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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baptist historical documents on the web

Some online Baptist history documents resources, in "random order":

Missions
Works by, about or associated with William Carey
A Public Address to the Baptist Society by Daniel Parker
Thoughts on Missions by John Taylor (1819)
Black Rock Address (1832)


Origins
Did They Dip? by John T. Christian
A Welsh Succession of Primitive Baptist Faith and Practice by Michael N. Ivey
A Critique of the English Separatist Descent Theory in Baptist Historiography by Philip R. Bryan
A Vindication of the Continued Succession of the Primitive Church of Jesus Christ (Now Scandalously Termed AnaBaptists) From the Apostles to the Present Time by John Spittlehouse & John More
Anabaptist Primary Documents
Critical Issues Relating to the Origin of the Baptists by Philip R. Bryan
The Kiffin Manuscript (c. 1640)


Geographical
History of Landmark Baptists of California
Baptist Annals of Oregon


Faith and Practice
Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches by Francis Wayland
Remarks on Church Discipline by Daniel Parker
What is it to Eat and Drink Unworthily? by J. R. Graves
Baptized In The Spirit by B. H. Carroll
The Anabaptist View of the Church by T. D. Williams
A Short Treatise Concerning a True and Orderly Gospel Church (1743)


Miscellaneous
The Old School Particular Baptist Library
History of Clear Creek Church, and Campbellism Exposed by John Taylor
Exposition of the Views of Baptists, Relative to the Coloured Population in the United States by Richard Furman
The writings of the late Elder John Leland: including some events in his life
The writings of the late Elder John Leland: including some events in his life (pdf)
The McPherson-Bogard Debate on "Miraculous Divine Healing"
From "Funnymentalist" to friend: the evolving relationship of Ben M. Bogard and J. Frank Norris
Plan of Union between Separate Baptists and Regular Baptists (1801)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Three-fold church cord

A three-fold cord is not easily broken (Cf. Eccl. 4:12). Three strong strands of the woven church cord are:

1.
Orthodoxy – right belief
Believing the Bible and being faithful to its doctrines of the faith is a requirement of God's people. Who can say he loves God and not believe & keep His words? The word of God is given by inspiration of God (II Tim 3:16-17). The faithful Christian believes it and studies to show himself approved of God (II Tim 2:15). All doctrines and teachings are brought to its mirror to see whether these things are so (Acts 17:11).

2.
Orthopraxy – right practice
The work of the church is summed up in what is best known as the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). This summary is displayed fully in the New Testament in the recorded outworkings of the Holy Spirit through His church. New Testament Christianity means New Testament practice (I Cor. 11:2; 14:33). The faithful representing of Christ and the gospel to the world is faithful to the Word of God in the New Testament, which is our only rule of faith and practice (Acts 20:2027-28; II Tim. 4:2).

3.
Orthokardy – right heart
If the heart of the matter is not right, our doctrine and practice is merely a noisy racket that is annoying and unappealing (I Cor. 13:1-3). A supreme evidence of genuine Christianity is the love of brothers and sisters in Christ (John 13:35; I John 3:14). The "local church" (gathered congregation) is not just an important doctrine -- it is a functioning reality. The true heart of love spills out in committed fellowship for and blessed unity with one another.

Too often we try to make the cord with one strand, or two at the most. May God help us not weave amiss.


[Note: "orthokardy" suggested by Francis Shaeffer's “orthokardia of community” via Trevin Wax.]

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Astonishing Savior from McInnis

HE is an “astonishing SAVIOR” because HE:

Despised the “righteous” (i.e.; in their own eyes) and companied with sinners. (Cf. Matt. 9:10-13)
Gained HIS greatest victory by dying. (Cf. Col. 2:14-15)
Was wounded in the house of HIS friends and died to save HIS enemies (i.e.; in their own minds). (Cf. Rom. 5:7-10)
Embraced death and destroyed it in one fell swoop. (I Pet. 1:3)


Excerpts from "The Astonishing Savior" by Mike McInnis | Grace Gazette, Volume X, Issue 4

Monday, February 20, 2012

Question for President's Day

Why is the current president called the 44th President of the United States if only 43 men have served this country as President?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Five senses of our Saviour

The Lord who made our bodies gave us five senses for function and pleasure. With our eyes we see. With our ears we hear. With our nose we smell. With our tongue we taste. With our hands we feel. The senses keep us from danger, direct us to good, and enrich our lives. We see and feel and move in the physical realm. Through these "gates" we experience life. In the corresponding spiritual realm, by five spiritual senses we experience God.

Hear. The senses function in the living and are silent in death. Only God can speak so that the dead can hear. John 5:25, John 11, John 10:16,27
Taste. There is no comparable experience to describe what we taste. If we have not tasted a thing, no amount of descriptions can mediate that knowledge to us. Taste and you will see His fruit is sweet. Psalm 34:8, Song 2:3
Smell. The sacrifice of Christ is a sweet smelling offering to God, and also becomes such to those who trust in Him. Ephesians 5:2, Song 1:3, II Cor. 2:14, Job 27:3
Touch. God is not far from all that wish to feel for Him. There is power in His touch. Acts 17:27, Luke 6:19, Mark 3:10, 5:30-31
See. He is the light, and gives sight to the blind that they may see Him. Oh, that we might see Jesus only! John 9:5-7, Psalm 119:18, Matt. 17:8, Heb. 12:14

May our spiritual senses be heightened to take in a blessed experience of God, that we might know Him.

O, taste and see, o, taste and see,
The Lord is good, is good to me;
His taste is rich, flavor divine:

Sweeter than honey, stronger than wine.
O, taste and see, the Lord is good:
Thirst-quenching drink; soul-building food.
His food sustains me from the first;
Drinking from His well, I never thirst.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Everlasting Father by Royce Smith

I understand the reluctance of some to accept the phrase the everlasting father (Isa. 9:6) in reference to our Lord Jesus Christ because it seems to confound Him with God the Father. Does the fact God is called Spirit in John 4:24 confound Him with the Holy Spirit who is often called the Spirit? Or must we confine the reference in John 4:24 to the Holy Spirit because this name might confound the persons of the Father and Holy Spirit?

Let me cite two passages which refer to our Lord Jesus Christ as having children. Psalm 45:16 quotes the Father as saying to our Lord Jesus Christ, "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." Hebrews 2:13 quotes our Lord Jesus Christ as saying, "And again I will put my trust in him, and again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me." The phrase "Behold, I and the children which God hath given me" is a quotation from the Hebrew text of Isaiah 8:18. Now, if our Lord Jesus Christ has children given to Him, then He must be a Father to them. Since they were given to Him in the everlasting covenant, wouldn't He be an everlasting Father? In my simple way of thinking, it seems better to interpret the phrase everlasting Father of our Lord Jesus on the basis of the statements in Psalm 45:16, Hebrews 2:13, and Isaiah 8:18 than to cast doubt on the validity of the Hebrew text.
-- By Royce Smith, Bethel Baptist Church, Choctaw, OK

Saturday, February 11, 2012

After that he may drink wine

The Nazarite vow is often mentioned as an example for abstinence today, because of its restriction of drinking wine and strong drink. The entire context of the Nazarite is a separation while under his vow from things that were otherwise allowable. In addition to wine and strong drink, the Nazarite was prohibited from grapes, raisins, grape juice (“liquor of the grape”, KJV), grape vinegar – in fact any product of the grapevine (“nothing that is made of the vine tree”, KJV). Separation from “all things grape” was not the only restriction, however. The Nazarite must not cut his hair but rather allow his locks to grow. He also could not touch a dead body, even an immediate member of his family. (Under the law even a priest could become unclean for the death of an immediate family member.) The Nazarite would fulfill the number of days of his vow (apparently determined by the one making the vow), make the proper offerings, “and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.” Here “may drink wine” is a figure of speech, a synecdoche in which “wine” stands for being released from the entire vow. Being released, they may drink wine, strong drink and the liquor of grapes; eat grapes, raisins, and other products of the grapevine. Restrictions concerning hair and dead bodies default to the regular customs prior the vow.

That the Nazarite was commanded to abstain from the consumption of wine and strong drink while under his vow shows that he normally drank (or could drink) these products. After the vow is completed the Nazarite “may drink wine.” This is clear to the casual observer (and the not so casual!). It allows for the use of wine as a beverage. The Nazarite vow is devastating to the case for prohibition, unless one can prove that wine and strong drink do not here stand for a fermented beverage of the vine tree. Interestingly, in his exhaustive work on wine in the Old Testament, Robert Teachout tries to blunt the effect of this by translating wine (
yayin) as “grape juice” in Numbers 6:20: “and afterward the Nazirite may drink grape juice.” Unless the release is only to “drink grape juice” the effort is nullified. The statement represents the fulfillment of the vow and return to normalcy. Teachout translates “wine and strong drink” (yayin and shekar) as “intoxicating wine” in verse 3. Is the Nazarite only released to drink grape juice, while remaining under all the other restrictions of the vow, or does Numbers 6:20 mean the Nazarite is released from the restrictions of the entire vow after its duration ends and offerings are made? The answer is obvious, and should give pause to the abstentionist and prohibitionist.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A Murderous Game

"We favor safe, helpful athletics in our schools, but to say the least, our Christian colleges are going far astray when they lend their influence to the training of boys to kick and trample their fellow students to death. We are against the murderous game (football), root and branch...If some of our over-enthusiastic youths that attend Baylor are bound to test their kicking abilities, let them cross legs with a burro. It will be fully as civilized and much less dangerous." -- J. B. Cranfill in The Baptist Standard, 1899

I wonder what Cranfill would think about a Baylor student winning the Heisman trophy; or churches turning out their services to watch a Super football game?? Now I've been known to watch a game or two, and even root against the dark side. But I think our old-fogey Baptist fathers had a point or two that we need to consider as well.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

New Research on the Fall of the United States

Dear Dr. Jones,

I pledge you my great respect for your exhaustive history of Europe. As you know, the most recent research in which I have been involved is the fall of the United States of America. We have known for several years that is was overtaken in February 2014, but recent excavations in New Jersey have revealed why. It fell during the celebration of the Suprabolus festival, at the end of two weeks of worship of the god of Ball. Suprabolus was a winter festival begun in the last century of U.S. history to celebrate the god of pleasure. I expect future studies will reveal that Ball was a derivative of the Canaanite deity Baal. By the time of the country's fall, the U.S. was wholly given over to these idolatrous practices. It is hard to pinpoint exact dates, because the country began to number its calendar to coincide with the Suprabolus Festival. The United States government banned all holy days of its Christian past and reorganized its calendar around the major festivals of the pleasure deity.

The location of the Suprabolus festival moved from year to year, each annual mecca sold to the highest bidder. Travel, except festival related, was suspended the day of the main worship. Worship services were beamed to every corner of the nation for those unable to physically attend. Everything shut down. Lesser deities (sometimes called "role-models") played before Ball while worshipers cheered, jeered, screamed, drank themselves silly, and otherwise worked themselves into an emotional frenzy. Rioting in the streets was commonplace, and human sacrifice was occasionally practiced. Corruption of government, lack of work ethic, immorality and such like were not the true reasons for America's fall, but merely symptoms of a decadent people who were lovers of Pleasures more than lovers of God!

Please purchase and read my upcoming book, Suprabolus: the beginning of the end of the United States of America. Only my theory can accurately explain why that, after years of fending off terrorism, on a cold day in February three construction workers from Los Angeles overthrew an entire nation.

Sincerest regards,
Barrius Hyperbole, Th.D.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

The proper use of perfume, and other quotes

"Compliments are like perfume; you can smell them, just don’t drink them." -- late SBC pastor Adrian Rogers

"As the providence of God greatly appeared in favour of Israel, by causing a dread to fall on their enemies, that they durst not sally out of the city and attack them; so it showed great faith in Joshua, and the Israelites, to administer circumcision at this time, just as they were landed in an enemy's country; and when the waters of Jordan were returned, and there was no going back, and if they could, as they were not in a condition to fight, so not to flee." -- English Baptist John Gill, from his commentary on Joshua 5

"What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What has the Academy to do with the Church? What have heretics to do with Christians? Our instruction comes from the porch of Solomon, who had himself taught that the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart. Away with all attempts to produce a Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic Christianity! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after receiving the gospel! When we believe, we desire no further belief. For this is our first article of faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides." -- Tertullian, Heretics, 7 (Stevenson, 166-167)

"If there is a fence and you don’t know its purpose, don’t just assume there isn’t one and tear it down. Find out what the fence is intended to accomplish. You might see it needs to stay." -- Jerry Vines

"The greatest criminals are religious criminals." -- Baptist preacher J.B. Moody

"The gospel preacher is not a 'spiritual obstetrician' appointed to supervise the new birth." -- Iain Murray

Friday, February 03, 2012

In the News

The breast-cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure withdrew funding for breast-cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. This created a large furor among PP supporters. The truth of the matter is that this is the right decision for the Komen foundation. Planned Parenthood is the U.S.'s largest abortion provider and any other arenas they enter are miniscule attempts at legitimacy in those areas. According to Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest, Planned Parenthood doesn't actually do mammograms. Apparently they only act as a "middleman". American politicians, decrying the Komen Foundation's politicizing of women's health care, forcefully took to politicizing the issue themselves. Today the Foundation quickly reversed their right decision with a wrong one, bowing to lots of pressure. Sad.

Doctors from the University of California at San Francisco study are claiming that "sugar is as damaging and addictive as alcohol or tobacco." They suggest we begin taxing "added sugar". Another inanimate thing will quickly go from neutral according to how it is used to evil, if we bow to peer pressure once again. I'm sure the politicians will love this study. Most of them have never met a tax they didn't like. Sad again.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The "gospel" in the stars

I first encountered the spurious idea of "the gospel in the stars" several years ago on the Baptist Board. The presenter of the idea there was also co-author of the internet article Signs in the Stars. Once in awhile others mention the subject and question it. So I thought I'd post this statement on the matter.

After reading Signs in the Stars by Lambert Dolphin, Malcolm Bowden, Barry Setterfield and Helen Fryman, I felt strongly that this "Gospel in the Stars" idea is based on finding something outside the Bible and then looking for proof-texts in the Bible to prop it up. "Surely" we must know that since God named the stars and gave them for signs, since the constellations and Zodiac are mentioned in the Bible, and since the wise men followed a star, and so forth, then it follows that God has written the story of Jesus Christ in the Zodiac!? However you approach it, there is a long road of "ifs" to tread to reach the destination.

After looking over the totality of the references given, it is my understanding that the weight of their argument rests on Genesis 15 coupled with Galatians 3, and Psalm 19 coupled with Romans 10.

According to this theory, since Abram was told to count the stars, and Paul said the seed was Christ, then it "must" follow that God wrote the gospel in the stars.!?

Genesis 15:1-6 - After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Galatians 3:5-18 - He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

There are several incorrect assumptions and some left out information. It is noted in the section "God’s Promise to Abraham" on the linked page that we must be very careful to separate two incidents where God speaks of the stars to Abraham (Gen. Chapters 15 & 22). Nevertheless, the author was not careful to address some other things (or was careful not to). It is mentioned that God preached the gospel to Abraham (Gal. 3:8), and then Gal. 3:6 is given to build the context for the star discussion being Genesis 15 only. Yet the reference of Galatians 3:8 to Genesis 12:3 (which stands between in the discussion) is skipped over: "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed." [cf. Gen. 12:3 - "...in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."] So God preaching the gospel to Abraham is not associated chronologically by Paul with Gen. 15, but with Gen. 12. Also, Paul does not bring up the fact that the seed is singular to address some imagined gospel in the stars, but to explain God’s covenant with Abraham and to explain how the promise is by faith and not law. The inheritance was by confirmed in Christ, some 400 years before the law was given, and the law cannot cancel it. The point of the promise to the seed (singular) Christ does not contradict the fact that Abraham would have an innumerable seed, but in fact shows how it is fulfilled spiritually. In the seed Christ there is a great multitude which no man can number, of all nations, tongues and people.

Galatians 3:26-29 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

When one plugs the gospel in the stars idea back into Genesis 15:5, it comes out something like this: "And God brought Abram outside and said, Look up in the sky and tell the story of the zodiac, if you’re able to tell it: and God said to him, So shall Christ be. And Abram believed what God told him about Christ in the stars; and God counted it to him for righteousness."

There are a number of problems with this. It is interesting that the "gospel in the stars" theorists point out that words for constellations and the zodiac are mentioned in the Bible, but fail to point out they are not used here. Here God told Abram to look at the stars (kokab). Constellations are stars, but stars are not necessarily constellations. There is a difference in the Hebrews words translated "count" (or "number" in the KJV). But any assumption that "caphar" cannot mean to number or count as in making a census is incorrect. And "manah" (used in Genesis 13) can mean "tell".

Genesis 12:3 - And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 13:16 - And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 15:5 - And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 17:16 - And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. 22:17 - That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

Hebrews 11:12 - Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

Psalm 19:1-6 - The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

Romans 10:12-21 - For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

While some may think the Psalm/Romans reference is so explicit that there is no getting around that this is a rather direct reference to the Gospel being written in the signs of the zodiac, that interpretation actually contradicts some obvious things about the passage.

The "gospel in the stars" is told or taught and passed down from generation to generation, therefore only available to those who have been taught it. But whatever the Psalmist and Paul speak of is universal.

It is universal geographically (through all the earth), but it is my understanding that all the constellations are not visible from all places in the world. Whether they are or not, the "gospel in the stars" has not been passed down to every single individual through all the earth who has ever lived. Such is historical nonsense.

It is universal chronologically (Day unto day...and night unto night), but the "gospel in the stars" is limited by time – the time it takes to tell it and pass it on chronologically from generation to generation (or fail to pass it on). [I would also note that the so-called "gospel in the stars" is only visible at night time.]

World Book @ Nasa states, "Some constellations can be seen only during certain seasons due to the earth's annual revolution around the sun. The part of the sky visible at night at a particular place gradually changes as the earth moves around the sun. Also, observers at different latitudes see different parts of the sky. An observer at the equator can view all the constellations during the course of a year, but an observer at the North or the South Pole can see only a single hemisphere of constellations."

It is universal, according to context, to all people of all times, while – even if true – the "gospel in the stars" is limited to only those of whatever time and geography who have been told it.

Anyone who believes the Genesis creation account will not be surprised that some forms of the truth have survived in different cultures, since we all descended from Adam (and later, Noah). Nevertheless, the "gospel in the stars" as presented on the above linked page neither came from Adam nor existed in all different cultures. I don't buy it.