Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Louisiana Sacred Harp

This coming Saturday, Lord willing, there will be a Sacred Harp singing in Ringgold, Louisiana. Please join in and help us to sing! Bring BOTH the Cooper and Denson revisions of The Sacred Harp. We will sing from both of these books.

Location: New Providence Primitive Baptist Church near Ringgold, LA
Date: Saturday September 3, 2016
Time: Starts at 10:00 a.m.
Books: 2012 Sacred Harp, Cooper Edition; 1991 Sacred Harp, Denson Edition

 General area map

The New Providence church building is located on LA Highway 154, about one mile east of Ringgold, on the north side of the road by the cemetery.

Motels are in nearby Minden, LA, which is just off of Interstate 20.
Best Western 318.377.1001
Exacta Inn 318.377.3200
Holiday Inn Express 318.377.1111
Southern Inn 318.371.2880

Distance to Ringgold from:
Austin, TX - 303 miles
Birmingham, AL - 438 miles
Dallas, TX - 208 miles
Henderson, TX - 98 miles
Hot Springs, AR - 148 miles
Houston, TX - 215 miles
Jackson, MS - 177 miles
Minden, LA - 24 miles
New Orleans, LA - 250 miles
Shreveport, LA - 37 miles

Zip code mileage calculator (to find distance, enter your zip code and 71068 for Ringgold). For more information, contact me. If I cannot help, I will give you a number of a Ringgold singer to call.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Inclusio unius, exclusio alterius (reprise)

"Inclusio unius, exclusio alterius" is a legal code at least as old as the civil law of the Romans. It means "inclusion of one is exclusion of others". I was brought up generally with this as true as a religious concept, sans Latin -- the specification or inclusion of one thing is the prohibition or exclusion of every other thing. For example, if Jesus commanded His disciples to immerse professed believers, the specification of that excludes the sprinkling of professed believers, or the immersion of professed unbelievers, etc., etc. Do you agree with "Inclusio unius exclusio alterius" as a religious principle?

I agree with "Inclusio unius, exclusio alterius". When God specifies one thing, He excludes every other thing.

I disagree with "Inclusio unius, exclusio alterius". When God specifies one thing, He does not exclude every other thing.

I sometimes agree with "Inclusio unius, exclusio alterius". When God specifies one thing, He sometimes excludes every other thing, though not always.

This is not a proper way to express or discuss God's commands.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Testimony of Joel Hume

TESTIMONY OF JOEL HUME (a Regular Baptist Elder)

The following Christian experience was related by Joel Hume (Regular Baptist) during a debate with Benoni Stinson (General Baptist) on the atonement. The debate was held in 1863 in the state of Indiana. The remarks were occasioned by Hume misunderstanding Stinson’s position on the Christian experience. Stinson later stated that the misunderstanding had brought forth a wonderful testimony, and that he had no disagreement with Hume on the experience of salvation. Whatever differences Regular and General Baptists had in 1863, they both held that salvation was a definite heartfelt experience with God.

"If I know anything about Christian experience, I will say that there was a time when I cared no more about my own soul than if I had had none. I had no desire to go to church, nor to read the Bible; I had no desire to hear any talk on that subject. I was not seeking the Saviour: I was running away from God—sinning against Him with a high hand and an outstretched arm; but I shall never forget, while I am allowed a place upon God’s footstool, the first serious thought that crossed my mind upon the subject of Christianity. I have heard men talk about agencies and instrumentalities in this grand work, but if there was any agency In my awakening to my condition as a sinner, it was the abominable practice of blaspheming the name of God. At that time I was working as a hand upon a steamboat. There I heard the most blasphemous oaths that ever disgraced humanity, and the thought occurred to my mind, what an awful wicked set of beings you are; and the next thought was, you are as bad as they. These men pour out all that is in them. while you conceal it up as filth. I ask you, friends, was I choosing—was I desiring? Surely not. But from that hour till the day I trusted in God, I was unable to see how God could be just and save sinners. I chose holiness and despised sin, and never shall I forget the last afternoon of the deep agony of my soul; it was in a paw-paw thicket, in the east end of this state. My soul feels deep interested when think upon that dark and gloomy evening. I left the spot with this conviction: hell is my portion; I am doomed and there is no mercy for such a rebel as you. I went to the little cabin in which I was living, and leaned against the wall and closed my eyes. O, Christian friends! if my tongue had been taken out by the roots, every breath would have gone up to God in prayer. Till then I was not seeking Christ, but he sought me and found me. Christ revealed Himself to me. I would say to every sinner, I care not what your names, if you live as Christians, have not these been some of your exercises?"

As printed in The Baptist Waymark, Vol. IV, No. 2, Mar-Apr 1996, p. 3 (Originally found in A Debate on the Doctrine of Atonement, Between Rev. Joel Hume...and Rev. Benoni Stinson, Cincinnati, OH: E. Morgan and Co., 1863, pp. 139-141)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

It is a mystery, but a great truth, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

"It is a mystery, but a great truth, that just in proportion as we die to the world, to self, to sense, to nature, and to false religion, the more the life of God is strengthened in our conscience...True faith is no more destroyed by sharp trials, than the oak is destroyed by cutting away the ivy, or by a storm blowing down some of its rotten branches." -- J. C. Philpot

"Salvation with all its super-abounding grace is but an empty sound to those who have never felt themselves cut off from all help or all hope." -- J. C. Philpot

"In the churches where the KJV is exclusively used, and where the paper and ink is not expected to do all the communicating, there is one harmonious standard English text in everyone’s hands, in everyone’ s home, in everyone’s heart." -- James Snapp, Jr.

"I will miss the KJV, but not the fanatics who preach more about the king on the cover than the King in the pages." -- Mahlon

"It doesn't matter what you preach or teach, if what you preach or teach doesn't matter." -- Steve Brown

A lady once asked the Bible teacher G. Campbell Morgan, “Should we pray about the little things in our lives, or only the big things?” He replied, “Madam, can you think of anything that isn't little to God?” (I have heard this related by many teachers, but never seen the source.)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

62% of Voters, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Joseph's bones, reprise

Genesis 50:25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
Hebrews 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

In his valedictory speech Joseph desired his final remains to depart from Egypt to the promised land. It was not a vain wish. He identified himself with God's people rather than the people of Egypt. He prophesied of Israel's future departure from Egypt. He signified his faith in God's promise. Joseph strengthened the faith of his kin by demonstrating his resolve in this matter.  

Exodus 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
Joshua 24:32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Be thou my vision

1. Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

2. Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord;
be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

3. Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might;
be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

4. Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
be thou mine inheritance now and always;
be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

5. High King of heaven, thou heaven's bright sun,
O grant me its joys after victory is won;
great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.

An ancient Irish hymn, translated by Mary Byrne in 1905, and turned to verse by Eleanor Hull in 1912

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

“One of the best known singers in this section”

McWhorter, Billy Owen (March 28, 1885January 20, 1929) was born in Alabama, the son of Millard Fillmore McWhorter and Martha Jane Hays. M. F. McWhorter may have helped on J. L. White’s Fifth Edition Sacred Harp before working on the 1911 James Edition, since his name appears in that Revision Committee. Three of his songs – Denson, Green and Davidson – are found on pages 167 and 168, respectively (back section). Green is basically the same tune as Jackson, and White’s book may have been its first appearance in print (according to whether Union Harp or J. L. White’s book was available first). Jackson was in the Union Harp in 1909 and Original Sacred Harp in 1911, and was continued in the Denson Revision of the Original Sacred Harp. It was added to the B. F. White Sacred Harp (Cooper Book) in 1992. Billy married first Elsie Bertie Jones in 1905, and after her death Vera Roberts in 1919. According to J. S. James, B. O. McWhorter was living in Atlanta circa 1909, but he was back in Cleburne County, Alabama by the time of the 1910 U.S. Census, and had moved to Oxford in Calhoun County by 1920. Eternal are Thy Mercies Lord is found in both the Union Harp (composition dated 1908) and The Sacred Harp, Fifth Edition (composition not dated), but was not included in either White’s Fourth Edition with Supplement or the James Edition Sacred Harps in 1911. The parts are arranged differently in the The Sacred Harp, Fifth Edition and the Union Harp, and may reflect the part-writing opinions of J. L. White on the one hand, and S. M. Denson on the other. B. O. McWhorter would have been in his early twenties when this song was written. He died at Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama and is buried in the Mount Paran Baptist Church Cemetery at Piney Woods, Cleburne County, Alabama. A 1918 death notice of Elsie in The Anniston Star described her husband as “one of the best known singers in this section.”

            215       Eternal are Thy Mercies Lord (1909 5th Edition)

Though the Sacred Harp books list this person as B. O. McWhorter, Find-A-Grave and his World War I draft registration give his name as William Owen McWhorter, with “Billy” as his nickname. Some sources (including his tombstone) spell this as “Billie.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Saul of Tarsus and His Seven Ships

"Saul of Tarsus and His Seven Ships," by Christmas Evans

Saul of Tarsus was once thriving merchant and an extensive shipowner. He had seven vessels of his own; the names of which were - ‘Circumcised the eighth day’; ‘Of the stock of Israel’; ‘Of the tribe of Benjamin’; ‘An Hebrew of the Hebrews’; ‘As touching the law, a Pharisee’; ‘Concerning zeal, persecuting the church’; ‘Touching the righteousness which is of the law, blameless,’ The sixth was a man-of-war with which he set out one day from the port or Jerusalem, well supplied with ammunition from the arsenal of the chief priest, with a view to destroy a small fort at Damascus.

He was wonderfully confident, and breathed out threatenings and slaughter, But he had not gone far from port before the gospel ship with Jesus Christ Himself as Commander on board, hove in sight, and threw such a shell among the merchant’s fleet that all his ships were instantly on fire. The commotion was tremendous; and there was such a volume of smoke that Saul couldn't see the sun at noon

While the ships were fast sinking the Gospel Commander mercifully gave orders that the perishing merchant should be taken on board. ‘Saul, Saul, what have become of thy ships?’ ‘They are all on fire?’‘What wilt thou do now? ‘O that I may be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."

As printed in The Baptist Waymark, Vol. IV, No. 1, Jan-Feb 1996, p. 2

Monday, August 22, 2016

29+ Actionable Content Writing Tips, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Seven Beatitudes of the Revelation

The word "beatitude" means supreme blessedness, exalted happiness, or utmost bliss. Most often we use "The Beatitudes" to refer to Jesus's nine declarations of blessedness (beginning "blessed are") in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-11). There are also seven statements of blessedness in the Book of Revelation.

Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Revelation 14:13 Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

Revelation 16:15 Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Revelation 19:9 Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Revelation 22:7 Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

* I first noticed "The Seven Beatitudes of Revelation" in an article of the same title by Jerry H. Wilson (Gospel Light, July 1978). 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Kind Words by Manly

Words are things of greatest worth,
Though often lightly spoken;
Thoughtless, fleeting words of mirth,
May wound the heart that’s broken;
Or words that pass forgotten by,
May prompt to deeds that cannot die.

Kind words quell the angry soul,
But bitter railings never;
Love can soothe with sweet control,
And kindle love for ever.
Watch well your words,
Both old and young,
For life and death hang on the tongue.

Basil Manly, Jr., Kind Words, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1866

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Nudeness and Clothing

"Christians in all ages wore modest apparel — becoming and suitable. Nowhere were they described otherwise except by force of a brutish mob. Every Bible scene of just people, where details are mentioned, portrays them properly mantled. And every Bible picture scene of nudeness shows a people gone wild as in Exodus 32:15-28. & Acts 22:22.23; or else possessed, as in I Samuel 19:1-24, & Luke 8:26-39. In all the Bible reflected heavenly views, whether presented on earth’s arena or heaven’s rostrum, they are garbed in white raiment as in Acts 1:9,10, Rev. 15:6, and Daniel 7:9. Clothing is man’s best sign of prosperity, honor, and decency, and has the sanction of God’s approval. Genesis 3:21."
Ira Copeland in The Baptist Progress, August 19, 1937

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

1st Century Churches - 21st Century Practices

At X Baptist Church in Technology, TX, the ‘minister of music’ had for several years provided all musical accompaniment and some complete musical selections by electronic media. The pulpit minister, inspired by his example, determined to record a sermon to be shown on the big screen while he was away on vacation. He eagerly returned the next Sunday, hoping all had gone well. To his surprise, the pews were empty! Curious, he stepped into the aisle. He discovered the pews filled with CD players, DVRs and such like. The silence was broken only by an occasional electronic "amen."

Invention and advance in technology have revolutionized our world. We possess many revolutionary toys unknown to our Baptist forebears -- cars, planes, electricity, televisions, telephones, satellites, computers. Ease, convenience, instant communication, knowledge of world events, and rapid transit abound. These advances affect our churches. Few have stopped forward to advise us on what is lawful and expedient. Many advocate the churches should embrace most or all that technology has to offer. Absolute acceptance is not the answer — else we will destroy the biblical concept of church and worship. Total abstinence is not the answer, else we would still meet in log buildings with mud chimneys. In the absence of nobler minds giving counsel, I will attempt some exhortations, hoping this will spur the wiser to contribute dialogue toward resolving the problem.

How one arrives at the church -- whether by foot, wagon, auto or train -- is immaterial to the discussion. It is the practices that materially affect the church and its services that must come under scrutiny. These comments are mostly confined to the ever-increasing use of audio and video in church services -- television, video recording, radio, audio recording, live streaming, etc. The study of these areas should yield principles that can be applied to other usages that are rapidly advancing. No straw men have been built for the sake of argumentation. All cases come from actual church practices (thus some are a little outdated).

These concepts will help us judge the general use of video and audio -- gathering vs. scattering, worship vs. entertainment, simple vs. complicated.

Preachers and churches have for years used radio and television to proclaim the word of truth (and a lot of untruth for that matter!). These resources may be legitimately tapped by a church to proclaim the gospel beyond her four walls and her little “parish”. Yet there is a subtle problem related not to the resource, but its use. “Radio churches” and “TV Congregations” violate the gathering principle of the New Testament (Matt 18:20; 1 Cor. 11:18; etc.). It is fine to listen to a preacher of truth on the radio, but it is sinful when we substitute this for church. A radio pastor sees his congregation as all who listen, while a New Testament church is composed of those who gather in one place. An absent minister who has no personal contact with his “church”, plus a detached Christian who makes no commitments, does not equal scriptural criteria for a church. The personal relationship, interaction, and one-anothering are displaced by a far-away fantasy world.

A Christian sitting in front of a TV builds a spectator mentality. Christianity should be an active participation in service and worship - it is not about being entertained! A real church service involves Christians serving and worshiping their God in gathered capacity. Much so-called Christianity reveals a passive spectator being entertained by someone who is theoretically worshiping God. Use of audio and video remove an active participant and substitute an inanimate object. Recorded music is sometimes used to accompany a singer. Why must we introduce a foreign element from outside the gathered church? The recording may even include background vocals. Who are these people? Did they come together to record their worship of God, or are they in business to make money? If we are to have canned music, why not just play a tape of the vocals also? (My preference is that all music would be a cappella congregational singing.)

In 1996, I wondered how far churches were from just showing a prerecorded service? It’s done, but that’s really old news now, isn’t it? I wondered how far we are away from “churches” who “meet” via conference call. We are there in 2016, in a much more sophisticated manner -- the “multi-campus church” that meets via live streaming. The preacher is in one place, and the so-called congregation is in many other places. Not only does this destroy the gathered congregational relationship and defy Baptist views of the church,  it reveals a certain degree of ministerial arrogance.

The introduction of technological advances into our churches is in great contrast to the simple, unadorned worship of the New Testament church, and follows man’s sinful tendency to complicate that which God has designed (Exodus. 20:25). Even when considering things that violate no scriptural principle, it is better to keep worship plain and direct rather than complicated and confused. Do not become dependent on things to mediate our worship to God — whether it be an instrument, hymn hook or whatever. Do not rely on things external!

Pulpit affiliation is the practice of a church inviting a unorthodox preacher from an unscriptural church into her pulpit. Churches which adamantly condemn pulpit affiliation may unwittingly practice it. Those who would not invite a Southern Baptist Convention preacher to fill the stand might show a video of Billy Graham preaching; or, a congregation might be subjected to a Protestant such as James Dobson piped in via satellite. Many popular radio and TV preachers are thereby given a forum to come in and speak to the church, though they would not have been welcome in flesh and blood! We have churches who insist that a certain type of preacher will not be invited to their pulpits, who, through audio and video, bring in the same preachers that they deny physical access. Whether a preacher is literally invited, or given more electrical access, such is still in kind the same pulpit affiliation.

Some things that may not be improper outside the church can be improper when brought into the church gathering. One might not see too much wrong with certain Walt Disney movies. To watch them when we meet to sing the songs of Zion or hear God’s Word preached is certainly not appropriate. One thing popular today is to watch the Super Bowl in church capacity. One East Texas church advertised her Super Bowl Sunday services thusly: Super Bowl on giant screen, Half-time testimonies, Food and Fun, 5:00 p.m. (They had corn dogs and baked potatoes for $1). Football is so important to many Christians that they will not attend their services on Super Bowl Sunday. To compensate, many churches (so-called) offer the Super Bowl, with amenities, and reserve halftime for testimonies, worship, and probably more food and fun! Oh, the worship of it all! Would New Testament Christians even recognize who we are if they showed up for our services!

We must understand that, though we have the technology to do it, many things are not appropriate (proper, fitting) to listen to or watch at the Lord’s house.

Modern churches are especially susceptible to trying innovations to “keep the young people.” Many who would not for themselves advocate such things will promote them for various youth meetings and activities. Movies are often shown at youth meetings. This will bring up the question of what is fitting, but often goes beyond that. Churches will show a secular movie because it has some moral to it, or just because it appeals to the youth and will assure their attendance. But by many such movies inappropriate dress, suggestive scenes, unscriptural theology, and off-color language are all brought within the walls of the church sanctuary. This should be unthinkable! Are we so absorbed in modem culture that we cannot discern good and evil? When we ought to be separating ourselves to God and removing such trash from our homes, some are instead bringing abomination into the house of God. God forbid!

Shall we leave all the advances for the devil’s crowd to use, and hold ourselves aloof from all modem technology?

Many things can be adapted for use apart from our worship services. While we do not wish to pipe in unscriptural ministers into our churches, we can use radio, TV, e-mail and internet to reach places we cannot go. Churches from plain to hi-tech engage in such ministries. This can provide assistance to people in extenuating circumstances -- isolated, incapacitated, etc. We should try to make use of these resources in ways that do not violate the Scriptures.

When we gather in church capacity, we must be careful. Perhaps these questions will help guide us: 1. Will it violate the concept of the gathered church? 2. Will it hinder or help worship? 3. Will it introduce some element that we would otherwise reject? 4. Does it meet standards of propriety? 5. Does it substitute for something God intended? 6. Will it change any element of the actual worship? 7. Will it cause division? 8. Will it complicate our worship? 9. Would it be good if applied generally?

There are many things that we will reject as obviously unscriptural; some that violate no scripture, but are not expedient: and some things we may be able to use to enhance our services. Let us use wisdom in searching these new things and reject anything that will negatively affect our church gathering and our worship of God.

Adapted from “1st Century Churches - 20th Century Practices” in The Baptist Waymark, Vol. IV, No. 3, May-June 1996, p. 3-4

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Not what my hands have done

By Horatius Bonar

Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load.
I bless the Christ of God; I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt; I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear, each lingering shade of gloom.
I praise the God of grace; I trust His truth and might;
He calls me His, I call Him mine, My God, my joy and light.
‘Tis He Who saveth me, and freely pardon gives;
I love because He loveth me, I live because He lives.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Testimony of D. R. Murphy

Testimony of D. R. MURPHY (1802-1875)
Pioneer of the Baptist Cause in Southwest Missouri

D. R. Murphy grew up amidst evil companions and customs, and he became a willing participant in drinking, dancing, card playing, etc. He was converted in 1832 at age 20. He says, “While under conviction, I retired to the lonely grove between sunset and dark, and while prostrate on my guilty breast, pleading with the Lord for the salvation of my soul, I saw that my condemnation was just, and thought surely hell was my doom. I resolved to resign myself to the will of God without reserve. This done, ere I was aware, I felt something with the speed of lightning, as it were, flash over me; my feelings were strange indeed, all was peace, and while I mused the fire of God’s eternal love kindled within me, and I leaped from the earth joyful and happy.”

Originally from The History of the Polk County Baptist Association by J. W. Haines, as published in The Baptist Waymark, Vol. IV, No. 1, Jan-Feb 1996, p. 4

Sunday, August 14, 2016

When sins and fears prevailing rise

Hymn by Anne Steele

1. When sins and fears prevailing rise,
            And fainting hope almost expires,
            Jesus, to thee I lift my eyes,
            To thee I breathe my soul’s desires.

2.  Art thou not mine, my living Lord?
            And can my hope – my comfort die,
            Fixed on thy everlasting word,
            That word which built the earth and sky?

3. If my immortal Saviour lives,
            Then my immortal life is sure;
            His word a firm foundation gives;
            Here let me build and rest secure.

4. Here let my faith unshaken dwell;
            Immovable the promise stands;
            Not all the powers of earth or hell
            Can e’er dissolve the sacred bands.

5. Here, O my soul, thy trust repose;
            If Jesus is for ever mine,
            Not death itself, that last of foes,
            Shall break a union so divine.

#980 Gadsby’s Selection

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Christianismus primitivus, and other historical links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

  • Christianismus primitivus -- "Christianismus primitivus: or, The ancient Christian religion, in its nature, certainty, excellencey, and beauty (internal and external) particularly considered, asserted, and vindicated, from the many abuses which have invaded that sacred profession, by humane innovation or pretended revelation"
  • George W. Orser and the "Orserites" -- "...the kindly and honest Primitive Baptists--New Brunswick's first and only native denomination. (pp. 214-237)"
  • Osgood C. Wheeler -- "After organizing the First Baptist Church in San Francisco in 1849, Mr. Wheeler went to San Jose and organized the First Baptist Church there, and then came to Sacramento where he organized the First Baptist Church on Sept. 14, 1850."
  • The Baptist Library, A Collection of Rare Books and Association Minutes -- "The Baptist Library is focused on locating and preserving historical church documents, books, bibles, periodicals, pamphlets, booklets and songbooks."
  • The Office of "Messenger" amongst British Baptists in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries -- " various passages they are called apostles, or in English, messengers of the churches. They thought it probable that the angels or messengers of the seven churches in Asia to whom the author of the Revelation addressed his epistles were also of the same order."
  • Thomas Grantham: Christianismus Primitivus -- "Thomas Grantham lived in an age when kings were beheaded, national church structures were dissolved, and Baptists were regularly imprisoned."
  • Thomas Jefferson Simmons -- "Elder Thomas Jefferson Simmons, the Baptist war-horse of the Pacific coast, has gone to his reward."
  • 10 Fascinating Bastard Children Of Popes -- "...Popes usually came with offspring in Renaissance Italy."

Friday, August 12, 2016

East Texas Sacred Harp Convention

It is here! The 161st Anniversary of the East Texas Sacred Harp Convention with convene August 13th and 14th, 2016 at the Henderson Civic Center (d.v.). The Civic Center is located at 1500 Lake Forest Parkway (at or near the corner of State Highway 64 and Lake Forest Parkway) in Henderson, Texas. We sing from 9:30 - 3:00 on Saturday and 9:30 - 2:30 on Sunday, using the 2012 Cooper Edition of The Sacred Harp. On Saturday night we have a social at the Henderson Civic Center at 6:00 p.m.  In addition to food and fellowship, those who want to will gather to sing afterward. It's "mix-and-match". If you have songs you'd like to sing, bring copies of them -- new compositions or songs from other shape note tune books. You probably need to bring 30 songbooks or photocopies.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A restricted communion table, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A “New” Approach to Youth Work

A “NEW” APPROACH TO YOUTH WORK by Tim Hoover, Long Branch, TX*

It has been said that we have a weak nation because we have weak churches, and we have weak churches because we have weak families. Strengthening families should be a priority of youth work. It is often pointed out that young people today are having difficulties in relating to their parents. Rather than simply putting a bandage on the problem by providing more youth leaders and youth programs, we must begin to deal with the root problem. We must implement strategies that will “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” The emphasis of youth programs must be to reinforce the relationship of parents to children, not to take the place of that relationship. Many seemingly family-oriented churches are actually individual-oriented -- providing activities for each individual family member, but not providing opportunities for families to study, worship, and serve together. God made it a point to include the entire family when presenting His truths to His people. Joshua 8:34-35 tells us that Joshua “read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones…” The little ones referred to here are toddlers. God saw fit to keep the families together, even the toddlers, during a lengthy reading of the law!

This becomes more challenging in situations where the young person’s parents are not involved with church, but even then God gives us the answer. Psalm 68:6 states “God setteth the solitary in families.” Those families who are willing to share a part of their lives with these solitary youth are a valuable part of youth work. [In] the 21st century, our youth face many difficult challenges. However, Solomon reminds us that there is no new thing under the sun, Although technology is advancing at a rapid pace, man is still the same, plagued with the same sin nature, facing the same temptations, and making the same choices that he has always made. It cannot be denied that we have seen a drastic decline in morality in our country during the last 50 years, but our society is still no more wicked than it was in the days of Jesus and Paul. As we study scripture and history, we see that immorality was just as rampant then as it is today. Yet, God’s answer was not to woo the lost with worldly attractions, but “by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” We must teach all people. including our youth, the very words of Jesus, “If any man will come after me let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Neither a popular message, nor one that will draw the multitudes, but the only one that will prove effective in making disciples for our Lord Jesus Christ! 

Brethren, God’s message never changes, neither do His principles! I challenge every church to evaluate its youth program in light at God’s Word to ensure that we are building up and strengthening families, one of our churches’s most vital resources. 

* The author lived at Long Branch, Texas at the time this piece was written.

Originally printed in The Baptist Waymark, Vol. IV, No. 2, Mar-Apr 1996, p. 4, R. L. Vaughn, editor

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Collection customs of Philadelphia Baptists, an example

"The case of our brethren suffering under ecclesiastical oppressions in New England, being taken into consideration, it was agreed to recommend to our churches to contribute to their necessities, agreeable to the pattern of the primitive churches, who contributed to the relief of the distressed brethren in Judea. And that the money raised for them be remitted to Mr. Backus, to be by him, in conjunction with the committee of advice in said colony, distributed to the brethren." 
-- Philadelphia Baptist Association minutes From 1707 to 1807, p. 141

Monday, August 08, 2016

Customs of Primitive Churches, Collecting for the saints

XXXV. Of collecting for the saints

XXXV. Collecting for the saints is a right of divine original and perpetual obligation. The collectors are, the deacons. The contributors, every member, whether poor or rich. The time, every Lord's day. The place, in the church. The proportion, according to ability. The manner is, cheerful and devout.

By necessities of saints means all the wants of a church, who are saints; and as a church want to relieve the poor; pay their officers; defray the expenses of worship; the place thereof, &c. The particular manner of making the collections hath been mentioned before, prop. xvii. 12, 13. The rest of the proposition is contained in the following passages, Concerning the collection for the saints (as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye) upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2. To communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Heb. xiii. 16. See texts quoted under prop. xvii.*

Customs of Primitive Churches, Edwards, page 95

* Other scriptures cited by Edwards in proposition xii were: Philippians 4:16-18; Acts 24:17; 2 Corinthians 9:13; Proverbs 3:9; 1 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 13:10; Hebrews 13:15-16.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Stanisław Jerzy Lec - sayings

  • He who limps is still walking.
  • In a war of ideas it is people who get killed.
  • Optimists and pessimists differ only on the date of the end of the world.
  • I am against using death as a punishment. I am also against using it as a reward.
  • Is it a progress if a cannibal is using knife and fork?
  • If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?
  • No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.
  • If you are not a psychiatrist, stay away from idiots. They are too stupid to pay a layman for his company.
  • The first condition of immortality is death.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

11 Quick Takeaways, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, August 05, 2016

O sacred word, enlightening page

O sacred word, enlightening page,
To thee we turn in every age;
Where else could mortals here below
Inquire God’s righteousness to know?

O let us glimpse the Father’s love;
These scales of darkness now remove,
And with the eye of faith behold
Its wondrous truths more dear than gold.

A compass may this volume prove,
A guide to lead our thoughts above,
A chart upon life’s troubled sea,
Till, past the bar, we rest in Thee.

‘Tis here for comfort we can turn!
O, God forbid that we should spurn
Its living message, saving truth,
Required of men in age and youth.

Hymn attributed to George Tester, when it was first published in Christian Hymns No. 2 in 1948 (compiled by L. O. Sanderson, Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Co., 1948). It also appears in Christian Hymns No. 3 (compiled by L. O. Sanderson, Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Co., 1966). He also wrote "I want to be like Jesus and to Him glory bring," (apparently) first published in Let Youth Sing by Harry Dixon Loes in 1953 (song was copyrighted in 1952).

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Illinoians Weber, Brown and Ingalls

In November 1865, three Northern men were murdered near the old Sharon Community near the Rusk-Panola county lines of Texas, and buried in unmarked gravesJames W. Weber, of Sangamon County, Illinois, and two other members of the 10th Illinois Cavalry USA -- William M. Brown, also of Sangamon County, and John Ingalls, of Madison County, Illinois -- were robbed and killed by four armed desperadoes.

Seminole Baptist pastors

In his book The Seminole Baptist Churches of Oklahoma: Maintaining a Traditional Community, Jack M. Schultz points out that "Leaders are chosen from within the congregation and by the congregation." He quotes one pastor saying:
"...white people, they can go to seminary and automatically they'll license them when they graduate and later on they can ordain him. Indians won't do that. They go through fasting and prayers...Too many young people think that just because they go to seminary they should be a pastor. It ain't so. We don't know him. He didn't grow up around us. We don't know if he's easily angered, or jealous. We need to know our pastors." (p. 99)

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Major v. Minor

"Some writers say that minor-keyed tunes are applied to poetry that is solemn, pensive, and melancholy; and major-keyed tunes are applied to poetry that is animated, spirited, and cheerful.  But I differ with these writers.  If that be true, why is the good old hymn, "O! when shall I see Jesus," &c., applied to tunes in the major and minor keys? and why was the hymn, "Lord, what a thoughtless wretch was I," &c., applied to Huntington in the major key, and also to Greenwich in the minor key? "
-- John G. McCurry (The Social Harp, 1855, p. 12)

The problem of suffering

This morning a heard a radio preacher say that the book of Job doesn't answer the problem of suffering. I must respectfully disagree. The book of Job does answer the problem of suffering, and the answer is:

There is no answer.
You get no explanation.

Though we read the book and know the back-story, Job did not. He suffered and learned to trust God without an answer to the reason of his suffering.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Family pleads for help

Family pleads for help after Hardin County man goes missing -- "A Hardin County man went missing, after his family says he went to take his dog for a ride. Eighty-three year-old William Harold Gant Sr.'s family last saw him Saturday around 3 p.m."

Anointing, among Regular Baptists

When writing about the practice of anointing with oil in his Customs of Primitive Churches, Morgan Edwards's appeal to the German Baptists suggests that the practice must have been falling into disuse among the Regular Baptists at the time of his writing (1768). Here are a couple of examples of the practice among the Regulars.

Owen Thomas was a member of this church [Rhydwilim]. He was born at Gwrgodllys, Cilmanllwyd parish, county of Carmarthen, in 1691. He went to America in 1707, and took the pastoral care of the church at Welsh-tract, after the death of Enoch Morgan; in which office he continued until 1748, when he resigned to go to Vincent, where he died in 1760, aged sixty-nine. He left behind him the following manuscript :
"I have been called upon three times, to anoint the sick with oil, for recovery. The effect was surprising in every case, but in none more so, than in the case of our brother, Rynallt Howell. He was so sore with the bruises which he received, by a cask falling on him from a waggon, that he could not bear to be turned in bed : the next day he went to meeting." 

-- History of the Welsh Baptists, from the year sixty-three to the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy, J. Davis, Pittsburgh, PA: D. M. Hogan, 1835, pp. 110-111

"Some years before his death he [pastor Hugh Davis] had a severe pain in his arm, which gradually wasted the limb and made life a burden. After trying many remedies he sent for the elders of the church to anoint him with oil, according to James v: 14-17. The effect was a perfect cure, so far that the pain never returned. One of the elders concerned (from whom I had this relation) is yet alive [1770], and succeeds Mr. Hugh Davis in the ministry, viz, Rev. John Davis." 

-- Materials Towards a History of the Baptists, Vol. I, Morgan Edwards, p. 28

A review of available records reveals a strong affinity toward anointing among the Welsh Baptists (as opposed to the English Baptists), of whom Edwards was one.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Customs of Primitive Churches, Anointing with Oil

XXXIV. Of anointing the sick

XXXIV. Anointing the sick is a rite of divine original and perpetual obligation. The end is, the recovery of the sick. The administrators are, ministers. The manner is, the sick to send for them; make confession to them; they to pray over him; anoint; and absolve him. The unction is to be as universal as is seemly.

A citation of the following passage is a proof of the chief parts of the above proposition. We presume the oil was olive, because we read of none other. The german baptists anoint only the head, except one part of the body be specially affected, then they anoint both. We prefer a more universal unction. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. Jam. v. 14-16.

Here follows are example of the manner in which the rite has been performed. The sick sent for the ministers of his church. Expressed his desire to be anointed. The ministers recited to him the case of some who were, in a judicial way, afflicted for some particular sins, 1 Cor. xi. 30. Desired him to reflect, and confess if he were conscious or suspicious of any such thing in his case. The sick did so very frankly and honestly, and desired the ministers to pray that his sin might be forgiven him. Then one of the ministers kneeled, and prayed in some such words as these.

“Look upon us, O Lord, for behold we pray! Look upon us, for we pray over the sick. A sick brother. A sick friend. A sick penitent who hath faith to be healed. Who hath a grievous sin to be forgiven. And grace to confess, and give glory to God! Look upon us, for we are come to anoint him with oil in they name! He hath faith in the rite, he hath called for the elders of the church to give him the unction. He hath faith in the efficacy of the fervent prayer of the righteous man, for he crieth, Brethren, pray to the Lord for me that I may be forgiven! We, with him, depend on the promised annexed to the ordinance. We believe it shall be even as thou hast said. Our prayer is the prayer of faith. Our doing as thou hast commanded in obedience to faith. His calling for us is of faith. Therefore heal him, O Lord! O Lord raise him up! Forgive a penitent, good Lord! Good Lord let him be loosed from the sin he confesseth! Let our prayers avail much! Let the unction avail much. even so Lord Jesus, Amen.”

Then the minister poured the oil on his own hand and anointed the sick, saying these words.

“We anoint with oil in the name of the Lord Jesus that thou mayest be healed : By that name be thou made whole every whit : He woundeth and he healeth : He slayeth and he maketh alive! In the name of the same Lord Jesus and by the power of the keys committed to us, we declare unto thee, being penitent, the remission of thy sin, and loosing from this bond. Even so Lord Jesus. Amen.”

When the unction was over the other elder prayed in words to this effect.

“Now Lord we have done as thou commandest, and yet there is room : Let that room be filled with the Lord's doings, and the work shall be accomplished. We have harkened to the voice of a sick and penitent brother; and have anointed him with oil; and prayed for him in thy name. We again call over him thy name that he may be healed. Let it please thee, O physician of value, to make him whole every with. We again most fervently pray to thee that his sin may be forgiven him, and he loosed from his bonds of affliction and lifted up. We are agreed, O most merciful Jesus, two of us are agreed on earth as touching what we shall ask of thee, firmly depending on thy promise. Let it be done for us of our father who is in heaven. The healing and raising up of a sick brother we implore of thee on our bended knees. The absolution of penitent brother we most earnestly crave. Heal O God. Forgive O God. Raise up O most merciful Lord our God. Is not this the time for thee to work? Speak the word, Lord, and the desire of our hearts will come. The anointing will be effectual. The prayers will avail. The name of the Lord Jesus be surely magnified. We rejoice. Our brother relieved. And we, and he, and thy church have fresh occasion to ascribe honours to our God, and sing worthy is the lamb forever. Amen.”

The event answered our expectation. We have heard of many signal cures attending it among the german baptists, with whom the rite is in common use, and much veneration.

From Customs of Primitive Churches, Edwards, pp. 94-95