Day 2 of the ARBCA GA began with a devotional by Thomas Winn, Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Jackson, MS. Taking Psalm 37:1-11 as his text, he pointed to the great encouragement of trusting God, even when it seems that the wicked are prospering more than the righteous. His charge was to depend on the LORD, delight in the LORD, and commit our ways to the LORD.
The devotion time was followed by a biographical sketch of Isaac Backus by Ron Baines, pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist Church of Topsham, Maine. In the 17th century there were 12 congregations throughout New England. During the life of Isaac Backus the number of Baptist congregations grew to 978. He left the Congregationalist Church over the issue of open communion as well as believers baptism. He pastored Baptist churches for 58 years. Valuing an educated ministry, he founded Rhode Island College where he served as trustee for 34 years. He is also well known for his staunch support of religious liberty.
Our annual business session began at 10:30 and was blessed once again by a spirit of cooperation. This year's GA has a air of joy and excitement over what God is doing in our Association. The business session ended at 12:40 with lunch following--ham sandwiches and chicken noodle soup. Fellowship during all of the breaks and meals has been wonderful.
Returning at 4:45, we engaged our theological discussion on the subject of "Fencing the Table." Our Association is divided pretty evenly on the subject. I spoke on the grounds of 1 Corinthians 5 and withholding Communion from a so-called brother in sin and Matthew 28 (the Great Commission) with regard to baptism preceding Communion--which would prohibit a paedobaptist from partaking in our church. It was interesting to hear that closed communion has been the historic Baptist position, contrary to the practice of many today.
Supper tonight was a combination of a penne pasta, meatballs, and sausage. Dessert was a delicious cannoli.
Our evening worship service began at 7:00 with singing, always rich with the robust sound of male voices lifted up in praise. The sermon was delivered by Pastor David Campbell from Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle, PA, titled "The Purpose of the Incarnation." He took his text from John 1 with three points:
1. Christ in His humanity was susceptible to death. His sinless body could die.
2. Christ in His humanity became justly liable to death - it was right. Christ became sin. He bore our sin.
3. Christ in His humanity voluntarily embraced death. He obeyed the Father and embraced the cross as the ultimate model of love.
4. Christ in His humanity fully experienced death, both physical death and the second death--the separation of the whole person from God. He suffered in an intensity to satisfy the wrath of God.
5. Christ in His humanity forever freed us from death.