienced His grace.] We do have the right /responsibility to stand before all peoples and tell them who Jesus is and that He did die for sinners and that He has given the command to repent and call upon Him in faith to every person.

Whether they know why they are willing to repent and believe [It was good thinking on their part or God caused them to think in the first place.] or whether they believe they were chosen before the foundation of the world because God looked down through time and saw they would believe or whether God made the choice Himself for His own reasons, or whether they know the faith they've excercised is a gift in and of itself or the natural ability of fallen people that is of itself without merit, makes no difference in the presentation of the gospel to them. Those are all things we can study, debate, teach as we understand them. But no view one holds on these just stated issues alters the need for the gospel being presented and believed by the hearer. Also, that presentation of the gospel can be done cooperatively as a Convention unless we start demanding uniformity of doctrines [except our belief in the power of the gospel] instead of unity of the Spirit because of our Christ/Cross/Tomb agreement.

Now I could begin to show why I believe God chose of His own will BEFORE the world began and why I believe faith IS a gift and why I believe regeneration brings about an ability to infinitum. But that is for the growth of believers.

Someone may say, "Reconcile the seeming contradiction between the point of the fourth paragraph, especially the last sentence of it, with the statement of the sixth paragraph." Ummmmmm...I think I'll just be satisfied with the clear biblical antinomy, since both are scripturally based, with no "seemingly true" about it. They both are true. Father will have to make all our theology perfectly clear when we get home one day. Until then I'll trust His Word to be true and continue to grow in my understanding of that Word while telling ALL people Jesus died for sinners and if you will repent and trust Him you WILL be one of those sinners that will be saved.

Paul B.