No not Derek Jeter, Jeremiah Jeter! Jeremiah Jeter (1802-1880) was a founding member of the SBC and the first president of the Foreign Mission Board (now the IMB). I was given a copy of The Baptist Banner by Eral Sutton today that has a portion of Jeter’s sermon entitled “The Obligations of Baptists to Their Distinctive Principles” inside. Although the sermon was about keeping Baptist distinctives alive, I think that there is some truth that can be applied to all churches regardless of denomination.
“Education is another and a most efficient means of supporting their principles which Baptists should not neglect. The religious training of children is the great business of human life. They do not need to be baptized, or to have a quasi church membership; but they need to be carefully and thoroughly instructed in divine truth; and God has graciously provided for securing to them this benefit, not through an unmeaning ceremony, but by implanting in the parental heard an affection, which neither time nor toil can exhaust, nor ingratitude can repress, and which prompts to assiduous efforts for the instruction of children in all that pertains to their welfare, in time and in eternity. Baptists will be false to their principles, unkind to their children, and unfaithful to God, if they do not employ all appropriate means to have them instructed and confirmed in the faith……”(emphasis mine)
He has much more to say, but I’ll stop there. As I read this I was saddened that he just described what most of, not only the SBC, but also other American churches lack in. The thing he is calling his people NOT to do is exactly what most Christians DO in this country. Now that I have a child I pray that my parental purpose will be to raise up my children in a way that they have been instructed in divine truth and that it purtains to their welfare functioning here on earth and more importantly in eternity.