Dear Dr. Ascol:
Since my retirement from active construction management, I have been a volunteer construction manager / builder for several church projects. Some of these projects have been in the United States and Canada. One of the most exciting projects now in progress is in Antigua in the West Indies.
In 1993, I volunteered to design and build a conference center for the Central Baptist Church, a Reformed Baptist church in St. Johns, Antigua. This 4,000 square foot project is now almost complete. The church provided the building materials, which were shipped from Miami, Florida. Volunteers from Texas as well as members of the congregation in Antigua participated in the construction.
I want to make you and those who read the Founders Journal aware of this project. Perhaps other historic Southern Baptist congregations have volunteers willing to participate in such construction projects. I would also be interested in contacting historic Southern Baptist churches in the United States who may need assistance with building projects.
The current construction schedule for the Central Baptist Church in Antigua is as follows:
1996 (Spring) Interior wood trim at conference center. Install doors and bunk beds at conference center 1997 Add a two-story addition to pastor's residence 1998 Construct a two-story addition for Sunday School space at the Tyrels Baptist Church (Tyrels is a mission of Central Baptist Church).If you know of anyone interested in these projects, please have them contact me for more information: Roy Hensley, 150 Forest Oaks, Lake Jackson, TX 77566. Phone: (409) 292-0479.
This letter has a twofold purpose. First, I express to you and the other editors of the Founders Journal my profound and heartfelt appreciation of the publication, and the knowledge that others are zealous for the Reformed theology of our forefathers in Christ! I have been of this persuasion for most of my ministry, but felt that I was practically alone or in at least a small minority. Being a history major in college, I had come to these same conclusions and convictions, but was disheartened and unsure of the future of our denomination. So much, that after college, I was discouraged from attending any of our seminaries, and chose to attend Erskine Theological Seminary (Presbyterian ARP) in SC. It was there that I and other SBC Baptists found grounding for Reformed thinking. During this time, I have been the pastor of my present church for seven years, faithfully proclaiming the Reformed theology and even teaching the Shorter Catechism on Wednesday evenings (Discipleship Training) to all ages. The church has had slow but steady growth (numerically and spiritually). Our missions program has grown also, with our congregation giving 20% to the SBC, 3% to our association, 3% to world hunger, and 1% to local causes. Giving 27% to missions (rank 48 of 1,800 churches in percentage and per capita giving) clearly shows that Reformed thinking is an impetus to missions and not an impediment.
This brings me to my second purpose. I am subscribing to the journal, making plans to attend the Convention breakfast and the Founders Conference. But I need information on two pieces of literature: 1.) Is there a publication/tract of the "Abstract of Principles" for distribution and where may I obtain it?; 2.) Is there a present publication of the Baptist Catechism and Basil Manly, Jr.'s Little Lessons for Little People, and where may I obtain these? Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Again, thank you for the stand of the Founders, and the great crucial heritage it seeks to preserve and renew. It is my personal conviction that we need "reformation" before we need "revival". I pray that I might in some small way be a part of this return to "the faith of our fathers."
Your Servant in Christ,
M. F., a pastor
A copy of the Abstract of Principles may be obtained from Southern Seminary in Louisville. It has appeared in various publications in recent years, including as an appendix to the reprinted edition of James Boyce's Abstract of Systematic Theology. The Baptist Catechism ("Spurgeon's Catechism," which is essentially the same as "Keach's Catechism") has been reprinted and is available in booklet form. The text may be downloaded free of charge from the Information Library in Forum A of SBCNet. Grace Baptist Church, 204 SW 11th Place, Cape Coral, FL 33991, has combined Scripture, hymns and 3 different Baptist Catechisms into a 3 volume set of Truth and Grace Memory Books, designed for children from the age of 2 years old through High School. Information is available on request.
I recently received a publication through the mail of your journal. To my amazement it was not the "typical" file 13 literature. It was so refreshing to read a publication that embraces the "Doctrines of Grace". I am a Southern Baptist minister and am currently pastoring a church in Northern Virginia. It was while I was serving as a young preacher boy in Texas that I was first introduced to the faith of the Reformers. During my early years in the ministry, I found myself more confused than certain concerning my faith and the doctrines embraced by my fellow preachers. While pastoring a rural country church, a good friend gave me a copy of a pamphlet written by Ernest Reisinger. Upon reading and understanding the doctrines "once delivered to the saints" I began to sense a foundation forming under my growing faith. To me, there is no other truth other than is set forth in the views of the early church fathers, that can truly give an understanding to biblical theology as does the views of Calvinism. It was this doctrine that gave me a clear insight into the Baptist doctrine of "once saved . . . always saved". It also made my heart to understand God's true love for me in the doctrine of election. Truly realizing and embracing the thought of my total depravity and His efficacious grace! It was this Reformed faith that made me understand my security in Christ. This doctrine of theology opened the doors to a world of literature of which I possibly never would have known. The writings of men such as Calvin, Luther, Dagg, B. B. Warfield, Loraine Boettner, Ernest Reisinger, Packer, Nettles, and countless others who have helped me understand a passage of scripture far more than the current commentators of this liberal age.
I want to take this time to express my thanks to the Lord of Lords for sending me a copy of your journal and to also send in my new subscription form.
As I mentioned, I am currently pastoring as well as a general manager for a large manufacturing firm in Virginia. I would like to request from you some information on where I might obtain some audio tapes that are products of men who embrace the reformed faith. . . .
Dick Cook of Sound Word Associates has a collection of all the taped messages from the Southern Baptist Founders Conferences. He may be reached at P.O. Box 2035, Michigan City, IN 46360.
We are interested in receiving your publication. In these times when there is so much heat and smoke being generated in Southern Baptist dialogue, we are encouraged when we hear of someone seeking and sharing light. Many of us are unaware of our heritage, and have adopted the attitude that nothing that has occurred in the church since Acts is worthy of knowing.
Two of our sister Southern Baptist churches in our area recently received, as I understand, complimentary copies of your 1995 publication. Would you be so kind as to include us, too? We would like to read it and decide whether to subscribe. . . .
Sincerely yours in Christ's name,
I didn't know you existed! Praise God! Out with the old and in with the older! We've been in this same tributary with you for the past 15 years but this is the first "voice" I've seen to come out of Baptists.
Please send 20 copies of the special issue with subscription forms for our church families.
I. S., a medical doctor and pastor