‘Be faithful or be forgotten,’ Anderson pastor urges Southern Baptists

James Noble, pastor of Kingdom Community Church in Anderson, warned his fellow ministers attending the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference in Indianapolis: “Be faithful or be forgotten.”

Noble was among 11 speakers on the conference’s program, which also included messages from Benny Wong, of Gateway Seminary; Shane Pruitt, of the North American Mission Board; Adam Dooley, of Jackson, Tenn.; Robert Smith Jr., of  Beeson Divinity School; Jimmy Scroggins, of West Palm Beach, Fla.; Jack Graham, of Plano, Texas; Steve Gaines, of Memphis, Tenn.; Bartholomew Orr, of Southaven, Miss.; Greg Mann, of the International Mission Board; and Hershael York, of Southern Seminary. (See related story.)

(Screenshot from sbcannualmeeting.net)

In his message, Noble, who also serves as vice president for diversity, community and inclusion at Anderson University, imagined a modern-day letter, similar to Revelation, addressed to the churches of America.

“You have gone a long, long way in material advances, but, America, I am wondering as I look at you from a distance whether you have gone as far in the spiritual realm,” he imagined the apostle John warning us.

Americans have increased in their possessions, but not their values, he lamented, observing, “You have learned how to make a living, but not a life.”

“You have been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet your neighbor,” he continued.

Citing the Great Commandments, Noble said, “You see, to love God and not your neighbor is a dead faith. Conversely, to love your neighbor and not God is having no faith.”

Noble also emphasized a need for more multiethnic churches to be involved in the Southern Baptist Convention to reflect the diversity of heaven.

“There is one race of people in God’s body; that is, the Christian race,” Noble reminded the pastors. “God’s kingdom is not about race, but about grace,” he said.

“The Lord is building a church of oneness, not sameness. The Lord is building a church of unity, not uniformity,” Noble added. “If heaven is an integrated place, why in the world isn’t the church?”

“The church was made for the world, but when the world gets into the church, we have a dangerous situation,” Noble continued, encouraging the pursuit of holiness among Christ’s followers.

Honor God’s Word that says, “Be holy, because I am holy,” Noble said in calling pastors and churches to stand for truth and righteousness.

“I hear that right has become wrong, and wrong has become right,” Noble noted, as if he was the apostle John speaking. “Do not give in to the evil pressures of your day.”

Encouraging faithfulness in preaching God’s Word, Noble urged, “Don’t quit. Don’t lighten up. Don’t shut up. Don’t back up until we’re all caught up to meet the Lord in the air.”