I’ve been intentionally spending less time on social media lately and not just for the usual reasons. Sure, I want to focus more on family, reading, and such. But in the past few months I’ve been grown more and more tired of seeing foolish things arise from Southern Baptist circles. From the all-too-intense jockeying for position to have a certain candidate elected president at this year’s convention to the crazy, inappropriate comments about abuse and physical appearance (and ensuing poor response to those comments in an ‘apology’) from Paige Patterson). . . It's tiring. Right now it makes me sad to be a Southern Baptist. It makes me want to apologize. And I wonder how many Redeemer folks might feel the same way. I wonder how many have skimmed through the Washington Post article posted today and thrown up their hands in disgust like I did.
So why stay? Why align with the Southern Baptist Convention and its’ member churches? Why endure the past few months of justifiably bad reputation from scandal and schism?
Because despite the issues, the majority of SBC churches are committed to our mission of making disciples. They're churches that are aligned with the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and committed to proclaiming the gospel. The majority of SBC churches are faithful, quiet, Jesus-honoring churches where the vulnerable are protected and abuse is appropriately brought to justice. The vast majority don’t make the headlines. The crazies and the one-offs make the headlines. Most of our like-minded SBC churches hold fast to the gospel and partner together with one another through the Cooperative Program to make Christ known where he has not yet been known.
So when we hear about silly things going on at nearby churches or on the national news about some other silly Southern Baptist, feel free to apologize to your neighbor and tell them that we’re not like that. That denominational leader doesn’t speak for us, and we pray that he repents and does a better job owning his sin.
If they ask why we would bother to remain in partnership with the SBC, tell them about the work of the International Mission Board in a closed country supporting a hard-working missionary family laying down their lives to see muslims trust Christ. Our church could never support them alone. They would have to leave the mission field, travel to raise support, set up their gofundme page, and beg friends and family. Instead, they get to focus on proclaiming Christ because we partner with like-minded Baptist Faith and Message 2000 embracing brothers and sisters in the gospel to support them. That partnership is worth it. It is worth having the occasional crazy uncle making a scene at Thanksgiving to partner globally with Southern Baptists for the cause of Christ.
Redeemer family: if we have to apologize and draw distinctions to help our neighbor see that they don’t speak for us, so be it. It's worth it because of the fantastic global gospel work of the IMB, the strong support of church planting at NAMB, the theological education of our seminaries, and so forth. But don't be shy to tell your neighbor that you disagree with statements or actions of denominational leaders and that they don't speak for us.
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