I thought this title describes how I feel currently in my Southern Baptist journey. I hold to the inerrancy of the Bible and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I hold to 99% percent of the Baptist Faith and Message. The 1% is because I don’t think a believer has to be baptized before they can take the Lord’s Supper. I have served as pastor of four Baptist churches and hope to serve one again. While I don’t believe God is a Southern Baptist, I believe God is looking for those that will follow Him and Southern Baptists fall into that category.
My concern is that I feel a small group of Southern Baptists are trying to move our convention and our churches into a form of Baptist legalism. The debates are more focused on how we keep people out of our churches then on how to bring people into them. The debates are church centered and not Christ centered. Finally we are personality driven and success minded instead of based on the Lordship of Christ. We are in trouble when the stand we take is based on whether it will build or hurt our career. We are in equal trouble when we take a stand because we want to join the power players. We need to look towards Christ again and hear afresh His call to, “Follow Me!”
There is a small group of pastors that have sounded the alarm against this first group of Baptist legalists. The problem is most of them are hurt or bitter to the point that all they share is venom. They want to bring change, but without love, the change they want won’t solve our problem. Our problem is that we have forgotten in our churches what it means to be a believer in the Lord Jesus. We have replaced our passion for programs. We have replaced commitment to Christ with attendance in church. We have replaced transformation with conformity. We have replaced Christ with the church. As Southern Baptist we need to return to the truth that all we have and all we need is in Jesus Christ.
I feel caught in the middle. Maybe this can start a call for other believers to come and find themselves caught in the middle. The middle path is a road of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, a road of prayer for unity, and a road of faith as we may stand alone because all we have is Christ. Let me encourage you who are caught in the middle with two quotes I heard. The first quote is “I can be conservative and Christian at the same time.” The second quote is, “I once was asked which side I’m on. I said the working side. The person was confused so I explained myself. There are about 10% of the people on both sides that only want to cause trouble. I’m part of the 80% who are doing the work of the Kingdom.” Remember the call to the middle is the call to “Follow Him.”