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Our Father: Discovering Family Reviewed by Dr. Glenn Hinson – Baptist Seminary of Kentucky

I hope you will forgive me for not responding when I received a copy of your autobiography.  I intended to read it promptly and write, but several other jobs intervened.

The brevity of your memoirs chastened me.  I couldn’t help thinking that my autobiography, A Miracle of Grace, is nearly 500 pages. The conciseness of yours says something about you and your modesty. My expansiveness bears witness to either a big ego or low self-esteem.

That confession aside, so much in your story touched my heart and edified me.  One reason for that is the humble and honest way you told your story.  You told me something I had never noticed—that you have poor eyesight.  As I listened to your account, however, I heard echoes of a truth Douglas Steere often reiterated: Life’s interruptions often turn out to be God’s opportunities.” Coping with limited vision had a lot to do with the character and personality of the Mitch Carnell I’ve been privileged to know.

From the first time we met, Mitch, I’ve felt a sense of kinship with you, and Our Father has heightened that sense.  One thing that could account for it might be some people who’ve crossed both of our paths and left their mark on us.  John Claypool is the person who prompted me to do graduate studies at Southern, and he always remained a model figure in my life.  Several of those to whom you ascribe an important place in the shaping of who you are were my students at one time or another at Southern Seminary: Tom McKibbens, Mollie Marshall, Scott Walker, Scott McBroom, John Hughes.  All were among the very best students I ever taught, and I’ve maintained some contact with all except John Hughes up to now.

You and I have both borne a lot of pain in watching what has happened to the Southern Baptist Convention.  In reading Our Father I could see that you experienced the trauma at the local church level, whereas you will see that most of my agony connected with Southern Seminary, where I taught for more than thirty years.  As a matter of fact, a compulsion to explain why I did what I did prompted me to write an autobiography.  I had misgivings about doing so, as I suspect you have, for it takes a big ego to do that.  Like most autobiographies, it is an apologia pro vita sua, to borrow the tile of John Henry Newman’s autobiography.  I felt that others needed to know why I opposed fundamentalism so vigorously and predicted, as I think you can now see, that it would severely damage the work of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Southern Seminary is today the most glaring example of the basic objective they had in taking over the seminary: prepare ministers to lead churches and people in a culture that hasn’t existed for a century, if ever.  What says that more clearly than the Creation Science Center at Southern and insistence that the earth can’t be more than 7,000 years old!

Despite that bleak prognosis, Mitch, I’ve always felt that even churches headed by fundamentalist pastors had members who adhered to our basic Baptist tenets: the voluntary principle in religion (“To be authentic and responsible, faith must be free.”), religious liberty, separation of church and state as a way to guard it, and voluntary association to carry out the world mission of Christ.  Our Father confirms me in such thinking.  You may have engaged in fierce debate at FBC, Charleston, but you and others persevered and helped to right a listing ship.  For that I thank God.

My sincerest thanks for your friendship.Glenn Hinson, Professor, Baptist Seminaro of Kentucky

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Our Father: Discovering Family, Discussion at Presbyterian Village

On July 30, I had the opportunity to discuss my new book, Our Father: Discovering Family, at Presbyterian Village. Afterwards there was an excellent give and take question and answer period. Several longtime friends are residents at the Village and Rose and Bob Boston came just for the event.

One of the questions raised dealt with how considering my viewpoint on race relations had I managed to survive in a culture that did not always support my views. The answer is that it hasn’t always been easy, but that you just have to remain true to yourself. I gave several examples from the book.

A second much harder question was, “Do you think the murders at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston would help to soften people’s attitudes toward race on a long term basis?” My answer is that I have serious doubts about a real change of heart. It is easy to say and do the right thing when the cameras are on, but much harder as time moves forward. I doubt that the white religious leaders will now campaign for expanded Medicaid, an increased minimum wage or more reasonable gun laws. In so many cases the congregations are ahead of the clergy. I discovered that condition when I was a student volunteer at Furman University.

It was encouraging when several of these attendees were still talking about our Say Something Nice campaign. That is part of the second portion of the book in which I discuss discovering the purpose for the remainder of my life: helping Christians communicate in a more Christ-like manner.

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Our Father: Discovering Family, Available at Barnes and Noble

RESOURCE_TemplateOur Father: Discovering Family, my new book, has been released by Wipf and Stock Publishers. It is available from them directly and is also available on Amazon either in paperback or electronic editions. You can also order it from me or any bookstore. It is now available at Barnes and Noble . They will probably have to order it for you unless you want the electronic edition. It is best described as a spiritual autobiography. It begins with an experience I had at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and weaves back and forth through my life. It tackles most of the problems we deal with on a daily basis.

Dr. Tom McKibbens, interim pastor at the First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island, the first Baptist Church in America, wrote the Foreword. Don Kirkland, retired editor of the SC Baptist Courier and Fifi DeGroot, Alumni Resources Consultant at Mars Hill University, wrote mini-reviews for the back cover. I am indebted to all three of these wonderful friends.

I take full responsibility for what I have written. It is my story of what I have experienced. I along with most of you have lived through an eventful period of history. Some of the trauma is still very active today. How we cope helps to determine who we are. When you read it, please write a review at Amazon.

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Immovovable: Standing Firm in the Final Days – Dr. Tim Riordan – Guest Blog

What is going on in the world? This question seems to be on the minds of many people today as we consider world events. Some people face these times of uncertainty with great fear and dread while others engage these times with wonder and expectation. For those of us who are Christians, there is another question on our minds: “Do world events have anything to do with Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus?” While God is clear in His Word that no one knows the time or day when Jesus will return (Matthew 24:36), He also tells us in the same passage to “keep watch.” He gave us specific prophecies in the Bible related to world events telling us these would be indicators that His return was near, and He stated that these anticipated happenings would grow in increasing intensity: “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8). The miracle of birth begins slowly, maybe even weeks before the actual delivery. Early contractions are so insignificant that many young mothers may not even notice them. As the prophecies of Matthew 24 begin to be fulfilled, they will start small and grow in significance. There is no doubt that we are seeing a growth in intensity of world turmoil, and some of these specific prophecies are becoming more pronounced with every passing day.

If we are living in the last days, what does this mean for the Church? What does it mean for you and your family? It is because of my burden for the Church and my belief that we could be facing very challenging days in the near future, I wrote my new book, Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. I believe that God has given Christians equipment, or armor, to help us endure the evil days leading up to Christ’s return and to bear fruit during a time of unparalleled opportunity. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” I shared these thoughts about this verse in my book: “While ‘the day of evil’ can refer to a time of intense temptation or spiritual conflict that can come at any point in any Christian’s life, it seems that God may be calling us to think about THE day of evil. Is it possible that this passage is calling Christians approaching the last days to prepare for battle by putting on spiritual armor?” With that question going through my mind, I began studying Bible prophecy about the last days comparing it to the teaching of the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6. The connection was significant, and I believe there are important implications relating the spiritual armor for the last generation before the return of Christ. These implications are not only important for us, but also for our children and grandchildren.

I encourage you to consider our times and the clear teaching of Scripture. Study Bible prophecy with an eye on the evening news and consider how the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6 will help you prepare for what is to come. What do you need to do to put on the spiritual armor of God so you will stand firm in the last days? Being immovable is really not an option for the Church. The world is desperate to see strong, healthy believers standing firm in the last days. When the winds of heresy and deception blow, will you be immovable holding firmly to the truth of God? The only way you or I will stand firm is if we put on the armor of God and allow the immovable Lord Jesus Christ to live victoriously through us.

Dr. Tim Riordan serves as pastor of SonRise Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia and is the author of Songs from the Heart: Meeting with God in the Psalms and his newest book Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. For more information on his books or ministry, visit his website at www.timriordan.me.

 

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