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Shady Grove Church
3805 Carpenter Pond Road
Durham, North Carolina 27703
919-596-8616
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Web Blog

This page features articles from our pastors and other Christian leaders who use the truths from the Word of God to help others. From issues concerning the faith, to marriage, child rearing, and much more you will find a wealth of information as you search our blog. 

If we can be of help in any way please feel free to contact us through this sight and we will be happy to assist you in any way that we can.

Wednesday, 06 September 2017
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This Blog is part two of a series:

When it came to the building process we figured out that there were two different ways of doing it. One was to hire a builder that was what I call a (all the bells and whistles) builder. These companies are numerous. Most in our area build for anywhere from $125/sft to $140/sft. These builders do everything that you want and you will be able to get all the latest and the greatest. In many cases this may be the type of builder that you choose to use.

However, for us, we needed to build in a less expensive way. We needed to be able to build a house that was almost 3,000 s/ft to suit the size of our family. (There are 6 of us). So, we discovered that there are other builders who build in this area and are what I call (get me what I need) builders. These companies build the same house as the others but they begin with a plain house and you add only what you think you will need. This was great for my wife and I, we paid extra for the things that we could not change later (taller ceilings, brick, crawlspace, taller windows downstairs, side entry garage, etc.). I was willing to do without some of the other extras until I could do them myself. If you can do some things yourself you can save a lot of money in the building process.

These (get me what it need) builders can build houses for as low as $60/sft. This is a significant savings compared to the others. The $60 is a base price for sure, and if you are like us you will make some changes to their base, but in the end, we got what we wanted and did it for about half of what the other guys would have charged. We discovered that there were three of these building companies in the area.

Everybody’s different and we all have different needs. However, for us this was the way to go. I hope this will be helpful to someone in the process of trying to build a house.

If I can be of help please feel free to ask!

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Posted on 09/06/2017 1:24 PM by Pastor Tim
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Wednesday, 06 September 2017
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One of the scariest things that I do is be a parent. Its scary on a few different levels. First, I realize that they are free moral agents (a fancy theological word that means they will make their own decision as to whether or not they will accept Christ, and I can’t do it for them). Its scary because, I understand the reality that my influence on them as a parent will largely determine how they turn out in the end. Its scary because I know that the Bible teaches me that I will be held accountable for how I raised them.

After saying all of that, I think it necessary to say that one of the greatest things I do is be a parent. I love and enjoy my children. It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to be a dad. My kids bring great joy to my heart and I wouldn’t take anything for the opportunity that I have had to have them in my life.

I want to spend some time writing about parenting. This will be an ongoing work for sure. Because I am still a parent. I know it’s risky writing about this while I am still in the heat of the battle, but the truth is that I need to write these things down while they are on my mind.  Yes, it is possible that I could still fail at parenthood at this point, but I want to share the things that I have learned thus far.

Kids need parents

Regardless to what they may think and even express in their childhood years kids need parents. I know this to be true because of experience but also because God in His wisdom established it this way. As I am writing this, my family works at a dog breeding kennel, they breed some of the most beautiful Golden Retrievers in the world. It is very interesting how being a dog momma and daddy is so different from being a parent to a child in God’s image. The dad is there only for a few days. He breeds the mom and then he goes back home. His work is done! The mom carries the pups for about two months, births them, and then nurses them for eight weeks. Then she goes home. And believe me, after the eight weeks she is ready to go. I wonder sometimes if she even misses them once she is home. The pups by then are eating on their own, and in just a few days will be at their new home with their owners.

Being a parent is a whole different ball game. Children and a whole lot more complex and to raise them properly takes a whole lot longer on the part of the parent. The child that God gives you desperately needs you! Every little boy and little girl needs its mommy and daddy. To take a little side street for a moment, I want to remind every parent how important it is to have a great marriage. The truth is, the most important earthly relationship that any of us has is our marriage relationship. We must learn from the Scriptures the importance of placing a lot of emphasis upon our connection to our spouse. The Bible has much to say about this subject: (Ephesians 5, Colossians 3). Stephanie and I both realize that our relationship to each other is to be the most important in our lives under our relationship with God. This is essential. Your kids will receive a since of security when they know that their parents are bound in a loving relationship. When this is missing children pick up on it quickly and it affects them drastically.

When the marriage relationship is right, then the two of you can function properly as parents. You can make decisions together concerning your children. You can operate on the same rules and principles because the two of you are in agreement over what you are trying to do. Children need their parents and they need to see a unified front. Your marriage relationship will play a very important role in ensuring this takes place.

But back to children. They need their parents. Unlike the puppies at the kennel they will not be all right without someone who they can call mommy and daddy. God has designed the family so that the children are entirely dependent upon you for the first years of their lives. What the parent will observe is that as time passes this dependency should grow less and less. God made it that way. But right now, they need you. And because they need you so much it is important that you know why they need you.

More to come....

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Posted on 09/06/2017 1:04 PM by Pastor Tim
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Thursday, 16 March 2017
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Building a House in Durham, NC

 

Over the last year or so God has blessed our family with the wonderful privilege of building a house to live in. I will be honest with you from the very outset, it has been a slow process from beginning to end. It has been expensive in many ways, and it has required a lot of patience. But all in all, it has been a very exciting experience. Today is March 16 2017, if all goes as expected we are supposed to get our COO (certificate of occupancy) tomorrow! We are excited and ready to move in.

 

To kind of fill in the blanks, I want to go back about a year and help you see how this process played out in our lives. We were living in a church parsonage prior to building our own home. We had been saving for some time to be able to afford the building process. And it was unlikely that we would be able to build where we live presently because the land was so extremely expensive. But then something very unexpected happened. A lady in our church just out of the blue came to my wife one day and said that she wanted to sell a piece of land. my wife was very excited, when she told me I became somewhat excited as well. But them being the realist that I am I told her that we probably could not afford the land. So I went to talk with the lady a few days later.

 

Our conversation led to the realization that maybe we could afford a few acres. So I began the journey of trying to figure out how to buy land and then build a house. I must say that it has been a learning experience. My desire is to make a record of the process, to explain some things that I have learned to prove to be helpful to others, and ultimate to give praise to God for making our dream a reality.

 

Buying Land in Durham

I always assumed that getting land and building a house was a pretty simple cut-n-dry kind of thing, boy was I wrong! There are many issues that you will run into in this area of the country that are not so prevalent elsewhere. For starters, I found out quickly two very important realities; 1. Land in Durham is known to be unbuildable (that is without having city water and sewer access), 2. Durham has a lot of proverbial red tape that must be waded through before you begin and most certainly before you complete a building project.

 

We will begin with the land buying process. It is not easy to find lots in this area where we live (Brier Creek area). But once you do find a spot there are quite a few things that you need to consider.

  1. Zoning- how is the land zoned and what will the zoning allow for you to do with it if you owned it? A quick call to zoning will help you figure this out. Many tracts of land here (like the one we own) have some restrictions on it. You will want to know this before you move any further.
  2. Perk ability- Much of the land in this area will not perk. In layman’s terms this means that you can’t use a septic tank on the property because there is not enough topsoil material to allow the water from the septic system to leach into the ground. This is a very important factor to consider before you buy the land. If the land wont perk, then you cannot build on it! There are multiple types of septic systems that are available, each one designed for a different situation, but you will want to investigate this before you move forward.

 

Here is how this works, to begin with you will need to call the zoning department. They can tell you about these aspects of the piece of land you are considering.

The next thing you will want to do is hire a soil scientist to come out to the property and test the ground to see if it will perk. You would be better off hiring an individual to do it instead of relying on the Durham Health people. They will only test one spot. You are going to need someone who is willing to spend a few hours on the property. We were blessed to be led to a great soil scientist who knew the area probably better than anyone else around. He was very knowledgeable and helpful. (just so you know we spent a few hours going over the land that we could buy and found nothing until the very last place we checked). The state and county require a certain number of inches of perk able top soil to be able to build, if you don’t have this type of soil then you will not be able to build.

 

We were very blessed to have the opportunity to do this without having to purchase the land first. The dear lady we were buying from insisted that we figure all of this out before we buy. That was a true blessing, because the land that we were originally interested in ended up not being able to perk. We ended up buying on the other side of her property, and we ended up buying a much larger piece of land to accommodate our needs for the septic system. Once we found the perk able site, we then proceeded to the next hurdle. We applied for a septic permit.

 

This step was very important. Until we had the permit in hand, we were not guaranteed that we could put in a septic system. After the soil scientist marked the land for us, we then contacted the county and requested to file for a permit for septic. We were blessed to have a great guy come out to do the testing who was also very helpful and knowledgeable. Once we had secured the well permit, which cost a little bit of money that we had spent on someone else’s land, we were then able to proceed.

 

Not only is this area notorious for not perking, but it is also notorious for not having a sufficient water supply to support a home. The next step is to apply for a well permit. Once the septic permit is granted, you can apply for a well permit. Unlike the septic system testing, the well drilling process is undoubtedly more of a shot in the dark. You see, not only do you want to get the well permit, but you will want to drill the well before you ever even begin to build your house. Without water supply it would be impossible to live there. Once again you are spending money on someone else’s property. But a few thousand dollars spent could save you from buying property that costs many thousands of dollars that is unfit for building. We were directed to a great well drilling company. Boyette Well was the driller that we used and they were great. We began drilling one morning and within just a few minutes we had already struck water. We were overjoyed! (God had blessed us again). The normal home will need a water supply of around 5 gallons per minute, according to what I am told. We found 7! The well we have has a supply which is the 7 gallons per minute, this number tells you how many gallons of water your well produces in a minute’s time. This number is very important. Many of the people in our area have ½ to 1 gallon per minute. This proves to cause many hardships for the families that live on this land. Once water was struck, we then had the driller make the well deeper to provide a reserve of water for our family. We drilled 340 feet deep. You can further research water supply for a well and reserves online. You will want to understand this before you decide how deep to drill your well.

 

Once we had secured our septic permit and had a good well drilled, we were then ready to buy the land. We were blessed to be able to get land that was buildable according to zoning, septic, and water. We were now ready to begin the building process, we will talk more about this in the next post.

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Posted on 03/16/2017 6:11 AM by Pastor Tim
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Wednesday, 11 January 2017
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Many times the parent/child relationship is strained because as parents we fail to properly communicate to our children what we expect of them.  The result of this failure on our part is angry parents and frustrated kids. Parenting is one of the areas in my life where my failures are often brought clearly before my eyes and I can see where I "messed up". Its easy to just "chalk it up as a loss" and then move on, but the reality is that I need (we need) to figure out why that didn't work and develop a plan to fix it next time.

If you ever find yourself raising your voice at your child, if you ever find your child seemingly ignoring what you have just told him to do, then the below bit of wisdom might be helpful to you.

It is vitally important to teach your child to listen to you! for many reason, 1. Because its required of them by God to be under His umbrella of blessing. 2. Because it's vital to having a proper parent/child relationship. 3. Because they will learn from you how they are to respond to others in life and even God.

Teach your child how to listen:

At the McCreight household we often recite this with our kids. It's not because we have it all figured out that I share this, but because I know that it works when properly practiced. It looks something like this, my kids (I have four) are talking and playing when suddenly I walk into the room and begin to speak. I say something like, "I need you guys to go get your shoes on and get ready to go, we are leaving in just a minute." The kids keep wrestling and laughing and no one has shoes on when its time to go. The result of this could be me  getting frustrated and yelling at the kids. After this yelling episode transpires the whole atmosphere of the home changes and the kids wonder "why is dad yelling at me? What did I do?". I realized that this cycle was present in our home and I wanted to try and find a way to stop it.

Now we remind our kids, "when you hear my voice this is what you are supposed to do"

  1. The child is to immediately stop whatever it is that he/she is doing. Pause the movie, set the crayon down, halt in the wrestling match, etc.
  2. The child is to look the adult directly in the eye.
  3. The child is to refrain from speaking or even thinking up something to say while the adult speaks.
  4. The child is to listen intently to what mom or dad is saying.

Once the parent is finished speaking then the child can ask a question, if necessary, or they can do what it is that they were asked to do. This can help prevent frustration, disobedience, and the necessity of discipline being divvied out in many cases.

There are many other factors at play in this scenario for sure. But we can't expect nor inspect obedience if we are not even certain our kids heard what we said. And where else will Jr learn respect?

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Posted on 01/11/2017 8:43 AM by Pastor Tim
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Thursday, 10 November 2016
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Well the commercials are over! But the work has only begun. I truly believe that God has given us another chance. It now falls on "rural America" to ensure that those we have placed in power do as we believe God has appointed them to do. We prayed fervently for the election and now must pray for those who have been entrusted with this enormous responsibility. We now have an opportunity to steer our great nation back to its roots. We must pray for the protection of life, liberty, and the freedom to pursue happiness. May we who are believers be faithful! As we are I truly believe that God will make this nation great again.
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Posted on 11/10/2016 8:51 AM by Pastor Tim
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Tuesday, 25 October 2016
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One of the most inherent rights that every living soul has is the right to life. Our fore-fathers recognized this when they wrote "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." From the beginning of man's existence, life has been seen as a sacred possession. No doubt men have violated this sacred possession. History reveals to us many such violations: wars, the Holocaust, slavery, murder, etc. have taken place. None of these were just and most certainly each one was a terrible mark in the history of man.

However, I believe that all of these pale in significance when compared to abortion. The current statistics report that there are over 1,000,000 (that's one million) babies are clinically aborted in the US every year. That number does not include the abortions that take place from other means such as, non-clinical abortions, chemically induced abortions etc. Abortion is a horrible thing and regardless to what political party you might lean toward you would have to agree that this is a violation of the lives of those who are being aborted. It is clear, that a baby is alive in the womb. Like many of you, I went to the doctor's appointments with my wife when she was expecting. I heard the baby's heartbeat.  I have laid beside my wife and have felt the all exciting kicks that our children have given their mommy's tummy. A baby is alive and thus it possesses life.

Because this is true, then the people who have been denied the most inherent right that man has are the unborn. I encourage all who will read this article to take a moment and think about this dire issue. If the people of America don't rise up and do something, then who will?

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Posted on 10/25/2016 12:10 PM by Pastor Tim
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Tuesday, 18 October 2016
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How Should The Christian Vote?

Voting is in the hearts and minds of all of us in these days. We are bombarded by commercials, pictures, radio ads, etc. It's almost amusing how each candidate for each of the different races reveals to the American people how horrible their opponent is. From the race for president down to the local officials, everyone is unfit for office and a crook, at least according to the commercials.

It would be a wonderful thing if we, as Christians had a truly God-fearing candidate that we could throw our full support behind. However, I fear that its highly unlikely that we will see such a candidate anytime in the near future. Pray for our country. God's people need to mobilize and get busy doing His work. We need to reach the lost for Jesus Christ.

So the predicament that each of us faces is this; "what do I do when both of the people that I can vote for fail to meet my Christian standards for belief and conduct?" I believe the answer to this question is four-fold.

First, we have to pray. God is the one who establishes our governing authorities (Romans 13:1) and we need to pray for grace and mercy in this area. We don't deserve to "have it good" but we must plead with God to help us.

Second, we need to do our research. We shouldn't align ourselves with any specific party. I don't vote for a candidate just because he/she is a republican or democrat. So that means I have to do a little digging and try to find out what each candidate stands for. We need to figure out what their beliefs are and how they would make decisions if in office. Once this research is done, print off a sample ballot so you can mark who you will vote for before you go to the polls. I strongly encourage every Christian to know what will be on the ballot before you get to the voting booth.

Third, we need to get out and vote. The Christian has way too much to lose to stay at home during an election. We have the privilege and right to vote in this country, and might I add, I believe the responsibility to do so. Not voting for one is voting for the other one!

Fourth, consider what is at stake in this election. When it comes to the presidential elections there are numerous major issues that will be decided upon in the next four years. Many of our freedoms as Christians could prove to be in danger. Every time we lose the freedom to exercise our free will in relation to the things of God we have suffered a great loss. America has been so greatly blessed because it has had the opportunity and willingness to be a beacon for the Lord Jesus Christ. It's ability to fulfill this great calling could be in jeopardy with many of the eroding opinions of judges and law makers. To name a few more, our insurance and medical systems are swirling out of control like never before. What are the candidates going to do about it? There is no doubt an issue with immigration, what are their solutions? We know there will be one Supreme Court Judge appointed, and possibly more. Who will they appoint? The economy and stock market are both in serious jeopardy, what are their solutions. Abortion, need I say more? From looking carefully at these areas, I do believe that the Christian can come to a clear decision which candidate would best benefit our country, society, and which would prove to be a help to Christian beliefs.  Notice that I didn't say anything about the candidates moral or religious views. The reality is that neither candidate has ground to stand upon in this area. It is sad that this is the case but this is where we live. And in case you forgot, Americans nominated both of these candidates. There is not going to be another option this election, so you have to decide between the two.

The reality is this; you will have to make a decision on November 8th! You can do nothing, which I believe would be a neglect of your responsibility. You could choose a candidate based upon how good they were at arguing and debating, their sex, past, color, popularity with the media, etc. Or you could pray and do your homework. From this make an informed decision based upon what really are facts instead of succumbing to the propaganda that is rampant right now in America. Christian, you decide what you should do, then prayerfully do it!

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Posted on 10/18/2016 2:40 PM by Pastor Tim
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Friday, 09 September 2016
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Let's talk about alcohol. I have observed that the use of alcohol in a social setting is becoming more and more prevalent in the church world today. It is no doubt one of those subjects that you want to avoid if you don't want to have conflict. But let's be honest for a moment. Do you really think that it's permissible for a Christian to drink alcohol?

Some well-meaning Christians would argue that the Bible does not condemn the drinking of alcohol. Most often they reference Jesus turning water into wine. The purpose of this article is not to enter into this debate, though I believe there are ample reasons to conclude that Jesus did not give fermented wine to those who were at the marriage feast. The questions that I want to address here are these; does the Bible teach us not to drink alcohol? And if so, why?

First, let's take a trip to the Proverbs. In chapter 23 we find a lengthy passage about alcohol consumption. Read below:

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: "They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?" (Proverbs 23:29-35 NKJV)

Notice the wording, do not look on the wine… this is clearly a word of warning to the one who might be enticed to drink a little alcohol. I think it safe to say that the implication here is not to drink alcohol. I know what you are thinking, "doesn't the Bible record where the Apostle Paul told Timothy to drink a little wine for his sickness" and the answer is yes! However, he was not encouraging him to keep a six pack in his fridge, he was sick and he needed to use alcohol to purify the water he was drinking. Many of the medicines we use today contain alcohol[1]. What is being described to us here is obviously not the use of alcohol in medicine, but instead it's the use of alcohol as a drink.

Secondly, why are we warned against the use of alcohol in the Bible? The above passage tells us. Alcohol causes many issues in life. Reflect on these words, woe.. sorrow.. contentions.. complaints.. wounds.. redness of eyes.. Each of these words are descriptive of the harmful effects of alcohol. As you read on you discover that we are told that alcohol bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Those descriptions help us understand why the Bible instructs the believer to avoid alcohol. Because it causes problems and pain!

This has been proven to be true:

Nearly 88,0009 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women9) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities)

In 2010, alcohol misuse problems cost the United States $249.0 billion.

In 2013, of the 72,559 liver disease deaths among individuals aged 12 and older, 45.8 percent involved alcohol. Among males, 48.5 percent of the 46,568 liver disease deaths involved alcohol. Among females, 41.8 percent of the 25,991 liver disease deaths involved alcohol.34

Among all cirrhosis deaths in 2011, 48.0 percent were alcohol related. The proportion of alcohol-related cirrhosis was highest (72.7 percent) among decedents ages 25 34, followed by decedents aged 35 44, at 70.3 percent.35

In 2009, alcohol-related liver disease was the primary cause of almost 1 in 3 liver transplants in the United States.36

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, and breast[2]

The above statistics are only the tip of the iceberg. The truth is, alcohol causes more problems in the home and in society than almost any other single factor. This would explain why God would give us such a descriptive warning concerning the use of alcohol.

So how about you? Are you guilty of trying to justify your drinking using the Bible? If so I would challenge you to seriously reconsider. If you have fallen for the adage a drink a day keeps the doctor away, I challenge you to look into that claim more closely.

My conviction is that God's Word speaks clearly to the dangers and difficulties of the use of alcohol. It's unnecessary, harmful, and just down-right dangerous. And I do not believe it has a place in the life of a believer.

 

[1] https://www.soberlink.com/products-containing-alcohol/

[2] https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

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Posted on 09/09/2016 5:13 AM by Pastor Tim
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Friday, 02 September 2016
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What is your goal in life concerning money? In our society today it seems that the normal attitude towards money is that of "give me some more please"! As a husband and father of four I feel the pressure all the time to make sure that I am accumulating wealth for myself and my family. It seems as though everywhere I turn someone is trying to get me to invest in this, and put my money there so I can get the best return. I will tell you I am not against saving and being a good steward, as a matter of fact I think it is completely necessary, but all the hype about money seems to have caused a lot of people to put too much focus upon it. Actually, the result of all the emphasis on money has been to cause many people to begin to focus on it more than God. The desire of many is to be rich. Many young couples don't have kids because they are trying to make a million, some are not getting married, and many are putting things before God for the purpose of gaining wealth. Most of the financial planners of today stimulate the desire of Christians to be rich. All around us we are pressured to turn our focus on amassing wealth and sad to say but this pressure is even present in the church.

The question arises, "How does God feel about this subject?" The answer is found in I Timothy 6:9 where Paul writes,

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

 

In a passage where he is encouraging contentment we read that living to be rich brings something quite different from what we expected to get out of it. When being rich is our motive in life the results are actually very negative. We are said to be overcome by temptation and a snare. Temptation references the fact that you will be enticed to commit sin to gain wealth. A snare is a picture of a trap that a bird gets into and is entangled in. The goal of being rich proves to be very hurtful for the Christian. So what should the Christian's attitude be towards money?

We find in II Corinthians 8, that God gives to us not for the purpose of allowing us to amass great wealth, but so that we can meet our needs and the needs that are evident around us. God doesn't tell us to see how much money we can have, instead He tells us to look to see what needs are evident around us.

So what should you do with the money God entrusts to you? Well to start with give back to Him. He doesn't need it but He told you to do it! Then meet your needs and the needs of your family. It is essential, if you desire to be a good steward, that you budget money and know where every dollar goes. Otherwise you will waste God's money! You should also save some of your income. This is only wise. As you save and avoid wasteful practices be sensitive to what needs God might bring to your attention. When you see a definite need be willing to meet it. If God put it on your heart He will make sure He takes care of you.

Whatever you do with money, don't let it become the thing that rules your life. Remember, they that make as their goal to be rich get entangled in a web that is almost impossible to get out of!

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Posted on 09/02/2016 4:57 AM by Pastor Tim
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Friday, 05 August 2016
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Being Usable

The Life That is Usable to Christ is one that He can direct and mold for His purposes. This is a life that He can direct through the working of His Spirit to accomplish His purposes. Every believer should desire to be used by God. If you have truly experienced His saving grace and realize what He has done on your behalf, then it should be a part of your inner being to desire to serve and please your God. The Love that He has shown you should be your motivation to live for Him. If God will use your life, then it must be usable to Him.

No need to question whether it would be useful, because if He made it then it is useful. But useable is another story. Useful has to be with the make-up and worth of something, but useable has to do with the objects workability and availability.

How can you be usable? To begin with, your usability is dependent upon your spiritual condition. If you are not a Believer in Christ, then you can't really be used by Him the way He wants to use you. Salvation must take place before you are useable to God.

The next requirement to being used of God is that you learn to surrender to our God. As He comes and works in your heart for the purpose of molding and shaping you it is your responsibility to be responsive to His working in your life. As He shapes and directs your job is to respond in obedience. When there is sin in a believer's life God will address it. However, He doesn't come into your problem and force you out of it, no, instead He works to alert you to the sin and then will empower you to repent of it. He will always do His part, the only breakdown is when you fail to do yours.

When you hear Him speak its your job to obey. If He points out an attitude in your heart that needs to be corrected, respond immediately. If He uncovers some activity in your life that displeases Him, repent and set up a plan in your heart to deal with it. (directly focusing on dealing with this is very important) The idea of surrender in the Christian life is simply doing what He says, when he says, How HE says. Surrender is simply allowing Him to take control and obediently following His directing.

After salvation and surrender then comes service. The one who is in tune with God and in service to Him will have no problem being usable. It will become natural to this believer to hear His voice and then respond in all things. It will become easy for God to use him. This is the place that each of us should desire to be. This is the place that is usable. If you are there, then rejoice. If you are not, then get there!

Your usability to God is dependent completely upon your willingness to get there.

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Posted on 08/05/2016 10:57 AM by Pastor Tim
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Thursday, 14 July 2016
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Unless you have had your head in the sand for the last few months, you have heard that slogan what feels like a million times. Aa a Christian, all the hype surrounding this statement, and more importantly the movement, would cause you to ask a few questions.

First, do black lives matter? And the answer is of course they do! As a Christian, I must submit myself to the Word of God and obediently align my thinking with what it teaches. And the truth is that God teaches us that all lives matter, equally. He loves every part of His creation and especially every human being that ever has been or ever will be.

Secondly, why are we hearing this slogan so much in our day? I will carefully answer this with a few different thoughts. I do believe that there is cause for people to be concerned when they perceive that anyone, regardless of color, is being mistreated and taken advantage of. And many of the people who are screaming "black lives matter" are genuinely concerned about people. It is our responsibility as believers to do all that we can to defend the lives of other individuals and do good to everyone that we can. Some shout "black lives matter" in genuine concern for people that they perceive are being mistreated, and I believe that is a good thing to do. But I do not believe that is the sentiment behind everyone who is involved in this "movement". It seems that there are some, maybe even many, who are trying to stir up racial tensions between black and white people. Just like there are some white people in America who hate people of color, there are some black people in America who hate those who are white. I believe some of the people who are shouting the loudest at this moment are doing so to further their cause against white people. I truly believe it is sad that people are trying to promote their hate on the graves of people who have died.

Finally, how do we fix this? That is probably the most important question that can be asked at this time. I don't think that we are going to see it corrected from the political scene. The truth is that many of the people that were mentioned above who are profiting from this very ugly situation are the political voices of our day. So what can be done? To begin with, as Christians we need to adapt biblical thinking on the subject of race. We cannot and should not accept thinking on our part that is racial, prejudice, and hateful. All of these are unchristian. If you find that statement hard to swallow, you may need to spend some time praying about this issue and looking for God to change you. We also can try and be a part of the effort to quiet the rhetoric that is flying around. All of the marches, rallies, and media coverage is only fueling the fire. As much as it is possible, try to stop the craziness. I believe we can make a huge difference just by intentionally treating people of other races kindly and respectfully. Just because someone is a different color than we are does not mean that we can't treat them with Christian kindness and proper respect. Another thing that can be done is that we need to pray for our country right now. And for the future, we need to teach our children how to view others who are different from them. Though we are different in many ways, and might I add God made us different on purpose, we don't have to be divided over our differences.

As a Christian you can use your influence to help calm everyone down and get everyone back to their senses. Just imagine what it feels like to be black right now, if you have been listening to all that is being said you would probably feel like you were going to be mistreated or even shot today. Imagine what it feels like to be a police officer today. You probably are very anxious about what you are going to face today, and are concerned for your life.

I don't claim to know all the answers to all the questions. But I do know this, Christians are never to be guilty of hate, racism, nor plotting against another group to cause them harm. So today, do your part. And let's see if we can change the tide that i
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Posted on 07/14/2016 10:55 AM by Pastor Tim
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Friday, 01 July 2016
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Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

The above verse of Scripture serves as a great description of the transformation that takes place in the heart of a man when he becomes a believer and Christ takes up residence in his heart.

Though the man, as far as can be seen physically is the same, spiritually he is now alive where he was once dead (2 Timothy 1:10). He now has been translated into another kingdom (Colossians 1:13).

Life changes when you truly come to Jesus! It is more than just a decision or a prayer that you pray. It is more than just a choice to become a member of some organization like a club or a team. It is far deeper than that. No, when a person truly accepts Christ and is born again he moves from death to life. He now possesses spiritual life that he has never known before.

Some interpret this verse to mean that the person who has been born again stops sinning. However, I don't think that is really what the emphasis is in this passage. I understand it to be much deeper than that. It teaches us much more. It actually reveals to us that a true Christian will be so impacted by Christ's taking up residence in his life that the resulting life that he will now live could be explained no other way than by the word NEW. His life is now new.

The old things that have been present in his life are passed away. Old things like the habits, the way of thinking, the manner of life, all those things that he has practiced all of his days in his lost condition are now gone. He is no longer the same person. In Christ he is a new creature. Jonathan Edwards the great preacher and theologian wrote, "When a man is enlightened savingly by Christ, he is, as it were, brought into a new world".[1]

So what does all of this have to do with me? You might ask. Well the answer is found in the question, has your life been radically transformed by Christ? The goal is not that you be a church member, though the church is a gift for believers from God, it's not that you were baptized, though it is an ordinance of the church, it's not that you have a bible and read it, though the Bible is God's word for us. None of these things are the sign nor the requirements for true conversion.

New life in Christ is just that, new life. Have you become a possessor of this life? If not, we can help. Feel free to contact our ministry or if you are in the area please come by. We would love to share the way to this new life with you!

 

[1] Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.  Mark Trigsted. Logos Pub. Pg 9.

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Posted on 07/01/2016 2:01 PM by Pastor Tim
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Thursday, 23 June 2016
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God has given His Word for the purpose of revealing Himself to man. Were it not for the Scriptures man would know very little about the God who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Instead he would be left to have only a very limited knowledge of a creator. But God, in His grace, has given to man the complete and perfect revelation of Himself. As Scroggie wrote, "The Bible is given to us that we might know God…"[1]; and R.A. Torrey echoed the same idea when he said, "From the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation, we see God as a person, an infinite and perfect person"[2]. When one considers these truths they will then see that the primary purpose of the Scriptures is to reveal the God of Heaven. He reveals that He is a loving God (1 JN 4:8), that He is a holy God (Lev. 11:44) and many other truths that man would know nothing of had He not chosen to tell him in His Word. However, that is not to imply that the Bible doesn't also serve as the only perfect source of answers to the questions that plague the heart of man. From the purpose of man's existence, to the destiny of man after life on this earth; there is no other source for the answers to these hard questions than through the revelation of God. Thus, the primary purpose of the revelation is God revealing Himself to man.

 

[1] Scroggie, W. Graham. The Unfolding Drama of Redemption. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976. 17.

[2] Torrey, R.A. The God of the Bible. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker, 1999. 18.

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Posted on 06/23/2016 3:21 PM by Pastor Tim
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Monday, 13 June 2016
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You don't have to watch the news very long to hear another story about someone being attacked, raped, kidnapped, or even killed where the motive seemed to be of the sexual nature. The recent court case involving the Stanford Student, Brock Turner, the recent arrest of a mentally deranged man who tried to drag a 13-year-old girl out of a store; such reports cause all of us to shake our heads and fear for our wives and our children.

The focus of this article is not to discuss the right or wrong concerning these individuals and their actions, nor will it be to draw conclusions about the judge and what he did right or wrong. Instead, I want to get you to join me and think about the problem that is at the heart of each of these (and many other) incidents.

Why are so many people in our society making such destructive decisions? What does this stem from? I believe the answer is at least partially found in the over exposure of individuals to sexually related images, movies, television programs and literature.

God's Word gives us some insight into this dilemma. In the book of 1 Corinthians 7:9, the Apostle Paul makes the statement it is better to marry than to burn. IN the context he is dealing with whether it is permissible to marry or if it is better to remain single. However, in the above statement he uses a very interesting word. He says to burn. The idea expressed by the word is to be kindled or inflamed. The picture is that an individual can become enflamed with their sexual passions. The use of such a strong word is to show the reader how severe this passion really is.

How does that fit into the dilemma we find ourselves in today? The constant consumption of sexually saturated internet, video games, and television has caused men in particular to be walking time bombs. Many are burning in their lust and the result of such a condition is the cruel, barbaric actions we observe in our society on almost a daily basis.

So what is the answer? I don't pretend to know everything about this issue, and I most certainly can't even begin to properly deal with this in a short article. However, the answer lies in people experiencing the saving grace of Jesus Christ. This is merely the beginning, but from that experience we then begin to grow into a relationship with Christ that equips us to deal with these feelings and desires in the right way. The Bible has what we need to deal with what we face. We must learn it and begin to practice it in our lives. And for the individual who has already started down the destructive road of sexual perversion, I want to tell you that there is grace sufficient for all our sins. God will forgive and He will deliver you from the bonds of this sin. He will renew your mind and begin to enable you to think righteous thoughts, He will help clear your mind of all the corruption you have filled it with. God can do that.

If you or someone you know struggles with this type of sin please let us know. We are here to help.

 

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Posted on 06/13/2016 9:11 AM by Pastor Tim
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Thursday, 02 June 2016
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Rape, incest, abuse, abandonment-these are just a few of the things that teenagers have to face in our present generation that they never really had to deal with before. With all of this hurt in the home, it is no wonder so many teens struggle with forgiveness. It would definitely be hard to forgive a dad who completely deserted his family and left behind a mom and kids to struggle and fend for themselves. It would also be difficult to forgive a mom who had physically abused her children and left scars and pain that will never go away. 

So what is a young person to do? Those who were supposed to love and care for him or her most in this world have been the ones who forsook them and hurt them more than anyone else. How can one deal with this pain and heartache?  God tells us in Ephesians 4:32 that we are to forgive one another. When the victim reads this, he may at first become defensive. The thought comes to mind, "You just don't understand what I have been through!" And the truth is, many times we don't understand exactly what the other person has experienced, but we are told by our loving God that we must forgive.

So why is it so important to forgive? First of all, we must forgive because failure to do so will only cause us more pain and suffering. It has been said that the one who is bitter over some past experience forces himself to relive the terrible incident every day. As long as we hold the bitterness inside and refuse to release the person who wronged us into God's hands, we will keep punishing ourselves with the hurt and the pain. A person who is bitter and unforgiving will revisit their hurt every single day!

Secondly, it is important to forgive because God has told us in Mark 11:26 that if we refuse to forgive others then God will not forgive us; thus, we break our fellowship with the only one who can truly give us the peace and comfort that is essential to overcome this pain and suffering. We have to forgive in order for God to forgive us.

So maybe you are convinced that forgiveness is the way to go, but now your question is, "How do I forgive?" Well, according to Ephesians 4:32, we are to forgive "even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven us." How does God forgive? He forgives freely and fully. He chooses to remove our trespasses from us to remember them no more. That's the key! If we are going to truly forgive, we must make a rational decision to do so. God will not make you forgive.   

Once we have come to the point where we are ready to forgive, we then can go to God and receive His help in doing so. Only He can give us what it takes to forgive some of the terrible things we might have experienced. He can give us the ability to forgive and also the opportunity to move on and leave the past behind us. That's what He wants to do! So, young person, are you struggling with bitterness from a past situation? It's time to forgive.  You will do yourself the greatest favor ever.  Just remember how great a debt that God forgave you and forgiving others will be much easier.

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Posted on 06/02/2016 1:32 PM by Pastor Tim
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Thursday, 26 May 2016
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Have you ever heard a pastor say "now I'm no theologan but"? The following article deals with the question does a pastor have to be a theologian? 

Every pastor should be a theologian. In making such a statement it is necessary to define exactly what a theologian is. A theologian is "a person who is an expert in theology"[1]. Theology is defined by Webster as, "the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially:  the study of God and of God's relation to the world"[2]. "Why would such a requirement be placed upon a pastor", one might ask? The answer lies in what the pastor's calling entails. His calling is to "feed the flock of God" (1 Peter 5:2), he is to take the Word of God and place it in the hearts of the people of God. In order for him to faithfully do this it is expedient that he understand the Person of God and His dealings with man. To grow believers it is essential that they be fed a steady diet of the Word of God, and to effectively do that the pastor must be familiar with the Word and the God of the Word.

 As Albert Mohler Jr. said, "the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians - teaching, preaching, defending and applying the great doctrines of the faith."[3] He goes on to say, "The pastor's concentrated attention to the theological task is necessary for the establishment of faithful preaching, God-honoring worship and effective evangelism in the local church."[4] There is no question that the pastor must be theologically apt to fulfill his calling. This will further enable him to conduct true research. True research is research that involves the pastor studying a biblical topic utilizing every available tool. He will be able to quickly discern what is good and helpful material and what is flawed because of his theological knowledge. Without his being a theologian he could easily teach doctrinal error and lead the flock of God in the wrong direction. The pastor's willingness to equip himself with a solid theological background is essential for him to faithfully fulfill the calling God has placed on his life.

 

[1]"Theologian." Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed September 3, 2015. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theologian.

[2] "Theology." Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed September 3, 2015. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theology.

[3] Mohler, Albert Jr. The Pastor as a Theologian. (2010). Online at (http://www.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2010/09/the-pastor-as-theologian.pdf) pg 1. September 4, 2015.

[4] Ibid. pg 7.

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Posted on 05/26/2016 1:14 PM by Pastor Tim
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Thursday, 26 May 2016
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That is a question that you probably never thought you would hear. However, in our present-day society and culture it's being asked more and more. Many Christian parents don't know what to do in situations like this. I want to tell you that there is hope for you and your child. In the following thoughts I want to give you some insight into possible steps to take if this has happened in your home.

First, I think it necessary to establish a couple of facts. 1. God made your child, and He made him/her exactly how He wanted them to be! 2. God's Word has everything that we as Christian parents need to deal with anything that comes our way.

With that being said, what should you do as a parent? First, be sure you respond to your child in the right manner. Don't get angry with them and treat them with hateful actions and attitudes. This will solve nothing, most likely it will only make the matter worse. Secondly, try to figure out where this influence is coming from. It may be surprising to you when you discover who or what might have put these thoughts into your child's head. School, friends, television, family members, all of these are possible sources. It will be very helpful to figure out who/what sowed these seeds in his mind. Thirdly, be careful who you have your child talk to bout this issue. Don't just let anyone discuss such a serious matter with him, they may give him wrong information and cause him to be further drawn to this idea. Fourthly, don't just put your head in the sand and assume the problem will go away or fix itself, it most likely wont!

How to help. Begin by talking to your child about who made them and why He made them. This is foundational to having a correct understanding of sexuality/gender. This conversation will need to be done on an age appropriate level. For a three year old girl who wants to be a boy because she thinks superman is cool it will be very short and to the point. For a fourteen year old who has been influenced by a teacher or friend this will be much more involved. Use God's Word when dealing with them. Genesis 1-3 would be a good starting point. Having a clear understanding of his/her purpose will help your child get headed in the right direction. Continue on by helping your child understand the parameters that God has drawn for gender/sexuality for us as His children. Show them why these qualities are most often attacked by a society (Romans 1).

Finally, get a Christian counselor to help. If you are a part of a Bible Believing Church talk to your pastor. If you are in the area come and talk to us. We would love to help. Remember, there is hope. Don't be discouraged, and most certainly don't give up!

Pastor Tim

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Posted on 05/26/2016 9:27 AM by Pastor Tim
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Thursday, 07 April 2016
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The question that has plagued man since the beginning of his existence has been "What on earth am I here for?" From the beginning of time men have struggled with this perplexing question. As Shakespeare wrote;

"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace till the last syllable of recorded time. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle! Life is but a shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."[1]

 Shakespeare's MacBeth

 

Sadly, the words of Shakespeare are akin to what many people go through their whole lives feeling, believing, and experiencing. Though man's existence on this earth has spanned thousands of years, the sad reality is that most still fail to have a good answer to this question. The secret to truly living and enjoying this life is to discover and then fulfill the answer to this question. As has been said, "What are the two most important days of your life? The day you were born and the day you figure out why."[2]

   Because this is true, one could understand the importance of grasping the purpose for this life. The purpose of this paper will be to cause the reader to consider what the purpose of life is and then cause him to consider how he could fulfill that purpose in his life.

            In considering this subject matter, it is wise to recognize some of the ideas that others have had about the purpose of life. There are a few differing ideas as the reader can see in the following statements. The humanist would say, "this is the only life of which we have certain knowledge and that we owe it to ourselves and others to make it the best life possible for ourselves and all with whom we share this fragile planet."[3] From this statement one could conclude that this system of belief focuses on the centrality of man to all things.  Another idea concerning the purpose of life comes from the materialist; who holds to "the theory that physical matter is all there is."[4] One who adheres to this philosophy of life would live entirely for the material giving almost no thought to the other aspects of life. Their belief system could be summed up in the statement "get all you can, can all you get". In considering the above two philosophies it would be easy to see that one would deem the purpose of man in this world to live entirely for man, while the other would be prone to live entirely for material things.

Both of these philosophies of life have some legitimacy. For instance, humanism recognizes the superiority of man above the rest of the created beings. He is seen as the focal point of all that is in existence and being that focal point is the highest being in existence. Thus, life will revolve around him. He will be the greatest, wisest, and most important thing in the world. Humanism makes man the supreme being in existence. For those who adhere to this belief system, man is god. For the materialist he has recognized that the material things in this life have value and meaning. He understands that many of these things are necessary for life and that there is wisdom in paying mind to them. However, the materialist will find himself making things god. His life will be lived entirely for things.

To gain the true purpose of man in this life one would need to go back beyond the material things in this world, and beyond the beginning of man and look at the source of these things. This brings up the third possible source for the answer to life's greatest question, theism. Theism is "The belief in one personal God, both immanent and transcendent, who exists in three personal distinctions, known respectively as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."[5] Those who hold to a theistic belief system would believe that neither man nor things are the highest in existence, but instead he would see the highest being as God, the Creator and sustainer of all things. One who would hold to this belief would recognize life and all that exists in the creation to be in existence for the purposes of God, the Creator. This truth brings the created being to the reality of the purpose of his existence, to glorify God. In the Bible, which is the source of man's understanding of God, it says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corthians 10:31. In Revelation 4:11 the Bible says, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." In both of these verses the reader is given a glimpse of the purpose of man. "What on earth am I here for?" The answer lies in these verses, to bring glory to God. As Colin Brown states, "the highest duty of man is to glorify and praise God in worship, word and act"[6].

To properly understand this statement, which is presented as the purpose of man's existence, it is necessary to answer two questions: first, why should man live his life for God? And then secondly, what does it mean to bring glory to God. To answer this first question one would need to understand man's origin.  The theist believes that man, as well as every other thing in existence was created by God[7]. Because God created man, then it would only stand to reason that man would then belong to God and would be subject to the purposes of God. Colossians 1:17 says, "And he is before all things, and by him all things consist". Everything that God created also depends upon Him for it's existence. As the Puritan writer wrote, "Should we not live to him, seeing we live by him?"[8] We depend upon God for every bit of our very existence and thus we should live for God with every bit of our existence.

The world as it exists today has no concept of this great reality that it exists to bring glory to God. Instead it has settled for much less than this wonderful privilege. However, the world is not the only one that has failed in this area. For what will be discovered in this study is that the Church has also failed in its primary responsibility as well. Below it will be discovered how this author believes that the conservative church has failed to keep the glory of God at the focus of everything it does and, just like the lost world, has shifted its focus off of this most important purpose that it has and placed it on something lesser than that which God has set as the supreme focal point. It is pertinent that the Church grasp the reality that its purpose is to bring glory to God and then ensure that it is doing that very thing.

 

Writing the Biblical Foundations for the Theological Research Project

           

            "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."[9] The Westminster Shorter Catechism clearly states that man exists for the purpose of bringing Glory to God, below effort will be made to analyze the Scriptures to discover if this is truly the main purpose of man, and if so how man might accomplish this task according to the Word of God.

            It seems that the Scriptures teach not just that glory is to be given to God but that "glory belongs to God intrinsically"[10]. Passages such as Matthew 6:13, where believers are taught to pray "thine is the…. glory" and 1 Chronicles 29:11 where David says, "yours is the…. Glory" teach us that the God whom the Bible reveals to the reader is a God of Glory. M.R. Gordon wrote, "It is not some accidental feature of God's character, but an essential quality in it."[11] Mr. Gordon makes the point that glory is not just something that belongs to God but is actually a completely necessary part of His character, and that God is glorious in His very being. Thomas Watson said it this way, "Glory is the sparkling of the Deity; it is so co-natural to the Godhead, that God cannot be God without it."[12] Glory is truly an inseparable part of God's being.

            However, although God is glorious in His being, believers are told to glorify God. M.R. Gordon said it this way, "The intention of God is that man and all creation should give glory to Him."[13] His glory is God's intent. Passages such as (Romans 15:6, "That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God..."), (Romans 15:9, "And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy…"), (1 Corinthians 6:20, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."), each instruct the born-again believer to bring glory to God through his life. The Apostle Paul goes a step further by not only telling the believer to glorify God but he tells him that he is to Glorify God in everything he does, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31). The Apostle Peter shares a similar instruction by stating, "..that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.." (1 Peter 4:11). These verses in Scripture make it clear to the reader that his task in this life is to bring glory to his God.

            Because it is clearly stated that man is to spend his life bringing glory to God, it would be vitally important to understand how he is to accomplish this task. As stated above, man is called to glorify God in everything he does. That being true, the question arises, "How can man glorify God in "whatsoever" he does?" The answer to this question lies in the Scriptures. Because God made us for the purpose of bringing glory to Him, then He will reveal to the believer how he can accomplish this task. Watson breaks down the means by which man brings glory to God in four actions; he says they are 1. Appreciation, 2. Adoration, 3. Affection, 4. Subjection.[14] The first action of man that can bring glory to God is appreciation. "To glorify God is to have God-admiring thoughts; to esteem him most excellent…"[15], by this is meant to be ever thankful for God and who He is and what He does. The second action of man that brings glory to God is adoration. This word means worship. Worship is, "the believers response of all that they are-mind, emotions, will, and body-to what God is and says and does."[16] Adoration is the believer's response to all God is. Affection is the action by which man loves God. It is the emotion that man engenders when he realizes who God is and then the affection that he holds toward God. The final action that Watson prescribes to man to bring glory to God is subjection. "This is when we dedicate ourselves to God, and stand ready dressed for his service."[17] In these four actions is contained all that man can do to bring glory to his God. Intermingled here is prayer, witnessing, obedience, desire, seeking, faith, trust, joy, kindness, forgiveness, and many other commanded attributes that the believer is to possess in response to His God. God is glorified when His people believe and obey Him.

            The greatest thing a man can do is bring glory to God. Because this is true it will be worthwhile to consider how man can fail to glorify God. A failure to glorify God through one's life would be the greatest of failures. To not glorify God would be to fail on the primary level of a human life. Albert Barnes wrote that a man fails to bring glory to God when, "when he has no respect to his authority; when he breaks his laws; when he leads others to treat him with disrespect."[18] When man lives such that God does not exist and when he is not mindful of Him he sins and fails to bring glory to God. To say it another way, to disregard God is to fail to bring glory to Him. To disobey God is to fail to bring glory to Him. To disrespect God is to fail to bring glory to Him. To try and live independent of God is to fail to bring glory to Him.

            Colossians 1:16 says, "…all things were created by him, and for him", revealing to the Christian that his existence is for God. The demand of God upon man is that he bring glory to Him. Above, the Scriptural grounds for these statements has been identified and discussed. Truly, "the chief end of man is to glorify God…".

 

Writing the Historical Foundations for the Theological Research Project

 

                        "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."[19] The Westminster Shorter Catechism clearly states that man exists for the purpose of bringing Glory to God, below effort will be made to analyze the historical stand of the Church to discover what its emphasis has been down through the years. Has the Church always had this as the forefront of its goal or have there been lapses in its commitment to this truth? What about the Church of today? Where does it stand on this subject? Below effort will be made to analyze this very important issue.

            It was around 1647 that the Westminster Shorter Catechism was finished[20]. The writers no doubt were focusing on trying to gather the core doctrines of the church and compile them into this format. There is no doubt that the composers of this document fully recognized the preeminence of God's glory in the believer's life. Though this was only a few hundred years ago, this will serve to begin to search back in history to discover exactly what the Church's view has been on this important subject.

            It doesn't take long in studying historical theology to discover that man has moved in cycles concerning his beliefs. In most cases, it seems that man has swung almost as a pendulum from one extreme in theological beliefs to another. Instead of looking to a more balanced position, on most issues there seems to have been an almost knee-jerk reaction swinging from one extreme to another. Because this is true, history is plagued with times of true commitment to a life fulfilling the purpose of bringing glory to God and then a lull of man-centered religion that operates centered around man and his needs in the place of God and His Glory.

            The invention of deism proves to be a reflection of man and his understanding of his purpose in this world. This philosophical system of belief came to be during the 16-1700's. Deism says that God created all things but is not involved with life on earth in any way. Those who propagated such a system of belief definitely had no understanding of the truth that man exists for God. The end result of this philosophy is best stated as follows:

If God is not in control, the universe has no purpose and God created the universe for no particular purpose other than to watch its inhabitants suffer. It gets worse. From what we now know, within a few hundred million to a few billion years, the earth will be too hot from the expanding Sun to support any life. Everything will die[21].

The loss of man's purpose for existence has most certainly lead to many corruptions of what God intended life to be.

            When the focus is shifted to the present day illustrations of the loss of man's purpose abound. Humanism is the by-product of this loss of purpose. It is man centered and self-serving. Because there is no god, according to the humanist, then there is no reason to be concerned with glorifying a god who doesn't exist. John Murray describes the present day view of man in the following quote:

To be sure, with such gross idolatry we have zeroed out the almighty, transcendent God from our worlds. We live in a God-zero culture: I can drink the artificial because I choose to do so.  And it is OK because it tastes, feels, and sounds good to me. The god of my creation, an impostor, is the real thing because I say so.  In this radically reductionistic and idolatrous world of self-adulation, a world in which I am lord simply because I want to be, the transcendent God becomes transcendently absent.[22]

The present day church world has an erroneous view of the purpose of man as well. From the "seeker-sensitive" movement to the fervent push to evangelism at all cost, there is a dangerous swinging of the pendulum away from truth once again. The "seeker-sensitive" movement says "If you want to know how to build a church, ask the community, and give them what they want."[23] This is the epitome of man centered religion. This is the church movement of the day and it has completely lost sight of the purpose for man's existence.

            Why does man exist? The Word of God makes it clear that it is for the purpose of glorifying God. It is evident that the church has historically had those who got this wrong and it is even more evident that there are those who have it wrong today. The endeavor for each true believer in Christ is to acknowledge this truth and spend all of his life striving to achieve this end.

Proving Your Thesis for the Theological Research Project

           

            "What on earth am I here for?" Though man's existence on this earth has spanned thousands of years, the sad reality is that most still fail to have a good answer to this question. The secret to truly living and enjoying this life is to discover and then fulfill the answer to this question. As has been said, "What are the two most important days of your life? The day you were born and the day you figure out why."[24]

            Those who have realized that the world was created by God and that He controls and sustains this world, also have realized through the study of God's Word that man was created for God and that man is the best when he acknowledges this truth. Man is happiest, most fulfilled, and most content when he begins to form his thinking and life around the reality that he exists for God. The reality is, that if man was created by God then his existence is for God. That being the case, then God has created man for a purpose, and as one studies the Scriptures he discovers that God has called man to a purpose. To bring glory to God is the great end of man, but to serve God is the calling of man, this is his purpose. He is to serve God with all that God has given Him and he is to follow God's direction throughout his whole life. When man commits to doing these things he will truly find and fulfill his purpose on this earth. This fulfilling of his purpose is the way by which man finds true enjoyment in this life, or may it be said, "this is how man enjoys life".

The church world has often faltered on this subject. The truth that is being presented here can be clearly stated in the following statement, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."[25] The Westminster Shorter Catechism clearly states that man exists for the purpose of bringing Glory to God. It was around 1647 that the Westminster Shorter Catechism was finished[26]. The writers no doubt were focusing on trying to gather the core doctrines of the church and compile them into this format. The men who formulated and wrote this statement were attempting to sum up the main purpose for which man exists. Because the present-day church world seems to be in disagreement with this premise, if not in fact at least in practice, it is important to establish this truth in one's understanding.

"How has the church faltered on this subject?" one might ask. The answer lies in the focus of the church and how it understands God and all that God is doing. There are many who are involved in the "health, wealth, and prosperity Gospel" of the day who clearly have distorted God's purpose for man. They believe that God exists for them. They view Him almost as a cosmic Santa Clause who awaits their wishes. And upon hearing their wishes is obligated to move on their behalf. Almost to the point that it would seem that they are ordering God and telling Him what to do. A prime example of this kind of thinking would be as follows: "Creflo Dollar says this of prayer: When we pray, believing that we have already received what we are praying, God has no choice but to make our prayers come to pass.'"[27] These individuals have grossly misunderstood who God is and what they exist for.

Another way that the Church has lost its bearings concerning the purpose of man and the place of God has been in the elevating of man's spiritual needs above God. This was not done as deceitfully nor even intentionally. Those who are guilty of this error fell into it by accident. They believed that "the most important thing in the world is to save souls". This sounds very biblical at first, and there is no doubt that God has called the believer to spread the Gospel and bring people to Christ; however, if taken to its extreme this kind of thinking also begins to place man before God and brings the needs of man to a place where they are supreme. Those who preach and push this type of thinking will often fall into the trap of doing things that would be dishonorable to God and fail to glorify Him for the purpose of bringing souls to Him. The means which these individuals might use to save souls often end up being things that dishonor the God to whom they are calling men to come. Those who would fall into this category often use slogans such as "Win the lost at any cost" however, this philosophy is unbiblical and very dangerous.

Because the greatest and highest calling of man is to glorify God, then it is the responsibility of the believer. He must set this as his aim and then structure his life accordingly. If he exists for God and not God for him then he must ensure that his beliefs and behavior line up with this truth. Accepting this as the truth will cause the believer to bring everything that he does under the litmus test of whether or not it brings glory to his God. This may seem contradictory, however, if he does this then he will also ensure that the life he lives will be a joyful one because he is living it unto God for His glory.

 

The Conclusion of Theological Research

 

            What is the reader to conclude? After considering the many facets of the topic of the purpose of life, and considering whether the glory of God is to truly be at the heart of everything the believer does, what conclusion should be drawn? From those who grossly misinterpret scripture with the intent of creating a man-made god who responds to man's every whim and command as a cosmic Santa Clause, to those who sincerely have misdirected the focus of the church in an effort to accomplish the great task Christ left for it to do, there is no lack of differing views and ideas about this subject. As is expressed in the title, "What on Earth am I here for?", is a question that must be answered.

            Through the process of this study, it has been proposed that the purpose of man, the reason for life, the calling of the human being is to bring glory to his God. Once an individual realizes this to be the truth, it brings a since of enlightenment and a level of understanding into life that was never realized before. Once this is understood and accepted as truth, then the believer comes to the place where he can better understand what God has presented in His Word and what is taking place in this world. The acceptance of this truth truly opens the eyes of the believer to understand the whys of Scripture. Understanding this truth helps the believer answer the hard questions in life. Coming to grips with the reality that one's existence is primarily for God and His glory enables the believer to see clearly what God has said and what God is doing.

            Once an individual comes to the place where he realizes that his very purpose for existence is God's glory, meaning that he exists for God not God exists for him, then he can begin to make decisions on a daily basis to choose to fulfill his purpose for existence. This understanding will bring the individual believer to the place in his maturing in the faith where he will begin to consider every decision not on the basis of how it will affect him, his family, his finances, but how it will effect God. Once an individual comes to this place in his life he then will bring great glory to the God of Heaven. There is no question that this is what God wants out of the lives of His children.

            In conclusion, it is important that the believer learn to avoid the philosophies of the humanist and the materialist. They would have every man living for himself showing no regard for God. Also each believer must be careful not to be swayed by those who would take a theological approach and try to shift the order of man's relationship with God. He made each of His children and each one of them shares an ultimate purpose, that purpose is to bring Him glory. May God help each believer come to a realization of this truth and then empower each life to reflect it. As has been quoted earlier in this writing, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."[28]

 

 

Works Cited

 

All About Philosophy Website, Materialism. http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/materialism.htm . Taken 9/22/2015.

 

The American Humanist Association Website, What is Humanism. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Definitions_of_Humanism. Taken 9/22/2015.

Barnes, Albert. Barnes' Notes. 1 Corinthians 10:31, taken from (Power Bible CD version 5.9), 2010.

Brown, Colin. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. Zondervan Grand Rapids, MI, 1986. 47.

 

Deem, Rich. Why Deism Fails as a Philosophical Paradigm of the Universe. Online Resource.

  http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/deism.html.  Taken October 8, 2015.

Gordon, M. R.. "Glory," The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Merrill Tenney (Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library., 1976), 731.

Quote from John Macarthur taken from http://rr-bb.com/showthread.php?106566-Seeker-Friendly-Church-definition .Taken October 8, 2015.

McSwain, Steve. Online article for The Huffington Post. Know Why You're Here: The Point of Human Existence. Online http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-mcswain/is-the-life-i-live-the-legacy-i-leave_b_3660144.html . Taken September 24, 2015.

Mitchell, Corrie. Online Article. Ten Verses of Scripture that Prosperity Gospel Preachers Need to Stop Misusing. Taken from http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/05/09/ten-verses-prosperity-gospel-preachers-need-stop-misuising/32019. Taken 10/15/15.

Murray, John. The Catechisms of the Westminister Assembly. The Presbyterian Guardian. 1943. Taken from online http://www.westminsterconfession.org/confessional-standards/the-catechisms-of-the-westminster-assembly.php. Taken October 7, 2015.

 

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Take online. http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/macbeth_5_5.html . September 24, 2015.

Thiessen, Henry C. Lectures in Systematic Theology. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI. 1979, 21.

Watson, Thomas. Man's Chief end is to Glorify God. Sermon Website http://www.puritansermons.com/watson/watson5.htm . Taken 9/22/2015.

 

The Westminster Shorter Catechism. Catechism 1. Online, http://www.creeds.net/reformed/Westminster/shorter_catechism.html, taken September 29, 2015.

 

Wiersbe, Warren. Real Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2000), 26.

 

 

[1] William Shakespeare. Macbeth. Take online. http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/macbeth_5_5.html . September 24, 2015.

 

[2] Steve McSwain. Online article for The Huffington Post. Know Why You're Here: The Point of Human Existence. Online http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-mcswain/is-the-life-i-live-the-legacy-i-leave_b_3660144.html . Taken September 24, 2015.

 

[3] The American Humanist Association Website, What is Humanism. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Definitions_of_Humanism. Taken 9/22/2015.

 

[4] All About Philosophy Website, Materialism. http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/materialism.htm . Taken 9/22/2015.

 

[5] Henry C. Thiessen. Lectures in Systematic Theology. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI. 1979, 21.

 

[6] Colin Brown. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. Zondervan Grand Rapids, MI, 1986. 47.

 

[7] Ibid, 569.

 

[8] Thomas Watson. Man's Chief end is to Glorify God. Sermon Website http://www.puritansermons.com/watson/watson5.htm . Taken 9/22/2015.

 

[9] The Westminster Shorter Catechism. Catechism 1. Online, http://www.creeds.net/reformed/Westminster/shorter_catechism.html, taken September 29, 2015.

 

[10] M. R. Gordon. "Glory," The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Merrill Tenney (Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library., 1976), 731.

 

[11] Ibid.

 

[12]Watson, (What is it to Glorify God?).

 

[13] Gordon, 731.

[14] Watson, (What is it to glorify God?).

 

[15] Ibid.

 

[16] Warren Wiersbe. Real Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2000), 26.

 

[17] Watson, (What is it to glorify God?).

 

[18] Albert Barnes. Barnes' Notes. 1 Corinthians 10:31, taken from (Power Bible CD version 5.9), 2010.

[19] The Westminster Shorter Catechism. Catechism 1. Online, http://www.creeds.net/reformed/Westminster/shorter_catechism.html, taken September 29, 2015.

 

 

[20] John Murray. The Catechisms of the Westminister Assembly. The Presbyterian Guardian. 1943. Taken from online http://www.westminsterconfession.org/confessional-standards/the-catechisms-of-the-westminster-assembly.php. Taken October 7, 2015.

[21] Rich Deem. Why Deism Fails as a Philosophical Paradigm of the Universe. Online Resource.

  http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/deism.html.  Taken October 8, 2015.

[22] John Murray, Ibid.

 

[23] Quote from John Macarthur taken from http://rr-bb.com/showthread.php?106566-Seeker-Friendly-Church-definition .Taken October 8, 2015.

[24] Steve McSwain. Online article for The Huffington Post. Know Why You're Here: The Point of Human Existence. Online http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-mcswain/is-the-life-i-live-the-legacy-i-leave_b_3660144.html . Taken September 24, 2015.

[25] The Westminster Shorter Catechism. Catechism 1. Online, http://www.creeds.net/reformed/Westminster/shorter_catechism.html, taken September 29, 2015.

 

 

[26] John Murray. The Catechisms of the Westminister Assembly. The Presbyterian Guardian. 1943. Taken from online http://www.westminsterconfession.org/confessional-standards/the-catechisms-of-the-westminster-assembly.php. Taken October 7, 2015.

[27] Corrie Mitchell. Online Article. Ten Verses of Scripture that Prosperity Gospel Preachers Need to Stop Misusing. Taken from http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/05/09/ten-verses-prosperity-gospel-preachers-need-stop-misuising/32019. Taken 10/15/15.

 

[28] The Westminster Shorter Catechism. Catechism 1. Online, http://www.creeds.net/reformed/Westminster/shorter_catechism.html, taken September 29, 2015.

 

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Posted on 04/07/2016 1:19 PM by Pastor Tim
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Thursday, 10 March 2016
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Have you ever wondered how to become a Christian? The following will clearly explain to you how you can receive Christ as your Savior.

Realize That God Loves You
God loves you and has a plan for your life. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

The Bible Says That All Men Are Sinners
Our sins have separated us from God. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

God made man in His own image. He gave man the ability to choose right from wrong. We choose to sin. Our sins keep us from God.

God's Word Also Says That Sin Must Be Paid For
"For the wages of sin is death...." Romans 6:23

Wages means payment. The payment of our sin is death and hell , separation from God forever. If we continue in our sin, we shall die without Christ and be without God forever.

The Good News Is That Christ Paid For Our Sins
All of our sins were laid on Christ on the cross. He paid our sin debt for us. The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, and He arose from the dead. He is alive forevermore.
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

We Must Personally Pray And Receive Christ By Faith
The Bible says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13

Pray And Receive Christ As Your Savior
Lord, I know that I am a sinner. If I died today, I would not go to heaven. Forgive my sin, come into my life and be my Savior. Help me live for you from this day forward. In Jesus' Name, Amen. The Bible says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13

New Life
Everlasting life begins when we receive Christ as our Savior.

If you have made the decision to follow Christ please let us know. We want to help you grow as a Christian.

email us at pastortim@shadygrovechurch.net and we will get you some more information to help you begin your journey of faith.

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Posted on 03/10/2016 9:37 AM by Pastor Tim
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Thursday, 07 February 2013
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The following is a paper that was written following a study of the Baptist Church and its roots. I hope it will prove to be helpful to you as you learn a little about the history of the Baptists.

 

With thousands of Baptist churches in America with differing names and creeds, it causes on to wonder how they got so diversified and if they share a common beginning. From Southern Baptists, to American Baptists, to Northern Baptists, to Free Will Baptists, to Independent Baptists, the list of Churches that claim the name Baptist seems to have no end.  In the 21st century there are numerous groups who claim the name Baptist, the purpose of this paper will be to attempt to look back and discover a common origin shared by each of them and from that common origin how they become so diverse.

The first thing that needs to be established is the question "what does it mean for a church or an individual to say they are Baptist?" Though there are many different definitions of what a Baptist is, Dr. Herbert Samworth  says that a Baptist is one who holds to the following four distinctives: 1. The Baptism of Believers by immersion, 2. The acknowledgement of two offices that of pastor and deacon, 3. That the churches are indigenous, 4. The separation of church and state.[1] Others claim that the things that make a Baptist a Baptist are more numerous and list them as follows: 1. the Lordship of Jesus Christ, 2. the Bible as the sole written authority for faith and practice, 3. soul competency, 4. salvation from sin and eternal death to forgiveness and eternal life only by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who is the grace gift of God, 5. the priesthood of each believer and of all believers in Christ, 6. believer's baptism, 7. baptism and the Lord's Supper as wonderfully symbolic but not essential for salvation, 8. church membership composed only of persons who have been born again, 9. religious freedom and its corollary, the separation of church and state.[2]

What seems to become evident as one begins to study the different beliefs of the many different Baptist groups and churches is that they all do not have the same beliefs.  However, there are a few things that most of them seem to hold in common. The present day Baptists hold a high view of Scripture. They believe in baptism by immersion. They do not practice infant baptism. They believe in voluntary church membership and that only by those who have made a profession of faith. However, there are some beliefs that they hold in contrast to each other. From style of worship, to specific standards of living, to theological beliefs, Baptist churches are very diverse in their beliefs and practices. It seems that the presence of so many different beliefs may very well be the reason for so many different flavors of Baptists. Because each church is seen as indigenous it may be that this possibility for individuality could be the cause of there being so many differing thoughts.

The first Baptist church in America was a General Baptist Church and was established in Providence, Rhode Island around 1637.[3] Most sources that are available seem to agree that this was the first of the organized Baptist churches. They later formed into a conference. The early formation of this group included most of the Baptist churches that were in existence at that time. From those who followed Calvinism to those who Leaned toward Arminianism, it seemed that the group was comprised of churches of both theological backgrounds. This group was formed mainly for the purpose of furthering educational and missionary endeavors.[4] The diversity of the make-up of this group would seem to make it impossible for it to continue long-term. The different beliefs that were present would soon find sufficient grounds to divide into other groups. And history tells us that that's exactly what they did. It seems that this was the closest that the Baptists have ever come to being under the same umbrella. The coming years would prove to bring multiple divisions that would give birth to many other groups.

This early church was claimed later by the American Baptists also known as Northern Baptists. However, historic references claim that the American Baptists merely inherited another group which was the offspring of the first church.[5] That group was called Six Principle Baptists (also known as English General Baptists and old Free Will Baptists).[6] This church was started by a pastor by the name of roger Williams.[7]

Roger Williams was a very interesting individual who would prove to play a large role in the beginning of the Baptists in America. He fled England because of the corruption and un-Scriptural practices of the Established Church. [8] It didn't take him long to discover that the long arm of the established church reached across the waters as well. When arriving at Boston "he was called to preach at Salem, but he could not commune with the church at Boston, established on the principles of the church of England..".[9] After a few years of trying to coexist with the existing churches in New England he was banished and called to repent of his objection to the church's un- Scriptural actions, he and his family left the colonies and headed out of their jurisdiction.[10] Williams ended his journey in a place he called Providence.[11] It was here on March 7, 1638 that he and eighteen other men would establish what is commonly referred to as the first Baptist church ever started in America.[12] Williams, though not a member of the Particular Baptists was ardently against the practices of the established church. He rejected their teaching of infant baptism and practice of the "state church". As he was involved in establishing the early documents for the future state of Rhode Island the document stated: " Every man, who submits peaceable to civil government in this colony, shall worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, unmolested."[13] Mr. Williams was keenly aware of the hostility that he had experienced while in England because he did not hold to the state church's teachings, and wanted to ensure that a land would be established where men could worship God according to the Scriptures and not based upon the dictates of men. It is said that he believed, "that the princes of Europe had no right whatever to dispose of the possessions of the American Indians; and secondly, that civil rulers as such had no authority from God to regulate or control the affairs of religion."[14] Each of these convictions are distinctively Baptist. There is no doubt that Mr. Williams was Baptist. He would remain in the Providence Church for a "few years" until he returned to England to secure a charter for Rhode Island.[15]

            The Baptists seemed to work together from the beginning in the American colonies. The focus was more on their likenesses than it was on their differences. They shared a common enemy which was the oppressive established church of England and desired earnestly to be freed from her grasp. Though there were some who traveled to the new world for financial gain, many of those who risked their lives and the lives of their families to take the long voyage across the seas did so for the purpose of finding a new freedom that they had never known before. Reference has already been made to the fact that the established church's arm reached across the ocean to the new world, however the colonists were determined as a whole, to begin a new life in a new world that would give them the opportunity to serve their Lord in a manner that seemed fitting to them.

            The unified body of Baptists in America, though very meager in its beginning, sought diligently for the opportunity to have freedom of worship. This was the tie that bound Particular and General Baptists alike. They had each seen the ugly face of religious tyranny and their hearts desire was to find a place where such a villain would no longer be. It seems that this common desire was what united the Baptists in the early years of the American colonies. There seems to have been very little competition and conflict between the Baptist groups, but instead a common desire to see the freedom to worship and serve the Lord freely. They had each experienced religious persecution from established religion and knew that they wanted something more. They also rejected any form of authority of the magistrates over man's religion.  Roger Williams best portrays the feelings of the Baptists in his position concerning the Ten Commandments, he "readily acknowledged the power of the magistrate to regulate breaches of the second table (duties to man)", "However he denied that any civil authority could regulate or punish offences against the first table."  The Baptists also shared in common the belief that the Scriptures were to be taught and followed as the rule of faith and practice in the church and not the dictates and rituals of man. They had seen the darkening effect of the dead rituals of the established churches and wanted nothing to do with them. As the reformer Martin Luther had declared years earlier "Sola Scriptura", these individuals sought to bring the church to the place where the Scriptures truly became their guide and the source of their truth.

            This spirit of unity was truly the breeding ground for the working of God in the early days of the Baptist Church in America. The distinctives that made Baptists Baptist were the very things that men began to recognize as their eyes were opened and they began to look to the Scriptures instead of tradition for their direction and practice. As Christian says, "The converts…. Were taught to throw aside tradition, and take the Word of God only as their Guide in all matters of religious faith and practice. This was in perfect coincidence with all Baptist teaching, and, as was predicted by the most sagacious among the opposers of the revival, ultimately led thousands, among whom were many ministers, to embrace our views and enter our churches."  This reference was the the Great Awakening and its effect on the Baptist churches of that day. The Church truly grew. As Dr. Samworth said, the Baptist grew in this time from 900 in the year 1700, to around 70,000 in the year 1800.  God blessed the commitment to truth and the spirit of unity shared by these people in the early days of America. However, this great unity would soon dissolve.

The break away from the established church was, for many, a last resort. They tried extensively to keep the connection with the British Church but their consciences would not let them. As is stated of Mr. Williams when he arrived in the new land, " but he could not commune with the church at Boston, established on the principles of the church of England". [16]

As Mcbeth states, "Most of the early settlers in the leading colony of Massachusetts were militant puritans, filled with godly zeal and militant intolerance for any who differed from their theocratic concepts. They succeeded in establishing the Congregational Church as the state sponsored religion of most of New England. The alliance of church and state called for religious conformity as a prerequisite to good citizenship."[17] 

Though many of these believers saw the fallacy of the church they still would struggle, many of them for years, before they could completely break with all the practices that they had learned and observed from the established church. These beliefs were often the subject of much controversy for the newly found churches. The student of these historical times can quickly see the inability to govern religion by the state. The fact that true religion must involve the will is the common stumbling block for those who want to govern religion. Those who had fled England for religious freedom often found this and other false practices that they had learned from England to be issues of serious conflict and frustration.

            The Williams Church was soon joined by another church started by John Clarke. This Church, established sometime around 1640 .[18] This church, like the Providence church suffered division as a result of differing beliefs. Some of these divides were the result of types of Baptism, General or Particular atonement, those who wanted to follow the Quakers, etc. The early church in America seemed to have a rocky beginning.

It has been said that a good philosophy in church building is to divide and conquer. The meaning of this statement is that when a group had grown to a certain point it should be split and two growing groups would be formed. However,  the Baptists in America seemed to experience some division but it wasn't always for the purpose of conquering. Though the people who made up these churches loved the Lord and wanted to freely worship Him, the many differing beliefs that they shared caused frequent turmoil and division. Despite their very obvious Baptist distinctives, these groups were still in the process of forming into the different groups of Baptists that exist in America today.  Though the purpose of this writing is not the investigate the theology of the General Baptists in comparison with the Particular Baptists, it would prove beneficial to define exactly what the main distinctions were between the groups. Once this is done it will be informative to see what they each have in common.

            The names General and Particular signify what would be seen as the beginning of these groups differences in the theological realm. The General Baptists believed in a for all men. "They believed that men had the freedom to believe in Christ; that whoever will believe may be saved; that none are predestined to damnation; that the saved may renounce their faith and thus lose their salvation; and that all the local churches make up only one church."[19] Their beliefs were largely influenced by a Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius.[20] These believers understood the teaching of Scripture to be that men had the "Free Will" to choose to believe the Gospel. They understood the Gospel to be given to everyone (every creature) and that no one was predetermined to eternal torment in hell. Their understanding of the Scriptures was that if a man entered into eternal damnation it would be because he rejected the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Their beliefs ran consistently throughout their theology to the end of the believers life. Just as the individual has the freedom to choose Christ they also believe that this individual has freedom to choose to turn away from Christ. Their understanding of Scripture was that a person is saved by faith and thus he is kept by faith until the end. Thus, their understanding is that a person must exercise personal faith to be saved and must continue to believe to remain in a saving relationship with Christ. They have confidence in the power of God to keep them, and are secure in their relationship with Christ, however they understand the teaching of Scripture to be that it is possible for them to turn away. Thus, despite much misunderstanding, they did believe in salvation by faith, they just believed in the necessity to continue in faith to experience final salvation in heaven.

            The Particular Baptists were influenced by the theologian John Calvin. They believed in a Particular Atonement. This meant that they held "that Christ died only for the elect."[21] Thus they believed that Christ paid only for some sins when He died on the cross. He paid only for those whom God had elected to believe. The obvious outcome of this belief system would be what they termed eternal security, seeing the individual was elected to believe by God and thus would have no choice but to continue to believe. They didn't believe that man had a free will in believing and that he didn't have a free will in choosing to continue to believe. An interesting observation is that the Particular Baptists seemed to take the theology of the Church of England to a large extent. McBeth says, "the semi-separtists who later became the Particular Baptists accepted the Church of England as in some sense a true church, despite its many problems and imperfections."[22] According to McBeth's historical account, the Particular Baptists took the theology of the established church where the General Baptists seemed to entirely break from the established church and its teachings.

            Though there were some very major differences, these two groups shared some things in common as well. They both rejected infant baptism which was the practice of the established church. They each believed that the Church should be separate from the state. Thus men should have soul liberty to practice religion and it not be forced upon men by the government. They agreed on the baptism of believers only and none others. Thus the Baptist church was very diversified in its beginnings and yet very alike in many of its beliefs as well.

            The division came into the picture through a few different catalysts. As Dr. Samworth pointed out in his lectures, the divide occurred in a three-fold manner. First, it came through the anti-missionary movement in the 1820's. This was the result of some of the pastors who felt it unnecessary to support foreign missionaries to perform fulltime ministry. The second cause of the division stemmed from what would become the Campbellite movement. This group followed the teaching of Alexander Campbell. He believed that faith was more intellectual that a commitment. The rise of this movement caused some division among Baptists. The third great cause of division in early Baptists was what would ultimately be one of the great influencers of the civil war. It was a question of whether slavery was acceptable, and more specifically could a minister own slaves. Many of the Baptists felt that it was wrong to own slaved and others felt that slavery was an acceptable practice.[23]

            These controversies were the beginning of the division of the Baptists however, they were by no means the last of such divisions. The Baptist have divided down through history over so many different issues that it would be impossible for one paper to include all of them. From specific secondary theological beliefs, to personalities, to practices; the Baptists have divided over almost everything. The atmosphere of the day seems to almost spiritualize divisiveness as some kind of godly trait. It seems as if the church should focus on its differences instead of its similarities. There is no doubt cause to be always alert and aware of ones beliefs and practices, but the idea of division being the first solution to every disagreement is without a doubt an unbiblical mindset.

            The early Baptist church in America was a way more unified group than the Baptists of today. They unified along the lines of what they had in common instead of focusing on the minute differences that each held. The Baptists of today could learn a lot from their example. Dr. Samworth, makes mention of the great influence the Baptists had on early America and Christianity as a whole, and one could but wonder what kind of influence they could have again if they could be united in their fight against the devil and his world system. [24] Sadly, unlike the unified front that the early American Baptists had, the Baptist Church of today is in many ways, a house divided.

 

Works Cited

Benedict, David. "The Cause of Roger Williams Banishment." In A general history of the            Baptist denomination in America, and other parts of the world,, . Boston: Printed   by Lincoln & Edmands, no. 53, Cornhill, for the author, 1813.

Crowe, Dr. David. "The Spirit of Roger Williams." Advancing In Missions, January 1,     2000, Copied pdf.

McBeth, Leon. "Baptist Beginnings in New England." In The Baptist heritage, .    Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1987.

Newman, Albert Henry. A history of the Baptist churches in the United States. 1894.        Reprint, New York: Christian Literature, 1898. Copied pdf.

Pinson Jr., Wm. . "Baptist Distinctives." Baptist Distinctive http://www.baptistdistinctives.org/articles/what-makes-a-baptist-a-baptist/       (accessed July 21, 2014).

Samworth, Herbert. (2014, July 08). Lecture 3. [Video File]. Retrieved from                 http://online.thecrowncollege.com/mod/page/view.php?id=157760

Wikimedia Foundation. "Triennial Convention." Wikipedia.             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triennial_Convention (accessed July 21, 2014)

 

[1]  Samworth, Herbert. (2014, July 08). Lecture 3. [Video File]. Retrieved from http://online.thecrowncollege.com/mod/page/view.php?id=157760

 

[2] Pinson Jr., Wm. . "Baptist Distinctives." Baptist Distinctives. http://www.baptistdistinctives.org/articles/what-makes-a-baptist-a-baptist/ (accessed July 21, 2014).

 

[3]  McBeth, Leon. "Baptist Beginnings in New England." In The Baptist heritage, . Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1987. 130.

 

[4]  Wikimedia Foundation. "Triennial Convention." Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triennial_Convention (accessed July 21, 2014)

 

[5]  Crowe, Dr. David. "The Spirit of Roger Williams." Advancing In Missions, January 1, 2000, 4. Copied pdf.

 

[6]  Ibid.

 

[7]  McBeth, 130.

 

[8]   Newman, Albert Henry. A history of the Baptist churches in the United States. 1894. Reprint, New York: Christian Literature, 1898. Pg. 237. Copied pdf.

 

[9] Ibid.     

 

[10] Ibid. 238.

 

[11] Ibid. 239.

 

[12] Ibid. 244.

 

[13] Ibid. 247.

 

[14] Benedict, David. "The Cause of Roger Williams Banishment." In A general history of the Baptist denomination in America, and other parts of the world,, . Boston: Printed by Lincoln & Edmands, no. 53, Cornhill, for the author, 1813.

 

[15] Newman. 255.

[16] Newman, Albert Henry. A history of the Baptist churches in the United States. 1894. Reprint, New York: Christian Literature, 1898. Pg. 237. Copied pdf.

 

[17] McBeth, Leon. "Baptist Beginnings in New England." In The Baptist heritage, . Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1987. 124.

 

[18] Ibid 138.

[19] McBeth, Leon. "Baptist Beginnings." In The Baptist Heritage, . Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1987. 32.

 

[20] Ibid. 21.

[21] Ibid. 39.

 

[22] Ibid.

[23] Dr. Herbert Samworth. Lecture 18,  ED 545ex Baptist Distinctives and History of the Church. Can be found at: http://online.thecrowncollege.com/course/view.php?id=1336.

 

[24] Dr. Herbert Samworth. Lecture 15,  ED 545ex Baptist Distinctives and History of the Church. Can be found at: http://online.thecrowncollege.com/course/view.php?id=1336.

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Posted on 02/07/2013 12:59 PM by Pastor Tim
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