Skip to main content

Update on What Happened at the ABSC

Weblog: Emil Turner | Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Weblog: Emil Turner

Heroism

I have met a few heroes. Selflessness sets them apart. Most of them, when explaining their heroic action say something to the effect of “I did not think about it, I just did it”. And all of us who know them thank God for them.

Meet Kirby Martin. While I have always appreciated him, and liked him, I now know that he is a hero. Kirby has served the Arkansas Baptist State Convention for more than fifteen years. As building superintendent he takes care of our physical plant, supervises our print room, reception area, and telephone system. Those of us who work with him have profited from his “going the extra mile” by helping us with home repair projects, automobile problems, airport pickups, and a host of other things that he does without complaint. Kirby is a hero.

On August 13, Timothy Dale Johnson shot and killed a state political leader seven blocks from our offices. Johnson then drove to our building, reloaded one of his guns, and for reasons unknown to us, began to walk our halls with gun in hand. None of our staff knew he had already shot and killed someone, but several recognized him as distraught and offered assistance. When our receptionist noticed Johnson, she called Kirby, using a special code to indicate there was an emergency. Kirby came to our lobby as Johnson went into a stairwell on his way to our second floor. There they came face to face and Johnson put a gun to Kirby’s head and cocked it. Kirby then turned his back on Johnson, went to the receptionist, and instructed her to call 911. Johnson continued upstairs and began to walk our halls, again with gun in hand.

By acting instinctively, and by calling the police Kirby had already proven to be a hero. But it was not enough. Knowing that Johnson was upstairs, that he had a gun, and that he had already been threatened by Johnson, Kirby went back upstairs to confront Johnson again. Meeting him near the elevator, Kirby opened the door and motioned Johnson to join him in the elevator. They rode down the elevator together and Kirby ushered Johnson from the building. As police began to arrive, Kirby directed them to Johnson and his escape route. What followed was a lengthy chase and Johnson’s death in a shootout.

We are grieved by the death of Johnson’s victim, and his own death. Families and communities are brokenhearted by these events. But we are awed by Kirby Martin’s selflessness. The first encounter with Johnson was no doubt instinctual. But the second was calculated self sacrifice. Kirby placed himself at risk, knowing the probable consequences, and acted to protect the rest of us. Arkansas Baptists are served by a hero. Pray for our staff, for Kirby, for the grieving families and join us in thanking God that He spared us.

“Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends”. John 15:13


turner_emil.jpg Emil Turner serves as executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons and two grandsons. Turner enjoys fishing and hunting in his spare time.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Sermon Recap for October 14

Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://eebcar.libsyn.com/rssThe video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=publicSermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/SermonsThanks!