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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

LOOKING THROUGH MY REVIEW MIRROR

IN RETROSPECT

As I look forward with excitement towards the opportunities ahead of me, my wife and our ministry, I also reflect on many wonderful blessings from the past. As excited as I am about the future, I do not want to forget how good God was in allowing me to pastor Longview Baptist Temple, Longview, TX, for 29 years. 

There are many good people there for whom I hold special memories. I treasure the great victories God gave us together as a pastor and people. I Do not think that my leaving in any way reduces my gratitude for the loyalty shown of many of the people there for my wife and myself.


As it became more and more evident that my ministry is moving in new directions I thought it best for me to separate myself from LBT in order for them to have an entirely clean slate. It's time for us to move on. Likewise, it's time for Longview Baptist Temple not to concern itself in anyway with Bob Gray Sr. I think it best, not only for me and my wife, but also for the church that we move our membership. However, I do so with many fond memories and a heart filled with gratitude.


We wish only the best for Longview Baptist Temple. We will have the church in our prayers and wish God's blessings in the days to come. While our time there is now finished we maintain a love for LBT and a desire for God to bless the church. Every time we have left one place to go to another we have done so with excitement, but not without affection for those we were leaving behind. For the time being we will continue living in Longview, so I hope that when we run into our former fellow church members, we can exchange warm and gracious greetings which we are certain would please our Lord.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

EVERY ENDING HAS A BEGINNING

The New and Reinvigorated Bob Gray Sr.
“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
~Mark Twain
Several years before Dr. Hyles went to Heaven, there was a season he reevaluated his future and the future of his ministry. He asked many of those closest to him who they thought should succeed him as pastor of First Baptist Church. For a time he thought of naming a successor, which he never did, contrary to some people’s mistaken notion. I remember him talking to me about his future. He considered retirement. He considered handing the church off to a younger man. He had been under great attack and felt that maybe his best days were behind him.
One Sunday morning Dr. Hyles announced that he was going to preach a sermon that night on who his successor was going to be. Word spread throughout the country. The oddsmakers in Las Vegas begin to take odds on who would be named. Well, they didn't but we all begin to predicting who we thought it would be. I am glad I did not place any bets, although Tom Neal tried to get me to. 
When Dr. Hyles stood to preach that Sunday night everyone eagerly waited to see who would be named successor. The moment had come. Who would it be? It was………...Jack Hyles. He had decided not to retire and hand his ministry over to another. He decided to “re-enlist.” We were all happy he did. As a result he enjoyed several more years of great ministry blessings.
I am now a few years older than he was at that time. Some think that I am at the end of my ministry. Others assume that my best days are passed. However, I do not believe that. In fact, I believe God has just begun to use Bob Gray, Sr. Critics and enemies, I am so sorry to have to tell you, but I have decided to re-enlist. By the way don't count me out of pastoring again, quite yet. But, that's another subject altogether. 
Yes, I have decided to start over. You are hearing from the NEW and Reinvigorated Bob Gray, Sr. I am like the kid preacher who is more excited about the future than the past. While I am certainly grateful for all that God has allowed me to do in the past, the past is the past. I am more grateful for what God is allowing me to do today and will allow me to do in the days ahead. I am re-enlisting and with that comes some new exciting opportunities.
By the time you read this article I will have joined a new church. Many months ago my path crossed with a younger man to whom my heart was knit. That young man took a great interest in learning from me as well as being a help to me. Now, I am no John Rice and this young younger preacher would not claim to be a Jack Hyles, but he saw the same thing in me that Jack Hyles saw in an older and much maligned John Rice. He saw value while some ready to put us out to pasture. 

That young man is building a vibrant and exciting church in Jacksonville, Florida. I have joined the Immanuel Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida under the dynamic leadership of Pastor Greg Neal. I have studied this young man over the past year and a half. I have watched him and examined him closely. I find him to be the kind of pastor I need at this point in my and my wife's life.

Jacksonville will become the headquarters of Bob Gray, Sr. and his ministries. Many exciting plans are already in the works. I am proud to be a member of Immanuel Baptist Church and for Greg Neal to be my pastor. The naysayers of Greg Neal have had their day and their say, but God is blessing his ministry in a wonderful fashion.
I have a new college. Less than two years ago a small group of men met with me and we discussed the possibility of starting an online college. I cannot claim that I thought we would be where we are at this point. As of today we have 596 enrolled in our college. That is not 596 who have taken a class at some point. That is actual enrollment, and we are growing on a daily basis. Dr. Jeff Smale, President of IBOC, will soon be going full-time and we will work closely at continuing to build both an online college and eventually a campus college.
I am going to be conducting Soul Winning Clinics throughout the country. Yes, that Soul Winning Clinic. Many of you remember when we championed soul winning at our Soul Winning Clinic in Longview, Texas, for three decades. With Dr. Greg Neal’s support and help we will conduct Soul Winning Clinics in churches across America. Once again we will teach just as we did back in those days. I cannot tell you how much this excites me.
A new book has just come off the presses in MN, Introducing Jack Hyles to a New Generation. I decided that the next and future generations needed to know the truth about Jack Hyles. They needed to understand things that had been misrepresented by so many, including some who worked with and for him. Careful work has gone into this book and it is now ready to be shipped. This will be my third book about Dr. Hyles. 

I am happy to announce that a fourth book is now in the works. With Mrs. Hyles blessing we have written three and will now be writing a fourth entitled, The Young Jack Hyles. For those who wish he would go away, well I've got news for you. He's not going away and I am going to make sure that his ministry continues to influence this nation and this world.
The final project I will mention now is that I plan to be here to irritate the critics of old-time fundamentalism until I die. I am not going to get soft on a generation that finds nothing but fault with older men. I'm grateful that a younger man like Greg Neal sees the value of older men. He realizes that we have something he and our country needs. I have no intention of going away. For those who have heard that Bob Gray, Sr. retired let me make it official, the reports of my retirement are greatly exaggerated. 
I can only imagine the gossip that will be buzzing on the internet by lazy backslidden Christians who have nothing better to do than to criticize and slander those of us who are still doing what we have always done. It kinda invigorates me more. Have at it critics. I am ready. Bob Gray, Sr. "ain’t going nowhere." I plan to win more souls, preach more sermons, send out more tweets, and even upgrade my website. Yep, I am re-enlisting to do all I can for the cause of Christ.

Monday, May 15, 2017

IS YOUR TITLE GIVEN OR EARNED?

OVERRATED TITLES

Romans 12:10, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another:”

Romans chapters 1-11 are the doctrinal chapters of the book. Romans chapters 12-16 are the practical chapters or chapters of application of this book. Normally, the interpretation of verse 10 would be to give in. Certainly that is taught in the Scriptures. We are not to take a brother to civil court is certainly taught in I Corinthians 6-1-6, which is in essence giving in. However, verse 10 is not speaking about giving in and letting someone have their way. 

Abraham and Lot’s controversy with the herdsman fighting is not the proper application of this verse. Jacob and Esau with their twenty years of broken fellowship ending with Jacob deciding to go back to Esau and ask for forgiveness with his gifts for Esau is not an example of this passage.

We emphasize the words “preferring one another” but there are other words penned there too. It says, “in honour preferring one another.” When there is an honor you would rather someone else have it rather than you. It is not about giving in when two people have a disagreement. This verse uses on purpose the word “honour.” This simply means having no ambition for position or power or title.

·      In honour preferring one another
·      In ambition preferring one another
·      In title preferring one another
·      In power preferring one another
·      In position preferring one another

This would mean possessing no aspirations for promotion to another title. But preacher should not a person have dreams? Yes, but not for power, title, or a position. One should dream about doing more not being more!

I am thinking of some dear staff people who served with me for almost three decades at the Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas, such as Mrs. Jennifer Petticoffer. When I was installed as pastor she was a 16-year-old young lady. One Sunday our piano player gave me a 3-page resignation letter and walked out of the auditorium after a 15-minute offertory. 

I called Jennifer that Sunday afternoon and asked her to play the piano. As a teenager she stepped in and did the best she could do. Later on I asked her to give herself to not only the piano, but also the music ministry. She did and eventually became LBT’s Music Coordinator. She had over 70 singing groups, 40 piece orchestra, 70 voice adult choir, a dozen youth choirs, as well as Texas Baptist College music program, and then eventually Dean of Women. AMAZING! She took a simple job with a simple title and then quickly became in her field a nationally known Music Coordinator.

Mrs. Petticoffer worked a little harder, a little more, and that hard work has promoted her not a seeking of power or a title on her part! She did not become known by being promoted, but by perfecting her work and doing it better. She took a job of playing for the congregation to preparing specials and 30 years later is nationally known!

God is saying His children ought to have ambition to work harder, produce more, and forget the titles. God wants His children to let Him take care of the title.

In honor preferring one another or ones desire for promotion ought to be the promoting of oneself to do more than one is doing, rather than being more! Dr. C. W. Fish is a prime example of this. When Dr. Jack Hyles needed a custodian at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, he hired C. W. Fisk. This new hire became a proficient personal soul winner with many converts walking the aisles of the great First Baptist Church. This new hire became so valuable that Dr. Hyles had to promote him to Associate Pastor. C. W. Fisk did nothing but do more without ever asking to be more!

Quit aspiring to titles, positions, and make your current title or position more valuable. Give it all you have! Elevate your title and position by the work you do. Make your work produce more and you will promote the title you currently have been given without even realizing it you will have a greater title without a promotion.


NOTHING IS AS OVERATED AS A TITLE, POSITION, OR POWER

Think with me for a minute? Moody Church, Temple Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan, Highland Park Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas, and First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas were probably the most influential churches in America. 

Moody Church of Chicago, Illinois, was pastored by Dr. H. A. Ironside, Temple Baptist Church was pastored by Dr. G. B. Vick, Highland Park Baptist Church was pastored by Dr. Lee Roberson, First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas, was pastored by Dr. J. Frank Norris, and First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, was pastored by Dr. W. A. Criswell.

Who followed these men of God? When these men died or resigned every one wanted those pastorates but the title, position, and power went down to the level of the new pastor as well as the church they became pastor of!

Churches do not build men it is men who build churches! In honor preferring one another put on the bottom shelf simply means one does not become upset because he is not elected to the a deacon. If one is aspiring for a title, a position, and for power he will lose because the work will fall to his work level.

·      Baptist Bible Fellowship-founded by Dr. G. B. Vick
·      Southwide Baptist Fellowship-founded by Dr. Lee Roberson
·      General Association of Regular Baptist-founded by Dr. Bob Ketchum
·      Conservative Baptist Association-founded by Dr. Myron Cedarholm

All of these men were nationally known not because they were the head of their particular group. I can prove this statement by asking the question, “Who followed them?” I doubt if very few reading this chapter, familiar with the previous movement of independent Baptists, can name their successors.

These men listed worked so hard that their work sustained their title and position so that when they died the work fell to the next worker’s level of work! That is why I would often say when Dr. Hyles was living that the preachers around America had best quit hoping Dr. Hyles would die so they could become the pastor.

Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

·      Elevate your work and you automatically elevate your title
·      The people who are absorbed with getting the work done are not title seekers
·      Quit wasting time aspiring for a title, position, or power
·      Promote your work and you work will promote you without a new title

Allow me to give you an example. Pastor Homer Richie replaced Dr. J. Frank Norris as pastor of the famous First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas. He was greeted by 3,000 people in attendance his first Sunday. There was another pastor who was the same age as Homer Richie who pastored some thirty miles away. His name was Jack Hyles! Pastor Hyles was the same age as Pastor Homer Richie and on the very same Sunday Jack Hyles was greeted by 44 people as he started as the new pastor of the Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland, Texas. Those two churches passed each other but were going in different directions.

Take notice of this! Every church Jack Hyles took was running less than the one he left and in this day and time that is unheard of! Each church provided a greater opportunity, but they were numerically running less. The dear church I left up north to come to Texas was running more than Longview Baptist Temple was even though there was no comparison facility wise and population wise. The child of God’s goals ought to be work goals not title goals. The goals ought to be production goals and not position goals. If you have to remind me of your title you have not earned your title.

What is the opposite of “in honour preferring one another”? It is the mother of James and John approaching Jesus and asking that her sons sit on the right hand and left hand in the kingdom! What is the opposite, a man in a local church who becomes upset at not being selected for a position? In honor, or in position, or in title is God’s desire for his children. 

Preferring someone else over ones’ self! What is the opposite, a preacher turning on his college because he was not recommended for an honorary Doctor’s degree? What is the opposite, a person leaving his church because he was not chosen Superintendent of a Sunday school department?

Simply it means when it comes to honor, position, or title we are to prefer someone else to receive the position or title. When it comes to work let your work sustain your title or position and let greater works build your title into a greater title. 

I did not seek the Longview Baptist Temple. I was merely passing through town taking a deacon’s nephew to the Roloff Homes for some help with his addiction. I did not seek a National Soul Winning Clinic. The Clinic started with my good friend Dr. Howard Hall of Shreveport Baptist Temple bringing his staff over to discuss how to reach more people and baptize more converts.

Psalm 75:6-7, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge that putteth down one, and setteth up another.”


SUMMARY

·      Nothing is as overrated as a title, position, or power
·      Elevate your work and you automatically elevate your title
·      The people who get the work done are not title seekers
·      Quit wasting time aspiring for a title, position, or power
·      Promote your work and your work will promote you
·      Settle down and go to work and let the work go to work for you


Saturday, May 13, 2017

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LEARNED

THE TONGUE OF THE LEARNED

Isaiah 50:4, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakethen mine ear as the learned.”


God is explaining to us the tongue of the learned is the one who is appropriate with his words with the example of speaking a word in season to the weary. A preacher should not preach on Hell at a funeral for he must be appropriate. The pastor should conduct the Wedding ceremony appropriately.

The word “weary” can be defined as “those who lag behind.” “The Lord GOD has given the tongue of the learned.” Why does he have the tongue of the learned? Why is he a scholar? Why is he an educator? God simply says so that they can know how to speak a word in season to him that is lagging behind or someone who is weary.

I am known as a rock-ribbed right wing fundamental independent Baptist preacher. Often a pastor around the country will introduce me by saying, “You’d better buckle up cause the Texas Tornado is about to preach!”

The truth is I love people and I love deeply. Billy Sunday was right when he said, “You can’t love flowers without hating the weeds.” If a preacher loves people he will prove it by being a right wing fundamental preacher. Preaching against sin is not a sign of a lack of love, but a sign of intense love. I often wish folks could see my heart. 

As of the writing of this post I have preached over 25,000 sermons, preached in every state of the union but one, preached in seventeen foreign countries, averaging leading a soul a day to Christ, and when my critics say I don’t love that hurts. When my critics say that all I know to preach or teach is soul winning I must admit it stings because it is not true. Any one who has read any of my books knows that is a total fabrication by my enemies. I am not an Einstein, but I’m not an imbecile either.

I wish folks knew of my love and my depth of thought.  Fundamentalists are often thought of as lacking love and not very scholarly. If you are an honest person and you read my writings you will find some depth of thought. If you follow me around you will find I love very deeply. I regularly write poetry and I do think deeply.


WHY THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 4?

May I ask a question? Why was it a temptation for Jesus when he was tempted in Matthew chapter 4? Jesus’ temptation was to be able to show himself. He could have easily turned those stones into bread, he would have like to have done so, and he was tempted to do so.

Hold it! This was hard for the Saviour for he was not able to show exactly what he was. The hardest thing he did was to appear simple. Here is the one who was the truth. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Here is the one who is Omniscient for he was everything, but he had to come down to the level of people and talk on their level. 

He took the greatest truths known to mankind and he placed them into simple stories such as a boy who ran off from home, like a lady who lost a coin, like a shepherd who lost on of his sheep, like a man who was attacked on a road, and like a man who planted a crop.

He who was truth took deity and placed them on the level of man so that man could understand. Jesus had to break the great truths down into small portions so that you and I could understand them.

Here was Omniscience appearing simple, Omnipotence appearing weak, wealth appearing poor, King of kings washing the feet of the Disciples, the King of glory submitting to baptism by a Baptist preacher, Omnipresence yielding to confinement, the creator of bread becoming hungry, the living water becoming thirsty, perfection becoming sin, and the judge of the universe being tried by mortal judges.

Here was he whose home was in Heaven being reared in a carpenter’s house. Here is Jesus the Son of God being in subjection to creatures that he created himself, here is total profundity appearing in simplicity, here is the builder of Heaven living in a city of bad repute named Nazareth, here was understanding being misunderstood, the all powerful one yielding to arrest, here was the perfect one being considered a criminal, here is God incarnate being considered the worst of mankind. Here is Jesus being perfect yet was clothed in weakness and perfect love being unrecognized.

If I could wish people could see my love how much more frustrating it must be for Jesus who is love. If I wish people could see the depth of my thoughts how much more frustrating it must be for Jesus.

Jesus came back from the heighth of Omniscience to become simplicity

Herein lies one of the great problems of leadership and Christianity today especially in our seminaries and Bible colleges. Some how we learn and learn and learn and learn and learn and then a scholar is born. Yet, the very purpose of going to the mountaintop is so we can go back to the valley where the hurting people are living.  A lot of Bible knowledge does not help if the people do not even know the books of the Bible.  Mercy always precedes truth in the Bible and many push truth without mercy and it does extreme damage.

A young person enrolls in Bible College and takes New Testament Survey along with more Bible courses. He becomes a Systematic Theologian. He delves into Ecclesiology. He keeps on burying himself in theological studies until he receives a degree. He then enrolls in Seminary earning a Doctor’s degree. He is so intellectually equipped that he feels he is better than the common layman or his mentors who have socks older than them.

The man is not a scholar who knows a lot. The man is a scholar who knows a lot yet he goes back to those common laymen and teaches them on their level what he knows. Meekness is like approaching an elevator entering the elevator with the ability to choose to go up or to go down. When a man can go up or down intellectually he is a meek man. Your knowledge is not given to impress people but to equip people.  Your disrespect for the aged mentors just proves how spiritually immature you have become with all of your education.

Profundity gives a person the right to use simplicity. College students are not being taught so they can store up knowledge and then to build bigger barns for their collective knowledge. They are being taught so they can go back and help those who are not as privileged. Simplicity should be a choice. Learn all you can from your mentors and then teach beginners.

A math major that knows calculus yet teaches addition and subtraction in school knows the purpose of his or her education. The theologian who knows Systematic Theology and yet teaches New Testament Survey to freshman knows the purpose of his education.  

The author who teaches composition, the English major who teaches spelling to first graders, the All-American football player who coaches a high-school football team, the PHD teaching freshmen, the scholar teaching the educable slow, the concert pianist teaching beginning piano students, the opera singer teaching voice lessons to a beginning voice student, the decorated war veteran as an instructor in boot camp teaching the raw recruit, the financier teaching a young person how to balance a checking account, a pro ball player playing catch with a little boy, a hall of famer coaching in the little league.

God wants leaders to learn all that they can, but that is not the purpose of it all. Many of you know the Bible, but never teach anybody. Veteran Christians ought to take a little Beginners Sunday school class or Primary Sunday school class or a Junior Sunday school class and teach that you have been taught.

God calls us fools who store up what we have learned in the barns of our minds. The purpose of knowledge is to teach those who do not have that knowledge. Many leaders have bought a one-way ticket to knowledge and information, but the truth is they should have bought a round trip ticket. Leaders should be on their way back to the uninformed. They should be on their way back to the unknowing.  This is where the arrogant young leaders are all knowing and yet never coming to knowing for their refusal to be warned or learn from mentors who are attempting to help those young leaders who lag behind.

Learn all you can, but do not forget to come back to those who have not had the privilege of learning yet. There are people who are now where you were at one time. You have a responsibility to go back to where they are and you were and help them get to where you are.

I do not care for intellectual snobs. I do not care for theological snobs. In a question and answer session in South Carolina on a Tuesday with Dr. Jack Hyles a professorial type preacher was dominating the Q & A and it was irritating every one there. This seeming intellectual asked Dr. Hyles, “Of all the things you have done what would you change?” Dr. Hyles replied, “My underwear!” It was hilarious!

Ladies and gentlemen God intended for leaders to learn, grow, attain knowledge, and gather information, but God also intended for you to teach what you learn, garnered, and gathered. This is the responsibility of all those who lead to equip everyone with knowledge for the warfare of life. The Bible is our weapon and if you know it teach it. If you read it teach it. If you meditate on it teach it. If you learn it teach it. If you love it teach it. If you have been corrected accept it and pass it on.

It is time for leadership to make the round trip and go back where you started and teach those just starting. Every deacon ought to be teaching a Sunday school class. Deacon’s wives ought to be teaching Sunday school classes. Staff members ought to be teaching Sunday school classes. Staff members’ wives ought to be teaching Sunday school classes.

There are people who have stored and stored and stored knowledge and yet never shared and shared and shared that knowledge. It is time to return to where you started and teach.

The Bible is not a math book. The Bible is a love story from the lover of my soul. Go as far as you can, but do not forget to go back as far as you came. Do all you can, but do not forget to go back to where you started doing. Go as high as you can, but do not forget to come back down to where you started. Accomplish all you can, but do not forget to come back to your first accomplishment.

It is on the way back that you become a scholar. The trip to knowledge does not make you a scholar. You are not a scholar because you have accumulated knowledge. You are a scholar because you spread knowledge. Tis the spreading of what you know not the gathering of what you know that makes you knowledgeable.

If you are so smart that you know Greek and the Hebrew languages, but do not teach the Bible you are not a scholar. Paul in Hebrews said, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again...” (Hebrews 5:12)

How much Bible have you taught lately? How much truth have you taught lately? Do you have a Sunday school bus route of people who depend on your teaching? It is the trip back that shows you are a real scholar. The trip forward gives you the scholarship credentials while it is the trip back that gives you the scholarship credibility.

How do you handle correction from the hoary heads? You have not arrived and certainly should be receptive to those who love you. Contemporaries will not tell you the truth always because they do not want to lose you; yet mentors will tell you the truth because they fear the lose of a cause more than your admiration.

A College professor who teaches above the student’s is a scholar to himself, but the one who teaches at the student’s level is a scholar to them. Teaching more theologians to be more theologians is not what God had in mind. When you learn so much that you do not want to lower yourself to keep someone out of Hell you have learned too much. Intellectual snobbery is ruining our nation.

When you are too good to put your arms around a little bus rider or have them seat with you in church you are a spiritual snob. If you are too good to drive a Sunday school bus, work a bus route, win a bus child to Christ, too good to preach at a rescue mission, too good to reach the homeless for Christ, too good to go soul winning, too good to feed the hungry, too good to clothe cold bodies, and too good to bring food for the food pantry then you my friend are a spiritual pharisaical snob.

The whole purpose of the trip forward is so you have something to bring back to those who are right now where you were when you started your trip forward. You become intellectual when you go back to where you started to reach those who are starting. You do not become intellectual when you gather you knowledge rather you become intellectual when you distribute your knowledge.

Your success in life depends on whether you come back to where you started for others who are starting. It is not the distance away from your beginning that gives you the right to be called a success, but it is the distance you travel back to help others make the same trip that gives you the right to be called a success.

A one-way ticket to knowledge is useless. A round trip ticket to knowledge and back is useful. The one ticket is a one-way ticket to being a Pharisee, Sadducee, a snob, untouchable, and a failure. Greatness is found in the one who comes back from where he was to help others get to where he is.

Intellectualism is teaching what one has learned so they can teach what they have learned. We want to reproduce reproducers. Scholarship can have credentials without credibility. Real education is in coming back to help others to go forward so they can come back. Higher degrees without lower depth are a fake degree. Higher training without lower teaching is deceptiveness. Education without educating is a man without substance. Years of training without years of teaching produces an unbalanced intellectual life.

What good does the tongue of the learned if it does not help the one who has fallen behind? What good is Bible knowledge if it does not help the Sunday school bus rider, the homeless, the mission man, the poor, the sinner, the fallen Christian, the educable slow, the forsaken wife, forsaken husband, orphan, and the widow who has fallen behind? What good is a mentor if he does not warn of pending pitfalls? 

Knowledge that is gained not worth using is not worth knowing. Dr. John R. Rice could quote Shakespeare, write poetry, write music, and write books yet play hopscotch with little children on the streets of Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Tom Malone had a massive library filled with Shakespeare and other famous authors. He earned several Masters Degrees yet he put the jelly on the bottom shelf. Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. Lee Roberson, and yes even Evangelist Lester Roloff were intellectual giants, but they returned back to where they were to lead from there to here the followers.



Friday, May 5, 2017

SOME PREACHERS GOSSIP MORE THAN ANY GROUP OF LITTLE OLD LADIES EVER THOUGHT OF DOING.

ANSWERING Q and A QUESTIONS OF SESSIONS WHERE I WAS NOT PRESENT THAT PERTAINED TO ME



My preacher friends should not be quizzed about my ministry-CALL ME!

I received a call from a pastor friend in TN, and he was concerned  about some things conveyed to him by a mutual friend. The concern was that because of some issues involving me I may be hurting preacher friends who associate with me.  He explained that there were issues being raised in  Q and A sessions about my ministry. The latest being in MN.  My friend asked me how to handle them.  By the way he defended me against false accusations.

Normally I could care less at age 71 after 45 years of ministry what lies are told concerning me, but there are certain people with whom I have great respect that it does bother me.  My preacher friend was inundated with questions concerning me and my ministry.  Let me clear some of those issues up of which I was never asked by those MN preachers.  By the way fellas my number is 903-237-9019. Call me any time.

1) There was a question about my tithes and offerings.  I have NEVER failed to give my tithes and offerings to the churches where our membership was.  In my 71 years of living I have only been a member of 4 churches. I gave tithes and offerings at those churches every week of the world. The truth is I doubt that one single member gave more than I did during my 3 decade tenure at LBT. Since retiring I have given just under 1/4 of a million dollars to LBT. I bleed and died for those dear people and the ministries God led me to start in Longview, TX.

2) Our membership is still at LBT. My wife is bedridden and cannot attend. She is currently suffering from a heart attack and has congestive heart failure.  This is along with 42 other surgeries she has had in the past 35 years.

I will let my life and ministry speak for itself. If I had been unfaithful in any aspect of my life and ministry I would understand the lies.  However...
  • I have 52 years of faithfulness in my marriage, 
  • I have 45 years of faithfulness in ministry, 
  • I have 33 years of faithfulness in pastoring, 
  • I have 33 years of faithfully giving tithes and offering weekly to the two churches I pastored-without being late one time, 
  • I have 29 years of faithfully pastoring LBT and all the ministries God led me to found,
  • I have 33 years of faithfully winning souls, 
  • I have 29 years of bringing souls down the aisle of LBT every week, 
  • I have 33 years of faithfully making sure the bills for all of the ministries were paid on time and even a head of time, and
  • I have 27 years of faithfully leading TBC, and 
  • I have 8 years of faithfully backing LBT since retirement
3) My schedule is such that I am never here. Sometimes my wife needs me to stay home with her, which I am glad to do for my bride. I had hoped to spend the rest of my life home taking care of my ill wife. But that is just not to be. My eternal gratitude goes out to Mr. and Mrs. Ayres for taking care of my wife as well as our house. Also, thanks to Mrs. Denise Dean for being such a big help to Mrs. G.

I think it is just as important for a church to be right with their members as it is for the members to be right with their church.  God will deal with the lies I just want to make sure you dear preacher friends know the truth.

4) IBOC, INDEPENDENT BAPTIST ONLINE COLLEGE, is out of VICTORY BAPTIST TEMPLE of Elyria, OH. Dr. Jeff Smale pastors the church. If you have questions about this he would be glad to clear up any misconception.


I am 71 with 45 years of ministry behind me.  I want to leave something for the generations to come, especially these older men sitting in the pews of our churches around America at this moment. Videos of veteran men of God will be used to teach the next generation of older yet future fundamental leaders. 

These same men who were told it was best for them to stay home will be able to gain from these great men of God.  Also, for generations to come these videos will be priceless. They will be filled with the principles and philosophies that helped built some of the greatest fundamental churches in our history.

All of these classes are recorded for viewing later on as well as decades to come. This means long after I and these other men are in Heaven the Bible principles and philosophies of church building and growth learned at the feet of Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. Lee Roberson, Dr. Curtis Hutson, Dr. John Rice, Dr. Jack Hudson, and others will not die with these men and myself.  

The vision of IBOC is not to replace other Bible colleges, but to work hand in hand with them. 
  • Our classes can help Bible colleges all over this nation fill the class requirements, which are not in the academic rotation so men can actually graduate on time. 
  • This will help those who started pastoring without finishing their Bible college to finish. 
  • This will help men of God who want post graduate degrees.
  • This will allow Missionary candidates to go on deputation early while finishing up their last year of studies. 
  • This will help hundreds of Missionaries train natives so they will not have to come to America and be ruined by our rotten culture.
  • This will allow Missionaries to train native church members through IBOC with only one payment for the Missionary’s enrollment.
  • It takes years before an American missionary can raise enough money and get ready for the mission field. 
  • Sometimes the wife and family cannot adapt to the foreign cultures and they end up coming back home and leaving the field. IBOC will help curb this.
5) Dr. Johnny Nixon wrote a book entitled “BORN THAT WAY” and in that book he was attempting to help those who never felt it was God’s will that they marry. He had been inundated with questions about this and the attacks on these Christians who were being accused of being homosexual.  He began a ministry of helps. He dealt with it in a fair and Biblical manner.  He does not teach for IBOC.

I defended Johnny after vicious attacks from Steven Anderson a pastor in Tempe, AZ, who is a nut case in my opinion. As a result he went on a campaign against me with video and DVD’s being sent all over the country. Pastors on my schedule were contacted and told them I was for homosexuality. 

I received 190 calls from Anderson cult followers. Those who called me were vulgar and even threatened me physically. Several pastors have cancelled me, but I would take the same stand if I had too again.  

I stood not for Johnny but the truth that anyone, including homosexuals, can be saved.  Steven and others said homosexuals cannot be saved, which is Calvinism, and  I reject that.

I may be assuming that you are aware of all of this when you in reality are not. If so, please forgive me. I just hold our friendship with men of God as special. God bless you and your ministry.

If you really want to know the other side of what you are being told about this preacher then call me 903-237-9019 or email me at bgraysr@me.com; but don't quiz my preacher friends, be man enough to call me or email me. God bless!





Thursday, May 4, 2017

SBC WOOING INDEPENDENT BAPTIST CHURCHES

Southern Baptists Target Independent Baptist Churches!



I knew there was a “Back to Rome” movement but it seems there is a “Back to Nashville” movement among Independent Baptists! However, I’m not going. I’d rather fight than switch. I don’t understand what’s so attractive about Nashville.
A few years ago, some high profile Independent Baptist Churches rejoined the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) after decades of being independent such as First Baptist in Fort Worth, Highland Park Baptist in Chattanooga and others. While a dog returning to devour its vomit is too strong a metaphor in this situation, some of us who paid the price to leave liberal denominations can see a similarity.
I was shocked to read a few months ago that the 81-year-old High Street Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri where I have preached over the years had joined the Missouri and national (SBC)! High Street Baptist is the flagship church of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI), and has long been a stout voice for Fundamentalism, strong Bible teaching, sending missionaries worldwide, and starting Baptist churches. The BBFI is the largest group of independent Baptists in the world.
I have also been shocked by the absence of angry Fundamentalists in the streets of Springfield carrying pitchforks, torches, and tar and feathers. Me thinks the likes of J. Frank Norris, Bill Dowell, Noel Smith, Beauchamp Vick, John Rawlings and others are looking over the parapets of Heaven asking, “What on earth is going on?” What’s going on is the capitulation of Independent Baptists to denominationalism and a repudiation of the great exodus of the mid-1900s from compromising churches. Maybe there will even be a national apology tour by some of the BBFI leaders for being so “divisive.”
The SBC is the largest “protestant” denomination in America and has had a reputation for strong Bible teaching for 170 years! While one does not consider the other an enemy, each group has gone its own way, often overlapping. I have preached in a few SBC churches, but I never entertained the idea of joining an SBC church. And now the leading church in the BBFI has joined the SBC! Maybe the infamous location in the netherworld has not frozen over but surely pigs have learned to fly!
High Street Baptist is pastored by Eddie Lyons who has served there 15 years. He described the BBFI as a “very loose network of independent Baptist churches” of which he is the international president. Speaking of the SBC, the pastor told the media “We have the same heart, the same calling.” He added, “When the Southern Baptist Convention overall took their conservative move, it was very clear that there was no difference between us,” he said. “Fundamentally, the Southern Baptist Convention articulates and represents a very strong position with regard to our core theologies.” The good pastor is wrong for there is a vast difference.
Of course, while any Independent Baptist Church can do whatever it wants and does not answer to anyone outside its membership, the pastor was not exactly candid. A few years ago, the SBC shocked everyone when it was able to take back the convention from liberals. They were successful in taking back their main seminaries but they hardly made an impact on their colleges that are still controlled by theological leftists.
In 2000, 1900 churches left the SBC and formed their own liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship with the help of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The SBC also departed from the very liberal Baptist World Alliance in 2004 which was very commendable. But the denomination still had major problems.
Independent Baptist Charles Spurgeon was first concerned about the false teaching in the Baptist Union (in England) in the 1870s. When no one seemed to listen to him (and he was pastor of the largest and most influential church) and the error continued, he resigned from the group in 1887. He wrote, “As soon as I saw, or thought I saw, that error had become firmly established, I did not deliberate, but quitted the body at once.” He said in 1888 “Since [my own resignation] my one counsel has been ‘Come out from among them.’”
When he was told that he would lose income by leaving, he replied, “I can afford to be poor, but I cannot afford to injure my conscience.”  Spurgeon “came out” and modern-day Independent Baptists are “going back” into denominationalism!
The issue of ethics arises in this matter. When a pastor accepts a call to a church, he knows what he is getting into and the members know what they are getting. Whenever that is not true then someone is a fool. When a pastor changes his mind about important biblical issues that are totally opposite what he has been teaching the church and what the church has always believed, then he must take a principled stand for what he has come to believe–and resign.
If a pastor comes to believe in Roman Catholicism or Greek Orthodoxy or liberalism and refuses to inform his church of his “conversion,” he becomes an unprincipled scoundrel when he accepts a salary from his church. Furthermore, if he insists on staying as pastor and continues to teach what the church considers a grievous error, he is also an unprincipled scoundrel. And the membership that hired him should take another step and fire him.
Many times a Baptist pastor has become convinced that speaking in tongues has not ceased as I Cor. 13:8 informs us– “whether there be tongues, they shall cease.” The Baptist pastor slowly (and sometimes quickly) turns the traditional Baptist Church into a Pentecostal Church. He does what he honestly thinks is right but he becomes a poster child for dishonesty and poor ethics.
“Ah,” one says, “but what if a Pentecostal pastor becomes convinced that Baptist doctrine is the correct interruption of Scripture and turns the Pentecostal Church into a Baptist Church? That pastor is now right in his doctrine but has a wrong address. He should resign.
So, all these Independent Baptist pastors who feel an irresistible urge toward Nashville should confess their compromise and resign their churches.
I must not be misunderstood. I do not consider SBC pastors (or laymen) my enemies. Some of my oldest friends and family members are SBC pastors and laymen. Some have been more faithful to Christ than I have been. Some have been more effective. Some have served Christ longer than I have. Each person must answer for himself why he is in the SBC or any denomination.
I must hasten to add that only God knows what keeps people in a particular church or denomination. It could be family, money, status, jobs, friends, etc. Furthermore, only God knows how some are wrestling with that decision at this moment. When I first heard as a teen about the corruption in the American Baptist Convention, it took me a few months to decide to leave the very good church of which I was a member. I lost all my close friends except one. It was devastating to me so I can empathize and sympathize with those struggling in denominational churches. Moreover, some are not struggling, being completely satisfied. I could not be satisfied with any denominational membership for many reasons.
I would never join a denominational church because New Testament churches were not connected to a denomination. All churches, true to the Bible, must be totally independent of all others and totally dependent upon God. That does not mean church leaders cannot fellowship or even cooperate in some meetings such as youth rallies, church camps, etc. In fact, independent churches have always been a financial help in starting other independent churches.
I would not be a member of a SBC church because, while they have made some progress in recent years, their schools are still corrupt. Their much-touted missions program is incredibly impersonal with most SBC members knowing the name of one foreign missionary—Lottie Moon, a very committed, brilliant lady who died in 1912!
My former church in Chattanooga, (a huge flagship church of many Independent Baptists in the south) joined the SBC. Also in Chattanooga is Abba’s House (formerly, Central Baptist Church) whose members speak in tongues, a problem rampant throughout SBC churches across the nation. A major problem in the SBC is the hundreds of women preachers and another big problem is the exploding growth of reformed theology among the clergy and seminary professors. I choose not to be linked, even loosely, to unbelief or compromise.
One of the most outrageous positions taken by the SBC is their support of a Muslim mosque in New Jersey that was denied permission to build by a local planning board. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC has partnered with about twenty other “civil rights” groups in supporting the building of the mosque based on religious freedom. (More about that issue in a later column.)
The SBC has been dying as the liberal denominations have for decades. The trend is empty pews and empty offering plates and that can’t continue before some changes must be made. Rather than lament their loss of members and fewer baptisms at their annual convention, they decided to act.
Note the timeline: on April 7, 2015, Baptist Press headlined, “Floyd: Recruit churches to SBC’s ‘exciting work’” and the next month, Ronnie Floyd, (President of the SBC) preached at BBFI in Springfield! Then, in February, 2017, Lyons led High Street into the SBC. Others will follow like sheep.
The SBC decided to “evangelize” the Independent Baptist groups! It worked with the BBFI and others such as Grace Ministries network, Harvest Bible Fellowship network, now announcing as being “now SBC” also.
Some would say that all’s fair in love and war and now church building; however, while SBC churches are not specializing in winning sheep, they are stealing sheep–by the sheepfold!
Me? Well, I’ll stay where I am–as independent as a hog on ice!