It’s graduation season, and all over the country, people are getting ready to attend graduation parties, ceremonies and activities. Kindergarteners with their construction paper mortar boards, High School Seniors getting class rings and tassels, College grads getting ready for the next chapter. It seems like yesterday I was graduating from Seminary, where does the time go?
During graduation season, there are people preparing speeches and addresses. Many will contain a great deal of advice to the new graduate. Words of wisdom, words of advice on how to live and how to move forward. This has me thinking, what advice would I give to graduates, to those moving forward in new things?
I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of the speeches are going to be cheesy. They will talk about dreams and heart and relationships, potential and opportunity. It’s a little cliche, but it makes for moving speeches. I’m not interested in a moving speech, I just want to tell you this one thing. Keep it Biblical.
I know what you are thinking “well duh, we are Southern Baptists”. Yes, we are the people of the book, and we don’t have a confession or Creed, just the Bible. I have been interacting with the Presbyterians lately, they sure love that Westminster Confession. We have the Baptist Faith and Message, but it’s not a Creed or a confession. We just try to keep is Biblical. Do we?
He is where we go wrong. We say that we are going to follow the Bible, but how often do we just skip a thing or two. We are commanded not to show favorites in church, not to give the best spot of the seat of honor to the rich guy. How often do those with wealth and power end up controlling much in the church? How often are they allowed to do things that we wouldn’t let a 23 year old get away with? Maybe we don’t want to pay attention to that verse very much.
How about Matthew 18, if you have a problem with someone, you are suppose to go to the person. Who do we go to? Usually not the person, we head for the pastor and let the pastor deal with stuff. Many churches don’t need speed bumps, the parking lots are full of those who were thrown under the bus. Maybe we can just skip that one too.
How about a Pastor’s job. Preach and pray and lead. Oversight and administration, yet we expect the pastor to be at the member’ s call. It’s great that pastors make hospital visits, but I wouldn’t call that Biblical. They created the office of the deacon to look after the people so the pastors could study and pray. The people should be doing the ministry, but since we pay the pastor, we will just skip that verse.
Paul says to throw perverse people out of the church, hand them over to the devil. We have people in the church that are doing all sorts of sexuality perverse things and many of them are open about it. We don’t do much Church discipline these days. We just say “oh, they can’t be in leadership”. That’s not what Paul said, he said “throw em out”. That’s sorta harsh, so we can just skip that one, right?
There is a host of other things that we should wrestle with and probably don’t. Not enough. Plurality of Elders, where are we on that? We simply ignore it often. How Biblical is our theology? Is it Biblical or just popular? Even the way we often preach, we have a point and then find a verse that sorta fits it so we can preach “exogetically”.
I hope I get a lot of comments that say “we never do any of those things” but I have a feeling if I do, many of you will be ignoring the commandment about false witness. If I can tell you one thing, let’s be people of Scripture and leave the compromise behind. Stand up for the word and for the truth, and let it change you. We have tried for far too long to change it. Brothers and sisters, this should not be so.