Published August 14, 2008
Southern Baptist baptisms are down in the states, yet they are up an amazing 28.4% abroad. We’ve labeled it a lack of passion here at home and are treating it as such.
The thinking is that new info can be translated into new programs and somehow the passion for sharing the Good News can be restored and there will be revival here in the states. Raise your hand if you really believe that.
I will suggest that the lack of passion is actually a by-product, a symptom of something far, far worse. I think that – subconsciously or consciously – we have changed what we believe to be the core definition of salvation. Have we come to believe more what we ‘want’ to believe about the salvation of a soul, and less about what the Bible actually says?
Slowly, progressively, we have changed what we really believe about salvation to fit our actions (actually our inactions) – and we let ourselves be convinced that people are experiencing salvation by some new and emerging means. We have come to believe that salvation does not necessarily have to be a radical decision stirred by our heart in which we intentionally ask Jesus into our heart – confess our sins – repent – and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and our Savior – from a specific moment in time.
Rather, we have come to believe that salvation can be a progressive move closer to God by developing a growing and knowing relationship with Jesus Christ. This may not be what our doctrine nor our lips are saying, but it is what our actions are saying. A subtle change in definition is far more dangerous than a loss of passion.
Not admitting that our definition of Salvation has changed (emerged) over the past years is equally dangerous. Late Georgia Baptist pastor Wray Ivey found it impossible to talk to a stranger without inquiring about the state of their soul. He lived it, he preached it, he knew the true definition of salvation – and he couldn’t have suppressed the passion even if he tried.
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