Norm Miller is the director of communications and marketing at Truett-McConnell College.
The election of Fred Luter as the SBC’s first African-American president brought affirming nods from secular and religious media.
But the racism of a few members of the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Miss., continues to garner condemnation from neighbors, local and national media, and from FaceBookers who are not so friendly in their remarks on the church’s FB page.
At issue is the wedding of an African-American couple -- Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson, who attend the church – who were told only one day before their announced and planned wedding that they’d have to be married elsewhere. FBC Crystal Springs would not be available. The church was available, however, for the wedding’s rehearsal two days previous.
Pastor Stan Weatherford told local news media that those in the church who objected to the wedding were but a very few. However, this group of a very few – reportedly, five or six -- apparently hold enough power that they allegedly threatened to fire the pastor if he performed the ceremony at the predominantly White, historic church.
Saying he wanted to avoid controversy and to make the couple’s day special, Weatherford relented to the pressure and married the couple at a neighboring church that is attended by mostly African-Americans.
The pastor and the church have already endured enough ridicule from secular and religious sources. Some of the FB posts are incredibly hateful. Whereas some may say they deserve such rancor, SBCToday believes it’s time for solutions.
And a heart-felt apology to the Wilsons is in order, too, from the pastor and church members.
As for the five or six who were behind the tragic decision? All other church members need to stand up to this handful of small-minded, spiritual dwarfs.
Pastor Weatherford must take the lead in these matters and set the Christ-like example for all to follow. He, of all people, must obey the standards set by the exemplary life of Jesus Christ and those of God’s written Word.
SBCToday in no way condones the actions of the church or the pastor; rather, we call for all to pray for the Pastor Weatherford, all members of FBC Crystal Springs, and most especially for the Wilsons. One news reporter said the couple was considering legal options.
While the couple experienced tragic treatment, the Wilsons should not compound the sin by suing the members of FBC [(if the media report was factual), cf. 1 Cor. 6.1-7].
One of the reasons for God’s prohibition of believers suing each other was for the sake of the unbelieving world, which, at this juncture, even in a fallen condition, can see the hypocrisy of what happened at the Mississippi church.
This points to where an immense amount of damage also occurred. Sure, the world already hates the Gospel, the Truth, the Church, the Lord. But how much more gasoline was poured on that fire of hatred?
Pastor Weatherford and FBC Crystal Springs know what to do now. Let’s pray they get it done. Let’s also pray for the Wilsons – that they will find comfort in our loving God, and that they will do that which brings God the most glory.
“Then he said to them, ‘You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean’” Acts 10:28 (NKJV).
“Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight ….”