In modern evangelical Christian culture, there can be those who rise so high in popularity that they are beyond criticism. There are those who have make such a significant contribution in the past to the cause of Christ that they they can appear to be untouchable when in the wrong. Such is the case with Paige Patterson. The once stalwart architect of the conservative resurgence of the Southern Baptist Convention and president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has in recent years acted in such a way that he is not longer fit to lead and should, for the good of the convention, the reputation of Christ, and the advancement of the gospel, step down from public ministry and leadership of an institution charged with forming the theology and character of the next generation of pastors. For those unfamiliar with the situation, you can read an article by Ed Stetzer which chronicles the disqualification of Patterson. In addition, a young man who is a seminary student at SWBTS has been fired from his position there after tweeting Stetzer's article.
I am currently reading a book called Gospel Fluency (available here) and so far it is an excellent book. The author argues early in the book that we are all unbelievers. By that, he means that we all have areas in our lives where we fail to believe God. That is a simple, yet profound observation, and ultimately true. Though we may be trusting in Christ, we can say along with the man with the epileptic son, "I believe, help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). We all need help in our unbelief.
My aim is not to give a political commentary on the events that transpired this week in Charlottesville, Va. This issue is not one of political ideology or party affiliation. It is, above all, a theological issue. As a pastor, I am not called to be a political activist and I refuse to do so because political involvement will not really change anything. As I read the Bible, I see that the problem with humanity is the problem of sin. It's a spiritual one, not a political one. My aim is simply to point out that as Christians, we cannot be silent about the issue of racism. Put simply, there is no room for racism within the family of God. If you are claiming the name of Christ and harbor animosity, bigotry, or hatred for another person on the basis of the color of their skin or their ethnicity, you are in sin. If you claim the name of Christ and believe that one race is superior to another, you are in sin. Thankfully Jesus redeems us from sin and gives us new hearts. When we look at the root of racism, we see hatred and hatred is not compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, here are 12 reflections on racism that I think all believers need to embrace.
Today, I'm starting a series of posts on the church. I'm starting with the question, "what is the church"? This may sound like a superficial question but how we answer it says a lot about how we view the church. We live in a very interesting time. On one hand, many parents that have kids that are in High School and College grew up in the church and likely raised their kids in the church to some degree. On the other hand, there are others who have perhaps never set foot in a worship gathering or think of the church as an institution. How should we think about the church? What is the church?