Isaac Watts (1674-1748) is known as the “father of English hymnody,” and for good reason. The author of at least 750 hymns, Watts left behind a remarkable legacy of theologically accurate hymn texts which incite valid religious affections. “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “Joy to the World” are two of the more well-known texts which immediately come to mind. However, what often escapes notice is the fact that he was a pastor who preached faithfully for decades in an area that is now a part of inner London. After his education at the Dissenting Academy of Stoke-Newington, he immediately embarked on the path of faithful service in the local church as a pastor, preacher, and yes, prolific hymnist.
written by Barbara Denman*
Listening to the Florida Baptist Worship Choir and Orchestra sing “Open Up the Heavens” at the exact location where the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball drops, Nick heard the message God had for his ears — and heart.
The Marine asked Wes Ratliff, worship pastor at Wright Baptist Church in Fort Walton Beach, a simple question, “What are you doing?” sparking a conversation that led to eternal life.
(Ed.’s note: This blog post is part 2/2. See part 1, “Led Zeppelin, Calvinism and Words with Multiple Meanings.”)
Both sides of the Calvinism debate will use this term, but they definitely don’t use it in the same way. Most dictionaries will give the word freedom (and liberty) several definitions. The older among us may remember a Kris Kristofferson definition for freedom, which was made famous by Janis Joplin in the song “Me and Bobby McGee.” One line says: “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” I think there is some truth in those words, but they don’t provide much help in the context of our debate. However, the line shows how the word “free” can have different legitimate usages.
This whole subject of free will can get pretty technical and philosophical. (Therefore, you may wonder how someone without a Ph.D. could possibly have anything worthwhile to contribute, here, but I’ll do my best – and be brief.) Since both sides insist on their own definition for the term “free will” in choosing to receive (or reject) the gospel, it has become something of a useless term. Let me suggest a better term that helps cut through the fog. It is “the power of contrary choice.” I like this term because it is self-explanatory and doesn’t carry with it any bias toward one view or the other. I think I first heard this term used by the Calvinist John Murray.
by Dan Nelson, pastor
FBC, Camarillo, Calif.
Psalm 90 describes our nation’s plight as we have entered this 21st century. We are in the midst of history revision in which many people do not want to face the truth about American history and choose to be in denial related to our country’s godly heritage. We especially do not hear this in the media, and we hear even fabrications regarding why the Pilgrims came to this country, about our founding fathers being deists, and that we did not have a strong religious influence in founding this country. All of these things are wishful thinking of a godless generation that does not want to allow God to even be known as a fact of our country’s history.
George W. Truett on infant baptism as part of his Baptists and Religious Liberty speech on the steps of the National Capitol on Sunday, May 16, 1920 (in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention held in D.C.)
It follows, inevitably, that Baptists are unalterably opposed to every form of sponsorial religion. If I have fellow Christians in this presence today who are the protagonists of infant baptism, they will allow me to say frankly, and certainly I would say it in the most fraternal, Christian spirit, that to Baptists infant baptism is unthinkable from every viewpoint. First of all, Baptists do not find the slightest sanction for infant baptism in the Word of God. That fact, to Baptists, makes infant baptism a most serious question for the consideration of the whole Christian world. Nor is that all. As Baptists see it, infant baptism tends to ritualize Christianity and reduce it to lifeless forms. It tends also and inevitably, as Baptists see it, to secularizing of the church and to the blurring and blotting out of the line of demarcation between the church and the unsaved world.