On October 11th,
2007, The Christian Post reported the following in an article titled,"
Southern Baptist Head Expresses Concern Over Negative Image:
president Frank Page is speaking to fellow Baptists across the
country with a resolve to pull together a denomination that has
been wracked with divisions.
Page is scheduled
to open the Florida Baptist State Convention's annual meeting in
November, when Baptists hope to talk about what unites rather than
Isn't that like
cancer patients meeting at the hospital to celebrate their collective
weight loss rather than get treatment for what's killing them? What
shall we do - buddy-up and hug our way to good health? How does this
differ from Joel Osteen's gumball gospel?
"There are forces at work today to try to divide and
distract Baptists from our primary mission. We cannot allow
methodological differences, generational gaps, or stylistic
preferences to divide us," said state convention president Willy Rice,
according to Florida Baptist Witness. "We need each other and we truly
are better when we are together."
The theme of the Nov.
12-13 meeting is "We Are Better Together."
Baptists really better together? And just what is "our primary
mission" anyway, peace and unity? Is that why Jesus came?
"Suppose ye that I
am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather
division..." - Luke 12:51
You see, the real
"distraction" here is the false claim that Baptists are being divided
by "methodological differences, generational gaps" and "stylistic
preferences." This tired old argument has been coming from the bowels
of the Southern Baptist Convention for years - mostly from trained
facilitators who have made careers out of exploiting biblical
ignorance and spinning the scriptures to promote goodwill rather than
In spite of their
claims, in most cases, it is not style or preference that is causing
this deep-seated conflict - but rather conviction - meaning it is the
Word of God that is dividing Baptists. That is the "Sword" Jesus was
referring to in Matthew 10:34 when He said: "I came not to send
peace, but a sword."
differences away in pursuit of consensus only compromises conviction
for camaraderie - creating a corrupted collective conscience that is
guided by the glossy dreams and silky schemes of ambitious men - not
"For my thoughts
are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher
than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah
Southern Baptist Convention is quickly becoming a simonized rattletrap
that is careening off the narrow way of scriptural obedience toward
the "wide gate" and "broad way" of groupthink - a junked-filled jalopy
that is forsaking the humble paths of righteousness for the highways
and byways of peer-pressure and pragmatism - preaching Results &
Relationships at every turn instead of repentance and faith in Jesus
Christ - "having a form of godliness, but denying the power
thereof." (2nd Timothy 3:5)
Shall we acknowledge
our brokenness and seek repair or just apply more lubricant to keep
the noise down? Are we justified by His Grace or by our grease?
The Lord's call to
sinners, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," has
been reduced to: "Jesus loves you and so do we."
But when did the
apostles ever preach that? And how many of them were martyred for
delivering such a message?
That alone should
tell Baptists that something has gone awry with this thing called
"church" - and that indeed is what it has become - a thing - a
lifeless form that is worshipped and served for the glory and
gratification of those who made it what it is today. Yes, an idol…with
a gospel message all its own.
"But though we, or
an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which
we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." - Galatians 1:8
The article goes on
Speaking at the
annual meeting of the Tulsa Metro Association of Baptist Churches,
Page acknowledged factions within the Southern Baptist Convention
who aren't even talking to each other.
"The groups that
are so deeply divided within our convention ... have made little
effort to come together," said Page, according to Tulsa World. "And
those divisions are so deep that some of the groups will not even
talk to each other. And that greatly disturbs me and gives me great
caution about our future."
fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion
hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or
what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" - 2nd
And then there was
this presidential proclamation:
Southern Baptists do not have the greatest image, Page indicated.
"There's a lot of
negativity out there toward religious groups, and certainly toward
our group, because we've apparently come across as very legalistic
and mean-spirited, and I think that's sometimes accurate, because
sometimes we've acted that way," said Page, according to the local
Fascinating - The
wheels are coming off the SBC and its leader is more concerned with
what it looks like than what it is - or rather, what it isn't.
Maybe we Baptists
should just put our Bibles away and hire an image consultant. They're
experts at putting earrings on orangutans.
If you want to see
where this is headed, one need only look at another article The
Christian Post published that same day titled, Evangelicals,
Progressives Seek to End Culture Wars, where CP reporter Michelle Vu
had this to say:
The line dividing
evangelicals from progressives blurred Wednesday as members from
both parties joined in a new mission to erase long-held
stereotypes of one another and seek commonality on polarizing
issues such as abortion, gay rights, and the role of religion in
Both sides agreed
the "civil war" between evangelicals and progressives needs to end
and common ground pursued in order for the nation to make
significant progress on divisive issues.
Could these be a few
of those "methodological differences, generational gaps" and
"stylistic preferences" Florida's State Convention president was
referring to earlier or do they just serve to get the devilish dialog
going between opposing forces and everyone onboard the Consensus
Express to common ground?
"And he said
unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God
knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is
abomination in the sight of God." - Luke
Paul Proctor, a
rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the
country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to
dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a
distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular
columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of
scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and
current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and
opinion sites across the internet and in print.
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