We pause for a brief intermission in our study of the Church's Past to consider a thought. I was reared Baptist. I was reared conservative. I was reared to have standards. I was reared to stand for Truth. I praise the Lord for parents who saw to just that. I praise the Lord for His leading in my life in the Baptist Academies He saw that I attended. I thank the Lord for my four years at Fairhaven Baptist College where I grew and matured and 'sobered up' spiritually like never before. I thank the Lord for all that He taught me while serving at Cozaddale Baptist Temple as an assistant pastor. How I thank the Lord for what He has shown me while serving Him as pastor at Cozaddale Baptist Temple. What a wonderful church He has blessed me with! How I thank the Lord for a mature/maturing church, a church with high standards, strong doctrine, God-honoring music, and a spirit of learning and a love for Scripture. God is good!
I say all that to point this out. My family, my churches I have attended, the academies I have attended, the college I attended all stood for and practiced high standards! I saw and experienced ridicule and scorn for those stands. I have seen people leave Scriptural churches over areas they proclaimed were 'no big deal.' People want to make dress standards, music standards, dating standards, etc into what they proclaim 'non important issues;' yet it is those issues that lead them to leave a Scriptural church. It surely seems to me to be a 'big issue' if you must leave a church over it! Believe me, I've seen people leave over these 'non important issues.'
But now I come to my main point. I have never seen people get more belligerent over any issue as I have Baptist Doctrine. I must confess, our theme this year was "Answers to Questions" and we have looked at Baptist Doctrine and studied it from God's Word, we have had a Baptist Heritage Conference and looked at our past, and we have had a "Why I'm A Baptist" conference and studied just why we choose to be a Baptist. This has upset the apple cart far more than any standard taught and upheld!
By that I mean that yes, a few members have left due to us being 'too Baptist,' but the oddest thing is the ridicule and attack from outside our church. It has not come from the Non-Denominationalist, Charismatics, Catholics, or a cult; but 'Baptist.' Rumors, lies, scorn, and ridicule and unfortunately, not one pastor has called me to discuss anything.
Please let me answer the gossip:
1. NO, we do not believe that only Cozaddale Baptist Temple is going to be the ONLY Bride of Christ. What a foolish statement. What do we believe? Simply put, we believe that the bride of Christ are those churches that have prepared themselves by adhering to New Testament Doctrine. There must be salvation, Scriptural Baptism, and adhering to the New Testament doctrine. Now if one chooses to not agree with that statement, it really does not bother me. I have not quite grasped why someone would be so belligerent over the matter, for if they truly believe what they believe that all are part of the bride, then they and our church will both be fine. I do not believe just because 'Baptist' in on the church sign that a church is Scripturally correct, it must be practiced. Consider: The Bride "his wife hath made herself ready" (Rev. 19). There is preparation that must be accomplished for the wife to make herself ready. If one holds to a 'everyone is part of the bride' philosophy, then doesn't it constitute some 'works' to prepare yourself? This is of course not the only reason I stand as such, but to be considered.
2. Yes, we did get rid of our "Christian Flag." I have discussed this here: http://cozaddalechronicles.blogspot.com/2010/06/prove-it.html It was created by a Protestant as sign of 'unity' for the 'body' and 'kingdom' of God. I do not align with those that do not hold to true doctrine and cannot for Scripture has forbidden it:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Romans 16:17Good News Though, we have designed and produced a Baptist Flag bearing the Word of God, the Ordinances, and the church being the Pillar and Ground of Truth.
I could go on, but my point is I believe we are living in the last days and there is and will be a 'falling away' (2 Thess. 2:3). That is why this year we have studied Church Practices, Church Pretenders, and now the Church's Past-for we must know what is Truth and what to stand upon. We will continue our study next week on the church's past, but I felt it necessary to clear the air, invite questions should there be any, and refocus as to why we study such. It does matter what you believe and the church has been entrusted with the Truth! May we be that Pillar and Ground of Truth!