Please be in prayer for Jeremy G. and his family.
Since last Sunday, the 4th, I’ve been here at Mercer University as the guest of the Center for Baptist Studies as the A.H. Newman Scholar. It has been, to say the least, a wonderful and tremendous experience.
It’s a marvelous thing to have available at hand a rich treasure trove of historical documents and to be able to make use of those documents so freely and with such expert help as I’ve received from Buddy Shurden and Bruce Gourley, the Center Directors.
I have been researching a topic near and dear to my heart: Church Discipline (and of course, that means excommunication). The documents I am chiefly investigating are from the last half of the 19th century, from 1850 to 1900. One discovers in these documents a progressive slowing in the application of Church discipline. The earlier the text, the more stringent the application of discipline; the later, the less. Further, I’m also discovering that Baptists in the period had a serious interest in guarding the Church from dancing, profanity, and drinking (along, of course, with adultery and fornication). These are the “big 5 sins”. Their practice would get a church member dismissed without further ado.
The application of Church discipline is, of course, quite ancient. But in terms of Baptists in the United States I think it safe to say that it can be traced to Charleston, South Carolina in 1774.
In 1774 the Charlestown Baptist Association, Charleston, SC, published “A Summary of Church Discipline: Shewing the Qualifications and Duties of the Officers and Members of a Gospel Church“. In it, a Gospel church is defined, church offices are described, how members are to be received is discussed, and of course the majority of the booklet centers on a discussion of Church discipline. It’s compilers note “Let those look to it who make the church of Christ a harlot by opening the door of admission so wide as to permit unbelievers, unconverted, and gracelss persons to crowd into it without control.”
After describing the phases of church censure on its wayward members, the authors summarize: “A church of Christ is like a garden or vineyard, which, if not taken care of and this ordinance of excommunication not used, will be like the vineyard of the slothful, overrun with thorns, nettles, and other weeds; but by means of this it is cleared of the weeds of immoralities and the bitter roots of false doctrine are plucked up and eradicated, and withered branches are gathered and cast out.”
Such are the discoveries one can make in early Baptist texts. Though obviously no longer considered relevant, such texts allow us a window on our own heritage as Baptists and may even become reminders of where we once found our greatness.
When time permits I plan, Lord willing, to devote a series of Wednesday Evening studies to the topic of “The History of Church Discipline.” I think it will be quite interesting.
Christianity Today reports
Late on February 2, Palestinian Authority (PA) police officers of Fatah demanded Gaza Baptist’s building key from the church’s lone guard. The guard, who had no key, informed church leaders, who refused to hand it over. Police then broke into the building, taking up positions on the sixth floor. The pastor was powerless to remove the police, who were using the rooftop as a watch post and sniper nest for fighting Hamas.
Read the whole report here.
Congratulations to Doris, named middle school teacher of the year at P-J!!!
Baptist history continues to amaze and astonish me. When I was in Seminary, naturally, a course in Baptist History was required. But, truth told, since that time (up until about 5 months ago) I hadn’t really gotten back into it very much at all. Current events were too pressing.
But having the opportunity to research our Baptist roots, especially in terms of my special interest regarding church discipline, reminds me just how very much our forebears knew and how foolish we have been, in some respects, to ignore them.
Modern Baptist life (in the SBC especially) is dominated by a sort of frivolity and drive for popularity that Baptists even 110 years ago and less would have been absolutely astonished at. The lust for power among many Baptists, especially of the mega-church variety, would have earned them a hearty excoriation in the not too distant pass. And perhaps, it’s time that we return to that sort of discipline.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to reintroduce the widespread practice of Church discipline.
The A.H. Newman Scholar is a person selected by the Center for Baptist Studies at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. The person so named is invited to spend a week at Mercer making use of the very fine research library in which to study some aspect of Baptist history.
It allows the recipient to spend the week at no cost for either food or housing. It is, simply said, a great honor.
So this week yours truly is working at research into the practice of Church discipline among Baptists in the early 19th century. As I can, I’ll attempt to describe the fruits of my research.
Take the Ultimate Bible Quiz. [Yours truly scored 100, just in case you wondered].
Well, we got enough snow to shut down the schools but not enough to clog the roads. So it’s just the right sort, I suppose.
The final stages of the renovation of our sunday school rooms is at hand. Bill and Judy are finishing off the tile grouting (or whatever it’s called). By Sunday all classes should be back to normal!
Feb 6th at 2 we will not be having our Midday Bible Study. But we will return to it next Tuesday, the 13th.
Be sure to come Wednesday Evening the 7th as Randy Roper will be leading our Bible Study. Come learn with us!
Friday Noon Prayer will not meet this week. Join us at noon next Friday.
Many thanks to all who provided food for the Hensley family during a terribly trying time. It was a selfless demonstration of the love of God and shows the depth of concern that our Church has for those in authentic need.
Sunday night (the 4th) Randy Roper will be preaching. Pray for him and invite someone to come with you.
February 19th- “Bail out the Pastor”. The Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Roane State is “arresting” the Pastor and the Church is being asked to “bail him out”. The funds raised will be used for a mission trip by the BCM to Boston. See the bulletin board for details. And please, bail the poor guy out. He will be “incarcerated” at noon on the 19th at the BCM building.
March 16th -17th: Youth Evangelism Conference. If you are 13-17, and regularly attend worship, Sunday School, or Youth Group, see Marianne or Barbara right away if you wish to go.
April 1st -4th: Revival!
April 6th: Good Friday Service, at noon. Join us for a solemn service of remembrance recalling the execution of Jesus on our behalf.
April 8th: Easter Sunday. Our sunrise service will be at 6:30 that morning.
In response to complaints received concerning Lifeway’s stocking pro homosexual and New Age materials Lifeway writes today:
LifeWaystores.com improving efforts
to filter questionable titles from third-party distributor’s list
LifeWaystores.com is enhancing its efforts to ensure that questionable books are filtered out of a massive list of titles available online through its third-party distributor. In fact, the third-party distributor makes 130,000 titles available to LifeWay, while adding sometimes as many as 1,000 new titles each week. Lifewaystores.com includes only about 100,000 of these titles, having eliminated nearly 25 percent of the books for a variety of reasons, most often because of inappropriate content, according to Mark Scott, vice president of the Christian stores division of LifeWay Christian Resources. In addition, LifeWay filters the titles electronically based on information from publishers and the reputation of authors and publishers for producing biblically-based material. Every week, dozens of inappropriate titles are removed successfully. And, says Scott, the electronic filtering and human-review processes are being improved to meet the high volume of new books hitting the Christian retail market.
“Even so, no system is perfect, and because we’re human and make mistakes, a few inappropriate titles occasionally make it through our filtering system and onto the online list,” says Scott. “When we become aware of these titles – often through an email from a customer – we investigate them, and if we confirm them to be inappropriate, we remove them immediately.”
That’s what happened this week as several Web logs reported that LifeWaystores.com was offering a number of pro-homosexual titles. “We checked it out immediately and found that, in fact, several titles did appear on our third-party distributor’s list,” says Scott. “We were unaware of these and removed the titles immediately. We appreciate it when such titles are brought to our attention and we invite our customers to contact us if they discover titles or authors about which they are concerned. Our customers place a high degree of trust in us to provide biblically sound resources. We value that trust and strive to maintain it.”
LifeWaystores.com also will be providing “Read with Discernment” tags on certain titles that are requested for scholarly study but may not appropriate for a broader Christian audience. ”Many of the titles available through the distributor are made available for critical study or research so that pastors, seminary students and ministry leaders have access to material that helps them understand and develop responses to the diversity of religious thought in a postmodern world,” says Scott.
I’m grateful to Scott for responding so quickly and so positively.
The renovations are almost complete now. In the next day or so all the tile will be laid. The rooms have all been painted, and only the finalization of the floor remains! It’s going to be quite beautiful when completed, befitting the place where God is worshipped and honored.
Ethics Daily has a story today that should make Southern Baptists sit up and take notice. The Baptist Book Store (at least that’s what it used to be called, now it’s Lifeway Christian Stores) is selling books by homosexual and new age authors. Write them and ask them why.
The following email arrived and may be of interest to folk:
The Tennessee Baptist Convention has been invited to partner with the International Mission Board’s Team Malta. One initial trip was made last August to see what we might be able to do together. After much prayer and discussion, we would like to move forward with this partnership.
There are several reasons that a partnership is needed. Malta, with close to 400,000 people living in 68 villages, has only one church that is affiliated with Southern Baptist. There are 14 Evangelical churches on the island. 97% of Maltese consider themselves Roman Catholic, with about 73% who regularly attend Mass.
Malta is located about 60 miles south of Sicily and 180 north of Africa. The official language is Maltese and English. Malta receives about 1 million visitors a year.
Through this partnership we will be working with IMB missionaries, Earl and Robin Pinkston. Robin is from West Tennessee and a graduate of Union University. They are praying that Tennessee churches and associations will adopt a village to pray for and possibility send mission teams. Team Malta is inviting Tennessee Baptist be apart of the “Village Adoption” strategy.
The first opportunity to serve in Malta will be May 14-21, 2007. Team Malta has invited Tennessee to participate in an “Adopt a Village Tour”. We would like 5 teams of 2 to travel to Malta leaving Tennessee on May 14 and returning May 21. Participants will be responsible for lodging, meals and airfare to Malta. Cost will be approximately $2000. A valid passport will be needed for travel. Travel arrangements will be made thru Phyllis Cobb at Wilcox Travel and Tours, 1-800-294-5269 ext 306. Please contact me at email@example.com or 1.800.558.2090 ext 2021 if you are interested in participating in the “Adopt a Village Tour” by March 2.
If they do, they should be careful to do it legally, so that they aren’t arrested and charged with numerous crimes. Read about it here.
Kids can say some amazing things. This list was sent my by Lois and contains some pretty fun ones… Enjoy
I had been teaching my three-year old daughter, Caitlin, the Lord’s Prayer for several evenings at bedtime. She would repeat after me the lines from the prayer. Finally, she decided to go solo. I listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer: “Lead us not into temptation,” she prayed, “but deliver us from E-mail.
A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they were on the way to church service, “And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?” One bright little girl replied, “Because people are sleeping.”
A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’ Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”