Friday, August 31, 2007

Dead letter Baptists

An old preacher named Dukes used to say, "The trouble with this country is too much dead letter preaching, and too many dead letter Baptists sitting out there listening to it."
-- posted by John Crowley on the predestinarian listserve Tues, 28 Aug 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The importance of the church

The church is built by and belongs to Jesus Christ, Matthew 16:18.

The church has members who are added to it by God, Acts 2:47.

The church brings glory to God, Ephesians 3:21.

The church has been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, Acts 20:28.

The church is the pillar and ground of the truth, I Timothy 3:15.

The church is the bride of Christ, Ephesians 5:23-32.

The church assembly should not be forsaken, Hebrews 10:25.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A New Testament Church, part 3

The relationship to others

In judging a church's relationship to others, we consider two aspects: (1) the relationship of church members, and (2) the relationship of church members with the world.

The church members' relationship to one another is a loving relationship. It is a family relationship. Jesus declared this to be the sign of His disciples (John 13:34,35). We can give mental assent to the dogma of a specific congregation or denomination and still be devoid of God's love to brothers and sisters in Christ. Love of God manifests itself in love for the brethren (I John 4:20). Love for the brethren manifests itself in our actions one toward another (I John 3:17,18) -- not merely saying, but actually doing (James 2:15,16).

The church members' relationship to the world is "outsider" relationship (John 17:14,15). The child of God is in the world, but not of it. Love not the world, neither the things of the world (I John 2:15). The child of God goes into the world and preaches the Gospel (Mark 16:15). Though we are not of the world, we are to love both our neighbors and our enemies (Matthew 5:43,44).

A congregation of Jesus Christ will be participating joyfully in one another's lives and preaching the Gospel as God opens doors.

To be continued (d.v.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A New Testament Church, part 2

The relationship to God's word
The word of God, the Holy Bible, is the testing ground of the Christian and the church. By it, the words of saints and sinners are judged and truth is known. The Scriptures reveal our sinfulness. The Scriptures reveal our Saviour. We are to search the Scriptures (John 5:39). We are to study to show ourselves approved of God (II Tim. 2:15). A right relationship to the word of God honours His word because HE is the source. The Scriptures proceed from God. They are without error. They are sufficient for doctrine and practice, for reproof, correction, and exhortation. (Cf. II Tim. 3:16,17). God is honoured by His church when they hold HIS word above the teachings and traditions of men (Mark 7:1-13). A congregation that does not believe God's word does not properly reverence and respect God.

To be continued (d.v.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

A New Testament Church

People use many methods to find a "church home". Possibly few of them are based on Scripture. Probably some are not even reasonable. The criteria should be based on the teachings of Scripture and not our own temperaments and preferences. Emotional people may look for a local assembly that is very expressive. A more reserved character might want one that is calm and quiet -- perhaps even dignified. A poor person might feel at home in a small insignificant church; the rich might seek out a large congregation with an impressive facility. Such shallow surface considerations are fruits of the flesh and not the Spirit.

How shall we know which church is right? By the sign placed over the door? By the church covenant attached to the wall? By the articles of faith adopted in conference? By its size and the size of its budget? How shall we know? Perhaps the agreement of the word and the Spirit is the answer. I offer three suggestions that might engage the mind concerning local assemblies of Christ (or not). Look at the relationship to God, the relationship to God's Word, and the relationship to one others.

The relationship to God
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matt. 22:37, 28). The nature of a congregation can be tested by the nature of its relationship to God. Much religion is based on mental assent to its rituals, rites and doctrines. Christianity goes beyond outward form. The new birth brings an individual into direct contact and personal relationship with God. A true church of Christ will be God-centered rather than self-centered, man-centered, or pastor-centered. God's love will permeate its worship and mark the individual lives of those who assemble there. NO -- it won't be a perfect church. The congregants will probably be even more aware of their sinfulness than is average. But the relationship to God will be a full one that encompasses the total person -- heart, soul, and mind.

To be continued (d.v.)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Byron Augusta Freeman, missing since 2006

Former Anderson County resident Byron Augusta Freeman has been missing since June 24, 2006. According to the Texas DPS, "Mr. Freeman may have the early stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia and he frequently blinks his eyes. He was last seen walking away from the gray 2006 Lincoln Town car bearing Texas plates 332KWK; which he rented to attend a class reunion. The vehicle was located in Robertson County out of gas. Mr. Freeman was last seen wearing green coveralls." For a bigger picture, more information and Department of Public Safety contact information, click here.*

Information from Kelly Jolkowski's article Aging Persons with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Increase Missing Person Statistics: Lauris Freeman, Bryon’s nephew said, “Every summer Byron would drive from his home in California to attend a high school reunion held in Palestine , Texas . He had done this for a decade, and he usually stayed a week or two to visit family and friends before returning home. The day he went missing, he was to attend a picnic that was held about 5 miles from where he was staying with a friend. Driving alone, he followed another car (driven by a family friend) to the picnic site but apparently kept on driving past the exit. The rental car he was driving was found on the side of the highway some 100 miles away, out of gas, windows down, and keys in the ignition."

* For some reason I absolutely cannot get blogger to accept the direct link to Mr. Freeman's page. So go to the alphabetical page for "F", then scroll down and click on Mr. Freeman's name.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Announcing another new book

The Signature of God Confronts the Forgeries of Men
By Edwin B. Fountain and Willard A. Ramsey
272 pages. Paperback. Price is $19.95 plus $3.00 for shipping.

"One of the greatest dangers to historic Baptist theology today is Pentecostalism. This growing movement has influenced Baptist views on the Holy Spirit, the church, worship, and the scriptures. In response Dr. Edwin B. Fountain and Willard A. Ramsey have written this book to examine the truth of Pentecostal doctrines. They examine subjects such as the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of tongues in scripture, subjectivism, the historical background of these things, as well as authentication and confirmation of scripture."

Order From:
Millennium III Publishers
174 N. Moore Rd.
Simpsonville, SC 296801-800-967-7345

** As posted by Ben Stratton on Landmark Southern Baptist, 26 July 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Blogs, books and links

Gospel Mission is a work and outreach of Old Paths Strict Baptist Church in Choteau, Montana. I've ordered from them from time over a period of several years. But I didn't know they have a web site until recently. Gadsby's Hymn Book, a book of hymns by English Baptist preacher William Gadsby, is available from them. Joseph Hart's hymns offer some great reading on experimental religion.

Sacred Harp blog addresses
Sacred Harp alto, blog of Sharona Nelson, Sacred Harp alto and author
Will.Whim, a weblog by Will Fitzgerald

One of the Baptist blog's I check frequently is
Joining God in His Work, by Leslie Puryear. Brother Les is a Southern Baptist pastor. We have had discussions in which we didn't see eye to eye. But sometimes you just run across someone like Les that you like, no matter what the differences. [P.S. -- we agree on some things, too.]

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Storehouse tithing??

"At the outset let me say that the 'church' is not a 'depository' for the money of the saints nor can it be proven from the scripture that any New Testament church had an ongoing regular treasury. Some have taught that the only way that a person can properly 'give' of their funds to the LORD is to bring them to the 'local church' so that they might be deposited in that organization’s bank account. This idea is generally built on the old testament concept of bringing all the tithes into the 'storehouse' (see Mal. 3:10). The problem with this teaching is that nowhere can a parallel be made between the New Testament assembly of the saints and the Old Testament treasury or storehouse. Nor can it be shown that the New Testament church is an 'organization' (which is a whole new topic to be discussed at another time). On top of that there is no command in the New Testament requiring or asking GOD’s people to tithe their money or any example of an ongoing and regular collection of funds in the assembly of the saints. This is probably quite a shocking statement to those who have long sat under ministries which spend a great deal of time emphasizing 'ten percent' giving even to the point of promising great reward to those who do and certain leanness to those who don’t." -- Mike McInnis, Mike's Wayfarer blog

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Generic "all"

"The word ALL is generic and commands only that which is within the confines of each respective context. Isaiah 54:13; John 6:37-39, 45; Rom. 8:28; 1st Tim. 2:4, 6" -- Hulan Bass in "The Truth is..." on the PB-MB listserve Thurs 19 July 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Eight weeks

Today my mother-in-law has been missing eight weeks. I want to thank everyone for your thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, moral support -- whatever God has blessed you to do. Thank you.

Kelly Jolkowski of
Project Jason (and mother of missing person Jason Jolkowski) has written a nice article titled Aging Persons with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Increase Missing Person Statistics. It is to be published in the September issue of the trucking magazine Through the Gears. Kelly interweaves the stories of Byron Freeman and Shirley Hunt with a world of information about Alzheimer's, missing persons, search and rescue, etc. You might want to look for it if you're in a truck stop. You can find it among free truckers' publications. It will also appear on the Project Jason website on September 1st (d.v.).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Noah's ark -- a "horror" story

On SBC Witness, Jon Akin posted some comments about Noah's Ark that present a part of the story that is often not heard from the "Christian perspective". An agnostic girl called "Hellbound Alleee" wrote concerning parents decorating their children's rooms in Noah's Ark themes, etc., "Don't these people have a clue? Noah's ark is not a cutesy children's story about having a bunch of sweet cuddly pets in a big boat. Noah's ark is a horror story. There are dead bodies floating in the water. God is wiping out the human race in judgment. Parents might as well put 'Saw II' posters on their kid's walls..."

Has this agnostic understood a perspective that Christian's generally miss?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Interesting thought

"The Alamo was once a church [building], then a battlefield; and now, it is a museum." -- Daniel Sanchez, quoted in the Western Recorder 26 June 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

"The Lone Wild Bird"

1. The lone, wild bird in lofty flight
Is still with Thee, nor leaves Thy sight.
And I am thine! I rest in Thee.
Great Spirit, come, and rest in me.

2. Each secret thought is known to Thee,
My whole life's path, whate'er it be;
My days, my deeds, my hopes, my fears,
My deepest joys, my silent tears.

3. The ends of earth are in Thy hand,
The sea's dark deep and far-off land.
And I am thine! I rest in Thee.
Great Spirit, come, and rest in me.

-- Henry Richard McFadyen (1877-1964)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Terrible as an Army with Banners

I don't think I've blogged on the topic of abortion (which I believe is murder, and wrong). I ran across Donnie Halbgewachs, Jr.'s Terrible as an Army with Banners and thought some of you might find it intriguing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Unknown person found in Terrell, Texas

Perhaps the opposite of the known missing person is the unknown found person. The picture to the left is of an unknown female found in Terrell, Kaufman County, Texas. According to the Deparment of Public Safety, this "female was admitted to a hospital and has amnesia. She has a tattoo on her lower back that covers the width of a black floral pattern. She also has a scar over her right eye and a scar over the navel area. She recollects being in the New Orleans airport." For more information and a bigger picture, click here. If you know and can identify this person, please contact the Terrell Police Department or the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Responsibility and accountability

"I reject the hypothesis that man is responsible to God, on the basis that the one who holds responsibility holds the superior position, while the one beneath him is accountable. The one accountable holds the inferior position. God is responsible for all things, in that He created all things, directs all things according to His purpose for all things. In His purpose, He has made man fully accountable to Him for all that He requires of him." -- Stanley Phillips, from e-mail "Campbellite Hymnal," Thursday, 12 July 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Another hard question

A few weeks back, I asked a hard question for "general" Baptists. Now one for "particular" Baptists:

If you believe that Christ died to save only His elect, what is your answer to the following?

If Jesus Christ died for the elect, and God irresistibly regenerates them and gives everlasting life -- then what is the difference between man and a robot?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Quoting other blogs

I'm looking for opinions concerning copying and reposting of the blog material of others. I sometimes use cuts from other blogs with links to that blog for the full story. What is the internet etiquette on this? How much is too much? What about copyright issues? I've thought of this as highlighting good material and promoting visits to another person's blog. Others may not look at it that way. I would be glad if anyone wants to quote from my blog, so I guess I assume others would be also. But this very well may not be the case. Would like to hear the opinion of others on this matter. Thanks.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Big weekend

I'm posting some quick notes which I'll try to revise, update, and expand tomorrow when I have more time.

East Texas Sacred Harp Convention.
We believe we had a very successful 152nd session of the East Texas Sacred Harp Convention. Probably between 375 and 400 turned out on Saturday. Tom Owen said he believed it was our best singing ever. On Saturday night a little over 100 people turned out for our Saturday night social. In addition to some fine Tex-Mex cooked up by the ladies, we sang several selections from the Christian Harmony and the unpublished song "Isaac" by Raymond Hamrick. We had possibly 200 people return for the Sunday session. Thanks to all our visitors far and near for helping us with another year of this grand old convention.

Shirley Hunt search.
The Texas EquuSearch volunteers and other volunteers who came to search for Shirley endured some very hot over-100 East Texas weather. Thanks so much to all of you. Possibly a month ago I would not thought of a search that did not find the person for whom one is looking as successful. I now can understand that a search that eliminates an area from the places where Shirley possibly might be is successful.

Thanks to Tyler Paper's Stephanie Jeter, who ably covered both these events (though I think she made my stumbly comments about singing sound much better than what I really said!).

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ryan Esparza - missing since June

"Ryan Esparza, age 17, was last seen walking away from an area in Highlands Park at Southmore and Richey Streets in Pasadena, Texas on Thursday, June 14, 2007 around 4:00 p.m. and has not been seen since. He was last seen wearing a white shirt with 'Jordan' written vertically several times, blue jeans and white Jordan tennis shoes." -- From Texas EquuSearch

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Weak and strong

"Christ appears not to need the Christian of great acquirements. He can glorify Himself with any of the pupils He has taught. He needs not to take one who has become most skilled or best informed, that He may show forth His praise. He does it in every one -- more in one than another -- yet He so does it in all, that all testify of Him, whom not having seen they have believed.

"Let the scoffing world account for the universality of such testimony. Were it seen only in the best, it might be thought the result of virtue. Were it seen only in the wisest, it might be attributed to philosophy. Were it only in the bravest, it might be ascribed to courage. Were it only in the strongest, it might be said to be endurance. Were it only in the most faithful, it might be said to be innocence. Were it only in the unlearned, it might be said to be ignorance; but, to go no further into such particulars, which might be greatly increased, when it is seen in those without any of these advantages, but afflicted with their very contraries, to what can it be ascribed but to grace, the grace given by Christ, through whom strengthening the weakest can do all things?"

From the discourse delivered by James P. Boyce, at the funeral service for Basil Manly, in Greenville, South Carolina, December 22, 1868 (copied from Grace and Truth to You, posted 20 June 2007)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Immorality in society; immorality on TV

Church of Christ evangelist Jimmy Thomas wrote, "It seems to me the height of hypocrisy for one to deplore the immoral condition of our society and then spend much of the time being entertained by the same sins on T.V." -- The Gospel Observer, 27 Sept 1997

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Baptism -- a "Western" activity?

In an earlier post, I clipped a quote from Malcolm Yarnell's The Heart of a Baptist. In it Yarnell wrote that the "Camel" method of evangelism encourages new Christians "to hide their faith, continue attending mosque or temple, and otherwise act like Muslims or Hindus. Ralph Winter and his U. S. Center for World Mission apparently consider baptism a Western rather than a biblical activity." [p. 11, online]

I do not quote this to revive the "Camel" discussion, but rather to make a point on baptism. Note this sentence: "Ralph Winter and his U. S. Center for World Mission apparently consider baptism a Western rather than a biblical activity."

In his "white paper", Yarnell gives references to the document(s) from which he draws the conclusion concerning the U.S. Center for World Mission. I do not have access to those documents. But if this is correct, it points to something that was bound to come. Modern exegetes have often so thoroughly identified New Testament practice with 1st century Jewish & Roman culture that New Testament practices are dispensed with as cultural phenomena. It was/is only a matter of time that even the initial response of repentance and faith through baptism would become a mere cultural artifact in the minds of some.

Christians who do not practice baptism are not New Testament Christians.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Immediate baptisms and weekly communion??

How do you feel about/believe concerning immediate baptisms and weekly communion? Read Ray Van Neste's "Reinvigorating Baptist Practice of the Ordinances" for some thoughts on the issue.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Curious take on communion

XVII. The Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper
We believe and practice “open communion.” We believe that the instruction given by the Apostle Paul governing the partaking of the Lord’s supper to be one of self-examination (I Corinthians 11:23 -34 with emphasis on verse 28 and verse 31). We believe and assert that our example, as always, is the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Bible we find that Jesus Christ allowed Thomas (a doubter – John 20:24 -29), Simon Peter (a curser – Matthew 26:74), and Judas Iscariot (a devil – John 6:70) to partake in the first Lord’s Supper; thusly we believe that the practice of “closed communion” is to impose a more strict code of conduct than even the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe the scriptures teach “open communion.” However, let it be clearly stated, we believe that only a saved child of God who has truly examined and judged himself is worthy of partaking of the Lord’s supper. Additional Scriptural Support: (Romans 14:10 ) – (Romans 14:12 ) – (I Corinthians 2:15 ) - (II Corinthians 5:10 ) – (II Corinthians 13:5) – (II John 1:8) – (Revelation 20:13 )
Battlefield Baptist Church, Russell Springs, KY

I found the above doctrinal statement from Battlefield BC intriguing. I have often heard Judas' participation at the institution of the Lord's Supper used in argument against closed communion, But this is the first time I believe I ever heard Thomas being a doubter and Simon Peter being a curser used as support of open communion.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Judas and the Lord's supper

On his blog, David Phillips poses a question on Judas and the Lord's supper. Did Judas partake of the Lord's supper? Does his participation or lack thereof speak to the issue of closed versus open communion?

Texas EquuSearch in Longview

Today a Texas EquuSearch team was in Longview (Gregg County, Texas) to lead volunteers in searching for Brandi Wells. The group met at the Elks' Lodge on East Marshall Street and went out from there.

Brandi has been missing for almost exactly one year. EquuSearch's goal over the next two days is to conduct grid searches (controlled methodical searches using a grid or defined pattern to ensure coverage of an area) to either find Brandi or eliminate the likelihood that she is in the defined areas of their search.

We hope for the best for this family and this search.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Learning by degrees

"Ministers ought not to expect all other ministers to reach the same degree of revelation at the same time. All must grow according to the measure of Christ as it pleases Him. It ought not to be an occasion of disputation." -- Stanley C. Phillips, from One Body, New Spirit by Grady Dearman

Note: ministers were the context, but I think the same could be said of God's believing children in general. Also in context was the discussion of one minister coming to an understanding that another had known for a long time. This would not apply to unbelieving denial of the Bible and rejection of its fundamental truths.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The next play

Q: What is the most important play in football?

A: The next one.


Minneapolis bridge collapse

The collapse of the I-35W bridge at Minneapolis-St. Paul has been a priority in the news today. I thought some of you might be interested in the comments of John Piper, whose Bethlehem Baptist Church is in sight of the bridge.

John Piper, as quoted at Charles Woodruff's Cyber Word of Truth blog

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Boys and girls education

According to a "Point of View" radio program guest, "For too long, policymakers and the public has accepted the idea that girls are short-changed” by our public school system. The facts tell a different story." Krista Kafer spoke to this issue. According to Krista, girls are actually outperforming boys in most academic measures. (7 May 2007)

Some things I heard her say on "Point of View":
Women are awarded 77% of the degrees in education
"Equal opportunity does not mean equal outcome"
There is no literacy gap between homeschooled boys and homeschooled girls

Girl Power: Why Girls Don't Need the Women's Educational Equity Act

Sacred cows

We don't have to have degrees in Animal Science and Religion in order to challenge someone's sacred cows.