The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, has told a black couple they can't get married in their church because...they're black.
Let me explain a couple of things. I was raised in the Baptist church and I can tell you from years of experience that Baptists are some of the meanest people alive. I'm not talking about true believer's in the Christian faith, I'm talking about those who take on the name 'Baptist' but leave the rest of it by the roadside. When I was in the ministry pastoring Southern Baptist Churches, I was thrown out on the street over this same issue, but it didn't have anything to do with marrying blacks. No, it was far worse than that. I was pastoring an inner city church in Houston where the white population was in the vast minority. I would have had to bus white people in to build up the all white congregation. Instead, I was looking to minister to those within the immediate sphere of our effectiveness. When the blacks and hispanics started to show up for services, I was shown the door. I was thrown out on the street by a Baptist church in Dayton, Texas because I refused to fire our music director over the types of songs he was choosing to sing. Since they were not satanic in nature, did not involve lyrics pertaining to rampant, unbridled sex, and weren't trying to instigate mass murder...I didn't see the problem. When pastoring a church in Moss Hill, Texas; after we recorded one of the greatest revivals in Southern Baptist recent memory, we discovered my wife was pregnant with our second child. The parsonage we lived in had no cabinet doors in the kitchen. I asked the church to have cabinet doors installed for soon we would have a baby crawling around and might get inside and ingest something dangerous or get hurt in other ways. It would have cost a whopping $800. At the time, giving had increased 700% and we had more than a $10,000 surplus in the bank. They refused and advised that we just make sure and watch the kid so she didn't get into trouble. Baptists are mean people.
Secondly, we live in a time where pastors are more oriented toward their ministerial careers than they are their calling from God. I guess that's why I'm not in the ministry anymore. I was not willing to side with man when it was clear he was diametrically opposed to God per the scripture. I had an old mossback deacon tell me one day, and I quote..."You ain't gonna last long in this business until you learn to please people." I told him that in the first place I wasn't involved in a business, but a calling. In the second place, I had been called to please God, and not man. Yeah, Jesus was very interested in pleasing people. He pleased them so much they killed him. Ten of the original twelve disciples were so good at winning friends and influencing people, they were killed as well. The eleventh was a little better at it, as they only put him on an island of criminals in exile. Not all, but a lot of pastors in the Baptist community live in fear and do not stand like a lion. The reason is because, first and foremost, they are cowards. But, Baptist churches are autonomous, in that there is no church heirarchy the membership has to answer to. They are self governing. If a pastor gets 'out of line', they can fire him on the spot with a vote according to the dictates of their policies. The average tenure of a Southern Baptist pastor is 18 months. The vast majority that are terminated from their pulpits are dismissed due to congregational conflict and not from some moral failing, scriptural discrepancy or some other Godless action. It's a travesty what is happening because there is a shortage of ministers but no shortage of mean Baptists.
Pastor Stan Weatherford is a coward. Some members of his congregation were vehemently against the marriage of this black couple in their church, even though they had been good enough to attend services there. It seems no black couple had been married in that church since its inception in 1883. Well, who wouldn't want to hold that sacred record intact? So, instead of standing up as a man of God, trusting God to take care of him if the church so chose to dismiss him, he fell on his knees and bowed to those who he felt held his career in their hands. In essence, he handed to them the spiritual authority that God himself had given him and gave it to the bigoted few of that assembly. He should resign and go sell used cars somewhere.
This church had a wonderful opportunity to turn another page in the long history of Mississippi racism and take another step in stamping it out. Instead, they took the path of evil and their gutless pastor allowed them to do so.
In my book, Why Pastors Die Young, which you can find on my website, www.robertcoward.com, this is just one of the reasons men in the ministry are falling away to other careers. Being a pastor is a tough calling. One of the worst if it happens to be in the Baptist church. There are many good Christian Baptists. However, the bad ones seem to be the ones with the most say and the most power within each autonomous body that is out there. More is the pity. May God have mercy on these at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs. They have lost their way....IF, they had ever found it to begin with.