February 2008

Dear Wade,

“To Whom much is given much is required.”  The sovereign God was responsible for your almost three year appointment to the IMB Board.  I believe that God had a strategic purpose for your time served at the IMB.  You already have been greatly used of God to gain the admission that there was no anecdotal or any other evidence to suggest that there were abuses of missionaries speaking/praying in tongues on the field.  Therefore, there was no need for the new policies forbidding missionaries to speak in tongues which as you know directly contradicts the Scripture (I Cor. 14:39).  This admission alone made your service on the board purposeful and impactful.

The modification of the “tongues” policy that moves toward making a decision about missionary candidates on a case by case basis as it relates to private praying in tongues would not have happened without God using your voice and keyboard to nudge the IMB Board to this position.  The revised policy was a step in the right direction and we have you and other board members to thank for that. 

Some of us are still members of the SBC because of your voice and others on the Board who opposed the unbiblical policies of the IMB.  God used you to encourage and promote missionaries around the world and to take a meaningful trip to China.  I believe the Lord will say to you one day face to face (specifically concerning your tenure at the IMB) – “WELL DONE, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, WELL DONE.”  The future of the IMB, and the “tongues policy,” Dr. Jerry Rankin –(who admittedly prays in tongues in private)- and the many missionaries who also pray in tongues as well are in the hands of the same sovereign God who appointed you to the IMB.  The baptismal policies (that I know are even more important to you) you also addressed biblically, tactfully, and courageously. I will simply trust God to do what He wants done in His timing as it relates to any changes toward these policies. 

Because of your wonderful service to our Lord, the IMB and the SBC, when I think of you Bro. Wade, I’m reminded of what the Apostle stated to Philemon, “I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.  For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you brother” (Philemon 1:4-7).

Brother Wade, I’m sure you will follow the leading of the Lord as it relates to writing a book about SBC issues.  This Scripture came to mind as I am pondering your decision and praying about the book: Mordecai said to Esther, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  If you choose not to write the book, I know you’ll be driven by a pure heart, determined to do what you believe is the will of God.  If you choose to write the book, I know you’ll be driven by a pure heart, determined to do what you believe is the will of God.

God has given you much, you have given the SBC and the IMB much.  Know this that your labor has not been in vain.

 You Are a Brother Beloved, 

Dwight McKissic

I’ve known Gov. Huckabee for over 30 years.  Gov. Huckabee and I graduated from the same college and attended there two years together.  Gov. Huckabee and I were fellow Baptist pastors in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in the late 70’s.  We were friends in college, we are friends today.

Mike Huckabee has always been a man with great communication abilities, people skills and leadership qualities.  He is a uniter – not a divider, and one who has always earned the respect, appreciation and support of African American friends, parishioners, voters and colleagues.

As a matter of fact, he received 48% of the Black vote in Arkansas – unprecedented for a Republican. As governor of Arkansas he awarded the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (HBCU) 2 million dollars from his discretionary fund to assist in building them a new football stadium.  The overall funding that UAPB received from the Arkansas State Government during Gov. Huckabee’s term in office far exceeded the funding received during Bill Clinton’s governorship in Arkansas.  Gov. Huckabee appointed over 300 African Americans to boards, commissions and state employment positions during his tenure as Arkansas governor.

Gov. Huckabee is a proven Christian leader and a man who will serve our country well.  Color nor gender will drive my voting decision.  Convictions, character, competence, capacity and experience are factors that will drive my decision. The only person in this race who holds to biblical conservative values as it relates to pro life, pro family and lower taxes is Mike Huckabee.  In this election I am left with one primary choice and that is Mike Huckabee – the man we should elect to be President of the United States of America.   

Embracing the Power of the Holy Spirit
William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

     Who could argue that Charles Dickens’ poetic and prophetic description of England in 1855, “It was the best of times and the worst of times” in his classic historical novel, The Tale of Two Cities, does not accurately and eloquently capsulize and summarize the current state of affairs in the African American community? The “brighter day ahead” for which our African American forbearers prayed and about which they prophetically sang, is the current reality for most in the African American community.

      While the Civil War settled the question of natural slavery for African Americans, the emancipation from physical slavery did not bring emancipation from the enslavement of illiteracy, poverty, and economic injustice for the freedmen. Nearly all Black people were uneducated and lived in poverty coming out of slavery, and many of them chose indentured servitude as the only way to provide for their families. By 2004, however, only 25 percent of African Americans lived in poverty. Homeownership among African Americans has shown a steady increase from 42 percent in 1990 to 48 percent of African Americans owning homes in 2003. The percentage of African Americans investing in the stock market increased drastically between 1998 and 2002, from 57 to 74 percent. The average monthly savings for African Americans increased from $200 per month in 2001 to $237 per month in 2002. In 2002, the number of Black-owned businesses stood at 1.2 million. This represented a 45 percent rise since 1997. In 2005, 1.1 million African Americans over the age twenty-five had advanced degrees—such as master’s, PhD, MD, or JD—compared to about 677,000 in 1995.  We’ve witnessed significant and substantial gains in politics, business, education, and household incomes. Even in the field of religion we have witnessed an African American rise to a high profile executive cabinet level position in what was historically a prominent Anglo Pentecostal denomination—the Assemblies of God. Many of the largest and fastest growing churches in America are led by African Americans who erected facilities that comfortably, seat thousands of people and collectively employ thousands. Indeed, these are the best of times.

     However, the decay, decline, dysfunction, disconnect, disengagement, and dearth in the African American community is also quite apparent. In contrast to the Assemblies of God, the highest ranking African American employed in the Executive Committee office building for the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, TN, is the head custodian.

     Nearly 70 percent of all children born in the African American community today are born into single parent homes. In 1960, 80 percent of the families were two parent families among Blacks in America. In some cities, Black males have high school drop-out rates of more that 50 percent. About one-third of the homeless are Black men. African Americans make up nearly 50 percent of the prison population, although they make up only 12 percent of the general population. Back in 1950, there were twice as many White people in prison as Black. Today, there are more Black people than White in prison. Divorce among African Americans is 50 percent higher than it is among White Americans. Although, we have witnessed the advent of mega-churches in the Black community, we have also seen an increase in crime, drug addiction, and divorce. It’s evident that fornication, adultery, homosexuality, immoral cohabitation, covetousness, greed, gluttony, gossip, bitterness, anger, pride and prayerlessness and a host of other sins are also prevalent in many African American churches from the pulpit to the back door. Indeed, these are the worst of times.

      If the African American community is to rise from the moral, spiritual, family, and community decline we find ourselves in, there is only one hope. Our hope cannot be in another Civil Rights movement. Our hope must be in a move of the Holy Spirit. The prophet declared, “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts”. The problems of the African American community are so intense, acute and systemic, that nothing short of a Pentecost can restore wholeness, holiness and family restoration to our community once again. God said, “In the last days that He would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17). That inevitably includes African American flesh. My prayer is, “Lord, do it again and do it now.” We need the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sins and convince us that Jesus Christ is the only hope for our salvation. We need the Holy Spirit to convert us, clean us up, wash us, renew us and fill us once again. Our community is in such dire and desperate straits, we don’t have time to debate the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. We need His delivering power, His saving power, His sanctifying power, and His anointing. We need Him to break yokes, lift heavy burdens and set the captives free. We need to embrace the Holy Spirit in His fullness including the fruit of the Holy Spirit so our gifts and anointing will not elevate us to heights where our character is not strong enough to sustain us.

      In days gone by, the Lord raised up men and women to lead the Civil Rights movement because in many ways that was our pressing need. What we need now is to pray that God would raise up men and women who can lead us to a fresh encounter with the person, power and presence of the Holy Spirit. We need Him in His fullness. We need Him in His power and that’s when we’ll see a change in the neighbor “hood”.

      My prayer is that God would burden the heart of at least three thousand African American believers who will give God one day in prayer at one place at one time (Acts2:1) confessing the sins of our nation (Neh 1:6) and of our race and seeking His face for revival, restoration and joy in the Holy Ghost (Ps. 16:11, Ps. 85:6, Rom 5:5). Exercising the privilege and power of prayer we can pray in the Spirit with words understood, words not understood and even without words to effect change in our community that delivers us from the muck and mire and set us on a street called straight. The only hope for our community is a Holy Spirit revival. We must embrace Him now, “For the effectual and fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much” (James 5:16, I Corin 14:15, Jude 20, Rom 8:26, John 11:33). It is time for the Ethiopians to stretch out their hands to God (Ps 68:31, Ps. 19:14).

     May this generation experience the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon our families, communities and nation even in a greater measure than the 1st and 2nd Great Awakenings and Azusa St, as we yield our hearts, minds bodies, soul and Spirit to the Living God. May the Spirit of the Living God fall fresh on us.