Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gun Control in Light of Connecticut School Shooting

First, my heart goes out to the loved ones of those murdered by the Connecticut school shooter. Words cannot describe the heartache they are enduring. 
But since the issue has been raised again, this article deals with the issue of gun rights and gun control.

Reasons I’m for Gun Rights
1. Our constitution gives the people the right to keep and bear arms.

2. We have a great tradition of bearing arms to hunt and provide for families, and to protect ourselves from criminals and tyranny.

A dictator always desires to limit the people from bearing arms. Some have said, don’t trust a government that doesn’t trust a law abiding citizen to own a firearm. An invading military would much prefer the citizens be unarmed.

Hunters contribute many millions each year that is used to preserve wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Those who grew up hunting often are the best prepared to serve their country in time of war.

Regular citizens who bear arms have often been the first responders and have protected many.

3. Few can afford armed security guards. Ironically, many who clamor for gun control, have the resources to hire their own armed security.

4. Police usually can only arrive at the scene after the crime has taken place. Until that time, you are on your own.

5. Usually the thing that stops a mass shooting is a gun in the hands of a person on the right side of the law. Thus the call for school teachers, airline pilots, and responsible citizens to be allowed to legally carry a weapon. This is not a demand all should have a gun, just those who feel comfortable doing so.

If a gunman were attacking your child’s school and it would be five long minutes before police arrive, would you feel more comfortable knowing a teacher or two had a gun and knew how to use it?

When a criminal shooter arrives on the scene, if everyone else is unarmed, the victims are for the most part helpless until police arrive. And until police arrive, can seem like an eternity. Even after they arrive they usually take more time to assess the situation before finding and engaging the gunman.

6. A gun gives a person the ability to protect themselves against the strongest intruder. As they say in Texas, “God made man, but Sam Colt made them equal.” (Samuel Colt developed the six-shooter handgun the Texas Rangers made famous. In one case 15 Texas Rangers successfully fought 70 Comanche Indians.)

7. A multitude of reports show that the mere possession of a firearm often stops crime against the firearm owner. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has often documented such evidence. In other words, just letting an intruder see you have a firearm, often causes him to end the attack.

8. Children can be safely raised around guns. I was. I grew up in a wonderful Christian pastor’s home where hunting and guns were a routine part of life. Before we reached ten, my brothers and I had received a “real” gun for Christmas. Parents should use good judgment; but when kids are taught and shown that guns are a dangerous weapon, they are inclined to treat them with respect and safety.

9. It really is true that when you hinder law abiding folks from having guns, only the criminals will have guns. And the criminals are then unhindered in their crime.

An area hospital seems to proudly display in large writing that guns are not allowed in their building. Rather than scare the criminal, such “gun free zones” give him great comfort. They assure him that if there are no police around, no other law abiding person will have a gun to challenge his criminal activity.

10. The national media seems to be overwhelmingly in favor of more gun control. They should be called on their bias and the other side should be heard more often.

11. If you were going to break into a home, would you rather break into a home you knew did not have a gun, or one that did own a firearm?

12. Most people who go on a shooting spree are cowards. They quickly back down to armed opposition.

13. A law abiding citizen has the right to defend himself and his property. And a Christian has as much right as anyone to defend himself.

If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. -Exodus 22:2

Jesus said to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39); He also said if you don’t have a sword, sell your garment and buy one (Luke 22:36). It sometimes depends on the individual situation.

King David said of God, “He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze” (2 Samuel 22:35; Psalm 18:34).

14. We are to be for peace, but sometimes the only way to make peace is to first make war. Some evil men will only be stopped at the point of a gun. Hence the need for law enforcement, and sometimes the need for a gun to defend yourself. Hence the Christian concept of a “Just War.”

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. -Romans 12:18

For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. -Romans 13:4

15. An occasional horrific shooting is going to occur regardless of what we do. Let’s do all we can reasonably do to prevent it, but tragedies are going to happen. Sometimes that is the price we pay for freedom. Don’t blame the gun, blame the evil person who did the killing.

16. Guns are not evil. They are a tool that can be used for good or evil. Some years ago I had the great privilege of going to Israel, a nation under constant attack. On one occasion a person in our tour group was uneasy at the sight of Israeli troops carrying automatic rifles. My response was that it makes me feel more comfortable when the good guys have the guns.

Guns have protected multitudes.

17. Those with the ability to do so, perhaps should consider having a gun to protect themselves and others. If you do, get a good dependable gun (not the cheapest one), practice, and learn the basic rules of safety.

I know of a church who has a high percentage of members with concealed carry permits. Woe to the one who would try to harm them during a worship service.

In the early days of Texas it was common for circuit riding preachers to carry a sidearm. The story is told of a preacher asked why he carried a six-shooter. “Don’t you know if it’s God’s time for you to go, there’s nothing you can do about it?” The preacher replied, “Yes, but I might run into an Indian and it’s his time to go.”

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 19, 2012

Other article in lower right margin.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Henry W. Grady on Alcohol

“My friends, hesitate before you vote liquor back into Atlanta, now that it is shut out. Don't trust it. It is powerful, aggressive, and universal in its attacks. Tonight it enters an humble home to strike the roses from a woman's cheek, and tomorrow it challenges this Republic in the halls of Congress. Today it strikes a crust from the lips of a starving child, and tomorrow levies tribute from the government itself. There is no cottage in this city humble enough to escape it - no palace strong enough to shut it out. It defies the law when it cannot coerce suffrage. It is flexible to cajole, but merciless in victory. It is the mortal enemy of peace and order. The despoiler of men, the terror of women, the cloud that shadows the face of children, the demon that has dug more graves and sent more souls un-shrived* to judgment than all the pestilences that have wasted life since God sent the plagues to Egypt, and all the wars that have been fought since Joshua stood beyond Jericho.

Oh, my countrymen, loving God and humanity, do not bring this grand old city again under the dominion of that power!

It can profit no man by its return. It can uplift no industry, revive no interest, remedy no wrong. You know that it cannot.

It comes to destroy, and it shall profit mainly by the ruin of your sons or mine. It comes to mislead human souls and to crush human hearts under its rumbling wheels. It comes to destroy the wife's love into despair, and her pride into shame. It comes to still the laughter on the lips of little children. It comes to stifle all the music of the home and fill it with silence and desolation. It comes to ruin your body and mind, to wreck your home.” 
-Henry W. Grady (AD 1850-1889). This is a portion of his speech given the evening of November 17, 1887 to a crowd of 8,000 in Atlanta, Georgia.

In his speech Grady also noted that money not spent on alcohol is saved and spent on things that strengthen the family and economy.

Henry W. Grady was a well-known journalist and outstanding orator of the post-Civil War days. He was a member of First Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia.

*Shrive - to free from guilt; to confess one’s sins. Un-shrive - un-forgiven, un-confessed

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 9, AD 2012. 

Other Articles:
10 Commandments for Christmas
Dr. R. L. Sumner on "Ancient Wine and the Bible"
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Random Advice to Pastors, Part 1
Church Buildings - Dos and Don'ts #1
Jesus Christ on Same-Sex Marriage

More articles in lower right margin.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Support Israel; Buy Their Products

I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.  -Genesis 12:3
I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  -Romans 11:1

Holy Scripture says the Jews are God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6; Romans 11:1). It says to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a Jew (Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2). Christians are to love all people, but we should especially love and support Israel.

This does not mean everything Israel does is right. Like any other group, there are good Jews and bad Jews. But God has placed His hand on them. God said He would bless those who bless them, and curse those who curse them (Genesis 12:3).

One of the reasons God has blessed America is because we have been a friend to Israel. Thank God that the USA continues to support Israel.

One way we can be supportive of Israel is to buy their products. Purchasing products made in Israel helps support their economy and their country.

The question then comes, But how can I find products made in Israel?
Simple. Just go to:
Israeli Hardware, Tools

Christian Merchandise
Maybe you need a Mezuzah (Scripture to put on your doorpost), or a Shofar (ram’s horn, trumpet; used to call the Israelites to worship or to battle).

Did you know Lowes, J. C. Penney, Walmart, K-Mart, and Macy’s sell Israeli products?

Obviously, I would not support or buy every product made in Israel. So use your good judgment. But start supporting Israel not just in words, but in tangible ways.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 26, AD 2012.

Related Article:
Israel, May They Prosper Who Love You
Many other articles in lower right margin. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dr. Boyd Hunt on the Atonement, Calvinism

Dr. W. Boyd Hunt (AD 1916-2007) was pastor of First Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, and theology professor (1953-1999) at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He shares some interesting views on the Atonement, Limited Atonement, modified Calvinism, and Hyper-Calvinism. 
“In the post-Reformation period the views of the Reformers were often interpreted with extreme legalism. Hyper-Calvinism, with its view of a literal substitution and limited atonement (i.e., that Christ died for the elect only), developed in this period.

According to hyper-Calvinism, if Christ had died for the nonelect, their suffering eternally in hell would mean the exacting of the penalty twice, once from Christ on the cross and once from the sinner in hell. This, it was charged, would be unjust.

The most virile group of English Baptists in the 18th century were infected with this hyper-Calvinism. Holding to a limited atonement, they were called Particular Baptists, as opposed to General Baptists, who viewed the atonement as unlimited (i.e., that Christ died for all men).

Hyper-Calvinism persisted among Baptists in America longer than in England. It was dominant in the theology of James P. Boyce. The main stream of orthodox thought, however, has followed a modified Calvinism which interprets Christ’s substitutionary death in ethical and non-legalistic terms…It was the view of Edgar Y. Mullins and W. T. Conner.” 
-Dr. W. Boyd Hunt, Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, Broadman Press, Nashville; 1958.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November14, AD 2012.

Other articles:
Romans 9, Calvinism, Traditionalism
Calvinism and Being Dead in Sins
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
More articles in lower right margin.

Monday, October 29, 2012

What About Halloween?

Christian views about Halloween include:
1. Halloween is just innocent fun where you scare kids and trick-or-treat. Some churches even used to have a “Haunted House.”

2. Some add to #1 a few innocent, or not so innocent pranks. A common one years ago was turning over outhouses.

3. We should be cautious because Halloween has overtones of witchcraft.

4. We should not participate in Halloween at all because of its association with witchcraft, evil, etc.

5. Many Christians enjoy giving out candy to trick-or-treaters and including a Gospel tract geared to kids and / or Halloween. (See Halloween tracts at; 800/548-7228). Or you could make your own flyer presenting the Gospel and inviting them to church.

6. Many churches now have a Fall Festival at Halloween. They de-emphasize the witchcraft side but have a great party for kids. It is a safe place for kids to go on Halloween. It gives them a chance to present kids and parents with the Gospel (Good News of Jesus).

7. Some churches have a “Judgment House” that presents what the Bible teaches about sin, forgiveness, Heaven and Hell.

Whatever your view of Halloween, a believer should have nothing to do with witchcraft, the occult, or astrology (astronomy is OK!).

Deuteronomy 18:10-14, The Bible (NKJV)
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.” (See also Leviticus 19:26, 31; Galatians 5:20; etc.)

Our final say should be the Word of God.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 29, AD 2012.

Other Articles:
Why Use Tracts?

Sources of Gospel Tracts; Tract Racks
More articles in lower right hand margin.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why Should I Vote?

We have a responsibility to be good citizens. We should do what we can to make this country a better place in which to live. As Christians we are to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (the state), and to God the things that are God’s” -Mark 12:17.

Scripture tells us to be respectful to the governmental authorities: Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17.

In a democracy informed voting can make a real difference for the better.

What if I don’t agree with either of the candidates?

Rarely will you agree on every detail. Ask who is the closest to what you believe on the major issues of the day. Frankly, sometimes we have to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Where can I get information on the issues & candidates?

Newspapers, local & world news broadcasts, magazines such as WORLD (, Southern Baptist Texan (

Ask those you respect about the issues.

Internet sources include:;

Is voting important?

Yes. In the early days of our country by one vote it was determined that we would speak English instead of German.  Two men became U.S. President by just one vote. Every vote matters. Even if you lose, you have done the right thing. Let’s do the right thing in the right way, and leave the results to God.

What exactly should I do?

1. Register to vote at least 30 days before the election.

2. Be informed about the candidates and the issues.

3. Pray.

4. Vote your convictions.

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote . . . that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” -Samuel Adams, one of the founding fathers of our country.

“The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke, British Statesman

"I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.” -Evangelist Billy Graham,; 2012.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 24, AD 2012

Other Articles: 
Thank You President George W. Bush

Jesus Christ on Same-Sex Marriage
More articles in lower right margin.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Francis Wayland on Calvinism in 1856

Francis Wayland (AD 1796-1865) was a leading Baptist pastor, writer, educator. Among other schools, he studied at Andover Theological Seminary where he was influenced by Moses Stuart. He pastored First Baptist Church, Boston, Massachusetts, First Baptist Church, Providence, Rhode Island, and was president of Brown University. Wayland fought slavery and alcohol. 

He was a leader in the Northern Baptist Convention, yet also influential in the Southern Baptist Convention. Wayland was a mentor to J. P. Boyce and Wayland’s book, Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches was highly recommended by B. H. Carroll. 

Historian Leon McBeth said of Wayland, “He became almost an oracle, a leader whose judgment on every subject was sought and usually followed.”

Below are some of Dr. Wayland’s thoughts, published in book form in 1856, on Calvinism and the extent of the Atonement:

“The extent of the atonement has been and still is a matter of honest but not unkind difference. Within the last fifty years a change has gradually taken place in the views of a large portion of our brethren. At the commencement of that period Gill’s Divinity was a sort of standard, and Baptists imbibing his opinions were what may be called almost hyper-Calvinistic.

A change commenced upon the publication of the writings of Andrew Fuller, especially his ‘Gospel Worthy of all Acceptation,’ which, in the northern and eastern States, has become almost universal. The old view still prevails, if I mistake not, in our southern and western States. This, however, does not interrupt the harmony which should subsist among brethren. Dr. Baldwin and Dr. Stillman differed in opinion on this subject; the former following Fuller, the latter adhering to Gill. No two ministers, however, ever lived in more fraternal intercourse, exchanging with and siding with and aiding each other, and rejoicing in each other’s prosperity, as it became the servants of one common Lord. I have known men believing the atonement to be limited, preach with great acceptance in New England, where the contrary belief prevails almost universally, and the contrary has been even more frequently the case. Men, in this respect, differ amicably; and it is found that when their hearts are warmed with the love of God and desire for the salvation of souls, they all preach very much alike.

It is difficult at the present day to conceive to what extent the doctrine of the limited atonement, and the views of election which accompanied it, were carried. I once knew a popular minister, who used to quote the passage, ‘God so loved the world,’ etc., by inserting the word elect before world: ‘God so loved the elect world’ etc.

I was, in the early part of my ministry, settled in a respectable town in Massachusetts. One of my members, a very worthy man, and the son of a Baptist minister, and reputed to be ‘very clear in the doctrines’ - (this was the term applied to this form of belief) - had an interesting family wholly given up to worldliness. I wished to converse with them on the subject of personal religion, and mentioned to him my desire. He kindly but plainly told me that he did not wish any one to converse with his children on that subject. If they were elected, God would convert them in his own time; but if not, talking would do them no good, it would only make them hypocrites. He was, I believe, the last pillar of Gillism then remaining in the church.”

-Dr. Francis Wayland, Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches, Sheldon & Co., New York; 1867. First published in book form in 1856; previous to that published in The Examiner. (The Preface in his book is dated October 28, 1856.)

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 22, AD 2012. 

Other Articles:
Books on Calvinism, Predestination

Unlimited Atonement, Jesus Died For All
Adrian Rogers on Predestination, Calvinism
Paige Patterson on Calvinism
Acts 29, Alcohol, and the Southern Baptist Convention
B. H. Carroll on Hyper-Calvinism
More articles can be found in lower right margin.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Our First Great Sorrow

" Our baby is dead. Just as the sunlight of his joyous life was shedding its brightest beams in our home, God took him. The merry prattle of his childish voice is gone. The house is hushed. A muffled, voiceless sadness broods all around a home that this young life had made bright and happy and radiant with childish innocence and love.

It would not seem so hard to give him up if he had died in his earlier infancy. But after the angel lips had learned to lisp his mother's name, and after his tender childish words were all in all to us, he went away. But we will all soon follow after.

He was born, he lived, he died. This is the sum of every human life. The pall of death lingers around our home, but the saved in Heaven have another voice in their angelic choir. When before he died he so often asked us all to sing, he was hearing the distant music of the land of God. He is with them now, and will wait to welcome us when we, too, are called to join the hosts who have gone on.

We have for many years chronicled the death of other people's children. In every sad notice of death's silent march we have extended words of sympathy as best we could to those bereaved. But in this hour, when our own dear child has left our home never to come again, how empty sounds the voice of human sympathy!

No words can heal the wound in our hearts; no voice can chase away the sadness that lingers about our home. To those who are thus bereaved, all save the voice of God is dumb. But the angels seem to whisper as we drop tears of pain upon these sad lines, ‘He will meet you at the river when the Father calls you home.'

And now let us draw the drapery of silence around our baby's grave. No one can heal our wounded hearts, but the hand of God will touch the scars, and when our last work is done, we will go to meet our darling in a home where there is no death, and where sorrow and sadness never come."
-J. B. Cranfill
Published upon the death of his child.  Cranfill (AD 1858-1942) was a Texas Southern Baptist pastor, journalist, denominational leader.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 15, AD 2012.

Related book:
The Spiritual Condition of Infants by Adam Harwood

Monday, October 8, 2012

The True Meaning Of Gluttony

In debates on alcohol, some pro social drinkers invariably bring up gluttony. “Why do you who are for abstaining from alcohol ignore gluttony?” “Ever seen the fat preachers at the Southern Baptist Convention?” “Have you ever heard a sermon on gluttony?” “If you’re overweight how can you preach against alcohol?”
The above comments show a profound misunderstanding of the biblical meaning of gluttony. Gluttony is not being overweight. A glutton is not someone who has eaten a bigger, or less politically correct meal than you have.

Well, am I just explaining away Scripture and making it mean nothing? Not at all. Rather, I am paying much more attention to Scripture than those who so often point fingers and cry, “Glutton!” I’m actually giving the term much more meaning than those who repeatedly use it.

What does the Scripture say?

And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ -Deuteronomy 21:20

For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. -Proverbs 23:21

Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father. -Proverbs 28:7

The Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible explains:
Glutton - a person who is debased and excessive in his eating habits. Gluttony is more than overeating. In its association with drunkenness (Proverbs 23:21; Deuteronomy 21:20), it describes a life given to excess. When Jesus was called a ‘gluttonous man” (Matthew 11:19), His critics were accusing Him of being loose and excessive by associating with tax collectors and sinners.” -Herbert Lockyer, Sr., with F. F. Bruce and R. K. Harrison, Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville; 1986.

The Holman Bible Dictionary says:
Glutton - One habitually given to greedy and voracious eating; associated with stubbornness, rebellion, disobedience, drunkenness, and wastefulness (Deuteronomy 21:20). A more general meaning for the Hebrew term as a ‘good-for-nothing’ (Proverbs 28:7, TEV) is reflected in some translations: ‘wastrel’ (Deuteronomy 21:20 REB); ‘profligate’ (Deuteronomy 21:20 NIV; Proverbs 28:7 REB); ‘riotous’ (Proverbs 28:7, KJV.”

Glutton- “Essentially a voluptuary or a debauchee.” -Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia.

Gluttony is much more than overeating. It describes a man who is greedy, stubborn, rebellious, disobedient, lazy, a drunk, and yes, a voracious eater. Gluttony describes a man who is good for nothing. Admittedly, we do have our share of gluttons today. But they are not simply those that weigh more than your requirements. Some of the most godly, useful folks may be overweight.

D. L. Moody and Charles H. Spurgeon were overweight, and also greatly used of God. According to biblical standards, they were certainly no gluttons.

So next time you see a fellow enjoying a cheeseburger or barbeque ribs, perhaps you should hold your tongue. Perchance you are the judgmental one.

Back to the issue of gluttony and alcohol. A person can abstain from alcohol and prosper. Abstain from food and you will die. Food is necessary, alcohol is not. 

One final consideration. Suppose your daughter was driving down a dark, narrow, two lane road late at night. She sees headlights up ahead. Would you rather the fellow driving toward her be driving fat, or driving drunk?

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 8, AD 2012.

Alabama Baptist Review of "Ancient Wine and the Bible"
Charles H. Spurgeon on Alcohol
Other articles in lower right margin.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Alabama Baptist Review of "Ancient Wine and the Bible"

Book Reviews
September 20, 2012
Ancient Wine and the Bible David R. Brumbelow. Carrollton, Ga.: Free Church Press, 2011. 305 pp. (Paperback).

The Middle East is a hot and dry climate. In ancient times, there wasn’t enough safe water to drink. They had no refrigeration. They had no choice but to drink wine.

Ever hear something like the above statement? Did you believe it? Many — maybe most — do, but according to David Brumbelow only parts of it are true: the Middle East is hot and dry, and there was no refrigeration. In this book Brumbelow challenges commonly accepted ideas about wine consumption in Bible times, stating flatly that much of it is untrue.

The author maintains the word “wine” in the Bible refers to both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drink, much like our use of “cider” today, consulting ancient primary documents by such writers as Pliny, Plutarch and Josephus to support his argument. He continues to cite ancient documents and modern-day scholars as he builds his case, offering convincing evidence for his position.

The book is well written and thorough. If you have questions (Didn’t Jesus turn water into wine? How could they keep grape juice from fermenting?), the author probably addresses them in the book.

-by Martine Bates Sharp Ed. D; Alabama Baptist, Book Reviews
Reprinted by permission.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 1, AD 2012. 

Other Articles:
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book
Book Review of "Alcohol Today" by R. L. Sumner
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times
Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?
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, September 3, 2012

"A Loving God Wouldn't Send Anyone To Hell"

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. -Jesus Christ; Matthew 25:41
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8

Occasionally someone would say to Joe, “A loving God would not send anyone to Hell.” Joe Brumbelow would sometimes respond with this illustration:

Suppose your medical doctor told you that you were dying and there was no hope - and you replied, “Isn’t there any hope? Doctor, you can’t just let me die.” Suppose you begged and pleaded with the doctor until he said, “There is just one hope. There is a very rare and expensive medicine, but I know you could never afford it.” You replied, “Doctor, please let me live. You’ve got to get me that medicine.”

Suppose the doctor took pity on you and determined he was going to obtain that medicine, no matter the cost. The doctor sold his house, sold his car and anything else he had of value. Then he borrowed all the money he could, even though it would put him in debt for the rest of his life. Finally he scraped the money together and gave it all to buy you that vial of costly medicine.

The doctor comes to you with the medicine and tells you how much it cost him. “My wife and children will be in poverty from now on, but we couldn’t let you die,” he tells you. He then carefully hands you the precious vial of medicine.

Suppose you looked at that vial of medicine in disdain, and then threw it to the floor. The doctor watches in horror as the vial that cost him everything breaks and the medicine runs into the floor.

Then suppose you had the audacity to say, “Doctor, you’re not just going to let me die are you? I thought you loved me more than that.”

You were a sinner headed for Hell. But God loved you and gave His only begotten Son, the most precious thing He had. Jesus went to the cross for you. He shed His royal blood, gave His life for you and then rose again. Because of the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for you on Calvary, you can simply accept Him as Lord and Saviour and be forgiven and escape Hell. But you reject the most precious gift that has ever been given; then have the audacity to say, “How could a loving God send someone like me to Hell?" 
-from The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, Hannibal Books.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 3, AD 2012.

Other Articles:
The Girl Who Saved His Ministry
Adrian Rogers on "Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow"
 How to Get a Life When Ministry Drains it Out of You
Other articles in lower right margin.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Memories Of Calvin Miller

In 1978 as an ETBU student, I served as the preacher on a Revival Team in the state of Iowa. We were sponsored by the Home Mission Board, now the North American Mission Board. We served throughout the state for the summer. A few times we attended seminars given for Iowan Baptist Student Union students doing evangelistic work for the summer. Most of these students were relatively new Christians excited about telling others about Jesus. 

One of the speakers for these seminars was a professor from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MWBTS). He was theologically liberal. For example, on one occasion he explained that in the Bible Luke said such and such, and Paul said something else. His conclusion - Paul was right and Luke was wrong. He seemed to delight in pointing out what he considered mistakes and contradictions in the Bible. The leader of these students came to me almost in tears telling of how this professor had shaken the faith of some students. After all, here was a professor supported by Southern Baptists, teaching there were mistakes in the Bible.

The leader made a wise decision. He scheduled Calvin Miller from the neighboring state of Nebraska to give a lecture the next week. Miller gave a scholarly, moving lecture on why we can trust the divine inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. In one session he put it all together and it made sense. He confirmed the once shaken faith of these new believers. One student after another came away saying things like, “That answered my questions,” and, “That’s what I believed all along.”

We had lunch with Dr. Miller and he told a couple of fascinating stories.

Much like these college students, Miller began with a simple, child-like faith in the trustworthiness of the Bible. He went as a student to MWBTS and his faith too, was shaken. He began to doubt more and more. Finally, it came to a culmination. He was pastor of a church at the time and, as I recall, it was a deacon who came to him asking him to pray about a serious matter. The young pastor expressed his concern. The deacon thanked him for his concern, but said he especially wanted him to pray about it. Miller then replied, “I’m sorry but I don’t believe in prayer any more and don’t believe it would do any good.” The wise deacon replied, “You may not be able to pray for me, but I can pray for you.” Over time, Calvin Miller came back to a stronger faith than ever.

Calvin Miller also told a story that happened at MWBTS while he was a student there. He had a professor who did not believe Isaiah wrote the biblical book of Isaiah. (This was well before the Conservative Resurgence; all professors at MWBTS now believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.) The professor never missed a chance to cast doubt on Isaiah authoring the book that bears his name.

One day in the middle of the class lecture, there was a knock on the door. A Western Union man came in saying he had an urgent telegram for… and he called the professor by name. The professor affirmed he was the one, and the messenger gave him the telegram and left. The professor opened the telegram, read it, laid it on the desk, and said, “Boys, some things just aren’t funny.” The telegram said, “I did too write my book. Signed, Isaiah.”

By the way, I also enjoyed hearing him say that the fastest growing churches were usually led by conservative, premillennial pastors.

Later when a student at SWBTS, I saw Miller again as he attended a theater play in Fort Worth that was based on his Trilogy.

Calvin Miller, who at the age of 75 moved from this life to the next on August 19, 2012, was a great encouragement to conservatives in the days leading up to the SBC Conservative Resurgence (that began in 1979). He encouraged many young students and preachers. His preaching and writing have inspired multitudes.

Note: On the above stories I’ve tried to be accurate but I’m going by my memory of over 30 years ago. If anyone has a recorded or written document on these stories, I’d love to be made aware of them.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 21, AD 2012.

Calvin Miller, author, pastor, prof, dies at 75, from Baptist Press
Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
Random Advice to Pastors, Part 1
Young Preachers - Finding a Place to Preach; Part 1
More articles in lower right margin.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Romans 9 Revisited; Non-Calvinist Views

We previously gave quotes by Traditionalists (also called non-Calvinists; Moderate Calvinists; Biblicists) on Romans 9, in particular Romans 9:13 concerning Jacob and Esau. The previous quotes were by Adrian Rogers, The New Bible Commentary: Revised, Norman Geisler, R. L. Sumner, Steve W. Lemke, Warren W. Wiersbe, and H. A. Ironside.

In short, Roman 9:13 is not speaking of personal salvation, but of God’s choosing one nation over another nation. There is no warrant in this passage to make it refer to whether an individual goes to Heaven or Hell.

Please check out the quotes at the previous post (Romans 9, Calvinism, Traditionalism).

Here are some additional quotes to ponder on Romans 9.

“High above human thought, beyond the scope of human sight, of the human mind, the Omnipotence and Omniscience is ruling, and his rule is supreme, and yet nobody is taken by the hair and dragged into Hell, and nobody is taken by the hair and dragged into Heaven, as he will show more particularly later.”
“The election of the Jewish nation looked to the salvation of the Jews and Gentiles that received the message of God, also the covenants, and the coming of Christ from them according to the flesh. That election looked through them to others and, so far as salvation in heaven is concerned, the Jews that believed were saved, and so far as other nations were concerned he quotes certain parts in Hosea and the Old Testament, the paragraph referring to the ingathering of the Gentiles: ‘I will call them my people which were not my people.’”
-B. H. Carroll, Interpretation of the English Bible, Romans 9. Carroll (AD 1843-1914) was the founding president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Carroll was pretty Calvinistic, but his above comments are noteworthy.

“But election in Romans 9:10-13 is not selection for eternal salvation or damnation. Rather, it is selection for the roles God has called individuals and nations to play in their earthly life.”
-The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, NT Editor Everett F. Harrison, Moody; 1962.

“That entire passage of Scripture we have just read [Romans 9:10-18] above does not even mention salvation. When God chose Isaac to be the head of the nation Israel instead of Ishmael, it was not a ‘matter of salvation.’ When God chose Jacob instead of Esau to have the birthright and the headship of the nation, it had nothing to do with salvation.”
-John R. Rice, Predestined For Hell? No!, Sword of the Lord; 1958. Rice was an influential independent Baptist author and evangelist.

“So by the examples of Moses and Pharaoh, Paul demonstrates that in His sovereignty God shows both mercy and justice - mercy where man’s free will makes it possible; justice where man’s free will makes it necessary. In both cases God acts in a manner true to His nature and without the counsel or consent of anyone outside Himself.”
“Salvation and glory are God’s will in election and predestination, but they are for those who through faith in Christ respond positively to God’s gracious offer.”
-Hershel H. Hobbs, Romans, Word Books; 1977. Hobbs is a past SBC president and chairman of the 1963 Baptist Faith & Message committee.

Concerning Romans 9:21-22, “Such a question demands a reasonable answer. Here Paul argues that the justice and grace of God are displayed in humans, both through the persistent unbeliever (whom he calls a vessel prepared for wrath) and through the believer (a vessel of mercy). Notice that Paul does not say God created one vessel for wrath and another for mercy. It says He endured the vessels of wrath that were prepared for destruction. The expression ‘fitted for destruction’ is in the Greek middle voice and should be interpreted ‘man fits himself for destruction.’”
-Woodrow Kroll, Romans: Righteousness in Christ, AMG Publishers; 2002. Editors Mal Couch & Ed Hindson.

“Paul goes back again into Jewish history and shows God in His sovereignty pardoning erring Israel (v. 14-15) and punishing erring Pharaoh (v. 16-18)…”
“Those marked for destruction are ‘fitted to destruction,’ but it is not stated that God so fitted them, as if God had prepared those vessels for wrath in contrast with those He prepared for mercy.
God does not create people in order to damn them. However, when people behave like Pharaoh, God so deals with them that the inbred wickedness reveals itself in such a way that they become fit objects for His punishment.”
-John Phillips, Exploring Romans, Kregel; 1969.

“Among modern scholars the list of those who see no individual predestination to eternal life or death [in Romans 9] is impressive.”
-John Piper, The Justification of God, Baker Books; 1983, 1996.
He goes on to say the list of scholars on the other side is just as impressive. As most know, Piper is a leading voice for strong 5-point Calvinists. My point here is that in contrast to some Calvinists who believe no one credible would disagree with the Calvinist interpretation of Romans 9, even Piper acknowledges the list of those who do is impressive.

“In the very next verse (Romans 9:22) Paul told of the great patience God showed toward those who deserve wrath. And in the following chapter he discussed the liberty and responsibility of human beings. God’s freedom operates within a moral framework. Human logic cannot harmonize divine sovereignty and human freedom, but both are clearly taught in Scripture. Neither should be adjusted to fit the parameters of the other. They form an antimony that by definition eludes our best attempts at explanation.”
“The grammatical structure of vv. 22-24 is difficult. The NIV has chosen to separate the final clause of v. 22 along with all of v. 23 from the narrative both before and after. As a result, v. 24 would explain that even believers were at one time ‘objects of wrath.’ Even though God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, those who turn to him in faith, both Jew and Gentile, find themselves called by God. Far from being an arbitrary despot, God allows those who believe to take their place as ‘objects of his mercy.’”
-Robert H. Mounce, Romans, New American Commentary, Broadman & Holman; 1995.

“It is important to remember that the preceding verses and illustrations do not deal with individual salvation or the origin of evil, and in like manner, neither do these [Romans 9:22-23]. They actually refer to the same thing, particularly to God’s dealing with Pharaoh. Therefore, the emphasis is upon God’s patience toward evil and rebellious sinners. God’s delay in exercising His wrath is not because of inability or unwillingness, as it might seem to some, but rather to make His power known.”
-Ronnie W. Rogers, Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist, Crossbooks; 2012. Rogers’ book has a good, fairly extensive study of Romans 9.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 20, AD 2012. 

Other Articles: 
Romans 9, Calvinism, Traditionalism
“A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” 
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Dr. Brad Reynolds' Book Recommendations on Alcohol
Traditional Baptists (Non-Calvinists) Of 1840
More articles in lower right margin.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lord's Supper, Questions & Answers

“Do this in remembrance of Me.”  -Jesus Christ; 1 Corinthians 11:24

What does the Lord’s Supper represent?
When we partake of it we memorialize the sacrificial death of our Savior and remember that one day He will come again.

What does the bread represent? 
The body of Jesus given for us on the cross for our salvation.

What does the cup represent?
The blood that Jesus shed for our sins.

Why is the bread unleavened?
At the last supper Jesus was sharing a Passover meal with the disciples when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. Passover bread was always unleavened. Also, in the Bible leaven (or yeast) is sometimes used as a symbol of sin. Jesus, of course, was without sin.
Our church uses matzo, the bread Jews use for their Passover today (it can be purchased at larger grocery stores). It tastes like an unsalted cracker. Some churches have someone bake an unleavened loaf of bread; but it should be unleavened!

Do the bread and cup really become the body and blood of Jesus?
No. They are only symbols to remind us of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. If they did literally become the body and blood of Jesus, Jesus would be sacrificed again each time we observe this supper. Jesus’ death and resurrection was the once for all perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity.

But, didn’t Jesus say of the bread, “This is My body” and of the cup, “This is My blood?”
Yes, but we believe He meant it symbolically rather than literally. A man may point to a 3”X5” photo and say, “This is my wife.” He does not mean it literally, but that it is a symbol, a representation of his wife. Other examples: Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” and “I am the door.” Jesus, however, is not a literal loaf of bread or a door that swings on hinges. These are statements obviously meant to be taken symbolically.

There are three views in different church denominations:
Transubstantiation - the bread and cup literally become the body and blood of Jesus.
Consubstantiation - the bread and cup spiritually become the body and blood of Jesus.
Symbolic - the bread and cup are not changed at all. They simply represent the body and blood of Jesus. Baptists take the symbolic view.

Who has the authority to observe the Lord’s Supper?
We believe Jesus gave that authority and commandment to the local church. A Baptist Association or convention should not present the Lord’s Supper. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are local church ordinances, not denominational ordinances.

Who should partake of the Lord’s Supper?
Only those who have personally received Christ as their Lord and Savior. The proper order should be: Salvation, Baptism, Lord’s Supper.

Is the Lord’s Supper a sacrament? 
No. Sacrament implies that it has saving power. Faith in Jesus saves us, not good works (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are to do good works, not to save ourselves, but because we are saved.

Is the Lord’s Supper an ordinance of the church?
Yes. An ordinance is a special commandment that Jesus gave to the church. Baptists believe Jesus gave two ordinances to the local church, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

How often should we partake of the Lord’s Supper?
Jesus said, “As often as you eat this bread…” He did not say how often. Most Baptist churches have the Lord’s Supper about every two or three months. Since the Last Supper, where Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, took place in the evening, churches usually have it during the Sunday Evening Service. Of course, it can be observed in either a morning or evening service.

How should we prepare to take the Lord’s Supper?
With a reverent, serious attitude. If you are not right with God, you should either get right with Him or not partake of the Lord’s Supper until you do so. The Bible says we should examine ourselves. Never partake of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner.

Should fermented wine be used in the Lord’s Supper?
No. Though the biblical word for wine can mean either fermented* or unfermented grapejuice, that word is never used in reference to the Lord’s supper. Rather it is either the “cup” or the “fruit of the vine.” Using fermented wine supports an evil industry that wrecks countless lives. Alcohol impairs your judgment and causes medical, spiritual, and moral problems. It presents a bad testimony and would be harmful to children and those having a struggle with alcohol. The best, safest Christian practice is to avoid beverage alcohol altogether (Proverbs 23:31-32).
* The words for wine in Scripture were used of either alcoholic (fermented) wine or non-alcoholic (unfermented) wine. Non-alcoholic wine was common in Bible times and could easily be preserved (see Ancient Wine and the Bible). The first century Jewish historian Josephus referred to unfermented wine as “wine,” and as the “fruit of the vine.”

Is the Lord’s Supper to be a big meal?
No. Only the bread and cup are served. Dinner-on-the-grounds, a fellowship meal, etc. should be enjoyed at another time.

Should I let my young children or grandchildren partake in the Lord’s Supper.
Only if they have personally and publicly trusted Jesus as their Savior.

Won’t my children feel left out?
Perhaps, but it gives you the perfect opportunity to teach them the meaning of the Lord’s Supper and the importance of them one day accepting Jesus as their Savior. Parents send a terrible message to their children when they allow them to partake of the Lord’s Supper when they have not yet been saved. You are saying it really doesn’t matter whether you trust Jesus or not.

What is open, close, and closed communion?
Communion is another term used for the Lord’s Supper.
Open Communion is when all believers are welcome to partake when a church has the Lord’s Supper.
Close Communion is when only believers of that particular church denomination or fellowship can partake.
Closed Communion is when only members of that particular local church can partake of the Lord’s Supper.
If you are visiting a church that is having the Lord’s Supper, it is best not to partake unless their view is plainly spelled out to you. Be respectful of the beliefs of others. It should not bother you in the least if they are practicing Closed Communion; that is their right.
Many churches today take the position of Open Communion and say, “let a man examine himself” (1 Corinthians 11:28). Rather than the pastor, deacons, or church having to examine each person, that responsibility is placed on the individual. These pastors also explain, “This is not my table, it is the table of the Lord.”

I saw someone who did not partake of the Lord’s Supper. I wonder why? 
That is really none of your business and should not be a topic of gossip. That is between them and the Lord. They may have good reasons of which you have no idea.

What Bible passages tell about the Lord’s Supper? 
Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:23-29.

“The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.” -Baptist Faith & Message, 2000, doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” -1 Corinthians 11:26

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 15, AD 2012. 

Other Articles:
Why We Don't Use Alcohol For The Lord's Supper
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs
Charles H. Spurgeon on Alcohol
Flee Immorality
Baptists on Tithing
More articles in lower right margin

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Traditional Baptists (Non-Calvinists) Of 1840

Many, though not all, Calvinists have said the Southern Baptist Convention was founded by those who were strict 5-point Calvinists. Some have also said the term Traditional Baptists is a misnomer since Baptists of the 1800s were 5-point Calvinists and the Traditional view did not become prevalent until well into the 1900s. 

Yes, many SBC leaders of the 1800s were strict 5-point Calvinists, but certainly not all. Traditionalists (also called non-Calvinists, Moderate Calvinists) form the large majority of Baptists today, and, contrary to some, they were well represented in the 1800s as well.

For example, Traditionalists were alive and well in Texas in 1840.

Founding of the Union Baptist Association (UBA) of Texas in 1840.

Historian Dr. Robert A. Baker tells of the formation of the first Baptist Association in Texas in 1840, and says of their articles of faith:

“The articles of faith modified the harsh Calvinism of the anti-missionary group. The sixth article read:
‘We believe that Christ died for sinners, and that the sacrifice which He made has so honored the divine law that the way of salvation is consistently opened up to every sinner to whom the gospel is sent, and that nothing but their own voluntary rejection of the gospel prevents their salvation.’”
-Robert A. Baker, The Blossoming Desert: A Concise History of Texas Baptists, Word Books; 1970. Baker was a longtime history professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

While the SBC was not formed until 1845, the UBA then immediately became a part of the SBC. The leaders in the formation of the UBA were leaders for years to come among Southern Baptists in Texas. The first UBA Executive Committee included T. W. Cox, R. E. B. Baylor, J. W. Collins, Z. N. Morrell, William H. Cleveland, James S. Davis, a Brother Yeamen of Montgomery County, and a Brother Andrews of Houston, probably S. P. Andrews.

Baylor University was named after R. E. B. Baylor. Z. N. Morrell was a very influential pastor in the early days of the Texas Republic and the State of Texas.

Clearly the early leaders of the UBA rejected the Calvinist doctrine of Limited Atonement. This is just one of many examples. So for those who think SBC Traditionalists are a product of the mid 1900s, actually they have been around throughout the history of the SBC, and well before.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 11, AD 2012.   

More Articles:
“A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” 
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
Q & A on SBC Conservative Resurgence, part 1
Paige Patterson on Calvinism
More articles listed in lower right margin.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Keeping A Baptist Church Baptist

Baptist churches are free. Most are governed by congregational vote and authority. In other words, the pastor, deacons, and other church leaders certainly have a say, and we recognize that Jesus Christ is to be Head of the church, but the final decision in a local church is up to the vote of the members. 

Therefore, because of this freedom, we sometimes hear of a once Baptist church becoming non-denominational, charismatic or Pentecostal, liberal, or you name it. This is not intended to run down other Christian groups. But I admit to being Baptist and have good reasons for being so.

Here are a few things that may help keep your Baptist Church Baptist. You may not, however, agree with or intend to use all my suggestions. Well, like a good Baptist you are free to pick and choose among my points. Some have said, “You can tell a Baptist, but you can’t tell him much.” These actions can also make you accountable and prevent you and your church from straying too far from biblical theology.

1. Have Baptist in the name of your church. What better way to let your church, the community, and the world know who you are an what you believe. No confusion or deception there. Some also use the SBC logo or the initials “SBC” in small letters on their church sign.
This, however, is not to condemn those Baptist churches who do not include Baptist in their name. Some who do not have Baptist in their church name have my friendship and great respect. There are good, valid reasons on both sides of this issue.

2. Every now and then do a study on what Baptists believe and why they believe it. Sometimes it may be a formal study such as going through the Baptist Faith & Message, 2000. Sometimes it may be one point in a sermon. It can just be a passing comment or illustration. Preach and teach on the Baptist Distinctives (see articles below); what distinguishes Baptists from other Evangelical Christian groups.

3. Teach about and take part in the basic Southern Baptist Mission Offerings: Cooperative Program, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for the International Mission Board, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for the North American Mission Board. Don’t just put CP in your bulletin or financial report. Write it out and explain what it is and what it is for. For these offerings use posters, Prayer Guides, bulletin inserts. Don’t run it in the ground, but let people know where their mission money is going.

4. Every now and then refer to or quote significant Baptist leaders. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with quoting non-Baptist Christian leaders, and I do so.

5. Have key Baptist Christian books in your church library. Talk about them from time to time. Make books available, especially to your church leaders, that explain and defend Baptist beliefs.

6. Subscribe your entire church, or at least your church leadership, to your Baptist State paper. We subscribe every one of our members to the Southern Baptist Texan. Subscribe them to the print copy; you can tell people to look it up on the internet, but they are more likely to read the print copy when it is mailed to their home.
Every now and then during a church service I will refer to an article in it. It will back up what you preach and stand for. It helps your people keep up with what going on with our SBC. Yes, you will occasionally disagree with it, that just goes with being Baptist.
When you have a Revival, church anniversary, a preacher passes away, etc., send the news to your state Baptist paper. People like seeing their church mentioned in the paper, and they enjoy keeping up with churches and preachers in their area.

7. Use the Baptist Hymnal published by LifeWay; 2008. It is a good hymnal including great new and old songs. It will not conflict with what we believe. It is another relatively subtle way of reminding people who we are.

8. Use the Church Covenant. It is available from LifeWay and has been used by many Baptist churches since the 1850s. We have the postcard size in our tract rack and have a stick-on version on the inside cover of our Baptist Hymnals. 

9. Every so often, get extra copies of a good Baptist or Christian book and offer it to your church members. They need good Christian literature in their homes. Some of the larger churches even have their own bookstores.

10. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day we give that month’s issue of Home Life (a LifeWay magazine) to all the mothers or fathers present.

Use LifeWay and other Baptist literature in Sunday School and Bible Study. You don’t have to exclusively use them, but do use them. For those who may not know, LifeWay is owned by the SBC. Provide tracts and literature that answer questions your members may have about Eternal Security and other Baptist views. Some state Baptist conventions have good tracts on Baptism, Eternal Security, etc. We often stamp our church name and address at the back of these magazines or tracts.

We also use LifeWay’s Parent Life and Mature Living. I sometimes use one of these magazines in hospital visitation. I also use other papers such as The Biblical Evangelist, a good independent Baptist paper that has been supported by many conservative Southern Baptists.

11. Attend the state and national (SBC) conventions when you can. Take some of your members to them or to your state evangelism conference. Give a brief report on them to your church. Brief and as interesting as you can make it; otherwise their eyes will glaze over.

12. Speak positively about Baptists. Some pastors have a sour attitude about the Southern Baptist Convention. That sour attitude rubs off on others. Even dealing with controversial issues can be done in a positive way. And remember, even the New Testament Church also had their disagreements and controversies.

Hope this is helpful. If so, let me know.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 6, AD 2012.

Other Articles:
About the Church Covenant
Why I Support the Baptist Association, Part 1
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs
Baptists and Eternal Security, or Once Saved Always Saved; Part 1 of 3
A Baptist Church Baptizing by Sprinkling?
Top Three Seminaries

More articles in lower right margin.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Obituary - Pastor Bob Ellison

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”  -Revelation 14:13

Bob Ellison, pastor of Highlands Baptist Church, Highlands, TX died May 4, 2012 after a long struggle with cancer. Born March 1, 1954, he was a United States Air Force Veteran serving for a time in Turkey, and graduated from Moody Bible Institute.

Ellison is survived by His wife Linda; daughter and son-in-law Annalisa and Branden Gilbert; sisters and brothers-in-law Shirley Doty, Becky and Mike Hargrove, Kathy and Randy Copeland. Also by his grandson, Daniel Robert Gilbert, due to arrive in June.

Jimmy Davis and Eddie Norris officiated the Funeral Service at Highlands Baptist Church. Burial at Houston National Cemetery. His obituary was in the Baytown Sun, Baytown, TX. Arraignments were made by Navarre Funeral Home, Baytown. 

Bob Ellison also pastored in Comanche, Texas.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 30, AD 2012. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Romans 9, Calvinism, Traditionalism

In Romans 9:13 God says, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

Romans 9 is one of the Calvinists’ favorite chapters. They refer to it often and believe it refers to personal salvation. They use it against Traditionalists or non-Calvinists. They say Traditionalists have no answer to this obviously Calvinistic Scripture, or that they don‘t believe it. One joked a couple of years ago about how a Traditionalist tore Romans 9 out of his Bible. We have even been accused of not believing in inerrancy because we do not agree with their interpretation of this passage.

The answer to Romans 9, however, is very simple. When referring to Jacob and Esau, God is not speaking of two individuals, but of two nations (see also Genesis 25:23). God is not saying, I’m sending one of you to Heaven and one of you to Hell.

Romans is quoting an Old Testament passage, not from Genesis, but from Malachi (1:2-3), long after Jacob and Esau were dead. Both passages (Romans & Malachi) refer to the nations of Israel and Edom.

Furthermore, love and hate are used differently than they are often used today. Hate is used in the sense of “loved less.” This use of the word hate is seen in Genesis 29:30-31 and Luke 14:26.

This Scripture is not speaking of personal salvation, but of how God elected Israel to be His chosen people and passed over Edom. For example, my song leader can’t preach and I as pastor can’t sing. God gave us different gifts and talents. Does that mean He hates (in our modern day view of hate) one of us and loves the other? No, God loves us both, but chose us for different roles. It has nothing to do with our personal salvation.

Calvinists have made the mistake of saying this chapter is only about personal election, about whether one is sent to Heaven or Hell.

Both sides will have all types of variations and nuances in their interpretation of Romans 9. But my views presented above are certainly not out of the ordinary.
A few quotes should prove this true:

“God hardened Pharaoh’s heart because Pharaoh first hardened his own heart.”
“All God did was to crystallize the sin that was already in him [Pharaoh]. God did not take a little tender child and say, “I’m going to harden your heart and then I’m going to cast you into Hell.”
On Romans 9 and Jacob and Esau; “God is not talking about two little babies, one born for Heaven and one born for Hell. That’s not what He is saying at all. This is national, not personal.” Later, “God was not talking about salvation. He was simply saying that Israel is going to be His choice, and the descendants of Jacob are going to be His spiritual leaders in the world…Nothing is said here about one twin going to Heaven and the other twin going to Hell.”
On the Scripture, “The vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” “Well, how did they get ripe for destruction? In his word study, Vincent reminds us that this is the middle voice, which means simply that they fitted themselves for destruction. It is not the potter that fits them for destruction. It is the potter who is long-suffering. It is the vessels of wrath who fit themselves for destruction. God never made anybody to go to Hell. God wants people saved. He wants you saved. First Timothy 2:4 speaks of ‘God who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.’”
-Adrian Rogers, Predestined for Hell? Absolutely Not!,

Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated must be interpreted in the sense of nations, not individuals, which is the original reference in the two OT quotations (Genesis 25:23; Malachi 1:2,3). The nations of Israel and Edom are in view, not Jacob and Esau as individual men, whose names occur as eponymous ancestors of the later tribes.”
“Moreover, ‘love’ and ‘hate’ are not the grounds of election as we understand these subjective feelings…The emotional terms indicate rather a special function and destiny. Judah, not Edom, was elected for progressive revelation in history. This meaning may be supported by the rendering ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I loved less.’”
-The New Bible Commentary: Revised, Edited by D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans; 1970.

“God is not speaking here about the individual Jacob but about the nation of Jacob (Israel)…The reference here is not to individual election but to the corporate election of a chosen nation - Israel.”
“Regardless of the corporate election of Israel as a nation, each individual had to accept the Messiah in order to be saved.”
“God’s ‘love’ for Jacob and ‘hate’ for Esau is not speaking of those men before they were born, but long after they lived.”
“The Hebrew word for ‘hated’ really means ‘loved less.’”
-Dr. Norman Geisler, Chosen But Free: A Balanced View of Divine Election, Bethany House; 1999, 2010.

“The key to unlocking the mystery of this passage - if ‘mystery’ it may be called - is found in our Lord’s declaration of verse 12: ‘It was said to her, the elder shall serve the younger.’ It ought to be pointed out, and pointed out every strongly, that ‘S-E-R-V-E’ does not spell ‘S-A-L-V-A-T-I-O-N.’”
“As a matter of fact, the whole issue is a national matter which pertains to governments, not a personal matter dealing with the salvation of individuals. This ‘purpose of God according to election’ deals strictly with the descendants of Esau serving the descendants of Jacob! The entire chapter relates to God’s dealing with a nation, Israel, not with individuals as such.”
-Dr. R. L. Sumner, An Examination of TULIP: The Five Points of Calvinism,; 1972.

“Israel’s election to serve as a chosen people and individual election to salvation for Christians is interwoven in Romans 9-11. Calvinists often do not give adequate attention to the former.”
-Dr. Steve W. Lemke, Whosoever Will, Edited by David L. Allen and Steve W. Lemke, B&H; 2010.

“Romans 9:13 is a reference to Malachi 1:2-3 and refers to nations (Israel and Edom) and not individual sinners. God does not hate sinners. John 3:16 makes it clear that He loves sinners. The statement here has to do with national election, not individual.”
-Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume I, Victor Books; 1989.

“There is no question here of predestination to Heaven or reprobation to Hell; in fact, eternal issues do not really come in throughout this chapter, although, of course, they naturally follow as the result of the use or abuse of God-given privileges. But we are not told here, or anywhere else, that before children are born it is God’s purpose to send one to Heaven and another to Hell…The passage has entirely to do with privilege here on earth.”
-H. A. Ironside, Romans. Quoted in Whosoever Will, Allen & Lemke.

So yes, Traditionalists do have, and have had, an explanation of Romans 9. We don’t ignore it, we believe it and teach it. And it is ridiculous to say because we disagree with a standard Calvinist interpretation that we don’t believe in inerrancy.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 8, AD 2012. 


Romans 9 Revisited; Non-Calvinist Views
Books on Calvinism, Predestination

Adrian Rogers on Predestination, Calvinism
Paige Patterson on Calvinism
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs
Unlimited Atonement, Jesus Died For All
Other articles in lower right margin.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back To Bethel Bible Conference, 2012

The 24th Annual Back to Bethel Bible Conference will be held July 9-12, 2012 at the Red River Valley Bible Camp, at Paris, Texas. 

Conference Speakers: 
David Allen (SWBTS), Paul Boughan, Malcom Ellis, Phil Hoskins.

Conference Singers: 
Kasey Boughan, The Calvary Singers.

Conference Leader: 
Kyle B. Gulledge

You can stay at the camp for free, or check into local hotels (Holiday Inn Express. Child care available at camp.

No cost for staying at camp, meals, or conference.
An Offering will be received at each service to cover expenses of camp.

The Conference will begin Monday evening at 7pm, with supper served from 5-6:30pm.
Each morning service will begin at 9am.
Morning services will have three speakers.
Evening services will have two speakers.

More Information, including map:

I plan to attend this conference.  Hope you can too.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 3, AD 2012.

Monday, July 2, 2012

No One Seeks After God, Or Do They?

I often hear that no one seeks after God. I just heard this again today from a Calvinist. Yes, I agree that is in the Bible. 

For example:
There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. -Romans 3:11

The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. -Psalm 10:4
Also: Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 53:1-3; Hosea 7:10

But could it be that is only one side of the coin? Cornelius sought after God (Acts 10). Why are verses like the following seemingly ignored?

But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. -Deuteronomy 4:29

When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” -Psalm 27:8

The humble shall see this and be glad; and you who seek God, your hearts shall live. -Psalm 69:32

Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. -Isaiah 55:6

Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching God. -Isaiah 58:2

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:13

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. -Lamentations 3:25

Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’s anger. -Zephaniah 2:3

For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: “Seek Me and live. -Amos 5:4

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. -Hebrews 11:6

The next time you hear someone pointing out everyone knows that no one seeks after God, in order to make some Calvinistic point, perhaps you should point out some of the often neglected Scripture above. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 2, AD 2012. 

Calvinism and Being Dead in Sins
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
Other Articles in lower right margin.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dr. Brad Reynolds' Book Recommendations on Alcohol

Dr. Brad R. Reynolds is Vice-President for Academic Studies and Professor of Christian Studies at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia. Many have been informed and blessed by his writings on the internet at and elsewhere. He is one of the best at getting across his point in a strong but winsome, gracious way. 

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Reynolds at last week’s Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. During our conversation he told me in his classes he recommends three books on what the Bible teaches about alcohol. I was honored to be on his list. With his permission, I am giving the recommendations below.

Dr. Brad Reynolds’ Book Recommendations on the Bible & Alcohol

1. Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case For Abstinence by David R. Brumbelow, Free Church Press.

2. Alcohol Today: Abstinence in an Age of Indulgence by Peter Lumpkins, Hannibal Books.

3. The Biblical Approach to Alcohol by Stephen M. Reynolds.


In my humble view, these three books will give you a good background in why Baptists have faithfully and lovingly stood against the use of beverage alcohol for well over 100 years. Many of other denominations, however, have also stood against drinking, as you will see in these books. The first two are written by Baptists, the third by a Presbyterian. They refer to those of many denominations, and no denomination, who opposed drinking.

These books can be purchased through your local bookstore,,,,,, etc.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 26, AD 2012.

Other Articles:
O. S. Hawkins on "Alcohol Today"
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book
Other articles in lower right margin.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Final Copy - SBC Resolution on "Sinner's Prayer"

Following is the final version of the Resolution on the "Sinner’s Prayer" as voted on and passed by the SBC.


WHEREAS, The Gospel of Jesus Christ offers full forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God to anyone who repents of sin and trusts in Christ; and

WHEREAS, This same Gospel commands all persons everywhere to believe this Gospel and receive Christ as Savior and Lord (Mark 1:15; John 1:12; 6:25–52; Acts 17:30); and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures give examples of persons from diverse backgrounds who cried out for mercy and were heard by God (Luke 18:13; Acts 16:29–30); and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures also give numerous examples of persons who verbally affirmed Gospel truths but who did not personally know Jesus in a saving relationship (Luke 22:47–48; John 2:23–25; 1 Corinthians 10:1–5); and

WHEREAS, Empty religion and formalism, of whatever kind, apart from personal relationship with Christ, cannot wash away sin or transform a heart (Matthew 7:21; 15:8; John 3:3); and

WHEREAS, The Bible speaks of salvation as including both a confession with the mouth that Jesus is Lord and a belief in the heart that God has raised Him from the dead (Matthew 16:16; Romans 10:9–10); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19–20, 2012, reaffirm our Gospel conviction that repentance from sin and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are necessary for salvation (Acts 20:20–21); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm that repentance and faith involve a crying out for mercy and a calling on the Lord (Romans 10:13), often identified as a “sinner’s prayer,” as a biblical expression of repentance and faith; and be it further

RESOLVED, That a “sinner’s prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel (Matthew 6:7; 15:7–9); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we promote any and all biblical means of urging sinners to call on the name of the Lord in a prayer of repentance and faith; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptists everywhere to continue to carry out the Great Commission in North America and around the world, so that sinners everywhere, of every tribe, tongue, and language, may cry out, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).


Though there was strong opposition to this Resolution by a number of Calvinists (aka Reformed, Doctrines of Grace, etc.), Baptist Press reported it passed by an estimated 80% vote.

This Resolution, as is often the case, was reworded / rewritten by the Resolutions Committee. The above is the version that was actually presented to the SBC and voted in the affirmative by them.

Update (11-26-2012): Peter Lumpkins and Rick Patrick have reported that Dr. Eric Hankins’ original resolution on the Sinner’s Prayer was adopted by four state SBC conventions: Tennesse, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana. Click for the original Sinner's Prayer Resolution offered by Hankins.    
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 24, AD 2012

Other Articles:
A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation
Saved By The Sinner's Prayer
The Roman Road of Salvation
Other articles in lower right margin.