The Pathway…stands on the Word of God, embraces orthodox theology and takes the ‘ancient path’
Don HinklePathway Editor
January 14, 2003
It is appropriate the official newspaper of the Missouri Baptist Convention be called The Pathway.
It derives its name from Jeremiah 6:16, "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."
Missouri Baptists stood at a crossroad in 1997, much like its dearest friend, the Southern Baptist Convention did in 1979. Would both go down the path of mainline Protestantism in America and question the truthfulness of Scripture, relying more on pop psychology to create a man-made theology that is really no theology at all? Or would both affirm the authority and perfection of Scripture and embrace the historic orthodox doctrines of Christianity that have been passed down through the ages? To the glory of God the MBC and SBC chose the latter in resounding fashion.
The temptation to follow the advice of poet Robert Frost remains great, for it was this admirer of New England transcendentalists who offered the following observation in one of his most famous poems, "The Road Not Taken:"
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
What a stark example of unChristian thinking, yet this poem remains one of Frost’s most beloved among the literati. In reality, Frost is not referring to a walk with nature, but rather a walk through life, a philosophy if you will. Frost had little faith in religious dogma and he had no use for conservative Christianity. His concern with nature reflected deep moral uncertainties, and his poetry, for its apparent simplicity, often examines mysteries of darkness and irrationality in the bleak and chaotic landscapes of an indifferent universe where men and women stand alone, bereft, unaided and perplexed. In short, man is lost and his only hope is himself. It is secular humanism in its purest state.
Compare Frost’s view with that of Jeremiah. The Israelites had lost their sense of direction. They were bewildered, desperately needing a landmark. Jeremiah 6:16 gave them one: "Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is."
The ancient path is the biblical path. The good way is the way marked out by Scripture. God said in Jeremiah 6:19 that the problem with the people of Jerusalem was that "they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law." In short, they had come to a fork in the road and chose the path less traveled, not the ancient path taken by Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Psalm 119 compares Scripture to a pathway on at least eight occasions, including the last verse when the psalmist confesses he has strayed and the only reason he knows he has gone down the wrong road is that he has not forgotten God’s commands.
But Jeremiah wasn’t just speaking of the Bible as "the ancient path" and "the good way."
He also was referring to sound theology in the history of the church. Other Christians have walked down the ancient path of God’s Word before us, and they can show us the way. We can trace the path of our Christian forefathers. From Moses, to the apostles, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, the Puritans and the theologians of our post-modern age like W.A. Criswell and Carl F. H. Henry, each submitted themselves to the authority of Scripture and testified to the sovereignty of God’s grace in salvation.
There also is a third way to view Jeremiah’s advice, for "the ancient path the good way" is the way of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to God, the only way to salvation, and the only way to eternal life.
So "the ancient path the good way" is three things: teaching and believing the Bible, maintaining orthodox theology, and following Jesus Christ.
It is proper for the MBC’s newspaper to be named The Pathway. Missouri Baptists, as well as all Southern Baptists, have stood at a fork in the road and to the glory of God have chosen "the ancient path the good way" of biblical fidelity, orthodox theology and Jesus Christ our King! It is with humbled spirits and joyful hearts that The Pathway staff, at this historic moment, affirms sola Scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus as we strive to tell the story of Missouri Baptists—soli Deo gloria! (to the glory of God alone!)