Along the Journey – Understanding

Too often a political or religious viewpoint is defined by the radical edges. Fundamentalism shows its ugly, hateful, intolerant face and we all want to fight against it or flee from it. At our noblest, we want to understand and even resolve our differences without resorting to extreme measures. While there are many who refuse to engage in thoughtful and productive conciliation, are we simply to make no effort with those who might?

Our melting pot threatens to turn into a boiling cauldron. We become known more for our differences than our similarities. We retreat into camps where prejudice and vitriol seep into conversations and pronouncements.

“Can’t we all just get along?” A hopeful but naïve thought that appears today as an even more ludicrous idea. Common courtesy and civil discourse are not very common these days.

As Christ-followers, we are held to a higher standard. Respect for others, love for those who would not return love, treating others as we wish to be treated, forgiving with grace – all of these and more He taught us. He wasn’t blind to injustice and hypocrisy. He took firm stands with blazing eyes when He witnessed our pettiness, greed, and cruelty. He wasn’t afraid to speak out. But it’s important that we remember that He came to save us, not condemn us. He came to save us from sin and for a worthy life

Over the course of the next two weeks, my sermons will deal with how Baptist Christians comport themselves in a world of different worldviews, different religious thought, and different practices. We will examine how we are to relate to other Christians and other religions.

Beginning Wednesday, July 17, we will offer a seminar entitled “The Cross and the Crescent.” The world’s fastest growing religion is Islam. Muslim people live among us. Do we know them? Do we know what they believe? How are we to relate to them if we do not understand them and their faith. You are invited to join us in the chapel for this three week course. We begin at 6:15 pm.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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