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William Andrew Dillard

The title is paradoxical. To say that there is a church is to say that it exists, but to say there is a church that does not exist is a contradiction of thoughts. Yet, I have read about such a church, and I am sure you have, too. In newspapers and magazines, it will not be unusual to read of “the Baptist church.” This reflects a thought pattern of the church being universal. Of course, expressions of “the Catholic church,” the Methodist church,” etc. are more nearly correct since Catholic and Protestant churches consider themselves to be universal. Catholic theology points to a universal, visible church while Protestants point to a universal invisible church.
So, to which of these lines of theological thought do Baptist churches generally subscribe? Neither! It is the Bible presentation that the true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ are both visible and local. Each church is totally independent under the headship of Christ Jesus. There is no ecclesiastical (preacher) authority. There is no hierarchy. There is no little church/ big church difference in the eyes of the Lord. All are local assemblies, answerable only to God, with the full weight and responsibility of carrying out the commands of Christ as though they were the only congregation on earth. The only headquarters of the Lord’s churches is in heaven. His churches have equal authority to win disciples, baptize them, teach them, and administer the ordinances according to the Word. A church simply cannot get any more independent than to have the independence God gave to it to represent Him on earth. But, a church can get a lot less independent by subscribing to false doctrines, practices, and acquiescing to the designs and schemes of men. The purpose of such is usually for the sake of “business advantage” and/or to capture congregational power to enhance economic, political, and strained theological activity that God never commanded or intended.
There is no such thing as a biblically recognized, universal church on earth whether visible or invisible! Jesus set in motion a local congregation and empowered it to do likewise in carrying out the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20. I understand “Johnson Street Baptist Church” or a church by some other name that distinguishes it as a local assembly in a specific location or in a specified dedication of service. I do not understand nor will I accept the terminology of “The Baptist Church.” It is a church that simply does not exist.

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Demands of a Holy God

1 Samuel 6:19—7:2
“And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter,” 1 Samuel 6:19.

Jesus sent out seventy disciples throughout the region to represent Him and the kingdom of God. When the disciples returned, they were rejoicing because they experienced great power, even over demons. When Jesus heard them bragging about their newfound power, He rebuked them and told them to only rejoice in God, that He had written their names down in Heaven (Luke 10:17-20).
When the ark of the covenant was returned to Israel by the Philistines, it appears that at least seventy men were gloating in the experience of power that accompanied the return of the ark of God. Immediately, God struck these men down because they were boasting in an experience instead of God.
It is easy to enjoy the experience of victory that accompanies Jesus Christ and is available to every child of God. We should rejoice in that victory, but as soon as we allow that victory—that Christ won—to lift us up in pride and begin to gloat over our enemies, we have forgotten who is responsible for the victory. Never forget that, without God, we would know nothing but defeat. When we are tempted to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think and allow ourselves to gloat in our salvation, we step into God’s place and begin to steal His glory.

Will you humbly give God all the glory today?
Mark Clements

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Secret Disciples


John 19:38-42


Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury,” John 19:40.



Jesus had many disciples; some of them, because of fear, were afraid to be seen with the others. But when they were needed, they gathered courage and stepped up to the task, while the other disciples slipped into silence. Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus were not well-known but nevertheless were important disciples.


Joseph, a wealthy man and honorable counselor, went to Pilate and begged to bury the body of Jesus. Nicodemus joined Joseph, and together they took the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial. The body was washed, wrapped in linen and spices of myrrh and aloes were tucked into the folds of the cloth.


At some burials a bed of spices was formed and the body was laid on top. We do not know if this is what Nicodemus did with the hundred pounds of spices or not, the Bible does not say. We do know that Jesus was not embalmed and before He could be He had arisen.


In the end, Joseph and Nicodemus found a place of service for our Lord. Yes, even secret disciples can be used by God.






In closed countries there are many secret disciples. Thankfully, in America we have religious freedom—for now.


Beverly Barnett



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Written by: William Andrew Dillard

Jesus began His marvelous “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5-7) with the oft repeated beatitudes. The last one of those speaks of His disciples suffering persecution, slander, etc. for Jesus’ sake. They were told to rejoice to have the honor of being in class with the prophets of old, and that they should know their reward in heaven is great. It was then that Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
In all things, it is important to establish context correctly. Let the reader please note that Jesus withdrew Himself from the crowd, and retreated into a mountain place. Then His disciples came to Him, and He taught them there. So, Jesus was teaching His blood-bought, baptized, and called out disciples. This remains the basic definition of a New Testament Church. The message should be received in that context.
It follows then that a church, if it is what it is designed to be, is the savory spice to the world in an unsavory spiritual state. Think with me about the properties, and the spiritual application. A single point is being put forward.
Salt is a wonderful substance. Both health and enjoyment of diet are dependent upon it. A little salt makes bland and distasteful food desirable. It only takes a little, but it must be there. If salt loses its savory power, it is as useless or more-so than sawdust. In fact, it really is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trodden down. In like manner, churches make up a very small percentage of population, but their spiritual testimony savors (influences) the actions and restraints of many, even of governments and nations. If the Lord’s churches lose their savor; their purpose; their prime directives; they will become as unsavory salt and meet the same end. It is not the purpose of the Lord’s churches to cure society’s ills, provide for recreational or social programs, but to be the pillar and ground of the truth for which it is designed. (shame on church members, pastors, too, who have learned nothing in years!) Moreover, since churches may not be divorced from their membership, it is incumbent upon every legitimate church member to be the practical manifestation and presentation of that spiritual salt without apology, as though it were Jesus in person making the presentation. Will that create problems? You bet it will! That is the subject matter of the beatitudes. Read them again! One should not expect the reward if he fails to be savory in the field of battle.
I fully believe these things are true to the Holy Word. Moreover, they speak of the kind of Christian I strive to be.

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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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Infection of Unbelief


Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen,” Mark 16:14.


Recently, our home was hit with a stomach virus. It only took one member of our family to introduce the virus to the rest of us and then, over the course of a week, we each fell ill with the bug. That is the way germs work, especially in close-knit families. They find ways to travel from host to host until the whole family is infected. Unfortunately, some diseases can spread to infect entire communities if proper sanitation procedures are not followed.


After Jesus rose from the tomb on Sunday morning, His appearances were staggered so that by the end of the day, the majority of the disciples had not seen Him in person, though word of His resurrection spread quickly. In spite of His constant teaching about His resurrection, Jesus’ disciples could not bring themselves to believe what He said, and it was beginning to have an adverse affect on them. When Jesus did appear to them, He rebuked them for not having faith in Him and His word. I wonder how often God rebukes us because of our unbelief? How much do we suffer because we allow unbelief to infect our lives, contaminating the pure and simple life of faith?  Please be aware. Unbelief is infectious. If we are not careful to live out the abundant life of faith in Jesus Christ, we will spread the germs of unbelief to our families, churches and communities.





Will you live in faith today?


Mark Clements




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99 — April 09 —This Day in Baptist History

A Great Evangelistic Couple

Justus H. Vinton married Calista Holman on April 9, 1834 and three months later set sail to Burma in company with other missionaries: Mr. and Mrs. Wade, Mr. and Mrs. Howard, Mr and Mrs. Dean, and Mr. and Mrs. Osgood and two disciples. The voyage took one hundred and sixty days, which was about normal in those days. Justus and Calista used the extra time to learn the Karen language. In addition the missionaries preached the gospel to the crew members. During the voyage they converted the captain, the first officer, the steward, and many sailors.

They disembarked in Moulmein (also known as Mawlamyine) in December 1834. Since Justus and Calista were sufficiently familiar with the language, they began their mission work at once. They took native canoes and visited many jungle Karen villages singing the hymns and preaching the gospel. He had a cheerful disposition and was gifted in preaching. He sang with a rich full voice and many Karens were won over. They called him the teacher who sang the gospel. They were welcomed and embraced so readily, and so many villages requesting their visits, they decided to do the excursions separately. Where ever they went, crowds followed, eager to learn the truth, and hundreds were converted.

They were one of the missionary couples who converted the most Karen people.


Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 144-145. / Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


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