Well, this week is finally coming to a close. The graffiti by bloggers has been placed on the SBC walls of Greensboro, and there is a new day in the SBC. This afternoon I haven't much to say as I have been thinking more about my father and grandfather as of late. Some of you know that my grandfather passed away last November and was a Southern Baptist minister for 72 years and a graduate of Southern Seminary in 1941.
When my grandfather passed away, I had the opportunity of going through many of his sermons, notes, and books as I sought to eulogize him. Many of those sermons I have with me now in Louisville. I have his dog tag as he served as a chaplain in the Korean War, his pocket Bible he used when witnessing in the hospitals and across the street, and many other personal items which he obviously held dear. In this time of change in the Southern Baptist Convention, I find it ironic that my thoughts have been swept up into thinking about such a man of God as my grandfather, a servant and faithful minister in the SBC.
There have been many battles fought in the last century including the exclusivity of the gospel, the inerrancy of Scripture, how we understand the nature of God, and of course the gospel and salvation of Jesus Christ. While the Conservative Resurgence was without a doubt the most pivotal moment in the 20th century, only time will tell what these next years will bring. We still have battles to face today such as the undercurrent of legalism is still strong in our churches. We also face a weightless Christianity which has geared our church with the priority of what works over the preeminent concern of what is true. Moreover, the battles we face outside the church walls are even greater.
Front and center in our culture is the battle for truth. Today we are seeing more and more spirituality without theology, and theology without doxology. Because so much of who we are has become atheological, we go to the battle shooting blanks while conjuring up another program or draft another resolution in hopes this will fix the problem. We make it our mantra to put the cookies on the bottom shelf for people while ignoring the reality that the baking those cookies are a product more of the earthly oven than a heavenly recipe. Rather than being a voice in the wilderness calling sinners to repentance, often we children in the marketplaces calling to our playmates. We have the shofar, but we don't have the battle.
So as I think back to my grandfather who was a chaplain, a solider, and a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I realize that the baton has been passed to our generation. The issues and controversies we face as Christians and Southern Baptists today are greater than ever, and what is required of us is the willingness to go the frontlines of the battle in our culture and our world. It is not about politics, presidencies, or power; it is about truth and the transformation of a people by the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us press onward and be willing to take a shot or two. It is not about us or our wounds; it’s about our Commanding Officer who has called us to active service and our desire to please Him who has enlisted us. Life is war, so let us share in the suffering as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. When I think about my grandfather's 72 years of laboring in love for Jesus, he has reminded me that "After all, we are only unworthy servants as we have only done what was our duty."