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9.20.2005    |    "incompatible with Christian teaching"
This is, or used to be, the simple statement that Baptists could agree upon as regards homosexuality. The full statement is, "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching." As applied, this should mean that homosexuals are welcomed into our congregations as sinners -- just as I am a sinner, just as you are a sinner.

This is the old but still useful application of the "love the sinner; hate the sin" approach. But, this is where some Baptists may have lost their moorings from Scripture: hating the sin. Or so it might appear, now that acceptance of practicing homosexuals by the American Baptist Churches USA appears to be the case. At least this is the impression one may garner from this story.

Beliefnet writes the story in a neutral tone, but beneath the surface is the thought that those churches who might break away from ABCUSA are the ones causing the problem. The problem, if indeed there is one, is that some Baptist bureaucrats (there's a term that should raise some eyebrows) at ABCUSA may have decided that they are able to negate black letter Scripture on the practice of homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22; 1 Corinthians 6:9).

Baptists must be Bible-centered churches, must be grounded in Scripture. While we claim to be a priesthood of believers, and know that we may approach God directly, with this freedom of Christian conscience comes responsibility. The responsibility for proper interpretation of Scripture is perhaps best expressed by 2 Peter 1:
20 no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Indeed, the very word, "intepretation", does not have its modern connotation, given the context: all Scripture is, in fact, "breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3). To think, to act, contrary to this is to deny the very basis for our Baptist faith.

Which American Baptist Churches USA seems to be doing. May the Holy Spirit grant them the wisdom to see how they deny His holy Scriptures, and return to being truly grounded in Scripture.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.