Dr. Bob Gray Sr. retired pastor of the Longview Baptist Temple in Longview, Texas. 45 years of ministry with 33 years of pastoring. Author of 35 books and conference speaker.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017
INTERVIEW WITH DR. BOB GRAY SR.
The New Baptist Magazine: An Interview With Dr. Bob Gray Sr.
Q: How and when was the Baptist magazine first started.
A: For several years in the late 1990’s I sensed the need for a first class magazine for fundamentalism. After counseling with Dr. Jack Hyles, I was even more convinced. In 1998 we published our first edition. It was widely accepted and generated a lot of conversations that otherwise would not have existed.
Q: Originally what was your main reason for starting the magazine?
A: The principles of the old time religion were the very foundations on which THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE was conceived. It’s purpose was to give the reader an insight into how lives were being blessed and helped because of the principles the previous generation had taught and lived. We held to the template of thirteen articles in every magazine. I wanted to provide variety without sacrificing Biblical truth. My desire was for the reader to see we did not have to compromise in order to see the blessings of God on our lives and in our churches. I wanted to articulate the position of our mentors in light of the Scriptures.
Q: What was the biggest challenge in starting a magazine like the Baptist magazine?
A: There are multiple challenges. I had to form a staff of competent people who were not “novices.” The experience of this staff was invaluable to the producing of THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE. Over 1,000 man hours were put into every magazine. Research was time consuming. As was the constant search for those who were authorities in certain areas to be potential writers. I met with our magazine staff every week. Without these dedicated people it would not have been possible.
Q: What effect do you feel the Baptist magazine had with Christians and churches?
A: I was amazed at the people who would write or email us to let us know of their misunderstanding of certain things done by those men of God who preceded us. I also was surprised with people who were easily upset by certain issues. We freely printed those letters with a clear explanation of that particular issue. It was an opportunity to answer questions that ordinarily would not have been asked in a public manner. It was exciting to see the growth of readers as they stay connected and eventually came to the same conclusions of the Bible principles upon which we founded THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE.
Q: How long did the Baptist magazine stay in publication and how many issues were published?
A: THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE was in print for eleven years and seventy issues were published.
Q: Did you have a favorite issue? If so, which one(s)?
A: There are five issues that caught the eye of the readers, which called for more magazines to be printed.
First, was the issue exposing the ISIS movement before it was named ISIS. We did an issue with almost double the pages with in depth research on the breakdown of the groups which became known as ISIS.
There was the issue on the KING JAMES BIBLE that struck a nerve and resulted in many having their eyes opened as to the validity of the preserved inspiration of the KING JAMES BIBLE for English speaking people.
The third issue was the one dedicated to Dr. Jack Hyles after his promotion to Heaven. We provided the reader detailed insights into the life and ministry of Dr. Hyles.
The fourth was on MEN OF GOD. We researched leaders of previous generations who were leaders for the cause of Christ. It was one of the most popular issues among preachers.
The fifth issue was the one exposing the Charismatic preachers of our day and exposing their predecessors. It was the most controversial, yet it was also the most informative on this subject.
Q: When and why did you decide to cease printing the magazine?
A: My wife had 42 surgeries over the span of ten years. She was homebound and unable to fully care for herself. I knew my first responsibility was to care for her. Pastoring a large church requires a lot of long days and long nights. I felt it was best for me to retire the pastorate, but not resign the ministry. I was given THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE as a part of my retirement package. It was my “baby” so to speak. No one knew the inner workings better than I did. However, at the time I did not have the resources to keep THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE in circulation. However, it was something I would publish again in the future.
Q: When did you begin dreaming of re-launching the magazine?
A: The desire to re-launch THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE never left me. I was not sure with whom I would be able to partner in order to do so. I felt I needed a young man who envisioned the magazine’s purpose as I did.
Q: How did you and Pastor Greg Neal come to discuss the possibility of doing the magazine?
A: I preached for Dr. Greg Neal and was very impressed with the church he pastors. I preached for his three Sunday morning services. The buildings were full and people were saved in every service. We began discussing ways to revitalize young men of God with the Bible principles of our mentors. One of those ideas was re-launching THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE as a tool to help enlightened and bring back those principles to the forefront.
Q: Why did you decide to partner with him to publish the magazine?
A: I taught and preached for him several times and it became more and more evident to me that he shared in the core principles by which I had lived my life for my entire ministry. We had many in depth meetings concerning Dr. Jack Hyles and others who had influenced his ministry. I became convinced he was the real deal in his desire to keep alive those principles taught by his and my mentors.
Q: Why do you feel there is a need for the magazine today?
A: I have the privilege of preaching in every state with the exception of North Dakota. I have preached in seventeen foreign countries. Through the years I spent hundreds of hours with my mentors, most of whom are now in Heaven. I know the value of the printed page. With the Baptist Magazine we can provide solid Bible principles lived and taught by mentors and so in a modern manner. Nearly every week when I am preaching in another city, someone refers back to an issue that challenged them and helped change their mind on an important issue.
Q: What would you like the magazine to accomplish?
A: I believe THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE can provide in depth discussion on important issues of our day, which can be of help in our homes and churches. It can also be placed in business waiting rooms to provide an insight into the Baptist world especially the independent Baptist world.
Q: What role are you playing in the new Baptist magazine?
A: My role with THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE will be that of EDITOR-IN-CHIEF. Dr. Greg Neal, MANAGING EDITOR, and I will partner together to provide the reader information that will help them make decisions about crucial things in their life. This is a monumental task, but it is time for THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE to return.
Q: Dr. Gray at the age of 71 what motivates you to continue starting new ministries
A: I have dedicated my life to keeping alive those men of God who in previous generations were greatly used of God and who greatly impacted our nation. It was amazing to see, let alone participate in. I have given my life to this end. THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE is a unique opportunity to provide insight in a modern manner. Lord willing I can see me “keeping on” well into my 80’s. My mother lived to be 98 and played the piano in church until she was 90. With God’s help I will continue in my effort to rekindle the fires of those who brought life to the church world in what I call “the greatest generation” of men of God in American history.