Bailey Smith calls for 'Reality of Hell' Sunday
___By William Perkins Jr.
___Mississippi Baptist Record
___ORLANDO--Southern Baptist churches will be asked to observe Reality of Hell Sunday on the first day of the new church year each October, evangelist Bailey Smith announced June 14 in the convention sermon at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
___ "I have asked the cooperation of our (North American Mission Board) to make what God has laid on my heart a reality," said Smith, a former SBC president.
___Within the SBC, the new church year traditionally begins the first Sunday of October.
___"We are calling that day Reality of Hell Sunday and requesting every pastor and every evangelist to preach on the scriptural doctrine of hell and offer an evangelistic invitation," Smith said.
___With the assistance of the mission board, special materials will be distributed to Southern Baptist churches imploring the recognition of Reality of Hell Sunday, he added.
___ Smith's sermon, titled "Wasted Sacrifices," related the lives of several of the Bible's towering figures to Southern Baptists of today.
___ Modern Baptists, he said, are not adequately following the trail of sacrificial living handed down by their forebears.
___ "Somehow the faith of Abraham is connected to a faithless young seminarian who will not go to the Northwest because the retirement package is too small. Somehow the courage of Daniel is connected to the effeminate pastor of the First Baptist Church who agrees to leave out the name of Jesus in his prayer at the Rotary Club because it might offend someone," Smith said.
___ "Somehow the example of Joseph is incomplete--this wise man who ran from the clutches of a solicitous woman--when connected to celebrity preachers who can't keep their pants zipped.
___ "Why then the boldness of Amos? Why the tears of Jeremiah? Why the tenacity of Nehemiah... I say, Why?
___ "If all this sacrifice is followed by generations of laymen who cannot walk away from their cocktail parties, teenagers who attend church and Christ-profaning movies in the same week, women who call themselves Christian who for undetected sexual dirtiness kill their babies, and spineless clergymen who would rather be politically correct than a voice crying in the wilderness, churches who honor the rich and ignore the spiritual and poor, I say it is nothing more than wasted sacrifices," he declared.
___ "Their sacrifice will not be wasted if we preach the message they preached, hate the evil they hated, love the people they loved and show the courage they showed," Smith said.
___ As he has done in the past, Smith reserved some of his strongest criticism for President Bill Clinton, a member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock.
___ "We have a Southern Baptist in the White House with the morals of an alley cat," he said, adding that Clinton's behavior with paramour Monica Lewinsky was not "inappropriate," as Clinton described it, but sin.
___ Smith said someone once asked him, "Isn't it great we have a Baptist in the White House?"
___ "I'm ready for a Christian myself," he retorted in response to the question.
___ He also lambasted members of Congress as frequent examples of immorality and illegal behavior.
___ "America needs a moral bath, and only living water will get us clean," Smith asserted.
___ The evangelist also chided Baptist churches that are guilty of racism.
___ "I see churches (take) pride for their big Lottie Moon offering but have not one black member, and many even today have policies against it," Smith said. "Less than 1 percent of white, active church members have ever made an evangelistic visit to an African American household.
___ "If you write a big check for foreign missions but you won't walk into a black family's house and invite them to your church, just keep your money. You are a hypocrite," Smith said.
___ "There are no black people, white people, brown people, rich people, poor people, bad people, good people," he added. "Just one kind of people and that is people for whom Jesus shed his blood."
___ With additional reporting by Todd Starnes of Baptist Press
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