Good day all,
Southern Baptists from all over will begin descending on Birmingham, Alabama this weekend. We will do some great work in the city of Birmingham. As a matter of fact, many are already there preparing for Crossover Birmingham. This is an evangelistic event that Southern Baptists do in the host city of the Southern Baptist Convention, the annual meeting for Southern Baptists. I believe the goal is to knock on 20,000 doors on Saturday, June 8th. It is a worthy goal. I am excited about how many people will be reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Crossover event has proven to be very successful through the years. This is something that we should be excited about and encouraged by. As a matter of fact, it may be one of the few things that we can be encouraged by at this year’s annual convention.
There will be many things that will discourage pastors and laymen as we gather together in Birmingham. We will hear that membership is down again. We are below 15 million in membership for the 1st time since the late 1980’s. To be sure, these records have been hardly accurate over the years. Only about 75% of Southern Baptist churches turn in an annual profile. On top of that, it is left to the local church to turn in accurate numbers. At any rate, the FBI would have a hard time finding all those Southern Baptists that never attend church. Actual attendance is more likely around the 5 million mark.
We will hear that giving is down. If every Southern Baptist gave only a tithe (10%) to the local church and the local church gave only 10% to the cooperative program, we would see giving, to both the local church and cooperative program, grow at a tremendous rate. We would be able to send so many more missionaries on the mission field. We would be able to effectively train more pastors and ministry leaders. We would be able to do far more in response to natural disasters that arise, something that Southern Baptists have done well for a long time. We would be able to respond to more benevolence needs that arise in our communities. The list goes on. However, people don’t view the money in their checking accounts as God’s money which they are merely stewards of.
There are many things that will discourage us, but the one that will discourage us the most is that once again we will hear that baptisms are down. This means that professions of faith in Jesus Christ are down. The single most important thing that any Christian should be doing is sharing their faith in Jesus Christ. However, we will hear that it takes around 90 Southern Baptists to reach one person with the gospel of Jesus Christ! 90 Southern Baptists to reach one person for Jesus! I may even be giving us more credit than we deserve. The number should be 1 to 1. However, some statistics say that 95% of professing believers have never shared their faith. That means, wait for it, only 5% of professing believers share their faith. Very discouraging!
The worst thing is that these things, and many more discouraging things, will not be where we spend our time. There have been rumblings that we will spend our time debating and arguing over things that have been settled long ago.
We will hear about sexual abuse. This makes my heart very sad. How in the world can we be at a place where we have to discuss sexual abuse. Maybe some of the accusations are false, I don’t know. I’ll tell you what I do know. 1 incident of sexual abuse is 1 too many. I don’t have all the answers for sure, but our churches must be a safe place for people of all ages to come. We must put processes in place to ensure that this type of thing doesn’t happen. We must not ostracize those that come forward with accusations of sexual abuse. We must handle these things with love, humility, and transparency.
We will once again battle over the inerrancy of Scripture. Is the Bible our final and only source of truth? Will we allow the Bible to speak that truth into our lives? Will we allow the Bible to be how we define that truth? I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say something along the lines of, “Well the this verse may mean this to you, but it means something else to me.” Let me be clear. The Bible can’t mean anything to anyone. The passage says what it says. We can’t make it mean what we want it to mean. The Bible can only mean what it means!
There are rumblings that we are going to hear people attempt to redefine what the Bible says about who, or should I say what gender, can be a pastor. The Bible has already told us about the office of pastor. There should be no argument or debate on this subject. The Bible is very clear here.
1 Tim 3:1-7
3 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
The Bible clearly teaches that the office of pastor is for a man. This has nothing to do with sexism. This has to do with God’s order. If I counted correctly, this passages uses he, him, man, husband, 11 times. Now, I’ve heard people say that the he/him is generic and is referring to mankind and not the male gender. I’ve got a Greek work for that, Bologna! People that say things like that are merely attempting to justify their perverted interpretation of God’s Word. However, those pronouns aren’t even needed to defend the Word of God on this subject. The last time I checked, a woman can not be a husband! I mean that is unarguable. The driving point to me is verse 5. The man must be able to manage his own household well. If the pastor can’t manage his house, how can he care for the church? The Bible is very clear about who is to lead in the home.
22 Wives,be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
God, in His Word, has placed the leadership of the home with the man. If the man is the head of the home according to God’s Word, how can a woman lead in the home? The answer is simple. She shouldn’t have to and she shouldn’t strive to. And, seeing as leading in the home is a characteristic for the pastor and the woman isn’t to lead in the home, how can she then be a pastor which is called by God to lead and care for the church?
Let me be clear, the Bible does not teach that women are not important. The Bible does not teach that women are below men. This is about God’s order, and not about anything else. As a matter of fact, I would say that God loves women very much. Not only that, but he calls men to treat women as worthy, special, and of the utmost importance. God never calls a woman to lay her life down for the man, but God does command that the man is to love and esteem his wife so highly that he would lay his life down for his wife.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
The picture is clear. Christ literally died for the church, and the husband’s love for his wife should be so great that he would be willing to die for his wife so that she may live.
Ladies, you are highly esteemed by God, and you should expect and receive as much from you husband. The husband is to protect his wife. The husband should bear the stress in the family. The husband should bear the responsibility of leading the family in Godliness.
Women, this should make you happy, not hurt. This should cause you to joyful, not judgmental. Be who God has called you to be. Strive to live in this manner.
Men, STEP UP!!! For far too long men have not been who God has called us to be. Many men have abdicated their responsibilities. We have put our role and responsibility on the wife. She was never intended by God to bear these burdens. Women, you have done well, but it is far past time for men to be men again, Godly men.
We need revival in this land. The things I started this article with prove that. We won’t have revival in this land until we have revival in our churches. We won’t have revival in our churches until we have revival in our homes. We won’t have revival in our homes if men don’t step up to the plate and be the men that God has called us to be!
ETERNITY is literally at stake!