Choose Your Words Widely
a newsletter for the friends and family of northfield Baptist church
by Mark Ashley The news is all a-twitter (with all due respect to Twitter) with the report that the new governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, audaciously claimed that non-Christians are not his brothers and sisters. I’m never quite certain if the media reports these stories with outrage or glee. Of course, they are outraged by such claims, but underneath it all I suspect they’re rather gleeful because these kinds of incidents seem to validate their diatribes against Christians in the public forum. Gov. Bentley was speaking at the Montgomery Baptist Church (where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once pastored) after his official inaugural ceremony on January 17 and said this: “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.” You can imagine the media reaction to these words! The president of the Birmingham Islamic Society wondered out loud if the governor meant that those who are not saved, according
February 2011 Missions Updates Family Updates
to him, are less important than those who are. The Anti-Defamation League called his words “shocking” and construed Bentley’s words to be a call for conversion to Christianity. Said an ADL spokesperson, “If he does, he is dancing dangerously close to a violation of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, which forbids government from promoting the establishment of any religion.” Gov. Bentley, who is a Southern Baptist deacon, has since apologized for his comments, stating that he was speaking as an evangelical Christian to other Baptists and did not mean to cause anyone to feel disenfranchised by his remarks. But of course, the damage was done. I would like to make just a few comments regarding the story. First of all, the governor is correct in saying that a brotherhood exists among the followers of Christ that does not exist among other people. I am related to every true child of God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Every child of God experiences this unity created by the Holy (Continued on page 2)
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NBCS Update Upcoming Events
Calvary Baptist Church, Bellefontaine, Ohio SPEAKER: Dr. Paul Dixon Registration: $25 by Feb. 21 / $35 after Feb. 21. Please call the church office to register, or stop by the table in the church foyer.
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Choose Your Words Wisely (Continued from page 1)
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16
This is how we are to interact with an unbelieving world - pure and uncompromising in the face of wolves, not selling out for the sake of acceptance or even survival.
Spirit within every believer. So the governor, as a Christian, made a true doctrinal assertion that flies in the face of the religious pluralism permeating a culture that sees an illusional brotherhood among all mankind. Second, in defense of the governor, if the ADL official had taken the time to read the U.S. Constitution, he would note that what is prohibited is not the promoting of the establishment of religion, but rather the making of laws that establish religion or prohibit its free exercise. Our founding fathers quite openly promoted Christianity in this country. They encouraged the reading of the Bible and prayer. They acknowledged that the invisible dynamic of faith in God would keep the new Constitution operating as they designed it. But they never codified that faith into law. To promote the Christian faith by word of testimony is not the same thing as writing a law requiring everyone to become a Christian. I think it could be argued that anytime a court orders Christianity out of the public arena it is actually violating the First Amendment by making a law that is “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. Public officials are allowed to be Christians and are not required to be silent about it. That being said, I don’t believe Gov. Bentley’s testimony regarding Christian brotherhood in the midst of an inaugural event was well-timed, and thus it created an unnecessary distraction for him and a cause for alarm among those who feel they risk being slighted by this elected official. It should not be surprising to any Christian that those outside the family of God (followers of Jesus) would misunderstand and misconstrue a statement that says their governor has a kinship with Christians that he does not have with others. His true but ill-timed remarks call us to remember wise counsel Jesus gave His followers. Acknowledging the very real dangers in this world, Jesus said to His followers, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Mt. 10:16). Any sincere followers of Christ serving in the public arena will find themselves in the midst of wolves. The world of politics is vicious. Jesus’ admonition to “Be wise as serpents” means to be shrewd or cunning. This
may sound deceptive, but the idea of being cunning refers to exercising perception, insight, and good judgment. John MacArthur writes in his commentary on this passage, “The basic idea is that of saying the right thing at the right time and place, of having a sense of propriety and appropriateness, and of trying to discover the best means to achieve the highest goal.” Jesus also counsels His followers to be “harmless (innocent) as doves” in the face of wolves. That sounds vulnerable, and it is! Doves represent purity and gentleness, which stands in contrast to abrasiveness, belligerence, and untempered bluntness. This is how we are to interact with an unbelieving world - pure and uncompromising in the face of wolves, not selling out for the sake of acceptance or even survival. And as we take that uncompromising stand, we are to do so with wisdom, cunning, and gentleness. That’s the kind of Christians we need in what seems to be an increasingly hostile world, and that’s the kind of men and women we need in the public arena. Pray for those who are serving in these roles. Mark J. Ashley is Senior Pastor at Northfield Baptist Church.
MISSIONS CONFERENCE A Heart for the Harvest MARCH 12-16 We will be meeting a few new missionaries this year and hearing from one that we currently support. Plan now to be a part of this event and hear these presentations. Look for details of the program in the March issue of The Connection. Participants: Nathan & Lindsey Breyer (ABWE) – They have two young boys Isaiah and Jeremiah. They will be going to Columbia, South America. Rev. Dale W. Fogg (ABWE Air) – He serves with ABWE in their aviation ministries. Stephan Philippi (BMM) – He is a Registered Nurse and will be going to Bangladesh. Norma Nulph (BMM) – Continues to serve in Cleveland.
Mi s s i o n s U p dat e Dave & Eve Southwell - Brazil Dave and Eve have just completed 37 years of service with ABWE and are looking forward to “four more years.” Pray for them as it is their prayer and priority to finish faithful to the Lord in all areas of their lives. Job 2:10b is their theme verse for ministry this year as it speaks to their joyous times and some stretching times. Dave was able to be involved with training and consultation with 15 men from around Brazil to prepare them for future ministry in Brazil. In addition to training on the field, Dave was able to team teach Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship to about 60 people, and Situational Leadership to about thirty people at the Home Office. Please pray for the Costa Rica team for better structure, to work with the three regional administrators in Latin America and to determine the needs and develop areawide goals. It was discouraging for Dave to undergo surgery (“the best solution”) for prostate cancer. It was discovered just prior to Thanksgiving that the cancer had not been eliminated and that he needed to undergo daily radiation. Pray that the radiation will be completed and that he will be cancer-free and for Dave to be encouraged. Chris and Darcy Vergiels - Brazil The last four months of 2010 were filled with many ministry opportunities and trips. In November, some adult members of the church experienced some severe spiritual attacks. There were many in a two week period. The Lord has given visible victories in most of the situations. Some cases were much more complicated than others, but spiritual progress has been made in each case. In December they were able to provide a clear gospel presentation at a ladies’ tea event, some hearing for the first time. This event broke down many walls to the gospel in the ladies’ lives. Please pray for eternal fruit. In February the Vergiels will have their BMM Brazil South Region Conference. It is a blessed time of refreshment for all the missionaries. Please pray for their safety in travel. 2011 begins the process of planning for furlough. They will be in contact with each of their supporting churches to set up meetings. The last few months before furlough are full of details. Please pray that the Lord will guide as they prepare the church for their departure and prepare to report back to supporting churches in the States.
Ministry 101: Basic Ministry Seminar What
The seminar will have four sessions of biblical instruction and practical training, led by Pastor Eric Puff.
Everyone who serves in any capacity at NBC is invited to attend.
February 13 and 27 (6:00-7:00) and March 6 (5:30-6:30) and (6:30-7:30). March 6 is two sessions.
Fa m i ly U p dat e s Births Congratulations to Bob and Crissy Shaffer, and big brother Logan, on the arrival of their new bundle of joy. Delany Ruth Shaffer arrived on Thursday, January 13 at 3:14 a.m. and was 6 lbs., 8 oz. and 19 in. long. May God bless you and your home with many special moments! Jim and Ada Pollock are the proud grandparents of a new granddaughter, Esther Sophia Batchelder. Esther was born to proud parents, Xela and William Batchelder on December 19 at 1:00 p.m. She weighed 8 lbs., 5 oz. and was 19.25 in. long. Congratulations, and may she bring much joy to you.
New member We were blessed by adding new member, Rob Ferguson, to the church. Rob united based on his Christian experience. Let Rob know how glad we are to have him with us at NBC.
NBCS UPDATE Wow! What a winter, or should we say “pre-winter”? We have already used our three emergency days for the year and January is not over. Teachers are actually hoping for no snow days!! We have reached the halfway point of the year and look forward to the February fun filled, DAY 100, coming soon. NBCS will send 6 representative spellers to the ACSI Regional Spelling Bee as January closes and will then begin preparation for the Speech Meet. Both girls and boys have begun league play in basketball and will continue through March. Challenge Chapel for the first half was won by the White team who earned the coveted dress down Friday. The second half begins with a clean slate and another chance for the Blue team to shine. We continue our study of the Old Testament Tabernacle, finishing up with the Table of Showbread in January.
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February Events Northfield Baptist Church 311 W. Aurora Rd. Northfield, OH 44067 Phone (330) 467-7939 Fax (330) 467-1011 Newsletter E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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Sunday, February 13
Basic Ministry Seminar
Wednesday, February 16
Friday-Sunday, February 18-20
Teen Winter Retreat
Sunday, February 20
PM - ABF Fellowships
Friday, February 25
Ladies Scrapbooking 6:30 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Friday, February 26
Sunday, February 27
Basic Ministry Seminar
NBC Young Married Couples Adult Bible Fellowship Beginning Valentines Sunday, February 13 This is a new ABF for young married couples and engaged couples. Gary Hoffman will be teaching and Gary & his wife Jan will act as mentors to the ABF members. Rob and Kathy Linger will be the ABF leaders, care
givers and organize activities.
A newsletter for the friends and family of Northfield Baptist Church.