A post from a friend of mine:
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Today is probably a lot of people’s birthday — my middle daughter’s, for
example. But I want to recognize two men who have played a significant role
in American history, both of whom were professing Christians: Robert E. Lee
and Martin Luther King, Jr.
On January 19, 1807, Robert E. Lee was born in Westmoreland County,
On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia.
Both men were great Americans who sought to follow the Scriptures as they
understood them, and confessed loyalty to Jesus Christ. Neither one was
perfect — not in life, nor in doctrine. The only hope either one had of
heaven was in the mercy of God in Jesus Christ.
I was indirectly named for General Lee, being named for my maternal
grandfather, Robert Lee Benn, who in turn was named for Robert E. Lee. Dr.
Benn was born in Clarke County, Virginia, in 1866, four years before General
Lee died. This was long before I was born, so, of course, I never attended
General Lee’s funeral, but I did attend the funeral of Dr. King in Atlanta
back in 1968. It was an event that I will always cherish.
I just got back from a prayer breakfast honoring Dr. King, and I plan to
march in our city’s parade a couple of hours from now, just as I have done
for many years. Many times I have been the only white minister to do so,
but, hopefully, I’ll be surprised once again this year by a couple of others
who will join the roughly one hundred African-American Evangelical ministers
who walk in remembrance of the man to whom they look in the same way most
white folks look to George Washington.
The keynote speaker at the prayer breakfast was Dr. Herbert Dickerson, Area
Director of Missions for the Louisiana Baptist Convention (Southern
Baptist). He spoke about the influence of Dr. King on his life. Dr.
Dickerson said that there were three key emphases in the life and preaching
of Dr. King.
I. The Image of God: every person bears the image of God, and therefore we
should respect the dignity of every human being.
II. The Authority and Sovereignty of God: It was confidence in the
absolute sovereignty of God that gave Dr. King his courage. ‘God is the
only one who can say, “I am.” He’s here to stay; he’s not dead; I’m not
afraid.’ “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the
III. The Power of Loving Service: Dr. King preached at the funeral of
those four black children whose only crime was going to Sunday School. He
preached from the Sermon on the Mount and reaffirmed the power of love to
overcome hate. Dr. King was fond of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
The priest and Levite, upon seeing the wounded man along the road to
Jericho, asked: “What will happen to me if I help this man?”
But the Samaritan asked: “What will happen to this man if I don’t help him?”
May God bless you on this day.
Cordially in Christ,
“I believe a kind God has ordered all things for our good” Robert E. Lee,
December 4, 1863
Robert Benn Vincent, Sr.
Grace Presbyterian Church
4900 Jackson Street
Alexandria, Louisiana 71303-2509