Monday, April 16, 2007
Grace Community Bible Church
This past Sunday, I began work as an elder/pastor of Grace Community Bible Church, a small Reformed Baptist church in Bonham, Texas. Brother Dale Sterzer, who has been laboring alone in the church for four years, asked me to join him in the work. Initially, I declined, but eventually my dear wife and I agreed that we should do it. Dale is busy with a full-time business, so I plan to shoulder most of the pastoral responsibilities. Our good friends Matt and Lisa Kennedy are also joining the church.
The church is remodeling the parsonage for us, and it should be ready in one to two weeks. There will also be a salary, according to the church's ability. We are very grateful to the Lord for these provisions from His hand.
Those of you who have followed my posts about The Baptist Faith and Message will be glad to hear that our church holds the 1677/89 Second London Confession of Baptist Faith as its confession. Of course that means we are in agreement with the original (1925) Baptist Faith and Message, also (for your benefit, Brother Dr. Barber and Brother Nathan).
Painfully for me, our church is not a Southern Baptist Convention church. I grew up in an SBC church, graduated from an SBC seminary, and served for twelve years in SBC churches. We are going to consider it seriously, but will probably not affiliate ourselves with the SBC. Although I have been a small-time crusader for reform within the SBC, I cannot say I will miss the many controversies, either. We are independent at the moment, but may join with the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America for cooperative missions and education work. We hope to join Fannin Baptist Association, but despite the brotherly love shown us by those people, we probably will not pass the requirements in that organization's by-laws.
This means that I will not be able to speak in favor of all the failing motions and against all the passing motions at this year's SBC annual meeting in San Antonio. Someone will have to step up to Microphone 13 in my place. If you can manage it, try to speak in favor of a motion right between and Dr. Jack Graham and Dr. Jerry Vines speaking against it. It's exhilarating!
During my wanderings over the past five months, since a painful parting with the church I had pastored, God has sent a long list of Christian brothers and sisters who have supported us in various ways. We are grateful to God for the pastors and members of Grace Covenant Bible Church in Arlington, TX, FBC of Leonard, TX, Heritage Baptist Church of Mansfield, TX, Grace Baptist Church of Willis, TX, and many others who have shown us such Christian kindness.
There is much more to be written, but that will have to do for now. I thank God for all of you, and trust that He will produce good fruit in your ministry and in this new work to which He has assigned me.
Love in Christ,
No matter how many honorifics you append to my name, it still really hurts my feelings that, although you mention Graham and Vines, you never acknowledge that I spoke against that motion, too. Indeed, Graham and Vines were lightweights—I thundered against it like a cannon! :-) Of course, I jest. Congratulations.
Thank you very much!
Dear Dr. BB,
I thought I vaguely remembered someone saying something intelligent during that discussion, but I didn't know you at the time, so didn't take note of who it was. How good to know that I was disagreeing with you even before we ever met!
Love in Christ,
I trust it is going well up there, bro. Heading off to the USAF soon, just awaiting orders. May the Lord bless you!
Perhaps we could have some Reformed Baptist fellowship, that is if you'll still fraternize with an SBCer like me.
This is Todd in Malaysia. Congrats on your new place of service.
I used to live and pastor in your neck of the woods, in rural Delta County, TX between Paris, Sulphur Springs, and Commerce. And I have a daughter named Abigail as well -- but only two daughters. Wow, you have a quiver full of kids according to your profile! How blessed you are with all your A's!
And, oh, I replied tonight to your comment over on Bart's blog, just in case you would not have checked that particular posting again -- Greg's reply to Alan Cross.
I finally get to peruse your blog. You have written some things that provoke my mind and motivate me to deeper study.
In His Grip
So I finally get to sit for awhile and read your blog. You have provoked my mind and motivated me to deeper study. Thanks!
In His Grip
Mark A. Owens
Thanks for coming by! I do plan to come to your office for coffee soon.
Love in Christ,
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