Sanchez urges unity at SBTC Annual Meeting
November 15th, 2017 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments
Dallas—Addressing more than 1,000 assembled in Criswell College’s Ruth Chapel for the Monday evening session of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Juan Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, began by quoting the lyrics of Billy Joel’s 1989 “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”
Sanchez said Joel had it wrong in that humankind did “start the fire” by sinning.
“The world around us looks like a dumpster fire, completely and utterly out of control,” Sanchez asserted, turning to his text, Ephesians 4:1-6.
The church’s place, Sanchez said, is to display that “our God is wise.”
Often, the church disappoints and the world sees only bickering and in-fighting, Sanchez admitted, urging unity, the responsibility of those called by God.
Sanchez called local churches the “embassies of God’s government in heaven” or “King Jesus’ people.”
“Whether mega church or mini church, city church or rural church, whether new church plant or old established church, we are all part of the one body,” Sanchez said.
Unity negates competition. “There is not one church better than any other church. We aren’t going to fight about whether my church is better than your church; my church is bigger than your church,” he continued, reminding the pastors that, “First of all, it’s not your church. It’s Christ’s church.”
Calling Jesus the one president, one governor, one king, Sanchez exhorted his listeners to become faithful ambassadors of Jesus by proclaiming him. Christian unity is not “generic” or “warm and fuzzy,” but rather a unity rooted in one faith and one gospel.
“If you’re back here in 24 hours, I can guarantee you money you’re gonna hear a lot better preacher in Tony Evans. But I’ll guarantee you this, he doesn’t have a better gospel than I do,” Sanchez said.
No one has a better gospel or a better message.
“You don’t have to be a Tony Evans; you don’t have to be a John Piper; you don’t have to be an Adrian Rogers; you don’t have to be a W.A. Criswell. All you’ve got to be is a faithful gospel preacher,” Sanchez said.
“I don’t care if you’re a traditional Baptist or a Calvinist Baptist, I don’t care if you’re old fashioned Baptist or new-fangled Baptist,” he said. “We have the same faith because we have the same message. We have the same Lord.”
Sanchez reminded the audience of their mutual adherence to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. “If you can affirm that, we can work together.”
Sanchez’s next comments evoked laughter: “If you have professed faith in Jesus Christ, you and I are brothers. You have a Puerto Rican in your family. You have African Americans in your family. You have Asians in your family. And yes, [your family] has got a lot of white people, but that’s okay. Don’t worry. We’ll catch up,” he announced to loud laughter.
“Whether you’re pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib or no trib, you all share the same eternal hope. Whether you are pre-mil[lennial] or post-mil[lennial], a-mil[lennial], or, like my wife, pan-mil[lennial] (she thinks everything is just going to pan out), we all have the same eternal hope,” Sanchez said, adding that walking in unity demands humility, “confessing our pride, admitting our spiritual poverty.”
“We live in a divided world but we should not live in a divided church,” Sanchez continued, calling “humility” the key to unity. “We must not fight against each other. We must fight for each other.”