History Is Important

For those who do not know, we have began a study of Baptist history on Wednesday nights at 7:00. Any time you teach history instead of Scripture you open yourself up to some of the harshest critics. “Why don’t you just stick with the Bible?” “No one cares about what happened 400 years ago!” “History is boring.” Allow me to point out a few of the benefits of historical study. We Study history:

#1 To understand how we arrived to our present position. I have always said if you properly understand the first 11 chapters of Genesis, the rest of the Bible will make perfect sense. Most of our theological issues today result from a lack of knowledge about Gen 3 alone. Likewise the modern church goer has no clue what “the faith once delivered to the saints” has endured up to this point in time.

#2 To avoid the errors of past generations. Satan is not developing new schemes or tricks to divert the paths of pilgrims. Why would he? What he has employed for the last 6000 years has worked. When we neglect to look at our forefathers we miss the lessons they learned in their time. My dad always told me “If you can learn in 20 minutes, what took someone else 20 years to learn. You’ll be 20 years ahead of your time.” Neglecting this lesson will set us back centuries.

#3 To strengthen our convictions of the doctrines we now hold. Perhaps if you see how those before you suffered to be able to pass this knowledge on to the next generation, you too will take these doctrines seriously. Kids seldom realized the sacrifices their parents made to provide what they receive. Baptist history introduces us the sacrifices of our spiritual parentage.

#4 To drive us to Scripture in defense or correction of our storied beliefs. Baptist have always been “people of the book.” In other words, they let the Bible shape their theology and practice. When we look into the past we see the proper use of Scripture as a sword, piercing and trimming the story of Baptist. We don’t do things this way because we have always done them this way. We do this because God’s Word commands it.

I could list a number of other worthy reasons for studying Baptist history but let me close with a question (or three). Why are Baptist so weak on their historical knowledge? I will have to answer that we can’t know things we haven’t been taught. Why haven’t we been taught this before? “Because history is boring and no one cares what happened 400.” Why are churches today in such a weak state? Because they are falling victim to the same old lies our forefathers fought against. History may not be popular but it’s very important. I’m not interested in teaching the popular but it is my duty to teach the important. ~HWS

A Pastor’s Joy

What is it that brings a pastor joy? I might be tempted to say preaching. When God calls a man to preach the Word, preaching becomes something he longs to do. God instills this desire in the preacher’s heart. He may have been shy and an introvert until this call was placed on his life and now speaking before others things of God is his greatest joy.

But preaching often brings sadness. It is very hard to issue God’s commands and warnings only to watch them fall on ears that cannot hear. Then the preacher must watch congregation struggle with the catastrophes brought on by rebelling against the counsel God. Jesus felt this way when he looked over Jerusalem and its rejection of the prophets. The Bible says “Jesus wept.” So sometimes preaching brings tears of sorrow. That is just the nature of a preachers calling.

Is there anything in a preacher’s life that brings more joy than preaching? After some thought on this I have to say there is. The preacher’s greatest joy is seeing the positive effects on his audience. Preaching is like planting, you labor with the hope for much fruit. Seeing a ripe crop and knowing that your efforts have produced a positive result in others is the greater joy.

There is no guarantee that a preacher will see the fruits of his labor. Most of the time the preacher has no idea what is going on in the hearts of men. Some preachers live there entire life and see only a few converts and minimal spiritual growth. They continue on knowing that on That Day when they stand before the One who called them they will receive their reward.

But when God chooses to encourage a preacher in his work he often shows him a little fruit. That fruit is the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of his congregation. David Clark told me a long time ago that a preacher’s ministry is like looking at an iceberg. You can only see the top and most of it is hidden under the water. When a pastor can see the congregation loving one another, serving other, interested in Scripture and seeking to shape their lives after Christ that is his greatest joy. Because he knows God is doing so much more that he cannot see. I praise God for what I’ve seen at Lee Creek over the years. May His work among us continue.