Posted by Pastor Szekely on March 17, 2008
Sometimes I just get amazed with folks when I talk with them about politics. I’d like to think we have a more-informed society today that would be able to make rational and reasonable choices and decisions, but there’s always someone out there who wants to burst my bubble!
For example: I talked with a lady who votes for presidential candidates on the basis of their looks! I’ve also visited with another person who wants to vote “for change“, but when pressed upon what kind of change he’s looking for his answer is, “I don’t know – I just want change“. If our people don’t get more careful about how they manage our country by their votes and by holding their elected representatives accountable, Psalm 106:15 just might apply [if it already doesn’t]: “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Maybe there ought to be some sort of written “voting test” or something before people choose their representatives on the basis of looks or empty rhetoric…anyway…
I said all that to say we Independent Baptists definitely can have a hard time when it comes to politics as well! Oh, sometimes we can be the worst when it comes to politics, and I’m not talking about the politics of the country – I’m talking about BAPTIST POLITICS!
I like the name “Independent Baptist”. I think that “label” is all we need. I have a saying that goes, “Baptist is a must and Independent is enough!” How much more of a description do we need anyway? BAPTIST ought to [used to] mean something [i.e. – our historic Baptist distinctives], and INDEPENDENT told on our dependency on Christ alone – no conventions, no associations, no hierarchies. But for a bunch of folks who call themselves “Independent”, we sure do splinter off and gather up and isolate into a bunch of “political parties” or “camps”…BAPTIST POLITICS.
What we have today is true New Testament Churches of the Lord Jesus Christ – who ought to be co-laboring together to further the cause of Christ in a fraternal sense only – preaching their independency and professing that the local church IS God’s only institution for world evangelism…but in practice, they contradict themselves by relying on associations outside their assembly “to assist in” the work of missions, the ordination of preachers, etc. Is it practical to send Missions support or to send a missionary through a clearing house outside of a “small” congregation that [allegedly] won’t be able to handle it themselves? Some may argue it’s practical – but is it Scriptural?
BAPTIST POLITICS – there are a lot of good, doctrinally sound, Independent Baptist men who’ve surrendered to the mission field or whom God is having start works at home in America. But from what I’ve seen and heard [and please, correct me if I’m wrong], what happens in many cases is: if that man who’s searching for and needing support hasn’t gone through some deputation school, graduated some Bible college, or hasn’t added another label to the “Independent Baptist” to the appeasement of the potential supporting pastor, then that missionary/church-planter just needs to go “down the road” – BAPTIST POLITICS. “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” 1 John 3:17.
It used to be if a man came asking for support or to answer the call to fill a much-needed position within the church, that pastor would get the name of his pastor and church and call him and others for reference before bringing it before the church. Not in Baptist Politics anymore! Brother, if you haven’t signed our association’s “covenant and bylaws”, you’re just not one of us! And these same ones who hold to this rationale come down on the Southern Baptists…God help us!
I sure get tired at times of politics in our country…but I’m just exhausted over BAPTIST POLITICS. Churches are independent, and if they want their pastor to lead them into some association that jeopardizes their independency, that goes beyond a fraternal co-laboring, and that puts their pastor on committees and organizations outside of their congregation “to further on God’s work” [how noble], I guess that’s their business…but is that God’s business? Is that how God wants His works to go?
Churches have the liberty to do what they want and to support whomever they please – per the Scriptures – but can we try and take the politics out of the equation? How political is your church, or how political are you? Are you a Baptist Politician? How are we making decisions today? “I’m in this camp”; “I’m associated with the BBF, NIBF, GIBF, etc”; “I went to _______ Bible college” – Who cares??? I mean no disrespect, but when it comes down to it, has the “Baptist litmus test” become the college you went to or your association with a certain group that will in a generation or so fall apart and apostatize like the previous ones? BAPTIST POLITICS.