No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: baptist

Beginning a Legacy…


“This is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down…” This is probably the only time you’ll ever see “The Fresh Prince” (a.k.a. Will Smith) quoted in this blog, but a little over 3 ½ years ago that’s exactly what happened. Robert has written in the blog about this event on several occasions – it was the time he and I were both laid-off from our long-standing jobs in downtown Kansas City. That time was one of those defining moments in both of our lives… For Robert, it marked the beginning of a time of unprecedented spiritual growth in his life – and he’s still growing. For me, it was God indicating that it was time for me to dive in to full-time pastoral ministry and He very quickly blessed me with a wonderful ministry as the youth pastor at Heaston Church in El Reno, Oklahoma… Looking back, I remember thinking, “Wow! This is an amazing journey that God is taking Robert on”, but thinking that He had sent me to a destination rather than on a journey. I was SO wrong!

I loved Heaston Church, El Reno, and pretty much the whole state of Oklahoma; I still do… Being called to Heaston was such a blessing and very much a homecoming to me and I believed with all my heart that it was very likely we’d be there until I retired. You see, the senior pastor there was planning on retiring in a few years and I thought that it would be awesome to prove myself to the elder board and the pastor as the youth pastor, finish my seminary and then be named as the successor. My wife and kids LOVED El Reno… Andrea had a job she cherished and was running the local MOPS ministry. Church was great. Sure, there were some ministry ups and downs, but there always are. We were settled – comfortable. But I’ve come to realize that God HATES comfortable and He couldn’t let us stay that way… He was about to turn up the heat.

I’m not sure how to describe the transformation that started to take place in my heart… and it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific catalyst because there were several… I guess the first spark was that I started realizing that while I knew I’ve been called to pastoral ministry for the rest of my life, I definitely wasn’t called to be a youth pastor for the same duration! My seminary classes were also stirring in me a passion for seeing God’s Kingdom built, but also stoking dissatisfaction with how this is only marginally attempted by many churches.

All this caused me to start asking the question: “what’s next”… I posed that question to one of my mentors, Michael Porter, who suggested we face to face the next time I was back in Kansas City so that we could talk through it. So, when I was back in KC for Christmas 2010, Andrea and I had breakfast with him and his wife. I expected a lot of back and forth and some kind of fatherly advice from him… I got no such thing… Michael had founded Fellowship of Grace in the Kansas City Northland in 2006 – and he is PASSIONATE about church planting. So instead of the types of advice I was expecting, all I got was the gentle suggestion that I should consider church planting when I decided God was done with me in youth ministry.

I don’t remember if I laughed in his face out loud or not… but I definitely did at least on the inside! Andrea just looked at him dumbfounded and said: “There are already so many churches… why would we need another one?” That is absolutely the wrong question to ask Michael if you are hoping for a short or easy-going conversation with him. He shared with us the fact that there were so many people who do not know Jesus in the KC Northland and that the population keeps skyrocketing, but the number of churches has remained stagnant and church attendance in many faltering… In other words, we are losing the battle for God’s Kingdom… But that more people come to Christ exponentially quicker through new churches than they do through established ones. I could tell he was broken hearted over it – something had changed in my heart too… In retrospect, I believe that I walked away from that breakfast knowing deep down that someday I was going to be involved in a church plant, somehow, someway… but not yet (or so I thought).

From that day I began thinking and praying about church planting consistently… in actuality it became a full-time obsession for me… I thought about it several times a day, every day, for hours at a time. The classes I was taking in seminary only fueled the fire more and more! I became massively discontented with how many established churches naturally become more and more inwardly focused, lose their passion to reach people who are far from God and therefore become less and less effective at fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) – don’t get me wrong… this is not a blanket statement saying ALL established churches are poor at reaching people for Jesus, but if they are going to be successful at it, they will have to fight the natural tendency to focus inwardly. I knew that I didn’t want to spin my wheels trying to fight to get a church to bust out of a rut that had been established for who knows how long – that kind of change tends to step on a lot of toes and I don’t naturally gravitate toward the type of confrontation that would require… I realized God shaped me more to begin something new. We kept praying and keeping in touch with Michael, who did a lot of listening and questioning without pushing…

God was working on Andrea too… and by mid-summer we were both on the same page – God was definitely calling us to plant a church… sometime… somewhere… but we didn’t have a clue where or when. We weren’t sure if He wanted me to first pastor somewhere at an established church to “get my feet wet”… All along I was getting more and more restless about getting going on what I sensed deeply God had called me to… But where and how? We knew nothing about planting a new church. Michael said that when we decided to make the move he’d love to help us in any way he could – including allowing me to serve in his church as a church planting intern so that he could take me under his wing and show me the ropes.

About that same time, I started getting more and more home-sick for Kansas City. We had had several opportunities to visit back there and each time it still felt homey… Remember, we still LOVED Oklahoma, but there was definitely a tugging in our hearts over Kansas City. However, we couldn’t imagine going there to plant a new work because we didn’t want to “compete” with Glenwood or Fellowship of Grace. I expressed this to Michael and he chuckled a little… He said that we ARE in a competition, not with any other church, but with everything that distracts people from connecting with God in the fellowship of a local church. Furthermore, he said he wouldn’t care if I planted a church right across the street from his church because he knew that there are people our church would reach that he wouldn’t be able to and vice versa.

It was settled… we were going to KC and we were going to intern with Michael, but we still believed that would be a few years down the road. Then, around September of 2011, Michael dropped a bomb on us… He said that he was planning on leading his church to begin being a church that planted other churches and trained pastors to be planters and… he would very much like it if God would see fit for us to be the first couple that they trained, and by the way… they’d like to get started January 1, 2012!

That rocked our world and started us in a praying frenzy… My ministry was going really well… Andrea loved her job… the kids were doing awesome in school and we had really close friends in El Reno that we didn’t want to leave… The housing market stank and the job market in Kansas City was horrible (I know several folk who have been out of work for years)… If it was going to be it was going to have to be God.

In early October, we communicated to Burge, Heaston’s pastor, that this was what God was calling us to and he was overwhelmingly supportive assuring us that the church would allow us to search for work and housing in KC while maintaining our ministries at Heaston – it didn’t take long for God to move. I found a job within a couple of weeks of looking (I actually had a choice between two jobs) and we sold our house without ever putting it on the market. We also found new housing in KC where the mortgage was over $200/month less than we were paying in Oklahoma! Also, Heaston (and several families therein) caught the vision for the need for a new church plant in Kansas City and are helping support us as domestic missionaries as we lay the ground work for a new church and get it up and running.

All of the Barnes family relocated from Oklahoma to Kansas City and attended Fellowship of Grace for the first time on January 1, 2012. We have been interning with Michael since then laying the practical and philosophical ground work necessary for the plant to be a success… But now the time has come where we are ready to go public. We are trusting God to help us establish a new church in the Kansas City Northland that focuses on ministering to families.

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To that end, we are actively seeking partners to participate in our launch in one of 4 ways: 1) Prayer support; 2) Financial support; 3) Joining the Launch Team; 4) Joining as a short-term missionary… Please check us out at www.LegacyChurchKC.org and contact us at https://www.facebook.com/#!/legacychurchkc to hear our vision for reaching Kansas City for Jesus!

Baptist Church in Mississippi…


Folks, this comes right out of the…”what were they thinking” file.  A church in Jackson, Mississippi told a couple that they could not marry in their church because…hold your breath folks….they were black.  I wish I could say that I was kidding.  I wish that this was some sarcastic play on modern times and politics, but alas…it is not.  This is a true story.  Here is a quick rundown of the story.

Charles Wilson and Te’Andrea were set to be married in the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs.  Shortly after the rehearsal, Rev. Stan Weatherford moved the wedding to another sanctuary.  The reason that it was moved is that a small group within the church did not want the couple to marry there because of their race.

According to the Reverend the venue was changed to avoid conflict within the church.  Additionally, Rev. Weatherford indicated to the Wilson’s that the congregation would fire him if he married them at his church.  The Pastor did not confirm or deny this accusation.

My Pastor warns of not jumping to conclusions and to be weary where only one side of the story is told.  However there are 4 sides to this story.

Side 1 – The Wilsons – They were scheduled to be wedded in the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs.  They were asked to change venues one or two days prior to the wedding by the Reverend of the Church.

Side 2 – Reverend Stan Weatherford – Asked the Wilsons to change venues of the wedding.  He does not say the reason for the change. However, he does state that he was trying to maintain the peace in the church and to avoid conflict with the church.

Side 3 – the Elect few – These are the people that asked or told the Reverend to change the venue.

Side 4 – The Congregation – These are the people who found out that something happened through the news.

The odd thing here is that there is no denial from the Church that race played a role in the change of venue.  Instead we get a hindsight is 20/20 statement from the Reverend.

We also have the Mississippi Baptist Convention praying for the church, and allowing the church to work through difficulties and disagreements of the church while making a statement that they reject racial discrimination.

I have no idea what really happened, but where there is smoke, there is fire, and gang there is a lot of smoke here.  Now, we have national headlines about the Southern Baptist Convention being racists.

Baptists have a severe perception battle they are fighting on numerous fronts.  I can attest to this first hand that people cringe when they hear the word Baptist.  MANY will choose not to go to a great church simply because of the word BAPTIST!  Which is a shame.    I would be willing to bet that 90%-95% of the Baptist churches are God fearing bible believing churches.  Every belief system has it’s extreme weirdo’s, Christianity is no exception.

The Church leadership seems to have forgotten that they are representative of Christ on earth!  As a result, their actions directly reflect on Christ.  Instead of putting Christ first they put their own personal hatred and ignorance ahead of the word of God.  There is not one thing that is biblical about racism.

What is also pitiful here is that (assuming this is what happened) a Reverend WILLINGLY did something grossly wrong to protect his job and keep the peace.  Rather than honoring the word of God he feared the condemnation of man.

All I can do is shake my head at this non-sense and pray that there is some side of this that is missing.  That all of this is somehow wrong.  However…I don’t think that will be the case.

Have tongues ceased? The debate…closing arguments


Robert – If we were to look at the most basic argument against tongues and prophecy not existing today it would come down to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10.  It is here that Paul says they will cease:   “8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”  So then the question becomes, when, and has perfection come?  Kevin has offered two points here.  He states that because tongues is not mentioned in the Epistles after 1 Corinthians that tongues ceased then.  Then he suggested that perhaps the perfection that is mentioned is the canonized Bible.  If we take both of those statements at face value, then there is a time contradiction.  It has to be either or, and cannot be both. 

There is another point that I have to make here because Kevin has eluded to it on several occasions.  The Bible is clear as to how these gifts are to be used.  Tongues/ Prophesy have abusers just as does many aspects of the Bible.  That fact cannot support the argument against tongues and prophecy.  If you were to base any argument based on that rule, then you would have to eliminate several portions of the Bible. 

History has shown that God can move in a number of ways.  Historically, we have to remember the shock waves that were sent by Martin Luther and John Calvin during the reformation.  They were labeled heretics, not true to doctrine. Similar to today, there are those who would deny any reformation or revival because it does not fit into their world view.  A play that would be and possibly is similar to the response of the Catholic Church during the reformation.  If it was possible then, why is it so impossible now?

Kevin – In total, my impression of Robert’s argumentation reminds me of the old adage “where there’s smoke there’s fire”. We all know that’s not true. It’s like Robert’s saying: Smoke doesn’t necessarily mean a current fire… Maybe the fire was put out… nor does a fire truck roaring by – there could be an accident. But when you see a fire truck roaring by, then you look to the horizon and see smoke and then as you get closer to the smoke you feel heat most reasonable people would say that there is most likely a fire… What’s most reasonable?

1 Corinthians 13 doesn’t say when tongues will cease… so, I guess, they could maybe still be current. Silence in scripture about sign gifts for the most part doesn’t necessarily  mean that 1 Corinthians 13 has been fulfilled… Sign gifts disappearing almost completely off the scene historically from after the apostolic era until about 100 years ago (except in rare and dubious circumstances) isn’t an air-tight case against the biblical validity of their current manifestation – maybe God had no use for them then (why does He need them now?)… But, when you take all these into account… Where there’s fire trucks, and smoke and intense heat… What’s more reasonable… Fire or maybe no fire?

Look… If Robert’s point is to argue that God CAN assign the sign gifts to Christians in the modern era, I will concede the debate – God CAN do anything He wants. However, if he is trying to talk about what happens currently then the history of how this doctrine came to be debated in modern times needs to be examined. Now, to be fair, Robert has divorced himself from groups who have propagated sign gifts in a way that is inconsistent with 1 Corinthians 14. The problem is that the modern practice of tongues and “prophetic words” had resurgence and kept momentum due in large part to groups and theologians who, by and large,  do not conform to biblical mandates regarding how they should be used (see 1 Corinthians 14) and/or make them an additional requirement for salvation (a notation that is clearly unbiblical). Again, this IS NOT Robert’s position, however the modern manifestation of sign gifts are, to use a law term, fruit from the poison tree. This wouldn’t even be an issue had the current manifestations not happened.  

In looking at the whole picture to determine our present circumstances, one must examine Scripture (1 Corinthians 13:8-10, among others); look at the silence in the scriptures about this issue after Paul said that they would stop; look at the historical use of spiritual gifts in total; look at the history of the use of these gifts in light of 1 Corinthians 14 and then ask themselves: What’s more reasonable and logical? That the sign gifts took an 1800+ year hiatus and are now completely valid. Has God left 1800+ years of Christians without some key revelations that He is just now revealing to these generations? Should we assume that God is erratic or inconsistent or schizophrenic since the end of the apostolic era? Or should we take 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 at face value; cling to the fact that the Bible is perfect and sufficient for instruction and prophecy; and trust that God has been consistent in the post-apostolic era? Which position is more logical and reasonable?

Overall, however, I think a focus on the “powers” of the Holy Spirit is a bit misguided. I think a better focus (especially in light of how the spiritual gifts lists interplay with the theme of love in 1 Corinthians 13) is for us to focus on the FRUIT of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-26). We should use whatever gift(s) God has given us to love one another and to strengthen the church and to point others to Jesus. Let’s do a better job of that and leave the secondary/tertiary issues alone until we get the primary stuff down cold. Let’s focus on how the Holy Spirit empowers us to live a godly life and then submit to His leadings. Robert and I have done our best to do that in our own lives and in our friendship with one another in spite of our differences on this topic.

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