Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Open Letter of Apology to Dr. Johnny Hunt from Scott Morgan

When I began this blog 3 years ago I decided to follow a rather liberal policy on comments. That approach has allowed for some "over-the-top" statements to be made by folks from various perspectives. This approach has allowed for "heated and offensives comments to be posted." Let me restate my rationale for allowing such comments to be posted here.
I choose to leave such comments up because I think that by doing so a more accurate picture is portrayed about current thoughts on an issue than would otherwise be the case. One thing a blog does is provide opportunity for almost immediate feedback. Within the parameters stated above, I want that feedback to be an honest assessment of what readers of this blog are thinking--even when I may disagree strongly with the content, perspective or tone of those thoughts. What this necessitates, then, is allowing certain things to be said or to be said in ways that I personally do not condone.
One brother who has expressed himself here in the past in very strong language is my friend, Scott Morgan. Recently the Lord has convicted him of some of the things he has written. Scott is a church planter and pastor in Georgia. Scott contacted me earlier this week and asked if I would consider posting this letter of apology that he has written to his former pastor, Johnny Hunt. I am happy to do so. Dr. Hunt has already received this letter is and aware that it is being made public.

Christians live by God's grace which means that we must live in repentance and faith. Our hope is not in our performance but in the life and death of Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins of pride, sinful speech and lack of love. When we are thinking properly about the cross, we cannot help but deal honestly and humbly with our sins.

In this letter, Scott is putting the fruits of repentance on display. Since many of the things for which he has repented were recorded here in the comments section, it is appropriate that his letter be printed here, as well.

Though no Christian ever rejoices in sin, we all should rejoice in displays of repentance and pray that the Lord will make each of us willing repenters as well as believers.

An Open Apology to Dr. Johnny Hunt,
Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock

By: Scott Morgan, Pastor of Fellowship Community Church

It is with a sincere heart and contrite spirit that I write this post. The reason for this apology is to bring glory to Christ and to make peace with a fellow brother. A few years ago on this website, I wrote some very unchristlike remarks concerning the ministry of Dr. Johnny Hunt. The Lord has brought deep conviction upon my spirit. Tom Ascol has granted me permission to post this blog; Dr. Hunt has not requested this letter, but the Lord has laid it upon my heart through His Word.

When I began to serve the Lord's Supper on a monthly basis, the Lord began to convict my spirit. As you know, the Scripture commands us to examine ourselves to determine if we are eligible to partake of the Lord's Supper. Recently, the Lord overwhelmed me of my personal sin against a fellow believer in Christ. I recognize that I have offended a fellow brother with my ungodly words and bitter spirit. Of course, the Bible commands us to have peace with one another. Because of Christ's atoning death for His people, He has bestowed the gift of reconciliation and commanded us to live in harmony with each other.

In 1999-2002, I had the privilege of serving on staff at FBCW in the capacity of Minister to Young Married Adults and Discipleship. I resigned from my position due to theological disagreements with Dr. Hunt. Because I felt like I was correct, I spent many years battling bitterness and resentment. I often said unkind things that were unwarranted. Pastor Johnny was always kind to my family and never retaliated or said unkind things publicly about me personally. During my tenure under Pastor Johnny, I can say that he was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and a devoted Christian who loved his church and pursued the things of God. He exemplifies a forgiving spirit and always extended a helping hand to those in need. Although we disagree on Calvinistic theology, Pastor Johnny diligently seeks to preach the Scriptures in love. Though we may have different methodology, I sincerely believe that Dr. Hunt loves Christ and seeks to glorify God. I neglected to follow the commands of Matthew 18; I sinned against the Lord and against Pastor Johnny.

I encourage those who embrace the Calvinistic theology of our Baptist forefathers to recognize that we are not perfect; in fact, even those that do not embrace these doctrines must realize that if we have not love for one another, then what do we have?

Thank you, Tom Ascol, for allowing me to post this blog. Dr. Hunt is my brother in Christ and deserves better than this. I ask that he, his family, and the members of First Baptist Church of Woodstock forgive me for my sinful behavior and words. Thankfully, I have been in contact with Pastor Johnny; he has forgiven me and we are in the process of setting up a meeting.

In His Service,
Pastor Scott Morgan


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pray for rain...and repent

Last Sunday we joined churches across the southern states in praying for rain in the southeastern region of the country. The fires out west and the storms that recently ripped through the heartland have also left many people homeless and in very dire circumstances. Compassion compels us to pray to the One who controls wind and rain and to plead to Him for mercy.

Drought has a way of exposing the limitations of human strength and ingenuity. It calls us to remember our Creator, which is precisely one of His designs in withholding rain. Scripture is full of teaching that gives this perspective (1 Kings 8:35-36; 17-18; 2 Chronicles 7:12-14; Jeremiah 2:3-5, etc.). The prophet Amos spells it out in unmistakable terms.
“I also withheld rain from you, When there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, And where it did not rain the part withered. 8 So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water, But they were not satisfied; Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the LORD (Amos 4:7-8).
Drought, like hurricanes, floods, plagues and other natural disasters are warning shots fired by our Creator to awaken us to the fact that wrath awaits all who continue in rebellion to Him. They are, as even modern insurance companies recognize, "acts of God." People may live without fear of God for awhile, but He will not be forever ignored.

Jesus confirms this interpretation of natural disasters and shows that they are tools in the hands of God for all people and not merely His Old Testament covenant nation. When asked about the victims of an atrociously immoral act Jesus took the opportunity to teach that not only moral evil but also natural disasters are God's call to repentance.
“Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? Luke 13:5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4-5).
Droughts, storms and fires, then, should awaken us to consider our ways in the light of God's revealed will. They should show us our weakness and and remind us our sinfulness before God. If we respond to them properly we will humble ourselves before the Lord of wind and rain and confess our sins, and seek His forgiveness by entrusting ourselves wholly to Jesus Christ.

So, when the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, when people are made to suffer because of natural disaster, what are we to do? We are to pray to the only One who can help and plead for mercy. And in our praying we are to repent of our sin against Him--"our" sin, not "theirs"--recognizing that something eternally more devastating than a drought awaits all those who continue to turn away from God.

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