The Wall Street Journal arrives at my office every morning. I read it for a relatively balanced view of cultural trends and financial markets in the U.S. and the world. Needless to say, I was shocked when the Journal ran articles about Southern Baptists and Apple Corporation’s Tim Cook on the same page. Interestingly, Cook’s “coming out” announcement actually was verification of old news. Running a story about Southern Baptists above the fold was a shock.
The headline read, “Southern Baptists Soften Tone on Gays.” Really?
Unlike the Roman Catholics who change at the whim of a pontiff, Southern Baptists on the whole have changed nothing because our core belief system is based on the unchanging absolutes of God’s Word. At the very least, the headline is misleading.
Consequently, allow me to list of five simple things to remember about Baptists, especially in the context of the social confusion created by a small minority of American citizens:
First, Baptists are people of the Book.
The principles of God’s Word are neither for sale nor are they negotiable. That makes Baptists a stubborn lot. When Baptists have made mistakes by following cultural prejudices instead of scriptural truths, they on the whole tend to repent and move forward, hoisting high the Word of God as the authority for life, liberty and purposefulness.
While biblical principles are for all people everywhere, embracing the Gospel by faith gives individuals the opportunity to enter a personal relationship with the ultimate Author and Teacher of the Word. As a result, Baptists tend to test their worldview by the Word of God and desire that every aspect of life is compatible with its truths.
Second, Baptists love people.
Collectively, Baptists love people so much they invest millions of dollars in ministries to help people in the United States and around the world. They volunteer for all kinds of helping ministries. They know that being part of a church is more than the number of noses at some church gathering. They are part of a community of believers involved in touching the world with the Gospel.
Baptists believe they have experienced the transformational love of God for their personal lives, and as a result they want to communicate God’s love to individuals and all cultures. They love people who are broken. After all, they were one of the major players pre-WWII in building hospitals to serve people with medical needs. They love people who lack basic literacy skills by launching educational ministries to teach knowledge and wisdom. Through ministries to children and the sexually exploited, Baptists demonstrate love for people who are abandoned.
When calamities strike, it is Baptists with those bright yellow shirts who are some of the first on the scene to help people through the crisis. It is in our spiritual DNA to love people and help them walk through their trials. Our hope is that others see the love of God through us.
Click here for more.
SOURCE: Baptist Press