Recently, I was reading about an ecumenical group here in the city that includes LDS, Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant Christians. Certainly, everyone who lives in the St. George area should be good neighbors to each other, as we have much in common due to proximity.
What struck me about the article however, were a couple of quotes by those involved in this ecumenical group. One retired American Baptist pastor related that during his time as a pastor in St. George (1961 to 1991 according to the article I read in The Spectrum--not sure what the date was as it was cut out and given to me), "I could go in and worship at any church and feel at home."
The other quote was by a Jewish lady who participates in the ecumenical group. About this group, she said, "We're not interested in who believes in what but what we can do as a group for our community. That's the focus." Was that the focus of the Lord Jesus during His public ministry? Was that the focus of the Apostles as they were imprisoned, beaten, and most of them martyred for their refusal to stop preaching the gospel of God's grace in Christ Jesus?
At DRBC, we are very interested in who believes in what, precisely because we want the best for everyone in our community! What we believe is directly related to our eternal destination: in glory with God forever or the lake of fire/. Here are a few verses from God's Word that demonstrate that the Lord is interested in who believes in what, and that knowing, trusting, believing God is what ultimately matters . . .
And he [Abraham] believed the LORD, and he [the LORD] counted it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6 ESV).
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:18 ESV).
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36).
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:14-17 ESV).
These verses are clear that the message of the gospel ("the word of Christ") must be explained so that people can understand. Since the church has been given the Great Commission to "make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them . . . and teaching them . . .," it matters what people believe. It is not the duty of the church to simply vaguely serve the community, apart from any concern of what people believe! Our primary concern is that people have a saving relationship with God by grace through faith in Christ (His perfect righteousness, death, burial, and resurrection as our substitute).
One other verse that really places the importance of faith versus the works of the law in priority for us . . .
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law (Romans 3:28).
The desire of DRBC is that sinners (that's everybody) be declared just (righteous) by God. The Bible throughout teaches that this happens through faith, not good work in a church or family or workplace or community. DRBC is primarily interested in who believes in what for the glory of God and the salvation of sinners!
Soli Deo Gloria!