Thw following article by Dr. Grady that appeared in the Baptist Bible Trumpet last July seemed like an appropriate commentary to accompany a recent news from Kentucky. Brother Joe Adams is a missionary chaplain to the Kentucky state government and sends the following information.
This is NOT just a Kentucky issue. This issue has been on and off of the front burner in this country since long before it was a country. Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death" was spoken at his disgust at watching a Baptist preacher beaten for preaching without the government's permission. (Of course permission would not have been granted since Baptists were not allowed in that colony.)
The fact is, our governments, federal, state and local, do not like anything they can't control. A license grants them authority to control us.
Why do government agencies want control over churches? Why do they want to pass laws to stop pastors from carrying a concealed weapon? Why do they want churches incorporated so that their records can be inspected and/or seized without notice? Why do they want to determine who can and who cannot preach through their licensure system? Because independent Christian churches are contrary to the socialistic doctrines in control of government for the past several years.
Preachers, if it harelips every bureaucratic twit in this country, STAND FIRM. STAND FREE. PREACH THE WORD.
~~ Doc Marlett
While on a recent Baptist history tour in the South, the Lord afforded me one of the more unusual speaking opportunities of my ministry. As the Holy Ghost bore witness, I preached the Word of God to over forty pastors and laymen assembled in a cow pasture! What sanctified our otherwise unorthodox sanctuary was a lone grave marker that read:
The stone went on to inform that Ireland, an “ORGANIZER OF BAPTIST CHURCHES”, was “IMPRISONED AT CULPEPER, VA. FOR PREACHING THE GOSPEL.” In the fall of 1769, Pastor James Ireland was arrested at a preaching service during his own closing prayer by two officials who seized him by the collar before he could even open his eyes. When he appeared in court to answer their charge of “preaching without proper credentials,” the quorum of eleven magistrates declared that they would have no more of his “vile, pernicious, abhorrent [sic], detestable, diabolical doctrines” as they “were nauseous [sic] to the whole court.” The convicted pastor spent his first night of confinement in a cell full of drunks. In the morning, he was informed by the avaricious jailer, a certain Mr. Steward (who was also the local tavern keeper), that any visitors he might receive would have to pay a “fee” of four shillings and eight pence. Apparently, it was going to be a long six months. Because of the immense crowds that were assembling to hear Ireland preach through the grates (the iron bars in his cell window), a number of plots were set in motion against him. A bomb was planted in his quarters, which “went off with a considerable noise,” but the preacher was miraculously spared, testifying, “I was singing a hymn at the time the explosion went off, and continued singing until I finished it.” On another occasion, his captors attempted to smother him by burning pods of Indian peppers filled with brimstone near the bottom of his cell door. Stating that the “whole jail would be filled with the killing smoke,” Ireland recounted that the threatening situation would “oblige me to go to cracks, and put my mouth to them to prevent suffocation.” A scheme between the jailer and a certain doctor to poison the preacher also met with failure. (However, three years later another attempt to poison Ireland at his home left one of his precious children dead.) Despite these many hardships, the man of God testified:
“My prison was a place in which I enjoyed much of the divine presence; a day seldom passed without some signal token and manifestation of the divine goodness towards me, which generally led me to subscribe my letters, to whom I wrote them, in these words, ‘From my Palace in Culpeper‘.” [Kind of reminds you of Benny Hinn, doesn’t it?]
At times, this divine presence was manifested through an unmistakable act of vengeance upon Ireland’s tormentors. With reference to the miscreant who traveled twelve miles to retrieve the gunpowder for the failed bombing attempt, he wrote: “He with other two men, went to the back woods to spend some time hunting. As the three lay by the fire, with their feet towards it, there came up a mad wolf [sic], and although my persecutor lay in the middle, singled him out from the other two, bit him in the nose, of which bite he died in the most wretched situation of the hydrophobia, or canine madness.”
While some of his enemies were laid low, others were brought under deep conviction. After doing everything to disrupt Ireland’s services, from having horses ridden at a gallop over those in attendance, to the securing of vile persons who “made their water in his face” while he was preaching, the exasperated jailer succumbed to the kindness of his captive. Ireland relates: “He with a number of his accomplices, were at the jail window going on with their abusive language, when he applied to one of his companions for ten shillings, as he wanted some more necessaries against court for the tavern. He could not obtain that small sum from any of them, although they were generally applied to. I stepped to the window with the money in my hand, and addressed him thus, ‘Mr. Steward, I have heard you applying to your friends for ten shillings, and although unapplied to, I rest in your honesty, here it is, if you will accept of it, and at any time hereafter when it suits you to return it, you may do so.’ He accepted of it immediately, and struck with apparent astonishment and confusion, he made a kind of bow and retired. I perfectly gained him over to be my friend that instant, neither would he suffer any person to throw out a word of insult against me from that time, without his resenting it. He and his companion would repeatedly…come and visit me, at which times we often spent many hours together in friendly conversation.’”
Thank God for our glorious Baptist heritage! Are you standing for Jesus?
Dr. William P. Grady