On my first Sunday in Macon as a Mercer student in 1993, I was one of only two students on my dorm floor to go to church. Having grown up in a small town in Louisiana and attended the First Baptist Church of Jackson, Louisiana, it made sense to my 18-year-old self to attend the First Baptist Church in Macon.
A lady who spoke in the pulpit that day advised the congregation that sometimes we get tangled up in scripture and forget the sacred. She said, “We need to be more sacred and less scriptural.” I had never heard anyone suggest one could separate the sacred from the scriptural. In fact, what I now know is most often when one claims something is sacred and “soul fulfilling” it makes them personally feel good.
I called my pastor, Joe Nesom, back home in Louisiana. I told him what had happened. “There are no good Baptist churches in Macon. You need to go find yourself a church that has the letters PCA after it,” he advised me. Later, he realized Tim McCoy preached in Macon and suggested I go to Ingleside. By then, however, I was going to First Presbyterian Church downtown.
All of this is to say, I am not surprised First Baptist Church in Macon has decided to perform gay marriages. My surprise is that it took them this long. They join a growing list of Christian denominations headed toward paganism, led by the Episcopal Church.
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Give it another decade or two and many of these denominations will have removed the Bible from their pews and replaced it with “Where The Sidewalk Ends.” Poetry, you know, can be soul fulfilling.
As liberal Christians in America exit Christianity, they decide the Bible does not mean what it says or that 2,000 years of consistent Biblical orthodoxy are wrong, but somehow those of us still standing firm in the faith, are the ones being divisive. No doubt members of the congregation are reading this right now thinking they know the Bible better or they have some secret gnostic insight into its true meaning.
What they cannot do yet publicly is what they have already done privately. They cannot admit they have moved on from scripture because doing so acknowledges they’ve left Christianity for paganism. They will excuse and explain it all away, lying to themselves that they have a Biblical basis to do the unbiblical. They might think they have a special insight into the Greek in the New Testament that 2,000 years of church orthodoxy does not have or they have a more enlightened view of the Bible than St. Augustine. So when the Bible creates marriage between a man and woman or lists homosexuality as a sin, all the people who came before them were misreading it. This is what happens when churches abandon scripture so they can feel good.
While First Baptist was doing that, I was participating in an event in Nashville with an ecumenical group of Christians across denominations including John Piper, Albert Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Wayne Grudem, R.C. Sproul, J.I. Packer, Rosaria Butterfield, Russell Moore, and more. We joined as the initial signatories to what is being called “The Nashville Statement,” an interdenominational statement affirming the authority of scripture in the roles of men and women in marriage. “Will the church of the Lord Jesus Christ lose her biblical conviction, clarity, and courage, and blend into the spirit of the age?” the statement asks. We all said no. First Baptist in Macon said yes.
Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.