Cargo Shorts And The First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina

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All of my shorts are out of style.

Cargo shorts aren’t acceptable anymore. I found that out this week. So, If it’s hot outside and I want to be cool, I have three options. First, I could wear jeans. Next, I could go buy a pair of purple European short shorts. Finally, I could just be out of style.

I have decided to just be out of style. Why change now?

There’s nothing more disturbing than a 40-year-old man who dresses exactly like the kids in his neighborhood.

Well, almost nothing more disturbing.

Consider the First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina.

It’s known as a historic Baptist church, whatever that means. Recently, the church made a historic decision. Historic for all of the wrong reasons.

They have decided that they, “will not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” That’s another way of the church saying that being gay is okay with God. And, as an added perk, if you used to be called Chris but now go by Christina, you can still serve on the Historical Committee and teach the little ones about Jesus.

I told you it was a historic decision.

The church’s conclusions about homosexuality are disturbing because they are completely contradictory to Scripture (1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Romans 1:18-32).

But the way that the church arrived at that conclusion is equally as disturbing. As a lifelong Baptist, I am well aware that we love to form committees. We have committees for flowers. Committees for music. We even have committees for committees. But I must say, I’ve never heard of the committee that was formed at the First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina.

They called it the LGBT Discernment Team. It sounds very presidential, doesn’t it?

According to baptistnews.com, here’s how the final decision of the LGBT Discernment Team was solidified.

The LGBT Discernment Team reported its findings of the church consensus to deacons May 4. A majority of the diaconate endorsed the report. In May members of the congregation were invited to stand to indicate their affirmation of the statement. A majority stood, but the few who didn’t were invited to stand to agree to remain in fellowship. By the time it was over, according to the Greenville News, everyone was standing.

“It can be so much trouble finding a new church. Let’s just stand up with everyone else, dear.”

Jim Dant, pastor of the church, said the following about the unanimous vote of approval.

“This church’s journey is like of a lot of churches’ journey. You think you’re about to make a decision about homosexuality or how the church is going to deal with the LGBT community or live with the LGBT community, and it really ended up not being a decision about homosexuality but being a larger decision about what it means to be a church.” 

I can agree with the reverend there. His church’s “journey” really is one that many others have taken. Laodicea and Corinth are the first to come to mind (Revelation 3:14-22; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13). And the First Baptist Church of Greenville did make a decision about what it means to be a church. Essentially, they decided that they didn’t want to be one anymore. They’d rather be a community of people who are accepted by the culture because they are so good at accepting whatever the culture is doing. That’s a far cry from any picture of the church one would find in the Bible.

For years, experts have warned churches that if they don’t loosen their stance on homosexuality, gay marriage and self-mutilation, they will be found irrelevant by the ever-prized millennials who, we all know, are so open-minded and tolerant. In other words, they’ve told us to get rid of our cargo shorts and go buy some purple, European short shorts. Don’t ask any questions. Just do it. Stand up. You wouldn’t want to not fit in, would you?

One thing that is more disturbing than an old man in trendy short shorts is an old church with trendy doctrines. That’s because trends change. In clothing, they go in cycles. What once was out eventually comes back in. Not so with doctrine. With trendy doctrines, what once was preached against, over time becomes a part of the mission statement.

Shorts are meant to be changed. Doctrine isn’t. Doctrine is supposed to change us. But that’s the problem with a solid doctrine that refuses to morph with the always transforming tastes of the culture.

It can be uncomfortable.

And terribly out of style.

But those two things have never bothered true followers of Jesus nearly as much as they seem to bother the First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina.

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