The Baptists, Sin, and Me

There are two camps, the saved and the unsaved.  If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior then you are saved, if you haven’t, then you are unsaved.  It is very simple.

Baptists historically have never had much of a unified theology.  The denomination was very decentralized.  Each individual church determined their beliefs, but there was a general theology of Salavation.  Jesus Christ is the son of God, you can have life everlasting, and so on.

The believers were mostly influenced by their piers and oftentimes by the minister of their particular church.  If you disagreed with the minister, though, you would either try to get rid of him (no women allowed) or you would change churches if possible.

Then along came the “culture wars”.  Politics and the fight against societal norms became the new unifying theology.  “God, guns, and gays” is the phrase often used.  For, for, agin (sic).

The problem when a Baptist is confronted with a gay person, is that there is no challenge to the underlying belief that this gay person is wrong.  (Or insert the abhorrent word of the day).

Going to heaven is the prize.  If I get involved with questioning whether a gay person is going to hell or not, then I will take my eye off of the prize.  I will have to be afraid that God, or preacher, or the church members will not approve and I will end up on the outside.

This is no small fear for a person whose whole life depends on the structure and organization of the church.  Their life is the church.

Most liberals, I would venture to guess, do not really understand this.  People don’t understand that this is the life of a Baptist.

Now there are flavors of Baptist, but I am just talking about the most conservative among the Southern Baptists.

There is even fear for “consorting” with gays.  People who have gay children and who are in the church have to be secretive.  If the parents of gay children are discovered by the church, then oftentimes, ostracization follows.  Their own belief system forces parents to choose between the church, salvation and everlasting life, and their gay child. If a parent chooses their child then they face having to restructure their entire lives, usually a life to which they were born.  This restructuring is a monumental task.  There is often isolation from people who think differently than you, so the task of restructuring is near impossible.  There is really no support system for this.

As human people, we need some type of support system in order to make major life changes.  It cannot be done in isolation.  It just won’t work.

Imagine the pain of Baptist parents who have a gay child.  They cannot leave their church and their beliefs, but the child often cannot be in relationship to parents who cling to beliefs that say the child is wrong at their very core.  There often is not separation between the child being wrong and their behavior being wrong.  Focusing on behavior does not help either because what, exactly, is the behavior?  The only behavior that makes a gay person different than a heterosexual person is the person they love.  We are looking for same sex boyfriends/girlfriends, and spouses.  I don’t have a problem with you judging any other behavior, but you can’t judge who I am.  You may think I drink too much, have too much sex, or can’t stay very long in a job.  Those are your opinions and how you see me.  That is fine, but you cannot make it wrong that I love who I love.  The person receiving my affection is the choice, not the fact of my existence as a gay person.

I don’t have the answer.  Understanding seems to be key.  But, I think it is important to look at beliefs and maybe begin to challenge those beliefs that separate parents and children.  There are brave and courageous parents who have done just that.  You can follow Christ and love your gay children.  You really can.  You just need the support to do so.

In the end, maybe you just need someone to tell you that you are not going to hell for doing so.






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