One of the things that continues to attract me to the Baptist fundamentals is the fact that our tradition is one of earnest contemplation. We are a people of the Book. We don't take anyone's word for it. We want to see it, read it, hear it & examine it for ourselves. Challenge us to think & we will. We are Bereans.
Or rather we were.
Thomas Helwys turned to the Scripture to thumb his nose at the king. As Fisher Humphries said:
Concerning these three issues–believer’s baptism, sectarianism, and religious freedom–the first Baptists were in conflict with groups outside themselves, so that we might say that their theology was apologetic in character, and much of their energy in the seventeenth century was devoted to defending these three ideas.
My fear is something has happened to us. We no longer search the Scripture to challenge our faith but we blindly accept a Catholic view whereby a few leaders tell us what to believe & what the Scripture says based on Tradition.
Have we examined what the leaders are saying? Have we at least compared their words to the totality of the text? Are we searching what they said 25 years ago to hold them to a consistent ethic? Are we letting our political views determine what the Bible says instead of the other way around? When these religious leaders all seem to be playing the same political game, don't we have an obligation to make sure we are not being played for their political purposes?
If it comes out of a Christian bookstore, it must be true.
So we buy their books. Write letters they tell us to write. Make the phone calls. Send them money to be used for the Vital Issue of the Week. And wear a Christian T-shirt while listening to a Christian music CD as we give our money to the Christian leader with our check that has a bold-lettered Bible verse.
Instead of accepting the challenge to see if what we are being told is true, we just follow along. It is easier, after all. No one questions since the leader takes the heat --- all challenges of Satan, mind you, because he is God's man just standing for the truth. Oh, really? How do we know? Have we bothered to verify it?
So the leader counts on us blindly following along. Never questioning. Never checking it out for ourselves. But ever sending the money, doing what we're told & delivering the voting bloc.
When God is on your side, it is easy to justify any action.
In the eyes of the leaders it is fine to manipulate. God is on their side. In order to win for Jesus, we have to play with the same rules the Secularists do; if we don't, we'll lose. God's Way is too important to let the Humanists win. At all costs God must win. Since He gave all for us, we are justified in doing it all for Him.
So they lie a bit, e.g., David Barton & his "Christian Nation" garbage. They fudge on Scripture somewhat, e.g., "the Bible teaches us to use our vote to bring about a Godly Nation." They twist the facts a great deal. e.g., "the public schools are out to steal the minds of your kids & make them secularists." They manipulate us at all times, e.g., "if you don't vote according to these 'values' you're not obeying God." Then they really turn on the guilt trip, e.g., "God is weeping over our nation turning its back on Him & only your action to get God back in the schools & evolution out will please Him."
All it takes is for someone to actually examine history to know David Barton is lying through his teeth. Sells a lot of books though. Get's him a lot of publicity. Still a lie.
Anyone can see the claims of people like Al Mohler & his call for all Christian parents to abandon public schools is based on a fabricated premise.
When Paul wrote his letters, it was in response to something. It was a challenge. It was instruction. What we need Christians now to do more than ever is to start thinking again. Look at the evidence.
You'll be surprised how much you're being played. Paul commended the Bereans for examining the evidence. Today, we're content to wallow in our ignorance.