Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Welcome, Molly Bishop Elliff!

By on October 22, 2010

Molly Bishop Elliff, the fifth daughter of our son Jon, and his wife Becky, is officially two days old. Within the next twenty-four hours she will move from Queens Hospital, Honolulu, HI, to her new home in Makakilo. Molly, like her previously introduced cousin, Evie Grace (born to our daughter Sarah, and her husband, Greg, in Thailand) is an absolutely gorgeous grand-daughter. That one-two punch over the past few months gives the girls the lead, 13-12, on our team of twenty-five grandchildren. We just praise the Lord for His goodness in giving us more grandchildren to pray for and love.

It is worth enduring children in order to get grandchildren. And to be quite frank, their beauty and enthusiasm is proof that our parental DNA could survive the genetic sieve of our children to live on in yet another generation. But as beautiful as Molly may be, there is something ugly and sinister lurking within her personality, and I’m afraid that her parents and grandparents are to blame. In spite of her striking beauty and exuberant personality, Molly has inherited a nature of sin.

Molly will not have to be taught to sin. She will not one day commit a sin, and thus develop a sinful nature. She will commit sin as evidence that, like every descendant of Adam, she was born with a sinful nature. The apostle Paul reminds us “there is none righteous, no, not even one” (Rom 3:10). Paul is echoing the sentiments of Isaiah, who wrote, “All we, like sheep, have gone astray” (Is 53:6).

Its difficult to look at a small child, cradled in the arms of her mother, and reflect on the fact that she possesses a sin nature. We recoil at the very thought of it. Time will prove that out, however. Thankfully, looming larger than the reality of human sin is God’s grace.

Molly Bishop’s life will be a platform upon which our great and sovereign Lord will display His perfect righteousness. Because of this, it has been our constant prayer, even before her birth, that as Molly matures, she will one day see herself as a sinner and Christ as God’s great and only remedy for man’s sin. “He (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so the we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21). “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit…” (1 Pt 3:18).

When convicted by the Holy Spirit of her own sin, our prayer is that Molly will repent of her sin and trust in Christ as her Savior. Then, having been forgiven because of Christ’s death on the cross, Molly can experience salvation because of the resurrected life of Christ. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10).

John Newton is well known for his early life of profligacy, his remarkable conversion to Christ, and his many years as a hymn-writer and pastor . Such hymns as “Amazing Grace,” and “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,” are but two of almost three hundred hymns composed by Newton. Hours before his death on December 21, 1807, his friend, William Jay, stood beside the bed of the eighty-three year old preacher. Newton struggled to collect his thoughts, then spoke with great difficulty. “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things — that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.”

So are we all, Molly Bishop Elliff.

Yet, so is He!

Your Grandfather loves you! And I’m praying your life will remain a bright display of God’s love for us all.

Rejoice evermore!

Tom Elliff

2 Tim 1:12