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I am at the DFW airport in the Admiral’s Club waiting for my next leg of the flight to Charlotte, NC.  I am scheduled to teach & preach Sunday for Pastor Charles Carver who pastors the WEST PART BAPTIST CHURCH.  This will be my first time with this church.  I have known the pastor for many years and I am looking forward to being with him and his people.  

July 23-27, 2012

Dr. Shelton Smith
A person emailed me this week and was curious about my association with Dr. Smith, Editor of THE SWORD OF THE LORD publication, and the paper.  He stated he thought that we were on opposite sides in our associations.  Let me say that none of us will agree on every thing in life and especially when it comes to the work of God.  I don’t even agree with me some of the time.  

It is essential though that we understand that “unity” inside of a local church is paramount, but “union” between churches is not.  God did a wonderful thing when he created the “independence” factor within the framework of the work of God through local churches.  One mind, one accord, and one place is for the local church not local churches. 

When we create denominations we are going against the very foundation God set up for church polity.  When there is differences the men of God must be able to disagree.   When there is difficulty and questions arising doctrinally then it is up to the men of God to meet and debate it as was the case with the council of Jerusalem.  When your man of God disagrees with another man of God that is not abnormal or unspiritual.  This Rodney King philosophy of, “Why can’t we just all get along?” is preparation for a Tower of Babel theology and destructive denominationalism.

I heard a man say he worried when men of God squabbled and could not get along because he felt it hurt the laymen of God who were watching.  NO! The truth is there must be the liberty for men of God to disagree.  We are all human and our humanity can lead us into trouble and every once in a while we still need a Nathan to say, “Thou art the man.”  We can be right so much of the time that we think we are right all of the time.  There will only be one true pure leader on this planet and that my friend will be the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The only camp I am concerned about being in is the camp of Biblical truth while serving through a local church under a man of God.   

Who would have ever thought that the rolls would be reversed between Murfreesboro and Hammond. Hyles-Anderson College is determined to hold on to the position of only the original Scriptures as being inspired.  It is no surprise that Bob Jones University, Tennessee Temple, and others would propagate such non-sense, but not the College founded by Mr. Fundamentalist Dr. Jack Hyles. 

When the SWORD treated Dr. Hyles with what I felt was disrespect I began distancing myself.  I was on the Cooperating Board of the SWORD and as long as Dr. Hyles was on the board I determined to stay.  When he went to a board meeting I went, but when he did not I did not go.  When he decided to resign the board I resigned.  A few of those men spoke well of Dr. Hyles in his presence and did the opposite out of his presence and that never set well with me.

When Dr. Hyles went home to Heaven the SWORD buried the story on the fifth or sixth page of the SWORD, which upset many of us.  The SWORD OF THE LORD would not be in existence humanly speaking if it were not for Dr. Hyles.  I recall when the subscriptions hit bottom and Dr. Hyles took over the SWORD CONFERENCES and used his NATIONAL PASTORS’ SCHOOL to promote the SWORD every year.  This was no small rift for many of us with the seeming mistreatment of the memory of Dr. Hyles.

Dr. Smith called one day many years ago and asked if we could get together and talk.  The next time I was in Murfreesboro to visit my mother I stopped by and we had a 4 to 5 hour conversation.  He has always been a Christian gentleman and this meeting was no exception.  We voiced our concerns to each other.  We agreed to disagree, but also agreed to agree! I felt the SWORD owed Dr. Jack Hyles respect that he was not receiving and Dr. Smith to his credit began putting Dr. Hyles’ picture and some sermons in the SWORD once again. He asked me if I would preach with him in a SWORD CONFERENCE and I agreed to do so and have done so. 

When the issue of the preserved inspiration of the Scripture in independent Baptist circles arose Dr. Smith made it extremely clear that he was on the side of an inspired King James Bible for the English speaking people. Dr. Smith has proved to be solid on the vital issues of the Scriptures. He is for soul winning, separation, spirit fulness, independent Baptist churches,  holiness, and the “old paths.” 

I have not changed I am exactly where I was on this inspiration issue and other issues of 40 years ago.  My friend it is others who have changed! I have no problem associating with Dr. Shelton Smith.  I appreciate Dr. Smith’s willingness to stand on this and other vital issues.  It is “mutual faith” that has caused our association. If the day ever comes that I cannot I will say so.

I will be attending this years’ NATIONAL SWORD OF THE LORD CONFERENCE in Winston-Salem, NC., not because I believe in the “union” of believers.   I love the old hymns, old time preaching, fellowshipping, meeting new servants of God, and the encouragement. I want to support those who support Biblical issues and still be allowed to disagree agreeably. 

I have no hatred for the brethren who have taken another position on the inspiration of the Scriptures or involving themselves in the Emergent church movement.  However, I will not dip my sails with the cultural revolution that is producing contextualization of Scriptures within our ranks. 

Too old to change now! Growing old is not so bad! With dementia at least I can hide my own Easter eggs and read the same newspaper every day.  Ha! GOTTA LOVE THE OLD TIME RELIGION!

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