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December 11, 2005

What Do We Do With These Swords???

Isaiah 2:4 ESV He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.

I appreciate what Wade Burleson wrote today on his blog.
I am glad and I rejoice over the conservative resurgance. I am a conservative. I love my convention.

But sadly, a new war has begun. It is a war initiated by fellow conservatives; conservatives who have forgotten how to put their swords in their respective sheaths. It is a war that technically may not have just begun, but one that simply never ended.

Conservatives who loved the battles of decades past have fallen victim to a crusading mentality of bloodthirst. Since all the liberals are gone, conservative cruasaders are now killing fellow conservatives.

Burleson has plenty of conservative "street cred." He's not some namby-pamby moderate, nor is he a crypto-liberal trying to undermine the resurgence. He's a genuine man with a genuine concern about the future of the Southern Baptist Convention.

We have to ask ourselves the question: What do we do with all these swords? We spent almost an entire generation fighting for the soul of the SBC. We are going in a direction that Southern Baptists thirty years ago could not have envisioned -- a direction that many Southern Baptists despaired that we'd ever go in again. We've won.

So now we've declared war on ourselves. We've gone from fighting the good fight on inerrancy to fighting over fine points of theology. We are majoring on the minors in a way that I haven't seen since I left the Independant Fundamental church I was baptized in. And we cannot let that happen.

Southern Baptists think they've seen fighting. They think they've seen division. I've seen division over music styles. I've seen division over hair styles, and women wearing pants. I've seen division over Bible versions -- even 1611 King James vs. 1769 King James.

Our problem is that we enjoy fighting. There is a rush of adrenaline that you get when you are "contending for the faith." Once that fight is over, you want to experience the rush again. You want to feel that you're one of God's footsoldiers, and you are defending the faith against the apostates. Even if that apostasy is the use of tape tracks in the worship service, or men with sideburns that are too long.

It's time to sheathe the swords. Keep them cleaned, and prepared, but put them away. Stop stabbing our own. Exercise discernment, so that we know what are important issues, and what are not.

If you want to know the outcome of this constant infighting, look to our Independant Baptist brethren. There are so many different camps that you need a scorecard to figure out who is fellowshipping with whom, and which Fellowship has been started because someone disagreed with someone in another Fellowship -- neither of which are even speaking to the folks in the otherFellowship because of who they let preach at the last meeting. And you have to update your scorecards every week, because things change quickly. You never know when you open your mouth who you're going to offend, and which newspaper is going to blast you from the front page.

I've been there. I've done that. I won't do it again. My sword is being reserved for use against those who are teaching false doctrines -- those who deny the deity of Christ, the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice, the exclusivity of the Gospel, and the inerrancy of Scripture -- or who claim the name Baptist but deny the historic Baptist distinctives.

I have a wooden practice sword handy for debates on eschatology, ecclesiology, and hermeneutics -- it may hurt, but it won't kill, and we'll end our discussion as friends. Maybe that wooden sword will serve to quench my own desire for combat.

{hat tip to Steve McCoy}

Posted by Warren Kelly at December 11, 2005 09:24 PM | TrackBack
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