By Lonnie Wilkey
I’ve been a Southern Baptist all my life. I have always taken great pride in being a Southern Baptist. We’re not perfect, by any means, but for the most part, true Southern Baptists believe that the Bible is the infallible, inspired Word of God, that the only way to heaven is through confession of sins, repentance, and faith in Jesus Christ and that Jesus died on the cross so that “whosoever” believes in Him will have everlasting life
That should be the end of the story, but, sadly, it’s not.
The name “Baptist” is not a “one size fits all” name. There are all kinds of Baptists — from Southern Baptists to Independent Baptists to Freewill Baptists to American Baptists to Primitive Baptists and the list goes on. Just having “Baptist” in the name does not mean that everyone holds the same values and beliefs.
There are so many kinds of Baptists that it’s best to identify which one you are. I am a Tennessee Baptist and a Southern Baptist. Just saying that I’m a Baptist doesn’t really explain what I believe.
A case in point is Grayson Fritts, pastor of All Scripture Baptist Church in Knoxville. The Knox County Sheriff’s Detective made news this week when he preached a sermon calling for the execution of LGBTQ people.
Let’s make it clear. All Scripture Baptist Church is not affiliated with the Knox County Association of Baptists, the Tennessee Baptist Convention or the Southern Baptist Convention.
The church, according to The Knoxville-News Sentinel, describes itself on its website as an “independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, soul-winning church.”
The church left out the words “hate-filled” and apparently forgot the commandment that says, “Thou shalt not murder.”
Let’s make it clear. I believe that homosexuality is a sin, as defined in Scripture. But to say that homosexuals should be “executed” is ludicrous. Homosexuals need to hear and understand the truth of God’s Word and know that God loves them and will forgive them of their sins if they ask. Jesus truly died on the cross for anyone who confesses his or her sins, repents and accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior.
It’s little wonder that “Baptists” are looked upon with suspicion and even hatred by some people. Pastors such as Grayson Fritts and the late Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., have done irreparable damage to Baptists of all stripes.
May the world learn and know that Southern Baptists and Tennessee Baptists are not “those Baptists” who preach hate and violence. We’re the Baptists who preach the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. B&R