WHAT ABOUT THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION?
I hear from more voices a growing disquiet concerning the direction of the SBC. Among those who had already expressed concern, those voices are growing louder. But, on the other hand, none have told me they are more pleased with our institutions and agencies.
Here are a few thoughts rooted in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, which says, "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love."
I call you to vigilance. "Watch," the Apostle commands. To me, this is more than seeing, but having the capacity to see through the surface matters and see beyond the immediate issues. This is why Scripture commands us to watch and pray. It is easy to have a kneejerk reaction to an emotionally charged decision. Vigilance prevents rash and impulsive reactions.
I urge you to steadfastness. "Stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong." Let us be a people of conviction, unwavering in holding to the fundamentals of the faith as we "Stand fast in the faith"; let us be people of courage, unyielding in principles of conduct--"be brave"; let us be people of commitment, unrelenting in devotion to sound doctrine and moral clarity--"be strong."
I charge you to love. "Let all you do be done with love." Conviction must be balanced with compassion, or it becomes harsh. Compassion must stand with conviction, or it becomes spineless.
In conclusion, I am not ready to jump ship. I am watching to see where the SBC ship is sailing, however. Time will tell. Denominations that begin to drift may eventually end in shipwreck of faith. I will continue to stand up and speak up when needed. If there are concerns, I will express them. Yet, as I speak the truth, I pray it will be with love. Be cautious about what social media proclaims, certain bloggers declare, and so forth. Look to the Scriptures and listen to the Spirit as He guides you.
One of our pastors shared that he was on the losing side of every vote. As I watched the events unfold, had I been there, I would have likely experienced the same disappointment. Yet, there was one overarching matter that stirred me to thank God for the SBC. Significant numbers of missionaries were appointed--many of whom you could not see their faces or know the places where they are going. They are taking the Gospel to unreached people! I am grateful to support them with my prayers and giving.
Yours in Service to Christ,
Dennis Thurman, AMS