Friday, August 31, 2018

Sacred Harp in Ringgold, Louisiana

This Saturday September 1st, Lord willing, we will sing from The Sacred Harp at Ringgold, Louisiana. Bring BOTH the Cooper and Denson revisions of The Sacred Harp, as we will sing from both.

Location: New Providence Primitive Baptist Church near Ringgold, LA
Date: Saturday September 1, 2012
Time: Starts 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, beside the New Providence Cemetery.

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.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Time to Go

An employee is getting to know her new co-workers when the topic of her last job comes up.

“Why did you leave that job?” asked one co-worker.

“It was something my boss said,” she replied.

“What did he say?” the co-worker quizzed.

“You’re fired.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

3 Funny Eye-Dees

...or, Ideas, if you ain’t from around here.

The Deep Theologian
There are plenty of deep theological waters in the inspired scriptures, treacherous for the wader who must either sink or swim. If we hold men’s persons in too high of admiration, we are liable to mistake the gurglings and gasps of the drowning man for some deep theological truth!

My Free Will Trumps Your Free Will
Funny how the loudest proponents of “Free Will” in salvation are often the quickest to violate it. If you believe salvation is just a free will decision or choice, why not just preach the gospel and leave the hearer to his or her free choice? Why the arm twisting, mental manipulation, and downright intimidation to force a “decision” out of the hearer? You claim God cannot force and has no right to force someone to be saved. Then what gives you that right to do what you forbid God to do?

To Be or Not To Be
...A Baptist
Modern liberal Baptists think churches holding any and every belief can be recognized as Baptist. However, when they talk about history, any little violation of their concept of Baptist Identity keeps forerunners from being considered Baptists! What? On the hand, many contemporary Landmarkers think any variation from their concept of Baptist Identity keeps other modern Baptists from being true Baptists. However, when they talk about history such variations never keep forerunners from being considered Baptists. Consistency, thou art a jewel.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Vanity is so anchored, 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.)

"Vanity is so anchored in the heart of man that ... those who write against it want to have the glory of having written well; and those who read it desire the glory of having read it." -- Blaise Pascal

"If you want to engage culture, be faithful in public." -- Trip Lee

"Waiting actually blesses, or God wouldn’t have you wait." -- Dickie Halbgewachs

"If the more we learn and glean from His word about His own identity in point of fact leads us down the correct and anchored path of our own identity, then it stands to reason we should root our time in learning more about Him." -- Philip Conley

"The grass is always greener where it’s been watered." -- Heard

"If you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you." -- Atributed to Paul Newman

"You can’t stop people from talking about you. You can stop giving them material to talk about." -- Heard

"When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less." -- Humpty-Dumpty (Lewis Carroll, in Through the Looking Glass)

"Success is in being obedient to God." -- Attributed to Bill Faye

"For of all the sad words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are these: 'It might have been'."
-- John Greenleaf Whittier

Taught by painful experience

“The Lord teaches us this. If we were always patient, meek, holy, submissive, never harassed by the devil, and never felt the workings of corruption, we should begin to think we had some power to please God in ourselves, and should slight and neglect a precious Saviour. But when taught by painful experience what a depraved nature and rebellious heart we carry in our bosom, when the Lord lets down a little mercy and grace into our soul, we then know the blessed quarter whence it comes, and learn to abhor ourselves and bless his holy name.”
J. C. Philpot (1802 – 1869)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Head Cornerstone

This hymn is about the stone which the builders rejected (Cf. Psalm 118:22, Matthew 21:42). The text of “That Stone Is Made Head Corner Stone” is taken from Scottish Psalter and Paraphrases. It is based on Psalm 118:22-29 and set in Common Meter and has been set with such tunes as Wilson and Jackson.

22 That stone is made head corner-stone,
which builders did despise:
23 This is the doing of the Lord,
and wondrous in our eyes.

24 This is the day God made, in it
we’ll joy triumphantly.
25 Save now, I pray thee, Lord; I pray,
send now prosperity.

26 Blessed is he in God’s great name
that cometh us to save:
We, from the house which to the Lord
pertains, you blessed have.

27 God is the Lord, who unto us
hath made light to arise:
Bind ye unto the altar’s horns
with cords the sacrifice.

28 Thou art my God, I’ll thee exalt;
my God, I will thee praise.
29 Give thanks to God, for he is good:
his mercy lasts always.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Diagram of the Churches and the Arminian’s God

A few years ago I heard about a book called Diagram of the Churches by S. M. Carlton, M.D. I was interested because Dr. Carlton was supposed to be a Baptist of the “Two-Seed” variety, and because he lived in my county – Rusk County, Texas. At the time I was unsuccessful garnering further information, but recently I discovered the book had been added to Diagram of the Churches: Illustrated by a Supposed Interview between the Arminian’s All-wise and Omnipotent God of the Universe and his Arminian Ministers (S. M. Carlton, M. D., Middleton, NY: Gilbert Beebe’s Sons, 1884).

The book itself is much an unusual dialog with the “Arminian” God and his ministers. Beginning at page 344 Carlton inserts an appendix that includes a “condensed biography” and his religious experience. Dr. S. M. Carlton was Snider Miles Carlton, who was born October 1, 1830, in Thomas County, Georgia, to Shadrack Carlton and Catharine Sloan (p. 346). His parents are buried at the old Randolph Cemetery in Houston County, Texas.

Snider Miles Carlton married Nancy Clark Satterwhite (p. 357). They came to Texas and first located in the Clayton area of Panola Conty in 1872 (p. 369). He also mentions being baptized at “Mt. Carmel Church, twenty miles east of Henderson” where his wife had been a member since that church was constituted (p. 377; Mt. Carmel was probably in Clayton, Panola County). They moved to Henderson in February 1879. Dr. Carlton, his wife and six others constituted a church called Siloam in Henderson, Texas on the 4th day of July 1883 (p. 378). The elder Carltons had several children, including, Harmon, Margaret, Susan, Elvie, John Sloan, Blake, Snider Miles, and Catharine. S. M. and Nancy later moved to Limestone County, Texas, where they are buried in the Thornton Cemetery.

Here are some excerpts from Diagram of the Churches:

pp. 95-96 Arminian’s God speaking:
I am very sorry that the old man did not discover his mistake before it was too late. The only chance that I see now to stop this old fogy influence, (for it is rapidly on the increase, although I have had it proclaimed through the medium of my missionaries that as soon as a few more of these old fogies, such as Beebe, Johnson, and others, died, this element would dwindle into insignificance ; but in this I now see that I was mistaken) is to put more missionaries in the field, increase our treasury, and re-translate the Bible every few years, until we can by degrees leave out these unauthorized paragraphs, in such a way that it will escape the detection of these illiterate old fogies; for you may be sure that I regret the mistakes that many of those old writers made, as well as the errors of the translators of King James.
p. 98, Arminian’s God on influence and present translation:
Again, in the book of Revelation, the writer, John, gets very humble, and accuses me. And these Old Baptists, as usual, are ready to swallow every word of it. He says: “Thou art worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” — Rev. iv. 11. Can you imagine, my friends, what pleasure I could possibly have in the devil? For that wicked spirit is surely one of the all things yet I am accused by John of making him for my pleasure. It seems that those old Prophets and Apostles, and these Old Baptists, are delighted in their accusations against me and my missionaries. And my advice to you, my friends, is to be patient, yet zealous, and I will be with you in your efforts, and before another century rolls around we will so mystify the present translation of King James, with our new editions, that we will annihilate this old fogyism from the face of the earth. For old Beebe and Johnson are now dead, and many others of the old veterans will soon die, and in the meanwhile we will try to kill out their influence before new ones grow up to take their places.
p. 159, Arminian’s God on present translation:
“The field is the world: the good seed are the children of the kingdom: but the tares are the children of the wicked one.” — Mat. xiii. 38. But you well know, my friends, that our motto is, Not to be beaten; and if we could ever succeed in convincing the youths of this, or even the next generation, that our system of baptizing infants is correct, and that infants are really subjects of gospel baptism, and induce all orthodox churches to adopt our system, we would then have all the infants of each generation baptized at eight days old, according to the pattern of circumcision, of which baptism is the anti-type. We would then wipe out this old fogy believer’s baptism, the result of which would be to annihilate their inconsistencies, and their present Bible, as translated by King James. We would then be able to establish by vote at the ballot box laws that would sustain our Christian institutions and support our ministry.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

California Christians, Prepare, 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 22, 2018

We are Barabbas

All four Gospels record what seems to be a matter incidental to the great story of the crucifixion of Jesus. Yet that incident plays an important role in the story, and teaches an important lesson. The Passover custom in Jerusalem called for the release of a prisoner, as a favor to the people (Mark 15:6). When Pilate would have released Jesus from the sentence of death, the Jews cried out for the release of a man named Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus instead (Cf. Matthew 27:20-23).

The name of Barabbas is mentioned 11 times in 10 verses of the Gospels. He is also alluded to once as a murderer in a sermon at Solomon’s porch in Jerusalem (Matthew 27:16, Matthew 27:17, Matthew 27:20, Matthew 27:21, Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:7, Mark 15:11, Mark 15:15, Luke 23:18, John 18:40, Acts 3:14). The name Barabbas corresponds in meaning to the person of Jesus Christ. The prefix “bar” (βαρ) means “son of” – as can be seen by comparing the following verses:  Matthew 16:17, John 1:42, Mark 10:46, and Acts 4:36. “Abba” (αββα) means father – as can be seen in the following verses: Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, and Galatians 4:6. Barabbas was “a son of (the) father” in comparison and contrast to Jesus, The Son of God the Father, his only begotten Son (Cf. John 1:18, John 3:35, 1 John 4:14, 1 John 4:9).

Barabbas was a lawbreaker. He was a robber, murderer, and seditionist[i] (Luke 23:18-19, John 18:40, Acts 3:14). Barabbas was not just “alleged” or “accused” but guilty, worthy of death – by both Roman and Jewish law.[ii] Barabbas had been sentenced and held over for execution (Mark 15:7). Yet Barabbas, the guilty, goes free (Matthew 27:26).

Jesus was a law fulfiller (Matthew 5:17). Though he had gone about doing good (Acts 10:38), he was accused as guilty (Matthew 26:66). He was in fact without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Yet Jesus, the innocent, is crucified (Matthew 27:26).

We are Barabbas, the guilty. We are sons of our father, Adam (Romans 5:12). We are sinners (Romans 3:23), lawbreakers (James 2:10), thieves (John 10:1), murderers (1 John 3:15), and insurrectionists (Romans 8:7). We are guilty (Romans 3:19). We are in bondage (Hebrews 2:15, Psalm 102:19-20). We deserve to die and are sentenced to death (Romans 6:23, James 1:15, Hebrews 9:27). 

Jesus is our substitute. He is the Son sent by the Father to save us from our sins (1 John 4:14). The innocent was executed that we might be released. Jesus died in Barabbas’s place. Jesus died in the place of his people (Matthew 1:21, John 11:49-50). Though the effects of the substitution may be different, Jesus died in place of Barabbas, and in place of his people. We are Barabbas, the guilty set free.

“Himself he cannot save.”
Insulting foe, ’tis true;
The words a gracious meaning have,
Though meant in scorn by you.

“Himself he cannot save.”
This is his highest praise.
Himself for others’ sake he gave,
And suffers in their place.
(Thomas Kelly)

…who died for us… 1 Thessalonians 5:10
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God… 1 Peter 3:18

[i] In rebellion against civil authority
[ii] “Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.” Numbers 35:31. The fact that Barabbas was being held for execution is evidence that he was guilty under Roman law, since these crucifixions took place under the authority of the Roman government.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Day Is Past And Gone, and other music links

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

Monday, August 20, 2018

Generational pattern

Over the years I have noticed a generational pattern. The prior generation zeroes in on the next generation with both legitimate concerns and baseless fears. The next generation responds by perceiving both as baseless fears. That "next generation" then ages into "the prior generation" and zeroes in on the next generation with both legitimate concerns and baseless fears. And so on.

Substantial marks of saving grace

“Can you find any solid, substantial marks or tokens that you are a partaker of saving and sanctifying grace, born of God, separated from the world as a pilgrim and a stranger, and pressing onward through a thousand foes and fears to a heavenly country? It is of no use leaning upon the testimony of man, or upon any vain hopes or presumptuous confidence that may spring up in a self-righteous, deceitful heart. It is the witness of the Spirit with our spirit, more or less clear—the shining in of the light of the Lord’s countenance—the manifestations of his presence and love, which alone can really satisfy a child of God of his being a partaker of grace and of the glory that is to be revealed at the coming of the Lord Jesus.”
J. C. Philpot (1802 – 1869)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Plan of Salvation

Excerpts from a very long poem by Jonas C. Sikes, 1929

Come all ye men of every age-
Yea, all the noble and the sage,
Let’s view the things that God hath done
The counsel twixt the Three-in-One.

Before the earth, before the skies,
Before the noble or the wise,
Yeah long before there was a man,
All things were settled in His plan.

In God’s decree which was of old,
A bleeding Lamb we do behold,
Brought forth as slain for fallen man;
All this was in God’s wise laid plan.

Faith views God’s plan before the world,
Before this rolling sphere ere whirled,
And sees that sin was just as sure,
As grace, which is sin’s double cure.

We must admit God did intend,
To execute some glorious end;
His glory was the end designed,
To which all things were predestined.

‘Tis here we see man brought to view,
With nothing good that he can do;
He cannot satisfy the law,
Hence can no blessings from it draw.

‘Tis here that Gods’ free grace steps in,
This grace doth reign much more than sin;
It reigns to free from death’s great power,
It reigns to keep us every hour.

It reigns to conquer sinful lusts,
And bow us down unto the dust;
It reigns to raise us up again,
This glorious grace doth sweetly reign.

It reigns to bring us unto God,
And make us know and love His Word;
It reigns to make His saints obey,
His laws and precepts every day.

It reigns where’er His saints are found,
It reigns more than sin doth abound;
It reigns that we may show His praise,
In time and unto endless days.

Arise my soul and ne’er forget,
This grace that cancelled all thy debt,
And reigns to guide us in the way,
And bring us blessings every day.

O glorious hope: O wondrous plan
In which is seen God’s love to man-
O give me grace to tell the story,
And magnify Jehovah’s glory.

Come then dear saints who love His name;
All whom these thoughts your souls aflame,
Come; let us join to shout His praise,
Through sin’s dark maze to endless days.

And when we all shall meet in heaven,
Where all these blessings first were given;
O then we all shall see His face,
And know the fullness of His grace.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Mississippi State Convention

From Mark Davis:
89th session of the Mississippi State Convention - Saturday & Sunday, August 25th & 26th at Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, located on Hwy. 21, approx. 7 miles north of Forest, Mississippi. Singing begins on Saturday at 10:00 and on Sunday at 9:30. Adopted books are: 1991 Sacred Harp, B.F. White (Cooper Book) Sacred Harp, Christian Harmony, and the J.L. White (1911) Edition.
Join us for great singing, food, and fellowship.
Location of building: 32.459817, -89.425599

Friday, August 17, 2018

Pastor searching; how?

Over at the SBC Voices blog, Tony Jones wrote and posted We Can Do Something – Thoughts on Protecting our Churches from Sexual Predators. In his piece, Jones identifies “our #metoo problem” and suggests “some practical steps that churches can take.” Jones is writing primarily to Southern Baptist churches and the SBC – but sexual immortality, sexual assault, etc. is certainly not just their problem. I won’t criticize Jones’s advice too much, since it is directed at the way most Baptist churches find and call pastors – kind of dealing with things as they are rather than how they ought to be. Nevertheless, shouldn’t we ask whether the majority practice meets scriptural ideals? Is it is the right way or the best way to find and call a pastor? Is this the scriptural way, or look we for another?

First, some excerpts of Jones’s advice to individual churches:

  • More training—Pastor search committees should undergo a period of training before they commence their search. Most search committees are not trained in what to look for, how to go about a thorough background check, or how to ask the tough questions that ought to be asked. I can see a day coming when church insurance companies will require search committees to be trained or they will not cover any litigation that is brought against the church for the actions of a pastor or staff member who was hired but not properly vetted.
  • Deeper, deeper, deeper background checks—While most search committees obtain criminal background checks, most stop the deep dive at that point. The criminal background check should be the beginning of the deep dive, not the end. Search committees should ask the candidate if he would submit to an audit of his finances; bank statements, credit card statements, and the like. This should be done by an independent third party, and the search committee members should only be given the results if there something malicious or disqualifying.
  • Spies—My home church, to my knowledge, sent people to the towns of their candidates to ask around about them. This didn’t prevent what happened, but I think if more churches would take the time to do this, there would be some grief saved.
In the comment section, David Rogers stated, “Ideally, churches should look for home-grown pastoral leadership from within their own congregation.” He did not disagree with thorough investigation if the church looks “outside,” but pointed out a difference between what he sees as the norm and the ideal. Over the years I have come to much the same conclusion – that we should pray for God to raise up men among us, and generally call those we know rather than churches looking hither, thither, and yon for pastors. There is no perfect solution in an imperfect world, but I believe this is an improvement, a move in the right direction.

My main interest is not discussing #metoo per se, but it is interesting how this kind of thing is affecting the way search committees research their potential pastoral candidates. For example, when I saw the word “spies” in Jones’s piece, I thought to myself “That sounds weird.” Is there a better way?

In the absence of polling date, based on experience I’d say the majority of Baptist churches set a pastor search committee in pursuit of the one best man for the job. Often this ideal man does not live in the vicinity and is personally unknown to the church. This explains the desire for background checks and spies! Much of drive to find a replacement pastor from “off summers”[i] is related to pride, performance, and popularity. The church must have a man who speaks well in the pulpit (performance), one that makes them look good to the community (pride), and one who has a reputation “among the brethren” (popularity). Not only that, churches often have very unrealistic expectations – expectations that exacerbated by the single pastor model so popular in contemporary times.

It is obvious that there were itinerant preachers in New Testament times.[ii] They “went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). However, when churches were established and settled (though there were apostles and preachers who traveled, preached and visited) there was also established and settled ministry in those churches. The settled ministry usually consisted of several preachers and teachers. See Acts 13:1, for example. When Paul and Barnabas traveled back through Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, the ordained elders in the churches in those places, Acts 14:23 – “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” Paul instructed to Titus ordain elders in the churches in the cities of Crete (Titus 1:5). James’s exhortation to the sick to call the elders of the church (James 5:14) implies a settled ministry in the churches.

The point is not to suggest there can or will be no geographical movement among the ministry, but to simply suggest that the current scheme employed by many churches overlooks a biblical pattern that well supplies the churches if followed.[iii] Pray the Lord send forth labourers into his harvest (Luke 10:2) and send them from right among us.[iv] We should know them that labour among us – and what better way than when God raises them up from those we already know? (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:12.)

[i] “Off summers” – something of an in-house joke, “off summers” means coming from somewhere else, not nearby.
[ii] Itinerant (adj.) means “traveling from place to place,” or “characterized by traveling from place to place.”
[iii] Often this “current scheme” is fixated on credentials, engulfed in a “Messiah Syndrome” (i.e. looking for a savior rather than a pastor), deluded with grandeur, and operates with a “beauty pageant” mentality. Search committees tend heavily toward credentials. They usually do not know the candidate. They “validate” the candidate’s abilities by looking at his degree. This is a commonly accepted method of assessing a pastor’s ability.
[iv] We should commit the word of truth to the faithful among us. 2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

Thursday, August 16, 2018

At Jeffress’ First Baptist Church of Dallas, 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 15, 2018

David Wheeler-Reed and God’s Gender

Last week I ran across online What the early church thought about God’s gender by David Wheeler-Reed of Albertus Magnus College.[i] At first I chose to ignore it, but then it also showed up in a local newspaper.[ii] In his article, Wheeler-Reed purports to tell us what the early church thought about God’s gender. Ultimately, he tells us what David Wheeler-Reed thinks about God’s gender.

The setup concerns the Episcopal Church decision “to revise its 1979 prayer book, so that God is no longer referred to by masculine pronouns.” He says, “religious leaders at the denomination’s recent triennial conference in Austin have agreed to a demand to replace the masculine terms for God such as ‘He’ and ‘King’ and “Father’.” From that setup, he jumps to tell us that The Old Testament, The New Testament, and early Christian writings “all refer to God in feminine terms.” See the linked article for examples.

In most cases Wheeler-Reed glosses over figures of speech in his race to prove a point – whether in the biblical examples or from the church fathers. Jesus says he would have gathered the children of Jerusalem “even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings” (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34). A literalistic reading of this figure of speech would as well make Jesus a chicken as a woman. Strangely, Wheeler-Reed even proposes Paul’s figure of speech about Paul himself (yes, Paul, who is obviously male, who is not God, but on the other hand often viewed as a maniacal misogynist by modern feminists) travailing in birth as proof of the feminine gender of God (Galatians 4:19).

Preliminary conclusions
  • The fact that church fathers used metaphors and similes to explain certain aspects of God’s nature falls short of what the early church thought about God’s gender. What they thought is pretty much what the churches have always thought both then and up to the present before a radical departure set on proving God is our Father/Mother. Wheeler-Reed probably could have found some “Church Fathers” and “Church Mothers” from the vast array of non-biblical writings who plainly spoke of God as a woman or our Mother in heaven. But, if so, he choose to leave these records in a vague dark place so none would know who they were. The ones he identified were using figures of speech.
  • Wheeler-Reed implies that the book of Proverbs teaches “Wisdom,” Sophia, was a goddess who assisted God in creating of the world. Sophia (σοφία) is, of course, the Greek word for wisdom, and somewhat irrelevant to a text originally written in Hebrew.[iii]
  • Wheeler-Reed says “Yahweh is a combination of both female and male grammatical endings” and suggests the word is “genderless” and this somehow proves God was male and female. Yet the author of Genesis, who probably knew his own language as well as or better than Wheeler-Reed, uses masculine pronouns when referring to Yahweh (Jehovah/Lord God).
  • Man is not created in the image of God in the sense that God has flesh and blood, or male and female body parts. Man was an unique “God-like” culminating point of creation – unlike any other part of God’s creation.
Primary conclusions
  • The Bible is not afraid to apply a feminine figure of speech to some aspect of God’s character, such as a woman giving birth to Israel (Deuteronomy 32:18) or a mother comforting children (Isaiah 49:15; Isaiah 66:13). No Bible believer should fear it. We use and explain these figures of speech when properly exegeting the verses wherein they are contained.
  • I suppose no orthodox Christian believes the “gender” of God corresponds to the human male gender.[iv] “God is not a man” and “God is a Spirit.” We should not think of the gender of God in human terms, yet must reject the world’s gender confusion which they intend to apply to the Bible. If God chose to inspire his word and refer to himself in masculine terms (e.g. “father”) and masculine pronouns (i.e. he, him) then the simple Bible believer should be satisfied with that rather than run after the ways of the world.
An article like “What the early church thought about God’s gender” is not really about God’s gender (which orthodox Christians have never exactly equated with human gender) or even about what the early church thought. It is about creating confusion concerning gender, presenting human gender as a social construct (as opposed to a physical characteristic), and promoting a society that finds gender dysphoria not just morally neutral but totally acceptable. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).

[i] Apparently Wheeler-Reed is a lecturer at Albertus Magnus, a Catholic College in New Haven, Connecticut. He is not listed on the faculty page. The article was originally published on The Conversation.
[ii] Longview News-Journal, Saturday, August 4, 2018, page 5B
[iii] The term philosophy (philosophia, φῐλοσοφῐ́ᾱ), meaning “love of wisdom,” is a compound word built on this root.
[iv] Yet I expect there are some unorthodox who believe this.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What We Believe about Salvation, Liberty MBC

Liberty Missionary Baptist Church of Norton, Summit County, Ohio has posted What we believe about salvation on their site. It demonstrates that it is not just “Calvinists” who reject the “easy-believism” that is promoted by many modern Baptists.
In order to obtain true salvation there first must be a sense of trouble, conviction, and condemnation set up by God in the heart of the unsaved person. They must pray and seek God and repent of their sins until they know for themselves that God has forgiven and saved them. Man does not convict them and man cannot tell them when God forgives and saves them. God is all-powerful and can save the soul of one seeking Him any place, any time when God’s conditions are met. However, we give opportunity for those desiring to seek and find God to come to the front for prayer. The pew sitting in the front facing the congregation is referred to as the “mourner’s bench.”
The unsaved person does not obtain salvation simply by “accepting,” “believing”, “making a decision for Christ,” or “being baptized” as many teach today.
It is true that a person must “accept” and “believe” that Christ is who the Bible teaches He is. One must also believe that he is the rewarder of those that diligently seek him. This is a historical belief and is definitely required by one seeking God. When one is saved, he/she receives a new, regenerated soul as stated by Jesus in John chapter 3 and must be under those terms stated to Nicodemus by Jesus Christ, (born again). It is true that a person must “decide” to seek Christ; he/she must be determined to seek until he/she finds Him.
We do not believe in using “Repeat after me” prayers nor in reading scripture passages to them to convince them they have prayed, trusted, or believed. We condemn the practice known as “The Roman Road” and all other “easy believism” practices. These practices substitute a historical belief for a belief from the heart.
We do pray with the person seeking God and we do believe in encouraging them according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
When God saves the individual, the individual knows, without anyone telling them – including the preacher, loved ones, or any friend.

Monday, August 13, 2018

32 Things You Might Not Know, 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.
  • 32 Things You Might Not Know About Charles Spurgeon -- "Spurgeon’s mother had 17 children, nine of whom died in infancy."
  • 1899 Sketch of Old Lowndes County -- "Old Irwin county [Georgia] was composed of sixteen districts, and included the present counties of Thomas, Brooks, Worth, Colquitt, Berrien, Lowndes, Clinch, Echols, and Irwin."
  • A Conservative Christian Declaration -- "This declaration reaffirms a historic commitment to fully orbed conservative Christianity. The authors believe in transcendent, absolute principles of truth, goodness, and beauty..."
  • Anno Domini or Common Era? -- "... a child educated from the beginning to use the abbreviations B.C.E. and C.E. would actually know less than those trained in the use of B.C. and A.D. The numbers would stay the same, but the student would have no idea why those numbers are used."
  • Eulogy of Elder Ansel Parrish -- "Many of our readers knew a man, now gone from view, whose plain and simple life, unadorned with the polish of modern culture, illustrated in a striking degree many of the higher and nobler attributes of manhood."
  • Image of God -- "Whatever the image of God means, it is by definition inseparable from the human species."
  • Prosperity Gospel Taught to 4 in 10 Evangelical Churchgoers -- "Survey finds most Protestants believe God wants them to prosper financially. But views diverge on whether they must tithe to receive it."
  • Revoice is over. Now what? -- " Evangelicals have been long overdue in considering these questions carefully in the light of scripture."
  • Sacred Harp Singing Convention returns to Henderson -- "Singers founded it in 1855 as the East Texas Musical Convention. Young and old keep the tradition of Sacred Harp singing alive annually in Henderson."
  • Snafusage -- "The other day, a nice middle-aged man heard me say...He later stopped me kindly in private and informed me about the word’s etymology."
  • The Conservative Philosophy of Culture and Worship -- "Belief in these transcendent principles is rooted in a conviction that God is the source, sustainer, and end of all things."
  • The Gnostic World of John Walton -- "The history of the church includes well-meaning scholars who introduce ideas that undermine Biblical authority. This is the case with the gifted Old Testament professor Dr. John Walton."
  • The Progressive Philosophy of Culture and Worship -- "Such a [progressive] philosophy suggests that, instead of beginning with some notion of universals we wish to conserve in determining our posture toward culture, especially in our worship, the church’s foundational missional impulse requires prioritizing contextualization in the contemporary culture."
  • What Censorship of Alex Jones Means for the Rest of Us -- "Alex Jones is a conspiracy theorist whose conspiracies are often wrong. On occasion, however, Alex Jones is ahead of the curve on reporting information that is later picked up and validated by the Mainstream Media."