Category Archives: Independent Baptist

When you hear the sound of the trumpet…

Nearly seven years ago (Oct. 28, 2010) I wrote the following post. Now that a new school year is upon us – and now that I’m actually pastoring in Soddy Daisy, TN, it seems appropriate to be reminded of some some things that are as true today as they were back then.


Last night (10/28/2010) I had the honor to participate in an event of community prayer.  I was invited to speak by a student at Soddy Daisy High School.  If you don’t know what happened, a whole bunch of people gathered together in the park to celebrate our right and freedom to pray, even though it was recently mandated that prayer be stopped before football games.  This meeting was organized by students who decided enough was enough.

In my closing remarks (I spoke for 7 1/2 minutes) I brought up the story of Nehemiah, specifically a part in chapter 4, verse 20. Nehemiah, in response to threats from enemies intent on stopping them from rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, set people on the wall as lookouts.   Being that the wall was big and spread out, and being that there were few people, Nehemiah came up with a plan.  He said :

“The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall.  Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there.  Our God will fight for us.” Nehemiah 4:19-20 NKJV

To me, and I am just little ol’ me, there should have been a lot more people present last night.  Why?  A trumpet was sounded for the body of Christ to come to the aid of not only Soddy Daisy, but for all of Hamilton County.  An attack on our freedoms, as both Christians and Americans, has come to our soil.  Why is it that our schedules and programs and our own sections of the wall are more important than stopping the enemy somewhere else?

Last night was your typical “Wednesday night prayer meeting” night.  Besides the fact that prayer is rarely the object of attention at a lot of these meetings, what would have been wrong with jumping in the church bus and heading to where the trumpet was sounding?  Where there may have been 500+ at this event last night, there should have been 1-2000.  Why were they not there? Because it was more important for local congregations to remain safe and snug in their own little sections of  “the wall.”  

Here was a prime example of LEGALISM in action, for many did not want to participate in an event that featured speakers who weren’t part of a particular denomination.  

Here was a prime example of LAZINESS, for it may have been difficult to get people together to go somewhere on a weeknight, especially if it wasn’t to Ryan’s (the local steak house) or the bowling alley.  

Here was a prime example of DENIAL, PRIDE, and APATHY, for there were others who did not attend because they either didn’t think there’s a problem, it wasn’t their idea, or they just really didn’t care.  Folks, what has been “typical” needs to be trashed.

This past Sunday I told my congregation that I would be in Soddy Daisy on Wednesday night because a trumpet had been sounded.  I went to stand in the gap with my brothers and sisters who cared enough to make a public stand against the tyranny of a few over the wishes of the people.  

In the future, when other trumpets sound,  I pray that the churches of our county and our country will rally together in defense of the few walls we have left in this nation… a nation that, for now, claims to be “under God.”

May our God truly fight for us, for we don’t seem to want to fight for ourselves.

…Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses. – Nehemiah 4:14

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Filed under baptist, Christian Living, Christian Unity, General Observations, Independent Baptist, legalism, Southern Baptist, World View

Doctrine of Separation Anxiety

So many destructive teachings are nothing more than corruptions of actual truth.  One of those is the Doctrine of Separation, and I believe it’s doing more harm than good.

The Missionary

A while back I visited a church where a missionary was speaking.  I really enjoyed hearing what he had to say, but was disappointed with his prayer card.  Listed on the back, along with his statement of beliefs, was the “doctrine of separation.”

Practiced within the more independent and fundamental branches of Christianity, the Doctrine of Separation is mainly derived from 2 Corinthians 6:17: 

” Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you…”

The idea is that if one group does not agree with another in all areas, then association is considered sinful, or at least liberal.

Ironically, during his sermon the missionary spoke of how good it was to be able to talk to a Charismatic believer in Mongolia.  He spoke of how good it was, in a land where few missionaries frequented, to find anyone to talk to that was a Christian.  But when it came to working together… that was a different story.

In Romania

Years ago, in 1992, I was given the opportunity to travel to Romania for a month.  Long story short, in order to do some first-time evangelical work in a small village, two other young men and myself were blessed to find a young interpreter who wanted to help us.

Actually, the teenage interpreter was helping a Pentecostal church group which was rebuilding grain silos during the day. When he was free in the evening, he helped us go out and distribute Bibles, tracts, and even witness and preach.  He even helped us make friends with the Pentecostal group.

Ultimately, this unexpected encounter led to unplanned cooperation, and the Church of God group paid the interpreter so he could work with us Baptists to get out the Gospel! Because of this, around 80 souls came to accept Christ as their Saviour in one week!

Back in the USA

When I got back to the U.S., thoughts crossed my mind about how Baptist missionaries could develop ways to work together with other Christian missionaries in third-world countries, especially where the work was great.  Pooling local resources and manpower for mutual benefit seemed something totally logical to me… but not to BIMI, the mission agency with which I had traveled.

Unlike Southern Baptist missionaries, Independent Baptist missionaries have to raise their own funds to reach the field.  To me it seemed that being able to work with other Christians to accomplish like goals was a no-brainer, but not according to the Doctrine of Separation to which BIMI held true, as do most Independent Baptists with which I have been acquainted.

Cooperation

The belief that Christians cannot work together, worship together, or evangelize together to reach a common desired goal is crazy.  There are areas that make Baptists (of which I am) different from other denominations, and rightfully so.  These differences, however, are more often than not of little eternal significance.

Baptists believe in baptism by submersion, for example, while Presbyterians normally do not.  Is that worth saying that when it comes to winning the lost for Christ that we must remain separate in all things?  Even if a friend of mine is a Calvinist (which I am not), does that mean that it’s wrong to walk down a street with him as we both preach salvation through Jesus alone?  I like what article XIV of the 2000 edition of the Baptist Faith and Message has to say on the subject:

Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom.  Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people.  Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.”

When it comes to the legalists and the Pharisaical crowd that promotes separation to the extent of mutual exclusion, finger pointing and self-glorification (i.e., “I am right with God and you are not, because you don’t believe the same as me.”), maybe isolation isn’t that bad.

More people than not, I truly believe, think that working together for the greater good of the Kingdom is biblical.  Only a small minority of so-called “fundamentalists” within the Christian faith feel otherwise.  However, the problem is not so much that we believe that working together is good as long as there is no compromise, it’s getting us to actually DO it.  Let the “separatists” stay separate if they wish, but let the rest of us unite, where possible, and do the work of the Body of Christ.

Say what you will about the “herd mentality,” but it is the loners that the lions and wolves look for first.  There truly is strength in unity.

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Filed under baptist, Christian Unity, Independent Baptist, legalism, Uncategorized

Re-Examining the Divorce Controversy

Recently, I have been asked about the issue of divorce and whether or not it ultimately disqualifies one from ministry, especially the pastorate. Even though I know there will be many of you who disagree with me on this, here are my thoughts on the subject. Please understand that I did not come by them lightly.

My Story

I will never forget the phone call I got from a church in Rome, GA about 16 years ago. Someone on the other end of the line was part of a search committee looking for a new pastor.  They had gotten my resume and were impressed enough to give me a call.  Everything was going well until they asked a very pointed question, “Bro. Anthony, does your wife have a spouse that is still living?”  I responded coldly, with squinted eyes and through clinched-teeth, “Yes, ME.”  Unfortunately, this would not be the last time something like that happened.

What I encountered on the telephone that day was not unusual, nor unexpected, but it stung, nevertheless. I had chosen to marry a woman who had been divorced and it cost me. But even though our (then) pastor told me marrying Valerie would “put the final nail in the coffin” of my ministry hopes, I was aware the scripture (1 Tim. 3:2) being used against me was lacking in exposition, and it was ultimately up to God whether or not I pastored a church.  So, after much study, I felt peace that what I was doing was right (but it didn’t hurt when the late Dr. Spiros Zodhiates gave us his approval).

But let me be clear about a few things…

wedding picture fourFirst,  I have never been divorced, so for me the whole argument of 1 Timothy 3:2 should be moot.  Second, my wife was left with no choice but to divorce; furthermore, it happened before she was a believer.  Third, my wife’s ex-husband remarried and divorced again before I even met her. By all accounts my wife was free to remarry, so both she and I were clear from any “adultery” issues.  

Also, I am “the husband of one wife,” and Scripture NEVER said a bishop “must be the husband of one wife who was the wife of only one husband, ever.” Just a minor observation.

So, what DOES the Bible say?

1 Timothy 3:2 says,  “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife...”  Also, verse 12 says, “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife...”  The difficulty with these verses is not what is being said, but how it is interpreted.  

Is Paul telling Timothy that in order to be a pastor, deacon, or elder in a church, you must have only been married once?  Could it even be possible that Paul is saying that a man of God MUST have a wife, because being single would disqualify one from ministry?  These are things that have been debated for centuries.  

Some believe that a pastor, deacon, or elder should have never been divorced (or married to a divorcee) . Others believe that in order to be a proper leader, one must be married.  Still, many commentators believe that the proper rendering of the Greek is “one-woman man,” implying faithfulness and character over the number of wives.  In reality, what the Bible says is one thing, but as William D. Mounce put it, “The Greek gives us a range of possibilities, but our theology is going to determine our interpretation.” 

I think there’s another way to look at it…

Take a look at 1 Timothy 3 and read through verse 12.  The best I can figure is that there are between 16 and 17 qualifications for the bishop, and between 6 and 8 for the deacons.  All of these are preceded with a literal or an implied “must be,” as in “must be blameless,” or a “must have.”  How does this affect the argument that an elder “must have” only been married once, never remarried, or never divorced?    

Think of any great man of God you know that has stood behind the pulpit and faithfully proclaimed the Word of God.  Has he always been blameless?  Has he always been on his best behavior?  Did he ever get drunk, covet, lose his patience, or curse his wife or children in anger?  Was he ever a novice, a beginner subject to pride? If so, then according to the logic of some, he should never be able to preach or lead in God’s church, for just as a man “must be the husband of one wife,” so he also must be “blameless, vigilant, sober, well-behaved, given to hospitality, patient, never greedy, and always in control of his house and children.”  

Do you see it?  If your interpretation leads you to believe that the bishop must have only had one wife – ever – then the same hermeneutic (the study of the principles of interpretation) should apply to the other “must be’s.”  “Must be the husband of one wife” = never divorced.  “Not a novice” = never been a beginner in the faith. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

1 Timothy 3:1-12 is in the present infinitive tense (i.e., must be / dei einai).  The requirements listed are ones that describe a man of character and faithfulness, of sobriety and gravitas; not a beginner or one untried and unproven.  What I see is a list of requirements that may not have always been present in a man, but should be NOW, after God has done a verifiable work in his life.  In other words, the Bible says a bishop “must be,” not “must have always been,” or “must have never done.”  Paul said, “and such were some of you:  but ye were washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:11

Here’s my point…

I believe that there are plenty who are sitting back or hiding out because someone has convinced them that they are used up and un-usable.  For example, I can think of men right now who, for whatever reason, are divorced.  Yet, these men, now Christians, are sold-out, God-fearing, faithful, Spirit-filled fathers and husbands with proven testimonies and unimpeachable character.  Sadly, however, because of mistakes made when they were young, unsaved, and stupid, they cannot serve as deacons, much less as pastors.  

On the other hand, I can think of several pastors today who were once murderers, drug dealers, fornicators, extortioners, and abusers of mankind (do I need to explain that last one?). Yet, only because they don’t have “divorced” to add to the list of past sins, they are accepted and given full reign as leaders in the church. 

Sad.

It’s time the body of Christ re-examine this issue in the light of GRACE.

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Filed under baptist, Divorce, General Observations, Independent Baptist, legalism, Relationships and Family, Uncategorized

Thursday Thoughts (Who Knew?)

Hello, dear friends and subscribers (both friend and evil, stalking foe)! It is another Thursday evening where I am, and boy is it getting cold! Cold, I tell you! Explanation point!

So, what is on my mind? Oh, nothing too much, only the fact that I am now the wearied owner of a new label: Bible corrector.

Yes, according to someone on Facebook with the last name of LaRue, I am…

“…a Bible corrector. At least that’s settled. You can take your Egyptian mentality and shove it.”

A Bible corrector? Yes, a Bible corrector.

And according to other comments, I’m not a Bible believer, either. No, I am but an “apostate” Bible corrector with an “Egyptian mentality” evidently capable of being inserted into my nether regions. Eeeeewwww!

But why?

Receiving the Theology Award from Temple Baptist Seminary

Receiving the Theology Award from Temple Baptist Seminary

Why is this preacher…this defender of the faith…this hated conservative…this herald of God’s grace…this humble little Baptist fuzzball…not a believer, but a correcter?  Simple…I dared to suggest a word in the King James Version of the Bible could be amplified by a closer study of the original Greek (New Testament).

I mean, seriously! Who knew that suggesting κεράτιον (translated as “husks” in Luke 15:16) might be something other than what covers an ear of corn could be equal to getting in bed with Beelzebub?

Therefore, instead of an Independent, Fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist, I’m a Non-autonomous (cause I’m Southern Baptist), Convoluted, Bible-correcting, Apostate Egyptian. And all this time I thought I was following Christ.

That’s not a cross I’m carrying?

Who knew?

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Filed under Independent Baptist, legalism, Southern Baptist, Theology, translations

Favorites of the 500

Favorite Posts

post-milestone-500-1xI first started blogging back in 2009. Since then I have written over 500 posts, but many have all but been forgotten – out of sight, out of mind.

Therefore, I have gone back and picked several of my favorites from the first couple of years and listed them below. I hope you will have the time to look at a few, especially the ones specifically dealing with legalism (my pet subject).

  1. The Doctrine of Separation Examined (Where most of my Independent Baptist friends and I – I’m Baptist, too – disagree the most)
  2. Why Be a Legalist?
  3. Prostitots? (One of my most in-your-face, no-punches-pulled posts)
  4. Does Divorce Disqualify? (Very controversial post)
  5. What to Wear to Church? (Many people should read this, then send a copy to everyone in their church!)
  6. Study to Show Thyself Approved On a Survey
  7. Smoking: The Legalists Are Alive and Well
  8. Let God Be True, and Luther a Liar
  9. The Recovering Legalist Meets Building 429 (My first mega-hit piece, thanks to the band putting this on their website 😉 )
  10. The REAL Problem With the Problem of Evil (Pretty much a personal essay on the problem of evil)
  11. “You might be a legalist if…” (Did Jeff Foxworthy write this?)
  12. Anthony’s Appetite #6 (Marinated Herring) (I used to be an amateur food critic)
  13. You Call THAT a Church?
  14. Don’t Be Skeerd (my own list) (A funny list at what Christians should NOT be afraid of)
  15. Monday Monkey Meets Benny Berry (I still get teary-eyed when I watch this!)

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Filed under blogging, General Observations, Independent Baptist, legalism

What to Wear to Church?

“What to wear to church?” has consistently been the number one search entry leading people to The Recovering Legalist. What does that tell you?

If you’ve never read my thoughts on this before, this is the post all the search engines bring up. It was written back in 2010.

Clothing

Recently, I was asked to be the guest speaker at a larger, more contemporary church. Out of respect for each other, the pastor of that church and I jokingly discussed what I should wear. You see, he never wears a suit, while I almost always do. His congregation has become more “contemporary,” while my congregation remains more “traditional.” So, to make me comfortable, the pastor told me whatever I wanted to wear was fine. Therefore, I will compromise – I will probably wear a sport coat, khakis, and flip flops…not really.

The way I dress to go to church may not be the way you dress. My style may not suit your tastes, nor yours mine. But the fact of the matter is that unless you’re totally too liberal, or don’t go at all, you wear some kind of clothing to church, correct? Well, have you ever wondered if what you wear to church is appropriate?

Below are some of my thoughts on the subject.

It’s Not About You

If you are planning to attend a worship service where God is supposed to be the center of attention, don’t dress like a clown! Don’t dress like you are going to an L.A. premier of Lady Gaga’s new movie, It’s All About Me.

Some cultures believe people should come to church in clothing that could damage someone’s retina. Gettin’ “fancied up” is what’s expected. But it’s this type of clothing, in most cases, that draws attention to the congregant, not Christ. My advice is to stay away from neon suits and flashing bow ties. Church clothing should be a covering, not a calling card.

Show Some Respect

Some people think it is totally appropriate to wear enough jewelry and feathers to keep pawn shops in business and all geese naked. Others think it is completely acceptable to look like a drunk that slept in an alley all night (no offense to the drunk). Neither shows a sense of respect. The first steals God’s glory, while the second implies God’s house is no different than anywhere else.

Here’s a couple suggestions. Try going to a White House dinner looking like a hobo or a hippie from the 60’s. Receive an invitation to tea from Queen Elizabeth and show up looking like you just got out of bed and never took a shower. Unless you’re a bonafide rock star, security personnel may escort you to a private room to “get acquainted.” So then, if dignitaries of earthly kingdoms demand respect, why shouldn’t we offer it to our Heavenly King? Is God not greater than Obama? (clear throat)

Beware of Legalistic Standards

However, whatever you wear, don’t be too quick to judge another’s spiritual condition by what they wear. Only God knows the heart.

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. – Rom 14:4 KJV

Sadly, I have been around many believers who consider one style of clothing a sign of spiritual maturity, while another style a sign of spiritual waywardness.  And you know what’s funny? It doesn’t matter which side of the spiritual tracks, there’s always somebody looking at another thinking, “They’re not right with God.”

Legalism cuts both ways, dear friend. For example, I have been to churches that ridiculed any woman who wears pants, or a man who never tucks in his shirt. On the other hand, I have been in congregations that blatantly condemned all dress and tie-wearers as right-wing, self-righteous, fundamentalist, nut jobs. In both cases someone judged another’s spirituality based on outward appearances, alone. In both cases one group’s set of standards were being used as a guide to what is spiritual behavior, and what is not. That’s LEGALISM!

Believe it or not, the most modern, non-denominational, praise-and-worship-style congregation can be just as legalistic as the narrow-minded traditionalist. I may not prefer to preach in blue jeans on Sunday morning, but I’m not going to condemn someone who does. Likewise, when I don’t wear a suit and tie on Sunday night, I am not going to condemn someone who dresses like he’s going to a funeral.

Context, Context, Context

Ultimately, how you dress should be determined by the context of your community. Small, rural congregations might not feel comfortable dressing for church in the same way a metropolitan First Baptist may. Similarly, churches in depressed economies may adopt different dress codes than upwardly mobile societies. The key is to be respectful, honorable, and considerate of the holy moment at hand. Whatever fits that bill is good enough.

Just keep this principle in mind:  Grace accepts, Maturity develops, and Love constrains.

Don’t make appearances the only thing about which you’re concerned. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is far too important a message to be drowned in petty arguments about whether it is appropriate to dress up for church, or go dress-casual. Many people in the world have to worship Christ underground – literally. Dress codes are the least of their worries. Additionally, the drug addict who needs hope and help may not have any clothes left that he hasn’t already sold to get high. The single mother of five that walks into your church may have barely enough energy to survive, much less do her hair.

Do all things to the glory of the Lord, but keep things in perspective, OK?

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism [or be legalistic]. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? – Jam 2:1-5 NIV

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Filed under baptist, Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Christian Unity, Culture Wars, Do not judge, Independent Baptist, legalism, Southern Baptist

Examining a “Hissy Fit”

Introduction

The following piece is meant to be informative, not critical, even though I may criticize a little, and I apologize in advance for the length. All in all, I hope that it will help lead people away from unhealthy, legalistic, and abusive churches by helping them recognize “red flags.”

Not all pastors are abusive megalomaniacs. The ones that are should be called out and held accountable, for their poor witness harms not only the Church, but the world to which we are called to be witnesses.

Hissy Fit

Several months ago a video was posted on YouTube. That video shows Dr. Jim Standridge, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Skiatook, Oklahoma, publicly chastising members of his congregation.

Since its release, the video has gone viral with over 700,000 views, so far. I was made aware of this video a couple of months ago when friend on Facebook posted it to her wall and created a stir. It was originally posted on a website called Stuff Fundies Like.

Personally, I think it is a shame that something like this has been put out for all to see, for it damages the reputation of all who sincerely follow Christ. I even have problems with the website that originally made this widely available. But since it is out there and not going away, I feel it should be addressed.

Context

It is important to look at things in their proper contexts before we come to conclusions. That is why I wanted to find the video of Dr. Standridge’s entire sermon. I found it on Immanuel Baptist Church’s website and watched the entire thing, making plenty of notes.

Those commenting in defense of this video have said things like: “You shouldn’t judge a man based on this one video…we don’t know what led up to him talking this way.” In an interview with The Christian Post, even Dr. Standridge said, “…you can’t judge a man by one message.”

But is that entirely so? During the time it took to watch the hour-long sermon I noticed several “red flags” that told me this was probably not an isolated incident.

Full Sermon (see if you can spot the red flags)

NOTE: The video was taken down, so I’m glad I reviewed it when I did!

Red Flags

The term “red flag” is used to describe a warning sign. The following are some of the red flags I noticed while watching the full sermon preached by Dr. Standridge on May 19, 2013.

1) The need to express self-importance, along with possessiveness.

In less than two minutes into the sermon (1:13), Dr. Standridge first addresses the boy that was to fall asleep. He says: “Son, look at me – I’m the man, baby.” Later (39:23), he addresses the boy again and says: “I’m somebody…now you might do your English teacher thataway [sic], but I’m not teaching English…”

To the same boy he says, “I’m not some little hireling” (20:55). Then, at the 48:20 mark: “I don’t care…I do care, but I don’t care…It’s like that young boy right there, he don’t know who I am.”

In the infamous part where Dr. Standridge talks to Mr. Cox, the man in the video room, he says: “…you don’t care about what I want to do right…if you loved me, and you submitted to me, you’d know what my heart is and my message is…(43:00). Then, at the 47:25 mark he says: “You may be the best sound man…but that’s my sound room before it’s yours!”

Towards the end Dr. Standridge confronts a girl named Wendy (1:01:39) and plays the guilt card: “You count my life as something, well, very secondary, if anything.”

2) Belittling others.

In one hour Dr. Standridge manages to put down skateboards, comparing them to witch’s brooms (1:13; 4:39), texting (54:35-55:20), secular college education (1:01:39), the right of a mother to be upset (48:11), a woman’s needs (3:50), and a wife’s spirituality and intelligence (6:50-7:25).

3) Threats

In several places Dr. Standridge threatens to leave the church if the congregation doesn’t want to hear what he has to say. “Now if you don’t want me…”(40:50).

4) Publicly announcing church members’ faults.

What gets Dr. Standridge into so much trouble is where he calls out Mr. Cox in the sound/video room and the young couple about to get married (as seen in the YouTube clip). But where some want to say that was just an isolated incident, the reality is that he did this from the beginning to the end of the sermon!

The fact that he would say in front of the church that a young man was “one of the sorriest church members” and “not worth 15 cents” (39:50) was completely inexcusable. And, telling Angela, a young wife, that she should quit questioning her husband and start submitting to him (6:50-7:25) was completely out of line.

5) Following abuse with “You know I love you.

It was really hard to keep track of how many times Dr. Standridge followed a stinging comment or snide remark with something like, “You know I love you, don’t you?” He said this to Mr. Cox and put him on the spot with a hug (39:50ff) right after telling him he wasn’t worth 15 cents! He even asked the poor skater boy: “Have I convinced you I love you? You better nod your head yes.” (39:23ff)

Even more, his love comments were commonly used as a justification to the congregation for his actions: “I love that boy right there” (1:13);  “Now, let me tell everybody here how much I love these kids” (referring to Mr. Underwood and his bride to be). This is what abusive husbands do, not pastors.

Scripture

1 Timothy 5:20 says: “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” The only problem with using that verse to justify what Dr. Standridge did/does is that this verse was meant for elders…Pastors (vs. 18-19)I cannot see any reason why it had to come to a point where the pastor of a church called out so many people for their supposed sins and inconsistencies.

Long before any of the people chastised by Dr. Standridge should have been publicly reprimanded, Jesus set the pattern for how to deal with church issues…privately, with one or two, then before the church.

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. “But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ “And if he refuses to hear them, tell [it] to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17 NKJV)

So much pain and embarrassment, both for the individuals involved and the church in general, could have been spared had Dr. Standridge heeded the wisdom of Solomon: “He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.” (Proverbs 17:9 NKJV)

Final Thoughts

As I see it, Dr. Standridge should have been asked to resign after this sermon, but as with any abused wife, the congregation defends what he said. When I spoke of it to my congregation, they agreed that if I had done anything similar I would be looking for a job.

Not all pastors are like Dr. Standridge, even on a bad day; those who are should be called to the carpet (1 Timothy 5:20). Sure, we make mistakes and say things we regret, but most of us aren’t arrogant and abusive. We love our flocks to the point of laying down our own lives (John 10:11). The last thing we want to do is embarrass and shame people; we want to see them restored, edified, and molded into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

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Filed under abuse, baptist, Christian Maturity, Christian Unity, Independent Baptist, legalism, Preaching