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By Jim Harris

Several years ago I read a sermon by a Missionary Baptist preacher, entitled, “A Dirt Road Church In An Interstate Society.” It was delivered at a pastors’ and laymens’ meeting and reprinted in “The Baptist Monitor”, the newspaper published by the Texas

Baptist Institute in Henderson. The article was not what I expected, based on the title. (Of course, I realize that I think differently than most folks.) I expected the article to extol the virtues of being a “dirt road” church in a society that is taking the fast road away from God. Instead, it was critical of the “dirt road” mentality, even suggesting that because

the “mind-set” of our society has changed, we must change our thinking and methods in order to reach people in the twenty-first century.

Well, I am not ready to change! I believe there is a great deal of value in being a “dirt road” church in today’s four lane, superhighway society. In Matthew 7:13 Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait, gate: for wide is the gate., and broad is the way., that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat.” As I understand this verse, Jesus was not speaking of salvation, but service. (After all, the Sermon on the Mount was delivered to Christ’s disciples, saved ones.) According the article, a “dirt road” church is one that says things like, “Well, listen, we’ve got the truth, and we’re gonna offer it to ’em. If

they want it, they can come get it,” “We’ll stand on the Bible plan,” and “Well, we don’t want to use the world’s method for growing a church.” (He then suggests that the world is not interested in growing a church. Yes and no. The world is not interested in growing a true, Biblically sound New Testament church, but I believe Satan and the world want

something, some form of “religion” that will ease the mind of mankind concerning his spiritual condition.) The article suggests that because the world is saying, “We like a little variety,” or “That’s the time that I’d rather be leaving out of town to see my grandmother,” that the Lord’s churches must change their method of doing things in order to accomodate its whims.

If I understand the Bible, the worship service is primarily for church members, who have a Scriptural obligation before God to be present — Matt. 16:19; Heb. 10:22-29. The early churches often met secretly and were wary of “strangers” in their midst because of persecution. However, they did not fail to witness. Because we have the freedom to meet publicly and announce the times and place of our meeting, we seem to have relegated most, if

not all, of our witnessing to the worship service. God has a plan for that witnessing., and Jesus gave it in Matthew 28:19 when He said, “Go” (or, “in your going”), and He expects every one of us to witness at every opportunity, bringing those that are saved into a true, New Testament church where they can be taught the “dirt road” doctrines of the Bible.

If our worship service is nothing more than a performance to please the world and worldly, we will fail God. It is not big buildings, gymnasiums, orchestras, and sophisticated

programs that will bring people to salvation, but the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Neither will the things named above cause our witness to be more acceptable. Only the pure

and godly lives which reveal our hope of coming glory can do that (I Peter 3:15). Call me old

fashioned, but while the rest of religion is on the interstate heading away from God, I’ll be content to be “dirt road” in relation to the Master, the message, the mission, the method, the mind-set, and the ministry!

Landmark Forum — 7/4/11

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Matthew 28:19, 20

There are two ordinances in the church. An ordinance is an established rite or ceremony and has the effect of being a law. Many ceremonies and ordinances are held by the religious world. There is at least one denomination that has over 300. Jesus instituted two: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 28:19,20; 26:26-29; I Cor. 11:26). Both of these ordinances point back to His death and forward to His life and resurrection. One thing that is very interesting to me is, many cannot get past the word “go” and include the baptism and teaching with the going. These words came directly from the lips of Jesus, the one that was crucified and His declaration was – “go and proclaim the gospel, baptise the believers, teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” None can be baptised that have not been told about the sacrifice of the Savior. Salvation without baptism is incomplete obedience. HERE IS WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES CONCERNING BAPTISM.


    1. Three modes practiced today: (1) IMMERSION, (2) sprinkling, (3) pouring. Which is the scriptural mode?
    2. The meaning of the word baptize is: immersion, dip, plunge, submerge.
    3. John baptized where there was much water (John 3:23; Matt. 3:1-12). John baptized Jesus and He “went up straightway out of the water” (Matt. 3:16).
    4. Figures of speech used in reference to baptism mean immersion (Rom. 6:1-6; Col. 2:12).
    5. Sprinkling and pouring do not fit the symbols, and destroy the figures.
    6. Some objections noticed:
         a. John could not have immersed all who came to him (Matt. 3:5).
         b. John could not have had time to baptize all who came to him. John refused some (Matt. 3:7,8). How much longer does it take to immerse than to sprinkle?
        c. John baptized with water (John 1:33).
        d. It is claimed that infants were baptized, therefore could not be by immersion (Matt. 19:14 is used). Nothing is said about baptism in this scripture. Jesus used children to teach a spiritual truth (Matt. 18:3; Mark 10:13,16). Advocates of infant baptism cite the case of Cornelius (Acts 10), and the jailor and his household (Acts 16:31-33). In all these cases the subjects baptized were old enough to hear the Word, believe and receive the Holy Spirit.
        e. All infant baptism arguments fail when the scriptures are examined.
        f. Not enough water in Jerusalem to immerse all who came on day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41, 42). There was plenty of water for immersion at: upper pool (II Kings 18:17); lower pool (Isaiah 22:9); Pool of Hezekiah (II Kings 20:20) was 240 feet long and 144 feet wide; Pool of Bethseda (John 5:2); Pool of Siloam (John 9:7); plus many fountains and pools mentioned in Nehemiah 2:14; 3:15.
        g. There was not time enough to baptize all in one day. How long did Peter preach? Two hours? He began at 9 a.m. (Acts 2:15) and probably ended by 11 a.m. There were at least twelve to do the baptizing. How long does it take to baptize one person? Allow one minute, and it would take four hours and ten minutes to baptize those who came on Pentecost. It is ridiculous to reject plain Bible statements.


    1. A proper subject – a believer (Acts 2:41, 42). John refused some (Matt. 3:7-10).
    2. Scriptural authority – a New Testament church (Matt. 28:19, 20; Madrk 13:34; I Tim 3:15). John received authority from God (John 1:6, 33). Jesus gave authority to the Apostles (John 4:1). Jesus gave authority to the church (Matt. 28:19, 20). Apollos baptized without authority (Acts 19).
    3. A scriptural design declares death and resurrection (Rom. 6:4,5). Is an act of righteousness (Matt 3:15).
    4. A scriptural mide – immersion (Matt. 3:16; Acts 8:38).


    1. Declares one to be a child of God (Rom. 6:4, 5; John 1:31).
    2. Expresses symbolically that one is dead to sin and alive to righteousness.
    3. Symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. In essence it is a picture of the gospel (I Peter 3:21; I Cor. 15:1-4).
    4. All who hear it and see the message pictured in baptism should be reminded that Christ died for our sins and lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).

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