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Articles by Bill Merrell

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Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh died without saying a word at 7:14 a.m. CDT on Monday, June 11, 2001 at the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, minutes after a deadly flow of drugs was administered through a needle in his right leg.

Thirty-three-year old McVeigh, the first person executed by the federal government since 1963, thus paid the penalty for the April 19, 1995, attack in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people and wounded hundreds more.

His very public death heightened the very public dispute over capital punishment in America. In his death, McVeigh became a symbol and a pawn in the arguments of those on both sides of the debate.

The Southern Baptist Convention crossed over the threshold into this debate when it approved a resolution affirming capital punishment during its annual meeting in 2000. We have been asked by several media types to explain why Southern Baptists have taken the position we have. After all, they remind us, some highly...

Redeem the Time

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV)

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Colossians 4:5 (NKJV)

Notes on the Text

• Walk circumspectly means to exercise exactness in our walk. The King James Version translated this word circumspectly implying an acute awareness of our surroundings and applying prudence as we are about our business.

• Redeeming means simply to rescue from loss or ruin.

• Time translates kairos, the opportune time, the ripe moment. It is not chronos, which emphasizes time as a mechanism or movement.

• Evil means characterized or possessed of the trait of moral corruption and wickedness.


&n...

Reactions to the Baptist Faith and Message Committee report to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in Orlando were of two very distinct kinds. The first was an overwhelming affirmation and approval by Southern Baptists. The other was another kind altogether - suspicious, resentful, and hostile.

A particularly egregious example of this hostility is seen in the assertion that revisions to the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) have placed the Bible over Jesus. Detractors erroneously accuse Southern Baptists of being worshippers of the Bible - that we are "bibliolaters." If that were true, every Southern Baptist ought to rise up as one man and repudiate it! But that, in fact, is not the case.

What is behind this accusation? Is it just an expression of anti-SBC sentiment, a ploy in which theological garb is draped over what is in reality a political objection to the SBC and its statement? The duplicity behind such a charge would be bad enough. But the...

The Southern Baptist Convention passed yet another resolution expressing its disapproval of homosexuality and those who promote it. This resolution specifically expressed strong disapproval of President Clinton's designating June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, and rebuked him for naming James C. Hormel, an openly professed homosexual, as ambassador to Luxembourg. Hormel, heir to the meat fortune, is reported to be a blatant practitioner and generous supporter of the radical homosexual political agenda.

The press has not given the kind of attention to this year's resolution as it has to earlier resolutions. I think it is probably because Southern Baptists have already broken the ice, and made clear our position on homosexuality. Since 1976 we have passed nine different resolutions affirming the biblical message that homosexuality is sinful, a perversion of God's design for humanity, and that efforts for its normalization and public approval are to be resisted by the Christian co...

The relentless push for abortion acceptance is found virtually everywhere in the culture, both in serious and in pop venues. When the February issue of Teen magazine, with 1.8 million subscribers, took up the subject, it was not in an objective fashion. Although they say the decision to abort is the "kind every girl hopes to avoid and some girls could never make," they furnish a report that is biased in the extreme. Teenage girls are quoted, making points that could not have been more skillfully scripted by Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading purveyor of abortion. A few examples will suffice:
Willful Deception in the Culture Wars

A great struggle is underway in our nation. It is a struggle of ideas, values, and morals, — the most basic questions of right and wrong. It is not a matter of slight difference in opinion. Indeed, many describe our national cultural debate in stark terms usually reserved for warfare. The most fundamental issues are at stake, and two competing and mutually exclusive views of the world are represented in the contest — for one of them to win, the other must lose. Because the conflict is about ideas, about truth, honesty is crucial. But, some in this struggle are not honest; they have set up the equivalent of their own Department of Disinformation and Propaganda.

Sound, even benevolent ideas are made to take on the appearance of a threatening, alien, specter. Time-proven standards of moral behavior or biblical belief are made to seem poisonous. Christians are appalled when they hear reports of unreasonable, uncivil, incoherent demands made by other Christians; those of th...

Dear Friend:

I received your letter in reference to the recent Southern Baptist Convention resolution on the Disney Company and family values. Thank you.

News of the resolution has been widely disseminated, if not particularly accurate. One inaccuracy is that the SBC action was principally a protest of employment policies for homosexual employees. In fact, the resolution referred to that as one of five illustrations which indicate the Company "has given the appearance that the promotion of homosexuality is more important than its historic commitment to traditional family values."

These five illustrations could have been expanded to fifteen, or twenty-five. Disney has clearly changed. Whether you personally approve or disapprove of the changes, it is impossible to argue that Disney is the company you and I grew up with.

It boggles the mind as to the depth of change in Disney. From ...

Funding Crisis or Faith Crisis?

The sisters have fallen on hard times! The rapid expansion which marked America's early history was matched by the brisk growth of the principal Protestant denominations. The largest and most influential, labeled the mainline denominations, were once so predominant, they were called the seven sisters of American Protestantism.1

But, I say again, the sisters have fallen on hard times.

Their membership has plummeted, with one of the seven losing an average of 1,000 members every week for over 26 years, declining by more than 31 percent from 1970 to 1992. A 1989 study showed a 55 percent average decline in Sunday school attendance among five of the seven sisters.

A predictable accompanying decline in giving has precipitated what informed friendly observers call a funding crisis. That funding crisis has resulted in reduced staff and programming, declining staff morale, and program retrenchment.

Careful reflection shows the ...