Monday, July 4, 2022

A Pastor's Ponderings: (July 2022) Dr. Doug Stauffer, Journalist

   A Pastor's Ponderings: Revisiting July 4th 1776

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
July 2022--Article 22 (2022-07-022)

Like many other Floridians, I love the great state of Florida, surpassed only by my love for our country. America has a long and distinguished history that patriotic Americans revisit every Independence Day, celebrating with family, friends, feasts, and fireworks. We must examine our past to understand the biblical justification for America's independence.

Motivated by shocking ideologies, the acceptance of historical revisionism is on the rise at an alarming rate. We need to educate and reeducate the populace to ensure that we keep our freedoms. Patriots must explore creative ways to help others rediscover the foundational truths of America. I choose the most untapped resource for finding the answers—God’s word.

The Bible best explains the justification of America's independence from its tyrannical king. Yet, some teachers use the Bible to teach that rebelling against a government is never justified by its subjects. According to them, the government’s subjects are to "be subject" and never "resist the power."

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God…” (Romans 13:1-2a).

Were the founding fathers rebelling against God when they sought to rebel against the injustices of the king of England? Some teach that citizens of a country are to subject themselves to all institutions of government. They are to subject themselves regardless of their leaders' usurpation of authority and violation of God-given rights. Yet, as the passage continues, God's word provides the context and the clarity.  

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good” (Romans 13:3-4).

The passage's context says that God-ordained governments and rulers are against evil and supporters of good. Every God-ordained government is the "minister of God." For what purpose? FOR GOOD! So, when any government ceases to fulfill these parameters, the constituents are not required to be subject to these higher powers. Notice that these "ministers of God" not only praise good works but also use the force of law to punish evil.

“But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 13:4b).

In the passage, the Bible twice defines God-ordained governments as the "minister of God"! As such, these ministers of God reward good and punish evil. With these truths in mind, the context of subjecting oneself to the government becomes crystal clear. Constituents are not required to subject themselves to governments that fall outside the parameters of a God-given government. Therefore, the thirteen colonies ceased to be under obligation to subject themselves to King George III in 1776.

What happens when governments do just the opposite: punish good and reward evil? Their subjects are under no obligation to subject themselves to such unjust usurpations. What happens when a government ceases to be the "minister of God"? It ceases to be God-ordained and frees its subjects from obligation. In 1776, these were the historical realities on this continent. This is the justification for America's rebellion in 1776! Learn it; teach it; proclaim it!

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Saturday, July 2, 2022

A Pastor's Ponderings: (June 2022) Dr. Doug Stauffer, Journalist

  A Pastor's Ponderings: The Fundamentals of Fathers, Fathering and Fatherhood

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
June 2022--Article 21 (2022-06-021)

Father’s Day ALERT: June 19th. Mother’s Day, in its formative years, garnered much more enthusiasm and support than the establishment of Father’s Day. Understandably so! In the early 1900s, fathers felt the celebration was questionable because fathers were generally footing the bill for their sentimental holiday. Florists certainly had no reason to support a day for fathers.

Many Americans wanted to respect mothers and fathers on the same day, calling it “Parent’s Day.” The Great Depression and World War II derailed those efforts, so mothers and fathers have separate days of recognition. Like most holidays, commercialization took over, with retailers now netting over $15 billion a year—capitalism at its best!

Society needs fathers to assume their God-given roles enthusiastically. When a man becomes a father, responsibilities exponentially multiply. Here are some fundamentals for good fathering:

1. Function as a man—society (especially Hollywood) has been increasingly undermining manhood and manliness. Act manly without any misogynist tendencies;

2. Be a man honored to carry that Y chromosome that conspicuously differentiates between the sexes;

3. Take responsibility as a man; “I was wrong” and “I am sorry” are two precious phrases children should hear from their fathers;

4. Think like a man (the Bible says it is a sin to act effeminate—1 Corinthians 6:9);

5. Work like a man (no reflection on how women work; some women outperform men with drive, dedication and grit). Working like a man means never shying away from breaking a sweat or getting your hands dirty.

6. Lead by example; it is never wise to teach your children “do as I say, and not as I do.” Hypocrisy destroys credibility, and integrity forms an unbreakable bond. Children need to know that their fathers are trustworthy.

Fathers should teach their sons simple things like opening a door for a woman. This act has nothing to do with being a male chauvinist. My parents taught me that this courtesy reflects honor and respect for the opposite sex, whom we should highly esteem.

Societal influences (and Hollywood characterizations) seem poised to undermine fatherhood. Yet, one who is not a good man can never be a good father. Thank God we have good men, yet we can always use a few more!

Happy Father’s Day to every dad! An additional thank you to all the outstanding fatherly examples. Let’s extend the wishes from all dads to include: granddads, great granddads, step-dads, adoptive dads, foster dads, dads-to-be, dads in heaven and all the males in our lives who care for us and unconditionally love us. Dads are priceless, and we should always love them dearly. (Remember, mothers, no exclusion intended—you had your day last month).

We were just blessed to have my father visit for a week. The day after he flew back to Pennsylvania, he fell and broke his hip. One day later, he had a partial hip replacement and was transferred to rehab. Be sure to appreciate the time you spend with your father; time has a way of sneaking up on us. Happy Father’s Day!

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Friday, July 1, 2022

Celebrating the Greatest Generation: 80 Raiders 80 Years Later (June 2022) Dr. Doug Stauffer, Journalist

Celebrating the Greatest Generation: 80 Raiders 80 Years Later 

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
June 2022--Article 21 (2022-06-021)

On April 18, 2022, Okaloosa County was privileged to host history in the making. Almost 2,000 of us were blessed to say, "I was there to witness this historic event." This date marked the 80th Anniversary of the World War II Doolittle Raiders bombing of Tokyo. Eighty men launched the first retaliatory strike against Japan's unprovoked attack upon America eighty years ago.

Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle (later a Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army Air Forces and the U.S. Air Force Reserve) led the raid on Tokyo. The USS Hornet launched sixteen B-25B Mitchell medium-range bombers, each carrying a crew of five men. They bombed Tokyo on April 18, 1942.

The raid was the first on Japanese soil, four months after their attack on December 7, 1941, when three hundred Japanese aircraft destroyed the Navy's Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. The Doolittle Raid on the Japanese capital boosted American morale and exposed Japan's vulnerability from the air. Although the damage to Tokyo was minimal, many historians credit the raid as the critical factor in the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway—often cited as the turning point in the Pacific.

Since April 1947, a ceremonial "roll call" has honored the eighty Doolittle Raiders. Ted Cocoran with the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce and Dr. Devin Stephenson of Northwest Florida State College (Home of the Raiders) hosted the "Final Doolittle Raiders Goblet" ceremony. It marked the passing of Doolittle Raider, Col. (ret.) Richard E. "Dick" Cole. This event also celebrated the Air Force's 75th Anniversary by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

Ted Corcoran's heart seems to skip a beat at the mention of the Doolittle Raiders. Talking with him is like conversing with a Doolittle historian and cheerleader. One of Ted's many insights: "My awakening to the significance of the Raiders started in 2006. Since then, I have come to love the Raiders as a group and individually on a personal level. I am proud that the Chamber was able to bring the Raiders to this area in 2008, 2013, and finally in 2022. It is important to me to educate the community concerning their history by bringing the knowledge of the Raiders to the forefront. I am thrilled to have played my part in getting them to be relevant again in this area after being overlooked for far too long."

Okaloosa County and the Raiders. The Doolittle Raiders trained at Eglin field in 1942. Although the Army/Air Force had just formed in 1941, AFSOC considers the Doolittle raid the first special operations mission. The Raiders held their 15th reunion here in 1957, and they returned in 1968 for their 26th reunion. They then vanished off our radars until Ed Horton (crew 10) moved to Ft. Walton Beach. In the late 1990s, the local newspaper mentioned that Ed's wife had passed away, thus preventing him from attending future reunions.

Wes Fields, a gunner at Hurlbert Field and an auxiliary sheriff's deputy, read the newspaper article. He volunteered to transport Ed to future reunions. The Raiders honored Wes by making him director of Raider security. In 2006, Wes introduced Ed Horton to Ted Corcoran, who soon realized the significance of that encounter. Ted watched his relationship with the Raiders bud and blossom after attending the 2007 and 2008 Raider reunions.

In 2008, only eight of the 80 raiders remained, so the Chamber created a special event called "The Homecoming" on May 29-31, 2008. The Homecoming became the reintroduction and re-engagement of the Raiders with the Okaloosa County community. In 2013, Ft. Walton Beach would host the final reunion, and the five remaining Raiders attended.

The Goblets. For the annual reunion on April 18, 1959, the city of Tucson created 80 silver Goblets. The goblets bore the Raider names printed upright and upside down. At each reunion, the living Raiders toasted their fallen brethren. After a Raider passed, his goblet was inverted. A final toast with the last three Raiders took place in November 2013.

Two years later, Congress bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal upon the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders "for outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States in conducting their bombings of Tokyo." The last living Raider, Colonel (ret.) Dick Cole died on April 9, 2019, at 103 years old! He was co-pilot of the lead plane with Colonel Doolittle. Covid delayed the Final Goblet Ceremony for several years, with the Ft. Walton Beach Chamber chosen to host the Final Goblet Ceremony.

The Ceremony. The featured attendees at the Final Goblet Ceremony included the family of Col. Dick Cole along with the other Doolittle Raider families. The historic ceremony was honored by the presence of the Air Force's top brass: Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall III; Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.; Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command; and Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of AETC. Secretary Kendall said of the Doolittle Raiders, "Like many of the greatest generation, they saw it as their duty and accepted it without any regret."

In recognition of the Air Force's 75th Anniversary, sixteen local active-duty and distinguished veterans were honored to represent the legacy of each Doolittle crew and the contributions of fellow Airmen to the rich history of the United States Air Force.  

Lt. Col. (ret.) Rich Cole, son of Col. Richard E. "Dick" Cole, performed the ritual of turning over his father's goblet—the final goblet to be inverted. He shared the family's statement, "The Cole family is deeply honored and appreciative of the Okaloosa County Community hosting the Goblet Ceremony for our Dad .... We are thankful to celebrate this moment in the city where it all began." The National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio permanently displays the Goblets.

Later that evening, thousands of onlookers witnessed the historic beach flyover celebrating this momentous occasion. The aerial review took place over Okaloosa Island, featuring 30 vintage and current U.S. Air Force aircraft like the following: a B-25 Mitchell bomber, a B-52 Stratofortress, an F-22 Raptor, an F-35 Lightning Stealth Fighter, a C-130 Hercules Transport, a CV-22 Osprey, a B1 Lancer Bomber, 2 F-15s and two Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Lt. Col. Cole piloted the lead plane.

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