Why Your Faith Is Secure, Part 1:
Salvation is of God, Not of Us
From time to time, many Christians struggle with the issue of the assurance of their salvation. Often these doubts arise out of a sense of unworthiness when the believer becomes aware of stubborn sins in their own lives that hinder their fellowship with God. Some other denominations teach that even true believers can lose their salvation. Does the Bible teach that once we are genuinely saved, that we are saved forever? Or can we lose our salvation?
Southern Baptists have always believed in what is known variously as the security of the believer, the perseverance of the saints, or “once saved, always saved.” Each of these three names brings out a different aspect of the doctrine. Article V of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 words our Baptist belief in assurance of salvation in this way:
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Why do Baptists believe in the security of the believer? What biblical reasons do you have to feel a firm assurance in your salvation? This is the first in a series of articles that will examine biblical reasons for affirming the doctrine of security of the believer. The first argument I will make is that the Bible teaches we cannot lose our salvation because it is not ours to lose.
Dr. Bailey has been the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, since 1989. He formerly served as Professor of Old Testament at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary from 1978 to 1995. He has authored five books: Step by Step through the Old Testament; Biblical Hebrew Grammar; Joshua: Courage for the Future; As You Go: Biblical Foundation for Evangelism; and (with Kenneth Barker) Micah, Nahum, Habbakuk, and Zephaniah in the New American Commentary. He is the current President of the Louisiana Baptist Convention
Jermey Lin has the fastest selling NBA jersey. During the NFL season Tim Tebow had the first or second fastest selling jersey for NFL players. What is it that makes them so popular?
Maybe, it’s the rags to riches story. Actually, it’s hard to think of it that way. After all, Tim Tebow won a Heisman trophy and Jeremy Lin led the Harvard Crimson to their best record ever. At the same time, no one really predicted stardom for either. The experts said that Tebow would never be an NFL quarterback. Lin wasn’t even drafted, but here they are taking losing teams toward winning records.
Maybe it’s the fact the experts didn’t give either any chance at making it. Maybe we do all like the story of an underdog.
Or, maybe it’s something else.
Maybe it’s the fact that both are leaders who make the people around them better. Maybe they elevate the play of all their teammates. Maybe they are simply people that others want to follow.
Of, maybe it’s something different entirely. Maybe it’s the faith that is so evident in Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin. Maybe the American people really want heroes they can point their children to. Rather than being ashamed of the Gospel, maybe the American people are looking for believers who are not ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16). Maybe for this reason more than another, the American people have made both of these young men real heroes and cultural icons–icons of the best kind.
And, maybe, just maybe, our neighbors want to see the same from us. Could it be that they want genuine and credible Christianity? Could it be they are looking for us to live out our faith on the playing fields of our neighborhoods and workplaces?
What can you do to make your faith real and credible?
Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Waylonbailey.com. It is used here by permission of the author.
Pastor Search Committee 101
Part 3: Help! I’m a New Pastor and Don’t Know How to Deal With Search Committees
By Joe McKeever, Preacher, Cartoonist, Pastor, and retired Director of Missions at the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans.
This is the third article of a three part series that deals with pastor’s search committees. The previous articles are:
Part 1: What That Pastor Search Committee is Looking For
Part 2: The Pastor and Wife are Visiting a New Church; What to Look For
As far as I know, no college or seminary has a course in how preachers are to deal with search committees. It’s a skill you acquire by trial and error. “Mostly trial,” I can hear someone say.
Recently, on this website, we’ve been addressing this subject. We talked about what the search committee looks for when they show up in your congregation on Sunday and then, prompted by a pastor’s wife, what the pastor is looking at when visiting that church “in view of a call.”
A friend mentioned to me something we’ve never addressed: What about a beginning preacher—not necessary a youngster—who is about to become a pastor? He finds himself sitting across from that search committee for the first time with a hundred questions eating at him. How does a beginning preacher deal with a search committee?
Since the world has changed in the nearly half-century when I sat in that boat, I asked my friend (David) to jot down specific questions. (Did he ever! He sent an even dozen. He’s serious about this!)
So, here, in the order in which David posed the questions, are my responses—such as they are—regarding a beginning pastor squaring off against a search committee (athletic, competitive terminology tongue-in-cheek).
The Administrative Subcommittee of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention unanimously recommended to the Executive Committee today that the recommendations of the SBC Name Change Task Force (that the name “Southern Baptist Convention” be retained, but the alternate name of “Great Commission Baptists” be allowed for churches who prefer to use that nomenclature). The “Great Commission Baptists” name is not being proposed as a legal “doing business as” status, but as a secondary alternative name. The chairman of this subcommittee had been one of the most outspoken opponents of the proposed name change in the October meeting, but felt that this proposal was a good compromise. The proposal was approved by a strong majority of the full Executive Committee this afternoon, and will be presented to the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans this June.
What Makes Small Churches Great Churches:
Part 1: Truth
Small churches are not great simply because of their numerical limitations, no more than large churches are great because of the number of heads in the pews. One can attend a church of any size that is unhealthy and detrimental to the cause of Christ. The purpose of this series of articles is to recognize that small churches that average under 100 in worship attendance still play a vital role in the advancement of the kingdom of God and have an important role in our convention. In my opinion these roles are often neglected and/or minimized by those who report our news because the headline “100 Decisions for Jesus” reads better than “Gospel Presented, One Says Yes.”
I must tell you that as I begin this series, the articles arise from my preaching series to my local church. In many ways, 2011 marked our greatest year as a church. We sent a couple to Peru on a mission trip that saw over 1,000 commitments to Christ, sent thirty-one people (out of an average of 65) on a mission trip to Arkansas, sent two men to disaster areas in Kansas and North Dakota, actively took up various items for a Burmese congregation in our area, had members teaching Bible studies in a drug rehab facility, conducted blood drives at our church, and conducted a science camp that was the best church children’s camp I’ve ever been a part. Still, as we approached the end of 2011, a pessimistic spirit began to emerge in the hallways of our church. Why? Because even though we had the greatest outreach and evangelistic impact in our church’s history, we didn’t see the visible results in our weekly worship attendance and offerings. In fact, our attendance declined, and we had to reduce our budget for the third year in a row.