State exec lauds Oklahoma families in sermon on marital relationship
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Less than 24 hours after tornadoes ripped through the heart of America, Anthony Jordan called Oklahoma "a state of deep faith."
Jordan, executive director and treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, credited Oklahomans for their faith in God and their ability to cope with tragedies during a chapel message at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., May 4.
Prior to Jordan’s remarks, Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. called all those of the seminary community who had been directly affected by the devastation to the front of the seminary’s Alumni Chapel for prayer. Daniel Akin, vice president for academic administration, prayed for all the families who were materially and tragically affected by the storms.
Jordan’s sermon centered on the action of the Southern Baptist Convention last June when messengers to the convention added an article on the family to the SBC’s confessional statement, the Baptist Faith and Message.
"On June 9, 1998, a shot was fired that was heard ’round the world," Jordan said, noting, when Southern Baptists "violated politically correct language" by approving the statement of beliefs.
Preaching from Ephesians 5, Jordan laid out the biblical pattern for marriage upon which the article is based, saying that Christians should "place the confession of our faith concerning the family ... in the context of Scripture." He called for "free and faithful Baptists" who contend Southern Baptists have left their roots to "revisit" Ephesians
"We have allowed the secular mind-set [of marriage] to infiltrate the church," Jordan said. He challenged Baptists to "go back and live according to the truth of Scripture."
The key part of the passage for Christian marriages is verse 18, "... but be filled with the Spirit," Jordan declared. "The best marriages are founded by those Christians who are Spirit-filled," he said. Others really "aren’t ready for marriage until they have first met the Lord Jesus Christ."
"When a couple stands together at the foot of the cross, it is level ground," Jordan said. The wife and husband have equal value before God as they "do whatever it takes to serve ... and to lift up" each other. "If you look at it this way, the rest of Ephesians 5 will not trouble you," Jordan said.
Addressing the verses that call wives to submit to their husbands, Jordan explained that submission "is setting the woman in a place of protection ... and honor" by placing her "under the umbrella of her husband." He said it has "nothing to do with essence but has everything to do with function in the role of marriage."
According to Ephesians 5:23, "The husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church," he said. "Headship has not so much to do with control but rather with care, and not so much to do with rule as it has to do with responsibility."
When a husband demonstrates "servant leadership," Jordan said it is "walking the way of Jesus."
"Jesus was a servant of all," Jordan said. "There is no greater picture of servanthood than Jesus donning the towel and the wash basin and washing the feet of the disciples." For a picture of headship, Jordan urged, "Go to Jesus."
Jordan stated that headship is characterized by one word: love. He described this love as sacrificing, sanctifying, supportive, inclusive and exclusive. Ephesians 5:25 states that Christ gave himself up for the church. Jordan said a husband’s sacrificial love for his wife is "marked by giving and forgiving."
Verses 26 and 27 picture Christ as ready to present his bride "without spot or blemish." The husband is to lead and love his wife by "doing everything he can to help her to be all God wants her to be," Jordan said.
Loving his wife "as himself," as in verse 28, is inclusive love, he said. The husband and wife gain oneness when he loves her in this way -- loving her exclusively. When the two become one flesh, the husband is to "abandon every other attention" and love his wife exclusively, he said.
For a powerful model of marriage, "we [must] follow the owner’s manual," Jordan concluded. Ephesians 5:33 states, "Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself, and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband."
"When all is said and done,” Jordan said, “you will find no greater biblical pattern for marriage."