Repentance a 'dire need' in SBC, Hunt says

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--If Southern Baptists are to be what God wants them to be, they desperately need to repent of the sins that clog their spiritual lives, Johnny Hunt told the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference June 22.

"I am not a prophet or a prophet's son, but I may have to do until a prophet comes," Hunt said. "And here's what I want to say to the Southern Baptist Convention: There is a dire need for overwhelming repentance. I've never seen so many hard things said from one person to the next without any sense of grief."

Like a flowing stream that beavers dam up over time with fallen trees and debris, a Christian becomes blocked spiritually by sins both large and small, Hunt said. And in the same manner, the only way for living water to flow again is for spiritual dynamite to be applied.

Hunt confessed that he has at times allowed his own life to get dammed up by sins that he didn't take seriously.

"Almost unbeknownst to me, I let some tree fall across the artesian well of God's Spirit," Hunt said. "I hardly even notice.... God reminds me of it, but I just don't take serious His mandate to be clean. Then a little trash here and a little gossip there and a little sarcasm and a little jealousy and a little envy and before you know it, our lives are dammed up and the flow of God's Spirit stopped. You may be ministering, but God's life is not being ministered through you."

A person in that condition needs to pray that God would strategically place "a couple of sticks of holy dynamite" and that the explosion would blow them back into a proper relationship with God, Hunt said.

Preaching from 2 Kings 7, Hunt drew an analogy between Southern Baptists and the four starving lepers who decided to enter an enemy's army camp to ask for food since they were as good as dead anyway. But when they discovered God had miraculously frightened off the enemy, they enjoyed and hid the riches of the abandoned camp while their brothers and sisters continued to starve behind the walls of their city.

Southern Baptists once enjoyed a time when God gave them miraculous victory, but they enjoyed the victory, rather than sharing it, Hunt said. Now, with many churches in decline, they aren't believing God for another miracle.

"I want to pose a question for Southern Baptists. Please take it personally," Hunt said. "Is it possible that Southern Baptists have lost the capacity to believe God for the miraculous? We say we believe we aren't on the same economy as the world, that Jesus doesn't read The Wall Street Journal, but then we hunker down.

"If I understand what God is doing in this nation," Hunt added, "I want to challenge us as Southern Baptists to hoist the sails and pray that the Holy Ghost of God might find us obedient and fill that sail for the glory of God and blow us to our best days for His name's sake."

The 9/11 terrorist attacks and recent economic downturn have caused many Christians to say, "God is trying to get America's attention," Hunt said.

"God is not trying to get America's attention. God is trying to get our attention," Hunt declared. "The Bible says, 'It is now time for judgment to begin at the house of God [1 Peter 4:17]. If I understand that, from my own background and vernacular, God is saying, 'Quit predicting what I am going to do to America, I am about to let the hammer fall on my own people. I'm trying to get their attention.'"

When God gets Southern Baptists' attention and they begin to conduct themselves with tenderness, holiness and compassion, God will get the nation's attention, Hunt said.

"Southern Baptists used to care about the lostness of humanity. Nothing else mattered," Hunt said. "What we thought about on Sunday was, 'Did anybody give their heart to Jesus? Did any lives get changed?' Today these stories are too few and until we repent and ask God to break our heart again for the lostness of the world, we're going to take what he gives us and hide it."


Mark Kelly is an assistant editor for Baptist Press.

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