Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In memory

In memory of Carlton and Donnie Edwards

Remember the Edwards family in your prayers. Parents Carlton and Donnie were buried Tuesday and leave behind 3 daughters, two who were still living at home.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Animal lawsuits

Cass Sunstein has been nominated by the President to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Budget and Management. Sunstein believes "that animals should be allowed to file lawsuits 'with human beings as their representatives'."

I say let them file, but only if they have their own non-human representatives. Only then can we tell if they are really interested in suing.

...And maybe they could wear human suits while suing humans.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Good hamburgers

We went to the Sacred Harp singing in San Antonio Saturday. It was very good. On our way Friday, we stopped for dinner (lunch, midday meal) at the Roadhouse on 2804 E Highway 21 in Bastrop. The Roadhouse has been voted the best hamburgers in Bastrop County 5 Years in a Row, and their Jalapeno Cream Cheese Burger was rated among the fifty best burgers in Texas by Texas Monthly Magazine. Our friend had seen this in the magazine, so we decided to stop there. I tried the "Jack" Burger. It is similar to the Jalapeno Cream Cheese Burger except that it has cream cheese topped with Pico de Gallo instead of sliced jalapenos. Both are served on a jalapeno bun.

Excellent. Highly Recommended.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

For a Lord's-day morning

From PSALM 19 PART 1, S. M.

Behold, the lofty sky
Declares its Maker God,
And all his starry works on high
Proclaim his power abroad.

The darkness and the light
Still keep their course the same;
While night to day, and day to night,
Divinely teach his name.

In every diff'rent land
Their general voice is known;
They show the wonders of his hand,
And orders of his throne.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Good sense and nonsense

"When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; Therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning
Unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light
Of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise."

This rule was published regularly in the monthly magazine, Biblical Research Monthly, and is generally credited as David L. Cooper's "Golden Rule of Interpretation."

It is often shortened to this:
If the plain sense of Scripture makes good sense seek no other sense lest it result in nonsense.

This rule might be alright if any of us had the good sense to distinguish between sense and nonsense.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In Christ Alone

In Christ Alone on YouTube by Irish co-author Keith Getty and his wife and Kristyn

In Christ Alone on YouTube talked about by British co-author Stuart Townend

IN CHRIST ALONE my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! - who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!

In Christ Alone, L.M.D, By Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Biblical Case for an Old Earth

From a review by Paul R. Bruggink: "Since Young Earth Creationists believe that God's Word trumps God's works every time, the only approach that would have a chance of succeeding in getting YECs to consider the possibility of Old Earth Creationism would be to demonstrate that the Bible can be interpreted to support (or at least not preclude) OEC."

I recently ran across the book A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, by David Snoke on the internet/Amazon. I thought this sounded interesting. It purports to contain "a biblical case". And as the above reviewer notes, the only approach that would succeed in getting biblicists to consider "Old Earth Creationism would be to demonstrate that the Bible can be interpreted to support" it. But as I considered to read about it, it sounds suspect whether the book really makes "a biblical case". In her Review, Lita Cosner calls it "a pathetic case" rather than a biblical case. It sounds like Snoke's views may be driven as much or more by science than by the Bible. A very different Review by Martin LaBar.

I had originally thought this might be an interesting read, but now I don't think I'll bother. Has anybody out there read it?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Baptist statistics

The following is somewhat outdated -- something I compiled circa 2001. But it might be interesting to some readers. I don't think I've posted it before.


The following statistics of Baptists in the United States are taken mostly from Baptists Around the World, by Albert W. Wardin, Jr., 1995, Broadman & Holman. As far as I know this represents the most recent published count of Baptists in the United States. The Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies' Religious Congregations Membership Study, 2000 gives more up-to-date numbers, but is not as inclusive of all Baptist groups. Other sources of statistics will be noted at the end of the post. I divide the groups based on the categories found in Wardin's Baptists Around the World and Baptist Atlas.

1. American Baptist Churches in the USA [1,504,573 members in 5801 churches]
2. Baptist General Conference [132,994 members in 786 churches]
3. Conservative Baptist Association of America [200,000 members in 1197 churches]
4. North American Baptist Conference [42,689 members in 267 churches]
5. Seventh Day Baptist General Conference [4885 members in 78 churches]
6. Fundamental Baptist Fellowship of America [402 churches]
7. General Association of Regular Baptist Churches [157,522 members in 1541 churches]
8. Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America [106 churches]
9. New England Evangelical Baptist Fellowship [had 1022 members in 10 churches in 1965 - no recent statistics available]
10. SIMILAR STATE, REGIONAL, OR NATIONAL INDEPENDENT FUNDAMENTAL GROUPS [estimated 66,500 members in 467 churches - includes Minnesota Baptist Association; Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches; Association of Independent Baptist Churches of Illinois; Dakota Baptist Association; Inter-Mountain Baptist Fellowship; Mountain States Baptist Fellowship; Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches of Northern California; Independent Fundamental Baptist Association of Michigan; & New Testament Association of Independent Baptist Churches]

11. Southern Baptist Convention [15,400,487 members in 38,458 churches]
12. American Baptist Association [approx. 250,000 members in 1731 churches]
13. Baptist Missionary Association of America [234,607 members in 1327 churches]
14. Independent Landmark Associations and Churches [estimated 85,000 members in 821 churches - includes 4 unaffiliated associations and 695 independent churches]
15. Interstate and Foreign Landmark Missionary Baptist Association of America [14,225 members in 132 churches]
16. Old Time Missionary Baptists [approx. 60,000 members in 490 churches - includes 24 unaffiliated associations and 168 independent churches]
17. Sovereign Grace Landmark Independent Baptist [417 churches]
18. United Baptist - Landmark type [23,969 members in 126 churches - Green River, South Concord, South Fork, Stockton Valley, and West Union Associations]
19. Baptist Bible Fellowship International [3395 churches]
20. Heartland Baptist Bible Fellowship [unofficial name; recently separated from BBFI, including Northwest Baptist Fellowship & Missouri Valley Concord of Independent Baptist Churches - numbers would be included in BBFI above]
21. Independent Baptist Fellowship International [540 churches]
22. Liberty Baptist Fellowship [100 churches]
23. Southwide Baptist Fellowship [912 churches]
24. World Baptist Fellowship [945 churches]
{Wardin says these southern-oriented fundamentalists (BBFI-WBF) have over 4500 churches and are approaching 2 million members. Totals of churches above will not add up correctly because many pastors participate in more than one of these fellowships. This is also true of the northern-oriented fundamentalist fellowships}

25. National Baptist Convention of America [1,700,000 members in 6716 churches]
26. National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. [6,000,000 members in 18,513 churches]
27. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America [200,000 members in 701 churches]
28. National Primitive Baptist Convention, Inc. [616 churches]
29. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. [741 churches]
30. Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship [not available]
31. Fundamental Baptist Fellowship Association [approx. 9000 members in 100 churches; these churches also represent in the GARBC or CBAA]

32. Primitive Baptist - Independent African-American local associations [not available]
33. Central Baptist Association [3700 members in 33 churches]
34. General Association of Baptists (Duck River and Kindred Associations) [10,212 members in 99 churches]
35. Old Regular Baptists [15,218 members in 326 churches]
36. Regular and Union Baptists [8704 members in 111 churches]
37. United Baptists - Regular [54,248 members in 436 churches; Wardin's numbers probably include #18 and #51 on my list]
38. Primitive Baptists - Absolute Predestinarian [6495 members in 389 churches]
39. Primitive Baptists - Progressive [8000 members in 119 churches]{the Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists is also progressive in its practice, though not using the name progressive for the churches. 67 churches are in the Eastern District Association}
40. Primitive Baptists - Regular (Old Line) [48,980 members in 1426 churches]
41. Primitive Baptist - Univeralists [582 members in 28 churches]
42. Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists [about 80 members in 4 churches]
43. Jasper, New Hope, and Pleasant Valley Associations (GA) [10,977 members in 64 churches]

44. National Association of Free Will Baptists [234,588 members in 2461 churches]
45. Original Free Will Baptist Convention [33,066 members in 236 churches]
46. United American Free Will Baptist Church [50,000 members in 816 churches] {note: this is an African-American body}
47. Independent Free Will Baptist Associations [22,000 members in 295 churches]
48. General Association of General Baptists [73,308 members in 816 churches]
49. General Six-Principle Baptists [140 members in 2 churches]
50. Separate Baptists in Christ [8318 members in 100 churches]
51. National Association of United Baptists [14,641 members in 152 churches]

52. Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America [40 churches]
53. Sovereign Grace Baptist Association of Churches [15 churches]
54. Continental Baptist Churches [9 churches]
55. Gospel Standard Strict Baptists [3 churches]
{Wardin gives an estimated 1600 members in 400 Reformed Baptist congregations. This would include churches independent of the 4 associations mentioned above}

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship probably should be recognized as a new Baptist group, since it operates independently of the SBC. A number of their churches still maintain dual affiliation with the SBC. I have no statistical information on them. The Colorado Reform Baptist Church is included in J. Gordon Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions with 2015 members in 38 churches. They are arminian and social activists. I have no other information on them. The Alliance of Baptists is also not listed above and I have no statistical information on them. There are also numerous Baptist churches across the country do not affiliate with any kind of group or fellowship and that are hard to identify, much less categorize.

9. Encyclopedia of American Religions, by J. Gordon Melton, 1989.
12. The American Baptist Association - a Survey and Census of Its Churches and Associations, by R. L. Vaughn, 1996.
13. B.M.A.A. Directory and Handbook - 2001
14. Association minutes and Unaffiliated Landmark Baptist Church Survey, by R. L. Vaughn.
15. IFLMBA 2000 minutes.
16. Association minutes and Unaffiliated Landmark Baptist Church Survey, by R. L. Vaughn.
17. Unaffiliated Landmark Baptist Church Survey, by R. L. Vaughn.
18. Association minutes.
31. Association of North American Missions -
33. Association minutes.
34. Association minutes.
41. Association minutes.
42. BATW, Association minutes, & conversation with a "Two-Seed" elder.
43. Association minutes.
51. Association minutes.
52. Association directory.
53. Association directory.
54. Association directory.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cooper SH, midi files

Midi files of some songs from the B. F. White Sacred Harp:

Click HERE for the SH songs, and HERE for a "map" of the site.

Friday, July 17, 2009

An old song book at Google

The Shawm, by William Batchelder Bradbury, George Frederick Root, Thomas Hastings, Timothy Battelle Mason

Shawm (shôm) n. Any of various early double-reed wind instruments, forerunners of the modern oboe. -- From the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Into the 1980s we had three East Texas Sacred Harp singers who were the same age, born in the same month and year (two on the same day) and all lived into their nineties -- B. A. Harry (1891-1984), Grady McLeod (1891-1988) and David Waldrop (1891-1985).

I remember Dr. Harry for his magnifying glass and his disinterest in singing the notes. He had a philosophy that once you had learned to sing the notes on a song that you didn't need to keep singing them every time you led that song. This seemed strange to me, but later I would learn that an area of East Texas singers had that in their background training and some other older singers I don't remember thought the same way. When Dr. Harry led, his idea often caused someone to ask (in good humor, I think) whether we would be singing the notes. Donald Ross reminded me that though Dr. Harry didn't sing the notes, he did believe in singing all the words of any song he led and that his favorite was "Oh Sing to Me of Heaven".

To me as a child, Grady McLeod is someone who stood out in the crowd -- even though he wasn't a very big man. I guess because he sat in the treble, sang high with red face and often keyed the songs. An exceptionally likable fellow. If you knew him, one of his songs is probably forever etched in your mind -- five thuh-ty two.

"Uncle" David Waldrop isn't in my childhood memory so much like Mr. McLeod. But as an adult I came to think of him as one of the "neatest" people I knew. He knew a lot about a lot of subjects and had very interesting things to tell me. With the knowledge I have now, I wish I could go back and ask him about Sacred Harp in our area in his youth. The song I most often associate with him in 58, "Pisgah". I also think of him when I hear 290 "Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed (Victoria)", and 275b "Roll On".

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The thaw

The thaw.

The ice and snow we lately saw,
Which covered all the ground;
Are melted soon before the thaw,
And can no more be found.

Could all the art of man suffice
To move away the snow,
To clear the rivers from the ice,
Or make the waters flow?

No, 'tis the work of GOD alone;
An emblem of the pow'r
By which he melts the heart of stone,
In his appointed hour.

All outward means, till he appears,
Will ineffectual prove;
Though much the sinner sees and hears,
He cannot learn to love.

But let the stoutest sinner feel
The soft'ning warmth of grace;
Though hard as ice, or rocks, or steel,
His heart dissolves apace.

Seeing the blood which JESUS spilt,
To save his soul from woe,
His hatred, unbelief, and guilt,
All melt away like snow.

Jesus, we in thy name entreat,
Reveal thy gracious arm;
And grant thy Spirit's kindly heat,
Our frozen hearts to warm.

John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rethinkin our thinkin: My book is better

Back in December of 2007, I made a series of posts on some historical (and other) inaccuracies of Sacred Harp called Rethinkin our thinkin (all are available from this link). In the course of posts, I discussed six "myths". Today I want to think about one more.

Myth # 7. My book is better than your book.

In a singing tradition that has developed different followings of different books, it is inevitable that most singers will adopt a favorite book. This is reasonable and expected. Also inevitable, it appears, is the adoption of a not-so-reasonable "my book is better than your book" attitude by some.

I am a "Cooper Book" singer. It is my book. It is my heritage. I grew up in an area and a community that used the Cooper Book. I grew up in a family that used the Cooper Book. My Dad's uncle has a song in the book. That song, written by a young man who died an "untimely death",[1] (and those circumstances) forever anchors our family to one book more than others. The past is what it is and can't be changed. I wouldn't want to. Yes, my favorite Sacred Harp book is the Cooper Book. That doesn't mean it is better than the Denson Book or the J.L. White Book. Just that it is my favorite. If your favorite is the Denson, that doesn't mean it is better; if your favorite is the J.L. White, that doesn't mean it is better. Just that it is your favorite.

I can now hear some scholar say, "but this" and "but that", explaining musical technicalities, historic anomalies and various personalities. I say, if Sacred Harpers had listened to the "better" music boys,[2] there would be no Sacred Harp today. They "knew" what was better, and it wasn't The Sacred Harp.

Remember music is an art as well as a science. They say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" -- or in this case "beauty is in the ear of the be-hearer". A person's favorite song is that person's favorite song, regardless of what some "expert" finds wrong with it. And a person's favorite song book is that person's favorite song book, regardless of what some "expert" finds wrong with it.

My book is not better than your book (nor yours mine). My book is my book. Your book is your book. The twain may never meet...But we'll meet together at your singing and sing from your book, then at my singing and sing from my book. Hopefully we'll love every minute of it!

[1] He was only 26 when he contracted typhoid fever and died.
[2] Lowell Mason, Thomas Hastings and company

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pragmatism Everywhere

What question are you asking?

"When you do consult the Scripture, are you looking for direction or for permission?" -- From Pragmatism, Pragmatism Everywhere! by Andy Johnson (associate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church)

"I do believe that Baptists in 2009 need to be asking the question 'Why' much more than 'Why not'." -- G. Michael Coulter, Baptist missionary in Weaverville, CA; July 09, 2009 on the Landmark Forum

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Imagine Peace

My first imagination wasn't "peace" when the little black Ford pickup came around me and then cut into my lane in front of me. But there it was -- that bumpersticker -- staring me in the face as we sat stalled in traffic. "Imagine peace." Do people really believe the slogans they put on their vehicles? Drive like you mean it!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

180 persons called Albigenses

180 persons called Albigenses, burnt without the Castle Minerve

"In the year of our Lord 1210, a large sacrifice of believers, called Perfecti or Albigenses took place near the castle Minerve; so that at one time about one hundred and eighty persons, men as well as women, who, forsaking the Roman antichrist, desired to adhere steadfastly to Jesus Christ and His divine truth, were publicly burnt; these, having commended their souls to God, are now waiting for the crown and reward of the faithful." -- For the rest of the story, see
HERE. The entire Martyr's Mirror of the Defenseless Christians online is HERE (first published in 1660 by Thieleman J. van Braght, a Dutch Mennonite pastor).

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July 4

Happy Independence Day to one and all.

Civil liberty is great, but greater independence is to be made free from the law of sin and death and to know the truth which shall make you free.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Big N' Tasty

In my opinion, McDonald's Big N' Tasty® is neither big nor tasty. Add to that the problem that the employees may not be able to tell you what comes on it or correctly make any changes in how you want it served.

Not recommended.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

An Address for All

Southern Harmony no. 99, Christian Harmony no. 101

1. I sing a song which doth belong to all the human race,
Concerning death, which steals the breath, and blasts the comely face;
Come listen all unto my call, which I do make today
For you must die as well as I, and pass from hence away.

2. No human power can stop the hour, wherein a mortal dies;
A Caesar may be great today, yet death will close his eyes:
Though some do strive and do arrive to riches and renown,
Enjoying health and swim in wealth, yet death will bring them down.

3. Though beauty grace your comely face, with roses white and red,
A dying fall will spoil it all, for Absalom is dead:
Though you acquire the best attire, appearing fine and fair,
Yet death will come into the room, and strip you naked there.

4. The princes high and beggars die, and mingle with the dust,
The rich, the brave, the negro slave, the wicked and the just:
Therefore prepare to meet thy God, before it be too late.
Or else you'll weep, lament and cry, lost in a ruined state.