Lessons and Sermons
REPROOF OF GOOD MEN
(Friday Church News Notes, December 7, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143) – Where did we get the idea that no warnings should be given in regard to good men and churches? That is one of the vain and unscriptural traditions that IFBaptists have inherited from their forefathers. All such reproof of good men is considered mean-spirited and divisive and wrong-headed, but Jesus reproved the good church at Ephesus for the very reason that He loved it and wanted to see it prosper and not be destroyed (Revelation 2:4-5).
Paul reproved the good preacher Peter because he loved Christ and the truth and didn’t want to see hypocrisy destroy the work of God (Galatians 2:11-14). The prophet Jehu reproved the good king Jehoshaphat for his compromise because God commanded him to do so and the prophet feared God more than man (2 Chron. 19:2). The Psalmist said, Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head… (Psa. 141:5).
THE DANGER OF ADAPTING CCM – GARLOCK’S WARNING (Friday Church News Notes, April 15, 2011, www.wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) -
Many independent Baptist churches that still have any sort of conviction against CCM are adapting it by using the words while toning down the rhythm. They are trying to take the rock out of Christian rock. They think they can tame the beast and turn Charismatic praise music into fundamentalist praise music. This results in the gradual acceptance of and increasing use of CCM, the gradual allowance for sensual rhythms, a continual pushing of the boundaries.
Many discerning men have issued warnings about this slippery slope, including Frank Garlock. IF A CHURCH STARTS USING CCM IT WILL EVENTUALLY LOSE ALL OTHER STANDARDS. You need to draw a line concerning your music (Garlock, Bob Jones University chapel, March 12, 2001).
Dr. Garlock has been instructing churches about the danger of using the world’s music for many decades. He has a doctorate from BJU and has taken every graduate course in music offered by the celebrated Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, sitting under Howard Hanson.
Garloc’s first book was The Big Beat in 1971, which warned about the danger of rock & roll at a time when I was living the rock & roll lifestyle to the hilt. In 1973, Dr. Garlock published the Symphony of Life seminar on video, and it had a wide and godly influence. That was the year that God in His great mercy saved me and changed my taste both in lifestyle and music. I turned 24 that year, and a few months later I published the first of my own books warning of the dangers of rock. It was titled Mom and Dad Sleep While the Children Rock in Satan’s Cradle.
Notice in the previous quote that Dr. Garlock is dogmatic, saying that if a church starts using CCM it will eventually lose all other standards, and he doesn’t allow for any exceptions. He doesn’t say that there is a way to adapt CCM to avoid this slide.
MY CROWD (Friday Church News Notes, May 13 2011, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
As for fellowship and association, I want a crowd today that is willing to raise the flag against compromise and apostasy high without hesitation — publicly, clearly, being willing to name the names of those who are leading in the compromise –without speaking out of both sides of the mouth, without facing two ways. I want a crowd that doesn’t just give lip service to the fact of growing compromise among IB churches but that warns plainly of such compromise and distances themselves from it in real, practical ways.
I want a crowd that not only preaches against Christian rock but also doesn’t hold hands with those who use it. I want a crowd that really hates the quick prayerism that has given multitudes of unconverted hell-bound sinners assurance of salvation and wants to distance themselves from those who practice it, not making excuses for it and not giving mere lip service to the importance of repentance.
I want a crowd that knows that Jack Hyles built a man-centered cult and not a New Testament church, a crowd that plainly, unhesitatingly, publicly exposes Jerry Falwell for the dangerous compromiser that he was instead of speaking sympathetically of him and only haltingly, vaguely mentioning his errors. I want a crowd that wouldn’t dream of sending staff members to Saddleback conferences or youth groups to Dollywood.
I want a crowd that understands that the very essence of New Evangelicalism is trimming one’s message down to the essentials for the sake of any sort of broader unity or fellowship, even for evangelism and world missions.
I want a crowd where a serious teaching-warning ministry like Way of Life is welcome and appreciated. Yes, I want a crowd that doesn’t take cheap shots at warning ministries. And I thank the Lord that there is still a crowd like this among IBaptists, though it is definitely in the minority.
January 25, 2011 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article)
Charles Darwin did not offer any scientifically-proven evidence for his theory. The book On the Origin of Species did not prove that species arise from the process of natural selection. It only proved that species adapt through various processes. A century and a half has passed since Darwin published his thesis, and the scientific proof remains elusive. In fact, remove the evolutionary assumptions, and the evidence disappears.
Consider the following testimonies from Ph.D. scientists, most of whom once believed in evolution:
Despite all the millions of pages of evolutionist publications–from journal articles to textbooks to popular magazine stories–which assume and imply that material processes are entirely adequate to accomplish macroevolutionary miracles, there is in reality no rational basis for such belief (John Baumgardner, Ph.D. in geophysics and space physics from UCLA, In Six Days, p. 230).
I reviewed many books on Darwinism and from them outlined the chief evidence for evolution, which included vestigial organs, homology, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, beneficial mutations, evidence of poor design, the fossil record, atavisms, nascent organs, the argument from imperfect, natural selection, microevolution versus macroevolution, shared genetic errors, the backward retina, junk DNA, and other topics. … Slowly, but surely, I was able to eliminate all of the main arguments used to support evolutionism by researching secular literature only. At some point I crossed the line, realizing the case against evolutionism was overwhelming and conversely, so was the case in favor of the alternative, creationism (Jerry Bergman, Ph.D. in human biology from columbia Pacific University and Ph.D. in measurement and evolution from Wayne State University, Persuaded by the Evidence, chapter 4).
there is not one single instance whereby all the tests essential to the establishment of the scientific validity of evolution have been satisfied. There are hypotheses, grandiose models, suppositions, and inferences, all of which are formulated and reinforced within the collective and self-serving collaborations of the evolutionist gurus. However, none of this amounts to true scientific evidence for evolution. It was in the 1970s that, to my great surprise, bewilderment, and disgust, I became enlightened to this (Edward Boudreaux, Ph.D. in chemistry from Tulane University, In Six Days, p. 205).
Over a period of a couple of years, it became apparent to me that the theory of evolution has no legitimate factual evidence (John Cimbala, Ph.D. in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology, In Six Days, p. 201).
As I looked at the evidence–trying to be a dispassionate scientist–I could not find the evidence for the multitudes of intermediate forms which should exist if evolution was true (Raymond Jones, Ph.D. in biology, Standing Firm, The Genesis Files, edited by Carl Wieland, p. 28).
It is my conviction that if any professional biologist will take adequate time to examine carefully the assumptions upon which the macro-evolutionary doctrine rests, and the observational and laboratory evidence that bears on the problem of origins, he/she will conclude that there are substantial reasons for doubting the truth of this doctrine (Dean Kenyon, Ph.D. in biophysics from Stanford University, The Creationist View of Biological Origins, NEX4 Journal, Spring 1984, p. 33).
I have never seen any evidence for evolution. All that I see around me in nature points to a divine designer (Angela Meyer, Ph.D. in horticultural science from the University of Sydney, In Six Days, p. 143).
How secure is the idea that there is an uninterrupted creative sequence from the big bang through the formation of the solar system, the solidification of the earth, the spontaneous generation of life, and the evolution of plants, animals, and humans to end in the world around us today? Is this scheme impregnable? By no means. It has fatal gaps and inconsistencies (Colin Mitchell, Ph.D. in desert terrain geography from Cambridge University).
I no longer believed there was any validity to Darwinism, having become convinced of this as much by the evolutionist literature I had read as by the creationist books. The standards of evidence supporting evolution seemed trivial compared to the evidence on which engineers have to base their work (Henry Morris, Ph.D. in hydraulics and hydrology from the University of Minnesota, Persuaded by the Evidence, p. 222).
I have studied a lot of arguments from evolutionists; I have had seven formal debates with evolutionary professors at universities, and I have never read or heard any scientific fact that contradicts what the Bible says. There are evolutionist’s interpretations of the facts, but the facts themselves are not contrary to Scripture (Terry Mortenson, Ph.D. in the History of Geology from Coventry University, interview with David Cloud at the Creation Museum, June 23, 2009).
For three years, I used all the evolutionary arguments I knew so well [to debate chemistry professor Dr. Charles Signorino]. For three years, I lost every scientific argument. In dismay, I watched the myth of evolution evaporate under the light of scientific scrutiny, while the scientific case for Creation-Corruption-Catastrophe-Christ just got better and better. It’s no wonder that the ACLU (actually the anti-Christian lawyers union) fights by any means to censor any scientific challenge to evolution! (Gary Parker, Ph.D. in biology/geology from Ball State University, Persuaded by the Evidence, p. 254).
After all the research to date, we are still unable to explain the origin of galaxies as inhomogeneities in the universe from the perspective of evolution. We seem, in fact, to be further away from a satisfactory explanation of evolutionary galactic origins than we were when we started to study the subject, using modern physical theory. As in one field of science, so in all others, we are unable to explain the origin of the beautiful and complex realities of this world from an evolutionist approach (John Rankin, Ph.D. in mathematical physics from the University of Adelaide, In Six Days, p. 122).
Progressing in my studies, I slowly realized that evolution survives as a paradigm only as long as the evidence is picked and chosen and the great poll of data that is accumulating on life is ignored. As the depth and breadth of human knowledge increases, it washes over us a flood of evidence deep and wide, all pointing to the conclusion that life is the result of design (Timothy Standish, Ph.D. in biology and public policy from George Mason University, In Six Days, p. 117).
If the evolution or creationism discussion were decided by sensible appeals to reason, evolution would long ago have joined the great philosophical foolishnesses of the past, with issues such as how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or the flat-earth concept. … evolution is not adhered to on scientific grounds at all. Rather, it is clung to though flying in the face of reason, with an incredible, fanatical, and irrational religious fervor. It loudly claims scientific support when, in fact, it has none worthy of the name (Ker Thomson, D.Sc. in geophysics from the Colorado School of Mines, former director of the U.S. Air Force Terrestrial Sciences Laboratory, In Six Days, p. 217).
The principles and observations of true science do not contradict a literal interpretation of Genesis 1, but in fact offer support for the creation of all things in six days! (Jeremy Walter, Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, Pennsylvania State University, In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation, edited by John Ashton, pp. 21, 22).
I am firmly convinced that there is far more scientific evidence supporting a recent, six-day creation and global flood than there is an old earth and evolution (Keith Wanser, Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from the University of California, Irvine, In Six Days, pp. 103, 104).
I became convinced that people believe in evolution because they choose to do so. It has nothing at all to do with evidence. Evolution is not a fact, as so many bigots maintain. There is not a shred of evidence for the evolution of life on earth (A.J. Monty White, Ph.D. in gas kinetics from the University College of Wales, In Six Days, pp. 257, 259, 260, 263).
In 1969 Dr. John Grebe, speaking to the Texas State School Board, offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who could provide any first example of physically verifiable evidence (or even a basic mathematical model) sufficient to elevate the then hypothesis of macroevolution up to the status of scientific theory. The challenge was offered to the top evolutionary scientists of that day. Grebe was the director of nuclear and basic research at Dow Chemical, Midland, Michigan. One man who tried to collect was atheist David Bradbury. He had been a brash defender of evolution for 20 years since his university days. Not only was he not able to find the evidence to defend evolution. Bradbury eventually became a Bible-believing Christian and he re-offered Grebe’s challenge. On January 28, 2002, he wrote,
This $1,000 challenge remains open (and uncollected). Until someone (teacher, board member or professor) can cite even a single example of empirically confirmable evidence that random shifts in gene frequency acted upon by natural selection can (or does) cumulatively collect to produce macro-evolutionary change, it would appear only reasonable to responsibly refrain from introducing such conjecture as proper scientific theory to students and to the public (Report on Comments on Proposed Modifications to Draft of Ohio Science Academic Content Standards, http://www.arn.org/docs/ohio/ohioreport020402.htm, viewed April 5, 2010).
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The Third Commandment. Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” What does it mean to take the Name of GOD in vain? Is it just swearing and cussing? Or is there something more to it than that, and if there is, what? Swearing and cussing are definitely involved here, but this commandment goes further than just that; it not only deals with our outward words but our inward thoughts [~Matthew 12:34].
Many of us, Christians…Prayer Warriors, would never give sanction to the idea of swearing ourselves when we, for instance hit our fingers instead of the nailhead when using a hammer; but how many would exclaim “Oh, G…., Oh G…!” Or “J…!” Or “J…. C…!” when something horrific happens? This, too, is taking GOD’s Name in vain. Or how many ‘Christians’ tell someone a ‘little’ lie? Or get angry at another because they did something wrong? Yet JESUS has told us to: “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. ~Luke 6:27,28].
Being a Christian is more than just wearing the name of CHRIST. 1 John 2: 6 says: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.. When a person wears the name Christian but doesn’t act or speak like CHRIST, they are breaking the third commandment by taking GOD’s Name in vain as well. Another meaning for this verse includes what is called “slang cussing” [~Colossians 3:8], but unfortunately many professing Christians come in this bracket.
The following ‘words’ are euphemisms, or substitutions, that are less direct or expressive than the real words or terms, according to Webster’s New World dictionary:
*Gee…a slang term for JESUS’ name.
*Geez…a slang term for JESUS’ name.
*Golly…a slang term for GOD.
*Gosh…a slang term for GOD.
*Go-darn…a slang curse about GOD doing something nasty.
*Holy Toledo…a slang term about holiness.
*Darn…a slang term for damn, a curse word. This word, in effect is calling GOD to take ones own side and condemning another.
Whenever a ‘professing’ Christian uses “dag-nabit” or “gosh-darn” or even “dar-nation,” each of these is a slang swear word.
*Holy cow…this is making light of GOD’s character – holiness is an attribute of GOD.
To use any of these substitutions for our heavenly Father’s or JESUS’ Name and/or character is the same as using it outright [~Colossians 4:6]. Beware of also telling jokes that use the person of GOD as a character within the joke. While it may not directly attack or mock Him, it is using Him in a light manner [~Ephesians 5:4].
Additional notes by Angela Trenholm
The tongue is definitely an area we all need help on! I’m very thankful for whoever the author of this devotional is.
To answer some questions and comments, the “Oh my goodness” is really a slang on the “Oh my G…”, but also, the whole term is unscriptural. What is good about us? The Bible clearly says there is nothing good about us, so why proclaim our own goodness?
This verse comes to mind:
Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
I know I have used this term in the past and try very hard not too.
The term “Good night” is one I’ve used quite a bit, but I have never used it with the intent of a cuss word or heard others do so. It might be different for others. To me it has always been an exclamation equivalent to saying or an expression of confusion on a particular event.
When teaching our children about cussing, I have tried to explain to them that it is not necessarily the word that makes it a cuss word, but rather the intent behind it. Perfect examples are the words “hell” or “damn”. Neither are cuss words in themselves. It is the improper use of each word that turns them into cuss words at that time.
The point? Any word can be a cuss word if it is substituted in the place where a cuss word would normally be used.
So, when teaching our girls I basically tell them that if your intent is not proper, don’t say anything. The old adage “If you haven’t got anything good to say, then don’t say anything” sums it up very well.
| Christian Cussing?
Cussing, Swearing, & Profanity; A Matter of Opinion?
Timothy S. Morton
“Words Mean Things“
“For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
Needless to say, the Bible says a lot about words. It was with words God spoke creation into existence [Gen. 1:3], with words God revealed His will to man [Ex. 20:1], and with words Christ revealed the truths of eternal life making salvation available to mankind [John 6:63, John 6:68]. Words are the primary means of communication between men and to men. So much so that the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as the “Word” [John 1:1]. He was God’s means of communicating to man. It is with words man can communicate back to God with prayer. However, man often uses words for a much less noble cause. The Bible refers to them as “vain words” [Eph. 5:6], “lying words” [Jer. 29:23], “corrupt words” [Dan. 2:9], “enticing words” [1Cor. 2:4], etc. But whether noble or vain, “words mean things.”
It does not take much imagination for one to believe that society in the 21st century is one of the vilest, vulgarest, and most profane in history. With the ease of communication today by radio, television, telephone, and Internet, vulgarity and profanity seems to multiply and abound. The mentality of most Americans and others is so warped and jaded that they believe they must be vulgar and profane to communicate the simplest idea.
Who among you that works in the world, shops in the world, or merely deals with people of the world does not hear obscene and profane words an a regular basis? One cannot go to a supposedly benign place such as mall, shopping center, or grocery store without being exposed to vulgarities from young “cursed children” [2Pet. 2:14] to crusty, vile seniors. If one ventures to a more worldly gathering such as a ballgame [especially high-school or college], most “music” concerts, or Nascar [or any other] race, then he exposes himself to such an onslaught of profane, obscene, vain, and vulgar words and behavior that a dozen Catholic “cardinals” with “holy water” couldn’t clean him up in a week. However, what should one expect from the world? Should we expect them to behave other than their nature requires them?
Christians, though, have a new nature that desires to speak “sound words” [2Tim. 1:13] “wholesome words” [1Tim. 6:3], comforting words [1Thes. 4:18]. Although this nature may also use words to “reprove, ” “rebuke, ” [2Tim. 4:2] or correct, it never uses truly profane or obscene words and never speaks about the Lord in vain. However, all believers some of the time and most believers most of the time do not allow their new nature to control them in their speech. They often get caught up in vain, meaningless talk and many, more than will admit, regularly cuss and swear.
Any type of cussing, swearing, “off-color” speech, or profanity brings harm to the cause of Christ. The world sometimes knows how a Christian is to behave more than some Christians. I don’t believe your author has ever encountered a lost worldling who thought it was proper for a Christian to cuss. As soon as a believer does and a lost person knows it, unless the believer sincerely and openly asks apologizes, he will not have a chance winning that lost person to Christ. The lost person will simply write the believer off as another hypocrite.
Over 20 years ago your author worked at a sawmill here in the hills, and as one can imagine some of the characters who worked there were pretty rough and “uncouth.” The “lifestyle” of some of them was vile and destructive and along with that there was little restraint in their “speech.” The day I started to work my boss was telling me about some of the people who worked there and mentioned one fellow they called “preacher.” I had only been saved for a year or so and relished at the thought of another believer working there. However, my boss continued, “…but he is not much of a preacher because he cusses all the time.” I soon learned that this “preacher, ” who had “Rev.” written on his hardhat, was a joke to the others. They mocked him as a hypocrite. Once the equipment he ran fouled while I was near and I heard first hand one of his cussing fits. If this fellow was a true believer [there is plenty of room for doubt] he was a disgrace to the cause of Christ. He had absolutely no respect from anyone.
This day and age society is so jaded and perverse that if a person doesn’t cuss or swear he is looked on as an oddity. But the plus side is he is often also respected. Your author has made it a point ever since he has been a Christian not to use any type of profanity or cussing, and the Lord has enabled him to do that for around 25 years. Not one person he has worked with can truthfully say they have heard him cuss. This is not to say the Devil has not on many occasions placed profane words in his thoughts, only that they have not come out of his mouth [Matt. 15:11].
You author has also found that once others realize he doesn’t join with them in their profanity, many of them restrain themselves in using it around him. Some even ask him, “Does my cussin’ offend you” and then promise to stop using it around him when he tells them he would rather not hear it. Where he works now he even overheard two fellow workers who didn’t know he was around “discussing” a broken piece of equipment that took considerable effort to repair, “This is enough to make Tim cuss” one said to the other. It wasn’t, and I didn’t, but I took it as a complement. Believer, what you say and don’t say more than anything else affect how others think of you and treat you.
What Are The Terms?
Before we go further lets look at some terms. What does it mean to “cuss, ” “swear, ” and be “profane.” The definitions below are from Websters 1828 dictionary except where noted. First look at “swear, “
SWEAR, v.i. pret. swore. [Eng. veer; L. assevero.] 1. To affirm or utter a solemn declaration, with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed.
4. To be profane; to practice profaneness.
An “oath” is much the same,
OATH, n. A solemn affirmation or declaration, made with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed. The appeal to God in an oath, implies that the person imprecates his vengeance and renounces his favor if the declaration is false, or if the declaration is a promise, the person invokes the vengeance of God if he should fail to fulfill it. A false oath is called perjury.
To be “profane” means,
PROFA’NE, a. [L. profanus; pro and fanum, a temple.] 1. Irreverent to any thing sacred; applied to persons. A man is profane when he takes the name of God in vain, or treats sacred things with abuse and irreverence.
2. Irreverent; proceeding from a contempt of sacred things, or implying it; as profane words or language; profane swearing.
“Curse” or the modern “cuss” means,
CURSE, v.t. pret. and pp. cursed or curst. 1. To utter a wish of evil against one; to imprecate evil upon; to call for mischief or injury to fall upon; to execrate. CURSE, n. 1. Malediction; the expression of a wish of evil to another.
2. Imprecation of evil.
And “vulgar” is defined as,
VULGAR , a. 1. Pertaining to the common unlettered people; as vulgar life.
2. Used or practiced by common people; as vulgar sports.
6. Mean; rustic; rude; low; unrefined; as vulgar ninds; vulgar manners.
Thus there are different types of “cussing.” One can be profane and take the name of the Lord in vain, he can swear or make a foolish oath in anger or sport, or he can use vulgar and base terms and expressions. Nevertheless, they all are works of the “old man” [Eph. 4:22].
Some ignorant believers often use expressions such as “My God, ” “God almighty, ” and even “Christ’s sakes” when speaking, but in nearly all cases this is taking the Lord’s name in vain. To profane God’s name or take it in vain it to merely use His name lightly or inappropriately. These people are not praying to God or using His name in an honorable way, but only using it as a “by-word.” They could just as easily say “My word” or “My soul” to express the same sentiment, but neither is this scriptural. One is not to swear by his word, soul, person or anything else [Matt. 5:36].
Although most Christians will refrain from using the obvious “cuss words, ” very many will lightly and carelessly use “minced oaths” from time to time. According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia minced oaths are,
“corrupted forms of (usually religion-related) swear words that originally arose in English culture sometime before the Victorian Age, as part of the cultural impact of Puritanism after the Protestant Reformation.”
In other words these “oaths” are a veiled form of cussing, swearing, and profanity. During the Puritan era in England open cursing was largely shunned so, true to their nature, people invented other ways to “express themselves.” No wonder the Bible says of man,
“Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:” [Rom 3:13-14]
The dog will return to its vomit every time [2Pet. 2:22]
So some of you won’t remain ignorant concerning what you say, below is a list of some oaths that are of a religious nature adapted from the list found on Wikipedia. Although both “God” and “damn” are Bible words, the use of these words together is offensive and thus some of the letters are blanked out in the definitions.
- Begorrah = By God
- Bejabbers = By Jesus
- Bleeding heck = Bloody Hell
- Blimey = Blind me
- Blinking heck = Bloody Hell
- Bloody = By Our Lady
- By George = By God
- By golly = By God’s body
- By gosh = By God
- By gum = By God
- By Jove = By God
- Cheese n’ Rice = Jesus Christ
- Chrissakes = For Christ’s sake
- Christmas = Christ
- Cor blimey = God blind me
- Crikey = Christ
- Criminy = Christ
- Cripes = Christ
- Crivvens = Christ defend us
- Dad gum = God d–n
- Dagnammit = Damnation, God d–n it
- Dagnabbit = Damnation, God d–n it
- Dang = Damn
- Dangnabbit = Damnation, God d–n it
- Dangnation = Damnation
- Darn = Damn
- Darnation = Damnation
- Doggone = God d–n or Dog on it
- Drat = God rot it
- Egad = A God
- For crying out loud = For Christ’s sake
- Gadzooks = God’s hooks (referring to the nails in Jesus on the cross)
- Gat Dangit = God d–n it
- G.D. (pronounced “jee dee”) = God d–n
- Gee = Jesus or Jerusalem
- Gee whizz = Jesus
- Gee willikers = Jesus or Jerusalem
- Gorblimey = God blind me
- Good grief = Good God
- Goodness gracious = Good God
- Gosh = God
- Gosh darned = God d–ned
- Heck = Hell
- Jason Crisp = Jesus Christ
- Jebus = Jesus
- Jeepers Creepers = Jesus Christ
- Jeez = Jesus
- Jeezy Creezy = Jesus Christ
- Jehoshaphat = Jesus
- Jesus wept = Jesus Christ
- Jiminy Christmas = Jesus Christ
- Jiminy Cricket = Jesus Christ
- Judas Priest = Jesus Christ
- Jumping Jehoshaphat = Jumping Jesus
- My goodness = My God
- SacrÃ© bleu = “sacred blue” = Sang de Dieu (“God’s blood”)
- Sam Hill = Hell
- Suffering succotash = Suffering Saviour
- Tarnation = Damnation
- Yumping Yiminy = Jumping Jesus
- Zounds or ‘Swounds = God’s wounds
“Shinola, ” “Shoot, ” “Shucks, ” “Sugar, ” etc., all refer to the modern and vulgar barnyard reference to dung. “Freaking, ” “Frickin, ” “Fudging, ” “Feck, ” “Fig, ” and other “F-words” obviously refer to the highly obscene and insulting “F-word” that is so commonly used by the ignorant, vulgar and profane. As often as it is used by some one would think it was the speaker’s middle name.
These words and similar can regularly be heard in Christian homes, work places, and even in churches. Some of you may claim you didn’t realize these seeming benign terms were “oaths.” Fair enough, but now you know [1Thes. 5:22].
Your author has been guilty of using some of them when he was younger, and even today catches himself using variations of them he heard as a child growing up in “Appalachia.” Just the other day he heard himself say “I declare” which is a form of “I swear” [Matt. 5:34-36; James 5:12]. He still uses old terms like “I reckon” for “I suppose” or “over yonder” for “over there, ” but “I declare, ” “I swan” or “I hope my die” are not acceptable. [Some of you are lost on these terms, but they are still common here in the hills.]
Bible Cuss Words?
If the reader has been reading his Bible long he has encountered what some call “Bible cuss words.” Some will ignorantly claim that cuss words can be found in the Bible and insist it as a justification for them to cuss, but this is just diabolical self-serving reasoning. Although there are places in the Bible where a person curses or berates another [1Sam. 17:43, 1Sam. 20:30], there are no cuss words in it per se. Even if there were that would not be a justification for anyone to use them as such.
The most notable word people mention is “piss” or “pisseth” found in eight places [2Kings 9:8, 2Kings 18:27, etc.], but this is not a cuss word. It is merely a word that describes a bodily function. That the world has taken it and others such as “hell, ” “damn, ” “dung, “ and a couple others and tried to make them into foul words is not the Bible’s fault. “Piss” and “pisseth against the wall” is the literal translation of the Hebrew. Most of the weakling new Bibles are afraid to translate these terms literally.
Cuss Words That Aren‘t
The warped and jaded society today fulfills the words of Isaiah 5:20 where the Lord says,
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! ”
A prime example of this Satan inspired reversal of truth is today it is “politically” and “socially acceptable” for the “hero” of a movie or television show to routinely cuss, swear, and even take the Lord’s name in vain, while it is never correct for a hero to use a “racial epithet, ” “ethnic slur, ” or “sexual orientation” remark. Only the “bad guy” can stoop to such a low level. The lesson is in today’s society it is acceptable to swear with vulgar oaths and blaspheme the God of heaven, but it is never acceptable to use any word towards “your fellow man, ” no matter how factual, that anyone may deem a “slur” or “demeaning.” This is not only true for celebrities but for politicians and business as well. A politician may be overheard saying “God d–n” or “Jesus Christ” during an election campaign and it will be laughed off, but if one slipped and said “nigger, ” “spic, “ or “dyke” in any context then he would be severely ostracized and likely cast aside.
This is not to say one should use offensive terms without cause [Christ regurarly offended many with the truth (Matt. 13:57, Matt. 15:12)], but this fact proves that society and human nature is just like the Bible says it isâ€” “evil.” It loves the creature and ignores the creator [Rom. 1:25].
The Scriptures, however, are not as “sensitive” as many today. It reveals that the use of racial and ethnic remarks are sometimes warranted. The Lord referred to a woman who came to Him for help as a [Gentile] “dog” [Matt. 15:26] and referred to all Gentiles as such [Matt. 7:6]. Paul quoted a Cretian writer that said, “the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies” and assured Titus this was a true statement. Imagine a prominent person making such a blanket, ethnic statement today? He would be considered a prejudiced bigot. Paul was simply telling a truth he knew from experience. Certain ethnic and cultural groups do have prevailing characteristics. It is by no means wrong to state obvious facts.
Being born and raised in West Virginia has exposed your author to various ethnic slurs about those who live among the Appalachian Mountains. Unlike the highly tender ears of members of the NAACP and other groups, he is not offended or insulted by this type of remarks. The Pharisees regularly tried to insult Christ with remarks about his home town [John 7:52], birth, and mother [John 8:41]. They didn’t faze Him. Neither does it bother your author to be called a “hillbilly, ” “hick, ” “yokel, ” “white trash, ” “inbred, ” etc., who lives in the “armpit” [to put it nicely] of the country and speaks with an illiterate accent. When times get hard in this country, and they definitely will, these sophisticated “city-slickers” will be asking us undignified and unlearned hillbillies how to survive. As the Scriptures say, “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” [1Cor. 14:38].
The Greatest “Hate Speech” Of All
There are three words that can be spoken that are the most hated and despised words as far as the world is concerned that can be uttered by any man. They diametrically oppose everything the world stands for and strives for. They are such great words of intolerance that highly trained “doctors” deem those who repeat them [and worst of all believe them] as mentally unstable and severe non-conformists in need of “therapy.” These three words, with their variations, if spoken publically will cause a person to die a violent death in many countries of the world. The same hated words will cause him to be imprisoned in others. Yet the Lord sends His people out to speak these words, in fact, to shout them from housetops. He sends them as sheep among wolves to proclaim the eternal truths encompassed in these words so others can join them in partaking in the precious promises belief in them provides.
What are these words you ask? What are the three words that the world and the Devil hates more than any other?
Jesus Christ Alone!
“Jesus Christ alone, ” “Jesus Christ only, ” “only by Christ, ” etc., they all declare that salvation is not in Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Joseph Smith, Jim Jones, and all the other religious quacks this world has produced, but only in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through His shed blood on the cross. The world will tolerate Christ being “a way” to God because this allows there to be other ways, but it will never tolerate one who insists Christ is the ONLY way to God. To it this is bigoted, narrow-minded hate speech of the highest order.
Among the “religious” one will hear references to “God” regularly. They will say “God this” and “God that.”
They will “pray to God, ” invoke God’s blessing, thank “God” for various things, tell people the “need God” in their life, and on and on. The problem is one doesn’t know who or what they are talking about. Who is this god of the media, sports stars, and politicians? This generic god can be anything from nature, self, even Satan.
To Louis Farakan, Osama Bin Ladan, and the other billion or so Moslems, “God” is some “moon god” named “Allah.” To Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the “Osmonds, ” “God” is some creature that used to be a man. To Shirley McClain, Dione Warwick, and other “new agers, ” “God” is some kind of pantheistic force that encompasses the whole universe. Again, when somebody speaks of “God, ” you don’t know what they are talking about. Anyone who assumes they are referring to the God of the Bible and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is gullible indeed.
Much the same can be said about the term “Christian.” The word “Christian” today usually has little to do with Christ or the Bible. To the majority of the people of the world when they hear the word they think of the pope and the Roman Catholic Church. They think that kook in Rome is the epitome of a “Christian.” Why anyone would think a clown who wears a Halloween costume year ’round, never led a person to Christ, and lives a life of abundance and ease is a Christian is beyond me, but most do.
Type the word “Christian” in a search engine [Google] and what comes up first? The “Christian Science Monitor.” As another has said, “Christian Science is neither Christian or science.” “Christian Science teaches that reality is an interpretation of Divine Mind, that Jesus was not the Christ, that His sacrifice did not clean from sin, that sickness and evil are illusions, and that the Bible can only be understood correctly through its teachings.” In other words they are a Christ and Bible denying cult.
Another group who uses the term Christian is the, “Southern Christian Leadership Conference” which is nothing more than a political [some say communist] organization designed to “achieve social, economic, and political justice.” It was founded by the “Reverend” Dr. Martain Luther King Jr. and the “Reverend” Jesse L. Jackson was a member. Jackson, the year after he was “ordained” a Baptist minister , told Life magizine, that when he worked as a waiter in a Greenville, South Carolina restaurant, he would spit into the soups and salads of white customers. He said, “[Spitting into the food] gave me a psychological gratification.” He also said, “The Bible is nothing but a succession of civil rights struggles by the Jewish people, against their oppressors.” Clearly, the term “Christian” doesn’t mean much of anything today and neither does the term “Reverend.”
That Holy Name
There is only one name in the universe that gets the attention of heaven. There is only one name that sinners can believe on and get their sins redeemed, their is only one name that will compel every person who ever lived to bow the knee and confess this name as Lord [Phil. 2:10]. That name is, of course, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. When a person says this holy name, then one can take notice because this is the name of a specific person who lived and still lives. There is little doubt to who he is referring, but this name is rarely heard in the world except in vain. It is the hated name. Hated on earth, but loved in heaven.
Christian, if you feel you need to “cuss, ” a little now and then why don’t you use speech that this present evil world deems as cussing instead of words that bring a reproach to your Lord? The next time you feel the urge to “let one rip” go out and tell someone how Jesus Christ alone can save them from a Devil’s Hell. You will offend a lot of people, but you will make your Father in heaven delight and the angels rejoice. Choose this day whom you mouth will serve [Josh. 24:15].
The rejection of separation begins softly and quietly. It is something that is difficult to put one’s finger on, something not easy to identify. And those who are at the outset of rejecting separatism are offended when someone challenges them that this might be happening. The rejection of separation begins with a mere change in mood toward a more positive emphasis, a greater tolerance of error. It is a gradual loss of militant zeal in the defense of the faith.Â The first step in the rejection of separation can be identified not so much by what a preacher or a church or a Bible College does or says as by what it fails to do and neglects to say.
The following questions can help identify whether or not an institution is giving up on separation:
Does it ever host a conference on separation?
Does it invite strong separatist preachers to blow the trumpet against compromise in a plain way?
Does it publicly and clearly identify itself with separatists?
Does it recommend literature on separation to its members? Or is separation something that was once preached, talked about, and practiced but now, for the most part, is left out of the agenda?
Is the institution affiliating with those who use Contemporary Christian Music and contemporary Southern Gospel (which is no different in character from CCM) and perhaps moving toward adopting this music itself? If so, this is a loud warning, because CCM is not just music; it is a philosophy of Christianity that is diametrically opposed to separatism and CCM and a separatist stance cannot and will not live in harmony for long.
What Do Baptists Believe?
You may have heard the phrase, Ignorance is bliss. However as Christians we are to… be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 1 Peter 3:15-17
If someone were to ask you, What do Baptists believe, would you be able to answer them? In this little booklet, we will look at a brief outline on what is called the Baptist Distinctives. For practical and expedient purposes, we will use the acrostic, BAPTIST, in order to more readily define and remember each distinctive.
Baptist distinctives are major fundamental beliefs and principles that have distinguished Baptists apart from any other religious body down through the centuries–hence the term: Baptist distinctives. These distinctives are not a creed or confession of faith.
Baptists have no set written body of beliefs or principles, per se, that are accepted universally among all Baptists. A true Baptist does not think of the name Baptist in any sectarian sense as having some merit in itself but rather equates it with New Testament truth, with a New Testament position.1 Therefore, for all practical purposes, the term Baptist distinctives can be used interchangeably with New Testament distinctives.
In every age since Jesus and the apostles, there have been companies of believers, churches, who have substantially held to the principles of the New Testament as now proclaimed by the Baptists.2
It should be noted that the name Baptist came about in the 14th century with the persecution of the Anabaptists or Re-baptizers. This was a name given to them by proponents of the Roman Church. Since the Roman Church was predominant throughout Europe, infant Baptism was a common practice. Therefore when these New Testament believers began to immerse only those who had accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour, the religious world protested. The Roman Church could not understand why these people were being baptized again. Therefore they were given the name, Anabaptists.
Even though the name Baptist did not emerge until the 14th century, groups, which practiced the same basic New Testament principles, can be traced back to the time of Christ.
2 Timothy 3:16,17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The Bible is a (the) Divine Revelation given of God to man, and is the complete and infallible guide and standard of authority in all matters of religion and morals; whatever it teaches is to be believed, and what ever it commands is to be obeyed; whatever it commands is to be accepted as both right and useful; whatever it condemns is to be avoided as both wrong and hurtful; but what it neither commands nor teaches is not to be imposed on the conscience as of religious obligation.3
This distinctive is placed first as the foundation because without it all the other distinctives would fall. Baptists do not use any other book, teaching or creed as their authority. We believe that God’s written Word is the only cornerstone by which those that are saved can firmly stand upon. It is a spiritual book that can only be understood by those with spiritual eyes, and the only way to obtain these spiritual eyes is through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Baptists believe that every area of life needs to be subject to the written Word of God. The Bible is the only source for authority and that which is not authorized in God’s Word is heresy. Because the Bible has never been outgrown as the one standard, and cannot be creedified in brief; the Baptist holds the substitution of any authoritative creed as the first step in apostasy. 4
Mark 7:7-9 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Let us be as the Bereans of old. . . These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11
Many people question which version is the best. To answer that thoroughly, much paper and time would be needed. So, let me leave you with my thoughts on the subject. This author believes that the King James Version is the best translation. Now there are a number of reasons for this belief.
1. It has proven the test of time.
2. It is widely use.
3. The Greek and Hebrew Manuscripts from which it was translated have proven to be the best. (‘Oldest’ is not always ‘best’)
5. The vast number of similar extant manuscripts.
4. God has said He would preserve His Word, so we need to ask the question, Where is it preserved?
Unfortunately, we do not have the originals with us today, but the author believes the Textus Receptus is closely identical the original. Now since we do not have the originals, this may sound like ‘circular reasoning’. But keep in mind that God said he would preserve His Word, Therefore we must accept it by faith. After a thorough studied of this subject with much interest, the author has concluded that the King James Version is the inerrant, infallible, preserved Word of God for English speaking people.
II. OF THE LOCAL CHURCH
This distinctive means that every local New Testament church has the privilege to be in total control of itself. In the autonomous form of church government, the system of authority rests in an independent, indigenous, self-propagating, self-supporting, and self-governing local church. This Baptist distinctive distinguishes itself from two other forms of church government, the Episcopalian, and Presbyterian.
The Episcopalian form of church government places it’s authority in a system of priests and bishops in an ascending scale. For example, in the Roman Church, the ultimate authority rests in the supreme pontiff, the pope.
The Presbyterian form of church government places it’s authority in a representative group called preaching and ruling elders.
In this way delegated authority finds its final authority in the highest group. For this process of delegated authority rises in an ascending order from the local church session to the presbytery to the state synod until it finally rests in the General Assembly which is natural. 5
The Autonomous form of church government is the only one of the three forms mentioned which is base upon Scriptural principles. The first scriptural principle is: the individual™s ability to know the will of God. This will be further explained in the Baptist distinctive, the priesthood of the believer.
The second scriptural principle that local church autonomy is based is; the responsibility of each local church, as a whole, to carry out God’s will based on the foundation that its members know God’s will. In Matthew 18:15-17 we read where instruction is given to the church as a whole.
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Also in these verses:
Acts 13:1-3 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Acts 15:22-28 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things¦
Just as each New Testament church is not subject to other churches or religious groups, they also are not to be in subject to the state. In other words, the state should not impose any laws upon the church that would cause the church to violate Scriptural principles. Matthew 22:17-21 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
This distinctive is founded upon the Scriptural principles that God is no respecter of persons. Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
Ephesians 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
Colossians 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
Unlike the Old Testament, where priestly functions were restricted to the tribe of Levi, the New Testament teaches that every believer is a priest before God. Therefore, each believer has the blessed privilege of going directly to God at any time, under any circumstance and bring his petition through Jesus Christ to God.
Since the Bible teaches that each believer-priest is equal with one another, there is no need for divisional terms, titles or garb. For example, the Scripture does not give a pastor (or father, to use a catholic term) the authority to forgive sin. Each believer can act upon the promise in I John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We make this confession to God.
In 1 Peter 2:5,9 we read, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. . . 9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light¦
The term holy priesthood refers to New Testament believers. We are holy in the sense that our sins have been forgiven, Hebrews 10:1-2 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
In the Old Testament only the high priest dared to enter the presence of God, and then only once a year! As New Testament believers we have access to God’s presence at any time.
The term royal priesthood, also refers to New Testament believers. We are royal in the sense that we are called to be personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Therefore, as a believer-priest, we have a tremendous responsibility placed upon us, and that is; each believer has the privilege to think as he will and that each man is totally responsible to God. The Bible teaches that no person, institution, organization or convention has the authority to tell a person what to believe.
Along with this complete total freedom comes the accountability of such a privilege. Remember, our responsibility is to God alone and no one else! A believer may put himself under the authority of something else (such as a church) but he is still responsible to God for the freedom given him by Christ.
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
2 Corinthians 5:10-21 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. 13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The Scriptures teach that the Lord prescribed immersion and the Lord’s Supper to be carried on as ordinances by the New Testament church.
As Bible believing Baptists find themselves in disagreement with other churches in relation to the topic of baptism, it would be helpful to summarize the New Testament position with the following four maxims:
1. Only believers are to be baptized. This excludes anyone who is an unbeliever (even babies, who neither believe nor disbelieve). Cf. Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:14-16. Acts 8:36-37 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
2. Baptism is to be by immersion rather than by pouring or sprinkling. There are two main arguments for immersion. (1) The English word baptize has been transliteration of the Greek word baptizein. In order to render a proper translation we have to use the word immerse. (2) There are many passages that support the immersion translation. Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water:¦
Acts 8:37-38 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
3. Baptism is not a step to salvation but it is a testimony that one has already received Christ Jesus as Savior. Baptism is a beautiful picture of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:4-5 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Once again, every believer who has been immersed has pictured the death (dying to self-righteousness and giving in to Christ’s righteousness), burial (going completely under the water), and the resurrection (coming up out of the water).
4. Believer’s baptism by immersion is a requisite to church membership. Throughout the book of Acts we find the order of salvation, baptism, and church membership. Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Cf. Matt. 16:25-33; Acts 8:37-28.
In practicing these four maxims, Baptists not only preserve purity in their local churches, but they honor the Lord Jesus Christ by respecting completely His Great Commission. Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…
The second ordinance given to the church is the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper (notice that it™s not a breakfast, or lunch). Just as baptism symbolizes spiritual birth in being raised to walk in newness of life, the Lord’s Supper symbolizes the nourishment and support of that new life by union with Christ in His death. 1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
The Lord’s Supper is only to be taken by obedient Christians. That means any Christian who has been immersed, is a member of a New Testament church, and who has searched his own heart to make sure all known sin is confessed. 1 Corinthians 11:28-31 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
It is clear to see that the Lord wants all that are saved to be obedient, If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love, John 15:10. Baptists believe that in order to be obedient, a saved person must be baptized by immersion, a member of a New Testament church and observe the Lord’s Supper.
Baptists do not believe in the Roman Catholic view of transubstantiation which claims that the Catholic priests transform the bread and cup into the literal body and blood of Christ.
Baptists do not believe in the Lutherans view of consubstantiation which claims the real presence of the Lord in a special way.
The Baptist position concerning the Lord’s Supper is that it is a memorial table that pictures the body and blood of Jesus and serves only as a reminder of His death, burial, and resurrection for us. 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
These ordinances are not options that can be ignored. If we want to be obedient to the Lord then we must be baptized by immersion, members of a New Testament church, and examining ourselves by partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
This distinctive is based upon the belief that every man is accountable to the teachings of God’s Word in all religious matter; both in judgment and decision. Baptists believe that each man has the privilege to think as he will and that he is totally responsible to God.
This distinctive teaches that no person, institution, organization or convention has the authority to tell a person what to believe. But keep in mind that along with complete and total freedom comes the responsibility of such a privilege. That responsibility is to God and God alone. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men¦ Acts 5:29.
Someday as believers, we will answer to God for our actions, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad¦2 Corinthians 5:10.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man™s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man™s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man™s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man™s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
God has also commanded that we not be a stumbling block to others. Our lifestyle does affect others.
1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
1 Corinthians 10:29-33 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? 30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
1 Peter 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
Yes, the believer has freedom in Christ, but what an awesome responsibility he has knowing that someday he will give an account to God as to how he used his soul liberty in regards to salvation, to the scriptures, to his daily life and in every area of life.
1. Ethical separation.
2. Ecclesiastical separation.
3. Political separation.
Ethical or Personal Separation
The first realm of separation to which Baptists adhere is ethical or personal. Each individual believer is to be separated from the world, and unto Christ, 1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. . .
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
We must also separated ourselves from compromise:
3 John 11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
1 Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
Even though these verses are self explanatory, unfortunately they are conveniently overlooked in fundamental Baptist circles today. As New Testament believers this separation puts restrictions on marriage, close friends, clothes, hair standards, places of attendance, dance, music, theater, TV, alcoholic beverages, etc.
The second realm of separation to which Baptists adhere is ecclesiastical. We are to separate from apostasy. Just as our Lord has His churches, Satan, the imitator, has his false churches.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
2 John 10,11 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
As New Testament believers, we can only have close fellowship with those of like faith and practice. This does not mean that we are to be hateful exclusivists who look down on all who are disobedient to God’s Word. On the contrary, we are to love and show mercy to all mankind.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
The third realm of separation to which Baptists adhere is Political. As Baptists we believe in a separation of church and state. Baptists believe that Christ taught in Mark 12:17 that there should be separation between the church and the state. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.
Baptists believe that the state ought to stay out of the affairs of the church and vice versa, they not believe in a state church, state baptist, or state ordinances, when it comes to spiritual or religious matters. Even though we believe in the separation of the church and state, this should not construed as the elimination of God from the state as the A.C.L.U. is proposing. In order to avert the ruination of our nation, God must never leave the minds of the government.
As New Testament believers, we are to stay as far away from the world and its standards as possible. Likewise we to stay as close to Christ and His Word as possible. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5.
This Baptist distinctive can be scripturally supported after careful reading of the New Testament. Philippians 1:1 says, Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons¦ In order to properly understand these two offices, let’s go to the Scripture.
1. THE PASTOR
The pastor’s qualifications are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Also in Titus 1:5-13 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;. . .
Throughout the New Testament there are various titles for the pastor. They are:
1. Pastor or shepherd of the Flock; And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Ephesians 4:11 (Greek word = poimein).
2. Bishop or overseer of the working force; Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Philippians 1:1 (Greek word = episcopus).
3. Elder or leader in a business session; And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. Acts 20:17 (Greek word = presbuteros).
4. Preacher – a self explanatory term; (Greek word = kerrusso; to be a herald, always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed). Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. 1 Timothy 2:7
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee¦Titus 1:5
5. Teacher – an instructor of the Word of God; And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Ephesians 4:11
6. Angel and Star – a messenger of the Lord; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Revelation 1:20
These various New Testament titles reflect the diverse responsibilities of the Pastor. The pastor is to LEAD, FEED, GUARD AND GUIDE the local church for one day he will give and account God for his ministry, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13:17
The qualifications for deacons are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
And also in Act 6:1-4 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
The function of a deacon is that of a servant or one who ministers. Deacons should not run the church nor should they dictate over the pastor. The Bible nowhere suggests that the deacon is to be a watch-dog over the Pastor to keep him in line. Therefore they are to serve the congregation under the leadership of the pastor.
Although many churches call themselves Baptist, if they do not believe these distinctives, they are not a New Testament Baptist church. These distinctives separate Baptist from the rest of religious affiliations. Baptist believe that these distinctives should be practiced by all believers, because these distinctives are contained in the Word of God which is the sole authority of faith and practice.
1 Dr. Richard C. Weeks, Baptist Polity Class Notes, Maranatha Baptist Bible College.
2 John T. Christian, A History of the Baptist. (Texarkana: Bogard Press, 1922), p. 21
3 Edward T. Hiscox, The new directory for Baptist Churches. (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1970), p. 11
4 Thomas Armitage, A History of the Baptists. (Watertown: Maranatha Baptist Press, reprint, 1976), p. 151.
5 William Kerr, Conservative Baptist Distinctives, (Portland, OR: Christianews Press, 1962), pp. 8-10
Other good books about Baptist history:
The Trail of Blood, by J.M. Carroll, printed by Bryan Station Baptist Church, 3175 Briar Hill Rd, Lexington, Kentucky 40516
Baptist Succession, A Hand-Book of Baptist History by D.B. Ray, reprinted by Church History Research & Archives, 220 Graystone Drive, Gallatin, Tennessee, 37066
A Concise History of Baptist by G.H. Orchard, Bogard Press, 4605 North State Line Ave., Texarkana, Texas 75503
I Will Build My Church: The Doctrine and History of Baptists by Thomas M. Strouse, Emmanuel Baptist Theological Press, 296 New Britain Ave, Newington, Connecticut 06111
To order What do Baptists Believe? booklets, write to:
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© Copyright 1993 by D. Curtis Martin
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This publication may be copied and used freely, but must not be sold in whole or in part. It is requested that if you make multiple copies of the material and distribute it that you contact the author as an encouragement to him.
2nd Printing & First Revision May 2001
3rd Printing June 2006
4th Printing May 2009
The following is excerpted from the booklet The Technique Catastrophe by Evangelist Bob Creel (P.O. Box 4548, Sevierville, TN 37864, 865-712-4537 or 865-908-4244). It is subtitled An explanation of the multitudes of false professions in the Independent Baptist movement.
Remember back in Nehemiah chapter six, when Sanballat and Tobiah, the enemies of the Jews, tried to get Nehemiah to meet with them so that they could stop the building of the walls in Jerusalem? When he refused, they then threatened to write to the king and tell him that Nehemiah was planning to make himself king and rebel against Artaxerxes. As an extra measure to make this lie believable, they stated that they were going to tell king Artaxerxes that Gashmu saith it was so. You’ll find this in Nehemiah 6:6.
Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.
Whoever this Gashmu character was, his name must have been much set by with the king. They felt as though their lie would be stronger and have a better chance of being believed, if they were to attach Gashmu’s name to it.
It seems as though this has become the pattern for the Independent Baptist movement! As long as you can attach Brother So-N-So’s name to an unscriptural practice, it will place more credence to a lie! My friend, all the Gashmu’s in the world cannot change God’s prescribed method of working with an individual’s soul, nor does it turn a lie into the truth! Anyone who denies the need for conviction and repentance in a soul winning experience is a liar! Anyone who instructs you to use a vehicle other than the one that has been assigned to you [in God's Word], is guilty of misrepresenting God’s plan! Anyone who indicates that your reward is based upon how many people you lead to Christ has misled you! The Gashmu’s of this world march on, but that doesn’t change a lie into the truth!
Perhaps our real need is to stop reading the material of the Gashmu’s and spend a little more time in God’s Word! Most of our soul-winning practices line up with the Gashmu’s and not with the Bible, which helps me to understand why we are claiming so many conversions and so few additions!
If you add up the number of professions that some of our pastor friends have each year, and multiply it by the number of years they have been in that church, it would in some cases exceed the number of people that live in their area! Some of the missionary letters that I have read lately brings me to the conclusion that we will be able to call all of the missionaries home within the next ten years, because the entire population of that country will then be saved.
No, beloved, improper practices are lining people up at the gates of hell today, thinking they are saved, because some soul winner told them they were. You have a choice. Listen to what Gashmu saith–or what the Bible saith!
The following is by the late Davis Huckabee:
New Testament churches do not naturally die; they are so constituted that they cannot die a natural death. They may, however, be killed, but even in this, they can hardly be killed by outsiders except by the annihilation of the entire membership. Churches are most often killed from the inside; their own members kill them. A church is not just an organization; it is also an organism — a living thing, and as such, it has the potential of either growing and thriving, or of languishing and dying. The Lord promised that His church, considered as an institution, would not die, (Matthew 16:18), but this only means that there will be a continuity of churches like the Jerusalem church until His return; it does not guarantee the continued existence of any individual church.
How then may a church be killed?
I. BY STAYING AWAY FROM IT
The Scriptures liken church members to the members of a physical body, (I Cor.12:12ff), and just as certain organs of the human body cannot be removed without death coming to the body, so it is with the church, the body of Christ. When the members of the church start staying away from it, this soon leads to its death.
This is generally a gradual thing, starting first with the neglect of the business meetings because “it doesn’t matter whether I am there or not. The others are going to run things to please themselves.”
The night services are really the acid test of a church member’s love for the Lord, for many people come to church for the morning services simply because there is nothing else to do except stay home. Of course, many professed Christians who will even forsake the House of God Sunday morning in order to sleep in; these are the very most unfaithful kind. But of those who attend the Sunday morning services regularly, many could not be gotten out for evening services for anything. But the same excuses that are thought valid for staying away from church services, will not do when one is invited to a party, or when money is to be made by being in a certain place, etc. But the Lord will one day settle up the accounts. “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits” Prov. 16:2.
Some church members permanently forsake the church, never more to return; but if we consider the connections between the two verses in Heb. 10:25-26, we find that this is an indication that the individual was only a false Christian. The same is true in I John 2:19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
2. BY STARVING IT
Starving the Church through Lack of Converts
A church lives and grows only by conversions and the additions of those converts to its number, and therefore if it is not nourished by conversions as a result of preaching and praying, it will soon die off from lack of additions. Souls being saved are a blood transfusion to any church. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” Acts 2:47. God does the adding to the church, yet He does it through the prayers and the preaching and the witnessing of His people.
Starving the Church through Lack of Spirituality
A church may be killed by starving it of spirituality; we must remember that the degenerate Church of Rome was once a New Testament church until it lost its spirituality. Heresy in doctrine is first preceded by heresy in practice; i.e., by a carnal life. How may this be prevented? By its members living a sanctified (dedicated) life from day to day (not week by week, nor month by month). But dedication requires self-denial, and all too many professed Christians are unwilling to do this.
Starving the Church through Lack of Prayers and Finances
Then it is possible to starve a church to death by not supporting it with one’s prayers and finances. A church is a business — the grandest, most worthwhile business in the world, and therefore it must have money to operate. Because it is a heavenly business, it needs, in addition to money, the prayers of the Lord’s people. Some professed believers are much more diligent in running down the church, the pastor, and those who are faithfully working in the church, than they are in praying for these and helping them. The same thing is true of Christians as it is of mules: THEY CAN’T PULL WHILE THEY ARE KICKING, AND THEY CAN’T KICK WHILE THEY ARE PULLING.
As to the failure of God’s people to support the church financially, Malachi 3:8-10 is still in the Bible, and it calls the withholder of the tithes and offerings just what he is — a thief. Nor will it do to say “But that is in the Old Testament.” The division of the Bible into the Old and the New Testament is strictly a man-made division; the Scriptures themselves know nothing of this. But in any case, I Cor. 9:1-14 obligates believers to support the church in precisely the same way that the Tabernacle was supported — by tithes and offerings. See especially I Corinthians 9:14.
3. BY STRIFE IN IT
Strife has probably killed almost as many churches as any other one thing. When two people are in disagreement, and both are utterly selfish, it will cause a strife which will grow until it consumes the whole church, unless the church takes steps to end the strife. Strife is a mark of spiritual immaturity and carnality: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ … For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” I Cor. 3:1,3.
Strife generally has its roots in pride, for where there is strife, both parties proudly assume that they are right, and will not admit even the possibility of being wrong. At the same time, neither will try to see the other’s point of view, nor will either admit that the other could be right in the least degree. It is a fortunate church which does not have such an undercurrent of strife.
Strife is also promoted by self-righteousness in that one looks down upon others, while exalting self in his own mind. He takes the attitude of the Pharisee in Luke 18:9. Pride stands in the way of humility, which is always the first step toward repentance.
One of the most tragic forms of church strife is when a member, or group of members, get their feelings hurt by the preaching (which is very common when the preacher is faithful to preach against sin, and to declare the members’ duties). Often the dissident members will mount a campaign to run the preacher off, and the most common excuse used is that he is a “dictator.” Now we have no sympathy with a genuine dictator in the pulpit, but ere a man of God is stigmatized as a dictator, men had best consider what the preacher is commissioned and commanded to do: he is to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” II Timothy 4:2. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear” I Timothy 5:20. “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” Titus 2:15. “This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that the y may be sound in the faith” Titus 1:13.
On the basis of these, and the many other similar texts, the preacher has a duty not only to declare the truth, but also to rebuke those members who are living wayward lives, and no one has a right to call him a dictator for only doing his duty. This is not to say that he may use the pulpit to chide members for personal differences of opinion, nor that he should jump upon and spur every one for every little misstep. The wise pastor will quickly learn to use Christian psychology even in the most serious breaches of Christian ethics, and that “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger,” Proverbs 15:1. A belligerent or overbearing preacher will produce only heartache for himself and discouragement for the church.
Strife between the members of a church and the pastor often destroys a church for the simple reason that by rebellion against the pastor, the members are rebelling against the Lord, for though the church may vote to call a man as pastor, yet if they are led of the Lord in doing so, the pastor is made the superintendent or overseer (Greek “bishop”) over the flock, Acts 20:28. Not only so, but the preacher, when he stands to declare the gospel, is an ambassador for Christ, beseeching men in the stead of Christ to be reconciled to God, II Corinthians 5:18-20. And yet more so, when he preaches Christian responsibility to believers, they are obligated to obey and submit themselves, for the pastor is accountable to God for them, and thus it is a solemn thing to disobey when the pastor is only endeavoring to lead one on to serve the Lord better and more faithfully. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they th at must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you,” Hebrews 13:17.
Some churches degrade the pastoral office to that of a mere figurehead, and treat the pastor with less respect than any layman in the church; sometimes they let their independency and autonomy go to their heads, and they think they can run the preacher off any time they don’t like what he says. But it is noteworthy that the Scriptures give not a single example of the dismissal of a pastor from a church, nor of a church even challenging the authority of the pastoral office.
It is to be granted that the church has authority over its members, including the pastor, but it is also true that the pastor is a man specially called of God to his office, and he stands in a special relationship to God, and while on rare occasions it may be necessary to dismiss and exclude a preacher because of immorality or heresy, yet a church should be very slow to take any action against one of the Lord’s prophets without good reason. “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses” I Timothy 5:19. “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” Psalms 105:15.
4. BY STUBBORNNESS
In the Scriptures, stubbornness is a sin that is compared to witchcraft and idolatry, I Samuel 15:22, and yet some people seem to delight in stubbornly resisting all spiritual progress and activity in the church. It is no virtue to be so set in one’s ways that one hinders a church from changing for the better. No church was ever so perfect when it started but that it has room to change for the better. Indeed, sanctification is itself a progressive changing for the better of individuals, and if the members daily change for the better, so should the church. The sin of the Sardis Church was that it stubbornly refused to repent of sin, Revelation 3:3, and consequently it slowly died on the vine, all the while refusing to admit its cold and indifferent state. There is such a thing as dead orthodoxy — a doctrinal soundness which is devoid of any real love to Christ.
Some say, “Well, it is my life, and it is my business whether I repent or not,” but this is not true, for every person is an example to someone else, and his bad example will lead others astray, perhaps concerning something much worse. Besides, the corruption of a church member is a corruption of that much of the church, and “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” I Corinthians 5:6. No one can afford to indulge any sin, because sin in church members is what kills churches.
There are many ways to kill a church, but the important thing to notice is the solemn consequences of tearing down a church of the Living God. “If any man defile (the Greek word is the same as that translated “destroy”) the temple of God (a church, as the preceding verse shows), him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple are ye” I Corinthians 3:17. It matters not what excuses may be given, if an individual or group of individuals so conduct themselves as to cause the death of a church, they had better prepare to shortly face the judgment of God in the loss of their physical lives.
A church is of more importance than the collective rights of all the members, for a church exists, not just for its own present members, but is a witness to many who may never join it, but who may be led to the Lord through its ministry. Not only so, but the rights of future members must also be considered when taking any action that might be detrimental to the church. Many carnal church members, in their zeal to get their own way, justify their own sins, sooth their own pride and hurt feelings, do not care that they may quench the only faithful lighthouse of the truth in their community. They care not that future generations may not have opportunity to hear the gospel and to be saved because a church was destroyed by the carnality of its members.
The attitude of some is “I’m saved, so let the rest of the world go to hell for all I care.” Such an attitude hardly evidences genuine salvation. If it be true that “Whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” I John 3:17, how much more so is this true of those who have no concern for the welfare of the souls of others? God pity the man who destroys a church: if he is saved at all, he puts himself under the judgment of physical death for putting his own selfish wants and will above the welfare of a church of the living God.
5. BY SELFISHNESS
All of the foregoing points may be summed up in this one, but we venture to make a few more comments which fall specifically under this heading. We live in the most affluent age that this world has ever known. Add to this the fact that this generation has greater means to get the gospel to every race, nation and tribe of people than any previous generation. Radio, TV and the press make evangelism possible as never before. But what happens? Instead of using these means for the glory of God, men become so selfishly involved in them that all of these become definite detriments to the truth.
It has been found that people [in some countries] spend hundreds of times more on pets than on all religious enterprises combined, and Newscaster Paul Harvey reports that for every dollar that is spent on churches, $12,000 is spent on crime. It should be obvious from this that we are working at the wrong end of the problem.
Giving to missions is the thermometer which shows the spiritual atmosphere of a church. It is generally the gauge of godliness in the church. Call it home missions or whatever one pleases, but the selfish use of the Lord’s money for the gratification of the members of a church will kill that church as quickly as almost any one thing. May God give us more sound and serviceable churches by stirring up church members to be more dedicated and obedient.
Are you killing your church by your sinfulness by your selfishness, by your neglect? Then repent before both the church and yourself are destroyed.
The following article is reprinted from The Fundamentalist Digest, Nov.-Dec. 1997 (Don Jasmin, editor)–
In reading a copy of the Baptist Magazine (London, 1820), the writer read correspondence indicating that around the years 1819-1820 there was a group of 100 seminary students at the Andover Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts, who met regularly for the sole purpose of collecting material “concerning missions” to “enable each member to determine whether it is his duty to become a missionary.”
These students prepared dissertations on missions regarding various foreign countries from the materials collected and then read them to the entire group. The Andover Seminary library was also seeking periodicals and books dealing with missions to add to its collection so that the above-mentioned students would have larger resources from which to draw, as they pondered God’s will for their lives.
Could a group of 100 students be found in any fundamental Baptist seminary in the USA today who have banded themselves together solely for seeking God’s will concerning missionary service? Christian writers termed that era “the Age of Missions.” That pioneer missionary spirit needs to be revived in our fundamental Baptist circles today. [No Baptist seminary existed at that time; Andover was an orthodox Congregational seminary where the Baptists in America sent most of their students until the founding of the Newton Theological Institute later in 1 the 1820's-editor]