At critical moments in history, God has led imperfect people to do the right thing to impact His Kingdom — and that includes the Southern Baptist Convention, Bart Barber told the SBC Executive Committee during their meeting Monday (Feb. 20) in Nashville.
Preaching from Hebrews 11, the SBC president contended that Noah, Abraham and Moses are often viewed by the Church as heroes of the faith, but they were also flawed individuals who struggled with fear and insecurity. They embraced their faith at the right time, Barber added, and God allowed them to be used to bring glory to His Kingdom.
“Like you and like me they sometimes succeeded in trusting God, and sometimes fell back in fear,” said Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church Farmersville, Texas. “It’s a list of people who regardless of their moments of doubt and failure, when the critical moment came, they were found standing firm in faith then.”
Moses was an example of someone who had the faith to stand before Pharaoh, to part the waters of the Red Sea and lead the Israelites across the wilderness, Barber said, but he “did not believe that God could use his stammering tongue.”
And while Southern Baptists are full of flaws and fears, Barber noted they too have been used by God during key times in history.
Advancing the mission
Barber listed off Baptist missionaries and pastors like Adoniram Judson, Frank Tripp, Adrian Rogers and other more recent Southern Baptist leaders, like Richard Land. Each served the Convention at key times — which included the Great Depression, times of denominational conflict and in confronting racial divides — to help advance God’s Kingdom.
“None of those people were perfect in their faith or in any other circumstance,” Barber noted, “but at critical moments along the way, they found their faith and they led this body of believers forward. And I’m thankful for them … I’m thankful for the God who leads them forward in faith.”
He noted, “In frightening times, with large questions and difficult problems before you, let us realize together that no matter what your failures have been in the past … the history of faith is made by people who know when the critical moment has come, and they are found believing at that time.
“Faith does not mean always doing the riskiest thing, but faith does mean doing the right thing even if it is risky,” he said. “I want to be found to be that person of faith.”