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ALTAR CALL: Baptists gather to offer praise

CHERYL HAREWOOD, [email protected]

ALTAR CALL: Baptists gather to offer praise

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A GREAT DOOR has been opened by Jesus Christ for all to enter.

There is no need for a special key or code, no need to know anyone or to have a special name to get in. It has been opened to all who would believe, and who would simply entrust their lives – past, present and future – to God’s grace and care.

Rev. Karl Henlin of Jamaica made this profound statement to Baptists from across Barbados and the Caribbean last Thursday during the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship night, titled Baptists Gathering, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

It was a night of ministry in song, dance, worship and praise; a night when the Baptists showcased themselves in giving thanks to God.

Held under the theme Jesus Christ The Door, the message was one of hope and an invitation to enter through the door for communion with Christ Jesus.

Reading from St John 10: 9-10, Henlin told those gathered that “doors are points of access and openings” which suggested that “something lies behind them”.

He noted that was why some doors were locked and only few had the keys and access to enter.

“We live in a time of gated access and not everyone can simply drive up to a gate and be let in . . . . Only the known and the ‘belongers’. Sometimes gates and doors signify special privileges. So then it’s about a privilege granted, a permission guaranteed and a possession given.”

He said, however, that not only Baptists celebrated the gospel of an open door, but Christians everywhere, in denominations far and wide, had entered the door opened in Jesus and had found life and something wonderful which changed plans, perspective and programmes.

Henlin also said that genuine freedom, enriching fellowship and a glorious future with divine possibilities were behind that door, made possible by Jesus Christ, who also described Himself as the door.

“I am the door, says Jesus, and what lies behind this door is a divine, arranged and assured future. It’s a door into a life of divine possibilities; it’s a door leading somewhere. We do not vanish into thin air and into nothingness when we enter that door.

“This world offers many entrance ways but in reality, they are exit paths, some so inviting it deceives many by promising what it cannot deliver. So many of our young people are being led into filthiness, wretchedness and self-indulgence and in the process, sending themselves to living hell. They have made of sex and sexuality little gods who demand recklessness as adoration and offer bitterness and moral confusion as blessing.

“It’s the door of the thief who comes to kill and destroy with its rampaging drug abuse, its alcohol addiction and its rapid descent into hedonism. It’s the thief who kills and steals and robs of lives of the abundant life which God offers.”

However, Henlin said when people entered the door of Christ, they were saved from the despair this world offered.

“Our future in Christ cannot be thwarted by our present and the present realities do not determine our future reality. Here we have no abiding city.

“We are not daunted by the arrow that flies by day nor the terrors by night because we follow a Saviour, our Shepherd who has taken on the darkness of evil on the cross . . . and because He lives we can face tomorrow.”

During the event which was attended by Steve Blackett, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Reverend Vincent Wood was specially recognised for his contribution to the growth of the Baptist church and commitment to the faith. Wood is pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church on President Kennedy Drive, St Michael.