We go a long way to make people comfortable at church – heating, padded seats, ample room, proper sound equipment, kids and nursery programs so parents can be distraction free, seeker sensitive, guest friendly, Covid Proactive measures, and so on. But sometimes we make it too comfortable for things that may be culturally unhealthy. After all, the joke is my job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted. There is a lot in that we ignore to our dismay.
This past week, I dug in to the life of James. Jesus’ bro, skeptic turned servant, author of the earliest NT epistle, leader of the church in Jerusalem for decades after the resurrection, real name – Jacob (a whole other discussion) and more. I examined his prayer life, his passion for people, his heart for the hurting and the vulnerable, and love for the lost. And I did a little extra time in Acts 15 for his role in one of the earliest conflicts in the church – where pharisees and others were putting obstacles to God’s grace, demanding circumcision as a requirement for salvation. Interestingly, this was also the passage referred to by JD Greear in his challenge to the Executive Committee (EC) of the SBC …
(we are) to “repudiate” a pharisaical spirit and unite for the sake of the Gospel.JD Greear
And through his challenge to the EC, he hit current issues the SBC is facing, one of which is our struggle with racism and addressing it head on as a grace issue. The quote that still rings loudly in my head is …
… we should mourn when closet racists and neo-Confederates feel more at home in our churches than do many of our people of colorJD Greear
Ouch. Double ouch. Have I been any way making people feel comfortable when I shouldn’t have?
We do not water down doctrine, we do not compromise the gospel … but we do need to reform to a stronger Gospel culture. For … “Gospel doctrine and Gospel mission without Gospel culture is sterile, weak and even, according to Scripture, deadly…” Are we more concerned with preserving our ways or God’s ways? Are we putting obstacles in the path of people that need the gospel?
May we use this moment in time to put the Gospel Above All. May it be a teachable moment for our convention, our churches, and our members –
We ought not make it hard for Democrats to come to Jesus. We shouldn’t make it hard for Republicans to come to Jesus. Or Blacks. Or Latinos. Or northerners. Or southerners.JD Greear
At the end of the day … our Gospel is too precious and our mission is too urgent to let anything stand in our way.
That’s what I want. What about you?
For the Baptist Press release on this challenge, and a link to watch the full “presidential challenge” … click here
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