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Why I’m a Southern Baptist (Pt. 2 of 6)

December 9, 2008

Recognizing Denominational Dangers

I became a Christian when I was 18, and soon after that attended the University of South Carolina where I would major in History and minor in Religious Studies. It was in my Religious Studies classes that I recognized that not all denominations are the same and there really is some dangerous thinking among those who label themselves as Christian.  Ironically, my religious studies (RS) professors (with the exception of one professor who, despite us not agreeing on everything, made a profound impact on me and challenged me to understand what I believed and why) believed less about the truthfulness of orthodox Christianity than professors of any of my other classes. For example, one professor held to a school of thought that Jesus’ body wasn’t actually resurrected, but He was eaten by dogs. I don’t know if he had read 1 Cor.  15:12-19 , but if I believed that Jesus’ body was eaten by dogs instead of resurrected I definitely would not be a Christian.

Some of these RS professors were even ordained as ministers within their particular denomination. This is always surprising to people when I tell them this, but it’s a good example of how discerning one must be when attending a church. Unfortunately, you can’t stroll into any self-labeled Christian church and assume they believe “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

Am I surprised about this? Not at all. The Apostle Paul used a lot of ink to not only say this happened with men that he had served with, but continually warned of those who will depart from sound doctrine in the future. Read 1 or 2 Timothy and a number of his other letters and it’s like he’s on repeat: the importance of sound doctrine is emphasized while the warning is repeated that there will be the infiltration of a different gospel. Many who claim to be within the fold will accept something different than what the Bible teaches. 2 Tim. 4:1-5 is one of the many examples:

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

All this is to say that when choosing what denomination I would enter into for seminary it was first important for me to recognize that there are some serious denominational dangers out there. It’s not that Southern Baptists haven’t had their share of false teaching, but it’s part three of this series that will discuss what fortunately eliminates the majority of heresy.

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