Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yes, This Really Happened To Me In The Ministry


The Bible teaches that the New Testament church is to have two ordinances - baptism and the Lord's Supper. For bapism to be scriptural it must have four requirements: a proper candidate (saved person), a proper method (immersion), a proper motive (to identify with the Lord's death, burial and resurrection and His church) and a proper authority (a local church).
As with every area of the ministry sometimes things happen that though they may not be funny at the time, later we can laugh at them.
Many years ago while pastoring a young man moved into the area. I visited him and after sharing the Word of God he trusted Christ as his Saviour. Before I left his home I explained to him that the next thing he should do is follow the Lord in baptism. As he was newly saved he wanted to do whatever was right for the glory of God. Now this fellow had never been in a baptist church and had never even seen a baptismal service performed. He asked me over and over "What do I do?" I patiently tried to explain each step.
On Saturday night I had walked over to the church from the parsonage and before I began to study andprepare for the next morning, I turned on the baptistry heater. Soon I became engrossed in my sermon study and after some time left my office and walked back to the house, Forgetting the heater I had turned on when I arrived.
When I returned to the office before church the next morning I could hear "blip.blip". It dawned on me the heater was still on!! I rushed to turn it off noting that the water was almost boiling!! I pondered what to do and decided by the end of the service it would cool off enough to use.
The end of the service arrived and as the congregation sang the new convert and I hurried to the dressing room. He was a nervous wreck! He began to ask me over and over "What do I do?" After he had asked me several times I told him (rather impatiently) to "Just do what I do." We dressed, I put on my waders and he his baptismal clothes. I proceeded to walk down the steps into the baptismal pool. The new convert was right behind me.
When I stepped into the water it was scalding hot! I ran through the water quickly, yelling "Ouch,ouch,ouch" the entire way and then quickly exited up the steps on the other side. I turned to tell the candidate not to come into the water but it was too late. He hit the water, quickly passed to the other side stating "Ouch,ouch,ouch) the entire way and up the stairs on the opposite side. Before I could say a word or apologize, he looked at me and said "I do not know what I was so nervous about. This baptismal thing was not so hard after all." Of course, the congregation was laughing at what they had just witnessed.
I am gad I can say the next Sunday this young man followed the Lord in baptism and served the Lord in the church as long as I was there.It really is true that a merry heart is like medicine!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"No-Way" Novatians!

As we have discussed already, the third century brought with it many changes in the Lord's churches. In only 2 centuries, doctrine and polity had slipped a Long way from the truth in many churches; but God has promised the perpetuity of the church and therefore the Truth (1 Tim. 3:15). There were still those who saw the unBiblical changes and stood against them. Of such were the Novatians.
The Novatians are named after their leader, Novatian (c. A.D. 240). Novatian was a pastor in Rome who had seen the evils that resulted from all the 'change' we have already discussed. Novatian knew the error of such apostasy and began to take a a very strong stand against such.
Novatian demanded that the Truth be preached and stood for. There were many who began to apostatize, whom Novatian encouraged his church to discipline. Already the doctrine of church discipline was being ignored or lessened. Novatian insisted that strict church discipline be administered. This met opposition.
When others sought to join with the Novatian church, he demanded they be 're baptized.' Consider his words:
If you wish to join any of our churches, you may be admitted among us by baptism; but observe, that if you fall away into idolatry or vice, we shall separate you from our communion, and on no account can you be readmitted among us...If you be a virtuous believer, and will accede to our confederacy against sin, you may be admitted among us by baptism, or if any catholic has baptized you before, by REBAPTISM. (emphasis mine)

Novatians would no longer accept the baptism of the established 'church.' They would hence, Re-baptize. It was this practice that would later lend to the Novatians being called 'Anabaptist.'
The Novatian churches spread quickly with new churches being birthed all over the Roman Empire. What distinguished these churches?
1. Purity of the Church Member. The believer must separate himself from all apostasy, impurity, and worldliness.
2. Church Discipline. The members would hold each other accountable in matters of apostasy, impurity, and worldliness.
3. Rebaptism. Baptism had to be by immersion, with church authority, and not 'Catholic.'
4. Doctrinal Purity. The Novatians held to true Biblical Doctrine. They held to the ordinances: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Novatians saw Communion as an ordinance of which the local church was the 'secure guardian.' (History of Baptist, Orchard, pg. 54).
Praise the Lord for believers who stood for Truth! The Catholic church was being conceived, apostasy was settling in, worldliness and impure lives were becoming accepted; but not in every church.
Today, sadly, much the same. Churches, Independent Baptist, are still influenced by the Catholic-established-'church.' Our doctrine has become weak, our demand for purity and holiness in the lives of believers silenced, discipline ignored, baptisms from every denomination accepted, the Lord's Table thought to be 'open' for any...NO! It is the Lord's churches that are to guard and secure the ordinances and continue to preach Truth. We must still demand holiness in our lives as members of our churches! The Lord's Table and church discipline are tied together in Scripture (1 Cor. 5:11). If the member in sin is not be granted the great privilege of membership, that of eating the Lord's Supper, how can a view of 'open' or even 'close' communion be possible? If I were to visit any given Baptist church this Sunday, they cannot possibly know the state of my spiritual life as my local church does.
No one who practices correctly will demand people leave or embarrass visitors attending when observing; but will simply teach the conviction of the church and expect visitors to submit to such. In all my years, there has never been anyone offended while visiting our body when we observe.
It can be done! Churches can and should still stand! One will say, 'Those kind of churches will never prosper or grow;' yet, the Novatians were "prosperous, very numerous...found extensive and in a flourishing condition when Constantine came to the throne in A.D. 306" (Orchard pg. 57).
We should join with the Novatians when it comes to the apostasy, worldliness, alien baptism, an open table; and say "NO WAY!"

New Contributor

I asked my father to consider contributing to the Cozaddale Chronicles. He graciously agreed to do so and will be doing so in the days ahead. Below is his first post.
I asked him to write about two different subjects.
1. "Yes This Really Happened to Me" This will include stories that really happened to my dad while in the ministry. These should be fun and entertaining to read.
2. "How to Stay Spiritually Fit" This will be a serious set of lessons teaching how to stay close to the Lord and have a healthy spiritual relationship with Him and others.

I am thankful he has agreed to do so as the years of experience he has gained and counsel he can give needs to be shared with others, available to those searching,and left for his grandchildren, family, and friends for generations to come.

Stay tuned...more is on the way!