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FIRST-PERSON: 4 words every Southern Baptist needs today

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — In this critical hour in our nation and world, I want to challenge each Christ follower and church to live by these four words.

1. Truth

In a day when people want to define their own truth, I believe we need to anchor our lives and ministries in God’s truth. I am speaking about truth that has always been true, is true, and will be forever true. Our churches, leaders, state and national conventions, and our state and national entities need to be fastened to the truth of God.

If we are not anchored in God’s truth, we will drift away from it. Our people and churches are challenged more in this area today than ever before.

Fastening ourselves to Scripture is the only way to avoid ending up in a ditch or drifting away from God’s truth. In my newest book, “Forward,” I share in depth about the importance of truth.

I am anchored to the Bible. I believe in biblical inerrancy. I believe God inspired the Scripture; therefore, it is entirely true, authoritative and trustworthy. It is God’s truth without error.

Do not assume your people believe and abide by this. Yes, this is our hope, but we must always lift up God’s truth, His Scripture, as the authoritative and infallible word on all things.

The assault on God’s truth is relentless, and our people need to be encouraged to abide by God’s Word continually. Please do all you can wherever you are to lift up God’s Word. What He says, He means. God always has the final word.

2. Courage

We need courage more today than ever before. There is so much at stake in our nation and world. Pastors, churches and conventions must exhibit courage, always in love.

We need courageous pastors, leaders, churches and conventions. The need for courage will only grow in the coming days. I can illustrate this for you with two examples from just last week.

Union University, located in Jackson, Tenn., has announced they have withdrawn from the Council of Christian Colleges & Universities because two member institutions have endorsed same-sex marriage. It was the courage of President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver and the Board of Trustees at Union who exhibited courage in this situation. I applaud Dr. Oliver and the board, and may God keep Union University forever latched onto Scripture.

Since 1985, Dr. Barry McCarty has served as the chief parliamentarian of the Southern Baptist Convention. At the end of last week, it was announced that Dr. McCarty and his sweet wife Pat are joining a Southern Baptist church and becoming Southern Baptists. Why? I will abbreviate what he stated:

— Southern Baptists are committed to Holy Scripture and our statement of faith.

— Southern Baptists are speaking out on culture issues with clarity and integrity.

— Southern Baptists are penetrating lostness in North America and the world.

It took courage for Barry and his wife to make this decision. We love Barry and Pat. Even though they seemed like family already, we welcome them formally and rejoice in their future not only as Southern Baptists, but also as faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

I call upon us humbly today to live and lead courageously.

3. Future

As we are fastened to Scripture, living and leading courageously, we cannot lead looking backward. We must keep our eyes on the future. What does God have for you in your future? What does God have in the future for your church? What does God have in the future for our convention?

I cannot paint a perfect picture of what it will look like in my future or the future of my church; therefore, I certainly cannot do that for you or our convention. What I do know is where I am in my life, ministry, church and leadership, which leads to my prayer of conviction and surrender daily: “Lord, I am Yours, willing and available to do whatever it is You desire me to do in my life, ministry, church and leadership. Whatever it is, the answer is ‘Yes’.” I try to lead my church this way daily.

Learn from the past. Focus on the future.

4. Family
In this context, I am speaking of our Southern Baptist family. As we are fastened to Scripture, living and leading courageously, and keeping our eyes on the future, we need each other more than ever before.

As a pastor or leader of a Christian institution or ministry, I would not want to fly solo in our culture today. I want to be part of a strong convention, denomination, or network that is latched onto Scripture in a firm manner. This is why I have reiterated that we must position ourselves as a convention that is ready to receive churches that fully agree with us doctrinally, missionally and cooperatively into our denominational family. Thousands of strong, evangelical Bible-believing churches need a family such as ours.

Southern Baptists, we need one another and we need other churches and ministries who believe like we believe biblically, missiologically and cooperatively. Our task is bigger than any of us. We must find a way to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and make disciples of all the nations.

We cannot do this alone. We need family.

    About the Author

  • Ronnie Floyd