Albert calls on Baptists to be obedient
During challenging time in the Convention’s life
OSAGE BEACH—Many worries weighed on the minds of messengers as they gathered for the annual meeting.
Rodney Albert, delivering the annual sermon Tuesday morning, touched on those concerns: moral decay, church problems, declining number of baptisms in Missouri.
“This year we have added the burden of a convention that seems to be losing its way,” he said.
Albert, pastor of Hallsville Baptist Church, used the annual sermon to tackle issues at the center of the debate.
“These aren’t the best days for us as Missouri Baptists, partly because they’re tough days period,” Albert said.
He pointed to signs of cultural decay in America, naming Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front runner for president, and Joel Osteen, of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, as part of the problem.
“The pastor of America’s largest church doesn’t believe he’s gifted to explain the scriptures and believes he has the right to what he calls ‘my message,’” Albert said.
In his deep, stirring voice, he chastised Christians for trying to be similar to the world, saying similarity is the mark of a fall. Alcohol was an issue Albert called out in particular.
“2007 is the year Missouri Baptists became soft on alcohol consumption,” he said.
The matter has been part of the discussion of the emerging church. Albert said some believers drink because they are carnal; others are good Christians who have become caught up in the issue. He compared drinking to delivering a sermon wearing a pink tutu – not expressly forbidden in scripture, or even the Baptist Faith and Message, but certainly not proper.
“We need to fight the alcohol fight and keep it out of the Missouri Baptist Convention,” he said. “It’s an issue to me and to many because it’s an issue to God. We don’t want to lose dear brothers, but we will walk the walk of obedience.”
Fighting doesn’t worry Albert. He said holiness always requires contention and strife, first within an individual, then spreading out to families and churches.
“There can never be unity where there is disobedience,” he said. “There are battles we have to fight because they are battles of holiness.”
Alcohol is only one of many issues where Christians should examine their hearts and be obedient, Albert said. Basing his sermon on John 14, he urged Missouri Baptists to show their love for God by obeying his commands. He noted that Jesus said he would send the Holy Spirit to help his children be obedient.
The audience cheered and clapped as Albert proclaimed that Jesus was the only way of salvation.
“We preach it because Jesus said it. Nothing drives our world crazier than that talk, that Jesus Christ is the only way,” Albert said. “But on so many other issues that are just as clear, we hedge because those issues affect us. The Savior we proclaim is the Savior we must obey.”
Loving Jesus is about more than a profession, he said, it’s about proof in a believer’s life.
“We may lose our friends in this convention, but we have a friend who sticks closer than brother and he will guide us,” Albert said. “Let us tell our state and region, country and world about Jesus, the mighty one to save.”