The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Posts Tagged ‘Preaching’

Old Landmarkism

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 12, 2008

[The following was taken from The Baptist Encyclopedia, William Cathcart, Editor, 1881]

The following sketch was written at the editor’s [Cathcart] request by one of the ablest Baptist ministers in this country. His account of the opinions of all landmarkers is entirely reliable:


The origin of the term old-landmarkism was as follows: About the year 1850, Rev. J. R. Graves, editor of The Tennessee Baptist, published at Nashville, TN, began to advocate the position that Baptists cannot consistently recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers. For several years he found but few to sympathize with this view.


Among the few was Rev. J. M. Pendleton, then of Bowling Green, KY, who in 1854 was requested by Mr. Graves to write an essay on this question, “Ought Baptists to recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers?”


The essay was published in four consecutive numbers of the aforesaid paper, and afterwards in the form of a tract. The title given to it by Mr. Graves was “An Old Landmark Reset“. The title was considered appropriate because there had been a time when ministerial recognition and exchange of pulpits between Baptists and Pedobaptists were unknown. This was an old landmark, but in the course of years it had fallen. When it was raised again it was called “an old landmark reset“. Hence the term “old-landmarkism,” and of late years, by way of abridgment, “landmarkism“.


That the doctrine of landmarkism is not a novelty, as some suppose, is evident, because William Kiffin, of London, one of the noblest of English Baptists, advocated it in 1640, and with those who agreed with him formed a church, of which he was pastor till his death, in 1701 [a very long pastorate]. These facts are taken from [J.M.] Cramp’s “Baptist History,” and he refers to [Joseph] Ivimey’s “Life of Kiffin“:


[David] Benedict, in his “Fifty Years among the Baptists,” in referring to the early part of this century, says, “At that time the exchange of pulpits between the advocates and the opponents of infant baptism was a thing of very rare occurrence, except in a few of the more distinguished churches in the Northern States. Indeed, the doctrine of non-intercourse, so far as ministerial services were concerned, almost universally prevailed between Baptists and Pedobaptists.” pp. 94-95.


Truly the old landmark once stood, and having fallen, it was deemed proper to reset it.


The doctrine of landmarkism is that baptism and church membership precede the preaching of the gospel, even as they precede communion at the Lord’s table. The argument is that Scriptural authority to preach emanates, under God, from a gospel church; that as “a visible church is a congregation of baptized believers,” etc., it follows that no Pedobaptist organization is a church in the Scriptural sense of the term, and that therefore Scriptural authority to preach cannot proceed from such an organization. Hence the non-recognition of Pedobaptist ministers, who are not interfered with, but simply let alone.


At the time the “Old Landmark Reset” was written, the topic of non-ministerial intercourse was the chief subject of discussion. Inseparable, however, from the landmark view of this matter, is a denial that Pedobaptist societies are Scriptural churches, that Pedobaptist ordinations are valid, and that immersions administered by Pedobaptist ministers can be consistently accepted by any Baptist church. All these things are denied, and the intelligent reader will see why.

Posted in Baptist Echoes | Tagged: , , | 12 Comments »

Preaching Against Sin

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 9, 2008

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression…” Isaiah 58:1

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2

As long as preachers preach against sin in generalities, no one really gets too upset or offended. It’s only when specific sins are named (drinking alcohol, pornography, robbing God, not witnessing or soul-winning, skipping church) that people become uncomfortable.  People don’t mind preaching against sin as long as it’s not their own pet sin. We just don’t like to have our toes stepped on.

Preachers of God’s Word have always denounced sin in no uncertain terms. Lets’ just name a few…there was:

SAMUEL – He was explicit about the sin of King Saul: “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Sam 15:22-23

JEHU – He didn’t mince words about Jehoshaphat’s sin: “And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” 2 Chron 19:2 

NEHEMIAH – He literally “grappled” with some over their sins: “Then I contended [‘grappled’] with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.” Neh 13:17-18

JEREMIAH – God had him to be very pointed on Israel’s sins: “And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.” Jer 1:16; “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jer 2:13

JOHN THE BAPTIST – He was really specific on Herod’s sin: “For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” Mark 6:18

PAUL – He named names in preaching against sin: “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Tim 1:20; “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.” 2 Tim 4:14-15

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST – He scathed the religious hypocrites of His day calling them serpents and vipers and blind guides! See Matt 23

SO…the next time your preacher “rubs the fur the wrong way” [as they say], don’t blame him…


Posted in Ramblings | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Pastoral Authority

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 1, 2008

One of the most misunderstood aspects in true, New Testament Baptist Churches today is that of Pastoral authority. This “misunderstanding” has surfaced for several reasons…here’s just some:
1.  The way many of our churches operate has changed

Churches have become social clubs and the mission has changed.  Instead of trying to win souls, feed saints, and glorify God, there are those churches who have evolved into entertainment centers for the unsaved and carnal members.
2.  The “chain of command” in our churches has changed.

Many churches have become prototypes of other denominational churches that are operated by deacon and trustee boards.  Many of these churches are characterized by “mob rule” and not “pastor-led”.
3.  Many Pastors in our churches keep changing on a regular basis.

Some are voted out by the “once a year” evaluation of the Pastor’s ministry while many have Pastors who change churches more often than they change automobiles. God gets the blame for most of these moves when, in reality, it is because of either better salary and benefits or the Pastor has used up most of his sermons. When a Pastor believes it is the will of God to leave a church, it ought also to be the will of God for him to be honest with his present church and let them know BEFORE he goes.
4.  The respect for the Office of Pastor in churches has degenerated.

The Office of Pastor has been brought down to a “supervisory” status, and we all know who most everyone complains about the “boss!” Pastors are now spoken to on a first-name basis instead of “Preacher” or “Pastor” I would never call my Pastor by his first name – it’s just respect.
5.  The Office of Pastor has been corrupted by hirelings.

God-called men are getting fewer and further between.  Men of character, conviction, compassion, and call once filled Independent Baptist pulpits. Has there been a change in the “quality” of men in the ministry? Are men standing for the things of God like our Baptist forefathers?
Many church members do not want a Pastor. They want a preacher to give a generic, “offend no one” message, and visit the hospitals and funeral homes.  They want preachers who are “Yes-Men” and obedient to the will of the people.  But God-called Pastors have God given authority.

1 Peter 5:2, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind”

Hebrews 13:7, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

The Pastor is not man-called, mamma-called, or daddy sent!  He is not a volunteer! He is not self-elevated to the office! The Pastor is God-selected, God-called, God-anointed, God-equipped, God-led, God-chastened, and GOD-PROTECTED!

Listen…if a Pastor is worth his weight in salt, that man IS NOT trying to be “lord” over you: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” [1 Pet 5:3]. He is trying to fulfil his God-given responsibility and calling…he’s trying to complete and edify you [Eph 4:12] and bring you into the unity of the faith [Eph 4:13]. Do you have a problem with that?

Is there a problem with Pastoral authority in the church in which you are a member? Why…and with whom does the problem lie?

Posted in Devotional Thoughts, Ramblings | Tagged: , , , , | 16 Comments »

Dr. Doomaflatchie

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 21, 2007

Okay…I’ll ask it: Why are there “Preacher Doctors”?

I can respect a man for spending 6-8 years or more in college, and for even spending thousands of dollars for education…I’m not against education ~ I are educated too! But why would a preacher even want to be called “Doctor”?

When a man is acknowledged as “Doctor”, that’s an acknowledgment that he has received the highest degree an institution of learning can give. But does it really need to be acknowledged? Must his signature read, “Dave Doomaflatchie, PhD, LitD, DMin, etc, etc, etc.” And must he be addressed as “Dr. Doomaflatchie”? Isn’t Preacher, Pastor, or Pastor Doomaflatchie showing respect and honor enough??? Will a “Doctor” be a better preacher and pastor [rhetorical question], and if so, shouldn’t every man strive for that title? Do we Baptists need this for the respect of the world, to have accredited colleges [to turn out more “doctors” and honorary docs], to sell more [25-page] “books”, etc?

Please excuse my good-natured ribbing, but I’d really like to know what you think on this…I’m not a doctor of anything…do I need to be…and if I as a pastor don’t, why would any pastor need it?

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Reservoirs vs. Water Pipes

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 11, 2007

[This is mostly for preachers, but I think anyone can “get in on it”!]

What do you think of when you hear the term reservoir? Webster’s 1828 says, “A place where anything is kept in store, particularly a place where water is collected and kept for use when wanted, as to supply a fountain, canal, or city“.

Now think for a moment what the difference is between a reservoir and a water pipe…still thinking??? This may help: A water pipe spreads abroad water as it receives it. The pipe delivers the water as it draws from another source. If that source is cut off, it soon runs dry. BUT a reservoir waits until it’s filled to overflowing, and from the overflow it supplies to others. If it’s source is suddenly cut off, it can continue to supply water for long periods of time until it is replenished.

PREACHER: Would you rather be a reservoir or a water pipe? May we preachers be more like great reservoirs than mere water pipes!

If the supply we’re receiving from God’s Word is immediately being passed on to the people in our ministry [water pipe], then we’ll always be depleting ourselves of precious resources needed to carry on God’s work. For example: some pastors’ weekly studies meet only their weekly needs for the sermons, Bible classes, etc. At the end of the week, those men are empty again, and they must scramble to find fresh supplies for the coming week. Unfortunately, this may be the pattern of too many preachers.

What should be happening is that we preachers ought to be filling up our reservoirs as we personally spend time with God in much prayer and study God’s Word for our own personal growth, and then allow the abundance to overflow to the people…just think about it…A preacher should use his weekly study and preparation of sermons to help fill up the reservoir, but that ought not to be his only supply!

Have you ever preached, and then at the end of the message, you [and even the congregation] got the sense that you could have given more than they received? Did you ever walk away from the pulpit saying to yourself, “I could have also said thus and thusthat would have been good!”, that there would have been even more wonderful streams of Truth flowing from the reservoir??? My brother…that’s Reservior Power!

There’s a difference between a reservoir and a water pipe. There’s a difference between a preacher who just prepares a sermon and a preacher who prepares his heart. E. M. Bounds in his classic work on prayer stated, “We have emphasized sermon preparation until we have lost sight of the important thing to be prepared – the heart. A prepared heart is much better than a prepared sermon. A prepared heart will make a prepared sermon.

Are you a reservoir…or are you a water pipe?

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »