Creative Team Building and Leadership Resources - In our Elements

Shame for the Haters

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Prophetic Passage* (Isaiah 66:1-6) transports me to the Winston-Salem Convention Center in early November, 1992, when the Baptist State Convention of NC was holding its annual meeting. It turned out to be a testy, and ultimately historic meeting, as two member churches of our fellowship, Pullen Baptist in Raleigh and Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist of Chapel Hill, were disfellowshipped, aka given the boot. The back story involves these two churches, in their autonomy, deciding in one case to ordain a gay man, and in the other case to perform a wedding for a gay couple. The convention responded by introducing an amendment to the body’s constitution and bylaws. The proposal read, No funds of any kind, designated or undesignated, shall be accepted by this convention, its programs, institutions, or agencies, from any church which knowingly takes, or has taken, any official action which manifests public approval, promotion or blessing of homosexuality. Any such church shall not qualify as a `cooperating church’ as defined in Article IV, A, 3 of the Constitution of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. After some heated and hateful discussion, a secret ballot vote was taken, and during the same business session, my friend George Reed said to me that he wished they would do the same thing with churches who had practiced racism. His comment was like a light bulb going off in my head. I immediately made my way to a microphone, where I proposed another amendment to the constitution. My proposal read exactly the same as the previous one, with one simple alteration: replacing the word homosexuality with racism. After some confused discussion, another secret ballot was taken, and in the next business session, the results were given. The first motion passed with 90% approval. The second motion failed, with only 40% voting in favor. The headlines in several of the states newspapers the next day read something like, NC Baptists Oppose Homosexuality, Favor Racism. No churches were to be found on the chopping block for knowingly taking, or having taken, any official action which manifests public approval, promotion, or blessing of racism. The convention was safe, as such a bylaw could have resulted in many of the virtually all-white churches being disfellowshipped.

The Prophet Isaiah must have had his own experience of a state convention, where people claiming to be protectors of the covenant and the word voted to expel some of the faithful. The text doesn’t give us the details or tell us what the issues at hand were. Whatever the faithful had done, they had provoked the ire and hatred of the majority. And the majority justified their hatred and revulsion, doing it all in God’s name, thinking they were somehow glorifying God by giving the abominable ones the boot. Isaiah’s proposal to the convention must have confused some of those listeners in the majority: Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word: “Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy!‘ Yet they will be put to shame. The ones who had done the expelling would be put to shame. The ones who thought they were glorifying God, protecting his Word, would be put to shame. When I look around and hear and see some of the angst coming out of the majority Baptist world today, the agonizing distress they express about the state of the world, I wonder if this is one of the manifestations of the shame promised by the prophet. It is shame in the sense of loss of esteem, loss of honor, based on foolish action. The majority Baptist folk are not a happy lot, as far as their communications go. They are a brooding, panic-stricken people, foreseeing a gloom and doom and end of the world with America leading the way to hell in its handbasket of sin, mostly sexual sin, with some economic socialism sin thrown in on the side.

On the other hand, some of the most joy-filled and free people I have been around in recent years have been folks like those in the Pullen and Binkley churches. Their disfellowshipping did not leave them bereft of the fellowship of the Spirit. I had the great blessing of leading the Binkley folks in an annual church retreat a few years ago, and it was one of the most inspiring and fun weekends I’ve had in my life. Seeing Bob Bratcher, the translator of the Good News Bible, read passages from that Bible to a group of children, and then having them lead him in an interpretation of the text with Tinker Toys, was priceless. And then, just a few weeks ago, I had the great blessing of spending an afternoon with a group of about 20 teenagers from Pullen. They had been to Cuba earlier in the summer, and were saying goodbye to two of their Cuban hosts who were there visiting them. I have never in my life been around a more spirit-filled and enthusiastic group of teenage Christians, as they sang and cried and hugged and danced through the airport, giving Wanda and Orestes quite the send-off. I don’t really know what life is like on a daily basis among the majority Christians who are anxiously guarding the faith and expelling folks in the name of God. I’m past wanting to know. I’m happy being counted among the non-anxious, free crowd of the expelled.

How about you? Where does this Prophetic Passage take you on your journey of faith? Feel free to comment, and share with friends on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, email, etc.

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Comments

  • September 21, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Stan, why is it that in your mind if you stand on biblical truth, you consider them all hate mongers and they aren’t filled with the spirit. You and your group confuse biblical holiness with hate or not being filled with the spirit. Thank God for the sbc when they take proper biblical action. There’s no need to debate this since you reject hell, salvation by grace thru faith, Jesus as the only way and homosexuality as normal just to name a few ungodly doctrines. They are autonomous, go do their thing just take baptist off the door and have at it.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 21, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Stan,

    You are indeed a modern day prophet! I thank God for the work you are doing. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to the intolerant. In the Bible it says, “Judge not ……” We, each of us, need to look at our own sins or human weaknesses. Love will prevail in no matter what form it takes for love is of God. No individual or Baptist Convention can change that no matter how hard they try. If only folks would look to Jesus and see that he was quite a progressive in his day. If Jesus were with us in body today (and he is in you and others like you), he would uphold all unions if they are founded in love.

    Comment by Janet Davies

  • September 21, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Jim, standing on biblical truth does not make one a hate monger. Many people stand on the biblical truth of loving enemies, welcoming the stranger, liberating people from the captivity of greed, etc. They are not haters. They are advocating biblical holiness. And they have “Baptist” on the door. I simply see those who are caught up and obsessed with preventing two loving people of the same gender from being married, and justifying this discrimination in the name of God because they’ve found some proof texts, in the same boat as those people Isaiah was describing who expelled their brothers and sisters for some abominable reason, in the name of God, thinking they were glorifying God, when it fact they were engaging in a shameful act. From what I observe, these guardians of holiness are not filled with the Spirit. They do not exhibit the fruits of the Spirit at all.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 21, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Janet, thanks for the encouraging words, but I’m no prophet. Simply a good ol’ Baptist trying to read the Word and apply it to my life. You’re right, though, that no convention will be able to keep the Kingdom from coming. If the gates of hell can’t prevail against it, the SBC doesn’t stand a chance!

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 21, 2012 at 7:46 am

    that is your opinion and opinions are like noses, everybody’s got one and they smell. Well, I stand with the sbc and am thankful for a desire to hold to biblical truth. To be filled with the spirit or exhibit fruit of the spirit, you must believe what God says not your own personal interpretation. The scripture is of NO PRIVATE INTERPRETATION. The o.t. prophets were God’s mouthpieces to call his people back to repentance. As the one crying in the wilderness said, Repent the kingdom of God is at hand.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 21, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Jim, what happened to your “there’s no need to debate this” ideal in your first post? You are right, there’s no private interpretation of scripture; it’s all culturally influenced, as is seen clearly in the way the majority Baptists selectively read texts on sexuality, applying some, ignoring others. As far as opinions and noses go, remember, “the smeller’s the feller!” or as my mom used to say, “if the world stinks to you, you might want to check your upper lip.”

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 21, 2012 at 8:03 am

    You are not exhibiting the fruit of the spirit with those insulting,rude remarks. You are showing your hateful side and acting wrongly. Repent!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 21, 2012 at 8:05 am

    My apologies, Jim. You’re right, and I’m sorry to have hurt your feelings. I have repented of those smelly remarks.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 21, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Stan: As a professor of ethics (and having also taught Christian Scriptures) I can say without reservation that what little the Bible has to say about homosexuality is not clear as to what it means in today’s culture. Even a literal reading is up for debate in what it means. But if Jim (and others) insist on their reading, they’ve got a problem. Why? Because most of the texts that come just before and just after these (mis)interpreted texts regarding homosexuality have things to say about what kind of material are their clothes made of…do they eat seafood…how about some good old Carolina BBQ. And on the list goes. I’ll go on and apologize for ‘my’ smelly remarks as well.

    Comment by john walsh

  • September 21, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Good word, John. Speaking of smells, I’m up for smelling some Carolina BBQ – and if any readers out there are in the western NC area, come out to Justus Orchards in Hendersonville any Saturday or Sunday over the next few weeks, during Apple Festival season, and you’ll find my brother Jerry’s Good to the Bone Barbecue there, slow smoked pork and chicken. Mighty good.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    John, I don’t much into cemetary, i mean seminary professors, I have seen the damage done during the 80′s of the baptist seminaries. Fortunately, most got purged of the error that was rampant and now we have bible believing seminaries for the most part. I guess the passage where Jesus says one man and one woman constitutes marriage isnt enough for you. Those dietary laws were for Israel, God’s chosen people. In the n.t. these were done away with, so do your best to rightly divide the word.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I forgive you and your smelly remarks.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Jim, I count the “purging” your describe among those examples of what Isaiah was talking about, shameful acts done by self-appointed Pharisee-like guardians who were under the delusion they were somehow glorifying God, but were instead put to shame. Have you actually met any of those seminary professors you so disdain? I doubt it, because you would have been surprised to find Godly people of deep faith, rightly dividing the Word. It’s a shame that you confuse fidelity to the Word with conformity to your cultural interpretations. Feel free to continue your fellowship and support of such shame. It’s your life.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    stan, when a student who goes in believing in the doctrines of justification by grace thru faith, hell, Jesus as the only way, antiabortion and against homosexuality as an accepted lifestyle, then comes out in direct opposition to all these teachings is not godly in any way,shape or form and I will not condone these as acceptable teachings nor will any one who wants to rightly interpret the bible. I will continue to fellowship with these narrow minded bigots because we are on a narrow road. 2 Corinth 6:14

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Jim, we’re together on justification by grace through faith, and Jesus as the only Way. We’re also together on anti-abortion, we just have different strategies to get there, one punitive and other preventive. As for hell and homosexuality, I believe my views are in line with the teachings of Jesus. Bigotry isn’t the narrow road, Jim, it is broadly travelled throughout the world, including in the SBC. And as the Bible teaches, it leads to destruction. Love is the narrow way.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    As I have told you, I love you and anyone else, but church discipline is necessary to keep the church in right standing. Discipline is a good way to show love. The bible teaches us to discipline our children and this shows love. Secondly, why would you believe in justification by grace thru faith when you over and over state a view embracing universalism, you cant have both. Because if one does not believe they cannot enter heaven. its not universalism and grace thru faith, its either or!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Jim, to answer your question about why I would believe in justification by grace through faith and universalism, it’s simple, because the Bible tells me so. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess (there’s your faith part), for some it will come after going through the refiner’s fire, burning away the blinders and the destructive forces holding people’s minds and hearts captive, such as the force of greed. But in the end, God is victorious, the forces of evil are gone for eternity, and until then, we can join together in a mighty praise song, “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be, when we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!”

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    what an interpretation, all i can say is wow……priceless!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    What interpretation, Jim? I was quoting directly – no interpretation needed. Paul is clear there in Philippians, as he is in other letters. And so is the hymn writer (I didn’t make those lyrics up). But I do appreciate your response, and agree, God’s grace is indeed priceless!

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    good luck with that view, if you are reading this thread, you get one shot at this life and after this the judgment, so I would turn to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and turn from sin and self and follow Him. This is what the whole counsel of God teaches, not some mystical or whimsical way to God and no place called purgatory. Hebrews 7:24,25 Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 12:1-2.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    http://youtu.be/fCOkGDUgij8

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    here is something to help you and others stan!http://youtu.be/SGu9IaV-CKY

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    you deleted some posts, as a liberal you shouldn’t be censoring comments!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • October 1, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Jim, I only delete posts that are vulgar, profane, disrespectful, and/or completely off-topic. Feel free to post these kind of comments on your own blog or Facebook page or whatever other media you’d like to use. I feel perfectly free as a liberal to censor these comments on my site, as being a liberal does not oblige me to provide every person in the world a bullhorn with which to scream tasteless and rude comments.

    Comment by admin


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