The Southern Baptist March Towards Irrelevance
©2008 Christopher G. Adamo
Some of life’s concepts are so defining that, by their very nature, they preclude any alternatives. An individual who is honest ninety-nine percent of the time is a “liar.” Someone who is almost always sober is properly deemed a “drunk.” No common ground exists between the absolutes of right and wrong. And any attempts at finding or establishing such domain will be in vain. Jesus elucidated this perfectly when He warned against the futility of attempting to serve “two masters.”
Sadly, the modern Church increasingly ignores His simple counsel and seeks to bridge that gap on a host of issues. The unalterable result is that such misbegotten endorsements of the popular culture cannot and will not effectively solidify “truth” as defined by the latest social or cultural fad. But attempting to relate to the secular world on this basis only causes the Church to lose its credibility in the eyes of the very people who need it most.
Whether the current sorry state of affairs has transpired on account of misguided pragmatism or an underlying element of unbelief that permeates the modern Church, the result is the same. The more the Church seeks to look like the world around it, the more diluted and useless it becomes.
Having pursued such a course in Europe during the early and middle parts of the Twentieth Century, the Church, as a dominant and vital influence on the European culture, is now virtually nonexistent. Giant gothic cathedrals stand nearly empty, while the edicts and philosophies of their remnant clergies are viewed with almost humorous disdain. Across the ocean in America, Churches verge on following the same course.
The latest episode that should cause concern among real Christians is the collective decision of Southern Baptists to accept the premise of “global warming,” attempts to confer legitimacy on it by spiritualizing society’s anxieties over it, and to far too great a degree, accepting the worldly “solutions” proposed by the likes of Al Gore.
It is bad enough that the Southern Baptists will quickly find themselves entangled in efforts to theologically reconcile the Sermon on the Mount with “compact fluorescent light bulbs.” What is next? Perhaps liberal “theologians” will now attempt to make the pitch that the winged creatures spoken of in the books of Isaiah and Revelation provide a prophetic basis for the Endangered Species Act.
Worse yet however, is that the timing of their decision, itself a result of the tendency to refute worldly doctrine not with the timelessness of Scripture, but by weighing it against Southern Baptist tradition, means that they are joining the fray just as the hoax of “global warming” (or “climate change” as it has been defensively redesignated) is being thoroughly debunked.
Rather than remaining permanently set on the enduring truths that define Christians and Christianity according to the precepts handed down from the Prophets and the Savior, the Church is opting to offer its own, predictably watered down version of the Gospel according to the nightly news.
Even more abominable is that this subterfuge is presented with a smattering a Scripture, in a statement entitled “A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change,” which is clearly intended to project the notion that this latest Baptist foray into “political correctness” is being perpetrated for Biblical purposes.
Contrary to those who seek the abolition of “religion” from day-to-day life, the Bible declares no prohibition on involvement in politics. Even a cursory reading of the Book of Esther provides convincing proof that God’s people ought to utilize the opportunities given them to honorably help those around them. Yet when such an effort is undertaken in response to social pressure and passing fads, it represents little more than a capitulation that stems from a total lack of faith.
This is particularly true of the Southern Baptists, who have had multiple opportunities during the past few years to make a profound statement on unfolding events that adversely affect the spiritual health of the Church.
In the Southern Baptist Convention of 2004, Brigadier General T.C. Pinckney and Dr. Bruce Shortt proposed a resolution to encourage Christian parents to remove their children from the moral abyss of the public schools. Their rationale was that since the schools have degenerated from a time when the Lord’s Prayer was recited every morning to their current condition, wherein all precepts of Christian belief are regularly ridiculed and the moral antithesis of the Christian lifestyle is being strenuously promoted, true believers no longer belonged there.
Yet the Southern Baptists were wholly unwilling to embrace the idea, insisting that the Church had no moral authority to “usurp the moral authority that God has placed firmly in the home.” In contrast, the environmental statement clearly admonishes the brethren how they should conduct their lives in order to promote care of the planet.
Amazingly, these people could not find sufficient Scriptural grounds to take a stand against a government school system that is institutionally hostile to Christian principles. But they are now willing to wag righteous fingers in the faces of their congregational families while pontificating on the “immorality” of driving an SUV.
In February, the Archbishop of Canterbury, ostensibly the chief spokesman for the Church of England, shocked his fellow Anglicans by suggesting that Islamic “sharia law” might be implemented as a means of cultural coexistence with that nation’s burgeoning Muslim population. Within the past few days, Democrat Presidential candidate Barack Obama postulated that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was making a pitch for same-sex “marriage.”
As a result of incidents like these, the real purpose and message of the Biblical Church is increasingly being stifled and muddied. Ensuing generations will look less and less to such an institution for guidance and direction on those matters of life and eternity about which it was charged to enlighten mankind.
It is important to point out that throughout the ages, such abominations did not burst upon the Christian scene overnight. Rather, they resulted from the insidious infiltration of secular ideology into a Church that has at times willingly dropped its defenses. This latest outrage by the Southern Baptists represent a significant step in that direction.
Christopher G. Adamo is a freelance writer and the former editor of "The Wyoming Christian," state newsletter for Christian Coalition of Wyoming. Chris is also a member of the Wyoming Republican Central Committee. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and resides in Wyoming. Archives of his articles are available at www.chrisadamo.com .