By Susan Mires
RAYTOWN – Trouble within the Missouri Baptist Convention can be expected to increase, warned Paige Patterson.
And yet, Patterson, the pioneer of conservatism within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), offered a warm word of encouragement at the annual meeting Oct. 27 in Raytown.
“We are promised the further along the history of earth goes from everlasting to everlasting, the more trouble there is going to be,” he said. “We can either be defeated by it or we can conquer through it.”
Patterson was introduced by Convention President Bruce McCoy as “our hero” for leading the national conservative resurgence. Patterson was twice president of the SBC and now leads Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas.
In his sermon, Patterson examined I Samuel 1, where Hannah faced what seemed like impossible circumstances as she coped with childlessness. He noted that Hannah also had an adversary and said believers should take it in stride when they encounter the same.
“You won’t stand for very much that you won’t have an adversary,” he said. “It’s a normal thing in life to have people in your family, in your church, your city, your work place who just don’t like you.”
Hannah could have become bitter or angry, but instead she turned to God. Baptists should do the same, Patterson said.
“Until we get on our faces before God and seek his intervention in our lives, our churches and our state and national conventions, we will not see this thing turn around,” he said. “God is not dependent on Southern Baptists; Southern Baptists are dependent on God. We better make up our minds now that we will renew the prayer life of our churches.”
He shared a moving story about when he was a 16-year-old evangelist and a pastor took him to visit an invalid woman who prayed for him. The woman, though bed bound, prayed continually and was involved in hundreds of people being saved. Churches need a similar devotion to prayer, not organizational fine tuning, to witness conversions, he said.
“The problem is we’ve got the programs to handle it, the churches to handle it, the money to handle it – who needs God? We’re going to find out if we don’t get back on our faces before God,” Patterson said.
In a fiery, upbeat tone, he assured messengers the Lord would honor their prayers.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to see God do something supernatural with us that we can’t explain with our own ability,” Patterson said. “We can do it. We can do it, but we will not do it until we seek God, until He hears and answers from heaven. God, let it happen now.”