Preachers Running in Herds
Most preachers run in herds, and they are simply not going to go against the grain. I was impressed anew with that fact after reading One in Hope and Doctrine: Origins of Baptist Fundamentalism 1870-1950 (Kevin Bauder and Robert Delnay, Regular Baptist Press, 2014). Most independent Baptists came out of denominationalism (American Baptist, Southern Baptist) and they either immediately formed another denomination or denomination-like organization to join (Baptist Bible Union, GARBC, Conservative Baptist) or they formed strong fellowships (Baptist Bible Fellowship, Southwide Baptist Fellowship) and/or they rallied around a strong leader (J. Frank Norris, John R. Rice, Lee Roberson, Jack Hyles) and/or school. For the most part, the independent Baptist movement has been based on the old fundamentalist philosophy of “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty.” That was the philosophy of the aforementioned leaders. There was a time when I mistakenly thought that most independent Baptist preachers, regardless of their various “issues,” were stalwart warriors for the truth, but I was ill-informed. Standing alone for the whole counsel of God has never been the heart and soul of the movement. Fundamental Baptist history isn't a history of individual preachers taking a bold and lonely stand for truth, and the past is very informative of what is happening today. What about you, dear preacher? I thank the Lord for those who serve Christ and His truth preeminently and are not afraid to stand with a small minority or even to stand alone with the faithful Lord. I count it a privilege to know many of these choice servants of Christ personally. The Psalmist describes the zeal for truth that produces such a stand. “Therefore I esteem ALL thy precepts concerning ALL things to be right; and I hate EVERY false way” (Psalm 119:128). We’re not going to be judged in herds. Each preacher will stand before Christ and give account for himself.
(Friday Church News Notes, December 26, 2014, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
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