Monday, June 2, 2008

Ashamed to Be Baptist

Last weekend (May 31, 2008) this story, "Local Southern Baptists Cool the Fire and Brimstone," broke in our newspaper in southern California. The Press-Enterprise story written by David Olson relates how several Southern Baptist Churches in southern California are rejecting traditional church practices and redefining what it means to be part of the America’s largest protestant denomination.
Apparently, most California Southern Baptist Churches do not carry the denomination’s name. In fact, according to a spokesman for the California Southern Baptist Convention, nearly half of California Southern Baptist churches do not even use the name, "Baptist." These newly defined churches want to reject and dispel old-fashioned ideas like singing hymns, reading the Bible, and hearing judgmental sermons about sin, hell, fire and brimstone.

They boast about their tattooed and pierced members who gather in downtown nightclubs to worship in leather and chains, and punk-rock clothing. “Everyone is welcome -- it doesn't matter if you've got bloo (sic) hair or no hair." One church even funded a ministry to strippers but ended the relationship when the leader separated from her husband for “unbiblical reasons.”

The Rev. Matt Brown, pastor of Sandals Church, boasts that he uses curse words in his sermons to make a point. Can anyone imagine Jerry Falwell or Adrian Rogers doing that?

What is going on here? In recent weeks, we have heard some pretty outrageous profane language from two clergymen in the pulpit at Barack Obama's church. I ranted in another post not long ago about this new epidemic practice of pastors profaning their pulpits by using vulgarity in their sermons; I guess they must think it makes them more relatable and cool. But it does neither! It is a disgusting practice and, in my opinion, a confusing conundrum of mixed messages.

“Profanity is the use of strong words by weak people.”

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