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Shun defeatist attitude, Page exhorts

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–An old-fashioned belief in the power of God Almighty is the best antidote for a Christian community and a wider world burdened by defeat, depression and despair, Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page told a chapel audience at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Page challenged the seminarians to change their perspective when facing the giants that attack churches, families and nations.

“When God’s leaders become giant killers, God’s people are going to follow,” said Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., at the seminary’s Leavell Chapel Dec. 4.

Today’s challenges are legion, Page acknowledged. With 75 to 80 percent of Southern Baptist churches either plateaued or declining, he said many churches are hoping to “just hold on ’til Jesus comes.”

That defeatist attitude, Page said, has infected a lost and dying world.

“Many of our churches have been deemed irrelevant by a society that’s lost any care,” Page said. “I’ve said before that the early church was met with persecution. The modern-day church is met with a yawn. Too often, this is caused by a perspective of defeat.”

In his message, Page compared the defeatist attitude of King Saul and his troops to David’s faith in facing Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. Then, using 1 Chronicles 20, Page pointed to the confidence of David’s men as they killed one giant after another.

“In 1 Chronicles 20, everybody’s killing giants,” Page said. “There’s an overwhelming spirit of expectancy. There’s a perspective of victory. There’s a perspective that something good is going to happen.”

God’s people followed David because he was a giant killer, Page said. Saul, on the other hand, feared the giant he faced.

“God’s people began to rise up and say, ‘The giant will not rule the day. That giant will not defeat me.'” Page said. “You see an overwhelming expectancy of victory and faith. That’s the perspective God wants you to have.”

He added, “God does not want you to go into churches and let them infect you with a perspective of mediocrity, of apathy, of a lack of expectancy and of defeat. I believe God wants you to have a perspective of faith and that is indeed expecting great things from God.”

Faith based in the power of God is the only hope for the world, Page said. Our own resources and abilities cannot be trusted.

“The Lord God Almighty is the only force that can take New Orleans,” he said. “It is the only force that can redeem churches and redeem families. He is the only one that can slay the giants that are around us.

“You may call me naïve, but I will not back up or back away from the belief that God in His Holy Spirit’s power is the only hope we have as the Southern Baptist Convention. Our only hope is the reviving hand of God,” Page said. “You must understand that the giants of this land will defeat you until you have an absolute powerful belief and confidence in the name of the Lord God Almighty.”
Paul F. South is a writer for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

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