An Imperfect Saint

imperfect_saint_RB

When I was in college, a man came to preach in chapel who had a ministry reaching Roman Catholic priests and nuns. I do not remember the text or the topic of his sermon. But I’ll never forget a story he told.  He was driving his car, which sported a bumper sticker reading “Jesus Never Fails.”  His driving caught the attention of an officer of the law and he was pulled over.  In a good-natured way, the officer, when he approached the driver’s window, said, “Well I see your bumper sticker isn’t true.”  The driver, with equal good nature, said, “Would you double-check and make sure you read it correctly?”   The officer went to the back of the car, re-read the bumper sticker, came back, and responded, “It says, ‘Jesus Never Fails.’”  The driver held out his hand to the officer and said, “I’m Alex Dunlap; an imperfect saint.”

Much of the criticism of independent, fundamental Baptists centers on the behavior of men who have been prominent independent, fundamental Baptists. Of course, some of this criticism is valid. Allow me, for the record, to state the obvious:

  • Adultery is wrong.  In my opinion, a pastor who commits adultery forfeits his right to be a pastor.  He certainly should not be sent to another church which is unaware of his failure.
  • Our preaching should be Biblical. (“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God . . .” – I Peter 4:11)
  • God commands us to be kind and gracious (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Child-molesters belong in jail.  Long before Michigan law required pastors to report child abusers, I called the State Police and told them about a man who had molested his young son. When the mother and son came to me, I urged them to go directly to the police. When they did not, I informed them that I would call the police myself. The man, appropriately, was sentenced to jail.

But may I state something which should be equally obvious? Most preachers I know have always believed – and practiced – what I have just stated. It seems to me that some disillusioned men have judged a position on the basis of a few people who held it.  The “logic” goes like this:

“Person A” is an independent Baptist.
“Person A” has obvious and serious faults.

Therefore, the independent Baptist position has obvious and serious flaws.
But no position should be judged merely by the people who hold to it.

  • Some pro-life advocates murder doctors who commit abortions. But I’m still pro-life.
  • Some who support traditional marriage and harsh and unkind in their treatment of gays. But I still favor traditional marriage.
  • Some who support lower taxes advocate armed rebellion against the government. But I still believe in lower taxes.
  • Some hunters are profane beer-drinkers. But I still like to hunt.
  • Some sports fans are rude and obnoxious. But I still like to watch a ballgame once in a while. I even buy a ticket to go see the Tigers play at Comerica Park every couple of years.
  • Some bald men are racist skinheads. But I (lacking any desirable options) am still bald.

Any movement or position must be judged by the Word of God.  We must look at the facts, not the followers. We must make our decisions on the basis of principle, not on the basis of personalities.  We must be guided by the Bible, not by the behavior of the few.

 I’m R. B. Ouellette.  An imperfect saint.

Posted in father, God, Return | Leave a comment

These Necessary Things

 There was conflict in the early church.  Jewish believers wanted Gentile believers to keep the Jewish law.  Gentiles wanted Jews to avoid purchasing meat in the marketplace which had been offered to idols.  In their minds this meat was closely associated with the pagan lifestyle from which they had been delivered.  James made an intriguing pronouncement.  While not giving the Jews everything they wanted, he said that the Gentiles should abide by certain “necessary things.” (Acts 15:28, 29) One of them was a clear moral issue (fornication).  Others were matters of judgment and testimony (abstaining from blood or meat offered to idols).

I.  An Examination of the Problem

     A.  There are some people, who are by nature, innovators.  They are always looking for a better way to get the job done, a more efficient method of disseminating the truth, a vehicle by which they can get the Gospel to more individuals.  Dr. Jack Hyles was an innovator. He was largely responsible for the implementation of the bus ministry in many of our churches. He had a huge influence in encouraging us to engage in personal soulwinning. He used promotions in a way that had not previously been used. (Dr. Hyles gave free cruises as Sunday School prizes back in the ‘60’s!)  Today’s innovators love to use technology. They are trying to figure out how to use the Internet to get out the Gospel, how to use social media to disseminate truth, and how to use up-to-date graphics to communicate with this generation.

     B. There are some people, who are by nature, seers.  They see dangers that are still some distance down the road and caution us about the negative effects they will have on us.  Bob Jones Jr. “blew the whistle” on Jack Van Impe before anyone else recognized a problem.  In the last issue of his magazine, Faith for the Family, he said of Dr. John MacArthur’s views on the blood of Christ, “MacArthur’s position is heresy.”  Seers worry about where particular trends will lead. They peer off into the distance, see “evil, and hide” themselves.  They encourage us to be similarly cautious.  (There are, of course, some seers who see danger where none exists.)

Both innovators and seers are certainly necessary.

My purpose in writing this is to be a peacemaker. My message to the seers is not every innovation is bad. Not everything new is New Evangelical, not everything unusual is unbiblical.  My message to the innovators is not all cautions are crazy, and not all warners are wackos.

II.  The Examples

There are divisions among good men about the use of . . .

     A.  Technology.  Some see a screen as a powerful tool to impact people with the truth. They like the fact that the congregation is looking up at a screen when singing rather than down into a hymnbook. They like using maps, pictures, quotations, and graphics to make the points of their sermon clear and to drive them home to the audience.  I’ve always found it intriguing that some believe that a screen is a perfectly appropriate place to show pictures of the mission field but not to display the words of a hymn.

Others worry that a dependence on technology may make us less dependent on the Holy Spirit.  They fear that using an IPad which contains the Bible will not be as powerful as holding up a Book which is entirely the Word of God (except for the concordance, maps and notes ☺).  Some use email, text messages, Twitter, Facebook and other social media extensively to reach people with truth. Others fear that this could lead to a departure from door-to-door, person-to-person soulwinning.

     B. Style. There are those who are bothered by loud preaching.  They will refer to those who are fiery in their style as “screaming Mimi’s.”  They believe such an approach turns off this generation.  On the other hand, there are those who believe that if a person doesn’t scream, they cannot be Spirit-filled.  (The Scripture does tell us to “cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet . . .” – Isaiah 58:1) It also tells us that the Apostle Paul “reasoned” with people out of the Scripture and “persuaded” them. (Acts 17:2-4)

     C.  Terminology.  This may be the area in which people are the most sensitive.  A man is criticized because his auditorium is called a Worship Center or his lobby is a narthex.  We have an auditorium and a lobby.  But I must confess that the word worship is in the Bible, whereas the words, auditorium, lobby and narthex are not.  One man passes out “visitor cards” on Sunday. Another distributes “guest cards” and yet another asks those who do not regularly attend to fill out a “connection card.”  None of these terms have any foundation in Scripture.

Many years ago, a large Baptist church in Minnesota paid a marketing group $50,000 to conduct a study to determine how they could reach more people.  The conclusion:  instead of calling themselves Grace Baptist Church, they should simply call themselves Grace Church.  I’m glad I never spent $50,000 of the Lord’s money for bad advice; advice my conscience and convictions would never allow me to follow.  There are words we use (and I use them) to describe our positions.  Words like “fundamental” and “independent.”  Others use words like “orthodox” and “autonomous.”

None of these are Bible terms.

The term “Baptist” is.

Our Lord was baptized by John the Baptist.  The Lord made a distinction between the old and the new covenants in the person and ministry of John the Baptist (“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” – Luke 16:16)

The word “church” is a Bible word. Our Lord died for the church (Ephesians 5:25). He established the church (Matthew 16:18). He promised to perpetuate the church (Matthew 16:18).

It is true that some terms we would use to explain ourselves to each other would mean nothing to the people we are trying to reach. I would never knock on a door and say, “Hi, I’m Pastor Ouellette from the First Baptist Church of Bridgeport.  We’re an independent, fundamental, separated, Pre-millennial, King James only, Devil-hating, sin-fighting, compromise-avoiding, Pro-Life, Anti-Gay marriage, conservative music, family-oriented, mission-minded, stewardship-emphasizing, soulwinning church.”  We are all of those things.  But the person I meet at the door, first, needs to know the Gospel (“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” – John 16:12).

One of our daughters is adopted (I always forget which one J).  When Krisy and I were preparing for the home study, Dr. Hyles gave us some wise advice.  He said if we were asked what kind of church we were affiliated with, we should simply say “Baptist.”  If we were pressed as to what kind of Baptist church, we should say “First Baptist Church.”  In other words, he told us not to use terminology that those conducting the home study might not understand.  Even more importantly, he was advising us not to use terminology that would cause those conducting the home study to misunderstand us.

One of my friends has “Church Growth Conferences.”  If you look up the Church Growth movement, you will find that its roots are thoroughly New Evangelical. It was founded by Donald McGavran and based at Fuller Theological Seminary for many years. I do not believe my friend is a New Evangelical, nor do I criticize him for using the words “Church Growth.”

Another friend has added extra “arms” to his publishing ministry.  His efforts to get good books in places like Cracker Barrel and Wal-Mart will be enhanced by using a name that would better be understood by the general public. I concur with his action and do not believe he is in any way compromising.

Some years ago, one of my friends was criticized because the word “Baptist” was not in the name of the church he pastored.  I explained to his critics that my friend clearly identified his church as being Independent Baptist.  In fact, he advertised it under “Independent Baptist churches” in the Yellow Pages.  When they persisted in their criticism, I would say, “Where did you go to college?”  One would say, “Hyles-Anderson.”  Another, “Crown College.”  I would reply, “Oh, so you didn’t go to a Baptist college?”

“Well, of course I did,” they would reply.  “Well,” I would continue, “The word ‘Baptist’ is not in the name of your college.”

Personally, I would never pastor a church that does not include “Baptist” in its name. Our church is the First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, and the Lord has allowed us to establish the Bridgeport Baptist Academy, the Bridgeport Baptist Institute, and Bridgeport Baptist Childcare.  For me, the word Baptist is a Bible word and non-negotiable. The word “church” is likewise a Bible term and non-negotiable.  I must be careful, however, not to allow my strong preference for words like “independent” and “fundamental” to make me look down on my brethren who may believe the same thing but wish to explain it in a slightly different way.

     D.  Association.  One of the strongest reactions I note of the innovators to the seers is when the seer cautions us that certain terminology and practice is associated with an unscriptural movement.  I fully recognize that this is a difficult area.  Any good thing can be associated with a bad thing. The ink with which my Bible was printed may have been produced by a firm whose owner is immoral.  The paper may have been made from trees forested from the land of an atheist.  Nonetheless, there is a Biblical argument to be made about the matter of association. The entire issue of eating meat was a matter of association.  Paul clearly said that the idol was nothing. Waving the meat in front of the idol did nothing to it. And yet, in the minds of young Christians, it was a stumblingblock. He said, “If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth.” (I Corinthians 8:13).

     E.  Influence.  Innovators are always looking for ideas. They are willing to read widely, even from sources with whom they may disagree in order to get new thoughts that will help them to be more effective in ministry.  Seers are cautious about reading from those who positions are in some areas, unscriptural, and who might influence them in the wrong direction.

I seldom read anything by a New Evangelical author.  I much prefer to read a biography.

But this is not an area over which I would break fellowship. Both Dr. Rice and Dr. Hutson put reviews of books written by non-Fundamental authors in the Sword of the Lord. Some of their dearest friends recommended against reading such books, yet they worked closely with Dr. Rice and Dr. Hutson and loved and respected them.

III.  The Encouragement

I would offer a few thoughts to my friends who are innovators and my friends who are seers.

     A. We should always just assume the best of our brethren. (“. . . charity thinketh no evil;” – I Corinthians 13:5).  A critical spirit which is rapid to condemn is not Biblical.

     B. We should reach out to those about whom we are concerned.  Too often, we push them away when we see some tendency that may trouble us. How much better it would be if we drop an encouraging note, make a positive phone call, and take some time to understand their heart.  Years ago, the liberal writer, Michael Kinsley, was quoted in the Weekly Standard.  He said the difference between Liberals and Conservatives is that Conservatives were looking for converts while Liberals were looking for heretics. In other words, Conservatives were trying to convince people of their position while Liberals were more interested in “enforcing discipline” on those who did not “toe the party line.” I want to be looking for ways to draw people toward truth, not excuses to push them away.

C.  If we feel the need to publicly oppose one of our independent Baptist brethren, we should talk to them first.  Several years ago, I read a lecture that had been delivered to a group of my pastor friends. The lecture was anti-King James, anti-soulwinning, pro-Calvinist, and took a position on the blood of Christ similar to that of Dr. John MacArthur.  Though it was unusual for me, I felt led to write a response in order to help young preachers who might be confused by this address.  I called the brother, told him what I was contemplating, and made sure I understood his position. (A couple of my friends had said, “He didn’t mean that,” and urged me not to respond.  The speaker assured me he had meant what he wrote and read to the pastors.)  After I wrote my response, I asked several wise and Godly men to read and comment on it.  Next, I faxed a copy of my response to the brother with whom I had disagreed. Only after these steps did I mail out my response.

My good friend Dr. Paul Chappell wrote a wonderful book entitled The Road Ahead.  In the book, he acknowledged that there had been some faulty leadership in our independent, fundamental Baptist movement.  It was an effort on his part to be honest, to be transparent, and to separate his own position from the unscriptural positions of some others.  Some of my good friends felt that he was maligning the entire movement.  Since I read the book three times before its publication and was privileged to have several conversations with Dr. Chappell about it in advance, I can assure them that they are mistaken. Bro. Chappell’s entire purpose was to draw young men to the truth, to keep them from leaving an independent, fundamental Baptist position.  The point he was making was that he and many others of us always opposed error, whether it was in our crowd or another; that even though a small percentage of our leaders had behaved inappropriately, the position we held was still Biblically correct.

What is interesting to me is that in almost every case, the very few who took the time to speak with Dr. Chappell about their concerns found they had far less disagreement than they had first thought.

D.  We must be careful not to be more troubled by the quirks of the right crowd than by the compromise of the wrong crowd.  All of us have preferences. Some of us may let our preferences become hang-ups.  I have known of preachers who criticized four-color tracts, railed against the use of screens, opposed flared trousers and wire-rimmed glasses, and required that any speaker in their pulpit wear a white shirt. I know preachers who strongly oppose facial hair on men.  I know of at least one pastor who believes that men must allow their facial hair to grow. Some may respectfully disagree with such attitudes, while others may make good-natured jokes about them. But there are those who find it necessary to vehemently disagree.

But, are these “quirks” really worse than changing Bibles?  Do they reach the level of approving of alcohol, using racy language in the pulpit, mocking any standard of separation or operating a youth program which is modeled after American Idol?  How often do the young men troubled by the (sometimes legitimate) faults of Fundamentalism express equal outrage against those who are guilty of “turning the grace of God into lasciviousness”?

     E. We should allow people time to come to the right conclusion without assuming they are compromisers. Dr. Wayne VanGelderen Sr. told me of a conversation he had with Dr. John Rice in the late ‘50’s. Dr. VanGelderen had led his church in Miami to withdraw from the Southern Baptist Convention.  This was a courageous and a correct decision. It was also costly. Bro. VanGelderen was disturbed at others who were staying in the convention.  He expressed his concern to Dr. Rice.  Now, it is important to remember that Dr. Rice took an extremely strong stand against the Southern Baptist Convention.  However, Dr. Rice said to Bro. VanGelderen, “Are they wicked, son?”  Bro. VanGelderen thought for a moment and said, “Yes, they’re wicked.”

“Are they all wicked?”

“Yes.  They’re all wicked.”

“How long have you been out, son?”

“Six months.”

“Were you wicked six months ago?”

Posted in Christian, First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, God, Phrarisees, preachers, preaching, RB Ouellette, Young Fundamentalists | Leave a comment

Separating Spiritually

sep-spirOne of the sad truths of the ministry is that in our lifetimes, we will either have to change our convictions or our companions. The people, groups and institutions we start out with will not be those we end up with unless we compromise along with them. Examples of separation are given to us in the Scripture. Some are proper: David had no choice but to separate from Saul if he did not want to have a javelin placed perpendicular to – but coming out from both sides of – his body!

Other examples are less fortunate. Scripture tells us that the contention between Paul and Barnabas over the usefulness of John Mark was “so sharp” that they separated. While we learn no more of Barnabas’ ministry, we are informed that he was the one who was correct. Though Paul did not want to take another chance on John Mark, he later said that he was “profitable.”

My friend, Dr. Shelton Smith, the editor of the Sword of the Lord, found it necessary a while ago to separate from one who had been a part of his ministry. He went to see the brother four times and explained his concerns. After the decision was made, the brother was deliberately not discussed at a Sword board meeting. There was no gossip nor criticism. Dr. Smith has said to me about this situation, “every time I think about it, it makes me want to cry.” He then went on to talk about the good things in the ministry of the brother from whom he had felt compelled to separate.

Dr. Bob Gray of Florida had been tremendously helped by Dr. Jerry Falwell. When Bro. Gray was in trouble financially, Bro. Falwell brought a singing group down and spoke at a banquet to raise enough money to keep the ministry going. When Dr. Falwell assumed control of the charismatic PTL ministry, Dr. Gray got in an airplane, flew to Lynchburg, and explained to Dr. Falwell personally why, in spite of his appreciation for his help and his friendship with him, he no longer could be involved in ministry with his friend.

Recently, in going through some old files, I came across a letter I had written to my alma mater explaining my decision to end their support. I had made every effort to be kind in the letter. The man who had recently become the head of that institution wrote me a very gracious letter expressing sorrow for the fact that their decision had led to a parting of the ways and thanking me for the manner in which I had handled it.

Here are a few thoughts about separating spiritually, or parting properly.

1. Go to your brother. (Matthew 18:15 – “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”) I have often wondered why people find it appropriate to excoriate someone in print without entreating them in person. I have heard all the reasons and explanations. But it seems to me that the courtesy of a phone call could save a lot of unnecessary strife. It also seems to me that Matthew 18:15 tells us to go to our brother.

2. Treat them with respect. (1 Timothy 5:1 – “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; “) When I was in college, my pastor, one of Dr. John Rice’s sons-in-law, was kind and helpful to me. After I graduated and was in the ministry, he continued to give me instruction and encouragement. He was, however, beginning to move away from a Fundamental Baptist position. He had encouraged me to go to John MacArthur’s pastor’s school, to read books by Chuck Swindoll, etc.

In one conversation, he said, “I hope if you ever think I’m doing something stupid., you’ll tell me.” (I believe he knew that my stand was contrary to his in several areas.) I said to him, “Preacher, I think I already did.” I then proceeded to give him three times I had asked him particular questions about what he was doing. He thought for a moment and said, “Yes you did.” Because I had entreated him as a father, I did not appear to be challenging or fighting him. I had, however, raised the issues with him personally before I preached about them publicly (I did not mention this brother’s name in preaching.)

3. Give them the benefit of the doubt. (1 Corinthians 13:5 – “[Love] . . . thinketh no evil”) Some people who give themselves great credit for being discerning are really suspicious. If you’re suspicious of everybody and everything, you’ll be right once in a while. You’ll also have a tendency to run off some good people who could be helped with patient instruction.

When I was about 15 years old, my dad ran a camp for inner-city kids sponsored by the Detroit City Rescue Mission, where he was the superintendent. One Sunday night after church, before anybody came, I was sitting in the kitchen of the camp, talking to a young lady who had come to be a counselor. I liked her and was enjoying the conversation. I was as tall then as I am now and this young lady was under five feet tall, My dad came walking by a window and looked in. It looked, for all the world to him, like I was bending down every few moments and kissing this young lady. He walked around to another window to get a another view and saw that I was not kissing her, nor was I touching her. I was simply bending my head down to hear what she had to say. He did not tell me the story until some time after the event. I’ve always been impressed at his patience, his restraint and his discernment. He gave me the benefit of the doubt.

4. Be kind. A preacher asked me one time to speak at a big meeting he was planning. He said, “I want to have you one night, Tom Malone one night, and Clyde Box one night.” I agreed to come. Later, one of my friends called and said, “What are you doing preaching with So-and-So?” and named a man who was taking a softer position on ecclesiastical separation than I did. “I don’t know,” I said. “Where am I preaching with him?” He told me that this meeting had included several men with whom I would not normally want to appear on the same platform. Now, it might have been fair for me to say to the host of the meeting, “You changed the rules on me. You told me it would be Tom Malone and Clyde Box. And then you brought in these other men.” What the Lord helped me to do was to call him and say, “Is it true these men are coming?”

“Yes,” he said. “They are.”

“Well then,” I said, “I’d probably better not come. If I just said what I normally say, I might cause trouble, and I don’t want to come and cause trouble.”
My brother said to me, “Well I’ll take that as a Christian.”

I replied, “I hope I’m saying it as a Christian.” No harsh words were exchanged. No criticisms were made. And yet, my position was clear.

5. Stay friendly even when you can’t fellowship. I have run into those associated with the college from which I graduated. I spoke kindly to them, sent them copies of my books, and had cordial conversations. One of them later said to a pastor friend of mine that I was a “good guy.”

6. Admit it when you are wrong. When preaching about ecclesiastical separation some years ago, I made a wise crack about an individual. It was unplanned, off the cuff . . . and inappropriate. It was brought to my attention. I apologized. As I spoke with the man involved, he said to me, “I tell people you are one of the good guys.” Now, this brother and I now travel in entirely different circles, yet I believe he loves God, I believe we will spend eternity together, and though we could not have ministry fellowship, I certainly can be friendly towards him.

7. If necessary, document your discussion. I am not big on writing letters back and forth. There are times, though, when a record must be established so that those who question your stand, those whom we hope to instruct in truth, and those who come behind us, can see clearly what the issues were. I have found that there are, unfortunately, some people that I have to “Miranda-ize.” I realize that there are those with whom anything I say can, and will be, used against me. I am extremely cautious about what I say to them in personal conversation and to maintain careful records of official positions.

8. When you must separate, do so with regret, not with resentment. One of the most godly statements I ever heard regarding ecclesiastical separation was what I quoted earlier from Dr. Shelton Smith, “Every time I think about it, it makes me want to cry.”

Posted in First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, God, RB Ouellette, Young Fundamentalists | Leave a comment

Family vs. Church

• A few years ago, I was given a recorded sermon entitled, “How Some Churches Are Hurting Families.” This sermon had been circulated in a church pastored by a friend of mine. It caused great division and difficulty.

The speaker alleged that it was wrong for anyone to teach the children other than the father; that Sunday School was improper; that youth activities were unscriptural, and that anything that caused the family to be divided while at a church service or other function was unscriptural.

His point was that since some young people had been harmed by the example and testimony of others at church, every effort should be made to see that the young people were always under the direct and immediate vision and control of the parents. (I thought of preaching a sermon on “How Some Families are Hurting Children.” All of us know of terrible abuses perpetrated against children . . . by their parents! This is certainly no argument for the government or some other entity to be given the responsibility to rear the children. The answer instead is to deal with those who do wrong.)

• Some parents have been encouraged to take vows that the children will never be out of sight of at least one of the parents. These families never employ a babysitter. Mom and Dad can never go out for an evening alone. The family cannot engage in any ministry which would not permit all the siblings from infancy on up and the parents to be all involved together at the same time.

• Some parents are refusing to send their children to Sunday School, requiring that they sit with them in an adult class or, in some cases, that the father be given a room in the church where he can teach his own children.
• Some churches, following this model, have a significant portion of the service devoted to families sharing their experiences of the previous week. In some cases, explicit details are told about the misbehavior and subsequent discipline of a particular child – in their presence.

• Some families try to keep their children completely isolated from any other part of society. Their children never go to the home of another child; other children never come to their homes, unless accompanied by their parents; their children never attend camp; never go to a youth rally or a youth revival or a youth conference.

Now, much of this is done by sincere people who genuinely want the best for their children. However, it becomes, for some of them, a crusade. Dr. Paul Chappell told of having a family visit his church and asking him, “Is your church family-friendly?” Suspecting where they were coming from, he replied by asking, “Is your family local church-friendly?”

I asked a pastor friend of mine who knows Bro. Bill Gothard well, “Is Bill Gothard really against the church, or is it just his followers taking what he says to an extreme?” This good man did not answer my question directly. He kindly replied, “Well, Bill is a friend. I talked to him about this matter for several hours recently.” Here are a few thoughts about this subject.

The family is God’s first and most important institution. There was a time in the history of the human race when there was no church. There was a time in the history of God’s people when there was no Temple. But there never was a time there was no family. God brought a man and a woman together in the Garden of Eden and charged them with the responsibility of bringing children into the world.
• The family is the primary source of authority in the life of their children.
• The family should be the primary source of the Gospel in the lives of their children.
• The family should be the primary source of training in the lives of their children. I have regularly reminded the dear people of the First Baptist Church of Bridgeport that Christian Schools and youth programs and the Sunday School are to be a supplement to the teaching and training provided in the home, not a substitute.

The local church should respect the particular values and beliefs of individual families. We have had families in our church who wish to home school rather than place their children in our Christian school. I not only accept, but I encourage this. We offer whatever services we can to the family. If they would like to have their children come to our Chapel programs, play in our sports programs, or attend some of our special activities at Bridgeport Baptist Academy, they are welcome to do so. If they would like for us to assist in ordering textbooks or if, for the purpose of some “umbrella of protection,” they desire for us to administer tests to the children, we permit that. God did not give our members children so that the Bridgeport Baptist Academy could have students; He gave First Baptist Church of Bridgeport the Bridgeport Baptist Academy to help those parents who desired Christian education for their children.

We have had some parents who were reluctant to send their children to camp. We respect their decision. We have had some parents who did not like their children participating in particular youth activities and again, we supported the parents.

All families should be involved in a local, independent, fundamental, Bible-believing, New Testament, separated, soulwinning Baptist church. It has well been said that an individual cannot be right with God and wrong with the church. We are commanded to not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but [exhort] one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

Posted in Christian, father, God, RB Ouellette, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Don’t Say it in Gath

“Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.” – II Samuel 1:20

Much of what this article references is found in Internet chat rooms. A significant portion is conducted over cell phones and in private conversations – sometimes in the lobbies of our churches. All of us are guilty of it. No one I know has an unblemished record. But it seems to me that an untoward and unscriptural fascination with the gory details – true or reported – of the sordid behavior of our fallen brothers and sisters is all too much a part of many of our lives. We have become consumers of carrion, Baptist buzzards, purveyors of putrid pollution. We love to give the details of what So-and-So did; particularly if we had taken a position different from that person to begin with. Here are a few thoughts on this all-too-frequent phenomenon.

We Must Stand
Let me state clearly and unequivocally from the outset that I am not for covering up sin. I do not believe that pastors who commit adultery can stay in the ministry. I do not knowingly have divorced preachers in my pulpit. I do not believe that it is appropriate to give a positive recommendation to another ministry of one who has had a moral failure. I believe that while there are some failures from which we may be restored, full disclosure is generally appropriate when going to a new ministry.

We Must Not be Scavengers
“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” – Proverbs 17:9
To what purpose do we spread this evil? What help is it to the young Christian, the struggling convert, or our teenagers that we wallow in this kind of mire? It is our human nature to be fascinated with this kind of material. From the rubberneckers on the road to the gossipmongers in the pew, we all have the same temptation and tendency. It does not please God.

Why can’t we take a stand against a brother’s philosophy without having to repeat unproven details about their personal life? Is not the truth strong enough that if we present it, our position will stand without having to attack the character of the person we oppose? (I do understand that a person’s character does go to their credibility. I do not believe that it helps the cause of Christ for us to publicize a person’s failings in an effort to stand against their philosophy.)

We Must Not Support Spiritual Scavengers
• We would be wise not to read what they have to say.
• We would be wise not to refer to it. How many times have we piqued someone’s curiosity while preaching against something that another has done? We have made our listeners wonder what was said and done – and perhaps even encouraged them to “do research” into the matter.

• I once heard a well-known man say, for example, “I will not be part of the scandalous gossip against Bro. _____. As far I am concerned, if I walked into a room and he was lying on top of a young lady, I’d think he was giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.” Of course, all of the listeners wondered what Bro. ____ had been accused of. No favors were done to the one who was referenced in this report.

• We are wisest of all not to respond. It is true that “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. “ (Proverbs 22:1)

• If a person says I have stolen money, I will answer his questions, offer him access to our books, and challenge him to prove his allegation. If a person says that I have been unfaithful to my wife, I will similarly face him.

• If a person says I am insincere, if a person says I am egotistical, if a person says I’m lazy, if a person says I am motivated by my success rather than God’s, I will ignore them. There is, in the first place, no way to prove the accuracy of their allegations, nor my innocence.

• In the second place, I elevate them to a level of importance they do not deserve when I respond to them.

I used to say, in reference to a particular paper which is now thankfully defunct, “Some people just deserve to be ignored.” The older I get, the more people there are that I believe richly deserve to be completely ignored.

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