Words of Warning

Dr. Russell D. Moore, Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, published a short article tonight entitled “Warning”which highlights some words from one of his interns at The Henry Institute. I thought it was a brief, yet insightful, article. I’ve reproduced it below, but you can access the original article as well by clicking here.

My intern Phillip Bethancourt reflected recently on the nature of warnings. Phillip writes: “In our overly-insured, safety-conscious culture, we come across warning labels all the time. On the right side mirror of your 2003 Toyota Camry, it warns ‘objects may be closer than they appear.’ On the side of your non-fat Vanilla Latte with skim milk, the cup warns ‘Caution: hot beverage.’ On a pack of Virginia Slims, the surgeon general warns, ‘Smoking may cause cancer.’

“But the directness of the American surgeon general pails in comparison to his British counterpart. On every pack of cigarettes sold in England, the warning label is more to the point: ‘Smoking Kills!’

“Yet, every place I passed that sold cigarettes during the four months I lived in London would always have a line 5-10 people deep waiting for their turn to purchase more smokes. Why is that? Because the warning was not impacting the way they lived. Though they were warned of the dangers of their actions, it did not change their activity.”

Phillip relates these ineffectual warnings with the ‘warning passages’ of Scripture. How should these often very scary verses affect how we follow Jesus? Must we choose between ignoring the warning passages or abandoning our belief in the perseverance of believers? Should Christians pay attention when these passages are read, or should we simply acknowledge them as addressed to someone else?

It is questions like that maturity that our study of Hebrews examines, in this installment of the series, Blood Brother: The Word of Christ in the Gospel of Hebrews, from Hebrews 6:4-12. You can listen to it here, and to the entire series here.

Warning: Smoking Kills. So do a whole lot of other things. But the Word and the Spirit bring life.

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He’s Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he’s a debtor to grace.

4 thoughts on “Words of Warning

  1. This is an interesting article. I just stumbled across Jude 22-23 this morning which may bring some additional light on this.

    “And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”

    My understanding of this passage is that compassion is a valid approach to some and to others fear is also a valid approach. Interesting, eh?


  2. “Should Christians pay attention when these passages are read, or should we simply acknowledge them as addressed to someone else?”

    Well, I think that I’ll assume that they are directed at someone else.

    All you folks with strong opinions–cowboy up…or what ever it is that some say when trying to get someone to commit.

    Micah, maybe you should put up a poll! I thought that Baptists regarded themselves as secure, but after reading the blogs for a while, I’m not sure if all do or not.

    Bennett Willis

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