Sunday, May 28, 2006

Some Insightful Articles

I encourage you to take the time to read the following articles. They are very insightful and relevant as we draw nearer to the SBC Annual Meeting in Greensboro.

Marty Duren, Musings---Marty comments on the SBC Executive Committee's recent revision of the report from the Ad Hoc Cooperative Program Committee, which eliminated the original references to a goal of 10%. Marty also offers some suggestions for reducing wasteful spending of CP dollars by state conventions and SBC entities.

Baptist Blogger (aka Rooster Cogburn aka Ben Cole), Integrity---Marshal Cogburn examines the "crisis of integrity" affecting the SBC at all levels, from entity presidents using their positions of influence to endorse candidates for convention office to the membership figures reported by local churches. He then applies Stephen Carter's three components of integrity to the SBC. He closes by laying out five goals he would like to see accomplished at Greensboro that would enhance openness, transparency, and integrity within the SBC.

Bob Terry (in The Alabama Baptist), Rankin Not Responsible for Latest IMB Controversy---In this April 27 column, Bob Terry discusses the absurdity of some IMB trustees blaming IMB President Jerry Rankin for the adoption of the controversial policies on tongues/prayer language and baptism. He also brings to light the contentious relationship that some trustees have with Rankin.

The End Is Near

It didn't go exactly like I had planned, but at the end of the worship service this morning I announced my resignation as pastor of Jackson Grove Baptist Church, effective at the end of July. I had hoped to have another position lined up before resigning, but it wasn't meant to be. I chose to go ahead and make my announcement at this time for the long-term benefit of the church, my wife, and myself. Since the first of the year I have almost resigned on three or four separate occasions, but I didn't feel the time was right until today. I actually didn't make the decision until about five minutes before the morning service. Please pray for both us and the church, especially that we can go out on a positive note.

If anyone knows of a Southern Baptist church seeking a full-time pastor, please let me know via email. I have been actively searching for nearly a year. Several churches have expressed some interest, but as of yet I don't have any really strong leads.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More Concerns About the IMB

After this week's IMB trustee meeting in Albuquerque, I am still very concerned about the condition of the IMB and its future direction. While God continues to do remarkable things through the IMB, one has to wonder how long it will take for the problems of the IMB board to have a significant negative impact on our missions work.

One of the reasons I am concerned is the election of John Floyd as the new chairman of the IMB Board of Trustees. I am concerned NOT because of anything regarding his character. From what I have seen, which admittedly isn't much, he is a man of integrity who is committed to missions. He seems to be a person who is willing to hear those who disagree with him. From a character standpoint, it appears that Floyd would make a fine chairman. My concerns with Floyd are two-fold.

First, there is the matter of his previous service with the IMB. Both Marty Duren and Art Rogers have raised the possibility that Floyd may be ineligible to serve as an IMB trustee because he receives a pension based on his previous service with the IMB. It is unclear whether or not the SBC by-law that prohibits anyone from serving as a trustee of an entity who draws a salary from that entity applies to those drawing a pension. In the time that Floyd has served on the board, and according to these reports he has even served on the committee that oversees pensions for IMB personnel, to my knowledge there have never been any allegations of impropriety. I am confident that as trustee chariman Floyd will maintain the same high level of integrity regarding his pension. That being said, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the precedent that this sets. The SBC needs to revisit this issue and make it clear that anyone who receives any sort of financial benefit from an entity is not eligible to serve as a trustee for that entity. (NOTE: Wes Kenney has posted an email from Dr. Floyd stating that his pension is administered by GuideStone and denying that he has ever served on any committee that deals with benefits for retired missionaries.) I am also concerned about the fact that Floyd apparently resigned from his position as a Regional Leader for the IMB because of differences he had with Jerry Rankin about New Directions, and now he chairs the board that Rankin reports to.

Second, Floyd is reported to be a Landmarker. Thus, it was no surprise to hear back in December that he had been one of the guiding forces behind the adoption of the IMB policies regarding tongues/prayer language and baptism. The policy on baptism especially reflects a Landmark influence, with its emphasis on the qualifications of the administering church. I am greatly concerned that Floyd will try to lead the board to establish even narrower doctrinal requirements for missionary candidates or to redefine the IMB's definition of a church so that it is more closely aligned with a Landmarkist definition.

Even if Floyd were not a Landmarker, however, a statement he made to Paul Littleton regarding the new policies would be a cause for great concern (anything in brackets [...] is mine):

I [Paul] told him [Floyd] that surely not everyone (or every Southern Baptist) holds to that view, to which he agreed. I told him that the genius behind cooperation among Baptists is that we can disagree on things such as this particular interpretation and still work together to reach the world for Christ. He said that if someone had a problem with his interpretation that the problem was not with the board, but with that individual. [Emphasis mine.]
This is the kind of attitude that is driving many people, especially younger ones, to consider withdrawing from the SBC. To state that someone who disagrees with a clear statement of Scripture has a problem is one thing, but to say that someone who disagrees with your interpretation of Scripture has a problem is another thing altogether. Such a statement is arrogant and comes dangerously close to reflecting a belief that oneself is infallible. If Floyd refrains from attempting to impose his Landmarkism on the IMB, and if he abandons the idea that anyone who disagrees with his interpretation of Scripture has a problem, then he has the potential to be an excellent chairman.

While I am not thrilled by the election of John Floyd, he does have one thing in his favor: he is not Tom Hatley. Hatley's leadership of the IMB board over the past few months has been woeful and clumsy. He allowed a hastily drafted motion recommending the removal of Wade Burleson from the board to be rushed through; after receiving a torrent of criticism and figuring out that there were less radical ways to punish Wade, the board rescinded the motion. Throughout the Wade Burleson fiasco Hatley kept changing the charges against Wade, and he refused to offer any evidence to support the charges. Hatley also waited four months after the adoption of the new policies on tongues/prayer language and baptism to release anything that might support the policies (now, one would think that some sort of rationale had been drafted for the board to consider before voting on the policies, but apparently this was not the case). Then when he finally released position papers to support the policies, they were based on a weak biblical foundation. Also, his explanation of the role played by Jerry Rankin in the adoption of the policies seems not to have been entirely accurate (read here for a fuller explanation).

While Hatley's leadership over the past few months has been less than stellar, his conduct at the last session of this week's trustee meeting was simply appalling. I won't give all the details here; these events have been well-documented by a participant (also here), an eyewitness (another eyewitness gives a slightly different perspective), and a media transcript. In his report, Hatley continued his pattern of making public accusations against Wade either on the basis of partial evidence or without offering any evidence. Hatley also made his last public accusations without first going to Wade to attempt to privately resolve the matter. When Wade attempted to get Hatley to provide evidence for the last accusation, Hatley had Wade's microphone turned off and moved to the next order of business. Hatley's antics continued after the meeting when, as Wade attempted to speak to him about this matter, he said to Wade, "I will not talk with you." Whatever happened to Matthew 18 and the new trustee policies? If Hatley does not apologize for his behavior, and if the board does not hold him accountable, then that would prove that the revised trustee policies were about silencing dissent rather than fostering unity and harmony.

In addition to these matters, the IMB continues to face other problems: the alleged efforts of some trustees to undermine the leadership of Jerry Rankin, the lack of openness that causes many missionaries to fear retribution if they raise questions or share their views, the possibility that churches will redirect financial support away from the IMB to other organizations that allow their members (who because of the November policies are no longer qualified to serve through the IMB) to serve through them. Until the leadership of the IMB Board of Trustees commits itself to being completely open in its workings, tolerating dissent from trustees and employees, and not imposing doctrinal requirements that are more narrow than the statement adopted by the SBC as a whole, the IMB will never resolve these problems.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Gene Bridges' Primer on Landmarkism in the SBC

After a lengthy period of research and writing, Gene Bridges has begun posting his primer on Landmarkism in the SBC. As of today he has posted the first four parts of this primer (I don't know how many parts there will be in all). I strongly encourage you to go to his site and read the primer. As expected, Gene is thorough in his research, but his writing style far exceeds in clarity that of most of his comments on other blogs. Despite the detailed treatment he gives the subject, it has been a pretty quick read. This primer will give you some of the historical background that is underlying the current disagreement over the IMB policy regarding baptism.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Emerging Leaders or Submerging Servants?"---A Response

In a forthcoming edition of the Florida Baptist Witness, there is an opinion piece entitled "Emerging Leaders of Submerging Servants?" submitted by North Carolina pastor Ben Brammer, a 26-year-old Ph.D. student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In this article Brammer makes the accusation that a number of younger pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention are "jockeying for leadership" within the SBC and do not show proper appreciation and respect for those who led the Conservative Resurgence. His message is similar to what Ergun Caner said about younger SBCers a few weeks ago, but Brammer is much more tactful.

Brammer seems to place SBC bloggers at the top of this list of younger Baptists who are demanding positions of leadership: "Some younger Baptists are under the assumption that leadership is a right available to anyone with an opinion and a weblog." I personally would like to see a list of young SBC bloggers who are insisting that they be given leadership roles in the SBC. My observation, from an insider's perspective, is that most of us young SBC bloggers have publicly stated on numerous occasions that we are not interested in obtaining leadership positions within the SBC. If that were our goal, we would be cozying up to those who comprise the "Good Ol' Boy" network instead of criticizing this system that allows a handful of people to exercise almost complete control over the entities of the SBC. If that were our goal, we would not be publicly opposing the growing trend of exclusivism and separatism that some of our entities and leaders are moving us toward. If that were our goal, we would not be calling for reform within the SBC, but we would support the status quo that our leaders have established.

Brammer accuses many young SBCers of "doublespeak," which is another term for calling us hypocrites. I will admit that all of us have been guilty of that at one time or another. Not just the bloggers, not just young SBCers, but ALL of us. Is it doublespeak for seminary trustees to tell students that the president's job is not in jeopardy and the next day to lock him out of his office? Is it doublespeak for another seminary president to refer to a fire-truck baptistry as "blasphemous" but then endorse the pastor who uses such "blasphemous" methods for the presidency of the SBC? If the current generation is guilty of employing "doublespeak," remember that we learned it from some of our elders.

Brammer seems not to understand that there is a difference between having appreciation and respect for someone and turning a blind eye to anything they do that is questionable. I personally have a great deal of respect for those who led the Conservative Resurgence. I am grateful that we have a convention that unashamedly holds to the Bible as the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God. But this does not mean that I am going to idolize those who led the Resurgence or ignore it when they do something that is questionable or even wrong.

Brammer also accuses many younger Baptists of being "obsessed with personalities." I almost laughed when I read this. All one has to do is look at the list of SBC leaders endorsing Ronnie Floyd to see that name-dropping is prevalent among our convention leaders. To be honest, I haven't really seen many younger Baptists bragging about who they know. I have to confess, I did comment on David Rogers' blog that I met his father at the 2005 SBC Pastors' Conference and found him to be a very gracious and humble man. Maybe my comment is what Brammer is referring to.

Perhaps Brammer has forgotten that the effort to bring younger SBCers to the leadership table was not initiated by any of these younger Baptists but by one of the most respected leaders within the SBC, Jimmy Draper. Draper began his Younger Leader initiative NOT because there were so many young Baptists demanding positions of leadership, but because many young Baptists displayed little or no interest in the SBC at all. Younger Baptists were not jockeying for leadership within the SBC; they were questioning the relevance of the SBC to their ministry. In reality, much of the activity that Brammer sees as "jockeying for leadership" in the SBC is really an effort on the part of younger Baptists to see not if there is a place for us at the SBC leadership table, but to see if there is a place for us in the SBC period.

(HT: Art Rogers)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Oh, What a Night!

Maria and me with Avalon members Greg Long, Janna Long, Melissa Greene, & Jody McBrayer

A little over an hour ago we arrived home from Evansville, Indiana, where we attended a concert featuring Avalon along with Michael English and Brittany Waddell. Although it was a highly energetic and entertaining three hours, to refer to this event as a concert does not really do it justice. It was much more than a concert; it was an incredible time of worship as well!

Before the show Maria and I, along with a few others, were privileged to spend about 20 minutes with Avalon. They were exceptionally warm and gracious. They talked with us like we were old friends. I think they asked more questions about us than we did them! There was no hint of pretentiousness about them. They were just real, down to earth people.

The show began with a few songs from Brittany Waddell. She is a young lady who is just starting out in Christian music. I was amazed by her talent both as a singer and a songwriter, but mostly by her desire to glorify God through her music. In an era where much Christian music is not explicitly focused on Jesus or even God, her songs were very Christ-centered. One of the main themes of her songs was the healing that we find only through Christ, a healing that is sufficient to cover any painful situation we find ourselves in.

Michael English took the stage next. His peformance was powerful, not only because of his music but also because of his incredible testimony of God's forgiveness and restoration. He pointed to himself as an example of what happens when we feel like we can handle life on our own, or when we put on only part of the armor of God. But he also reminded us that we can never go so far astray that God cannot find us and bring us back home.

Before Avalon sang, group member Jody McBrayer shared about the work of World Vision. We watched a video about the horiffic AIDS crisis that is ravaging Africa. There is no way we can really comprehend how desperate the situation is over there. Every 14 seconds, a child is orphaned because of AIDS. There are villages where nearly all of the adult population, and many of the children as well, are stricken with the deadly disease.

Following a brief intermission, Avalon took the stage. From the moment they walked on stage the atmosphere was amazing. To be honest, I have never seen any performers enjoy their time on stage as much as they did. On each song they put forth their full heartfelt effort. Their playful banter between songs reveals that they are good friends as well as singing partners. And when they share about who Jesus is and what He means to them and what He has done for them, it becomes obvious why their music is so passionate.

Avalon had a good mix of their new material with old favorites. Unfortunately, there was no way they could do all their great songs because there are so many. They started off at full throttle with "Take You at Your Word" and "New Day." Then they slowed things down with "Everything to Me," "Adonai," and "Can't Live a Day." They followed this with three songs from their new CD Stand: "The Other Side," "Love Won't Leave You," and their current single, "Orphans of God." Jody took a few minutes to challenge us to take any area of our lives where we struggle, where we have hurts and fears, and turn them over to God, remembering that no matter what we go through He is with us; from this he led into "You Were There." The group closed the show with "Testify to Love."

As Avalon fans, we thought the show was superb from a performance perspective. Each group member has an excellent solo voice, yet when one of the other members sings the lead they put their all into singing background vocals, even the oohs and ahs. Throughout the show they kept looking down and smiling at us in the front row, especially Greg and Janna (who spent more time on the side of the stage in front of us). After the show Greg told us that it really meant a lot to them when they looked down and saw us singing right along with them. (Apparently they didn't hear me; otherwise they might not have been so appreciative.) We're really looking forward to being able to see them again.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Cost of Doing God's Will

There is a common saying, "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will." That sounds like a good statement, but it is totally false. The Bible never promises physical safety or comfort to those who follow God's will. From a human standpoint, the center of God's will is often the most dangerous place a person can be.

On her blog, Kiki Cherry has written a post titled God's Calling Is Not Safe. In this post Kiki recounts some of the horrific things that have happened to faithful people who gave up everything in order to do God's will, some of whom she and her family knew personally. This post is a MUST READ! It is very difficult to read about some of the things Kiki describes, but this post gives us a much needed reminder that God's will often leads us down a path of sacrifice, persecution, suffering, and even tragedy. Few of us could even imagine the things that many missionaries and fellow believers have experienced. Kiki's post reminds us that missions work is not a glamorous or romantic vacation; IT IS SPIRITUAL WAR!

Johnny Hunt to Nominate Ronnie Floyd for SBC President

In a press release on the web site of First Baptist Church of Springdale, Arkansas, Johnny Hunt has announced his intention to nominate Ronnie Floyd, pastor of FBCS and The Church at Pinnacle Hills, to be the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention. So I guess we now can officially say that Johnny Hunt is not going to be a candidate.

I don't know a lot about Ronnie Floyd. I know that from a statistical standpoint his church is among the most successful in the SBC. I know that they are actively involved in a wide variety of ministries and missions works. I know that they are very innovative in the methods that they use to worship God and reach out to others. Other than that, I know little about him.

Before deciding whether or not I will vote for Dr. Floyd, I would like to get some answers to the following questions (I will be emailing these questions to him, and if he answers I will post his responses, provided that he gives his consent.):

  1. What is Dr. Floyd's vision for the SBC? What specific things would he try to accomplish as president? The SBC does not need someone who is content to appoint committees and preside over the annual meeting. Whether you agree or disagree with his approach, Bobby Welch has definitely cast a vision for the SBC. Subsequent presidents also need to cast a vision.
  2. What percentage of undesignated budget receipts does FBCS/The Church at Pinnacle Hills contribute to the Cooperative Program? Honesty requires me to admit that my own church's giving to CP is abysmal, but I have little real influence over our church's finances. I would presume that Dr. Floyd has a great deal of influence over the financial aspect of his church's ministry and that if he made CP giving a high priority his church would follow along. Since the SBC Executive Committee has issued a report encouraging that convention-wide leaders come from churches that give at least 10% to CP, and since CP is the official means of financially supporting SBC ministry and missions causes, then our president should set an example of generous CP giving. (And let me say that it was inappropriate for past presidents to give skimpy percentages to CP.)
  3. Has Dr. Floyd established a record of cooperating with people from all over the spectrum of doctrinal belief and practice that currently exists within the SBC? Perhaps the greatest issue facing the SBC today is the question of whether we are going to pursue true unity, which is based on agreement on doctrinal essentials while allowing for differing views on nonessentials, or if we are going to demand uniformity, which is based on agreement on both essentials and nonessentials. Our next president needs to be someone who is interested in cooperation within essential biblical parameters and seeks true unity.
  4. Does Dr. Floyd support cooperation with other Great Commission Christians in order to more effectively share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all peoples?
  5. Is Dr. Floyd willing to publicly repudiate the "good 'ol boy" system that influences who is allowed to serve on the national level? Is he willing to commit himself to placing on the committees appointed by the president qualified people who have NOT previously served on the national level or do NOT have any familial, personal, or church connections to others who have served/are serving on the national level? In a denomination with more than 40,000 churches and 7-10 million active members, there is no reason for our national leaders to keep coming from the same small pool of candidates.
Let me add that I believe there needs to be at least one other serious candidate for president. Even if I decide that Dr. Floyd is the best man for the job, I believe that the current trend of uncontested elections is not good for the SBC. The longer that the current "kingmaker" and "good 'ol boy" systems for choosing convention leadership exists, the greater the erosion of trust in our leaders among many rank and file SBCers, especially younger ones, will be. A more open process for choosing our leaders would go a long way toward restoring this trust.

(HT: Kevin Hash)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Memphis Declaration

On May 2-3, 2006, a group of 30 Southern Baptist men and women met in Memphis, Tennessee, to talk about the current condition of the Southern Baptist Convention and its future. These men and women represented many of the various strands that are woven into the fabric of the SBC; they were not a homogeneous, uniform group. For the record, I did not attend this meeting. I was invited, but I had a prior commitment that kept me away. The summary of what transpired is based on information provided by several people who did attend.

In the days leading up to this meeting, a number of people expressed concern and even skepticism about the purpose of the meeting. The prevailing wisdom was that this was some sort of effort to organize politically in preparation for the upcoming SBC Annual Meeting in Greensboro. Even among those invited to participate there was some degree of expectation that, while no candidates would be selected or endorsed and no statements critical of SBC leaders would be issued, there would be discussion of possible strategies to reverse the growing trends of narrowing the parameters of cooperation within the SBC and drawing SBC leaders from a shrinking pool of candidates. It was widely anticipated that a number of motions and/or resolutions would be drafted.

What actually happened was quite different. Instead of being a time for devising political strategies or drafting motions and resolutions, the meeting served as a time of sharing and, most importantly, a time of repentance. After the meeting the participants released the following declaration:

We, as men and women who share a heritage of Southern Baptist identity, declare that we stand together and confess Jesus Christ as the one Lord to whom we must reckon an account for our words and motivations in this gathering. We further acknowledge that the Word of God is the sole basis of our confession and cooperation, and we are confident that God has sufficiently revealed in it all that is needed to direct Southern Baptists in fruitful cooperation toward Kingdom ends that bring glory to Jesus Christ, who is himself the focus of divine revelation.

We publicly declare before all Southern Baptists that we believe the unity, mission, and witness of our denomination is seriously threatened by the introduction of the narrowing of cooperation through exclusionary theological and political agendas that corrupt the healthy and mutual fellowship we enjoy as Kingdom servants. We believe that the parameters of Baptist cooperation in missions and evangelism must be consistent with our rich theological heritage, and that all attempts to impose excessively restrictive criteria on participation in Southern Baptist missionary work are counterproductive to the advance of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Because we desire to be and to remain faithful to our confession of Jesus Christ and his Word, we do not keep silent, nor shall we, since we believe that we have a common message to speak in this time of great need for unity and Kingdom focus in our convention. In view of this shared conviction, we declare the following:

1. We publicly repent of triumphalism about Southern Baptist causes and narcissism about Southern Baptist ministries which have corrupted our integrity in assessing our denomination bureaucracy, our churches, and our personal witness in light of the sobering exhortations of Scripture.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to a renewed pledge to integrity demonstrated by accountability in our denomination, both before God and each other, lest in preaching the meekness of our Lord to others we ourselves will be found guilty of wicked, sinful pride.

2. We publicly repent of an arrogant spirit that has infected our partnership with fellow Christians in the advance of the gospel of Jesus Christ, without the hearing of which men are incapable of conversion.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to a renewed pledge to partner with Great Commission Christians for the glory of Jesus Christ, who is proclaimed with power when his disciples are at peace with one another.

3. We publicly repent of having condemned those without Christ before we have loved them, and that we have acted as judge of those for whom Christ died by failing to live with a redemptive spirit toward them.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to engage culture actively at every level by living redemptively as the Body of Christ in the world.

4. We publicly repent of having forsaken opportunities to reason together with those who share our commitment to gospel proclamation yet differ with us on articles of the faith that are not essential to Christian orthodoxy.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to building bridges where there have been none, in listening more and talking less, and in extending the hand of fellowship to all who share our confession of Christ and our commitment to extend His Kingdom.

5. We publicly repent of having turned a blind eye to wickedness in our convention, especially when that evil has taken the form of slanderous, unsubstantiated accusations and malicious character assassination against our Christian brothers.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to confront lovingly any person in our denomination, regardless of the office or title that person holds, who disparages the name of our Lord by appropriating venomous epithets against our brothers and sisters in Christ, and thus divides our fellowship by careless and unchaste speech.

6. We publicly repent of having misplaced our priorities on the building and sustaining of institutions of secondary and far inferior importance than the local church.

Therefore, we renew our pledge to the local church as the primary focus of our ministry and service to advance the Kingdom of God and bring glory to his Son.

7. We publicly repent of having disrespected the sovereign grace of our Lord Jesus Christ by falsely presuming that our strength as a people of God is found in uniformity rather than unity within the parameters of Scriptural authority.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to honor our identity as people of one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, whose affirmation of biblical authority does not necessitate absolute uniformity on all matters of doctrine or practice.

8. We publicly repent of our inattentiveness to convention governance by not seeking to hold trustees accountable to the body which elects them to preserve our sacred trust and direct our entities with the guidance, counsel, and correction necessary to maintain the integrity of those entities.

Therefore, we covenant with one another to assist in the preservation of our convention's sacred trust and fulfill our biblical responsibility to hold those trustees elected to serve our entities accountable, and to pray for them as they seek to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities.

Finally, we believe the conversations that have begun in these days express our desire to preserve the Southern Baptist Convention should God, in his providence, so choose to sustain our witness and strengthen our commitment to these ends. We pledge, therefore, to one another that we will continue this dialogue by inviting others in our respective spheres of influence to participate with us by seeking to renew our commitment to denominational accountability, institutional openness, moral and ethical integrity, and properly prioritized Kingdom efforts.

One point that needs to be emphasized is that this declaration speaks ONLY for those who drafted it and/or signed it. While we would love to see the spirit of repentance and humility expressed in this declaration spread across the entire SBC, we DO NOT presume to speak for anyone else or for the SBC as a whole. (NOTE: I am using "we" because I subsequently signed on to the declaration after it was issued.) However, just imagine the kind of convention we would have if the majority of Southern Baptist leaders exhibited the same spirit of humility and repentance and if they put into practice the commitments that are contained in the Memphis Declaration.

If you are in agreement with the Memphis Declaration and would like to sign it, you can go to both Marty Duren's blog and Art Rogers' blog. They have listed those who physically signed the declaration, and they are adding the names of others who wish to affirm and identify with it.