Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baptists & Alcohol in North Carolina

GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)--A motion to "study a policy of the social use of alcohol" passed by an overwhelming margin on a show-of-hands vote from messengers attending the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina's Nov. 8-10 annual meeting in Greensboro.
Presented by Tim Rogers, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trails, the motion reads:

"I move the convention direct the Board of Directors to study a policy concerning the social use of alcohol as it relates to the funding of church plants, employment of personnel, and the nomination of persons serving on committees and boards of the Baptist State Convention of N.C. Inc. and report back to the 2011 annual convention."

Observers told Baptist Press that there were very few votes against the motion. Rogers said he noted only a "smattering of hands, maybe 10" from his vantage point.

"This motion was conceived in my quiet times alone with God, where I cried out to Him, asking for an avenue and the wisdom to place it before my fellow pastors and colleagues of the BSCNC," Rogers said.

With only three minutes to speak to his motion at the annual meeting, Rogers wasn't able to relate all of his talking points. He later told Baptist Press one such point is modern culture: "Today's culture reveals that many Southern Baptist pastors have no problem drinking a glass of wine with their dinner or having a cold beer after a hard day and thinking that's OK."

Rogers believes that attitude will, within a generation, introduce wine for communion services in Southern Baptist churches.

Rogers cited other motivations for his motion.

One motive was his recent reading of the book "Alcohol Today" by Peter Lumpkins, which Rogers said "presents a clear biblical position for abstinence and points out the weaknesses of many positions other than abstinence."

Another motive for his motion, Rogers said, was a question raised during a presidential forum at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary wherein seminary President Daniel L. Akin responded to several questions from students regarding alcohol consumption. Garnering particular attention and a rebuke from Akin was a question that asked whether students who signed the seminary's alcohol abstinence covenant should be allowed to drink between semesters since they believed they weren't technically students during those times.

Akin told students he was "dumbfounded" and "gravely disappointed" that some would raise such a question in search of a "loophole," and that he was "stunned" to receive such questions.

"Your problem is not your view of alcohol; your problem is your integrity," said Akin, who explained that, until a student either graduates or officially withdraws from the seminary, he/she is still considered a student.

"The bottom line is that Southeastern Seminary maintains a position of abstinence when it comes to alcohol.... That's not going to change as long as I'm president, here," said Akin, who also has publicly declared a personal policy of abstinence based on biblical wisdom and his Christian witness.

A third motivation for the motion was a statement in an article posted on the website of J.D. Greear, wherein the pastor of the 4,000-member Summit Church in Raleigh, states, in part:

"At this point, I still choose not to drink, personally, to be on the safe side ... unless I am in a situation where I feel like not drinking would hurt the cause of the Gospel. If my not drinking would be a stumbling block for an unbeliever, I drink. But, to be honest, I would still rather have a culture of non-drinking around our church than one of drinking."

Rogers takes exception to Greear's statement, saying such "an absurdity is being placed before us under the banner of freedom in Christ." He also deems Greear's comment a "false argument" that drinking could somehow advance the cause of the Gospel.

Illustrating his point, Rogers recalled a mission trip to Romania in cooperation with an evangelical group from Germany, whose team members imbibed daily and publicly at a bar in the campground where they were ministering. Rogers said he and his mission team from the U.S. found the Romanians far more receptive to the ministry of abstaining American Christians as compared to the "German Christians who had beer breath."

Saved at 29, Rogers said he "acquired a taste for alcohol" as a non-Christian. "And I was real good at it, too." During that season of his life, he had a conversation in a bar with a Baptist deacon, who told him that drinking was permissible. "I thought that was crazy," said Rogers, noting the negative impact that imbibing church-going people can have on the unchurched.

On the Biblical Recorder's website, editor Norman Jameson called Rogers' motion "simply unnecessary and extra-biblical" and said, "early Baptists in Kentucky sometimes paid their preachers in bourbon."

Noting that such payment was wrong on both sides, Rogers said, "The problem with Brother Norman's analysis has to do with an ethical ploy to win a debate. One tries to kill an absolute by using an extreme position in order to overcome the absolute."

Other talking points Rogers used in presenting his motion noted the BSCNC's opposition to Wake Forest University's efforts to serve beer for profit on campus; a Wall Street Journal article revealing that alcohol is more addictive than crack cocaine, heroin and other street drugs; and a 2006 Southern Baptist Convention resolution adopted in Greensboro stating, in part, "That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages."

"The resolution passed by a majority vote," Rogers said, "but not until the shocking picture was etched, in the minds of Southern Baptists, of pastors standing in opposition to a resolution on alcohol."

Rogers also expressed concerns to Baptist Press regarding some pastors among the Acts 29 church planting organization who not only practice social drinking, but also use it as a tool to reach people.

"Whatever the position of a church -- that's their business," Rogers said. "But the motion I made merely directs a policy to be implemented that states to the world that the Southern Baptists who make up the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina oppose the moderate use of beverage alcohol and that we will not employ anyone who advances its use."
-Norm Miller is a writer based in Richmond, Va. (Full article posted at Baptist Press 11-22, 2010.)

A related article by ABP can be found at: Baptists debate social drinking
Find further information on alcohol under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels) in Right Margin.
A new book by Brumbelow, Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case For Abstinence due out in 2011.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 28, AD 2010.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Greetings, a poem

The first holiday after the death of a loved one is always a tough time. But for believers in Jesus Christ, we know there are better days ahead. We know one day we’ll meet again. The following poem may be an encouragement to some. I came across the poem sometime ago in one of O. S. Hawkin’s books.

Christmas Greetings

I’ve had my first Christmas in Heaven:
A glorious and wonderful day!
I stood with the saints of the ages,
Who found Christ the Truth and the Way.

I sang with the Heavenly choir:
Just think! I, who longed so to sing!
And oh, what celestial music
We brought to our Saviour and King!

We sang the glad songs of redemption.
How Jesus to Bethlehem came,
And how they called His name Jesus,
That all might be saved through His Name.

We sang once again with the angels,
The song that they sang that blest morn,
When shepherds first heard that glad story
That Jesus, the Saviour, was born.

O, how I wish you had been there:
No Christmas on earth could compare
With all the rapture and glory
We witnessed in Heaven so fair.

You know how I always loved Christmas;
It seemed such a wonderful day,
With all of my loved ones around me,
The children so happy and gay.

Yes, now I can see why I loved it;
And oh, what joy it will be
When you and my loved ones are with me,
To share in the glories I see.

So Dear Ones on earth, here’s my greeting:
Look up till the day dawn appears,
And oh, what a Christmas awaits us,
Beyond all our partings and tears!
-Dr. Albert Simpson Reitz

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 19, AD 2010.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Duties of the Houswife in 155 BC

What were the duties of a housewife in about 155 BC? Enter a foreign Roman world over a century before the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. On some issues the people were surprisingly well educated. They knew agricultural practices and food preservation techniques almost unknown today. Slavery was common and accepted. Slaves were of any race. Slaves were made up of those who had lost in wars against Rome, or had simply been born into slavery. Greek and Roman gods were worshipped.

Cato was a Roman military leader, statesman, farmer, writer. He wrote On Agriculture, a farmer’s notebook. It reveals fascinating details of farm life and agricultural practices in the second century BC. Many of these practices were common through the centuries until the mid 1900s.

Following is some of Cato’s advice about the housekeeper:

“See that the housekeeper performs all her duties. If the master has given her to you as wife, keep yourself only to her. Make her stand in awe of you. Restrain her from extravagance. She must visit the neighbouring and other women very seldom, and not have them either in the house or in her part of it. She must not go out to meals, or be a gadabout.

She must not engage in religious worship herself or get others to engage in it for her without the orders of the master or the mistress; let her remember that the master attends to the devotions for the whole household. She must be neat herself, and keep the farmstead neat and clean. She must clean and tidy the hearth every night before she goes to bed. On the Kalends, Ides, and Nones, and whenever a holy day comes, she must hang a garland over the hearth, and on those days pray to the household gods as opportunity offers.

She must keep a supply of cooked food on hand for you and the servants. She must keep many hens and have plenty of eggs. She must have a large store of dried pears, sorbs, figs, raisins, sorbs in must, preserved pears and grapes and quinces. She must also keep preserved grapes in grape-pulp and in pots buried in the ground, as well as fresh Praenestine nuts kept in the same way, and Scantian quinces in jars, and other fruits that are usually preserved, as well as wild fruits. All these she must store away diligently every year. She must also know how to make good flour and to grind spelt fine.” -Cato, c. 155 BC.

What similarities do you see with housewives today?
What similarities do you see with women’s work up until about 60 years ago?
Would your grandmother or great-grandmother relate to any of this?
What differences do you see with the work of women today?
Have you ever preserved your own food?
What do you know about producing and preserving meat, grain, vegetables, fruit?
Have you ever told your children, or written about, your early experiences and jobs?
Do we have it better than in Cato’s day?
What differences do you see with your faith in Jesus Christ today?

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 14, AD 2010.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Quotes

“Last month was our giving thanks holiday, and Christmas is God’s way of saying, ‘You’re welcome.’” -Dennis the Menace to his friend Joey

“My nomination for history’s most profound event is the incarnation of God in Christ.” -Ralph Bailey

“Our main job is not to cry, ‘Look what the world has come to,’ but, ‘Look Who has come to the world.’” - Kermit L. Long

“God walked down the stairs of Heaven with a Baby in His arms.” -Paul Scherer

"Christ was born in the first century, yet He belongs to all centuries. He was born a Jew, yet He belongs to all races. He was born in Bethlehem, yet He belongs to all countries.” -George W. Truett

“In BC we know God is. In AD we know who God is.” -author unknown *

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law. To redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. -Galatians 4:4-5

* Note: BC means “Before Christ.” AD is an abbreviation of a Latin term meaning, “In The Year Of Our Lord.”

Merry Christmas!
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 12, AD 2010.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Next Time You Attend a Baptist Convention

After the convention, when you leave your motel, a lady is going to come clean your room. She works hard for little pay. She gets little appreciation and respect. She probably has a family she is struggling to support. Her work is good and honorable. She does what you very likely would be unwilling to do. She goes home worn out, yet then has to take care of her own housework and family. She has burdens you will never know.

And you have a great opportunity.

So, do this before you leave your motel room for the last time:

* Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave the room trashed. No, you don’t have to clean the room, just make it easy for her to clean.

* Leave a good Gospel tract and several dollars, a decent tip. Write on the tract or leave a note. Something like: Dear Cleaning Lady, Thank you for taking care of my room and making my stay comfortable. May God bless you. Sincerely, [sign your name and write the date].

* If you want to get fancy, go to the bank and get dollar coins, or half dollar coins. or two dollar bills to use to leave as her tip.

Those who serve in difficult manual labor jobs are often taken for granted. But you can show them appreciation and respect. You can also show them Jesus.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 29, AD 2010.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving - a poem by Margaret E. Sangster

For the days when nothing happens,
For the cares that leave no trace,
For the love of little children,
For each sunny dwelling-place,
For the altars of our fathers,
And the closets where we pray,
Take, O gracious God and Father,
Praises this Thanksgiving Day.

For our harvests safe ingathered,
For our golden store of wheat,
For the bowers and the vinelands,
For the flowers up-springing sweet,
For our coasts from want protected,
For each inlet, river, bay,
By the bounty full and flowing,
Take our praise this joyful day.

For the hours when Heaven is nearest
And the earth-mood does not cling,
For the very gloom oft broken
By our looking for the King,
By our thought that He is coming,
For our courage on the way,
Take, O Friend, unseen eternal,
Praises this Thanksgiving Day.
-Margaret E. Sangster

And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will. -Leviticus 22:29

Happy Thanksgiving!

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 21, AD 2010.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2010 Annual Meeting of the SBTC

November 14-16, 2010 I attended the Bible Conference and annual meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) in Corpus Christi, TX. Corpus Christi is a beautiful place to have a convention. The convention center, American Bank Center, is practically under the Harbor Bridge. Huge glass walls of the convention center overlook the bay. The T-Heads and sea wall provide a great place to drive or walk. Years ago my family and I caught our limits of speckled trout right on the seawall. It was a warm January and schools of speckled trout were moving back and forth along the seawall. We caught them with weighted popping corks, small treble hooks, and live shrimp.

The SBTC Bible Conference was outstanding. Officers Heath Peloquin, Nathan Lorick, and Bart Barber did an excellent job choosing the preachers and singers. Steven Smith of SWBTS, Dwight Singleton of Knoxville, TN, Russell Moore of SBTS, and Jonathan Falwell of Lynchburg, VA all did a great job preaching (I didn‘t get to hear some other speakers). Each preacher spoke to my heart.

Bart Barber led a discussion on cultural issues with Richard Land, Russell Moore, Kelly Shackleford. This meeting should have laid to rest any doubts concerning the importance of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Richard Land made plain the importance of cultural issues facing our nation today. He pointed out the crucial difference between Freedom to Worship and Freedom of Religion. Richard Land and Barrett Duke (also at the SBTC) are providing strong conservative leadership in the ERLC.

Byron McWilliams is pastor of the historic First Baptist Church, Odessa and is president of the SBTC. He did an able, gracious job as moderator. He preached well in the President’s Message. We heard Jeff Iorg of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Richard Land, O. S. Hawkins of Guidestone, Gordon Fort of the International Mission Board. Jimmy Pritchard of First Baptist Church, Forney preached the Convention Sermon. Frank Page and Kevin Ezell spoke. NAMB missionaries were commissioned.

I did not have the opportunity of hearing all, but the speakers I heard were right on target. Last I heard, 803 voting messengers registered, and I’m sure a large number of visitors. It is amazing how much time, planning, effort go into a state convention.

493 salvation decisions were made during the SBTC pre-convention Crossover evangelistic emphasis. The SBTC operates on 45% of Cooperative Program gifts, and sends 55% on to the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention. Jim Richards, SBTC Executive Director, has a huge job and is leading well.

I saw a number of old friends. A lady introduced herself to me and told how she and some of her relatives were influenced years ago by my dad’s preaching and ministry. Another lady spoke to me who had been a member of Doverside Baptist Church years ago when I was a teenager.

I attended the SWBTS Luncheon and the President’s Luncheon. Hey, a Baptist has got to eat!

To preachers and laymen - whenever you have the chance, attend the annual meeting of the SBTC. Why?

* You will be blessed and inspired. The singing and preaching will do you good. You will also get some good sermon outlines and illustrations.

* You’ll have great fellowship. Go to the luncheons. If you don’t know anyone, just sit down at a half filled table and introduce yourself. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the folks you meet.

* You will learn much more about the ministry and missions of Southern Baptists.

* You can probably get a good sermon book by O. S. Hawkins at the Guidestone Display. Criswell College gave out a number of DVDs of sermons by W. A. Criswell.

* If you want to preach and serve more, it helps to get to know as many ministers as possible. If you are looking for a ministry opportunity - preachers recommend preachers they know.

* As you fellowship, you’ll hear some great stories.

* You will find we are reaching people around the world with the Gospel.

Those are just a few thoughts. The SBTC annual meeting will be held in Irving in 2011 and San Antonio in 2012. Read more about the SBTC by subscribing to the Southern Baptist Texan (click link in right hand column under "Sites I Mainly Agree With").

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 18, AD 2010.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Limited or Universal Atonement by Dr. David L. Allen; part 2

Part 2 of 2

The key theological argument used to support limited atonement is the Double Payment argument, which says justice does not allow the same sin to be punished twice. This argument faces several problems:

* it is not found in Scripture
* it confuses a commercial debt and penal satisfaction for sin
* the elect are still under the wrath of God until they believe (Eph 2:3)
* it negates the principle of grace in the application of the atonement (nobody is owed the application).

Though Christ died sufficiently for the sins of all people, the promise of salvation is clearly conditional in the New Testament -- one must repent and believe in order to receive salvation. The limitation was not in the provision of Christ's death, but in the application. A man cannot be punished for rejecting what was never for him in the first place!


One argument for limited atonement goes like this: Christ died "for His sheep," for "His Church," and for "His friends." These are limited categories of people, thus, this is proof of limited atonement.

Not so fast!

Statements such as these do not prove limited atonement, because to argue such invokes the negative inference fallacy: the proof of a proposition does not disprove its converse.

One cannot infer a negative (Christ did NOT die for group A) from a bare positive statement (Christ did die for group B), any more than one can infer that Christ only died for Paul because Gal 2:20 says that Christ died for Paul.

Consequently, the fact that many verses speak of Christ dying for his "sheep," his "church," or "his friends" does not prove that he did not die for others not subsumed in these categories. There is no statement in Scripture that says Jesus died ONLY for the sins of elect. There are numerous statements that say Christ died for "all," the "world," or for "everyone," as in Hebrews 2:9.


Acts 3:26 states: "To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities." Peter is telling his unbelieving audience that God sent Jesus to bless each and every one of them and to turn every one of them from their iniquities. This is equivalent to Peter saying: Christ died for you.

How could Jesus save every one of them (which is what blessing and turning away from iniquity involves) if he did not actually die for the sins of all of them? Certainly "each one" of the Jews Peter addressed must have included some who were non-elect! The free and well-meant offer of the gospel for all people necessarily presupposes that Christ died for the sins of all people.

Limited atonement truncates this good news of the gospel by sawing off the arms of the cross too close to the stake. At this strategic time of focus on a Great Commission Resurgence, should the Southern Baptist Convention move toward "five-point" Calvinism, such a move would be away from and not toward the gospel.

-Part 2 of 2, by Dr. David L. Allen, dean of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's school of theology; Fort Worth, TX; swbts.edu
-from Baptist Press (BP); bpnews.net (originally posted at BP, 10-1-2010)

Note: David Allen is author of the New American Commentary on Hebrews published by Broadman & Holman. Get his book and Hebrews by R. L. Sumner ($19.95 postpaid, 546 pages and filled with illustrations; Biblical Evangelism, 5717 Pine Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606-8947). They make a great combination and will give you preaching material for the foreseeable future. Remember, get your sermon from one source - that’s plagiarism. Get your sermon from two sources - that’s research!

David Allen is also contributor to Whosoever Will by Allen & Lemke, B&H, an outstanding, bestselling book on Baptists and Calvinism. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 17, AD 2010.

Related Articles:
Limited or Universal Atonement by Dr. David L. Allen; part 1 of 2
Unlimited Atonement, Jesus Died For All
Saved By The Sinner's Prayer
The Roman Road of Salvation 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Limited or Universal Atonement by Dr. David L. Allen

Part 1 of 2
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) - The issue of the "extent of the atonement" answers the question "For whose sins did Christ die?" There are only two options: 1) for the elect alone ("limited atonement" also called "definite atonement," or "particular redemption") or 2) for all of humanity.

Importantly, arguing for unlimited atonement and against limited atonement does not require quoting a single Arminian or non-Calvinist. It is a common misconception that all Calvinists affirm limited atonement. But even John Calvin rejected limited atonement, and Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards and Andrew Fuller are just a few of history's well-known Calvinists who likewise rejected this position.


All of the earliest reformers, including Calvin, held to a form of universal atonement -- not universal salvation, but that Christ's shed blood paid the price for all men's sins so the possibility of atonement was unlimited. The five-point Calvinist's doctrinal position of limited atonement was not developed until the second and third generation of reformers, beginning primarily with Beza.

Controversy over introduction of this concept into Reformed beliefs grew to such an extent that ambiguous language on the subject was left in the final draft of the Canons of Dort (1618–1619) so as to allow those among the delegates who rejected limited atonement to sign the final document.

Even the Westminster Assembly (1643–1649) included delegates who rejected limited atonement, and the Puritans in the 17th and 18th centuries included distinguished leaders who preached and wrote against it. For example, John Bunyan declared: "Christ died for all.... For the offer of the gospel cannot with God's allowance, be offered any further than the death of Jesus Christ doth go; because if that be taken away, there is indeed no gospel, nor grace to be extended."


There are three key sets of texts in the New Testament that affirm unlimited atonement:

* the "all" texts,
* the "world" texts, and
* the "many" texts.

There also are three sets of texts that state Jesus died for His:

* "church"
* "sheep," and
* "friends."

How are we to reconcile the universal texts with the limited ones?

The high-Calvinist wrongly interprets the universal texts in light of the limited texts. Non-Calvinists and moderate Calvinists rightly interpret the limited texts as a subset of the universal texts.

Some Calvinists argue that biblical authors believed in limited atonement because they made statements affirming Christ died for the Church, even though biblical writers do not say that Christ died only for the Church or that He did not die for the non-elect.

There is no linguistic or exegetical or theological ground for reducing the meaning of "world" to "the elect" in such passages as John 3:16. John Owen made John 3:16 read "God so loved those he chose out of the world," which changes completely the sense of the verse and turns it into something opposite of its intended meaning. But to make the meaning of "world" here "the elect" is to make not only a linguistic mistake but also a logical mistake of category confusion.

-Part 1 of 2, by Dr. David L. Allen, dean of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's school of theology; swbts.edu

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 9, AD 2010.

Related Articles:
Limited or Universal Atonement by Dr. David L. Allen; part 2

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Girl Who Saved His Ministry

All pastors have bad days. Things can get mighty lonely and discouraging. Sometimes Mondays are the worst. One Monday morning early in Joe’s ministry he decided he could not take it any longer. He got a sheet of church stationary out of his desk drawer and wrote out his resignation as pastor. He was absolutely sincere. He was not going to put up with things as they were any longer. He folded it and put it back in the desk drawer. He would read it to the church the next Wednesday night.

Feeling pretty low, he went to his car and began driving around the community. He drove behind the church where Duff Lane ended in the back church parking lot. As he drove slowly down Duff Lane, he saw a group of girls playing in one of the yards. He heard one little girl call to him, “Brother Joe, please stop.” After he stopped, the little girl ran to the car and said, “Hi, Brother Joe, how are you today?” He answered, “Fine” but later confessed that he lied! Then the little girl said, “I wanted my friends to meet you. I’ve been telling them how you told me about Jesus and I got saved and then how you ‘baba-tized’ me. Brother Joe, thank you for telling me about Jesus. Thank you for ‘baba-tizing’ me.” She then introduced her friends each by name. They all went back to their playing.

Joe returned to his office, took out his letter of resignation, and tore it into little bits. He later said, “No one could have gotten me to resign for anything. That little girl did not realize it, but she may have saved my ministry.” God began to work there as never before. The next year more than 100 were baptized at Doverside Baptist Church.

-from The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, hannibalbooks.com, p. 108.
Available at Hannibal Booksamazon, or order from your local Christian Bookstore.
Or order from: David Brumbelow, P.O. Box 300, Lake Jackson, TX 77566 USA; $12.95.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 26, AD 2010.

Wit And Wisdom Of My Dad (Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, the book)
Other articles in lower right hand margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Calvinism and Being Dead in Sins

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. -Ephesians 2:1 

Many Calvinists emphasize the lost person is dead in their sins and can’t respond in any way. After all, a dead man, a dead body, is lifeless and can do nothing. So a lost person can’t respond to the Gospel in faith. He can’t do anything. Some even go to the point of saying a person is saved or regenerated before faith, since they think a lost person cannot have faith or accept salvation.

If this view of the spiritually dead is true we could go one step further. A dead man can’t sin. A dead man can’t walk and talk and hear. But the unsaved do these things on a regular basis. The very next verse to the one above (Ephesians 2:2) says those dead in their sins “walked.”

This view is rather extreme and has an improper view of death. Death in Scripture does not mean annihilation or ceasing to exist. Death means separation. James 2:26 tells us, “For as the body without the spirit is dead...”

Spiritual death is when a person is separated from God. Physical death is when the soul, spirit, the real you, is separated from the physical body. So at a funeral, the departed is not lying in the casket. If they knew Jesus as Lord and Savior, they are in Heaven with Him. Only their body, where they used to live, is in the casket.

Dead in your sins simply means your sins have separated you from a holy God. Isaiah put it, “your iniquities have separated you from your God” (Isaiah 59:2).

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they immediately became spiritually dead. But they could still walk, talk, hear and respond to God (Genesis 3:10).

Even though he is spiritually “dead,” the unsaved man can perceive the truth of God. In Romans, Paul declares emphatically that God’s truth is “clearly seen” by them so that they are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

“Dead” is only one of many figures of speech used to describe the fallen state. It is also depicted as “sickness,” which does not imply the person had no ability to hear and respond to God (Matthew 9:12). Depravity involves the corruption of life but not its destruction. The image of God in fallen humans is effaced but not erased. Even unsaved people are said to be in God’s image (Genesis 9:6). The image is marred but not eradicated by sin (cf. James 3:9).

If spiritually “dead” amounts to a kind of spiritual annihilation, rather than separation, then the “second death” (Revelation 20:10) would be eternal annihilation - a doctrine certainly not taught in Scripture. A spiritually dead person, then, is in need of spiritual life from God. But he does exist, and he can know and choose. His faculties that make up the image of God are not absent; they are simply incapable of initiating or attaining their own salvation. Like a drowning person, a fallen person can reach out and accept the lifeline even though he cannot make it to safety on his own.

Men dead in trespasses and sins can respond. That is one reason we are commanded to go into all the world and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Further information on total depravity and being dead in trespasses and sins:
Trouble With the Tulip by Frank S. Page; Riverstone.
Chosen But Free by Norman Geisler; Bethany House.
Whosoever Will by David Allen & Steve Lemke; Broadman & Holman.
Salvation and Sovereignty by Kenneth Keathley; Broadman & Holman.
Calvinistic Paths Retraced by Samuel Fisk; Biblical Evangelism Press.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 11, AD 2010.

Books on Calvinism, Predestination
Dr. Robert Wring on Baptists and Elder Rule
Adrian Rogers on Predestination, Calvinism
Paige Patterson on Calvinism

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times

Editorial note in Biblical Evangelist:
Last year we published a strong message from the pen of a Texas pastor, David Brumbelow, dealing with so-called social drinking, “The Bible Speaks on Alcohol.” David did his undergraduate work at East Texas Baptist University and then earned a Master of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

In this issue we are presenting a follow-up as he explodes a long-held criticism against prohibition that “the ancients had no way of preserving grape juice” (the Welches hadn’t been born yet). He gives a fine scholarly answer to this myth, showing that they did, indeed, know how. -Editor R. L. Sumner


A Christian speaks against alcohol and explains how the biblical words for wine were used to refer to nonalcoholic, as well as alcoholic wine. A scholar replies, “But it was impossible to keep wine from fermenting in the ancient world. No one could do this until Louis Pasteur and Welch’s in the late 1800s.”

He adds for good measure, “The Passover wine had to be fermented because it was in the Spring, long after the Fall grape harvest.” That seems an unanswerable argument.

Those who use this argument think they are rightly interpreting Scripture. Instead, they are taking their own ignorance and projecting it onto the Bible and the ancient world. To argue that the ancients could not preserve un-intoxicating wine is wrong factually, scientifically, and historically. Actually, fermented wine was more difficult to make and preserve, than unfermented wine.

Unfermented wine could easily be preserved without electricity, refrigeration, or pasteurization. Following are several examples.

Reduce Its Consistency

One way is to boil fresh expressed wine down to about a third or fifth of its consistency. This thick, strong wine or syrup would keep without fermentation. When ready to drink, it would just be mixed with water. This was also done with cider and other fruit.

Patrick E. McGovern is a pro-drinking secular authority on ancient and modern wine. He said, “Concentrating grape juice down by heating is still used to make the popular shireh of modern Iran and was known to the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia as well as the Greeks and Romans. It enables fruit to be preserved, and, diluted with water, it produces a refreshing, nonalcoholic beverage.” (Ancient Wine: The Search For The Origins Of Viniculture by Patrick E. McGovern, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2003).

Tischendorf wrote of a visit to Coptic monasteries in Egypt in 1845, “Instead of wine they use a thick juice of the grape, which I at first mistook for oil.”

Aristotle said the wine of Arcadia was so thick it was necessary to scrape it from the wineskins and dissolve it in water (Patton, Bible Wines).

Length of the Grape Harvest

The grape harvest lasted six months. This was done by planting different varieties of grapes, and planting them in different microclimates. Ancient writers testified of the vast number of varieties of grapes; some said they were innumerable. Grape vines and cuttings were transported throughout the Roman world.

Israel was at the crossroads of the world. Agriculture was their life. Some vines bear an early harvest, some midseason, some late. The first grapes can be picked as early as July, the latest in December. Some vines ripen all their grapes at once; others over a long period of time. Some grapes bore two crops a year. Grapes right off the vine were available for half the year.

It was a common practice to squeeze a bunch of grapes by hand directly into a cup and drink that fresh, sweet (fermentation takes away the sweetness) unfermented wine. “Then Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand” (Genesis 40:11). Historian Josephus refers to this. Pharaoh apparently preferred his wine fresh and unfermented.

A stone relief found in the Roman city of Pompeii pictures the god of wine (in sore need of a loincloth), squeezing grapes by hand into a cup (Patton, Bible Wines). Early church writings referred to pressing grapes into a cup for the Lord’s Supper.

Grapes Preserved Fresh

Grapes could be preserved fresh for months. Some will protest their grapes don’t keep long. Let me explain. Any old-time gardener will tell you some fruits and vegetables are “good keepers,” others are not. A good keeper, at room temperature, can remain fresh for months. This was especially well-known in ancient times when such knowledge could mean the difference between going hungry or not, or even prevent starvation.

Characteristics of good “keeping” grapes include a tough skin and adhering well to the cluster. The cluster would be cut from the vine. Any bad grapes would be clipped, not pulled, from the cluster. Pulling a grape leaves a “brush” that can start a molding, decaying process. Grape clusters were loosely packed in straw, cotton, bran, or hung from the ceiling. Periodically they would be inspected and any bad grapes clipped off.

The right varieties of grapes stored in this way would last fresh for months. Leon C. Field, Methodist scholar, said, in 1883, “Niebuhr says that, ‘the Arabs preserve grapes by hanging them up in their cellars, and eat them almost through the whole year.’ Dr. Kerr says, ‘A friend of mine now in Britain not long since unpacked grapes he had received eleven months previously from the continent, finding them fresh and good.’”

Also, “Bernier says grapes were sent from Persia to India, wrapped in cotton, two hundred years ago, and sold there throughout the year.”

An early 1800s recipe book, called “receipts” back then, gives directions that would preserve grapes fresh for 12 months. These grapes could be pressed into a cup at any time of the year (New Family Receipt Book, London; 1820).

Made from Dried Grapes

Wine was also made from dried grapes or raisins. Drying is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. Raisins were rehydrated by soaking or boiling and pressed into wine.

The Talmud (ancient Jewish writings) refers to raisin wine. Polybius (Greek historian c. 100 BC) spoke of un-intoxicating raisin wine. A medieval Arabian writer refers to raisin wine for the Lord’s Supper. Modern day Jews refer to raisin wine.

Sealing “Must”

Seal “must” in amphora (wine container). Roman writer Cato (c. 170 BC) said, “If you would keep must [new unfermented wine] for a year, pour it into an amphora and seal the cork with pitch. Immerse the amphora in cold water for thirty days. Then remove it and the must will be preserved for one year” (De Agri Cultura).

Additionally, olive oil and resin were used to make containers and contents airtight. Filtering was claimed to break the strength of wine. Chemical additives were used. Fermented wine could be boiled to remove the alcohol.

The above methods were widely practiced and provided unfermented wine throughout the year. So, don’t let anyone tell you, scholar or otherwise, that in Bible times they had no choice but to drink fermented wine.

Further study: Alcohol Today, Peter Lumpkins; The Bible and its Wines, Charles Wesley Ewing; Bible Wines, William Patton; Fights I Didn’t Start, And Some I Did, R. L. Sumner; Communion Wine, William M. Thayer; Libertinism: A Baptist and His Booze, Jerry Vines; Oinos, Leon C. Field.

Note:  A new book, Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence by David R. Brumbelow, contains much more information about Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times

See additional articles on Alcohol under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels) in right margin. 
SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Ancient Wine Production and the Bible
Wine for Your Stomach's Sake; 1 Timothy 5:23

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 5, AD 2010. 

This article was originally published in the Biblical Evangelist, July-August, 2010.

Subscribe at: The Biblical Evangelist - 5717 Pine Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606-8947 or biblicalevangelist.org (see Link in right margin).  Subscription is free, they operate on a donation basis.  If you can, send a generous donation!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Burning the Koran

A pastor has backed off his threat to burn of a number of Korans, the religious book of the Muslims. 

Like the huge majority of Christians, I have no plans to burn the Koran (or Quran). I don’t think others should do so. To do so shows a lack of Christian kindness, and is just inciting hatred and violence. It will probably also cause some out of curiosity to purchase and read what you condemn.

News has reported at least one person murdered in a riot opposing this proposed burning of the Koran. While burning the Koran should be condemned, the violence in reaction should be condemned even more. Which is the biggest atrocity? An unfulfilled threat to burn Korans, or the mob murder of an innocent human being?

Perhaps our president, or generals, should make a speech like the following:

“The world should know that Americans are a free people. They enjoy basic human rights of free speech and religious liberty. In the midst of such freedom, some will occasionally do things others find highly offensive; things our government finds offensive.

There are thousands of churches and synagogues in America. There are also thousands of mosques in America. While most Americans are culturally Christian, all religions are free to worship according to the dictates of their conscience and to share their faith with others. Freedom not allowed in many countries.

Please realize that it is not the American government who threatens to burn what you revere. Instead it is invariably someone on the fringe that does so. Their actions usually say much more about them than anyone else.

There will always be someone who will burn a Koran, a Bible, a cross, a menorah, an American flag. So don’t worry about it, just get over it!

Feel free to be offended. Feel free to condemn those who act in such hateful ways. Do not feel free to riot, murder, and destroy. By doing so you are placing yourself on a lower level than that of the instigator.”

Note: the president and our military are welcome to use this speech. Just send your standard speech writer’s fee :-).

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 13, AD 2010.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thank You President George W. Bush

Below is a letter sent to President George W. Bush in January, 2009. It was also published in the area newspaper, The Facts, Clute, Lake Jackson, TX.

Dear President George W. Bush,

Thank you for your service to our country these last eight years. I especially appreciate:

1. Your strong pro-life conviction. This was reflected in your speeches, personal stand, executive orders, signing into law pro-life measures, vetoes, and appointments.

2. Your Supreme Court appointments that showed respect for the sanctity of human life and judicial restraint.

3. Your conduct of the War Against Terrorism. I believe the terrorists were amazed at how you stood strong and struck back so forcefully.

4. Keeping our country safe from terrorism since the 9-11 attack. It is remarkable that our country has not suffered another major terrorist attack since 9-11-2001. I think that is no accident.

5. Bringing dignity and integrity to the White House.

6. Your support of marriage only being between one man and one woman.

7. Your personal faith in our Lord.

May God bless you, Laura and your family in the days ahead.

David R. Brumbelow,
Highlands, Texas 77562
January 27, 2009

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 7, AD 2010.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Obituary - Missionary Gilbert Ross

Oh how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You. -Psalm 31:19

Frank Gilbert Ross, was born July 2, 1928 in Dallas, Texas. He went from this life to the next on July 23, 2010 at the age of 82.

Gilbert Ross was the son of James Hardy Ross and Minnie Lee (Jones) Ross. He married Carolyn Marie O’Brien on July 1, 1950 in Corpus Christi, TX. Gilbert and Carolyn had six children.

Gilbert was preceded in death by daughter Rebeca in 1961.

He is survived by his wife Carolyn Ross of Dublin, TX.

His daughters and sons in law:
Deborah & Brad Kuss of Garland, TX
Marie & John Drugan of Casper, Wyoming
Katharine Ross of Hermosillo, Mexico
Betsy and Jackie Robinett of DeLeon, TX.
Martha & Billy Aranda of Dublin, TX.
12 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
His aunt Virginia Kimberley of Livermore, California.

A graduate of the University of Corpus Christi and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Gilbert Ross was a missionary and plane pilot in Durango, Mexico for 46 years.

“For many years he flew a single engine airplane to minister Jesus’ love to the far flung people of the Western Sierra Madre Mountains. He would land the plane on a dirt landing strip that had mostly been cleared of stones. Then he would gather a group of people together in the patio of one of the villagers. He would lead some praise songs and then he would teach them about Jesus. He had a generator that he would take with him to power up an old film projector and he would use that to show old reel movies of Jesus’ life. This would thrill the children so much. The movies were used powerfully by God to change people’s lives. Then he would rev up the airplane and set off for the next village. His life was a testament to God’s love and faithfulness to the people on earth who don’t have much power or influence. We, his family, are eternally grateful for his love for Jesus and the heritage he has left us.” -from Funeral Bulletin

The funeral was July 26, 2010 at 10 am at Cottonwood Baptist Church, Dublin, TX; burial at Old Dublin Memorial Park. Pastor Mike Fritscher officiated.

The five girls, two granddaughters, and Carolyn Ross sang In the Sweet By and By in Spanish. Soloist Shelly Hooper sang How Great Thou Art and led the congregation in When the Roll is Called Up Yonder. The pianist was Steven Chambers. Philippians 2:1-11 was printed in the bulletin. Arrangements were by the Harrell Funeral Home.

Offerings sent to Cottonwood Baptist Church in memory of Gilbert Ross were sent to a pastor serving in the Durango area of Mexico.

Gilbert Ross’ father, Hardy Ross, was a first cousin to my dad, Joe Brumbelow. In recent years Gilbert & Carolyn would sometimes stay at Joe & Bonnie Brumbelow’s home in Lake Jackson, TX when he would have to go to the hospital in the Medical Center in Houston. They were an inspiration to me as I grew up. May God continue to bless Brother Gilbert’s family and ministry.

Gilbert Ross' obituary was printed in the September, 2010 Southern Baptist Texan

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 1, AD 2010.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Keith Bruce, Ben Price, and the BGCT

In 1998 many Texas conservatives, frustrated at the moderate leadership of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT), formed the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC). Since then, the SBTC and the Southern Baptist Texan have grown, the BGCT has had financial difficulties. During the last 10 years or so, the BGCT has had to lay off a number of their employees. Some of the layoffs have been public, some behind the scenes.

Recently I was especially sorry to see laid off Dr. Keith Bruce, Director of Institutional Relations, BGCT. I and my family have a very high opinion of Dr. Bruce. Let me explain.

About 1986 my dad, Joe Brumbelow, and I visited the Texas Baptist Historical Collection (TBHC), then housed at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

We have a journal and some documents left to dad by his uncle Ben Price. Ben Price was a circuit riding Texas Baptist preacher in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Joe Brumbelow never knew it, but after his death his older sister Myrtle told us that Ben Price had said that Joe would be a preacher and that was why he wanted to leave this material to him. Ben Price died in 1935 when Joe was five years old. Price’s journal dates back over 100 years. Of course, Joe Brumbelow did become a preacher and pastored for years.

Ben Rogers was then director of the TBHC. We showed the documents to Ben Rogers and he seemed very interested. He even mentioned that one of the brochures from about 1920 contained a photo of a preacher that he did not have. He said he would love to have a copy.

We told Rogers we did not want to give them to the TBHC, but we would be happy to leave them there and allow him to make copies of the documents. He later sent us a letter acknowledging the loan and itemizing most of the documents.

In 2006 dad had already gone on to be with the Lord. Ben Rogers was now working at Baylor University. My mother, Mrs. Joe E. (Bonnie) Brumbelow talked with me about getting the Ben Price / Brumbelow documents back.

I contacted the new director of the TBHC and he informed me the Price/Brumbelow documents had been gifted to them and we could not have them back. Over numerous emails, he never wavered in saying they were the property of TBHC. He even said they had a document to prove it; a document he never produced.

I contacted Ben Rogers and he said while he did not remember all the details he agreed that the documents should be returned to us and sent an email to TBHC to this effect. Still the TBHC director did not budge. At one point the said that if we would sign a document declaring the Price/Brumbelow documents were their property they would then loan them to us. The director bluntly told us the documents would be displayed in the new museum they planned to open.

Finally we wrote a statement telling how the TBHC had refused to return our property and had it notarized December 6, 2007. We sent the statement to Dr. Keith Bruce, Director of Institutional Relations, BGCT. Dr. Bruce seemed ready and willing to help us. After Keith Bruce got involved, the TBHC director apologized for what he had done.

To have our property returned we were required to sign a document absolving the TBHC of responsibility. We did not want to sign anything, but a lawyer friend told us if we did not plan to sue, we should go ahead and sign it. All we wanted was the return of our property.

I sent a letter to Dr. Bruce stating, “Having received your assurance that ‘release the Texas Baptist Historical Collection from any responsibility or liability related to these items’ is, ‘simply an acknowledgment- once you have the materials- that TBHC is no longer responsible / liable for them’ I am now ready to sign the statement below upon receipt of the Price / Brumbelow Documents.”

The documents were sent to us, and several days later we sent them the signed statement.

To make a long story short, Keith Bruce was instrumental in getting our property back; property that had been improperly held from us for months.

We’ve heard and read other good things about Dr. Keith Bruce. We've enjoyed reading his writing.  The BGCT will be poorer without him. I pray God’s blessing upon him and his family in the days ahead.

Note: Ben Price is mentioned in The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, Hannibal Books, p. 154-155.
Related Articles: 
Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
Q & A on SBC Conservative Resurgence, part 1
Q & A on SBC Conservative Resurgence, part 2
Difference Between the 1963 and 2000 Baptist Faith and Message
Subscribe to the Southern Baptist Texan

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 16, AD 2010.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. -Psalm 119:160

6. Does inerrancy matter?

Conservatives hold that if you do not believe in inerrancy, you open yourselves up for all types of doctrinal deviation. The divinely inspired, inerrant Bible is our supreme rule of faith and practice.

Believe there are errors in the Bible, and then you have to pick out those errors. What is true and what is false? You then become the judge of the Bible, rather than the Bible judging you.

History has shown that when a church, seminary, or denomination ceases to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, it begins a slow (or rapid) decline into theological confusion and liberalism.  The first generation or two may remain fairly orthodox, future generations do not. 

7. Were small church pastors involved in the CR?

Some have said they weren’t. They were.

“Small-church and bi-vocational pastors. The backbone of the conservative movement was this group who acted as faithful servants of the Lord. These pastors had nothing personally to gain but gave of all they had because of their deep convictions. I know of some who would drive to SBC meetings, eating peanut butter sandwiches the entire trip and sleeping in their cars. These could afford neither meals in restaurants nor hotel rooms. Their dedication provided the margin of victory. Their praise will not be on this earth but before the throne of grace.” -Paul Pressler, A Hill On Which To Die, B&H; p. 284.

My dad is one of many, many examples of small church pastors who were actively involved in the Conservative Resurgence:

“Joe Brumbelow was proud to have been involved in the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). He and Bonnie attended each year’s convention, though for them to do so was a financial sacrifice…To Brother Joe this controversy was not just a fight among preachers. It was a very spiritual issue. He believed that if the SBC turned from its commitment to the truthfulness of Scripture, we also would lose the zeal to win people to the Lord. If we don’t believe in Hell, we do not have much need for a Savior.” -Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, Hannibal Books; p. 34.

8. Some moderates have charged that in 1979 conservatives only won because of voter fraud.

The SBC Peace Committee was made up of moderates, conservatives, and those who were neutral in the CR. They investigated these allegations:
“The Committee investigated numerous charges of political malfeasance and voter irregularity. It heard a detailed report, complete with statistical analysis, on messenger participation at annual meetings, presented by the SBC Registration Secretary and Convention Manager, as well as the chairman of a special study committee appointed by the SBC Executive Committee. Although the reports included isolated instances of registration and ballot abuse, there was no evidence of widespread or organized misuse of the ballot by any political group and no evidence of massive voter irregularities related to annual meetings.”
-Report of the Southern Baptist Convention Peace Committee, June 16, 1987, St. Louis, Missouri.

9. Some moderates accuse conservatives of busing in large numbers of messengers to vote in the 1979 SBC in Houston.

First, if they are qualified messengers, why does it matter how they travel? Whether by bus, car, or plane?

Second, no evidence of this was ever produced. I’m sure some churches and groups came by bus. But most of this charge is a figment of liberal imagination. If it makes anyone feel better, I drove my car to the 1979 convention.

10. Conservatives have been accused of being uneducated and ignorant. They don’t understand the issues.

Some conservatives, just like some moderates and liberals, are uneducated or ignorant. A favorite tactic of some moderates and liberals, however, is to condemn any conservative who dares disagree with them, as ignorant and uneducated. Often included for good measure is that conservatives also lack integrity.

For starters, this is a very arrogant, condescending attitude. 

Dr. Paige Patterson and Judge Paul Pressler are highly educated and Christian men of integrity. If you hear otherwise, ask for specific examples. It usually boils down to the fact that the accuser just vehemently disagrees with them and the CR.

All six SBC seminaries are now filled with highly educated men and women who hold to the inerrancy of Scripture.

Another thought - a messenger does not have to have attended college and seminary to intelligently vote. One of the strengths of the SBC is that the common people can attend the annual meeting and vote their convictions. We do not need a convention run by the elites.

I freely acknowledge there are moderates and liberals who are well-educated and people of integrity; we just disagree on some issues. Why can’t some on their side agree to the same about conservative leaders? Let’s debate the issues, not just attack the intelligence and character of the other side.

11. Where can I learn more about the Conservative Resurgence?

1. The Baptist Reformation by Jerry Sutton, B&H (Broadman & Holman)

2. The Truth in Crises by James Hefley, Hannibal Books (several volumes; hannibalbooks.com). This series has been recommended by both sides.

3. A Hill on Which to Die by Paul Pressler, B&H.

4. Baptists and the Bible by Bush & Nettles; Moody Press; B&H.

5. Anatomy of a Reformation: The Southern Baptist Convention, 1978-2004 by Paige Patterson, SWBTS (baptisttheology.org).

6.  Subscribe to the Southern Baptist Texan

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 11, AD 2010.

Related Articles:
Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
Q & A on SBC Conservative Resurgence, part 1
Differences Between the 1963 and 2000 Baptist Faith and Message

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. -2 Timothy 3:16

From time to time on other blogs the issue of the Conservative Resurgence (CR) is debated. Occasionally those who are moderate or liberal will join the debate. I’ve made a number of comments. Sometimes I’ve given quotes related to questions and allegations.

I thought I’d give some of that information here.

Southern Baptists have historically believed in the inerrancy of the Bible. During the 1950s-1970s, though, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was slowly drifting into theological liberalism.

In 1979 conservatives, led by Judge Paul Pressler, Dr. Paige Patterson, Adrian Rogers and many others, began to elect conservative SBC presidents. Those presidents made conservative appointments that eventually resulted in conservative trustees in charge of our SBC seminaries, boards, and agencies. The primary issue during this battle was the inerrancy of the Bible. Conservatives believe all our SBC employees, seminary professors, and missionaries should believe in inerrancy.

This CR was successful and culminated in the adoption of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, the doctrinal statement of the SBC. Now all our missionaries and seminary professors are expected to be in agreement with this statement. A few questions, comments, and replies:

1. Is inerrancy in the Baptist Faith & Message 2000?
The word inerrancy is not there, but the concept is. It states, “all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.” That is a definition of inerrancy.

2. What is liberalism?
Conservative leaders gave an example of theological liberalism as someone who believes there are, or could be, errors in the Bible.

3. Were there really liberals in the SBC?
Yes. Two of many examples:

Dr. Jack Flanders of Baylor University coauthored the book, People of the Covenant. The book said:

“Daniel presents many historical problems. In fact, the number of historical inaccuracies has led Walter Harrelson to suspect the author to have misrepresented deliberately the historical events and notices in order to provide his readers with a subtle indication that he was actually writing in a much later period with quite a different historical enemy of God’s people in mind. Whether or not the errors are intentional, they illustrate that the author writes later than the events and redacts materials in light of his own purpose to inspire men of faith to endure temptation and hardship.”
(Quoted from A Hill On Which To Die by Paul Pressler.  Emphasis mine.)
In short, Flanders believed the biblical book of Daniel had many errors.

“When the Bible speaks of science and historical detail, the Bible has some errors. Moderates do not believe the Bible is full of errors, but there are errors.”
-Dr. Cecil Sherman, By My Own Reckoning; 2008. Sherman was a moderate leader in the SBC and CBF.

4. What did moderate leaders do when confronted with clear evidence of liberalism?

They usually denied it, ignored it, changed the subject, or attacked the conservatives who presented the evidence.

Another tactic was to speak of the alleged liberal as a wonderful person. They would tell how he was saved and baptized in a creek. How as a boy he walked five miles barefoot to church. But the issue was not whether or not he was a good person, but whether he believed the Bible was completely true.

5. Have Southern Baptists historically believed in inerrancy?
Yes. Three of many examples:

Speaking of the Bible, “When these inspired declarations were written, they were absolutely infallible.”
-B. H. Carroll (1843-1914), founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (quoted from Baptists and the Bible).
Infallible means incapable of error. Conservatives have used it synonymously with the word inerrant.

In reference to the Bible, “Every single part of the whole is God-breathed. And a God of truth does not breathe error.”
-Herschel H. Hobbs, SBC president and chairman of the Baptist Faith & Message 1963 Committee (quoted from The Truth in Crises, vol. 1).

The Bible “in the original autographs, God’s revelation was perfect and without error, doctrinally, historically, scientifically, and philosophically.”
Motion clarifying the Baptist Faith & Message 1963 statement on Scripture. Presented at the 1979 SBC by Wayne Dehoney, agreed to by Larry Lewis, Adrian Rogers, Herschel H. Hobbs. The motion passed by a wide margin. -from books by Hefley and Pressler.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 13, AD 2010.

Related Articles:
Q & A on SBC Conservative Resurgence, part 2
Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
Differences Between the 1963 and 2000 Baptist Faith and Message

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Order of Service for DEACON ORDINATION

Below is a copy of our Order of Service for Deacon Ordination last year. We made a special bulletin just for this service. This bulletin was prepared on a regular sized folded paper. The front of the bulletin, in addition to our church name and address, has the heading, Deacon Ordination, March 22, AD 2009.  Of course in this format the spacing will not be the same as in the original bulletin. 

Hope this Order of Service can help another pastor or church in their Ordination Service.

Northside Baptist Church
317 Barbers Hill Road
Highlands, Texas 77562 USA.
281/426-5415; cell 281/705-3433

David R. Brumbelow - Pastor
Gene Littlejohn - Music
James & Becca Cain - Youth
Karen Bascom - Pianist

Deacon’s Ordination Service
March 22, AD 2009; 3 pm

I Will Sing Of My Redeemer p. 281

Prayer Jim Selkirk

Lead Me To Calvary p. 251

Scripture Reading 1 Timothy 3:8-13 - Bobby Powell

Special Music Amazing Grace - Gene Littlejohn

Introduction of Candidates - Kenneth Stanley; James Cain

Introduction of Ordination Council

Questioning of Candidates - Jack Cone

Vote of Ordaining Council and Vote of the church.

Ordination Prayer - Randy Gilchrist

Laying on of Hands * - Ordination Council and any in the audience that are ordained are invited to come forward to pray for the new deacons.

Victory in Jesus p. 499

Sermon Qualifications of the Deacon David R. Brumbelow

Presentation of Certificate of Ordination


* Numbers 8:10; 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9; Acts 6:6; 9:17; 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6.

Time of Fellowship will follow this service.

Current Deacons: James E. Selkirk; Jack Cone

Ordination Council: James E. Selkirk, Jack Cone, Thomas Tulley, Randy Gilchrist, Bobby Powell; David R. Brumbelow.

“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.”  -Philippians 1:1
Notice that the believers are called saints, then the two biblical offices are addressed, bishops (also called pastors, elders; these three titles used interchangeably in Acts 20:17,28) and deacons.

What is a Deacon? Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

Deacon - from the Greek word diakonos; literally means “servant.” It can be used unofficially of anyone serving the church, or used in its official sense of the office of deacon.

Kenneth Raeburn Stanley was born August 6, 1942 in Alto, TX to Thomas and Freddie Stanley. He has three brothers and two sisters. Kenneth attended Highland Elementary, Baytown Junior High and Robert E. Lee High School. He married Brenda McHugh in 1961 and they have three boys, one girl, 13 grandchildren, and one great grandchild with two more on the way. He has been a mechanic and motor machinist for 50 years and enjoys car racing. Kenneth joined Northside in the early 1990s and was baptized here.

James Cain was born September 25, 1970 to Charles Cain and Winnie Johnson. Attended Sterling High School, Baytown, TX and received his GED in 1995. Began attending Northside in 1995. James accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and was baptized here in 1996. Has a brother, William Cain and sister, Cheryl Cain.
James married Rebecca Franklin in June, 2003. The two of them have taught the youth group since 2004. James works as an Industrial Fire Protection Technician.
Two documents that define much of the beliefs of Northside Baptist Church are the Baptist Faith & Message, 2000 and the Church Covenant. The Baptist Faith & Message, 2000 is the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Church Covenant was written in the 1850s and has been used by many Baptist churches ever since.

The scriptural offices in the local church are pastors and deacons.
The two ordinances of the church are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

“Deacons served in both material and spiritual matters (Acts 6:2 to 7:60; 8:5-40). Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was a deacon. Note that when both pastors and deacons did their work faithfully, the work of the church prospered (Acts 6:7). That there are two ordained offices does not mean that a church may not have other workers, such as teachers and leaders, in various phases of the work. Such may be chosen as the need demands. But the ordained officers are pastors and deacons.” -Herschel H. Hobbs, The Baptist Faith and Message, Convention Press, Nashville, TN, 1971; p. 81.

1 Timothy 3:8-13
8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Note: For a listing of all articles in this Deacon Ordination Series, go to Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels), toward the bottom of the right hand margin of this blog, and click the Articles/Labels for Deacons, or Ordination.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 7, AD 2010.

Other Gulf Coast Pastor Articles:
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
Differences Between the 1963 and 2000 Baptist Faith and Message
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times
Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?
Top Three Seminaries
Wit And Wisdom Of My Dad (Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, the book)
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book

Other articles in lower right hand margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Questioning of the Deacon Candidates

A member of the Ordination Council can be selected to ask questions of the candidates. Don’t have too many questions and don’t draw it out too long. If you just have one or two candidates, have each answer each question.

After the questioner has asked his questions, the council is then asked if they have additional questions.

Do this on the platform of the sanctuary so everyone can easily see and hear what’s going on. You may need to have more than one microphone stand or ask someone to speak up so everyone can hear.

As previously mentioned, don’t try to trip them up. Just ask basic questions about Baptist faith and practice.

By this time the pastor and council should know the candidates pretty well. They should know the basics of their answers.

But this gives the congregation a chance to hear the questions and answers. It lets the church know that that these are issues that are important. It gives the church the opportunity to hear the candidates answer the questions in their own words.

Note: Unlike a pastor, a deacon is not required to be able to teach or preach. If a deacon can do so, that is great. Stephen and Philip were preaching deacons. But it is not necessary for him to be a good speaker to serve.

Questions for Deacon Candidates
A few sample questions.

1. Briefly tell us your personal testimony. When did you accept Jesus as your Savior? When and where were you baptized?

2. What do you believe about the importance of the church and your church membership?

3. What do you believe about the Bible?

4. Do you believe personal faith in Jesus is the only way of salvation?

5. What do you believe about missions and evangelism?

6. Are you in agreement with the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and the Church Covenant?

7. What do you believe about drinking?  *

8. Do you believe in “Believer’s Baptism by Immersion?”

9. Do you believe in eternal security, or, once a person is truly saved, he is saved forever?

10. Do you believe in tithing?

11. Are the deacons supposed to run the church?
(Hopefully the answer is no. The church is under that authority of Jesus Christ. While deacons will be influential and may make recommendations, the church is to be led by the pastor and the majority vote of the members.)

12. Is there anything else you would like to share with the ordaining council and the church at this time?

NEXT: Deacon Ordination Order of Service; last article in series on deacon ordination.

*  You may be interested in Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times and other articles on the Bible and alcohol.  Find these other articles in lower right margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels).  Click the label for Alcohol
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 5, AD 2010.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Obituary: Deacon Charlie Joe Law

CHARLIE JOE LAW went to be with the Lord on May 30, 2010. He was born September 5, 1927 to parents Newell and Nettie Law in Atlanta, Texas.

Charlie was a faithful servant of God who was preceded in death by his wife Ella Mae Law.

He is survived by wife Georgie Jurischk Law; daughters: Sherry Bogus (Mel) and Sandra Warren (Stephen); and by many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and loved ones.

His funeral service was June 2, 2010 at 10 am at North Oaks Baptist Church, 18411 Stuebner Airline Road, Spring, Texas 77379. Interment at Rosewood Cemetery in Humble, TX.

In lieu of flowers, memorials were asked to be sent to the Gideon’s International Bible Fund. Obituary was published in the Houston Chronicle, June 1, 2010. Arrangements by Earthman Resthaven, 13102 North Freeway, Houston, TX.

Those officiating included: Pastor Fred Wiesen, Danney Stanley, Emmett Hunt, Jimmy Moore. Pianist Dorothy Salser; Audio Visual Brad Bogus Makeshift Productions. Music included Rock of Ages, I’ll Fly Away, The Lighthouse, I Surrender All.

Charlie Law was a businessman who worked his way from being a delivery boy to management, to business owner. He opened Photo Haus in 1979 with partner Waymon Perry. It was the first one-hour photo lab in Texas and the fourth in the United States.  It should also be included that he loved hunting and fishing. 

Charlie Law was devoted to his family, his church, and to his Lord. He was a longtime member of Gideon’s International, the Christian businessman’s organization that distributes Bibles in America and around the world. He was respected as a deacon and spiritual leader. He was a devoted friend to his pastor. He often shared his faith in Jesus Christ with others.

Brother Law served as a deacon in Doverside Baptist Church and North Side Baptist Church in Houston, TX where my dad, Joe Brumbelow served as pastor. He and dad served together during parts of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Charlie was a great example of what a deacon ought to be. He loved and supported his church and his pastor. During his memorial service his current pastor mentioned he had a special connection with Charlie Law. I thought every pastor that ever served with him would have felt the same way. That’s just the kind of man Brother Law was.

When I was about 14 years of age I remember overhearing part of a conversation between my dad and Charlie Law. There was some problem in the church and they had been discussing it. I don’t remember the problem. But I remember a comment by Brother Law. He said something along these lines: “Brother Joe, as our pastor you’ve already taken enough hits and criticism. I think I should take the lead and be the one to get the criticism for this issue. Just let me take care of it and you just keep leading us as pastor.”

Even at my young age, I remember being impressed with that, thinking, now that’s a deacon.

Another Charlie Law story goes back even further to about 1962 when I was about 5 years old. We would sing the song To the Work with the chorus, “toiling on, toiling on.” I remember thinking how famous Deacon Charlie Law was. The reason? I actually thought we were singing, instead of toiling on, toiling on; that we were singing Charlie Law, Charlie Law. I knew he must be famous to have a hymn written about him! Years later I told him what I thought we were singing; he enjoyed that story. His daughter Sandra asked me to say a few words at his graveside service and to be sure to include that story. I did, as well as the previous story.

My mother, Bonnie Brumbelow, brother Mark, and I attended the funeral and graveside service. We saw so many old friends. We saw, heard, remembered so many stories of God’s grace connected with Charlie Law, those churches he served, and God’s people. Stories of God’s grace that had affected one generation to another to another.

Thank God for deacons like Charlie Joe Law. Someone said at his funeral that some people are born and leave this world no better than they found it. Some leave it a little worse. But some leave this world a better place because of their life and legacy. Charlie Law left the legacy of a godly man.

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. -1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

During this series about deacons, I thought it appropriate to include this article.

NEXT: Questioning the Deacon Candidates; Order of Service for Deacon Ordination

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 30, AD 2010.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Preparing For The Deacon Ordination Service #2

Where and how to have the candidates kneel. 
Laying on of Hands is a very important part of the service. It needs to be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). The congregation will be especially interested in this part of the service. Make sure they can see what is going on.

I don’t know how to delicately say this; make sure the candidates’ rear ends are not pointing toward the congregation!

Pastor, get a couple of deacons and practice this a day or two before the service. Have someone kneeling and someone laying on hands. While they do this, the pastor should sit out in the sanctuary to see how it will look to the congregation. If you have a large pulpit that could obstruct the congregation‘s view, you may want to move it and use a smaller speaker’s stand for this service.

Once you decide on the procedure, let the deacons, deacon candidates, and council know the procedure and what to expect.

We took two nice, armless chairs and placed them on the platform back to back on either side of the pulpit. The candidates knelt at each chair and were sideways to the audience. Each member of the Ordination Council would come, one by one, stand to the side of the kneeling candidate, with the candidate between them and the audience. This allowed the audience to see everything that was going on.

The Ordination Council is led by the pastor. He goes to the first candidate, lays hands on him, and quietly, but aloud, prays for the new deacon. The pastor then goes to the next deacon, while the next member of the Ordination Council lays hands on and prays for the first deacon. This procedure continues until all members of the Ordination Council has laid hands on the deacons.

Some council members may lay their hands on the head of the deacon. Some may lay hands on the shoulders of the deacons. Just however they fell led by the Spirit. What do they pray as they lay hands on the deacon? That is between the council member, the deacon, and the Lord.

Don’t make the people bow their heads and close their eyes during the Laying on of Hands. They want to see, and they ought to see what is happening.

Ordination Sermon
This is no time to skimp on your sermon (if there ever is a time to do so). Make this an outstanding sermon. Preach like you were preaching in a Revival Service. Preach the Word of God. Preach to the deacons, their wives and families, and to all the church. This is a great opportunity to emphasize the peacemaking role of deacons.

Presentation of the framed Deacon Certificate of Ordination
Have new deacons’ families come and stand with them for the prsentation. You may want to have them continue to stand at the front so that after the closing prayer folks can shake their hands and congratulate them.

Have a Fellowship after the Deacon Ordination Service to honor the deacons, especially the new deacons.

After Publicity
Send a brief news article to area newspapers. Send brief news article to your state Baptist Paper.

Afterwards make a nice photo copy or two of these articles and give them to the new deacons. By the way, a photo copy (on good paper) of a newspaper article will last longer than the original newsprint copy. Make sure to write on the copy the name, city, and state of the newspaper and the complete date.

NEXT: Deacon Charlie Joe Law; Questioning the Deacon Candidates; Order of Service for Deacon Ordination

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 22, AD 2010.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Preparing For The Deacon Ordination Service #1

Date & Time
Set the date and time of the Deacon Ordination Service at least three weeks ahead of time. This gives you time to publicize the meeting and invite area pastors. Deacon candidates have time to invite family and friends. We set it on a Sunday afternoon so those outside our church could attend without having to miss one of their regular Worship Services.

This also gives you time to order Deacon Certificate of Ordination, frame, etc.

Have an announcement in the Sunday bulletin for at least a couple of Sundays before the Ordination Service. Build it up to the church; let them know this is a special kind of service.

Contact the Baptist Association and area pastors and invite them to the Deacon Ordination Service. Ask the Ordination Council to arrive one hour early. The Ordination Council will consist of ordained pastors and deacons in your church and, if you choose, visiting ordained Baptist pastors and deacons.

Ordination Certificate & Frame
The ordination council should chose a Clerk; his primary responsibility should be to get all members of the ordination council to sign the Certificate of Ordination. Also, he may want to take notes of those serving on the council and the proceedings.

Make sure the Certificate is signed by the entire ordination counsel before the Ordination Service. If you don’t get everyone to sign it then, you never will have them all sign it. . If the vote is not to ordain, you can tear it up!

Sometimes the front of the certificate just has room for the pastor and the clerk to sign it. If there is not room on the front for everyone on the Ordination Council to sign, then have them all sign it on the back.

Place the filled out and signed Deacon’s Certificate of Ordination in a nice frame. Place a couple of copies of the Ordination Service Bulletin in the frame behind the Certificate.

If possible, have the Ordination Certificate framed and ready to present to the new deacon(s) at the conclusion of the service. This will also give the church an opportunity to see the framed Certificate after the service.

Deacon Candidates and their families
During the Ordination Service, at the appropriate time, introduce the current deacons and their wives, the deacon candidates and their wives, and the Ordination Council.

Explain what is going on
During the Ordination Service, let the congregation know what is going on. Explain the laying on of hands. Explain what the Bible teaches about ordination and the laying on of hands. Don’t assume they understand what is going on.

Ordination Council
The Ordination Council will meet an hour early in a back room. At the opening of the Ordination Service, you may want the council to walk in together and take their seats. Some churches have them sit in the choir loft. Or you could have them sit to the side at the front of the sanctuary.

NEXT: Preparing For the Deacon Ordination Service #2; Deacon Charlie Joe Law; Questioning the Deacon Candidates; Order of Service for Deacon Ordination

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 21, AD 2010.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

SBC Orlando, 2010

What’s going to happen at the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Florida? I wish I knew. No, I’ll not be offering any prophecies here. But this will be an important convention for several reasons.

First, the election of a new SBC president. It used to be a dream of many conservatives that the day would come when several men would be nominated president, and all of them would be committed to upholding the inerrancy of the of the Bible in their committee and trustee appointments. Thank God for the Conservative Resurgence. Thank God that apparently all four presidential nominees are solid conservatives.

Interestingly, it seems that solid conservative voters are divided among all four candidates. So the presidential election will prove very interesting.

Just because the SBC has been brought back to a strong belief in the inerrancy of the Word of God, however, does not mean all our problems are now solved. Baptists who are conservative and evangelistic still have their differences of opinion. A prime example is the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report (GCRTFR). Will it be accepted, rejected, or amended? Will the vote be close? Will it be voted in, but not completely implemented by Boards of Trustees? Is it as bad as some say, or as good as some say?

Right now it seems the odds are in favor of the GCRTFR being adopted. But not much in the SBC is absolutely certain. Baptist messengers can be a cantankerous, independent bunch. Some will get mad at the decisions of this year’s SBC, but most will get over it.

By the way, while some have criticized Baptist Press (click on their link in the right margin of this blog) for being biased against the GCRTFR, I’ve seen a different picture. I’ve loved their reporting since they changed from leaning moderate to liberal, to leaning conservative and pro-SBC as a result of the Conservative Resurgence. They do a great job reporting news in general and they are one of my favorite sites. Respected leaders are on both sides of the GCRTFR.  I’ve enjoyed reading both sides of this issue in Baptist Press (BP). They have had strong articles both pro and con, and I hope they continue that type of reporting.

As always, the Christian fellowship will be outstanding. Because, well, we’re brothers and sisters in Christ. Because as fellow laborers in the field we have so much in common. And because we need that talking, laughing, and joking with one another. Preachers will meet new friends and enjoy the fellowship of old companions from college and seminary. Preachers need fellowship with their fellow pastors.

There will, of course, be great singing and preaching. People will be challenged to be soul winners, and to allow God’s Word to transform their lives.

Crossover Orlando (local evangelistic emphasis leading up to each annual SBC) may have become the most important part of the annual SBC. At least it is for those who, as a result, come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And it is not just the official Crossover efforts. Many messengers will speak a word of witness to folks in Florida. Some will use the SBC provided Gospel tracts or bring their own. Many of those tracts will be left, hopefully with an above average tip, in restaurants and motels in Florida and across the USA. Only God knows how many messengers will point people to Jesus as a result of this trip.

Pray for the messengers and the ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention. Pray that God will work through us and because of us. And thank God that sometimes He works in spite of us.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 12, AD 2010.

Note: Deacon series will continue despite this interlude.