Monday, April 12, 2010

What About AWANA?

I don't know who all may be reading this, and it may perhaps stomp on some toes, but there are many ABA churches who are using the AWANA ministry in their youth program. What has fired me up about this is that it was brought to the attention of our General Epistles class by our instructor in relation to our study today on 2 John an agreement with this program that the AWANA doctrinal statement must be taught in its entirety. Whether a church must still sign an agreement with these particular terms is unclear. The agreement posted on the AWANA website (www.awana.org) says that a church using the program is solely responsible for its religious instruction while at the same time the church is not allowed to modify the materials. However, I talked to an operator at 1-888-292-6249 who told me that while the individual church's doctrinal position may be presented, that the AWANA position and the lesson materials must be presented in their entirety. The following is three of their stated beliefs that we are fundamentally in disagreement with.

THE BIBLE
We believe that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is supernaturally inspired, so that it is inerrant in the original manuscripts and preserved by God in its verbal and plenary inspiration, so that it is a divinely authoritative standard for every age and every life. (Matthew 5:18; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21)
(Notice that we do not have the original manuscripts available to us today, so according to AWANA, we do not have the inspired Word of God today.)

THE CHURCH
We believe that the true Church is composed of all persons who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit through saving faith in Jesus Christ; that they are united together in the body of Christ of which He is Lord and Head; and are commissioned for the God-given tasks of worshiping, fellowshipping, teaching, evangelizing and exercising the spiritual gifts. (Acts 2:42,47; Romans 12:5; Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:23-24; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2) (Notice this is an outright universal church position) (Italics mine).

THE ORDINANCES
We believe the ordinances for the believer are water baptism by immersion and the Lord's supper as a memorial. They are, however, not to be regarded as a means of salvation. But both of which are an evidence of obedience and fellowship with the Lord. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41, 8:12, 35-38; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29) (Notice there is no mention of church authority here: about the restriction of the Supper to local church members only and the necessity of authority by a Scriptural, New Testament (Baptist) church for baptism to be valid.)


In any case, it makes no difference to me. 2 John 10,11 makes it very plain: "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." Many preachers will say that as long as they are right on salvation, that it is okay to use a program if we are allowed to control what is taught. Here is what the universal church doctrine does as is attested by the above article of the AWANA statement of beliefs: 1) it directly contradicts the Bible's teaching of a local, visible church only; 2) it unites those who (although individually they may trust Christ alone apart from works or ceremonies per Revelation 18:4) are part of false churches who teach a false plan of salvation; and 3) declares them to be in fellowship. If we in any way show affinity for a program, a conference, a worship service, a church, teaching of the universal church heresy, etc. that joins together with false religion, then we are bidding God speed to a false gospel. If our ABA has a similar program called Discovery, what excuse is there to go out from the truth to use a program such as AWANA? That is what programs like Discovery and All The Kings Men (an alternative to the Promise Keepers) are for. I have heard the argument that Discovery is too expensive or that all the other churches in town use AWANA and we don't want our children going to those. Let me ask this: what monetary value do we place on the truth and the souls of men? Is this the direction we want our ABA to go? Do we want to go from the Bible position to one that is ecumenical? God forbid! At some point, we will no longer be able to ignore these departures by our churches in order for us to stay true to God. This and other issues need to keep being pressed.

180 comments:

  1. I have been in churches that have used both programs. The Awana'a program was hands down the most successful. The Discovery program leaves a lot to be desired. I don't know what the answer is.

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  2. Paul told young Timonthy to preach the Gospel.
    Why do some think we need a program designed by man?
    The simple Gospel of Jesus has always worked for me.

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  3. Dunno who you talked to, but they lied to you. I've personally looked over ALL the AWANA papers. I looked at them IN DEPTH when this same argument was posed to me. Nobody signs any agreement stating that we must teach all the AWANA lessons. The papers simply state that (and I wish I had them in front of me for page numbers and quotes, but I no longer do) you MAY NOT!!! alter these lesson materials in any way. In other words, it is not right for you to change these lessons and then pass them off as AWANA material. You can't go through changing the lesson books and then give them out as "AWANA" lessons, since they won't be. This is a totally normal thing which is bound by law for all materials, stated or not. You are not allowed to alter movies, works of art, literary works, etc, without permission from the author/artist.

    The "doctrinal statement" as you call it of the AWANA program is nothing more than a set of beliefs that the AWANA creators believe. I looked over the lessons, and myself can not recall any lessons over these subjects.

    Our church used the AWANA program for the encouragement system. It helps lost students memorize scripture, so that when our teachers teach about these Scriptures, they will have both understanding of the verses and the verses in their minds.



    Now, why not get to the root of this whole issue? It isn't using materials produced by non-denominational profit organizations such as those which produce our Heavenly Highway Hymnals. It isn't using materials which could contain doctrinal errors, such as many hymns written by false denominational men such as those included in our ABA hymnals. (Remember scripture teaches songs are also to TEACH one another.)

    The real issue appears to be that you don't like change or modern things.



    By the way, to show I do not defend these things out of personal bias, I have never taught in or used AWANA personally. I do not care for it, or for Discovery. I create my own lessons and "programs" if you must call them such, from my own studies. I have no reason to defend them for myself, since I have never been involved in the AWANA program. Thank you, and have a nice day.

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  4. Bro. James,

    I'm not saying that all ABA churches who use the AWANA ministry personally teach or believe in the aforementioned doctrines. However, do we really want to use God's money to support such a program? In God's eyes, they are partaking in their evil deeds. Sometimes, you truly believe something, but God makes you more acutely aware of it. I have always believed the universal church doctrine to be an abomination, and as one preacher put it at his ordination, "a doctrine straight from the pits of hell." Btw, this preacher pastors a little country BMA church. I am not just "agin" everything. To actually espouse it or to give support to it is fellowshipping and bidding God speed to a false gospel. Also, I don't believe in singing a heretical song any more than using heretical teaching ministries.

    I talked again to an AWANA operator. While she stated that the doctrinal statement is not actually a part of the ministry agreement, it is part of the registration package and forms the basis for the materials. Our churches know from the outset what they are teaching. The teachers may take some good out of it and rework the bad in their lessons, and these churches may not participate in the AWANA Games, but what example is it setting for young people who see AWANA being used by other false churches or who may study the materials for themselves? Will it blur the distinctions in their minds?


    Bro. Barry,

    Is God not capable of being successful in his churches and with the truth?


    Bro. Robinson,

    I highly appreciate your comment. While I am not totally against all programs, I would tend to agree with you more. I feel that many of our men who are saying "change the method but don't change the message" are going way too far.

    I still feel after all the comments and after I've thought about what I said that this is an issue that needs to be continually agitated.

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  5. OK. #1 - like I said, I don't like the program, but that is for different reasons.

    #2 - You said "To actually espouse it or to give support to it is fellowshipping and bidding God speed to a false gospel. Also, I don't believe in singing a heretical song any more than using heretical teaching ministries." So again, let me ask you this. Do you agree with BUYING "giving support to" a songbook company which contains heretical songs in it? If you can pick and choose which songs to sing (and thereby teach a congregation with), then how is it any different than BUYING "giving support to" a lesson company which contains heretical lessons in it, and picking and choosing which lessons to use? How are these two things different?

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  6. You also said... "but what example is it setting for young people who see AWANA being used by other false churches or who may study the materials for themselves? Will it blur the distinctions in their minds?"

    Again, we use song books used by other false churches who sing these materials for themselves.

    We use the same Bible false churches who may study the Bible for themselves.

    We use pews which false churches use also.

    We use object lessons false churches may use.

    We use "choirs" like false churches.

    We use steeples like false churches.

    We use stained glass like false churches.

    We use ABA study literature, which is also used in false churches.



    Do I think this blurs things in the minds of a student? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. I believe it is more about what you are teaching your children. If you train your children in Scripture, and to study for themselves and know WHY we believe what we believe, then they will be doctrinally sound. If not, they won't. I think this is the key, and all the other arguments such as about Discovery or AWANA are just fluff to divert our attention from the truth. The truth that we need to train our children and raise them in the Word of God. Let's forget all the outside distractions, and teach our children the stand on the promises in God's Word, to know the truths and doctrines in God's Word, to live and behave as taught by the Word of God.

    I won't mention the name, but a preacher recently preached in a meeting that we ought to take a stand. He said we ought to take a stand on the old paths. The majority of this sermon was about these two phrases. I love this preacher, and I appreciate him much. I respect the man highly. But it just occurred to me during that sermon that EVERY TIME I have heard a sermon like it, there was something missing. Preachers get caught up in the outside things and think we ought to stand up for either change, or for tradition. The truth is, let's just preach that we should STAND FIRM on our ONLY RULE OF FAITH AND PRACTICE. This should solve the problems we face.

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  7. AWANA is a solid gospel teaching program for kids that really encourages the memorization of scripture. Speaking of scripture, pray before you read it next time that God would forgive you for proof-texting by taking one verse in 2 John out of context and labeling others as heretics (awful strong word).

    If you read the whoe book (12 verses long), you will read in verse 7: "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an anti-christ. (8) Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. (9) Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ (the incarnation mentioned in v. 7), hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both theh Father and the Son.

    Now comes your favorite verses.

    (10) If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (the doctrine of the incarnation) receive him not into your house,...
    John was writing about those who were denying the incarnation of Jesus. If you're wrong about Jesus, you're really wrong.

    I think you are really sincere in what you believe and are at the same time sincerely wrong in a lot of what you believe. Be careful that in your mis-informed rhetoric you don't judge others too quickly.

    I don't expect this to change your views, but I feel better having said it.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Jason

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  8. Bro. Landmarker, I am not saying that God can not be successful with any "man-made" program that churches apply. But I have seen both of these programs. I have seen more children come to salvation under the Awana's program. However we should not be teaching kids things that the Bible does not apply. That is why I said "I don't know what the answer is".

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  9. Brother Robinson is right - God doesn't need any man made program to accomplish His work. Those who compare programs and attribute more power to one than the other are guilty of blaspheming the inherent power of the Holy Spirit to use the preaching of the Scriptures without the schemes and coercions of men.

    AWANA, and its ABA knock off, Discovery, are both an abomination in the sight of God. They don't produce Christians, they produce little uniformed Pharisees.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  11. James,

    Men like you ignore the Lord, so don't think it will effect me for you to ignore me. Those who know the truth know that the "method" can, indeed, be an abomination and is when it overshadows the gospel. As Paul said,

    "for Christ sent me not to baptize, but to the preach the gospel; not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."

    On top of that, manipulating children by leading them to pray a pray is no more preaching the gospel than is the Catholic confessional. It is deceit and spiritual child abuse. And that is the "method" pursued by all of the child "soul winning" programs. May God have mercy on us and deliver us from all such wickedness.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  12. Wow. I think it is time to have some lemonade and cool off for a minute. I may not prefer discovery, but i have seen children saved in the program. These children were not saved by a follow the leader prayer either.

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  13. One blogger's vicious, judgmental, and "all inclusive statements" remind me of...well,....the Pharisees.

    I John 3:14 "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."

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  14. Brother Neal,

    Truth always judges error and is always all inclusive.

    The Pharisees elevated the commandments of men to the level of the commandments of God. When men claim that God uses Discovery and AWANA, they have, like a Pharisee, made the tradition of men into the commandment of God, for who can speak against what God uses?

    So far as love goes, John also said,

    "And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it."

    Nothing in love obligates me, nor any man, to pay homage or respect to the programs of men - be it Discovery, AWANA or any other. Our love will be judged by our adherence to the commandments of God. So if you are going to accuse me of not having love, then I suggest you point out which commandment of God I have broken or advocated breaking. If you do so, I will gladly repent. If you can't do so, I suggest you repent of bearing false witness against the brethren.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  15. Bro. Bobbitt is right about having some lemonade. It's permissible to debate issues (even passionately and vehemently), but when it comes to personal insults, it is not. Even judging Mark Osgatharp's sanity! Jk. Some would consider call something heretical or someone a heretic such a personal insult. However, if someone teaches false doctrine, the material is heretical and the person is a heretic. Heresy and heretic are Biblical words. Heresy is more than just teaching or promoting false doctrine about the fundamental doctrines related to salvation. Universal church is one of the most devious weapons in Satan’s arsenal to try to undermine and destroy the Lord’s true, New Testament (Baptist) churches. Personal attacks would include those judging someone’s mental state or their intelligence, made against their physical characteristics, their educational level, etc. I hope you get the idea.

    Bro. Jason,

    I am not proof-texting. I am assuming that you mean that I made that Scripture fit my pet theology rather my theology conform to the Scripture.. The prohibition against bidding God speed to false doctrine is a Scriptural principle. (See above about heresy) I am no more proof-texting with that Scripture than if I applied the adding to and taking away from Scripture beyond the Book of Revelation. The teaching of separation from false doctrine is found throughout just as the command not to add to or take away from Scripture. Also, I never said that those who teach, promote, or support universal “have not God” or are not saved.

    Bro. James,

    I think my pastor knows why he believes what he believes. He preaches all the time that we have what we have need in the Bible and that he is glad he can open his Bible and find his beliefs. Traditional and contemporary is just a label that quickly identifies just as Landmark, Anabaptist, etc. There is good tradition and bad tradition. This is attested by Scripture.

    Bro. Mark,

    You are doing so much ranting about teaching methods. God doesn't have to, but He uses sinful men to carry His gospel. We all know that it is human nature to give other things the glory beside God, but that doesn't make Discovery any more inherently evil than Sunday School, VBS, or anything similar as long as everything done has a purpose and is tied into magnifying the Scriptures, and if it does not take the time nor the emphasis away from the preaching of the gospel, nor appeal to the flesh or human psychology. For example, a game can be used as an object lesson. Jesus used object lessons. My problem with AWANA is it teaches false doctrine and promotes ecumenism through its regional activities.

    You rant so much over reliance on programs rather than reliance on God. Do you not believe that it is IMPOSSIBLE to be saved apart from the direct witness of a true, New Testament church? Such almost teaches church salvation. There will be people saved in false churches (read my words carefully) IN SPITE OF that church. My great-uncle was Missionary Baptist and joined the Church of Christ when he married. A man testified that if it was anything he learned from Uncle L.D., it was salvation by grace through faith and security of the believer. Charles Spurgeon (I am in no way endorsing his Calvinism) was saved while in a Methodist church by the Scripture, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (Isaiah 45:22)

    That being said, it is alarming that today when we have a spiritual need in the church, we have to implement a program and it has to have a catchy slogan. Just my 2 cents.

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  16. I'll pass on the lemonade, but how about some iced tea (sweet)...

    Bro. Mark, I didn't accuse you of anything. I referred to a "blogger." But since you responded, I'll make just a few comments with no intention of responding again.

    First, I would not step out & defend Awana or Discovery. I have pastored two churches and neither have used them. Furthermore, I do feel that there is too much emphasis put on "literature" and "programs." If that literature, however, contains the printed Word of God and simply uses illustrations or commentary to go along with the scripture, then each church will decide if & how to use that literature.

    Second, you wrote "truth does judge error and is always all inclusive." But what you stated were opinions, not truths. A few examples are:
    "Awana and...Discovery are both an abomination in the sight of God." (where is this truth written?)

    "they don't produce Christians" (so you KNOW for a fact/truth that no one has been saved as a result of reading a Bible verse in the literature under consideration)

    I agree with you that "the method should not overshadow the gospel"

    You clearly imply that all who use such literature are guilty of "manipulating children, deceit, and spiritual child abuse."
    (so you know this as a truth?....or is it an opinion?)

    I did not accuse you of not having love (since I never named anyone in my post), but perhaps you are not demonstrating love in your comments. God expects us to stand for the truth and He also expects us to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves."

    You sitting in judgement of every church who might use literature of some kind and accusing them of abomination, manipulation, child abuse, etc. takes away any credence that your argument might have that the Bible should be the focus.

    The truth stands. But opinions are open to evaluation.

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  17. Also, AWANA is a para-church ministry and was started at North Side Gospel Center in Chicago.

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  18. Brother Neal,

    You said,

    "Bro. Mark, I didn't accuse you of anything. I referred to a 'blogger.'"

    You referred to "one blogger" which was me and you know it and the Lord knows it, so quit lying about it.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  19. Brother Melton,

    You said,

    "You rant so much over reliance on programs rather than reliance on God."

    Now just think about that criticism a little and then explain to me how a man can rant too much about reliance on God rather than reliance on anything else?

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  20. Bro. Mark,

    You are misrepresenting the intent of my words. No one can ever rant too much about reliance on programs rather than relying on God. What I meant was that while you rant that churches who use Discovery are relying on programs rather than relying on God (which is untrue), you make the claim that no one can be saved apart from the direct influence of a member of a true, New Testament church, Holy Spirit and the Word of God notwithstanding. You never did admit nor deny this. Where does this place reliance?

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  21. My observation of these types of programs is that the first recommendation is never "do this because it is scriptural", but rather "if do this you will get this result". I suppose that somewhere in the back of their minds the folks do think the programs are scriptural, but I don't believe I've ever heard any one promoting them for that reason. I agree that the upshot of all this is saying that the Holy Spirit can be "used" more by one program than the other, or uses one program more than the other. Where does the Scripture hint of such?

    I haven't had any lemonade or iced tea, but I did just have TWO Dr. Pepper floats, so I am quite cool while typing this.

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  22. Brother Melton,

    You said,

    "What I meant was that while you rant that churches who use Discovery are relying on programs rather than relying on God (which is untrue)..."

    Yes, churches that "use Discovery" are relying on programs rather than relying on God, because they have said that what God has ordained is insufficient and so turned to a man made program, which copy-catted another man made program - AWANA.

    Now don't give me any lies about Discovery being comparable to a sermon or a written exposition of the Scriptures, because, as we all know, Discovery and AWANA both are far more than that.

    On top of that, any time a man presumes to navigate another human being into a "salvation experience" he has quit relying on God and commenced relying on his own wisdom to accomplish what only God can accomplish.

    I have told you plainly before that I believe that men are saved only the way ordained in His word - by the preaching of the gospel by His true New Testament churches. You have yet to show me where God said He would save a man through any other means, and so any anecdotes you might give to the contrary are shear speculations and carry no weight in the establishment of truth.


    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  23. Brother Vaughn,

    After several years of doctrinal conversations on the internet, it is becoming increasingly evident to me that what the Bible says has very little to do with how Baptist preachers formulate their doctrinal opinions.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  24. Anyone who thinks that a church can rely on Discovery or AWANA has obviously never come into contact with either material. Having implemented and worked with both programs, I can tell you that both require a great deal of planning, study, and the instructors had better know the scripture because if they don't, classtime becomes very ineffectual very quickly. Neither one is a "plug and play" system.

    As for AWANA, I too believe their doctrine on the church (universal and local, dual nature) is in error. However, I have never found that teaching in the lesson materials. It's in their doctrinal statement, but not in the curriculum (at least, as far as I have found.) I was never told that I had to sign that I agreed with the doctrinal statement or even that I would teach it. The way of Salvation and discipleship presented in the scripture is true, however, and I do believe kids are saved when competent teachers teach that plan of salvation and discipleship to kids.

    To be honest, however, I don't see what makes AWANA such a popular program. It's really nothing special. The reason "it produces results" is because the churches that fully implement it, by necessity, wind up really working with their young people.

    It works the same with Discovery. I have successfully implemented Discovery at two different churches, and given the choice between the two, I'd always recommend Discovery over Awana for a variety of reasons which I won't list here. For the life of me, I'll never understand why ABA folks reject this program in favor of AWANA. Discovery is by far more theologically sound, plus is way more versatile allowing the church to tailor it to its needs.

    Churches that implement either program can see the Lord move in their youth department, seeing souls saved and spiritual growth take place. This result, however, is not the result of the program, but rather the result of the committment the teachers to teaching the Word of God and taking their roles in the program and the lives of the kids seriously.

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  25. Brother Acker,

    You said,

    "For the life of me, I'll never understand why ABA folks reject this program in favor of AWANA."

    Our folks favor AWANA because they see all the big Southern Baptist, Independent Baptist and falsely so called "non-denominational" churches that are growing by leaps and bounds through the AWANA program, and they want a piece of the action.

    They prefer AWANA for the same reason people prefer LEVI jeans over Rustlers and a Cadillac over a Chevy.

    Frankly, I'm amazed and appalled that a people who professedly stand on the old landmarks of God's all sufficient word are even having this discussion.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  26. Bro. Osgatharp,

    Earlier, I wrote, "I didn't accuse you of anything." At that point, I should have added, "by name." Perhaps then you would not have called me a liar.

    But just in case anyone has any doubt, inlcluding you, I was referring to you in my first Comment (just not by name) and I still believe as such.

    I don't have anything against you personally. I don't know you. But it seems clear to me that anyone who doesn't agree with you 100% are liars, bear false witness, and do not use the Bible to "formulate their doctrinal opinions."

    This goes for anyone reading.....

    Contend for the faith? Sure. But continual rock throwers, Baptist bashers, and preacher policemen of everyone else have no edifying or positive contribution to anything. (That's my opinion by the way, not a divine, eternal truth.)

    Bro. Osgatharp, I will assume that you will never pass out a tract, never sing out of a hymnbook, and do not have the "Church Covenant" on the church wall. They were written by men, and, though scriptural, are NOT the Word of God. If you will avoid these wicked unGodly tracts and songs written by men, I can at least then applaud your consistency.

    If anyone is reading these Comments who are lost and in need of a Savior, preachers do this sometimes to learn, sometimes to challenge, sometimes to poke, and sometimes because they really wanted to be a lawyer and God called them to preach :)

    The most important thing is that Jesus is the only hope of the world and that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord (in repentance and faith) can be saved.

    At least for this preacher, that should be the focus of my life and ministry.

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  27. Oooops, I forgot. As I exit, I'll take a grape snow-cone.

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  28. Let me just recap my position on programs. First, I am not anti-program. Secondly, I plainly stated that any program used by a church must never de-emphasize or take the place of the preaching of the gospel. I never equated the two. There goes Bro. Osgatharp twisting my words again. I am flatly against AWANA because 1) it was started not in a Baptist church, but by North Side Gospel Center in Chicago, 2) it is a para-church ministry, and 3) it promotes false doctrine and ecumenism. I choose to do my agitation against it because it has fundamental doctrinal and practical issues. I believe that for those ABA churches who want a youth program, then we offer a viable alternative in the Discovery program, so there is no excuse for going away from truth. If I do have any criticisms of Discovery, it would be 1) it has a time set aside for games and 2) it has an award system based upon points earned for completing acts of Christian service. However, one could make a good counter-argument that Jesus Christ used object lessons in his teaching, so if the activity centers around and helps to illustrate the lesson, there is nothing wrong with the game time. One could also make the counter-argument that we will be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ for work done here for Him after salvation. So, I do not really choose to fight against Discovery, any more than I would Sunday School, VBS, etc. or similar ministry. Also, no right thinking Baptist is going to intentionally lead a child to just pray a prayer-- to make a false confession. However, I am not a fan of children's chapel for the simple reason that it is most commonly held during the adult worship service, and of nurseries. I believe that even babies need to be in the auditorium to hear the Word of God preached. If you will look at 2 Timothy 3:14, the Greek word for child means "infant, babe, new born child." Paul told Timothy that he had learned Scriptures from an infant up, whereby the Holy Spirit would cause him to understand and apply to his at a competent age. Paul ties this together in 4:1,2 where he tells Timothy: I charge thee THEREFORE...PREACH THE WORD..." One would make the argument that young children might be a distraction. However, there was a time when churches had neither of these and ladies commonly had more children. Enough of that.

    Bro. Neal,

    What do you mean by Baptist bashers? Do you mean one who would bring any criticism against other Baptists? Or are you referring to Bro. Osgatharp's more belligerent tone in his remarks? I know that there is a fine line between calling sin what it is and being unkind. I will admit that perhaps I flirt with that line too much. The Bible does say in Acts 20:27 not to shun from declaring the whole counsel of God and in Ephesians 4:15 to speak the truth, but to do it in love. Also, you said our focus should be Jesus. I agree totally. However, would you agree that we should also have an almost equal focus on defending the truths about the church? Or maybe you are saying that we should not mind other church's business and that we should balance our defense with offense? I understand that it's none of our business, for instance, what color another church's carpet is, but should we be aware of matters that hinder our fellowship and be concerned that our sister churches are departing in areas of doctrine, practice, and/or worship? Also, shouldn't some doctrinal matters that are consider to be "minor" because there is disagreement and not consensus in the ABA, such as Bible versions which is an issue with the Word of God, and the liquid element of the Lord's Supper which is the representation of Christ's sinless blood shed for our sins, be raised to "major" status? Enough of this thinking aloud and rambling. You may choose to answer these questions and you may not.

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  29. Brother Melton, you wrote that "no right thinking Baptist is going to intentionally lead a child to just pray a prayer..." I agree. But unfortunately there are a lot of wrong thinking Baptists in the area of "repeat-after-me".

    Concerning programs in general, I suppose I am "anti-program". Seems to me that any proposal of "if you preach the gospel this way it won't work", and "if you preach the gospel this way it will work better", but "if you preach the gospel this way it will work excellently" is anti-scriptural. Is it not the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation and not the contrivances with come up with to present it?

    There is something I find curious about Missionary Baptists who claim to be Landmarkers. Such an ecclesiology entails believing that the Lord has preserved His churches and works specially through them by His Holy Spirit. If He does, why does He always reveal the "good programs" to someone else first? Was someone reading through the Bible and a light bulb went off "we've got to have a Discovery program"? Or did someone look at what some non-denominational group was doing with AWANA and say "we've got to have one of those"? Was someone reading through the Bible and a light bulb went off "we've got to have a King's Men program"? Or did someone look at Promises Keepers and say "we've got to have one of those"? Was someone reading through the Bible and a light bulb went off "we've got to have a Baptist Training Course"? Or did someone look at the Southern Baptist Training Union and say "we need to try that"? And on it goes. If these are scriptural programs, why does God first reveal them to unscriptural groups? Why do we copy them from other groups who first initiate them? If they are not scriptural programs, why do we want them? Call me skeptical; for I am.

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  30. Bro. Vaughn,

    You mentioned B.T.C. I have personally looked through some of my dad's old quarterlies, and they were very good. It seems we used to take the opportunity in those days to do a lot of good indoctrination and teaching about moral separation in B.T.C. If you take the position that just because someone else does it, it is unscriptural, then you're probably going to peel away most of how we conduct worship. False churches meet at 10 a.m., have hymn books, choirs, etc. I don't think any of those in themselves are against the Bible (unscriptural). If you take away everything that does not have explicit example in the Bible, you must not use you car. If that's your conviction, that's fine. I'm not being sarcastic, just making a point. I'm genuinely interested in what you would consider a Scriptural worship service.

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  31. Bro. Melton,

    The games in the Discovery program are designed to illustrate the lesson presented during assembly time... so I think you'd probably be okay with them. (Each day has an assembly-time lesson and a corresponding game for game time). As for the reward system for Christian service, I don't understand what is wrong with that concept. Could you please elaborate?

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  32. Oh, and the games are non-competitive and promote teamwork. In other words, there aren't two teams competing with each other, but rather one team working together to accomplish an objective.

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  33. Brother Melton,

    You mention "the position that just because someone else does it..." I see I failed to make my point. I am not concerned "just because someone else does it." I am concerned with the mentality of looking around to see what someone else is doing in order to decide what we need to do. If the Lord is working in and through His churches, why does He reveal the good ideas to loose churches, false churches, and non-denominational groups first? And why, if He is working and through His churches, are we checking out what all the false churches are doing to get our ideas? Surely this ought to at least give pause.

    Your concern that if we take away everything that does not have explicit example in the Bible, we could not even drive car is a misplaced concern. First of all, I don't know what you mean by an "explicit" example, and might not agree with what you mean. But, that aside, those of us who believe in following New Testament patterns in church practice are talking about scriptural guidance in how to gather and worship, etc. -- not how we travel there. Whether we use coal oil lanterns or electric lights and such like is an obfuscation of the real differences of approach. Every one will not come to the exact same conclusions, but will we search the Scriptures to formulate our practice, or will we search current church practices to see what is working for them?

    Finally, you are interested in what I consider a Scriptural worship service -- praying, singing, teaching/preaching, giving. I think that pretty well sums it up.

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  34. Brother Vaughn,

    You said,

    "Finally, you are interested in what I consider a Scriptural worship service -- praying, singing, teaching/preaching, giving. I think that pretty well sums it up."

    Amen to that!

    So far as these other guys, they are hopeless. They can't see the truth because they are, at very best, beholden to ABA tradition and therefore not a liberty to accept categorical truth without regard to the consequences and, at worst, they are enamored with emulating the "successful" Baptists who have used worldly marketing strategies to grow big churches.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  35. Brother Melton,

    You said,

    "I believe that for those ABA churches who want a youth program, then we offer a viable alternative in the Discovery program, so there is no excuse for going away from truth."

    Does that mean that before Discovery was invented that there was no viable alternative to AWANA?

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  36. Thank you, Bro. Vaughn
    for your points and for making your points with sound and good argumentation.
    I am one who agrees with you.

    Joe L Looney III
    Pastor of Victory MBC
    Cheyenne, Wyoming
    (son of another Joe Looney)

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  37. Ignoring all of Mark O.'s personal attacks and outrageous claims, I will ask this to all other than him.

    Can you all please define "program"? I think if you do, we can discuss this in a more educated fashion. We can actually discuss the same thing. Please define your idea of "program".

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  38. Brother Charles,

    You said,

    "Ignoring all of Mark O.'s personal attacks and outrageous claims, I will ask this to all other than him."

    But previously you said,

    "Mark Osgatharp, you just purchased yourself an 'ignore' pass on my end. Anything you say in the future will be treated as coming from a complete madman, a lunatic."

    So really, you aren't against making personal attacks at all! LOL!

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  39. Brother JamesCharles, you asked that we define "program" in order to discuss this in a more educated fashion. I think defining the terms of discussion is good. Let us be careful, though, that we discuss the meat of the measure and not be diverted to semantics. "Program" can cover a lot of ground. For examples: a series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished; a system of projects or services intended to meet a public need; a plan of action to accomplish a specified end; a plan or schedule of activities, procedures, etc., to be followed; a planned, coordinated group of activities, procedures, etc.

    So one might be tempted to argue that those who object to "programs" actually object to being systematic or having a "plan". I do not believe that is the core of the matter. Awana and Discovery are both programs in the context of this blog discussion. They have traits beyond merely deciding on a plan or being systematic in doing something -- for example, reading through the Bible in a year; studying the entire Bible together in a specified period. Then how might they be identified? These "programs" usually have an official and exclusive name to distinguish and set them apart from all other "programs". They belong to their creators and are usually copyrighted. They usually makes claims of being a better way to do what the church has been doing, and a better way of doing what it does than the other "programs" that are available. For example, "A recent national survey found Awana to be as important to our alumni's spiritual foundation as all other church activities combined." They imply that it is the church's fault for not reaching the young people (or whomever) and that the implementation of their program will transform all that. They formulate distinguishing features (uniforms, pins, etc.) whereby participants identify directly with the program rather than merely the church, so that in the end the programs do not merely serve the churches, but gain the allegiance of the people they serve. In the end, whether it is a Mission Board, a seminary, or a youth program, it will usually become self-promoting and self-perpetuating (all para-church programs clearly are such from the beginning).

    This scenario is one that has played itself out time and again in Baptist history to the detriment of the churches.

    Brother JamesCharles, what is your definition and concept of "program"?

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  40. The reason I ask for definition of terms is this. AWANA and Discovery are under discussion. Some are calling out "programs" in general. I need to know if Sunday School is included in this. To discuss this, I need to know if VBS is included. I also need to know if the lesson series I've used from God's Word, or the order of services I've designed of my own understanding of what is best for our church and/or youth, are considered programs. I want to know if the style of "fellowship time (with fun music), worship music time, prayer, video with testimony of other teens (or questions), object lesson game or skit, sermon, class time devoted to discussion of sermon" is a "program" to which people here are referring. If so, then I am guilty of creating such a program. It had a name. We called it "Calvary Teen Revolution" in reference not to a revolution of war, but a revolution of life around you, and turning it into revolving your life around God.



    Concerning "program", I don't guess I've ever had a single definition. This is why I ask for others. I'd just consider a program some way or method of trying to reach people.

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  41. I think that points to why it is better to discuss specific "programs" than a vague and unagreed-upon concept of "programs".

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  42. Bro. Osgatharp,

    While it could be considered an insult by Bro. James by questioning your mental state, it is equally not permissible to be malicious and hateful in the tone of your comments.

    Bro. Vaughn,

    You mentioned Mission Boards. Do you believe associational assemblies to be Scriptural or unScriptural? Also, you stated parenthetically that para-church programs are self-perpetuating and self-promoting from the beginning. Do you believe all ministries beyond a congregational worship service to be para-church?

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  43. Brother Melton,

    1. To the extent or degree that associations are fellowship and advisory councils, I believe they are scriptural. To the extent they go beyond that, that is unscriptural. I believe it is fine for councils to recommend something, but when their recommendation becomes the fact of what will be done then that is going beyond counsel or advice. For example, when the missionary committee and messengers of the ABA get done, whoever they recommend are the folks who actually literally get the money.

    2. Not sure of all of what is encompassed in your last question, i.e. "ministry" and "para-church". But I do not think every "ministry" beyond a congregation's worship service is inherently wrong. General problems are when they try to do they work instead of the church, or when they create an "entity" to do the work that is already encompassed in the church's commission.

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  44. Bro. Vaughn,

    Thanks for answering my questions. Okay, could you explain your answers a little more fully?

    1. What I understand from your answer is that 1) you are not totally against an association, 2) you believe what is called a council meeting to be Scriptural, and 3)the current plan of the ABA to be unScriptural. In your mind, what would make the ABA more Scriptural in terms of support of church-sent missionaries?

    2. I'm not sure what you mean about trying to do the church's work. Is it that you feel that any ministry such as missionary logistics, disaster relief, medical missionaries, seminaries, etc. that are an organization sponsored by a church but not being done by the church itself to be unScriptural? Does this also apply to an intrachurch ministry such as a class taught by the church itself such as Sunday School, B.T.C., or Discovery, or do you feel that these are unScriptural simply based on the fact that they were ideas that originated outside the Lord's churches?

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  45. Brother Vaughn, the reason I ask for clearer definition of terms is so that I know what people are referring to when they us the phrase "programs" in their arguments (see above.) I personally would not see Discovery or AWANA as self-entities, since they cannot and do not teach in and of themselves. A church must be the one doing the teaching. I've never seen an AWANA or Discovery group who goes about teaching and preaching. I have only ever seen churches who purchase the literature, and then teach and preaching with this as an aid. This is why every AWANA or Discovery is totally and completely different from those at other churches. While you may see similarities (i.e. the books being used), you will ultimately see vast differences in the way the churches minister. If AWANA or Discovery was a self-entity doing the work of the LORD outside of or along side of the churches, then this would not be the case.

    AWANA and Discovery are more or less a set of Sunday School lessons with suggestions for object lessons, games, etc.

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  46. This may be more than I can explain in a brief post, but I'll try.

    Bro. Melton,

    You understand correctly on the three points noted. As far as moving from the current plan of the ABA to something more scriptural, I really don't think it can be done because of one inherent problem with a national association -- professed or implied fellowship with churches you don't even know. That aside, as far as "more scriptural" in terms of support of church-sent missionaries: for me it would be doing away with the entire salaried missionary system supported through the secretary-treasurer. Let the association (council) simply make recommendations to the churches and let the churches decide in their business meetings whom they will support and support them directly.

    On your second point, I don't think I have one answer that can be applied to all. I don't even know what missionary logistics is. Sounds like an imposed problem. As far as disaster relief, I don't think that would interfere with the Great Commission, and might be done by individual Christians as well as Christians working together. Seminaries are a good example of taking the teaching ministry given to the church and creating another organization to do it. Sunday School is usually just a badly-chosen name for a church's studying the Bible together. Then there are those who are not satisfied to just study the Bible together and have to dress it up.

    JamesCharles,

    I believe it is a good thing to I ask for clearer definition of terms, but as I note it can also be vague in the sense of trying to use the word to get to the heart of the differences. I don't really care what terms are used so much. It is probably best to look at each individual thing that someone might call a "program" and then discuss whether or not one thinks it is scriptural. Initially I used self-perpetuating and self-promoting in reference to Discovery or Awana, not "self-entities". Awana is an actual entity, an organization that supplies the material for the Awana program. So far as I know, Discovery is a "program", patterned after Awana, that is owned by the ABA. Is that correct? If so, those words probably don't describe it as well as they do Awana.

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  47. Bro. Vaughn,

    You gave an example of an association that you believe would be more scriptural: making only recommendations with no setting of salary at the general level and then the decisions actually being made in church business meetings. Is that the plan followed by the Interstate and Foreign Landmark Missionary Baptist Association? In fact, the churches in that fellowship used to be in the ABA until right after the BMA-ABA split. What are the differences between ABA and the Faithway Baptists? I know that they practice foot washing. I think you have mentioned that they anoint with oil?

    Also, I'm sure you have heard of the proposal to the Mission Policy made by Bro. Brooks and others that would take all phases of directing of the work of missionaries including salary and the provisions for paid vacations, etc. for the missionary and put it back under the sponsoring church. Do you see that as a move in the right direction? I think there are way too many "policies". They are supposed to be guidelines only and not a law, but it says that the missionary is expected to follow it. There is more ways to lord over a missionary than to actually be his employer and supervisor. Setting a monetary provision for how many revivals he can hold or for a paid vacation indirectly influences the missionary's work. Do you get the Missionary Baptist News? Did you see the article in the February issue by the chairman of the Missionary Committee, Bro. Paul Vance? Reading it you would think we are under a board system rather than simply a committee elected to serve the churches. I am working on a possible post analyzing the article.

    Too many think that church autonomy, independence, etc. is all there is to an association fellowship. The old, if you don't like it you are free to leave it. True Baptists, however, also believe in church sovereignty: that the church is the sovereign unit in kingdom work.

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  48. That no man, no board, no committee, no association can tell a church of the living God what to do.

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  49. Also, probably a better, more recognizable word for AWANA than "self-perpetuating" and "self-promoting" would be "para-church", or not owned by any church.

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  50. Again, Brother Vaughn, I don't see the difference between AWANA literature, Discovery Literature, or Sunday School literature as being "self-perpetuating" and "self-promoting". The Sunday School books say "don't forget to order your next quarter's lessons..." I just don't understand where the distinction is made between using one literature purchased outside of the church, and another kind of literature. Truth is truth. If the majority of it is truth and it does not depart from any major doctrines, I don't understand why it is wrong to use it.

    Brother Younglandmarker, if I'm not mistaken, when you purchase a dictionary and use a definition from it in your sermon, is this not using "para-church" literature? If you use a commentary written by a man, is it not "para-church" literature? If you use a song book, is this not "para-church" literature?

    By the way, does anyone know if the Sunday School literature is "owned" or "sponsored" by a single church?

    Lastly, I think if a church purchases AWANA literature, or Discovery literature, or Sunday School literature, the church DOES own it. It not only owns it, but can use it in any fashion it chooses. The only thing it does not have the right to do (with almost anything) is make copies and changes. This is not a doctrinal issue, but the law of the federal government which takes the view that a anything someone makes/creates is rightfully theirs, and so it cannot be changed without permission.

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  51. Bro. James,

    As to AWANA, the literature IS owned by AWANA, and only licensed to churches for use in their youth programs. In my post, I gave the fundamental doctrinal differences between what AWANA believes and what ABA churches believe and the Bible teaches. Furthermore, it is not sponsored by a church, therefore it is a para-church ministry.

    Theoretically, the literature of the ABA is owned by all the churches. The Baptist Sunday School Committee is theoretically a sub-committee of the churches. As #20 in our doctrinal statement says, it is supposed to all be servants of, and under the control of, the churches.

    As to copyrights, it is not a federal law that literature MUST be copyrighted. Look in the Heavenly Highway Hymns at #49, "When I See the Blood." The authors did not copyright the song so that churches would be totally free to use it as they saw fit.

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  52. Even if something isn't "copyrighted", if I write a book (and don't copy right it), it is still seen as my own personal property by the federal government. Trust me on this one. I've read through 430 pages of 8 font .3 margins copyright law. While I didn't understand it all, I did get very well that the federal government considers all works of art (including written documents) to be the owner of that work.

    If you don't believe me, try to take someone's uncopyrighted youtube song, change it up a bit, and then pass it off as your own without giving credit to the author.

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  53. Hello My Brothers

    If someone has already stated this please forgive me: I stopped reading about comment # 10.

    It doesn't matter what anyone thinks about AWANNA. Each New Testament church is a sovereign body. If a sovereign New Testament church decides to use this program it is their decision.

    Love you my brothers,

    Bro. Joey

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  54. Brother Melton,

    You said,

    "I believe that for those ABA churches who want a youth program, then we offer a viable alternative in the Discovery program, so there is no excuse for going away from truth."

    Does that mean that before Discovery was invented that there was no viable alternative to AWANA?

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  55. Thanks Brother Louie. Great comment. Way to bring it back into perspective.

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  56. A church is not sovereign, only God is.
    Hence, a church does not have the right to do or use anything it so desires.

    Truth must be proclaimed, whether or not any church decides to follow that truth.

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  57. Bro. Osgatharp,

    Maybe that was a poor choice of words. The key is "for those who want a youth program." Maybe I should have said suitable. It has many of the same characteristics, yet with a more sound doctrinal foundation. A youth program is not essential to the functioning of the Lord's churches. I am not anti-program, which means I will evaluate each particular program and not write all of them off. However, churches used to be much more successful (IF you are judging solely on numbers) before there were any programs. You will find I am not trying to "market" the church, nor trying to assimilate worldly methods just to "attract" crowds. I see it, as I think I have said, similar to S.S., or maybe more similarly, VBS. You would find that I am against probably against most if not all the same trends that you are against.

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  58. The Christian education and discipleship of the youth of the church are the responsibilities of the church, not a program, curriculum, or literature. Programs, curriculum and literature may be good tools, but if you are depending on the tools to do the job, you've planned for failure.

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  59. jll3 said...
    A church is not sovereign, only God is.
    Hence, a church does not have the right to do or use anything it so desires.

    by sovereign we mean that no Church or association or "program" like AWANA can tell another Church what to do. Each and every Church is BOUND to the Word of God and cannot change the truth.

    A youth program must be "sound" if it is to be used in the Church.

    For the ignorant who feel the Word of God is the only thing that should be used and to use anything else makes you a heretic and the Lord removing the candlestick becasue we are trusting more in God than man answer this...


    2 Timothy 4:13
    (13) The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.

    Should Paul be ridiculed and branded a heretic because he wanted BOOKS to go along with the parchments or the Scriptures? What could those books have been about?

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  60. Big J,
    says...
    "For the ignorant who feel the Word of God is the only thing that should be used..."

    Are these the words you really desire to use?

    Is God's Word not sufficient? Just the teaching of it? If one just uses God's Word, then only God will get the glory.
    Or do we want AWANA to get the glory? Surely AWANA puts the scriptures together better than God. Surely, AWANA adds to God's Word and they are wiser than God.

    I understand that discussions such as this can get into the realm of ridiculousness in trying to argue one's point. ---- I guess the "cloke" could be said to be heretical.
    We could say that since we are not using "parchments", then we are being heretical. One could go on and on, from one viewpoint to the other.
    However, we all have something to learn. Another, however, is that man can never, never improve upon the simple teaching of God's Word. That is the power of God. I seriously doubt that Timothy had AWANA or Discovery when Paul referred to him in 2 Timothy 3:15.

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  61. Brother Melton,

    You asked if making only recommendations with no setting of salary then the decisions actually being made in church business meetings is the plan followed by the Interstate and Foreign Landmark Missionary Baptist Association. Yes, roughly. But there is no committee to make recommendations. It is more like a forum that allows any church in the association who sponsors a missionary to get that missionary before the messengers/congregation to be seen and heard. This is no vote of any kind on them at the association. As to what are the differences between ABA and the Faithway Baptists the main thing is that there are no salaries at all. There is no agreement entered into between churches and pastors or missionaries for any amount of pay. There are some that still practice anointing with oil, but not to an extent that it is a defining characteristic.

    As far as the proposal to the Mission Policy that would take all phases of directing of the work of missionaries and put it back under the sponsoring church, yes, I would say that is a move in the right direction. There ARE way too many "policies", and then you have those who can't agree on whether they are just guidelines or rules that must be followed. I no longer receive the Missionary Baptist News. I let most of my subscriptions run out because I didn't have time to read the some 15 or so monthlies I was getting (And I deliberately canceled one local one because it made my blood pressure go up every time I looked at it. I still sneak a peak because my Mother gets it. Guess that defeats the purpose!). An interesting thing about the Missionary Committeeman you mention is that he grew up in an independent landmark missionary Baptist Church that did direct mission work.

    Bro. JamesCharles,

    Sunday School literature (or the owners of it) can be very self-promoting. Most who get into this are not content to just make a service available to the churches but campaign to be sure all the churches in association/convention/fellowship are buying & using it. Additionally, I may not be aware of what all goes on with Sunday School literature since we aren't using any, but I thought for the most part it is just Scripture commentary sans the fun & games, etc. Even so, there are a quite a churches where I have seen them study the Sunday School literature rather than studying the Bible. I guess we can mess up anything whether it is good, bad or neutral.

    Bro. L.L.L.,

    You wrote, "It doesn't matter what anyone thinks about AWANNA. Each New Testament church is a sovereign body. If a sovereign New Testament church decides to use this program it is their decision."

    To put this in perspective, what if we were to say:

    "It doesn't matter what anyone thinks about Mission Boards and Conventions. Each New Testament church is a sovereign body. If a sovereign New Testament church decides to do this it is their decision."

    Or,

    "It doesn't matter what anyone thinks about women preachers. Each New Testament church is a sovereign body. If a sovereign New Testament church decides to do this it is their decision."

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  62. jll3...I in way intended to imply that the Bible was not enough...look at the rest of that paragraph and you will see that I was speaking tongue in cheek...unless you do think that using AWANA or Discovery will cause the Lord to remove the candlestick.

    My question concerning the "other" materials that Paul wanted (specifically the books) was a reference to Paul using the Scripture plus some other "helps". If it was ok for Paul it is ok for me and the Church I am allowed to Pastor.

    Bro. Melton I would like to question you concerning your "keys of the kingdom" comment. I am assuming that you refer to as the Lord's Churches we are able to bind and loose etc? That reference only has to do with binding and loosing Church membership, nothing else. We don't bind or loose the Bible or doctrine it is ALREADY bound and we don't have the right to add to it or take away from it.

    A Church can use a curriculum if they so choose so long as they have qualified...sound teachers in the classes. Somebody who is able to "spit out the briers" as we say. I think that this falls under thier soverienty to do what is best for them and for the area in which they labor.

    btw...I am a big fan of preparing my own youth curriculum and Sunday School material...but I have done and will do "again" a program or a certain material. IT just depends on how busy my plate is and the needs of my group. ALL OF IT WILL BE BIBLICALLY BASED though!

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  63. Bros. Vaughn and jll3,

    Excellent points about church sovereignty. If a church in the Interstate and Foreign Landmark Missionary Baptist Association differ only in the areas of footwashing and pastors' salaries, I would have no problems with them. While I believe both to be in error, neither would be to me a test of fellowship. Anointing of oil is another story.

    Bro. Joey,

    While church sovereignty AS WELL AS church independence (many emphasize the second and show little regard the first) are fundamental and cherished doctrines in associated fellowship, churches have the freedom to act, but we are "to observe all things whatsover I (Christ) have commanded" and "the keys of the kingdom" are not a blank check.

    Church sovereignty should not be used to in effect say that what a church does "is nobody's business" or "let's not have a debate." We will answer to God as churches for whom we fellowshipped. Much of the New Testament is about speaking out about departures from the faith.

    I’m actually a little shocked at your comment.

    Love ya too brother.

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  64. Big J,

    That was the exact point of my comment. The Lord's churches only have executive power to carry out the principles of God's Word. They have no right to legislate, which is also what the other brothers (jll3 and R.L. Vaughn) were saying. Don't worry...I haven't gone Catholic. ;)

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  65. Perhaps someone here could give us a good dissertation on what the Bible actually teaches about youth programs. If we would go by that we couldn't possibly err nor open ourselves to any valid criticism from man or God. Anyone?

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  66. Brother Osgatharp,

    Not a dissertation, but seems to me we have the following considerations. We have neither command nor example for modern-style youth programs. This movement seems to be a tacit rejection of the concept that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, implying that there must be something more or different to reach young people. There is a discontentment that if we don't reach them with what God has given us then we must try something else rather than be satisfied that we have followed God's commandment (and if that something else doesn't work, then we try something else and something else and something else, ad infinitum). And there is a general rejection of the true "youth program" that God established -- parental authority.

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  67. Brother Vaughn,

    How could any Bible believing Baptist not say "amen" to that? Amen!

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  68. Bro. Vaughn and Bro. Osgatharp,

    I say "amen" to what Bro. Vaughn wrote.


    Big J,

    Sufficiency or pragmatism? Words and actions must meet up.

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  69. Brother Vaughn,

    I don't think anyone who uses AWANA or Discovery, or Sunday School literature would imply that a church MUST have such things. The major flaw with your argument lies not in the idea of "programs" (which again you say youth programs without any clarifications... youth ministers? youth workers? youth leaders? a specific design?, so I don't know how to address it), anyway as I was saying, the major flaw in your argument is that you are separating the gospel and the "program" of discovery. These "programs" are simply systematic ways of presenting the gospel, plus some games/object lessons suggested to help. Since church members are running/making decisions on how the "program" works on a daily basis including teaching, times, etc, then it really isn't relying on a "program" at all. A church member reads something, then presents the gospel as he sees fit, almost always using the Word of God.

    As to the idea that a youth ministry is a departure from God's Word, I disagree highly. You agree that churches had multiple elders. The Bible does not specify how they were divided up. We can speculate with the dividing of deacons to certain widows that they were divided by physical classifications. It is purely speculation, but I am guessing a church can divide up the work between the elders however it so chooses (whether age level, race (Grecian/Hebrew), Bible knowledge via survey, gender, etc.) Since the Bible does leaves HOW to divide the work up between the elders (or how they were divided among the people), then I believe youth ministry is one valid possible option.

    I don't know how you can honestly believe youth ministry is a departure from the concept of the gospel being the power of God to salvation, and rather not just another way of presenting the gospel. We ALL present the gospel in different ways, with different words, and different methods (depending on where we are, to whom we are speaking, etc.) "Programs" if I understand what we mean by this (AWANA and Discovery) are another way of presenting the gospel and the Word of God, so we can see that power of God work unto salvation.

    Again, I prefer and if I have opportunity always do, make my own "program" and literature, so I don't have any bias towards AWANA or Discovery.




    Brother Big J,

    You are definitely right. If we assume the Bible is the ONLY thing needed to carry out the great commission, then we should speak monotone and pronounce every word the same. We should never pause, or expound. We should never move while in the pulpit, nor raise our hands. We should not raise our voices. We should not have set service-times. We should not have an "order of services" which is a program a church has designed. We should not use certain songbooks in worship services. We should not use a specific building. We ought to only meet together in random places at random times and read the Bible in a monotone fashion.

    Instead the truth is we know that learning proper grammar, using certain voice inflections or volumes, certain motions, and order of services can certainly aid in the presentation of the Word of God. Just as we use these, we may use other literature helps, study helps, order of service (program) helps, etc.

    So AMEN Brother Big J.

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  70. Brother Melton,

    I think Brother L.L.L. was saying that one church has no right to tell any other church what to do or how to behave. We can preach the truth, we can reject "letters" or "baptisms". We can refuse to fellowship. Yet we can NEVER go tell a church what to do. Since the days of the apostles has ended, this would be universalism at its highest.

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  71. Brother Vaughn,

    I'm also glad you brought out the point that the Bible is silent on youth programs, as well as funerals, modern-style wedding ceremonies, pulpits (as we have them), microphones, pianos, organs, hymn books, song books (save the Psalms), fellowship halls, sanctuaries, pews, podiums, air conditioning, and anything else we use that is silent concerning the Bible. The Bible also gives certain pastoral qualifications and duties, and yet we find ourselves doing more. We also find committees, boards, associations with names, and "worship services".

    The scriptures are silent on many things. To me, this means the Bible is not specifying a design/layout/method of church work and presenting the gospel. The Bible allows this freedom so a church may operate the way it needs to in its own culture, without hindrances. If the Bible dictated a specific way ministry should be carried out (the method), it would make your case. It does not, though. We see very little about church "worship services" in the Bible... if any. We know they sang, and we know they prayed. We know they preached to the lost. But how much of your "worship service" would you find example or command in the Bible? I don't know about you, but I'd say not much. That's because (just like the type of clothing you wear), the Bible is silent. We could start wearing robes like Jesus, but the Bible is silent, giving us freedom to wear suits, or jeans, etc, whatever may be modest (moderate, not excessive).

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  72. Brother Vaughn,

    I'm also glad you brought out the point that the Bible is silent on youth programs, as well as funerals, modern-style wedding ceremonies, pulpits (as we have them), microphones, pianos, organs, hymn books, song books (save the Psalms), fellowship halls, sanctuaries, pews, podiums, air conditioning, and anything else we use that is silent concerning the Bible. The Bible also gives certain pastoral qualifications and duties, and yet we find ourselves doing more. We also find committees, boards, associations with names, and "worship services".

    The scriptures are silent on many things. To me, this means the Bible is not specifying a design/layout/method of church work and presenting the gospel. The Bible allows this freedom so a church may operate the way it needs to in its own culture, without hindrances. If the Bible dictated a specific way ministry should be carried out (the method), it would make your case. It does not, though. We see very little about church "worship services" in the Bible... if any. We know they sang, and we know they prayed. We know they preached to the lost. But how much of your "worship service" would you find example or command in the Bible? I don't know about you, but I'd say not much. That's because (just like the type of clothing you wear), the Bible is silent. We could start wearing robes like Jesus, but the Bible is silent, giving us freedom to wear suits, or jeans, etc, whatever may be modest (moderate, not excessive).

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  73. Brother Charles,

    You said,

    "I don't think anyone who uses AWANA or Discovery, or Sunday School literature would imply that a church MUST have such things."

    At the meeting when the ABA voted to pursue the development of the Discovery program, brother Ray O. Brooks stood up and said that "if we love our kids" we will do this. One year brother Curtis said the same thing about camp.

    When we - thank God Almighty - voted the literature out of Lakeview Missionary Baptist Church - we had a large group of our people who left because they didn't think we could have church without literature. By the way, all but one family of those who left either joined the Southern Baptists or quit going to church altogether. Go figure!

    The only thing I find that the Bible says we will do if we love our kids, or God, or anyone else, is keep God's commandment. As John said,

    "This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments."

    Since you frankly admit that none of these man made schemes are God's commandments then I rest my case.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  74. Brother Charles,

    You said,

    "If the Bible dictated a specific way ministry should be carried out (the method), it would make your case. It does not, though."

    Oh, but it does, most explicitly:

    "After that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."

    Deal with it!

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  75. Deal with it? OK..."foolishness of preaching"...does this have ANY reference to the manner of preaching?

    Could not my youth workers use the program of Discovery as a "help" to better preach the Word of God?

    Does not my Music Director "plan" an order of services to better prepare the heart for the preaching of God's Word?

    For the life of me I do not understand your AVERSION to using something alongside your preaching.

    I suppose your Biblical service would be turn in your Bibles to Psalm 45, now turn to Psalm 53 finally let us turn to Psalm 150. Now we shall recieve an offering (not found in the Bible though) and now it is time to preach...Turn to Matthew 5...we will now read through the 7th chapter let give you time to respond with an invitation (also not found in the Scripture) and go home.

    There is no difference in using a hymnbook that exalts Jesus and a "help" that explains Jesus to go with the Word of God. Niether replaces the Bible, or preaching, they compliment the Scripture.

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  76. By “self-promoting” and “self-perpetuating”, I do not mean that the promoters are saying a church MUST have these “programs”. But the tendency is for them to become about the program rather than what the program was intended to do. Seminaries are a good example of this phenomenon. Hardly any Baptist would say that a preacher MUST attend seminary. But most of them won’t call a preacher who hasn’t had seminary training. And while in theory the seminary exists to minister to the preachers and churches, in fact many of them become “self-promoting” and “self-perpetuating” and it becomes about the seminary and finding people to support and attend for the continued existence of the seminary. Those who use AWANA, Discovery, or Sunday School literature never say that a church must have these things. But they do imply that the churches fare better with them, reach people that wouldn’t be reached otherwise, etc., or (like Brother Osgatharp references) “if you love…, then you will…”

    Plural elders is a clear example in the Bible. The Bible does not specify how they were divided up, because it does not specify that they were divided up. We only make that assumption because that is the way many folks do it today. What the Bible does specify is that the elders were preachers/teachers and they performed that function/ministry. Speculating that the deacons were divided to certain widows by physical classifications is purely speculation. But I would say it is worse than that – it speculates contrary to facts of the case. The problem was overload on the apostles and a complaint that some (the Grecians) were not properly, or equally, cared for. The appointing of the deacons was not to divide out any special cases, but to see that all were taken care of equally. So I would conclude that the dividing of churches into classes, youth groups, singles, “keenagers”, etc. is not treating the church equally but dividing them into special classes/groups contrary to the Acts 6 model.

    Behind “youth programs” you will usually trace back to a mentality of “we need to have this to keep their interest,” regardless of how we define it. While considering defining “program”, perhaps we should consider defining “methods”? What is a method? Is preaching a method? Is using a method something like the difference between just standing in a pulpit or on someone’s front porch and telling them that Christ died for their sins, was buried and rose again versus inviting someone to the church house for a hamburger supper, a movie, and a gospel presentation afterward? Just what is a method?

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  77. Brother JamesCharles, some of the arguments you used are neither parallel nor logical rebuttals – e.g. “We could start wearing robes like Jesus”, and a few of them seem curious to me, to put it mildly – e.g. “If we assume the Bible is the ONLY thing needed to carry out the great commission, then we should speak monotone and pronounce every word the same.” If that is what you believe, then that is what you believe. But it bewrays a misunderstanding of the opposing argument. The call to New Testament practice as normative is not a call to return to the culture of the first century (light from candles, wearing tunics and sandals, traveling by foot, horseback & wagon, etc.). If Paul wore a toga & sandals and walked to church, that does not establish that practice for us. But instead we are talking about what the apostles taught & practiced and what the churches received – whether anti-cultural, semi-cultural or cultural. In other words, the things they received into their way of ministry, gathering, governing, teaching, evangelizing, etc. Paul's never insisted anyone wear sandals, but he insisted that the churches follow the apostolic pattern and his own example. “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.” (cf. verses such as I Cor. 4:16-17; 11:1-2, 16; 14:33; Eph. 2:20; Phlp. 3:17; 4:9; II Thess. 2:15; 3:6-9; I Tim. 1:16; I Tim. 3:14-15; II Tim. 1:13)

    I don’t believe I ever used the expression that the Bible is silent on youth programs – rather that there is neither command nor example for them. Just like there is no command or example for sprinkling; no command or example for Episcopal church government, etc. As to many other areas of “silence” where you find inconsistencies – such as funerals, modern-style wedding ceremonies, microphones, pianos, organs, hymn books, fellowship halls, sanctuaries, pews, podiums, air conditioning – I think we can easily see many of them are cultural items only peripheral to the way of ministry of a church. But rather that accept them all as proof of something or nothing, we would do well to examine each one individually in light of the word of God. With legal changes in the U.S., I expect it might not be long before Bible preachers have to reevaluate their participation in “modern-style wedding ceremonies”.

    Some of us have a very different approach to the “silence” of Scripture. For awhile we seem to agree. If the Bible has command and example for immersion/baptism, then it is not “silent” on sprinkling and pouring being called baptism, but rather vocal. If the Bible has command and example for unleavened bread and fruit of the vine for the Lord’s Supper, then it is not “silent” on using milk and cookies for the Lord’s Supper, but rather vocal. We don’t require a command for “thou shalt not sprinkle and call it baptism” or “thou shalt not use milk and cookies for the Lord’s Supper”. Most Baptists feel that it is necessary to form their church government after the New Testament pattern, despite the fact that no command says they must do so. So why when we come to these other areas but we suddenly change horses in the middle of the stream? Why require there must be a “thou shalt not have this or that” or else the Bible is “silent” on it? Why do we stop going by the commands and examples we DO have?

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  78. Brother Mark Osgatharp - It appears to me that you are now making sense in such a way I can respond. Your arguments literally made no sense to me above, thus the ignoring. I did understand your second - to - most - recent post, though, so I'll not ignore it. I am sorry that some teach that the literature, or the program, MUST be used in a church, or rather that "if we love our youth..." I disagree totally, and I did not think people said things like this. I suppose it is because I am young and never have heard such. I've seen different churches use different literatures, and change literatures. I would expect any church to be open to changing on the spot as they see the need. I do not condemn, look down on, or think less of any church that doesn't use the literature or a specific kind. I believe, however, the literature/program I have made helped our church. I changed it as changes became necessary. I adapted it as need be. I made this literature in such a way as to help our church member teachers to preach of the Word of God to their classes. I ALWAYS preached a sermon (in the usual sense of the word), and then we used the literature afterwords for further expounding in smaller groups for discussion. The literature/program/method we used and changed on a periodic basis was "the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" as you quoted. So I don't have to "deal with" anything, since that is exactly what we did. And if you had read my previous posts, I think you would have noticed that I was referring to the specific method/way of preaching (ministering), not something outside of the preaching. Sorry for the confusion.

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  79. I don't understand ALL of what you are saying Brother Vaughn. I'm a little "off" my brain sometimes, and now is one of those times. Let me try to respond as best I can.

    #1 - I do think the norm in Acts was for people to be taken care of, except for the Grecian widows. I do think they divided up specific men to meet specific needs of a specific group of people, so that the entire church could receive equal treatment. I also think that since the "youth programs" or "methods" I've used (usually made by me) are just another way of preaching and being sure the entire church is equally treated. Calvary MBC in Hamburg actually had a method of preaching set up to where every church member who would come on Wednesday nights filled a position of ministering and preaching. It was set up so that the entire church could preach to all who came (young to old alike, though mostly it was young people who came). This, as I see it, is more biblical (the example of the church meeting together to preach) than the modern "worship services". I also do NOT believe we assume they were divided up because that is how it was done today. I've actually thought in every possible way in my mind how they could have done the work together, and dividing up is the only way that makes any sense. I don't see 12 preachers all preaching at the same time to the same group of people working. I don't see all twelve preachers visiting the houses together. It only makes sense to me (and I could be wrong) for ministers to divide up the work so they can get to know specific church members better, and help those specific ones. As you said, it is "speculative", but that does say one thing. It is speculative both ways. We don't know whether or not they divided up the work. This means that the idea they did is equally valid as the idea that they did not.

    To be totally honest, fair, and unbiased, I did just recall a Scripture in my mind. The Bible DOES show that multiple elders should be called for a sick person. This still doesn't explain the preaching, but we do know that the elders did all show up as a group for sick people.

    #2. The whole church government issue is a pattern we try to follow, because it is clear what the pattern was. The work of elders is not very clear in the Bible. As someone mentioned above, we only know that they are to preach the Word. We don't have any examples that show the methods used. We don't know if other parchments were used in preaching (as Brother Big J brought up). We don't know about the culture of that day. In other words, the command to preach the Word, and a few examples of sermons to the lost, do not show us HOW to preach. As far as examples go, I suppose the best example of preaching would be the write a letter to a church. Paul did it. Peter did it. Jesus did it (Rev 2,3). I just don't know how to explain this any better, and maybe I'm totally missing your point. I just don't see Bible examples of sermons in a church. I don't see "worship services" the way we have them in the Bible. So since I see no examples, I suppose the Bible is silent on this issue. If I saw a pattern, such as I do with church government, then I would concede to you. I just don't see this.

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  80. Suppose the "youth leader" in a church decides that AWANA is the way to go and proposes that the church start using it. Part of the church sees AWANA as a progressive step which will enable them to better reach their youth for Christ. The other part sees it as an unneeded fleshly innovation which will divide the church and detract from the preaching of the gospel. Both sides are entrenched and no amount of argument convinces the opposing sides.

    How, BIBLICALLY, can the church resolve this dilemma?

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  81. Of all the questions this is the easiest to answer...when the vote is taken the side that is in the minority agrees to cooperate with the majority.

    This is basic Church work...not everyone agrees...that is life...but in the Church you show that you are a spiritually minded person by putting aside preferences and working together.

    To get mad, huff and puff, throw a fit etc etc...is to show a carnal nature and one that is not honoring to the Lord or His Church.

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  82. Big J,

    Just to clarify - are you saying that a minority who does not believe in AWANA is obligated to cooperate with it because the majority votes for it?

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  83. in a church covenant relationship...yes I am or (as with anything) they can quietly leave and find another place to worship.

    Righteousness exalts itself...(quoted from someone I dont know who) if AWANA is of the devil then those who were against it will be proven right and prayerfully those who were for it would change thier minds and go away from AWANA

    or

    if AWANA proves to be a great accent to the youth work of the Church then those who were against it at the time of the vote would change thier minds and see that it was ok.

    It is all about a covenant relationship in a Church (a family relationship) we can disagree without being disagreeable.

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  84. Brother J,

    You said,

    "in a church covenant relationship...yes I am or (as with anything) they can quietly leave and find another place to worship."

    Where does the Bible justify dividing the body of Christ on a non-Biblical issue (assuming that AWANA is a non-Biblical issue)?

    You said: "Righteousness exalts itself...(quoted from someone I dont know who) if AWANA is of the devil then those who were against it will be proven right and prayerfully those who were for it would change thier minds and go away from AWANA."

    So you are saying that pragmatism - not the express commandment of the Scriptures - proves the validity or invalidity of a thing?

    You said: "It is all about a covenant relationship in a Church (a family relationship)..."

    The only covenant I know anything about is the covenant of God in Christ, which is grounded on the New Testament of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since I haven't found AWANA, or Discovery, in that I refuse to make either - or any other program - the basis of Christian fellowship.

    You said: "...we can disagree without being disagreeable."

    I don't know what "disagreeing without being disagreeable" means. If that means we should capitulate to something that we think is unwise, then I totally disagree. If you mean that we can express our disagreement without cursing one another, then I would agree.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  85. since you insist I will answer...
    you said...
    "Where does the Bible justify dividing the body of Christ on a non-Biblical issue (assuming that AWANA is a non-Biblical issue)?"

    Where does the scripture say a church vote must be 100%? If one person disagrees does that make the Church divided? How many votes in Churches have been taken that were passed with less than 100%? Why would this be a divisive issue so much to the point that a person felt the need to show thier tail and quit coming to the Church?

    you said...
    "So you are saying that pragmatism - not the express commandment of the Scriptures - proves the validity or invalidity of a thing?"

    I am not sure what to say except that people in the majority CAN be wrong and what is right will eventually be seen as true. The cream rises to the top.

    your comment concerning church covenant relationship must be a misunderstanding. I mean that a Church is a group of baptized believers in covenant relationship together...ie Matthew 18:20 the biblical definition of a Church. Unless you are not a Bible Believing baptist you understand what Church covenant relationship is.

    Finally you said...
    "I don't know what "disagreeing without being disagreeable" means. If that means we should capitulate to something that we think is unwise, then I totally disagree. If you mean that we can express our disagreement without cursing one another, then I would agree."

    I think what it means is that if we don't agree with something we can state our opinion and the fact that we do not agree then we shut up and let God work it out...instead of being a hinderance to the work as a whole because it doesnt fit what we THINK is best. We don't become an antagonist or subversive in God's work.

    btw...I also agree that we express our disagreement without cursing one another.

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  86. Bro. J,

    We can lay off of Bro. Osgatharp’s a bit because to his credit, he has been much more “disagreeing without being disagreeable” lately. He has a valid point: there is way too much capitulating being done in our churches, i.e., in the area of youth work and also in our associated work as a whole. I agree with you that if it is not a fundamental issue, then we should not tear up a church over it. However, if a God-called pastor can look over the registration packet for AWANA and swallow it, then God help him. Or if a pastor can watch his youth group go to a non-denominational conference, then God help him.

    Bro. Vaughn,

    Again, the problem I have with AWANA is one of doctrine and not with that particular type of youth program in general. I am one quite satisfied with a sing-pray-preach type of church myself, but also am not against a conservative church which has a fair amount of activities and a minimal amount of programs. A church you might be personally familiar with is the Timpson MBC, now pastored by Bro. Justin Coburn, but for almost 35 years by Bro. Sammy Eldredge. They have a youth program called KFC (Kids For Christ). They have a monthly meeting where they begin with a devotional by one of the members, a lesson by one of the sponsors, they have a time of fellowship, and also a game. This group of kids does a lot of good in the church and has also donated a lot of money to the Pine Springs Camp #1. One of the activities that they help to put on is the church’s Valentine Banquet. With all that being said, I think you probably know how conservative that church is, and it is one that you would hardly consider “program-oriented.” I am, like you, willing to examine each one on a case-by-case basis. My feeling is if a program exalts Jesus Christ and Scriptures, if it is not entertainment-focused, does not make an appeal to the flesh to try to attract people, and does not take the place or time of the preaching of the gospel, then perhaps it is permissible. There are programs being used today that I am certainly against. For instance, I am totally against taking hard rock music, changing the lyrics a little bit, and calling it Christian music. I don’t think it would fit the “in spirit and in truth” litmus test. Now if you say you are against Discovery because you feel that it focuses too much on entertainment through games, or appeals to the flesh through giving point rewards for Christian service, or that it exhibits a mentality of “if you have activities they will come”, etc. I can see your point of view quite clearly. However, when you put down everything from S.S. to seminaries (especially the one I attend which is quite conservative), to choir singing in a church, then you will lose those who would otherwise be on your side. You make the case that if it does not have “command and example” in Scripture, we should leave it alone. As Bro. James, I, and some others have pointed out, everything that we do does not have explicit mention in the Bible. To say that we use cars to “go” that are not found in the Bible is not condescending, but is an extreme example to show what such a point of view logically ends up. That being said, there are two (maybe three) very outstanding issues that hinder our personal fellowship. It has nothing to do with the aforementioned things. I have high respect for a man who will stand by his convictions (even if they are extreme) and will discuss them in a polite, Christian manner. I would rather someone err on the side of right than wrong. You are probably aware of the hindrances I am talking about because we have discussed these things in the past. If you would like, we can discuss them further: my e-mail address is jmelton75935@yahoo.com.

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  87. Brother Melton,

    You said,

    "We can lay off of Bro. Osgatharp’s a bit because to his credit, he has been much more 'disagreeing without being disagreeable' lately. He has a valid point..."

    I don't need your smarmy defense and every point I've made on the subject has been valid. You are just too blind to see it because you are trying to serve to masters.

    You said,

    "I am one quite satisfied with a sing-pray-preach type of church myself, but also am not against a conservative church which has a fair amount of activities and a minimal amount of programs."

    Well how diplomatic of you! LOL!

    It's high time you face reality like a man and decide which side of the fence you are one.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  88. Brother Big J,

    You said,

    "I think what it means is that if we don't agree with something we can state our opinion and the fact that we do not agree then we shut up and let God work it out...instead of being a hinderance to the work as a whole because it doesnt fit what we THINK is best. We don't become an antagonist or subversive in God's work."

    Brother, if you put that damnable philosophy into practice you make the majority the rule of what is right and wrong. That is the fallacy of adopting any program not explicit in the Scriptures - there is no way of judging it or coming to an agreement about it.

    On the other hand, if we adopt only what is explicit in the Scriptures, no man can rightfully disagree with it and if he opposes it can be dealt with as an offender.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  89. perhaps you have answered this already but indulge me...what is "explicit" in the Scriptures?

    and

    I would like to know how business is handled in the Church you pastor or labor in? Is it preacher rule or is it a democratic vote that is taken and majority rules?

    I prefer the later because it is decent and in order...if the majority does something I personally deem unscriptural I have to decide whether or not I can remain as a member of that Xhurch or not...it is the way ot works.

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  90. sorry for my spelling...
    later...latter
    Xhurch...Church
    ot...it

    I am ashamed of my spelling...lol.

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  91. Brother Melton: You said, "For instance, I am totally against taking hard rock music, changing the lyrics a little bit, and calling it Christian music. I don’t think it would fit the 'in spirit and in truth' litmus test."

    First of all, the "in spirit and in truth" verse deals with what? WORSHIP. So are you against taking hard rock music and changing lyrics into something Christian, or are you against trying to use such a piece of art for worship? Think carefully about "Southern Gospel" and "Country Christian" music before you answer. Also remember Isaac Watts was condemned for doing the very same thing, taking worldly style of music and making hymns when people only put Psalms to music during his day. Also, think about what you deem "contemporary" if you use such a word, for anything I write would probably fit into this category no matter how it sounds.

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  92. Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas:


    I want to reiterate a question to which Brother Big J gave rise. Concerning church work, what all do you consider as explicitly commanded or given example? Please include specifics, not generalities (as in - please do not say "preaching", but instead specify the method/type/fashion/way of preaching.)

    This could help us understand your argument better.

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  93. Bro. Osgatharp,

    I was trying to be civil toward you and was hoping you would be more civil while freely voicing your convictions. I see you are not. If you bothered reading my post, you will see I do not believe in being diplomatic toward heretical trends in doctrine and practice. Brother, I know where to draw the line and I don't need you to inform me as to where it is.

    Furthermore, you referred to pragmatism as being a "damnable philosophy." Correct me if I'm wrong, but do you believe that attracting the world into our churches will automatically send one to hell? While I am vehemently against letting the world into our churches, salvation is by grace through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. That's right: to you it is by grace through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ THROUGH his church. My bad.

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  94. Bro. James,

    I was trying to be clear when I said "hard rock music." A good example of something that I would not care for would be Live Fish. I'm not even sure what all styles of music would fall under the umbrella of contemporary Christian music and don't want issue a blanket condemnation of all of it. I am not against anything new simply because it is new. I am willing to examine it on a case-by-case basis. However, the position we on our side of the issue hold is sometimes hard to define, but if it has a groovy beat and/or raging guitars, I'm gonna be against it. Neither am I a fan of all Southern Gospel music. Probably doesn't clear up the mud any better, but I'm trying. I'm bracing for a Mark Osgatharp rebuke even though he doesn't know as much about me as he thinks he does.

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  95. Brother Big J,

    "perhaps you have answered this already but indulge me...what is 'explicit' in the Scriptures?"

    That is easy as pie: "If you love me, keep my commandments."

    You said,

    "I would like to know how business is handled in the Church you pastor or labor in? Is it preacher rule or is it a democratic vote that is taken and majority rules?"

    Our aim is for God to rule and I hope that is the case. It is certainly not preacher rule because I, and my fellow pastor, have nothing to rule or any agenda to push. Our only objective is to preach the word and exhort the people to do it.

    So far as anything which has to be decided it is majority rule. This boils down to only a few matters - like receiving or dismissing members or which missionary to support. In incidental matters, like building and grounds, I keep my opinion out of it as much as possible because I consider such things to be immaterial to the well being of the church and figure that those who are going to foot the bill ought to be the ones to decide how to spend their own money.

    You said,

    "I prefer the later because it is decent and in order...if the majority does something I personally deem unscriptural I have to decide whether or not I can remain as a member of that Church or not...it is the way ot works."

    I totally agree. And if the church decides to take an unscriptural course - like adopting a man-contrived scheme for saving kids - then I will be no part of it and will not willingly accept the label of having "shown my tail" when I depart from such ungodly practices.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  96. Brother Melton,

    You said,

    "Furthermore, you referred to pragmatism as being a 'damnable philosophy.' Correct me if I'm wrong, but do you believe that attracting the world into our churches will automatically send one to hell?"

    I believe that any scheme of man to save people will fail and will therefore result in people going to hell. I believe that if you take a kid by the hand and "lead him to Christ" he will be just as far from Christ, if not farther, than he was when you started messing with him. I therefore reject any and all innovations on the word of God and any scheme intended to fertilize God's word and make it grow. I consider them all DAMNABLE HERESY with a big D!

    You said,

    "While I am vehemently against letting the world into our churches, salvation is by grace through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. That's right: to you it is by grace through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ THROUGH his church."

    LOL! That is mighty strange talk coming from a man who was, in fact, saved by through the testimony of the Lord's church! LOL!

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  97. Brother Charles,

    You said,

    "The work of elders is not very clear in the Bible."

    To the contrary the work of elders is explicitly spelled out in the Bible. Of course, if you acknowledged this you would have to give up your whole ridiculous defense of modernistic youth programs and youth ministry. You said,

    "As someone mentioned above, we only know that they are to preach the Word. We don't have any examples that show the methods used."

    So "preach the word" really might have meant "do AWANA"? Is that what you are saying? If not, then I fail to see where your words mean anything.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  98. Brother JamesCharles,

    Think little of it. Sometimes when I read what I write I don't understand it either! :-)

    1. The taking care of the widows mentioned in chapter 6 must be seen in light of common community instituted in Acts 2 on or shortly after the day of Pentecost. You wrote, "I do think the norm in Acts was for people to be taken care of, except for the Grecian widows." If you mean that it was supposed to work that way for everyone and just wasn't quite up to par for the Grecian widows, then I would agree. We will just have to disagree that it is speculative both ways. While there may not be much evidence here, what we do have shows equality as far as I can tell. The apostles and elders had duties of preaching the word, and the deacons had duties of taking care of the widows and things so they could devote their time to doing so instead of waiting tables.

    2. Who says the church government pattern is clear? We try to follow it because we believe it. Congregationalism is clear to us, but there are also episcopal, presbyterian and "pastoral-dictator" systems, so it is not that clear cut to everyone. Then there are some think it doesn’t matter which system you choose. But the point is, we believe in the principle of following whatever pattern we see is there. Then in other areas we neglect the principle of following any pattern at all. I am encouraged to see your statement that you don't see a "pattern" and the indication that you would follow it if you did. That is all that can be expected. We must operate on what we understand. What troubles me more is that so much of the modern approach to church and church work is not the "not finding" a pattern, but rather not even looking for a Bible command, precept or example and just taking the pragmatic approach – whatever "works" today.

    You are correct in observing that most of the preaching examples (at least as we think of it as a lecture-type presentation to a group) are evangelistic – Peter to Cornelius’ household, Paul on Antioch-Pisidia, Paul on Mars Hill, etc – rather than Bible examples of sermons in church. Rather than not teaching anything about sermons, I think there is reason to see this (combined with other things) "patterning" that the church gathering/preaching/teaching as much less formal, with preachers/teachers teaching in a more interactive way. For some examples of and teaching on “church worship” rather than outreach, I think of the latter part of Acts chapter two, Acts 4:23ff., Acts 20:7-12, and I Corinthians chapter fourteen.

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  99. Brother Melton,

    You mention Timpson MBC. I do not know Bro. Coburn, but have known Bro. Eldredge for many years and have a great deal of respect for him. His preaching on heaven at a revival at Smyrna (Rusk Co.) some 20 or 25 years ago I would say is the best I ever heard on the subject. However, I can greatly respect someone and their church – even recognize them as conservative – and still not agree with all they do. I am not interested in "putting down" everything from Sunday School to seminaries to choir singing in a church. I am interested in putting them to the Bible test and seeing what of it stands. While I do have too much sinful pride, I hope in the end I am not interested in winning or losing folks to be on "my side" or not. There should not be a "my side". The question is "who is on the Lord's side?"

    You mention that using cars is not found in the Bible. While some may logically end up walking or using a horse & buggy because of their position, my position will never logically end up there because of where it starts. I have stated time and again – not just here – that accepting New Testament practice as normative is not about returning to the first century culture. To me it is about religious, spiritual and ecclesiological issues. I don't really know how to make it any clearer. When I wrote "obfuscating" earlier, I did not mean condescension. Obfuscating means that bringing up cars, light bulbs, togas and sandals confuses or obscures the issue and implies a desire to return to the Roman culture of A.D. 60ish. We do not. But we do want to "return" to the Christian "culture" of the New Testament. (BTW, I do not dismiss the ecumenical/doctrinal issues with AWANA. But I don't think the way to solve it is by offering a copycat version.)

    Engaging these types of issues approaching nearly 30 years now, I have come to the conclusion that most Landmark Missionary Baptists lost this battle a long time ago, often having little or no idea why they do many of the things they do. They engage in many arguments which, followed to their conclusions, destroy the very foundations on which they are built. For example, our concept of scriptural mission work is based on such examples of the sending in Acts 13. If it lies only on command and not example, then we might as well be Southern Baptists or any other group that argues church independence, sovereignty and autonomy and then goes ahead and builds their own system of doing missions. And, in fact, this is what many Landmarkers are doing themselves nowadays. Many of the things that have traditionally separated us from other Baptists are based on example, and sometimes even on inference.

    I regret that there are outstanding issues that hinder our personal fellowship, at least in the sense of the fellowship. I don’t regret or apologize for believing what I believe and have to let it stand as it is unless and/or until the Lord teaches me something different.

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  100. I appreciate bloggers and commentors who can discuss issues and challenge others on various points. I don't appreciate, nor do I take seriously commentors who express hate, divisiveness, name-calling, mocking, labeling, judging, ridiculing and general offensiveness.

    Bro. Mark Osgatharp, no matter what your beliefs are, your general attitude and mocking of Bro. Melton's salvation is the worst I have read in blog world.

    Jesus expects that we all contend for truth, yet He also stated some explicit commands about love, humility, compassion, mercy, grace, wisdom, etc.

    I can't help but wonder if you have ever read those commands or if they have impacted your heart in any way???

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  101. Brother Neal,

    I did not mock brother Melton's salvation. I mocked the inconsistency of his false accusation that I teach something other than salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

    I'll take the remainder of your comments with a grain of salt.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  102. Brother Melton - I still want you to answer my question, but I guess I wasn't clear. Are you against the music, or against using it in worship services/church setting? If you are against it altogether, can you please give reasoning and how it is different from Southern Gospel?

    Brother Vaughn - Thank you so much for clearing up some of that. I understand where you are coming from at least. I read the verses you gave me, but I just don't see a pattern of church worship services with sermons. I looked, and it doesn't show a specific method. I KNOW that most of what we do in "church" today is probably not found in the Bible. The problem is that you are dismissing 1st century culture as something OK for them, but not required. Yet then, when we see the "Christian culture" in this century, we can't help but see modern culture in it (just as we see 1st century culture then). I don't see where the lines are drawn.
    EXAMPLES:

    They walked or rode beasts to church. We mostly drive cars. They wore long, flowing robes. We wear jeans/slacks and shirts with buttons on them (here a cultural issue is often drawn into a scriptural issue by discussion of modesty). They used word of mouth and hand-written letter evangelism, while we use face-to-face, e-mails, and phones.

    When it came to preaching to a church, we see most often voice and letters were used. Today, we could in theory use video conferences.

    Please take this scenario (it isn't hard to fathom as having happened).

    Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians. That church read this letter and made some changes. Family members, or friends, could have written letters to other family members or friends in other church about what was contained in this letter from Paul. It wasn't the words of God, but rather the individual's understanding of the Bible. That church then read the letter from the family member/friend, and made some changes as to how they did things. Would this have been wrong?

    In preaching, we can also use letters (AKA Sunday School books, Discovery books, Dictionaries, Greek Lexicons, Bible maps, Nelson References, Systematic Theology books) to help guide us in our preaching/teaching of the church, or to help us as individuals to better be prepared to serve Christ. After all, look at the long book we've already posted here on this single comment thread.


    By the way, CONGRATULATIONS BROTHER MELTON ON A 100+ POST.

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  103. Brother Vaughn, one last thing. I still don't see how Discovery/AWANA can be seen as something separate from preaching the Gospel. It is just an outline (if you will) for preaching the gospel. A rough draft the pastor/teachers will read over while forming notes. The preaching/teaching is ultimately done by the teachers, not the "program".

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  104. Mark Osgatharp

    Please give specifics instead of generalities. The word used was "explicit" commands for church worship. Love me and keep my commandments" is a general statement. We are asking, when it comes to church worship, what specific METHODS of preaching are given. Inflection of voice? Writing a letter? Using an outline? Standing in a pulpit? Having a hard-bound or soft-bound Bible? Having a full, complete Bible? Referring to many Scriptures or just one text? Walking back and forth across the stage? Using a dictionary to understand a word? Using a grammar book? Using a Greek or Hebrew lexicon? Using a commentary? Using a Sunday School commentary? Using a Discovery/AWANA commentary? Using an object lesson? Using a story/parable? Using a sign/healing/miracle? Using an example?

    Which methods are given in the Bible for preaching? Please don't give a general answer like you have been giving about "it says preach". I'm asking what type of preaching is allowed.

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  105. Brother Charles,

    You said,

    "Please give specifics instead of generalities. The word used was 'explicit' commands for church worship. 'Love me and keep my commandments' is a general statement."

    Herein lies the fundamental difference between you and I. You see the Lord's commandments as generalities. I see them as specifics. If the Lord said preach and teach He meant teach and preach. You try to make Him mean "do AWANA" or "do Discovery."

    If AWANA and Discovery were nothing other than an appointed time to preach and teach then I would go away and shut my mouth, though I would still think you were silly for feeling the need to attach a contrived name to the teaching of God's word. But AWANA, and its ABA knock off Discovery, are not merely appointed times to teach and preach. They are programs intended to make the word of God more appealing to young people by fun and games, competition, costumes etc.

    So you take that which is already appealing within itself - the sweet word of God - and try to make it appealing on a fleshly level. And then you start looking at the "results" and start judging your man made schemes by how large of a crowd they attract, and AWANA wins hands down - not because of the power of God but because it is the most socially popular program.

    Surely, brother Charles, you can see the fallacy of all this! You said,

    "We are asking, when it comes to church worship, what specific METHODS of preaching are given. Inflection of voice? Writing a letter? Using an outline? Standing in a pulpit? Having a hard-bound or soft-bound Bible? Having a full, complete Bible? Referring to many Scriptures or just one text? Walking back and forth across the stage? Using a dictionary to understand a word? Using a grammar book? Using a Greek or Hebrew lexicon? Using a commentary? Using a Sunday School commentary? Using a Discovery/AWANA commentary? Using an object lesson? Using a story/parable? Using a sign/healing/miracle? Using an example?"

    Preaching is clearly defined in the Scripture by the numerous examples we have of it. Writing a letter or an exposition of the Scripture is not preaching, though it is also a valid means of communication and one used in the Scripture. All of that is moot so far as the question of programs is considered, because there is far more to programs than a written lesson. But again you say,

    "Which methods are given in the Bible for preaching? Please don't give a general answer like you have been giving about "it says preach". I'm asking what type of preaching is allowed."

    Again, I say, the Scripture is very clear as to what preaching is. There are no "methods of preaching." Preaching is, of itself, a method of disseminating God's word. It is THE METHOD specified by God for the saving of the lost and the instruction of God's people.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  106. Brother Charles,

    What is preaching? Here you have it in plain Bible terms:

    EZRA: "And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: and Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."

    PAUL: "Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ."

    PHILLIP: "And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus."

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  107. Brother Charles,

    More preaching:

    PETER: "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."

    JESUS: "And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  108. Brother Charles,

    You said,

    "You are definitely right. If we assume the Bible is the ONLY thing needed to carry out the great commission, then we should speak monotone and pronounce every word the same. We should never pause, or expound. We should never move while in the pulpit, nor raise our hands. We should not raise our voices. We should not have set service-times. We should not have an 'order of services' which is a program a church has designed."

    Oh, but you do greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures. For it is written:

    BODY MOVEMENT IN PREACHING:

    "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel!"

    "Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself...."

    VOICE INFLECTION IN PREACHING:

    "I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you."

    "Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught."

    "Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."

    "And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed."

    VOICE RAISING IN PREACHING: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins."

    APPOINTED TIME FOR TEACHING: "And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening."

    "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight."

    ORDER OF SERVICES: "Let all things be done decently and in order."

    LOL! It ought to be against the law for a man to have this much fun!

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  109. Brother JamesCharles,

    You write that in the verses I gave you don't see a pattern of church worship services with sermons. I did not intend these as examples of "church worship services with sermons", but I do believe they indicate what these early churches were doing when they came together, including, for example, Lord's Supper (Act 2, Acts 20, I Cor. 11), prayer (Acts 2, Acts 4), preaching/teaching (Acts 20, I Cor. 14), singing (I Cor. 14).

    You say that I am dismissing 1st century culture as something OK for them, but not required. I guess that is a correct assessment. But I'm not sure what your point is. You also do the same. By what logic have you determined that I must require it? I have given the logic behind my views. It is that we keep the things that the apostles and elders instructed the churches to do by command and example, not mimic every peripheral that has to do with how people live, religious or not. You gave examples that they walked or rode beasts to church, while we drive cars; they wore robes, while we wear slacks and shirts; they used word of mouth and letters, while we use e-mails and phones. So we each use modes of dress, travel and communication common to our society. What is the point? You write that you don't see where the lines are drawn. I have tried to communicate several times where I draw the line, or attempt to. I could ask you the same question. You follow some examples in the Scripture and not others. Why? If you follow some examples, why don't you walk to church instead of driving a car? Where do you draw the line and why?

    You write that we could in theory use video conferences. For what? Would it be OK to use it for something? I suppose we could. If you mean as a substitute for a church's real gathering, I disagree.

    Considering your scenario:
    Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians, and that church read this letter and made some changes. Well, first off the wording of that sounds wrong, but probably I'm just not following you. They shouldn't change Paul's letter. But they could communicate with family members and friends and say, "Hey, Paul wrote us a letter about..." We do that all the time. We are doing it now. We do it in the pulpit. Philip did it with the eunuch of Ethiopia. It is communicating and teaching. There is example in the Bible for it.

    I readily admit I don't understand Discovery/AWANA/etc. When some youth leaders discuss it amongst themselves they gush over what it can do for a church, debate over which one is more successful and produces the most results, testify of how many were saved because of it, and such like. Yet the rest of us seem to be told, oh, it's not really anything in particular. It almost seems like there are two different stories.

    If AWANA/Discovery is not something separate from preaching the gospel, then why does it exist? If it isn't, why use it? Why not just preach the gospel? And, even more to the point, when we tell someone that Jesus died for their sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, is it more powerful unto salvation if we add fun and games to it? More powerful presented with a hamburger supper? More powerful clothed in flowery oratory than in broken English or boring monotone?

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  110. The original post was about AWANA. I simply want to say that to me AWANA smacks of universalism and ecumenism (whether one disavows the agreement or not.) As A Landmark Baptist I believe it is best for me to steer clear of such. When we use such we are in a sense advocating universalism and ecumenism.

    I was appalled years ago when I heard at an ABA Messenger meeting that some of our churches were using this.

    Back on April 18, 2010 1:46 PM Bro. R. L. Vaughan said:

    "Finally, you are interested in what I consider a Scriptural worship service -- praying, singing, teaching/preaching, giving. I think that pretty well sums it up."

    I have to agree with this. This is what we see in the Bible.

    Jesus and the Word of God is sufficient.

    When you use artificial and or superficial methods (methods not based on the Bible) you will get what artificial and superficial methods will bring and that is what we are seeing today.

    As to what is Preaching? Read what Bro. Mark Osgatharp had to say (in quoting many Biblical examples) on April 30, 2010 on several posts from about 3:37 AM to About 4:51 AM.

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  111. BTW, I forget to sign that post posted at 12:03 PM April 30,2010

    Joseph L. Looney 2
    Gillette, WY
    ***Preaching Jesus Christ and Him Crucified: ***The only ONE who can forgive our sins:
    ***The only Way of Eternal Salvation; ***The One and Only Saviour.

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  112. Brother Vaughn

    You mentioned that we do act out the hypothetical situation all the time. This is what I'm saying. If we can communicate without using just the Bible, but communicate ABOUT it, then there is nothing wrong with a commentary or lesson book. It is just a man expounding as he sees it. It is just another form of preaching/teaching. This is all I'm trying to say. It may give suggestions for object lessons (like Jesus used by calling a child up to discuss offending the little ones), it may give suggestions for stories/examples like the many parables Jesus used. It may give logical reasoning like Paul used at Mars Hill. The fact is, however, it is simply a help for preaching and teaching, and the lessons themselves are a preaching and teaching. The whole "competitions" thing is moot since not all churches use the AWANA, and the competitions of AWANA is not what is under discussion.

    The whole "cultural" issue is not an issue, because you say we shouldn't use the culture of the first century. I'm trying to say that I don't see why AWANA/Discovery/Sunday School shouldn't be seen as an equally insignificant part of the culture of today? Just as the culture of the first century is not important, so too are the "programs" to which we refer.

    Also, I agree video conference is not able to take place of gathering. I'm referring to form of communication, such as by letter, email, video conference, or vocal words.

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  113. Mark Osgatharp.-

    You are still proving my point. If ALL WE NEED TO USE is the Bible as you claim, if that is all that is necessary, we need not expound at all. If the Bible is the ONLY thing required, then we should stand, read scripture, and sit down. Instead, you mention how the Bible gives examples of people using the resources they have (whether it be walking, raising an arm, shouting, weeping, etc.) to expound upon a message. So obviously, the Bible isn't the ONLY thing you use. You use these other things which the Bible supports as you have shown. Thank you for this evidence in support of more than just reading the Bible, but tools, resources, or abilities are also acceptable. Jude 1:14 even shows quoting of some resources of Enoch which were not in the Bible themselves.

    I am sad to say that you sadly misjudge me. You seem to think first of all that I use one of these programs or have in the past. This is an incorrect assumption. Also, you claimed I believe the LORD's commands are generalities, while you see them as specifics. What I'm saying is that you gave a the command to "keep his commandments" which is a general statement by our LORD. It did not specify to which commandments, but rather referred to them all the specific ones by the general nature of the statement. I just wanted you to refer to which specific commandments of Jesus you thought applied here. It's kind of like while preaching a sermon, I don't just tell the people "hey, do right." I expound and specify which things are right by showing the specific rights and wrongs in the Scripture (such as it is right to study (2 Tim 2:15), right to pray (1 Thess 5:17), right to witness (Matthew 28:18-20), right to assemble (Hebrews 10:24-25). You were making a point, but then just gave the verse saying we are to follow Jesus's commandments. And yet, you didn't show which commands related to this topic at hand. It was, therefore, a generality. I also do not believe that Jesus was not saying "do AWANA" or "do Discovery". I believe these two things are indeed "appointed times" for preaching and teaching, with object lessons and lessons (commentaries) to help a teacher preach and teach the Word of God. They will not read the lesson. The teachers will preach and teach, using object lessons like Jesus, using lessons/other resources like in Jude, and using logical reasoning like Paul at Mars Hill.

    To preach the Word of God, you "making it appealing" to the "flesh" or the mind by making logical connections to the lives of your people. You make applications, right? This is "appealing to the mind" which is part of the flesh. So how is using an object lesson any different? It is just expounding upon/preaching the Word of God with an illustration. So you are wrong in your assumption about me there.

    You are also wrong in your assumption about me looking at "results" or crowds. As I said, I don't use these things, nor do I judge the "program" by what other churches see in the way of numbers. If a church has large numbers of truly saved/baptized/growing members, it is because they are preaching and teaching the Word of God, and living it. It has nothing to do with the commentaries/literature/lexicons/dictionaries they use. If the church just has crowds who are not saved, not baptized, and not growing, then the crowds mean nothing. SO you again are wrong in your assumption about me. I honestly don't attribute any growth in a church to any program.

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  114. Brother James Charles, you admit that you do not use AWANA, and neither do I. This may put us at somewhat of a handicap in understanding the intricasies of it.

    The quotes below are pulled from the internet, the Baptist Churches found in the first two pages of Google hits I got searching on "using Awana in church". I believe these should be representative of what churches are doing with AWANA. I don't see how this is the same as just expounding on Scripture.

    "Sparks Club...includes a fun firefly character named Sparky, a red vest with accompanying awards for “Sparkies” to wear. Sparks consists of 4 parts: Game Time – Individuals and team competition takes place through games exclusive to Awana and playground favorites. Every kid gets involved every night and has a chance to unleash his or her energy...Truth & Training consists of 4 parts: Dinner Time...Game Time – Individuals and team competition takes place through games exclusive to Awana and playground favorites. Every kid gets involved every night and has a chance to unleash his or her energy. Handbook Time...Awana emphasizes memorization and understanding of key Bible verses that show how to know God and walk with Him. A series of awards and trophies reward achievements at every level as kids progress." -- Calvary Baptist Church Williamsport, PA

    "Why do hundreds of thousands of kids attend Awana Clubs every week? Awana is fun! That’s the bottom line for most kids. Of course, they’re learning and growing while they’re having fun." -- Evergreen Baptist Church Shoreline, WA

    "Arapaho Road Baptist Church Awana Clubs is in it's thirteenth year. Games, team competition, weekly awards, Bible study, music, and occasional special events are planned for boys and girls, two years of age through 12th grade." -- Arapaho Road Baptist Church Garland, TX

    "The current fee for each child is...These annual registration fees cover awards and prizes, club parties, regional competitions, special events, administrative costs, leader training, and a contribution toward Honor Camp. All these things help make Awana exciting for your child.

    "There are additional charges for the Awana uniform and handbook." -- First Baptist Church Elk Grove, CA

    "An AWANA Evening consists of:

    1. Game Time
    Every Awana meeting has a segment of fun team competition. Organized games get all of the children to participate, unleashing natural energy, a sense of enthusiasm, and an atmosphere of having fun.
    2. Handbook Time
    Using achievement oriented learning segments, Awana training emphasizes the importance of God and His Word for sound living. Clubbers progress through workbooks at their own pace, and leaders meet with them individually to go over what they have learned.
    3. Council Time
    Council time begins with a group Bible lesson and is followed by awards and recognition for individual handbook progress." -- Grace Baptist Church Grand Forks, ND

    I have clipped brief quotes, but give the links so anyone can go back and put them in context.

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  115. Well, I suppose you might be right in that this might be (as you said) representative of some churches, or even of most churches. Yet, (and I was not involved at all in this program), at one church of which I was a member, this was not the way it happened. The AWANA "program" (hah!) was used in this way. There was a game time with an object lesson which was used to teach the children about the lesson. There was a class time which included quoting Scripture, teaching of the Bible, and informal discussion (as you said we saw in the Bible). There were indeed vests with merit badges etc. Like I said, I wasn't involved, so I don't really know what that was all about. The only things I know are from what people told me. I speculate the merit badges on the vests are used as an object lesson to teach children God will one day reward them spiritually for their service. Also, it may just be one way of encouraging/exhorting people to keep serving the LORD (as the Bible commands many times over). All in all, the emphasis seemed to be about the instruction, and teachers teaching. Children were not saved or indoctrinated by AWANA. They learned from teachers teaching them. When one asked about salvation which had been taught, they were taken to see the pastor (something I personally don't care for). Children were not forced into salvation. They were simply given the information by the pastor as they expressed their need for it. Also, this was not for just youth, since all the adults were at the building taking part in ministering to the children. So while the above might be representative of some or most of the churches who use AWANA, I'm sure that not all churches are bound to the above mentioned things. After all, the teachers are the ones who make the decisions of how/what to teach. Believe you me, the church of which I was a member taught the Word of God. They were not about "fun and games". They were focused on teaching God's Word.

    Again, to be fair: Since I wasn't watching them teach, I am going by what many of them told me.

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  116. After discussing the vest of AWANA, I just remembered I did take part in Discovery, though not in a leadership position. I remember myself having a vest and patches when I was very young.

    Our church used Discovery, and the ONLY thing we did was do lessons and get badges. We had no games, no object lessons, etc. As a matter of fact, I never called it Discovery. I just told everyone I was "going to church." I never knew Discovery was even a program. I just equated Sunday School and that Discovery teaching a part of that particular church. Of course this is most likely due to my young age. I also didn't understand much of anything about church at that time. Anyway, all I remember was a vest with patches for Scripture memorizing and a 30 or 45 minute lesson (much like Sunday School as I recall). I do remember one of my Discovery teachers taught me (a 10 year old boy who had just begun attending church) about what sin was. I asked, "What is sin?" The other kids laughed at me thinking I was making a joke. The teacher, however, quietened them, and then explained my sin was the times I had gone against what God said. It was in Sunday School and Discovery I learned about Jesus, His death, His resurrection, and the idea of His substitution/sacrifice for my sins. While I wasn't saved while in that program, I did learn about it then.

    Now that I remember this was discovery, I suppose I will have a bias from hence-forward.

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  117. Brother Charles,

    You said,

    "After discussing the vest of AWANA, I just remembered I did take part in Discovery, though not in a leadership position. I remember myself having a vest and patches when I was very young."

    Boy, that puts some real perspective on this discussion. When Discovery was first purposed at the ABA meeting I spoke in opposition to it and had a blow out confrontation with Ray Brooks about it in the hallway after the meeting. It seems like only yesterday, but a whole generation of kids have already grown up with it and are now adults.

    That gives me an idea of what Paul meant when he marvelled that the Galatians were so soon removed from the pure gospel into the traditions and commandments of men.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  118. Heh, that's funny that you consider me being taught in a class as "being removed from the pure gospel into the traditions and commandments of men" as were the Galatians. If you know the context and content of Galatians, then you are wresting the Scripture. If not, then I suggest you study it.

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  119. Just wanted to say that around 120 comments, Brother Melton, your post was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Remember when you typed, "This and other issues need to keep being pressed." Ha Ha Ha!

    Also, Mark Osgatharp,

    I'm sorry that my learning about sin, Jesus, and the cross in a class room setting by a teacher from the church who had read over a Discovery lesson offends you so much. I'm also sorry that you believe it is anti-God.

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  120. I'm not sure whether to say congratulations on 100+ comments or not...

    It's fairly clear how commentors stand on the Awana/Discovery issue. (although some, like myself, who have never used nor promoted these programs, yet believes some churches could use them appropriately while teaching the Word of God, are thrown into the same boat of abomination as those who promote them)

    My questions is this: after 100+ comments, would anyone admit to having changed or even modified slightly their views about AWANA/Discovery? Just curious.

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  121. Brother Charles,

    "If you know the context and content of Galatians, then you are wresting the Scripture. If not, then I suggest you study it."

    I most certainly do know the context and content of Galatians which is the very reason I abhor any attempt to add the traditions of man to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is exactly what the Judaizers did.

    May I suggest that it is you, not I, who needs to take a closer look at Galatians.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  122. What "traditions" were they adding, and to what were they adding it? I think you'll see it has nothing to do with using written lessons as aids in learning about something so one may better teach. You'll also find the things they were learning, the "traditions", were opposed to the gospel of salvation by grace through faith. This is quite the opposite of what we are discussing (that a person may, if he so chooses, read a lesson book to help him/her teach the gospel of salvation by grace through faith.) So indeed it IS you, who is resting the Scripture.

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  123. Brother Charles,

    You asked,

    "What 'traditions' were they adding, and to what were they adding it?"

    The were adding the traditions of Judaism to the gospel of faith in Jesus Christ. You said,

    "I think you'll see it has nothing to do with using written lessons as aids in learning about something so one may better teach."

    I totally agree. But we aren't talking about using a written lesson as an aid in teaching. We are talking about AWANA and Discovery. You said,

    "You'll also find the things they were learning, the 'traditions', were opposed to the gospel of salvation by grace through faith."

    The traditions they were promoting were an addition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not simply about "how to get eternal life." It is as much about how to live a pleasing life to God in this world. Paul put it this way,

    "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

    To the Colossians, who were in danger of the same heresy, he put it thus:

    "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."

    Being complete in Christ, having all that pertains to life and godliness, how could the traditions of AWANA or Discovery or any other man contrived scheme add one iota to our relationship to Him? Being clothed in His righteousness, to what purpose is a silly looking little vest with buttons on it? And what do we teach our children when we so "adorn" the gospel of Jesus with the trappings of men?

    I mean, really, what sort of depraved mind does it take to name a Bible school program after a debauched TV program - "Soul Survivors on Danger Island"?????

    No sir, the Galatians didn't have one thing on this modern generation who sees it as their duty to make the blessed bread of life "relevant" to this hell bound and hell inspired culture in which we live.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  124. Bro. Osgatharp,

    I would agree with you that it has come to the point that for every spiritual need in our churches today, we have to implement a program and put a catchy name to it. However, the Discovery program does not at all change the teaching of salvation by grace through faith. While I agree that we are trending too much toward "relevancy" or making the gospel and the Lord's church attractive to the world, I think that Discovery is not inherently evil and can be what a church makes it to be: whether just a time of fun and games or simply an object lesson that gets the point of the Scripture and the lesson across. AWANA has an unscriptural doctrinal foundation. I for the life of don't understand either why our churches use it. I just can't help but believe that somewhere in their teaching material they are advancing universal church and ecumenism since it says so in their doctrinal statement. They at least advance ecumenism in their interchurch activities.

    Speaking of changing the gospel, perhaps you should reexamine your beliefs. Bro. Jim Jones (former President of Oxford Baptist Institute) made the statement in his guest chapel sermon one day at LMBIS about 10 years ago: "Don't tell me that someone who comes through the Cross is not saved." I agree with you to a certain degree that a lost person will be saved in a false church IN SPITE OF what that church teaches. However, when one comes under the hearing of the Word of God and, if perhaps in some way they hear the true gospel message of simple repentance and faith, the Spirit can work through that. When you say it is not only the exception to the rule that a person can be saved outside of a true church, but that it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to be saved, brother, you are dangerously close to a church salvation message.

    You also said:
    "Boy, that puts some real perspective on this discussion. When Discovery was first purposed at the ABA meeting I spoke in opposition to it and had a blow out confrontation with Ray Brooks about it in the hallway after the meeting. It seems like only yesterday, but a whole generation of kids have already grown up with it and are now adults."

    Blow out confrontation? I can surely believe it.

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  125. Btw, what is a blow out confrontation? What blew out? Is that anything like when your tire blows out? lol

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  126. Brother Adrian,

    You ask, "after 100+ comments, would anyone admit to having changed or even modified slightly their views about AWANA/Discovery?" Why, even if we had we wouldn't admit to it!

    On a more serious note, this discussion is probably pretty much like debate between a "Church of Christ" and Landmark Baptist. Neither of the debaters is likely to change his stance, nor are any of the die-hard partisans who are cheering their combatants on likely to either. But it nevertheless has the effect of an opportunity to present what one believes and might also catch the attention of some on-the-fence lurker who is personally unsettled and internally debating the question.

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  127. Brother JamesCharles,

    Just a point of clarification. I don't doubt that there are churches that use Awana in a different manner than represented on the websites I linked. But I would think it highly unlikely that what is found on the first two pages of random hits is some kind of anomaly. Plus I think it probably demonstrates how the material is designed to be used.

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  128. BTW, I ran a Google search on Discovery too. Since it is not a unique name like "Awana" it produces a lot more irrelevant hits to wade through. I didn't find much to indicate how churches are using this as compared to Awana. I will say the info, when there, is usually more circumspect and a lot of times only a calendar-like announcement that Discovery meets at such and such a time. Looks like its use is limited mostly to ABA and independent Baptist Churches. I did notice one GARBC Church in the mix. They went from Eager Beavers to Awana to King’s Kids to Boy’s Brigade and Pioneer Clubs to Discovery Clubs (whatever all that is).

    New Grace Baptist Church in Bristol, TN posts this: "There are clubs for each age group. The Helper Club is for ages 3-5 Years, the Watchman Club is for grades 1-3 and the Champion Club for grades 4-6. Children are encouraged in Bible memory work and there are games, singing and crafts to enjoy.

    "It is our prayer, that through the Discovery Bible Club, we can help children to learn more about God and His Word."

    Antioch BC in Bristol, VA says, "Have you heard the exciting news? It's happening NOW for you! It's contemporary children's Bible study!....It's fun!...It's exciting!...It's challenging!...It's all part of our DISCOVERY BIBLE CLUBS ministry for children...Our Clubs meet weekly for an exciting children's time. It's THE children's place to be!"

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  129. I would like to say I missed that post by Brother Adrian. Yes, I have changed my views slightly. I have learned some from other posts, and from thinking more in depth about this. I am not ready to say I have it "all figured out", but one day I will.

    Mark Osgatharp,

    The Galatians were changing the truth through philosophies and traditions. The truth of the gospel. The truth of salvation by grace through faith and eternal security. How dare you say they have "nothing" on modern churches who use Discovery? This is not statement does not make sense..

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  130. Calvary, the church I pastor, uses the Awana program. I have always been extremely against it because of some of the things that I have heard about it. During my first year here I have personally witnessed to the salvation of about 6 children. They came to me asking how to be saved so I took them to the bible and allowed them to read it and share with me the meaning of the verses. I later asked them, " according to the bible what must you do to be saved." They told me and then called upon the name of the Lord. I did not lead in any prayer. They believed in their heart, repented of their sins, and asked Christ to save them in their own words.

    I haven't seen one thing wrong with the material that I have read over. My daughter has learned much about God through her memory work and activities that go along with the lesson. I am a firm follower of Bible Doctrine and try my best to teach this to the Church I pastor.

    I must say I still struggle "sometime pretty bad" with using Awana not because of it's name, but because of the doctrinal statement and the fact that so many non-denominational gatherings use it.

    This is a program that the Church enjoys sharing with the kids and has used it for about 10 years. I know the Lord has lead and does lead me to pastor this Church. So what should I do? Should I get in the pulpit and condemn it while 6 children were saved last year alone.? Should I resign when the program has not taught anything unscriptural? Or should I just be patient and allow God to settle my heart in the direction He would have me to lead the Church in the future?

    I love the Lord and all His true Churches whither that use Awana, Discovery, or just sit in the class room and teach from the pages of God's Holy Word without any assistance from other materials. Honestly we need more of the later in my opinion.

    I know some my quote me and try to tear my comment apart and throw it back at me, but I will not comment again. I know I am follow t he Lord. One day I know I will stand before him at the Judgment Seat and give an account of the things I lead this Church to do and the messages i deliver to her. I just pray everyday asking for God's leadership. I just hope one day I hear only the words, "Thy good and faithful servant."

    Love for all,
    Joseph Pemberton
    Hamburg, Arkansas

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  131. Brother Melton,

    You said: "When you say it is not only the exception to the rule that a person can be saved outside of a true church, but that it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to be saved, brother, you are dangerously close to a church salvation message."

    I don't say its exceptional for people "outside of a true church" to be saved. I think there are more saved people outside of the Lord's churches than in them.

    I do say that anyone who is saved was saved through the testimony of the Lord's churches.

    You confess the rule that God commanded the churches "only" to carry out His commission. But you think there might be exceptions to God's rule. Brother, you have no right to make exceptions to God's rule.

    Jesus said "salvation is of the Jews." That means we believe in Jew salvation. And just as surely as I believe in Jew salvation, because my Savior and His oracles came through he Jews, I believe in church salvation because I received the message of salvation through the Lord's churches.

    So you can quit your "dangerously close" quibbling and go ahead and say I teach church salvation. When you do, you will also have to confess that you believe in two plans of church salvation: salvation through the Lord's churches and salvation through Satan's churches.

    As you contemplate these things, contemplate also these Scripture, for the Scriptures, not any man's professed experience, will be our final arbitrator:

    "Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."

    "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

    "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

    "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."

    "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?"

    "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."

    "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."

    "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work."

    "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"

    "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into."

    "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  132. Mark Osgatarp,

    Do you consider churches who use Discovery and/or AWANA to be true churches?

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  133. Brother Charles,

    You asked,

    "Do you consider churches who use Discovery and/or AWANA to be true churches?"

    Yes I do, just as the churches of Galatia which has embraced Judaism were true churches. They were true churches which had embraced a false practice. You said,

    You said,

    "The Galatians were changing the truth through philosophies and traditions. The truth of the gospel. The truth of salvation by grace through faith and eternal security. How dare you say they have 'nothing' on modern churches who use Discovery?"

    The problem in Galatia and Colosse was the teaching of the traditions and commandments of men in addition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I couldn't prove that it had anything at all to do with eternal security (though I know that is what the SS books always say).

    It was about living by faith in contrast to living by the law. It was about living in the freedom of the Holy Spirit as opposed to living in bondage of man's traditions.

    It was about the fact that in Jesus and His word and by the leading of His Holy Spirit we have all that we need to serve and bear fruit unto God. Just considering these statements:

    "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world."

    "And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers."

    "But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"

    "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

    "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"

    "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith."

    "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."

    "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."

    "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

    "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  134. Brother Charles,

    In addition to the above Scriptures, we have these plain words of Jesus Christ as to the vanity of the traditions and commandments of men in the worship of God:

    "Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  135. Hello My Brothers
    Can anyone say "missed the point entirely?"

    Maybe autonomous is a better word to explain my point.

    The point was this:

    Yes a church can do what ever the members vote or allow, even if it is heresy.

    Yes if a church begins preaching and practicing heresy they will probably get kicked out of the ABA, BUT, even if this happens the ABA or nobody else has the authority to tell another church what they can or cannot do.

    I do not like AWANNA, but I am not going to condenm an "Autonomous" New Testament church who uses it.

    If Maplevale MBC decides to teach AWANNA, no one on this blog or in the ABA has the authority to make us stop.

    Now remember "I do not like the AWANNA program" but for me to condenm AWANNA I would have to "wrest" the Scriptures. I would have to over analyze and maticulously pick apart punctuaiton and grammer in its By-laws, (or whatever they have--their contract agreement, etc) to the point where it would be just silly.

    Oh me Why Cant We Just Preach and Teach the Bible and let the Bible "say" what the Bible "says?

    Here is a good topic to blogg
    "But shun profane and vain babblings for they will increase unto more ungodliness" 2 Timothy 2:16

    Love you brothers.
    Hey this is cool--What if we spent as much time pastoring, lesson preparations, etc as we did "blogging" about silly stuff?
    HEHEHEHE

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  136. Can anyone say "don't agree with the point?" Bro. L.L.L., you prefaced your statement about sovereignty/autonomy with the sentence "It doesn't matter what anyone thinks about AWANA." A church can independently decide to do whatever, including being heretical. No other church can force them contrariwise. But they, and individual Christians, are not silenced by that church's autonomy. They have every right to speak against it. Oh, and btw, some churches might be interested in what others think about AWANA and in their autonomy they have every right to listen if they want to.

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  137. I request a YES or NO to the following question (unless the explanation is brief because I don't want someone to use time that could be spent to better ends):

    Is it a contradiction for someone to condemn AWANA, yet use hymnbooks that are printed by Zondervan or some other company, which publishes all kinds of material for all kinds of groups?

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  138. I'll have to be brief because I'm about to spend some time singing from a tunebook printed by a Baptist in 1844.

    I would say yes, it seems so, if your objection is only because it is published by one who publishes all kinds of material for all kinds of groups. Both would fit that category, wouldn't they?

    All do not object on those grounds.

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  139. Adrian Neal:

    No, it is not!

    To me that is as silly as asking, "Who made the pews and/or chairs that are in use in a church building?"

    To me the question that you asked belies a true foundational understanding of why I will condemn AWANA.

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  140. jll3:

    I'm not silly! You are! naaaaaaaah! I'm going to go tell my Dad!

    Sorry about that.

    If it's a silly question, jll3, then publicly condemn the Heavenly Highway (with songs in them such as Amazing Grace, by an Anglican, and Rescue The Perishing, by a Methodist), and other hymnbooks, published by companies such as Zondervan.

    I just want you to be consistent and condemn EVERYTHING taught, sung, used, etc. in church that are either tainted by man's hands, non-Baptist, or used by different groups.

    Once again, I don't promote AWANA or have I ever used it. But if one will ONLY teach from the Bible with no aids or literature (and that's fine if one feels led to do that), then it would seem that one would only sing the scriptures as well.

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  141. Thanks, Bro. Robert. I may not always agree with you (though much of the time I do), yet I appreciate the way you express yourself. Kind of like...well, a Christian.

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  142. Brother Neal I agree with you 100%.

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  143. Now Brother Adrian, why is it when I kept asking about the hymnbooks, nobody responded? You did it just once and you got a response to it. What did you learn that I didn't?

    To those who think songbooks to be a "silly" question, keep in mind the Bible shows we teach one another in our songs and hymns. We are, therefore, teaching one another from printed literature which contains lies (the songs we don't use) and printed by people who are not Baptist in belief or "doctrinal statement" or "bylaws".

    This is very much the exact same thing as using other teaching literature by false religions with lies in it.

    If a person's reason for not using AWANA is either it's producer's bylaws/doctrinal statement/contract or a HINT of ecumenism in its games, then that same person ought to reject all hymns and hymnals by non-Baptists.

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  144. Brother L.L.L., I can't spend much time on pastoring or lesson preparation right now. Thus, the excessive blogging. Sorry brother. I am, however, also spending much time in study and writing a systematic theology book.

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  145. One other question...as I am in a silly questioning mood...:)

    The preacher that condemns Awana in church, would surely condemn any other commentary or man-made book or literature in his personal study. To be consistent and taken to its logical conclusion, a person condemning any assisting literature in church, would surely ONLY study the Bible in personal preparation to preach and NEVER defile themselves with commentaries or books written by man to assist their study.

    I'm not trying to be mean in any way (or silly), I'm just curious whether or not the anti-literature brethren really are consistent in rejecting EVERYTHING that is not the Bible?

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  146. Well gentlemen,

    Go ahead.

    I will still comment though, considering what you all write, that you all do not understand the true foundational understanding of why I will condemn AWANA.

    The tactics that you all use are not of scripture. Someone else used this terminology and I use it here --- You all do not use "... logical rebuttals," rather you all use some type of "switch and bait" argument.

    That is a reason that I called the question "silly."

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  147. Switch and bait would indicate that the question has a trap in it and/or does not relate to the matter at hand. I assure you, that's not my intention.

    Some commentors, though, stand against any and all literature/aids/helps in church. Therefore, it is logical to extend that argument to include songs sung in church or even personal study helps.

    No switching subjects...just extending the subject at hand to see if consistency remains.

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  148. Adrian Neal: "But if one will ONLY teach from the Bible with no aids or literature, then it would seem that one would only sing the scriptures as well."

    Brother Adrian I wouldn't describe it as "bait and switch", but I don't think this is really an apples to apples comparison. Teaches the Bible -- not simply reading the Bible -- is the subject of the first part. In the second part, one sings the scriptures. To me the "apples to apples" comparison would be -- only read the Bible | only sing the Bible. (not advocating anything here, but singing the Scriptures is a really enjoyable practice though somewhat out of the norm we're used to.)

    I think I have made it quite clear that I don't think the Awana and Discovery programs "follow the pattern". Nevertheless, if one uses ONLY the landmark/ecumenical argument against Awana, one is hard pressed to explain his acceptance of other "ecumenical" helps in other areas. This is where I think modern Landmarkism has a real problem. And that is one reason I keep posting on these kinds of threads and don't think it is a waste of time. We don't know WHY we practice what we practice. Why do we "follow the pattern" when it comes to meeting on Sunday or giving the right hand of fellowship, but not when it comes to direct missions without organizational mediation or church without special types of outreach for various age groups?

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  149. The meeting on Wednesday is not following a pattern. Also, the early church in the Bible SEEMED to meet much more often than on Sunday, and the church at Jerusalem probably every day if they sold all their property. This isn't following the "pattern", but rather just a couple of places in Scripture which can hardly be called normative. If we want to get into the whole reason we meet on Sundays, it is most likely because it has been set up so in our culture by the Catholic churches way back when. After all, did Jesus not rise on Saturday night, leaving the tomb empty "as it was dawning toward the first day..."?

    Besides such, I don't use pre-designed programs. I design my own literature with whatever object lessons may or may not fit. The entire discussion to me seems to be (with some) whether or not we can use "pre-designed literature / pre-designed object lessons" instead of making our own. In rebuttal, I say we use dictionaries and lexicons which are pre-designed, so we should have no problem using pre-designed literature or pre-designed object lessons.

    The issue to others seems to be whether or not we can use literature/content written by people who do not believe as we do in every aspect.
    In rebuttal, I say we use hymns written by non-Baptists, in books compiled by non-Landmarkers, in books which also contain heretical songs, and we then sing and teach others with them.

    The issue to others seems to be whether or not we can use literature/content which has something appealing to the flesh in it.
    In rebuttal, I'd say if we can use arguments designed to appeal to logic, then we can indeed use arguments designed to appeal to the flesh. Whether it be appealing to the sense of logic, sense of guilt, or sense of "fun", all are appealing to the flesh.



    Also, just as a help. Correct me if I'm wrong, but are you brethren trying to say some have used the "straw-man" logical fallacy? It basically means taking a belief, applying it to the extreme, and then showing how the extreme is not true. This is a logical fallacy which must be reviewed carefully, because often it is applied to the wrong kinds of argument. If it is a principle one can explain a reason for setting aside with certain exceptions (so as not to contradict himself), then the argument is a logical fallacy or a straw-man attack. If the person defending his position cannot show why this principle does not apply, but rejects it anyway, then there is no straw-man being built.

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  150. Sunday/following the pattern. Bro. JamesCharles, you make some good points on the meeting date. Wednesday is not "off the pattern" because the Scriptures show the churches meeting on different days, sometimes daily. So if you can meet every day you can meet any day. But regardless of all that, most Baptist Churches, except for the few Seventh-Day Baptists, meet on Sunday. Why? The point of my mentioning this is that, regardless of why they really meet on Sunday -- Catholic culture, tradition, scriptural conviction -- most Baptists usually do make a connection to meeting every Lord's day to the resurrection and the examples of it in the New Testament. Why do they do that?

    Three issues. If I understand you correctly, you describe three reasons you believe folks oppose Awana, etc. While some of this intersects with my reasons, I do not accept those as descriptive of what I am trying to say. The issue for me is a simple mentality of trying to find what was normative in the New Testament and follow that, regardless of whether it "works" by modern day standards. I reject the idea that God cannot reach the young people, or anyone else, unless we devise certain programs that "speak" to them. (While some may use these things as simple study helps to prepare to teach young people, I am not convinced that is how or why they are normally used; but that's another subject.)

    Straw men. I know what a straw man fallacy is, but you lost me with some of what you had to say about straw men (not blaming you, but I got bogged down there somewhere). But let me mention something in this discussion I would see as a straw man. You and Brother Melton have both argued that if we strictly follow the patterns of the Bible we must not drive a car. Yet I have not argued that following the pattern is invoking a 1st Century lifestyle -- rather that we follow the examples of the New Testament church. Paul never insisted anyone must only walk where they're going or ride a ship or something like that. But he did insist that the churches follow the apostolic pattern and his own example. "Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me." If it is inherent in my argument for following examples that we cannot drive a car, then where do you draw the line? Clearly both of you follow some scriptural examples that are not explicit commands. If you follow these examples, why do you drive a car? It is a fallacy to build an argument on the basis of following example and then exempt your example-following from the same scrutiny. You follow some examples in the Scripture and not others. Where do you draw the line and why?

    I think one major difference in our thinking is this. You indicated you believe the Bible does not specify a design or method of church work. I believe it does. As long as we differ on that, we can never close the gap in our approach.

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  151. I was simply saying that often logical arguments are confused as straw-men fallacies when they aren't. The way to determine it is to see if the principle one is applying to the extreme is truly the principle the other individual believes.

    For example, one of my first attempts to prove the idea of New Testament examples wrong was indeed a logical fallacy. Here is why. You do not simply believe in following the early New Testament churches' example. You stated this, but you clearly meant (which we know after you refuted) you believe in following the early New Testament churches' example in religious/spiritual matters only. So the principle I would then need to apply across the board is the latter, not the former. Since I see no contradictions with this principle in any extreme, I did not continue to argue the case. :-) This is why I have not furthered that argument. This is why you don't have to further explain your argument or point a finger at me for my "example-following" principle sans scrutiny.


    I think you hit the nail on the head. The word "preach" is very vague, and general. It can include a great deal many methods. We see many of these, but no one-specific pattern or method in Scripture. We see object lessons, parables, miracles, giving, appeal to logic, sermons to a church crowd, sermons to a lost crowd, sermons to a mixed-crowd, etc. We see sometimes the church prayed together, sometimes they sang together, sometimes they witnessed to others together, sometimes they heard sermons together, etc.

    I see the command of Matthew 28:19-20 carried out in many various ways, without one specific method being a "catch-all" way. You indeed hit the nail on the head, in saying this is where we differ.


    As to the Sunday church issue, I was just simply showing you I do not follow this, because of a Bible example or pattern. I follow this, because most others do. I personally believe in a Saturday night resurrection.

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  152. Bro. Snyde, since the Jewish day begins at 6:00 P.M., that makes it a Sunday resurrection.

    Still holds true today....Two years ago in Israel, I watched vendors pacing, anxiously awaiting the sunset over the Sea of Galilee (6:00 P.M.ish) for the sabbath (Sat.) to end.

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  153. The "6:00 P.M." thing doesn't work since the word was "dawning" toward. Not "dusking" toward the first day.

    Also, do we not say the "sixth" to "ninth" hour are 12:00 noon - 3:00 P.M. ? This may have something to do with the Roman time (I'm not sure), but I know that the Jewish time does not solve the problem.

    Also, remember the Thursday was a special sabbath, and Jesus spent three days AND three nights in the belly of the earth. So if we started Sunday morning, that would place Him on the cross on that Thursday (special sabbath), which is the entire reason they had to take Him down in the first place.

    SO this places Jesus on the cross Wednesday, and in the tomb Wednesday afternoon, evening, or night. It also places Jesus in the tomb until no later than Saturday evening/night, possibly as early as Saturday afternoon.

    This fits with the special sabbath, as well as the logical explanation about "dawning" toward the first day empty-tomb. It explains all these things.

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  154. How does the Jewish time not solve the problem? The Jewish day begins at around 6:00 P.M. You can call it Saturday if you want, but the Jews consider it Sunday.

    Want to start meeting on Saturdays with the Seventh Day Adventists?? :)

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  155. those ancient words : "the EVENING and the MORNING were the first day"

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  156. Can you say topic hi-jacked? We have gone from debating the evils of AWANA and Discovery to now we are talking about worshipping on Sundays and Wednesdays and whether or not the Wizard of Oz is acceptable debate logic (staw-man). It doesnt matter if you think it is strawman...tinman or the cowardly lion...Dorothy made it home!

    One day, we will make it home and stand before the righteous judge and He will determine if these things were interpreted correctly. Will some be seen as modern day pharisees for straining at a gnat on some non important issues? I think so. Will others be seen as liberal heathens for allowing anything to take place in the Church they pastored? I think so.

    In the end I think this all boils down to a mindset that we were partially raised with in our home (by our upbringing which includes socio-economic status and location), partially things taught in school/seminary, stuff found in a book (not the Bible) and our understanding of the Scriptures that was either skewed(not sure that is spelled right) by the aforementioned things or led by the Holy Spirit.

    I know this...SOMEONE has to be right because we cant all be wrong. All a person can do is interpret the Scriptures to the best of his understanding and with much prayer and study see what the Father givies him peace with.

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  157. Jesus said "the Spirit shall guide you into all truth" and that the Spirit "shall glorify me (John 16:13,14)."

    If one is just trying to win an argument, the motive is sinful. But if one is discusing to glorify Jesus, then it's worthwhile.

    At times I discuss to glorify Jesus, but at other times I discuss to poke, explore, irritate someone who has irritated me, etc.
    For those latter times, I should repent (and often do).

    There is nothing better to discuss than God and His Word, however. And blogging at least provides an outlet, of sorts, to discuss the greatest book and the greatest Savior.

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  158. AMEN and AMEN.

    Brother Adrian, the Jewish time doesn't solve the problem, because while the word "day" could indeed confuse us as to the time it starts, the word "dawning" refers to the sun rising. If it was "dawning toward the first day", then it could ONLY be referring to pre-6:00 A.M. It could not be "dawning" toward the first day at 6:00 P.M., despite the Jewish times.

    Also, while the Jews now use the evening/morning, and used to use it, the writers of Scripture were not using the Jewish time, since they referred to the "sixth" and "ninth" hours which were 12:00 M and 3:00 P.M. The times used in Scripture must have been based on some other time-scale... maybe the Romans?


    As to meeting Saturday, I don't really care when we meet. I'd prefer we meet daily (thus giving greater opportunity for those who work different hours and days a better chance to attend, as well as giving more opportunities to help people draw closer to the LORD. I know, however, people most likely won't do this in the U.S., and so I'll settle with the "norm" because it works. As I said, I don't believe the Bible mentions we should have "church" on the day Jesus rose. This was simply a tradition we follow. It isn't a bad tradition, but I don't believe it is commanded either.

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  159. Found a great reason to use AWANA over Discovery.

    http://www.abaptist.org/discovery/bcpresentation%281%29/bc18.html

    This site shows Discovery uses "cassette tapes" for their songs. I don't own such a player, and I'm not sure how to get one.

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  160. Brother James I have one you can have.

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  161. Feeling sufficiently chastised for spending more time blogging than pastoring and hijacking the topic, I thought not to post again. But alas, I guess I just can't help it. Whether the tinman or the devil made me do it, here goes.

    I wonder if some of the angst isn't more about Awana itself than how much time is spent on blogging about it or whether the topic was hijacked. Regardless, as far as the hijacked part, I don't think it is irrelevant to investigate the fundamental thinking behind WHY we accept or reject Awana and some things but not others. IMO, it's very important.

    But the main reason I posted may be further hijacking the thread. The following quote I found interesting in light of some of the foregoing discussion about hymns, hymn books, etc. In 1836 Baptist preacher William Dossey published a hymn book titled "The Choice". The following gives insight into one Baptist's way of thinking about using material by non-Baptists (or perhaps even Baptists who disagree): "In selecting for the Choice, the question has not been, will it be proper to publish the compositions of men whose views differ in some points from our own? but simply, is the piece itself good, and adapted to the design?" (from the Preface, p. IV. You can find this hymn book on Google books or I have it linked on my blog.)

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  162. Brother Vaughn,

    Those who throw up the "you use hymn books" argument aren't really concerned about the truth. They only want to throw up some inconsistency in your practice, as if some inconsistency in your practice won the argument for their side.

    Several years ago, in the Mid Atlantic association meeting, we were debating the propriety of Promise Keepers. One of the pro-Promise Keepers men pointed up that Amazing Grace was written by an Anglican priest. My response to him was this: I don't have to sing Amazing Grace but I do have to not fellowship with Anglicans.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  163. A very good point. Inconsistencies prove just that -- inconsistency. If I believe "A" and my belief about "B" is inconsistent with that, it doesn't prove whether "A" is wrong, just that I am inconsistent.

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  164. Bro. Vaughn,

    Do you agree with Bro. Osgatharp's statement..."Those who throw up the you use hymn books arguement aren't really concerned about the truth?" Just curious.

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  165. Just disregard the previous question if you want, Bro. Robert. The judgemental stuff will keep coming & I will do my best to ignore it.

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  166. I don't really understand Mark Osgatharp's point there either, Brother Adrian Neal. Pointing out an inconsistency in the person's actions will show they don't really believe what they are saying. This does win the argument with that person, since they don't believe the principle which they are proposing to teach. Also, the idea that we aren't looking for truth is not judgmental (per se), but rather is an opinion of our thoughts. As an opinion, and one of another's motives/thoughts, it is very easy to reject and dismiss. Comments like that come across as hostile as opposed to helpful or encouraging. Mark, if you truly want to help others understand the truth as you see it, using comments like that are not the best way to do it.

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  167. Brother Neal, the part of Bro. Osgatharp's post I specifically meant as "a very good point" was that of consistency/inconsistency. I wouldn't agree with those who use "the you use hymn books' argument aren't really concerned about the truth" as a blanket statement. I have encountered some people who bring up those kinds of things who I do believe aren't really concerned about the truth but bring up any kind of decoy to keep their practices intact. I know others who I believe are genuinely concerned by what they think is an inconsistency here. As I pointed out, I believe if one argues against programs solely on the basis of landmark ecclesiology he needs to meditate on some of the things that might seem ecumenical, like hymns written by people we wouldn't let stand in our pulpits. But Bro. Osgatharp has brought another fine point when he wrote about the Newton hymn vs. fellowshipping Anglicans -- we shouldn't let an area where we have some uncertainties scare us off of another area that we know is right.

    Bro. JamesCharles, I've never seen many people "win" an argument based on pointing out inconsistencies. He may think he has. Often one observing someone's practice will see an inconsistency, but the person practicing it usually doesn't think he is inconsistent so isn't moved by the argument. Regardless, when you find two things that are inconsistent it is possible that one is right and the other is wrong (but which?) or that both are wrong. Also two things can be consistent with one another and yet BOTH can be wrong. So inconsistency vs. consistency is not any arbiter of truth. Something to make us think? It should be. Determinative of what's right? Never.

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  168. Brother Charles,

    You said,

    "I don't really understand Mark Osgatharp's point there either, Brother Adrian Neal. Pointing out an inconsistency in the person's actions will show they don't really believe what they are saying. This does win the argument with that person, since they don't believe the principle which they are proposing to teach."

    The issue is not whether or not I believe what I am saying. The issue is what does the Bible teach. If the Bible teaches it is wrong to use Protestant or interdenominational hymnbooks, then we ought to toss them and if the Bible teaches that AWANA and its ABA knockoff Discovery are wrong we ought to toss them. As it is written,

    "Let God be true but every man a liar."

    You said,

    "Comments like that come across as hostile as opposed to helpful or encouraging."

    Since you just admitted that your objective is to win against me, you are a bit hypocritical to chastise me for being hostile.

    Your hypocrisy notwithstanding, I free confess, without shame, that I am hostile toward all who advocate for programism in any form. Is there any way I can make that more clear for you?

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  169. R.L. Vaughn

    When Bible verses don't clearly prove a point in a theological debate (such as the idea that certain examples as opposed to other examples of a church "worship" setting ought to be followed over those other Bible examples), one must instead prove his point on proponderance of evidence or some other logic. In this specific form of debate, inconsistancies often win major points with the outside judge. Watch any high school or college debate team to see the truth of this. Also, I did not say it shows truth or untruth, but rather wins that specific argument with that particular person. Often, people showing me inconsistancies have changed points of view for me.

    As to showing inconsistancies, were you not doing the same thing in saying we follow some Bible example of government, but not Bible examples in other things???



    Mark Osgatharp,
    Thank you for making it more clear by admitting it. First, note I did not say I was trying to win an argument, but rather that pointing out inconsistancies can help one win an argument with a person. I did not reveal my motives. I read these blogs, and post, to learn. So your speculation proves you are seeing only what you want.

    Also, nice to see how you use Scriptures such as letting God be true and use them to back up ideas about Discovery being wrong. They obviously have no connection. Find any one verse that says programs are wrong (programs, not other things). Find any one verse that condemns AWANA or youth programs. You said, "if the Bible teaches that AWANA and its ABA knockoff Discovery are wrong we ought to toss them." So then show where the Bible teaches this. You have epically failed to do so.

    Finally, thank you for admitting you are hostile toward anyone who advocates programs in any form. This shows your heart. It also shows you are against any form of organization.

    Dictionary.Com defines programs as many things, but the first two being...
    1.
    a plan of action to accomplish a specified end: a school lunch program.
    2.
    a plan or schedule of activities, procedures, etc., to be followed.

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  170. Brother JamesCharles, it appears you made a point to support arguing from inconsistencies as if I object to it altogether. That is not what I said. It is fine to point out inconsistencies as long as we understand the proper use of it. It should give pause. It should make one think. But often people DON'T THINK DEEPLY ENOUGH. Someone may throw down the gauntlet of "you are inconsistent in 'B'" and walk away thinking he has proved "you are wrong about 'A'". It just doesn't work that way.

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  171. I agree. Yet, if a principle is carried through to every logical conclusion and does not fit in every instance, the principle cannot be true. It can, however, be true if modified.

    EXAMPLE:

    Principle 1 - Using marijuana is wrong.

    Smoking marijuana for fun is wrong. Using marijuana to be popular is wrong. Using marijuana, however, because it is the ONLY way of taking care of your body (prescribed by a doctor for such) is not wrong.

    We conclude, then, that Principle 1 is inaccurate. The inconsistency was actually simply showing the principle to be false. Now, if the principle is modified to say...

    Use of Marijuana for any reason other than last-resort medical prescription for caring for your body is wrong

    then we find the principle is true.



    Now, not all inconsistencies fit the principle. So when one shows an inconsistency it's best to clarify or further define your principle so as to avoid any misunderstandings (as you have already done well by showing you are not anti-AWANA based solely on non landmark missionary Baptist material.) This is why I am not using this argument any longer. You've already shown how you do not believe this is the sole reason for your view.

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  172. Brother Charles,

    You said,

    "Dictionary.Com defines programs as many things, but the first two being...
    1.
    a plan of action to accomplish a specified end: a school lunch program.
    2.
    a plan or schedule of activities, procedures, etc., to be followed."

    I didn't say I am against having a program. I said I am against programism - against those who make a religion out of their program - out of their "plan of action."

    If a man came along claiming to have contrived an order of services which held some power to make a worship service more spiritual and claiming it to be more conducive to the salvation of souls and trying to foist it on the Lord's churches, that would be programism and I would oppose it as much as I oppose AWANA an its ABA knock off Discovery.

    I'm not against pulpits. But if someone came along arguing that his pulpit, or lack thereof, made some difference in his ability to minister the word of God, that would be pulpitism and it would be an abominable idolatry.

    I'm not against camping. In fact, I like to go camping myself. But when men claim that the preaching of God's word is more effective at a so called "church camp" that is campism and it is a gross abuse of God's word.

    After been having led down the primrose path (you know, "the aisle" - can anyone imagine Jesus Christ the Son of God exhorting someone to "walk the aisle") at "church camp" in New Caney, Texas, I later began to miserably doubt my relationship to God and sitting in a bathtub in Webster, Texas I settled the matter of my salvation with God. Now far be it from me to oppose bathtubs. But should I therefore go out and began to preach the effectiveness of the bathtub in the salvation of souls I would be guilty of BATHTUBISM and should be laughed with scorn out of the ministry.

    In the Appalachian region of this country there are hundreds of Missionary Baptist churches that have made a fetish out of the so called mourners bench. There used to be one in South Carthage, Tennessee which was actually called "Mourners Bench Baptist Church." Now if a man is smitten with conviction and happens to fall down on a bench and pray, who could be offended, any more than he could be offended by a 12 year old boy crying out to God from a bathtub?

    But when men start promoting mourner's benches, "the altar", "old time camp meetings", VBS, seminary, children's church, children's camp, "the old country church", AWANA, its ABA knockoff Discovery, Easter, Christmas, America, politics, missions, themselves, their band, their music group, their literature, their ethnic group, their gender, their particular association of churches or any thing other than Jesus Christ and His holy words, they have made an ISM out of their traditions and they have exalted themselves and their abettors to the position of the Holy Spirit of God.

    As Jesus said,

    "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

    Is there someway I can make that more clear for you?

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  173. Brother Osgatharp,

    It's curious how the human mind works. A person gets saved at an altar and someone thinks we must have more altars. But a person gets saved in a bathtub and no thinks that having more bathtubs means more people will get saved. Why not? (Too bad it wasn't a swimming pool. With a catchy name and some slick promotion we might start a business...er, I mean, program...out of that.)

    Brother JamesCharles,

    You write, "Principle 1 - Using marijuana is wrong.

    "Smoking marijuana for fun is wrong. Using marijuana to be popular is wrong. Using marijuana, however, because it is the ONLY way of taking care of your body (prescribed by a doctor for such) is not wrong.

    "We conclude, then, that Principle 1 is inaccurate."

    I believe your illustration illustrates I am not actually getting my point across. You give the scenario and conclude "that Principle 1 is inaccurate." But we only conclude that if we already believe medicinal marijuana use is not wrong. Considered in the abstract, it does not prove Principle 1 is wrong, only that it contradicts Principle 1. Someone might interpret it in the reverse, holding on to Principle 1 as proof that medical marijuana use is wrong. The said inconsistency alone provides no proof unless it first be proven.

    Another problem in the argument from consistency/inconsistency is the thing we call a "paradox" in religion. Most Christians have some paradoxes in their theology. It is any two things we believe on the strength that the Bible says so, even though we can't explain how they are consistent or not contradictory. Without going too far off the theological reservation, I believe the Trinity constitutes one of these -- God is three, yet God is one. If we spend too much time explaining it instead of accepting it, we may be worse off than when we started. (Not trying to start an "off-topic" debate on the Trinity, just thought that might illustrate my point.)

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  174. I understand the trinity to an extent, and it doesn't pose a problem or paradox to me. Three physical presences (when desired), three wills (nevertheless not my will but thine...), one in reality/essence/makeup/attributes/qualities. That isn't a paradox to me. But anyway, your point is duly noted, in that sometimes we there are things we must accept by faith simply because we do not yet have that understanding. That is not to say we won't have it in the future, but that we do not currently have it. Understood and noted as correct.

    As to the marijuana issue, perhaps it was a poor choice of example. The point I'm making is that when you KNOW that one thing is right, and you believe a principle is right (yet you then find a contradiction), you will most likely change the principle to include the exception. This is why I have changed my mind on many issues.




    Brother Osgatharp,

    Thank you so much for your clarity. I agree 100% with 100% of your last post.

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  175. After having just read this post with all of her affixed comments, I must confess to being in a state of utter mental exhaustion.

    I must first state that I am not a fan of AWANA. Not because it is a program, but rather because it does carry with it a doctrinal statement with which I take issue. I do not believe in a "universal church" and I do not want to (personally or as a church) be cooperatively connected to an entity that does. Therefore, we will not be hanging an AWANA banner outside of Whispering Pines MBC.

    The problem today is not the lack of a good youth program. The problem is that too many mom's and dad's are not faithfully raising their children in truth-teaching churches and then living a Christ-like example before these kids at home. There is no replacement for this. All of these programs are efforts to give these kids what they should be getting at home. Sadly, it just won't happen.

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  176. Brother Wilkes,

    You said,

    "The problem today is not the lack of a good youth program. The problem is that too many mom's and dad's are not faithfully raising their children in truth-teaching churches and then living a Christ-like example before these kids at home. There is no replacement for this. All of these programs are efforts to give these kids what they should be getting at home. Sadly, it just won't happen."

    Amen!

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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  177. Amazing. You should all take a hard look at how much time you have wasted spinning your tires here in the mud. I wish you all would have spent one tenth this much effort ministering directly to a child in a loving way. This is unbelievable.

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  178. Wet, sloppy ground require rubber boots or snake boots (if you hunt in the south). true religion jeans These are the tallest boots you'll find. Be sure your ankles fit snugly, so the boots won't pull off in the mud; and you'll want side cinches or buckles at the top to eliminate a noisy, sloppy fit when you walk--and to help seal out moisture. A removable foot bed is a plus, babyliss pro hair dryer as rubber boots become damp and don't dry out easily overnight unless you use boot dryers. Be sure to check the outer sole for cleats or lugs--a necessity for good traction in the mud. Rubber boots are not comfortable if you're going to be doing extensive walking on uneven ground , Suzuki Fairings as they lack adequate support and cushioning needed for longer treks.

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  179. So, I just wanted to comment on your criticism of the doctrine.
    Bible: No where in there statement do they say that our translations aren't the word of God. It does not say what you claim it says. Just because it leaves out what you state, it doesn't mean they don't agree. I have a feeling what you state is missing because of the different versions of the Bible in use and the KJV-only standpoint. They do not want to get into this debate, so they just leave it off.
    The Church: There is a universal church. It is the Bride of Christ. Is just your local church going to go to heaven? Or just ABA churches (which I have heard preach)? I don't think so. I take the Bible at its word, and the only thing required to be a Christian is salvation. And all who have salvation are part of the Bride of Christ, the Universal Church. Again, you are spinning the AWANA doctrine and reading something into it that wasn't the purpose.
    Ordinances: Just like the Bible, what you are saying isn't stated one way or the other. I believe that what you are saying is a grey area in the Bible where there are Godly men on either side of the debate, saved, but disagreeing on how communion and baptism should be done.
    Have you ever heard of Faith Bible Institute and John Yates? He is the pastor of Rowland Road Baptist Church in Monroe, LA, an ABA church. I highly recommend FBI, a three year course through the Bible taught by Pastor Yates
    We recently left an ABA church, and through our looking for a new church, we were astonished to read so much on how so many in the ABA think they are the only ones going to heaven. Luckily that wasn't true in the church we were members of (and still support).

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