Jacob Creath, Jr.: Willing to Be Ruined

Jacob Creath, Jr. (1799-1886) was one of many preachers in the nineteenth century who began to question the commonly held doctrines among the denominations of which they were a part. Creath had been associated with the Baptists. In 1826, he received a letter of commendation from the Baptist Church in Great Crossings, Scott County, Kentucky in which he was called a “beloved brother,” a “faithful minister,” and one who “earnestly and zealously contends for ‘the faith once delivered to the saints’” (Memoir of Jacob Creath, Jr., p. 24-25). However, in 1829, Creath received another letter from this same congregation, requesting that he address reports of the “heresy” that he was preaching.

“DEAR BROTHER — I send you the request of the greatest portion of the Crossing Church. Their desire is, that you will give your views of man as a sinner, and how the change takes place, so as to constitute him born again. Or, in our familiar way, as Baptists, we want your views of experimental religion; how a sinner is brought from a state of enmity against the Saviour to be a lover and worshiper of Him.

“This request has grown partly from reports, and partly from a number of brethren, who have heard you preach since your return from the South, conceiving that you had abandoned your old mode and views of preaching, under which their hearts were many times gladdened, and have sat under your ministry with great delight; and we would ask our divine Master to grant you his Spirit, that you may rightly divide the word of truth, giving saint and sinner ‘his portion in due season.’” (Ibid., p. 29)

When Creath’s uncle, Jacob Creath, Sr., heard of the letter, he paid a visit to discuss it and see how the younger Creath intended to respond. Both men were connected to the Baptist Association at that time; and while Creath’s uncle agreed with him on this matter, he wanted to be more cautious in dealing with the issue. When he heard what his nephew planned to reply, the elder Creath said “it would ruin our cause.” The younger Creath answered, “What I had said was true; and if truth ruined us, I was willing to be ruined” (Ibid., p. 30).Continue Reading

Faith, Assumptions, and Matters of Chance

Mayfield, Kentucky tornado damage

Photo by Dave Malkoff – Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Christians are people of faith. The Scriptures are very clear that it is “impossible to please [God]” without faith (Hebrews 11:6), that we cannot obey the gospel without faith (Mark 16:16), and that we are “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1). More than anyone else, we should recognize not only that God exists, but that He “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

At the same time, while God has the power to do more than we could imagine, the Scriptures also indicate that there are times when things happen as a result of chance or happenstance. The wise man wrote, “I saw again under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). When a race, battle, or some other event turns out unexpectedly, that does not necessarily mean that God was directly involved in the outcome. The wise man did not say that “the hand of God” or “the will of God” produced the unexpected result; rather, it was due to “time and chance” which God allows to happen in this life.

As I am writing this article, clean-up and recovery efforts are ongoing following a tornado that went through Bowling Green, Kentucky (and several other areas). Many homes and businesses were destroyed. Several people lost their lives and many more have been deeply impacted by losses sustained in the storm. Thankfully, our family was out of the path of the tornado. However, not far from us there were people who lost everything.

Following events like this one, it is natural to wonder why some were spared and others were not. Why did some lose all of their earthly possessions – or even their lives – while others suffered little or no damage? Was this simply a matter of chance or was it something more? As we contemplate questions like these, it is important that we understand the difference between conclusions that are matters of faith and ones that are simply assumptions.Continue Reading

Testifying of Christ

After the Jews began persecuting Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath (John 5:16), Jesus began discussing His equality with the Father (John 5:17-23), the future resurrection (John 5:25-29), and the proof that He was who He claimed to be (John 5:33-47). This final point was critical. Not every claim that one may make of himself is true. This is why Jesus said, “If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true” (John 5:31). He was not saying that He might make false claims. After all, He “always” did the will of the Father (John 8:29). Yet there was a difference between what Jesus claimed about Himself and what others – His enemies, in particular – claimed about Him.

How could the people know that Jesus was the Christ and not an imposter? They would need to have evidence. Jesus explained that this evidence came in the form of witness testimony that verified His claims. In this passage, He described four witnesses that testified of Him and confirmed His claim as the Christ, the Son of God. Let us notice these briefly.Continue Reading

The Fruit of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

In the passage above, Paul talked about the fruit of the Spirit. He listed several characteristics that would be included in this category. Those traits are what the fruit of the Spirit looks like.

He described this as fruit for a reason. Fruit is what grows on a tree or plant of some sort. It does not grow independently; instead, it is a natural product of the life of the plant. In the same way, these characteristics do not spring up independently in our lives; they are the natural product of the Spirit’s influence on our lives. This influence will affect our conduct as we “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16) and will impact our decisions as we are “led by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:18).Continue Reading

What Americans Believe about the Resurrection (04.01.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

With Easter Sunday being this weekend, many people are focused on the resurrection of Jesus. While “Easter” may not be in the Bible, the resurrection is a fundamental fact of the gospel. What do people believe about Jesus’ resurrection? What lessons do we learn from the resurrection? We’ll discuss this in this week’s episode.

STORY – “What Do Americans Actually Believe About the Resurrection?”

“The truthfulness of the resurrection is not as controversial today as many Christians may assume. The bigger issue, however, may be helping Americans recognize the relevance of Jesus rising from the dead.

“Two-thirds of American adults (66%) say they believe the biblical accounts of the physical resurrection of Jesus are completely accurate, according to the 2020 State of Theology from Lifeway Research. One in 5 (20%) disagree, and 14% are not sure.”

“One group that is more likely to deny the resurrection is the next generation. A majority of 18- to 34-year-olds (59%) say they don’t believe the biblical accounts of Jesus bodily resurrection.” (Lifeway Research)

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Faith, Hope, Love

1 Corinthians 13:13

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

This is a familiar and favorite Bible verse for many people. Yet do we understand what it means? This is an important verse, but we need to consider it in its context so that we can learn the lessons we ought to take from it. So let us consider this passage and see how we should understand it.Continue Reading

Thankful (Part 4): Thankful for Our Hope

Thankful

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:52-57).

In Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, he spent the entire fifteenth chapter discussing the resurrection. The resurrection is the reason why our hope as Christians is better than anything for which others may hope. No matter what happens in this life – even when we face difficult situations, including the eventual end in death – our hope remains as long as we continue to faithfully serve the Lord.Continue Reading