Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Distinctives of the BAPTIST LEGAL UPDATE

Welcome back to Lighthouse Legal Ministries' weekly blog, the BAPTIST LEGAL UPDATE! The blog's purpose is stated in our masthead: "a Baptist perspective on current legal news."

In this second blog, we want to focus on the distinctives of the BAPTIST LEGAL UPDATE. Of the myriads of blogs and regular news sources which flood the media, why would you click on www.baptistlaw.blogspot.com to receive a weekly Baptist Legal Update?

1. Oriented Exclusively to Independent Baptist Churches

LLM, a ministry of Lighthouse Baptist Church, Ashtabula, OH, Pastor John Jones, is distinctively Independent Baptist.
• LLM provides free legal services exclusively to likeminded independent, fundamental, Baptist churches.
• LLM is supported exclusively by likeminded independent, fundamental, Baptist churches.
• LLM is accountable only to such faithfully supporting churches.

Other legal ministries may provide legal assistance to Independent Baptist churches, and more power to them. But other legal ministries are also supported by Charismatic, Protestant, and Roman Catholic churches, for whom they also provide legal services. Those other legal ministries cannot afford to express exclusively Independent Baptist viewpoints.

2. Written Exclusively by an Experienced Independent Baptist Attorney

The weekly Baptist Legal Update is written by LLM Attorney Terry Lee Hamilton, a faithful family man and active member of Lighthouse Baptist Church, where he is a Sunday School teacher, Junior Church director, trustee, and soulwinner. LLM Attorney Hamilton has been practicing law for nearly thirty years.
• Seven years as a trial attorney with the U.S. Government in Washington, DC.
• Eleven years with a private law firm in cases involving separation of church and state.
• For the last eleven years, he has worked exclusively at Lighthouse Legal Ministries, providing legal assistance exclusively to Independent Baptist churches.

3. A Conservative or Fundamental Viewpoint Is Not Necessarily Equivalent to the Viewpoint of an Independent Baptist

LLM Attorney Hamilton, who is both conservative and fundamental, is grateful for all of the conservative and/or fundamental voices in the media today. But a conservative and fundamental viewpoint is not necessarily equivalent to an Independent Baptist perspective. For example:
• Social Conservatives. Both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are good conservative commentators; but do you think that the cigar-smoking, profane Mr. Limbaugh or the rock solid Roman Catholic Mr. Hannity has a Bible-based, Independent Baptist viewpoint on all of the current legal news?
• Religious Conservatives. The media is filled with conservative Christian commentators such as James Dobson, Charles Colson, and D. James Kennedy; but do you think that such Protestant leaders have an Independent Baptist viewpoint?

The purpose of the Baptist Legal Update is not to stir up strife with either social or religious conservatives, but rather to stir up Baptists and the world to understand and appreciate the importance of the Biblical and Baptist doctrine of separation of church and state, the foundation upon which religious liberty rests both in America and around the world.

Thank you for reading this second blog at www.baptistlaw.blogspot.com. Your comments would be greatly appreciated. God bless you!


"Save Abdul Rahman"?

Announcing the new . . . LLM BLOG!!!!
Bookmark us at www.baptistlaw.blogspot.com

Lighthouse Legal Ministries has always had a unique Biblical and legal perspective on the news and events of our day. We have never been in step with the mainstream media (not even close), and we also find ourselves frequently in sharp disagreement with many of today's social and religious conservatives. The LLM perspective reflects our commitment to Baptist beliefs and doctrines, doctrines which we believe to have been historically correct throughout history.

As such, we are continually searching for new ways to get across our message -- to cut through the clutter and misinformation that abound in the mainstream media. We send out our newsletter, we conduct seminars and other special conferences -- all designed to share our Baptist perspective, a view that is not found elsewhere. This month will mark the beginning of a new way to make our voice heard -- an LLM blog entitled the Baptist Legal Update!

This blog provides LLM a quick way to provide weekly analysis and commentary on the news of the day, as well as share our legal, Biblical, and historical Baptist perspective on our society. The Baptist Legal Update will appear each Monday at www.baptistlaw.blogspot.com.

We hope that you will make the Baptist Legal Update a part of your weekly schedule. You will find it to be both enlightening and inspiring. Below is our first analysis and commentary, from a Baptist perspective, on current legal news -- the international concern over the fate of a solitary Christian in Afghanistan -- Abdul Rahman.


If you haven't kept up with the story, the following are some different media voices [and the Baptist Legal Update] about Abdul Rahman.

1. U.S. Government, Voice of America, March 18, 2006. "An Afghan man who recently admitted he converted to Christianity faces the
death penalty under the country's strict Islamic legal system. The trial is a critical test of Afghanistan's new constitution and
democratic government. . . Prosecuting attorney Abdul Wasi . . . says Rahman is a traitor to Islam and is like a cancer inside
Afghanistan. Under Islamic law and under the Afghan constitution, he says, the defendant should be executed."

[Baptist Legal Update (BLU) -- The martyrdom of Abdul Rahman would be perfectly consistent with the Islamic religion, which does
not believe in separation of church and state. But the Islamists are not the only religion which does not believe in separation of
church and state; both the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches have historically rejected the Baptist doctrine of
separation of church and state, embracing rather the doctrine of marriage of church and state. The outrage today by Roman
Catholic and Protestant leaders was not evident for hundreds of years when Baptists by the millions were martyred by Roman
Catholic and Protestant-dominated governments in Europe, England, Puritan New England, and colonial Virginia.]

2. CNN.com, March 22, 2006. "Rahman's case raises thorny issues between Afghanistan and the Western allies, . . 'We have
underscored also to Foreign Minister Abdulah that we believe that tolerance and freedom of worship are important elements of any
democracy,' U.S. State Department spokesman Scott McCormack . . ."

[BLU: Baptists have always believed in the importance of freedom of worship; but, historically, freedom of religion was not an
element of Western civilization for hundreds of years in Europe, England, and America. For example, the Pilgrims traveled to
America in 1610 to escape religious persecution at the hands of the church and state in England; however, when they arrived in
America, the Pilgrims set up their own marriage of church and state which denied freedom of religion to other believers. The
freedom of religion which the world embraces today dates back only to the efforts of Baptist preachers Roger Williams and John
Clarke, who fled the persecution of the Pilgrims to establish the colony of Rhode Island, the first society with true freedom
of religion. The world today owes a great debt to Baptists, but sadly, not only the world, but also most Baptists, are unaware of the
critical role which Baptists played in establishing freedom of religion in America and around the world.]

3. USA Today, March 23, 2006. "Afghan police arrested him last month after discovering a Bible in his possession during questioning
over a dispute over custody of his two daughters. . . Television footage of Rahman at last week's hearing showed him leafing through
a Bible before saying, 'They want to sentence me to death, and I accept it, but I am not a deserter and not an infidel. I am a Christian."

[BLU: If you lived in Afghanistan, would you be arrested for having a Bible in your possession? If you knew that you were going to
be sentenced to death for being a Christian, would you still name the name of Christ?]

"We think he could be mad. He is not a normal person. He doesn't talk like a normal person," Zanari [a state prosecutor] told the
Associated Press."

[BLU: If the Afghanistan government, or the U.S. government, or a co-worker or neighbor talked to you about your faith in Jesus,
would they conclude that you are mad? Would you want to be accused of not being a "normal person"?]

There have been rallies around the world and much news now about "Save Abdul Rahman." Three thoughts:
1. Were there rallies around the world opposing the martyrdom of millions of Baptists?
2. Save Abdul Rahman? It sounds like he may already be saved!
3. Let us pray that each one of us Baptists will have the zeal to (1) see our co-workers and neighbors saved and (2) support missionaries
preaching the Gospel around the world!

The purpose of this blog is not to stir up strife with Roman Catholics, Protestants, or Muslims, but rather stir up Baptists and the world to understand and appreciate the importance of the Biblical and Baptist doctrine of separation of church and state, the foundation upon which religious liberty rests both in America and around the world.

Thank you for reading this first blog at www.baptistlaw.blogspot.com. Your comments would be greatly appreciated. God bless you!