LIBERTY — Introduced as a world Baptist, Baptist World Alliance president David Coffey noted that crossing borders is a regular routine for him.
“My life is made up of border crossings,” the pastor from Great Britain said in his April 3 message, noting he had visited Egypt in January, Jamaica and Cuba in February, and Jordan and Romania in March.
Coffey has the responsibility not only of linking the Baptists of the world but opening lines of communication between Baptists and others. He credited former President jimmy Carter, who spoke earlier in the day, with “rehabilitating the good name of Baptist people.”
Noting the Book of Acts is “all about crossing borders,” Coffey cited the experience of Philip in bringing the gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch, who struggled with understanding the meaning of an Isaiah passage he was reading.
Imitate the example of Philip, he said.
Coffey reminded listeners to be sensitive to God’s calling, be prepared to make sacrifices (“it goes with the gospel”) and don’t be judgmental.
“Some of you have been wounded” by disinformation, denigration and discrimination, he said. “But you have to stand against judgmentalism; God will reward you for that.”
The example of Philip and the Ethiopian was a classic border crossing, Coffey said, noting it called for an Arab Christian to share the gospel with a black man — high up in government — who had been castrated.
Because Philip chose not to judge the eunuch, the barriers that might have existed between the two men were broken down, he said.
Like Philip, be creative, know how to apply the Bible and trust the providence of God, Coffey said.
“We’re the people of the book,” he said. “I hope we are up to that.
“Let your movement be a movement that teaches people how to use the Bible and apply it to the issues of the day.”
Bill Webb is editor of Word&Way.