Why are they still infatuated with kicking the Catholics?
This past Wednesday Jim was back taking swings at the Catholics from the pulpit of FBC Jax, once again calling them a cult, equating them with Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons and other non-Christian religions, going so far as telling his congregation that if they are to witness to their Catholic friends they must be brave enough to tell their Catholic friends that what they've been living and believing is a lie.
I have refrained from saying much about what's going on at FBC Jax, I'm at a new church. But when I became aware of Smyrl once again slandering our Catholic friends as being a "cult" equal to the JW's and Mormons and Buddhists and Muslims, I will not stand by silently. I called out Smyrl last year when he did, and I'll do it again now. I believe his words from the pulpit of FBC Jax should have a light shone on them, so people know what is coming forth these days from FBC Jax.
Last fall Smyrl published a series of articles on the official FBC Jax blog - condemning the Catholic faith as a "cult". Jim even referred to a Catholic priest as a "cult leader" (UPDATE: this link takes you to Smyrl's article referring to the Catholic priest as a "cult leader") in an article published just prior to that. Mysteriously, just a few days after his articles went up they were taken down. I have made them available to readers here at this link.
But this past Wednesday Jim was back at it. Jim said he had received all sorts of emails from evangelicals "blasting" and "verbally assualting" him for his Catholic Cult series, about which he said "I love it, that just fires me up." - which may be true, but then why are not his articles posted on the FBC Jax blog for us all to read?
In this sermon Jim was telling the FBC Jax faithful that they need to do a better job witnessing to the lost, and Jim explained that their witnessing efforts must include confronting their Catholic friends that they are "living and believing a lie."
"Listen, if you're ever going to win somebody in Catholicism to Christ, you may have to make a friend of them, you may have to get to know them, you may have to spend time in their life, but there is going to come a point where you have to say 'What you have been living and believing is a lie.' And you don't say it on your own authority, you say it on the authority of the one who saved you and called you into the gospel ministry."
Sorry Jim - I've never been to seminary like you have, but as my grandpappy used to say, that is utter HOGWARSH with an "r". Our job as Christians is to not go up to Catholics and tell them that they are living and believing a lie. Our job is to live our lives as an example before them, to love them, and to speak a positive word for Christ. Aren't we to let the Holy Spirit convict people of the truth? We can share them the truth of the gospel, and our testimony, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Yes, we can trust the Holy Spirit to do the convicting.
Its so disheartening to hear Smyrl say these things. Maybe Brunson is cheering him on, I don't know. But what I do know is that FBC Jax has never been about running down Catholics in Jacksonville. The few times that Vines ever referred directly to Catholicism it was "our Catholic friends" - pointing out that yes we do have doctrinal differences, but we do have docrintal similarities. And Vines was quick to point out that we have plenty of social issues - like the sanctity of human life - where we have agreement and on which we can partner. As Vines would say: there are lost and saved Catholics, just as there are lost and saved Baptists.
Guys like Smyrl are dangerous and divisive to the Southern Baptist Convention. He wants to highlight doctrinal differences between Christians as much as possible, and if there are those who disagree with HIM, he calls for separation. In January Smyrl wrote a blog article calling out Lifeway and their leader for selling "The Shack". According to Jim, he believes Baptists should separate from Lifeway if they can't sell only those books that Jim believes meet a certain doctrinal threshold - his threshold.
To make it even worse, Wednesday night Smyrl lumped the Catholics in a long list of groups that FBC Jax members need to be witnessing to. Jim says:
"And Catholics and Muslims and Hindus, and Budhists and Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesse can come to Jesus Christ and be saved."
That is true, but again Jim chooses to lump the Catholics in with non-Christian religions.
Come on, Jim. Let's drop the name calling, and let's spread the gospel to everyone.