November 5, 2001

'Risk your neck' for the gospel, Virginia pastor urges
___By Scott Collins
___For Texas Baptist Communications
___DALLAS--Baptists should "risk their necks for the gospel," a Virginia pastor told nearly 750 people attending the annual breakfast of Texas Baptist Committed Oct. 30.
___Bill Wilson, pastor of First Baptist Church of Waynesboro, Va., and co-chair of the Mainstream Baptist Network, said Baptist
BILL WILSON speaks to members of Texas Baptists Committed at their annual breakfast during the BGCT annual session, urging them not to be stiff-necked but to risk their necks for the sake of the Christian gospel.
s must follow the example of Priscilla and Aquilla, who risked their necks for the cause of Christ, rather than following the Old Testament example of Zedekiah, wh
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o stiffened his neck.
___"When Scripture describes someone as stiff-necked, it is not referring to a crick in the neck, a bad night's sleep or an old football injury," Wilson said. "A stiff neck is a metaphor for rebellion and unteachableness."
___Stiff-necked people "sense that God wants you to do or be something," yet resist God's call, he explained. "It is to hear the call and act like you didn't. It is to disobey a part of this book that speaks clearly to you. To be stiff-necked is to know the ninth commandment against bearing false witness and to deliberately misstate and caricature and use half-truths to bring harm to fellow Christians.
___"When Baptist Press accuses Buckner Children and Family Services of being partners with Planned Parenthood in providing abortions, they are being stiff-necked toward God's command against bearing false witness," Wilson asserted.
___Baptists today stiffen their necks toward God when they practice guilt-by-association, he continued, citing specifically the literature of Missouri layman Roger Moran that attempts to link leaders of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship with liberal causes.
___"Whenever anyone, whether it be Roger Moran or Baptist Press or Associated Baptist Press, accuses fellow believers of associating with sinners and somehow construes that as a reason to break fellowship with them, they are falling into the same trap that those who put to death the Son of God succumbed to," he declared.
___But Wilson said the Bible offers "another neck" in Romans 16:3-4, where Priscilla and Aquilla are shown to be willing to "risk their necks" for something special. This means putting one's own safety at risk, going out of the way to look after someone else, he explained.
___Unlike Zedekiah, "Priscilla and Acquilla were obedient to God's leading and call in their life. They offered God not a stiff, rebellious and disobedient neck, but their necks, their very lives."
___Wilson called on Texas Baptist Committed followers to risk their necks for traditional Baptist values "like soul freedom, the priesthood of every believer, the authority of Scripture, local church autonomy and separation of church and state.
___"We need the spirit of Priscilla and Aquilla to invade our ranks like never before to stand against the tyrants of our day," Wilson said.

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