*This article was originally found posted at the Arkansas Baptist News website and is used by permission.
Let me begin by saying that I fully understand the Constitution of the United States of America upholds and protects the freedom of religion for its citizens. I also understand that this freedom applies to all faiths. I thank God for this country in which I live and the freedoms that I and others have been so blessed to enjoy. I am thankful for the many men and women who have given their lives to defend these freedoms and for those who are currently serving to maintain them. Yes, I know the freedom of religion as granted by our civil government applies to all faiths. But, the issue I was addressing with Dr. Moore was not a civil government issue. Rather, it was a spiritual issue.
The question I put before Dr. Moore was:
Do you actually believe that if Jesus Christ were here today that He would support this and that He would stand up and say, ‘Well, let us protect the rights of those Baal worshipers to erect temples to Baal?’ Do you believe that Dr. Moore?
That was a very simple question and it is the question that was not answered, therefore it remains.
Let me interject at this point that I was not given a chance for rebuttal to Dr. Moore’s “non-answer” response to my question because my microphone was immediately turned off. No one approached me for further discussion, neither have I since then been contacted by Dr. Moore nor any other member of leadership within the Southern Baptist Convention. Therefore I would like to clarify at this point what may have been misunderstood by others, especially those outside of the Southern Baptist Convention, as to the intent of my question.
While I understand that the Constitution of the United States of America defends religious freedom for all, yet more importantly, as a Christian I believe that true “soul freedom” is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ. Though I am a Baptist according to doctrinal convictions and practice, first and foremost, I am a Christian. Likewise, while I am an American citizen, more importantly, I am a Christian.
Therefore, as a Christian, my first allegiance is to Jesus Christ and His word, not a denomination, a convention, nor a civil government. Jesus Christ is the one who gave His life for me. He is the one who was crucified, buried and arose from the grave to pay the penalty of my sins and thus provide salvation for my soul. My denomination did not give me this salvation. Neither did my country.
As a Christian, I believe that God has commanded us: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is to: “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind and with all thy strength.” He also said: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.”
Furthermore, we are instructed by God to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to reprove them.” and to not be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” We are also told that if someone comes to us who does not bring the doctrine of Christ, we are not to bid him “God speed.”
So, the question is: “Would Jesus Christ stand in a court of law, defending the rights of a false religion to erect mosques, temples or other places of worship which are clearly in violation of the First and Second Commandments of God?” I think not.
For me, the Bible is very clear that we as Christians are to have no fellowship with the works of darkness, nor are we to enter into coalitions or allegiances with unbelievers, especially as it pertains to their false worship. If we enter into an inter-faith group and begin to lobby for or to assist them in the erecting of their places of worship, we have violated the clear teachings and instructions found in the word of God and we have become partakers with them in their sin. If we thus grieve the Holy Spirit by our transgression, what power will we have in our witness to them? How can we expect God to bless our ministry if we defy His commands? Dare we tempt the Lord our God so?
As a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I desire to see men “turn from their idols and serve the living and true God.” Why then would I waste my efforts or money in helping them to erect places of false worship which keeps them under condemnation and invalidates my witness of the One True God? I guess you could say that I am in business to save the souls of men, I am not in business of helping them go to hell.
In conclusion, I have been called by some a “bigot” and a “racist.” It has been said I am a “fearful hater” who wants to “deny men their religious freedoms.” This is simply not true. I hate no one, nor do I fear any man – only God. I do not care what race, sexual orientation, or religion a person may have. Like my heavenly Father, I desire that “all men would be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.” Grace and truth has come by Christ Jesus, for He is the way, the truth and the life.
May God grant that we Christians in the Southern Baptist Convention will love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, so that we may then truly love our neighbors as we should.
Respectfully yours in Christ,
Bro. John Wofford
Scripture References: Exodus 20:3, Matthew 12:30, Matthew 4:10, Ephesians 5:11, 2Corinthians 6:14, 2John 1:10, 1Thessalonians 1:9, 1Timothy 2:4