William B. Johnson

William B. Johnson

“The denomination to which I have the honor to belong, holds the true fundamental principles of the gospel of Christ. These are, the sovereignty of God in the provision and application of the plan of salvation, the supreme authority of the scriptures, the right of each individual to judge for himself in his views of truth as taught in the scriptures, the independent, democratical, Christocratic form of church government, the profession of religion by conscious subjects only, and the other principles of scripture truth growing out of these or intimately connected with them.” – William B. Johnson (1846)

William B. Johnson served as the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Tom Nettles provides a brief biographical sketch of W. B. Johnson. You can also read a sermon by Johnson entitled, “A Church Of Christ,” and his larger work, “The Gospel Developed Through The Government And Order Of The Churches Of Jesus Christ.”

Sunday and the Sabbath

BF&M 1925 – XIV. The Lord’s Day

The first day of the week is the Lord’s day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, and by refraining from worldly amusements, and resting from secular employments, works of necessity and mercy only excepted.

Ex. 20:3-6; Mat. 4:10; Mat. 28:19; 1 Tim. 4:13; Col. 3:16; John 4:21; Ex. 20:8; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:1; Mat. 12:1-13.

BF&M 1963 – VIII. The Lord’s Day

The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, and by refraining from worldly amusements, and resting from secular employments, work of necessity and mercy only being excepted.

Ex. 20:8-11; Mat. 12:1-12; Mat. 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; John 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Col. 2:16; Col. 3:16; Rev. 1:10.

BF&M 2000 – VIII. The Lord’s Day

The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; Matthew 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; John 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; Colossians 3:16; Revelation 1:10.

Wilson Lumpkin

Wilson Lumpkin

The Baptist Encyclopedia: Edited by William Cathcart. (1883) pp 724-5

Lumpkin, Ex-Gov. Wilson, of Georgia was born in Pennsylvania Co., Va., Jan. 14, 1788 and died at Athens, Ga., on the 28th December, 1870, at the age of eighty-seven.

In 1786 his parents moved to Georgia, bringing with them the infant destined to fill so many conspicuous positions in the State of his adoption. At eighteen years of age his mind became awakened to the great importance of salvation, and he experienced peace through faith. Personal investigation of the Scriptures led to his adoption of Baptist views, although his parents were Methodists, and his predilections were towards the Presbyterians. In the course of time his parents, affected by his baptism, became Baptists themselves, after searching the Scriptures. Subsequently, others of the family followed the parents into the waters of baptism, and in a short period all the adult members of the family united with a Baptist church. “God made me a Baptist,” said Gov. Lumpkin to a friend, in after-life, “and I can never be anything else. I must be of this faith, if I am the only person in the world professing it,” and to the end of his long life he remained steadfast to his convictions.

Hardly had he attained his twenty-first year before he was elected a member of the Legislature of Georgia, which met in 1804, and he discharged his responsible duties so satisfactorily that he was elected for several consecutive sessions. In 1814 he was chosen to represent his district in the national councils, and took his seat at Washington the same year,-a year memorable for the destruction of the national capital by the British troops.

For several sessions Mr. Lumpkin was returned to Congress, bearing off the prize from all competitors. In 1831 he was so prominent with his party – the old Union party, as it was then termed – that he received the nomination for governor, and his election followed. Having served the State for two years, he was triumphantly re-elected in 1833. On retiring from the gubernatorial chair he received, from Gen. Jackson, an important commission in connection with Indian affairs, after the discharge of which duty he became, in 1838, a United States Senator.

He had now enjoyed all the political honors the State could bestow, and being nearly threescore years of age, he sought retirement; and, purchasing a comfortable home in the vicinity of Athens, Ga., he spent in that locality the remainder of his days. The only public service he afterwards rendered was as a member of the board of trustees of the State University, of which he was the senior member and honored president for many years.

Few men have lived in Georgia more universally popular than Gov. Lumpkin. He never failed to secure any office for which he was a candidate before the people. For forty consecutive years he was retained in positions of high trust and honor, and for a much longer period, if we include his service as trustee of the State University. His popularity was due, in a good degree, to his unswerving fidelity to the trusts he had received. If not a bold and dashing leader, he was a prudent officer, and the people felt that the public interests were safe in his hands. He was always ready to serve his friends at any reasonable sacrifice, whilst towards his political opponents he deported himself with so much courtesy that he was constantly disarming their opposition and winning them to his support.

He was endowed by nature with an active and inquiring mind. He early learned to think for himself, and by this process his fine intellectual gifts were drawn out or educated. There were few subjects of importance connected with the science of government which had not been carefully examined by him, and his opinions were promptly forthcoming whenever required. His official papers while governor, and his speeches while a member of Congress, are able and statesmanlike, evincing a thorough knowledge of the subjects discussed; and they are written with the perspicuity and good sense characteristic of a man who has something to say and is intent only in lodging his meaning in the minds of those whom he addresses.

But it was the elevated moral and religious character dignifying and adorning the life of Gov. Lumpkin which constituted his highest excellence. He was a Christian statesman, not indifferent to the approbation of his fellow-men, but far more anxious for the honor which comes from above. With some honorable exceptions, politicians make poor church members; but Gov. Lumpkin never furled his religious colors for fear it might lose him the votes of those who were of a different religious faith. Whether at his country home, where he first professed faith in Christ, or at Milledgeville, or in Washington City, or Athens, he always took his stand for Christ, identifying himself with his Baptist brethren, however obscure they might be. Assuming nothing on account of the high honors he had received from the State, he took his place among the humblest members of the church, ever counting it a privilege to be even a door-keeper in the house of God. When the work of the Lord was revived, no one rejoiced more than he; and it was a touching sight to see him exhorting the youthful converts to be faithful to their vows, when they presented themselves for church-membership. His silvery locks and tearful eye and tremulous voice emphasized his pious advice with a power and pathos which subdued every heart.

He courted the confidence of his brethren more than the praises of politicians. Late in life he attended a meeting of the Sarepta Association, and, quite unexpectedly to himself, was elected moderator. His heart was touched by the respect thus expressed, and he subsequently remarked that no office which worldly men had conferred ever gave him such pleasure as the confidence thus exhibited by his brethren in calling him to preside over their deliberations. He was a man of great faith and large heart, and with a nature as tender and sensitive as a woman’s. Afflictions severe and frequent kept his heart soft. ” He had,” said one who knew him most intimately, “as much real, heart-breaking, continued trouble as any one I have ever known, yet such was his faith in God that he could rejoice at all times.” He was accustomed to say, “I would rather walk in the dark with God than go alone in the light. My dear Lord appoints all my troubles, and I brush away the coming tears when I think that it is his will.”

At the time of his death he was probably the oldest Baptist, as he was certainly among the oldest citizens, of the State. He served his generation faithfully, by the will of God, and then fell asleep,- that ” blessed sleep, From which none ever wakes to weep.”

Jesus of Nazareth – by Broadus

John A. Broadus stands tall in Southern Baptist history. He helped found the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, served as its second president, and taught there for thirty-six years. His work, On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, still serves seminary students as a classic in the field of homiletics. I recently placed one of his lesser known works online. He presented a series of lectures entitled “Jesus of Nazareth” at Johns Hopkins University in March of 1890.

Gospel Tract: Who is Jesus?

Matthew Hall asks about the usefulness of gospel tracts. I believe that good literature can serve as wonderful evangelistic tools. Unfortunately, most tracts that I’ve encountered have very weak or faulty theology and could do more harm than good. They leave the reader either confused or with a false sense of security. I wish I would have saved a tract someone handed me in a crowd a few months ago. It contained a few passages of scripture that didn’t have any discernable connection to one another, a few cheesy religious clip art images, and of course the obligatory “sinners prayer.” Even I had a hard time de scrambling the intended message. I’m sure the folks handing them out meant well, but I don’t know how effective the small slips of paper were in the hands of the uninitiated.

For some time I’ve said I should write a tract of my own. I recently heard of a church who encourages all of their church members to write up their personal testimony, describing how God worked in their lives to bring them to Himself. The church then professionally prints the text for distribution in their community. I think that’s a wonderful idea.

Recently I have been using a tract published by Grace to You. It comes as a 10 page booklet, a little smaller than a CD case insert. The front cover pictures an eye catching Stop sign with the words, “Who do you think I am?” Enough space on the back allows you to add a sticker for your own ministry. You can read the text for yourself below.

stop sign

Who do you think that I am?” With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.


Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well. Consider what the Bible says about Him


While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

road closed

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!


God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”


keep right

Our failure to obey God–to be holy–places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.”

According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

All Violaters Will Be Prosecuted

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

This Way Out

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).


Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison–thinking it’s medicine–all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

One Way

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God–then and forever.


Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.


Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection–the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.


Danger Ahead

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”


No Parking

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you–free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Sane Aggressive Doctrinal Evangelism

Wiliam Wistar Hamilton served as General Evangelist with the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1909 he published a collection of articles by various Southern Baptists under the title “Sane Evangelism.” Contributors included George W. Truitt, L. R. Scarborough, B. H. Carroll,, E. C. Dargan, and others. Lord willing, I will place the public domain text online in the future, but I wanted to share the following quote where Hamilton begins to explain what he means by “sane evangelism.” He urged his readers to build their aggressive evangelistic efforts on a firm doctrinal foundation and to center their message on the cross.

In our Southern States among the different churches there has been a denominational movement set on foot. This question was brought to our Convention some three years ago, and again the next year, and then at the Convention in Chattanooga May, 1906, the movement was definitely launched, and in September last it was my privilege to begin the work. Now then, as I understand the temper of our people, and as I understand the movement, I want to present to you what I consider their idea of what a sane aggressive evangelism is.

First of all, it must have a correct doctrinal basis. We cannot build an evangelistic house that will be any good on a foundation of sand. It must have a correct doctrinal foundation. The great doctrines as to God himself, as to the Bible, as to sin, as to hell, as to the atonement, as to the cross, as to heaven — the great doctrines of the word of God must stand underneath if we are to build a structure that is to be of any account in the storms of life and to last through eternity. There must be a correct doctrinal basis, and when we have the correct doctrinal basis in our church and evangelism, then that which we do as evangelists and pastors, working together, will be like the house built upon the rock, but when our perspective is wrong, when like some people, we have the idea that man is well, that there is nothing the matter with him, all that he needs is to have brought to him the fact that he is well, let him believe it and he will be well; or, if we have the idea that man is sick, true, he is sick; but he isn’t very sick, not much the matter with him, all he needs is a little culture or a good example to follow; if we have that idea our work will fail.

On the other hand, if we believe that man is dead in trespasses and sin, then something supernatural is needed. If he is well, or if there is very little wrong with him, then there is no need of divine help. But if he is dead in trespasses and sin, there must be a divine power to bring him to life. When we have failed to realize the condition of man, or have gone wrong as to the responsibility of our position, we have started to build our house upon the sand.) We will be like the boy with his wagon made from the running gear of a cast-off baby-carriage, an umbrella handle for a tongue, a soap box for a wagon-bed, and for wheels, disks cut from the end of a log. As he drew it along, an onlooker was amused to see how the wagon wobbled from side to side. The boy looked back questioningly to see what was the matter, knowing that something was wrong. The onlooker saw that in making the holes in his wheels the boy had failed to strike center. And I tell you, friends, in our evangelistic work and in our pastoral work, if, on the great doctrines of the word of God, of the condition of man, of the place of our Lord and his atoning work, we fail to strike center, we will go all sorts of ways except the right way. Somebody has said that if we stay right at the cross and right at the tomb, we will never go very far wrong anywhere else. I believe that to be true.