Monday, October 01 2018
Over 30 years ago I choose to become a Southern Baptist after growing up in the Methodist Church. One of the reasons I chose to become Southern Baptist is the identification as “A people of the Book.” In theological studies “hermeneutics” is a fifty-cent word that means how we read, interpret, and study the Bible. Southern Baptist’s have typically approached scripture from what Dr. Chuck Kelley, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary calls a “Great Commission hermeneutic.” I dedicate this post (and use Dr. Kelley’s words) in preparation to Dr. Kelley coming to NKY to speak at the fall meeting on November 5 at Piner Baptist Church. Dr. Kelley will be speaking at the evening service at 7:00 PM. You WILL NOT WANT TO MISS IT!
The Bible IS what it says it is…”God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). God used human beings to record the words, and each writer reflects his own style and approach. The result is a Bible that is “truth without any mixture of error” (Baptist Faith & Message).
As the revelation of God, the Bible has an authority that is absolute. What the Bible teaches believers to do must be done. Response to its message is required! As “a people of the Book” Southern Baptists are expressing a commitment to seek to understand and to do what God has revealed in His Word. Where there is clear understanding of what God desires, there MUST be a response of OBEDIENCE!
As I see it, the Bible has a focal point in the relationship between God and His creation and the redemption of His creation. Joseph suffered at the hands of his brothers, but as a result God put him in a position to deliver his family and the people of Egypt in a time of famine. Judges is filled with stories of people like Gideon, Samson, Deborah, and others whom God called and used to deliver and redeem the Hebrew people in time of oppression. David, a shepherd, delivered the children of Israel during a war with the Philistines. Boaz acted as a “kinsman redeemer” for Ruth, delivering her from a life of poverty. Esther, a Hebrew woman, was raised to a position of influence, and acted at great person risk to save the lives of her people. Jonah warned people of their jeopardy and urged them to repent The story of God’s eagerness to forgive and Jonah’s reluctance to bear His message to an obviously sinful people vividly illustrates the priority of evangelism that God insists His people accept. Whatever the attitude of His people, the Lord is committed to the task of redeeming His fallen and sinful creation.
The purpose of the church, as Southern Baptists understand it, is to evangelize and disciple the world (DISCIPLEISM, as Dr. Kelley refers to it…check last months newsletter article). A resolution passed at the 1918 SBC that illustrates this imperative: “We must not forget that the main and primary task of all of our agencies, preachers, churches…all is to press a saving gospel to the hearts of men in heaven’s power. We must remember we are fighting this war for freedom to win men to Christ. The winning of the war is a means to the greater end of winning the whole world to Jesus Christ.” Author C. S. Lewis also wrote “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men to Christ…if they are not doing that, everything else is a waste of time.”
We are at a crucial time in our nation and our local communities. Many churches are declining and record numbers are closing because they are being disobedient to the Word, the authority and mission given in the Scriptures. The greatest mission field in the world exists in America in our neighborhoods (where between 68-85% of all who live are unchurched).
What the Bible teaches believers to do must be done. Where there is clear understanding of what God desires, there MUST be a response of OBEDIENCE! Response to its message is required! “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10)…Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey all the commands I have given you (Matthew 28:19-20)…The Lord is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).
Join with all our NKBA churches as we come together on November 5 to work toward the accomplishment of our mission together, celebrate what God is doing, and looking forward to see God “FUEL THE FIRE” for clarity and action of HIS mission to us, in us and through us! We are BETTER TOGETHER!!