With twelve posts out now in this Truth Revolution, it is time to reflect on the bigger picture. In spite of all the negative issues that demand discussion, there is some really good news that needs publicity. The ugliest things in the Independent Baptist world, as embarrassing as they are, simply do not describe a larger than expected number out there.
It was reinforced in my mind over this past weekend. My family had a chance to minister at Beacon Baptist Church in Jupiter, Florida. Our only connection to that work was that my wife has a good friend from college days who is the assistant pastor’s wife. We knew nothing else of the church before we went. What did we find? A pastor who passionately preached God’s Word! He drew a great sermon from the text that really was a help to people. He was a humble, dedicated shepherd, loved by staff and people. Then we met some dedicated couples and spent enough time with them to see a real zeal to serve the Lord. They were in their 30s, a few on staff, but most not, and they were all a breath of fresh air. The music was awesome, the unity of the people obvious, and absolutely nothing was weird. There was no trace of anything I have written about in this series!
I think of Faith Baptist Tabernacle in Jamestown, Tennessee, pastored by Fred Allred, where we have attended in our transition time, and the love of Christ is so real there. Again, nothing weird, and nothing that I have written of here. This year we have been in other churches in Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, and Kentucky, all pastored by dedicated shepherds who took seriously preaching God’s Word in context. These churches would be a blessing to any person or family, all without any embarrassing elements to explain away.
Why do we hear so little about these churches:
1. Good news rarely makes the news.
2. These pastors are too humble to always be tooting their own horns.
3. They understand it is Christ and not themselves anyway.
The good news extends beyond churches and pastors. We have learned this with private information. Since my Alicia and I have started blogging, you would be shocked by all the private emails and Facebook messages that we have received. What did we learn? We found an overwhelmingly positive response. They want things to change. They want the Bible to be returned to its rightful place by being preached in context. They want the opinion of man thrown out in preaching. They want pastoral abuse to stop. They want the great Baptist principle of soul liberty brought back.
We haven’t heard much from the older generation, but we have had so many responses from those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s and they run about 95 % that we need these issues to change. Think of this age group. Most assistant pastors come from this age group and several pastors do too. Many soon-to-be pastors are coming from this group as well. I have heard from many dedicated laymen who are becoming the backbone of churches around the country and they agree just as much. I find hope here!
They are quiet. Their messages were private. I think they should be called, with apologies to Richard Nixon, the silent majority. Their influence is coming and will be felt like it or not. I, for one, like it.
Please read next week when I will make an appeal to this silent majority!
Please read all articles in the series here.