Holding churches and individuals responsible for sin is not Baptist politics; it’s obedience to Scripture.
A recent story that has made its way around the SBC world and blogosphere is the June 23rd vote by the SBC to sever its ties with Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth , TX because of the church’s toleration of homosexuality, even among committee members and leadership. What really made the story interesting is when a KY Baptist university withdrew their invitation for the youth group of Broadway Baptist to participate in a mission project in eastern KY. The group eventually found a place of service in Nashville, TN.
The commentary on these events has been interesting to follow. Two leaders from Broadway Baptist Church, including the pastor, refer to the actions of the SBC and the KY university as “Baptist politics.” Others are calling the scenario “tacky”, “childish”, and “not nice.” One blogger simply says, “when will the SBC understand that love is all that matters?”
I can understand where such sentiments are coming from. Had the decision been left up to me, I probably would not have canceled my invitation to the youth group. I would, however, have taken the opportunity to clearly explain to the leadership coming with Broadway Baptist that I am in full agreement with the SBC’s decision and although I am sure there are many committed, Christ-centered teenagers and adults at the church, I would not be inviting them back for additional service.
Having said that, much of what I am reading is just annoying. Although I would have acted differently, I nevertheless respect the decision that was made by the university. It was no doubt a difficult one to make, contrary to what many would have us to believe. Whenever we as Baptists, and more importantly as Christians, begin to dismiss the consequences of sin as “politics”, then we are on a journey down very dark roads. Holding churches and individuals responsible for sin is not Baptist politics; it’s obedience to Scripture. We would be sinning if we simply turned a blind eye. Those who are poised and wait for yet another news item to pounce upon when it comes to the SBC are refusing to at least consider an alternative position: perhaps the convention is trying its very best to be true to Scripture and not just play a political game.
Finally, in response to those who wonder when the SBC will understand it is all about love, my question is, when will those who operate out of pessimism toward the SBC understand that biblical love is more than just being nice to someone? It’s more than painting a fence. Yes, those elements are good and important; we must be the hands and feet of Christ, but never to the exclusion of the whole counsel of Scripture. It is not going to be “nice” when the wrath of Jesus Christ is poured upon those who don’t believe. The cross was anything but “nice” and Paul even calls it “foolishness” to those who don’t believe. To truly live the counter-cultural message of Christianity, you better believe we will at times be “tacky.” Biblical love is more than just being nice to each other; it has eternity in view. This is why both Jesus and Paul command us to discipline. The very purpose is love. Therefore, the Oprah Winfrey show can do a piece on this story and be appalled, that would fit nicely. But the church should and must take a second look and not be so quick to condemn anyone who is struggling to properly live and love the way Scripture demands. Sin must be dealt with. Failure to do so is anything but love.