As all around us the Great Baptist Re-Think takes place, and another generation determines, one-by-one, whether we were right or wrong to maintain separation from other denominations on the definitive issues of our doctrine, I have taken the role of someone defending the Baptist ideas. I believe that they are both biblical and important enough to warrant our division from other believers who disagree.
One regrettable side effect of taking that position is the likelihood of leaving the false impression of being curmudgeonly toward all who are not Baptist.
It is a bit like the way I am made to feel sometimes with regard to the King James Version of the Bible. I love the KJV. Ask me to quote a scripture that I memorized in childhood, and I'm going to quote KJV back to you, probably. To this day, I cannot find within me the will to read Psalm 23 "straight" from another translation. I always wind up with some sort of a hybrid, eliminating some of the more awkward archaisms but always coming out with "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," and things like that.
But I've encountered those people along the way in ministry who are KJV-only people. They may like my preaching and like the church, but they don't like my reading the NASB. And so some sort of dialogue always ensues. And the thing that I hate about it is that those discussions inevitably make me out as the enemy of the KJV.
I'm not the enemy of the KJV. I'm also not one who possesses a sour attitude toward other non-Baptist believers. I love the brothers and sisters whom we have in Christ. I love them enough to try as best I can to get them to come into obedience to Christ in those areas in which they are in sin. I hope that they will love me enough to do likewise, for I am not without my own flaws.
Just as Baptists are not entirely right, non-Baptists are not entirely wrong. On the distinctive doctrines of our faith, Baptists are biblical and right, but we've ranged beyond these things and have been in error many times in our history. There's ugliness in Baptist history, and there's beauty in evangelicalism. Ecclesiology is an important part of the faith, but the faith is so much more than ecclesiology. And there are real treasures for us all in the broader world of evangelicalism.
One good example of that beauty is, in my estimation, the life and work of Rich Mullins. Although I disagreed with some of his commentary, I've found in his songwriting a glorious exaltation of the Lord coupled with an authentic connection to the human condition. Perhaps what I appreciate the most are the incredible one-liners that Mullins crafted into so many of his songs. So, for today's post, I share with you some of my favorite witticisms from the ministry of the late Rich Mullins:
Everybody I know says they need just one thing, but what they really mean is they need just one thing more.
What I'd have settled for, You've blown so far away; what You've brought me to, I thought I could not reach.
They worked to give faith hands and feet, and somehow gave it wings.
They said, "Boy, just follow your heart," but my heart only led me into my chest.
When my body lies in the ruins of the lies that nearly ruined me.
Now Jacob got two women and a whole house full of kids, and he schemed his way back to the Promised Land. And he finds it's one thing to win them, and another to keep them content…
If these, our hells and our heavens, are so few inches apart, we must be awfully small, and not as strong as we think we are.
If there's a better world and a brighter day, even brighter than the one we live in, we'd all be fools to think that it could be made by the wills and the hands of foolish men.
There are many more, but these are enough to get things started. Feel free to post your own favorites in the comment stream.