Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Writes Amy B. Wang in the Washington Post, “It’s official: Truth is dead. Facts are passe.” Oxford Dictionaries has selected “post-truth” as 2016's international word of the year.

“The dictionary defines ‘post-truth’ as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.” But, according to author Amy Wang, “In this case, the ‘post-’ prefix doesn't mean ‘after’ so much as it implies an atmosphere in which a notion is irrelevant...”

According to Wang and Oxford, the Brexit referendum in England and Clinton-Trump presidential election in the U.S. caused “usage of the adjective to skyrocket.”

In our complex society that often rejects the idea of objective truth, it is commendable to think that some folks regret we have arrived ‘post-truth’. The rejection of objective truth has led us to this state of affairs. Yet, all do not agree on a solution. Where there is much ‘post-truth’ and ‘false-news’ a number of folks arrive at the solution of censorship. The government or the elite should decide what is ‘truth’ and limit expressions outside of their truth.

Is this the solution? No. The better solution is more speech -- free speech -- which allows the truth the opportunity to win out in the conflict of ideas. What we need is not censorship, but for people to be taught to think and become responsible for their acts and the consequences thereof.

For us who are Christians, may we be reminded that we should “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).” “...believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God (1 John 4:1).” We should search the Scriptures, whether what we think is in them and to know whether those things are so. This usage of “strong meat” exercises our senses “to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)

Ultimately, truth is found in the person of Jesus Christ. (John 1:17; John 5:39; John 14:6; Ephesians 4:21)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Traveling through Texas - Ambiguous Appellations

Whacky Texas county and place names

When you arrive in Burleson, you won’t be in Burleson County. You’ll have to go to Caldwell to be there. But if you want to be in Caldwell County, you’ll need to go to Lockhart! Texas is a big place, and we have our “normal” names, where city and county names match -- like Goliad in Goliad County, Nacogdoches in Nacogdoches County and Refugio in Refugio County, or Brownwood in Brown County, Floydada in Floyd County and Jacksboro in Jack County. On the other hand, we failed many times to get the right city in the right county! For examples:
  • Athens is a city in Henderson County, Texas, while Henderson is in Rusk County, and Rusk is in Cherokee County.
  • Beaumont is in Jefferson County, while Jefferson is in Marion County, and Marion is in Guadalupe County.
  • Bellville is in Austin County, while Austin in Travis County, and Travis is in Falls County.
  • Brownsville is in Cameron County, while Cameron is in Milam County, and Milam is in Sabine County.
  • Lockhart is in Caldwell County, while Caldwell is in Burleson County, and Burleson is in Johnson County.
  • Ozona is in Crockett County, while Crockett is in Houston County, and Houston is in Harris County.
  • Plains is in Yoakum County, while Yoakum is in Lavaca County, and Lavaca (now Port Lavaca) is in Calhoun County.
  • Sonora is in Sutton County, while Sutton is in Robertson County, and Robertson is in Jasper County.
  • Woodville is in Tyler County, while Tyler in Smith County, and Smith is in Wood County.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ride a fast horse, 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.)

"Speak the truth, but ride a fast horse." -- Old West Texas cowboy saying often used by Jim Hightower

"The recession won't be over until we raise a generation that knows how to live on what they've got." -- Dave Ramsey

"Sin makes you stupid. It causes you to become blind to the consequences that always follow your fall." -- Brad Whitt

"If men had concocted this story they surely would not have designed the ancestry of the LORD JESUS CHRIST to have come through such a convoluted and checkered parentage." -- Mike McInnis

"I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brethren around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ at his judgment seat, you will think you have had enough." -- John Brown, addressing young preachers

"I cannot tell how the truth may be; I tell the tale as 'twas told to me." -- Sir Walter Scott

Thursday, November 24, 2016

How kind the good Samaritan

1. How kind the good Samaritan
To him who fell among the thieves!
Thus Jesus pities fallen man,
And heals the wounds the soul receives.

2. O! I remember well the day,
When sorely wounded, nearly slain;
Like that poor man I bleeding lay,
And groaned for help, but groaned in vain.

3. Men saw me in this helpless case,
And passed without compassion by;
Each neighbor turned away his face,
Unmoved by my mournful cry.

4. But he whose name had been my scorn,
As Jews Samaritans despise
Came, when he saw me thus forlorn,
With love and pity in his eyes.

5. Gently he raised me from the ground,
Pressed me to lean upon his arm;
And into every gaping wound
He poured his own all-healing balm.

6. Unto his church my steps he led,
The house prepared for sinners lost;
Gave charge I should be clothed and fed;
And took upon him all the cost.

7. Thus saved from death, from want secured,
I wait till he again shall come,
When I shall be completely cured
And take me to his heav'nly home.

8. There through eternal boundless days,
When nature's wheel no longer rolls,
How shall I love, adore, and praise,
This good Samaritan to souls! 

-- John Newton, 1779

Glory to God, whose sovereign grace

1. Glory to God, whose sovereign grace
Hath animated senseless stones;
Called us to stand before His face,
And raised us into Abraham’s sons!

2. The people that in darkness lay,
In sin and error’s deadly shade,
Have seen a glorious gospel day,
In Jesus’ lovely face displayed.

3. Thou only, Lord, the work hast done,
And bared Thine arm in all our sight;
Hast made the reprobates Thine own,
And claimed the outcasts as Thy right.

4. Thy single arm, almighty Lord,
To us the great salvation brought,
Thy Word, Thy all-creating Word,
That spake at first the world from naught.

5. For this the saints lift up their voice,
And ceaseless praise to Thee is giv’n;
For this the hosts above rejoice,
We raise the happiness of Heav’n.

6. For this, no longer sons of night,
To Thee our thankful hearts we give;
To Thee, who called us into light,
To Thee we die, to Thee we live.

7. Suffice that for the season past
Hell’s horrid language filled our tongues,
We all Thy words behind us cast,
And lewdly sang the drunkard’s songs.

8. But, O the power of grace divine!
In hymns we now our voices raise,
Loudly in strange hosannas join,
And blasphemies are turned to praise!

-- John or Charles Wesley, 1740

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How sweet and awful is the place

1. How sweet and awful is the place 
With Christ within the doors, 
While everlasting love displays 
The choicest of her stores.

2. While all our hearts and all our songs 
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues,
"Lord, why was I a guest?"

3. "Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there's room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?"

4. 'Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.

5. Pity the nations, O our God, 
Constrain the earth to come; 
Send Thy victorious Word abroad, 
And bring the strangers home.

6. We long to see Thy churches full, 
That all the chosen race 
May, with one voice and heart and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace.

-- Isaac Watts, 1707

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Don't be too critical

[I don't remember when I first heard the following story (I want to think it was related about or by D. L. Moody), but I've always liked it. I relate it as I remember it, which may not be exactly how I heard it. If anyone knows the origin of the story, I'd be glad to know. Thanks.]

An old preacher traveling by train was trying to sleep, but a young man had a baby with him that was constantly crying. The preacher said to the father, "Why don't you get that baby to shut up. Take it to its mother!" The man with the baby replied, "I would, but she's in a casket in the cargo car. We are going home to bury her." The preacher was struck with his own selfishness and insensitivity, however unintended. He sat down and said, "I've raised several kids; let me take the baby." And as the tired father fell asleep, the preacher walked the baby up and down the car and sang lullabies. 

Don't criticize until you see the big picture -- know the whole story. Things are not always what they appear to be. (We often never know the whole story, so perhaps we should generally crucify the critical spirit).

Monday, November 21, 2016

T-Ball versus Major League

I stand in awe of $100 churches in a $1000 world. They serve hot dogs and bologna to crowds craving steak and lobster. They award costume jewelry to crews clamoring for diamonds and gold. These churches set themselves up for failure in a game they cannot win. If this is the game you must play, then play you must. But this year's T-Ball team isn't going to compete in Major League Baseball.

The other option is to not play that game at all. When we run to win we should inspect the goal and see what it takes to cross the finish line. It's not worshiptainment and pop psychology that people need. It's not marketing and "relevance" to which we have been called. It is the gospel people need to hear, and its proclamation is that with which we have been entrusted.

1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Traveling through Texas

A few ruminations on my travels through part of the heart of Texas:

Ecstasy. Buc-ees  had a framed copy of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” -- in shaped notes -- and a framed copy of “The Lord’s (Model) Prayer” -- in King James text. AND they have clean restrooms. What’s not to like?

Economy. Settlers from Kurten to Bastrop used great thrift in naming their courses of water -- Brazos Creek, Little Brazos River, Brazos River, Davidson Creek, Second Davidson Creek, Yegua Creek, Middle Yegua Creek, West Yegua Creek. Why waste time trying to come up with unique names?

Irony. Santa’s Wonderland in COLLEGE STATION had an efficiently working and well lit display of Longhorn cattle, while the Texas A&M “Howdy” sign didn’t work. Go figure!?

Coffee. Summer Moon Coffee in Austin, Texas custom roasts their beans with brick, fire and wood. Great idea. Great coffee.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

12 questions to ask, 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, November 18, 2016

Spiritual administration of Christ

“This spiritual administration of Christ's power is in and over the spirits and consciences of man. It extends to all the inward and hidden motions and acting of the mind. It also extends to all the outward manifestations of its powerful commands in the outward man, in reference unto God, and especially unto such as pertains to the visible worship and service of God. God has declared Himself to be a spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit and in truth, and seeks such, and only such, to worship him.

“This spiritual administration, as it is concerned with the outward man, is to managed not by a sword of steel which cannot come near or touch the spirit or mind of man, but by the sword that proceeds out of the mouth of his servants, the word of truth. This is especially so as to the efficacy, and to the inward man, by the two edge sword of the spirit. But that spiritual law and light by which these candle are enlightened, by Himself, Who is that light that lights every man who comes into the world.” — John Clarke, 1652

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Who You Gonna Believe?

We need to be God-believers. We can become so educated and so elevated that we are afraid to believe or teach anything that appears ignorant by the standards of worldly wisdom. For example, the Bible plainly states that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Yet many, in an attempt to agree with the scientists claim that the world is billions of years old, teach the seven days are just long periods of time. The scientists don’t know how old the world is. If scientists and doctors had examined Adam on the day he was created, they in all their wisdom would have never figured out that he was only one day old. WHO YOU GONNA BELIEVE? I believe God. He did the creating and then told me it took six days.

Many are shaken in their faith by reading of dead bones that give evidence of so-called primitive men, cave men, etc. So they start to teach there was some type of man in the world before Adam, and they teach that type of man was destroyed when Satan fell. This is their explanation of the Neanderthal man, et al. God said Adam was the first man. WHO YOU GONNA BELIEVE? I believe God. He made all things that were made, and I believe He knows which man He made first.

For an extreme example, notice Jonah and the fish that swallowed him. The Old Testament book says God prepared a fish to swallow Jonah and Jesus said that fish was a whale. Yet scientists say the whale is not a fish; it is a mammal. WHO YOU GONNA BELIEVE? I believe God. Since God made the whale, He must have the most intimate knowledge of what it is. He is not bound to call it by our man-made distinctions. If you had the ability to make something from nothing, I suppose you would also have the authority to call it whatever you want.

Scientists must change their textbooks every few years because of failed theories, new discoveries, and changes of mind. God and His Word remain constant, unchanging. WHO YOU GONNA BELIEVE? I believe God. He’s been here longer. Why should we run to and fro trying to make the Bible conform to science; let true science conform to the Bible.

Because of various problems, seeming contradictions, and failure of the Bible to conform to some so-called common knowledge, it is necessary for some to change or deny the truth of God’s Word. They allow themselves to bend the Scriptures to fit the world’s wisdom by correcting certain “errors” in copying and “mistakes” in translation. Jesus promised to preserve His Word; promised that it would not pass away. WHO YOU GONNA BELIEVE? I believe God. His promise to preserve the Word is just as sure as His promise to keep our souls and preserve His churches.

Believe God! He will not lie. He will not make mistakes. He is completely trustworthy. Be willing to be a fool for Christ. I know that some will label this article an exercise in ignorance, but I believe God. WHO YOU GONNA BELIEVE?

Adapted from an article in the Baptist Waymark

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Definitions: some funny, some not

Based on a true story (the Hollywood definition) -- There is a true story. We didn't tell it.

Cigarette -- A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end and a fool on the other

Etc. -- A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do

Lecture -- An art of transferring information from the notes of the lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through the minds of either

Predetonation -- How Calvinists set off their fireworks

Suicide -- A permanent reaction to a temporary problem

Worshiptainment -- entertainment substituted for and claimed as some sort of spiritual experience

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The ignorant condescending conceit of the ignorant educated elite

Trump Won Because Voters Are Ignorant, Literally -- "Last night [Nov 8] we saw something historic: the dance of the dunces. Never have educated voters so uniformly rejected a candidate. But never before have the lesser-educated so uniformly supported a candidate."

Yo, you ignorant deplorables, listen up.

The privileged who prefer nanny state intrusion to control the masses have a hard time covering their contempt for the average Joe and Josephine. Or maybe they don't even try. First, before the election, Hillary Clinton said "you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables." Now, after the election, Jason Brennan* calls voting for Trump "the dance of the dunces."

* "Jason Brennan is the Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan family chair and associate professor of strategy, economics, ethics, and public policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business."

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A preacher ain't, 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.)

"A preacher ain't nothing but a man." -- Duncan McCranie

"Everyone gets hurt. We live in a broken world, and we all get cut by its jagged edges." -- Pete Alwinson

"We aren't your servants, gentleman. We are the servants of the Lord. There is quite a difference." -- D. W. Herring, to the Foreign Mission Board of the SBC, 1892

"The most successful evangelization in this province [Shandong, China] has been done without a single foreign built dwelling, chapel, or school, while avoiding a display of such parts of our civilization as offend the native taste." -- Martha Foster Crawford, 1883

"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do." -- Benjamin Franklin

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." -- Benjamin Franklin

"I never discuss anything except politics and religion. There is nothing else to discuss...Nothing of importance can be separated entirely from its social effect, which is politics, or from its ultimate value, which is religion." -- G. K. Chesterton

"Never vote for any politician who got rich by being one." -- Harry S. Truman

"If you mothers through weakness bring up your sons to be selfish and to think only of themselves, you will be responsible for much sadness among the women who are to be their wives in the future..." -- Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, November 11, 2016

In memory of Johnny Lee

David Jonathan "Johnny" Lee, Hoboken, Georgia, July 20, 1934 - November 1, 2016

I pay a brief tribute to our fallen friend and brother, Johnny Lee, who has met the day from which no discharge. He passed away on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 and one week ago his body was laid in the High Bluff Cemetery to await the resurrection. It is hard to believe he is gone.

Brother Johnny was a true gentleman, a fine Christian man and a Primitive Baptist elder. I knew him best as a Sacred Harp singer, a love we share. He was for several years the president of the Sacred Harp Book Company, and guided the book company and Sacred Harp community through the 2012 revision of the Cooper book -- the first cover-to-cover revision/reprinting since it was first issued in 1902. He took the reins of leadership from John Etheridge who passed before him and continued this work that many had long hoped for. Many other things could be said about Brother Johnny, but may this stand as a loving reminder of just one of the many good things God gave him to do.

You many read at the following link his Funeral Home Obituary.

A Time to Die

I know there is a time to die.
I don't know when, but I know why.
The 'when' is settled in God's plan;
The 'why' is that we're sinful man.

Since all have sinned, so all must die:
A holy God brings justice nigh.
Death is the wages paid for sin;
To live you must be born again.

The gift of life, a gift of God
Delivers from the chastening rod.
Eternal life, eternal bliss,
God gives to all them that are His.

By the blogger, 10 November 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why the Ye's and Thou's by Bruce Cummons

One of the most criticized characteristics of the King James translation of the Bible is the use of the old English pronouns. Some unlearned scholars go to great lengths to make fun of thee’s, thou’s, and ye’s. “Why not just use ‘you?’” they say. Yet, this is one of the strongest points of the Authorized Version.

In the language of the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament there is a very distinct difference between the second person singular and the second person plural pronouns. We make no difference in modern English — both singular and plural are translated “you.” However, in old English there exists a difference just as there is in Greek and Hebrew. As a result the old English used in the King James Version gives far more precise translation than would modern English.

In our King James Bible, “thee,”“thou,”“thy,” and “thine” are always singular. “You,”“ye,” and “your” are always plural. If the second person pronoun starts with a “t” (in the English translation) then it is singular. If it starts with a “y” it is plural. This information helps us to better interpret God’s Word.

It is interesting to note that, contrary to popular opinion, the word “you” is used in the King James Version of the Bible about 2,000 times in fact. The “thee’s” and the “ye’s” are used also for accuracy and directness of translation, perhaps the so-called “old” English could better be described as good old “Bible English.

Praise ye the Lord for it.

By Bruce Cummons in The Plains Baptist Challenger, December 1988, as reprinted by permission in The Baptist Waymark, Jan-Feb 1992

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

My Lord, I love His name

Jesus, my Lord, I love His name,
Oh! how it makes my heart rejoice!
He died to rescue me from shame.
Now in his praise I lift my voice.

Renewed by grace from day to day,
I now by faith the cross sustain;
Lord, guide me in the narrow way
Each hour I live till heaven I gain.

Dwell with me while I sojourn here,
And lead me by Thy love divine
In all Thy ways to me so dear.
Yea, let Thy Spirit in me shine.

Arranged from "Acrostic" by John Riley Daily, in The Pilgrimage of a Stranger: Being an Account of Fifty-one years of the Journey of a Poor Sinner, 1905

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

God and rulers

We had a political cartoon in our paper awhile back that called this election "the evil of two lessers." In times like these it is good to know that God is in control.

Daniel 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings...

Psalm 75:7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

Exodus 9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

Here He exalts neglected worms
To scepters and a crown;
Anon the following page he turns,
And treads the monarch down.

Not Gabriel asks the reason why,
Nor God the reason gives;
Nor dares the favorite angel pry
Between the folded leaves.
(Isaac Watts)

Knowing that God does all things and that He does them well teaches me that wringing my hands and worrying will neither add one cubit to my stature nor change the course God has set for this nation. I am no prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I indeed wonder if we are seeing an example of what John Calvin wrote, "that they who rule unjustly and incompetently have been raised up by [God] to punish the wickedness of the people."

In Peter's first epistle the apostle reminds us who we are. In chapter one he addressed his audience as strangers, and in chapter two he beseeched them as strangers and pilgrims. We would no doubt do well to readdress and embrace the "strangers and pilgrims" motif of the New Testament. We American Christians as a whole are quite comfortable as American citizens and often forget our true citizenship is in heaven. Like our forefathers in the faith of old, may we be persuaded of the promises of God, look for a city whose builder and maker is God, and confess that we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Monday, November 07, 2016

The Fortune of Texas Baptists: Arguing the Atonement

Some Texas Baptists today adamantly argue the atonement, whether it was particular/limited or general/unlimited. At the close of the 19th century, though, Texas Baptists had an argument that challenged the orthodoxy of the atonement itself.

George M. Fortune was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Paris, Texas, from 1891 until 1896. After resigning as pastor, he continued to preach there as a supply until the summer of 1897. After that he left and moved to Indian Territory (not yet a state).

George M. Fortune was (probably) born in Virginia.[1] He may have been the son of Zachariah Fortune and Sarah Churning/Chewning (d. 1883) who married in 1831 in Nelson County, Virginia, and later moved to Meigs County, Ohio. They had a son named George who is about the right age, but it cannot with present facts be established who are the parents of our George M. Fortune.[2] If these are his parents, his movements can be traced as follows.

In 1850 the family was in Virginia and by 1860 had moved to Ohio. In 1870, George and his wife Esther (nee Brown, perhaps) were living by themselves, without any children, in Darwin, Clark County, Illinois. His occupation is listed as “minister, gospel”. Around 1879 he was the pastor of the Methodist Church of Havana, Illinois.[3] He and Esther were living at Waverley, Morgan County, Illinois in 1880, with four children of their own and a stepdaughter. A state census shows that in 1885 George and Esther were in Douglas, Butler County, Kansas. By 1886 he was married to Anna and they had a son named Dean born in December of that year.[4] By 1891 George Fortune was in Paris, Texas, having passed through Arkansas for a time before arriving there.[5] After leaving Texas, the Fortunes lived at McAlester in Indian Territory – where his occupation is listed as lawyer rather than minister.[6] They lived in McAlester until at least 1907,[7] and are then found in Clifton, Wilson County, Kansas in 1910 and 1920.[8] In 1910 he was a farmer who owned or worked on a poultry farm. In 1920 he is once again listed in the census as a minister. George M. Fortune died December 7, 1929. He, his wife Annie and their son Dean are buried at the Buffalo Cemetery in Wilson County, Kansas.

In late 1891 the First Baptist Church of Paris, Texas,[9] being without a pastor, invited George M. Fortune – recently from Arkansas – to preach for them. Afterward they called him as their pastor. According to one member of the church, “He was a man of fine address, of a literary turn, and seemed to be scholarly in his attainments, and withal a fine pulpit orator.”[10] Soon Fortune preached views not heard in the average Baptist pulpit, “that Christ’s death on the cross was not effectual for salvation, there was no personal Satan, original sin did not exist, there was no eternal punishment, and that the Scriptures were not fully inspired by God.”[11]  In 1894 Fortune published two sermons on the atonement. According to Fuller, Fortune “boldly and pointedly repudiated the doctrine of the vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ, denying that Christ died for, and instead of sinners, becoming the sinners’ substitute; rejecting also the doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ; maintaining that we are not saved by Christ’s death, but by his life.” Both of the state Baptist papers quickly condemned Fortune’s sermons and his position.

In 1895 the Baptist General Convention of Texas adopted a resolution declaring, among other things: “Resolved, that no one shall be recognized a member of this body who holds and teaches...that Christ is not the believer’s substitute, penalty and righteousness, a doctrine held by ‘Fortunism’.”[12] The First Baptist church of Paris was denied seats at the Convention. In spite of the strangeness of Fortune’s views, a majority of the church followed him, causing them to break ties with the regular Baptists of Texas. The offended minority of the church investigated his background. They which found he had been a Methodist preacher in Illinois, a Baptist preacher in Arkansas, as well as a lawyer and temperance lecturer in Kansas. There seemed to be a possibility that he had a living wife from a first marriage. The minority of the church called a special meeting in Paris, which met on February 11, 1896.

In 1896 a Baptist council meeting in Paris found Fortune guilty of heresy, declaring they “after careful consideration do unhesitatingly declare said George M. Fortune, on the following points, anti-scriptural.” The council alleged he was in denial of nine biblical points of doctrine and teaching three aberrations of Baptist church polity – and also recognized the minority as the true First Baptist Church of Paris. The majority of the church kept G. M. Fortune on as pastor until 1896. He continued to supply the pulpit for them until he left for Oklahoma (then still a territory) in 1897.[13]

It is not clear the extent of the influence that George M. Fortune beyond the area of Paris, Texas. Though the Baptists across the state were much astir about the situation, the fallout appears to have been limited. Fortune did move in circles throughout the state, though, For example, the Galveston Daily News in August 1893 reports that Fortune was assisting Baptist pastor J. C. Wingo in a protracted meeting in Bryan, Texas.[14] He published at least two pamphlets on the subject in the mid-to-late 1890s, Atonement: a Sermon and The Atonement: Retrospective and Constructive. It is also unclear what happened to the majority of the Baptist Church in Paris that adhered to the positions or person of G. M. Fortune.[15] At the time Fuller wrote his history in 1900, he claimed they “have become so demoralized in faith and doctrine by Fortune’s heresy that they are not able to do anything for Christ…As a body they are repudiated by Baptists everywhere, and seem to be making no effort to keep up an organization…”[16] Perhaps the fortunes of Fortunism died with those who followed him.

The quick overall response to pastor Fortune’s unbaptistic positions and the strong opposition from within his home church probably kept the controversy contained and the repercussions restricted. Churches should not be hasty to hear and call those whom they do not know, but should promptly respond to advanced error in the pulpit.

A History of Texas Baptists: Comprising a Detailed Account of their Activities, Their Progress and Their Achievements, J. M. Carroll, Author, J. B. Cranfill, Editor, Dallas, TX: Baptist Standard Publishing Co., 1923
A Texas Baptist History Sourcebook: a Companion to McBeth’s Texas Baptists, Joseph E. Early Jr., Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press, 2004
Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois), Thursday, July 29, 1897
“Fort v. First Baptist Church” in The Southwestern Reporter, Volume 55, St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co., pp. 402-410
History of Texas Baptists, B. F. Fuller, Louisville, KY: Baptist Book Concern, 1900
Honey Grove Signal (Honey Grove, Texas), Vol. 5, No. 33, Friday, February 14, 1896, p. 1
The Baptist Standard (Waco, Texas), July 30, 1896
The Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas), Vol. 52, No. 157, Sunday, August 27, 1893
The History of Menard and Mason Counties, Illinois, Chicago, IL: O. L. Baskin and Co., 1879
The New York Times, Sunday September 13, 1896
U. S. Federal Censuses, 1850-1920


[1] Most censuses give his birth location as Virginia, but West Virginia and Georgia are also given
[2] The 1900 Federal Census gives his birth in December 1848 (in Georgia), but his tombstone gives December 1845.
[3] The History of Menard and Mason Counties, Illinois, Chicago, IL: O. L. Baskin and Co., 1879, p. 525
[4] It is not clear whether they separated or Esther died.
[5] History of Texas Baptists, B. F. Fuller, Louisville, KY: Baptist Book Concern, 1900, pp. 398-408; Fuller was a member of First Baptist, Paris, Texas
[6] 1900 U. S. Federal Census, South McAlester, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory
[7] U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 on McAlester, Oklahoma, City Directory, 1907
[8] U. S. Federal Census for Wilson County, Kansas in 1910 and 1920
[9] This body was organized in 1854 upon the New Hampshire Confession as a United Baptist Church.
[10] History of Texas Baptists, Fuller, pp. 398-399
[11] A Texas Baptist History Sourcebook, Early, p. 54
[12] This resolution also condemned “Martinism”.
[13] The Decatur (Illinois) Daily Republican reported in July of that year that Fortune said, “For myself I shall not again accept the pastorate of any orthodox church. These organizations are so constructed as to place the control of their affairs into the hands of the least admirable part of the congregation...I, therefore, must seek a place where I may feel the force of present duty and leave the future in the hands of God.” (Decatur Daily Republican, Thursday, July 29, 1897, p. 3
[14] The Galveston Daily News. (Galveston, Tex.), Vol. 52, No. 157, Ed. 1 Sunday, August 27, 1893, p. 9
[15] One leader of the “Fortune Faction” was Dr. Joseph Marston Fort. In The Baptist Standard (July 30, 1896) J. B. Cranfill wrote, “It would not have been possible for him [Fortune, rlv] to have accomplished the harm he has done in Paris but for the help and co-operation of Dr. J. M. Fort, who not only shares Dr. Fortune’s infidel views, but is a man who has no scruples whatever in adopting any means, fair or foul, in accomplishing his nefarious purposes.” In September a warrant was issued for the arrest of Cranfill on charges of libel, but the outcome is unknown. See “A Preacher to be Arrested: Charge with Libeling a Leading Citizen of North Texas,” The New York Times, Sunday September 13, 1896, p. 6
[16] As a resident of Paris and a member of the church faction that opposed Fortune, B. F. Fuller’s opinion is certainly biased. Evidence – such as the struggle to control the church building – suggests the “Fortunites” surely had not given up only three years after Fortune left. But Fuller’s assessment does seem to summarize the end result.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Bartimaeus, or Mercy, O thou Son of David

By John Newton, in Olney Hymns (London: W. Oliver, 1779), Hymn 95.

8s.7s. Bartimaeus. Mark 10:47-48
1 "Mercy, O thou Son of David!"
Thus blind Bartimeus prayed;
Others by thy word are saved,
Now to me afford thine aid:
Many for his crying chide him,
But he called the louder still;
Till the gracious Saviour bid him,
"Come, and ask me what you will."

2 Money was not what he wanted,
Though by begging used to live;
But he asked, and Jesus granted,
Alms, which only he could give:
"Lord remove this grievous blindness,
Let my eyes behold the day."
Straight he saw, and won by kindness,
Followed Jesus in the way.

3 O! methinks I hear him praising,
Publishing to all around;
"Friends is not my case amazing?
What a Savior I have found:
O! that all the blind but knew him,
And would be advised by me!
Surely would they hasten to him,
He would cause them all to see."

The Hartford Selection of Hymns (1799) presents the hymn in four line stanzas with this added as the seventh stanza:
7 "Now I freely leave my garment,
Follow Jesus in the way,
He will guide me by his counsel,
Bring me to eternal day."

Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1800) also adds the seventh stanza, with this as the eighth stanza:
8 There I shall behold my Saviour,
Spotless, innocent and pure;
There with him to reign forever
If I to the end endure.

The Camp-Meeting Chorister (1830) offers a slight variation in its Hymn 61:
4 "Now I freely leave my garments,
Follow Jesus in the way;
He will guide me by his counsel;
Lead me to eternal day:
There I shall behold my Saviour,
Spotless, innocent, and pure;
And with him shall reign forever,
If I to the end endure."

These two additional stanzas are not in John Newton's Olney Hymns, but can be found circa 1800. The last line -- If I to the end endure -- appears to present theology contrary to Newton's, which Benjamin Lloyd changes in his Hymn 147 (Primitive Hymns):
4 "Now I gladly leave my garments
Follow Jesus in the way;
He'll direct me by his counsel,
Bring me to eternal day:
There I shall behold my Saviour,
Spotless, innocent, and pure;
There with him to reign forever
For his promises are sure."

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