Soul Freedom

worship hands(Based on background information in We Are Baptists: Studies for Older Elementary Children by Jeffrey Jones)

To our ears, the words “soul freedom” may sound odd; however, they lie at the very heart of what makes us Baptists.  Our belief in believers’ baptism, religious liberty, and the priesthood of all believers, all of which are fundamental Baptist emphases, rests on the foundation of soul freedom.  To put it into other words, it is the right and responsibility of each person to stand before God and make decisions about his or her relationship with God.  This precedes believers’ baptism.  Living in this freedom, this religious liberty, we become priests to one another.  Continue reading “Soul Freedom”

Library Notes: “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls”

Nefarious follows a team of people who travel across the globe, interviewing former prostitutes, pimps and those involved in combatting the sex trade industry.  The interviews give insight into the emotional, spiritual and physical damage inflicted by what some have called “a victimless crime”.  Nefarious is profoundly disturbing (particularly in some dramatized scenes) and not for young viewers, but it tells a truth we need to hear.  One critique I have is that it does not say much about how human trafficking connects to the wider problem of pornography.  One thing the documentary does well is to illustrate the power of the Gospel to transforming and heal both victims and perpetrators.  Nothing is simple or quick – but we see hope in Jesus in the midst of darkness.

Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering

This culture of gratitude — where spiritual leaders give thanks for the church’s fellowship and God’s followers give thanks for ministers’ and missionaries’ spiritual guidance — is deeply ingrained in the Christian faith.

The Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering (RMMO) commemorates the anonymous gift in 1981 of a Vietnamese refugee woman worshipping with the First Chinese Baptist Church of Fresno, California. Not knowing the full intent of the offering, but understanding the words “thank you” printed on the offering envelope, she slipped off her wristwatch, her only possession of value, and placed it in the envelope. Continue reading “Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering”

In Our Backyard, by Nita Belles

In Our Backyard describes what goes on in the human trafficking area. It provides insight into how victims are manipulated into traps and then held captive and exploited.  These things are not only in far off places. They are present in our country and happen in our own neighborhoods.  This book is well worth reading. It will most probably influence how you think about prostitutes, restaurant workers, nannies, and others. It is available in our church library.