Perspective is a gift from God. I was recently reminded (see C.J. Mahaney’s message on this page) of the perspective of the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the not so impressive church at Corinth. Paul begins 1 Corinthians with these words: “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus” (1:4). Paul exhibits an attitude of thankfulness even with the unruly and disobedient Corinthians. Paul identifies evidences of grace in the Corinthian church when some (like me!) might only see their glaring deficiencies. This perspective issues from a pastoral heart of humility and an amazing dependence on the grace of God.
David Nelson, has recently displayed similar perspective regarding the Southern Baptist Convention. I am guilty of often going directly to the areas of struggle and failure in the SBC, and disregarding the God-given victories in the seminaries, churches and mission fields. So, the title of this post is not a misprint. I am not asking what is WRONG with the SBC, but wanting to direct your attention to what is RIGHT and what is moving in a RIGHT and biblical direction. You can see encouraging examples of this here, here and here.
This week at my church, we will be talking to people who are wanting to join our church about why we are Southern Baptist. I would submit to you that we are Southern Baptist because of all the things that are RIGHT in the SBC, like a cooperative effort to send missionaries across the globe, a commitment to the inerrancy of the Scriptures and a desire to see young men and women trained for long, fruitful ministries in local churches across the country. Don’t get me wrong, the SBC has it’s work cut out for improvement, repentance and change (like the Corinthians did). But should we throw the baby out with the bath water? We can still give glory to God for all that is RIGHT in the SBC.
For more encouragement on this topic, put this blog on your google reader! Contributers to Between the Times are:
Danny Akin, the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Bruce Ashford, the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies and associate professor of philosophy and intercultural studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Nathan Finn, an assistant professor of church history at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kenneth Keathley, the dean of graduate studies and professor of theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and David Nelson the senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.