Updated: Mar 20
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it, Psalm 68:11.
Here at the Black Creek Baptist Church where I am the pastor, our people can be roughly divided into three groups. We have a significant number of people who testify that it was through the outreach of this church and through the ministrations of the word of God here that they came to understand who Jesus Christ is, how he saves and why they need to be in church. We, like most churches have a number of people who migrated here when the churches they attended imploded, exploded or shriveled up. They are good members. We also have visitors who do not necessarily espouse our views. They come because they are intrigued by the preaching, singing and fellowship. Some have begun to seek this God of whom we speak.
Having diligent seekers in a church is almost unknown among my Fundamentalist brethren. Then again, a pastor having any converts actually attending church regularly that he himself won in the last twenty years is about as rare as left handed albinos. My friends to whom I explain my methods are pretty sure that I am wrong in how I go about winning souls to Jesus Christ. This strikes me as odd since they themselves cannot point to anyone on their pews who they personally won to Jesus Christ unless it happened twenty years earlier. I have recent converts sitting in the pews at my church, my critics do not, but somehow I am the one doing it wrong.
I witness to the lost that I have a bible. Until I get that established, anything I say is nothing more than the word of man. The idea that no bible is perfect and that men have amended and polluted it over the years is universal. The people to whom I minister are not stupid. They may not be well educated, but they are not stupid. They have heard from the clergy themselv
es that the bible is tainted. It has seemed like a pretty good excuse for them to fornicate, take drugs and get drunk. Fundamentalists think that they are pretty snazzy when they attest to about a 95% to 98% accuracy rate for the bible they carry. As we go from Fundamentalists to agnostics their trust of the word of God goes down. Liberals believe about half of what they read. What the Fundamentalists and the Liberals have in common is that they consider themselves to be good judges of what can be accepted and what should be held in doubt. The general populace says, "a pox on both of your houses".
I approach people as if they were watching the Discovery Channel. If the Discovery Channel was playing in a bar and they made a special announcement that a crypt had been discovered in Egypt and that the writing on the door of the crypt promised that it contained the knowledge of the ancients and that the Discovery Channel was going to cover the opening of that crypt live, the bar would quiet down and everyone would wait with bated breath to see this great thing. I show people my King James Bible and tell them that I have such a book in my hands.
After a lifetime in which they had occasionally gone to Sunday school or church and had the bible's accuracy brought into question from within the walls of that same church, my claim seems preposterous or overwrought. Some Fundamentalist who prided himself on believing the bible has undoubtedly given himself away to these people who watched him pass judgement on certain words as they stood in the text. As I said earlier, these people are not dumb. Once a man calls any part of the bible into question, they don't trust any of it.
I labor to make the bible real to them. I teach it line upon line, line upon line, precept upon precept and precept upon precept. I beg God that they not stumble or fall backwards but instead can have that bible proved to them. I once lived among Mormons in Ogden, Utah. There is nothing in Mormon doctrine whereby a person can pass from death unto life but nevertheless, they live clean. Abstaining from fornication, drunkenness and drugs is a lot better and far more satisfying way to live than giving yourself over to those same things. There is a lot less pain.
I teach them the bible by teaching them precepts whereby they can escape the pain that seems to define their lives. As they add a few cautious bible precepts to their daily lives, they are often amazed at how much less they hurt. The first and foremost way that my people know that the King James Bible is the word of God is that they have applied it to aspects of their lives and like having the right manual for an appliance, things work a lot better. It begins to dawn on them that whoever wrote that bible is the one who created them.
I then have to overcome a lifetime of hearing the mind-numbing reasons that the bible has errors. First, let me say this; a man who graduates from a prestigious University with multiple degrees and who thinks that a King James Bible is not perfect needs to get his money back. He's just a boy in short pants who's been convinced that he's a big boy. I have a book on my shelf called Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible. (Click Here for a post about it). The author has undoubtedly spent a lot of time in classrooms because no one could get that mixed up without some serious brainwashing having gone on.
In order to shut down all of the garbage that has been pumped into my poor people's heads over their lifetimes I have found it necessary to make four trips to the American Bible Society in New York City which houses the largest collection of bibles in North America to personally handle and collate 4 centuries of King James Bibles and to prove the skeptics wrong. The King James Bible has never been revised. It has suffered through printing problems over the centuries but seven thorough editings have purified it into what we have today, a Pure Cambridge Bible.
I teach them that bible doctrinally and they come week after week prepared to learn more. We even have a well attended Thursday Night Bible Study because they complain they don't get enough. These people are often in church for a number of years before they begin to see through the deceitfulness of sin and begin to yearn to shake off their religious affections and to get a true born again experience.
In my next post, I hope to explain this further.