‘Be statesmen,’ fiery Scribner urges
January 14, 2005
By Allen Palmeri
JEFFERSON CITY – Jay Scribner decided to encourage the lawmakers of the 93rd Missouri General Assembly before he charged them at the Commissioning Prayer Service Jan. 5 at Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City.
Scribner, the 27-year pastor of First Baptist Church, Branson, stood before an audience that included dozens of senators, House members, five state Supreme Court justices and Missouri’s new governor, Matt Blunt. He chose not to separate church and state in that he talked about how public servants are essentially ministers.
“God has positioned you, honored you and elevated you to be in a position to make a tremendous difference in the state of Missouri and our nation,” Scribner said. “Because you are an elected official and because God has elevated you to this position, you are what the Bible refers to in Romans 13 as one of God’s servants.”
The pastor who has been one of the leading figures in the Missouri Baptist conservative resurgence then read the Bible passage aloud as Blunt, a Missouri Baptist, listened intently in the front pew.
Scribner, the 2000 Missouri Baptist Convention president, proceeded to lay out a comprehensive worldview for ministers/elected officials as found in the inerrant, infallible, sufficient Word of God, the Holy Bible.
Foundational principles for citizenship cannot be separated from ethics and integrity, Scribner said. The authority of King Jesus must never be questioned in the great republic that is America. Governors, senators and representatives rule simply because the American people are under authority themselves. An excellent way to serve the people is for leaders to place the needs of the citizens above their own needs, he said.
“May the decisions which you make be based upon the principles and precepts of God’s Word so that you can help restore virtue and values to our state and our nation,” Scribner said.
In a healthy system of government, functional public servanthood will flow from these foundational principles, the pastor said. The American military is modeling this right now in Iraq, he noted. They are caring about a people they have just met, helping those whom they do not know. In a word, these unselfish men and women are sacrificing.
He told a story about how a McDonald’s employee in Branson gave him poor customer service. The young employee changed his ways after receiving some friendly persuasion from Scribner, whose impromptu training tips helped the teen improve his attitude and performance.
“We’ve lost in America, and in Missouri, a spirit of service,” he said.
Faithful patriotism was the final point of Scribner’s message. He emphasized how thankful he is to have been born in America. About a year ago, he got down on his knees in front of the Statue of Liberty and thanked God for His sovereign choice to make him an American citizen.
Scribner is concerned that America is now nurturing an anti-Christian culture. He called this culture “new and perverse,” and he charged the lawmakers and new governor to lead Missouri back toward absolute truth.
Business as usual will not cut it, Scribner said. Passivity is not what God requires from His ministers in the Capitol. Obedience is.
“I am praying that God will raise-up men and women in the realm of politics that will be statesmen,” he said.