This subject is personally frustrating for me because for a number of years, we attended and were members of a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) church. During most of the time we were there, things were relatively good. The senior pastor was a very gifted preacher who preached expositionally, going verse-by-verse through the text of Scripture, normally a book at a time. The only thing I disagreed with him on was regarding the "The Purpose Driven Life" series and doctrinal positions of Rick Warren.
In general, that church had the right doctrinal beliefs, the preaching was right on and the music was not that far out in left field somewhere. Though they used electronic instrumentation including drums, bass, keys and electric guitars, the music itself did not overpower the worship or the message. Once the senior pastor left and the choir director followed him a year later, things began to go south very seriously.
We ultimately left and moved to an independent Bible church, with very conservative, fundamental beliefs. I really appreciate this current church. The pastor is even more expositional than the previous senior pastor from our other church and the music used is hymns. Any special music is simply presented either on the piano, violin, flute duet, and/or musical solos or groups. It is absolutely thrilling to be in a house of worship where one joins in actual worship of God Almighty.
Too many approach church very carelessly these days. People do not give God His due. They prefer to see Him as the doting grandfather in the sky, one who longs to give His children whatever they ask for instead of what they actually need.
Much of Christendom seems to have undergone a tremendous change but most fail to see it because they think church should be about having "fun." If people are having fun, they are happy and glad to be there and will return. If they are happy, they are certainly more willing to open their wallets, aren't they? They'll tell neighbors and friends about their church "experience" and others will join with them. It's all about enjoying going to church on Sundays, isn't it? However, the loss of reverential fear where God is concerned is alarming to me. If we are going to attend church and worship God, we must do so on His terms, not ours. That seems to apply less and less these days.
The goal of the church is not to make sinners and unchurched people feel comfortable about being there. One goal is to bring us before God to understand how bereft we are without Him and how much we need His salvation, the only true salvation that is available in all of Creation. This doesn't mean that we should fear being judged by God (if we are saved), but we should absolutely fear doing or saying something that may result in loss of fellowship with Him. The sanctuary of the present day church does not seem to have this in mind, by and large and the fact that it is often referred to as an "auditorium" proves this mindset.
The SBC just celebrated another Pastors Conference. The stated goal of the conference just held was, "...to challenge and encourage pastors and church leaders to be faithful to the calling to serve the Lord in local church ministry..." Really? Pastors need to be encouraged to be faithful to their alleged calling? Okay, I get that, to a degree, but on the other hand, it's sad that this is actually a goal nowadays because of its many implications.
One of the larger problems within the SBC is their developing views on human sexuality. It's almost as if the SBC isn't clear on God's Word when it speaks to sexuality and relationships. SBC leaders seem to fail to understand (or deliberately ignore), the basic tenets of Scripture.
Other issues have to do with women preachers within the SBC. Paul is succinctly clear on this, but his words are often twisted to mean something else entirely.
It is also done with respect to race relations, with the SBC now holding a women of color conference so that minority women can have their own conference that is separate from white women. Apparently, the belief is that white women cannot relate to minority women in their struggles and issues they deal with in life. Minority women need their "safe space" to vent and share. This is in spite of the fact that we are told in in Christ, there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, slave or free (Galatians 3:28). What this actually means is that in Christ - those who have salvation - there is no distinction in gender or race because all are completely equal in God's eyes because of Christ. However, this does not mean that God did not design men and women to have different roles in society and becoming a Christian does not negate these roles at all.
The SBC suffers from unreliable biblical exegesis. Leaders there often appear to base their Scriptural understanding on the mood of society. If there's a tremendous push by the LGBT+ community, leaders within, the SBC will often "consider" the pros and cons of that group to determine their position instead of going to Scripture. The same is done with regards to women preachers in the SBC and also with the music often presented at SBC churches and conferences.
If I were to use one phrase that might best describe the SBC, it would be "embracing change." It seems that the SBC, like other denominations, is leaving the safety, authority, and anchor of God's Word to embrace the philosophies of the world. This is often done to simply gain numbers. The tragedy is that they are not attempting to embrace folks in the hopes that they will hear the clear message of salvation either. No, they are embracing people for the sole purpose of simply embracing them and appearing magnanimous and "loving." They don't want to appear "judgmental" so they are carefully follow the cues of political correctness (Cultural Marxism), to cause people in the world to think that they (SBC) are actually loving. In truth, they hate God because they embrace the world's philosophy as they so easily set aside His authoritative Word.
The SBC embraces the world's thinking on music, politics, feminism, human sexuality, and also engenders the idea...
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