Thursday, March 23, 2006

NERO FIDDLED WHILE ROME BURNED!

In my right hand I hold the "LifeWay Newsletter" from the President of LifeWay, Thom S. Rainer entitled: The Dying American Church. In my left hand, I hold a BP article by Brent Thompson entitled: Ministers' Wives' Luncheon Slates Acclaimed Interior Designer.

Brent Thompson's article gives us some insight as to why the American church is dying. It seems that the 2006 Ministers' Wives' Conference and Luncheon President, Dorothy Patterson, has enlisted Georg Anderson, a world renowned interior designer and author to come to Greensboro and "share his principles for turning a home into a silent witness for Jesus Christ."

The article goes on to say that Mr. Anderson has designed interiors for the White House, The Governor's Mansion in Arkansas, The Carlyle Hotel and The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City and many "private residences in the United States."

Internationally, Anderson has designed interiors in London, Monte Carlo, Helsinki, Jarkarta and Indonesia. He has been on television and even appeared on the "700 Club." His latest book is entitled: Silent Witness: The Language of Your Home. "Anderson and his wife, Annabelle, use their home to demonstrate how interior design can bear “silent witness” to the multifaceted work of God in our lives."

Dorothy Patterson said Anderson will bring fun, information and inspiration to this year's luncheon. Dr. Rainer's article speaks of An American church that may be going the way of the church in Europe which is the way of death. Rainer states that "it takes 86 church members in America one year to reach one person for Christ." He goes on to present the fact that Christians are "making no effort to engage a lost or an unchurched person on any level." There is more sobering information in his article and it should be read by all Southern Baptist.

It is my opinion that such things as having an interior designer to speak at a luncheon about making your home a "silent witness" is not what we need right now, especially, when our most vocal witnesses on the foreign field are questioning recent actions of the IMB trustees. It would probably be good this year if all our luncheons were devoted to mobilization for evangelism and prayer for militant fervor in reaching our world. People are dying and going to Hell all around and we are planning a "silent witness" luncheon for ministers'wives no less. I plead the question: Is that out of touch or what?

Do not misunderstand me. I am all for having a well appointed home. I live in one. My wife has excellent taste and designed the interior of every room except my study. She had no help from Georg Anderson. Many people have come to Christ in our home. It was never due to a "silent witness." She shared the gospel with them or I did. Just recently a 76 year old gentleman gave his life to Christ in my study. (Remember, my study has never been designed by a professional or an amateur with good taste. Its just books, shelves, computers and desks but that man met Jesus there.)

Another point of interest is that my wife decorated our home using our money. Not one dime of CP money was used.

As I read the Rainer article about the Dying American Church, witness the chaos at the IMB, hear the hurt from our missionaries, and relate to the dissatisfaction in our young pastors and ministers of various other callings, I cannot help but think something is wrong in this year’s plans for the 2006 Ministers’ Wives’ Luncheon in Greensboro. It seems to me that someone is out of touch with what is going on right now in the SBC. But what do I know? I thought Georg was spelled George with an "e" at the end.

Seriously, we need to pray without ceasing and gather in Greensboro. If ever the SBC needed renewal it is now!!!!!

A sermon illustration that is often used by preachers refers to Nero playing the violin while Rome burned. With that in mind I pose the following: Will we decorate our bathrooms while our missionaries loose trust? WILL WE LEARN TO HANG DRAPES WHILE THE WORLD GOES TO HELL? It might do us all well to reflect upon the fifth chapter of the prophecy of Amos.

Villa Rica

17 Comments:

Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Villa Rica,

Excellent info! That was convicting. Thanks for your wise words on all of the blogs. I look forward to meeting you in Greensboro!

6:17 AM  
Blogger X Law Man said...

Villa Rica,

You go boy! Dead on! Keep up the good work! I just found your post and I know Marty very well. We have a common background, but we can discuss that later.

Thanks for all your hard work!

6:55 AM  
Blogger IMB_M said...

A convicting post indeed, especially the part about it taking 86 of us to win 1. What are the other 85 "silent witnesses" doing all year long? Now we have a clearer idea of the kinds of things that are taking the place of Christ's direct commands as found in Matthew 28:18-20.

I wonder how the SB churches who support us would feel if we too adopted a "silent witness" mentality and began using CP and Lottie Moon money to bring down interior decorators to help us with these new "inspirational and fun" ways of witnessing for Christ?

If its good enough for those back home, why not overseas? I think I'll add that request into my budget next year. What was that guys name again?

Villa, I loved the article, but please know I will not be sharing it with the people I work with. What that one conference will cost in Greensboro will likely be more than the entire budget for our whole country next year. Whatever budget we send in for Bibles, church planting materials, songbooks, training, etc. will only be partially funded, and we will get the same response that we get every year that there isn't enough money available to fund your budget, make do with what is available.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Villa Rica said...

Brother or Sister IMB-M,

I want you to know that you have Brothers and Sisters at home that love you and pray for you. We give our financial support because of you and the multitude of others like you.

Remember, God told Elijah that He had 7000 in Isreal that had not bowed to Baal. I believe that we have more than that who have not bowed to the hand of SBC powermongers. We just need to get involved with Ben, Marty, Art, and Wade (when he is freed from the lion's den)and go to Greensboro and beyond if necessary to set straight the crooked path that our Convention is headed down at this moment.

We are praying for you and if I can help with anything right now contact me by email: villaricaathome@yahoo.com

I know many folks like you out there on the field and if I had it to do over I would have sought God to let me be one of you.

I do not know you personally but let me say I know I love you for I know so many others of your kind. You have the same fire in your heart that they do. I know and love them and I lie not when I say Ilove you, also.

Therefore, I am calling on all that I am able to make a plea to to come to Greensboro and follow those that God has raised up for this hour and with godly conduct change those things which need our attention in this hard time.

Villa Rica

7:48 AM  
Blogger RMc said...

Brings the picture of a head buried in the sand doesn't it.....

Good analysis.

8:03 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Villa Rica,

Right on! This reminds me of a story I heard told about an evangelist & his wife traveling behind the iron curtain (yes, that was a while ago!). They had been working with several people, smuggling bibles into the country when they could. On one occasion they brought hard to obtain items ladies like, lipsticks and such. Expecting to see happiness and joy at obtaining the “hard to find” items, they were surprised to hear the words, “Where are the bibles? I need bibles to share the word of God, not lipsticks.” Next time, they brought bibles and left everything else at home! All that to say, we need to be spending our monies on the basics of life; now don't get me wrong, it’s nice to look good and have a nice home, but when it re-directs monies away from making a bigger impact for the sake of Jesus, we need to stop and evaluate the goal.

What's this silent witnesses stuff anyway? That's a unique approach... I'll pass.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Phillips Lynn said...

Pastor Villa Rica,

What a sad commentary for our Convention. Hopefully your post will be an eye opener for all of us, for apparently we all need to become more concerned about our lost world than we have been.

I am so glad that Dr. Thom S. Rainer is leading us at LifeWay. Hopefully his ministry will begin to have an effect on all of us within the SBC.

We must keep praying for our meeting in Greensboro as you have admonished us to do so often.

I hope I will have the opportunity to meet you there.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Villa Rica,
I believe we have enough silent witnesses trained in our churches already we need some loud and joy filled witnesses to speak boldly the saving power in the Blood of Christ.
Maybe then we could see the kind of growth that they had on the day of Pentecost were people were added to their numbers daily wouldn't you love to see folks saved on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That would make a Baptist preacher dance at least it would this Baptist preacher.
See you in Greensboro.

In Him
Kevin Lancaster

11:42 AM  
Blogger Villa Rica said...

Brother Kevin L,

You speaking the kind of language that we need. You are better than a RC cola on a hot day.

I join with you and long to see that day come.

Let's covenant together and pray Joel 2:25 and ask God to give us that back which the locust have eaten.

Thank you my dear Brother for your good words.

On to Greensboro and Beyond!!!!

Villa Rica

11:51 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

AMEN MY BROTHER AGIAN I SAY AMEN


In Him
Kevin Lancaster

1:36 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear VR,

I appreciate your enthusiasm for a good cause, but I disagree with you on this subject. Here's why:

What does the New Testament say a woman should do in the service of the Lord?

In Titus 2, the women are commanded to "love their husbands and children, (5) to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

Learning to decorate the home in a way that helps point children and guests to Christ certainly seems to agree with being busy at home.

Where is the command that she is to "mobilize for evangelism"?

What does the Old Testament say that a woman should do in the service of the Lord?

In Proverbs 31, the good wife is shown to be making her clothes and her decorations out of the finest cloth in the richest colors.

Learning to do this from the foremost Christian interior designer in the world certainly seems to agree with this example.

Where is the command that she repair the chaos (caused by men) at the mission board?

Hanging drapes is not incompatible with supporting missions. I'll wager that the same Baptist women who decorate their windows with beatiful curtains are the same women who do everything else well, including supporting missions.

Comrade Hatley and the rest of the KIMBGB are the ones eroding the missionaries' resolve. No well-decorated bathroom has contributed to this problem.

Dr. Dorothy Patterson has repeatedly stated AND MODELED a Bible-based desire to be her husband's helper. With her great education and her position as P.P.'s wife, she could demand and get a place on various governing boards. Instead, she has chosen to offer the wives who attend the annual meeting (probably in order to give their husbands their fellowship and support) a rare opportunity to learn more of the art of Christian homemaking from the world's best.

Yes, there are misplaced priorities in the SBC. Yes, we men in positions of leadership need to get focused on the work of evangelism, discipleship, missions, etc. But this meeting of dear Baptist women is not the problem.

You are barking up the wrong tree.

Love in Christ,

Jeff

P.S. I have no personal stake in this meeting, and my dear wife will not be attending.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Villa Rica said...

Brother Jeff,

Thank you for the spirit of your response to my post. You could have been harsh to me and been very defensive. You were not. You took the high road of reason as you understand it.

You are presenting much more poise than I did in the past when I held a different position than that of a Brother. God has worked in my life about being mean spirited.

That does not mean I am not to speak my convictions in reference to any subject. I agree with you about women making wonderful homes for their family. My wife has done so and brought up all of our children to follow her example.

In regard to the subject matter of my post I must refrain from saying more. For in doing so I would appear to be mean spirited even though I could say much more of which would be all true.

There are times wherein silence is not just golden but wise. For me this is one of those times. As I said earlier I have failed in the past and I want to get beyond my mean spirited ways and do things rightly. I always told the truth without fear but often with a mean spirit. That is sin. I am now trying to tell the truth without fear and in love. That is hard for me. Please pray for me in my weakness at this point. I am not playing with you. I really want you to pray for me about this problem. It has caused much pain. Believe me,in this case I did speak the Truth in love. This I know for sure.

Therefore, it is best for me to amplify no more regarding my post: Nero fiddled While Rome Burned.

It is my prayer for you that our Lord strenghten you, your family and your ministry more and more everyday till Jesus comes. Reach souls for Jesus, dear Brother. Stand in the gap. I have put you on my prayer list (not hit list-just a joke) and I long to be on your prayer list and there is no joke in that request.

Villa Rica

7:45 AM  
Blogger Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear V.R.,

You've gotta help me understand better what's going on, who's doing it, why, and what we can do about it. I'm quite the novice, and I need to make several large steps forward in my understanding.

pastor[at]corinthbaptist[dot]net

Love in Christ,

Jeff

P.S. Thank you for praying for me. I'm praying for you, especially prayers of thankfulness!

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Pastor Joe said...

Brother Villa: At first I assumed that this post was satire. It seemed genuine, but (to me at least)it is inconceivable to bring in a "world renowed designer" to the SBC to teach about "silent witness." However, since you had given specific information, I searched the BP archives, and it is true.
I will resist the urge to ventilate. Once I realized this was not satire, I reread the post very carefully. The fourth to last paragraph jumped out. It states: Another point of interest is that my wife decorated our home using our money. Not one dime of CP money was used.
I hope this does not mean what it sounds like. Are you saying that CP money has been used by somebody to pay for "world renowed designers" and decorations of private living facilities?

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PJ,

Let me interject here. I hope you understand that I must do it anonymously. I do not know anything about an international designer or this Anderson person. I do have personal knowledge that CP money was used elsewhere for such things as decorating and to pay interior designers.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PJ,

You might also want to check out the baptist forum at baptistboard.com. Under General Baptist discussions the forum topic entitled Reccord Under Exec Level Control. Serveral of the posters there refer to some decorating.

8:13 PM  

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