4 Reasons to Invest more time in Preaching

I’ve listened to a lot of Independent Baptist Preachers, trying to find someone GOOD to listen to. There’s remarkably few good Independent Fundamental Baptist preachers.

Now, there may be some with a gentle style, like some of the classic radio preachers. There may be some with a fiery style. There’s quite a few with a folksy style.

None of that matters if your teaching quantity in the sermon equals zilch.

Today’s IFB congregation cries out to be fed. They can go to SermonAudio or Soundfaith and listen to Marc Monte, Dan Botterbrodt, and a few others I’ve heard with good teaching quality. There was an IFB preacher I used to like, but he’s a hyper-dispensationalist, and he came under some kind of absolutely bizarre home church only conviction, where he thinks the father is automatically the preacher spoken of in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus.

No, Not so much.

You, as a Pastor, need to rapidly re-evaluate your sermon system. I know of one who works three jobs, and writes his sermons at 0130 hours Sunday morning. It’s fresh for him by the time he gets into the pulpit, but unless he’s an exceptional preacher, the teaching content can’t be all that high.

So let’s look at why you should invest some serious time into your preaching.

  1. To prove you are a workman to be approved. All Pastors will have to stand before Christ and give an account. Many, Many IFB pastors are going to be questioned on why their preaching was so slap-dash and haphazard. You want to hear “Well done” and not “I have somewhat against you.” You’re still saved, you just want to be able to stand in front of the Lord and hear that you did a good job!
  2. Your congregation is begging to be taught. You can bellow for 45 minutes every Sunday, but when someone brings you Romans 3:23 and asks you what that means, you better have an answer! To hear well done from the Lord, your congregation needs to be taught. If you’re called to be a preacher but just haven’t learned the Bible well enough to preach it, then cancel the golfing and get to studying.
  3. SermonAudio. Real Christians crave to hear the word of God. If you aren’t filling their ears with sound doctrine, someone is filling it with heresy. Listen to your congregation talk to each other at the next potluck, and listen to what they’re saying. If you hear the names “John MacArthur”, “Paul Washer”, “R. C. Sproul” and “John Piper” more than once, then you’re not feeding your congregation, Calvinists are. If you hear “Benny Hinn” more than once, you’ve got a serious problem.
  4. Up and coming pastors. What if you hear your congregation talking about “Philip Dean” and “Parsonage”? That’s not good – it means your congregation is getting ready to replace you with old grumpy Philip, and the only thing holding them back is trying to find a house for Mr. Dean! And of course, thanks to Faithful Baptist Bible College, theres many people coming out of a seminary with credentials and SERIOUS doctrine and learning.

The days are past where each preacher llives in a bubble. no kidding, it’s too easy to spot when you’re staling someone else’s work. Frank Norris admitted to one of his two congregations that every sermon he preached he stole from somebody – that’s going to be an awkward moment at the Believer’s judgment! My wife and I have literally spotted when someone has preached a message someone else wrote. -your congregation will too.

your congregation is crying out to be TAUGHT. Teach them! If they don’t like the teaching, then their pew spots will be taken up quickly by people who do. And trust me, if they’re going to leave because they’re offended that you taught from the Bible, then they weren’t going to stay long anyway!


3 Big Warnings about Many IFB churches

As an IFB, i’m of course urging you to find an Independent Fundamental Baptist church to join. There’s two common problems with them, and I’ll examine each in turn.

Hyles. There’s still a lot of IFB churches who blindly follow the teachings of Jack Hyles. It’s not TOO bad, but there’s problems with Hyles. Jack Hyles tended to preach sermons with little Biblical insight or content. A common saying of his was, “Just close your Bibles and listen to me.” That should have told everyone in the church to get up, walk out, and never return. Preach from your Bible, and not your vain imaginings! I know I could preach some total heresy if I relied upon my own imagination… so Hyles is no exception.

A further problem with Hyles is this – he believed in Quick Prayerism. He had a congregation of several hundred, but claimed to save over a quarter million souls. If you saved a quarter million, then your church attendance should be about… 250,000 people. If you have 800 there, you’ve saved… 800. Still a sizable number, but Hyles followers preach AGAINST repentance, despite clear references to it in the Bible. Any attempt to soft-sell the Bible leads to eventual apostasy.

Ruckman. A lot of other IFB churches are Ruckmanite. Peter Ruckman had a lot of problems, and like Hyles, preached a lot of things that had no source in the Bible. I don’t need to say too much about this, other than to say, seriously consider avoiding Ruckmanite churches. You’ll find pastors who hold Ruckman allegiance tend to be overly controlling. i accidentally attended one for a few months, and literally heard preached from the pulpit that the 144,000 were virgin born. Um… where did you get that from?

In view of his recent decease, I’ll avoid going into detail on his heresies right now. The members of his church are still going through a lot of suffering over his death.

Gail Riplinger. Usually, Ruckmanite churches and Riplinger go hand in hand. While she’s written many good things in her books I’m sure (just like I’ve heard good teachings from Hyles and Ruckman). However, Riplinger apparently believes her writings are Scripture, and many of the conclusions she reaches are the worst research and botch job journalism I’ve EVER seen! “avoid Strongs’, because Strong was a methodist and…” Yes, there’s a couple of errors in Strong’s concordance. He does allow his Methodism once or twice to corrupt the definition of a word. however, that’s no reason to AVOID his concordance! Be warned… and keep plugging!

I do encourage joining an IFB church, but these three stumbling blocks actually account for a vast majority of Bible Believing Baptist churches from what I’ve seen!

Be wise.

How to find a Biblical Church

How to find a Biblical church.

In today’s world, finding a Biblical church sooner or later is going to become a necessity. The church you’re in right now probably has plans to turn into something that’s not a church, if they haven’t already.

The first thing you should ALWAYS do is ask to see the statement of faith. If they don’t have one on the website, be worried. A statement of faith nowadays has to be incredibly long, not a short little three paragraph thing.

  • What’s their stand on the Bible? Any Bible? The Message? Do they believe the Bible was inerrant and Inspired ONLY in the original manuscripts, or do they believe the one in your hands is inerrant and inspired?
  • What’s their stand on Salvation? I ask this becase literally, the most popular and famous Christian writer today – N. T. Wright – is preaching heresy, and so many Christians are dazzled by his writings that they’re not stopping to say “wait a minute…” Does this church believe salvation is a free gift of God and not of works, in accord with Eph. 2:8-9? Don’t assume they believe a Biblical message of salvation. If their altar call doesn’t mention Repentance… worry about it.
  • Do they baptize by immersion? If they teach baptism is not for today, avoid that church. I mentioned Jason Cooley a couple of times on this blog until I realized that was his stance, and now I reccommend people avoid him. If they offer you a choice, or baptize infants, leave that church.
  • Does it feel like a house of God, or a rock concert? I strongly feel that churches should play doctrinally strong hymns and not rock music for the service. While there are strong arguments for and against Christian contemprary music, there’s one thing you cannot deny – once a church makes a move for including modern music in its service, the doctrinal positions soon change. That’s not even a 70% type of statistic from what I’ve seen, that’s a 100% statistic. That alnoe should make you nervous. find me one church with a drummer, a bass player, and guitar solos that preaches the wrath of God against sinners and a literal eternity in burning fire and torment for anyone who is not born again. You can’t play half the service of universalist man-centered music and then preach a God centered message – it won’t last that way for long.
  • Do they preach a literal eternity in a fiery Hell for any who are not saved?
  • Do they accept EVERYONE who names the name of Christ as saved, despite evidence to the contrary?
  • Are the Deacons saved? Big question.
  • Are the walls painted black in the sanctuary? Really. I’m not kidding. There are several churches in my town whose walls are painted black, so that the light show works better.
  • Do they preach the whole word of God?
  • Do they make their doctrines based upon emotions, feelings, and what’s pleasing to the flesh – or do they base their doctrinal stand upon the Bible? THat’s a strong question nowadays. Believe it or not, David Cloud’s latest book makes the charge that Southern Baptists respond institutionally more by emotions than the word of God – and I can’t refute that.
  • Do they join hands with those who take unBiblical doctrines, or do they advocate Biblical separation from those in error?
  • Do they preach a Biblical pre-tribulation rapture, or do they assume somehow that there won’t be a rapture, or that “The Church” must go through part of or all of the Rapture? This is a big issue. Like the contemporary music issue, it’s the tip of the iceberg that something is wrong.

Okay, now let’s examine the other side of the issue.

  • Does the congregation look like they’re afraid to raise their eyes to look at the pastor?
  • If you try talking to someone before the service, do they cast a fearful eye at the pastor first before answering you?
  • Do the congregation member’s eyes pass by you as if you don’t exist? I learned in seminary that “As the congregation is, so is the Pastor first.” If the congregation ignores you, so wil the pastor.
  • Do they kick the homeless and needy out of the church – or does the Deacon pull them aside and give them money so they can get some real food? Big issue for me. I saw the Deacon in my old church pull a homeless man who was begging during the service out of the sancutary – and then empty his wallet into the man’s hands. That deacon remains my hero, dsepite my leaving that church. By the way, that Deacon was a military retiree, on a fixed income.
  • Is there a constant theme of, “you’re not getting this kind of Biblical truth anywhere else!”
  • Does the church have pictures of Jack Hyles or Peter Ruckman prominantly displayed?

As we get farther and farther into the age of apostasy, it’s getting harder and harder to look for a Biblical church. So many churches are starting to remove denominational names from their church name (Baptist is not a denomination, but you know what I mean). And some are even removing the word “Church” from the name.

If they’re taking the word Church from the name… it’s a hint.

Being A Pastor 4

I’ve just gone through Thingamablog on my computer, looking to see if I’ve ever written an exhaustive list of the rules of Hermeneutics. To my surprise, I’ve got several articles where I list some parts, and some articles where I list other parts.

Let’s go through the list!

  1. Treat every verse as literal unless the passage says otherwise. Don’t assume, as some do, that “like unto” is telling you its figurative – it’s figurative if the passage tells you shortly that someone is to give the understanding of it. Compare Daniel and the he-goats, the bear with the ribs, etc. The Bible declares its a vision, and an angel is commanded to give the interpretation. Jeremiah buries a loincloth at the riverbank, and digs it up. Is this describing the Papacy? Martin Luther? No. The passage gives the interpretation a few verses later.
  2. All scripture is inerrant, inspired, preserved and perfect, without error or contradiction. Get this rule in your head, and suddenly a lot of rebellion against the word of God suddenly is gone forever.
  3. We take what the Bible says as a whole. In other words, don’t serive your doctrine from one verse or one chapter – you really need to take what the Bible has to say on a doctrine as a whole.
  4. The unclear verses must give way to the clearer verses. This is a well established rule, and only cults and textual critics violate this rule. If you have 50 clear verses saying X and 3 verses saying Y, then the answer is X. Once you realize that, and examine the three verses with that understaning, you realize those three are not saying Y… they’re saying X, but giving more information about it.
  5. We never establish doctrine off of a ἅπαξ Hapax. Hapax is Greek for once. Any verse mentioned ONLY ONCE in the Bible we cannot make a doctrine from. Baptism for the dead. All I’m going to say.
  6. We never establish doctrine off of a parable. Parables, believe it or not, and despite everything you’ve heard Pastors say – are designed to CONCEAL knowledge, not make a story memorable. What is the oil in the Parable of the wise and foolish vergins? Salvation, right? So… how could the foolish virgins buy some from the wise virgins? And why could the wise ones not sell it? This kind of thinking is forcing a point, which we call “making a parable walk on all fours”.
  7. Avoid making doctrine from the following 4 books – Job, Lamentations, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. Remember that Job and his friends were wrong. If you take something that Bildad says and build a doctrine around it… you’ve just built an error that God specifically says is wrong.
  8. Treat the Bible Dispensationally. There’s a lot I could say on this. If you refuse to do this, huge amounts of the Bible are indecipherable. Once you do it, suddenly the Bible is open to you.

I’ve given examples of this repeatedly. Church – Universal or local? The answer is obvious. If you follow the rules above (not my rules, by the way) there’s only one answer, and 99% of Christianity shrinks from the answer in horror – the church is local.

Salvation – by faith or works? Follow the rules above – it’s by faith.

Is God through with the Jew? Follow the rules above, no. Not by a long shot.

Who is the 144,000 Jews? Follow the rules above, it’s easy – 144,000 Jewish evangelists. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are famous for taking this wildly out of context. I remember a JW telling me their Kingdom Hall had one of the 144,000. I asked if they were Jewish. The answer was ‘no’. I asked what mark was visible on the flesh of their forehead? The answer was “none”. I told him the supposed witness was… Biblically not one of the 144,000.

Useful tools – a topical Bible. Nave’s and Torrey’s are the two I’m used to. Torrey’s is better, but Nave’s has far more entries.

Concordance and an Interlinear. They’re built into Logos. I’m going to say this nicely, but if you’re going in the Ministry, quite simply, a good enough Bible program is not good enough. Logos, Accordance, or Bibleworks are what you need – and I really can’t recommend Bibleworks because it has so few books built in! I recommend Logos, but some people think differently, so I suggest Accordance as a backup.

If you’re going to be a pastor, then you need to take one year of Greek and one year of Hebrew – minimum. Seriously. And your Bible software has to have better language tools than just Strong’s. I can do more work in original language study in Logos in one hour than I can using a Bible software that depends on Strong’s in a month.

I’m serious.

Logos has far more original language tools than Accordance, but you can do a lot with Accordance. If all you’ve got is $60, then Accordance Starter may be right for you. I will say this – many Bible Colleges, Seminaries and Universities require Logos Gold as the minimum starting package. The answer is obvious – you get BDAG and HALOT, two really important Greek and Hebrew tools. Vine’s is highly recommended as well. Even if you choose a free on-line Independent Baptist Seminary, you should REALLY consider getting at least Logos Bronze.

I’d do this for the year before Seminary. You’re going to undertake some serious Bible study in the year before Seminary. Why? If you were going to swim college, you’d spend countless hours in the pool building up stamina. Well, same for Bible College. Get your mind USED to rapid-fire Bible study. Start getting deep into THIS, then back out at a moments notice to search THAT. The first year of Seminary, you’re required to read the entire Old Testament and entire New Testament. At the same time, Church History, Bible Doctrine 1 & 2, Greek 1 & 2, survey of Old Testament, Survey of the Gospels and New Testament.

It’s a lot. Get used to it NOW, so you’re not getting the first month overwhelm of “I hope I can do this”. The other thing to watch out for is – around year 4, the last six months, you’re OVER IT. If you make it a habit to study, study, study… then by year 4 you’re used to it. And the year you spend in study will greatly increase your grade point average.

I wish i’d done this part better! I’d have ended up with higher than an A- average.

Being a Christian – Saved church Membership

To be a member of a church, the only requirement is that you be saved.

You can ATTEND a church and be unSaved. Amazingly, we have entire groups of people who SERVE in churches and are unSaved!

We need to get those Deacons right with the Lord! 😉

The standard way to join a church is through Baptism. Get saved, find a church, meet with the pastor, ask to join, the church votes, and then you are Baptized.

But what if you move from one place to another? Or (more common today) the church apostates, and you have to resign and move out? How do you transfer to the next church?

The next method is by letter. Many say it’s Biblcal, but I really have to say I don’t see it directly addressed in Scripture. However, transfer of membership by letter is the usual way.

What if your church is apostating, and you don’t want any taint of that apostasy on you? Then the last method of transfer of membership is by personal statement, that you were a member of another church and have been baptized, and are a Christian.

If you are saved, you may join a New Testament church. But let’s say your spouse is not.

They may attend with you, but they may not join. An unsaved person may not vote in church meetings, nor partake of the Lord’s Supper.

Not fair? Look, Salvation’s a free gift! Nobody’s forcing you to join. But… we can’t risk someone who is unSaved voting in something, and afecting the direction of a New Testament church. It’s important.

So, if you want the benefits of belonging to a New Testament church… why not get saved?

Sure beats eternal suffering!

Being A Christian – the Autonomous Local Church

There’s a lot I could say about the Local Church. One of the biggest errors in most Christian’s doctrines is in the area known as Ekklesiology – the study of the local church.

I have read countless statement of faiths, that profess a belief in a Universal Church. Using the rules of Hermeneutics, we turn to the rule that states, “When you have many verses that state a particular doctrine, and one or two that seem to say something else, we interpret the minority verses by the understanding we get from the majority.”

Weak Ekklesiology has caused COUNTLESS pastors and “Scholars” to do the opposite. The Bible has just over a hundred references to the church… and 94 of them clearly define the church as a visible, local entity.

Using the rules of Hermeneutics, we have to therefore define the word “church” biblically as a visible, local body. Any references to the church must then be understood in that context alone.

THe concept of a Universal Church then is literally unBiblical. We’re trying to force a concept (Universal) to fit a word outside of its Biblically given context (church), based upon a 5 verses in Ephesians.

Remember the Hermeneutic principle – if you have 94 verses that clearly show the church to be a local body, and 5 that suggest it is Universal…

…you can’t go by the 5. You have to go by the 94.

The concept everyone is trying to hang onto (Universal body of Christ) is being hung on the wrong word, here! IT should be hung on the word Kingdom!

As you read your Bible this year, try this – when you read the word Church, make sure you understand it as local only… and see how your understanding of this doctrine suddenly changes.

The concept of church now changes dramatically. Most christians have a truly weak Ekklesiology. If I were to rate it in intensity, it’s somewhere around a 10-watt bulb. It should be that of a 65-watt bulb.

Because of this error in the understanding of Church, men have chosen to create denominations. Denominationalism is unBiblical. There’s no dispensation given for, “we’re Methodists, and we do this…” “We’re Lutherans, and we do this…”

The Bible gives you doctrines, Ekklesiology, church polity, everything all wrapped up in its 66 books. If you deviate from what it presents – you’re in error.

Denominationalism is a grand example of that. If the Bible shows you believer’s baptism by immersion, and you sprinkle a baby and call that baptising… it’s wrong. It’s in error. You don’t have it right – you’ve got it wrong. There’s no dispensation for doing things wrong, just because you’re Episcopal, etc.

The next issue of the church is church polity. That means the rule of the church. Denominationalism gives you (usually) someone over your church that is not part of your church.

The Denomination can step in and say, “You’re not keeping according to our by-laws” – and you have to fix it or risk being kicked out. That simply can’t be found in the Bible. There’s special pastors who are over multiple churches, a completely unBiblical concept.

What the Bible presents is this – a local church. Whose in charge of it? The local church body. The Pastor functions as an overseer. Um… that’s about it.

How does a local church deal with an errant pastor? They assemble three persons, well thought of in the congregation, and they approach the pastor and say… “we need to talk”.

Nobody from another church is tapped to talk to the pastor. That’s a separate church interfering in the business of another church.

implicit in this is the concept of democracy. The congregation gets the vote in many things. Why? It’s the Biblical example. In Acts 6:5 the local church in Jerusalem selected deacons.

What about elder boards? Elder boards, even the concept of an elder – is completely unBiblical. The word elder (Presbyter) is interchangeable with Bishop and Pastor.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” (Ephesians 4:11, KJV)

“PAUL and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:” (Philippians 1:1, KJV)

“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;” (Titus 1:5–7, KJV)

In Titus we see Elders (v. 5) suddenly called Bishops in v. 7. It’s the same office. An Elder is a pastor. What’s the Biblical name for a Pastor? Pastor, Bishop, Elder. Same term describes the same office. this means in Presyter polity churches with Edler boards, the Elders are going to find themselves having to account to God why they were not fulfilling the office of Pastor – indeed, why they undertook the office when not called to preach.

Not good, really. Pastors have to give account in ways that the average Christian does not.

Some churches like to create associations or conventions, for the purpose of being able to get together – as churches of like faith and practice – and do things. Picnicing is one thing – but inter-church cooperation in the purpose of missionaries, etc… that’s a question for that body to decide by vote. And the case has been made that it’s not really Biblical to have churches get together and create mission boards. A church calls and commissions a missionary, and several churches may all participate in sponsiring that missionary – that’s fine. And churches should be doing this, supporting missionaries.

I’m not going to go on and on about the local church. Since apparently I’m called to preach, I tend to want to talk about this topic for hours. Hopefully, you’ve learned something today!


Churches I’d love to Pastor!

Every now and then, when I’m stuck somewhere, waiting, and little or nothing for me to do, or while i’m mowing the lawn, I like to think about any churches I’d like to pastor. Really, I think the top of the list is the Baptist church in Newport, Rhode Island. Why?

It’s the first one in the US!

Only thing is, the congregation would have to agree to go Fundamentalist. They’d have to make that commitment right off the bat, because from what I’ve seen, they’re not.

The Baptist church in Providence Rhode Island would be great, too. It’s number 2 in the US, but it’s closed, unless it reopened recently.

Okay, here’s a weird one.

Shiloh, in Maine.

Would I love to pastor that one? Yes. Right now, they look like an evangelical charismatic church, which is pretty much what Frank Sandford intended it as, but the ecumenical part of it he would have disapproved of. If they want to go fundamentalist, I’d be up for that. I would most espeiclally find it amazing to be able to redeem that hotbed of doctrinal porridge that Shiloh became. It was an abusive cult under Frank W. Sandford, who exercised complete control over his congregation in a manner that people describe almost as hypnosis. Many died there of sickness (Sandford forbid any healing or treatment except through prayer), and through starvation (Sandford would not allow them to work, but insisted God must provide everything).

It would be nice to have it be a testament to the power of God’s ability to redeem, rather than a testament to the corruptive and abusive power of man.

But reallly, I would love a church, in a little white church building. A congregation that is willing to follow the Lord, and not make excuses. I prayed to the Lord that 2016 would be the start of full time paid ministry, but the Lord apparently answered “no”. No problems. I don’t want to go when the Lord doesn’t want me to!

Well, when the Lord is ready… I pray i’ll be ready, too.