Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It’s Time to Rediscover the Baptist Heritage and Renew our Witness

At 40 million, Baptists are the second largest denomination in the US. The first, Roman Catholics number 50 million and Methodists come in a distant third at 14 million.

Baptists also represent a great deal of diversity. Baptists represent the largest African American denomination and the largest Protestant Hispanic denomination. There are also Baptist churches for almost every ethnicity and language group in America.

Politically, Baptists are found on the far left, far right and everywhere in between. Both Martin Luther King, Jr. and segregationist Governor of Georgia, Lester Maddox, were Baptist. Some Baptists pioneered the Social Gospel Movement and others preached against it.

It has often been said, “Where there are two Baptists, there are three opinions.”

When the vast majority of Baptist denominational groups met for an historic meeting in Atlanta, the largest of the groups refused to attend.

There are a several Baptist beliefs that define the denomination. These include the Lordship of Christ, the authority of the Bible, religious freedom, the autonomy of the local church, the priesthood of every believer and believer’s baptism.

While Baptists may differ on how to apply the Bible to life we do agree that we should. Perhaps it’s time that being a Baptist becomes more important than being a Republican or a Democrat. Perhaps it’s time to focus on commonalities instead of differences. Perhaps it’s time that Baptists focus more on the gospel and less on what other churches do. Perhaps it’s time to rediscover the Baptist heritage and renew our witness.

Sermon Audio

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