Every once in a while I get like this. And every time I do, I start to write a post like this. If you’re reading this, my thoughts finally made it for public consumption.
Both filled me with a sense of sadness. More than that, they strike a deep pinging pain inside me. I am heartbroken. Two more people in my generation who have decided to distance from the term Baptist. They’re just the latest in a series of people, including some of my friends, who are moving away from using the term.
I can understand where they come from. First and foremost, all of us are Christ followers, not Baptists. We seek to grow in our relationship with God each day.
Baptists haven’t, don’t and will never have sole possession of righteousness. We are human, and we are fallen. We have fought in ways that do not honor God. We have not always treated each other like we should, hurting brothers and sisters in the faith. At times, some Baptists have been arrogant, self-righteous and greedy.
But without Baptists, none of the three of us is the person we are today. More pointedly, without one particular Baptist’s willingness to share her faith, I may never have found Christ. Without the help of a Baptist church in San Antonio, I may never have started growing in my faith as I did. I may never have discovered the joys of fellowshipping with the family of Christ.
Like Jenny and Ben, I attended a Baptist school. Without Baptists, Baylor University never would have been founded. The school that I love dearly shaped me in so many ways. It was there I spent long nights crying over worn pages of a Bible in trying times. I was called to ministry there. I met my wife there. When I need a pick-me-up, I still go there.
I go to a Baptist church. The people there have supported me, my wife and my young daughter through difficult and sometimes emotional times. They are my family. I will raise my daughter in a Baptist church, hoping she has the same positive experience I have had with those who call themselves Baptists.
I work for a Baptist convention. I see how money dontated by Baptists helps hurting people around the world every day. I see and hear of people coming to Christ through Baptist efforts daily. It’s an honor to serve at the BGCT.
As a generation frustrated with labels and institutions, I think we forget all that we owe to the people who fall under those labels and those institutions. We take them for granted, especially when someone under that banner or that school hurts us or doesn’t live up to our expectations.
I owe Christ my life. There is no underestimating what He has done in me, is doing in me and will do in me in the future. When I am smart enough to contemplate it for a moment, I am amazed.
While I owe Christ everything, I’m also indebted to a group of people who call themselves Baptists. Because they allowed Christ to work through them, my life is forever changed. Because of them, I met Christ, grew in my relationship with Him, became educated, met my wife and am now raising my daughter to have a relationship with Christ.
The least I can do is call myself a Baptist. I only hope I can live up to the term.