La Alianza is a collaboration of Hispanic Southern Baptist leaders throughout the United States. The following open letter came unsolicited and is posted here at their request.
La Alianza is a group of Hispanic leaders from different states that have been meeting for the last months with the purpose of supporting each other through the ministry of prayer, preaching, and the theological proclamation of the truths of the Word of God.
As pastors and messengers at the upcoming annual meeting in Anaheim California, we are pleased to announce our endorsement of Dr. Tom Ascol for President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Voddie Baucham for President of the SBC Pastor’s Conference, and Dr. Javier Chavez for SBC Recording-Secretary.
The men mentioned above are known for their leadership profile, their spirit of service, and their strong convictions to see a unified convention centered around the Gospel.
As Southern Baptists we are all about the Great Commission, our adherence to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and the unity of our convention across all languages and ethnicities.
Iglesia Gracia Internacional (MS)
Iglesia Biblica Ciudad de Gracia (AZ)
Omar Reynoso Henriquez
Misión Bautista (NH)
Iglesia Bautista Castillo Fuerte (MA)
Iglesia Bautista Restauracion Familiar (IA)
Iglesia Woodlawn (WA)
Grace Community Church (TX)
Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana Tallahassee (FL)
Iglesia Hispana Bautista Raham (FL)
Iglesia Hispana Bautista Raham (FL)
North Florida BC Hispanic (FL)
Amistad Cristiana International (GA)
Iglesia Bautista Shalom (GA)
Iglesia Bautista Esperanza (GA)
Iglesia Nueva Esperanza (GA)
Comunidad Cristiana Internacional (GA)
Tabernaculo Bautista Emanuel (GA)
Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana Rome (GA)
Iglesia Biblica Reformada Rey de Gloria (GA)
Jose Luis Escobar
Iglesia Bautista Dulce Refugio (GA)
Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida (GA)
Hispanic Ministry Mt. Zion Baptist Church (GA)
Iglesia Bautista Luz y Vida (GA)
Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Jefferson (GA)
Ministerio Conexión (GA)
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By Ref Cast — 11 months ago
June 3, 1777
It seems I must write something about the small-pox, but I know not well what: having had it myself, I cannot judge how I would feel if I were actually exposed to it. I am not a professed advocate for inoculation; but if a person who fears the Lord should tell me, I think I can do it in faith, looking upon it as a salutary expedient, which God in his providence has discovered, and which therefore appears my duty to have recourse to, so that my mind does not hesitate with respect to the lawfulness, nor am I anxious about the event; being satisfied, that whether I live or die, I am in that path in which I can cheerfully expect his blessing; I do not know that I could offer a word by way of dissuasion.
If another person should say, My times are in the Lord’s hands; I am now in health, and am not willing to bring upon myself a disorder, the consequences of which I cannot possibly foresee. If I am to have the small-pox, I believe he is the best judge of the season and manner in which I shall be visited, so as may be most for his glory and my own good; and therefore I choose to wait his appointment, and not to rush upon even the possibility of danger without a call. If the very hairs of my head are numbered, I have no reason to fear that, supposing I receive the smallpox in a natural way, I shall have a single pimple more than he sees expedient; and why should I wish to have one less? Nay, admitting, which however is not always the case, that inoculation might exempt me from some pain and inconvenience, and lessen the apparent danger, might it not likewise, upon that very account, prevent my receiving some of those sweet consolations which I humbly hope my gracious Lord would afford me, if it were his pleasure to call me to a sharp trial? Perhaps the chief design of this trying hour, if it comes, may be to show me more of his wisdom, power, and love, than I have ever yet experienced. If I could devise a means to avoid the trouble, I know not how great a loser I may be in point of grace and comfort. Nor am I afraid of my face; it is now as the Lord, has made it, and it will be so after the small-pox. If it pleases him, I hope it will please me. In short, though I do not censure others, yet, as to myself, inoculation is what I dare not venture upon. If I did venture, and the outcome should not be favorable, I would blame myself for having attempted to take the management out of the Lord’s hands into my own, which I never did yet in other matters, without finding I am no more able than I am worthy to choose for myself. Besides, at the best, inoculation would only secure me from one of the innumerable natural evils the flesh is heir to; I should still be as liable as I am at present to a putrid fever, a bilious colic, an inflammation in the bowels, or in the brain, and a thousand formidable diseases which are hovering round me, and only wait his permission to cut me off in a few days or hours: and therefore I am determined, by his grace, to resign myself to his disposal. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, (for his mercies are great,), and not into the hands of men.
If a person should talk to me in this strain, most certainly I could not say, Notwithstanding all this, your safest way is to be inoculated.
We preach and hear, and I hope we know something of faith, as enabling us to trust the Lord with our souls. I wish we had all more faith to trust him with our bodies, our health, our provision, and our temporal comforts likewise. The former should seem to require the strongest faith of the two. How strange is it, that when we think we can do the greater, we should be so awkward and unskillful when we aim at the less!
Give my love to your friend. I dare not advise; but if she can quietly return at the usual time, and neither run intentionally into the way of the small-pox, nor run out of the way, but leave it simply with the Lord, I shall not blame her. And if you will mind your praying and preaching, and believe that the Lord can take care of her without any of your contrivances, I shall not blame you. Nay, I shall praise him for you both. My prescription is to read Dr. Watts, Psa. cxxi. every morning before breakfast, and pray it over until the cure is effected. Probatum est.
Hast thou not giv’n thy word,To save my soul from death?And I can trust my LordTo keep my mortal breath.I’ll go and come,Nor fear to die,Till from on highThou call me home.
Pray for Yours, &c.
By Hannah Ascol — 4 months ago
One way to judge the vitality of a culture is by the state of its men.
Where its men are weak, sin-addicted, and passive, the society will decline. Why? Because as men lead households, households form communities, and communities shape cultures.
Likewise, the health of the church depends upon its leaders—the qualified men God has called to preach to and oversee it.
The Apostle Paul knew this. So, he instructed Timothy to appoint elders in the church who met high standards of character. After leaving Timothy in Macedonia to guard the church and its elders (1 Timothy 1:3), Paul explains who is qualified to shepherd the church:
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. (1 Timothy 3:1-7)
Paul gives substantially identical instructions to Titus:
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:5-9)
This isn’t just a lesson for local churches but for the missionary enterprise. Why?
First, it tells us something about who sends. Is your church shepherded by godly, competent men who can teach sound doctrine and hold others accountable? Without such leaders, a church cannot send missionaries.
To modify a phrase used by others, a church’s sending capacity can’t exceed its shepherding capacity. The spiritual needs of the congregation—for God’s word, for loving guidance, for discipleship—must be met before pastors can aspire to send out others.
Second, our passage says something about who goes. Men and women are both critical to the task of missions. The New Testament is replete with examples of women who served sacrificially in the early church. But only men may pastor and lead God’s people (see 1 Timothy 2:12, 3:2-5). Since our aim is to plant churches, we cannot obey the Great Commission without sending out qualified, called men as pastor-elders.
Across the evangelical world, the number of women in missions far surpasses the number of men. Many of the workers we train and send are single women. Let’s praise God for the many mighty ways he uses these faithful saints. Because we value teamwork, we confess there is a place for men and women on the field, married and single, parent and childless. And yet, without discounting women’s important work, we can also ask: where are the men? Have our churches failed to proactively train and send the kind of men described by Paul?
In our zeal to reach the nations, we are prone to act as though the only qualification for missionary service is a willing heart. This is not what the New Testament teaches. If nothing else, Paul’s statements about who is qualified for ministry exhort us to raise the bar with regard to our standard for whom we send out to the world.
In our zeal to reach the nations, we are prone to act as though the only qualification for missionary service is a willing heart. This is not what the New Testament teaches.
Finally, our text speaks to who benefitsfrom gospel ministry. When men, as household heads, come to faith in Christ, so can the whole family. Studies show that when father go to church with the family, the children are far more likely to continue in the faith.
As families are transformed, so are communities—and cultures. When this happens, everyone in a nation benefits—especially women, children, and the marginalized in society. That is not to say that missions results in sinless utopias. But historically, where the Christian faith has prevailed, unjust laws have been repealed, hospitals erected, the uneducated taught, the poor lifted up.
So, where are the men?
Too many men compete for platforms and fame here at home while countless churches worldwide desperately have no pastors. Too few men are willing to count the cost of missionary life, leaving single women to shoulder the load alone.
Pray for godly elders in our churches to send qualified men to the field where few are willing to go. And pray for those men to lead other men to Christ, such that the landscapes of those mission fields change. Perhaps we have not because we ask not.
By Tom Ascol — 6 months ago
In contrast to many of the ancient Near Eastern cultures, the Bible demonstrates a great respect for women. Among Jesus’ closest followers were Mary and Martha, and women were often the object of His kindness (Matt. 9:20ff; 15:22–28; John 8:1–11) and illustrative of His teaching (Luke 4:25–26; 15:8–10).
Once, in response to a Pharisee’s request for a sign, Jesus invoked the memory of a woman who lived one thousand years before His time. He used her example both to instruct and to warn those who had experienced the privileges of seeing His works and hearing His teaching.
After citing the sign of Jonah, Jesus said, “The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here” (Matt. 12:42).
The account to which Jesus refers is recorded in 1 Kings 10:1–13. When the queen of Sheba heard of the “fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord,” she traveled to Jerusalem to get a closer look at His renowned, God-given wisdom.
The king’s answers to her questions, the splendor of the Temple, and the impressive display of the royal retinue took her breath away. She said to Solomon, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom…. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard” (1 Kings 10:6–7).
Jesus uses the queen’s example to expose the utter folly of those who are unimpressed with the person and work of God incarnate. She responded with appropriate interest to the fame and reputation of King Solomon. Reports of his wisdom and accomplishments had reached the Arabian Peninsula where her kingdom was located. What she heard made her eager to know more.
So she made what must have been a several-week trip to Jerusalem to seek an audience with Solomon. Her sincere interest overcame any desires for convenience.
Furthermore, when she engaged the king she did not hold back any difficult questions from him. She was honest in her desire to learn from him and to receive what he had to offer.
In all these ways the queen of Sheba is an example to us. She investigates what she has been told in order to determine if it is true. Once she sees that it is, she rejoices in it. This is the kind of nobility that marked the Jews in Berea who eagerly received the word that Paul and Silas preached, “examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). It is the attitude that every honest hearer of the Gospel should possess.
But the queen of the South is not only an example worth emulating, she also is an indictment on many who have spiritual privileges and opportunities that exceed what she possessed. In her we see a great response to very little opportunity whereas too often today we see very little response to great opportunities.
All she had heard about was Solomon. We have available the complete revelation of Jesus Christ, the One “greater than Solomon.” Solomon was wise. Jesus is wisdom personified (1 Cor. 1:30). Solomon could provide answers. Jesus is the Answer, or, as He put it, “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
She had only heard reports from a distance and had to go to great lengths to get firsthand knowledge, but God has brought His Word very near to us. We have Bibles, churches, and helpful ministries readily available. She had no invitation to come to Solomon and no assurance that he would accept her. We have many clear invitations to come to Christ and multiple promises that He will receive us (Matt. 11:28–30; John 6:37).
Those who have heard of Jesus Christ and have had access to His Word yet have ignored or dismissed Him will find the testimony of this queen to be part of the case against them on the day of judgment. All of their excuses will be exposed as flimsy and inadmissible in the light of her example.
“I didn’t like the church” or “it took thirty minutes to get there” ring rather hollow after hearing about her more than twelve-hundred mile journey to meet Solomon.
“The Bible just doesn’t excite me” or “it’s too hard to understand” will sound utterly foolish next to the queen’s testimony of being stunned by the incomplete revelation and imperfect works of Solomon. We have Jesus Christ clearly and fully revealed in the Scriptures. Shouldn’t we be more amazed by Him than anyone could ever be by a mere mortal king?
To remain unimpressed or apathetic in the face of such opportunity is inexcusable. One day, the queen of the south will make that clear.
This article originally appeared in the March 2008 issue of TableTalk Magazine.
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