The church must return to God’s lordship to adequately serve communities struggling with such problems as racism, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank S. Page told North Carolina Baptists at an associational meeting.
“God is saying, ‘I am calling you back to my lordship,'” Page told pastors at the New South River Baptist Association’s messenger meeting at Sperring Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C.
“[God] is in the middle of what’s happening in your church,” Page said, preaching from Revelation 2:1-7. “He is walking in our midst, and He is doing what the Lord does — to reprove, to convict, to convert. And, yes, He is still saving men, women, boys and girls — even now!”
Page referenced renewed racial tensions in the U.S., and said the church must be Gospel-centered to meet ministry challenges inherent in the conflict.
“Friends, we are in a serious, serious situation. Our country is a mess. Black people fighting white people. White people fighting black people,” Page said. “Everybody’s pointing fingers. We’re in a mess, and inside the church we’re doing no better…. It’s time to get serious about the Gospel.”
In comments to the Biblical Recorder, the news journal of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention (NCBSC), Page elaborated on the church’s purpose and calling.
“It’s time for churches to realize they need to be stronger than ever before in community involvement,” Page told the Recorder. “Our churches need to be at the forefront with a prophetic voice and community-based ministry that makes a difference.”
The host church for the July 19th meeting has faced a demographic shift in its community surrounding Fort Bragg, the largest military base in the world. Sperring Memorial Baptist Church’s membership has changed from predominantly white 30 years ago to 90 percent black today, host pastor James Fields Jr. told the Recorder.
“This is a church for the community,” Fields told the Recorder, citing racial reconciliation as a particular concern.
“We prayed for America to wake up and hear God,” he said. “Vengeance is His. He will repay. There is never a time when we should take up arms against one of our brothers or sisters, no matter what a person does. They have to answer to God.
“I teach my church that God says, ‘I will fight your battles.'” Field said. “The only fight that you’re supposed [to] fight is the fight of faith.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press