Recently, our church hosted our annual Church Triumphant Conference. It was a wonderful meeting with an excellent attendance, and God tremendously blessed what went on. (For those interested, the sessions are available online at 2fbc.com.) One of the sessions I gave the men seemed like it might be helpful for this month’s Preacher’s Position.
There is a tendency to compromise
Of course, this is not new. Demas left Paul, John Mark left and later returned, and the Judaizers corrupted the Gospel of Christ in the very early days of the church. It is, nonetheless, notable, though sad that the compromise continues in our day. Recently, an independent, fundamental Baptist meeting was held at an American Baptist Church. Among the speakers was a man whose wife is the associate pastor of that church. It will be a cold day in Lucifer’s headquarters before I speak for any reason at an American Baptist church or have any man speak for me whose wife is an associate pastor. I would speak at a church that was connected with a compromising group if it was the pastor’s purpose to lead the church to become an independent Baptist church if my being there was a step towards that goal. Here are some questions we ought to ask about our behaviors.
- How will it affect my walk with God? In other words, will it be harmful to me?
- How will it affect those I lead and influence? In other words, will it be harmful to others?
- How will it affect my testimony? In other words, will it be harmful to the cause of Christ?
It seems to me that the principles upon which we base our ecclesiastical separation are identical to those upon which we base our personal separation.
There is a tendency to centralize.
A while ago, I received a letter from a good, sincere man who thought he had a plan to reach the world. He would assign different churches to be in charge of different areas of the world. He had a program in place which would include giving the pastor a bicycle if necessary and showing the “Jesus” film. What was intriguing to me was that all of us would have to go through him for the plan to succeed. He would tell us where to direct our resources. (I believe there are already one or more organizations doing this. They are called the Southern Baptist Convention, . . .)
More than one individual has decided to put independent Baptist churches into a directory. If a pastor chooses to lead his church to fellowship with a particular group of other churches, that is his business. I have preached at many fellowships, enjoyed being there, and was even encouraged by the work they have done and the support they have given to one another. However, no one should presume, in my opinion, to put other people in someone’s directory without that person’s permission.
In the following weeks I will post some additional thoughts on this topic.