I truly had a fantastic time at the Southern Baptist Convention I attended in Baltimore recently. There is nothing quite like getting together with 6,000 or so of your best friends. We, as Southern Baptists, are blessed beyond measure to be part of an organization which stands firmly on the ground of the inerrancy of Scripture. Many godly men worked hard to make that a reality for us. We owe them a debt of gratitude. The SBC is the only mainline denomination to have come back from the morass of theological liberalism to biblical fidelity. That said, our convention was blissfully quiet this year. There was almost zero controversy; at least, among ourselves. The same, however, could not be said of how we were perceived by those outside our group.
I have spent some time this morning perusing news articles and blog postings related to last week’s meeting, just to get a sense of what the outside media had to say. Opposition research is not always a lot of fun, but it can be a necessary step to take. I believe it behooves us to know what is being said about us in the rest of the world. As ever, our stance endorsing biblical patterns of sexuality is under attack by those on the other side of the debate. Just days before the convention was to meet, news broke across the internet from New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California regarding their new-found acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, based upon their pastor’s recent conversion to that position. Many of you may not recall this, but it is not the first time a church affiliated with the SBC has taken that position. In 1992, the SBC withdrew fellowship from two churches in North Carolina who adopted this perversion. The SBC also moved to withdraw fellowship from a church in Fort Worth in 2009 for the same reason. The machine that is the SBC is not designed to turn on a dime, and was not prepared to address the situation in California, but I believe we can be expected to act when the time is right.
Additionally, our resolutions committee presented us with a resolution dealing with the question of so-called transgendered people. One news article I read earlier accused us of throwing “transgendered” people under the bus. The acidic vitriol and acerbic hate directed toward people who believe the Bible far exceeds what many of those from the other side of this argument accuse us of expressing.
Here’s the truth. The Word of God clearly defines sin. The definition is not up for debate, and it’s not up for a vote. It is not popularly decided upon. It is as immutable as it’s Author. We have not been called to condemn homosexual people for their sin. Neither have we been called to condemn drug users, drunks, racists, or adulterers. Jesus told the Pharisee Nicodemus that those who did not believe were condemned already, specifically because they did not believe! What we have been called to do is tell lost sinners that they are lost sinners, and that there is One who can save them from their sin! Being convicted of distinct, explicit, and overt sin is a necessary prerequisite to salvation. And each and every one of us stands guilty before God. Whether our personal and particular sin is homosexuality, drug abuse, drunkenness, racism, or adultery is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it is only through the perfectly completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross that any of us has any hope of deliverance from our personal and particular sin.
The world around us does not understand this. The world around us will not understand this. The world around us cannot understand this! Don’t expect to be appreciated for upholding a godly standard–we have a problem with that inside the church! In Romans 3:3-4 the Apostle Paul declares, “Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.” For those who will uphold that godly standard found in the Bible, there will come a day when the Judge of all the earth will overturn the rulings of every earthly court found to be in opposition to His will. Men can claim to rewrite the definitions of sin, but God will not be mocked.
One thing we must remember in this struggle: Our fight is not against other people! Our war is a spiritual one. The imperative is upon us to take the message of a God who loved enough to die to those who are enslaved. Those enslaved will serve their master. They have no choice in the matter. But, never forget who the enemy is!