Tag Archives: California

FREEDOM AT ALCATRAZ


William Andrew Dillard
Philemon 1:10

A few years ago, my family toured the state of California from the Oregon border to San Diego. Of course, this included a couple of days in San Francisco. While there, a boat tour was enjoyed in the bay and around the federal prison on Alcatraz Island. As the tour boat circled the island of rock, one could see why this now-closed maximum-security federal prison was once known as “The Rock.”
There was row after row of cage-like cells that housed well-known inmates such as Al Capone and Robert Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz.” One visitor there was left with some unforgettable images.
For decades, men imprisoned there as just punishment for their crimes, longed to be free. Evidence still told the story. He saw the name “Jesus” scrawled on a wall. In another, a Bible lay on a shelf. Together they quietly spoke of the greatest of all freedoms, even for a physical prisoner.
Paul knew such while imprisoned in Rome. Regarding himself as a “prisoner of Christ,” he used his incarceration to help other inmates discover what it means to be an eternally forgiven, dearly loved child of God. Paul wrote to Philemon,“ I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds (Philem. 1:10).
Barred windows and doors represent one kind of confinement. Physical paralysis, inescapable poverty, and prolonged unemployment are others. Perhaps you endure another. None are to be desired—yet who would trade “imprisonment” with Christ for life “on the outside” without Him? For Jesus is truth, and the truth shall make you free, indeed.

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Lost, Found, and Delivered


By a preach friend. Very well done.

By Joseph Caples
Lost, Found, and Delivered
Ephesians 2:1-10

When I was seven years old, my brother and I went on a trip with my parents to the Red Wood National Forest in California. I remember the trip quite well. While we were there, I remember my dad cautioning us about staying close to them. He told us there were a lot of wild and very dangerous animals living in the forest. But it’s always been said that boys will be boys. My brother and I could not resist the urge to explore. The forest was very beautiful. We soon found ourselves wandering down a small trail. Our parents were no where in sight. At first we were not afraid and were not aware that we were lost. But soon it began to get dark, ans we began to hear strange noises. We called out for our dad to come get us but we were so far away, he just couldn’t hear us. We began to run while screaming and crying. We were sure some wild animal would get us. By this time we knew we were lost and in desperate need of being rescued. Finally, we just gave up and sat down. We were terribly afraid. Before long, we heard a familiar voice calling out from among the trees. We listened carefully and heard the voice again calling out to us. It was our dad. He found us, and we realized we were safe. We knew we were going home.

The Bible tells us that those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior are lost. They wander aimlessly through a darkened world of sin. Some of them don’t know they are lost. For those who do realize it, unless they are given proper direction, they may give up in total dispair.

Have you ever had the feeling that every thing is hopeless? That no matter which way you turn you just can’t seem to find direction and purpose?

In the above passage of Scripture, Paul explains to us three different conditions of our souls and shows us that there is indeed a way out of the forest of sin.

1. What We Were
A. We were dead in sins v1
B. We were walking in sin v2
C. We were by nature children of sin v3
1. Without hope (Romans 3:10, 23)
2. Without Christ (Ephesians 2:12)

2. What we are now
A. We have mercy v4
B. We have life v5
C. We have grace v8
D. We have salvation v8

3. What We Shall Be
A. We shall be like Jesus (1 John 3:2)
B. We shall be with Jesus (John 14:3)
C. We shall be given a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4)

Conclusion

When we accept Christ as our Savior, Jesus shows us the way to be free from a life of sin. We can then walk with confidence away from that great dark forest of sin full of wild beasts and never worry about being lost again. Are you in that forest? Have you discovered that you are lost and are wandering aimlessly through a world of sin? “Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost,” to safely guide them out of the forest, that they might not be afraid, and be assured they are going home!

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322 – Nov. 18 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Fundamentalism v Liberalism

 

1910 – Lyman Stewart, a godly business man, recounted in a letter to Dr. A.C. Dixon regarding the first meeting between the two in the Auditorium of the Los Angeles Baptist Temple in 1909. Dr. Dixon had made a trip to California to speak. In one of his sermons he tore into the liberalism that was contaminating many from the University of Chicago. Stewart was in the audience and requested a meeting with the famed preacher who had pastored, at one time, the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago and the Spurgeon’s Tabernacle in London. Stewart proposed that Dr. Dixon should edit a series of booklets, which Stewart and his brother would finance, to counteract the liberalism of the day. Thus was born The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth. The first issue of twelve paperback volumes were sent free of charge to approximately 175,000 preachers in America. Though it did not stop modernism it was mightily used of God to strengthen the faith of Fundamentalists throughout the land and prepare them for the Fundamentalist-liberal battle in the days ahead. Dr. Dixon was born into the family of Thomas Dixon an outstanding Baptist preacher in Shelby, N.C. on July 6, 1854. At the age of 12 he received Christ and was baptized along with 97 other converts. He was called of God to preach and studied theology under Dr. John A. Broadus at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Greenville, S.C. He pastored several Baptist churches including the Hanson Park Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. In 1893 he was associated with Evangelist D.L. Moody in a Month long Revival Meeting at the World’s Fair. [Gerald L. Priest, A.C. Dixon, Chicago Liberals, and the Fundamentals. (Detroint Baptist Seminary Journal,) 1:113-14.  (This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 630-32]  Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

 

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If gay marriage is legalized, polygamy is next, briefs warn


Polygamy

WASHINGTON (BP) — Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples would jettison the rationale and logic behind prohibitions on polygamous marriages, according to several friend-of-the court briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the traditional definition of marriage.

Ultimately, there is no principled basis for recognizing a legality of same-sex marriage without simultaneously providing a basis for the legality of consensual polygamy or certain adult incestuous relationships,” reads one of the briefs, filed by the Christian legal group Liberty Counsel. “In fact, every argument for same-sex marriage is an argument for them as well.”

Over the next three days, Baptist Press will preview some of the legal arguments made by supporters of traditional marriage ahead of Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s oral arguments. On those days the court will consider the constitutionality of two laws: California’s Proposition 8 and a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Prop 8 is a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman in California, while the DOMA section in question defines marriage in federal law in the traditional sense. If both are overturned, then gay marriage likely would be legalized in all 50 states.

A friend-of-the-court brief signed by 18 state attorneys general also briefly warns about the potential legalization of polygamy if gay marriage is legalized. The brief — which supports Prop 8 — says the traditional definition of marriage is tied to the fact that only a man and woman can reproduce, thus continuing society’s very existence. The state has an interest, the brief says, to see that children are raised, ideally, by the mother and father who beget them. A mother and father in each home is “optimal for children and society at large.”

Once the natural limits that inhere in the relationship between a man and a woman can no longer sustain the definition of marriage, the conclusion that follows is that any grouping of adults would have an equal claim to marriage,” the attorneys general brief states, arguing that marriage no longer would be about the needs of children but about the desires of adults.

A friend-of-the-court brief supporting Prop 8 by three academians, including Harvard’s Robert P. George, says there is a movement in the United States to see group relations recognized by the government.

Nor are such relationships unheard of: Newsweek reports that there are more than five hundred thousand in the United States alone,” the brief signed by George reads.

Liberty Counsel’s brief quotes 19th century Supreme Court cases that upheld the federal government’s ban on polygamy in Utah. Among them were Reynolds v. United States (1878) and Murphy v. Ramsey (1885). In the 1885 case, the justices affirmed the traditional definition of marriage, writing that laws are “wholesome and necessary” when they are established on the basis of the idea of the family as “consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony.” The court called traditional marriage “the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization.”

Liberty Counsel asserted that “when the traditional definition of marriage as that between one man and one woman is reversed to include other marriages, the state is left with little, if any, justification for other laws restricting marriage.”

For example,” the Liberty Counsel brief warns, “some might argue that larger family groups (of 3 or more adults) would provide an even stronger private support network than the two-adult model. Or, marriage between certain close relatives would minimize the number of legal heirs, potentially minimizing disputes over property distribution upon death. At a minimum, there is nothing inherent in polygamous or certain incestuous relationships (e.g., consenting adults who are related, but not by blood) that makes those unions less worthy of state recognition under such criteria.”

In passing Prop 8, the state of California could have rationally concluded that marriage is “society’s way of recognizing that the sexual union of one man and one woman is unique, and that government needs to regulate and support this union for the benefit of society and its children,” Liberty Counsel said. California also could have concluded that despite “the personal fulfillment of intimate adult relationships, marriage laws are not primarily about adult needs for approbation and support, but about the well-being of children and society.”

This court,” the brief says, “has long understood the importance of the marriage union as between one man and one woman.”
–30–
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp)

 

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