re·form: (r-fôrm) v. re·formed, re·form·ing, re·forms v. tr. 1. To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition. 2. To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.
ma·ma or mam·ma also mom·ma: n. (also m-mä) Informal. Mother.

5.25.2006

Because It's on My Mind

One of my great life "secrets" is that I have a M.A. in Christian Counseling from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I graduated in May, 2002. I have yet to professionally use that degree, but that's fine because I believe God has called me to full-time motherhood.

That's not what I want to discuss today though.

I am Southern Baptist. I support the SBC, generally speaking. I think that the SBC has done and can continue to do GREAT things for the Lord -- not because the SBC is so great, but because God is so powerful that He can use even falliable people and faulty organizations to do His Will.

Let me back up for a minute. While I was a student at SEBTS, I was also an employee in the public relations office. As both, a student and an employee, I saw things that I felt were more political in nature than they were godly.

I must interject here that my education at SEBTS was wonderful. The professors that I encountered were genuine and possessed a true passion for teaching the Word of God.

So back to my point... The political "fluff" that went on bothered me, but I attributed it to the fact that even those holding a position in a serminary are still falliable humans and should not be expected to live perfect lives.

I graduated and got married and moved on. The church my husband and I attended durign the first years of our marriage is a small country church that remains largely unaffected by SBC controversies.

Then we ended up in Florida. Daytona Beach, to be exact. Home of Bobby Welch's church. We must have visited 50 churches in the area. FBC Daytona was not a fit for us for some very personal reasons that I will not discuss here. One thing we noticed was that there is a huge battle brewing there between FBC and other churches that hold to a Calvinistic view of salvation.

We attended the other large church in the area -- Riverbend Community Church in Ormond. That church has the absolute best teaching that I've sat under since leaving SEBTS. however, that church was seriously lacking in brotherly love. Ya know, not one person sent a card or came to visit when we delivered our son 11 weeks early. (that's another rant for another day).

Anyway... every church we visited had nothing nice to say about any church that held to the opposing view of salvation. FBC had nothing nice to say about the calvinists at Riverbend and the reverse was also true.

Now, I am all for spirited debate, but let's not make it mean-spirited debate. Know what I mean?

That was my first inclination that something was going wrong. Then when we moved back to NC I was excited to read that the SBC convention will be in the next town over. I was excited until I began to read about some of the ugliness flying around out there among those in positions of authority at the SBC.

Lately I've been surfin' blogs because I am a voyeur at heart. I stumbled upon more explanations for the problems within the SBC.

I am heartbroken. I know Baptists like to think they are the only ones who will be in Heaven and we have a tendency to think that any variation from our own particular beliefs will send someone to Hell. However, the things I've read indicate to me that many Baptists aren't acting like they are elected to Heaven. Get my drift?

If you are a Christian who is being sanctified, then you accept someone's repentance, agree to disagree on certain issues, you understand God's grace and attempt to emulate it. As a Christian you are not to be legalistic, nor are you to be living in a perpetual state of sin because of God's grace.

Grow up people. The lost are watching us. They need to see Christ, not someone's ego or in-fighting or legalism without love.

That's my rant for today.

3 Comments:

Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Hi Mama. Reformed SBC Grandpa here.

I've been an Evangelical United Bretheren, Methodist, United Methodist, 3 kinds of Presbyterian, and now Southern Baptist. They are all about the way you have described.

We usually get the view that our mission is "saving the lost world" so that ought to be everyone's focus. I don't agree with that view. True, that's one of the end-result goals of the church, but everyone is gifted and called into different areas of ministry.

You .... you see the warts and flaws and shortcomings in the organizations. You may see that as limiting your ability to find a suitable platform for using your giftedness in the work of advancing the gospel. But: I suggest that your perception of problems may be your call to an area of service.

I think that's the case, with me. I've served on all the committtees and chaired a bunch of things, but God subsequently told me He does not want me to be involved in the business of the business any more. He showed me 3 specific areas, which I am now involved in, and the main one is teaching. I do that, for young married couples, so they'll get the message and then THEY can break the traditions which breed all the flaws you see.

That may be the case, for you, with flawed churches.

I heard a story that sounds true and illustrates a point. A farmer in South Africa suffered an extended drought. He stood in his fields and prayed for rain, but none came. He eventually had to sell the farm

In the process of getting an appraisal done, a mineral survey was done. The discovered diamonds on the property, and it became one of South Africa's largest diamond mines.

When the farmer was standing in his field praying for rain, he was standing in the middle of a field of diamonds.

As you look around you at churches with political problems, spiritual flaws, and all the rest, I think you're standing in the middle of fields of diamonds.

The fact that you saw it, tells me God wants you to do something about it.

Or not. I'm just an old guy from Alabama who read your blog.

Give Eddie Bear a hug for me. My grandkids are all in college.

God bless you.

10:42 AM

 
Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

ps:

I just started a blog. My first posting started a dissertation about Calvinism. If you'd like to see it the URL is

www.mightyfowl.blogspot.com

God bless you.

10:45 AM

 
Blogger Reformed Mama said...

Thank you for your kind post. It just so happens that my main spiritual gift is teaching.

Right now I am still adjusting to the whole motherhood thing and trying to figure out where or how exactly my motherhood fits in with teaching, besides the obvious. ;)

Anyway... thank you for stopping by.

9:25 PM

 

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