BAPTISTS: WE RATHER FIGHT THAN SERVE
Scripture tells us two important elements of the Christian life on which everything else hangs. We are slaves to Christ and we are to serve one another. That is the heart and soul of the Christian life. It reflects the Great Commandments, Love God and Love your Neighbor.
But we Baptists don’t seem to really believe the great commandments. We like to fight. We have been fighting for so long it is as if we get bored with nothing to fight about. We rather fight than serve.
The elements that have replaced our slavery to Christ and our service to each other are power and ego. But it is more than just ego, it is narcissism. Surely we can do better than this. But it seems to be in our DNA to fight. Now we have entered another fight that is on a larger scale and that is the Calvinist–Arminian divide, as if this was something new and just discovered. People with wild imaginations and a lot of ego to back it up, believe that one or the other position is going to destroy our convention. Folks, we are already doing a brilliant good job of self destruction. If numbers mean anything, we are shrinking at a precipitous rate. So do we really have time to fight?
We need to recover true spirituality. We need to remember that we belong to Christ. Jesus said that if you love me you will keep my commandments. No, he is not calling us to submit to a kind of legalism, but to live by the principles that He himself has written on our hearts. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (Joh 13:34 ESV) It can’t be any clearer than that.
I know that we have to guard against false doctrine but Baptist have always been Calvinistic with a little Arminian thrown in. We have always been common folk with a little big city thrown in. We have always been a little bit rock and a little bit country. The fact is Baptists are wild and untamed because we belong to an untamed God. We answer to our Lord and not to men. We have no right to tell a church or her pastor what to believe as long as they are within the bounds of orthodoxy and both Calvinist and Arminians are within that boundary. No one really has a right to tell us how to worship and what to sing. We can always use good advice and good teaching. But we have no human dictators.
What we need to do is recover our identity in Christ. Who are we? Are we Baptist first, is that how we really define ourselves? First and foremost, we are slaves to Christ. We are at his beck and call. We race to love like Christ. We are called to serve like the one who washed his disciple’s feet. We give ourselves away because that is what Christian love does. We serve one another. We serve those we don’t like. We love the unlovable. We share each other’s burdens. We love each other the way Christ has loved us. We serve with integrity. We stop trying to be the first among men. We try to decrease so that others might increase. We teach service by example and we practice biblical leadership and not the latest fad from the latest leadership guru.
Who knows better than Jesus? No one. So let us be formed into Christ. Let us consider to how stimulate each other to love and good deeds. As good slaves to Christ, let us serve one another.