Brasher Letter

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 29, 2010

Minister defends his position on disconnect between faith and practice

Over the last several weeks, I’ve received a great deal of feedback concerning the article that  appeared in the Jan. 5 Panolian (“‘Most religious state’ overlooks disconnect between belief and practice, minister states”).

In the article, I mentioned there seemed to be a disconnect between our faith and practice. Many of you have asked privately for clarification, and I would like to respond to those queries.

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First, some of you have posed the question: how could we, in Mississippi, lead the nation in per capita charitable giving, and subsequently, have this “disconnect” between faith and practice?

This is a reasonable question. I would argue that more people give more out of a sense of guilt and duty than out of a true measure of faith and love. To be honest, it is quite innocuous to write a check or make a pledge, which, regardless of motive, is a wonderful thing to do, but writing a check in your lounge chair is far different than giving your time, talent and money.

Giving self and wealth puts you in the midst of the real battle, where you transcend from a back seat driver to the person steering the wheel. To me, this is the paramount transition of what it means to be an authentic Christian.

As stated in my previous writ, salvation is more than being rescued from hell, which I firmly believe exists, but salvation is also a means of taking your spiritual freedom and applying it to the world around you.

A case in point is the tragedy of Haiti. Now, some ministers, like Reverend Pat Robertson, quickly declared that this was God’s punishment for the people of Haiti due to their pagan ways. And yet, any insipid and imprudent person could say the same thing about any disaster.

As I said in my first article, hypocrisy and self-righteousness is hard to overcome, especially when so many people have personal revelations from God that flatly contradict Scripture. Personally, I would rather take my chances with the direction that emanates from Scripture than from someone who claims to be a modern prophet from God.

Sadly, in the Deep South, we often have more “prophets” than individuals with a sense of spiritual discernment.

Again, I return to my initial article concerning my statement on emotionalism. A few readers asked me personally my opinion on worship and the role of emotions. Without some praise and emotion, worship is dead – period. Yet, a shout for the sake of a shout is only heard by men and not from God. By the way, such fraudulent outbursts only edify the individual and deceive the church as a whole.

Finally, instruction is needed in the church to combat the social and spiritual ills that plague our state. Bible stories retold in Sunday school and rehashed from the pulpit are inadequate. The Bible should be declared with boldness, literally verse by verse, and followed by principle and application that has stood the test of time with untold thousands, in this area, bearing the witness of that change.


Dr. Andrew Brasher
Cornerstone Baptist Church