Why a Baptist Pastor Fought the Beatles

After John Lennon joked that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, Baptist pastor Rev. Thurman H. Babbs of New Heaven Baptist Church in Cleveland threatened to revoke the membership of anyone who supports the Beatles. One person posted a sign along a Pennsylvania road that read: “God Forever, Beatles Never.” Lennon apologized for the remark, but ticket sales surged in the wake of the controversy.

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Why this story matters for church leaders:

It’s hard to imagine the Beatles being controversial enough to kick someone out of a church, but there will always be a new controversy to fight about. Perhaps this story reminds us about investing too much energy in the controversy of the day.

  • Times Are a Changing: The Beatles hardly appear to be a threat to most Christians today. Does this story help us consider ways to better use our time and energy in ministry and mission?
  • Amplified Controversy: The outcry over Lennon’s comment would be amplified with social media today. How do we keep that in mind when responding to a controversy?
  • When to Take a Stand? While many may disagree with the pastor’s decision in this story, where do you draw the line in your ministry?

Is there a controversy today that is taking up too much of your ministry time?

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