"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Baptist Church in Mississippi…
Folks, this comes right out of the…”what were they thinking” file. A church in Jackson, Mississippi told a couple that they could not marry in their church because…hold your breath folks….they were black. I wish I could say that I was kidding. I wish that this was some sarcastic play on modern times and politics, but alas…it is not. This is a true story. Here is a quick rundown of the story.
Charles Wilson and Te’Andrea were set to be married in the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs. Shortly after the rehearsal, Rev. Stan Weatherford moved the wedding to another sanctuary. The reason that it was moved is that a small group within the church did not want the couple to marry there because of their race.
According to the Reverend the venue was changed to avoid conflict within the church. Additionally, Rev. Weatherford indicated to the Wilson’s that the congregation would fire him if he married them at his church. The Pastor did not confirm or deny this accusation.
My Pastor warns of not jumping to conclusions and to be weary where only one side of the story is told. However there are 4 sides to this story.
Side 1 – The Wilsons – They were scheduled to be wedded in the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs. They were asked to change venues one or two days prior to the wedding by the Reverend of the Church.
Side 2 – Reverend Stan Weatherford – Asked the Wilsons to change venues of the wedding. He does not say the reason for the change. However, he does state that he was trying to maintain the peace in the church and to avoid conflict with the church.
Side 3 – the Elect few – These are the people that asked or told the Reverend to change the venue.
Side 4 – The Congregation – These are the people who found out that something happened through the news.
The odd thing here is that there is no denial from the Church that race played a role in the change of venue. Instead we get a hindsight is 20/20 statement from the Reverend.
We also have the Mississippi Baptist Convention praying for the church, and allowing the church to work through difficulties and disagreements of the church while making a statement that they reject racial discrimination.
I have no idea what really happened, but where there is smoke, there is fire, and gang there is a lot of smoke here. Now, we have national headlines about the Southern Baptist Convention being racists.
Baptists have a severe perception battle they are fighting on numerous fronts. I can attest to this first hand that people cringe when they hear the word Baptist. MANY will choose not to go to a great church simply because of the word BAPTIST! Which is a shame. I would be willing to bet that 90%-95% of the Baptist churches are God fearing bible believing churches. Every belief system has it’s extreme weirdo’s, Christianity is no exception.
The Church leadership seems to have forgotten that they are representative of Christ on earth! As a result, their actions directly reflect on Christ. Instead of putting Christ first they put their own personal hatred and ignorance ahead of the word of God. There is not one thing that is biblical about racism.
What is also pitiful here is that (assuming this is what happened) a Reverend WILLINGLY did something grossly wrong to protect his job and keep the peace. Rather than honoring the word of God he feared the condemnation of man.
All I can do is shake my head at this non-sense and pray that there is some side of this that is missing. That all of this is somehow wrong. However…I don’t think that will be the case.