FIRST-PERSON: The deep need for relevancy

TAYLORS, S.C. (BP)--In recent weeks I have been traveling across our country, speaking in seminaries, colleges, churches and trustee meetings.

I have pointed to what I call the three "Rs" which are desperately needed for the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. Those Rs are rightness, revival and relevancy. While we thank God for the wonderful men and women who fought for many years to return our convention to a strong affirmation of the inerrancy of the Word of God, I challenge our convention to realize that rightness alone with not bring about church transformation and revitalization of our convention. With equal passion, we must seek a revival from God and also, relevancy for this world and for future generations.

One of the areas that desperately needs to be understood in regards to relevancy is our methodology of dealing with our world. I believe God’s Word is abidingly relevant. I believe His Word helps us to know how to relate to our world.

One great passage that gives us direction is Ephesians 4:15. In this great passage, Paul, under the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit, tells us that we need to speak the truth in love. This is a very interesting passage. It is a difficult passage to translate -- literally, it means “truthing in love.” The problem in translating this is that we have no verb for "truth" in English, while the Greek does. The basic concept is that our manner of life is to be sincere and true, thinking truly, speaking truly, dealing truly -- and all in a spirit of genuine, agape love, without diversions to divide our allegiance, without hypocrisy to deny our witness, without divisions to hinder our purpose in Him. Truthing in love is what we are called to do. The need could not be greater!

Our world desperately needs to see authenticity and relevancy. Baby boomers, busters, and bridgers are neither denominationally nor institutionally loyal by nature. They must see the legitimacy of the cause.

Let us join together in speaking God’s truth. But let us speak it in love. Speaking truth without love leads to a coldhearted legalism which drives people away from Christ. Speaking love without truth leads to a shallow liberalism that leaves people bereft of direction.

Let us be an authentic, relevant people who share the Good News of Christ without compromising truth. However, let us make sure that everything we do, say, and share is done with such authentic love that people cannot help but sense the love of Christ in our lives and message.


Frank Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C. Visit his website at www.sbc.net/PresidentsPage.

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