I am a Baptist! I am Baptist by Conviction! I am not ashamed to be a Baptist by conviction, and I hope you are not ashamed to be a Baptist either.
I have been a faithful member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio and I, like you am still in the process of becoming the saint that Christ intends for me to become. “Why…” one may ask, “…is being a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church noteworthy?” The answer to that question puts this entire series into perspective, a layman's perspective.
Shortly after I was saved (late in 1983) I began to read and study, among a plethora of other things the “statement of faith” of many, many churches within my vicinity and a few out of my surrounding area. I wanted to obey God, to be baptized and become a member of a local body of believers with the same convictions of spirit and resolve of purpose. I didn’t know it at the time, but when I read the statement of faith of Emmanuel Baptist Church of Toledo, Ohio.... I did not have to look any further. I truly am a Baptist by conviction not by the convenience of birth or because it was the way I was raised (I think it would have been great to be raised in a Baptist home).
I, like everyone who becomes a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church, went through the new members classes. The class I went through was conducted by the pastor, the late Dr. Earnest Pickering. I began to rapidly build my personal library based on the “recommended books” from that class. I discovered that I was a reader; I read every single article of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches and studied them out as well, asking, “What does the Bible say?” Yes, I have read every single one of them! I have read and reread “Portrait of Obedience” and “Biblical Separation”. If you have not read these books shame on you. ;-) The good news is, there is still hope for you to become a person of substance… you can go get them (at the churches library, the Christian book store, or from Regular Baptist Press) and read them, you will be glad you did. I am confident that you will gain a greater appreciation for the Baptist heritage, the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, and learn more about true Fundamentalism.
I was born in 1960. I was born again December 15, 1983. I was raised in and therefore, formerly a member of a liberal Presbyterian Church (USA), and served on the education committee until I was convicted in my spirit that staying in that church was disingenuous on my part. I began a search for a church that still believed that the Bible was God's Word and followed Scripture faithfully. While I was in pursuit of a Bible believing church I maintained my membership at the liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) fulfilling my obligations of teaching the youth group (7-9 grades). I was also a consistent evening visitor at a charismatic Church of God. Furthermore, I was also a consistent Wednesday evening Bible study participant at a vibrant conservative Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ). I became a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church on March 3, 1985 and that with a whole hearted attitude about the fellowship there.
What about you my friend are you searching for a good church? That’s good; you should know I recommend Bible believing Baptist Churches. If possible try to find a GARBC church. If you live in the greater Toledo, Ohio area I highly recommend Emmanuel Baptist Church.
Having said all this, you need to know that no church can save you, not even a good church. Emmanuel Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio can not save anyone, as good as it is. The only hope is Jesus Christ. Not a church, but a Person, a divine Person; the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again.
Jesus alone can and will save you if you will believe in Him to do so, and He will give you eternal life.
Perhaps you are saved, you know heaven will one day be your home because of the grace of God, but you have not been scripturally baptized in obedience to your Lord. You need to make arrangements to have that done.
It is conceivable that the Lord is calling you right now to serve Him as a teacher, a pastor, a teen leader, a nursery school worker, or one of the other various positions in your church that is lacking. This is a call to prepare as well. God uses those who are well trained and thoroughly equipped.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:11-13)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures… (1Corinthians 15:3-4)
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:41-42)
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. (Romans 12:11-13)
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2Timothy 3:16-17)
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