It is a tough time out there. No matter which way you turn, people are going to have a problem with your decisions. Now, I have pretty thick skin, so this isn’t a whine session – so go ahead and put your cheese back in the fridge (whine & cheese … get it? Never mind)
Yesterday, at church, we had communion. We still use those peel back, disposable, sanitary individual units. Some say communion needs to go back to the way it was … pre-covid. Others say we need more restrictions. We take too long. We need more time. We talk too much or not enough. We all do agree on one thing … the taste of the juice and bread we use is not very good.
But this is not about communion. I want to talk of a deeper issue – being Baptist in the first place. Specifically, I am referring to being Southern Baptist (SBC).
If you are on Twitter or almost any other social media platform, you might think being part of the SBC is like being part of the Anti-Christ’s administration. We don’t treat women right. We don’t care about justice. We are declining and are has-beens. We are way too white. We have the terrible “Southern” in our name.
Now, we have our problems. Everyone has problems. And if you want to talk about problems, there are many places for that. And I know God works through many churches, SBC and not SBC, lots of not SBC.
But I want to talk about positive aspects of the SBC – and yes, there are some really great reasons to why I am part of the SBC.
Missions … Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, state missions and so many ways people can pray for, give to, and get involved in missions – taking the good news to the far edges of the world and right around the corner. And it is not just preachers and church planting … there are medical missions, refugee care in the Ukraine fiasco, disaster relief, prenatal care and women’s care, and so much more. Billions spent on missions. Thousands engaged through the support of the tens of thousands churches.
Education … I am proud of my seminary training. Some Godly scholars and professors. Some are the top of their specific field. I studied under such of Curtis Vaughan, William Estep, John Sailhamer, Mark Rooker, Jan Kiweit, Russ Bush. And all I can say is, “Thank You.” I went to Dallas Baptist University and Southeastern and Southwestern Seminary. I was in five degree programs. And if nothing else, I got a grounding and a love for the Word.
We Work Together … We work together for missions. All races, all genders. City folk, Country farmers, and all in between. Calvinist and Arminian in theology – all working together for missions.
The Gospel… We may come from a variety of backgrounds, but we all agree we are sinners in need of grace. And the Gospel is a message of hope and grace for all.
We Believe the Bible … We had an internal battle for it. The battle was real. And we came down on the side of God’s Word. Oh, we may disagree on what parts of it mean, but we always go back to the Word.
Like America, we ain’t perfect. But we are the best country out there. And the SBC, we ain’t perfect, but we truly want to be used by God and I don’t think anyone does it better than as we do it together.
There are other reasons too. But these give a great introduction. Maybe if we stopped tearing each other down and started building each other up – we can do even more for the Lord.
What can you do today?
Marshal Ausberry, president of the National African American Fellowship of the SBC puts it this way …
As part of the Convention I have seven actions that may help all of us as we move forward together. Let us:
- Pray for the further advancement of the Gospel;
- Pray for our SBC leaders and entity leaders;
- Give thanks to God for how far He has brought the SBC;
- Refuse to attack our brothers and sisters through social media;
- Look for opportunities to share and resolve our issues within the SBC family;
- Do all we can do for the sake of the unity in the Body; and
- Understand that we are better together than by ourselves.
I will. Will you?