Life Happens – And We Grow From It

If any of you remember, a few years back, I was in the process of becoming a part of a church by the name of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Temple Hills. The pastor, Eric Redmond, was (and still is) Reformed. He was moving the church toward the use of Elders for rule rather than Deacons. He was making sure the Elders had a good hold on Scripture and that they are maturing (even if not yet matured). I had decided this was the place to settle down in for the long run.

But before the change-over to Elders could be completed, the church was severely damaged as a result of a coup on the part of the part of several very treacherous, very carnal Deacons. They convinced the church to fire Eric. A large number of the congregation decided they needed to worship somewhere else. The church is still looking for a new pastor.

Fast forward a couple of years. Now I’m sitting at Reformation Alive Baptist Church, a REFORMED church that is also a Baptist church. The pastor? Eric Redmond. The government? Elders. We have three of them. So again I settle down, determined to let this be the place where I can contribute to the edification of the saints. Yeah, we rent space from the Lutherans. And yes, we meet in the great hall. But we were pursuing what I would rate as Biblical Christianity, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. And we teach and preach the Doctrines of Grace, without apology.

Then Washington Bible College (our pastor’s full time employer) ran into a good many financial difficulties that called for some quick and decisive actions on the part of management. Unfortunately, management rarely moves quickly or decisively, even at a Bible college. As the financial troubles increased, his pay was impacted, significantly. As his pay was impacted, his ability to support his family was impacted. In fact, it finally got to the point he has to step down as pastor/elder and take a job with another church (on staff, not as a pastor). As a result, Eric is will be gone on June 24th. Interestingly though, when we met last Saturday to ask what questions we wanted of him and the new pastor (more on that later), most of the questions were about where he was going, what the doctrine is, the environment and concern that he would compromise.

And did I mention that one of the other Elders (he doesn’t want me to mention his name – I think my site kind of embarrasses him) is likely to move on as well? That leaves one elder.

However, unlike the last place, this “break-up” isn’t the result of renegade band of deacons or spiritually numbed parishioners. It’s simply the result of life happening.

Despite the fact that everything just got a little more difficult, I have no intention of leaving. Instead, I am determined to support the new pastor (who was already serving as one of the elders and who preaches occasionally), Billy Wommack (with 2 m’s), and to do whatever else I can to contribute to the well-being and edification of the saints there at Reformation Alive Baptist Church.

And did I mention that the place is 22 miles from my house?

No one ever said life is intended to be easy (Thank you very much Adam). And certainly no one who has a clue would claim that following Christ is a cakewalk. So let’s see how things work out for RABC, the elder(s) and the congregation. This is going to be an outstanding opportunity to grow in Christ. Let’s see what we do with it.

Any of you readers want to step up to the challenge? We’re in Temple Hill. Just do a search for Reformation Alive Baptist Church and you’ll get all the information about us.

8 Responses to “Life Happens – And We Grow From It”

  1. TONEE Says:

    An on-going struggle in the black churches,Congregations breaking up and being put back together again in several places and pieces. I pray that the full body of Christ will be made whole and can move from the way of doctrinal differences and politics to being made spiritually filled and enpowered for service in the community where it belongs!

    (MN: so Tonnee, do you understand that you just listed off a bunch of doctrine, right? You still seem like one of those people who like religion but can’t stand a strong Bible-based Christianity. )

  2. Eric Redmond Says:

    Oh, and did he mention that the three current elders nominated Melvin Jones as an elder, to be effective July 1, 2012, if the church affirms him on June 10? We are trying to keep the Gospel primary, not personalities. The Lord has been kind to us. If you are looking for a church striving to love God with all of its heart, mind, soul, and strength, love their neighbors as they love themselves, proclaim the Gospel with boldness, build up believers in love, and live, proclaim, and defend sound Biblical teaching, I invite you to become part of what God is doing at Reformation Alive Baptist Church.

  3. Guest Says:

    Just curious: was there ever an option for the church to place the pastor on some kind of salary, even temporarily? If so or not, why or why not?

    (MN: We do pay him a salary. However, now that the bible college has become unstable, we are not able to replace the lost income, and he was unwilling to ask us for an increase in salary. )

  4. Trey Harris Says:

    Tough stuff Melvin. God is sovereign, and He promised that He would build His church.

    Though I don’t personally know you, by your testimony and contention for the Truth of God, I count you as a true brother in the faith, one that contends for the Biblical Jesus, not the one that is more of a “Jesus in a bottle,” which sadly pervades our western society today.

    I hope (in some way) to encourage you and the local congregation you’re a part of, being fully aware of the challenges that orthodox believers face today in America.

    Also, forgive me for not citing passages of Scripture specifically with verse and chapter numbers. I know this is an important piece for us that contend for biblical Christianity. In short, sometimes I’m lazy.

    (MN: Your not quoting Scripture is not a problem. I know the references that support what you are saying. And believe me, you have encouraged me. It’s always good to hear back from some people who indicate they do actually understand. I would hate to think I am simply shouting into the darkness. Thanks for the very real encouragement. )

    Tonee, unity for unity’s sake is not necessarily Christ exalting. I believe the Tower of Babel paints that point well. If that example does not fit, read the WHOLE book of Judges, and then pay special attention to the very last verse of the book. Israel was united in thinking, but there was no exaltation of YHWH to go with it. Just so I’m clear, that’s Judges 21:25.

  5. Bro Nate Says:

    Interesting story, this is unfortunate. God is good and he’s in control. I don’t know Eric Redmond, never met him but I know his name from reading a book he authored. My prayer goes out to him and those churches.

  6. blacktheologian Says:

    Hey Melvin:

    After reading this information, I wanted you to know that if you guys ever need someone to step in to teach for a Sunday, I would be more than willing to do so. All you would need to do is to give me at least 2-3 weeks notice and I could come at absolutely no charge to your growing church. I believe in helping and being an instrument for God’s glory. My own congregation takes very good care of me, so I don’t need anything.

    Sincerely Yours,

    BT

  7. Pamela Redmond Says:

    Hi Melvin! I was feeling a little discouraged today, and somehow a google search led me to re-read this post, which is really a history summary of our life for the past few years. God ideed never promised a cakewalk! Thank you for that reminder I needed today. Please continue to keep us in prayer, as I do pray for Ref Alive’s continued growth and success.

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