Originally published at Western Recorder – www.westernrecorder.org
Elizabethtown—Modeling itself after early Kentucky pastors’ conferences, begun in 1835, the 2015 edition sought to remind attendees of their doctrinal heritage, taking as its theme “An Identity Worth Preserving.”
“What is it that we see in the Great Commission that Baptists have done right across the years?” asked Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaking on “Baptist Identity in the 21st Century.”
Patterson, who was joined on the platform by three Kentuckians—Adam Greenway, Ron Noffsinger and Moses Radford—listed four of the ways that “Baptists get the assignment right.”
First, “Baptist get the assignment from the authority of Christ to make disciples,” Patterson said.
“Until we care about where lost people spend eternity, we will go right on talking about the gospel while most people go to hell,” he said
He continued, “He will bless our witness, but not until we give our witness.”
Second, “Baptists get it right when they get the order right which is make disciples, then baptize, then teach them all the commandments of Christ.”
“You can’t baptize them until they are saved,” he noted, giving examples of historic Christians who died for this belief.
Third, “Baptists get the purpose of the ordinances right. The focus of the ordinances is on the atonement,” he said.
“The faith of the New Testament is a very unritualistic faith,” Patterson continued. Referring to the ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Table, he said, “They focus on one subject matter—the incarnation of Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, His burial and His rising.”
Lastly, Baptist get it right by emphasizing the adequacy and sufficiency of Christ’s teaching. “Literally, they are all that you need,” he maintained.
“Our forefathers paid an incredible price,” he concluded. “We’re in a bit of trouble in the convention. We aren’t going to weasel our way out of it, but we can Great Commission our way out of it.”
“If there has ever been a day and age where the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ needs to proclaim the word of God with no uncertain sound, no sense of hesitation or reservation, it is today,” said Adam Greenway, dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at Southern Seminary.
Greenway listed three things that happen when the word of God is proclaimed.
First, “confusion will be clarified,” second, “God’s authority will be authenticated,” and lastly, “searchers will find salvation,” he said.
Greenway declared, “We do people no favor by allowing them to embrace false and unbiblical ideas. My responsibility is to tell truth even when there may be the possibility of people not liking it.
“There is no more critical truth to tell than this: You are a sinner,” he said. “Not just you, but every person that your eyes will ever behold is a sinner, lost and doomed in darkness. Red, yellow, black and white, they are all sinners in His sight.
“There is nothing you can do to overcome your sins in and of yourself. But praise God what we could not do, Christ did for us!” he proclaimed
Asserting that the gospel unites us, Greenway stated, “I want to be the kind of Kentucky Baptist who is always looking for a way to cooperate, (rather) than separate.
“How can we not give all that we are to pushing back the darkness and shining forth the light, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and doing so with conviction, authority and purpose seeing people’s lives changed by the gospel of Christ?”
“Some of us want to change everything. You can change the music if you want to, change the way you light the church, or change the way you dress. But don’t change the major doctrines of the faith,” urged Ron Noffsinger. “You need to stay with the stuff.”
Drawing from Acts 1:8, the pastor of Riverside Missionary Baptist Church in Drakesboro, stated that a church needs two things to do the work of God.
“First of all, you need to be under the authority of Christ. Then you need the power of the Holy Spirit,” Noffsinger said.
“You can’t do the work of God without the Holy Spirit,” he said. “A church is not a church unless the Spirit of God is upon it. You can have every doctrine right and be dead as a hammer.”
Declaring the need for the power of the Holy Spirit, Noffsinger said, “If you don’t have a passion for souls, my friend, there’s something wrong with you. If a church doesn’t have a concern for missions, you’re as wrong as you can be.
“You (should) be pure doctrinally, but you better go out and reach souls,” he urged.
The pastor of Nicholasville’s First Baptist Church, Moses Radford, preached on the ordinances.
“The ordinances are not ours, they are the Lord’s that He has given unto the church,” Radford said, identifying the two ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
“Jesus went to the River Jordan to be baptized. That ought to let us know that baptism is important. It is not an ordinance that ought to be erased from churches,” Radford said.
He proclaimed that the mode of baptism is emersion. “The Lord doesn’t give us multiple choice when it comes to baptism. He gave the ordinance, and He demonstrated to us that it is supposed to be emersion,” he said.
“Who is to be baptized?” he asked. “Only a person who has believed and confessed Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They are the only ones who are to be baptized,” he answered.
“Older people where I’m from used to say, ‘If you’re not saved, you go into the water a dry devil and you come out a wet one,” Radford continued.
He said that a believer should be baptized “because it is an act of obedience.”
“We ought not want to get saved then purposely disobey Him,” Radford said.
Regarding the Lord’s Supper, Radford said, “It’s the Lord’s Supper, not yours, not mine. I don’t refer to it as communion, because people get confused who they’re communing with.”
“The same Jesus that is gone, He’s coming back, and the Lord’s Supper is a message of the Lord’s return. And some blessed day, He’s going to come back!” he exclaimed.
Also on this year’s program were Evangelist Bailey Smith, of Atlanta, and Jeff Faggart, founder of the Baptist History Preservation Society, and pastor of Harvest Baptist Church in Rockwell, N.C. (WR)