I think the most troubling thing about the above picture is the fact that “Baptist Church” is part of the name. Why? Because there was a time when Baptists were the standard for following the Scripture. Now, I am not blind, and neither are you, so it is easily noted the letters “SBC” in the lower left corner of the top part of the sign. Plainly, this is a Southern Baptist Church.
I am not a Southern Baptist, although I grew up attending a Southern Baptist church off and on until I left home to enter the Air Force. After that, I never really attended any church at all, until I came to Mission Boulevard Baptist Church, an Independent Baptist church.
Just to be certain, this is really not about any of that, other than to set a stage for examining the marquee of the sign in light of the Scripture. I learned at Mission Boulevard that the Scripture was, and is the rule for life, period. This is especially true for one who has been born again in Christ. I also learned that it is of utmost seriousness how we present Christ and His Gospel to the world around us.
In the Scripture, in addressing the believer’s walk with the Lord and the war against the flesh, the following is given that addresses witness and testimony:
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8-10)
And again in Romans:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Thus, the real crux of the issue is what we prove about the will of God. All that the born again believer says and does, proves something in the minds of men about the will of God and what God will (and thus will not) accept. Since this is the case, we ought to consider what the marquee above states about what is acceptable to God. After all, is not the church composed of born again believers? Certainly by the Scripture it is, or it is supposed to be. Moreover, everyone who drives by knows that this a church, and a Baptist church at that. And, that it is full of people who profess to believe and follow Christ.
So then, what does this really state about what is acceptable to God? Isn’t this marquee just a bit commercial? After all, it reads very much like a cell phone advertisement. I have to wonder: Do you think the Lord Jesus Christ approves of being placed on the same level as a common cell phone advertisement? That the fact that one can come to Christ at any time, is like having a cell phone contract? Is the ability to pray to God reduced to that level of understanding in this church? Moreover, what if we asked about other Southern Baptist churches? What would we find?
I think that the saddest part of this sign is what is not stated. You know, about the discernment of the individuals involved in dreaming up this oh-so original cliche. Apparently those involved have no understanding of what constitutes the trivial and meaningless. Moreover, they must believe that the LORD God approves of such trivialities.
Somehow I don’t think the Lord does approve, and I think the following statement from Scripture is express about this particular association:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (I John 2:15-16)