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FIRST-PERSON: For the greater cause – taking the Gospel to the world

NASHVILLE (BP) – Can you imagine what it must have been like when Moses was called into the presence of God on Mount Sinai? Moses heard God speak and experienced the glory and presence of God personally. After being with God for 40 days and 40 nights, God handed Moses two tablets of stone, which he had witnessed the finger of God inscribe.

We know what happened after that. As Moses and Joshua were nearing the camp, Joshua heard the people of God shouting and He said to Moses: “There is a sound of war in the camp,” Exodus 32:17.

When Moses saw the golden calf being worshiped and the people dancing before it, his anger became so great, he threw the tablets and shattered them. Then, Moses took the calf made from gold, ground it to powder, poured it over the water, and made the people drink it.

In these days, there is a sound of war in the camp of Southern Baptists. This is very concerning to me, and I know it is to many of you.

The American culture is out of control. Our own culture within the Southern Baptist family is also out of control. We are living downstream of this current culture in American life rather than living upstream against the currents.

Our personal pride blinds our eyes from seeing things as they really are. Many prefer to beat their drums of doom and despair about the SBC, creating suspicion and distrust among us. This is not honorable to God.

For the sake of the greater cause of taking the Gospel to the world, our behavior should be better than this – it should be biblical and spiritual.

We are people of the Word of God and of the Spirit of God. The fruit of our lives should be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This list is not the sound of war in the camp, but is the sound of God’s Word in Galatians 5:22-23. We are to be filled with the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit of God in our relationships and throughout our entire lives.

We must recognize that we are living in an ideologically, politically, philosophically, racially, ethnically and culturally divided nation, where the abnormal is now normal, on the ragged edge of despair due to a global pandemic and an uncertain economy.

Each of us needs to be very careful with the words we write, speak, tweet or post. As Baptists and followers of Jesus, our public behavior matters. Our words matter. Our tone matters. We must all lead the way in creating a Bible-based, Christ-centered and Spirit-controlled culture within the SBC.

The question may arise, “How do we deal with our problems?” I have an answer: We talk to each other and not about each other. For the greater cause, we operate according to the principles of Scripture, not by the undercutting, cowardly and carnal practices demonstrated oftentimes through the blogosphere and social media.

This does not mean that social media is bad or that Christians shouldn’t use it.

Even while using social media, we must remember that we are Christians first. We should be responsible in every way to always honor Christ. We humble ourselves before each other, talking to each other rather than striking out with condescending words that offend and divide.

Your words or my words are not the final words. God’s Word is! And one day He will judge all of our words, motives and actions.

For the greater cause, Christians should work through our problems in the right way, in the right spirit and in the right place.

This does not mean we put our heads in the sand and hope the problems go away. Sadly, we have done this at times and the results are not good or healthy. Yet it is worthy of mentioning that it does not matter how I see it or how you see it. What matters is how God sees it. For the greater cause, the lens for all conversations should be the Bible and our ultimate goal for all conversations is to make sure the Great Commission is forwarded and the Gospel is advanced.

While we hold to these convictions, we are also keenly aware that some challenges may emerge that demand we stand up with courage and deal with them head-on in the proper way, operating according to processes set before us. In times like these, we may disagree, but once a decision is made, we rally together for the greater cause, the fulfillment of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. We should let it go and trust God who is able to take care of all matters. This is the godly way. This should be the Baptist way.

You see, humility leads to life, while pride always leads to destruction.

If we could turn the passion of other conversations that dominate the SBC scene today toward global evangelization and the fulfillment of the Great Commission, it would be amazing to see what God can do with us.

Now is the time to lead.

    About the Author

  • Ronnie Floyd