I spend an inordinate amount of my time writing blog posts, reading them, administrating this site and commenting. I have formed an opinion about Southern Baptists that I would like to share with you. I believe I have identified the real problem, the biggest problem in the SBC.
First, two observations:
1) Southern Baptists (at least the blogging kind) are often kinda angry people. I observe blogging and I am simply amazed at the anger that comes through. From all sides at all sides.
2) Just about everyone considers themselves the victim of the other side. Calvinists are being pushed out by the anti-Calvinists. The non-Calvinists are offended at the arrogant and aggressive Calvinists. The hipsters are “marginalizing” the traditionalists and the traditionalists are excluding the younger generation from leadership. It just goes on.
The Biggest Problem!
I have finally figured out what the REAL PROBLEM in the SBC is. It is THEM. Those people. The other side. The folks I disagree with. They are sneaky, ungodly, unkind, manipulative, dishonest and mean. They are trying to ruin the SBC that I am trying to save!
Those no-good, dirty-rotten scoundrels. It’s a good thing me and my side are here to protect the SBC from them their cronies.
That is the problem in a nutshell. The other side. Me and my guys, we wear white hats. But those guys over there, those folks who disagree with me, they are the villains.
I watch Calvinists complain about how “they” are trying to drive us out of the convention. I watch non-Calvinists talk about how “they” are trying to force their doctrines on us. “They” (traditionalists) are preventing growth and “they” (the young and restless) are ruining everything. The problem is “them.”
Here is what Jesus said. (Mt 7:3-5)
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
What amazing advice. You mean it is not all about them? But, that other side, they have a speck of dust in their eye. I need to confront that. I need to challenge their false doctrine and bad attitudes. Okay, but there is something Jesus tells me to do first. I need to deal with myself, with that big ol’ log in my own eye!
Jesus never says that we shouldn’t challenge or even correct one another. He just tells us that before we do that, we need to challenge and correct ourselves!
I would make the following points:
1) If every one of us took as much time examining our own faults as we do magnifying others, this would be a much different denomination!
2) The sin of another person never justifies my own. I cannot tell you how many times on blogs I have seen someone justify their unkind words because someone else did it first or did it worse.
But I am never justified or absolved of sin because of what someone else did. In fact, Jesus commanded me to love my enemies and to pray for them, to turn the other cheek. Paul told us to return good for evil. It isn’t easy, but it is godly, it is right and it is not optional for the believer.
The Solution to Our Biggest Problem
So, the solution starts with a simple step. I need to look at my own attitude. I need to hold myself and my side in any argument accountable for doing what is right. I need to care more about how I treat others than how others treat me. I need to practice the commands of Jesus and return good for evil.
We are imperfect people who live imperfectly and blog imperfectly and sin constantly. But we are called to seek Christ’s power to resist temptation and walk in holiness instead of sin. We are to imitate the Savior.
He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:22–23.
No, in this life I will never be sinless as Jesus was. But I have the Holy Spirit to empower me so that no deceit will be found in my mouth. When I am reviled, I can return good instead of greater revilement. When I suffer, I can respond in love and not threaten those who hurt me. I can seek good and entrust myself to the one who judges justly.
In the long run, isn’t that what matters most?