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302 – October 29 – This Day in Baptist History Past
A Church on the Move

“Among the first Baptist preachers to permanently settle in the west was William Marshall. .. . Other preachers followed Marshall . . . including Joseph Barnett, John Whitaker, James Skaggs, Benjamin Lynn, all of whom were ordained, and John Gerrard, a licensed preacher. . . [These] were responsible for forming the first Baptist church west of the mountains, the Severns Valley which was constituted June 18, 1781.”

Some of the migration west came through what was known as “Traveling Churches.” One such example is the church that had been known as the Upper Spottsylvania Church in Virginia. It had as its pastor Lewis Craig, one of the most successful of the Virginia Baptist preachers. In 1781 Craig decided to remove to Kentucky, and so great was the attachment of his members to their minister, that a majority of them decided to migrate with him.

In the midst of winter, after great hardship and danger, they arrived at their chosen destination, quickly made a clearing and established Craig’s Station on Gilbert’s Creek. Here on the second Sunday of December, 1781, they gathered for worship around the same old Bible they had used in Spottsylvania. John Taylor’s church too became a Traveling Church and relocated to the land of need.

These saints were not willing to become isolated enclaves of spiritual truth. They intended to become witnesses throughout the expanding West.

As a result, churches were established West of the Allegheny Mountains. Four churches met on October 29, 1785, at Cox’s Creek Church and formed the Salem Association, and Kentucky soon became a hot-bed of Baptist enterprise.

Dr. Dale R. Hart From: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins pp. 631 – 633

Note from Tom: Rev. Lewis Craig was the most influential of the preaching Craig brothers. They were pioneer Baptist ministers in early Virginia, when preaching without the license of the Church of Virginia was illegal, and Craig and his brothers were occassionally jailed. Lewis is most famous as the leader of “The Travelling Church,” when he and much of his Upper Spotsylvania Church congregation made up the largest mass-immigration into frontier Kentucky — a caravan of some 600 people. He settled at Gilbert’s Creek in Garrard County, Kentucky, then moved to South Elkhorn in Fayette County, and finally he settled in Mason County, where he died. His grave remained unmarked for many years but Kentucky Baptists finally succeeded in marking his grave, though there is some reason to believe they may have marked the wrong grave. He appears to be buried in an enclosure with that of the wife of his son, Lewis Craig Jr.http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi…

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John Adams – first U.S. President in the White House

John Adams – first U.S. President in the White House

White House 1846American Minute with Bill Federer

On NOVEMBER 1, 1800, John Adams became the first U.S. President to move into the White House.

The following day he wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, in which he composed a beautiful prayer.

A portion of John Adams’ prayer was inscribed on the mantlepiece in the State Dining Room by President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

“I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”

Beginning with Thomas Jefferson and continuing till after the Civil War, church services, attended by sitting Presidents, where held each Sunday in the U.S. Capitol House Chamber, with attendance reaching over 2,000, making it the largest Protestant Sabbath audience in the nation.

After the White House was finished being built, the next building constructed on Lafayette Square was St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Nearly every President since James Madison worshiped there at least once, resulting in Pew 54 being designated for the First Family.

Other historic Washington, D.C. area churches include:

Christ Church in Alexandria, where President Washington attended;

National Presbyterian Church, where Truman attended;

New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, where attended Presidents:

William Henry Harrison, James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Harrison, Dwight Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon, and where Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall was pastor from 1937-1949;

James Monroe donated toward the church bell of All Souls Church, which was attended by John Quincy Adams, and later William Howard Taft;

Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church was attended by William McKinley;

Holy Trinity Catholic Church, where John F. Kennedy attended.

In 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, stated:

“After a week on perplexing problems…it does so rest my soul to come into the house of The Lord and to sing and mean it, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty’…

(My) great joy and glory that, in occupying an exalted position in the nation, I am enabled, to preach the practical moralities of The Bible to my fellow-countrymen and to hold up Christ as the hope and Savior of the world.”

Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.

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William Andrew Dillard


It is an ironic, but interesting turn of events deserving considerable thought and appreciation. I write about coming to grips with one’s elevated relationship with God in New Covenant discipleship. It is elevation by another that humbles man. Please think with me for a moment.
Natural man, in his hereditarily, sinful condition is most often prideful, in denial of his condemned state, and resistant toward repentance from sin to exercise faith in God. But when he is saved by the grace of God, and embarks on a life of discipleship, he rejoices in his new position as a child of the King, even though he may continue to see himself as low, largely worthless, still plagued by sin, and sometimes rebellious. He may feel this is the proper viewpoint that honors the God of his salvation. Perhaps there is a need to re-examine a couple of things: self imposed humility may not be humility at all, and the highest honor man bestows upon God is to live within the perimeters of His calling while understanding and accepting the position in life that His unspeakable gift brings.
Colossians 2:18 speaks of a voluntary humility while verse 23 speaks of fleshly, will worship and humility. There is such a thing as being proud to be humble, but that is all pride rather than humility. True humility comes through reconciliation of oneself to God. Moreover, if God exalts His obedient children to heights not often considered, then He is honored most by their understanding, acceptance, and proper handling of that exalted state, which excludes fleshly pride.
Just what is this godly exaltation that God’s children may know? First, it is the privilege of being admitted to His Bride through baptism and fellowship in a New Testament church. Secondly, it is occupying the position of mature sons of God who are destined to rule the world with King Jesus at His coming. Thirdly it is being a viable part of the present “Israel of God,” Gal. 6: 16, which is His body, the pillar and ground of the truth, I Timothy 3:15. Additionally, one is exalted to being a god, John 10: 31-36; I Cor. 8:5. Jesus used this very terminology to confound the know-it-all Pharisees about those unto whom the Word of God came, Psalm 82:6. Certainly, the Lord’s church is the recipient of His Word: the faith once delivered to the saints. As gods (little g), they constitute His body, His Bride, His Israel, His representatives and the designated supporters of the truth. Who is it then who could not be humbled by such lofty exaltation? Moreover, who then would not be totally sobered by that responsibility? But more, to the point, who would deny these God-given designations and still claim to honor Him? He is honored in truth, and in our acceptance and obedience of Heaven’s provisions and placements.

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Posted: 17 Sep 2015 11:28 PM PDT

By Chuck Baldwin
September 17, 2015

Right now, the liberty movement is divided almost in half between those favoring the SCOTUS ruling legalizing same-sex marriage and those opposed (count me in the opposed camp). So, right now, the liberty movement is completely stymied over this issue. The only ones who win in such a case are big-government Orwellians.

To be sure, the SCOTUS decision to legalize same-sex “marriage” was the result of decades of relentless propaganda from the national news media, liberal politicians, and college professors throughout America.

Think about it: what do Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor know that John Locke, Thomas More, Emer de Vattel, Algernon Sidney, William Rawle, Hugo Grotius, William Blackstone, William Penn, James Wilson, John Marshall, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, John Adams, John Jay, Daniel Webster, Francis Scott Key, Hugo Black, Rutherford B. Hayes, and William O. Douglas didn’t know?

In other words, just as in the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion-on-demand, the Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex “marriage” was judicial activism pure and simple. There were no precedents for either decision. Think of the brilliant minds in law, philosophy, and religion over two thousand years of Western Civilization that somehow missed the “right” of homosexuals to “marry.”

What I’m saying is, I realize that militant homosexuals, ultra-leftists, and judicial activists have been waging war on America’s historic Christian values for decades–and they won a huge victory with the Obergefell decision. I also understand that these people will never be satisfied until they have totally and thoroughly expunged these values from America’s public life. There is no question they will resort to any tactic–no matter how morally unjust or constitutionally corrupt–to achieve their radical, amoral agenda. Kim Davis will not be the last Christian to be persecuted for her faith in this country.

That said, the Obergefell decision has successfully divided the liberty movement almost in half, between those who agree with the decision (on whatever grounds) and those who disagree. But, instead of arguing over the SCOTUS decision, here is what ALL OF US in the liberty movement should be doing: we should be using whatever influence we have to promote the idea of taking marriage OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE STATE ALTOGETHER.

Most of us realize that marriage is sacred; that it’s much more than just a civil contract. (Only the state itself reinvented marriage as being merely a civil contract.) One doesn’t have to be a Christian to acknowledge this distinction. Throughout the history of Western Civilization, the state seldom had authority over marriage. Think of it: for over 1,800 years of Western Civilization, the state had little–if anything–to do with marriage. (In America, only the colony of Massachusetts is recorded as requiring state marriage licenses before the mid-nineteenth century.)

So, why do we even look to the state for a license to marry? The fact is, WE SHOULDN’T. All of the bickering over Obergefell only serves to ensconce the notion that the state has legitimate authority over marriage. IT DOESN’T.

In Pilgrim America and in Colonial America–and until only recently in modern America–Common Law (Natural Law) marriage was universally recognized as being, not only lawful, but sacrosanct. The idea of asking the state for permission to marry was as absurd as asking the state for permission to take communion or to be baptized.

For example, the State of Pennsylvania didn’t outlaw Common Law marriage until 2005. And the only reason the vast majority of states do not recognize Common Law marriage today is because the Church has completely surrendered the Scriptural teaching on the subject and has willingly (even happily) turned what is uniquely a divine institution over to the state.

In other words, ladies and gentlemen, the only one to blame for the decision of the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage is THE CHURCH. The ultra-leftists and militant homosexuals would have had NO CHANCE of achieving victory at the Supreme Court had the churches of America been doing their job over the last half-century or more to educate people on the historic Natural Law principles governing marriage and the state. (Virtually ALL of the major problems we are dealing with today are the result of the absence of sound instruction from the pulpits of America.)

But since the Church’s surrender of the sanctity of marriage, here is the current reality: 40 states do not legally recognize Common Law marriage. That means, those 40 states see only the state as having authority over marriage. But the state has NO AUTHORITY over marriage and cannot legally sanction ANY marriage. I remind you Jesus said, “What therefore God hath joined together . . . .” Only GOD can join couples in marriage.

The best that I can determine, these are the 10 states that still recognize Common Law marriage: Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Texas, Utah, and Oklahoma. And Utah only seems to recognize Common Law marriage after the fact. In addition, Oklahoma is currently in the process of banning all State marriage licenses. This is exactly what all 50 states should do. (New Hampshire recognizes Common Law marriage for inheritance purposes only; so it should not be included as a Common Law State.)

So, including Utah, the people in ten states are free to marry WITHOUT a State license. And that’s exactly what every freedomist in those states should start promoting–and promoting LOUDLY. And freedomists in the other 40 states should start demanding that their State legislatures once again recognize Common Law marriage. Maybe people in those states should even consider civil disobedience and marry outside the licensing authority of the State. After all, if God has joined a man and woman together, what difference does it make if the State–or anyone else–recognizes it or not? If enough pastors and churches would do this, it wouldn’t take long for State legislatures to enact appropriate legislation.

Let the state recognize or not recognize to its heart’s content; let it embrace all of the perversion it wants. You can bet polygamy will be legalized next. And then what? Pedophilia? Bestiality? At some point, the sacred institutions of marriage and the Church will be forced to separate themselves from a suicidal society just as they did when the Roman Empire was collapsing. In Rome–as in oppressed nations today–Christians and churches mostly took their worship and sacred ceremonies underground. And, if history teaches anything, it teaches us that no civilization has long survived after socially embracing aberrant sexual behaviors. And America won’t either.

Let’s face it: the federal government in D.C. is leading America over an economic, political, moral, and cultural cliff. So, why do we keep looking to D.C. to fix the problem? THEY WON’T DO IT. As Ronald Reagan famously said, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government IS the problem.”

And the two institutions we should IMMEDIATELY extract from government–the two institutions that should have NEVER been allowed to be placed under the authority of government to begin with–are the institutions of marriage and the Church.

How in the name of common sense can pastors and churches take a Scriptural stand on the sanctity of marriage when they have allowed the Church itself to be bastardized by accepting the 501c3 tax-exempt organization status from Washington, D.C., and incorporation status from the states?

Think of it: our spiritual “leaders” have allowed the two most sacred institutions on earth (marriage and the Church) to be prostituted on the altar of state recognition. Think of it another way: our 501c3 pastors have become little more than pimps for the IRS and, now, a radical, activist Supreme Court. Do pastors really want Caesar’s blessing that badly?

Regarding marriage: we should marry under Natural Law (Common Law) ONLY.

Regarding the Church: it should be removed from 501c3 non-profit organization and State incorporation status–and if the pastor and church refuse to extract themselves, we should extract ourselves from THEM.

We either “come out” from this leviathan or we will be swallowed by it.

Yes, the radical left and militant homosexuals will continue to press their anti-Christian agenda with every means possible. Yes, those of us who have Christian, traditional and moralist convictions are going to be forced to defend these historic principles tooth and nail. But there can be no victory whatsoever by willfully surrendering the Natural Law principles upon which our convictions are predicated. Neither can there be victory by pretending that Caesar’s law is Supreme Law, because it’s not! There is a Court above the court. There is a King above kings. There is a Law above law.

Our founders gave their lives in order to bequeath to us a country in which we didn’t have to decide between obeying God and obeying government, as this constitutional republic was designed to protect our duty to God. Current national leaders–facilitated by America’s spiritual leaders–are taking that wonderful bequeathment away from us.

Therefore, say it anyway you want, “Don’t tread on me,” or “We must obey God rather than men,” but say it we must. And if Christian men and women cannot say it in defense of the sanctity and autonomy of marriage and the Church, they cannot say it at all.

P.S. I have a four-message DVD that I believe is absolutely essential for Christian people–and others who believe in our founding principles–to help them understand Natural Law. The title of the DVD series is “Liberty And Law.” Here are the message titles:

 Biblical Evidence for Natural Law (I show you the Scriptural evidence for Natural Law in this message.)

 Christ’s Law of The Sword (This message explains what Christ meant when He told Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matt. 26:52, KJV) Believe me, He did NOT mean that Christians are supposed to lay down their means of self-defense and never use the sword. I show from the Scriptures exactly what Jesus was saying to Peter. And, trust me, it will probably surprise you, as I doubt you have been taught this truth in church. And it will also help you to better understand a whole host of other scriptural principles as a result.)

 Liberty in Law (There is true liberty only in Law; but this Law does not ALWAYS mean the laws of men.)

 The Law of Necessity (This is a basic Natural Law principle that was demonstrated repeatedly throughout the Bible, including by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.)

This is one of the most important message-series I have ever delivered. And its truths are needed as much NOW as they were when our pastors thundered them forth in the churches of Colonial America–maybe more so.

To order my DVD, “Liberty And Law,” click here.

 If you appreciate this column and want to help me distribute these editorial opinions to an ever-growing audience, donations may now be made by credit card, check, or Money Order. Use this link.

Donate to Pastor Chuck Baldwin’s Ministry.

© 2015 Chuck Baldwin – All Rights Reserved

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Peter and faithful

Act 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. 4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, 6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

What a wonderful passage of scripture. Within these passages are several important points for us to consider.

1. The importance of telling others that Jesus has risen from the dead after paying for the sins of man. There was a two fold result that came of telling others of Jesus resurrection.

a. It angered the legalists. When I use the term legalist, I use it in reference to man’s plan of salvation by adding the law to grace. Notice who was offended. The priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees. These were all trying to bind the people to the law as a means of getting to heaven. Legalism has everything to do with how we are saved and nothing to do with our obedience after salvation.

b. The second result was, five thousand were saved. What a glorious event. We are thrilled to the marrow when one is saved and rightly so. If we were to have 10 or 20 respond to an invitation, we would never quit bragging about it.

2. The kindred (vs. 5-7) of the high priest were gathered together and gave an opportunity to witness by the apostles. The question was, by what power or name have you done this. An open ended question such as this deserves an answer. Oh that we could have such an invitation to witness. Wait! We have that invitation each and every day. As we live a life that is saturated in the love of God and His Word, He prepares, for us, opportunity to witness. We must open our eyes to the opportunities around us and see what the has prepared. How often we fail to recognize the opportunities to reach others for the Lord because our eye is not on the prize but on the things of this world.

3. Take special notice of verse 8 and what happens to Peter. “ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost.” The plan of salvation as revealed in John 3:16, speaks of security when it says “everlasting life.” I believe that John 3:16 is salvation complete. Everlasting life speaks of security. That security comes from the sealing of the Holy Spirit. 2Co_1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. Eph_1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Eph_4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. This gives us two points to consider.

a. When did this indwelling of the Spirit take place? Matthew 10:20 speaks of it before the day of Pentecost. Romans 8:9 speaks of the Spirit of God dwelling in us. It says, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Christ, a person is not saved. Based upon this for one to say the Old Testament Saints were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit is to say there are two plans of salvation. One for the Old Testament Saints and one for the New Testament Saints. It also indicates that Old Testament Saints could lose their salvation. We enjoy the Sealing of the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. They did not. Without this seal there would be the possibility of losing ones salvation. There are scriptures in the Old Testament that speak of the Holy Spirit within a person but look at

1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

This leads me to believe that Peter being saved and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not being referred to in verse 8. When the Church is gathered in the upper room and baptized in the Holy Spirit as a Church in not being referred to here. I contend that this extra measure of grace is the Holy Spirit in power, enabling Peter with boldness to address this assembly. This happened in the Old Testament. Men that were saved and the Holy Spirit indwelling them were empowered to do great and mighty things when the Holy Spirit comes upon them.

b. The last thought I would like to leave you with is: The law of God, the doctrine of Christ is much more important than any law man with a corrupt and debauched mind can create. We should always choose God’s law above any other. He created us. His Son died for us. The Holy Spirit seals us. Our love for what God has done should enable us to stand in the dark days of trial.

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Late Night Musings:

September 8, 2015    Dose of Reality    by Joseph Harris       Number 322    


Comments on Current Events in Government, Religion, Culture, and the Family, from a Conservative Biblical Perspective

Late Night Musings:


 The glamor boy in the average pulpit of today will always be adored, promoted and emulated for the fluff and flattery that continually falls from his lips. The modern day prophet, however(and there are few) better get used to disappointment, if he sticks with “Thus saith the Lord.” He will be misused, misunderstood and misquoted by the masses in today’s church of Laodicea. Loneliness and rejection will be his lot as he eats the bread of misery and frustration. Ask Jeremiah.

Dose of Reality is written by Joseph Harris and the content sometimes contains sarcasm and humor for emphasis of truth.

All material in Dose of Reality (including writings and quotes from Brother Ritechus N. Dignation) is original, unless otherwise indicated. Original material may be republished and quoted without prior permission, but only verbatim and with Joseph Harris andwww.josephharrismagic.com/rnd included for credit.

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Why We Don’t Have Contemporary Music In our Church

Why We Don’t Have Contemporary Music In our Church

By IndependentBaptist.com –

May 15, 2014

by Paul Alexander

The above question is often voiced in various ways: “Why do we still sing the old songs? Why not exchange the hymnals for Power Point choruses, or sing more and shorten the sermons? The “Contemporary Church Movement” blossomed in the 1980’s in an attempt to make the church more appealing to unchurched people. Crosses came down, hymns were replaced with catchy choruses, organs and pianos moved over (or out) for the band, song leaders were replaced with worship teams, jeans replaced suits, pulpits were out and lecterns in, and the mention of “hell” and “sin” became taboo. There is nothing intrinsically Biblical about displaying crosses or singing from hymnals, and we are certainly in favor of reaching people with the gospel. We must always ask, however, “What are the Bible principles involved?”, and “Where does this path ultimately lead?”

Christ’s church (His bride) must never seek to become like the world. When the Bible speaks of “the world” it is referring to the lifestyles, priorities, attitudes and appetites that are characteristic of unsaved people, and uncharacteristic of God. The Bible has nothing positive to say about this world to which many churches and Christians are trying to appeal, appease and conform.

1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him….

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. (See also John 15:19; Galatians 6:14; Titus 2:12)

According to Rick Warren, the first step to starting a church is to survey the community to find out what people want in a church, then give it to them [The Purpose Driven Church, ch. 8]. It is insulting, however, for Christ’s bride to strive to become like and to be loved by the very world system that crucified Him. (James calls it “adultery”.) The core premise of the contemporary church and music movement is unBiblical because it promotes conformity of the church and Christians to the world rather than to the holy image of Christ.

The contemporary church movement is producing shallow, worldly Christians and churches. Bill Hybels, the father of the seeker sensitive movement, prominently confessed, “We made a mistake…. Our churches are a mile wide and an inch deep.” [2007 Leadership Summit, Willow Creek Community Church] If the movement’s own leaders do not like where their path has led, why should we travel it?

Attracting the lost to our church is not our Biblical purpose. The church is primarily for the building up of believers to go out into the world and reach lost people who are then brought in to be discipled and in turn sent out to win others. (Ephesians 4) Certainly there is no objection to inviting the unchurched, but we must not change the message or the music in order to be liked by lost people.

The kinds of music widely enjoyed by the world will not move our church (or children) toward godliness. Rick Warren wrote, “Once you have decided the style of music for your worship you have set the direction of your church in far more ways than you realize.” [The Purpose Driven Church, p. 280-281] This striking statement by the world’s foremost contemporary leader is absolutely true and should make us consider very carefully before changing our music. Do I want to direct our church toward the world, or away from it? According to Warren, the style of music we choose helps set the course. Romans 12:2 commands, “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Much of the world’s modern music is a counterfeit of the beautiful music God created and cannot be used to worship and honor Him (i.e. “Christian rock”). “Our music cannot be like the music of the world, because our God is not like their gods. Most of the world’s music reflects the world’s ways, the world’s standards, the world’s attitudes, the world’s gods…. The popular music of the Western world is the music of seduction and suggestiveness, a musical counterpart of the immoral, lustful society that produces, sings, and enjoys it.” [- J. MacArthur, Commentary on Ephesians; For more on Biblical music and worship, request our sermon CD dated September 25 AM, 2011]

We must not dilute our message, ignore Bible principles, employ worship music that is dissonant, harsh, sensual and suggestive, or seek to make the church appealing to the appetites of ungodly people, even to reach them. The true gospel will never be attractive to the unsaved in general, nor will it ever make them feel comfortable. Paul declared, “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness….” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

by Paul Alexander

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Justice Joseph Story on Original Intent and Religious Freedom

Justice Joseph Story on Original Intent and Religious Freedom


joseph-story2Justice Joseph Story served as a Supreme Court Justice from 1811 through 1845. His Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (first published in 1833) was required reading in U.S. law schools for over a century, being a cornerstone of early American jurisprudence. As such, it was and still is a critical source as to the original intent of the American Founders in penning and passing the First Amendment, and more particularly, regarding the Religious Establishment and Freedom of Religion clauses.

Justice Story writes:

§ 984. Let us now enter upon the consideration of the amendments, which, (it will be found,) principally regard subjects properly belonging to a bill of rights.

§ 985. The first is “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition government for a redress of grievances.”

§ 986. And first, the prohibition of any establishment of religion, and the freedom of religious opinion and worship.

How far any government has a right to interfere in matters touching religion, has been a subject much discussed by writers upon public and political law. The right and the duty of the interference of government, in matters of religion, have been maintained by many distinguished authors, as well those, who were the warmest advocates of free governments, as those, who were attached to governments of a more arbitrary character. Indeed, the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice. The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion; the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues; — these never can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects. This is a point wholly distinct from that of the right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one’s own conscience.

§ 987. The real difficulty lies in ascertaining the limits, to which government may rightfully go in fostering and encouraging religion. Three cases may easily be supposed. One, where a government affords aid to a particular religion, leaving all persons free to adopt any other; another, where it creates an ecclesiastical establishment for the propagation of the doctrines of a particular sect of that religion, leaving a like freedom to all others; and a third, where it creates such an establishment, and excludes all persons, not belonging to it, either wholly, or in part, from any participation in the public honours, trusts, emoluments, privileges, and immunities of the state. For instance, a government may simply declare, that the Christian religion shall be the religion of the state, and shall be aided, and encouraged in all the varieties of sects belonging to it; or it may declare, that the Catholic or Protestant religion shall be the religion of the state, leaving every man to the free enjoyment of his own religious opinions; or it may establish the doctrines of a particular sect, as of Episcopalians, as the religion of the state, with a like freedom; or it may establish the doctrines of a particular sect, as exclusively the religion of the state, tolerating others to a limited extent, or excluding all, not belonging to it, from all public honours, trusts, emoluments, privileges, and immunities.

§ 988. Probably at the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as it is not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.

§ 989. It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether say free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. The future experience of Christendom, and chiefly of the American states, must settle this problem, as yet new in the history of the world, abundant, as it has been, in experiments in the theory of government.

§ 990. But the duty of supporting religion, and especially the Christian religion, is very different from the right to force the consciences of other men, or to punish them for worshipping God in the manner, which, they believe, their accountability to him requires. It has been truly said, that “religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be dictated only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” Mr. Locke himself, who did not doubt the right of government to interfere in matters of religion, and especially to encourage Christianity, has at the same time expressed his opinion of the right of private judgment, and liberty of conscience, in a manner becoming his character, as a sincere friend of civil and religious liberty. “No man, or society of men,” says he, “have any authority to impose their opinions or interpretations on any other, the meanest Christian; since, in matters of religion, every man must know, and believe, and give an account for himself.” The rights of conscience are, indeed, beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority, without a criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural, as well as of revealed religion.

§ 991. The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. It thus sought to cut off the means of religious persecution, (the vice and pest of former ages,) and the power of subverting the rights of conscience in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age. The history of the parent country had afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions on this head; and even New-England, the land of the persecuted puritans, as well as other colonies, where the Church of England had maintained its superiority, had furnished a chapter, as full of dark bigotry and intolerance, as any, which could be found to disgrace the pages of foreign annals. Apostacy, heresy, and nonconformity have been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.

§ 992. It was under a solemn consciousness of the dangers from ecclesiastical ambition, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the intolerance of sects, thus exemplified in our domestic, as well as in foreign annals, that it was deemed advisable to exclude from the national government all power to act upon the subject. The situation, too, of the different states equally proclaimed the policy, as well as the necessity, of such an exclusion. In some of the states, episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in others, presbyterians; in others, congregationalists; in others, quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects. It was impossible, that there should not arise perpetual strife and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a religious establishment. The only security was in extirpating the power. But this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion, and a prohibition (as we have seen) of all religious tests. Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship. (1)

This is a far cry from what is taught in our schools today and insisted upon by many a so-called modern expert who collectively labor – it seems – for a cause the very opposite of the Founder’s original intent – and while so doing, taking aim at, indeed making into PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE, free religious expression in public life. Such speech – consistent with the very Nature of man as a spiritual being – was supposed to be protected as a God-given, Inalienable Right, not crushed with the iron fist of socialism, humanism, and atheism! – And as to religion, in general, as Story notes, it was to be encouraged. The First Amendment then being a legal written check upon Congress, a legal prohibition if you will, on passing ANY bill—ANY bill into law that would interfere with this free expression in ANY forum (public or private) period. —And again, a prohibition against any law that might tend to hinder the prosperity of religion in general. Finally, as to the Establishment Clause, it had one clear purpose, and ONE ONLY, being a prohibition against a national church—avoiding that great evil and enemy to true religion and civic virtue.

Footnote: Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States; with a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States, before the Adoption of the Constitution. Abridged by the Author, for the Use of Colleges and High Schools (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, and Company/Cambridge: Brown, Shattuck, and Co., 1833), pp. iii-viii, 693-703.

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Parson to Person
A minister once described his church as a submarine church. Perplexed, his listener asked what he meant. He replied with the following description. “We have submerged ourselves in our own little sea. We don’t like the trouble and misery that is so abundant all around our community and nation. So we decided to submerge ourselves to be safe from it all. So far, we are holding a record for staying submerged the longest. Once, A former pastor peered through the periscope and suggested the church should surface and engage the enemy. He was immediately tried for mutiny and dismissed. In time the air got really stale, but a committee was appointed to study it, and they concluded that that stale air was really good for you. So, the crew went through a well rehearsed routine regularly. They overhauled the kitchen, took stock of all the ammo on board although none of it was ever used. When another pastor tried to bring the vessel to surface, the entire crew got the bends, so continued submersion was necessary. The captain’s last log read, ‘submerged and continuing to practice drills. An enemy was sighted, but the entire crew demanded that there be no engagement, rather they should dive a little deeper to be in a safe zone.’ ” Today’s churches would much rather sing “Hold the Fort” than to “Storm the fort.” Sadly, the description of a submarine church is altogether to close to home for several. The Lord wants His lights to shine: to bear influence on the lives of others rather than melt into society unnoticed and be content with marginalization. So, in the words of the psalmist, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” Think about it! When is the last time you took the initiative in a one on one conversation to let that person know that you love the Lord, and that the Lord desires that everyone should believe in Him? If you have not done this in a long time, try it really soon. Even if you fumble, you will be so glad you tried, and you will do better, and be more comfortable with it, next time. Each of us who knows the Lord is a lighted candle. The question is: will we let it shine in the candlestick or put in under a bushel (submarine)? The answer is obvious! If we really do have a one on one relationship with the Savior, we will burn inside to have others know the love, peace, joy, life and hope that we have.

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Unity or Purity?

June 6, 2015    Dose of Reality    by Joseph Harris       Number 318       


Comments on Current Events in Government, Religion, Culture, and the Family, from a Conservative Biblical Perspective


Unity or Purity?

The leavening of America, God’s churches, the family and society has been underway for decades. In a sense, the leavening process has always been around as Satan has constantly tried to dilute and weaken the people of God and their influence in the world. Paul said in I Corinthians “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” The nature of leaven (yeast) is to permeate and spread throughout the entire lump of dough, causing it to rise. It only takes a small amount to change the entire lump.

What disturbs me does not always disturb others. In this fast paced age of change, I am disturbed by the shift in attitude and philosophy of the average person. I am increasingly finding myself in the minority on issues of Bible doctrine, politics, and ethics. Yet, I haven’t changed. I stand today where I stood 33 years ago when surrendering to God’s call to preach and teach his Word. I see the danger in a little leaven. The depraved nature of humanity leans toward sin and the path of least resistance and will exploit every inch given, hence the saying, “Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile” is an absolute. Maintaining purity requires effort.

In the religious, political and cultural battles of today, purity has taken a beating. However, purity is essential. Consider the following: when given a choice, would you rather drink pure water or filthy water? Would you prefer a virgin for a spouse or a promiscuous person? Would you choose dirty clothes over clean clothes for your body? Would you rather have a clean politician (an oxymoron, but bear with me) or a person of character as your representative? Any sane person would choose purity in these situations. But when the choice of purity may result in conflict, stress, and division, people will choose unity over purity 95% of the time.

Look first at purity in the local church. Concerning immorality in a church, it will usually be tolerated, especially when the other option is conflict through confrontation. It is not easy to confront sin and require purity from ungodly church members who may also be family members, or influential in the community or big givers in the offering plate. Yet, the small amount of leaven will spread throughout the lump, affecting the whole. When we are more concerned with the smile of man, then we will have the frown of God, and when purity goes out the window for the sake of unity, then God’s churches lose the power and blessing of God.

Consider purity in church doctrine. Baptism and the Lord’s table have taken a beating with pastors and churches caving in to the plea for unity rather than purity in the practicing of these ordinances. Only a scriptural New Testament church of the Lord Jesus has the authority to baptize new believers and administer the Lord’s Table to those who have prepared themselves through scriptural baptism and church membership. Paul said to refrain from eating with those who had not examined themselves, especially concerning immorality, I Cor. 5:11. These ordinances belong to the Lord, not the church, but He has given their care and stewardship to each local church for proper administration for His glorification. Rather than stand for purity and cause contention, many are satisfied to sacrifice purity for unity, forgetting that unity with God through purity is primary. When a church adopts a human driven philosophy, their main priority will be to please men and not God. Here is a novel idea: How about a God driven, Spirit sensitive church. It just might work.

Look also at purity in ecclesiastical associations. Ecumenism has taken hold and many are willing to turn loose of Bible doctrines that “divide” in order to fellowship with those who disagree in doctrine. After all, we are all children of God, and why can’t we just get along and love one another? True love often requires hard choices. Amos the prophet asked “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” They can walk, just not together, because those not of like faith will have different beliefs, different standards, different philosophies of ministry, different goals and different ways to achieve those goals. When pastors and churches refuse to cooperate with others who are not of like faith, they are accused of being hateful and having no love for the brethren. Loving the brethren is not the issue; purity is the issue. Besides, we are commanded to love God before we are commanded to love others and maintaining purity is loving God. We are never commanded to fellowship with those who show a contempt for God by disobeying his Word. As Dr. Curtis Hutson used to say, “There are some things that cannot be sacrificed on the altar of love.”

Purity of the Word of God is important. Concerning the Word of God, I believe in the purity of His Word. I believe the scriptures were divinely inspired and providentially preserved. God divinely inspired the writers in the original manuscripts and then over time, providentially preserved these writings in the original language texts of the Hebrew Masoretic text and the Greek Textus Receptus. I use the 1769 edition of the 1611 King James version, not because of “Thee’s” and “Thou’s”, but because I believe it to be a faithful translation from these texts. The issue is about using the right the right English translation based upon the right original language texts. The purity of His Word is essential since doctrine and practice are based upon the authority of scripture. “The words of the Lord are pure words”. Psalm 12:6

Purity in the home. Purity must first be established in the heart, otherwise, the outward appearance is a sham. However, after inward purity is a reality, further instruction is still needed concerning outward conduct and appearance. Concerning standards of dress, entertainment choices and others issues in contemporary culture, most churches and parents opt for unity and peace in the congregation and the home rather than the unsettling, stressful conflict which comes from requiring standards of purity. Modern apparel is more important than modest apparel. A sloppy, unkempt appearance has replaced a dignified, neat and tidy appearance, yet what is on the outside, usually reflects the attitude of the inside. Degrading movies and videos de-sensitize values concerning right and wrong over issues of sexuality, ethics and the role of men and women in the home. Ultimately, standards or lack of standards, go back to the home and the example set by the parents. Godly parents face intense pressure in the world and often from their church, over disagreement of standards, and parents too often give in to the pressure of their children, their church and other family members, who accuse them of being too hard.

Consider purity in society. Homosexuality and immorality have become more and more accepted through gradual exposure. To address someone’s immoral sexual lifestyle is considered an attack on the individual. Homosexuality and immorality are both destructive to all who participate, ruining self esteem and respect, destroying families, and can end in death from disease. To warn of self destruction and promote sexual purity honors God and helps people experience full and more satisfying lives. Sexual immorality affects everyone in society as a whole through broken homes, wounded children and adults and increased financial costs, resulting from choices that damage health.

May God give us the resolve to stand and be more concerned about maintaining unity with God, as we preach and practice purity in a culture that has an ever growing contempt for truth.

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