Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames and baptisms called due to rain

According to a Baptist Press story, First Baptist Church of Horn Lake, Mississippi came up a little short in their baptismal service recently. After 3 nights of showing the drama called “Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames” (by Reality Outreach Ministries), 423 people made professions of faith.

The pastor, Joe Turner, explained it as “just a movement of God.” “Jesus said in John 12:32, ‘If I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men unto me,’ and what we’ve been doing is lifting up Jesus. That’s what’s doing it.” What Pastor Turner did not say is that the very next verse, John 12:33, explains Jesus’ statement: “This He said, signifying by what death He would die.” When interpreting the Bible, context really is king.

Only 36 of those who made professions showed up for a special baptism service. The article notes that the “church was originally hoping to baptize 100 people in an outdoor service. But weather moved the service inside, and Turner said weather may have been a factor in fewer people showing up for the baptism than expected.”

Isn’t that just like Baptists? It takes 600 gallons of water to get them baptized and only a few drops to keep them from church. Of course, presumably the no-shows are not yet Baptists. Nevertheless, given their failure to make an appearance at a scheduled service, they already seem to be well on their way to becoming typical Baptist church members.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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