Tag Archives: generation


William Andrew Dillard

Someone once said the more things change, the more they stay the same. It appears contradictory, nevertheless true. Vaunted progress in most every field of endeavor characterizes the present time, but the universal plight, and the persistent actions of men remain unchanged. Nowadays, good is called evil and evil is called good. Selfishness largely rules, and the unchanging principles of time and eternity are pushed aside for what men want right now.
It was to a similar generation of Jesus’ day that he explained the ministry of John the Baptist, and the subsequent kingdom of heaven. There were those who heard him, and they with the publicans justified God being baptized with the baptism of John. On the other hand, there were many of the lawyers and Pharisees who rejected the counsel of God against themselves by rejecting the baptism of John. Luke 7.
They wanted to pit the ministry of John against the ministry of Jesus. They criticized the person of John as aloft, stoic, antisocial because he was not given to eating bread, nor drinking wine with them. Then they criticized Jesus because He did those things, calling Him a gluttonous man, a winebibber, and a friend of publicans and sinners. In short, nothing could be right in the eyes of these critics but their own twisted formula of life. How that remains. Times have changed, but the more they change, the more they stay the same.
Jesus summarized the generation of His earthly ministry. “They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you and you have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.” Luke 7:31-32. This is an unchanged status quo, having multiplied exponentially.
Men do not have the qualifications, nor any ability to call upon the substance or perimeters of eternity. God does! Moreover, the true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ are in covenant relationship with Him, so they have been given the knowledge of eternity by the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. They have visited that dimension vicariously, and proven their understanding by the eternal, unchanging Word. It is they who justify God, not only being baptized with the baptism of John, but offering the same to such as bring forth fruit meet for repentance. With them, by God’s grace, I stand! Trusting one’s pompous, but powerless formulations is silly. Trusting the eternal creator of the universe is wise.

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William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Which way is forward? This may seem a silly question on the surface, but the answer is not so simple and clear as one may wish it to be. Motion itself may not always be forward, and not knowing the difference can be disastrous.
An automobile cross country race hosted many contestants. Each car had a driver and a navigator. The race route was through difficult terrain. One car was decidedly ahead of the others when an unmarked crossroads was approached. The driver demanded to know which way to go. The navigator said he did not know. He said that he was so sure that they would never be in the lead that he neglected to study the route. There were roads to take, but two of the three would not take them forward to their goal.
Another unlearned driver was proud of his just acquired automobile. He was so proud that he wanted to show his buddies that he could out race them. In the course of his attempt, the car came apart. To hear him tell it, he put the gear shift lever into “D” for “drag.” As he picked up speed, he realized he was not outrunning his buddies in their cars, so he shifted the lever into “R” for “Race” and that is when it all started to come apart, so he quickly shifted it into “P” for “Pass.” and that was the end of it.
Now if this appears ridiculous, just survey what makes a lot of religions “tick” and it will seem fairly sane. In short, motion or activity does not necessarily mean a person or group is making forward progress. Jesus indicated this as he described the religious generation into which He came so long ago. “And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I like the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.” Luke 7:31-32. They were zealous of activity for the sake of activity, rather than being zealous of practicing strict adherence to the will of the Lord so plainly revealed in the Bible. God’s viewpoint of “forward” is activity within His holy will. That kind of “forward” is inclusive of the old paths; of waiting on the Lord as described in Isa. 40:31. Here then is walking and running without weariness; a perpetual renewing of strength; the direction God calls “forward.”
There are a lot of churches and religious groups who think they are churches wallowing in the pitfall well-meaning, but carnal, religious activity. Such becomes religious protocol, and it fosters a staleness that will turn embers into ice cubes. God’s ways are tried and true, and a must for every believer. They are as God told Moses, “. . . Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” Exo. 14:15. We should follow life actions designed by THE BOOK!

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Judges 2:10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

Another generation arises behind us. How well have we raised and taught this younger generation? Are we so well established in the truths of Gods Word that we can teach our children. The rise of the generation behind me is a grave concern. I see those that have been raised in church all their lives by well grounded parents, even preachers and pastors that have left the plain doctrines taught in the Bible go astray into liberal churches and mitigated the ordinances that Jesus gave the church.

Do we not think that Jesus meant what He said? Are we not emphasizing Gods Word to our children or have we put to much emphasis on the things of the world and those things are beginning to take pre-eminance in our life and the life of the children? Maybe we are pursuing religion instead of developing a relationship. A relationship would lead us to the importance of walking with God and teaching our children to walk with God. Is there any parent that has been blessed to realize that Jesus died for them to give them everlasting life that would deny their children that opportunity by allowing them to skip being at church and hear the salvation message?

Two reasons our churches are declining. Members not willing to go to a lost and dying world. It is natural to talk football, baseball, the weather, family and health. Natural comes from the natural man. The spiritual condition of a person is the last concern. The spiritual condition is most important. The second, we have not prepared our children to accept Christ as Savior and receive baptism as identifying with Christ. We have not prepared them for membership in a Church that Jesus built and accepting the responsibility of being an active member.

Our children are not too young to understand the doctrines that are unique to Gods Word and Bible believing Landmark Missionary Baptists. May we be diligent in teaching the Bible.

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The influence which his surroundings had upon his mind and upon his character and upon his methods of warfare has been hastily glanced at, but into that great burning heart of his, into that intense and fearless soul we cannot pierce. His sorrows and his joys (for he had them), his hopes and his fears (for he had them), his knowledge of his defeats and mistakes and above all, the shining into that soul of the supernal light and the strengthening power of God’s grace; the tried and trusting spirit that never showed fear of mortal man and never a momentary wavering in his grasp of vital truth, as he grappled with deadly errors – into that depth we cannot look but to all outward seeming his was the serene soul of a heroic, true godly, and self-reliant man. No wonder he influenced his generation, as we shall see later.






There was no man who delivered such trip hammer blows on the system of teaching called Campbellism as did J.R. Graves. While Dr. Graves was in the heat of his conflict with Methodism, Mr. Campbell, as a general thing, sought to ignore him or treat him as a non-representative of the Baptist people, and claimed to have evidence that the Baptists generally disapproved of Dr. Graves’ course. So frequent and emphatic were these statements made by the leader of the “current reformation,” that the General Association of Middle Tennessee and North Alabama, at its session in Winchester in 1854, felt it necessary to pass the following preamble and resolution:






Whereas Alexander Campbell, in a late number of his Millennial Harbinger has asserted that the doctrines contended for by the editor of The Tennessee Baptist are not the doctrines held by the Baptists, and that he is in possession of letters from many distinguished Baptists, even Baptist ministers, condemning the course of Brother J.R. Graves as editor of The Tennessee Baptist, in his recent controversy with Mr. Campbell, and conceding to Mr. Campbell as much orthodoxy as they claim for themselves; and



Whereas, we believe that the doctrines advocated and enforced by the editor of The Tennessee Baptist are sustained by the Word of God and are the same which have distinguished Baptists in all ages from the beginning of the gospel; and



Whereas, we believe that the so-called “current reformation” as represented and propagated by Mr. Campbell and his followers is a system of gross heresy opposed to the teachings of the gospel, subversive of all spirituality in religion and destructive to the souls of men; and



Whereas, we regard the charge put forth by Mr. Campbell as an unjust imputation upon the character of the Baptist ministers and churches in this State:



Therefore, resolved that we fully endorse the position of the editor of The Tennessee Baptist in his recent exposure and triumphant refutation of the dogma of baptismal regeneration and kindred doctrinal errors of the so-called ‘current reformation.’



Resolved that it is due to the Baptist ministry in Tennessee that the injury which Mr. Campbell has done the by the published imputation of secretly harboring heretical sentiments and giving aid and sympathy in his war upon the doctrines of our whole faith, should be atoned for on the part of Mr. Campbell by a publication of the letters and names of those ministers and brethren he refers to, and should be persistent in casting suspicion on our ministers by withholding publication, that we shall treat Mr. Campell’s charge as false and unfounded.



Resolved, that we recommend to Tennessee Baptists, J.R. Graves, as an able and valiant defender and advocate of the faith of the gospel, and faithfully devoted to the interest ot the Baptist denomination.



Resolved, that the foregoing preamble and resolution be incorporated in the proceedings of this body and a copy of the same forwarded for publication to The Tennessee Baptist.


Signed, john W. King, Chairman.”





To this sweeping and, we may say, this criminating denial of Mr. Campbell’s repeated assertions, and also to the challenge to give the names of distinguished Baptists and Baptist ministers condemning the course of J.R. Graves, Mr. Campbell made no reply. Those who knew Alexander Campbell or were familiar with his writings and general course as an incessant controversialist did not question the correctness of his statements. He was a man whose veracity was above suspision and, at the time these statements appeared in The Harbinger, it was pretty well known that there were influential men in the Baptist ranks who desired and planned a union of the Reformers and Baptists, based upon or growing out of the co-operation and fraternity of the two peoples in the Bible Revision Movement. This fact gave boldness and credibility to Campbell’s averments, and he prudently let Dr. Graves alone and was silent in regard to the implied challenge to discuss the questions at issue with Dr. Graves, either orally or through the respective periodicals. Dr. Graves pursued his fearless course of argument and at times of denunciation of the dogma of “Baptismal regeneration,” insisting always on the scriptural truth of justification by faith only and salvation independent of any ordinance or church connection. This finally culminated in a challenge, through one Elder Fall, to hold a public debate with Elder Fanning, a scholarly and able man of the Reformation. The challenge was accepted. P.S. Fall, of Nashville, who had been pastor of the First Baptist Church there, and who led pretty much the whole church into the ranks of Reformation, was selected by Mr. Fanning and Mr. S.H. Ford was selected by Dr. Graves to arrange the propositions and the preliminaries. A volumnious correspondence ensued, but the correspondents could never agree upon the wording of the propositions and so the debate was never held.


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A. W. Tozer said – “Each generation of Christians must look to its beliefs. While truth itself is unchanging, the minds of men are porous vessels out of which truth can leak and into which error may seep to dilute the truth they contain. The human heart is heretical by nature and runs to error as naturally as a garden to weeds. All a man, a church or a denomination needs  to guarantee deterioration of doctrine is to take everything for granted and do nothing. The unattended garden will soon be overrun with weeds; the heart that fails to cultivate truth and root out error will shortly be a theological wilderness; the church or denomination that grows careless on the highway of truth will before long find itself astray, bogged down in some mud flat from which there is no escape.

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