Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankfulness for the Gospel Proclaimed In Whatever Circumstance: A Test Case for Southern Baptists

12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. (Philippians 1:12-18 NKJV)

Vashti McKenzie is the first female bishop elected in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. As a Southern Baptist, I believe that her election to this office is unbiblical, as stated is the Baptist Faith and Message 2000:
While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The BF&M 2000 supports this assertion through an appeal to the following New Testament passages: 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15.

When Vashti McKenzie defines the gospel ministry, she says the following:
We preach Jesus Christ, Him crucified and risen from the grave. That is our mandate; that is the gospel ministry. [Quoted from THIS SOURCE.]

Just as with anyone else, we should examine McKenzie's other teachings to see if she understands "Jesus Christ" in a biblical way (i.e., as fully God and fully Man), or if she believes Him to be nothing more than a wise teacher blessed by God. But let's assume for the moment that she does understand and proclaim her statement above in the normal, biblical way; what then is our response to hearing that this woman proclaims the gospel?

I would assert that the proper Christian response is rejoicing without compromise. In the Bible passage quoted at the beginning of this post, Paul mentions people who preach Christ from envy and strife, from selfish ambition, in insincerity, hoping to add affliction to Paul. As everyone reading this post should agree, these people are clearly unqualified to serve as church leaders, not necessarily due to their gender, but due to their lousy, sinful character. And yet Paul rejoices that Christ is proclaimed through these individuals.

Sometimes Christians may have theological issues or issues with the character of a certain gospel preacher. If these issues are valid, then they cannot be ignored, just as Paul acknowledged the problems with those who preached the gospel "in pretense." Yet we must not exclusively focus on the problems of such a ministry; we must also be overflowing with joy and gratitude to God that the gospel is proclaimed.

This is, I hope, a good reminder to myself and others during this Thanksgiving season.



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