“Pay Attention to the Little Lady at
Whitefield’s Tomb.” by James Beller
posted in July of 2001 on Garbage Truck
We hear once again of a Baptist Church changing their name to something other than Baptist. A few months back we were told that the Temple Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan–the church made great under the pastoral care of Dr. J. Frank Norris and Dr. Beauchamp Vick had changed from “Baptist” to “Community”.
In this season in which we celebrate our nation’s independence and the tenants of liberty, we cannot help but remember our Baptist heritage that brought us the “Land of the Free” and “the Home of the Brave”. It must be ignorance or convenience that is causing former Baptist churches (led by their mini-sters) to become, well…”nothings”.
May I ask you a question? “Is there were some some special virtue in calling yourself something other than what you really are?”
I will tell you a spooky little story.
When we were in New England in May of 2001, we did research in Boston, Massachusetts at the Harvard and the Boston Public Libraries. That situation put us close to Newburyport, Massachusetts and of course, close to the burial place of George Whitefield. No Bible believer should ever miss a chance to visit Whitefield’s tomb, so we drove about 40 minutes north of Boston and gained access to the tomb by Brother Hardy, the gracious Presbyterian pastor of the Old South Presbyterian Church.
There was a layperson who greeted us at the church who was a lifetime member of the Old South Presbyterian church and proud of the fact that the great Whitefield was buried there. She showed us around. She told us she was concerned for her church and did not want it to fail–she was pinning her hopes on the new pastor. As we were leaving we thanked her. Then I told her I was a Baptist pastor who was doing research on Baptist history. This little lady then said,
“We have had some Baptist churches in Newburyport in my lifetime, but you know, they have all changed their names.” “Yeah,” she said, “they’ve changed to ‘fellowship’ or ‘community center’ or something like that–it’s…strange.”
Amen to the little Presbyterian lady from Newburyport.