"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

To Some Southern Baptist Preachers Jesus Is Just Another Southern Baptist Preacher

Some Southern Baptist pastors have created an image of Jesus that is purely cultural. Jesus is a white male who loves grits, buttermilk and cornbread. He eschews beer with the boys, but he loves Nascar and football. He's in church on Sunday morning and night, visitation on Monday night, and prayer meeting on Wednesday night. He gives ten percent of his income to the church, and refuses to be friends with any church member who doesn't. He's a card carrying member of the National Rifle Association. He hates homosexuality (homos) more than he does adultery (people who have an 'affair'). He is silent about obesity caused by the overindulgence of food but loudly condemns anybody who even thinks of drinking one glass of wine. He speaks with sappy spiritual sentimentality about loving the world, but he is quick to grab a microphone and loudly condemn any person who doesn't see the world like he does.  He wants everyone to look like him, act like him, talk like him, be like him. In short, Jesus is a  Southern Baptist pastor to many Southern Baptist pastors.

We have lost any concept of the transcendence of God. Transcendence is defined as "a state of being or existence above and beyond the limits of material experience."  Jesus is, by virtue of His personhood, way beyond our experience. When we try to mold Jesus into our image, we get a "holy" and "righteous" anger with fellow pastors who don't look like us.

Some fellow Southern Baptist pastors are trying to make an issue of Al Mohler's statement that Southern Baptists have "lied" about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced "homophobia" (fear of homosexuals) in years past. These Southern Baptist pastors are in a frenzy (see here and here). What is absolutely absurd about this entire situation is that Dr. Al Mohler has written over 200 articles clearly detailing a sound, biblical view of homosexuality, and even has gone on Larry King to stand for biblical truth. The disagreement going on is not over whether or not homosexuality is sin (the Bible is clear that it is), but how Southern Baptists should relate to sinners who struggle with the sin of homosexuality. Those Southern Baptist pastors who see Jesus as a Southern Baptist pastor are demanding Al Mohler explain how Southern Baptists have lied about homosexuality and how Southern Baptists have been homophobic.

Dr. Mohler is capable of answering for himself, but allow me to point out just one example of homophobia in Southern Baptist circles. In 1992 the Southern Baptist Convention  changed Article III of the SBC Constitution (change is emboldened).

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Article III. Membership: The Convention shall consist of messengers who are members of missionary Baptist churches cooperating with the Convention as follows:
 1. One (1) messenger from each church which: (1) Is in friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work. Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.
2. One (1) additional messenger from each such church for every two hundred and fifty (250) members; or for each $250.00 paid to the work of the Convention during the fiscal year preceding the annual meeting.
3. The messengers shall be appointed and certified by the churches to the Convention, but no church may appoint more than ten .
4. Each messenger shall be a member of the church by which he is appointed.
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Do you see the homophobia? The issue of homosexuality becomes the defining factor of whether or not a church is in cooperation with the SBC. Why did we not change the consitution to say the following?

Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse adulterous behavior.
Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse pedophilic behavior.
Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse gluttonous behavior.
Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse drunkenness behavor.
Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse addictive behavior.
Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse arrogant behavior.
Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse gossiping behavior.
Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse hateful behavior.
 
We all are in need of a Savior. Yes, homosexuals fight hard to try to convince themselves their actions are not sin. So too do gossips. So too do the proud. So too do adulterers. So too do gluttons.
 
Oh well. You get the picture. Why the homophobia? The problem we have right now in the Southern Baptist Convention is Southern Baptist preachers who honestly believe that Jesus would never sit down with a militant homosexual and have a cordial conservation with him over dinner (think Zacchaeus), or that Jesus would ever care to be in the presence of a loud-mouth radical lesbian who is known throughout the city for her activism much less offer to help the lesbian with repairs on her home or pay for her groceries (think woman at the well), or that Jesus would ever go to the homes of homosexuals and open the Scriptures and teach them about Himself. They don't think Jesus would EVER do that because THEY would never do that. This kind of legalism becomes the death knell of any spiritual vitality in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Jesus is not just another Southern Baptist preacher. Thank God He is not, and thank God He is God. Maybe Al Mohler has caught a glimpse of Jesus in ways his critics have not.