First Baptist Church
- Contact: 445 C Ave., Coronado 619-435-6588 www.fbcoronado.com
- Membership: 200
- Pastor: Jim Baize
- Age: 72
- Born: Louisville, KY
- Formation: University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL; Baptist Bible College, Springfield, MO
- Years Ordained: 47
San Diego Reader: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?
Pastor Jim Baize: In the context of pastoring in California, my major concern is to be free to preach the gospel without being mandated to accept certain things that Sacramento forces on us. That’s becoming more and more of a potential issue, in the last two or three years. I specifically refer to the fact that scripture is very clear that marriage is between a man and a woman, among other doctrines of morality. There’s legislation that was already proffered by a California state lawmaker named [Evan] Low [D-Campbell], wanting religious leaders to not only not condemn certain lifestyles but to affirm those lifestyles. It did not pass as legislation, but he’s brought it back up and it’s being considered again. Those kinds of freedoms — to be able to preach the gospel even if it’s not politically correct in the modern world — are of paramount importance to me.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PB: The first thing is to get as many people saved as possible — to get the message of the gospel to them. The second thing is to try to create fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. That’s a simple sentence, but one pregnant with meaning. A follower of Jesus Christ is someone who becomes a disciple, who forsakes all, turns their back on the past, and looks forward to Christ to find out what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. A fully devoted follower is someone who has sold out for the Lord. If you do those two things, everything else just follows.
SDR: Where’s the strangest place you’ve found God?
PB: I worked in the psychiatric ward for three years while I was going to Bible college, and it was an amazing opportunity to see people who had faith, how they would handle things that landed them in that hospital, and how people without faith would handle things. So many people came in with issues – people who would think they were, for example, the Virgin Mary, or Adulterous Jerusalem, or Jeremiah the Prophet. It was interesting to see how God would work with people in that kind of environment. As far as I know, all the counseling they got from the doctors was totally secular. As an orderly, I could talk to them and answer their questions about my belief system. I saw people respond favorably to treatment when they had a Christian perspective to life.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PB: You go to heaven or you go to hell. I don’t believe in purgatory. Let me clarify that a little bit. The Bible talks about a new heaven and a new earth, and I think heaven is going to be more than what we imagine as someplace in outer space, where we’re floating on clouds, playing harps. Earth will be rejuvenated by fire as it once was by water. But it’s not going to be the only place we live — we’re going to go to all of God’s creation if we know Christ is our personal savior… But anyone who rejects Christ winds up temporarily in hell, and then after the great final judgment, those souls will be emptied into what’s called the Lake of Fire, an eternal place of separation from God.