Updated: Feb 24
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein, Hebrews 13:9.
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all, 1st Timothy 4:5.
Through this blog, I have correspondents with whom I occasionally exchange letters. One of them is a pastor's wife who I have never met. She mourns her husband's disbelief in the King James Bible. He is not in a large population center and so like many pastors, he struggles to get people to come to church. On a recent Sunday, they had a guest preacher who entertained the people with the silliness that passes for bible exposition. It was an attempt to show himself learned and urbane at the expense of the King James Bible. She grieved.
In my letter to her of which I am here copying a portion, I showed her how that the hope for her and her husband's ministry is the word of God, not correcting the word of God. With a few places being censored to protect her and her husband's identities, I have put it here for others to read.
I once gave an illustration in my church of how the devil holds people captive. We have a pillar fairly near to the pulpit. I had a young boy stand against it and I told him to hold one end of a rope and never let it go. I then wound the rope round and round him and when he was held fast against the pillar, I gave him the other end of the rope and likewise instructed him to never let it go. I then commanded him to obey my instructions to not let go of the rope, but to free himself. Obviously, he struggled in vain. Bob Jones University taught your husband that there is no perfect bible on earth in either manuscript or translated form. He was instructed to never let that go. After winding him into their thought process, they taught him that anyone advocating for just one bible was a divisive person who separated the brethren. They commanded him to also hold that end of the rope. He struggles to teach a people and to build a church in a rural area, but he is doomed to getting just a certain percentage of like minded people.
A friend of mine recently commented on a thriving church near Knoxville, TN. He commented that every woman in attendance wore dresses and that all of the men wore three piece suits. They had a consistent 160 people who attended on Wednesday nights as well as Sunday morning. I pointed out that the Knoxville area had over 500,000 people. The pastor had merely advertised his particular flavor until the like minded people in the area noticed and migrated to his church. In reality he had reached .00032% of the people in his area. He hadn't converted anyone. A persistent pastor in a populous area will eventually attract like minded people. We are an hour and a half away from Rochester, NY and we have fellowship with some of those churches. The Rochester area has 1,069,644 people within easy driving range of any church. If a church reaches .00032% of those people they will run about 342 people. That happens to be about how many people that a few successful Fundamental Baptist Churches are running.
The sordid little truth is that they are not converting people. They are making themselves known until all of the like minded people come to them. For people like your husband and for me, getting .00032% of our population won't cut it. For [A place name ] ------,------ that would be 26 to 27 people above you and him.
If I were to count every person in my county plus the five counties that border Allegany County, New York, that would be 337,800 people. Multiplying that by .00032 would give me an attendance of 108 people. Obviously, I am not trying to draw from 6 counties. If I count up the townships that border New Hudson, New York where Black Creek is located, I get a combined population of about 9000 people. If I drew .00032% of those people I would run about 3 people. As it is we fluctuate from a low of 50 to a high of 80. There are about 65 people that we count on to be here under normal circumstances.
We are beating the curve here because we are converting people. We are reaching people who would not be naturally inclined to come to a church like ours and we are converting them to bible thought. Your husband is frustrated because while he is holding the two ends of the rope that Bob Jones told him to hold, he fits a pattern that only about .00032 of the population cares to experience in worship. Likewise, Pastor -------- (their guest pastor) will do no better.
The hope for either of those men is to either move into a far larger population zone where the .00032% of the population would make them run 100 or so people, or to find out how to get God to convert people. Bob Jones University may have gotten your husband to believe that there is no perfect bible on this earth and that anyone saying there is is a divisive person, but they have never convinced God and they never will. The Holy Ghost will never bear witness to what they say and teach and so lives will never change.
There may have been a time in America when that drivel might have built churches, but that time is gone. This is not the America of our youth. It is not Ronald Reagan's America. It is not even Bill Clinton's nor George Bush's America. I live in an extremely rural area with a small population. Farming is common. There are no TV signals that reach here. There are no fiber optic cables to transmit broadband internet. Hunting, fishing, and logging are major pastimes here. These are not the country folks of a Currier and Ives painting. I can stand on the threshold of my church and see houses where hard drugs can be purchased. Divorce, single mothers, underachieving children, drugs, alcoholism, unemployment, bipolar disorder, and every other modern affliction is woven through the fabric of life here.
These people have heard the name of Jesus Christ all of their lives. Many have tried at least once to turn over a new leaf by attending a good church. They soon reverted to their old life. What arrests them is when we present to them that there is a perfect word of God on this earth and that they can hold it in their hands. We show them how to stop the pain of a sinful life by the word of God. These people may be sotted in sin and they may have had their lives broken, but like so many simple country people they can see the magician's sleight of hand. When pastors try to convince them that the bible is true, but strain to make them doubt any particular bible, they can see the emperor's nasty butt. He has no clothes. As the word of God is made manifest in their presence, the Jesus Christ of the bible makes himself known to them. As I tell them, I wouldn't serve a God that couldn't keep his word.
It is not the Jesuits or the communists, or the "woke" college professor, or the media, or the Democrats and Republicans who are undermining this country. It is pastors who climb in the pulpit and substitute their training and theories for the word of God. They are bound in the folly of expensive educations.