FRESNO, Calif. (BP)–Southern Baptists need to be “giant killers” by having a renewed “belief in the power of the Lord God Almighty,” Frank Page, president-elect of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, told California Southern Baptist Convention staff members Sept. 1.
Page, in his first visit to a state convention office since his election in June, said even though “pessimism, fear, defeat, negativism are pervasive” across the nation, there is hope for an attitude change because God ultimately is in control.
The former pastor and president of the SBC used giant-slaying passages from 1 Samuel 17 and 1 Chronicles 20 to underscore his point.
The Samuel passage records the familiar story of David and Goliath. “The Israelites faced an awesome foe that day — one of abnormal strength and size — and an overwhelming malaise of fear covered the camp,” Page said.
“We live in a world like that. I hear the constant call for change because everyone fears it will get worse.”
Page noted this is the first time that parents in America believe the lives of their children will be worse than theirs in such matters as the economy, jobs and housing.
“Baptists are much the same way. We see our numbers declining … and we are a dying denomination. Many believe our best years are those gone by,” Page said, pointing out, though, that Southern Baptists saw more than a 2 percent increase in baptisms in 2009 compared to 2008.
In 1 Chronicles, however, Page noted the Israelites found themselves in much the same state — same enemy and army — but in a different time and place. The difference is, under King David’s leadership “everybody was in the giant-killing business.” Philistines are falling all over the place. It is almost like it was expected and what everybody did,” Page said.
This type of environment existed because of David’s faith in the Lord to accomplish His will, Page said, noting, “David claimed the power of the Lord and declared, ‘I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.’
“When God’s leaders decide to do what God wants us to do, giants will fall … even though killing giants is beyond what either I or you can do,” Page declared.
“The key,” he said, “is not in human belief or in the human spirit, but when California Southern Baptists and evangelical believers of all stripes have a new belief in the power of the name of God Almighty.
“That power is still available to save men, women, boys and girls; break strongholds; cancel the bonds of sin; save families; and take a dying church and renew and invigorate it.”
Page said he agrees with the Apostle Paul, who encouraged the Ephesians to “be strong in Him and His mighty power.”
“I challenge you to be men and women who are proud to be Baptists, but whose ultimate trust is in the name of the Lord God Almighty. Being Baptist won’t save anyone, but the name of God will save souls from hell.”
Terry Barone is editor of the California Baptist, newsjournal of the California Southern Baptist Convention.