Four Commitments the Church Ought to Keep for the World’s Sake
I’m not an SBC Pastor (Southern Baptist Convention). I’m a BMA Pastor (Baptist Missionary Association of America), but I did grow up in an SBC church, served as a Pastor at an SBC church, and many of my great heroes in ministry have been SBC leaders. So I remain somewhat tuned into SBC happenings, especially via the blogosphere.
I was especially intrigued by the election of Dr. Ronnie Floyd as SBC President earlier this month. Dr. Floyd, for me, ties together the posture of the Criswell’s and Rogers’ of the past with a church on the cutting edge of ministry effectiveness. My own church ministers in the shadow of CrossChurch, and their leadership has been nothing but encouraging toward our work in the same community. While we have somewhat different philosophies and approaches and probably reach different people as a result, we share a virtually identical theological base and have no hesitancy in learning from their team.
I was particularly challenged by Dr. Floyd’s blog post encouraging Southern Baptists to make four commitments to American culture:
- We will always be faithful to lift up the authority, truthfulness, and infallibility of the Word of God.
- We will always be faithful to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the only way to know God and to go to Heaven when we die.
- We will always be faithful to stand for the religious liberty of every person and every church.
- We will always be faithful to pray for the next spiritual awakening in America.
That’s a pretty good list of essential commitments any church ought to make to its community and to its nation. We could add several more, I’m sure, such as developing great leaders from the next generation, remaining culturally relevant as we present a timeless gospel, and being more highly relational in our approach to people. But his four stand alone as bedrock values I could embrace with confidence.
These are challenging times in which the church must find a way to lead and to present the gospel of Jesus. We’ll be tempted along the way to compromise on any of these four in order to suffer less criticism, but if souls are at stake (and they are) and if the church is the one thing Jesus commissioned to be the hope and light of the world (and she is), then we must hold onto these moorings.