What J. Frank Norris was able to accomplish in the 30's was for that time and place. What Earl K. Oldham did at Calvary Baptist and Bible Baptist Seminary, was for his time and place. What Lee Roberson was able to accomplish at Tennasee Temple in his time was for his time and place. What Bob Jones, Sr, Jr, and III (is there a IV) have accomplished at Bob Jones U was for that time and place. What Jack Hyles was able to accomplish at FBC and Hyles Anderson, was for his time and place. What Jerry Falwell has been able to accomplish at TRBC and at Liberty U has been for this time and place. I could say this about any one servant of God. I mention these men above because they have had some impact upon our own ministry, framed my theological mindset and practice in doing ministry. Isn’t it interesting that these men are fundamentalists. They framed my understanding of what is a Biblical Baptist Fundamentalist. Charity would say, "Charles, who are you this month. Norris, Roberson, Hyles, or Falwell?’ "Funny, dear." But this was really true. I was very much influenced by these men in one way or the other. And stopping to think about it, this was not really all that unsatisfactory, you know!
I can say that from 1964 to 1982 was for that time and place that the Lord placed me, or allowed me to be in those churches and ministries. I believe there were some good results that the Lord was able to accomplish. I don’t know that I would be happy if those days were changed. Too many friendships with people Charity and I have come to love very much were established
Then I picked up a tape of John MacArthur’s on Ephesians 4:11-12, and it started a new process of thinking for me. Never had I heard preaching/teaching like this preacher. He was the first non-Baptist that I had allowed myself to listen to. Actually I had listened to this tape in 1972 while pastoring at Madison Baptist Church, and was overwhelmed by John’s point of view about ministry. However, it wasn’t until 1982 that I really had the chance to begin to understand the principles. While pastoring First Baptist Church in Altoona, Kansas, I decided to go to Grace Community Church to be in the Shepherd’s Conference in 1982. Ministry has never been the same since. I was exposed to another form of ministry that I had never seen before.
From Fundamentalist to Evangelical? From being a World Baptist Fellowship-Norris-Hyles- Falwell-Fundamentalist Preacher to an Evangelical-MacArthur teacher? Wild. Anything that was not Baptist was purely sinful to think about. As most likely my good friend Dr. Roy Johnson would agree with.
Of course, if you were not a Norris-ite, you were doomed in my circle. Hyles was not liked; Falwell was not liked; Roberson was not liked. You knew if you were to mention those boys you were doomed if you were wanting to preach in their fellowship meetings.
But after going to the Shepherd’s Conference in 1982, my entire belief system was changed.. Thank goodness I was not directed by the Lord to go to a Jimmy Swaggart conference, huh! I did once read one of Oral Robert’s books ...... I remember covering up the cover with a plain brown wrapper. I didn’t want to be found out. I could have ended up at Oral Roberts U. Wouldn’t that have been something! By the way the book was very good.
Talk about getting outside your comfort box... A whole new world of education was opened up to me following the Shepherd’s Conference. I must say, MacArthur was sure different from the Hyles Pastor’s School, or the Falwell’s Super Conference, or even the John R. Rice Sword of the Lord Conferences. Of course WBF folks would say that I should stay away from all of them. They were not only KJV 1611 only, they were WBF only. Sorry about that.
I spent a week in Sun Valley, California, and got a Bible stroke. I came back to Kansas and to FBC, and had to completely learn a whole new way of preaching. From Hyles one week to MacArthrur the next, from sermons that were topical, example:" Blackbirds, Balloons and the Bible" (that was a really good one, too) to sermons that were expositional. Really I went from preaching to teaching. Mrs. Dennision an old saint, saved in 1939 thought I had just plain lost my mind and had just quit preaching.
I had a library of over 3000 books, and now I had to completely put them in the Church Library and have Kurt Nunnenkamp make me wall-to-wall book shelves so I could start all over with the kind of books that I could study to even try to teach expositionally. I don’t think I had one technical book. (I did have a Scofield Bible.)
You know fundamental Bible KJV preachers don’t need books to preach, just the KJV, and the Sword of the Lord, and Hyles’s tapes will do, thank you very much. Really it’s true. Pastor Dwayne Prosser said it was true.
Thus for the next fourteen years (1982-1996) the members of First Baptist Church, had to sit each week to three full fifty five minutes of Historical, Theological, New Testament, Practical Application Messages, book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, and word by word. And I think Allen Barnhart heard about all of them.
From Norris-Oldham-Hyles kind of Baptist Fundamentalism to MacArthur’s Philosophy of Ministry and Preaching. I’m still an Independent Baptist who is still learning to grow in the knowledge of the Lord.
Truth proof by Charity F. Whisnant