Being liked shouldn-t be a priority
    January 17 2012 by Jack Marshburn, Tar Landing Baptist Church, Jacksonville, N.C.

    According to a guest column in the December 10 BR, if we change our name from Southern Baptist Convention, and if we cease being known for our opposition to immoral practices like homosexuality, and if we avoid any common ground that may be shared by some in political circles, then more people will like us.
    Is that so?
    Where in the book of Acts do we see the believers laboring to get people to like them? I do not mean that they were trying to be disliked but that being liked was not their priority.
    In Acts 5:13-14, Luke gives us interesting insight into the early church. “None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,” Acts 5:13-14 (ESV). While many would not dare be associated with the church, many others were getting saved!
    If only we were more interested in what the Scriptures say rather than the pollsters.
    The author refers to the supposed stigma of the word “Southern.” However true that may be, if we change our name we will not change our past. Did the Apostle Paul seek to conceal his past as a persecutor of the Christians? No. Instead, he used that to speak of God’s grace and mercy (Acts 22; 26; 1 Timothy 1:12-15; 1 Corinthians 15:8-10).
    I was present in 1995 when the formal apology was made. That was the right thing to do – to publicly acknowledge the wrong in the beginning of our convention. That was a matter of integrity. Changing our name in an attempt to camouflage our past seems deceitful.
    Well, what about “Baptist,” will we delete it also? For whatever reason, some churches no longer wish to be identified as a Baptist congregation. As a convention are we so ashamed of our Baptist heritage that we will abandon the name? I hope not.
    Brothers and sisters, there is something far more offensive than the words “Southern Baptist.” It is the truth of the gospel. Oswald Chambers is reported to have said, “There is nothing attractive about the gospel to the natural man. The only man who finds the gospel attractive is the man who is convicted of sin.”
    The concern I have is not about the changing of a name. What bothers me is the reasoning I am hearing. The December 10 article sounded very seeker sensitive and focused on man.
    The author claimed that a name change will “inject the body with a new energy.” Apparently, he believes that but I do not.
    The Holy Spirit is the one who empowers the Church. Hanging out a different shingle never will.
    Jack Marshburn
    Tar Landing Baptist Church, Jacksonville, N.C.
    1/17/2012 3:57:21 PM by Jack Marshburn, Tar Landing Baptist Church, Jacksonville, N.C. | with 0 comments

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