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Thoughts and Meditations

March 2007 Archive

Personal comments made by David F. Reagan unless otherwise stated

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March 30, 2007

Notes on Baptist Associations – In the early 1800’s, in Baptists on the American Frontier (p.254-5), the Baptist preacher and evangelist John Taylor made these comments about Baptist associations: “Nothing is more preposterous than to imagine that a Baptist association can make a constitution for the churches, for the churches have their own constitutions before they can make an association, which is a mere creation of the churches. If a church can delegate her power into other hands, she can have no power with herself till it is restored back by those delegates. This may do for other societies, but as yet it will not do for the Baptists, for their belief is that associations can make any rules for their own government while together, and no more. 

“Perhaps it is very well that this little establishment has come into existence in the way it has, that all associations may sink into disrepute and die a natural death at once, or crumble up four churches together and die by degrees. For I do declare, ‘If associations are to have more power than mere advisory counsel, I wish them all dead at once.’… 

“I have therein had the opportunity of giving my views of a Baptist association, for which we have very little authority from the Scriptures. I also much doubt their utility in this day, for by the pride or wrath of man they are often like the synagogues of Satan… I fear that they will some day overturn the simple, easy government of the church of Christ among the Baptists, for there is now a number of the poor Baptists who incline to use them as a kind of appellate court. Their being brought into existence should be with the greatest care, the extent of their powers being understood from the beginning. And so long as they are only advisory, they can do not harm. Remove from them that role, and they are destruction at once.” Read Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:23. 

Topics: Church Independence, Associations, Fellowships, Denominations, Baptist Church Doctrine, Headship of Christ


March 29, 2007

Relentless Beat of Rock Music – “The difference between the constant, hypnotic beat of rock and its ancestral rhythms and genuine musical rhythm has been well put by the distinguished Russian composer Igor Stravinsky: ‘Rhythm doesn’t really exist [in rock], because no rhythmic proportion or relaxation exists.’ There is evidence to suggest that when the beat overrides the other elements in a song the communication level is significantly changed to one which is primarily physical and often specifically sexual. Rock musician Tom McSloy has no doubts about this: ‘To get into rock you have to give in to it, let it inside, flow with it to the point where it consumes you, and all you can feel or hear or think about is the music.’… 

“What we are saying is that the element of relentless beat and repetition in rock music increases the danger of a shallow, emotional, unthinking response, made at the wrong level and for the wrong reasons. In his book New Singer, New Song David Winter openly admits that ‘An incessant beat does erode a sense of responsibility in much the same way as alcohol does… You feel in the grip of a relentless stream of sound to which something very basic and primitive in the human nature responds.’” –from Can We Rock the Gospel (p.56-57) by John Blanchard and Dan Lucarini. Read 1Corinthians 6:12; Psalm 40:3. 

Topics: Music, Rock Music, Rhythm, Beat


Music is the Message – Dr. William J. Shafer “says, ‘Rock is communication without words, regardless of what ideology is inserted into the music.’” Professor Frank Garlock “claims, ‘The words only let you know what the music already says… The music is its own message and it can completely change the message of the words.’ What all of this is saying is that rock music is rock music, not just a plastic medium that can be bent in any direction. Even John Fischer, who believes that music is neutral, admits, ‘Some art forms have been created to express certain philosophies and are so wedded to those philosophies that they convey that kind of outlook.’ Even more significantly he adds, ‘We can’t assume that we simply plug in a Christian message and everything will be okay.’ 

“Surely it is not difficult to relate this to today’s Christian rock scene? Richard Taylor sums up the fatal flaw in the argument that Christian rock is somehow different: ‘We cannot change the basic effect of certain kinds of rhythm and beat simply be attaching to them a few religious or semi-religious words. The beat will still get through to the blood of the participants and the listeners. Words are timid things. Decibels and beat are bold things, which can so easily bury the words under an avalanche of sound.’” –from Can We Rock the Gospel? (p.210-211) by John Blanchard and Dan Lucarini. Read Ezekiel 28:13-15.  

Topics: Music, Rock Music, Rhythm, Beat.


March 28, 2007

Boston Baptists and Their First Church Building – The First Baptist Church of Boston, Massachusetts, struggled under persecution from the ruling religious establishment for years. Sometime after 1675, they quietly began to build their first church building. “This building was so plain that it did not attract the attention of the Boston authorities until it was completed and the church began to use it for worship on February 15, 1679. In May the General Court passed a law forbidding the use of a house for public worship without the consent of the court or a town meeting on forfeiture of the house and land. Because of this, the Baptists stopped using their own church edifice until King Charles II required the authorities to allow liberty of conscience to all Protestants. 

“With this approval, the Baptists went back to using their building again. In spite of the king’s permission, the Court charged them with a crime and on March 8, 1680, ordered the marshal to nail the doors closed, which he did, posting the following notice on the door: ‘All persons are to take notice that, by order of the Court, the doors of this house are shut up, and that they are inhibited to hold any meetings therein, or to open the doors thereof, without license from authority, till the Court take further order, as they will answer the contrary to their peril. Edward Rawson, Secretary.’

“The Baptists quietly petitioned the Court in May asking simply for the right to meet in their own building, but the Court continued to prohibit them as a society by themselves, or joined with others, to meet in that public place they have built, or any public place except such as are allowed by lawful authority. The next Sunday the members of the church held public services in the yard. That week they prepared a shed for use on the next Sunday, but when they came to their property, they found the doors open! Never stopping to ask whether the marshal had opened them or the angel, which threw open the iron gate for Peter, they went in boldly and held their services in their own building. For nearly 70 years this was the only Baptist church in Boston. Since that day, there has always been a great door and effectual opened to Boston Baptists.” –from This Day in Baptist History III (p.94-95) by David L. Cummins. Read Ezra 6:7; 9:8. 

Topics: Baptists, Freedom of Worship, Boston


March 27, 2007

Hypnotized by Rock Music – “Mickey Hart, formerly of the Grateful Dead, has made the study of drumming his life’s work. In his book Drumming at the Edge of Magic he explores the impact of drumming on people’s spiritual lives and writes: ‘Drumming is made for trance and for ecstatic states. The basis of percussion is redundancy and redundancy is the basis of trance.’ 

“Professor William Shafer, a non-Christian sociologist, says, ‘What is undeniable about rock is its hypnotic power. It has gripped millions of young people around the world and transformed their lives.’ Dr. Granville Knight agrees: ‘There is no question in my mind about the hypnotic effect of these songs.’ So does Dr. W. J. Bryan: ‘Children are being hypnotized without their knowledge, and that is the really insidious part about these records. The more often the hypnotism is repeated the higher the susceptibility of the subject.’

“In the course of his specialized study on hypnosis, Andrew Salter indicated that rock music is an ideal vehicle for individual or mass hypnosis. Even more telling is this statement by the late Jimi Hendrix, one of the most dynamic and influential superstars in rock music history: ‘Atmospheres are going to come through music, because music is a spiritual thing of its own. You can hypnotize people with the music and when you get them at their weakest point you can preach into the sub-conscious what you want to say.’” –from Can We Rock the Gospel (p.54) by John Blanchard and Dan Lucarini. Read 1Corinthians 6:12; 10:23. 

Topics: Music, Rock Music, Hypnosis, Drums 

Helped by a Hypocrite – In Baptists on the American Frontier (p.357), Baptist evangelist John Taylor tells of the salvation of one named Isaac Wingate. “He coming home one evening, his wife informed him of a meeting close at hand that night and asked his company with her. After hearing who was to preach he refused, saying, ‘You know I have a bad opinion of that man. I consider him a hypocrite, and you must excuse me.’ But to accommodate his wife, he went but with the design to pay no attention, as he disliked the man. But that night the arrows of God reached his soul, so that he could not extract them till he found relief in the Lord… 

“When Wingate related his experience to the church, if weeping is a childish thing the crowded house all became children; for the most manly philosophy could not suppress tears. And poor Wingate himself was under the same tender sensations. ‘Glory, glory to that God by whose sovereign grace the loftiness of man is brought down to the dust of humility.’ The conquered sinner was baptized the next day with his wife and a number of others by the same man he once esteemed a hypocrite.” Read Daniel 4:37. 

Topics: Salvation, Hypocrites, Pride, Humility


March 26, 2007

Shortcomings of the Reformation – “In 1807 Dr. Samuel Jones, pastor of the Baptist Church in Lower Dublin, Pennsylvania, preached a Century Sermon commemorating the Centennial of the Philadelphia Baptist Association. Dr. Jones was one of the most influential Baptist ministers in the Middle Colonies, and he served as pastor of the Lower Dublin church for over fifty years until his death in 1814. In his famed message he presented a properly focused appreciation for the Reformation. He recognized the eventual blessings that came out of the Reformation, but he did not set the Reformers up as paragons of spiritual enlightenment men whom we replicate. 

“He said, ‘The reformation, which has been so much gloried in was but a poor piece of business, although it has been attended with valuable consequences. The reformers shook off the papal yoke, but in the main retained its principles and spirit. They did not establish the right of free inquiry, liberty of conscience, and the word of God as the only rule of faith and practice: but, on the other hand, opposed… a thorough reformation. They were influenced by worldly motives, connected religion with world establishments, were the abettors of tyranny and oppression, and even of the persecution by fire and the sword.’ 

“Freedom of religion in America came not through the theology of the reformation, but rather through the influence of our godly Baptist forebears. The historian, Leonard Woolsey Bacon put it this way: ‘Other sects, notably the Presbyterians, had been energetic and efficient in demanding their own liberties; the Friends and the Baptists agreed in demanding liberty of conscience and worship, and equality before the law, for all alike. But the active labor in this cause was mainly done by the Baptists. It is to their consistency and constancy in the warfare against the privileges of the powerful Standing Order of New England, and of the moribund establishments of the South, that we are chiefly indebted for the final triumph.’” –from This Day in Baptist History III (p.77-78) by David L. Cummins. Read Leviticus 25:10; Romans 14:5. 

Topics: Baptists, Samuel Jones, Liberty of Conscience, Freedom


March 23, 2007

Character over Conduct – “Many Christians are tired of serving the Lord simply for some reward they will receive in the ‘by and by.’ They find themselves living for the Lord out of duty and not out of devotion. They think, ‘If I just do right, then I will be right.’ The Bible makes clear that it is not what you ‘do’ that counts with God; it is what you ‘be’ that is important. It is character over conduct. As we get to know God, His character rubs off on us, and our conduct becomes purely an extension of what we know. ‘For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings’ (Hosea 6:6, italics added). We have been told for so long to ‘stand up for Jesus.’ However, we must first learn to ‘sit down with Jesus.’ Our standing is merely a temporary exercise if we have not learned how to sit at His feet.” –from The God You Can Know by Dan DeHaan (p.16). 

God Powerful – It is better to say, “God powerful, than say, the power of God; because his power is not distinct from his essence… This omnipotence is a peculiar right of God, wherein no creature can share with him. To be omnipotent is to be essentially God. And for a creature to be omnipotent, is for a creature to be its own Creator… Omnipotence is essentially in God; it is not distinct from the essence of God, it is his essence, omnipotent, able to do all things.” –from The Existence and Attributes of God: Volume 2 by Stephen Charnock (p.18).


March 22, 2007

Trinity of Love - “God is love (1John 4:16). Love is the deepest element of His life, the innermost fount out of which His nature eternally flows forth, the creative centre that begets all His working and ruling. But love is a trinity…

  • it always proceeds from the Lover:
  • it always moves toward the Beloved:
  • it always intertwines the two together through the common Spirit of union

But the fact that three persons of the Godhead actually correspond to these three fundamental conceptions of the idea of God, this only the revelation of the eternal God Himself can make known. The Father is the One out of Himself existing, the Son is the One to Himself attaining, and the Spirit the One in Himself moving God. The Father is the Lover, the Son the Beloved, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Love.” –from The Dawn of World Redemption by Erich Sauer (p.19). 

Satan’s Attacks on Prayers of Faith - “Satan’s tactics seem to be as follows. He will first of all oppose our breaking through to the place of a real, living faith, by all means in his power. He detests the prayer of faith, for it is an authoritative ‘notice to quit.’ He does not so much mind rambling, carnal prayers, for they do not hurt him much. This is why it is so difficult to attain to a definite faith in God for a definite object. We often have to strive and wrestle in prayer (Ephesians 6:10) before we attain this quiet, restful faith. And until we break right through and join hands with God we have not attained to real faith at all. Faith is a gift of God (Romans 12:9); if we stop short of it we are using mere fleshly energy or will-power, weapons of no value in this warfare. However, once we attain to a real faith, all the forces of hell are impotent to annul it. What then? They retire and muster their forces on this plot of ground which God has pledged Himself to give us, and contest every inch of it. The real battle begins when the prayer of faith has been offered. But, praise the Lord! We are on the winning side.” –from Behind the Ranges by Mrs. Howard Taylor (p.114).




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