Baptists? Methodists? Presbyterians? Charismatics?
Something that I’ve been observing for quite some time now, and especially here lately, is that a lot of people, who belong to Baptist Churches, could join a Church of another denomination and couldn’t tell any difference. I can’t tell you of the people that I have heard say things like…”Well, there’s not that much difference between us Baptists and the Methodists, right?” Inside of me, I’m screaming, “Yes! Yes! How could you even begin to think that?” I’ve heard people make the comment that there’s really not that much difference between us and the Assembly of God Church, or the Presbyterians. And, in my sinking heart, I’m thinking, “What? How could you be a member of a Baptist Church for so long of a time and not know that there’s a huge difference?” What is even sadder, is that I have heard Baptist Pastors make very similar comments. Or, they say that our differences are so minute and small, maybe even silly, that we should be able to set them aside and just get along. Again, my heart sinks into a giant funk, and I cry out, silently, “How could you say such a thing? And, worse, you’re a Baptist Pastor. How can you not believe that things like eternal security, autonomy of the local Church, Believer’s baptism by immersion, priesthood of all believers, salvation by grace through faith, and all the other doctrines that we hold dear–as God’s Word spells it out for us–are not worth holding onto? How could you just throw them aside? How could you just ignore these clear teachings of Scripture? How could you so easily compromise something as important as these doctrines are?”
I’m afraid that we have a lot of Christians in the pews of Baptist Churches that really have no depth to their faith, whatsoever. They do not know the Bible. They do not know doctrine. They really do not know what they believe nor why they believe it, if they do believe it. We may even have Baptist Churches with people, who believe that you can lose your salvation, if you do something really bad like watch porn, get involved in a homosexual act, or commit suicide. I mean, surely those people will go to Hell, right? We may have Baptist Churches with people, who believe that the Church should just accept any baptism. I mean, why make such a fuss about little Tommy Jones and his momma, Lucille, having to get baptized when they were a member of the Covenant Presbyterian Church for years? What right do we have to ask them to get baptized by immersion? I mean, really…ain’t we carrying this stuff just a little too far? Folks, I’m afraid that we have Baptist Churches that have a lot of people sitting in the pews, who really could not tell you the difference in the Methodist Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and they really could not care less to know. They would say that we’re all nearly the same. We all follow the same God. We’re all going to the same place anyway. You’ve probably heard all of this before, just as I have, right?
Do you know what I believe to be an even sadder situation? There are some Pastors out there who don’t see it either. We have pulpits in the SBC where the Bible is not really preached and taught. We have pulpits where sermons are preached every Sunday that could be preached at Baptist Churches, or at Methodist Churches, or at Pentecostal Churches. And, the Methodists would amen…quietly…the sermon, as would the Assembly of God people…more loudly, of course. The same sermon could then be preached in the Baptist Church, and they would amen it. These sermonettes have no depth; therefore, the people have nothing given to them to make them grow deeper in their faith. They hear little, self-help-psychological-“how-to” sermonettes every time they attend their church. How can we expect those people to be deeply grounded in their faith, knowledgable about doctrine? How can we expect people to be sound in their faith, and to stand strong on the Word of God when THEY DON’T KNOW IT!
My friends, we’re seeing a movement among the younger crowd that I applaud. They want to hear the Bible, not our traditions. Not our thoughts. Not our philosophies and theologies. Not our opinions. They want to hear the Bible. They want to preach the Bible. They want to teach the Bible. To that, as a Christian who is the Baptist flavor of Christian, I say a hearty AMEN! Let’s teach the Bible. Let’s preach what the Bible clearly says. When we do, then people will be Baptist, Southern Baptist. If not in name, then in doctrine. Oh, they may not join the SBC (and if they don’t, that’s fine). Let them be whatever it is that they feel led to be, but, at least they will be sound in doctrine. If our SBC Pastors, Seminary Professors, and our Sunday School literature writers, etc., will teach the Bible, then we’ll be steeped in Southern Baptist doctrine. We’ll hold to the clear teachings of Scripture, because the BFM2000 is what we believe the Bible clearly teaches, and it is. May God help us to grow in our understanding and knowledge of His Word and thus get to know our Creator better and better and better every day. May the Lord help us to love Him more and more and more every day. To God be the glory.