Most of the time I’m glad to be a Baptist. Not only do I believe our way of baptism – and more importantly who is baptised, namely those who’ve made a personal decision of faith – is Biblical, I also appreciate our variety of worship, not bound to a formal liturgy; our way of running the church, so that each believer who is committed to a local church can take part in listening to what God is saying about our shared life; and much more besides.
Sometimes, though, I almost want to disown the name Baptist – such as when I heard about the Texan Baptist pastor who said in a recent sermon that gay people should be lined up and shot in the back of the head. This is not the common Baptist view – and I want to shout that out loud and clear! In fact it’s so uncommon that he’s probably virtually the only one who thinks that. I have a simple question – could he really imagine Jesus picking up the gun to do it? Of course not!
And then he went on to say that homosexuality was the worst sin in the Bible. Now even if we agree with him that it is a sin – and Baptists along with many other Christians have widely differing views on whether that’s the case anyway – you have to say, really? Worse than murder? Worse than genocide? Worse than what’s happening in Ukraine? Worse than the many other things where one person ruins another’s life? Get real, and get a sense of proportion!
Yes, I am glad to be a Baptist – but please, don’t anyone tar us with this particularly evil, hateful brush. We aim to follow one who taught the way of love, not hate – and said “do not judge”!