A Prayer for the Southern Baptist Convention
“For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You [Lord]” (2 Chron 20:12).
O Lord, God of our Fathers, are You not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In Your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You.
Thus were the words of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. As he prayed, we are told “All Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.”
As they prayed and cried out to God, the Spirit of God filled a prophet and he spoke the words of God to the people of God: “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.”
The Southern Baptist Convention finds itself in a very similar predicament. Maybe due to our own pride and sin. Maybe due to our allowing some theological drift towards man-centered philosophies and man-made solutions to problems that stem from our fallen state as Adam’s race. Maybe due to our organizational structure not adjusting well to the rapidity of technological change. Maybe due to us talking about one another instead of to one another. Maybe due to our becoming far too influenced by the ways of our culture, instead of staying on the old paths.
I suspect all of the above.
But one thing is certain. Only God can save us. Only God can preserve us. Only God can humble us. Only God can employ us for the glory of Christ in the propagation of the gospel. Only God can grant us repentance and forgiveness where needed. Only God gives us wisdom. Only God.
So I offer this prayer as I and 16,000+ of my fellow messengers flock to Nashville next week:
O Lord God, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You. We glorify and exalt Your Holy Name for the ways You have chosen to use us as Southern Baptists to spread the good news of Jesus, the Savior of sinners, both near and far. Heavenly Father, Your name is to be hallowed. Much of what we are engaged in publicly right now in the SBC is doing anything but. Please forgive us for Jesus’ sake. Lord God Almighty, You have brought us back from the brink of theological liberalism and gospel extinction before. O God, would You do it again? Be pleased, for the sake of Your steadfast love and mercy in Christ our Lord, to rescue us from ourselves. From the devil, our real enemy. From the world, and the world’s systems which are antithetical to the gospel which makes us one new man in Christ Jesus. Lord Jesus, You said what is hidden now will one day be shouted from the rooftops. Give us a fresh awareness of this truth as the Holy Spirit moves in and among us. What needs to be exposed, please lay it bare. And grant us courage Lord, to do what is right in Your eyes. Help us stand upon the absolute fixed truth of Your Word, which has always been settled in heaven. Settle it in our souls yet again. Father God, You do not need the SBC. Lord Jesus, You will build Your church with or without us as a denomination. But we are pleading for mercy. That we as Southern Baptists might continue to be useful and fruitful by a sovereign work of Your saving and sanctifying grace. Because Jesus is worthy of our doctrinal fidelity and great commission cooperation. Until the whole world hears, and until all Your elect are sitting around the table of the marriage supper of the Lamb. In Christ alone, amen.