Friday, December 30, 2011

Yes, This Really Happened To Me In The Ministry

Psalm 126:1 says, "Then was our mouth filled with laughter,and our tongue with singing:then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done a great thing for them." It is so very true that when you have joy in your heart it will show up in your life. Happiness depends on circumstances. However Jesus gives us joy that no man may take unless we allow it to happen. That is the reason I have been sharing humorous things that have happened to me in the 45 years of the ministry. I pray it will bring a smile to the face of those who read it and perhaps motivate someone to be a blessing to someone else. "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Prov.18:24.
For several years I traveled to North Carolina to preach for a mountain preacher that pastored in the black mountains and was a dear friend. We had many wonderful services and saw many decisions for Christ.
This pastor had 3 sons who were what a person would picture in their minds as mountain men. They loved the Lord and were active in their dad's church. It was our habit to preach at night and then travel to the top of black mountain where they had built a beautiful 2 room cabin. We would hunt and fish and enjoy wonderful fellowship. On one occasion the sons had planned to take me 'coon hunting after the service. I That night I preached and was truly exhausted. However they would not hear of me missing going 'coon hunting. Now I had been 'coon hunting many many times. However instead of letting the dogs run and then going to them when they treed, they decided we should run with the dogs. We ran and ran and ran! When we returned to the cabin I was so tired I barely made it to the bed before I collapsed. Five hours later they woke me up to take me squirrel hunting. We split up into two groups and I went with the son who was my age. We entered the woods and found a good place to sit and listen. I sat on a fallen log and Larry sat on a tree stump about 6 or 7 feet away. Being exhausted it did not take long until I fell asleep. Now I had with me a 12 gauge shotgun with a hair trigger. When I dozed off I began to fall off the log and awakened with a jerk. When I did I pulled the trigger! I shot right at the feet of Larry. He arose and said he was going back to the cabin. He was white as a ghost. All the way back to the cabin I asked him over and over if he was mad at me. Finally he looked at me and said, "Preacher, I am not mad at you but I will never hunt with you again." Though it was an accident I can say that for the rest of the revival meeting when the service ended they let me go to bed. "All things work together for the good..." Amen?!!
I pray this makes you smile and you will wear it all day and share Jesus at every opportunity.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Political Ponders

The year 2012 is a very important year for our nation. This upcoming election is one of great importance. Every Christian should be participating in the upcoming and all elections. In my studying the last few years intensely on Baptist history, it became quickly evident in our nation's history that Baptist played a HUGE part in the forming and direction of our government.
It is, and always has been, a Baptists belief that no state or governmental power should use its sword to force men against their conscience. Roger Williams points out in his book "The Bloody Tennent of Persecution": "Matthew 5:44, Luke 9:54-55; He (Jesus)charges straightly, that his disciples should be so far from persecuting those that would not be of their religion, that when they were persecuted they should pray, and when they are cursed, they should bless...the civil sword, called the sword of civil justice, which being of a material, civil nature...cannot extend to spiritual and soul causes, spiritual and soul punishment...the Spirit of God never intended to direct, or warrant, the magistrate to use his power in spiritual affairs and religious worship...the Christian church does not persecute, no more than a lily scratches the thorns, or a lamb pursues and tears the wolves." This is what our nations "separation of church and state" is all about.
It was not our founding father's intention that the government have nothing to do with God and religion. One can see this by reading our founding documents. It was our founding father's intention that the state NEVER force anyone to worship against their conscience.
Having said thus, as a pastor, I cannot nor will I use my pulpit or our church as a political propagandist. Not only is such unethical, but it is illegal. But, as a citizen, I have a right to share my political opinions and views. In our nation's great history, we are truly indebted to Baptist for standing and doing such; not as a church or a religion, but as a people and citizens of this great land. Where would our nation be had not men like John Clarke had not stood and spoke truth and influenced others in the political forming of our nation? What if Baptists had not insisted upon the Freedom of worship and thus the first Amendment?
I want to challenge Baptists to get involved in speaking up for what is right. Not as a denomination, not as pastors, not as churches; but as citizens. Below, is a letter written by Mr. Josh Davenport which I believe needs to be considered by all Americans.
Dear fellow Iowan,
Very soon we will all be participating in an event that could change the course of direction for our entire nation. Of course, I am referring to the January 3rd Iowa Republican Caucuses. Along with all the fulfilling of civil responsibility that will take place that evening in regards to your precinct, choosing delegates for your county convention and submitting platform planks, every attendee from across the state will be voting for the presidential candidate that they believe is best for the GOP nomination. As a fellow Iowan, Christian and my county’s GOP co-chair, I want to spend a few moments to explain to you why I believe Dr. Ron Paul is the man for the job. I know this letter is quite lengthy, but the importance of this election is worth spending the time to read and study about the different candidates’ views. Not only can you read this letter and learn more about Ron Paul but you can also visit a new website: While Ron Paul is not the most popular choice among voters in our kinds of churches, such a decision to eliminate him from the options should not be made until we study the candidate ourselves – NOT just base our decision upon what someone else has told us.
For me, transparency is a very important character trait to look for in a candidate, and, without hesitation, I can say that with Ron Paul, what you see is what you get. While others have flip-flopped in the past, have skeletons in their closets, look “plastic” or have an air of superiority, Ron Paul is one of the most humble and sincere men I have ever met. They cannot make ads on Ron Paul in regards to any past positions that conflict with his current views, and there are no skeletons of immorality or questionable involvements in his past. The explanation for this is his strength of being principled. While qualities like that are often just used as bumper-sticker statements and campaign jargon, it is truly principles that have dictated the civil government actions of this man. For instance, Ron Paul only supports legislation when it is expressly authorized by the Constitution, he has never voted to raise congressional pay, has never taken a government-paid junket and does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program. He cannot be bought by lobbyists and has voted “NO” more than any other congressman in United States history. He does not care if he is booed or patted on the back. He does not put his finger to the wind but makes decisions based only upon what our Constitution tells us what the government can do. THAT is the most important trait of a presidential candidate – THAT is what he takes an oath to uphold and protect. Although it is helpful to be a great speaker and have a likeable personality, we must reject this rock-star, popularity culture mindset and vote for a man based upon his principles. One of the largest obstacles I find in talking to people about Ron Paul is the amount of misconceptions that exist about Ron Paul and his views. I would like to talk about a few of those issues at this time.
1. Family Values – Ron Paul, who has been married to his wife Carol for over 54 years, has lived an exemplary life of family values. Together they have 5 children and 18 grandchildren. Ron Paul is a staunch pro-life OB/GYN doctor who has delivered more than 4,000 babies and has never performed a single abortion. Ron Paul’s “We the People Act” effectively repeals Roe v. Wade and would prevent activist judges from interfering with state decisions to protect life. Though Ron Paul, for years, has supported and endorsed a federal amendment to the Constitution to make abortion illegal, he has been sadly mislabeled as not being strong enough on the issue by those who don’t really understand the constitutional roles of the federal government vs. state governments. Ron Paul not only believes that Roe v. Wade resulted in the wrong decision, but, as most DON’T understand, also believes that the case was wrong for the Supreme Court to try in the first place because it dealt with a crime that the Federal Courts have no authority to rule on – murder. Ron Paul believes that life starts at conception, that abortion is murder and that abortion, like any other form of murder, should be enforced by the states. Therefore, it must be decided by each state what the penalty should be for that kind of murder in each particular state. He does not believe this way to escape having to take a stand (you know he doesn’t mind doing that!) but because he understands the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution does not give the federal government the authority to make such laws about murder but Ron Paul also understands that the 10th Amendment allows the individual states to decide on, and, enforce such laws. The federal government has never created or enforced federal charges or sentences on ANY kind of murder because they don’t have the authority to do so. For those who think the federal government should be able to make such a decision I would ask, have you read Articles I and III, AND has the situation on abortion improved since the Federal Supreme Court made their conclusion in Roe v. Wade? Over 30 states have amendments to their state constitutions making abortion illegal but their hands have been tied for almost 40 years because of a federal government decision. We don’t want the federal government making decisions on issues that our founders understood would be dangerous and abusive for the federal government to make.
Also, if we couldn’t get an amendment passed when the Republicans controlled the house, the senate and the white house just a few years ago, what makes us think it is going to happen now? We as pro-life citizens have much more influence in Des Moines than we do in DC and therefore these issues are a lot easier to settle on a local level. That is what our framers and founders had in mind when they wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights the way they did. Though Ron Paul has consistently voted pro-life, because of the un-constitutional nature of Roe v. Wade, he understands there is a better and more affective way to protect life: repeal Roe v. Wade, uphold life as a government-protected right given to us by our Creator (by passing a federal law protecting life, as mentioned in our Constitution) and then allow the states to determine how that kind of murder is going to be punished and enforced in each state. It sounds great when a candidate gets up and says that he wants to pass a federal amendment making abortion illegal but it is really not a constitutional approach to taking care of the problem. Ron Paul is pro-life and Constitutional at the same time. Ron Paul’s “Sanctity of Life Act” would define life as beginning at conception thus emphasizing the protection of life that was given to us by our Creator.
Ron Paul’s “Taxpayer’s Freedom of Conscience Act” would stop the American people’s money from being used to pay for abortions and fund any so-called “family planning” programs. Ron Paul is mislabeled as weak on the abortion issue because he has voiced that a federal amendment is not the best way to deal with the problem because such an amendment would recognize the authority of an un-constitutional, Roe v. Wade court case and would wrongly suggest that the federal government has authority in the area of murder. The best way to deal with this in a post-Roe v. Wade world is to repeal Roe v. Wade with a simple majority vote and start from scratch. Paul believes abortion is a national issue because it is murder and believes one of the roles of government is to protect life. He is the most pro-life candidate in the running! I don’t know how groups like the Family Leader can conscientiously say what they have said about Ron Paul on this issue when they themselves accepted a large amount of money for their 2010 judge retention vote project from Newt Gingrich who co-sponsored the Pelosi Global Warming Bill that provided taxpayer-funded abortions overseas. Politics is politics even among “faith and family” groups. We need to quit letting such groups tell us who to vote for and we need to quit getting distracted by this hypnotizing Left/Right paradigm and focus on the solution – following our Constitution.
As a Congressman, Ron Paul supported the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and sponsored the Marriage Protection Act. (An “Act” is not an Amendment.) The misunderstanding about Ron Paul’s position on a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution is due to the lack of understanding about the role of federal government as stated in the Constitution. Again, Paul understands that under Article I, Section 8, the federal government does not have the authority to make such laws about marriage, but Paul also understands that the 10th Amendment allows the individual states to make such laws as they see fit. Paul has said, “If I were a member of the Iowa legislature, I would do all I could to oppose any attempt by rogue judges to impose a new definition of marriage on the people of my state,” and went on to say, “I will stand with the people of Iowa and will fight to protect each state’s right not to be forced to recognize a same sex marriage against the will of the people.” This is why he has been endorsed by conservative warriors in Iowa such as Kim Pearson and Glen Massie.
In regards to our children’s education, Paul has said, “I am absolutely convinced that the key to an educationally prosperous nation is not found in a federal government program, but is the right of parents to effectively utilize their moral responsibility for their children.” “No nation can remain free when the government has a greater influence over the knowledge and values given to children than the family.” “My commitment to ensuring homeschooling remains a practical alternative for American families is unmatched by any other Presidential candidate. Returning control of education to parents is the centerpiece of my education agenda.”
2. Foreign Policy – Dr. Paul believes that defending our nation is the most important responsibility of the federal government. Ronald Reagan said, “Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him fighting for our country.” Since Ron Paul’s views and message have always been the same, what does that say about what Reagan would say about Ron Paul today? After the horrific 9/11 attacks, Ron Paul voted to authorize military force to hunt down Osama bin Laden and he authored legislation to specifically target terrorist leaders and bring them to justice. The proof is there that we could have done this and didn’t but waited and used the opportunity to spread our military presence with the goal of globalism. Paul’s opposition to the current wars we are in is because they were not constitutionally declared by an act of Congress and are therefore unconstitutional and subsequently out of control with no end in sight. If anyone doubts Ron Paul’s realistic approach to foreign policy, consider this fact: Ron Paul is the military’s top tier candidate with receiving the most financial support for his campaign from active military than any of the other GOP candidates COMBINED.
Contrary to what many are saying, when it comes to Israel, there is not a more pro-Israel candidate than Ron Paul. His position on Israel has been misconstrued because he wants to cut all foreign aid but just because Paul wants to cut foreign aid to Israel does not mean that he is not pro-Israel. He doesn’t just want to cut aid to Israel but to EVERYBODY. We can’t afford it! And, foreign aid was never the philosophy of the founding fathers! To say that he is not pro-Israel because he wants to cut foreign aid to Israel is ridiculous. It’s kind of like saying conservatives hate poor people because they want to eliminate welfare. Is blessing Israel defined only by cutting them a check? Our foreign aid is actually hurting Israel because for every dollar that Israel gets, the surrounding Arab countries each get 5 to 10 dollars. Cutting foreign aid to everyone ends us being on the side of Israel and Israel’s enemies with our taxpayer dollars and “diplomacy” at the same time.
The aid we are giving to Israel is actually anti-Israel because of the strings that are attached. We bind Israel’s hands to the point where she cannot defend herself from attacks without coming to us for permission to make a strike or a peace treaty or make efforts to change her borders. That is not respecting the sovereignty of Israel and that is not being a blessing to Israel. Ron Paul is the most pro-Israel candidate because he supports Israel’s sovereignty. Ron Paul makes it clear that he would not stop, nor should America be able to stop Israel from defending her interests in any way she sees fit. When Israel attacked a nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981, almost the entire US Congress voted to condemn Israel (Reagan agreeing). Paul was one of the very few who voted against the condemnation and in favor of Israel’s right to defend herself. Where were the Evangelicals then? Why weren’t the Republicans being called “anti-Semites”?
The main reason for his position on Israel (in respect for her sovereignty) is because of the Constitution. We don’t have the authority to do most of what we are doing around the world, including in Israel. Paul does not favor Arab/Islamic countries over Israel – the 1981 situation is an example of that. We have no authority to nose our business into Iran’s business either. That is not isolationism, it is constitutionalism – and our founding fathers believed the same! What people need to understand is the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism as taught by our founding fathers. Ron Paul has said that if Israel is attacked then we should help if they ask us to, but that we should not “intervene” unless our help is first requested.
Ron Paul has never said that we should give nuclear technology to Iran. That would be in contrast to his foreign policy and principles of non-intervention. He doesn’t want Iran to have nuclear capabilities, but what he has said is that we have no right, beyond request, to forcefully stop others from giving or selling that technology to Iran or anyone else. This line we are being fed about the serious threat of Iran is a boogieman created to make us hate Muslims everywhere and eventually wipe them off the map in the name of “spreading democracy,” “fighting terrorism” and “national security interests.” While the government makes a boogieman out of uneducated heathen, they USE that boogieman to take away our rights (TSA, FEMA, Patriot Act, and the recent Defense Authorization Act). While government is too big here in America, our same federal government is attempting to get bigger by attempting to become global. Why else do you think the Democrats AND Republicans are worried about Iraq’s and Israel’s borders just as much, if not more than, our own? Iran has been mad at us since the 1950s when we overstepped our authority, overthrew their government and installed the Shah. They don’t hate us because we are free. Yes, the Muslims in those countries hate Christianity, but they specifically hate America because of our foreign policy and world-police-like intervention. The CIA refers to this as “blowback”. Wouldn’t you hate a country that sends drones and troops into your city because your nation is seen as a global threat? Because “terrorism” is not defined by nations, we can take care of threatening terrorists covertly if we wanted to. We have the capabilities and Ron Paul was and has been at the forefront of such legislation. He understands two things: life is an important gift from our Creator and war, though sometimes necessary, is a terrible thing and should be used cautiously. This was the view of our founders. It was also the view of the Republicans until 9/11.
Israel has 200 to 300 nuclear missiles, Iran has 0, Israel has a better intelligence agency than the U.S., Iran is still using camels in their military because they don’t have the technology to make enough fuel for themselves. IF Iran could ever buy or build a nuclear weapon and IF they could figure out how to use one, Israel would stop it and would have the capability to somehow counteract in self-defense. Netanyahu recently testified before the U.S. Congress that Israel can defend herself and does not need the presence of American troops. Paul has said that we should be Israel’s “best friend” and that he would support Israel’s decision to attack Iran or any other threat. We need to realize that our foreign “aid” and military “support” to Israel is not because our corrupt government wants to bless Israel and neither is it because Israel needs or wants our help, but is because big government wants to get bigger – globally! This, of course, is the groundwork that will need to be laid for the war plans of the antichrist, but we are fools to fall for it today since we have a choice!
3. Social Issues – There is also a lot of hype floating around that portrays Ron Paul as wanting to legalize marijuana, prostitution and underage drinking. Ron Paul has said that using drugs is a terrible thing; he has never endorsed the recreational use of marijuana and he does not endorse prostitution or underage drinking. He does not, however, give the popular or standard answer on these issues publicly, he doesn’t say what the misinformed masses want him to say on these issues and we don’t hear from him what the other candidates are saying because he understands the role of the federal government. These are STATE issues that should be decided at a state level (as a national form of check and balance) as covered under the 10th Amendment and not authorized for the Federal government to make under Article I, Section 8. The purpose of the federal government is to protect the states (that’s why we are united) so that the STATES can legislate how they so please. Things are more controllable on a local level (state level) and therefore the threat of abuse of the rule of law is less. It is not the federal government’s job to protect us from ourselves by making wrong choices harder to make. Where will that line of thinking end?
Anytime the FEDERAL government gets involved in issues that should be settled by the states they mess everything up. For example, prohibition was a federal action, it didn’t work, it backfired and it was repealed. The foundational question that must be answered today is “What is the role of government?” Is it the role of government to legislate Biblical morality? Without pulling inapplicable verses out of context about the Old Testament theocracy of Israel, can you tell me where Scriptures teach, for the New Testament age of grace, conscience and human government, that the role of civil government is to legislate Biblical morality? It does not. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth and government is supposed to be a limited, compact-restricted entity designed to protect – not dictate. Before the Jewish theocracy, we see civil government ordained in Genesis 9 with the sole purpose of protection. The Bible teaches limited government. After the Old Testament dispensation was over we see civil government referred to in Romans 13 as being ordained to enforce the second table of the law only. The New Testament teaches limited government as well. Limited government is not some bumper-sticker statement used as campaign fodder. It is the way the Bible teaches that government should be!
The book of Daniel, men like Thomas Jefferson and the persecuted Baptists of Colonial America referred to government as a beast. This beast has a purpose: protection (picture a guard dog). Thomas Jefferson taught that the beast needs to be controlled by “we the people” by being chained down with the chains of the Constitution – not the other way around. When we start giving more to that beast than what it is supposed to have by handing over our authority, our liberties and creating more regulations and laws, it gets bigger and bigger (big government) to the point where it gets so big that “we the people” can no longer control it and it will eat us alive. It hurts small businesses (EPA), it violates our privacy (TSA, Patriot Act, FEMA), it attempts to silence our pulpits (IRS) and it threatens our families (DHS). For instance: the 2nd Amendment was not just given so that we could own guns but was given so that “we the people” could start militias to keep the government in check so that if the government overstepped her boundaries, then “we the people” could step in and reestablish our government (as clearly explained in the Declaration of Independence). That sounds crazy to us today, but it is true and it only sounds crazy because we are brainwashed into practicing big government, we are unscripturally being taught that civil disobedience is always wrong and have the industrial military complex mindset that law enforcement and our military can do no wrong – ever. But now with unconstitutional policies such as the Patriot Act (which should really be called the “destruction of the 4th Amendment act”) and increasing anti-gun legislation (like permits for our 2nd Amendment RIGHT) “we the people” could never do what the 2nd Amendment would allow us to do because the beast of protection is too big! Now we have the mentality that the government is there to control us instead of “we the people” controlling the government so that it can do its limited job of protection (not tell us how to live). More laws, more regulations and bigger government are not the answers to today’s problems.
While some are concerned about where and how far the liberty and freedom principles of Ron Paul would lead us I AM MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE MENTALITY THAT WE HAVE TO RESTRICT AND POLICE PEOPLE’S LIBERTY, AND WHERE THAT WILL LEAD US! Once we start, where does it stop? I would rather have too much liberty than restricted liberty. I would rather have freedom than communism. Homosexuality, substance abuse and fornication are not GOVERNMENT issues, they are GOSPEL issues. It is true that ‘righteousness exalteth a nation’ but it’s the job of the churches to convert people so they can live righteously and it’s not the government’s job to legislate Biblical morality. The blame for these issues does not fall on government, the blame falls on our churches. Our churches have failed and therefore we have shifted the blame to our government and have tried to legislate morality to make up for our slack.
4. His Faith – While I understand that Ron Paul is not an independent Baptist, I do believe he is a born-again child of God. From his statement of faith, Ron Paul says, “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate.” He then goes on to say WHY we don’t often hear about his faith. “My faith is a deeply private issue to me, and I don’t speak on it in great detail during my speeches because I want to avoid any appearance of exploiting it for political gain.” To understand this statement historically, consider John Leland, the Baptist preacher, patriot, Christian statesman and author of our First Amendment, when he said, “Guard against those men who make a great noise about religion, in choosing representatives. It is electioneering. If they knew the nature and worth of religion, they would not debauch it to such shameful purposes. If pure religion is the criterion to denominate candidates, those who make a noise about it must be rejected; for their wrangle about it, proves that they are void OF IT. Let honesty, talents and quick dispatch, characterize the men of your choice. Such men will have a sympathy with their constituents, and will be willing to come to the light, that their deeds may be examined.” In regards to the evangelical vote, it seems like any presidential hopeful with an ‘R’ in front of their name can get up and pray or say something about Jesus Christ and every Christian in America is ready to vote for that person. A relative of mine who has been a lifelong resident of Texas recently said about his governor, “Why has he waited to talk about God now?”
5. Electability – I used to think that Ron Paul was a little far out there, but I thought that because that is what I was always told. In the last presidential election I caucused for Huckabee, and how disappointing it is to see what he has now become. It is frustrating for me to hear media and paid “political analysts” say that Ron Paul is not electable. Look at the polls! What is funny is that the same people who were saying that about Ron Paul when he was in the single digits are not saying the same thing about those who have NOW sunk to the single digits. Hitler believed and practiced the idea that if you tell a lie loud enough and long enough, people will begin to believe it. The media, both left and right, have been saying that Ron Paul is not electable. They have been telling this lie long enough and loud enough that people started to believe it. Thankfully there are some who don’t depend on CNN, FOX or MSNBC for their information. FOX can say that they are “fair and balanced” all they want (remember Hitler?) but at the end of the day, Rupert Murdoch is still in the media business for the money. Our current big-government, unconstitutional foreign policy is a huge money maker for corporations, including the media, which is why Ron Paul’s views are not popular with the media – both the left and the right. Any perceived lack of electability for Ron Paul is not due to his views but is because of a nation that depends on the media for their thoughts and is out of touch with the principles that this nation was founded upon and those surrounding circumstances. The votes decide if a candidate is electable, not the media.
My final plea is this: We need a candidate that has a proven track record of respect for and adherence to our Constitution. You will never have to guess where Ron Paul will stand because he understands that the Constitution, not the personal or wavering opinion of a politician, holds the principles that our founders intended for us to govern our republic with. The best way to describe Ron Paul is culminated in three basic principles: limited government, states’ rights and the Constitution. Those are just bumper-sticker statements today used as campaign props and slogans, but Paul was serving by these principles while the others weren’t even talking about our Constitution. Paul was constitutional before being constitutional was cool. This is why he doesn’t flip-flop, why he doesn’t have liberal baggage, why he doesn’t conform to different audiences to say what they want to hear and why he is very different from all the candidates. He has a 30 year track record to prove his limited, constitutional government stand! Being a student of Baptist history, American history and their connection, I am totally convinced that our founding fathers and Baptist forefathers would vote for Ron Paul. I am excited about the fact that the principles of Ron Paul are louder than they have ever been before. The candidates are now beginning to talk about issues that the “crazy old doctor” has been preaching about for 3 decades. It’s time that Baptist people start thinking instead of letting someone else do their thinking for them. I hope that the fear of what others may think if you vote for Ron Paul will not hinder you from voting for Ron Paul on January 3rd.

Joshua S. Davenport

Monday, December 19, 2011


I have always loved Christmas. As a child, I couldn't wait until Christmas would finally arrive. Our family tradition was to go over to my Grandpa Burke's on Christmas Eve and then our house on Christmas Day. There at my Grandpa Burke's, all of my dad's brothers and sisters would gather with their children (my cousins), and we would eat a big meal and then gather in the living room. None of us kids ever ate much at those meals, we were too excited about the gifts!
Someone would be designated as the gift 'passer-out-er,' and soon we would hear "To......Jason! From Papa and Mama." We would sit and and enjoy watching Jason open his gift, only because we knew our name was soon to come. Mama would always get her clock each year, as she loved collecting them. Papa would get a new tool, usually a hat, and something else he'd probably never use. One of my dad's siblings would get a 'gag' gift from their siblings (most of which I still will not talk about).
FINALLY, I would hear "To...Travis! From Mama and Papa." Oh the anticipation, oh the joy, oh the excitement of opening that gift! I remember getting a Fonzie Radio one year, a pool stick another, and lots of cars and trucks and such.
Eventually, the last present was opened, the last scrap of wrapping paper was picked up, and we were heading out to the car with a big black trash bag containing our gifts.
Now for our family (my parents and sisters), we were scheduled to open gifts on Christmas morning, but my dad (when it comes to Christmas) is a softy. By the time we would drive from Trotwood back to West Carrolton here in Ohio, we had him convinced to let us go ahead and "open just one present."
That one would end up being two, then three and then eventually all of the gifts. Each gift would be opened after the objection of mom. I can still hear her, "Wayne Lee, there won't be nothing left for in the morning!" And, there never was; but that was fine by us. It was perfect just like that.
Christmas morning was for playing with the new toys and enjoying the bounty! Dad would always read to us Luke chapter 2, and some how mom usually had a last present hid some where to unwrap (she knew what would happen too).
There we would sit in our PJ's listening to the Christmas story smelling mom's breakfast casserole cooking. Dad would pray, thanking God for His blessings, but especially for Jesus.
Well, here we are and now I'm the dad. On Christmas Eve we go over to Stacey's parents, and Christmas Day is spent at home. Now, I'm not a softy like dad when it comes to Christmas presents, I'm as hard nosed as they come-you will wait till Christmas morning! Dad...well, we still have to keep the presents away from him or he would be giving them out 2 weeks early.
On Christmas morning, I'm still the first one up. I love heating the living room, lighting the tree, and situating each present just perfect around the tree. Then I wait...and wait...and cough real loud...and let the dog out loudly...and amazingly the kids wake up soon after. We gather around and I read Luke 2. While I read, Stacey usually has some breakfast in the oven warming up. The kids are anxiously listening to the Scripture. We pray and thank God for His blessings, but most importantly for His Son and our salvation.
The kids then open up the gifts while Stacey and I will catch each other's eye through out it all, so thankful for our children and our family. The rest of the day will be filled with playing that new game, assembly of some sort, and laughs...lots and lots of laughs.
But, it's not over, because the day after Christmas we go to Papa Joeys (my parent's house). Remind me later to explain Papa Joey's name. We will gather at Papa Joey's around 9 or 10. Papa Joey will already be crying in gratitude for his family. The children will be counting their gifts. Rachel will figure out which gift is her make up set, I will find out which one is my chocolate peanuts, and Chrystal will be posting pictures on facebook.
After being there 11 seconds, dad will say, "Well,let's open presents!" After 30 seconds of cheers and jumping up and down by the grandkids, one of us be designated "present-passer-out-er." Papa Joey will read Luke 2 and give thanks for the blessings of the Lord and especially His Son-our Saviour. Soon you will hear "To.....Alex from Mama and Papa Joey!" The children will all watch with anticipation for their name to be next. One of the babies will cry wondering why they haven't gotten a gift yet. Mom will watch with a giant smile on her face sipping coffee. Dad, he will still be crying.
Finally, the last present will be opened, the last scrap of wrapping paper will be picked up, and after some games and the kids playing with their new toys together, everyone will load up the bounty in big black trash bags and head home.

I write all this to explain Christmas. There is no Scriptural mandate to celebrate the birth of Christ. He was not born on December 25th. I'm not worshipping a tree. We will have church-both services-when Christmas falls on a Sunday. I'm not a pagan, nor do I really think this holiday was ordained by God.
But, Prov. 10:7 says, "The memory of the just is blessed:" God wants our families to be happy, a haven from the world, and a heritage to pass down. Part of that heritage are blessed memories. I don't know how many Christmas' we will have with Papa Joey and Papa Napier. Some day, my children will have Christmas at their own house with their family. But, I can't wait to hear about how they all read Luke 2, carried out presents in big black trash bags, talked a papa into giving an early present, and...well, you get the picture.

Christmas as a holiday isn't Scriptural...neither is July 4th, neither is Memorial Day, neither is Thanksgiving Day; but they can be used to practice Biblical principals. I choose to use Christmas as an open door to witness, and a time to make blessed memories with my family. I'll be enjoying this week like few others in the year...I'll be securing the heart of my children...I'll be making memories that are blessed and to be passed down...I'll be using it as a time to teach my children about the Saviour...I'll cry in rejoicing in God's blessings. How about you?

Church Christmas Songs V

Pastor, the Hard Nosed Preacher (Tune of Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer)

There’s Rick Warren, and B. Graham,
Paul Couch and Ken Copeland,
Joyce Meyer and down south
Old Smiley Joel Olstein
But do you recall, the most
Hard nosed preacher of all….

Pastor our hard nosed preacher
He won’t let us do a thing;
And if you go and ask him
Country music you can’t sing.
Most of the other preachers
Wouldn’t dare and name a name;
Except for our hard nosed preacher
He’ll call you out-He’s not playing games.

Then one business meeting night
We began to say:
“Preacher with your nose so hard
Can we drop our high standards?”
Then how the preacher went off
And he shouted out with glee,
“We’ll never never do that
For the love of Christ Constraineth ME!”

That old preacher wouldn’t budge
He preached and held the line.
And some day when we see the Lord
We’ll rejoice we didn’t compromise!
So if you have a preacher
Who is known around for his hard nose;
Go tell him how you are thankful
But be sure…
To be….
In mo---dest----

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Church Songs IV

Let Us Go, Let Us Go, Let Us Go (To Tune of 'Let It Snow, Let It Snow')

Well, we spend our whole life at church
And we miss our favorite shows
We wish someone they would hear,
“Let us go, let us go, let us go.”

The preacher shows no signs of stopping
And the ‘amens’ they keep a popping,
The sermon drags on so slow,
Let us go, let us go, let us go!

When we finally close in prayer,
How I’ll hate driving out in the night,
If we didn’t have to sing every verse
I might would have time to eat right.

Between bus, Sunday school, and choir,
And fellowship some people’s desire,
It’s as if we have no place to go,
Let us go! Let us go! Let us Go!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Church Christmas Songs III

Grandma Got Ig-nored by the Preacher (Tune of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer)

*Grandma got ignored by the preacher,
Walking out of church one Sunday eve.
You can say there’s no such thing as Satan,
But as for me and our church, we believe.

She had woke that Sunday morning;
Drove to the church into the lot,
Just to find that a visitor
Had the nerve to park right in her spot.

After parking in the back lot
And tripping over two loose stones
She was greeted by the doorman
Who’d just passed out the last bulletin.

She huffed and loudly grumbled
As the door she went through;
Dodged three running children
Only to find that visitor in her pew!

Well the service FINALLY started
One whole minute passed eleven,
And she had to stay up standing
All four verses of “When We All-Get to Heaven.”

Well the thermostat was too cold
And the sermon way to long,
Time she got to leave Bob Evans
There was no time to go back to her home.

She endured the evening service
Back in her back pew she did sit,
With door traffic and crying babies
The sermon she couldn’t hear worth a lick.

After 100 verses of invitation
She headed out the back doors;
But the preacher was with a weeping member
And once again she’d go home all ignored!

Well the Devil he did chuckle
As she left so miserable
“All they want is my money!”
As she slammed the pedal to the floor!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Church Christmas Songs II

Old Hard Heart is Looking Around (to the tune "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town)

Oh You better watch out,
You better not cry
Don’t praise the Lord,
I’m telling you why…
Old Hard Heart is Looking Around

He’s making a list
He’s checking it twice
Gonna label you as Charasmatic tonight
Old Hard Heart is Looking Around

He sees when you’re convicted
And hears all your “Amens”
And he can’t believe the gall you have
To dare and lift your hands!

Oh You better watch out,
You better not cry
Don’t praise the Lord,
I’m telling you why…
Old Hard Heart is Looking Around

He’s making a list
He’s checking it twice
Gonna gossip and slander
Your name tonight
Old Heart heart is looking around

He remembers when he had joy
When his eyes were on the Lord.
When serving God was His delight
But now it’s all a chore!

Oh You better watch out,
You better not cry
Don’t praise the Lord,
I’m telling you why…
Old Hard Heart is Looking Around

He’s making a list
He’s checking it twice
You’re zeal for the Lord crossed the line tonight
Old Hard Heart is Looking Around!

Don’t sing above a whisper
Or you are showing off,
Don’t testify of His love
Or He’ll be sure to scoff!

Oh You better watch out,
You better not cry
Don’t praise the Lord,
I’m telling you why…
Old Hard Heart is Looking Around

He’s making a list
He’s checking it twice
He’s praying that soon you’ll see the light
Old Hard Heart is Looking Around

My friend don’t be ashamed
To stop and praise the Lord,
And maybe old hard heart will see
What life’s worth living for!

Oh You better watch out,
You better not cry
Don’t praise the Lord,
I’m telling you why…
Old Hard Heart is Looking Around

He’s making a list
He’s checking it twice
Hopef’ly revival for him’s in sight
Old Hard Heart is Looking Around!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Church Songs

On a lighter note this week: we will have some fun. I have written for our Christmas banquet some new songs which will be 'released' Friday live and in color! The songs will be sung by myself and Bro. Mullis. Here is the First one for your viewing pleasure:

Clarence The Usher (Tune Frosty the Snow Man)

Clarence the Usher
In his blue suit and red tie
Joined the ushers there on the front pew
To receive the weekly tithe.
While Rene played the music
Down the aisle they did trod
And tight wads in the soft, blue pews
Refused to give to God.

They said they had no money
just as poor as they could be,
They could not tithe their income
Because they bought a Christmas tree.
When it comes now to giving
They are as meek as little lamb
They can’t wait until the final verse
Of the song “Just As I Am.”

***Don’t Grump-e-ty Grump, Grump
Grump-e-ty Grump, grump
Watch the tithers Go.
Don’t Grumpety Grump Grump
Grumpety Grump Grump
As we give and grow!

Tithing is Scriptural
A blessed blessed thought
How Heaven’s windows open up
To give all God hath wrought.
To Receive His favor
Is the same as long ago
God’s children know if we serve him so
He’ll be Faithful to His Own.

So When Clarence and the ushers
Walk there by your pew
Don’t forget God’s promises
They are good for you.
Oh Tithing is Scriptural, as Abraham did see
And Christians say we can joyfully give
Just the same as He!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday 2011-It Still Hurts

It's 9:30 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and I just received a text from a young man in Wichita, Kansas that I hardly ever talk to that read, "So did you go out early this morning and catch the deals? I can imagine you had fun with your sisters? Isn't that your tradition?" My answer would have to be yes, yes, and yes!
Our annual Friday extravaganza has become quite popular amongst our small circle of acquaintances.
This past year at a home schooling convention my sister attended, she came across Dr. Jeff Voegtlin from Fairhaven Baptist. She ask him if he knew who she was, to which he responded, "Oh, I know you, you are Travis Burke's sister. I know you from his Black Friday blogs!" (of course she attended the college there as well, but her time there must not have been to memorable).
Throughout the night, I received over 100 texts or tweets asking for updates and stories from the night. It was a new adventure to integrate Twitter this year as we gallivanted across South West Ohio.
So, here I am, on Friday morning, reminiscing about the past 16 we go...
We met this year at my parent's house at 6:15 p.m. Chrystal met us there because she would have to take our sister Rachel and her son to the doctor Friday morning early, and her house is much farther away. Sadly, this early morning appointment kept Rachel from joining us this year, but for the second consecutive year, my beautiful wife joined us! (I think because she knew we wouldn't be out as late). So, with smiles on our faces, we bundled up and headed out!
Now, one may ask, why do we do this? The simple answer for us is, "Family Tradition." We weren't after any 'big ticket item.' We could care less what position we had in line. We just go to be with each other and enjoy one of the greatest, funnest nights of our year.
So, keeping with tradition, our first stop was White Castle! This again, would come back to haunt us, and those immediately behind us in line. After ordering some steamy sliders and iced teas, we headed off towards our first destination...Toys R Us.
Now this year, the stores opened up even earlier (which I was not a big fan of). Toys R Us would open at 9 p.m. We arrived around 7 p.m. Most gloriously, there was an open parking place near the front! I didn't expect such an ideal parking spot to be open and nearly passed it up. Quickly, I put the car in reverse and headed back to the spot. Unfortunately, there was an SUV backing out in my blind spot to my left. After a few screams and some quick brakes, we found ourselves unscratched. The man in the SUV exited his car and "Wished me a Merry Christmas." We then made our way to the line, which was by now half way around the building.
Soon, we found ourselves in our fist line of the night. It was cold, but not as cold as previous years. I was dressed in my jeans and a warm sweat shirt with a hood (I hate the term 'hoodie' and refuse to use it), Stacey was dressed warmly, as was Chrystal. Chrystal though, didn't wear a jacket, but instead a black cloak. Her purse was the style that could also be worn as a backpack (coincidentally, a 10 year old girl in line in front of us, Rachel, had the same purse) When Chrystal put her cloak on, her back pack made quite the 'hump' on her back. The three of us eerily resembled characters of one Victor Hugo. I would could have been archdeacon Claude Frollo, Stacey the beautiful La Esmerelda, and Chrystal the hunch back Quasimodo. I only wish there was audio I could share of Chrystal's many failed attempts to sound like Quasimodo (at least her interpretation of it). Needless to say, all around us were in tears laughing.
Chrystal then turned her back to us as the line took a few steps forward. Now between her black cloak, black sweat shirt with a hood, black skirt, and black gloves...well...let's just say Stacey said, "Chrystal, you look like a black jelly bean!" The folks around us loved it and for the remainder of our time in line, addressed Chrystal as "Jelly Bean." She then tightened the hood of her sweat shirt with a hood, which gripped tightly her head. Now with the cloak, 'hump' from the kids back pack purse, and hood, someone suggested she looked like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Chrystal quickly took the name Donatello for no apparent reason and she was yet another character. She then did her best TMNT impersonation (which her being a ninja is, well, you can imagine). But her being compared to characters was not yet over.
Stacey then added a new character when she said, "Actually, with your cloak, you look more like Ursula from Little Mermaid." Now, I didn't really see this comparison (Something about the cloak's threads looking like tentacles and well, the rest...), but the funniest thing was Chrystal trying to impersonate Ursula. She sort of danced and waived her arms and head as if under water, with a scowl on her face. Oh how I wish I had a picture of that! Our feet were hurting from standing in line, but the night was so much fun!
From somewhere, Chrystal pulled out a bright green blow pop and began licking and sucking it. The little girl in front of us, Rachel, was eyeing Chrystal. Chrystal then took the salivated over sucker out of her mouth and pushed it to the face of little Rachel. She then began interviewing Rachel about Black Friday using the blow pop as a microphone. Rachel kept taking steps backwards and eventually stood behind her grandma staring wide eyed at the crazy hunchbacked lady, turtle, tentacled..."Jelly Bean" she said. "You do look like a Jelly Bean!" From that point on, Chrystal had a friend. Together they sang and joked with each other for the remainder of our time in line. However, "Rachel" was not Chrystal's last person to be interviewed with the green sucker. We stood shivering together when we noticed a man walking towards the back of the line dressed in a short sleeve shirt and bright red shorts. Chrystal commented, "Why on earth would someone wear shorts to stand in the freezing cold?" I knew exactly how to find out. I encouraged her to go ask him! With interviewing sucker/microphone in hand, she headed straight towards him. "Welcome to Toys R Us. Can I ask you a simple question? Why did you decide to wear shorts on this cold November night?" To the which he replied, "Hi! My name is Michael Taylor, and I am never cold." He quickly moved on, but to this very moment, I am certain we met at least one liar last night!
Speaking of Chrystal's new friends, we all made a new friend in the lady behind us. Her name is April (actually, it's April Angel-she loves her name). April had thoroughly enjoyed being with us in line. We had shared stories of past Black Fridays with her, she helped make fun-I mean designate Chrystal as different characters, and couldn't believe how much she laughed and how quickly time passed. She even, in line, found and added Chrystal as her 'friend' on facebook. In all seriousness, pray for April as we invited her to church and shared a witness with her. April couldn't believe how much fun you could have and "not be bad." April at times said she was about to 'wet' herself from laughing so much. Before we knew it, it was five till nine and the doors were about to open.
April stopped us and said, "Guys, I just want to thank you for giving me the best night ever." She paused, we all were silent...for an awkwardly long time...she was tearing up. We weren't sure what to say. She then ask for a group hug (which we did 'air hug' style). We entered the store and purchased a few items and while we were in line paying, here came April! She was finished making her purchases, but came and found us to again thank us for a wonderful night of laughs. We all shared one more chuckle.
Speaking of paying for our items. One item we picked up which we thought was $14.97. When it rang up, it displayed $69.99. WHOA! "Uh, we will not purchase that one" we quickly rang out. "No problem," the lady said and we finished checking out. When we got to the car, we headed towards Walmart. While we were driving, Chrystal was separating on the receipt whose was what when she yelled out "Stop the car! She didn't take off the $69.99!" It's true, she hadn't, so we went back to Toys R Us. Now you must understand, they were only letting in 100 at a time into Toys R Us, and the line was still wrapped around the building. This would be a challenge...who would handle this? Me, I'm the kinda guy that would be fine with whatever they told me and I'd come back when convenient as I didn't want to deal with the hastle of fighting to get back into the store. Chrystal, she would have asked, but taken "no" as the answer and would have returned later and dealt with it. Stacey, she is as frugal as it gets and was not leaving until she had $69.99 in her hand-and an apology. We let Stacey handle it, and within 10 minutes she was cut in line, back in store, and heading out with the money! I love that lady!
I then got a text from Bro. Webster at church. He warned me to stay clear of Walmart, and after hearing other people's stories-I'm glad I did! We then headed to target! When we arrived, the line was already formed for the midnight opening time. Stacey and Chrystal dropped me off and went to a UDF gas station to use the potty. When they got there, the line for the ladies room was longer than the line at Target. So, they walked past all the ladies and WENT INTO THE MEN'S ROOM! They had asked and it was empty, so they marched in and locked the door and ...well never mind. Upon exiting, all the other ladies in line did the this very day, I don't think a man has been able to use that restroom...desecrated!
Anyways, soon they found me in line at Target! We would have an hour and a half wait. By now our feet were hurting! It had been a long day. The man behind me in line (who some how ended up in front of me-still bitter) was from Louisville, Kentucky. He and I began to chat about life and shoppers and the stupidity of being out...yet great fun of it all! When we told him about our Toys R Us stories, we also told him about Chrystal being a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Before we could go any further, he said, "You'd make a great Donatello!" Amazing isn't it?
It was then my sister got a text from a lady from our church. She was describing us, repeating our words, and obviously was near by! We searched and searched, but couldn't find her. Finally, Chrystal spotted her-it was Kim Byrd! We some how was able to squeeze her up in line with us (which may explain the Louisville guy's changing of positions). It was good to have another friend! Kim was after an ipod and would get it! We shared with Kim and all around us the stories from Toys R Us, Chrystal tried imitating all her characters again, and soon all those around us were laughing with us. It was getting cold and foggy. Stacey asked if it always got foggy on Black Friday. We told her "Yeah, every year. It's so odd. Haven't you heard of the Black Friday Fog?" I think she still thinks its true. Our hands were getting numb from coldness, when all of a sudden another couple from church was heading our way.
Chris and Shannon were married this last May. Chris loves 'making a buck,' and that is exactly what he was trying to do. He was selling Hot Snapz reusable hand warmers. He had given me a couple a few weeks ago, and I was using them already. They are great by the way and should you want one for $5, let me know! He was walking up and down lines and selling them to freezing people. We helped advertise for him and before you knew it he had sold many of them. They couldn't stay long as there were more lines to take advantage of.
Finally the doors opened and we were dashing into target. Police had to be called to barricade all the 'cheaters' who stayed in their cars from cutting in line. The guy from Louisville in front of me was getting angry. I did my best to get him more upset at those people and he eventually left his place in line to go yell at them. LOVED IT!
Target was packed! There was barely time to stop and talk to anyone, but Chrystal did hear a little voice call out, "Hey, look, mom! It's the big Jelly Bean!" It was our little friend Rachel from the Toys R Us line! People kept asking, "What are you after?" To which I always replied, "Memories." We picked up a few items and headed towards Kohls.
Kohls had been opened for over an hour and we really didn't need that much. We waited on a good parking spot and watched a lady waddle to her car. We were getting winded, but still laughing.On our way up to the door,I looked up and gasped. I quickly looked at Chrystal and said, "Did you just see that?" I could tell by the look on her face that she had seen what I had seen...a shooting star directly over the top of Kohl's. It confirmed what we already knew..this night was truly magical!(And that Stacey was already mostly asleep, because she missed it!) We shopped for only about 15 minutes, but waited in line over an hour just to check out. We texted Jordan Wilson while in line. He always had joined us for this adventure, but he got married this year and had to go to Michigan to see his inlaws (much sarcasm here). We forgave him upon the promise that next year he and Kristina would join us!
We got into the car and headed home. Well, honestly, we BARELY got into the car. I had to ask Chrystal if she was still back there, because she could not be seen for all the bags and boxes. Chrystal would sleep a few hours before the doctors appointment and Stacey and I would do the same before having to get up early and put the turkey in. Friday is our Burke Thanksgiving Day and this year Stacey and I are hosting.
Our feet hurt, our hands hurt, our pocket books were a little hurt...but nothing hurt like our face. We had laughed so much that our faces hurt! Now, it's Friday, and my family just walked into the house. My feet are better, my hands are better, my wallet will rebound, but my still hurts! And I love it!
"The sad part guys," Chrystal said, "is it's over and we have 365 days to go until next year."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

HARDECKER: Disciplines for New Believers (paperback)

HARDECKER: Disciplines for New Believers (paperback): " Disciplines for New Believers " ($5.00 + s&h) is now available in the paperback format besides the Kindle format.  If you would like to purchase a copy of this discipleship book, contact Pastor Hardecker at "hardecker-at-google-dot-com" please include your name, address and qty. You can click on the link above or contact me and I will give you further instructions. I have begun reading this book, and it is excellent!

Monday, November 14, 2011

"A Lot of Flavors Out There"

Recently a visitor from out of town stopped in to our church. That visitor was sharing his testimony with me how that he was saved many years ago, but was not a Baptist at that time. He shared how that through studying the Bible, he realized that it is the Baptists who traditionaly have stayed closest to the Word of God. As a result, he had recently been baptized and had become a Baptist. He shared with me that while searching for a church, he quickly learned that "there are a lot of flavors out there of churches called 'Baptist.'" My response was, "Sadly, yes."
I believe the Bible teaches the autonomy of the local church. There are no examples in Scripture of a board, convention, or fellowship ruling over a local church. Our Lord even gave us the highest level of authority here on earth in His teaching on discipline. The highest level of authority found in Matthew 18 is when we "tell it to the church."
While the Bible does teach that we are to warn others of false teachers and prophets, one must never over step his bounds in doing this. While we may not agree with the faith and/or practice of another church, it still is not our business what other churches have decided for themselves. The problem is: FUNDAMENTALISM. Let me explain:
You see, it was an idea of the old Fundamentalist to start colleges to train their young men in the fundamentals. These colleges gather our nation's young men and ladies training for the ministry. Most of these colleges have already slidden into error or at least what another 'Fundamental Baptist' has decided is error. That man must now warn all the churches and families sending their young people out to be trained about the errors of these pastors/churches that are doing the training. We are left with our modern day 'Fundamentalist' colleges that are training the majority of our future pastors across this nation. Each young person now has been taught to defend 'the mother'...I mean college they attended, and 'camps' are formed (ie. Hyles, Crown, West Coast, Fairhaven, PCC, BJU, and the list goes on and on).
Should someone warn about the errors that arise when these institutions 'influencing so many people' start practicing such? Well, the problem is that this all the fruit of the problem. The problem is that we swallowed the fundamentalist way of thinking and need to get back to a more Biblical stance...that of local churches and pastors training their own. Only in the local church will there ever be true Biblical unity!
If we would just go back to a Biblical methodology in training future pastors and missionaries, well, exposing error would be as it is exampled in the Bible...done within the local church.
So what about all those flavors? Can I fellowship with them? I believe in ecclesiastical separation. There are some churches that our church cannot fellowship with. I believe there ought to be no church that I am not willing to sit down with their pastor and share what I believe, but should these differences be judged as a possible detriment to my church, I cannot fellowship with that.
That doesn't mean that other church is not a 'church.' That is all God's business. That's why the Lord 'sets the members as it pleases Him' (1 Cor. 12). There will be differences from church to church, and many of these differences should be seen as just that-differences of opinion. Examples of such are whether you want to use mission boards, microphones, special singers, or a projector. You may want to have circus day at church, I choose not to. So what?!
True fellowship is the ability to sit down with someone from that other church and discuss these things without getting angry or having to ignore 'issues' to preserve unity. BLAH!
Now there are some things that are beyond opinion and there is no give and take there. Such things as salvation by grace through faith, modern perversions of Scripture, charismatic movement and 'gifts', polygamy, etc.
So we are left with the result of a lot of flavors out there. Some Baptist have super standards, some lack them all together. Some Baptist use canned music, others do not. Some Baptist use screens and projectors, others don't. Some have 45 minutes of special singing, some have none. Some have zoo Sundays, some don't run busses. Some pray for an hour at prayer meeting, some 10 minutes. Some have all men praying aloud during prayer time, others have one person lead in prayer, while others have quiet individual prayer time.
Point is, we are spending way too much time trying to figure out and appease our false premise of 'having to fellowship' with other churches. I don't believe in isololating ourselves, as in Scripture churches helped each other and fellowshipped. But these things were natural that like minded churches will always do. Just be sure you are where God wants you-and that will only be in a place that is Biblical. Have a walk with the Lord and an ear for the Lord. Be faithful and let God bless!
Who can you fellowship with? For most, it just depends on what flavor they like.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Yes, this really happened to me in the ministry.

Being in the ministry is such an adventure!! There is a new blessing around each corner. It has been my intent the last few months to share things that have happened to me that are humorous. I truly believe the Lord wants us to enjoy life and as He said, life more abundantly. In this world today we have too many christians who are discouraged, depressed and defeated. We know from the Word of God that we are already victorious. We need not fear what each day brings since He gave us not the spirit of fear.
Thirty years ago I was the associate pastor and principal of a school in Miami Florida. The church had facilities that were tremendous and covered a city block. Several years before I arrived the church experienced some financial difficulties and since we did not use all the facilities they were forced to rent out a wing of classrooms to a seventh day adventist group. Now I would never had done that myself but that is a subject for another day. One day the first week of the school year I thought I would show myself friendly and go to their school office and introduce myself. I went into the office and there was the principal and several teachers standing around talking. I introduced myself and chatted a few minutes then turned to leave. I opened what I thought was the door I came in and entered. I immediately realized I had walked into the supply closet. I opened the door,, walked back into the office and confidently stated,"Well, I see you have all the supplies you need. Let me know if you need anything." I could hear them laughing as I headed back to my office. Pride is such a terrible thing.
I wish I could say that was all that happened that day but it got worse. We were in the middle of a candy sale for the school. When the adventist classes went to recess I took a box of candy bars to the playground and sold them to their students. It was not long before their principal came to my office. I could tell he was trying to be diplomatic so I asked him what I could do for him. He then proceeded to tell me that it was a problem selling his students candy bars. I had forgotten that they do not believe in eating chocolate. I was to say the least very apologetic.
As I stated before, the ministry is an adventure! I am glad to say that even after that disatrous day I later had the opportunity to share the gospel with the principal and that religion would not get him into Heaven but only by accepting Christ as his Saviour. I may have been embarrased at our first meeting but if we will be friendly and humble the Lord may give us the privilege of telling them of the Friend that sticks closer than a brother. Stay vigilant for every opportunity!

Monday, October 31, 2011


Knowing there are definitely two ditches on both sides, how does one draw a line on who to fellowship with? For that matter, what is fellowship? Do you have to have unity to fellowship? What are the 'fundamentals' for fellowship? Can we really have unity on this earth? What is unity? My brain is starting to hurt. One question always leads to another question. I wish I had all the answers. Let's stop and think about this.
First, what is fellowship? The dictionary describes fellowship as:
the state of sharing mutual interests, experiences, activities;
But, the same dictionary gives a second definition:
communion, as between members of the same church
For a Christian, those are two different definitions. The first is that we are fellowshipping when we share mutual interests, experiences, or activities. The second is if we are members of the same church. A proper Biblical understanding of the the church, suggests that we can only 'fellowship' with our own church according to these definitions. This isn't true!
What is fellowship according to the Bible? Well, its first mention in the New Testament is in Acts 2:42 when those who were saved continued in the apostles doctrine and fellowship. So fellowship here seemed to be amongst those in the same church who had been saved, Scripturally baptized, and were being taught doctrine. 1 Cor. 1:9 says we can have fellowship with Jesus Christ, but 1 John 1:6 says if we walk in darkness we do not have fellowship with Him. 1 Cor. 10:20 reads that we are not to have fellowship with devils, 2 Cor. 6:14 commands we as believers are not to have fellowship with unbelievers, and Eph. 5:11 demands we not only not fellowship with works of darkness, but reprove them. 2 Cor. 8 talks about how the churches of Macedonia fellowshipped in helping minister to the saints. Philippians 2 says if there is to be any 'fellowship of the Spirit,' there must be like-mindedness, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind, seeking the benefit of others; and in context, he is writing to a local church in Ephesus.
So let's review on what fellowship is in the Bible:
1. We can all agree that we are not to fellowship with lost people. (2 Cor. 6:14)
2. Our fellowship should be first and foremost with the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:9) and his sufferings (Philippians 3:10).
3. We know from Acts 2:42 and Philippians 2 that there should be fellowship in the local church.
4. II Corinthians 8 shows us that there can be fellowship among churches, and this fellowship was for the purpose of ministering to the saints.
5. Works of darkness should not be fellowshipped with, but reproved (Eph. 5:11).

Simple, right? Let's see an example of this in action! Aren't you glad the Word of God is the only source and authority we need? AMEN?!

In Galatians 2, Paul is referring to the events of Acts 15 when the church at Jerusalem was dealing with legalism. True legalism is when it is preached and held to that a keeping of some 'law' will provide salvation. In this case in Acts, there were Jewish legalists who were demanding that converts 'become a Jew' in order to be saved. This was to be displayed by being circumcised. Paul, Barnabus, and Titus (who would be exhibit A as he was a convert who was not circumcised) were sent from the church at Antioch to speak to them about this. When they arrived, they first met with the church elders (James, Cephas, and John) who "gave to them the right hands of fellowship." They recognized the truth that salvation was by grace and not of works and that Paul's ministry, though different than theirs, was of God and the Gospel was the same. This led to a fellowship amongst them. Later, Peter came up to the church at Antioch to fellowship with them. There were some men who came who were associated with James. This James obviously held to the side of the Jewish legalists. When Peter saw them, he quit fellowshipping with the Gentiles. Paul "withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed."
Here are two men, two churches, in fellowship; but error WAS NOT IGNORED. Peter's withdrawal was causing a church split (Gal. 2:13). Even Barnabus was being pulled away from Truth. A public debate began, and from the facts that Peter goes on to accomplish what the Lord allowed Him to do, Peter got right that day and the church was united and strengthened.

Today, amongst Baptist, there is a big push to 'fellowship.' Pastors know how to use Scriptures to show the need for fellowship, they endorse the benefits of fellowship, but mostly ignore the foundation for fellowship. It is the contemporary church philosophy of ignoring the 'non-essentials' that is the foundation for most Baptist fellowship today. The falsely practiced general rule for fellowship amongst Baptist today seems to be "lets just encourage one another and never speak about differences we have." There is a fear of division and axe-grinding; which is mostly due to immature pastors who don't know enough Scripture to defend their 'beliefs' or can't defend their carnal ways. We must get back to a Biblical foundation for fellowship.

A Biblical foundation for fellowship is this: We cannot fellowship with unbelievers. Evil communication will always corrupt good manners. Our error in our basis for fellowship today (in not exposing and debating error) has drifted into our soul winning as well. This is why too many do not preach an offensive Gospel that shows the lost they are sinners. Our churches become adapted to carnality and the lost feel 'right at home' in many churches. We cannot fellowship with unbelievers. The local church should be the main source of fellowship. We need the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in our local churches, and this fellowship is to be centered on the Lord Jesus Christ. Churches can/should fellowship together around the ministry of the Gospel. This brings honor to the Lord. Here is where we can support other missionaries preaching the Truth of the Gospel from other churches. We can work with other churches in reaching the lost and fellowship together for strength and teaching. This should all result in a more unified, strengthened local church. This fellowship though is based upon Truth and all works of darkness should be publicly debated, not ignored. Pastors should be able, and willing, to discuss differences according to the Bible. When there is gross doctrinal error that is not corrected after a clear presentation of Truth, there can be no fellowship. Of course, the Biblical example is that when spiritual people do things Biblically and spiritually, error is corrected and churches are strengthened.
I know this sounds radical today; but then again, are our churches being strengthened or are they weakening?
What if a pastor will not discuss these matters with another pastor? Then he is ignoring the Biblical pattern and precepts. Can we fellowship with one who walks not in the light of His Word (Ps. 119:105, 130) and therefore is walking in darkness? We may not have to agree (Paul and Barnabus with John Mark), but we do have to at least discuss it. There will never be perfect unity amongst churches, that's part of being autonomous; but there should be unity in the local church.
So, we need to fellowship, but let's fellowship Biblically!

Monday, October 24, 2011

yes, this really happened to me in the ministry

We have in recent months shared some of the more humorous things that have happened to me in the last 45 years in the ministry. Sometimes however instead of happening to me they were instigated by me.
Many years ago I became acquainted with an evangelist who held major belts in martial arts.As I also held belts in martial arts we soon became friends. On one occasion I enlisted his help in a youth meeting. We scheduled the service for a Wednesday night. Too reach as many as possible I was able to schedule special assemblies regarding health and martial arts in several public schools. At the close of each assembly we would invite all the students to the special meeting on Wednesday.
After one such assembly when we finished and returned to the car to travel to the next meeting the evangelist said to me he was so thirsty. I asked if he would like something to drink. He said to me just go through McDonalds and get me an ice cream cone. I pulled in. bought an ice cream for him.
Now I always drive with my arm on the back of the seat. I looked at him eating his ice cream and asked, "How can you eat that? It smells funny." He then raised the ice cream to his nose to smell it. When he did I slapped him in the back of the head and his nose dived into his ice cream. He was so shocked he turned to me , with the cone still on his nose, and said I was the only man he ever met that was brave enough to do that! It was hysterical!
By the way, that Wednesday we had over 900 hundred teenagers at the meeting with over 80 professions of faith. Yes the ministry is exciting and can be full of funny events. However we must never forget the great commission Jesus gave to the church. Many may ask did those 80 plus really get saved? Only the Lord knows that and we will not know until we get to Heaven. That does not though relieve us of the duty to preach the gospel. We must keep in mind that the Bible says "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God."
I appreciate our pastor's recent article on ditches. There are certainly two ditches. After being in hundreds of churches I have seen churches in both ditches. Though it is sad when churches compromise just to get a crowd it is also a tragedy of the hundreds of churches who have not a soul saved in years and years and some have even turned there baptistries into flower pots!!
Thank God for a church and pastor that preaches the whole counsel of God and has a heart for the unsaved. Next time you eat an ice cream cone, share this story and take the opportunity to share the gospel with someone.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Thing About Ditches

While traveling down most roads, you will normally find ditches on either side of that road. These ditches can be a danger to those driving by who get too close. These ditches seem to gather all the run off, and as a result usually are rather foul and nasty. These ditches are not where you want to be if you are trying to get somewhere.
Our Christian life is just a pilgrimage through this world. Matthew 7:14 reads:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Many use this text in the context of salvation, and it is a good application, but the reality is that the context of this verse is that of the Christian life. This verse is part of a lengthy discourse the Lord was using to teach His disciples (Matt. 5:1-2). The proper, God honoring, Christian life is one on a road that is "narrow". On this narrow road, there are ditches on either side.
The ditch on the left is one of modernism. In this ditch has run all those who embrace the 'emerging church', contemporary music, tearing down of standards, preaching of 'essentials' and 'non essentials,' anything goes religion. In this ditch we find the "Elevation Church", "Worship Center", and the like. In this ditch the Word of God is found in many 'translations' or whatever man prefers. In this ditch they have rock concerts at church, never preach against sin, but hand out water bottles to cars driving by. In this church all one has to do to get to Heaven is be a good person (by whose standards? I suppose their own). In this ditch, a little alcohol is not only accepted, but even endorsed. In this ditch, immorality is excused and the grace of God abused. This ditch has seen all the run-offs from the straight and narrow. This ditch has seen it's level grow to large numbers, but it stinks, is dangerous, and will eventually dry out.
It's easy to preach against this ditch-the ditch on the left. Matter fact, you don't normally see too many cars run off into the ditch on the left. Mostly those whose life is spinning out of control end up in that ditch. But, there is another ditch.
The ditch on the right also collects the run-off and can become just as disgusting. The straight and narrow is, well, just that-straight and narrow. It's as narrow as the Word of God. It doesn't matter who you are, you can easily find yourself there when you take your eyes off of where you are heading. Many find themselves in this ditch by 'over correcting.' Now don't get me wrong-right is always right and we need not compromise, but we also had best take heed. Strong preaching is a must, high standards are commanded in Scripture, doctrine is right, the Word of God is just that-His Word and it is found for us English speakers in the KJV-ALONE! Our Bible being King James, our men wearing ties, our ladies wearing dresses, our music being sacred, our hands off policy between boys and girls, our absence from movie theaters, our doctrine, our church polity, our preaching against alcohol; these things don't put us in the ditch on the right, but on the straight and narrow. How can I say this? Because I have Scripture for all these things.
Recently, an "Elevation Church" was started in my town of Blanchester, Ohio. They sent me a post card invitation saying "A Church for those who were dragged to church when they were young...A Church that lets you be you and not what others tell you to be...a church with a comedy hour every weekend...a church where you can dress how you want...etc." The pastor said if I had a question to email him. I did. I emailed him and asked what Scriptures he based all these ideas on? I gave him Scriptures as to why these things ought not to be, and gave him a chance to give me Scriptures defending his views. He wrote back and said he didn't need Scripture, but he was meeting the people's need through these practices. Actually, he is meeting people's lusts through these practices. There is a right and a wrong and just for taking a stand on the Bible and it's teachings doesn't put you in a ditch on the other side. So what does put you in that ditch?
The other ditch, the ditch on the right, is the ditch that where those who 'over correct' normally find themselves. There you will find those who have decided that they have a 'monopoly' on righteousness. There you will find those who won't let you in their church if you ladies don't have a skirt on. There you will find those who will not have a discussion about doctrine with anyone, because they know you 'aren't right.' There you find those who believe that their church is the only 'real church' in the entire state. There you will find those who think that the Bride of Christ is their church-and only their church. There you will find those who think only Baptists are going to Heaven. There you will find a lot of pride and very little teaching. There you will find alot of screaming, but little teaching. There you will find a lot of preaching against gossip, unless it is the 'good pastors' talking about the 'bad ones.' There, the run off is just as stinky and just as dangerous.
Again, may we find ourselves on the straight and narrow. May we have the mind of Christ! In Luke 9, we read about when the Lord and His disciples came to Samaria, but they would not receive Him:
And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

We must not compromise! We must keep preaching against sin and teaching the truths of the Word of God; but we must never forget that if someone had wrote us off as 'evil' and never shown us the truth-where would we be? God has left us here not to destroy and condemn, but to teach, reach, and reconcile people to the Lord and His Word. This duty demands we stay on the straight and narrow, and keep watching out for ditches-on both sides!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Barnabus-An Example of Reconciliation

Recently in my Sunday School class, we have been studying the life of Barnabus. What a unique man in Scripture he is. One of the greatest biographies that has ever been written was written of him in Acts 11:23-24:
Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

What a testimony! Only Heaven will reveal how many were added unto the Lord through the ministry of this saint. The Lord used him in a mighty way-and to God be the glory!
You cannot study the life of Barnabus without realizing what ministry was heavy on his heart, that of restoration. Just think, without Barnabus, there would be no Apostle Paul. The church at Jerusalem was hesitant in accepting Paul (then Saul) because of his history of persecuting the saints. It was Barnabus, in Acts 9:27, who took him, and brought him in, and commended him to them. He was accepted on the testimony of Barnabus. What influence this man had that a church would trust his word over the many lives wrecked that testified against him. Without Barnabus, there may not have been an apostle Paul and therefore not been all the fruit of his ministry.
Then we come to the life of John Mark who had departed from Barnabus and Paul on an earlier missionary trip (Acts 15:36-29). Barnabus was determined to bring John with them on this trip, but Paul refused. The "contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from another..." Who was right, Paul or Barnabus? Well, we know Paul later said this:
Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 2 Tim. 4:11

John Mark was restored to the work of the ministry through Barnabus' ministry of reconciliation. We all need to be more like Barnabus. God has given to us all the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18).
We should be involved in the ministry of reconciliation-which leads me to our next topic. Where is the line between ecclesiastical separation and teaching, warning and correcting, destroying and rebuilding?
In our 'churches' today, we have ditches on both side. Some allow anything and everything and are wrong. Some think they are one of the few people/churches that are right and whom God loves; they ostracize themselves from all other 'inferiors'. They too are wrong. We shall examine these things and how they line up with the ministry of reconciliation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Modern Baptist Movements

Unfortunately, our study of Baptists history forces us to examine conventions, associations, and fellowships started by Baptists. I say this, because the Lord never instructed or commanded there to be such organizations; but established and has taught us only independent autonomous churches. Boards, fellowships, conventions, and associations are the inventions of man, and as a result, are destined to fail. In studying such organizations, one will quickly see the repetitive theme of power, division, and splintering. It would seem man's attempt to 'improve' God's way of missions is a continued reason for the creating of such organizations. Though the motivation is respectable, the means are still wrong. One will find himself much more successful in the Lord's work by accomplishing it the Lord's way. Let us examine briefly the modern Baptist movements after the Revolutionary War, and bring our study of Baptist History to a close. By the early 1800's there were only a few small fellowships such as the Warren Association and Philadelphia Association. These soon were divided into three organizations: the American Baptist Home Mission Society, American Baptist Missionary Union, and the American Baptist Publication Society. An anti-missionary movement began around 1814. It was rooted in Calvinism and led to a withdrawal from such fellowships. This group against fellowships formed a fellowship (ironic, yet still repeated today) and became known as Hardshell Baptist or Primitive Baptist. They were, because of Calvinistic beliefs, against sending missionaries and means of evangelism. Around the same time, a missionary named Adoniram Judson and his wife set sail for Calcutta. There were already Baptist missionaries there which they did not agree doctrinally with, but their long cruise would provide them ample time to prepare to debate them on their beliefs. It was while on this trip in studying the Scriptures to debate the Baptists, that the Scriptures revealed to them that it was them who were in error. Upon arriving in Calcutta, the Judsons were baptized Scripturally and joined with the Baptists. They knew this decision would would not allow the churches supporting them to continue their support. A friend of theirs who also was Scripturally Baptized upon arrival, Luther Rice, was sent back to the states to raise support for the Judsons. This would lead to a man made 'solution' to the Judson's problem, the beginning of the "General Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States for Foreign Missions." The convention would become known as the Triennial Convention because it would meet every three years. It became the main convention for Baptists until the mid 1800's. Of course, around this time our nation was entering her Civil War. The issue of slavery not only was a hot topic for our nation, but amongst Baptist churches as well. An attempt to take a neutral stand on the issue would not succeed. A missionary sent out of a church in Alabama went to the Triennial Convention for 'approval' but was denied because he owned slaves. This upset the churches in the south, and in 1845, the Baptist in the southern states withdrew from the Triennial Convention and formed the Southern Baptist Convention. There were many great men who served our Lord as part of the convention, and a list displayed would be sure to leave off names of men who served our Lord faithfully. One Southern Baptist leader was J.R. Graves. J.R. Graves would serve the Lord as a pastor for nearly 50 years in Kentucky and Tennessee. Bro. Graves began to notice the growing power and influence of the convention and began sounding the alarm. J.R. Graves called for a return to doctrine and the local church and the principles of the Word of God. He taught that the convention threatened the autonomy of the local church. Bro. Graves, and men like him, called for Baptists to return to those principles, or landmarks, of the faith. Thus began the Landmark movement amongst Baptists. Upon its beginning, and true 'Landmarkers' today do not believe in a visible, traceable line of succession from church to church back to Christ, but rather a steadfastness to the principles, or landmarks, of the faith that Christ taught and gave to the church. When the Southern Baptist Convention splintered off from the Triennial Convention, the Triennial Convention changed their name to the American Baptist Missionary Union. The American Baptist, or Northern Baptists Convention, would continue to send many missionaries all across the world. Soon, as with every man made convention, fellowship, or organization, compromise and modernism was slipping in. The Conservative Baptist Association was formed in 1920 within the Northern Baptist Convention to fight this drift. There are many great revivals and men who preached truth during this time period. Contrary to 'fundamentalist' today, there were many Baptist revivals and church plants going on as well. This author would recommend literature by Pastor James Beller on the great Baptist Revivals in our early American history. Associations, conventions, and fellowships continued (and continue) to grow from divisions and splintering. Today's choice of word is not 'convention' but 'fellowship,' Yet, they are mostly the same thing, a man made organization in attempt to improve and help God and His way. They are always destined to destruction. Let us further examine the movements. After the Civil War, a growth in liberalism and modernism began in our nation. Truth was being attacked. This attack was strengthened by the philosophy of Rationalism. Men like Immanuel Kant, G.F. Hegel, and Albrecht Ritschl began tearing down the Bible and Truth. These men's influence spread from Germany to America and American Liberalism was born. A call to compromise, no Absolutes, love every one and everything, and no authorities! The work of Charles Darwin further flamed the errors. Sin became more prevalent and indulged in. Battle lines were drawn, and a new movement began. This movement is called 'Fundamentalism.' The movement was founded upon a call to return to the 'Fundamentals of the Faith:' the Virgin Birth, Innerancy of Scriptures, Christ's Substitutionary Death, Resurrection, and Return. Upon these 'fundamentals' were denominations unified to fight the modernism and liberalism. Realizing that the 'schools of higher learning' were instructing the American young people to be liberal and attack Christianity, the Fundamentalists began their own Religious Schools to combat. Schools were founded like Moody Bible and Boston Missionary Training School, and later Bob Jones University, Pensacola Christian, and many of today's 'Baptist' Colleges. Fundamentalism began to meld into one Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and such. The PROBLEM IS: 1. Scripture Forbids Fellowship with Unbelief (2 John 7-11) 2. Scripture Commands to reprove apostasy (Eph. 5:11) 3. We must purge unbelief if we can (1 Cor. 5:1-7) 4. Believers and Unbelievers are not to be yoked together (2 Cor. 6:14-18) 5. We are to separate from disobedient brothers (1 Cor. 5:11; 1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Thess. 3:6) 6. God's Work done man's way will lack the blessing of God (2 Sam. 15:23) 7. We cannot affiliate with churches or movements which do not practice the full Word of God (2 Chron. 19:2) (adopted from Doug Hammet-"History of Baptist" pg. 262-263) We must not, cannot compromise Truth. The Lord's churches are to be the "Pillar and Ground of Truth." (1 Tim. 3:15) This author is NOT A FUNDAMENTALIST! I cannot join hands with those who grossly walk in error. I can and do love them and desire to help them and will discuss these things with them, but the 'Fundamentalist' movement of today should be for many reasons avoided by true Baptists. Yet, most Baptist churches still proclaim to be "Independent Fundamental Baptist. I still find it on our churches productions and literature and am still in the process of purging it all. Let us conclude. The modern Baptist movement of conventions and fellowships continue today. As does the rise to power, divisions, and splintering. Thus we see the following: Conservative Baptist Association of America split from the Northern Baptist and today have approximately 300,000 members. The American Baptist Association organized in 1924 split over 'Landmarkism' and today are estimated to have over 700,000 members in mostly the South. The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (G.A.R.B.C.) is prominent in the Northern States and is considered the successor of the Baptist Bible Union as a split from the Northern Baptist Convention. The World Baptist Fellowship began as a split from the Baptist Bible Union under J. Frank Norris and today has a membership of around 700,000. The Southwide Baptist Fellowship is prominent in the south east and began under the leadership of Dr. Lee Roberson, it also saw the organization of B.I.M.I. (Baptist International Missions Inc). It is a loose fellowship of Baptist churches heading towards modernism today (as they all eventually do). The Baptist Missionary Association began in 1950 as a split from the American Baptist Association over procedure issues. They tend to stand for a more separated life and strong church truth. The Baptist Bible Fellowship, one of the largest fundamental groups in the U.S., began as a split from the World Baptist Fellowship. There are over 2 million members in the BBF. It too has strayed from Truth and towards modernism with textual criticism and a lack of holiness and separation. There are many large colleges under the BBF influencing thousands of young people (Bible Baptist College, Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College, etc). We could continue to discuss all the boards, fellowships, conventions that exist today, but time or space does not permit. The BBF has split and begun various organizations, as they all have and their 'offspring' will split and produce even more. Why? Because they are all para-church or will end that way. They are man made. They will fail. The Lord Jesus Christ began the first church with His disciples. He gave to that church and the churches it started the doctrine of the New Testament. Those principles were passed down from church to church as they discipled and birthed other churches. It is these principles, these truths, to which the Lord's churches must hold and be faithful. May we, by God's grace, continue doing so-and doing it God's way!