Evangelism with integrity
TAYLORS, S.C. (BP)--As we approach this summer's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in San Antonio, I am asking all Southern Baptists to join me for the next several weeks in a serious time of prayer for spiritual awakening, spiritual renewal and spiritual revival.
I ask that some ponder the possibility of fasting as well as praying. I have said over and over that we are at a crossroads moment. I believe that God wishes for our convention to move strongly ahead in soul-winning, mission work and ministry. However, we will continue to struggle in each of these areas if we do not have His power upon our churches and lives.
II Chronicles 7: 14 says this, "And (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land."
Note that the first phrase is, "And (if) my people who are called by My name." This phrase indicates a presupposition on the part of our Lord. He is calling us to make sure that we truly have a regenerate church membership. This is an issue that has been discussed in many places over the last years. All of us must be saddened by the fact that Southern Baptists claim more than 16 million members. One preacher once told me that the FBI could not find 5 million of them! I happen to agree with him. It is time to emphasize evangelism with integrity. No longer should we use manipulative methods that may bring about larger numbers when those persons' commitment to Christ is little or none. I cannot judge a person's heart. However, I do believe that the Scripture calls for a change when salvation occurs.
As we look at this passage, let us focus on that first phrase. Let us seek to win the lost to Christ, even if they are in our own churches. We cannot have revival among God's people if many of them do not even know the Lord.
Frank Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C.