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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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6/17/2004

Building Walls 

We've come to believe that walls are not good things. We talk about tearing down walls between people, nations, etc. We talk about people who have built walls around themselves to shut out the world, and it's a bad thing. So this article in Baptist Press goes against the grain for most of us.

I was expecting a reaction to the decision to leave the BWA when I started reading it -- building walls between groups. But the walls that Pastor Steve Gains was taling about are the spiritual equivalent of the walls of Jerusalem that Nehemiah was sent back to build.

The walls of a city in ancient times were important to the survival of the city. They established where the city was, it's boundaries. We don't have many boundaries any more. The few that still exist do so only so that people have something to push -- we are a nation that loves to push boundaries, trying to find out exactly how far they go, and what the consequences are of crossing them.

In the name of tolerance, we are expected to condone every deviant behavior on the planet. But Christians are ridiculed, stereotyped, and marginalized in ways that would bring lawsuits from anyone else. We sit and do nothing. Our boundaries have been demolished.

We need to rebuild some of our walls. We need to establish lines that we will not cross, beliefs that we will not compromise. Maybe, indirectly, the message that Pastor Gaines delivered was about the split with the BWA. Because the Southern Baptists decided that there was a wall that they could not, in good conscience, tear down. The BWA was headed in a direction that the SBC didn't want to go, so they got off the ride. They attempted to change the course, with no success. The wall was not torn down.

There are walls that need to be demolished. Walls separating races, sexes, economic situations -- these are all walls that are not needed. But walls of doctrine, of statements of faith, of fundamentals -- these walls should remain. Too many people are willing to sacrifice these walls in the name of unity. Is there unity when basic principles of Christianity are rejected, or ignored? Perhaps there is unity there, but it is a unity that is not of Christ.


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