I just wrapped up uploading the notes for over two hundred lessons from various series I have taught during Sunday School or Wednesday Bible Studies. This is the largest amount of material that I have ever made available, far surpassing the material for over one hundred fifty podcasts.
If we are not careful we can easily misinterpret the Scriptures. One of the easiest ways this happens is by ignoring Scriptural or historical context. This happens often when we focus on a verse or phrase that can have a different meaning when removed from that context.
A perfect example of this is the use among America Christians of II Chronicles 7:14. This verse is printed on posters, shirts, and coffee mugs in any Christian store you walk into. It will be preached on and quoted as a Biblical command that if America would get right with God then He could bless America like He did in the “good ol’ days”.
But is that the true teaching of the verse? I believe if we would examine this verse in its proper context we will see its primary application does not correspond to America at all.
To get a feel for the context of II Chronicles 7:14 we can get a good feel for the context by looking at the events leading up to it. We can trace this by looking at the the preceding chapters of II Chronicles.
- Chapter 1 – the early reign of Solomon, includes God appearing to Solomon in Gideon when Solomon asked for and received wisdom.
- Chapter 2 – preparation for building the Temple
- Chapter 3 – The construction of the Temple
- Chapter 4 – The making of the furniture and implements for the Temple
- Chapter 5 – Beginning the dedication of the Temple
- Chapter 6 – Solomon’s address and prayer at the dedication of the Temple
- Chapter 7 – Ending the dedication of the Temple, followed by God’s second appearance to Solomon.
So we see that after the construction and dedication of the Temple, God appears to Solomon and speaks in chapter 7 from verses 12 to 22. What is the purpose of the message of this passage? God Himself tells us in vs 12: “I have heard thy prayer”. What prayer? The prayer of Solomon in chapter 6. For what purpose? The dedication of the Temple, as God also says in vs. 12: “and [I] have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice”.
So the passage begins as a response to the dedicatory prayer of Solomon in chapter 6. Here let’s look at a remarkable feature of the next verse of chapter 7 is that they are largely God expressing His response to Solomon’s prayer by practically quoting it:
God in chapter 7
Solomon in chapter 6
“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain,…” – 7:13
“…when the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain,…” – 6:26
“…or if I command the locusts to devour the land,…” – 7:13
“…if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers;…” – 6:28
“…or if I send pestilence among my people;” – 7:13
“…if there be pestilence,…” – 6:28
“If my people, which are called by my name,…” – 7:14
Solomon refers to Israel as as “thy people” or as “thy people Israel” a total of ten times in his prayer.
“…shall humble themselves,…” – 7:14
This phrase has no parallel to chapter 6 in letter but does in spirit.
“…and pray,…” – 7:14
“…if they pray…” – 6:26
“…and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways;…” – 7:14
“…if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin,…” – 6:26
“…then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin,…” – 7:14
“Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants,…” – 6:27
“…and will heal their land.” – 7:14
“…send rain upon thy land,…” – 6:27
“Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.” – 7:15
“Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. ” – 6:40
Verse 16 finishes the first section of God’s message to Solomon with the promise concerning God’s dedication to the Temple: “For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. “
The final six verses of chapter 7 are God reaffirming the Davidic Covenant with Solomon. That details of that covenant can be found in II Samuel 7:1-12.
To summarize, the surrounding passage of II Chronicles 7:14 is about God responding to King Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem.
- Who is God addressing in this passage? Solomon.
- What is God responding to? The dedication of the Temple and Solomon’s dedicatory prayer.
- Who is the “my people” of 7:14? Israel.
- Where is the land that God promises to heal in 7:14? The Promised Land.
- What is that land healed from? The drought, famine, pestilence, etc., that God would send to bring Israel out of their sin and back to Him.
Can these verses apply to America?
In their primary application, no. These verses are clearly linked to Israel. They are not addressed to the church or America.
Why then do we see it so often as a patriotic promise in America? Largely through lazy application of the Scriptures and the commercialization and politicization of Christianity in America.
I see something similar in the use of Psalm 33:12: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD”. Note that it does not say, “if a nation has God then it is blessed.” It is not a conditional statement at all. It is acknowledging the fact that there exists a people or nation that was chosen by God. This is amplified in the rarely quoted second half of the verse: “…and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” What nation was chosen by God in the days of the writing of the Psalms? Israel.
Another reason this verse may be misinterpreted is through the use of Replacement Theology. This false teaching holds that God has replaced Israel in His plan and promises with either Christianity or another nation such as Britain or America.
Can we still learn from these verses?
Absolutely! Paul wrote in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Though II Chronicles 7:14 was not addressed to us we can still find countless truths in it that can find applicable in our lives.
Here’s a few examples of some truths we can apply from this passage:
When sin caused Israel to turn away from God they were commanded to repent and seek Him. We too are commanded to repent of our sin and seek God, first in our salvation and then when we backslide in our relationship with God.
II Chronicles 7:14 begins with the word “if” which makes it a conditional statement. If man would repent, then God will respond.
Note that God said “my people” needed to get right with Him. Not the wicked. Not the Edomites, Jebusites, Amalekites, or any other nation. If only we applied this today! We try to get everyone else to repent but ourselves!
God doesn’t just seek for us to perform the actions or repentance or service to Him. It is our heart that needs to be affected. It is not enough to speak words in prayer or to flee from wickedness. He wants us to humble ourselves. That is not an action, it is an attitude.
I was recently able to record a two-part lecture series that covers the basics of Baptist beliefs and history. These were done as prerecorded services at Faith Baptist Church in Decatur, TX, during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have given these lectures a few times and hope that they will be a blessing to others.
Unless you are a student of Baptist History then you may have not run across the theory that Saint Patrick was a Baptist. W.A. Criswell preached an entire sermon about it in 1958 and if you do a Google search you will find many blogs presenting arguments for and against. I would like to give you my opinion.
Who was Patrick?
According to the Confession, Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the 4th or 5th century A.D. He says his father was a “deacon” (Latin diaconum) and his grandfather a “priest” (Latin presbyteri) but that Patrick was not a believer in his youth. He was kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of sixteen and escaped home six years later. He began to study and train for the ministry.
Patrick famously returned to Ireland as a missionary. Details of his work there are fragmentary. The more famous aspects of his ministry you hear today, namely using a shamrock to illustrate the Trinity and banishing snakes from the island, are most certainly legends with no fact behind them.
What impact did Patrick have? In his own words:
“How has this happened in Ireland? Never before did they know of God except to serve idols and unclean things. But now, they have become the people of the Lord, and are called children of God. The sons and daughters of the leaders of the Irish are seen to be monks [Latin monachi] and virgins of Christ!” – Confession, Paragraph 41
Why Doubt that Patrick was Catholic?
A few reasons:
The first is one of Chronology. The Roman Catholic church was not yet the dominant power that it would become in the coming centuries. A compelling case can be made that the ministry of Patrick was retroactively adopted by Rome.
The second is the Language. Some of the words he used in Latin can have loaded meanings when translated to modern terms. Take the Latin word presbyteri that he uses as the office that his grandfather held. Most scholars seem to translate this as priest but it could be term for an elder or presbyter in the church. If you believe Patrick to be Catholic, you would translate it priest with little thought to other possible meanings. These ecclesiastical terms can have multiple meaning across denominations, traditions, regions, and centuries.
The third is Practice. Patrick seems to have only baptized adult candidates and there are no references to him performing infant baptism. He never speaks of other Catholic hallmarks such as the Eucharist or Confession. Admittedly, there are few things, such as the women who become virgins for Christ (nuns?), that are closer to Catholicism by today’s standards. However the bulk of Patrick’s ministry does not match up well with Catholic practice.
The fourth is Theology. Patrick’s writings we have today do not contain core Catholic teachings. He makes many allusions to Scripture prove that he had an intimate knowledge of the Bible. A couple of quotes that illustrate the Gospel he preached:
“It was there [Ireland] that the Lord opened up my awareness of my lack of faith. Even though it came about late, I recognized my failings. So I turned with all my heart to the Lord my God, and he looked down on my lowliness and had mercy on my youthful ignorance. He guarded me before I knew him, and before I came to wisdom and could distinguish between good and evil. He protected me and consoled me as a father does for his son.” – Confession, Paragraph 2
“These are not my own words which I have put before you in Latin; they are the words of God, and of the apostles and prophets, who have never lied. ‘Anyone who believes will be saved; anyone who does not believe will be condemned’ – God has spoken.” – Epistle, Paragraph 20
So, was Patrick a Baptist?
I personally don’t think so. But I also don’t think he was a Catholic.
The earliest centuries of Christian history or difficult to navigate. We try to categorize people or movements based on modern thought or denominations but that has many shortcomings. Patrick doesn’t fit the mold of Catholicism, but neither does he quite fit the mold of Baptists.
I think its best to let men like Patrick be themselves and speak for themselves. What is evident is that the actions of Patrick radically reshaped the history of Ireland and helped turn its people from paganism to Christianity. From his own testimony it sounds to me like he preached the true Gospel. Therefore, it seems that God greatly used Patrick and that his testimony and missionary example are still relevant today.
Here’s the audio from two recent sermons at Faith Baptist Church:
Are We Living in the Last Days?
The Blind Man’s Prayer
A work always in progress…
“Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted.” – Charles Spurgeon
Commentaries and Bible Surveys
- Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee
- Gaebelein’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible by A.C. Gaebelein
- The Unfolding Drama of Redemption by W. Graham Scroggie
- John Phillips’ commentaries
- An Interpretation of the English Bible by B.H. Carroll
- John Walvoord’s commentaries on Daniel and Revelation
- Willmington’s Guide to the Bible by Harold L. Willmington
- John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible
- The Be Series by Warren Wiersbe
- The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon
Ministry Leadership and Philosophy
- The Man God Uses by Oswald J. Smith
- Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon
- Heartbeats of the Holy by Keith E. Knauss
- On Being a Servant of God by Warren Wiersbe
- Small Church Essentials by Karl Vaters
- Autopsy of a Deceased Church by Thom Rainer
- Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger
- Things to Come by J. Dwight Pentecost
Theology and Doctrine
- Lectures in Systematic Theology by Henry Thiessen
- Systematic Theology by Lewis Sperry Chafer
- Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer, rev. by John Walvoord
- A History of the Baptists (2 Vols.) by John T. Christian
- The Faithful Baptist Witness by Phil Stringer
Bible History and Customs
- Guide to Biblical Coins by David Hendin
- The Temple by Alfred Edersheim
- Sketches of Jewish Social Life by Alfred Edersheim
- The Revival We Need by Oswald J. Smith
- Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill
- Lectures on Revivals of Religion by Charles Finney
Here’s two recent sermons that I preached at Faith Baptist Church. Hope they are a blessing to y’all!
I’m excited to announce that I have just posted the information on Biblical coins that was among the more popular pages from the old website. I’ve combined the original pages that covered the general overview and the KJV coinage terms. I’ve also added a short new section on coinage and money in the Old Testament.. You can find it all here.
On July 4, 2007, BaptistBasics.org was born. Well, they idea actually began while I was in Bible college in Lexington, Kentucky. That original concept was something of an “umbrella” ministry that could host many resources. I was finally inspired by a friend of mine to launch a website after he had done the same.
I had built the original versions of this site by had, going from simple HTML tags to integrating PHP and CSS. Over time it has simply become too burdensome to do all that background work.
So much has changed for me in these past twelve years. My family has grown from one child to four. I was teaching Sunday School along with a few other duties. Now I’m the pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Decatur, Texas.
So, here we go again. A fresh look. A fresh start. I’ll get some of the old articles and resources back online in the coming weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to add some new information. I’m looking forward to incorporating a blog to the offerings where I can add some more random content.
Twelve years from now, I wonder what this little website of mine will be.