"incompatible with Christian teaching"

This is, or used to be, the simple statement that Baptists could agree upon as regards homosexuality. The full statement is, “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” As applied, this should mean that homosexuals are welcomed into our congregations as sinners — just as I am a sinner, just as you are a sinner.

This is the old but still useful application of the “love the sinner; hate the sin” approach. But, this is where some Baptists may have lost their moorings from Scripture: hating the sin. Or so it might appear, now that acceptance of practicing homosexuals by the American Baptist Churches USA appears to be the case. At least this is the impression one may garner from this story.

Beliefnet writes the story in a neutral tone, but beneath the surface is the thought that those churches who might break away from ABCUSA are the ones causing the problem. The problem, if indeed there is one, is that some Baptist bureaucrats (there’s a term that should raise some eyebrows) at ABCUSA may have decided that they are able to negate black letter Scripture on the practice of homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22; 1 Corinthians 6:9).

Baptists must be Bible-centered churches, must be grounded in Scripture. While we claim to be a priesthood of believers, and know that we may approach God directly, with this freedom of Christian conscience comes responsibility. The responsibility for proper interpretation of Scripture is perhaps best expressed by 2 Peter 1:

20 no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, the very word, “intepretation”, does not have its modern connotation, given the context: all Scripture is, in fact, “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3). To think, to act, contrary to this is to deny the very basis for our Baptist faith.

Which American Baptist Churches USA seems to be doing. May the Holy Spirit grant them the wisdom to see how they deny His holy Scriptures, and return to being truly grounded in Scripture.

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