By Dr. Mark Creech
Christian Action League
May 2, 2017
Like everyone, I was shocked to learn of veteran state political reporter Mark Binker’s sudden and unexpected death on Saturday. He was only 43 years old.
Though not intimately, I’ve known Mark his entire 12 years covering the legislative beat.
Mark was excellent in his craft and always moving forward. He started out at the NC Press room working for the Greensboro News and Record, then moved on to report for WRAL in Raleigh, and last he served as Editor for the N.C. Insider, a state government newsletter owned by the Raleigh N&O.
My first experience with Mark was when he was covering a story for the Greensboro News and Record about an alcohol measure. He sat down at a table across from me in a foyer between legislative offices for the interview. He had heard the other side’s point of view, and with what seemed to be skepticism written on his face about the Christian Action League’s position, he said with a tone of bewilderment, “Reverend, would you clarify for me why you have a problem with this bill?” As I proceeded to explain, he started to ask additional questions, and then another, and another. There was, obviously, a dogged determination to really get the facts. He said to me at the end of the interview, “Okay, that makes a lot of sense, after all.” Shaking his head affirmatively he said, “I get it.”
When Mark’s story came out it was a fair and accurate report. It wasn’t uncommon for me during those days to be misrepresented as that Prohibitionist Preacher determined to keep everyone from getting a drink. (Sometimes it still happens. Yet the CAL’s concern in the public-policy arena is about minimizing harms.) Mark will never know how much it meant to me that he didn’t marginalize me in that way. I felt he wrote about our position with the legitimacy it deserved.
My experience was characteristic, I think, of many that Mark covered.
There are a few Scriptures I think of when I contemplate Mark Binker’s life.
Mark had an impeccable reputation as a professional among his colleagues and friends.
The Bible says, “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to the house mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart (Ecclesiastes 7:1, 2).
I think of his precious wife and two boys left behind. Blessed is the wife whose husband renders her due benevolence (I Corinthians 7:3). The Scriptures also say, “Children are fortunate if they have a father who is honest and does what is right (Proverbs. 20:7). Both wife and boys were blessed in this manner.
Finally, I think it’s only proper to add that there is a ministry to us in any sudden death.
Mark was plucked away while in the prime and bloom of life. Such presents us with solemn warnings of life’s fragility, of our own impotency, frailty, and destructibleness. It awakens within us life’s most meaningful questions whcih demand answers. What’s the meaning and value of life? Is life worth living? Is God really mindful of us, or are we the prey of mere happenstance, of blind fate? How can we find the light out of this gloom?
I believe that all of these questions are answered in a person – the person of Jesus Christ – the Messiah and Redeemer of mankind. The Gospel speaks to each of these questions without ambiguity.
I commend to you the One who said, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18).
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, your love, and mercy are broader than the measure of a man’s mind; Your heart is wonderfully kind. We ask you to comfort those who grieve, everyone touched by the life of the deceased – especially his family. Grant that we should remember the good his life demonstrated.
Yet we would be mindful, O Lord, that it is not by good works that we are saved, but by your abundant grace in our Savior and his finished work on our behalf. For your tender affections, unmerited benefits, faithful generosity to us, which none can ever merit, we are humbly grateful. We can but trust in your unspeakable love demonstrated to us in the Cross of Christ, and upon Him alone we look for our many sins to be forgiven, tragedy to be turned to triumph, even death ultimately to bow in defeat to the Resurrection. Amen.