"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
January 1, 2003
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CHRISTIANS PROTECTED FROM SATAN, DEMONS, AND EVIL SPIRITS BY GOD’S INVINCIBLE POWER
AN EXAMINATION OF A BRICKBAT
BOUQUETS AND BRICKBATS
COMING NEXT ISSUE
CHRISTIANS PROTECTED FROM
SATAN, DEMONS, AND EVIL SPIRITS
BY GOD’S INVINCIBLE POWER
A SERMON PREACHED IN A JUNGLE VILLAGE OF THAILAND
By Wayne Camp
A WORD TO THE READER:Here in the United States where the Word of God has been preached freely and where rank paganism has been somewhat subdued (Except that paganism that parades as Christianity) until the recent increase of Muslims and Buddhists in this country, we have not heard a lot about evil spirits, demon possession, and other such things that normally accompany rampant paganism.
Evil spirits are real but sometimes I think some of the supposed spirit activity is a product of the imaginations of superstitious people. Real or imagined, evil spirits get a lot of attention in the Kingdom of Thailand. The country is dominantly Buddhist. In fact, an official Thai WebSite gives these statistics for religions in Thailand:
1. Buddhists 93.47%(I have mistakenly said 94.47%)
2. Muslims 3.96%
3. Christians 0.52%
4. Hindus, Sikhs 0.01%
5. Unidentified 2.04%
The Buddhist religion is the officialnational religion in the kingdom of Thailand but it is especially tolerant of other religions, especially spirit worship. Many Buddhist are also animists and worship Buddha and evil spirits. It is not uncommon to see spirit houses (such as the one pictured here) very near Buddhist shrines and at the homes of Buddhist worshippers or at the entrance to a skyscraper in Bangkok.
Click to see expensive spirit house
The Buddhist, or a member of one of the Hill Tribes in the jungle, will place offerings in their spirit houses such as is seen next. It is as if they are bribing the spirits to keep them from harming them.
Like most other paganistic religions, the worship of evil spirits is mainly a worship of appeasement. Offerings are made to placate the spirits so that they do not cause a pig to die, keep the hens from laying her eggs, cause a rash, or any number of things. On one WebSite I found this statement, “It is believed that each dwelling or business will have spirits that inhabit it, and the best way to appease those spirits is to provide them with their own beautiful home to live in. This will help keep the spirits from being mischievous.” [Emp. Mine, RWC].
Click to see offerings at spirit house
When a person is too poor to have a nice spirit house like the one above which is listed at a price of $379 he may simply put a little shelf on the wall of the house and place offerings there. Or, he may also tie strings around the wrists, the neck, and/or the ankles to appease the evil spirits.
Click to see poor person's spirit house
On one of our earlier visits to a village in the jungle where one of the churches is located, we learned shortly after arriving that a teenage girl believed an evil spirit had attacked her. That evening as we were leaving she had another attack and appeared to be writhing in pain. We took her to the hospital but they found nothing wrong with her. It turned out that her attacks were either imaginary of simply put-on for when no one would take her to the hospital on her last attack she recovered quickly and had not had any more attacks when I left Thailand on February 28, 2003.
Nevertheless, what she did caused quite a stir in the village and fear of evil spirits was wide spread. Therefore, I prepared this study and preached it the last time I was in the village. The church members declared that they were very encouraged by it. But, I have learned recently that there is another stir in the village. As I write this we are trying to get the material translated to send to Thailand to try to help in this matter.
I personally believe that evil spirits, demons, etc. are fallen angels. And they did not pass away when the Bible was complete. Satan is alive and well and he and his angels are still at work. To the Christians that were scattered abroad, the Apostle Peter wrote, 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Jesus warned this same apostle that Satan had desired him. Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.
I do not know how much of the allegedactivities of evil spirits is real and how much is imagined by the superstitious but I do know that Satan and his fallen angels still roam this earth and seek to devour whomever they can. 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. This clearly indicates that all false prophets work under the influence of demon spirits. 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
Let us now consider our subject.
SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 23:17-26
TEXTS: Numbers 23:23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!
Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
Four verses have been read that I especially want to call to your attention. The first one shows that the children of God cannot be hurt by the enchantments of false prophets who work by the power of Satan and evil spirits. These demons may try to work against us but they cannot be successful for God’s people are protected by His invincible, irresistible power.
The second assures us that no weapon that men may form against us can prosper against us. Even if one is able to kill a Christian he has only done them good for they go to heaven when they die and Paul declared that for the Christian, “To die is gain.”
The third verse is especially directed to the Lord’s churches. It declares, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Hell has sought to destroy the Lord’s churches ever since the first one was formed on this earth during the personal ministry of Jesus Christ but the promise of Jesus has not failed and the gates of hell have not prevailed. The churches of the Lord Jesus Christ have stormed the gates of hell and taken away many of those Satan had sought to take down in destruction but God reached down and by his invincible power brought them to Jesus to whom the Heavenly Father had given them before the foundation of the world.
The fourth passage, Hebrews 2:14-15 tells us that Jesus took upon himself the form of a man, took on him our flesh and blood, so that he could destroy the power of the devil over us. The devil and his demon spirits have no power over the children of God. And we should not let our imaginations run away with us and think that evil spirits do have power over us.
Now I want to look at the truth that is set forth in these four Scriptures.
THERE IS NO ENCHANTMENT OF EVIL SPIRITS THAT CAN AFFECT THE CHRISTIAN
Numbers 23:23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!
Balaam, a false prophet had sought to place a curse on the nation of Israel because a man named Balak had offered him a great position of honor to do this. That this man was a false prophet working his enchantments and curses by the power of Satan is evident. 2 Peter 2:15-16 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
This false prophet, Balaam, was one who was greedy for the gain he could have received if God would have let him curse Israel. Jude 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
All false prophets work in the power of demon spirits and their doctrines are the doctrines of demons or devils. We are told to not give heed to evil spirits but to try what they teach by the word of God. 1 John 4:1-3 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
I should point out that Satan’s ministers do not declare to those to whom they preach their pernicious doctrines that they are ministers of the devil. No! They parade themselves as ministers of Christ just as Satan transforms himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
The doctrines taught by false teachers are the doctrines of demons or devils that are the same as the evil spirits worshipped in Thailand. 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
The sacrifices of false prophets are sacrifices to evil spirits—devils or demons. This is why Paul told the church at Corinth that they should not have fellowship with devils or demons. 1 Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
All paganism is the worship of demons. Whether it is Buddhism, the worship of evil spirits, Catholicism with all its idols, images, and relics, or any other form of idolatrous worship. Revelation 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk.
Balaam, though a false prophet, knew that the word of God was supreme in all things and he could not do anything unless it was the will of God that he do so. Numbers 24:13 If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the LORD saith, that will I speak? Balaam, where is your free will? Surely you can exercise your own alleged free will. But the false prophet declares, “I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the LORD saith, that will I speak?” Notice that he did not say, “I will not go beyond the commandment of the Lord.” No, he said, “I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord.” If Balaam had truly had a free will, he would have cursed Israel in a moment. But he could not do anything good or bad of his own mind. He must do according to the commandment of the Lord.
Balaam, the false prophet who worked according to the power of evil spirits, had no power to curse someone unless God had already cursed them. Numbers 23:7-8 And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. 8 How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?
Even though the words of our first text come from the mouth of a false prophet. It comes after Balaam has been told this by God, so this text is an infallible, absolutely dependable, and perfect promise of God and we need to believe it. Numbers 23:23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!
It should be noted that the Bible does not deny the presence and power of evil spirits but it does deny that those evil spirits can do anything against the children of God unless God wills it for their good and his glory.
The bodies of saved people are the temples of the Holy Spirit and evils spirits cannot inhabit the same place that the Spirit of God dwells. 1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? No true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ should ever fear a demon entering into his body and those who worship such spirits believe that they do.
There is no place that a child of God can go that will separate him from the presence of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 139:7-10 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. One of God’s children need not fear being in a certain village where evil spirits are said to be very active. David said, “If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” One who is indwelt by the Spirit of God is truly free from the indwelling of evil spirits. 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Examine these verses carefully and lay hold of the truth that is in them.
Where Christ is evil spirits cannot be, so if you are saved, then Christ is in you and no evil spirit can enter where Christ dwells. Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
NO WEAPON THAT IS FORMED AGAINST GOD’S PEOPLE WILL PROSPER
Look now at our second text. Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
Nothing that anyone can do can remove a child of God from the protective hand of Jesus Christ and God the Father. John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
The child of God is held in the almighty hand of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the hand of the Father and these two omnipotent persons of the Godhead are united in their purpose to protect their sheep. John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
Nothing and no one can ever separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Those who are lost and die in that state are permanently separated from God, Jesus Christ and their love. But, nothing of the kind can ever happen to any child of God. Paul was persuaded of this wonderful truth (Verse 38) and we lack faith if we are not also persuaded of it. No effort of evil spirits, demons or devils, or Satan himself can accomplish this separation.
Nothing and no one can ever cause us to be condemned in the sight of God. John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
There is no weapon in the hands of men or demon that can prosper against us unless what they do is for our good and God’s glory. God has a hedge around his children and no weapon has been made that can make a breach in the hedge unless God be in it.
Editor's Note: The rest of this article will appear in the March Issue but I have included it here so that it will be complete on this page.
THE GATES OF HELL CANNOT PREVAIL AGAINST THE LORD’S TRUE CHURCHES
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The devil has been trying to destroy the Lord’s churches ever since he started that first one on this earth. Satan would, if he could, wipe the Lord’s churches from off the face of the earth. He has been seeking to do that for over 1900 years but the old serpent has failed. Acts 4:29-30 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
One of the first agents Satan used to try to destroy the Lord’s first church was a man named Saul of Tarsus. Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest. Acts 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. It appeared that Saul was going to be successful for a while but the Lord just saved him and made him one of the greatest missionaries this world has ever known. What he had sought to destroy; he now established in place after place. Acts 9:3-6 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
JESUS CAME AND TOOK UPON HIMSELF HUMAN FLESH AND BLOOD SO THAT HE THROUGH HIS DEATH COULD DESTROY THE POWER OF SATAN OVER THE CHILDREN OF GOD
Hebrews 2:14-15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
If Jesus did not destroy the power of the devil over the children of God then these verses contain a serious lie. “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
When the devil bruised the heel of Jesus by crucifying our Saviour, Jesus delivered a powerful blow to the head of Satan so that he could not control or possess the children of God. John 12:31-32 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. The very thing that Satan thought would destroy the saving power of Christ was the thing that assured that saving power. Through death he was able to destroy the murderous efforts of Satan.
In his death Jesus triumphed over Satan’s kingdom. Colossians 2:14-15 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. The principalities and powers in this passage is referring to the kingdom of Satan. He is the God of this world; the prince of the world and governs his kingdom. He was the master-mind behind the crucifixion of Christ. He thought he could make an open show of the claims of Christ by crucifying him. Instead, Jesus Christ made a show of Satan and his kingdom through his death on the cross.
Jesus, in his death, seized the keys of hell and death and took away much of Satan’s power. Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
In his death and resurrection Jesus took the sting out of death and the victory away from the grave. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. We can approach death with victory over that dark realm assured. Jesus had removed the sting of death for the Christian. Jesus has stolen the victory of the grave over the Christian. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why should we fear what evil spirits might try to do to us? Nothing they can do can hurt us unless God has some purpose in permitting Satan to cross the hedge that he has around us. Job 1:9-10 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
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AN EXAMINATION OF A STRAW-FILLED BRICKBAT
By Wayne Camp
UNKNOWN Writer: A Note to the readers:
The following letter appeared in the November 5, 2002, Berea Baptist Banner. The anonymous writer indicates that he sent it to that paper because he doubted it would be printed in this paper. When a brother called it to my attention and sent me an e-mail while I was in Thailand, I determined that I would not only print the “brickbat” but that I would take the time to point out some serious errors the writer made. As a matter of fact, his “brickbat” has so much straw in it that it falls apart upon investigation. Here is the letter. My response will follow it. –Editor Wayne Camp.
Nov. 5, 2002 --- From The Mailbox:
Dear Brother Cockrell,
This letter may be somewhat unusual in that I write to you about an article that appeared in another paper. I’d do so because I doubt that my “brickbat” would be published if directed toward the other paper. I have said to myself repeatedly that I will “forbear,” but in spite of that resolve, I find myself repeatedly writing this letter in my mind. So I put “pen to paper” in hope of clearing my conscience in this matter. I do not intend a lengthy rebuttal, but just wish to make a few observations from memory that may be of interest to some Brethren. I am referring to the recent article entitled THE ONLY SCRIPTURAL CHURCHES ON EARTH ARE SELF CONSTITUTED. The article has for its authors a Baptist layman and the Editor of the paper in which it appeared. I point out that one of the men is a “layman” only because I think all ought to be reminded that this Brother who labors as a pastor holds such liberal views of Scripture as to enable him to reject ordination and to teach that New Testament Churches did not set men apart form the ministry— that is they did not ordain them. In my opinion, his evident liberalism should be a warning to all readers.
In the main the piece in question was a collection of quotations from various dead Baptists. Some were obviously taken out of context while two or more, if I remember rightly, could be cited in support of the Biblical or church-succession view of true Church origins. Others were doubtful as to the original author’s intent. I began reading the article with great interest as I expected some “new light” from the Scriptures on the subject. I almost held my breath waiting a month for the second installment, but alas, no Scriptural support for this new theory was forthcoming. Only one Scripture was cited as support for this newlight view! We were given Matthew 18;20. This verse says “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” and it is a wonderful promise, but hardly a proof that THE ONLY SCRIPTURAL CHURCHES ON EARTH ARE SELF-CONSTITUTED! The author was obliged by his error to omit a proper exegesis of the passage and omitted to explain anything about “in my name” having to do with possessing the authority of Christ. I can only suppose he would have us believe that merely uttering “the name” of Christ is sufficient to be meeting with Christ authority.
Brethren, we have clear New Testament evidence that true Churches were organized by men who had been ordained by Christ or by other Churches. But I looked in vain in the article for even one Scripture which he dared put forth in support of the spontaneous combustion theory of Church origins. He seemed to want us to believe that there is something magical or spiritual or Scriptural in a group of people covenanting together and that this somehow constitutes them into a Church. But where is there anything in the Bible about self-constitution? And where is there even a passing reference to this idea of a group of people “covenanting together?”
These two men, to my knowledge, have yet to tell us whether baptism requires church authority or preacher authority, but their theory seems to me to say that at least some of the old Campbellite congregations are true churches for they were self-constituted by people who were baptized by Baptist preachers. So, it seems to me, that they have bestirred themselves in their literary kitchens, but have served us up only another dish of “Baptist barnacles without Biblical basis,” if I may quote the learned Editor. — email
EDITOR’S RESPONSE:I regret that I may again trouble this brother’s conscience that he apparently cleared by writing his “brickbat” but I simply must point out some glaring errors in what he wrote. He must be a very poor reader or he would know that no “layman” and I wrote this article. He said, “The article has for its authors a Baptist layman and the Editor of the paper in which it appeared.”
Had the brother only looked at the article to which he is responding he could have seen the erroneous nature of his statement just above this paragraph. So that he and others may see his glaring error, here is the title of the article and it’s writer named just as it appeared in the May 1, 2002, issue of The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator.
THE ONLY SCRIPTURAL BAPTIST CHURCHES ON EARTH ARE SELF-CONSTITUTED
By J.C. Settlemoir
The article was continued in the June 1, 2002, issue of The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator. Here is the heading as it appeared again in June, 2002.
THE ONLY SCRIPTURAL BAPTIST CHURCHES ON EARTH ARE SELF-CONSTITUTED
By J.C. Settlemoir
(Continued from last issue)
With these two headings before him the writer’s error is inexcusable. In fact, it would appear that the writer sought an excuse to attack this editor and willfully ignored what was as plain as day. Elder J. C. Settlemoir is the pastor of the New Testament Baptist Church in Brownsburg, Indiana. He alone is the author of the article. I did write a brief footnote to the article in the June paper but carefully indicated that what I said was an Editor’s Note and not part of the article. I do not know who this writer is but he apparently has some bone to pick with me so he dubs me as the author of the article, rather than reading the name of the author.
The writer misled his readers when He said that I reject ordination of pastors. I reject the formal traditions that have been added to the Scriptural ordination of a man but I believe that when a church officially sets a man in the office of a pastor she has ordained him. I would ask him to show from Scripture the following:
1. Show from Scripture where one church in the New Testament ever called in a group of pastors from other churches to ordain a pastor for them.
2. Show one scriptural example of some pastor who is not a member of the church that is conducting the service interrogating the candidate for ordination.
3. Show one scriptural example of a group of preachers who are not members of the ordaining church voting to recommend a candidate for ordination.
When the brother who wrote the “brickbat” shows us the biblical mandate for doing these three things at an ordination, I will have some other questions for him. Or, if he will show us a biblical example of a church named in the New Testament doing these things, I will have some more questions concerning the modern method of ordination. Brother, I am not liberal as you accuse, I just would like Bible for much of what is done at modern-day Landmark Baptist ordinations!!!!!!! I assure you that I will publish your evidence when it is presented. Of course, you are limited to Scriptural proofs for you dare not quote any "dead Baptists."
The next thing that I call to the attention of our readers is this statement of the writer.“In the main the piece in question was a collection of quotations from various dead Baptists.” It is rather ironic that this brother would ridicule the use of quotations from dead Baptists in a letter to Bro. Milburn Cockrell, the late editor of The Berea Baptist Banner.
If the writer would go back through copies of The Berea Baptist Banner, he would see that many quotes, articles and complete sermons of dead Baptists have been printed in that publication. If he were to go back and read copies of The Baptist Examiner he would find that the various editors, including Bro. Cockrell, regularly ran articles and sermons of dead Baptists. If he were to read Bro. Cockrell’s book on church organization he would read quotes from several dead Baptists.
The Berea Baptist Church sponsors the work of Bro. Curtis Pugh, author of the book, Three Witnesses for the Baptists. Chapters two and three of that book are almost entirely the words of dead Baptists and dead non-Baptists. From page 30 to 76 one dead author after another is quoted.
If the brother would then look at Chapter four, titled The Third Witness; The Testimony of the Scriptures, he would again be confronted with a number of quotes from dead Baptists. In the Glossary that follows chapter four more dead men are referenced or referred to.
After the Glossary comes an appendix that contains The London Confession of Faith, (Dated 1644 A. D.), a confession that was written and adopted by men who were all dead when Bro. Pugh included their confession in his book.
The Brother made the following charge concerning the quotes from the “dead Baptists.” He said,“Some were obviously taken out of context while two or more, if I remember rightly, could be cited in support of the Biblical or church-succession view of true Church origins. Others were doubtful as to the original author’s intent.” But, in spite of such a serious charge against Bro. Settlemoir, the Brother did not take a single one of his quotes and show how it was taken out of context. It is easy to make insinuations, innuendos, and outright charges of the dishonest use of such quotes if you do not intend to prove your suggestions. And he certainly did nothing to prove the truth of his charges.
I would like to ask the Brother, “What is wrong with quoting dead Baptists?” I believe the Brother would do well to read this verse of Scripture. Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
In view of many articles that have been published in this paper showing the self-constitution of churches, the writer blatantly declares this theory to be new, and “newlight.” He wrote,I began reading the article with great interest as I expected some “new light” from the Scriptures on the subject. I almost held my breath waiting a month for the second installment, but alas, no Scriptural support for this new theory was forthcoming. Only one Scripture was cited as support for this newlight view!
Let us see if this is a “new theory” as the writer asserts. Let us see if it is “newlight” as the writer suggests.
SALEM BAPTIST CHURCH
The First Baptist Church in the State of Mississippi
They settled some ten miles from the river. For several years they endured many hardships and deprivations incident to a new country, which was but poorly supplied with the necessities of life. They were a people of sound morals. Richard Curtis, Jr., was their instructor in religion. It was said that there was not a cabin in the community in which the Bible was not read, and from which prayers did not ascend to God. Firm in their convictions, they neither prescribed nor proscribed creeds. The idea of religious liberty had taken deep root in the thoughts of this people.
This community was called the Salem Baptist Church; but it was constituted, not only without a presbytery of ministers, but without the presence of a single ordained minister. “They simply agreed to meet together statedly,” says Bond, “and worship God according to his Word, and to exercise good discipline over one another, and called Elder Curtis to preach to them, whose labors were greatly blessed eventually. This course was a matter of necessity with them, and it seemed that the Lord owned and blessed their efforts; and in process of time sinners were converted to God, and professed hope in the Saviour, and desired baptism” (Bond, A Republication of the Minutes of the Mississippi Association from its Organization in 1806 to the Present Time, 3, 4. New Orleans, 1849). (Quoted from: A History of the Baptists, Vol. II, by John T. Christian, P. 333.
Contrary to things that have been published, it is apparent that the first Baptist church in Mississippi was self-constituted. It was started about 1780 or 1781. And, according to Bond and Christian, The. . . Salem Baptist Church . . . was constituted, not only without a presbytery of ministers, but without the presence of a single ordained minister. “They simply agreed to meet together statedly,” says Bond, “and worship God according to his Word . . .”
Later, when some folks were converted, they did refer back to a church in Carolina that Christian calls the “parent church” for advice on the baptism of the converts since their pastor was not ordained according to the “polity of Baptist Churches” and they were not sure if he should administer baptism. The Carolina church advised them to appoint one of their members and have him administer the ordinance of baptism. Richard Curtis, Jr., who was serving as their pastor, administered the ordinance for the church even though he was not formally ordained according to the “polity of Baptist Churches”. (Ibid. Pp. 333-334).
SANDY CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Sandy Creek Baptist Church was a self-constituted church. In vain some try to establish a link of the Sandy Creek Baptist Church with the church at Opekon. But we have shown before the futility of this effort.
David Benedict gives this account of their organization that shows clearly Sandy Creek was a self-constituted church.
As soon as they arrived, they built them a little meetinghouse, and these 16 persons formed themselves into a church, and chose Shubael Stearns for their pastor, who had, for his assistants at that time, Daniel Marshall and Joseph Breed, neither of whom were ordained. (David Benedict, The Baptist Denomination, Vol. II, P. 38).
What could be clearer?“. . . these 16 persons formed themselves into a church.” The church into which they formed themselves was the Sandy Creek Baptist Church.
Eld. John Sparks gives this account of the constitution of the Sandy Creek Baptist Church.And not long after the New Englanders had cobbled themselves a little meetinghouse together, in a small grove of trees near a rock spur at the corner of Husbands's Sandy Creek tract, and constituted themselves formally into the Sandy Creek Separate Baptist church on November 22, 1755, none could harbor any more doubts whatsoever that God had ordered and inspired their call to a great and extensive work in the west. (Eld. John Sparks, The Roots of Appalachian Christianity: The Life and Legacy of Shubal Stearns, P. 63)
Notice again that this group,“. . . constituted themselves formally into the Sandy Creek Separate Baptist church on November 22, 1755.”
Of the constitution of the Sandy Creek Separate Baptist Church William Cathcart wrote,"Mr. Stearns was ordained among the Separates; and after he had been immersed and ordained as a Baptist minister, impressed with what seemed to him the call of God to remove far to the West to perform a great work for his Master, he and a few of his members, in 1754, departed from Connecticut. He stopped on the way before he reached the home selected for him by the providence of God, Sandy Creek, Guilford Co., N. C., when, on Nov. 22, 1755, he and his companions formed a church of sixteen members" (P. 1042).
G. W. Paschal gives the following account of the origin of the Sandy Creek Church.The first General Baptist churches in North Carolina were organized by a man who had been living in the province for several years, while the first Separate Baptist Church, that at Sandy Creek, was founded by a man impelled only by his own missionary zeal. The Baptist churches of North Carolina are almost indigenous (History of North Carolina Baptists, G. W. Paschal, P. 38, Vol. 1, CHRAA edition).
Based on his historical researches, Paschal said,“The Baptist churches of North Carolina are almost indigenous.” He did not believe they originated by some other church sending ordained, endorsed men into North Carolina to start churches. Paschal held that Stearns came there “impelled only by his own missionary zeal.” I might add that he was also impelled by what Semple (see earlier) said was the result of Stearns “listening to some of these instructions of Heaven.”
When the writer of the letter under consideration declared that self-constitution of churches was a “new theory” and “newlight” he was obviously unaware of the accounts of the origin of many of the early churches in the United States. I would not dare suggest that he willfully ignored such accounts of churches being self-constituted when he cast his“newlight” aspersion on Bro. Settlemoir.
Consider also the origin of the church in Lower Dublin as found in the minutes of the Philadelphia Association.
THE CHURCH AT LOWER DUBLIN
Organized in 1687 A. D.
IN THE COUNTY OF PHILADELPHIA, PROVINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA
By the providence of God, several persons from Radnorshire, in" Wales, being baptized, upon profession of faith, members of a meeting, in the parish of Llanddowi, Henry Gregory, pastor, came over into this province and settled near Pennepek Creek. In the year of our Lord 1687, came Mr. Elias Keach, son of Mr. Benjamin Keach, of London, and preached unto the people there and at parts adjacent; at or about which time the above said persons, by name John Eaton, George, Eaton, Samuel Jones, and John Watts, with others baptized by the said Elias Keach, agreed, by the advice of the said Mr. Keach, to set a day apart, and by fasting and prayer to settle themselves in a church state; which when they had solemnly accomplished, they made choice of the said Keach to be their pastor. (Taken from P. 11, Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association from 1707 to 1807, published in 1851).
Now notice what is said about the manner of this church’s constitution. This group of baptized believers,“by the advice of the said Mr. Keach, to set a day apart, and by fasting and prayer to settle themselves in a church state; which when they had solemnly accomplished.”
The date of the self-constitution of this church is 1687. This happened about 316 years ago. Is this a “new theory” when these accounts date it back over 300 years?
I shall mention one more church that was obviously self-constituted and later self-reconstituted. It is the oldest Baptist Church in America that has continued with an unbroken history since the time of its origin. William Cathcart gives this account.
"Welsh Tract Church, Del.—Sixteen Baptists in Wales about to emigrate to America formed themselves into a Baptist church in 1701, with Rev. Thomas Griffith, one of their number, as pastor.
From their own minutes this account comes.
In another place in the history, Morgan Edwards translated their early records and gave us this:
"In the year 1701, some of us, who were members of the churches of Jesus Christ in the counties of Pembroke and Carmarthen, South Wales, in Great Britain, (professing believers in baptism, laying on of hands, election, and final perseverance in grace), were moved and encouraged in our minds, to come to these parts, namely, Pennsylvania. And after obtaining leave of the churches, it seemed good to the Lord, and to us, that we should be formed into church order, as we were a sufficient number, and as one of us was a minister, that was accomplished, and withal letters commendatory were given us, that if we should meet with any congregations or Christian people, who held the same faith with us, we might be received with them as brethren in Christ."
According to their own minutes in the account of their 200th anniversary, the church determined in 1710 that they would reconstitute themselves as a church. To use a word that is much in the news recently, they acted completely unilaterally in that decision and in the actual reconstitution. Our writer might also be interested to know that 293 years ago, these baptized believers who reconstituted their church entered into a covenant with one another concerning their church.
I could give more accounts of churches that were self-constituted. But these will suffice to show that self-constitution of churches is not a “new theory” nor is it “newlight.”
Another thing that interests me is this statement by the writer of the letter above. He wrote,“He seemed to want us to believe that there is something magical or spiritual or Scriptural in a group of people covenanting together and that this somehow constitutes them into a Church. But where is there anything in the Bible about self-constitution? And where is there even a passing reference to this idea of a group of people “covenanting together?’”
I would ask the brother, “Where is there a passing reference in Scripture of one church voting to organize another church?” I would also ask him, “Can a group of scripturally baptized believers become a church if they do not agree or covenant together to become a church of the Lord Jesus Christ?” One other question, “Is there something magical about the pastor of a sponsoring church saying, ‘I now declare this group to be a true church of the Lord Jesus Christ,’ that magically makes them a church?” Show us in Scripture where anyone ever made such a declaration?
When he shows me in Scripture where one church ever voted to start another church, in the next verse I will show him that that group must also covenant together to become a church. I can show that as long as 300 years ago, our Baptist forefathers were covenanting together to form themselves into churches and to reconstitute themselves as churches.
At the end of his letter the writer tries to wax clever and says,“So, it seems to me, that they have bestirred themselves in their literary kitchens, but have served us up only another dish of “Baptist barnacles without Biblical basis,” if I may quote the learned Editor.”
Let me join him and say,“It seems to me that the letter writer has bestirred himself in his mud pit and has thrown so much straw into his mud that his brickbat crumbles and burns like wood, hay and stubble, under investigation.” But, what can one expect from someone who reads an article so carelessly that he does not even note who the author of the article is when it is in 20 point boldfaced type right under the title of the article?
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Bouquets and Brickbats
WWW: I am writing to you to ask for permission to copy this article and give it to a pastor of the local Alliance Church. They have scheduled a PK session in May. I am currently not a member of this church, but I have gone to some of their worship services. I have been raised a Roman Catholic and have recently come to know the truth of these false doctrines. I have to come to know that Christ is my salvation, and He has led me to your pages. I thank God for your ministry.
WWW: Thank you for your website "Divine foreknowledge more than cognition" --- and also for the brilliant music of Amazing Grace! I shall bookmark your site, if only to listen to it. However, your words on Acts is also important to me, for we are studying Acts this year at church.
WWW: I have been going to the stadium events for about 6 years.i have been Involved in a small group pk group for the same amount of time.god used pk to Save a freind of mine,he made a confession of faith along with hundreds of Other men that day.i have been told to love my wife like christ loved the Church,in trying,yes i fall short.i have witnessed hundreds of men come Forward not only to accept christ but to confess pornografy,predudice and all Kind of other sins.through my small group we have built relationships Together.pray for on another and break down the walls of communication that Men nornally have.all the the things i have have mentioned are true.and all Things that are mentioned are from god,but god has used pk as an avenue.the Truth,"is this hatred"? Yes, the devil hates salvation,reconciliation,forgiveness and he hates when Men pray for one another and help keep each other accountable to god.i dont Know if you have ever been to a conference,if not i would incourage you to Go.we as christians get critisied for alot of things from the world,we dont Need to eat each other alive.pk is not the enimy the devil is.
WWW: RE: James Dobson and the Big Bang article. For the most part, I agree with you. But what about the other teachings of his that have destroyed families? As a child raised under his regime, for now, I wish to remain anonymous.
WWW: Promise Keepers and Dobson: First, let me say that the article was tremendous.
I support your thoughts and pray for you staying strong in the faith. The article does a wonderful job utilizing Scripture in dealing with the obvious problems with high level Christian leadership and power-wielders like Dobson. I got saved 20 years ago and find that among many Christian friends and church fellows (CMA), I stand alone in speaking against the blasphemies of those who prefer to have their ears itched.
Having written Dobson and appealed to him about his ungodly position supporting abortion; getting a snotty response back from one of his designates on it, I have to wonder where men like him stand with respect to the Christian faith?
WWW: [Editor’s note: another loving Promise Keeper writes]. Mr. Camp I am sick and tired of athiests and God haters such as yourself who disguise themselves as christians,so you can figure out how to try and thwart the cause of Christ.Pretending to be a christian in order to deceive others away from a strong believers union is very clever indeed but not clever enough.I am on to you.
I will be sending out professional letters to the founders and leaders of this group,encouraging them to file lawsuits against you and I will encourage others to unite and do the same. In the mean time,I advise you to remove this garbage from the internet unless you want it used as evidence in court.
WWW: What the verse is talking about is seven fires or furnaces the Word of God came through. [The writer is referring to this verse of Scripture which he grossly twists. Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.] It is easy for you to find a straw man and knock him down but you can't argue with history. Try looking for the seven furnaces and I will give you one for free Egypt! God says in the bible how he called out his people from the "iron furnace". Ok I'll give you two because you are spiritually discerned Babylon "fiery furnace".
So try looking for seven major persecutions of the Word of God in history and you will come to 1611.
You bible haters miss it all the time.
John 3:16 "knowest not these things" shame on you! Try studying church history too for you are still a babe!
WWW: I appreciate what you had to say about promise keepers and agree with you wholeheartedly. However, I hear nobody lamenting the fact that we (Christians) have done the same thing with Christmas and Easter. Show me Scripture to support these, as well as Sunday worship. I do long for more people to expose lies that have entered the church, but if we stop short of our favorite lies, why are we any different than the Dobson's or Bly's or Hick's? Shalom.
WWW: I enjoyed finding your article on the internet, although we are of different persuasions. I note that you quoted Hoyt Chastain, whom I debated a number of years ago in Mississippi. I also engaged in a debate with Albert Garner at Ocala, FL. I have read the biography of Dr. Ben M. Bogard and several years ago visited his grave, his old home, and the old Antioch Missionary Baptist Church as well as the 4th and State Church of Christ in Little Rock where Dr. Bogard and Dr. N. B. Hardeman held a famous debate. I just thought you might enjoy knowing a little of this history.
WWW: Read your paper on PK. Very interesting, only been to one meeting so I don't have a complete understanding about PK, but your paper sure showed new light. Thanks.
You also mentioned about you investigating about the Jesus Movement. I attend a non-denominational church called Calvary Chapel which I thought came from a " Jesus Movement" ministry. Do you have any paper on the "Jesus Movement" or "Calvary Chapel" movement?
WWW: Enjoy your paper very much. I am retiring and moving , here is my change of address.
INDIANA: I ran across this quote today and I thought you might find it interesting and include it for you:
"In this connection I may be permitted to say that while Dr. Graves was a secessionist there is no evidence, I think, that he put undue emphasis on the fact of succession or on any sort of ‘mother-church’ notion; he did emphasize church authority and with apostolic zeal contended for the recognition of the same." — [J.J. Burnett, Sketches of Tenn. Pioneer Bapt. Preachers, p. 194].
TENNESSEE: I found your website while looking at the Landmark Baptist Website in Alaska. We have some new friends that live in Walls, Mississippi. They have come to see Grace. They are very conservative, meek, understanding, humble people who are ready to learn. The woman and her daughter wear a covering all the time. The family has an Armenian background but seem to really be grounded in the doctrines of grace now. They attend a primative Baptist church at present. They like the Church and they do say they do believe in talking to others about the Lord. I'm not sure yet just how hardshell this Church is or if it EVEN is. In our area, primative Baptist are all hardshell but I know that may not be the same everywhere. Anyway, they go to this Church because they believe in the doctrines of Grace and hold some of their conservative views. I thought I could direct them to your Church IF you are within driving distance. Again, they may wish to stay at this Church but I sense they might go somewhere else to be around folks who believe completely as they do. The headcovering and modest dress for men and woman (dresses) would be a real issue with them (as it is for me and my family). Could you comment on these two issues and let me know how close to Walls,MS that you are. (Have you even heard of it?) Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience.
WWW: To Whom it May Concern:
I am looking for some information in regards to the celebration of Christmas. The Awake Magazine of December 8, 2002 has printed the following statement. "The early Baptist and Congregationalist churches also found no scriptural grounds for celebrating Christ's birth. One source notes that it was not until December 25, 1772, that the Baptist Church of Newport (Rhode Island) observed Christmas for the first time." This is very important to me as now being a Baptist and a believer in Christ, is this statement a fair statement by the Watchtower Tract Society? I have relatives and friends that are using this information to benefit their beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses. Do you possibly know whether this information is true or where I might gain access of this information for my personal understanding. As you can see from the above the source of their information is not given. I am a former Jehovah Witness and there is no way the Watchtower Tract Society would give me the source of their information. I am considered an apostate amongst the Jehovah's Witnesses. Appreciate any of your thoughts, for I have been a Jehovah Witness for 26 years before accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior. Hope this makes sense and you might have some answers on this question.
WWW: I disagree with your interpretation, even though it may be plausible, I don't think scripture functions the way your approach assumes. We must assume that the audience each book is addressed to, knows what the writer is referring to. If Abel was regarded as a testimony to justification by faith in Jesus day, then your interpretation is valid. If not, then there is a different explanation.
OHIO: I am so amazed at what you have written, and I thank God for those of you who can bring to light such darkness dressed in the white woolly clothes. Thanks for your work. God Bless.
NORTH CAROLINA: My name is Dave Rogers, and I am looking for a good soverign grace baptist church in the Raleigh area of North Carolina. Do you know of any churches in the area? If so please let me know the name, and phone #. Pleas email it to me @ email@example.com.
WWW: My name is Sherry. I was inspired to wrote you a short note on this posting, which I just read tonight. I, myself just recently saved only a few months, along with my husband, have joined a Pentecostal church. The preacher of this church does not believe in celebrating christmas either, for the same reasoning as yourself. Now me, always having been taught we were celebrating Christ's B-day, this has been a very rough Christmas (sorry Xmas) for me this year.
To make this short and to the point, I thank you for this article that you typed almost 4 years ago. I now understand why my preacher does not believe in this holiday. Your explaining has opened by eyes to a different understanding.
My husband, whom God has placed and Blessed me with, is very opened minded and was able to digest this 'eye opening experience' with great ease. Me, on the other hand, I am requiring more time to adjust.
Today is 12/27/02 at 12:29 in the morning. This is the last Xmas that I will ever celebrate, at the Lords will. It is as you suggest in the article, it can be a depressing thought, but if you remember the truth behind the reasoning, then it makes it alot easier.
With your understanding, I have printed out the article and I want to show this to everyone I know, especially to my mother, God Bless her. You have profoundly expressed and explained the one question I have been thinking about since I have been saved and started this church, " What is the matter of celebrating Xmas?"
I thank God for my husband, The wisdom he gave me understand and see the truth, and for you Mr. Camp. Surely God must have had me somewhere included in his plan when He inspired you to write this.
WWW: What denomination are you? I appreciate your website and will tell OTHERS about it!
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COMING NEXT ISSUE
REPORT ON THAILAND MISSIONS INCLUDING A REPORT OF THE FIRST TERM OF THE SOVEREIGN GRACE INDEPENDENT BAPTIST SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
Since I have returned home from Thailand on March 1, 2003, my time has been full. First there was the matter of a few days of R&R from the work and the trip home, mostly the trip home. Then, there were many things to do that took my time.
Also, I brought Bro. Anond Phoothaptim home with me and that has taken some extra time. We have and will be visiting several churches. Bro. Bill Lee and Bro. Jackie Duplechain have also been taking care of some of this. While he is here, we are trying to get some materials translated and printed, especially a lesson on what we believe.
Rather than do a quick report on the work, I thought it best to wait and do a more complete report next issue which we hope to have out in a couple of weeks. There are some exciting things to report. Some of you will have already read some of it if you were on my e-mail list while I was in Thailand. I have many pictures that I want to share with you over the next few months.
It has been very good to be back home and to be back with the beloved church I pastor. Their graciousness in agreeing to my going to Thailand for the purpose of teaching the pastors and other students will, I am sure, be greatly rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ.
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