FIRST-PERSON: The conflict in our culture - 5 action steps
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. Today's column follows Part 1, "The conflict in our culture."
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- Yesterday, I discussed the cultural conflict of worldviews growing in our nation. Today, I want to share five actions for Southern Baptists to take now due to the conflict in our culture:
1. Rest in the Lord.
Resting in the Lord is not sleeping; it is trusting in the Lord. Jesus is still Lord, and God is still on the throne. The highest court of our land will one day stand in front of the Highest Court of Eternity, giving an account to God Himself for their decision that defies the trustworthiness, sufficiency, infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible. They will not be alone. Each of us will give an account of our lives to God.
While calls to action are needed, we need to push pause, get before God, and rest in the Lord. He has all things under control.
2. Come together in unity.
Southern Baptists and all evangelicals will need each other more than ever before. While certain doctrinal differences will exist, we need to unite around what makes us evangelicals:
-- The Bible is God's infallible Word; it is Truth without any mixture of error.
-- Jesus is the Son of God and the hope of the world; therefore, salvation is faith alone in Christ alone.
-- We must focus our lives, churches and futures on taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in America and across the world.
While some will stay in the weeds fighting secondary issues, we need to rise up together, becoming the spiritual light in this darkening world.
3. Prepare for the future.
What will ministry be like in this changing culture? In our most recent Southern Baptist Convention, we gave 45 minutes to discussing this same-sex issue with five leaders in "The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage: Preparing Our Churches for the Future". This can be shown in your church and to your leadership.
Additionally, we need to prepare for the future, wrestling with matters that will be brought into the church from this evolving cultural tide that is rising in direct opposition to the ways of God. How will your children, student, and adult ministries deal with the realities of same-sex attraction, the alarming acceptability of transgenderism, and even polygamy?
We need a generation of parents who will raise their children to become world changers in our culture. We need to stop dumbing down our kids and our faith, preparing our children to engage the culture. We must help them prepare vocationally for what God wants them to be, whether it's at home with children, in business, education, the medical sector, entertainment or even local, state or national government.
We also need our Christian schools, universities and seminaries to renew themselves to hold fast to the Word of God, fastened to the cross of Jesus as our message to the world, and explode with a new commitment to equip a new generation of young leaders to engage our changing culture with conviction, compassion and hope. We need our schools, universities and seminaries injecting our young leaders with the power to believe God has purposed them to make a difference with their lives.
We all need to prepare for an America that may not hold to the conviction of religious liberty. The dissenting justices of the decision by the Supreme Court give us little to no comfort that religious liberty would continue as a definite in our lifetime. Whether it does or does not, we need to stand strong for it, regardless of the cost that may come one day.
We had better understand clearly, those who celebrated their winning decision on Friday for same-sex marriage will not be satisfied in their pursuit. I read on Saturday, June 27, the following words written by the Editorial Board of The New York Times: "As gratifying as Friday's ruling is, remember that equality was won by a single vote."
Enough said. They will not let it go. They are not finished. Their resolve will continue. We need to prepare for the future.
4. Stand with our laypeople in the workplace.
We have laypeople who will be placed in immediate points of conflict in their workplace. How will they navigate through this terrain that may end up calling upon them to do things that are opposite of the Word of God? Then, what will they do: Lose their jobs or compromise? Where will the church be? Will we teach about how to integrate our faith into the workplace?
We do not need puny preachers who are attempting to get along in our culture, compromising the powerful message of the Gospel by presenting a lame version that is right in their own eyes and the world. We need pastors who will present the entire counsel of God accurately and unashamedly, but always compassionately.
5. Pray like never before for the next Great Spiritual Awakening.
The decision of the court on this past Friday should lead all of us to the definite conviction that America must have a spiritual awakening. Without a mighty revival in the church and an awakening in the land that will result in millions coming to Christ, we are facing days of hopelessness.
Yet, I am abounding with greater hope than ever before. I believe God is using and will use last Friday's decision by the court to begin the waking of the sleeping giant called the church of Jesus Christ. As I stated in my presidential address at the SBC annual meeting, the alarm clock is going off in our nation and this is not the time to push the snooze button. I do not believe the church will sleep through what just happened.
As we said in the National Call to Prayer Service, call your church to prayer and even devote an entire Sunday morning service to a time of prayer. Base it on the Word of God, call out to God in prayer individually, in small groups and corporately, and then express it through moments of powerful worship.
Within 36 hours of decrying racism and prejudice at our SBC annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, calling on all leaders and pastors to stand against it, and within 24 hours of 7,000 of us crying out to God in our prayer service for our nation over the sin of racism and prejudice, a young man 21 years of age walked into Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., and killed nine people, including the pastor.
Within 10 days of our strong and clear stand for marriage as a convention, and the press conference when the former SBC presidents and I declared our clear commitment to marriage, as well as the panel discussion to help our churches, the Supreme Court made a watershed decision that will fan the flames of the ever-present and growing sexual revolution. This will explode at the local and state levels to a frightening degree.
Simultaneously, we also need to know that Friday, June 26, 2015, may become the watershed moment for Christianity in America which accelerates our resolve like never before to stand upon God's Word unashamedly, forwarding the message of the Gospel exponentially, and praying relentlessly in all settings for the next Great Spiritual Awakening in America. I choose to believe God.