by Ron Hale
He has served as Pastor, Church Planter, Strategist (NAMB), Director of Missions, and Associate Executive Director of Evangelism and Church Planting for a State Convention, and now in the 4th quarter of ministry as Minister of Missions.
Early Anabaptists upset the apple cart of medieval — early modern Europe as they contended for believer’s baptism, the conviction that only confessing adults could turn from their sinful lifestyle and consciously follow the path of discipleship with the first step: faith in Christ. This radical idea challenged the prevailing “church and state” mindset that assumed Christianity to be more of a birthright than a born-again experience leading to a separated life.
This tension wedded church authorities with the power of the state in using drastic means and measures in protecting Christendom from the perceived religious disorder and deviance of the Anabaptists. Persecution and prosecution were handy tools for an authoritative state-run church.
Refusing to pay tithes to state-run church jurisdictions only hastened the deep animosity toward Anabaptists. They were not just challenging a denomination, as we would think of it in America; these radical reformers were challenging a state or jurisdiction that had the laws of government and religion on their side. This institution had the authority to baptize you as a baby and burn you at the stake as an adult. In fact, not having your infant baptized and/or getting re-baptized as an adult was usually against the law. Each jurisdiction regulated their religion similar to how my Volunteer state regulates distilleries; moonshiners will be hunted and prosecuted.
by Dr. Bob Rogers
Eight-year-old Tad (not his real name) watched with wide-eyed amazement as his parents renewed their marriage vows.
Tad’s mom and dad were not alone. I had been preaching a series of sermons on marriage, so I concluded the last sermon on commitment to a lifelong covenant by inviting husbands and wives to stand up, join hands, and renew their marriage vows en masse. Men and women all over the building stood and faced one another, as their children and others looked on, some with tears in their eyes. But Tad had no tears. The grin across his face could not have been wider if somebody had taken their fingers and tried to stretch the corners of his mouth.