Many people long for a return to the fictional town of Mayberry, the idyllic setting for the 1960s television classic “The Andy Griffith Show,” Dr. Jimmy Scroggins, lead pastor of First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, told Palm Beach Atlantic University students on Thursday.
But looking at that show with a critical eye, Dr. Scroggins notes its lack of racial and ethnic diversity. “People who long for the return of Mayberry are going to hate heaven,” said Dr. Scroggins, one of the guest chapel speakers for this year’s Church Connect Week. “Mayberry doesn’t look like the world looks.”
What should instead capture people’s imaginations, he said, are the words Jesus spoke during his Sermon on the Mount as recorded in the fifth chapter of Matthew. By calling the faithful to be the salt and light of the earth, “Jesus wants you to live as an outpost of His kingdom wherever you go,” Dr. Scroggins said.
In the kingdom of Jesus, the weak are made strong, those who hunger are filled and the last are made first, he said. “Jesus takes everything in this world and He flips it on its head,” Dr. Scroggins said.
He noted that often older Americans lament the decline of Christian influence on society. What was once a moral majority has transformed to a prophetic minority, he said.
“I’m optimistic about the prophetic minority, for the opportunity that we have to live as outposts for the kingdom of Jesus, salt and light in this world, doing what our Savior and our kingdom has called us to do, living as outposts of the kingdom of Jesus whatever the costs.” Dr. Scroggins said.
“I actually think that Christianity is going to be a whole long stronger and a lot more authentic because we don’t live in the midst of a bunch of cultural Christians who are fake. And we don’t have to put up with the veneer of Christianity that’s not even real and true.”
Still, Dr. Scroggins said, many people continue identify with the lyrics of a popular Rascal Flatts song: “I miss Mayberry.”
“I’m not longing for Mayberry at all,” Dr. Scroggins said. “I’m longing to be a part of the kingdom of Jesus.”
Other local pastors who spoke during Church Connect Week were Dr. Dale Locke of Community of Hope; Pastor Todd Mullins and Julie Mullins of Christ Fellowship; and Pastor Jeremy McKeen of Truth Point Church.