A Breakdown and Personal Responsibility
When I wrote this piece, I not only gave it the 24-hour test, I gave it the 7-day test. I remain steadfast in my personal position which seems to be a hot item these days.With interest someone posted a status update on Facebook last week that involved a link from blogspot. The title: What Happened to the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement? and it was in short, a tirade. It was written by a Mr. Dave Parton. I call it a tirade because Mr. Parton has written only this one blog. None before it, and I see none after it. Appropriately, he called his site, “One blog. One Post. One Question.”
It appears that Mr. Parton has a problem and just had to get something off his chest. Granted, he did put his finger on the problem with many independent, fundamental Baptist churches. He came to the conclusion that there are three reasons: pride, judgmental attitudes, and lack of love. Of course, each point is elaborated upon, I might say, without much love for the brethren in his approach!
The article made me sad.
Then it made me disgusted.
I just have to answer here in my own little spot in the blogville of readers and writers. (and I much prefer the friendliness of wordpress over blogspot!)
Mr. Parton is quite correct. In many, not all, not even a majority, IFB churches there exists pride. Guess what, the pride eats away at churches across America whether they list their church in any denomination or IFB. It is a favorite in Satan’s toolbox. Pride caused Satan’s fall. I am not surprised at that reason. As a rule, a great percentage of run-of-the- mill Americans and I would guess other nations as well, deal with a judgmental attitude. Then there is the lack of love. See my raised eyebrows? In the past twenty years I have felt more loved outside of my church than inside. Those reasons are valid.
Here’s the rub—Mr. Parton gave no solution. Possibly Mr. Parton is frustrated as many Christians face those frustrations in their churches too. In all my fifty years of being a born-again, blood-washed Believer, I have experienced all of those elements in churches. There have been times when I was part of the problem. I do not deny it. No I don’t deny it at all. The rub is that we cannot just get fed up and leave the world or the church to Satan’s grasp.
There is this element in our universe called personal responsibility. The breakdown of the IBF is the same as the breakdown of the family, or to be exact, the breakdown of individuals meeting their responsibility before God. The change starts when I start with myself. Never mind the family next to you in the pew. Take responsibility for yourself first. Then, set an example.
If your pastor is filled with pride and becomes a dictator instead of a loving shepherd, then you will need to do some investigative research and you might need to travel a little further to find a body of Believers who behave better. But, before you do that, make sure the problem will not travel along with you because you may be the problem! If you are sure you are not the problem, then keep yourself humble; maintain a walk with God that sheds His love without effort on your part.
I didn’t say this was easy. I do say it is necessary.
If you are part of a family that is seeking God’s best, a loving family, you will survive. We are at best imperfect people, loved by a Perfect God. At best, very best, we are just bleating sheep who need a Shepherd.
More important than being loved by others is knowing that you are loved by an God whose arms are strong enough, more than strong enough, to hold you close to Himself and that, my readers, is the very best place in the world. Moses knew that and his parting words to the straggling Jews just east of Jordon was a reminder that is so loving and supportive that it gives me strength in my weakest moments. Deuteronomy 33:27 states to my sometimes weary, weeping heart, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. . .”
Face everyday saying, “Lord Jesus, my Father, I cannot do this day without You.” It is only then that the yoke of bondage is lifted and it does not matter what others say or might be thinking. It only matters that the relationship between you and your Shepherd is secure. That is the reason for the name of my blog site—the Shepherd’s Presence.
The Shepherd knows your name and when you cannot seem to walk another step, He will carry you. Yes, yes, yes, He will.