The Right To Choose Statement

Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. International
Presiding Bishop

For many years, our South African brothers and sisters experienced apartheid.  What was apartheid?  It was when Blacks in South Africa had the right to be born, but beyond that, all other rights were denied due to the color of their skin.  They were not allowed to participate in government, they were denied the right to vote; and many other opportunities were reserved for White only.  Nelson Mandela and many others continued to fight until the rights they now enjoy were achieved.  As a result, Black South Africans now have the right to choose and make decisions that will ultimately improve their quality of life.

The Baptist Church has experienced “spiritual apartheid.”  We have always had the right to be born again, but…spiritual gifts, heavenly language, the power to cast out demons, laying on of hands, etc., afforded to others in the Body of Christ were denied us because we are Baptist. 

We do not feel that others in the Baptist Church are not preaching the full gospel, the complete gospel, which is Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection.  The Baptist Church has stood firm in preaching His death for we know He died for us.  We have stood firm in preaching His burial for He stayed in the grave three days and His spirit went into Hell to take the keys from Satan.  We have also stood on the fact that He raised from the grave with all power in His hands. The reason we remain Baptist and support the Baptist Church is because of this solid foundation, in Jesus Christ.  But as Full Gospel Baptists, we do not believe that we have fully utilized the power of Jesus left when He returned to Glory.  He left His power when He left the keys with us.  The Bible says, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (St. Matthew 18:18)  We have dealt with salvation at Calvary but have left out the experience at Pentecost.  The Full Gospel Baptists are using those keys to take full authority over the devil.  The Word of God states that we can legally use our gifts in the name of Jesus!  It does not matter how strange it may look to the natural man or to our denomination.

Our purpose is to let Baptists know that we do have a “Right to Choose”. According to our faith, we can reach the level we desire in Him as we grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Let it be known that we shall not condemn you if you do not speak in tongues, cast out demons, or operate in the gifts of the Spirit.  Fullness is simply giving God full control and no one knows that better than you.  Our responsibility is not to judge and tell what you do not have, but to
enlighten you of what you can have according to God’s Word.

Now that Nelson Mandela has accomplished his task in motivating Black South Africans to achieve the right to vote, I know that He will not stand back with a gun and demand that they vote.  Some
will and some will not, but at least they have a choice.  When some of us ride the bus, we like to ride in the back of the bus.  However, thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and many others, we have a CHOICE.  The freedom to choose is very important.

Again, we will never say that if you do not speak in tongues, cast out demons, or operate in the gifts of the spirit that we condemn you.  We fulfill our purpose in the Baptist Church when our people are taught, enlightened, and realize that they have a choice.  In the Full Gospel Baptist Church, many speak in tongues and many do not, but no one feels uncomfortable because
we have a CHOICE.

First, teach the Word of God. Secondly, allow them to decide. Thirdly, do not condemn them after they choose.  God could be a dictator and make us adhere to the Word, but He allows us to choose as “free moral agents.”