Monday, August 18, 2008

A Contract with Southern Baptists - Part 5

Baptists Must Be . . .

Based in Humility - a necessary foundation - part one

Authorized by Scripture - a necessary standard - part two

Powered by the Holy Spirit - a necessary energy - part three

Transformed by Worship - a necessary voice - part four

Identified by Unity - a necessary obedience - Psalm 133:1-3; John 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 1:10, 12:12-26; Ephesians 4:1-6; Colossians 3:12-14

Unity is not a suggestion--it is a command! Paul challenges the church at Corinth, "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you" (1 Cor. 1:10). Paul implores the church at Ephesus to be, "diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). God will not bless a church, a family, or even a denomination that sacrifices gracious unity for any other virtue--no matter how good. Unity is essential. Psalm 133 promises, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!" Jesus prays for us, "...that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me" (Jn. 17:20-21). Notice that Jesus sets the bar extremely high in terms of our unity--he defines it in terms of the unity of the Trinity, "...even as You, Father, are in Me and I in you". Also evangelism is critically tied to unity--"that the world may believe that You sent Me". Perhaps the decline in baptisms among Southern Baptist churches has more to do with our denominational infighting than anything else. Jesus prayerfully repeats the thought in verse 22-23, "the glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved me" (Jn. 17:22-23). How do we recapture a Spirit-led unity? "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity" (Col. 3:12-14).

3 comments:

debbiekaufman said...

David: I like what you have posted here, just as I agreed with and liked the wording on the other parts of the contract. However, it seem that this is not becoming reality. The fight for power still seems to be occurring. So is this all a waste of words? I don't say this felicitously, but I am sincerely asking. How do we implement this when there will realistically always be politics and infighting in our denomination.

Dave Samples said...

Debbie,

Thanks for your agreement. I think that there are a whole lot of us out there who read our Bibles and see a better way forward than the way on which we have been heading. I think patience is very much a virtue in terms of our denomination. Reform happens one person at a time. We have a very sweet spirit among the churches and pastors of Colorado. We still need each other and are busy enough reaching the lost that we don't have time to fight over the rules. We have gained some ground these past few years and I believe that God will be raising up more faithful leaders. Let's see where Johnny Hunt takes us this next year...

Blessings!

--Dave

debbiekaufman said...

Thank you Dave,that's encouraging to me. I will heed your solid advice.