A Southern Baptist church in Mississippi made headlines last week but not in a positive way. See story on page 10.
First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Miss., a predominately white Southern Baptist Church, decided a black couple could not be married in their church.
From all indications, this was not the view held by the majority of church members or the pastor who performed the ceremony in a nearby African American church.
According to the story, about “five or six” church members objected.
This was not a random couple just looking for a church in which to be married. The young lady is a member and the man had been visiting for a month. Her father also is a member and an uncle is on the custodial staff.
To make matters worse, it was implied to the pastor that if he proceeded with the wedding in the church, he could lose his job.
From reading what other church members said, I don’t think that would have happened.
According to the Baptist Press report, many members were dismayed by what their church did and the deacons released the following statement to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper.
“Our many ministries here are open to everyone and have been for many years. We would never consider doing otherwise. In the coming days and weeks our congregation will gather as a body of believers to pray and seek God’s blessing and direction as we move forward. We will ask for forgiveness where God reveals it is necessary and for His guidance as we look to the future of our congregation.”
It’s sad when a small minority can use bullying tactics and threats to get their way.
Five or six members of any church should not be able to sway a congregation from doing what is right and biblical.
The irony of the situation does not escape me.
Christians (including Southern Baptists) are in the middle of a cultural war in which society is trying to redefine marriage.
People, such as Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, who are defending the traditional definition of marriage (as found in the Bible) are being ridiculed.
The Democratic Party announced last week that its new platform will include an endorsement of the legalization of gay marriage, making it the first time that either major party has taken such a position.
Our nation has been drifting from God for years. Abortions already are legal. Gay marriages apparently will be next.
Christians are being cast as “right-wingers” who are trying to force their beliefs on others. In reality, Christians aren’t forcing their beliefs on anyone. We have been standing on the sidelines, watching Satan march up and down the field.
So, when a man and a woman decided to get married in a Southern Baptist church, what did the church do? They said no.
And we wonder why the world looks at Southern Baptists with skeptical eyes.
In the eyes of some non-believers, Southern Baptists are now racist hypocrites.
Never mind that it is one church and that churches are autonomous and can do whatever they want.
Christians need to “wise up” and realize we do not live in a vacuum. Others watch what we do. We can’t profess to love Jesus Christ and try to do His will and then go out and make foolish decisions.
Decisions have consequences. The ministry and witness of First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs will be tarnished. Hopefully, there are enough members who are committed to rebuilding the church’s reputation in that community. My prayer is that they can repair the damage done by “five or six” members.
Will the ministry of Southern Baptists as a whole be tarnished? Probably not. Southern Baptists have made strong strides in race relations over the past few decades. There will always be some who will never let the “race issue” go, but for the most part Southern Baptists have moved past this issue. After the story broke last week, several Southern Baptist leaders decried the actions of this Mississippi church. We are in “damage control.”
The world is watching us. As Christians, we need to know the world is watching us at all times. What we do needs to bring God glory and honor, not negative headlines.