Recently the First Baptist Church of Greenville, SC announced that they would be affirming homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, including performing same-sex marriages and ordaining homosexuals to the ministry. The pastor announced the decision was the result of a congregational discernment process that was recommended from a church appointed “LGBT Discernment Team.” The church approved the team’s statement, which said… “In all facets of the life and ministry of our church, including but not limited to membership, baptism, ordination, marriage, teaching and committee/organizational leadership, First Baptist Greenville will not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The pastor stated in one of many irrational attempts to defend the church’s decision--“There’s no family value system in the Bible that we would lay into the 21st century,” he says. “We don’t have two wives and sleep with our maids and have a bunch of children and that be fine. What we believe about marriage and family is culturally driven, not biblically driven.” Did you get that?—“Culturally driven not Biblically driven.” And how ironic given the fact that on the very newsletter’s masthead of the church, announcing the “discernment teams” report, is printed the words—“We believe in the authority of the Bible.”
First Baptist Church of Greenville is one of the most historic churches in the South and in particular has a rich history within Southern Baptist life, albeit not in recent decades. It was involved in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845, the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention was its pastor, it helped establish Furman University (a once theologically sound university for the training of ministers), and it’s early church building was the original home of our Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1859.
But in 1999, the church voted to withdraw it’s affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention and align itself with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship—a splinter group/quasi-denomination which formed in opposition to conservative’s call to Biblical Inerrancy and fidelity to all the scripture. And therein lies the lesson, and it explains how, in just one generation a church or churches that refused to adhere to the inerrancy of the Bible can reverse themselves on homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the ordination to ministry of the same. Commenting on the matter Dr. Al Mohler said, “once a church or denomination is untethered from the inerrancy of the Bible, there is no brake on the relativizing effects of cultural pressure.”
This matter is another tragic and growing illustration of why knowing God’s truth in a relative culture is so important. And that is the heart and motive behind the new series that I begin with you today… #TRUTH. In the weeks ahead I’ll share messages with you to help you understand what we believe and why we believe it. We’ll looks at what we believe about everything from the Bible, Marriage and Creation, to Salvation, Last Things, The Church and Religious Liberty among other things. I hope you will attend each Sunday through the series… it’s hard to live your faith if you do not know your faith!
Reception for Lloyd & Stephania Blank… following our evening service, in the fellowship hall. I hope you will stop by and thank them for their years of faithful service to our students.
I love being your pastor and remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new!!!
For God’s Glory Alone,