Do You Suppose God Really MEANT It?
I saw a comment on another blog that gave me cause to pause, as it were. The comment referred to someone who claimed to be evangelistic, but tended to stay at his job, rather than going out "witnessing". That seems to suggest a misunderstanding of how this "body" is supposed to work.
I figure God wouldn't have said all that stuff about our being a Body ... the Body of Christ, in fact ... unless He intended for us to act like one.
One of the tendencies I've noted among different Christian workers is to trot out the scripture that (presumably) spoke to them, and use it to prompt others to do those same things, too. Sam Neugent, who used to be our Worship Leader at FBC Pelham, has joined a missionary organization which plants churches in foreign countries. I've heard him quote the Great Commission, saying that passage tells the listeners that they, too, should go to a foreign country to witness, to people. And that point, I disagree with.
I have to ask myself to whom was the Great Commission spoken? If it was spoken to Jesus' disciples, then they didn't do what He told them. They failed. Unless each one of them actually went into all the world! And I don't think any of them did. In fact, I don't think the disciples collectively traveled to every country on earth. BUT ... if the command .. the Great Commission ... was given to the church, rather than the individuals, then the command has, indeed, been followed.
I really don't think that's a lot different from God's command to Adam and Eve, to multiply and fill the earth. There are several billion people on earth now, and I'm pretty sure they weren't all born to Mrs. Adam. So, I'm guessing that order was given to mankind, not just the two people.
So it is, I think, with the Great Commission and the church. It's the church's responsibility to see that it happens. And that can have practical implications ... including discouragement ... if it isn't understood.
One such incident surfaced a few weeks ago, in my Sunday evening class on "Serving God". A young lady, bright and intelligent, and actively engaged in the discussions. Toward the end, she expressed guilt that she wasn't out "knocking on doors" witnessing to people. She has been gifted by God in ways the Holy Spirit has decided He wants her to be gifted. She's a very giving and hospitable person, yet she felt guilty because she wasn't out "witnessing".
That may be a failure of the church. In fact, it may be one of the biggest ... the fact that the church does not seem to teach much about the Holy Ghost, and how He gifts us to take part in God's redemptive plan. So the church sort of lurches along, oft times with people in areas God never gifted them for, while folks whom God has uniquely gifted to do the job in that area, sit idly by, themselves. Or maybe those folks work in some area of the church they aren't gifted for, either.
But that isn't what prompted me to write this, either. I'm thinking of what happens to the human body when it rejects part of itself. Like organ rejection. That organ is severely compromised in its effectiveness, its life is jeopardized, and the life of the body itself is threatened.
When I think of missionary candidates who are rejected because God has given them the gift of unknown tongues (I'm sick of people calling that gift a "private prayer language" ... the Bible says it is "tongues", and I thought what the Bible says was supposed to be good enough for Baptists, but maybe it isn't...). or are rejected because their Baptism wasn't in an SBC church ... you know .. the kind that lies about membership numbers, and can't account for even the whereabouts of over half the members.
And need I even mention Dr. Klouda and her rejection at the hands of one man whom many still seem to hold in high regard? And if you feel up to complaining about that remark, I'm open to criticism from anyone who has spent three hours in Dr. Klouda's home, talking to her person-to-person. Others, I do not consider qualified.
Or maybe there's rejection in the form of ostracizing comments, ungodly speech, and intolerance shown on comments on a blog.
Or, or .. well, who knows how many ways we can find of expressing rejection amongst us Baptists. We seem to be pretty good at it, don't we?
We're a Body ... the Body of Christ. It's time we acted like it.
Remember, while the Body will be in Heaven, the SBC won't. And we won't be Baptists when we're there, either