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EVANGELISM AND THE GREAT COMMISSION: THINK AGAIN!


EVANGELISM AND THE GREAT COMMISSION: THINK AGAIN!

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Ask any person who has been an active member of a Baptist Church for any extended period of time to define the Great Commission. He/she will tell you right away that it is the marching orders of the New Testament Church to preach the gospel in all the world: to make disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them the commandments of Christ Jesus, citing Matthew 28:18-20 as a proof text. That answer, accepted as correct by most all Baptists, and a lot of non-Baptists, too, begs amplification.
First, consideration must be given to the realities of the religious scene of these latter days. Modern times are filled with religion whose worth is based not on origin, doctrine, and dedication to the Bible, but on numbers of participants, and dollars in the church coffers. It is a criteria of worth spelling disaster. The ingredients so necessary to bring both to a state evoking carnal swooning, succeeds in producing a religious country club out of what once was a church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its purpose is shifted mainly to providing an exclusive comfort zone for its members; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.
One of the ways this comes about is in redefining biblical terms to fit a more modern, humanistic mindset. Take the terms “evangelism,” and “disciples” as examples.
“Evangelism,” is a Greek word transliterated into English. It literally translates to “Good News” in English. It is the word that gives us “gospel” which is a term that has evolved in English from “Good news,” or “Good story.”
The term “Disciple” comes from the Old English and Old French languages, and it designates a learner. The term in the New Testament is a translation of the Greek work “Mathetes,” designating one who is increasing in knowledge, being informed; to learn by use and practice. (common Greek lexicons).
It should be obvious by now that the burden of this article is to underscore a vast difference in the term “Disciple” as in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, et, al. to the way it is commonly employed in modern religion.
The terms “Evangelism,” and “Soul-winning,” are accepted as the home run of disciple making rather than first base.
To be sure, one may be born from above in a moment of time, being bathed in repentance from sin, and faith in Christ Jesus, but that alone does not a disciple make, even though being a disciple of Jesus is predicated upon it.
It takes time, patience, and a lot of good, sound teaching to make a disciple. Such are the ones who continue in the Word, and will perpetuate to the next generation the faith once delivered to the saints.
Blessed indeed is the church that is heavily involved in making eternal disciples rather than in erecting temples that decay.

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245 – Sept. 02 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

 

Isaac Backus

She didn’t pay the tax because she was a Baptist

 The Ecclesiastical tax, which was approved by some colonies in early America which forced Baptists to pay assessments for the upkeep of churches of various denominations, usually Congregational or Anglican, was most obnoxious to early Baptists. For many years Baptists, both men and women, suffered because of these regulations. On September 2, 1774, Mrs. Martha Kimball sent a letter to the Rev. Isaac Backus relating her experience in this matter. She related the following: She said that the year was 1768 and the event took place on a cold winters’ night, about 9 or 10 o’clock. She was taken prisoner by the tax collector from her family, consisting of three small children. She was detained in a tavern on the way to jail to pay the sum of 4-8 LM (Legal Money) for the ministerial rate. She said that the reason she refused paying it before is because she was a Baptist and belonged to the Baptist society in Haverhill, and had carried in a certificate to the assessors. Thus they dealt with a poor widow woman in Bradford, Mass. She went on to say that after she paid what they demanded, upon threats of jail, that they released her from the tavern and she walked the two miles in the bitter weather back to her children. So in early colonial America, the Baptists were forced to support the “Standing Order” churches while financially caring for their own also. This was the climate that the First Amendment grew out of. It was the Baptists and other non-conformist churches that were responsible for the religious liberty amendment in the Bill of Rights, not the Protestants as we so often hear.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp.  362- 63.

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162 – June 11 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Prayer for Persecutors and Freedom

 

The Separate Baptists in Virginia had divided into two associations for the convenience of the messengers, and on May 14, 1774, the Southern District met in the Banister Baptist Church of Halifax County. There they transacted one of the most important aspects of an associational ministry, a phase that is all but dead among us in these days. For three or four years there had been severe persecutions against the Baptists in many parts of Virginia. Letters were received at their association from preachers confined in prison, particularly from David Tinsley, then in the Chesterfield jail. The hearts of their brethren were affected at their sufferings, in consequence of which they: “Agreed to set apart the second and third Saturdays in June as public fast days, in behalf of our poor blind persecutors, and for the releasement of our brethren.”

 

Those two days of prayer were Saturday, June 11, and Saturday, June 18, 1774, and the saints prayed for the enlightenment of the spiritually blind persecutors and the freedom of their ministers. We ought not to be surprised to observe that during that decade, the Separate Baptists “achieved their greatest growth . . . with 221 churches and unconstituted local bodies with 9,842 members.” Some of the persecutors were converted and became Baptist preachers, and freedom of religion was gained for the whole state of Virginia.

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 240.

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116 — April 26 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Broadmead Baptist
Still exists today.
Upstairs above building
Baptists under fire
1670 – This was the day that Thomas Ewins, pastor of the Broadmead Church, the “Baptized Congregation”,  according to Edward Terrill, clerk of the church, “having layen a greate while weake, Departed this life…”  Terrill went on to say that he preached clearly “of Free grace by Faith in Christ Jesus. “  He was full of good works, showing patience and meekness toward all men, carefully searching into the state of their souls.  He was buried in James’s Yard accompanied by many hundreds to his grave.  Even his chief persecutor, Sr. Jo Knight, said, “he did believe he was gone to heaven.”  The Broadmead church was founded in Bristol, England in 1640, and Thomas Ewins, formerly an Episcopalian became pastor in 1651.  In 1661 the pastor was seized on July 27, while he was preaching and jailed for refusing a license by the Anglican State authorities.  After two months in prison he was released only to be arrested again on Oct. 4, 1663 with several others, and this time languished in prison for a year.  While there he would preach to the people from an open window from his fourth-floor cell. The church continued to be faithful and met some times out doors, and from house to house, or wherever they could escape their tormentors.  The ladies would sit on the stairs at one meeting place and sing when the authorities came to warn the men to stop preaching.  Sometimes they would hide in a cellar.  Their firmness was shown by a resolution that those who absented themselves because of fear should be dealt with as disorderly members.  We should be proud of our Baptist forbears who were so strong.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 169.
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Cross on beach

Blacks receive the gospel gladly
1831 – Thomas Paul, one of the first black Baptist pastors is the one that we honor on this day.  Paul was a “free black” born in Sept. 1773, and at 16 was born the second time.  On May 1, 1805 he was ordained to the gospel ministry.  Black Baptists were numerous at that time numbering an estimated 400,000 by the end of the Civil War.  However, they had few Black churches and worshiped with the white folks but segregated in galleries, or in groups within their auditoriums.  Bro. Paul formed the African Baptist Church in Boston, later called Joy Baptist, and served as their pastor for twenty years.  According to one account, He was no ordinary man…”His understanding was vigorous, his imagination was vivid, his personal appearance interesting, and his elocution was graceful…”  In time the Gold Street Baptist Church in New York invited him to help them.  Paul assisted the black’s to separate from the whites and establish the Abyssinian Baptist Church, and even though a small group, Paul remained and led them as pastor.  Because of Carey and Thomas, this was also the time that Baptists were awakening to the burden of missions.  The Mass. Baptist Missionary Society was started in 1815.  The African Baptist Missions Society was formed in Richmond, VA by black Baptists.  Paul applied to the Mass. Society for service in Haiti, was accepted and went at age 55.  However, the French language proved to be difficult and he returned home.  Thomas passed into the presence of the Lord on April 14, 1831.  What a tribute he was to the Lord and his race.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 152.
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The “Haystack Prayer Meeting”


1783 – Luther Rice was born into a pedobaptist (Congregational) home on this memorable day.  He along with Adoniram and Ann Judson became Baptists when they were baptized in India, after studying the subject of baptism on the voyage, although on different ships.  Because of this they were compelled to sever relationship with their denomination which left them penniless and identify with the Baptists in America.  In our opinion, this was the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy found at Mat 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.   Prior to this there had been only scant missionary activity among the churches of North America and that was to the Indians and the settlers who had migrated westward.  But from this effort of Rice and the Judson’s a great flood of missionaries began to go forth to many parts of the world.  It all started with a group called the “Brethren” who had formed a missionary fellowship interested in world evangelism at Williams College (Congregational) in Massachusetts.  One day during a rain storm some of the “Brethren” took refuge under a haystack, and while there prayed for those in the world who lived in spiritual darkness.  It would forever be called the “Haystack Prayer Meeting.”  Even though Rice wasn’t at the haystack, he was a part of the “Brethren” and was the first with the Judsons to go forth.  Rice eventually returned to America to stir up the Baptists for world evangelism.  He became the rope holder while Judson was tied to the rope.  World missions needed them both.  In the North there were mission societies, in the South the Baptist method was conventions.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 121..

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50 – February-19 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

The Missions enterprise begins

1814 – BECAUSE OF ADONIRAM AND ANN JUDSON, BAPTISTS IN AMERICA FORM THEIR FIRST MISSIONS ORGANIZATION – On February 19, 1814 Baptists in America organized for the first time to support the cause of world-wide missions.  It all started in 1808 when Adoniram Judson, though unsaved entered Andover Theological Seminary.  He was saved in Sept. and immediately surrendered to the ministry.  During his first year he read a sermon entitled “Star in the East,” and Feb. 1809 he determined to be a missionary.  In June he met Ann Hasseltine who would become his wife.  In Sept. he was commissioned as a missionary; and on Feb. 5, 1812, he and Ann were married. On Feb. 6 he was ordained a Congregational minister; and on the 19th, they sailed on the brig Caravan for Calcutta, India.  Their honeymoon was spent on the long voyage that ended on June 17 with their arrival after a very pleasant journey.  Great changes took place for the Judson’s aboard ship.  Judson, knowing that he would be located in the vicinity of William Carey and other English Baptist missionaries thought that he should be able to defend his position on the subject of baptism and began a complete investigation in the N.T. in the original languages.  He was amazed to find, after a long struggle, that pedobaptism could not be found anywhere in the N.T. and came to adopt the Baptist position.  It was on Sept. 6, 1812 that Adoniram and Ann Judson were immersed in the Baptist chapel in Calcutta.  Later Ann wrote a friend saying, “thus, my dear Nancy, we are confirmed Baptists, not because we wished to be, but because truth compelled us to be…We feel that we are alone in the world, with no real friend but each other, no one on whom we can depend but God.”  Judson wrote to the Third Congregational Church in Plymouth: “I knew that I had been sprinkled in infancy, and that this had been deemed baptism.  But throughout the whole N.T. I could find nothing that looked like sprinkling, in connection with the ordinance of Baptism…” Out of this came the great missions’ effort of Baptists mentioned above that continues to this day.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 69.

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43 – February 12 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Protestants are not Baptists

 

1885 – A CATHOLIC BECOMES A PROTESTANT AND THEN A BAPTIST BY CONVICTION AND IS CALLED THE “BOHEMIAN JUDSON” –
Henry Novotny was immersed on February 12, 1885 in Lodz, Russian-Poland having been influenced by August Meereis, a Baptist from Bavaria when the two became friends while in Prague, afterwards they exchanged literature, convincing Henry of believers baptism. Henry was born in Resetov, Czechoslovakia on July 12, 1846 and his mother died when he was 7 which left him in the care of his father along with the rest of the family. This area was an important center of the resistance movement during the middle of the 17th century when the Roman Catholic Church was in control and the Protestants were holding secret meetings. While a youth Henry visited such a meeting and asked permission to attend regularly and enjoyed reading the forbidden Bible and other literature.  In time one of the group, died and not wanting a Catholic Priest to conduct the service, the little group asked Henry.  Still a Catholic he questioned whether he should but consented. His message stirred the little flock and from that time he became the preacher of the little flock. Finally in face of persecution he publicly announced that with God’s help he would leave the R.C. Church and become a Protestant. In Nov. Henry entered a theological institute in Switzerland and then received a scholarship in Edinburgh, Scotland and became a Congregational church missionary in Prague where he met Meereis mentioned above. Shortly afterwards he was ordained into the Baptist ministry at Zyradow and spent the remainder of his life in Bohemia in Christ’s service. He trained his converts to be missionaries. The Baptists were hated and despised, persecuted and imprisoned, and could not even own property as a church. The church overcame their obstacles and expanded their work.  He had three sons and three daughters. He was called the “Bohemian Judson.”

 

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I shall add a little color here. Protestants are Protestants because they were Catholics and protested the abuses of the priests and left the Catholics and started their own organizations.

Baptists were never a part of the Catholics. They existed from the time of the apostles with the names of their congregations being – Waldenses, Cathari, Anabaptists, Arnoldists, and many others. Historically spanning the time from the apostles to this day where they wear they name baptist. At this point in time, there are a few baptists that call themselves protestants and do so out of their ignorance of the grand and glorious history that accompanies their biblical doctrine and suffering defending that doctrine.

 

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39 – February 08 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Lutherans also persecuted Baptists

 

1527 – BAPTISTS WERE PERSECUTED BY BOTH THE CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS IN THE 16TH CENTURY – George Wagner of  Emmerick (Germany) was burned in the city of Munich on February 8, 1527.  As he went to the flames being led by his executioner to the middle of the city, he cried, “Today I will confess my God before all the world.”  He experienced such joy in the Lord that he showed no fear but went smiling to the fire! When thrown into the flames, he cried with a loud voice, “Jesus! Jesus!” And thus he died bearing witness to the truth as it is in the Lord Jesus. The sheriff, Eisenreich von Landsberg, fully expecting to arrest others of this same faith to cast them to the same fate was dead in his bed the next morning. Most of the time, during the Middle Ages, the persecutors of the Baptists were the Catholics but in this instance they were the Lutherans after they came into power and became the state church. The historian Joseph Myer put it this way, “In the days of the long ago, Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders harbored a strong dislike for one another, but they harmonized in persecuting the people of the Baptist faith and practice.” It reminds us that Pilate and Herod made friends together because of Jesus. Lu 23:12 – And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 53.

 

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12 – Jan. 12 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


Daniel Marshall  Baptized Samuel Harris.
“the arrow of the Almighty stuck fast.”
 Samuel Harris led the charge for the Separate Baptists in Virginia.  He was born, Jan. 12, 1724 but not born again until 1758.  He was a nobleman, in that he held several positions of honor.  He served as sheriff, colonel of the militia, and captain of Fort Mayo.  But under the preaching of the Murphy boys he said that, “the arrow of the Almighty stuck fast.”  Daniel Marshall baptized him, and he was ordained in 1769.  He first preached in Culpepper County but was driven out of town by a mob.  In Orange County he was pulled from the platform by a roughneck and abused until rescued by friends.  On another occasion he was knocked down while preaching.  However, even then he didn’t suffer as other Baptist preachers did.  Take the case of “Swearing Jack Waller.”  He was on the jury at the trial of Lewis Craig.  Craig told the jury, “I take joyfully the spoiling of my goods for Christ’s sake.  While I lived in sin the jury took no notice of me.”  John Waller’s heart was melted and he was saved and in time became an honored Separate Baptist preacher.  One time while he was preaching he was assaulted by an Anglican parson and a sheriff.  The parson stuffed his whip handle down his throat but he returned and continued to preach.  John Taylor, John Koontz, William Webber, David Barrow, Lewis Lunsford, John Pickett, James Ireland, and Elijah Baker all suffered at the hands of mobs as they attempted to preach the gospel.  Sometimes snakes were thrown into their midst.  Many attacks were made at their baptism’s.  At times preachers were plunged into the mud with the threat of drowning.  It could surely be said of them that they were sent forth as, “sheep among wolves.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins /, pp. 24-26.

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