Thursday, December 17, 2015

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was 30. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn't go to college. He never traveled more than 200 miles from the place He was born. He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness.

He was only 33 when public opinion turned against Him. His friends deserted Him. He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. When He was dying, His executioners gambled for His clothing, the only property He had on earth. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the kindness of a friend. He rose from the dead.

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race, the leader of mankind's progress. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as much as that One Solitary Life.
-adapted from Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons,” Judson Press, Philadelphia; 1926. 

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. -Isaiah 9:6

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. -Matthew 1:21

Merry Christmas!
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 17, AD 2015.  

Alcohol and the Holidays
That Night, A Christmas Poem
10 Commandments for Christmas
More articles in lower right margin. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Baptismal Regeneration; Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation? Part 2

Part of the confusion over Baptismal Regeneration is a failure to understand the meaning of baptism. Baptism is simply a picture of what happened to you when you believed in Jesus. In a sense, baptism is a funeral of who you used to be. When you go under the water it is a picture of dying to your old life of sin. When you are raised from the water it is a picture of you being resurrected to a new life in Christ. That is what happened to you when you trusted Jesus as your Savior. Baptism, of course, also pictures your belief that Jesus died for your sins and rose again, and your belief that our physical bodies will be raised at the resurrection. 

What about the Bible passages that seem to teach Baptismal Regeneration? That seem to teach you must believe and be baptized to be saved?

First, do not neglect the multitude of clear passages that say if you believe in Jesus Christ you will be saved (see previous article, part 1).

Now, let’s look at those verses some claim teach Baptismal Regeneration.

1. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. -Mark 16:16
Notice first, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” 

In New Testament times it was common that when one believed, if there was enough water, they would baptize them immediately. So belief and baptism often went together.

Now, back to, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”
That is true. It is also true that he who believes and joins a church will be saved. It is even true that if he believes and buys a pickup truck he will be saved. 

Now notice the next phrase, “but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

It is very significant that it does not say if he believes and is not baptized he will be condemned; only, if he does not believe he will be condemned.

2. What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? -James 2:14
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? -James 2:20
Someone may say, show me your faith. Well, God can see your faith, but others cannot. God can see your faith, but man can only see your faith by your works. If you truly believe, then good works will follow. If there are no good works, a man may have reason to doubt your faith. 

Always remember as well, verses like Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:5; etc.

3. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. -1 Peter 3:21 (NKJV)
Many Baptismal Regenerationists only quote a small portion of this verse, “baptism doth also now save us,” (KJV). That is a strong argument, until the entire verse is considered. One of the basic rules of properly interpreting the Bible (hermeneutics), is to study the word, or phrase, or verse in context; what comes before and after it. 

This verse does not say baptism saves us or takes away our sins. It only says baptism is a type (or antitype, figure, symbol, picture) of our salvation. As mentioned previously, believer’s baptism by immersion is a picture of our salvation; a symbol of what happens to us when we trust Jesus as our Savior.

Notice also this verse says baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God. In other words, we are commanded to be baptized. It is a good work. We are not saved by good works, we are saved by repentance and belief in Jesus. But after we believe, baptism gives us a good conscience because we are obeying and honoring God.

This verse even states baptism is, “not the removal of the filth of the flesh.” Rather than literally taking away our sins, baptism symbolically takes away our sins, a picture of what happened when we believed. Only Jesus can literally take away our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21).

4. Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” -John 3:5
Does born of water mean baptism? If it did, it would only mean so in a figurative way. However, it does not mean baptism. Every time you see the word water, that does not automatically refer to baptism. 

There are a couple of explanations. First, some believe born of water refers to physical birth, a water birth. This view says you must be born both physically (physical birth, born of the flesh) and spiritually (new birth, spiritual birth, salvation).

This view says Jesus explains “born of water and the Spirit” in the very next verse:

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. -John 3:6

Second, some believe born of water refers to the washing of the Word of God in salvation (John 3:5; Titus 3:5; 1 John 5:8).

Does the Word of God spiritually wash us? Yes.

That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word. -Ephesians 5:26

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
-Psalm 119:9

And one aspect of salvation is that we are born again through God’s Word.

Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever. -1 Peter 1:23

It should also be remembered that Jesus summed up the new birth in this same chapter in John in the well known verse,

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. -John 3:16

No mention here of baptism being a part of salvation. Rather simply believe in Jesus and you will not perish but have everlasting life.

5. Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” -Acts 2:38
The word “for” (Greek - eis) in this verse can also mean “because.” 

This verse could justly and easily be translated, “Let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ ‘because of’ the remission of sins.”

Do we ever use the word “for” in the sense of “because?” Yes we do.

For example,
“He was thrown in jail ‘for’ stealing a car.” 
He was not thrown in jail ‘so he could’ steal a car, rather, he was thrown in jail ‘because’ he stole a car.  

Note:  Compare Acts 2:38 with what Peter said in Acts 2:21; Acts 3:19; Acts 10:43; 1 Peter 1:9; 1 Peter 2:6.  Also, compare with the many verses mentioned in part 1 of this article. 

6. And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ -Acts 22:16
Ananias was speaking in a figurative way of washing away sins. 

Baptism is a picture, a symbol of salvation, but it is not salvation nor a part of salvation. That baptism is a picture or symbol of salvation is shown in 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12.

Notice before Paul (Saul) was baptized, but after he believed, Ananias called him, “Brother Saul” (Acts 22:13), thereby recognizing his salvation.

Notice also that Ananias, in speaking of washing away your sins included, “calling on the name of the Lord.”

Baptism is not a part of salvation, only a picture of salvation. Salvation is only in Jesus Christ, not in good works. In dealing with this issue, never forget or minimize the many clear Bible passages that teach salvation is only through personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The song does not say,

Jesus paid a part,
Some to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
We washed it white as snow.


“Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.”
-Elvina M. Hall, Baptist Hymnal, LifeWay; 2008. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 15, AD 2015.

Baptismal Regeneration; Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation? Part 1 

More Articles in lower right margin. 



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Small Texas Church Takes on a God-Sized Goal

Pastor Mark Brumbelow and his wife Cherry pray over Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes during a service at Grace Baptist Church of Wild Peach in Brazoria, Texas.

Brazoria, Texas, United States
November 10, 2015
Along the Gulf Coast sits Brazoria County, proclaimed by the local newspaper to be “Where Texas Began.” It is home to the first capital of the Republic of Texas, as well as the Brazos River which early Spanish explorers named “The River of the Arms of God.” Just five miles from that river and 60 miles south of Houston, the village of Wild Peach experienced God’s embrace the last weekend in October.

As rains from the remains of Hurricane Patricia hammered the area, a tornado headed straight for Wild Peach—including its one convenience store, an elementary school, three churches, and numerous homes. The storm was averted, though, and some believe that was in part due to what happened in Grace Baptist Church earlier that day.

This congregation of 25, whose pastor is also a taxidermist, set out Saturday morning to finish their year-long goal of packing 2,000 Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts. With just 270 shoeboxes to go, they planned to continue packing boxes as long as they had gifts left to fill them.

Church members and friends, both old and young, made their way around tables piled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to pack shoeboxes with gifts for children in need around the world. As Charlie Meazles, a Marine veteran of the Korean War, packed a box for a two- to four-year-old boy, he said, “I do it for the kids everywhere. I hope they come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.”

Within hours, they had officially completed 2,118 gifts. Pastor Mark Brumbelow said, “This is not something Grace Baptist has done. This is something the God of Heaven allowed us to be a part of.”

Trusting God to Fill Them
Mark and his wife Cherry packed their first shoebox gift 13 years ago. For the first 10 years or so, they would pack three—one in honor of each of their boys—and their church as a whole would pack anywhere from seven to 20. “We were proud of that,” Mark said, “and I’m still proud of that. It was good. It was right.”

In 2013, though, they packed 43 boxes and Mark said, “I was just ecstatic!”

That year they drove more than four hours to an ice-covered Dallas to volunteer at the Operation Christmas Child Processing Center.

“If I’d have known how icy the roads were in Dallas, I never would have gone,” Mark said. But there as they inspected shoeboxes and prepared them for international shipping, they learned about the opportunity to volunteer with the project year-round. Discovering that the Gulf Coast didn’t have many volunteers, Cherry signed up and soon became the community relations coordinator for three counties.

Driving home from Dallas, Cherry suggested that they do 500 boxes in 2014.

Mark thought, “That’d be nice!” But he prayed, “Lord, we can’t do that. That’s impossible! But if you want us to do it, we’ll do the best we can, and get as far as we can in that direction. I just think you’re asking too much of us.”

The next Sunday, Mark preached on 2 Kings 4 where Elisha tells the widow who had no money left to borrow jars from her neighbors so he could fill them with oil. During the sermon it hit Cherry that it was the widow’s job to get the containers and God’s job to fill them.

Sensing she just needed to get 500 shoeboxes and trust God for the contents, Cherry went to a nearby store on Monday morning to see if she could get shoeboxes. They gave her some, and she repeated the trip every week until she had 500 boxes.

The church was skeptical of the new goal, but they gave it their best effort and ended up packing 532 shoeboxes!

That was only part of the challenge, though. Samaritan’s Purse requests that a $7 donation accompany every shoebox gift to cover the cost of shipping. Throughout the year, Grace Baptist had collected $1,200 for this purpose—in part through generous monthly donations from a church member with Down syndrome—but that was nowhere near the more than $3,500 needed. A travelling construction worker who had visited their church surprised them with a gift of $1,000 for the shoebox shipping. Then another couple in the church had some extra funds come in and offered to pay all that was left of the shipping costs.

The next Sunday, Mark announced that the shipping was covered, but he also said, “If the Lord’s leading you to give anything for Operation Christmas Child and you’ve not yet given, today’s the day to come clean with God.” This prompted the church to give another $400. They sent all of it in to cover the shipping of their own shoeboxes, as well as some other boxes sent to Samaritan’s Purse without the requested donation.

‘Give, and It Will Be Given to You’
This was also the time of year when Southern Baptist churches set goals for their Lottie Moon Christmas missions offering, named after a pioneering female missionary to China. In the past, Grace Baptist’s goal had been around $750. But in 2014, someone in the congregation suggested that their goal wasn’t a dollar amount, but rather obedience to God. So, instead of writing a projected financial goal on the posters they placed around the church, they simply wrote “obedience.”

Mark feared that because of their Operation Christmas Child giving that their Christmas missions offering would suffer. But he said, “Last year after packing 500 shoeboxes, our Lottie Moon offering doubled over what it had ever been before. I’m telling you Luke 6:38 is true. ‘Give, and it will be given to you.’”

This biblical principle was true for the church in other ways as well. Early on, when Grace Baptist paid their bills, there wasn’t enough leftover to pay their pastor. But since they’ve been giving to Operation Christmas Child that has changed.

“Right now it’s hard to believe I’m looking at the right paper when I’m looking at the treasurer’s report,” Mark said. God is blessing them both financially and numerically.

Celebrating More than 2,000 Shoebox Gifts
Mark and Cherry volunteered at the Processing Center in Dallas again in 2014 and as they prayed on their way home, they felt God was asking them to fill 2,000 shoebox gifts in 2015.

“It is no bigger of a deal to God to fill 2,000 boxes than it was to fill 500,” Mark said. But to his congregation, it felt overwhelming. That only increased their sense of celebration on Saturday, October 24, when they exceeded their goal.

The next morning, church members entered the church to find every one of their 2,118 shoeboxes lining the front, sides, and center aisle of their church building. To the right of the podium, which bore an Operation Christmas Child logo, shoebox gifts formed a Christmas tree.

After a verse of “Victory in Jesus,” Mark said, “I believe this is the happiest day for our church.” Drawing from Psalm 2:8, he went on to say, “God is letting us have the nations as our inheritance.”

“We said, ‘We can’t, but if You help us we will,’” Mark said, recapping their journey over the past year. Tears flowed as he recounted God’s faithfulness to help them surpass their goal to bless children in need around the world with a tangible gift of God’s love.

Mark also pointed out that with 2,118 shoeboxes, they needed $14,826 to cover the shipping. Throughout the year, they had collected $1,645.46. Then $3,200 came in at Saturday’s packing party, leaving them a deficit of $9,980.54.

“Are you wrapping your minds around these numbers?” Mark asked.

Then Mark proceeded to share that someone from outside the church had handed him a check that morning for $14,000, specifically to cover the shipping expenses. Gasps went up around the room.

They now had $18,845.46 to cover shipping for their boxes and they committed to sending it all to Samaritan’s Purse.

“I believe the highest form of worship we give to God is when we offer up to Him what we’ve sacrificially given,” Mark said.

The congregation dispersed around the room to lay hands on the shoeboxes. Cherry prayed, “Give these boxes to the boys and girls they’re just right for. We pray for every child, every community that will be impacted by these boxes.”

Others joined her in praise and thanksgiving. One even confessed, “When Mark said we’d pack 2,000, I thought he was crazy.”

But God did it.

“We haven’t done anything special, but seek to obey God and what He’s told us to do,” Mark said. “There’s nothing special about Grace Baptist Church or its preacher. But I tell you there’s something mighty special about the God that we serve.”
-Article written by Samaritan’s Purse.

See full article and additional photos:

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 11, AD 2015.
More articles in lower right margin. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Baptismal Regeneration; Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation? Part 1

I believe in and practice Believers Baptism by Immersion. 
Many believe, however, in Baptismal Regeneration. This view teaches you must believe in Jesus and also be baptized to be saved. They teach baptism is a part of salvation. Rather, the Bible teaches faith in Jesus Christ, and nothing else, brings about your salvation.

Does the Bible teach you are saved (born again, regenerated, forgiven, made right with God, given a place in Heaven, have everlasting life) by believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Yes.

Consider these verses:

Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace. -Luke 7:50 NKJV

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” -Luke 23:42-43 The thief on the cross could not be baptized or do any good works, he could only believe.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. -John 1:12

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. -John 3:16

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. -John 3:36

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. -John 5:24

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. -John 20:31

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. -Acts 3:19

To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. -Acts 10:43

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. -Acts 16:31

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” -Romans 4:3; also Genesis 15:6

But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. -Romans 4:5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. -Titus 3:5

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation…For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. -Romans 10:9-10, 13

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. -Ephesians 1:13

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9

Notice these verses (and many more) do not mention baptism at all. Simply repent, believe, turn your life over to Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Notice as well that baptism is a good work, yet we are not saved by good works.

Those who believe baptism is a part of salvation negate all these verses by emphasizing a few verses that appear to state their case. But, if we have to answer for their verses, they must answer for the many more clear, unambiguous verses that plainly state belief in Jesus saves us.

In a hospital waiting room a man who believes in Baptismal Regeneration told me, “The Bible says if you believe you will have a chance to be saved.” Three times he stated this, and three times I told him, that is not what the Bible says. Rather than his extra-biblical view, the Bible simply states if you believe you will be saved.

Lest there be misunderstanding, we are saved by faith, then works follow. Once we have been saved, God commands us to live for Him and produce good works.

Next: What about the Bible passages that seem to teach Baptismal Regeneration?

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 14, AD 2015. 


Baptismal Regeneration; Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation? Part 2
The Roman Road of Salvation
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs

Other articles in lower right margin. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Black Lives Matter; All Lives Matter

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. -Acts 10:34-35

In Harris County and just outside of Houston, Texas, Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth was a customer at a gas station. He was in uniform. As the white Deputy walked back to his vehicle, a black man walked up behind him and shot him in the back of the head. He continued to shoot him as the Deputy crumpled to the ground.

Later, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said,
“We’ve heard ‘black lives matter.’ ‘All lives matter.’ Well cops’ lives matter too. So why don’t we just drop the qualifying and just say, ‘lives matter.’”

The misreporting and misrepresentation of the incident in Ferguson, Missouri, and other such incidents have apparently led to the murder of several police officers. Lately racial issues have gotten worse instead of better.

A few general thoughts about racism.
1. White police officers are not systematically hunting down and murdering innocent, unarmed black men. The facts simply do not support this.

2. “Hands up, don’t shoot,” is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts of the Ferguson, Missouri incident. Don’t perpetuate this untruth; and call people on it when they do. Facts matter, a lot.

3. Misrepresenting incidents to make them look racially motivated, do not reduce racism, they aggravate racism. They may even aggravate racist murders against white police officers.

4. Bringing down a Confederate flag may make some feel good, but does nothing to reduce racism. In fact, it may incite it. Perhaps both sides should respect the other’s cultural heritage. I say this as white man who does not fly a Confederate flag. Stop forcing everyone to be politically correct.

5. True racism is clearly wrong. America has a history of this, but thank God most of that is in the past.

6. Not all claims of racism are, in fact, true.

7. Some use racism as an excuse for their inappropriate behavior.

8. Some are way too sensitive about racial issues.

9. We all suffer from daily or weekly slights that have nothing to do with racism.

10. America is incredibly less racist than it was 50 years ago. Most everything Martin Luther King asked for in his “I Have A Dream” message has been accomplished.

11. There is such a thing as white privilege; there is also such a thing as black privilege. Two young men are equally intelligent, capable, men of integrity, have a positive attitude and good work ethic. One is black, one is white. Today in America in many situations the black man would actually have the advantage in getting a job. However, both should easily get and keep a good job.

Regardless of race, if one has a bad attitude and poor work ethic, he is going to have a tough time getting and keeping a job.

Some in law enforcement have said one reason more blacks are not serving as policemen is because if they are qualified to do so, they are also qualified to get a higher paying job, and probably a job with less stress.

12. Racists come in all colors.

13. If a white man murders a black man, whether for racist or other reasons, that white man should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The same goes for any other combination of races. How about judging men by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin?

14. Do not make a hero out of a criminal, regardless of his ethnicity.

15. If a man or woman of any color is smart-aleck and combative when a police officer stops them, expect that they will get in trouble, go to jail, or worse. The same goes for resisting, or fleeing from, an officer. On the other hand, if a police officer abuses his authority, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

16. Teach your children to respect, and submit to, those in authority. If those in authority are out of line, go through the proper channels to remedy the situation. Also, if you are not a gangster, it may help to not dress or act like one. Walk in a store on a hot sunny day with a bad attitude and a hoody, and you can expect to be viewed with suspicion.

17. Teach your children to have a good, positive attitude in general. Don’t have them walking around with a chip on their shoulder. This also helps in getting and keeping a job.

18. Planned Parenthood kills more African-Americans (through abortion) in a year than the Ku Klux Klan killed in their entire history. I don’t support either one.

19. News media should be much more careful about inciting racial incidents. They should fairly present both sides.

20. Do not follow a crowd to do evil.

You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute. -Exodus 23:2-3.

21. A biblical church should welcome anyone of any race.

22. Everyone wants to be treated with respect. Treat everyone with respect, unless there is clear reason to not do so.

23. All lives matter!

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, October 6, AD 2015. 

Nelson Mandela Quotes; and Comments About Mandela
Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Other Articles / Labels in lower right margin. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

John R. Rice's "Sword of the Lord" Not KJV Only

We’ve had a previous article or two about the fact John R. Rice, R. L. Sumner, and the Sword of the Lord were not King James Version only. In other words, they did not believe in, and spoke against, the idea that the KJV is the only version for the English speaking world. Of course, after the death of Dr. Rice the Sword of the Lord leadership adopted the modern doctrine of KJV Only. 

The question was raised about a statement of faith the Sword of the Lord founding editor, John R. Rice, required his board to sign. And how that statement was not KJV Only.

Former board member and Associate Editor of the Sword of the Lord, R. L. Sumner recently spoke to this in The Biblical Evangelist:

Some time ago, during a KJVOnly discussion, I made mention of the fact that Dr. John R. Rice had his board members sign a Statement of Faith annually that limited the inspiration and inerrancy of the Word of God to the original manuscripts. Someone asked for a copy and I couldn’t find one in my files. The other day, while looking through his longtime secretary’s semi-biography, John R. Rice: “The Captain of Our Team,” I saw where she printed it out in reporting our1965 annual meeting (on pages 251-252 of Captain).

Here is the first point, dealing with inspiration, inerrancy:


1. In the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures and the absolute reliability and authority, without error, in the original manuscripts.

That was what Dr. Rice believed and what he insisted those associated with him believe. Note carefully those words: in the original manuscripts! It was not in the KJV, the NIV, the NASB, or any of the other versions/translations/paraphrases of the day. It was “absolute reliability,” “authority,” and “without error” in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. That was it; and that alone!

Signing that year, as Miss Viola reported it in her book, in the order she reported it, was Dr. John R. Rice, president; Dr. Bill Rice; Dr. Jack Hyles; Dr. R. L. Sumner; Dr. Tom Malone, Al Byers, Evangelist Bud Lyles; Rev. Paul Raker; Mrs. John R. Rice; Miss Fairy Shappard; “and I, Viola Walden.”

It is interesting that Jack Hyles, who announced he was KJVOnly before Rice’s body had time to turn to dust, signed that statement! And it is also interesting that the public position of The Sword of the Lord today is KJVOnly – very definitely not in the tradition of Dr. John R. Rice – or the original position of The Sword of the Lord.

Times change; but Truth doesn’t!

-R. L. Sumner, Biblical Evangelist; August-October, 2015.

The historic, fundamental doctrine of inspiration is that the 66 books of the Bible were inspired by God in the original manuscripts and is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. No particular translation of the Bible has that supernatural divine inspiration, only the original manuscripts. The job of the translator is to have his translation as close to, and as accurate to the original manuscripts as possible. 

The 1611 King James Version was translated by Anglican / Episcopalian Bible scholars. They did an outstanding job, but freely admitted their’s was not a perfect translation. The Bible is the perfect Word of God, not a particular translation.

Good English translations include: KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, HCSB. My favorite continues to be the New King James Version. Studying more than one English translation, however, can help in better understanding a particular passage of Scripture.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 21, AD 2015. 

John R. Rice and KJV Only
John R. Rice and the Sword of the Lord; Part 1
B. H. Carroll on Inspiration of Bible
Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
Dr. R. L. Sumner on "Ancient Wine and the Bible"
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs
Scofield Bible, First 100 Years
Bob Jones, Sr. on Wine, Alcohol, Christian Drinking
Lester Roloff Letter to Joe Brumbelow / Separation
R. L. Sumner and the Biblical Evangelist

More articles in lower right margin. 


Monday, September 7, 2015

"Ancient Wine and the Bible" In These Libraries

According to the book, Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence, is in the following libraries (order in which they appear): 

1. Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA. Moody Memorial Library.

2. East Texas Baptist University, Marshall, Texas. Mamye Jarrett Library.

3. Criswell College, Dallas, Texas. Wallace Library.

4. Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX. Turpin Library.

5. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX. Roberts Library.

6. Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Oklahoma. Mabee Learning Center.

7. Williams Baptist College, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. Felix Goodson Library.

8. Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, TX.

9. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missiouri. MBTS Library.

10. Brewton-Parker College, Mt. Vernon, Georgia. Fountain-New Library.

11. Lincoln Christian University, Lincoln, Illinois. Jessie C. Eury Library.

12. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. James P. Boyce Centennial Library.

13. Scott County Public Library, Georgetown, Kentucky.

14. Charleston Southern University, Charleston, South Carolina. L. Mendel Rivers Library.

15. Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois. Moody Bible Institute Library.

16. Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana. AMBS Library.

17. Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Miller Library.

18. Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia. Jerry Falwell Library.

19. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina. SEBTS Library.

20. Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey.

Apparently it is in a number of other libraries that have not listed it with WorldCat.

What about your library?

To all who had a part in placing Ancient Wine and the Bible in these and other libraries - Thank you very much!

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 7, AD 2015.

Ancient Wine and the Bible - the Book; update
Wine for Your Stomach's Sake; 1 Timothy 5:23
Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?

Other articles in lower right margin. 



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cecil The Lion, Hunting, Paige Patterson

HARARE, Zimbabwe (BP) -- With mainstream and social media in an uproar over the apparently illegal killing of Cecil the lion, Baptist leaders have underscored the legitimacy of legal hunting and condemned the hypocrisy of valuing wildlife over unborn children.

"The Bible says much about hunting and without one derogatory word," said Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. "But it is not just hunting at issue. Fishing and the eating of any kind of meat is at issue since [with] all of these, [animals] must die in order to feed people. The Bible makes it clear that the animals were given to men to meet their various needs including food. I do distinguish between killers and hunters. I always taught my children that we use every animal taken. Skinning a rattlesnake, a porcupine and a skunk underscored all of this for my children. They discovered that clothing and in many cases food can be gained but that each creature is God's artistic creation."

The preciousness of God's creation requires that humans "not just go out and shoot up the countryside," Patterson, a veteran of some 20 African hunts, told Baptist Press in written comments. "Almost all the animals taken in Africa go to the poor of the countries to eat, for which, particularly in Zimbabwe, they are most grateful."

Cecil, a 13-year-old Zimbabwean lion, was killed in early July by American dentist Walter Palmer after the animal was lured out of Hwange National Park, where hunting is illegal, the New York Times reported. Zimbabwean officials say they want to extradite Palmer to face charges, but Palmer claims he was following the lead of professional guides and did not know his actions were illegal, USA Today reported.

Patterson denounced illegal hunting and said if any laws were broken related to Palmer's hunt, "the local outfitter and professional hunter" should be prosecuted. He added that "a man is innocent until proven guilty and rush to judgment is in this case, as [in] all others, unwise."

Most hunting outfits in Africa "are run by men of high ethical and moral conduct and in accordance with the laws of the land," Patterson said. Hunters "are normally your leading conservationists. After all, they are dependent upon the prosperity of the herds. That is why almost all forms of African and Indian game thrive in Texas today. Well regulated practices of hunting guarantee their survival."

Patterson called much of the press' outrage over Cecil's death "the ultimate in hypocrisy," noting the relative lack of concern for aborted babies whose body parts have been sold by Planned Parenthood and for the evils perpetrated against the Zimbabwean people by President Robert Mugabe.

"Little or no outrage at the butchering of human babies and the selling of body parts by Planned Parenthood, but the death of a lion in Zimbabwe merits the ink," Patterson said. "And what about Zimbabwe itself? Why no furor over Mugabe's disregard for human life, the stealing of property by the government and the violence toward opposition leaders? What of the thousands of people that he has starved to death uselessly? And why not report on what hunters do to conserve the lions, elephants and rhinos both monetarily and in parks like Antelope Park in Zimbabwe where we have replaced every lion taken with multiple lions born and released into the wild? Why not tell people the truth about what happens in countries that stop hunting like Kenya and consequently lose all their rhinos to poachers?"

Mark Keith, pastor of Elkton (Ky.) Baptist Church and an avid hunter, told BP God has given humans responsibility to care for animal life, but that does not preclude hunting. He said humans should consume animals they kill during hunts and not engage in "the senseless killing of animals."

Patterson and Keith both cited hunting as a valuable means of building relationships between fathers and sons. Patterson added that speaking about hunting at men's banquets has allowed him to lead "several thousand" men and boys to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

See entire Baptist Press story by David Roach:

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 5, AD 2015.

Cecil The Lion And Big Game Hunting

More articles in lower right margin. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cecil The Lion And Big Game Hunting

Excerpt from article by Nick Pinizzotto:

“The reality is, the worst thing you can do for a big game animal is to no longer hunt it. I realize that notion might not sit well with some, but it’s true. No animal in this country has ever gone extinct due to modern, regulated sport hunting. In fact, the opposite is true as they have instead flourished under the North American Wildlife Conservation model…

The reality is, human beings are part of the circle of life and there is no more humane way to manage wildlife than through hunting…

Mother Nature is not pretty as some suggest. Animals don’t just grow old and then walk off to die in their sleep surrounded by loved ones. Death in the wild often means being ripped apart by a predator while struggling to escape or dying of starvation or disease. Quite often, it is slow, painful and hideous…

In addition to the importance of hunting to conservation, it also provides nearly $90 billion economic impact per year in the U.S. alone. Much of that money gets plowed back into conservation efforts that not only help game animals, but all wildlife. In countries like South Africa, money derived from hunting is critically needed to support efforts to stop poaching and the uncontrolled killing of wildlife. There are dozens of other benefits to the people as well, which deserves attention itself.”

-Nick Pinizzotto, president, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance defends hunting, fishing, trapping. 

See entire article here:

Isn’t it tragic that the national media cry over a lion, while unconcerned about Planned Parenthood cruelly killing, dismembering, and selling the body parts of unborn babies? 

Also notice the biased news coverage of the hunting issue, just as they are biased on the issue of abortion and pro-life.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 4, AD 2015

Cecil The Lion, Hunting, Paige Patterson
More articles in lower right margin. 


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Make Your Church More Evangelistic

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. -John 20:31

1. Preach evangelistic sermons.

If you need some information along these lines, listen to the preaching of men like Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Adrian Rogers. Read their sermons. See how good, solid, evangelistic churches do it.

Always point to salvation in Jesus Christ.
Don’t assume people know how to be saved; assume they don’t know how to be saved. Make salvation simple and easy to understand.

2. Give an evangelistic invitation.

See how the above give or gave an invitation.

See the books:
Giving a Good Invitation by Dr. Roy Fish of SWBTS.
The Public Invitation by Samuel Fisk,
Whosoever Will by David L. Allen & Steve W. Lemke, B&H; chapter on The Public Invitation and Calvinism.

3. Preach and teach the basics of soul-winning.

The Roman Road method of presenting the plan of salvation still works (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9-10, 13). Some use the one verse method of Romans 6:23. Others use John 3:16. Whatever method, teach church members how to share their faith.

Especially teach Sunday School teachers, deacons, and church leaders how to witness.

A good place to start is with the book,
Share Jesus Without Fear, by William Fay, B&H.
Some state Baptist conventions have good evangelistic training programs and materials.

4. Encourage people to memorize evangelistic Bible verses.

Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9-10, 13; John 1:12; 3:16; 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 1:9; Revelation 3:20.

5. Use tracts and other Christian literature that present the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ.

Point out that most Southern Baptist Sunday School literature (LifeWay) has a special page that presents the plan of salvation.
Occasionally include the plan of salvation in your church bulletin and other church literature. This helps the lost; it also helps the saved to know how to share their faith.

6. Make a big deal out of it when someone gets saved and when they get baptized.

After all, it is a big deal. When a little boy or girl, man or woman trusts Jesus as their Lord and Savior, there is rejoicing in Heaven. (Luke 15:7)

7. Realize that often a personal word of witness will do more than 40 evangelistic sermons.

8. Attend evangelistic churches and see how they do it.

Attend revivals and learn from evangelists. Attend evangelism conferences.

9. Have a revival, Bible Conference, Vacation Bible School, or other special event evangelistic meeting at your church.

SBC Evangelists:
Texas Baptist Evangelists: 
10. Teach people to invite others to church where they can hear the gospel.

Offer to give them a ride to church. Make visitors feel welcome and comfortable in church.

11. Never preach a funeral without sharing the plan of salvation.

This gives a great opportunity to share the gospel with those who will not come to your church and may be thinking of spiritual things for the first time.

12. Do not go to the extreme of too much pressure or manipulating people to get evangelistic decisions.

But don’t go to the other extreme and deemphasize the importance of a personal decision for Jesus Christ.

13. Pray specifically for the lost.

Pray that more may be saved through your church’s ministry.

14. As the pastor, make sure you practice what you preach.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives some basic things a pastor and church can do to reach more people for Christ.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 21, AD 2015.

Unlimited Atonement, Jesus Died For All
Saved By The Sinner's Prayer
The Roman Road of Salvation
The Girl Who Saved His Ministry
Revelation 3:20 - Can We Use It In Evangelism?
More article in lower right margin. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Problem Drinking Outside The USA

Numerous times I’ve seen people claiming America is unique in how we treat alcohol. Prohibition (1920-1933) ruined everything in America, they claim. If we just taught others, including our children, moderate drinking, everything would be fine, just like it is in other countries.

They wax eloquent on the drinking utopias in Russia, France, England, Germany. Why, those countries they say, make alcohol a part of their everyday lives. They frown on drunkenness, yet learn to always drink responsibly and moderately.

As one among many recently said, You don’t see this kind of American debate against alcohol, in Europe where alcohol is just a part of the culture and its use is not attached to social stigma. Some have claimed American missionaries would be impolite to visit a Russian without drinking vodka with him.

So, Europe, Russia, and other countries don’t have the problems with alcohol that we Americans have? Well, their claims are impressive. The evidence, though, is lacking. Permit me to give the other side of the story.

French Combat Youth Binge-Drinking
“In decrying the excessive alcohol consumption of their compatriots, American and British health experts have long pointed to France with special admiration. Here, they said, was a society that masters moderate drinking. In wine-sipping France, the argument went, libation is just a small part of the broad festival of life, not the mind-altering prerequisite for a good time. The French don't wink like the English do at double-fisted drinking; they scorn people who lose control and get drunk in public. It's a neat argument. But it sounds a little Pollyannish now that France itself is grappling with widespread binge-drinking among its youth. Worse still, fully half of 17-year-olds reported having been drunk at least once during the previous month.” -Time Magazine, July 17, 2008; quoted in “Ancient Wine and the Bible.”

Vodka blamed for high death rates in Russia,
by Tulip Mazumdar Global health reporter
“The high number of early deaths in Russia is mainly due to people drinking too much alcohol, particularly vodka, research suggests.
The study, in The Lancet, says 25% of Russian men die before they are 55, and most of the deaths are down to alcohol. The comparable UK figure is 7%.
Causes of death include liver disease and alcohol poisoning. Many also die in accidents or after getting into fights.
The study is thought to be the largest of its kind in the country.
Researchers from the Russian Cancer Centre in Moscow, Oxford University in the UK and the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, in France, tracked the drinking patterns of 151,000 adults in three Russian cities over up to 10 years.”; January 31, 2014. 

Every fifth German has a drinking problem

“Launching the centre's Annual Addiction Report 2011 in Berlin on Tuesday, director Raphael Gaßmann, estimated one in five people aged 18 to 64 had a drinking problem.
‘Alcohol consumption remains conspicuously too high, too risky, with too many consequences,’ he said…
Moreover, the effects of binge drinking have become noticeably worse in recent years. The number of alcohol poisoning incidents climbed by nearly 112 percent between 2000 and 2009. Most disturbingly, such incidents rose 194 percent among people aged 20 to 25...
The deaths of 73,000 people aged 35 to 65 could be traced back to ‘alcohol-related health problems’ each year, which is about one fifth of all deaths, Gaßmann said. For men, the figure was roughly one in four.”
-The Local, Germany’s News In English; April 26, 2011.

Europeans Drink More Alcohol

“People in Europe drink more alcohol than in any other part of the world, downing the equivalent of 12.5 litres of pure alcohol a year or almost three glasses of wine a day, according to report by the World Health Organization and the European Commission…
The report found that in the European Union (EU), almost 12 percent of all deaths in 2004 among people aged 15-64 were due to alcohol - equivalent to 1 in 7 deaths in men and 1 in 13 deaths in women. Just over 3 percent of deaths were due to alcohol consumed by others.”, March 27, 2012. 

These are not the drinking utopias that some Americans claim. Like America, they are wracked with the problems of alcohol. Drinking beverage alcohol as a way of life and a cultural heritage may not be the answer, but the problem. Don’t drink, and Europeans may even consider you wise.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 7, AD 2015.

Ancient Wine and the Bible - the Book; update
The Problem With Drunk Preachers
Israel, May They Prosper Who Love You
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs
Bob Jones, Sr. on Wine, Alcohol, Christian Drinking
More articles in lower right margin. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

SBC Resolution On Gambling

On Ending Government Sponsorship Of Casinos And Lotteries
Baltimore, MD - 2014

WHEREAS, A growing body of independent evidence from the health and social sciences shows government sponsorship of casinos and state lotteries perpetuates a system of exploitation; and

WHEREAS, Casinos and lotteries are permitted by government and its policies and are instituted to provide a separate revenue source distinct from direct taxation; and

WHEREAS, Casinos and lotteries enjoy governmentally established privileges without which they would not be spreading into mainstream American life as they are today; and

WHEREAS, Government has become an advocate for the transformation of gambling from a private and local activity into a revenue source as significant and accepted as taxation; and

WHEREAS, Government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries is predatory in that it exploits primarily poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged citizens by promoting participation in highly addictive behaviors which often result in financial disadvantage or ruin; and

WHEREAS, Government, by sponsoring and promoting gambling, is actively encouraging and profiting from the statistical certainty of citizens losing their money over time; and permitting such a process to occur under the full protection of the law conflicts with the public interest and historically has been viewed as dishonest; and

WHEREAS, Government-sponsored casinos and lotteries promote and perpetuate the mentality of getting something for nothing, which is contrary to Scripture and replaces biblical teachings of working for a living (Proverbs 13:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 6:9–10); and

WHEREAS, Both federal and state governments are now considering authorizing, regulating, or sponsoring internet gambling, which would open a casino or a lottery outlet virtually everywhere in America; and

WHEREAS, Government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries is inconsistent with its role to protect the people (
Romans 13:1–7; 1 Peter 2:13–17); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, reaffirm our long-standing opposition to government sponsorship of gambling; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we believe no taxpayer dollars should be used by government to lure citizens into gambling, no government should depend on gambling to fund its activities, and no state legislature or Congress should pass laws to promote or sponsor gambling; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we believe that after four decades of unfulfilled promises, corrupt deals, and broken dreams, government partnership with organized gambling interests has failed, and it is time for government to end these partnerships and embrace a fundamentally different and higher vision of the path to American prosperity; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and all Southern Baptists to continue working to end government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge American citizens from all backgrounds, religious faiths, political convictions, and life circumstances, to join with us to make the United States free and independent of government-sponsored gambling, and once again able to resume its place as protector of our security, a leader in building a shared prosperity, and an example to the world.

For those who may wonder, this is basically what Southern Baptists believe about gambling, casinos, and lotteries. Many more such resolutions against gambling have been passed through the years. It is not just that we oppose gambling, but that we are for those who are seriously hurt because of gambling.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 22, AD 2015.

2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
SBC Resolution on Alcohol, 1988
SBC Resolution on Tithing
More articles in lower right margin. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Southern Baptists On Natural Marriage; Same-Sex Marriage

As Southern Baptist Christians, we are committed to Biblical faith and ethics. As a result, this body of Believers stands on the authority of Scripture and God's Truth as central to our lives.

What the Bible says about marriage is clear, definitive and unchanging. We affirm biblical, traditional, natural marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The Scriptures' teaching on marriage is not negotiable. We stake our lives upon the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

Consequently, we will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize same-sex "marriages", our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies.

While we affirm our love for all people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God's design for marriage. We also believe religious freedom is at stake within this critical issue – that our first duty is to love and obey God, not man.

Therefore, we strongly encourage all Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, educators, and churches to openly reject any mandated legal redefinition of marriage and to use their influence to affirm God's design for life and relationships. As the nation's largest non-Catholic denomination with over 16 million members, we stake our very lives and future on the Truth of God's Word.

We also join together to support those who stand for natural marriage in the corporate world, the marketplace, education, entertainment, media and elsewhere with our prayers and influence, and resources.

Former SBC presidents signing the statement: Bailey E. Smith, SBC president, 1981-82; James T. Draper Jr., 1983-84; Charles F. Stanley, 1985-86; Jerry Vines, 1989-90; Morris H. Chapman, 1991-92; H. Edwin Young, 1993-94; James B. Henry, 1995-96; Tom Elliff, 1997-98; Paige Patterson, 1999-2000; James Merritt, 2001-02; Jack Graham, 2003-04; Bobby Welch, 2005-06; Frank S. Page, 2007-08; Johnny M. Hunt, 2009-10; Bryant Wright, 2011-12; Fred Luter, 2013,14; Ronnie Floyd, 2014-15 (current SBC president).

See more at:

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 17, AD 2015.

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Suicide And Pastors

I recently learned of a prominent pastor who struggled with depression and finally took his life. He was not the first. While unusual, sadly, he will not the be last pastor to do so. 

Can a pastor commit suicide? Can a Christian commit suicide? Yes, I believe they can. Suicide is not the unpardonable sin. While suicide is wrong, Christians are not perfect. They are not immune from depression, pain, loss, mental illness, and other struggles of life. I believe in Eternal Security (John 5:24, etc.); if a person has truly trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, even in the case of suicide, they will go to Heaven. And I believe they will be embarrassed when they arrive. God is faithful, even when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13). We are kept by the power of God, not by our own strength (Jude 1:24).

We should be careful not to be too judgmental. You never fully understand what the other person is going through. But God knows, loves us, and understands (Psalm 103:14). I know of an outstanding Christian man who was dying of a very painful condition. He committed suicide. While I can understand, sympathize, and I still look up to him, I nevertheless believe his suicide was wrong.

If you are a pastor or Christian minister - Realize you are not immune to struggles others endure. In some ways you may be more susceptible because of the stress in your life and ministry. You must, however, not only tell people how to live, but show them how to live and handle adversity.

Does the Bible speak against suicide?
Yes, at least indirectly.

You shall not murder. -Exodus 20:13.
Suicide is the murder of yourself. 

Man in made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. -1 Corinthians 6:19

Suicide is often a spur of the moment decision.
If you can get someone to not commit suicide, they may not try to do so later.

I heard a counselor say years ago, if someone says they are considering suicide, ask them how they are going to do it. If they have a definite plan, they are in serious danger. If they don’t have a plan, they may not be all that serious (but this is not always true!; just a rule of thumb).
Another special concern is if a person begins giving away their most prized possessions.

For someone considering suicide: 
1. Stay close to your support system, or create one.
Relationship to Jesus

Read the Bible (there is good reason why so many old saints start their day by reading God‘s Word; Psalm 119:50), pray, listen to good Christian music.
Read good Christian literature. 
Read Happiness is a Choice by Minirth & Meier (both M.D.s); and Melissa: A Father’s Lessons From a Daughter’s Suicide by Frank Page. 

2. Realize your situation is temporary and will change.
Some have said, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Sometimes we must learn to weather the storm. 

3. Seek help.
Seek help from a pastor, Christian friend, Christian psychologist, medical doctor, spouse, suicide hotline. 
You do not, however, have to share your struggles with everyone. 
Focus on the Family can direct you to a Christian psychologist near you. Many Baptist Associations, State Conventions, or churches can direct you to a good Christian Psychologist. 

4. Realize depression is often normal.
Frequently after a big event, good or bad, we may go through a time of depression. On a slightly humorous note, pastors are usually depressed every Monday! Sometimes you need to remind yourself after what you’ve been through, that you would not be normal if you weren’t depressed for a time. Some of the most outstanding preachers have struggled with depression. 

5. Clinical depression (very serious depression) needs the help of a professional.
Some mental or physical conditions need the help of a professional. 

6. Do not isolate yourself.
Force yourself to go to church, get out around friends, get outside, go to the store, start a garden, volunteer… 

7. Remove any temptations you may have toward suicide.
Guns, poison, pills, etc. 

8. Think of all the people you will seriously hurt by your suicide.

9. Consider the bad example you would set if you gave in to suicide.

10. Realize you really have no right to take your own life.

11. Take care of the basics:
Plenty of sleep; R&R, rest and relaxation, whatever you find fun and relaxing; eat and drink right, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; moderate exercise. Also, take care of the basic responsibilities of life. 

12. Develop something in your life you can seriously look forward to.

13. Get involved in helping others.
Get your mind off yourself and on others. 

14. In the midst of your struggles, remind yourself often of the good and beautiful things of life (Philippians 4:8).

15. Learn to laugh.
Don’t take yourself too seriously (Proverbs 17:22). 

If a friend or family member commits suicide:
1. Realize it is over and there is nothing you can do.
That is one of the most frustrating things about suicide. 

2. As much as possible, try to get over it, and make your life the best and most productive it can be.
They are gone, but there is still much you can do in this life for others and for the Lord. 

3. Leave the unknowns in the hands of God.
Trust Him to do what is right. 

This is certainly not intended to be an exhaustive or professional paper on suicide. But hopefully it can answer some questions and offer a little help. May God help us to end well.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 10, AD 2015.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 2 of 2

Body Without The Spirit Is Dead
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. -James 2:26 (see also Ecclesiastes 12:7).  The body is buried in the grave, the spirit goes to Heaven to be with the Lord. As 2 Corinthians 5:8 teaches, absent from the body, present with the Lord.

Eternal Life / Everlasting Life
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. -Jesus; John 5:24
Everlasting life is not a picture of unconscious existence, but of conscious, abundant life with God that lasts forever. 

In referring to 1 John 5:11-13 and eternal life, Walter Martin says,

“In the grammar and context of this passage eternal life is the present possession of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and if the term eternal life does not include conscious fellowship then the whole New Testament meaning is destroyed.” -Walter R. Martin, Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany Fellowship; 1977.

Shall Never Die
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” -John 11:25-26
Eternal life and “shall never die” speak of the believer never being separated from God. 

Spiritual death is when a person is separated from God. How can you call it eternal life, if you are separated from God in the grave until the resurrection? Soul sleep sounds more like spiritual death than spiritual life and eternal life.

Today In Paradise
Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” -Luke 23:43
Jesus’ promise to the thief on the cross sounds a little hollow if it only meant an unconscious 2,000 year sleep. Implied is you will consciously be with Me today in Paradise. 

I Commend My Spirit
And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last. -Luke 23:46
This picture does not seem to align with Jesus being unconscious for the next three days. 

Jesus Standing At The Right Hand Of God
55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” -Acts 7:55-56, 59 
The picture is Jesus standing to receive the first martyr of the Christian faith. This glorious scene seems disappointing if only Stephen’s unconscious soul made it to Heaven; or, as some believe, his soul was destroyed to only be recreated in the far, distant future. 

Whether We Wake Or Sleep
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
Whether we are alive or dead, we will live with Jesus Christ. Living with Christ does not seem to match up with sleeping for centuries. 

Death Cannot Separate Us
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39 
Would 2,000 years of unconscious existence count as being separated from God? 

I Saw The Souls
9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. -Revelation 6:9-11
Apostle John saw the souls of those martyred. What were they doing at this particular time? Speaking to the Lord about judgment. And they were spoken to. Not a picture of unconscious existence. 

Elijah Goes Straight To Heaven
Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. -2 Kings 2:11
Strongly implied is that Elijah consciously went straight to heaven. 

The time of my departure is at hand. -2 Timothy 4:6
Paul was facing death. He is about to depart, leave his body behind to be with the Lord. His spirit was not going to sleep with his lifeless body, but depart to Heaven. 

If Our Earthly Body Is Destroyed
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
-2 Corinthians 5:1 
The picture is of the Christian’s conscious life continuing uninterrupted after death. 

These are some of the reasons most Baptists, and Christians in general, reject the concept of soul sleep and believe that upon the death of a Christian, the body sleeps and returns to dust, the spirit goes immediately and consciously to Heaven to be with the Lord.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 12, AD 2015. 

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 1 of 2
Our First Great Sorrow
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs
The Roman Road of Salvation
More articles in lower right margin. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 1 of 2

Soul Sleep is the belief when a Christian dies, the soul sleeps until the resurrection. The soul is in an unconscious state until the resurrection. 
Some have said the soul sleeps with the body; others have said the soul goes to Heaven, but is unconscious. Or even that the soul is destroyed at death and later recreated by God.

There are verses that may seem to indicate Soul Sleep. For example:

5 For the living know that they will die;
But the dead know nothing,
And they have no more reward,
For the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished;
Nevermore will they have a share
In anything done under the sun.
-Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes “under the sun.” In other words, without God in the picture and as though this life was all there was to life. In that sense, this passage is true. But Solomon concludes this book acknowledging God, and that life has no real meaning and satisfaction apart from God (Ecclesiastes 11:9; 12:1, 13-14).

Another way to put it is that a dead body doesn’t know anything because, when a person dies, the body sleeps in the grave, the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The New Testament uses the word “sleep” as a symbol of death. A doctrine should not be developed from a figure of speech. The body sleeps, but the spirit goes to be with the Lord.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 4:14

Notice those who are departed believers are with the Lord now, and at the Rapture / Return of Christ, God will bring with Him those whose bodies are asleep. At that time they will be reunited with their resurrected bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Scripture gives strong evidence against Soul Sleep:

Absent From The Body, Present With The Lord
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. -2 Corinthians 5:8 
Notice there is no hint of an unconscious state, but we will immediately be present with the Lord.

Death Is Gain

21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. -Philippians 1:21, 23
Why would death be gain for the Apostle Paul if he has now been in an unconscious state for 2,000 years? How can death be far better, if it only means unconsciousness for centuries? Rather, when a Christian dies they are immediately and consciously in the presence of the Lord, and that is great gain. 

Story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. 

22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. -Luke 16:22-23
I am among those who do not believe the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a parable. It does not have characteristics of a parable, and does not say it is a parable. Unlike parables, it names one of the individuals. Scripture presents it as a real, literal story. 
The Rich Man died, was buried, and was in torment in Hell. Lazarus was immediately in Abraham’s bosom, Paradise. In this story both the Rich Man and Lazarus are presented as being conscious immediately after death.

Mount of Transfiguration

And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. -Matthew 17:3

And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. -Mark 9:4

30 And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah,
31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. -Luke 9:30-31
Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) had long since departed this earth - yet here in New Testament times they were not sleeping or unconscious. They were alive and well, and speaking with Jesus about his coming sacrificial death.

Not God of the Dead, But of the Living

31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,
32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” -Matthew 22:31-32

He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.” -Mark 12:27

For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him. -Luke 20:38
The body may be dead, the soul, spirit is alive.

Definition of Death

According to the Bible, death is not ceasing to exist. It is not annihilation. According to the Bible, death is separation.

To be spiritually dead, simply means to be separated from God.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they immediately died, spiritually.
They did not cease to exist. They still walked, talked, breathed. They still could hear the voice of God.
But they were spiritually separated from God.

To be physically dead, does not mean you cease to exist. It does not mean you are annihilated. It does not mean you know nothing or are unconscious.
To be physically dead simply means you, your soul, spirit, are separated from your body. The spirit, the real you, is separated from the physical body.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 11, AD 2015. 

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 2 of 2
More articles in lower right margin.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Problem With Drunk Preachers

In 1886 in the Tennessee Baptist a preacher wrote of years before seeing a Baptist pastor drunk in the pulpit. So intoxicated he could not stand alone and had to hold on to the pulpit. His speech was difficult to understand. When the church tried to discipline him he declared he was not drunk because he did not fall down. He reproved them for being judgmental and said if he was disciplined he would expose the sins of other church members. The minister was not punished and according to the writer the church eventually died of strong drink. (-from Liquor in the Land of the Lost Cause by Joe L. Coker)

Such common abuse of alcohol is one reason Baptists, Methodists, and others began to speak against “distilled damnation” in the late 1700s and early 1800s. When you condone moderate drinking of alcohol, you have more immoderate drinking of alcohol.

Moderate drinking, is moderate intoxication. Many have pointed out moderate drinking is not the solution to drunkenness, it is the cause of drunkenness. That was true two hundred years ago, and it is true today.

Today many young pastors are being told the Bible condones moderate drinking of alcohol. In other words, it’s perfectly fine for even a preacher to partake of a recreational, mind altering drug. Yet, when moderate recreational drugs are accepted, it often leads to immoderate recreational drugs.

Today when Christian convictions against drinking are weakening, do we really have a problem with intoxicated preachers? Yes. For example, in his 2010 book Church Planter, Acts 29 pastor Darrin Patrick laments the significant problem of drunk preachers today:

“As I coach and mentor church planters and pastors, I am shocked at the number of them who are either addicted or headed toward addiction to alcohol. Increasingly, the same is true with prescription drugs. One pastor I know could not relax without several beers after work and could not sleep without the aid of a sleeping pill.”

For good reason, for well over 100 years, Southern Baptists and many other believers, have opposed the use of alcohol.

It is past time that believers return to the safest, sanest, most biblical conviction of opposing all use of beverage alcohol. Stay away from it. As Proverbs 23:29 says, don’t even look at it. Have nothing to do with it, and you will save yourself and others from a world of heartache.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 13, AD 2015.

For more information see the books:
Ancient Wine and the Bible by Brumbelow
Alcohol Today by Lumpkins

2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?
Acts 29, Alcohol, and the Southern Baptist Convention
B. H. Carroll on Pastors and Alcohol
Dr. R. L. Sumner on "Ancient Wine and the Bible"
Wine for Your Stomach's Sake; 1 Timothy 5:23

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