There have been times in an introductory conversation with people in and outside of faith, that I’ve been embarrassed to say that I am an “Independent Fundamental Baptist.” Before the Independent Fundamental Baptist get offended, I need to explain a little further. I’m not ashamed of the doctrinal foundation for which I’m a member, I’m ashamed of what is acceptable and expected behavior of certain sects of the denomination, as well as any other denomination who in the name of Jesus Christ, behave in a manner that Christ Himself would have no part of.
I attended a revival meeting at Brooksville Baptist Church in the greater Big Bend, WV area, and what a wonderful revival it was. Dwight Goff, Pastor of Camden Flats Baptist Church in Glenville, WV preached and hit the nail on the head on the subject of Christians selecting from a menu of what they want at “their” church. I guess you could call it “Burger King Christianity”, they want it their way, not God’s way.
Every denomination believes they have it right. And many of them do… on paper. It’s when the practice of faith goes from doctrinal statement to practical participation that there’s a problem. Pastor Francis Chan, who no longer Pastors, left his church of thousands because he realized, they in no way shape or form looked like the New Testament church described in the Bible. I don’t think that’s the answer either by the way, but I understand his theory.
Take a hard look at your church: Does it line up with scripture? Are your people taking care of one another in the spiritual and physical sense? Do they even know who needs taken care of? Are your people sitting in the pews at every opportunity to hear the Word of God and then practicing the Word of God outside of the church in a manner that draws people to them with the question, “Why do you care?” Is there even any evidence that they do care? Do they categorize who should be saved? Do they make fun of those who they deem un-savable? Oh yes… I went there. How on earth do ever think that a person in sin will be saved if you’ve just belittled and made fun of them in the name of Jesus. Yes, the lifestyle of homosexuality, transvestite, transgender, etc. etc. is sin. So is turning people away from Christ. Christ said He would draw men unto Himself, and He still does. But I have to wonder if the reason we don’t see more people saved isn’t because once Christ draws them in, we paint another picture of Christianity. Our version.
My Pastor closed his sermon on Sunday with the story of a young boy who was sent to the store to buy eggs for his momma. On the way out he tripped on the curb and broke all the eggs. He was so upset. The crowd gathered to console him and one elderly gentlemen took a quarter from his pocket and gave to the young boy (today it would be a couple bucks) but he ask the crowd, “I care 25 cents worth, how much do you care?”
Dwight Goff closed his sermon last night with the story of a wading pool full of tadpoles that he didn’t want to see perish by pouring them out in the yard, at which point God ask him, “Do you care as much about men as you do those tadpoles who don’t even have a soul?” Quarters and Tadpoles; how much do you care.
We are categorizing saints. Our Denomination. Our church. Our style. Our people. Our way. Our money. Our stuff… we want it neat and tidy without confrontation or concern. Yes! We want people saved. But only the pretty people. Not the ones that make us feel icky.
I had a come to Jesus moment the other day when I happened to be around an odiferous person and wished that I wasn’t. God quickly reminded me that that is how I smell to Him in all my worldly, sinful ways, but He hangs out with me. Suck it up butter cup and love on them.
So the questions of the day for you and I both are this.
- In regards to tadpoles and quarters, how much do you care?
- Are you more concerned with things that will burn up in eternity than you are the souls you are coming into contact with today?
- Do you know who needs a quarter in your congregation?
- Why are you in that congregation, to serve… or to sit?
- Are you drawing people to Christ, or standing between them and Him with your “opinions?”
Jesus said this in Matthew 18:1-7
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
One of the sweetest things about a child is there are no categories (unless adults train them that way). But naturally speaking they just want to enjoy the people they’re with. They love learning something new. They may think you’re weird, but that’s okay too. They want to please those in authority, and they think those in authority rank superhero status. They love to serve. And if a superhero takes the time to come down on their level and understand their weirdness, then that superhero is someone to follow.
Those should be added to the doctrinal statements in every house of Jesus.