There is nothing quite as unnerving as something coming back as a boomerang and smacking you up side the head. I fear that many may be having that experience already. It will only get worse. Every group that gets carried away with its demands of holding the party line to points of minutiae has such potential in changing times. This series has highlighted many such points among Independent Baptists, but I imagine these have not been dominating thinking as much as it did only a few days ago.
The change is shocking; its pace alarming. A mere two months ago I wrote an article in this series entitled “Where Will Independent Baptists Be In 10 and 25 Years?” I am no prophet, though I feel more sure about those predictions now than I did when I wrote that piece. It was almost surreal to reread what I myself had written–not because it was particularly brilliant, but because things tipped over so quickly. I did not see that coming!
Shootings, flag debates, racial wars, and especially, homosexual marriage legalization, and the general mood of the country–no, I did not see it coming in a few days, even if I thought it would over time.
Do you feel as so many Christians do that we are the subject of a witch hunt? It may sound dramatic, but have you had your visions of them coming for you?… Did you refuse to perform that gay wedding? Are you intolerant? How dare you discriminate against me! I feel marginalized by you! Something needs to be done about you!… Pessimists never had it so good. Fearmongers look like brilliant scholars. These are the days to make crackpot predictions because you may look like a genius tomorrow.
There is new material to work with every day. Today, for example, I read of a Baptist Church in New York City that is taking major flak for merely passing out VBS invitations. People in that community said it was discriminatory because of the church’s position on gay marriage. They also said it was offensive because the church workers were white and the community is predominately black. See where that could go? Or think about the Confederate flag debate. Every argument made against it could also be made against crosses–remember the KKK used to burn them in the yards of innocent Black folks. See what I mean?
Now let’s come back to the issues that have plagued the Independent Baptist world for several years and the subject of this series. Do you suppose some folks have felt the victim of a witch hunt for a long time? The very way we all feel now? You know, scanning Facebook pictures for pants, or trying to find your music playlist, or looking for information that you visited an unapproved church or listened to an unapproved preacher, or you were disloyal in some way to our exalted group. Many have told me that they almost live in hiding because they so fear the backlash from family or churches.
Can the recent days finally make us empathetic? Will changes in our country finally make us realize what some of us have done? Can we finally see how we have made some others feel? Think about our country and world today. I assure you that some other Independent Baptist with a different standard is not the enemy, nor is some differences in worship styles, etc., our big problem today. We do have some problems today…big ones ( we still have our hope too), but these decades-long issues in some of our churches are not it. Read the news today and answer me this: Is this really the time for a witch hunt?
Find all articles in the series here.