FIRST-PERSON: A country in chaos: What Southern Baptists should do
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- I love America and will not give up on our great nation. Yet, America is a country in chaos. Never in my lifetime have I seen our nation in such turmoil. What are some of the things that tell this story?
Burning of African American churches
While we do not know why all these churches have burned, we do know that it reminds us there are some in our nation who want to cause our African American brothers and sisters harm. Enough is enough!
Racism and prejudice need to end now. If it remains the way it is today, we will see more violence. Perhaps the greatest threats to our national security are those who still hold on to the demonic grip of racism and prejudice. If you missed this story on Baptist Press last week, please take the time to read it.
I encourage you to join with Cross Church and the North American Mission Board in giving toward helping these churches. The North American Mission Board, under the leadership of President Kevin Ezell, will receive these funds and distribute them to churches that have needs. You can give online, by check (please designate it as "Church Fire Fund") or by phone. Please go to namb.net/givenow for more information.
9 people killed in Charleston
While our lives go on and the media follows the next big story, back in Charleston is a church and nine families who will continue to realize the brutality and force of these murders. They have mirrored God's grace through their grief, but they still begin a new life without these nine loved ones. We need to pray for them and do not need to forget them.
We need to stand with Charleston, not just initially through these tragic days, but in the future. Within hours of these murders, I called on Russell Moore, K. Marshall Williams and A.B. Vines to join me in a statement. Dr. Moore is the leader of our Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Dr. Williams is president of the African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention and Dr. Vines is the former president of this distinguished and loved fellowship. I can assure you that the four of us will work diligently within our Southern Baptist family to see all racism and prejudice end.
Legalization of same-sex marriage
Last week in my article to our Southern Baptist Convention, I addressed this in detail. Today, we see a country divided and teetering on a moral collapse. You see, as many of us warned, this is not the end, but the beginning of so much more. The court's overreach could now push us to more of a divide, creating chaos in many towns, cities and states. Plus, the court itself, the White House and Congress will begin to see that some people are just not going to give up their values.
Some will be willing to walk away. Southern Baptist Linda Barnette resigned her county clerk job after 24 years, refusing to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. I spoke with Linda and her
husband Sherman of Mississippi, encouraging and thanking them for their stand. Let me make something clear: This couple and others like them are not troublemakers or radicals, but born-again Bible believers who stand on the authority of Scripture.
It is unbelievable that America has come to this point. We are a nation in chaos, a country that is confused and operating in disorder.
ISIS and their national security threat against our nation
The story buzzing for days before July 4 was the threat of ISIS within the borders of our nation. Hours and hours have been given to this threat, with speculation from many different sources. Again, confusion and disorder. Why the insecurity regarding our national security? ISIS (the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is racing forward rapidly and it appears there is no end. Surely, there is something someone can do as they continue to forward their ruthless agenda against Christians globally.
What should we do as Southern Baptists?
I could go on with other examples of our nation being in chaos. What must we do as Southern Baptists?
Let me remind you what Judges 21:29 says: "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted" (HSCB) or "everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (KJV). America is a country that is permitting its citizens, courts, politicians and leaders to do what is right in their own eyes or whatever they want to do.
The end result: chaos, confusion and disorder.
What we should do:
1. Pray for our nation like never before.
2. Raise up convictional leaders who will do what is right in the eyes of God.
3. Stand upon the Word of God strongly and consistently.
4. Encourage one another in the faith.
5. Connect with your church more than ever before.
We need God and one another more than ever before.