22-Baptist 2

” ______ is a church that that follows the independent constitution where they put Christ as the head of the church, the holy spirit as its guide and the Bible as the only rule of faith and doctrine.”

September 8, 2019 1030 AM

The church sign says “Baptist,” but when I did a quick Google search for Southern Baptist churches in my area, this one did not come up. It doesn’t have a website and the Facebook page is quite paltry. I pulled the above quote from someone who posted on the page. Based solely on that, it appears this church is independent from the official SBC or other Baptist denominations.

I arrived at 1025, just in time for the 1030 worship time as noted on the outdoor sign. Several people greeted me. One very nice woman mentioned that they didn’t really have a firm start time. They like to roll in, mingle and talk, then when they’re ready, they start the worship. I said, “Oh, so not 1030 then?” She said, “More like 11.” Oy.

Another man greeted me and mentioned they didn’t really watch the clock here and would start the service when everyone arrived. Okay. The good news is during this almost half hour of waiting, several more people greeted me. They absolutely seemed to pass the welcome test right from the get-go.

The service started with the pastor making a few announcements, then singing several hymns (pastor led the singing from the pulpit), prayer, an offering and two musical presentations from the youth band. This multi-racial group of all young men and one young woman was probably the second most impressive thing about this church, after the gathering time.

However, and this is a big however, the service took a decidedly downward turn when the pastor stood to speak. His first comments were something like, “Bernie Sanders says he has the answer to our healthcare problems. It’s widespread abortions. He wants to increase abortions so we will have less people to take care of.” Then, he said something about “Pete Buttonhead, Butterboy, what’s his name? Anyone know the name of that guy that’s running for president on the Democratic side?” I spoke up and said, “Pete Buttigieg,” pronouncing his name correctly. The pastor said, “Yeah, him. He wants to be our first openly gay president. Can you imagine having a gay couple living in the White House?”

The pastor continued to lament the current state of affairs on the Democratic side of things. He said “Joe Biden was asked, ‘how many genders are there?’ And Joe said, ‘at least three.’ Can you believe it? A man running for President says there are at least three genders.” The pastor used these examples and more of why he believes that we are living in the end times. He quoted 2 Timothy 3:1-17: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. …

After listening to his gloom, doom and degradation of the current state of the American culture, I decided that I could not stay and listen to any more of his vitriol. While I believe he has every right to his opinions, as the pastor, he should know better than to spew them onto the congregation, who cannot and will not respond. It’s a misuse of his position, plain and simple. Also, church should always be a place where we hear of the love of God, the peace of Christ, the genuine winsomeness of faith–not how everything is falling apart and the world is gong to hell in a hand basket. The more he spoke, the more I felt like shouting, “shut the hell up you ignorant ass.” But I chose to leave instead.

While this church initially felt welcoming and seems to be embracing a multi-cultural identity among it’s youngest members, it still FAILED the WELCOME TEST. Unfortunately, their pastor ruins it for anyone who might be looking for a church home. I don’t see how the stranger, whoever you are, could feel welcome under his leadership. He’s certainly not the kind of man who can “win friends and influence people.” And if I were a member there, I would be having serious discussions about doing a new pastor search.

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