Preachers Praying for Death of Foes. Fundamentalist preachers from coast to coast are urging an age-old solution to their woes; praying for the death of their foes.
In Indianapolis, the leader of what he claims is the largest congregation in town says the time for turning the other cheek is past.
In Texas, state attorney general, Jim Mattox is on the prayer hit list.
And in Los Angeles, the pastor of one downtown Baptist church called on his congregation to pray for the death of Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennen, Jr. because he supports a woman's right to have an abortion. R.L. Hymers, Jr. pastor of Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle says, "I think it may be that we're on the avant garde: we're doing something that others will do later."
Hymer's led his 400 member congregation earlier this month in a prayer for Brennan's death and ordered up an airplane to circle overhead as Brennen spoke at a Los Angeles law school graduation.
The plane trailed the message: "Pray for Death: Baby-Killer Brennen."
In Indianapolis, Greg Dixon, who endorses prayers for death as a last resort said, "We're tired of turning the other cheek...Good heavens, that's all that we have done."
Dixon, who says his Indianapolis Baptist Temple congregation numbers 8000 and is the largest in the city, conducts "Courts of Divine Justice" in cities and towns where preachers have been jailed or fined for alleged infractions of law.
There were two such "trials" last month, and in one Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox was "convicted." Dixson urged that Mattox and others be "delivered into God's hands."
Mattox recently helped close an unlicensed church home for boys in Fort Worth. Since then he has sought additional security for himself. -- Knight Ridder News Service.
Editors' Observations: The above describes part of a growing menace in our nation -- the power and domination of the clergy and their move into politics. I am afraid of the extremes and radicalism of these so-called "Fundamentalists,'' clergyman of all shades and grades; even our own C of C brand! Whether it is those mentioned above or Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, James Robison, Jim Baker, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, or any of the others. I must include Jesse Jackson and Bishop Tutu in the number, even as I did Martin Luther King, Jr. These are men who seek to combine "church and state," and place power in the clergy just like the Roman Catholic Church has done for centuries. Of course, the Church is a higher authority than the State and therefore the clergy (who in realty are the Church!) exercises the control and calls the shots. The preacher-politicians are a dangerous breed.
Lawsuits. In the Christian Chronicle, June 1986, there is an interesting article on Lawsuits. The headline states: "200 churches of Christ hit by litigation insurance hikes." The information is provided by a brother in California who is an "insurance broker and acknowledged expert on church insurance." He says many of the cases come to trial, but a "good number" are settled out of court. This is "a growing national trend." He gives some "examples" of last year's crop of legal actions against churches:
· A youth, participating in an obstacle course competition at a church camp, was injured in a diving accident, which resulted in permanent quadriplegia. A verdict against the church exceeded $2 million.
· A church member was injured in a fall on church steps. Suit was made against the church and settled m the amount of $78.000.
· An employee of a church sexually abused several students. Decision is pending on a $4 million settlement.
· A volunteer doing repair work was injured in a fall from the roof of a church building. Negotiations are pending, but the lowest demand is $300,000.
In view of this increased litigation against churches, many insurance companies are canceling policies and/or greatly increasing the cost of premiums. This expert "forecasts increasing problems for churches in such areas as incorporation laws, clergy malpractice suits and church discipline." He "encourages church leaders to look carefully at their practices." He "advises church to put church discipline policies into written form and distribute the policies to every member." (Which then becomes a written creed -- a step further away from God's will. -- Editor)
Editors' Observation: This may well be only the beginning of problems and woes for the corporate Churches of Christ -- the local church institution. Maybe the Lord is trying to awaken us and tell us something about what we have done to His people! If we are going to form or constitute ourselves into business corporations and institutions like those of the world (which serves as the pattern), then we can only expect to be treated as a business or corporation; and come under the laws governing all other corporations. Rest assured that the end is not yet. It will get worse. We had better wake up before it is too late.
Intern Program for Ministers. The May 1986 issue of the Christian Chronicle tells about one of the latest projects created by one of our "church growth specialists."
"Leaders of Highlands Oaks Church of Christ have announced the establishment of a two year Intern-Residency program training for ministers...
"Gary Beauchamp, minister, said the program was conceived by the church leadership because of declining ministry involvement high attrition rate of ministers.
'Our program is 100 percent nuts and bolts. Itis not an academic program and is not designed to compete with existing programs,' Beauchamp said."
This "Intern Program" appears to be copied after the medical profession where a new doctor must serve a period as an intern before he is allowed to go out on his own. So here is an intern program for professional preachers, where they can learn the "nuts and bolts" of being a professional minister before going out to be a "pulpit minister."
Those churches called "Crossroads Churches" have practiced the "intern program" concept for several years. It seems to work well for them.
Ad in The World Evangelist. The ad says "Attention Ministers," which limits the appeal to a certain class called "Ministers." It is not aimed at all Christians who should be ministers but is for the professional hired (and fired) kind of ministers. They are employed by the corporate church (organization) to be "the pulpit minister" or one of the specialist "ministers" (youth, singles, outreach, hospital, etc.) like we have today.
The purpose of the ad is to sell a book -- How to Write a Resume. This is a "new book giving detailed information on how to prepare an attractive resume, cover letter, and biographical sketch. Also many helpful hints and cautions.'' This book is for Ministers who are hunting a job or a new, better place of employment, just as is done in the business world. Minister is now a profession like a lawyer, computer operator, secretary, salesmen, etc. A well-written, pretty resume can sometimes make an applicant for a job look better than he/she really is and give a better chance for being hired. So, Attention Ministers, here is a book by some supposed expert giving you an inside look at "the tricks of the trade" in how to sell yourself as the best candidate for the "Pulpit Minister" job that you want. A professionally written resume will help do it. Be sure to order a copy at once -- just in case!
And with things like this, preachers still try to make us believe that they are not a clergy class and that the Church of Christ does not have a clergy system!
Home for Fired Ministers. It's traumatic. It's painful. Ministers who have been fired compare it to a death.
In Monroe County (MS), Southern Baptists have targeted the fired minister in a new ministry endeavor. They have established a home for "forced terminated" ministers.
Forced termination, a euphemism for being fired, last year left 48 pastors without churches. Each year from 40 to 50 pastors ("pastors" is the same as "ministers," you see) are terminated in Mississippi. The director says that "the ordeal of being pushed out of a church is traumatic and often requires careful counseling. His identity is tied to his being a minister, it's like a death. It's like a divorce."
So they set up a "mission that gives hope and help to fired ministers." Information from Jackson, MS Clarion-Ledger.
The Church of Christ -- all segments -- has a lot of firing and hiring of ministers. Maybe some eager-beaver minister and wide-awake eldership will find interest in a project like this and set up a service and home for our "forced-terminated" ministers (pastors).
Freed Hardeman College is advertising that it now has a "missionary-in-residence for 1986-87." Sounds somewhat like they "captured" him and he is now on display at the school. I have read of such a "missionary-in-residence" at various Baptist schools and seminaries; and apparently C of C schools are following suit. Oh! I wonder what N.B. Hardeman or A.G. Freed would say about this drift into denominational practice if they could speak now. I think I know.
What in the name of Holy Scripture is a "missionary-in-residence?" What next?