Mercutio was caught in the middle of the warring houses of Montague and Capulet. He ended up getting killed during a battle between Romeo and Tybalt – an unintended but tragic consequence of the blood-feud that had gripped Verona.
We are Verona, and the Calvinist Montagues are in battle against the non-Calvinist, “traditionalist” Capulets. Both sides claim the others started it. Both claim that they are serving God and that the other side is the one responsible for most of the trouble. “It was them! We only responded to what they did.” This “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” attitude that pervades Southern Baptists risks leaving us all blind and toothless.
And the SBC is Mercutio. While we fight with one another, the innocent victim is the SBC and its missions program. This ancient feud, which has gone on since the beginning of the SBC’s existence, has the possibility of leaving our convention dead in the streets.
There is a job to be done – a Great Commission given us by our Commander. And as long as we are biting and devouring one another, we are not coming against the principalities and powers, we are not threatening the kingdom of darkness, we are not fulfilling the purpose of our redemption.
And so, I say with Mercutio, “A plague on both your houses.”
No, I don’t really wish anyone harm, but I wish the attitudes of pride, division, one-upsmanship and anger that govern so much of our conversation would be sent back to hell where they belong.
Of course, we need to have serious discussions about theology. But this nonsense has to stop. We have to lay down our arms and decide that Calvinists who ascribe to the BF&M and “traditionalists” who ascribe to the BF&M can unite in ministry and mission while we continue to disagree on some secondary and tertiary issues.
Can I remind the SBC’s passionate Calvinists and equally passionate “traditionalists” of one thing.
Romeo and Juliet did not have a happy ending.