My dear brethren,
This is a time when all of us need to fall on our faces before God and beg for forgiveness and wisdom. I cannot but think of the nation Israel when the battle of Ai brought devastating defeat. Achan stole gold and garments and ended up being punished by God. What was God's response, "Israel hath sinned." God did not say "Achan has sinned!" Rather He said "Israel hath sinned."
When one of us falls we all fall. When one of us hurts we all hurt. When one of us sins we all have a part. Maybe, because we did not pray enough. Maybe, because we did not seek God's face enough. Maybe, because we blindly ignored the warnings of Scripture. Maybe, because we let friendship blind us. I do not know and do not claim to know. My mind is having great difficulty wrapping itself around this disaster that has befallen all of us.
Please understand I do not have all the answers. I am not the guru of independent Baptist churches. I am hurting today just like you who are apart of a movement we all love dearly and deeply. My friends, God is still on His throne. The gates of Hell will not prevail against his New Testament Church. We will go on!
I have a deep love for the dear folks at FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH of Hammond, IN. I have a deep love for the Hyles family and have never wished them harm or grief in any way. I grieve like it was a death of one of my own. I have some of the sweetest memories and moments that were life changing to me and my family at the altars of the FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH under Dr. Jack Hyles.
Those enemies who attack all for the sins of a few may be right. Maybe we have grown so fast and so much that we have, like Achan, stolen glory that belongs to God. Maybe "Israel hath sinned!" It is time for ALL of us to fall on our faces before an almighty God and seek His face and favor once again. Maybe this is no time for finger pointing at others, but rather finger pointing at our selves.
My heart always goes out to the victims each and every time I hear of such despicable things. The sinner and the one sinned against are all a result of a sinful nature that nags humanity. When an accident occurs the EMT crew never asks who caused the accident and then treats them last. Rather they treat all the victims.
Enemies of independent Baptist churches will attempt to condemn all for the sins of a few. I find myself agreeing with them in one respect for we all have failed! However, I cannot broad brush and condemn all local churches for the sinful acts of a few. This is childish. It is one thing to be guilty, another thing to condone the guilty, but it is a far deeper problem when we distance ourselves from being guilty of not praying. We all have failed, but we are not all guilty of the sins of a few.
May I present the practical side? There exists more molestation cases proportionately reported in the 42,000 churches of the Southern Baptist Convention than in the 22,000 independent Baptist churches. Consider the largest denomination in our nation, the Catholic Church, and then think on their sexual transgressions for a while. This is not to take lightly one person who is violated by a leader in a church.
Where a just law steps in the local church must step out. Restoration sometimes includes the judicial and penal system of our nation. If you do the crime you must do the time. However, this does not take the pain away. We are all hurt and hurting!
- Pray for the leadership of the FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH of Hammond, IN
- Pray for the membership of the FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH of Hammond, IN
- Pray for the victims
- Do not blame the victims
- Do not guess at what you do not know
- No one is immune from the flesh-you or yours
- Do not judge all by one
- God is still on the throne so trust Him
- The gates of Hell shall not prevail against the New Testament Church