I’m out! Well, I am and will later in this article explain where I am out. Those words reverberate loudly often, in the reverse, in the Independent Baptist world as well. That is worthy of discussion too.
Perhaps you have watched a show that fascinates my family called “Shark Tank”. It is not my favorite program, and usually I will read while they watch, but in my home you can’t help watching it some. If you haven’t seen it, it is a show where entrepreneurs needing money to propel their business forward come before five filthy rich business magnates and pitch their business to see if one or more of the five will give the money for a stake of the company. Those five have succeeded for a reason and can spot a bad business plan or product as quickly as a dog can a bone. There is even one shark in the center called Mr. Wonderful (never has the bar for wonderful been set so low) who often reenergizes the term “painfully honest”.
In accordance with the typical vicarious reality-TV experience of our generation, the camera will pan from the face of the entrepreneur to the shark. The tension is seeing if the shark will make a deal or say those dreaded words: “I’m out!” Though it seems personal, the viewer must not forget that those sharks surely have a right to invest where they choose. They seem in most cases to be fairly cordial afterwards to those they just dropped the bomb of “I’m out” on. Still, you can see the fear in the eyes of the entrepreneurs that the “I’m out” may come.
In the Independent Baptist world, and I imagine in a few other corners of Christianity, we have almost that same scenario, except worse. The words “I’m out” are altered to “You’re out.” It is not I am going to pack up my toys (or money) and go home, but I am going to pack up your toys (or fellowship) and send you home. The former is unpleasant, but the latter is devastating.
We have had much communication with those on both sides of the “You’re out”. There are those who have heard it and are trying to recover from what has been an emotional crisis involving family or friends. If that doesn’t strike you as a big deal, it only proves you have not been through it. Someone I dearly love has had the “you’re out” hurled at them this very year.
Then there are those with that look of terror in their eyes who fear the words may come at any time. They wrestle with sticking to what they believe or selling their souls to avoid the “You’re out”.
O I almost forgot—you may be wondering what events precipitated the pronouncement of “You’re out”. Believe it or not, this complete or near-complete breaking of fellowship were over things like (in order of occurrence): dress standards, complete obedience to a certain clique’s position, unquestioned support of a questionable leader, and music standards. I will refrain from sarcasm here and just suggest you join many others of us in rolling your eyes.
I want to give a word to those who have heard the painful “You’re Out” since I know several readers of this blog fall in that category. Imagine being in a plane and the other riders decided you were not enough in agreement with them and opened the door and threw you out barely giving you time to strap on a parachute. There is the sheer terror of falling (at least that is how I visualize it as the last guy who will ever volunteer to jump out of a plane), the hurt of being treated so by those you expected more of, and the fear of the unknown and how exactly you handle the landing since you have never done this before. A little overwhelming, wouldn’t you agree?
But then imagine that as you drift down in your parachute in a torrent of emotion that you see the plane you were thrown out of slam into the side of a mountain. That would, of course, only make for even more strong emotions, but would not one of those new emotions be gratitude that you were no longer on the plane? Hurting one, what I am trying to say is that the plane you were thrown out of is going to crash.
Please don’t think I am saying: they hurt you and they will pay. That is God’s business and our thoughts must not go there. What I am saying is that a life where we must earn God’s love, where our soul liberty is brutalized, where the priesthood of the believer we possess is sabotaged, and the Lordship of Christ we must give to Jesus is high jacked– that life cannot succeed. That is not the Life that Jesus gave us. It is not really life at all. Be thankful you are no longer on the plane. Hurting or not, you are far better off.
O, before I go, I said I would explain where “I’m out”. I do not direct those words to any Independent Baptist people or institutions. Probably I can just wait for them to say “You’re out” to me and it will all sort itself out. Those who never say “You’re out” to me will find that I will remain friendly to the end. The Truth Revolution is not personal over characters in IFB for me, but personal about Christ Who I love. I love being a Baptist with its blood-stained heritage, but not what some Baptists have defrauded of that heritage.
So, I’m out to being sucked into bondage. I’m out over someone dictating to my conscience. I’m out to being forced to conform to feeble men’s demands. I’m out over forced or made up Bible (mis-) interpretations. I’m out to someone robbing me of the joy Christ so freely gives. I’m out to men’s opinion overtaking the Word of God. I’m out to voices that would drown out the Word of God. I’m out to having freedom and liberty in Christ taken from me. I have a wonderful Savior and I am free and I love it—so I’m out.
Find all articles in the series here.
16 thoughts on “I’m Out! (IBTR #62)”
Pastor Reagan, another great article. I love the insight God has given you and your willingness to step out and speak the truth. For some reason we believe that telling people what we are against will draw them in and help them, hogwash. We should stand for what is right and agains what is clearly wrong in the scriptures, but I believe we have a generation that is longing to hear what we stand for.
Not sure if you follow Pastor Craig Edwards on Facebook or not. I believe you would enjoy his insights.
Thanks! I agree what you described above is no help!
I will see if I can find him on Facebook too!
Thank you, Pastor Reagan, for your posts. They encourage me and give me hope for the IBF movement. We did hear a “you’re out” and we chose to leave the IBF movement because we dared to disagree with the leadership of the church. I especially loved reading your last paragraph where you referred to the freedom found in Christ. God Bless you!
Thanks for your encouragement! God bless!
Let me put a little bit of humor into the conversation:
If your church is the type of church to cast you out over something like that, then staying “in” probably wasn’t doing you much good. I think it’s a good idea for to do a “spiritual inventory” as it relates to our church. In the business world, if a business relationship proves to be more cost than it’s worth, and/or it isn’t reaping the results that you hoped it would, typically your business will break ties with that other organization, no matter how friendly they were. I know the church is not a business, but I think because it’s not, it’s far more important to do this analysis – “Are me and my family better disciples of Jesus now than we were 5 years ago, and if so, is that difference because of the influence of my Church, or other factors?” “Where do I see myself and my family spiritually 5 years from now based off of the observable impact my church has had on us over the last 5 years?” “Is that picture worth sticking around for or is it time to move on?” Please note: I fully recognize that the church is a place for us to come and worship and serve and learn together. It’s not all about me. BUT – if you’re not being fed, then obviously there are some problems, because you should be fed at church! And chances are, if you’re not being fed, then neither are many others.The shepherd isn’t leading you to lush pastures. Of course you could all just be really carnal and unreachable, but that’s up to you to decide.
There are truly many dynamics here, and the problem could be my spirituality. Those questions you asked, as long as I carefully analyze my shortcomings too, are good ones
Agreed, and my suggestion was not meant to make simple a very complicated decision. Just a general outline for some thoughts that are good for us to have concerning our church, especially a church that really is not being a very effective light. I for one would add that, if you know of some shortcomings in your church, don’t just uproot and leave. Rather, try to be a catalyst for change in your church. Talk with your pastor. Work with him to come to a solution and try to make it happen. And give your efforts some time because people don’t change overnight. But at some point, despite your best efforts, if things still seem to be stagnant, maybe it’s time to recognize that you don’t really have a place there anymore and you need to move on. But if you aren’t putting forth any effort to see anything change, well that, in my opinion, is your starting point.
We need, on the one hand, grace, as a pastor may sincerely be doing his best; and discernment on the other, as there are some churches The Lord would want us to move away from. Careful praying is so needed here.
As the daughter of a pastor who has painfully had to say “you’re out” to those who refuse to get right and/or are causing division and hurting the work of God after giving grace upon grace and chances to repent, just remember that there are two sides to every story. Be careful. You may have gotten hold of the wrong side.
I am a pastor myself and fully believe that church members have as much potential as pastors to be a problem. Still, those with authority must go the extra mile to not abuse that authority.
When it comes to our saying “You’re out” to a church member, I believe to be true to Scripture it must be a bonafide church discipline issue, not just “You are not supportive enough.”
There is also the issue of two Christians or Christian family members. To say that “you don’t follow my opinions closely enough and so you are out,” which was the main point of this article, is ludicrous.
Your point, though,to examine each situation individually is a good one.
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Reblogged this on Proliferate Truth. and commented:
This is a timely message for me. Worth taking time to read.
Thank you … We’ve been told “you’re out” … and I am thankful Jesus was there to rescue us as we drifted down out of that “airplane” … !! His new plan for us was pretty great! 🙂 (not painless, but good! because HE is good!)
Yes He is good! Thanks for commenting!