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NAMB’s Reccord voices ‘heavy heart’ in joining call for Clinton resignation

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) – North American Mission Board President Bob Reccord devoted his entire report to agency trustees Oct. 7 to the “national moral crisis” currently consuming Washington, offering advice and counsel to trustees and other Southern Baptists interested in understanding the issues and forming a personal response.
“I come to you as a board of trustees and as a staff team with an incredibly heavy heart,” he said at the beginning of his impassioned address, which closed the trustees’ regular meeting. “I have been on my knees regularly. I’ve wept alone, and I’ve wept with our staff. My heart is significantly burdened for our nation and the crisis in which I believe we stand.”
Reccord said he has joined the chorus of Christian leaders asking President Clinton to consider leaving office.
“It is with a sad and heavy heart I say to you that I personally believe the president should question staying in office,” Reccord told agency trustees and staff, stressing that he spoke for no one but himself. “Regardless of the possible outcomes of a potential impeachment process, I believe his vacating of the office is both morally and logically based.”
Before his remarks, trustees at their scheduled meeting adopted a 1999 budget of $123.03 million, an increase of 7.18 percent over the 1998 budget.
Trustees also appointed 17 new missionaries and learned of the endorsement of 101 chaplains. Leaders noted that the number of individuals considered for missionary service in North America continues to rise, with more candidates interviewed in the first nine months of 1998 than during all of 1997. The total number of NAMB-endorsed chaplains also topped 3,000 for the first time, with 3,093 currently serving around the world.
In suggesting Clinton should leave office, Reccord cited the president’s “tragically and dangerously compromised” authority through his lies and deceit; the need to focus on restoring his family; the “debilitating effect” his actions are having on a younger generation; and the fact that as commander in chief he has “commended behavior for which any officer under his command would face judicatory action and, if guilty, be relieved of duty.”
Reccord said he had spoken with several leaders who had morally compromised, and each said uninterrupted leadership was impossible.
“Without exception, they said to me that when, in key leadership roles, they had to step away for a period in order to put their life, family and direction back together,” he said. “Assuming that experience bears this truth out, I believe that our president should take into serious reflection this ultimate and prime calling he has, which is not to the office he holds. It is to the family he heads.”
Reccord said the present-day United States is, in many ways, like the Israel of Scripture, which also was blessed by God. “Unfortunately, Israel came to believe that their calling from God was more to be a blessed nation than a nation on mission,” he said. “We in America have come incorrectly to believe that our main function is to be the recipient of God’s overwhelming blessing and have forgotten the mission on which this nation was founded.
“This nation was founded by those searching for religious freedom from intolerant persecution and as a place that could forward the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. How far we have fallen.”
He also said that like Israel, government in the United States was founded on principles of morality, integrity, authenticity and dependability.
“The very essence of a republic is that its people are willing as citizens to make judgments about what matters and about what is right and wrong,” Reccord said. “It is that willingness to address issues of right and wrong that bring either good or vile as the ultimate result.”
Reccord also said the “collapse of moral leadership and authority” in the president prompted him to examine God’s principles for leading a nation as found in Scripture. “Ethical and righteous leadership is built on two foundational cornerstones: integrity and trust,” he said.
In light of that scriptural basis, Reccord said he has urged agency employees and “all those we touch” to pray for the president, his family, his cabinet and the nation as a whole.
“As our country grapples for its bearings and for a moral compass, it is our prayer that Mr. Clinton will be restored with the qualities of integrity and trust in his relationship with our sovereign God, with his own family and to those who are close to his life.”
Reccord also suggested the church is not entirely blameless. “While it is easy to point a finger at Washington and blame it for our moral crisis, I believe we must realize that there are at least three fingers pointing back at the church for allowing it to get to this point,” he said.
He encouraged Christians to voice their own viewpoints on the matter in letters to the president and congressmen. Additionally, he urged continued prayer as critical decisions are made in Washington.
“We as Christians, friends, should be on our knees and touch with our heavenly Father on a consistent basis during these tumultuous days. … We must pray that God in his grace will spare us of deserved punishment and judgment at this critical crossroads in our land.”

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  • James Dotson