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IBC is an integral ministry of Tri-City Baptist Church located in Tempe, Arizona International Baptist College is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Schools and Colleges
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What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
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I am nearing my ninetieth birthday. I made public my call to preach on Thanksgiving night of 1954. A few days after that I preached my first sermon in the prayer meeting service of the Black Oak Baptist Church in Gary, Indiana. Two years later, I began pastoring. I have been in full-time ministry since 1956—nearly seventy years.Because of the various ministries I have served in, I've preached in literally thousands of churches all over the world. Being in so many churches is a blessing because I get to meet men and women who are faithfully serving Christ all around the globe. But going to so many places does have a downfall: I sometimes see the sad disunity among God's people. Churches, Bible Colleges, mission organizations, preachers, and ordinary Christians find reasons to quarrel with one another.Of course, every church or organization has some differences with the next organization. But among the independent Baptist places where I am privileged to serve, most have so much more in common than different. Yet, for some reason, we emphasize our differences more than our common practices and beliefs. Would it not be wonderful if we would emphasize our commonality rather than our differences?Many years ago when I became the Far East Director of BIMI, my pastor, Dr. Lee Roberson, was generous in giving needful advice—principles by which to conduct my ministry. One night as we were driving together back to Chattanooga from a meeting, he said to me “Don, you go anywhere that you believe God is leading you to go and minister. Some of the places you go to some of the brethren will criticize you. Don't fight with them; just keep going where you know God wants you to go.” Of course, Dr. Roberson was speaking about doctrinally-solid Baptist churches. And that was good advice. He was right on both points—some brethren criticized me, and I learned not to spend valuable time defending myself.For the first eight years of my ministry. I was a Southern Baptist. When I began to see the liberalism and compromise taking place in the Southern Baptist Convention, I became an independent Baptist by conviction. I'm grateful for that decision, and I would do it all over again—even today. I soon learned, however, that independent Baptists sometimes aren't very independent in their relationships with one another. If I did things the way they wanted me to do and went where they wanted me to go and refused to go where they did not want me to go, I was accepted. But when I didn't meet those criteria, I was not always accepted.Over my nearly seventy years in the ministry, I have seen several leaders try to be a Baptist pope (although not, of course, with that title). None of them have succeeded. The reality is that we must each answer to God—not to each other. “Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. . . . But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans
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