In my previous post, I extolled the beauty of God’s provision of salvation saying that “God has done all He can. He has provided the Savior. He has provided the invitation. He extends the call. He wants you to come.”
My intention was to demonstrate God’s grace and love in giving His one and only Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins and to praise God for providing an invitation for mankind to believe in Christ and receive Him as Savior (John 1:12; 3:16). I further wanted all to know that it is the nature of God to love and that He wants people to respond to the call and conviction of the Holy Spirit and to be saved (1 John 2:2; 4:8).
Perhaps I was a bit inartful the way I expressed myself, but I thought these were simple, biblical ideas. However, I have learned that some of my thoughts were not appreciated by some who like to comment on on articles such as mine which are published in cyberspace. (see my original article and comments at http://sbctoday.com/elected-and-i-wasnt-even-running/)
First, my previous post was a bit “tongue in cheek.” My undergraduate degree is in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism and my previous post “Elected and I Wasn’t Even Running” was an attempt at addressing a rather important contemporary theological discussion with a bit of humor.
Some, however, may not enjoy such attempts and thus decry me as one who “seems to side with the universalists.” Yes, strangely enough, that is what I was accused of doing. For my readers who are not into such theological verbiage, that means that I have been accused of siding with those who think that everyone is going to be saved or go to heaven.
I’m sure such a charge would be a surprise to my congregation. They’ve heard me preach on hell so many times that I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them bring coat hangers and marsh mellows to our services waiting for the fire and brimstone to begin. They’ve heard me say many times that if there is no hell, then we as Christians have nothing to say. We preach the gospel so that men and women may turn to Christ in order that they won’t go to hell. Let me be clear. Not everyone is going to heaven. And, I don’t appreciate the inference that I “side with universalists.”
Second, I have read that my comments were “heartbreaking” and that views such as mine were “blasphemy” and “a destructive force within the Southern Baptist Convention.”
I’m been accused of many things in my life. I’ve been called a penny pincher, narrow-minded, conservative, loud, quiet, smart, dumb, wise, handsome (only by my wife), well dressed, poorly dressed, healthy, sickly, and many other names. I once even worked for an employer in high school who called me “the round man with the square deal.” I thought it was funny, even though I didn’t know what he meant by it.
But, never in my life have I been called one who promotes “blasphemy.”
Should I watch for a crowd to gather in my yard? Should I wait for the inquisition to roll in? Do they still put people on the “Rack”? I’ll bet that would hurt!
The theological thought police who ran the show in England in the mid 16th century burned Latimer and Ridley at the stake for their Protestant views. Should I not add any more wood to the burn pile I’m making on my land?
In 1651Obadiah Holmes was whipped for preaching without permission by the government in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Am I going to be whipped? And if so, can my mother do it? When I was growing up, it never seemed to hurt her more than it hurt me.
If saying that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world is blasphemy, then I guess I’m guilty as charged. I’ll stand beside Adrian Rogers, Herschel Hobbs, Billy Graham, and countless other men much more prominent than I who preached the same.
If saying that God wants “all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” is blasphemy, then move over Apostle Paul, I need room to stand.
Come on people. Get serious.
I was saved by grace through faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ while attending a Tuesday night revival service in 1983. I was baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the next week. I believe Jesus died to save us from sin and to give us abundant life and eternal life. (John 3:16; 10:10).
I pastor a church where we send teams out every week to share the gospel. We have had our members be on mission across the world, from Indonesia to Ghana, from Honduras and Mexico and throughout the United States. I have personally served with the old Home Mission Board as a summer missionary, with the old Foreign Mission Board as a mission volunteer in Japan with a team from the Mississippi Baptist Convention, and have preached countless times on the mission fields of Mexico and Honduras in order that men and women might hear the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) and be saved.
The church where I have served for almost two decades as pastor has helped to build churches, children’s homes, Christian Schools, and served Christ and shared the gospel through youth missions, disaster relief and countless other ways.
We’ve participated in area wide revivals. We feed the hungry in our area and clothe the poor. We reach out to everyone from senior adults to little babies. We laugh with people when they are filled with joy and we cry with them when they hurt. We attempt to comfort those who grieve and help those who hurt.
And we do it all because Jesus loves us and gave himself up for us and we are following in His steps. We try to tell the world that God loves them, Jesus died for them, and that there is Hope for life and eternity only in the person of Jesus Christ.
And if a ministry based on the truth that God loved this world; sent His Son to die for the world (which was the point of my previous post), and commissioned His church to be on mission making disciples and teaching them to live like Jesus is somehow viewed as being based on “blasphemy” and as”a destructive force within the SBC” then to use a quote from previous generation, “Houston, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!”
Is it not possible to stand for traditional Baptist soteriology (the doctrine of salvation, for those not acquainted with theological verbiage) and have a few tongue in cheek remarks without having to defend one’s orthodoxy? If not, then we do have problems in the good old SBC.
And to quote Forrest Gump, “That’s All I’ve Got To Say About That!”