Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

Pentecost 2012 – Obedient Faith

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How much currency do we attach to the language of obedience today?

Talk about obedience presupposes a relationship between one who issues commands and another who obeys orders.

Mention of obedience troubles the calm of our cultured sense by evincing images of authority and subservience, arrogance and docility. Our highly valued notion of individual autonomy has no space for the language of obedience.

Many would argue that, if such a language was relevant in bygone years, it certainly has outlived its usefulness.

Yet, when we remember the exciting new thing that God made possible among a group of people gathered in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, are we not inclined to consider that obedience is a good thing, after all?

The command to the disciples was clear. They were to “stay… in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49b – NRSV). And when the time came for the promise to be fulfilled, those who obeyed and remained in Jerusalem had the experience of a lifetime. They experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and they received the equipping and enabling to become effective witnesses to Christ.

Then and there, they spoke of the mighty deeds of God in their history – the saving work of the one who made all things new through Jesus Christ.

Just suppose the disciples had not thought it right to obey the command to remain in Jerusalem! Wouldn’t they have lost the joy of seeing the promise fulfilled, their lives transformed, and the church coming to full flower?

True freedom is not found in lavish entitlement to do whatever one wishes. It is experienced, instead, in the voluntary choice, made in the power of the Holy Spirit, to live in joyful obedience to the one who sacrificed his life for our sakes and won victory over death for our liberation.

Pentecost reminds us of the priceless value of obedient faith.

Neville Callam
General Secretary

© Baptist World Alliance
May 23, 2012

The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 253 conventions and unions in 130 countries and territories comprising 51 million baptized believers in 176,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.