Bart Barber

Whether in the context of a local church or of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bart believes in transparency and accountability for people who are in leadership. Trust God and tell the people. With that ideal in mind, he has prepared this page as a single repository of answers to the questions that people have asked about his life and his beliefs.

This list may grow or change as needed to provide clarity.

Questions about Bart's Vision for the SBC
  • Why are you allowing yourself to be nominated for SBC President?

    I came to the end of my stubbornness.

    Many friends, and even a lot of people I didn't know, were asking me to consider serving in this way. They believed that our convention needed a peacemaker with a gentle spirit to take up the gavel at this moment. They wanted it to be someone who embodied the theologically conservative views of our churches while also living out the fruit of the Spirit and fostering cooperation among our various congregations.

    Although I believe that our convention is full of other people who could fulfill that vision just as well, a season of prayer led me to the conclusion that I should give myself over to this task.

  • What is your vision for the SBC if you are elected president?

    The vision for the SBC has already been set by the messengers. We exist "to elicit, combine, and direct the energies" of Southern Baptist churches in cooperation with one another to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation; to plant healthy, reproducing Baptist churches across North America and across the world; to advocate for biblical truth; and to provide the best theological education and ministry training in the world for our pastors, ministry staff, and missionaries.

    I believe that the Southern Baptist Convention is healthier when we follow the consistent, long-term vision set by the messenger body than when a new vision arises every year or two as we elect new officers.

    My vision, then, is to fix our focus not on "my vision" but on our vision.

  • What is the president's role in the Southern Baptist Convention?

    The structure of the Southern Baptist Convention that we have established in our governing documents is one of decentralized power. The major responsibility of the president is to protect the rights of the messenger body.

    The president protects the rights of the messenger body by conducting the meeting fairly and according to our rules of order. The person holding that gavel on the platform is there not to advance an agenda but to receive one. Our rules or order balance each individual messenger's right to make motions, address the assembled body, and ask questions on the one hand against the body's collective rights to limit debate, end debate, and make decisions by ballot on the other hand. In my years of attending as a messenger, I've witnessed a time or two when presiding officers seemed to have specific desired outcomes in mind as they conducted the meeting. I believe that this is inappropriate, and that the president, although he has opinions just as any messenger does, must discharge his duties impartially.

    The president also protects the rights of the messenger body by appointing a few key committees. His appointments should reflect the expressed sentiments of the messenger body for the governance of our entities. For example, our messengers have adopted a statement of faith ( The Baptist Faith & Message, last revised in the year 2000), and the president should appoint to committees those who affirm our statement of faith. Our messengers have adopted and affirmed a funding mechanism for our cooperative ministries ( The Cooperative Program ), and the president should appoint to committees people who are supportive of our cooperative work.

    Even in this role, power is decentralized in our convention. For example, although the president can appoint a Committee on Resolutions, that committee cannot pass a single word without the approval of the messengers. Although the president can appoint a Committee on Committees and influence the selection of trustees to govern our entities, his appointment is three steps removed from the actual appointment of any trustee, and no trustee can be appointed apart from the final vote of the messenger body.

    The president serves as a member of the SBC Executive Committee. The function of the Executive Committee is to protect the messengers' rights, answer the messengers' questions, and implement the messengers' decisions. In his service on the Executive Committee, the president should serve as an advocate for the expressed will of the messengers and should promote their interests.

  • What is the meaning of the hashtag #ArmyOfPeacemakers that you use?

    Conflict is as certain to occur among groups of sinful people as infection is certain to occur for people living in a world full of germs and diseases. God's plan for the spiritual body is the same as His plan for the physical body. He has designed peacemakers to be the immune system of the churches. They help brothers and sisters in conflict to find common ground and unity in the teachings of the scriptures. They help the churches to identify divisive people and to take away their influence among the brethren.

    I believe that the Southern Baptist Convention contains tens of thousands of people who are suited for and willing to undertake that task to protect our partnership for the gospel. I believe that sometimes our rhetoric has become so inflamed and the tactics of some among us have become so worldly and threatening that the peacemakers are intimidated into silence—the immune system has been suppressed. I want to embolden our army of peacemakers to step forward and bring us back together.

    I stared in disbelief and laughed out loud when, while performing research for my dissertation, I discovered that way back in 1902, when the Arkansas Baptist State Convention faced a looming split, they appointed a "Peace Committee." It was such a startling discovery for me because I had lived through the time when in 1987 the Southern Baptist Convention had convened a "Peace Committee" during the Conservative Resurgence. Neither effort achieved its goals.

    Peace in churches is generally not made at the top by a handful of people, I believe. It is made at the grassroots among friends, not at the denominational level by adversaries. It trickles up rather than trickling down. I want to inspire those grassroots peacemakers to safeguard the work of our convention to pursue the Great Commission together.

Theological Questions
  • What do you think about slavery?

    I am proud of the evangelical vision for the abolition of slavery that, starting with Christians like Lyman Beecher, Henry Ward Beecher, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, ended racial chattel slavery in the United States. I am thankful that slavery has been abolished. I am an abolitionist.

    This subject appears in my FAQs because Jared Moore, I guess attempting some sort of hamfisted "October Surprise," has drawn attention to a set of articles that I published way back in 2014 at SBC Voices.

    Those articles were "Why We Find It Difficult to Talk About Slavery," "The Bible & Slavery," "I'd Rather Be Abraham's Slave Elizer Than…", and "Why the Slavery Question Is Important. Please. Be my guest. Read them.

    I wrote those things back in 2014. Since then, I've taught through the Book of Exodus, and I think I can more succinctly explain my overall views by reference to that book. Some people—especially Liberation Theologians—tend to describe the story of the Exodus as one of being delivered from slavery and oppression into freedom by the hand of God. But you'll have a hard time supporting that theory from the actual text of Exodus. In the words of the book, you'll find this instead:

    Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord, "Let my people go, that they may serve Me."'"

    Repeatedly in the Exodus, the theme of the story is given to us. The people are removed from servitude to Pharaoh that they may be transferred into the servitude of Yahweh. The message of the Bible is that no one is fit to be your master other than Jesus, and that it is inevitable that you will be the slave, the servant, of someone or something.

    This is still God's message in Christianity. No one can become a Christian apart from declaring that Jesus is his or her LORD. Jesus is the Master of every Christian. We are His servants, and the New Testament is so replete with this language that we could not possibly cite every instance in this article.

    So, it is for THAT reason—to commend to us our servitude to God—that the Bible is not an abolitionist document with regard to slavery. The Bible does, however, serve so well to help us see that no man other than God is fit to be a master, as does any look at the history of human slavery. Even in commending to us the example of Abraham and Eliezer above, I closed the article by pointing out Abraham's shameful behavior toward Hagar. The best slaveholder proves unfit to fill the role of master.

    Libertarianism and Liberation Theology fail because they posit an anthropology in which human beings are capable of some joyful self-determining freedom. Christianity tells us that the only true freedom is found in kneeling before Jesus Christ and pledging to Him our unending, uncompromising servitude.

  • In the broadest of terms, how would you describe your theology?

    I am a conservative Southern Baptist. I affirm the inerrancy and the sufficiency of scripture. I fit in the taxonomy that describes most Southern Baptists.

    • I affirm the basic tenets of Christian orthodoxy as expressed in the early creeds of the church regarding the Trinity, Christology, etc.
    • I affirm the solas of the Reformation.
    • I affirm the four basic tenets of Evangelicalism.
      1. Biblicism: I am a biblical inerrantist. I affirm the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.
      2. Crucicentrism: I believe that the work of Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection constitues both the central event of the Bible and the central event of all history.
      3. Conversionism: I believe that all people are lost in their sins and condemned to spend eternity in Hell as recipients of God's wrath unless and until they experience conversion.
      4. Activism: I believe that every Christian from the moment of conversion is called to live his or her life in the service of the Great Commission.
    • I affirm the distinctive beliefs of Baptists, including:
      1. Believer's Baptism by Immersion
      2. A Visible, Gathered, Regenerate, Local Church
      3. Local Church Autonomy
      4. The Priesthood of All Believers
      5. Congregational Church Government
      6. Universal Religious Liberty
    • I affirm the beliefs and emphases that differentiate Southern Baptists from other Baptists. I believe that it is proper for churches to organize and cooperate with one another to send missionaries. I believe that the Cooperative Program harnesses the power of cooperation between churches without doing any violence to the autonomy of the local churches.
  • What is your soteriological position?

    I am not a Calvinist, but I believe that Southern Baptists can cooperate fruitfully with one another and can enjoy fellowship and partnership in the gospel without agreeing on every point of soteriology. Of course we can! We've been doing it for decades!

    Specifically, I do not affirm Limited Atonement. If you want to know why, you could read David Allen's book on the extent of the atonement. The only problem with that plan is that by the time you were finished the election in June would be over. Instead, maybe the simplest answer is to say that I struggle to reconcile Limited Atonement with 1 John 2:2.

    Also, when I read God's impassioned statements about His desire for all people to be saved, such as in 1 Timothy 2:4, those words introduce a tension, in my estimation, with some of the systematic conclusions of Calvinism.

    For the most part, I believe that Calvinism arises out of a strong biblical case. I really do! But taking into account the whole counsel of God, specifically with regard to the items I have mentioend here, I am just not quite able to affirm Calvinism.

    I believe that no one can come to salvation apart from the gracious work of God to draw them. I believe that no one, having experienced conversion, can ever lose his salvation.

    I am not belligerent about my soteriological views because, hey, aren't we all standing here in awe of a mystery that we cannot quite comprehend? And if not, what's wrong with us? And so, in the final analysis, if Charles Wesley can author hymns that Calvinists can appreciate and sing, why can't Southern Baptists, Calvinistic and otherwise, worship and work together through our convention?

  • What do you believe about gender roles?

    I am a complementarian. The Baptist Faith & Message articulates a complementarian view of the home and of the office of pastor. I affirm these truths and would further clarify that churches may have more than one pastor, and that where they do, anyone holding pastoral office in the church ought to be male.

    The New Testament articulates complementarianism not only with regard to biblical offices but also with regard to certain functions within the church. We have struggled as Southern Baptists to incorporate this functional aspect within the text of our statement of faith, I think, because of the challenges that surround translating the biblical functions to activities in our modern churches. What is prophecy (in which both women and men participated in the New Testament)? What is preaching? What is teaching? Which of these is occurring behind the pulpit on Sunday morning?

    For my part, and for the part of FBC Farmersville, we consider the exposition of scripture to the congregation gathered for worship to be a function limited to men as qualified by scripture.

    I have tried to be the kind of complementarian who is unashamed to articulate my complementarian views but who is not boorish and misogynistic. Complementarianism is not inherently boorish. It is not inherently misogynistic. It is not inherently abusive. And yet some complementarians are boorish, misogynistic, and abusive (along with a healthy sample of egalitarians, too). I've engaged in a number of online debates on social media in which I have tenaciously defended complementarianism as I see it. Many of the people who took the other side in those debates (either to defend a looser complementarianism or to defend egalitarianism) have endorsed my candidacy for SBC president. Why? They say it is because I actually listen to what they are saying, weigh it fairly, interact with them respectfully, and demonstrate Christian love in dialogue with people who disagree with me.

  • What is your eschatological view?

    I am a futurist. I am a premillennial dispensationalist. I'm not much of a charts and timelines guy, though. I think the most important message of the eschatological texts of the Bible is that Christ wins and therefore we should have tenacity to serve Him even in difficult times and should have boldness in sharing the gospel to warn people about the coming judgment. ] I prefer approaches that emphasize not the unclear, disputed curiosities of the Apocalypse and related texts but rather the clear, pointed themes of those passages. Watch. Be ready. Persevere until the end.

Current SBC Issues
  • Why are conversations in the SBC so toxic right now?

    Secular politics are setting both the tone and the subject matter of many of our most hotly debated issues in the Southern Baptist Convention right now. During the Conservative Resurgence, we contested with one another over the inspiration and truthfulness of the Bible. These days we argue with one another about questions that are not in the same ballpark.

    The tactics employed in the secular political world ought not to be found among followers of Christ.

    James Leo Garrett, one of my seminary professors, used to say that until you have stated your opponent's belief so accurately that he himself says, "Yes, that's what I believe," you aren't ready even to begin to debate one another. But the tactics of slanderous accusation used in the Southern Baptist Convention these days often evidence absolutely no interest in truth or fairness.

    Want proof? Check out the Rogue's Gallery below.

    We must do better, and we must shun those who refuse to do better. We must do this not for the sake of the Southern Baptist Convention nor for one "side" to prevail over the other. We must do this because failing to do so dishonors Christ.

  • What about Critical Race Theory?

    I have no expertise about CRT, but I have devoted some time to studying it. I have also conducted some non-scientific polling about it. Here is what I have come to believe.

    1. No agreed-upon definition of CRT exists within the Southern Baptist Convention, nor do I anticipate that one will soon emerge. A standard definition would be necessary in order to have any meaningful discussion about CRT, but developing one does not seem to be much of a priority for some reason.
    2. Critical Race Theory as a discipline in the study of Law generally asserts that standard Western concepts of justice ("classical liberalism"), which have been strongly influenced by Judeo-Christian ideas about justice found in the Bible, are insufficient to provide just outcomes to people of historically oppressed races because of the ingenuity of systemic ways to ensure racist outcomes even in overtly race-neutral legal environemnts.

      As a biblical inerrantist, I am committed to biblical ideals of justice (such as those found in Leviticus 19:15, which was a part of the text in this recent sermon at FBC Farmersville. For this reason, I reject Critical Race Theory.

      But here's where the lack of a definition is so troublesome. If by opposing Critical Race Theory you mean that any effort to work toward greater inclusion of multiple races in the Southern Baptist Convention or any effort to work toward greater harmony among multiple races in the Southern Baptist Convention is suspect, then we part ways at that point.

      Churches in the United States, regardless of their racial makeup, if they agree with the theological truths articulated in The Baptist Faith & Message, should be welcomed within our family of churches. We ought to work toward the goal of having our elective offices, appointments, and employed positions be reflective of the diversity of our convention. That is not Critical Race Theory; it's just loving one another with brotherly affection and preferring one another in honor.

    3. The people in the Southern Baptist Convention who affirm Critical Race Theory are very few, and even they do not believe what some of the critics of Critical Race Theory accuse them of believing.

      Which suggests that, although Critical Race Theory might be an urgent matter to address at your local university or through your preferred political party, it is far from being an urgent issue to address in your church or in the Southern Baptist Convention.

  • What are your thoughts about sermon plagiarism?

    If you're preaching, I'd encourage you to follow this advice.

    1. Make sure every word you say in your sermon is the truth.
    2. Make sure that you and your congregation have a set of clear expectations about what kind of work you will be doing in your sermon preparation, and be sure to meet those expectations.
    3. Study hard in preparing your sermons, giving them the attention and effort that God deserves.
    4. In line with your own abilities, it is best to compose sermons that contain as much original content from you as is feasible (and not heretical).
    5. Comply with the law, including copyright law and other laws protecting intellectual property.
    6. If you do those things, I really don't care how much you cite your sources. Honestly, I think it can be a distraction during the actual delivery of the sermon. Failing to provide citation for even a single source (e.g., "That illustration was from a Fox News report about the war in Ukraine.") is plagiarism if you omit that citation in an academic paper. A sermon is not an academic paper and a church is not a university. Imposing academic rules for citation in sermons is just silly. I love Turabian, but it is not scripture.
    7. I'm not "accusing" anyone of anything when I point out the indisputable fact that sources are used in the Bible itself without attribution. It's not an accusation because there's absolutely not a thing wrong with it. Luke tells us that he consulted "those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word" when we wrote his gospel, but he never ends a story by saying, "Mary told me that." Both Jude and 2 Peter appear to be quoting Enoch, but without attribution. Also, those two books use very similar language to one another without either citing the other.

      Footnotes did not exist then!

      Neither did our modern, sometimes-postitively-strange ideas about "intellectual property." People have clutched their pearls about my pointing this out, but here's what not one single person has done—refuted these facts about use of sources without attribution in the New Testament. That ought to tell you something.

    I thought people wanted to have a discussion about whether every source you use in a sermon must be cited during the sermon (because they said they wanted to have a conversation about plagiarism), but as it turned out, people on social media just wanted to talk about Ed Litton.

    The conversation about the use of sources in sermons, however, affects a lot more than just one man. It is easy for people living in this moment in time and in the United States to assume that everyone has access to commentaries (so many of those are available in English!), several translations of the Bible (or even a single Bible translation in your language), Internet resources, advanced theological education, and a lifetime of having listened to good preaching. But some people have none of those things, yet they still need preaching and teaching in their churches. At least at first, they're going to repeat some of what they've heard missionaries or other experienced Christian teachers say. The same is probably true for a lot of people's first sermons here in the USA, especially if they start as young as some of us do. I don't think there's anything sinful with that, even if I think you ought to grow past it.

    So, to sum up, I think what the (inerrant and sufficient) scriptures give us is the list I gave above (don't lie, don't defraud your church, don't violate the law, don't be lazy) without any guidance about citation of sources. Thankfully, that standard is easily met by a preacher in Farmersville, Texas, in 2022 or a preacher in Mali in 1922 alike.

    I know everyone is hopping mad about this subject, but I'd encourage you to read what I've written here with an open mind and heart. And if you're trying to discern from this what sort of SBC president I would be, here's what I think you ought to take away from it: I'd be the sort of SBC president who, before he throws out a hot take about a politically-charged subject, thinks about what it means in a missionary context, in the context of someone in his first, bivocational pastorate before he has completed any seminary education, etc—not just about what it means in my situation. Personally, I think that's a strength.

  • What is your position on abortion?

    I am pro-life. Life begins at conception. From conception to natural death, life is to be protected. I celebrate the impending reversal of Roe v Wade. In the post-Roe USA, I pray that we will all work together to abolish abortion in all 50 states.

    The pro-life movement has done all that was possible under American law to save babies from the Holocaust of abortion. Heartbeat laws, fetal pain laws, laws requiring abortion clinics to meet the certification requirements of ambulatory care clinics—all of these pro-life measures have reduced the number of abortions.

    A new movement has arisen that has called itself the "abortion abolition movement" (as though all pro-life advocates weren't in favor of the abolition of abortion). This movement and the pro-life movement share equally a desire to see the absolute end of abortion. They equally regard life as sacred from the moment of conception until natural death. They equally believe that abortion is murder.

    But these two movements (the pro-life movement and the abortion abolition movement) differ at several points:

    1. "Abortion Abolitionists" generally oppose exceptions in law to save the life of the mother.
    2. "Abortion Abolitionists" oppose "incrementalism," which is their label for all of the heartbeat laws, fetal pain laws, clinic-certification laws, fetal viability laws, etc., that I mentioned above. That is to say, the "abortion abolitionists" oppose the pro-life movement. They do so explicitly by name. The charge the "Pro Life Establishment" with being responsible for all of the abortion deaths that have taken place while the pro-life movement has been working. Sometimes members of this movement allege that the pro-life movement has all along furtively wanted to keep abortion going so that they could continue to raise money. This is a terrible, slanderous lie and a slap in the face to everyone who has worked tirelessly in the pro-life movement.
    3. "Abortion Abolitionists" insist upon criminal prosecution of mothers in abortion. The pro-life movement insists upon criminal prosecution of abortionists in cases of abortion.
    4. "Abortion Abolitionists" insist that states invoke nullification, that they declare that they will not follow federal law or Supreme Court rulings regarding abortion, in effect daring the federal government to force compliance at the state level.

    I am decidedly committed to the pro-life movement, and I am decidedly not a member of the "abortion abolition" movement. Here are a few reasons.

    First, I am not an "abortion abolitionist" because I appreciate the pro-life movement and all that it has accomplished. I will not dishonor the work of the pro-life movement by calling it sinful. God is about to set aside Roe v Wade as a result of a pro-life law passed in Mississippi. The "abortion abolitionists" opposed the Mississippi law and all laws like it. I support these pro-life laws and rejoice at what they are about to accomplish.

    Second, I am not an "abortion abolitionist" because I believe fervently that the law must explicitly acknowledge an exception allowing for abortion in cases like ectopic pregnancies when the life of the mother is in jeopardy and an abortion is necessary to save her life. Those who are opposed to any exceptions for fear that they might be exploited ought to consider that the Old Testament law against murder did not prevent God from also providing exceptions (consider Exodus 22:2-3, for example).

    Third, I am not an "abortion abolitionist" because I believe that nullification is a bad idea. It's a bad idea for the nation in general. It's a bad idea for the cause of abolishing abortion! The end of Roe v Wade will only send the question of abortion down to the states. The best hope for a coast-to-coast abolition of abortion is a federal personhood amendment or a federal law abolishing abortion. If the strategy of nullification is successful (and if it doesn't provoke a civil war), what's to prevent Massachusetts and California from just ignoring any such federal law?

    Fourth, I am not an "abortion abolitionist" because I believe that the best legal approach is to prosecute abortion providers for abortions. This has been the repeated statement of the Southern Baptist Convention, including in their declining to amend a resolution just last year when "abortion abolitionists" tried to insert language calling for the prosecution of women.

    Every time an abortion happens in a clinic, an abortionist is guilty of what ought to be a crime. It is the abortionist who actually performs the killing act. Prosecuting abortionists will almost entirely eliminate surgical abortion.

    Sometimes abortion is also an act in which a woman has been guilty of what ought to be a crime. But this is not always the case. Someone has performed the abortion, and that's always the abortionist. Someone has paid the abortionist (murder for hire), and that is sometimes the pregnant woman, but not always. Some people have been complicit in the abortion (nurses, administrators, etc.), and sometimes that also is the woman, but not always.

    Sometimes sex traffickers and pimps bring in abducted minors and pay for them to receive abortions. These girls didn't consent to the sex that got them pregnant and didn't consent to the abortions to kill their babies.

    I'm talking about situations like this.

    The women most likely to have been coerced (abuse victims, abducted teens) are the women least likely to be able to afford to mount an affirmative defense of coersion against murder charges.

    Also, although state law in states like Texas have held abortion to be illegal all along since 1973, it is important that people not be prosecuted for crimes that they committed while the government was telling them that their actions were perfectly legal. We oppose ex post facto laws, whether de facto or de jure.

    I say we prosecute abortion providers and see how far that goes toward abolishing abortion. Killing a preborn child is the taking of a human life. It is murder. Anyone who sought for an abortion to be done or is complicit in accomplishing an abortion is guilty of what ought to be a crime. But the right thing to do is to prosecute abortion providers.

    Finally, it is ironic that the closer the "incrementalist" pro-life movement comes to actually accomplishing the abolition of abortion, the more strident abortion abolitionist voices become. One would think that our differences would be decreasing and that our level of division would decrease as we get closer to our shared goal.

Rogue's Gallery of Wild Accusations

It is regrettable and sinful that the selection of officers for the Southern Baptist Convention has become tainted by the same tactics of accusation and deception that lost people employ in our nation's secular political system. For those who know him at all, some of the questions Bart is answering below will be laughable, but it is nevertheless important to provide answers for people who are seeking truth.

  • Are you, in fact, a totalitarian who hates democracy?

    Winston Churchill once said "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried."

    Imagine if someone took the first half of that quote, cut off the last half, and then published it to claim that Winston Churchill hated democracy. Would that be fair? When you discovered ALL of what Churchill had said, would you have some questions about whether the people who misquoted him were actually interested in Churchill's true beliefs about democracy? You'd probably conclude that they were trying to deceive people to score political points, wouldn't you?

    Well, I tried to do something similar to what Churchill did in a tweet thread during the pandemic. In fact, I quoted Churchill at the end of the thread. But that didn't stop Todd Starnes from doing exactly the scenario I sketched out above—he lifted one tweet out of the thread and painted me out to be some sort of pro-totalitarian person. Michael O'Fallon later did the same thing. Those tweets have been removed, but not before a lot of people took them as gospel truth.

  • Are you some sort of a "papist" or ecumenicalist?

    While visiting a church member in the hospital, I encountered a dying women and her family. I prayed with her family, tried to share the gospel, and offered to minister to them. They told me that they were Catholic and that they couldn't find a priest. They kindly rejected my offer to serve them. So, I tweeted out the request.

    Being a Baptist, I of course have profound differences with the theology of the Roman Catholic Church. I am one of the least ecumenical people you know, so much so that you might consider it a fault of mine. It's just that I'm also looking for opportunities to share the gospel by opening doors through kindness.

    If you think I should have refused that request, then I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. My manner of considerately offering the gospel and prayer to people without being a jerk has, on the whole, created opportunities for me to share the gospel, such as the time when atheists invited me to preach their son's funeral. He had run out across I-30 in front of my car. On the side of the highway, I encountered his father and asked to pray with him. "I don't pray," he said, telling me that he was an atheist. I responded not with an apologetics lecture but with sympathy for his son's death. Eventually, he consented to let me pray for the both of us there on the side of the road. Later I wrote this blog post . In response, the family asked me to preach the funeral, at which I was able to present the gospel to hundreds of teenagers and families in attendance, as well as to the boy's family. So, I believe that living in the fruit of the Spirit opens doors to share the gospel, and if that means doing something like I did for a dying woman's family, I'm willing to do it.