Month: July 2019

Southern Baptists continue migrant ministry along the border

*** UPDATED JULY 18 ***

BROWNSVILLE  A shower, clean clothes, a chance to rest, conversation with people who love Jesus … sometimes a few hours in a safe place makes an eternal difference to those who have waited weeks, even months, to apply for asylum in the U.S.

Scores of migrants are experiencing such respite at Iglesia Bautista West Brownsville (West Brownsville Baptist Church). The church and other Southern Baptist entities—including the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and the North American Mission Board—are actively addressing the migrant influx, even as the heated national immigration debate continues.

Carlos Navarro, West Brownsville Baptist pastor, has been involved in migrant ministry since his arrival in the Rio Grande Valley a quarter-century ago. The church formed Golan Ministries in April 2018 after the Mexican Consulate in Brownsville requested help with that summer’s migrant crisis

In late April 2019, West Brownsville Baptist began serving as an overflow respite shelter when the city’s two Catholic-run facilities reached capacity, and the mayor and city commissioners approached Navarro for help.

Navarro said yes, and church members converted Sunday school rooms and other spaces into a day shelter for migrants released from ICE detention centers.

As of July 16, more than 2,100 migrants had come through the church’s release shelter.

“They are sending us the most vulnerable, moms and dads with children, and single moms with children,” Navarro said, noting that migrants from South and Central America, India, Pakistan and Africa have sheltered at the church after clearing ICE.

West Brownsville Baptist has relied upon donations, including significant grants from the SBTC and NAMB, to operate. The Red Cross donated blankets, 1,000 toiletry kits and 20 cots.

Besides funds for supplies, the church needs adult, infant and children’s t-shirts as well as underwear from sizes small to large, disposable diapers, flip flops or Crocs in all sizes, personal hygiene wipes and disinfecting wipes, Navarro said.

Navarro also needs 1960 King James Version Spanish-language Bibles with black covers, because West Brownsville is addressing both spiritual and physical needs. More than 1,000 of the shelter’s guests have trusted Christ after church members engage them in casual conversations.

Their stories vary. Some entered the U.S. via the international bridges; some swam across the Rio Grande, surrendering to Border Patrol. All have been processed by ICE. Not all have endured what Vice President Pence, during his July 12 visit to the border, called the “heartbreaking” ordeal of walking “two to three months … to cross into our country.”

At the border, family units are allowed to enter before single adults, who may wait for weeks.

Jose and his six-year-old son, guests at West Brownsville Baptist on July 17, spent 20 days traveling on buses from Honduras through Mexico until reaching the bridge at Matamoros where they waited two days for an ICE interview and were given entry to the U.S.

After the pair spent two days in an ICE detention center while their arrangements to join family in New Jersey were confirmed, a Brownsville policeman drove them and others in a packed van to West Brownsville Baptist for a few hours.

At the church, volunteers ensured Jose had the toll-free phone number for immigration and understood the process of appearing at his court date to plead his case for asylum. The pair showered, received fresh clothes, ate lunch and were prayed for by volunteers who shared the gospel. Leaving with snacks and water, they boarded a Border Patrol van for the bus station.

Mark Hansen of Athens, Tex., helped man the SBTC DR shower/laundry unit from Lake Athens Baptist deployed onsite to supplement the four outdoor showers erected by the church. Expressing concern about the border situation, Hansen said, “We are serving the Lord here. They are our brothers and sisters. God loves us all the same.”

Elsewhere this spring and summer, SBTC DR volunteers teamed with the Salvation Army in El Paso and Del Rio to serve migrants.

From May 5-mid-July, SBDR volunteers from the SBTC and New Mexico helped prepare 600-1,400 meals per day in El Paso supporting a Salvation Army migrant shelter.

Since mid-May, small SBTC crews have manned a shower/laundry unit in Del Rio supporting a Val Verde County migrant release shelter. The Salvation Army was scheduled to withdraw from Del Rio the week of July 14, replaced by Samaritan’s Purse. SBTC DR will continue to provide support after the change.

“This marks the first time SBTC DR will partner with Samaritan’s Purse on the field,” said Scottie Stice, SBTC DR director.

To donate through the SBTC to migrant relief efforts along the border, visit, click on the link at right “Donate to Disaster Relief,” and select the “Border Crisis” option in the “Fund” menu near the bottom of the donations page. Funds given here will help cover SBTC DR border response efforts and will provide grants to churches and associations applying for assistance.

For information on volunteering with West Brownsville Baptist, or sending supplies directly to the migrant release shelter ministry there, visit the church’s Facebook page or website,, or email Navarro at

Tony Mathews to be nominated as SBTC vice president

GRAPEVINE—Tony Mathews, pastor of North Garland Baptist Fellowship in Garland, will be nominated as vice president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention at the annual meeting in Odessa, Oct. 28-29. Andrew Hebert, pastor of Paramount Baptist Church in Amarillo, will recommend Mathews to messengers.

“One of the reasons our convention has been so healthy through the years is because we have been led by wise, godly, bold leaders,” Hebert told the TEXAN. “Tony Mathews has been one of those leaders that God has used in tremendous ways to bless our fellowship of churches,” he said, announcing his desire to nominate Mathews.

Hebert praised Mathews for “faithful endurance,” shepherding the Garland church for more than 27 of the 32 years he has pastored. “He has weathered the storms and expertly navigated his church through the waters of ministry. At the core of who he is, Dr. Mathews is a preacher. He’s committed to the inerrant Word of God.”

Mathews earned a bachelor of business administration from Angelo State University, a master of arts in Christian leadership from Criswell College, and a master of divinity and doctor of ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Angela, have three adult children. 

He has served as president of the African-American Fellowship of the SBTC, as a member of the resolutions committee, a Bible conference speaker and vice president of the Pastors’ Conference. Mathews also served two terms as a trustee at Southwestern Seminary, as well as being elected vice-chairman.

During Mathews’ tenure as pastor, North Garland has planted eight churches and taken mission trips to 20 countries on five continents. “His heart beats for missions and he has a passion for inspiring pastors to be mission mobilizers in the local church,” Hebert said.

Calling him “a bold, courageous and important voice at the table in this leadership position,” Hebert said

Mathews is committed to engaging with the next generation of pastors and investing in younger leaders. 

In 2018, North Garland Baptist Fellowship gave $33,192 through the SBTC to Southern Baptist causes, including $31,992 through the Cooperative Program.

Mathews is the author of There’s More Than One Color in the Pew: A Handbook for Multicultural, Multiracial Churches, and he is a contributing author for the North American Mission Board’s Journal of African American Southern Baptist History, and for the Next Steps Resourcespublished by the International Mission Board.

SBTC Disaster Relief ministers to flood victims and migrant shelters in Rio Grande Valley

*** UPDATED JULY 8 ***

HARLINGEN   Just two days after the one-year anniversary of the region’s historic June 2018 floods, the Rio Grande Valley again suffered damage when rainfall of 4 to 6 inches fell upon Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron counties, prompting Gov. Greg Abbott to issue a disaster declaration for those areas. The McAllen Monitor reported over 100 flood rescues in Hidalgo County alone.

The June 24-25 weather event combined with the ongoing migrant crisis to create multiple states of emergency along the Texas/Mexico border, sending Southern Baptists of Texas Disaster Relief volunteers and units wrapping up deployments in Oklahoma to South Texas to minister to flood victims and assist migrant release shelters. (See article: Southern Baptists respond to border crisis)

The SBTC DR Quick Response kitchen, a food trailer, deployed to Raymondville from Salem-Sayers Baptist Church in San Antonio on Sat., June 29, and set up feeding operations in the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church serving flood victims. A shower and laundry unit from Hillcrest Baptist in Jasper also arrived in Raymondville to support a Red Cross flood relief shelter.

The QR kitchen ended operations in Raymondville on Mon., July 1, as the SBTC DR’s mass care unit came online in nearby Harlingen, SBTC DR Director Scottie Stice told the TEXAN.

The mass care unit, housed at First Baptist Harlingen, features two large kitchen feeding units from First Baptist Brownsville, Stice said, adding that utility task vehicles from FBC Flint were also on site to assist the work of the mass feeding kitchens.

SBTC DR feeding volunteers prepared 1,540 meals the evening of Mon., July 1, in Harlingen and averaged more than 5,000 meals per day thereafter, in support of Red Cross relief efforts in the area, Stice said, adding that feeding operations are expected to draw to a close in mid-July as the need decreases.

“It’s been a real successful deployment,” John Robertson, SBTC DR incident commander the week of July 1, said. “We’ve had excellent relationships with the Red Cross and with First Baptist Harlingen. It’s been an extremely busy year. We [DR volunteers] just see each other on the road a lot.”

SBTC DR chaplains, assessors and crews also deployed to the Valley. Mud-out operations commenced July 6 as floodwaters receded and a team from First Baptist Pflugerville arrived in Harlingen, Stice confirmed. Even before mud-out work began, 210 “Harvey” relief buckets containing emergency supplies were distributed to victims.

Mud-out teams are being housed at Harlingen’s Calvary Baptist Church and supported by a shower unit from the Top O’ Texas Baptist Association and a laundry unit from Calvary Baptist in Beaumont.

The Rio Grande Valley overall deployment may last a month, Stice said. Thus far, chaplains and assessors have made scores of spiritual contacts, prayed with dozens and seen 21 individuals trust Christ as Savior, as volunteers begin completing work orders.

Chaplains Wayne and Ann Barber assessed the Raymondville home of a lady in her 70s, asking her if she had ever accepted Christ.

“I think I’m saved,” she replied.

With the woman’spermission, Ann explained the plan of salvation. The lady prayed for Jesus to save her.

“I thought I was saved all this time,” she exclaimed.

Tears filled the lady’s eyes as the Barbers explained that they prayed for “divine appointments” each night, and told her, “We prayed for you last night.”

“The Lord’s been blessing. He’s been doing it,” Wayne said.

SBTC DR teams will coordinate with Texas Baptist Men volunteers to serve the area, where more than 2,000 homes were flooded, Stice confirmed, adding that Alabama Baptist Convention DR volunteers are also expected.

The South Texas deployments come on the heels of almost a month of service in Oklahoma, where SBTC DR teams joined Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma DR volunteers and others to minister to the communities of Blackwell and Webbers Falls, completing some 135 flood relief jobs in the two areas.

Lamar Cooper retires after four decades of service to Southern Baptist institutions, including 33 years at Criswell College

DALLAS  Dr. Lamar Cooper’s retirement from Criswell College, effective this summer, caps a four-decade career of service to Baptist institutions of higher education and the Southern Baptist Convention.

After graduating from Louisiana College, Cooper earned masters and doctor of theology degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He pastored churches in Louisiana and Texas before joining the faculty of Criswell College in 1978 as a professor of Hebrew and Old Testament. During his 33 years at Criswell, Cooper was instrumental in getting the college regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1985. During his time at Criswell, he served as dean of graduate studies, executive vice president and provost. He was interim president twice during key periods of the college’s history.

Between stints at Criswell, Cooper served at the Christian Life Commission (now the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) of the SBC and, from 1995-97, was vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary before returning to Criswell in 1997.

In 2012, Cooper retired from administration and went back to the classroom fulltime, teaching Old Testament, Hebrew and archaeology at the college. He led and participated in numerous archeological digs in Israel from 1969 to 2017.

Criswell College will honor Cooper with a reception in July for alumni, staff, administration, faculty, students and friends of the college, past and present.

The college is also gathering notes, letters and emails to place in a scrapbook for Dr. Cooper. Anyone wishing to contribute a card, note or letter may mail the item to the attention of Judy Fowler at the college: Criswell College, 4010 Gaston Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75246. Emails may be directed to

SBC critical race theory resolution explained, debated

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.   Ongoing discussion of a Southern Baptist Convention resolution “on critical race theory and intersectionality” reflects a healthy desire among Southern Baptists to discern the line between engaging culture with the gospel and compromising with the culture, says Criswell College President Barry Creamer.

“Having the discussion” is “really important,” Creamer, a radio talk show host and cultural commentator, told the TEXAN. “It’s really important for people to learn how to hang on to” aspects of culture that “need to be conserved and are important and let go of the things that don’t matter.”

The discussion at issue stemmed from a resolution adopted June 12 by SBC messengers in Birmingham, Ala. Critical race theory and intersectionality (CRT/I), the resolution stated, should “be employed as analytical tools subordinate to Scripture” but not “absolutized as a worldview.”

Critical race theory, according to a blog published by the UCLA School of Public Affairs, claims “institutional racism” is “engrained in the fabric and system of American society” and “based on white privilege.” Intersectionality refers to examination of “race, sex, class, national origin, and sexual orientation” as intersecting factors contributing to “disempowerment” of certain individuals.

For example, an African-American lesbian likely would experience more disempowerment than a heterosexual black man, according to intersectionality, because she would have a larger intersection of disempowering traits.

Some Southern Baptists claim insights from CRT/I can be appropriated to understand the plight of victimized populations and to more effectively approach them with the gospel. Others say the theories’ origins—typically ascribed to postmodernism and to neo-Marxism—undermine their usefulness for believers.

That difference of opinion was manifested during a 13-minute floor debate at the SBC annual meeting. Discussion continued through ensuing media reports, blog posts and social media exchanges.


‘Protect the gospel’

 The resolution defined critical race theory as “a set of analytical tools that explain how race has and continues to function in society.” Intersectionality is defined as “the study of how different personal characteristics overlap and inform one’s experience.” The resolution acknowledged that “critical race theory and intersectionality have been appropriated by individuals with worldviews that are contrary to the Christian faith, resulting in ideologies and methods that contradict Scripture.”

“Southern Baptists,” the resolution stated, “will carefully analyze how the information gleaned from these tools [is] employed to address social dynamics.”

California pastor Stephen Feinstein submitted the resolution draft edited by the SBC Resolutions Committee to yield its statement on CRT/I. The submitted draft appeared to take a stronger stance against CRT/I than the final resolution, “decry[ing] … critical race theory and intersectionality as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, since they divide the people of Christ by defining fundamental identity as something other than our identity in Jesus Christ,” according to a copy of the draft posted on Feinstein’s blog. The draft also claimed CRT/I ideas are “rooted in Marxist anti-gospel presuppositions.”

Although the resolution adopted by messengers differed from Feinstein’s draft, “the resolution, as it was passed, can still be used to hold people accountable who are pushing the worldview” behind CRT/I, Feinstein, pastor of Sovereign Way Christian Church in Hesperia, Calif., told the TEXAN.

Resolutions Committee Chairman Curtis Woods said via email: “The committee considered declining the resolution [submitted by Feinstein] but we appreciated the heart of Pastor Feinstein to protect the gospel from unbiblical assumptions and conclusions that are often associated with CRT/I as a worldview. We share that heart.

“In our revisions, we affirm [the] sufficiency of Scripture for addressing social ills and the gospel for creating true and lasting transformation in people’s lives,” said Woods, co-interim executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “We distinguished between a more narrow view of analysis and a more expansive worldview, so that we can condemn absolutizing CRT/I as worldview and yet not condemn all possible insights that may be gleaned. We spent several hours discussing the original resolution with the goal of honoring the messenger’s desire.”

‘Godless ideologies’?

Among messengers to speak against the resolution on the convention floor was Tom Buck, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lindale, Texas. CRT/I “originated with those who would hold unbiblical worldviews,” he said. Both theories are “incompatible with the biblical gospel.”

Florida pastor Tom Ascol, president of the Calvinistic group Founders Ministries, proposed adding three new sections to the resolution, including a description of CRT/I as “godless ideologies that are indebted to radical feminism and postmodernism and neo-Marxism.” His amendment was defeated after the Resolutions Committee spoke against it.

Following the SBC annual meeting, Ascol addressed the resolution again in his podcast “The Sword and the Trowel,” cohosted by Jared Longshore, associate pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Fla., where Ascol is pastor.

Longshore said it is “concerning” that the SBC “now has talked about critical race theory and intersectionality and not identified” the worldview from which they originated “as worldly ideology.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offered a similar critique of the resolution in his podcast “The Briefing.” He also expressed appreciation for the Resolutions Committee’s affirmation of Scripture as the standard by which CRT/I must be judged.

I did not want the resolution to say less than it said. I wanted it to say more than it said,” Mohler stated. “I wanted it to acknowledge more clearly the origins of critical race theory and intersectionality” in a worldview stream that includes Marxism as well as denials of “rationality and objective truth.”

“One of the most lamentable consequences” of CRT/I, Moher said, “is identity politics, and identity politics can only rightly be described as antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”


‘Truthful insights’

Resolutions Committee member Trevin Wax said in a series of tweets following the SBC annual meeting, “In no way was the Committee adopting or promoting CRT/I as a worldview. The resolution makes that clear. Everyone—and I emphasize this fact—on the Committee would agree that the origins of CRT/I come from worldviews opposed to the gospel. No disagreement there whatsoever.

“Still,” said Wax, director for Bibles and reference at LifeWay Christian Resources, “that does not mean that every observation issuing from CRT/I is wrong, sinful, or unhelpful for how Christians understand the world. Hence the language of ‘truthful insights’ the resolution employs. Discernment requires the careful sifting of what is good from what is bad.”

Wax speculated that “a friendly amendment that simply pointed out the origination, not just the appropriation of CRT/I, would likely have been accepted. The amendments proposed were lengthy and introduced more terms and phrases that would have needed explanation.”

Creamer applauded Southern Baptists for exhibiting through all the discussion of CRT/I a “shared commitment to reaching the world with the gospel.” Their disagreement centers on the secondary matter of “how to communicate the gospel” to American culture without capitulating to it.

REVIEW: “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is web-spinnin” fun, with a few caveats

Peter Parker is an average-looking high school sophomore who has the power to save the world from the latest evil villain.

Yet all he can think about is his crush, MJ.

As Spider-Man, he is as brave as a lion. As Peter Parker, though, he is as scared as a mouse — especially around her.

Perhaps a class trip to Europe will give him courage. He and his friends will tour Venice, Prague and Paris. They’ll see the sites. They’ll learn the history. They’ll escape all their worries from home.

But nothing is ever easy for Peter Parker. A water monster attacks Venice. He helps save the day, but then another villain, made of fire, descends upon Prague.

Meanwhile, Avengers boss Nick Fury is trying to persuade Parker to take on a larger role in the superhero realm.

And all Parker wants to do is ask MJ out on a date.

The movie Spider-Man: Far From Home (PG-13) opens in theaters this weekend, picking up where Avengers: Endgameended and continuing the new Spider-Man saga begun by 2017’s Homecoming. It stars Tom Holland as Parker/Spider-Man, Zendaya as MJ, Marisa Tomei as Parker’s aunt and Samuel L. Jackson as Fury.

InFar From Home, the world is mourning the death of Stark/Iron Man and Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow, and the retirement of Steve Rogers/Captain America.

“What is it like to take over for Tony Stark?” a reporter asks Parker/Spider-Man, who has no desire to succeed the legendary hero.

A new superhero named “Mysterio” (Jake Gyllenhaal) then arrives on the scene to help defeat Hydron and the other villains, leading Parker to wonder: Is Mysterio the next Tony Stark?

Warning: minor/moderate spoilers!

(Scale key: none, minimal, moderate, extreme)


Moderate. Far From Home has less violence and disturbing content than did Homecomingor most other Marvel movies, even though it still has plenty of stuff blowing up or getting destroyed. The villains — part of a group of bad guys called the Elementals — will give only the most sensitive children and tweens nightmares.

Drones shoot guns. Hand-to-hand combat scenes are virtually nonexistent.    


Minimal/moderate. The film’s most problematic moment involves an adult female employee telling Parker (who is 16) to take his clothes off in order to put on a new costume. It’s an odd moment. With Parker’s pants down (he’s still wearing underwear), a male classmate walks in. He makes a joke about Parker wanting to “hook up” with a random “European chick.”

Later, Happy Hogan references Parker renting an “adult” movie in a hotel. Parker takes off his shirt and puts on his costume when MJ’s back is turned.

Romance is a major theme of the film. A couple share a kiss at the end. 

Coarse Language

Moderate. OMG (6), h-ll (4), a– (3), s–t (2), d—wad (1), b–ch (1), d–n (1) and one unfinished f-word. It’s less language than most Marvel films. A classmate flips off Peter.

Other Positive Elements

Peter may be unsure about his future role, but he still puts his life on the line to save others.

He says “thank God” twice. Perhaps it’s just an expression, but it carries meaning among some moviegoers.

The humor, minus the caveats already discussed, is family-friendly and truly funny.

At a bar, Peter drinks lemonade.

Other Stuff You Might Want To Know

Characters drink alcohol at a bar.

The movie contains mid-credit and post-credit scenes. Both are critical to the future of the
Spider-Man and Marvel series.

Life Lessons

Experience brings wisdom: Peter Parker seemingly proves he’s not ready he’s not ready for prime time when he misuses a weapon and nearly kills a classmate who is interested in MJ (he launched the weapon on accident). Fury becomes, well, furious. Yet Parker learns from his mistakes and matures.

Mistakes can be overcome: Parker is distraught after he makes the biggest mistake of his young superhero career. But he gets a second chance and fixes it.

Appearances can be deceiving:A major plot-spoiler is behind this lesson, but it’s significant.  


Far From Homesparks a series of questions worth a discussion on the drive home. Such as: What’s real and worth pursuing in this world? What only seemsreal … and should be rejected? Christ and his Kingdom are the source of true goodness, peace and joy, yet there are literally millions of other things in our world — money, sex and fame, among them — that promise joy … but deliver exactly the opposite. They may appear innocent on the surface, but they’re not.     

What Works

The action. The plot. The humor. The toned-down violence and language, which is welcomed.

What Doesn’t

A joke about an adult woman hooking up with a 16-year-old.

Discussion Questions

1. How do you know what is real and worth pursuing in life?

2. What is required for wisdom? Can a young person have wisdom? Can a young person be mature?

3. Why did Peter fail? What was the key to him overcoming his mistakes? 

4. What would you want your last words to be? Is there something you would confess in your finals seconds, as Happy and several characters did?

Entertainment rating:4 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating:3 out of 5 stars.

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.

Far reach with troubling speech

We have the ability to reach countless people within a matter of seconds. In today’s world everyone has a platform. Whether we are on social media, podcasting, or streaming videos live, we have instant access to people far and wide. Yet, what are we really accomplishing in those moments? Even as I write this, I understand just how easy it is to sit behind a screen and say whatever I want without too much fear of the repercussions for the words I type. There is safety in speaking from a distance. Unfortunately, our words fall like mortar fire, wreaking havoc on all who happen to fall under the merciless onslaught of what we tweet, blog and stream. It is unfit Christian behavior to allow our speech to go unchecked and unsanctified. The issue is not that we speak truth, but that we speak truth without love (Ephesians 4:15). In these circumstances, what should be good for building up someone in need turns into something unwholesome and harmful (Ephesians 4:29). How then can we speak to others with redeemed language that edifies the audience and glorifies God?

We must think and speak in a manner that is biblical. Not every word belongs to the public. In fact, most words appear to be meant for another person in private. If we have fault with a brother or sister, let us deal with them in the manner prescribed by Scripture and not by Twitter. Go to the one who offended you, bring someone else with you if necessary, and if you must, take it to the church (Matthew 18:15–20). We must handle our differences and disputes in a manner that is consistent with the Word of God, even if it is inconsistent with our world. Be mindful that you could be the offending party and must seek restoration with the brother or sister you have hurt (Matthew 5:23-24). We might not have access to private meetings with everyone with whom we disagree or find fault, but then if that is true, we likely do not have public access with them either. Which brings us to the next thought—save your words.

Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but the one who restrains his speech is wise.” Not everything needs to be said. And if you feel that it is necessary to speak, give careful consideration to what you say, how much you say, and how you say it. We do not win when we speak truth with hatred and anger. In many instances, it would be better for us to hold our speech than to say too much and fall into sin. The problem behind our many words is that we too often view ourselves in a better light than those with whom we differ.

We tend to see ourselves as experts. We quickly identify what is wrong with others, and spare no expense in calling them out. Here again we find help in the book of Proverbs—“The way of the fool is right in his own eyes; but the one who listens to counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15). As we grow in experience and grow in knowledge, one of two things can happen—we can become arrogant or humble. Unfortunately, knowledge tends to make us proud and renders us incapable of appreciating wise counsel. But the one who is humble is capable of loving in a way that builds up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 8:1). So when we speak, we must ask, “What is motivating me to speak?”

A commitment to truth does not nullify the responsibility to speak in the manner of love (Ephesians 4:15). In fact, it is love that compels us to speak truth—love for the person we are addressing and love for the truth. If we lack love, but still speak the truth, we will be responsible for the damage caused rather than the healing that could be provided. Proverbs 12:18 makes it clear that the one who speaks harshly brings hurt, while the wise one speaks in a way that brings healing. We can be committed to the truth and speak to others in a way that compromises neither the truth nor our love for the truth and the individual. Truth sets us free (John 8:21), leads us to godliness (Titus 1:1) and brings us to Christ (John 14:6). And while truth may be a weapon against the enemy, we must remember who the enemy is, and it’s not flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).

We may get angry on account of truth, and attempt to justify our harsh words by saying, “Jesus had righteous anger when he judged the temple.” Though we would like to compare ourselves to Jesus and his judgment of the temple and its failure to produce fruit (see Mark 12), our circumstances are likely different, and we are certainly no Jesus. Instead, let us remember that it is the peacemakers who are called “Sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Avoid disputes that provide no real way to dialogue with context; speak truth, but with grace and love; and let the knowledge of God grow your conduct and your speech in humility. Such is the way to speak with redeemed language and for the glory of God.

Kie Bowman to be nominated as SBTC president

GRAPEVINE—Kie Bowman, pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church and The Quarries Church in Austin, will be nominated as president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention at the annual meeting in Odessa, Oct. 28-29. Nathan Lino, pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church in Humble, will nominate Bowman, who previously served as chairman of the SBTC Executive Board.

“I believe Dr. Bowman’s convictions about prayer and evangelism are what we as pastors and church leaders need grafted into us during the radical changes taking place in today’s culture,” Lino told the TEXAN. “Dr. Bowman has such a positive, exuberant and high energy outlook about advancing Christ’s kingdom in the face of these challenges. His extraordinary integrity, courage and ability to build consensus will be a great benefit to the SBTC during these days of change, not only in our culture, but the Southern Baptist Convention as well.”

Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, Bowman arrived in Texas when he began studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth in the 1980s. There he earned a master of divinity and doctor of ministry. He and his wife, Tina, have three adult children.

Bowman has been pastor of Hyde Park since 1997, after serving two churches in the Atlanta area. While in Georgia, he served as vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention and chairman of the administration committee. He currently serves as a trustee of Southwestern Seminary and previously served for a year on the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Leadership Network Council.

Bowman has authored 16 books, including The Unparalleled Gospel, a study of Luke; The Church that Changes the World, a study of the book of Acts andI AM, a biography of Jesus.

As part of a small team of pastors in Austin, Bowman has helped organize citywide prayer meetings and retreats, as well as a night and day prayer ministry involving 100 different congregations. His resources on the discipline of prayer are provided at

In 2018, Hyde Park Baptist gave $252,509.54 through the SBTC to Southern Baptist causes, including $233,580 through the Cooperative Program. The church also partners with SBTC to support Epic Life, a new church plant in New Braunfels.