Misdirection. A Trick Even Magicians Use.
Do you suppose magicians are the only ones who use that misdirection trick? Getting you to look one way, when the action is in another direction?
Perhaps unknowingly, I think even churches do the same thing.
Take the news, of late. Same-sex marriage gets attention at lots of church meetings. As does the Boy Scout issue, abortion, the abuse issue in a particular denomination we've all heard about, etc etc.And it's not that we shouldn't be concerned about those issues, but perhaps that it's drawing our attention away from "the elephant in the room."
Two things strike me about this.
- First, if we could completely stop abortions in the USA, get the Boy Scouts to reverse their decision, and illegalize "same-sex marriage" everywhere in the USA, we'd leave lost America no better off than it is today. It's not that I'm against speaking to those things, if we're doing the things we are supposed to be doing.
- If we could reach everyone, teach everyone, and be known for the Gospel of Jesus, the people of America would be better off for it. And so would we of the SBC.
If that were the prevalent topic, then people .. both saved and lost .. wouldn't have the peripheral issues to zero-in on when they hear "Baptist". That would probably put more attention, within and without the SBC, on the real "elephant in the room". Ten million or so "members" who are not disciples.
My take on members who don't attend church? Who aren't involved? They may or may not be saved, but for sure they're not being discipled. We're not fulfilling the great commission with the majority of the people whom God sent to us. Who joined on our terms.
I once heard a pastor who'd visited a particular family say, of them: "They haven't been in church in 17 years .. oh, they're saved and love the Lord .. they just haven't been in church."
The SBC has seemingly been set on not addressing that issue. Collectively, we plead autonomy of the local body, and at the church level, we plead priesthood of the believer. And with the exception of a rather weak resolution passed several years ago, calling on churches to clean up their membership rolls, the SBC has done nothing about it.
Hey .. they'll throw out a church that calls a woman as pastor, but the church which fails with 2/3 of the people who they take in as members? Why, they're just swell.
If God had included the churches which, collectively, form the Southern Baptist Convention, in His letters to certain churches in the Book of Revelation, I wonder what He would have said.
I suspect he'd mention elephants.
And an old magician's trick.