Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Blog

I will no longer be posting to this blog, but you can continue to follow me at my new blog, I am currently in the process of responding to God's calling to Acadiana/S Louisiana in response to a telephone call from a group desiring a new sound, separate, conservative Missionary Baptist work in the Lake Charles, LA area. Please pray for my dad (who will be working with me) and I as we follow the Lord into this new venture. Hopefully, as time permits, I will be posting updates on the work in addition to my thoughts on sports, politics, and theology.

God bless,
Bro. Jonathan Melton

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What About The Fish?

This post comes from a class discussion we had in Sunday School this morning. Our teacher pointed out that in the key verse of our lesson, Genesis 7:23, it says that every living thing was destroyed that "was upon the face of the ground...", that he had not caught that detail until studying for this morning's lesson, and that he had always believed that all living creatures died. Upon further investigating the passage, it always mentions "every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort." Nothing is ever mentioned of the fish dying. 7:22 gives further credence to the position that perhaps fish were not included: "...All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died." What think ye?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is the ABA Becoming A Big Tent?

The idea for this post comes from a recent article series in The Baptist Monitor on "What is the ABA?" In Robert Ashcraft's contribution, under the heading, Doctrinal Identity, he opened like this: "Some brethren rear back and proclaim that ABA churches are closer to the New Testament than any other churches. Although some will not accept baptism administered by a church affiliated with the SBC, we have others who will receive just about any baptism, so long as it is immersion after salvation."

It seems today that we are losing our emphasis on doctrinal issues. More are calling for less of a focus on doctrine and more on evangelism. However, we need to focus on both. This seems to mirror the trend in politics and wider society away from moral issues and more emphasis on fiscal policy and the role of government in our lives. In political terms, many want the Republican party to become more of a "big tent": embracing more divergent, liberal views in order that it might win back control of Congress.

Is this what the Bible teaches? It seems that it is much more narrow: "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few be there that find it." (Matthew 7:14) The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 14:6: "...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." While these Scriptures primarily refer to Jesus being exclusively the Way of salvation, in a secondary sense Biblical truth is also narrow and exclusive and not all-embracing. While many are not leaving the truth, it seems that there is a cry to not "major on the minors." The "minors" in my perspective always seems to be in areas where there is not a clear, ABA consensus. Issues such as: Bible translations (which is an issue of the Word of God) and what liquid element is to be used in the Lord's Supper (which virtually none would dare consider using leavened bread because it would picture sin in the Lord's body but would use wine which is as the leavened bread, fermented)are two of the main issues that fall under this category. It seems we as an association are willing to do anything to avoid divisive controversy. While this should not be our goal (Ephesians 4:12-15), sometimes divide becomes necessary and inevitable. (1 Corinthians 5:6; 11:19)

Now to the point of my reference to the article: are churches that want to stand separate from false doctrine forced by our belief in church sovereignty to fellowship with those who receive alien immersion (not the only false doctrine or practice prevalent today but the one being used for an example for this post)? The ABA by its very definition is a fellowship (albeit in limited sense with many churches). When a church identifies itself to be ABA, they are in fellowship with others who identify themselves as such. According to our Articles of Agreement, under ARTICLE III-MEMBERS, Section 1 reads: "This Association shall be composed of regular Missionary Baptist churches." Contrary to what is commonly taught, the ABA is something a church is a member of by the very definition of the word "composed".

Alien immersion is one of the most liberal practices that a church calling itself Baptist can have outside of teaching a works plan of salvation. Again, we tenaciously hold to the idea that churches are sovereign not only in their internal affairs (autonomous) but the highest authority in associational matters. #20 of our ABA Doctrinal Statement affirms this: "
We believe that all associations, fellowships, and committees are, and properly should be, servants of, and under control of the churches (Matt. 20:25-28)." However, are churches servants of other churches? Are orthodox churches forced to acquiesce to the right of voluntary association of a church that is fundamentally in error? Does this not violate the church sovereignty of the orthodox churches? Is there nothing that can be done to ensure doctrinal integrity in our associated work?

I propose two possible solutions: 1) a resolution be referred back to the churches that would, if passed, declare non-fellowship with a church that does not agree in practice with our doctrinal statement (these would not be part of the Statement if they are not agreed to be fundamental issues). This would prevent the action from being taken by the messenger body and have a messenger body or a committee "telling a church what to do", and would be a statement by the affirming churches that they wish not to fellowship with said church(es), rather than declaring them "out" of the ABA. 2) a resolution could be passed by the messenger assembly which would serve only to censure such church(es). This would be a workable compromise between those in favor of non-fellowship and those who believe such would be a violation of church sovereignty.

Are we going to look our forefathers, millions of whom died barbarous deaths over their stand on baptism, and say we must fellowship those churches who receive alien immersions? Are we going to stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ and tell Him we could not separate ourselves from churches who practice things such as alien immersion because we could not violate their sovereignty?! God help us!!! 2 John 10,11 says: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." There will be those who say that this is speaking of the doctrine of Christ and salvation alone. However, the whole premise behind alien immersion is that when you receive someone's baptism that was administered by, for instance, a Church of Christ, you are giving assent to their doctrine of baptismal regeneration. The Landmark movement was Baptists v. Pedobaptists and not Baptist v. Baptist. The problem comes when a Baptist church fellowships in any way with churches that are not Baptist. Therefore, an SBC or BMAA, or independent Baptist church that stands true to the doctrines and practices of Scripture should be held on par with another ABA church. Therefore, being unscriptural to fellowship false doctrine, if there is no Scriptural way to protect the doctrinal integrity of our associated fellowship, then perhaps it's time to reevaluate the whole concept of the association. After all, worlds of good can be accomplished by direct support of missionaries.

One-Church Schools

This is a question that I have had quite some time. It seems that since about the 1930s the ABA has almost made a stand on the idea of one church-sponsored seminaries. Can anyone tell me what the difference is between having a seminary, such as BMATS or Jacksonville College, which is owned by all the churches of the BMA of America, and our publishing and bookstore ministries (Baptist Sunday School Committee) owned by all the churches of the ABA?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

An Appeal To The ABA Blogging Fraternity

Dear brethren,

We have quite a group of us who taken the plunge into the blogosphere. Some of you may have grown tired of blogging, may feel it takes away from your ministry, etc. but hear out my appeal to you. In this computer age, we need to utilize every means of spreading the gospel and Bible doctrine that we have at our disposal as long as it does not take away from worshipping the Lord "in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24) There is a limitless opportunity to reach others for the Lord and to show them the truth of God's Word. There are no telling how many who read our posts and may not comment from possibly anywhere on the planet. We should show them how we, although we may not agree, we can debate our differences by "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) while maintaining our convictions. It is a chance to give a positive impression of our work. We should not let this opportunity slip away because there are many out there in other works who are getting their message out and false doctrine needs to be combated at every turn. Also, who knows but that the Lord might use us to be the next J.R. Graves, Ben Bogard, A.J. Kirkland, I.K. Cross, to influence those of our own membership back from the moral, spiritual, and doctrinal abyss. Trust me: you are not wasting your time if you manage your time wisely as with any other endeavor. God bless and I hope you have a blessed service and lives are changed today.

Your brother,
Jonathan Melton

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sonata or Accord?

I had an accident and totaled my Honda Civic about 2 weeks ago. I have been doing some investigating on the internet about a car to replace it. My sister used to sale Hondas and highly recommends the Honda Accord, her biggest compliment being the high resale value. She is down on the Hyundai make because of its past bad reputation and past poor resale value.

However, comparing the features of the two cars I see that the Hyundai Sonata is very economically priced and its features really give you a bang for your buck. Also, Hyundai has a reputation for being a very safe vehicle. The 2011 redesigned model has really improved in its fuel economy and is tops in the midsize class. It is also very aesthetic in its style. I really am leaning toward the Sonata but don't want to disappoint my sister, especially since she is working very hard at her old dealership to get me a good deal. What would be your advice?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Church, Part 2

It looks as if that my demonstration showing how an obscure passage of Scripture confirms our teaching on the nature of the church may grow into a series. In part 2, I want to give an instance in Scripture where the church is distinguished from the rest of the saved. In Paul's salutation in his second letter to the church at Corinth, he distinguishes between that assembly and the other believers in the Greek province of Achaia:

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:..." (2 Corinthians 1:1)