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Sunday, January 7, 2018

DO NOT READ THIS IT COULD CHANGE YOU!

CONQUER THE WORLD'S GRAVITY



Romans 12:2, “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.”


The Scripture says “be NOT conformed” rather “be ye transformed.” The secret is the mind and in the renewing of the mind by being transformed and not conformed to this world.

The book of Romans is divided up in to two sections, chapters 1-11 and chapters 12-16. The pivotal verses are found in Romans 12:1-2. In the first eleven chapters of Romans we have doctrine. In chapters 12-16 we have practical living or application of the doctrine to a real world.

Paul is saying the redeemed ought to live this way because of the wonderful doctrines in the first eleven chapters. An example would be the doctrine of “justification.” Paul is saying, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God” or because you are justified by faith that you “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.”

Someone says, “I’m addicted to movies, pornography, or to internet pornography.” I don’t believe it for a minute! You can quit it right now and walk away from it. It’s not addictive like narcotics or liquor. You can quit that junk if you would produce enough character, decency, discipline and Christianity. The Bible says we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.
God is saying because you are justified be not CONFORMED to this world, but TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind. Why…

·      Because of propitiation
·      Because of justification
·      Because of sanctification
·      Because of predestination
·      Because of election

Plus all of the other great doctrines found in Romans chapters 1-11. Then Paul goes on to tell us in the rest of the book of Romans what it means and what kind of a life we are supposed to live as God’s children.

God has given to the Christian a little world within a world with our local church, Christian schools, and Christian colleges. If you are in one of the Christian schools and are living a loose moral life you are a traitor to the cause of Christ, to the school, to the college, to the local church and to your pastor. Nobody ought to ever cause themselves to be expelled from a Christian school because of being immoral loose living, bad music, pornography, or sexual promiscuity. No member of a local church should ever be involved with immoral activity for you are in essence a traitor if you do.

Thus we have a little world within a world. This bigger world we live in is a godless world and we are forced to interact. Some have to interact with worldliness at home, or in a secular business, or a secular school, and unfortunately sometimes there are students in the Christian school who are worldly and you find yourself having to interact with them. However, I would be ashamed of myself if I were thick with the wrong crowd in a Christian school. I’d be ashamed of myself to be thick with the wrong crowd in a Christian college.

Now, we are required in some ways to interact with a godless Christ-less world. May I point your attention to whom this passage was given? The passage of, “be not conformed to his world but be ye transformed” is a passage written to the Christians in Rome. They were corrupt, pagan, skeptical, and a perverted people. The entire environment was not only un-Christian but also anti-Christian. The Bible says this book was written to the saints in Caesar’s household.

We have this admonition, “be not conformed to this world.” What does that mean? It simply means dress like a Christian and not like Paris, or Hollywood, or New York. It simply means males ought to have haircuts that look like a male and not the Beatles or Justin Bieber. God is saying to his people I would rather you have Dr. Lee Roberson as your hero than Arnold Swartznegger. I would rather you have Jack Hyles as your hero than Garth Brooks.

Then he says, “be ye transformed” or as different from this world as Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration. This my friend was written to Christians of Caesar’s household in godless anti-Christian Rome, corrupt, pagan, skeptical, and perverted Rome. Yet to the saints in this foul corrupt environment Paul writes these words, “be not conformed to this world but be ye transform.”

No Christians in Rome had a Christian school to attend. They had no Christian grade school, junior high school, high school, or college to attend. Yet, God said to these people in the middle of godless anti-Christian Rome it is possible for them to not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Paul is saying it is possible to live in the midst of a Roman moral quagmire without lowering your flag of purity. Please listen! That means that it is possible today also to do the same. It is possible today to live in a society controlled by TV, Hollywood, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, and the Internet and still live for God via the renewing of the mind.

It is possible to live in this sex crazed, Hollywood infested world, HBO world, Cinemax world, Showtime world, and hip-hop music, and be not conformed to this world. If it is possible for the saints at Rome then it is possible for the saints of today!

Paul said it is possible in this horrible morally polluted atmosphere to breathe without poisoning the souls of the Christians in Rome. It was possible to walk in its septic streets without soiling the white garments of saint-hood. Paul tells them not to be creatures of circumstances or happenstance, but to take a stance for God.

Stand up at work for Jesus while others curse him. Stand up for Jesus at school while others mock him. Paul is saying to these saints in Rome do not do when in Rome as Romans do, but when in Rome do as Jesus would do. He is saying to them be not the slave, but the master of your environment. He preaches not the doctrines of conforming, but the doctrine of transformation.

Paul is saying to the saints in Rome man is not to become a creature of his circumstances or the toy of his surroundings, or a piece of clay molded by his peers, but he is saying do not be conformed be ye transformed. It bothers God when his daughters are quick to take up the hairstyles of modern day Romans. It bothers God when any of his children are quick to pick up the modern appearances and so desperately want to be accepted by the modern day Romans. 

It probably occurs because God’s people spend more time reading “Glamour Magazine” than the Bible. Young Christian ladies spend more time in “Sixteen Magazine” than in their own Bibles. It bothers God when his sons are so quick to get a tattoo or pierce their ears simply because of the modern day Romans.

God is telling his children they are not to copy this pagan world. There is a difference between dressing appropriately and going gaga over the latest styles and so quick to embrace them simply because we want the Romans to love us. We are not to pattern ourselves after this modern world. 

If the world lies on a beach in their underwear then God’s people ought to do the opposite. If the women of this world wear their shorts and man’s apparel then the Christian ladies ought to do the opposite. We are in the world but not of the world!

He tells the redeemed in Rome you are to be more than a product of your environment, more than a result of geography, more than a piece of merchandise molded and made by surroundings, more than a manufacturers object of weather and meteorology. You are not to be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed that ye may prove what is that good an acceptable perfect will of God.

It thrills God to see his children around town reflecting Scriptures rather than society. When he sees the boys with decent haircuts and without their pants hanging down to their ankles with their underwear showing. God loves it when he sees his young ladies dressed in modest clothing without a vampire look. I thank God I belong to a church where members dress right and people around town know they belong to an old fashioned baptist church.

It may be difficult to not be conformed to this world but difficult is not spelled “I M P O S S I B L E.” He says do not drift, but steer! He says do not float, but swim! He says do not descend, but ascend. He says do not blend but transcend. He says do not condescend but apprehend. He says do not be a slave to dust be its master. He says swim the tide.

God is saying to his children in Rome be like the lily in the mud which transforms sordidness into beauty and stagnates into fragrance. He is saying to them do not bow your knee to the god of fashion, the Bael of conformity, the deity of compromise, the altar of timidity to the prince and power of 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.

Christians who are conforming to this modern Roman world and not transforming it doesn’t bother you because you do not care what God wants you to do any way, but those who do care will keep on transforming and not conforming.

Conquer this world’s gravity! Be a lily in the mud, a daisy in the gutter, a flower in the wilderness, a stream in the desert, and a rose amidst needles and thorns. If you have to flee to the catacombs flee singing! If you are appetizer for the lions then die praising God. Throw your shoulders back and chest out, lift up your head, and hold your banner high to let everyone know you are a child of God!

Emerson said, “Whoso would be a man must be a non conformist to their present world!” If the Bible is true, if God be real, and you desire to be a man then do not conform to this world and see what happens? Show me a famous Christian who was a conformist to their present world? Show me one in history?

The Hall of fame list includes John Bunyan who spent twelve years in the Bedford Jail. Why, because he would not stop preaching the Gospel on the street corners! He had a blind daughter who would come to the Bedford Jail and say, “I’ve some good news daddy. They will let you out of jail if you promise to quit preaching the Gospel on the streets.” He was a non-conformist!

John Wesley was a non-conformist to his present world! Read his diary sometime and you will read, “Kicked out of church after church after church…” We garnish his tombstone and crucify the people who are like him today!

·      John Bunyan a non-conformist
·      John Wesley a non-conformist
·      Peter a non-conformist
·      Paul a non-conformist
·      John the Baptist a non-conformist
·      James a non-conformist
·      Savonarola a non-conformist
·      Martin Luther a non-conformist
·      Cromwell a non-conformist
·      John R. Rice a non-conformist
·      Lester Roloff a non-conformist
·      Tom Malone a non-conformist
·      Lee Roberson a non-conformist
·      Shadrach a non-conformist
·      Meshach a non-conformist
·      Abednego a non-conformist
·      Daniel a non-conformist
·      J. Frank Norris a non-conformist
·      G. B. Vick a non-conformist
·      Curtis Hutson a non-conformist
·      Carl Hatch a non-conformist
·      Jack Hyles a non-conformist

Why, because they refused to let the devil tell them how to behave and what to believe. In my 46 years of preaching, as of the writing of this article, I have stood for the King James Bible, Jesus’ blood as the only cleansing agent for sin, the local independent Baptist church, salvation by grace through faith in the blood of Christ, the new birth, sinless life of Christ, vicarious death of Christ, bodily resurrection of Christ, the pre-millennial pre-tribulation rapture of the saints, old fashioned separation from the world, old time religion, soul winning, holy living, Pastor led church, and eternal security of the believer for which I am not about to quit now because of current society!

I John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

II Corinthians 6:17, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing…”

THIS IS DEDICATED TO YOU LEFT COAST LIBERALS WHO LOVE RICK WARREN AND DESIRE TO BE JERRY FALWELL JUNIORS...

For you sweet little Christians who love Rick Warren's and Jerry Falwell's  looseness  and to all the independent Baptist mimickers on the left coast there is more to the Bible than just Psalm 23.

God said, “Touch not the unclean thing” and “Keep oneself unspotted from the world” and “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” and “The saints shall someday rule the world” and “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world but thou shouldest keep them from the world” and “They are not of the world even as I am not of the world” and  “Be of good cheer I have overcome the world” and “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” and “They who have turned the world upside down have come here also” and “Whosoever is born of God overcometh the world even our faith” and “Ye are a holy generation a royal priesthood” and “That he might deliver us from this present world” and “I have overcome the world” and “The friendship of the world is enmity with God” and “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world” and “Demas hath forsaken me having loved this present world.” WOW! I think you had better talk this over with God!

You can live in a godless home and still be transformed and not conformed. I can prove it for some of you reading this article are living in godly homes and you are being conformed and not transformed. Thus, it must not be the home as much as it is you!

Paul told the Christians in Rome that is was possible in their morally polluted atmosphere to breathe without poisoning their souls. Now, if it is possible for the Christians in Rome then it is possible for the Christians in you city to live for God.

You can work in a godless factory go to a godless school, live in a godless home, live in a godless neighborhood, and still be transformed. It is a shame that some of the bus riders from the ghettos of your area live better Christian lives than those who have moms and dads who sing in the church choir, served on the deacon board, teaches Sunday school, serve on the church staff, or are faithful church members. Be ye transformed and not conformed!

It matters not who you are and what you are; you can live for God wherever and whenever. Factory workers can live for God. If they could do it in Rome and Paul expected them to do it in Rome then so can any of us! The Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible expected them to live for God in Rome, which means we can also live for God in our Rome.




Monday, January 1, 2018

OPEN LETTER


OPEN LETTER



Dear Friends,

I wanted to drop you a brief note to let you know how much I appreciate your prayers and your support  in 2017.  SOLVE CHURCH PROBLEMS has been in existence now for eight years. This ministry has birthed INDEPENDENT BAPTIST ONLINE COLLEGE, IBOC Bookstore, IBOC Publications, INDEPENDENTBAPTIST.COM web site for articles, and started printing THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE again.

In addition I have published my 35th book, INTRODUCING JACK HYLES TO A NEW GENERATION. All of this would not be possible if it were not for you. I have given the remaining years of my life to traveling our nation in hopes of stirring up SOUL WINNING and SUNDAY SCHOOL in our churches while writing books.

I celebrated my 72nd birthday on December 18, 2017. I am more excited than I have ever been for the future of fundamentalism as we knew it. I am determined to fight the fight to keep alive what my mentors and friends have invested in me, my family, and my ministry.  No time to compromise now.

This past year we moved SOLVE CHURCH PROBLEMS ministry to IMMANUEL BAPTIST CHURCH of Jacksonville, FL., under Pastor Greg Neal. I have given my books to BEREAN PUBLICATIONS for publishing and printing. This is a growing and thriving church with old time fundamentalism as its DNA. 

I have not given up on this great nation. I have seen, tasted, and been a part of a great move of God. Lord being my helper I will continue to push the old time fundamentalism that I became a part of in my early 20’s. I have seen the hand of God on the churches I pastored and they produced a great number of souls.

I flew 190,000 miles plus in 2017 and I have, with a couple exceptions, a full schedule for 2018. Last year the Lord allowed me to win 166 precious souls to Christ with 66 of those following the Lord in baptism. My heart’s desire is to see what I not only saw, but was a part of with the great men of the past.  Believe me, it was no fluke. It was the real deal. 

Can God do it again? ABSOLUTELY!

Dr. Bob Gray Sr.
Ps. 84:11

SOLVE CHURCH PROBLEMS
PO Box 6216
Longview, TX  75608

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I PUT MY LIFE IN MY HANDS

PUTTING MY LIFE IN MY OWN HANDS



Judges 12:3, “And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me?”

I Thessalonians 4:11, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;”


One of the most amazing statements made in the Bible is that statement made by Jephthah, “When I saw that ye delivered them not I put my life in my hands…” One day you will need this truth so please pay attention to this article. One of these days you are going to come to a heartache, burden, sorrow, battle, and you will need this truth.

I am not going to in this article deal with the vow of Jephthah about sacrificing the first thing that came out of the gate if God would give him the victory. I want to bring to your attention when Jephthah was fighting against the Ammonites how he was that great general conscripted by the people to fight the Ammonites. He contacted the tribe of Ephraim, one of the favored tribes in the Bible, and he told them of the battles yet the Ephramites did not come to his aid. He fought the battle for he even said; “I put my life in my hands.”

He fought the Ammonites without his own people’s help. After the victory is won, which is so often the case, the Ephramites said, “Why didn’t you come and ask us to help?” They wanted the spoils without fighting the battle. Jephthah told them that he did call for their help! “When I was at the crisis point I called for your help but you didn’t come! You didn’t show up at all!” Thus we have the statement by Jephthah; “I put my life in my own hands.”

There are two things that he did that brought the victory. He divided his problem into two areas with the first area being what he could not do about his problem or what he could not control. The second area was what he could do about his problem. 

Jephthah divided his problems into two areas of what he could not control or could not fix plus what he could control or could fix. Whichever area you choose will determine your joy and success in life and victories in life. When you look at things you can’t control or you can’t fix, then you look at things you can control and you can fix, you must decide at that point where to expend your energy.

If you live in the things you can’t control or fix you will despair, complain, and have self-pity. In this area of choice you will become the victim. We have a society, which has evolved into a victim society or a victim of circumstances. 

Modern psychiatrists say we need to look for the blame! Hogwash! They say you are a victim but God says let’s find a cure because you are a victor! You can live in the first area or you could choose to live in the second area?

JEPHTHAH CHOSE TO FOCUS ON WHAT HE COULD CONTROL

Jephthah chose to live in the second area. He had a problem! He faced a big problem so Jephthah divided his problem into two areas. The two areas are "What I cannot control or fix or "What I can control and fix.

Jephthah choose the second area and he focused on what he could control and what he could fix. In essence he said it will do me not one bit of good to live where I cannot control. I can blame Ephraim, I can fight Ephraim, I can write hot letters, and I could tell everyone about how Ephraim treated me but that will not accomplish one thing. Ephraim is not going fight with me and if I focus on what I cannot control I’m going to fail.

However, I can focus my energies on what I can control and put my life in my own hands! Jephthah is saying I have two good arms, two good legs, a good mind, some men who are with me, and a country that is loyal to me so I’m going to focus on what I can control!

Every problem we have can be divided into these two areas. If we choose the first we will be miserable for sure. If we choose the second area we will overcome. If I become bitter and let my enemies dominate my mind and my life I can’t control them. I can’t fix them and that will not help me. 

I can’t help, encourage, and love people if I’m bitter. I can’t encourage if I am discouraged! I can’t love if I hate! I can’t focus on others if I’m focused on me! I cannot keep people from attacking me or criticizing me, but I can prove them wrong!

That is why we fight back because we are wrapped up in areas we cannot control or fix. Do not spend your life focusing on what you can’t control and fix. Spend your life focusing on what you can control and fix.

All the critics in the world cannot stop me from helping, giving, soul winning, reading my Bible, praying, giving tithes and offerings, and from supporting soul winning ministries.  If I can make it after 61 years of being saved and 46 years in the ministry then you can make it too! I have made it because I do not live in area number one with things I cannot control and things I cannot fix.

Anyone can make focusing on the cure, while no one can make it focusing on what you cannot cure! Anyone can make it by focusing on what you can control or fix. No one can make it focusing on what you cannot control or fix.

Let the heathen rage! Let the critics criticize! Let the scandalizers scandalize! Let the gossips gossip! Let the attackers attack! Let the liars lie! Let the enemies hate, but you live fixing what you can control.

The truth is if you want to really get back at your enemies ignore them and do something big! Let the works speak for you! I’m going to spend my life focusing on what I can control and not on what I cannot control.

Jephthah said I’ve been betrayed by the Ephramites and I have two choices. One to spend my life becoming critical, bitter, vengeful, or I could forget about Ephraim and figure out how to win the battle and put my life in my own hands fixing that which I can control.

We also have two choices to make. You can feel sorry for yourself, get despondent, get bitter, get angry, or you could decide to expend energy in working on what you can control and ignore what you cannot control. You can cry how unfair life is or you can tackle life as it is!

Jephthah had the answer of “I put my life in my hands.”


Friday, December 22, 2017

DEGREES OF SEPARATION


On December 12, I had just returned from preaching the gospel in Haiti and was standing in the security line in the Miami Airport when I received a link to Josh Teis’ recent article on The Six Degrees of Separation. I read, with interest, his observations and conclusions on Independent Fundamental Baptists and his own experiences relating to them. Josh is a pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Las Vegas, NE. He has led the church in Sin City to reach many with the gospel. For this I am grateful.

A quick online glance will reveal that Josh has a positive spirit and a spoken desire to reach many people for Christ. In the past few years, he has revealed a growing desire to influence preachers through his own Idea Day. This is a gathering of men in the ministry, both old and young, who are eager to share new ideas in current day ministry. I applaud his passion for the gospel and his passion to influence folks to be effective ministers.

However, when it comes to his ideas on separation and the view he promotes in this article, he is wrong – Biblically wrong. I do not take issue with him personally. I simply have a problem with some of his ideas. They are inaccurate, unscriptural, and worldly; and silence is no longer an option.

In this article, Josh asked, “Am I wrong?” Our answer is yes! 

First, this article is factually wrong…several times over. Independent Baptists did not begin as a protest against the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1900s. They trace their history back to men like Adoniram Judson of missionary fame in the 1800s, Shubal Stearns of North Carolina in the 1700s, Roger Williams of Rhode Island, and John Bunyan of England in the 1600s. Then there is Peter Waldo of northern Italy and the Waldensians of the late 1100s through the 1500s, the Albigensians of France, the Lollards of England and the Donatists of Northern Africa. This is just to name a few! This conclusion is based upon an extremely limited understanding of our roots.

Other factual errors include his conclusion that “The Death of John R. Rice” was the beginning of division among Independent Baptists; his assumption that Independent Baptists are a Denomination; his idea that separation is punishment; and his postulation that it is a sin to refuse to unify with those who hold to aberrant and unbiblical doctrines. This list is just a portion of the plain factual errors that exist.

Second, an objective reader of the blog is left to wonder if Josh is enamored with the Southern Baptists as well as other theological compromisers and disdains Independent Baptists while trying to convey the opposite. He leaves this impression via phrases like “the rapid crumbling of the IFB” and his statement that “several vocal leaders within the SBC took exception with the idea of raising 75 million dollars” to reach the world, and his question “why is it a problem for me to have an actual Baptist Calvinist like John Piper preach in my church” and his conclusion “I relate to Criswell more than Norris,” are all indicators of a directional shift away from one position and toward another. No one is stopping him, if that is his desire, but he cannot head one way in action and claim another in word and expect folks to believe him.

Third, the straw men that emerge from this make you think you have come into a zombie scarecrow convention! Josh Teis blows them away in this virtual video game world, all the while presenting them as pictures of how things really are…when they are not. Generalizations with the first-person plural “we” leave the impression that Independent Baptists are collaborating on every decision relating to separation or any other matter. Not so. Other statements like Independent Baptists are “demanding absolute and complete agreement on every matter,” or “a man must separate himself from anyone who doesn’t completely and utterly agree with him,” or “if you happen to disagree with anyone in the family of God, about anything in the universe, you have a right and obligation to separate yourself from them as soon as possible,” or “3rd degree, 4th degree separation,” are all off base. Are there some among us who demand perfect agreement on everything? 

I have been traveling for two decades preaching across the country and around the world in hundreds of Independent Baptist churches. I have found very, very, very few. Do we have strong opinions? Yes. Do we have solid Bible convictions? Yes. Do we have preferences? Of course. Yet one of our tenants as Baptists is Individual Soul Liberty (Romans 14; I Corinthians 8) and Priesthood of the Believer (Hebrews 4:16; Revelation 1:6). Both truths point to the freedom of conscience and immediate access to Heaven’s Throne so that we, individually, from the Bible, can determine what is right on questionable matters. That is the spirit of Independent Baptists I have discovered again and again.

Fourth, there is a disconnect in Josh’s thinking between doctrine and practice. He wants to appeal to the Rodney King in us all: “Why can’t we all just get along?” He mentions the importance of a theological position but undermines the importance of one’s associations. This ignores and violates Scripture. Jehu asked the good king Jehoshaphat after he allied with wicked Ahab, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD” (II Chronicles 19:2)? Associations. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). Associations. “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go” (Proverbs 22:24). Associations. Our theological position matters so much that it affects our…associations.

Doctrine also affects our practical living. My understanding that God is holy (Isaiah 57:15) helps me to practice personal holiness (I Peter 1:16). This also impacts how we ought to behave in the house of God (I Timothy 3:15). Could this possibly confront a wrong style of music and promote a right style of music for the “house of God”? Absolutely! Does this have any bearing on pulpit attire? Of course! It will influence my spirit, my attitude, my passion, my preferences, my convictions, my behavior, and more. It also has bearing on my personal desire to be less like the world and more like Jesus Christ!

When the church looks and sounds like a nightclub, when the pastor dresses more like the neighborhood teenager seeking to be the next rock star, when Hollywood movie tickets are passed out to church visitors, when preaching is diminished to a sermonette and vested of its authority by a sermon team’s approval or disapproval of it, when Independent Baptist preachers are sitting at the feet of Rick Warren, Chuck Swindoll, T4G, and the Gospel Coalition instead of the New Testament, and when all of this is done in the name of innovation and new ideas something is dreadfully wrong! (FTR, these practices are espoused and encouraged by Josh Teis). Whatever happened to I Thessalonians 5:22 and a myriad of other Scriptures?!? Teis seems either oblivious or unwilling to make the connection between doctrine and practice.

The most egregious and offensive aspect of the article was his misrepresentation of separation. He equated it with division. Not once but again and again! This reveals a glaring ignorance of the Bible. As early as Genesis 1, God separated light from darkness. He separated his people from the Gentiles. Any high point in Israel’s history was when they were separate and distinct from the world, and any low point was when they mixed in with the world and their wicked practices. The same is true with the church of the Lord Jesus Christ! I John 2:15-17, James 4:1-10, and Romans 12:1-2 are all in order here.

When Josh took issue with Ernest Pickering’s book, Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church, he laid all the problems among Independent Baptists squarely at his feet. Huh? It seems he is pointing out a problem of politics, (following men) and division (you’re wrong if you don’t see it my way), then ignoring the real cause (the world, the flesh and the devil) and presenting a solution of…more politics (following him) and division (You’re the problem if you don’t see it my way)! This is silly at best and sinister at worst.

In the end, Josh assured us of his love for Independent Baptists and his desire to see us change and practice Biblical separation. I’m for that! The irony is that he only used two verses in the whole blog post…two…only two, and one was used to mock the biblical idea of separation! Josh, may I present to you a few others? Romans 16:17-18 instructs us to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” II Thessalonians 3:6-15 exhort to “withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us…note that man and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.” This is referring to a lazy busybody within the church. I Corinthians 5:9, 11 warn us not to keep company or eat with fornicating, covetous, idolatrous, railing, drunkard, thieving brothers. 

New Testament separation encourages purity in church endeavors, marriage, personal matters and business. It challenges a purity from sin and worldliness wherever it is found. These Bible passages couldn’t be any clearer. Josh Teis, along with others, has sadly either ignored or misunderstood these passages. A brief study of church history shows, when these truths of separation are ignored, the outcome has never been good. Never.

One of the greatest problems I have with his article is that he makes this whole matter centered around men. Much is made of men who have led us, led us astray or not led us. Little is made about the Bible and the Captain of our Salvation Jesus Christ! If the problem is men, point us to the Bible and Christ. If this was his attempt, he failed. The Independent Baptist position is not men-led or men-driven; it is a fixed point of truth. It will always be. Are there men who rise up as leaders? Yes. Are there those who willingly or inadvertently present themselves as popes? Yes! Yet the solution is not more of the same in an opposite extreme! 

The solution is not pragmatic philosophy! 

The solution is not an acceptance of worldliness, ecumenism, and compromise! 

The proper solution is always the same. Turn back to the Bible and its Author!

There is a new generation of Independent Baptist preachers old and young who are not rising up, that has been part of our problem. They are falling down on their face, asking God to forgive us for our humanistic and worldly practices, steering their people clear of false doctrine and those who practice it, and then stepping into their pulpits and preaching, “Thus saith the Lord!” With these, I cast my lot, not the others who have traded us, are trading us, and will trade us in for another “mess of pottage!” 

Dwight Smith is a Theology Without Apology Contributor and a full-time Evangelist.  Over the past 20 years, Dwight has preached all around the U.S. and in numerous foreign countries.  To read his full bio click here: BIO  

To offer Dwight your feedback, please comment below.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

STRIFE IS A PART OF LIFE

Getting Along With Others


Genesis 13:7, “And there was a strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.”

Numbers 12:1, “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.”

Acts 15:36-39,  36“And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 37And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.  38But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.  39And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus.”

Galatians 2:11-14,  11“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.  12For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.  13And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.  14But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”

In these passages of Scripture, we learn of four different situations in which people did not get along with each other. Genesis 13 deals with the strife between the herdsman of Lot and Abraham and the eventual separation of Lot and Abraham because of the strife. In Numbers 12, we read about the strife between Aaron and Miriam, Moses’ brother and sister.  In Acts, we learn there was division between Paul and Barnabas and between Paul and Peter.

Why is there so much strife between people?  Husbands and wives bicker between themselves.  There is strife in churches, even between the very leaders of fundamentalism. Pastors become disenchanted with their members, and the members, likewise, become disenchanted with their pastor.  Why is there strife between people?
 
In a question and answer session, a preacher once asked Dr. Jack Hyles, “Why don’t leaders get along with each other as they once did?  I am tired of the fighting between our leaders.”

Dr. Hyles replied, “You mean, like Paul and Barnabas?  They had dissention between them, and they split up. After Paul and John Mark disagreed, John Mark quit and turned back. Paul and Peter quarreled when Peter refused to eat with the Gentiles and Paul rebuked him. John Wesley and George Whitefield could not get along with each other. J. Frank Norris and John R. Rice had a falling out. J. Frank Norris and G.B. Vick, literally, split the Bible Baptist Fellowship down the middle. John R. Rice wrote articles against Bob Jones, Sr., in The Sword of the Lord, and Bob Jones, Sr., retaliated by writing a book against Dr. Rice. John Calvin and Martin Luther would hardly speak to each other.”

Each of us has strengths, but those strengths are always accompanied by corresponding weaknesses.  A person who has the strength of leadership usually has the accompanying weakness of stubbornness. Everything has to be done his way. However, remove the weakness of stubbornness and you will also remove the strength of leadership, and that leader will be destroyed. We tend to forget that the stubbornness of a leader keeps him from being a coward.

A person who has the strength of strong leadership will also have the accompanying weakness of clashing with other strong leaders. A dynamic leader, like Peter, will sometimes demonstrate impetuous behavior. A tender, broken-hearted Jeremiah will experience depression from time to time, and he will even consider quitting.
 
A person who loves Jesus, as John did, will also expect the privilege of sitting beside Him in the kingdom. Moses used his strength to demand that Pharaoh free the Israelites from bondage; then, his weakness was demonstrated with a fit of temper. On the other hand, Aaron had none of the weaknesses of leadership, nor did he have the strengths. He gave in to the children of Israel and allowed them to build a golden calf.

The Apostle Paul was probably the greatest Christian of his day, but he had his weaknesses, too.  He frequently clashed with the other leaders, such as Barnabas, John Mark, or Peter.  He became impatient with John Mark’s weakness. 

When Weakness becomes Compromise Expect Opposition

He deeply loved the Jews and wanted them to be saved. He even wished himself accursed for the sake of his kinsmen. Yet, in his fervor for his fellow Jews, he once compromised, shaved his head, and took a Jewish vow. The line was crossed when his weakness became a compromise. The same is true in our day and time when weakness becomes the father of wrong then do not be upset with those who point it out.

You must learn to accept a person with both his strengths and weaknesses within the realm of right. You must accept the liabilities along with the assets within right. There is no place for leadership to endorse and accept compromise. Realize, you cannot have strong leadership without dominance. You cannot have provision and protection without possession. You cannot have wisdom without opinion, or zeal without impatience. To oppose the Emerging church model is to say weakness in music and weakness in separation from the world cannot and will not be condoned. Why? Because you step outside of the circumference of Scriptures.

Weakness does not encompass compromise. There is a vast difference between a weakness and a fatal flaw. When compromise becomes the norm among leaders then do not be surprised when a strong leader will oppose such. Influence is a powerful attribute and can cause irreversible damage to the followers of compromising leadership. Thus when some adapt and adopt to contrary lifestyles to Scripture do not be shocked when opposition is strong. Egyptian music and morals will destroy God's people. Thus, no one should be shocked or upset when strength is exercised.

If you want a pastor with courage and conviction, then accept his stubbornness. If you want a strong, dynamic, and powerful preacher, do not expect to be able to control him.  You cannot have a bland leader—a dominant Barney Fife, a General Milk toast, an emotional stoic, or a mousy lion.  He cannot preach like the Apostle Paul, and then act like Norman Vincent Peale. If he hollers about sodomy, he will also holler at your children. You cannot have a preacher who is willing to fight, and then expect to pick which battles he is allowed to fight. If he has fire, you will someday be burned. The same water that refreshes you has the potential to drown you. 

Husband, if you want your wife to run the finances and the household affairs, then you must accept the fact that she will also try to run you. You cannot expect her to be submissive. If you want her to help you earn a living, you must expect her to want your help washing the dishes. If you want a loving, sentimental wife, expect her to weep when she is disappointed in you. If you want her to be opinionated in other situations, expect that she will, sometimes, disagree with you.
 
Wife, you must accept your husband’s stubbornness along with his leadership. You cannot have a husband who is a Moses at work and an Aaron at home.  He cannot be a giant at work and a mouse at home.  He cannot be Superman at work and Clark Kent at home.
 
The reason we strive with each other is because we want the strengths of another person without his accompanying weaknesses. How can we avoid this constant strife with other people?

Before Entering a Permanent Relationship, Decide What Strengths You Want

Young person, before you go to college, decide what strengths you want in a college, then choose your college based on those strengths. Choose your employment based on those strengths. Before you marry, decide what strengths you want in a mate, and then choose a mate based on those desired strengths.  Recognize that the height of his heights corresponds to the depth of his depths.  If his strengths are not strong, his weaknesses will not be as weak.
 
Church member; realize you need a strong leader who will not move to the left. Choose a church on the basis of a pastor’s strengths, not his personal appeal.  A church needs an old-fashioned, Hell-fire, damnation Baptist preacher who will holler. He will have a temper, and he will be stubborn; but it is better to have a pastor who believes something than to have a pastor who believes nothing. The weakness that makes him stubborn will become strength when he stands firm on the King James Bible or standards.

Preacher; realize you need strong leaders in a movement in order to sustain the successes of that movement. No movement will survive without strong leadership which also has weaknesses. As long as those weaknesses do not violate Scripture you can live with it. Do not follow those who on purpose refuse to mention men of God like Dr. Jack Hyles. No need to reinvent the wheel or the patterns of our fundamental Baptist leaders of the past. 

If You Are in a Permanent Relationship, Accept What You Have 

If you have been in a relationship long enough—whether it is marriage, church membership, or employment—you have already discovered the other person’s weaknesses. Time always exposes our weaknesses.  Learn to accept them! Do not jump from church to church, from pastor to pastor, from employer to employer. Settle down and realize the success that is already found in that relationship. Accept that the success is because of the strengths, even though you do not like the corresponding weaknesses. 

Thank God for the Strengths and the Corresponding Weaknesses within the perimeters of Scripture

We always thank God for the strengths, but we should, also, thank Him for the weaknesses. We should not be content or accept the weaknesses; we should thank God for them. Thank God your pastor is fundamental, he foams at the mouth, he throws songbooks, and he preaches the devil out of sinners!  

More lessons are learned from the results of weakness than the results of strength. With that in mind you need to thank God when your pastor shoots the wrong person because of the lessons learned! Thank God when he nails your hide to the door when you did not do anything wrong! Lessons are learned from every misstep. He is only human, after all, and his strength has an accompanying weakness. In every relationship—between husband and wife, parent and teacher, pastor and member, or boss and employee— accept the strengths with the accompanying weaknesses.

Again, no one is saying we should accept compromising of Scriptures. It is within the sphere of Scriptures and doing right where we find humanity exposed. Those weaknesses are a part of being a human being. But, when it is a violation of the Bible it then morphs into tragedy.

Remember There Are No Strengths Without Accompanying Weaknesses

People cannot get along with each other because they love assets, but hate the liabilities. Accept the liabilities of a strong, growing church that takes a stand.  Accept the bus kids. Accept the Give-It-Alls. Accept the standards and the rules in the Christian school.
 
Accept your spouse’s liabilities along with his, or her, assets. Wife, accept your strong husband’s stubbornness.  Husband; accept your submissive wife’s tendency to cry.  If you reject someone because of his weaknesses, you will also reject his strengths.

Accept Both the Weaknesses and the Strengths 

One time, in a conference in Michigan, Dr. John R. Rice and Dr. Jack Hyles were preaching together. A lady stood behind the pulpit and sang a special in a miniskirt. Afterwards, Dr. Rice stood to preach and said, “Now that the hussy is through singing, I’ll go ahead and preach the Bible.”  His statement caused a furor, and many people refused to come back to the meeting or subscribe to The Sword of the Lord.
 
In another meeting my wife and I attended, a preacher talked about the church starting on the Day of Pentecost. After the preacher was done, Dr. Rice stood and looked at him, saying, “My dear brother, that was a wonderful sermon. Too bad it’s not in the Bible. I suggest you say as much about the church starting on the Day of Pentecost as the Bible says, and that is nothing."  Then he started straight into his message.

On another occasion, Dr. Rice was preaching in near Kankakee, Illinois. A man from the local Nazarene college was playing the organ for the service. When Dr. Rice asked everyone to bow his head for prayer, the man started to play the organ. Dr. Rice asked him to stop, but the organist kept playing.

Dr. Rice asked him again to stop playing, but the organist kept playing.  Finally, Dr. Rice walked over to the organ and yelled, “Shut that box off, now!” but the organist continued to play. Dr. Rice threw a fit, and the organist told him he was trying to set the mood for prayer. Dr. Rice said, “God is not moved by it, so quit it. We are going to pray.” People accepted Dr. Rice’s strengths, but they rejected his weaknesses.
 
Paul, the greatest missionary that ever lived, had his strengths and weaknesses.  The greatest Christians in the history of mankind, Peter and Paul, fussed with each other.  Many of the great leaders in history could not get along.  We must realize that we, too, must learn to get along with each other and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
 
In every area of life, the same strengths that are assets cause the same weaknesses that are liabilities.  You must have both; you cannot have one without the other. Do not reject your relationship with a person because you cannot accept his weaknesses. Do not try to correct the weaknesses; in so doing, you will destroy the very strengths that make a person great.