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America’s Greatest Orator


 

 

Vol.12, No. 5 TheBaptistVineLine.com October-December 2013

 

 

By J. J. Burnett.

 

 

Dr. Graves was born in Chester, Vermont, April 10, 1820. He was the son of Z. C. Graves, a well-to-do merchant, and a grandson of a French Huguenot who “fled to America,” after most of his ancestors “had perished” in the persecution which followed the revocation of the edict of Nantes. His mother was the granddaughter of a distinguished German physician and scholar by the name of Schnell. Dr. Graves was the youngest of three children. President Z. C. Graves, of the Mary Sharpe College, was an older brother, and Mrs. L. M. Marks was his sister.

 

 

The loss of his father by sudden death, when young Graves was only three weeks old, and the subsequent loss, to the widow and children, of an estate involved in a partnership business, were seemingly unfortunate events, but proved in the end to be “blessings in disguise”; the youngsters, of necessity, were brought up to work and save, and formed habits of self-reliance.

 

 

At the age of fifteen James was converted and baptized, uniting with a Baptist church in Vermont. In his nineteenth year he was elected principal of the Kingsville Academy, in Ohio, where he remained and taught for two years. He then went to Kentucky and took charge of Clear Creek Academy, near Nicholasville.

 

 

Uniting with Mount Freedom Church, Kentucky, he was “licensed” to preach, but without his knowledge or consent. For so great a work, he felt himself wholly unqualified. But he believed in preparedness for any calling and in hard work as an essential to success.

 

 

He was notably a self-educated, self-made man. For four years he gave six hours a day to teaching and eight hours to private study, covering a college course without a teacher, and mastering a modern language each year. Meanwhile he was digging into his Bible, with great

admiration for Paul as a model preacher, and purposing in his heart to be himself a preacher when he should be “qualified” for a calling so high and holy.

 

At the age of 24 he was called to ordination and set apart to the work of the ministry, Dr. Dillard, of Kentucky, being chairman of the “council” and preacher of the ordination sermon. July 3, 1845, at the age of 25, he came to Nashville and opened, in a rented building, the “Vine Street Classical and Mathematical Academy,” joining “by letter” the First Baptist Church. In the fall of the same year he took charge of the Second (now the Central) Baptist Church, served the church one year as pastor, but declined further service, in order to become associated with Dr. R. B. C. Howell as one of the editors of The Baptist.

 

 

His connection with the paper was editorially announced November 21, 1846, as follows: “We have the pleasure of announcing to our readers that the committee of publication have, at length, succeeded in procuring the services of an assistant editor for this paper, whom we here introduce in the person of our beloved Brother J. R. Graves, the indefatigable and successful pastor of the Second Baptist Church in this city. Brother Graves is already favorably known to many of you as an eloquent speaker and a very handsome writer.”

 

 

This was the beginning of an editorial career which lasted nearly half a century. As editor, Dr. Graves wielded a facile and a pungent pen, and week after week, did a prodigious amount of editorial and other work. When he took charge of The Baptist he was only locally known, and his paper had about 1,000 subscribers: at the beginning of the Civil War it had attained the largest circulation, it was claimed, of any Baptist paper in the world and no man in the South was more widely known than its editor, or had a greater influence upon the denomination.

 

 

In addition to editing and publishing his great paper he edited a monthly, a quarterly and an annual, besides editing hymnbooks for our churches and the great numbers of standard works issued from the presses of the Southwestern Publishing House; such as Robinson’s History of Baptism, Wall’s History of Infant Baptism, Orchard’s History of Foreign and English Baptists, Moses Stuart On Baptism, and other similar works – a character and volume of literature that necessarily influenced in a marked degree the thinking, the pulpit teaching and the denominational life of the Baptist people.

 

 

As author, he wrote and published, among other works, the following: The Desire of All Nations, The Watchman’s Reply, The Trilemma, The First Baptist Church in America, The Little Iron Wheel, The Great Iron Wheel, The Bible Doctrine of the Middle Life, The Exposition of Modern Spiritism, Old Landmarkism–What Is It?, and The Work of Christ in Seven Dispensations. Most of these works, as nearly all of his writings, were of a controversial nature and exerted a distinct influence wherever read.

 

 

As an organizer and promoter of Baptist interests he originated the first ministers’ institute in the State, and perhaps in the South, to train and equip pastors and help young ministers who were unable to attend theological schools. Without salary, or other compensation, he raised funds for the endowment of a theological chair in Union University, and without “fee or reward” he solicited and collected funds and other equipment with which to start the Mary Sharpe College–and drafted its “admirable curriculum.”

 

 

In 1848 he planned and set on foot the Southwestern Publishing House, Nashville, for the publication and dissemination of a sound Baptist literature, and later was instrumental in establishing the Southern Baptist Sunday School Union. Both these institutions did great good, and promised large success, but were destined to be destroyed by the Civil War.

 

 

In 1870 he submitted to the Big Hatchie Association the plan and constitution of a Southern Baptist Publication Society, and, in 1874, turned over to the society $130,000 in cash and bonds; but the financial crisis which followed, and other adverse conditions, wrecked the society’s plans

and caused its suspension.

 

 

As a logician and thinker, he was masterful and lucid, possessing in a high degree the gift which enabled him to so state his propositions that they came from his lips or pen with the force of axiomatic principles or self-evident truths. A judge in the city of Memphis, lecturing the bar on the importance of a clear statement of propositions, said: “The gift is as rare as genius, but may be cultivated. Of living ministers I know of no one who possesses it in a higher degree than Dr. Graves of the First Baptist Church in this city. He lays down his propositions so clearly that they come with the force of axioms, that need no demonstration – you can see all through and all around them.” (Borum)

 

 

As a polemic, controversialist, debater, Dr. Graves was a master. He was quite certain that he, and every other divinely called Baptist preacher was set for the defense as well as the propagation of the truth, that he was directly commissioned by the great Head of the Church to contend earnestly for the faith delivered “once for all” to the saints; and this he did amidst shot and shell from every quarter throughout a stormy life. His conviction in regard to truth and duty forced him to unsheath the sword-”the sword of the Lord and of Gideon,” against the Lord’s enemies, against error and the sword was never sheathed; he fell fighting.

 

 

Dr. Graves had something like a dozen public oral discussions with representatives of other denominations, the last one, “The Graves-Ditzler Debate,” being a two weeks’ discussion with Dr. Jacob Ditzler, a professional debater of the Methodist persuasion. The debate was published, making a volume of several hundred pages, and was widely read. This contest has been called the “battle of the giants;” in it Dr. Graves fully sustained his reputation for fairness and scholarship, for ability and skill as a debater, and again proved himself to be a fearless, peerless and successful champion of Baptist and New Testament orthodoxy. He did not lend himself and his great powers to sarcasm and invective, vices all too common in polemical discussion. His one serious purpose was the refutation of error by correct interpretation of the Scriptures and sound reasoning. He would be courteous toward his opponent, but not at the expense of loyalty to Christ. He esteemed loyalty to Christ and his truth, above everything else, a cardinal virtue in a Christian minister.

 

 

He found no Scripture which commanded him to love error, or tolerate false doctrine; and if in his zeal for the truth and in the heat of debate he failed to exemplify perfectly the apostolic injunction to speak the truth “in love” (which is ideal), and if in his effort to cut off the head of error with the sword of truth he decapitated the errorist at the same time– that only proves that he was “human.”

 

 

The truth is, that while Dr. Graves could not make much allowance for the teachers of error he very greatly sympathized with the common people who, blindfolded, were led into the ditch by their “blind guides.”

 

 

The spirit and bearing of Dr. Graves, among his brethren and elsewhere, also his appearance and marked personality, are justly represented in the following newspaper reports of The Nashville American: “On the rostrum sits Dr. Graves; upon whose forehead is stamped strength, activity and vim, whose power from the press and pulpit is felt and acknowledged all over the Southwest; a man on whose every lineament is strongly marked immobility and stern inflexibility, driving with ungloved hand his Damascus blade into the vitals of error–a bold and fearless defender of the faith; yet gentle and meek as a child.” One of the most quiet and unassuming men in the convention is the great Landmark champion and upholder of the most strictly Baptist principles, Dr. J. R. Graves, formerly of this city but now of Memphis, editor and proprietor of The Baptist.

 

 

In personal appearance Dr. Graves is about five feet ten inches high, will weigh about 160 pounds, and has a fine face with a well-balanced head. His dark and almost black eyes show the true ring of metal, his fine brow and broad forehead give evidence (from the phrenologist’s point

of view) of a more than ordinary brain, his finely chiseled nose marks him as a man possessed of penetrating thought, indomitable zeal and energy, his mouth is expressive of sublime sentiments, and upon the whole his physiognomy indicates great reasoning ability.

 

 

His discourse, full of unction, full of logic, was eloquent and convincing.” “ As an orator, he is very powerful, and as a writer he unites strength, pointedness and clearness. He is fearless and boldly avows his sentiments and opinions, though they may differ much from those of others. “He has a wonderful command over his audiences, holding them spellbound for hours at a time. He uses no clap-trap, no trick of oratory, no prettiness of speech, but he is deeply in earnest, utters the strong convictions of his own mind and carries his hearers with him as by the force of a tornado.

 

 

Teachers, doctors, lawyers, judges, statesmen, as well as the illiterate, all go to hear him, and bow before his power. Men bitterly prejudiced and hating him, hear him and are fascinated, go away resolved never to hear him again, but break their vows and hear him as often as they have opportunity.

 

 

His sermons are mostly doctrinal and as a rule strongly controversial. He is a great preacher, in the best sense of the word.” Controversial as he was and with all his fierce antagonism to error, he was nevertheless a gospel preacher in the fullest sense of the term. He never failed to emphasize the vital doctrines of grace and the necessity of the new birth. As in ancient times, “all roads led to Rome.” So in Dr. Graves’ preaching, “all roads,” led to Christ and the plan of salvation.

 

 

Great crowds went great distances to hear him, not altogether or mainly through curiosity, not because he was personally magnetic, which he was, but because they wanted to hear a man who was master of great subjects as well as of assemblies, discuss the great doctrines of the Word of God. The writer, [or J. J. Burnett, HLW] when a boy, went thirty miles to see and hear J. R. Graves, of The Tennessee Baptist and the Great Iron Wheel, and listened closely to a two hours’ sermon, a part of the time standing.

 

 

It is not generally known, I believe, that Dr. Graves was a specially gifted revivalist; and it is of record, however, that in his earlier ministry and before he was thirty years old, he had witnessed, in special meetings and under his immediate ministry, more than thirteen hundred conversions.

 

 

We have spoken of Dr. Graves as the author and recognized champion of a system of teaching known as “Old Landmarkism.” The system, the author claims, is contained, expressly or by necessary inference, in the New Testament Scriptures, and consists of ten distinct points of doctrine, constituting, like the ten commandments, an organic whole, so that, in the author’s view, to “break one” is to “break all.”

 

 

The title of the little book [i.e., Old Landmarkism, HLW] was suggested by two Old Testament Scriptures, “Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set” (Solomon), and “Some remove the old landmarks” (Job.). I let Dr. Graves state the points himself, since his book is before me. At the close of chapter XI he asks the question,

 

 

What is the mission of Landmark Baptists? and his Tenfold Answer constitutes the substance of Old Landmarkism:

 

 

(1) As Baptists we are to stand for the supreme authority of the New Testament as our only and sufficient rule of faith and practice. This is the distinguishing doctrine of our denomination.

 

 

(2) As Baptists we are to stand for the ordinances of Christ as he enjoined them upon his followers, unchanged and unchangeable till he come.

(3) As Baptists we are to stand for a spiritual and regenerated church, the motto on our banner being, Christ before the church, blood before water.

 

 

(4) To protest, and to use all our influence, against the recognition on the part of Baptists of human societies as scriptural churches, by affiliation, ministerial or ecclesiastical, or by any alliance, etc., that could be interpreted as putting such societies on an equality with Baptist churches.

 

 

(5) To preserve and perpetuate the doctrine of the divine origin and sanctity of the churches of Christ, their unbroken continuity, etc.

 

 

(6) To preserve and perpetuate the divine, inalienable and sole prerogatives of a Christian church,

 

(a) to preach the gospel,

 

(b) To select and ordain her own officers,

 

(c) to control, absolutely her own ordinances.

 

 

(7) To preserve and perpetuate the scriptural design of baptism, and its validity and recognition only when scripturally administered by a gospel, church.

 

 

(8) To preserve and perpetuate the true design and symbolism (of the Lord’s Supper, as a local church ordinance, and for but one purpose–the commemoration of the sacrificial death of Christ, and not as a denominational ordinance, etc.

 

 

(9) To preserve and perpetuate the doctrine of a divinely called and scripturally qualified and ordained ministry, holding office and acting for and under the direction of local churches alone.

 

 

(10) To preserve the primitive fealty and faithfulness to the truth, that shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God, and to teach men to observe all things whatsoever Christ commanded to be believed and obeyed.

 

 

This is the author’s own synopsis of his system, to which he adds these words: “Not the belief and advocacy of one or two of these principles constitutes a full Old Landmark Baptist, but the cordial reception and advocacy of all of them.” Of course these are not intended to be the landmarks bounding the whole Biblical system of truth or of Christianity, but only the landmarks of a New Testament church. He contended most earnestly for the preservation of all the great landmarks of the world’s spiritual heritage in the truth of God; not only for the local church and church ordinances, but for

 

 

(1) the inerrancy, the all-sufficiency and supreme authority of the Scriptures;

 

 

(2) the proper deity and atoning work of Christ:

(3) justification by faith; and

 

 

(4) the personality, power and work of the Holy Spirit landmarks, and more than landmarks, the very essence of Christianity, to be preserved at any cost by the churches of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

 

 

As to the acceptance by the denomination of Dr. Graves’ view of a New Testament church and its ordinances, it may he said:

 

 

(1) Many brethren (pastors and churches) gave him their endorsement and adherence, avowing their full belief in the landmark system, going the full figure and refusing to “commune” except in the local church where they held their membership, and only with fellow-members of the same

church.

 

 

(2) Other churches and pastors, making a difference between membership rights and non-membership privileges and recognizing the doctrinal unity and solidarity of the Baptist family, continued the practice, as aforetime, of so-called “inter-communion,” the members of one Baptist church communing, upon invitation, with members of another Baptist church.

 

 

(3) Still other churches (but very few in the South or Southwest), holding that the ordinances belong to the “kingdom” and not to the local churches and considering that the validity of baptism depends upon only two necessary things, no more and no less, that is, the right faith and the right act (immersion in water), continued the practice of recognizing so-called “Alien Immersion,” or the immersion of a professed believer by a denomination other than Baptist, or by no denomination, and at the same time practiced, accordingly, a communion more or less unrestricted.

 

 

As to the question of “church succession” the denomination has ever been divided. Everyone who believes the Bible [Matthew 16:18; 28:20, HLW] believes, of course, in some sort of succession, perpetuity or continuity for the church built by the Christ; and certainly every true Baptist is interested in discovering and verifying the succession promised by the great Head of the Church, and would be glad to see any visible foot-prints, to catch any possible glimpse, of a genuine Baptist or New Testament church along the track of history through the “Dark Ages” of Catholic apostasy and persecution, when the true church was evidently “in the wilderness,” whither she had been driven by Satanic power and where she was “nourished” and preserved by her divine Lord.

 

 

But whatever may be the truth of history and whatever our individual beliefs may be in regard to the question of succession, all must admit, I think, that “visible” succession, however well or however poorly established, is not the most vital thing about a church; the vital thing is that it succeeds directly from Christ and the New Testament.

 

 

The subject has its difficulties, involving three questions of importance:

 

 

(1) a question of correct interpretation of a passage of Scripture;

 

 

(2) a question of history;

 

 

(3) a question of emphasis.

 

 

Dr. J. B. Gambrell’s illustration of the “Lost Horse” [as I remember, this was of Robert E. Lee’s famous horse, Traveler. He was lost awhile after the Civil War. And the retired General offered a handsome reward to anyone who found him. HLW] shows the gist and relative merit of Baptist contention and differences on this point: “I do not place much stress,” he says, “on historical succession–but the New Testament reads as though things were started to go on. “Let me illustrate my idea of succession: a man lost a gray horse. He finds some horse tracks step by step for a hundred miles. Then he comes upon the horse–but it is a black horse. That is historical succession.

 

 

Tracks are not worth a cent. If, on the other hand, you find the gray horse, it does not make any difference if you do not find any tracks. The whole business lies in the identity; we have the horse hunted for. So, the man who takes the New Testament and finds a church in his neighborhood or elsewhere like the one in the Book, has succession.”

 

 

This puts the main emphasis in the right place, while it may be thought to depreciate in a measure, at least inferentially, the value of a history of an ancient and “peculiar people” with whose fortunes have been bound up in an age-long conflict the fortunes of the kingdom of God. In

this connection I may be permitted to say that while Dr. Graves was a successionist there is no evidence, I think, that he put undue emphasis on the fact of succession or on any sort of “mother-church” notion; he did emphasize church authority and with apostolic zeal contended for the recognition of the same.

 

 

As to the “validity” of ordinances, the Baptists of the South and Southwest stand almost solidly for four’ necessary things:

 

 

(1) A proper subject (a believer),

 

 

(2) A proper act in baptism (immersion),

 

 

(3) A proper design (to show forth), and

 

 

(4) the proper authority (a New Testament church)–all these being held as Scriptural requirements conditioning the valid administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper alike.

 

 

The Baptists of the North and East, we think, are coming, and will come, more and more to this position–a position that would seem necessary, if Baptists are to justify their continued existence as a separate denomination and assure for themselves a denominational future.

 

 

And these results, it must be admitted, have come about, in large measure, through Dr. Graves’ strenuous contention for a “Thus saith the Lord” in all matters of religion. His slogan was “Back to the New Testament.” And whatever may be our theory or practice in regard to some of the questions involved, or supposed to be involved in Landmarkism, there can be no doubt that Dr. Graves’ manifold contention and protest, by voice and pen, has been a great service not only to the Baptists but to the whole religious world.

 

 

For well-nigh half a century he stood as a bulwark against error, as a mighty breakwater against the incoming flood of a false liberalism which is the constant menace of a pure Christianity in a “Laodicean Age.”

 

 

Dr. E. T. Winkler, editor of The Alabama Baptist, writes: “Extreme as the views of Dr. Graves have by many been regarded as being, there is no question that they have powerfully contributed to the correction of a false liberalism that was current in many quarters thirty years ago.”

 

 

Dr. S. H. Ford, in his Christian Repository, endorsed this statement, adding these words: “We differ with Dr. Graves in some things, but honor his heroic life-work in meeting and exposing error wherever uttered.”

 

 

Dr. Cathcart, in The Baptist Encyclopedia, speaking for Northern Baptists, says: “Dr. Graves in his peculiarities represents a section of the Baptist denomination, a conscientious and devoted portion of our great apostolic community, but in his earnest and generous zeal for our heaven-inspired principles, he represents all thorough Baptists throughout the ages and the nations.”

 

 

Dr. Graves, as already indicated, took a great interest in young preachers. He was jealous of any influence that might affect their moral or doctrinal stamina, or turn them aside from apostolic ways. He was ever anxious that our theological seminaries turn out New Testament prophets after the order of Paul and John the Baptist.

 

 

The writer has a vivid recollection of his first personal acquaintance with Dr. Graves. It was during a seminary vacation and while acting as a supply pastor for a church in Memphis. In going his rounds he dropped into the office of The Baptist to have a talk with the editor. Though busy furnishing “copy” to the printer, he arose from his desk to greet his visitor, but most of the greeting, as we remember, was

a sudden and dramatic reference. to a “Jacob staff,” a “Gunters chain”, and a “compass.” For five or ten minutes he warmed to his subject, giving the young preacher “points” on theological surveying, running boundary and divisional lines, giving metes and bounds, establishing corners, setting up landmarks, etc., that in future generations no “true Israelite might ever lose his inheritance;” in it all laying special emphasis on the fact that there is and can be no true “orientation” of doctrines, creeds and systems, except as they are brought to and examined in the light of the New Testament Scriptures.

 

 

Dr. Graves was a thorough believer in the equality and spiritual democracy of all believers, and was opposed to a minister accepting any title of distinction that would put him above or apart from his brethren. For this reason he refused more than once to be made a D. D. [Doctor of Divinity] Whether or not he accepted the LL.D. conferred upon him by Union University and appearing after his name on the title page of some of his works, I cannot speak advisedly. Perhaps the publisher, following a time-honored custom, used his own discretion in the matter.

 

 

Dr. Graves was a popular presiding officer and a skilled parliamentarian, presiding with dignity and consideration for his brethren. He knew how to preserve order and dispatch business, and was ever watchful in keeping from before a Baptist deliberative and advisory body matters over which it could have no jurisdiction. He was frequently president of the West Tennessee Baptist Convention and for a number of years was moderator of the Big Hatchie Association.

 

 

Dr. Graves was married three times–all “fortunate” marriages, his companions being women of “taste and refinement.” His first marriage (1845) was without issue. His second and third wives were sisters, Miss Lou and Miss Georgie Snider, daughters of Dr. George Snider. The living children of the second marriage are Mrs. O. L. Hailey and James R. Graves, of Dallas, Texas, and Mrs. R. H. Wood, San Antonio, Texas. The living children of the third marriage are W. C. Graves and Z. Calvin Graves, of Memphis, Tenn.

 

 

Dr. Graves died at Memphis, TN. closing his earthly career, June 26; 1893.In this sketch the writer has purposely refrained from eulogy, believing that facts are more eloquent than eulogistic words.

 

As to Dr. Graves’ gifts as an orator many competent judges will agree in the opinion and endorse the unqualified statement of one of our ablest speakers and writers when he says: “I regard J. R. Graves as the greatest orator America ever produced in any calling.”

 

(From Sketches of Tennessee’s Pioneer Baptist Preachers by J. J. Burnett, originally printed in Nashville, 1919, now by The Overmountain Press, Johnson City, TN.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 – January 21 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Notice the ability to use Greek and Hebrew in a legal setting which demands a precise under standing and ability to speak fluently in these two languages. Where is that type of language scholarship today?

Coxe, N. downloadNehemiah Coxe
1672 – Nehemiah Coxe was one of seven other men who were ordained to the gospel along with John Bunyan when he was set apart to the work of the ministry. He is described as a “very excellent, learned, and judicious divine.” Coxe was a native of Bedford and had been received into the church in June of 1669, and it is believed that he had been immersed by Bunyan. Coxe proved to be an able author and wrote several published treatises that were used of God. He refused a call to a nearby Baptist church in Hitchin, and in the course of time he is said to have been imprisoned at Bedford for preaching the Gospel without license. When Coxe was haled into court, an interesting thing happened. In earlier days Coxe had been a shoemaker, and thus was known in court as a “cordwainer.” The Rev. Mr. Coxe presented his own case before the court in the Greek language, and he further confounded the prosecution by responding to their charges in Hebrew. Coxe claimed the right to plead in what language he pleased. The judge dismissed the case saying, “Well, the cordwainer has wound us all up, gentlemen.” Later Coxe moved to London and supported himself in the medical profession. Ultimately he accepted a call to the joint-pastorate of a well-known Baptist church in London, called Petty France Baptist Church. In 1678 this church united with the Particular Baptist Association. Coxe attended as a messenger. In 1682 a great storm of persecution came down upon the church, but Dr. Coxe served the congregation faithfully with his co-pastor, William Collins, for at least twenty years.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 28-29.

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THE FAR-REACHING, AMAZING GRACE OF GOD


 

Authored by William Andrew Dillard

 

The Kind of Christian I Am!
My friend, the late Dr. C.N. Glover, an able Missionary Baptist minister, and one of three founders of Missionary Baptist Seminary, wrote several books, and in later life penned a song which others set to music and placed it in the ABA Hymnal. The title of the song is “The Grace of God Amazes Me.” Over the vicissitudes of time, disciples of the Lord Jesus have all stood in absolute awe as they studied and contemplated the amazing grace of God. Some have considered that the enormity of their evil deeds placed them beyond the grace of God, and asked, “How far does the grace of God extend?”
Think with me about that!
Men err when they consider that evil and atrocious deeds make them more lost than others who live a good, moral life though estranged from Christ Jesus. The truth is all men are sinners. There are no exceptions. Natural sinners are lost….. even…. as lost as lost can be! The unrepentant men, moral or perpetrators of evil deeds are in the same boat. They are lost. It follows that one cannot become any more lost than…. lost! The good news is that the grace of God extends to all men! The most terrible person on earth may be saved when repenting of sin and trusting Christ Jesus as his personal Savior. God’s grace reaches that far!
Consider that the grace of God extended to John Newton, the captain of a slave ship. He was heavily involved in the capture of African natives, and transporting them to the human auction blocks. God convicted him. He was saved, and became a preacher of the gospel that stirred all England. Moreover he gave the Christian world its most beloved song, “Amazing Grace.” Additionally, the grace of God extended to William Cooper who suffered greatly from deep depression, but in his cry to God was heard, saved, and went on to give us such moving hymns as “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood.” The grace of God extended to Saul of Tarsus who made havoc of the very church of the Lord Jesus Christ as he imprisoned them, and consented to their death. Later, after a,meeting with Jesus, he took the name of Paul, (little guy). He declared himself to be the chiefest of sinners. How he rejoiced in the amazing grace of God!
Millions testify: “The grace of God reached even me.” Indeed, it extends to the far reaches of earth while it is “today.” You are not beyond the grace of God, but you can sin away your day of grace. “Today” the Creator, Redeemer will hear the sinner’s cry of repentance. I am adamantly certain of this fact of God’s Word, and that is the kind of Christian I am.

 

 

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187 – July, 06 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Se-Baptism does not satisfy German believers

 

On April 22, 1834, at Altona, across from Hamburg, Germany, Dr. Barnas Sears baptized, in the Elbe, Johann Gerhard Oncken and six others. Oncken, through the influence of Calvin Tibbs, a sea captain, had been led to adopt Baptist principles. Dr. Sears was destined to become distinguished among Baptists in America as an educator and author, but he is best known for this single event that took place thousands of miles away. Sears was born in Sandisfield, Massachusetts on Nov. 19, 1802, and as a youth was trained in the best schools and entered Brown University where he graduated with the highest honors of his class in 1825. He finished his theological training at Newton Theological Institution and was called to pastor the First Baptist Church of Hartford, Connecticut. After two years he became a professor at Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution until 1833 when he resigned so he could travel to Germany to further his training. Providentially God had been moving on the heart of J.G. Oncken concerning the necessity of believer’s immersion but there was no one to perform the ordinance. He had written to Baptists in England and one had suggested “Se-Baptism” (i.e. self-baptism), but Oncken could not accept this as being the will of God. How wonderful that God sent Dr. Sears at this time to meet the need. Upon his return Dr. Sears became President of Newton Theological Seminary. In 1848 he was elected secretary and executive agent of the Massachusetts Board of Education. He later was chosen as the Trustee of the Peabody Trust for the cause of the education in the South after the Civil War. He later moved to Staunton, Virginia and served the Baptist people there until his death on July 6, 1880.

 

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 276-77.

 

 

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Richard Dawkins Declared World’s Top Thinker–Or, Is That Stinker?


Don Boys, Ph.D.

http://donboys.cstnews.com/richard-dawkins-declared-worlds-top-thinker-or-is-that-stinker

The recent news that the angry, aggressive, asinine atheist Richard Dawkins is now the “World’s Top Thinker” is further proof that the world has turned upside down. For centuries, the herd mentality has been to place far too much credibility in anyone who is known as an “expert.” Such a person is quickly given the desired accolades if he is a “doctor” or wears a white coat. All scientists are thought to be honest, honorable, even heroic; however, may I suggest that all New Atheists are hysterical, heretical, and harmful to everyone, especially children?

I challenge my readers to forget the hype and not believe Dawkins’ Press Releases and simply look at the facts. Is Dawkins a highly respected scientist or charlatan and fraud? Let the facts determine the answer. It should be remembered that a lie is still a lie if everyone believes it and the truth is still the truth is no one believes it.

I challenge my critics to read the books of Dawkins and his fellow New Atheists. They are deceptive, dangerous, dishonest, and dull. Very dull. Dick and his New Atheist buddies spend their days down at the Angry Atheist Association telling each other how clever they are and pinning metals on each other for their accomplishments in writing their banal books to bamboozle the hoi polloi.

All New Atheist authors make it very clear that their agenda is to remove children from the homes of parents who teach them Bible truth! Dawkins wrote, “We should work to free the children of the world from the religions which, with parental approval, damage minds too young to understand what is happening to them.” The New Atheists all demand that children be removed from the theistic influence since, to the atheists, it is child abuse. I think the atheists’ books are literary abuse!

The “World’s Top Thinker” showed his confused, contradictory, and contrary thinking when he wrote, “The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved literally out of nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.” So, I ask Dick, “Do you really mean to say that everything came from nothing?” He said, “literally” out of nothing. Dawkins and the New Atheists tell us that a cosmic egg floated around space and then, but wait a minute, Lucifer’s Lackeys are assuming way too much: where did space come from? And the cosmic egg? No answer. We are supposed to give them that, but I don’t give the dummies anything.

Atheists tell us that nothing created everything, and I fight the impulse to grab my sides and roll on the floor with laughter. After all, we must show some decorum in our discussion, don’t you agree?

Aristotle told us that “nothing” is what rocks dream about but New Atheists dream (more like hallucinate) about nothing creating not just something, but creating everything seen and not seen in the universe. Where did Dawkins find the cosmic egg? Maybe it was laid by a cosmic chicken! The cosmic egg, the size of a pinhead (no, I will restrain myself), exploded and from that explosion developed the well-ordered, massive, precise, awesome universe! No one tells us what caused the explosion and how the alleged results can be reconciled with scientific laws. Explosions don’t produce order but disorder–always. New Atheist ranting is dumb, dumber, and dumbest.

I document in my eBook The God Haters that Dawkins is a lackey, loser, and liar. He lied about a debate he had with a Jewish rabbi; he lied about his interview with a creationist film crew from Australia. He lied (or showed incredibly poor scholarship) about his quote of early church leader Tertullian. So the World’s Top Thinker is a world class liar.

America is in deep trouble when you realize there is a still a fool on every corner, a clown in every public office, and every village has not one but several idiots plus numerous twits, tyrants and totalitarians lounging down at the Angry Atheist Association. We used to laugh at them; now we are in a life and death struggle with them. Our children are in their sights, so that puts atheists in my sights.

The war is on for our religious freedom to teach our children what we believe. Dawkins, who is uninformed, unreliable, and uninteresting is leading the New Atheists Brigade into battle against us and they are as intolerant and vicious as the most rabid Inquisitor of the fourteenth and fifteenth century. The battle rages between thinking theists and non-thinking New Atheists and their leader is not the “World’s Top Thinker” but England’s little stinker.

Bring it on!

(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, author of 15 books, frequent guest on television and radio talk shows, and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years. His shocking book, ISLAM: America’s Trojan Horse!; Christian Resistance: An Idea Whose Time Has Come–Again!; and The God Haters are all available at Amazon.com. These columns go to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations and may be used without change from title through the end tag. His web sites are www.cstnews.com and www.Muslimfact.com and www.thegodhaters.com. Contact Don for an interview or talk show.)

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69 – March 10 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


Baptists – The Authors of Soul-Liberty

Isaac Backus-Baptist Historian

Back in 1898, Charles F. James wrote, “there has been manifested at various times…a disposition to rewrite the history…, and to rob our Baptist forefathers of the peculiar honor which has ever been claimed for them, that of being the foremost, most zealous, and most consistent and unwavering champions of soul liberty.”  If he were living today he would know that he was right more than ever.  In the early days of America’s existence there were two Baptist historians, one well known and the other quite obscure.  The one quite know was Isaac Backus who wrote the History of New England from 1620-1804.  The other was John Cromer who was born on Aug. 1, 1704 and died on May 23, 1734.  The brevity of his life kept him from his goal of writing a history but he kept a detailed diary.  In his entry of March 3, 1729, he wrote: “A number of Baptists, Churchmen, and Quakers, 30 persons, of Rehoboth Township, were committed to Bristol (Massachusetts) jail.”  It was because they would not pay the Congregational minister’s salary.  On March 10 he wrote, “I went to visit the prisoners at Bristol with Mr. Stephen Groton.  Upon the request of the prisoners I preached this day in the old prison at Bristol, from Psalm 86:11.  Sundry of the town attended the meeting.”  May we never forget the price that others paid for the liberty that we enjoy and may we be willing to pay the same price that they paid.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 143 – 144.

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