Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

The Bishop, Sabbath, and Altar Calls

David M Coe pastors the Beth Haven Baptist Church in Morgatown, WV. He and I “met” a few years ago on an internet forum. We were at odds with one another on most issues.

At one point he was obsessed with a YouTube pastor who had apparently influenced some college students to leave Beth Haven. Now, I pause here to explain. Coe likes portray himself as a balanced fundamental Baptist who likes CCM (but would never play it in church), is not fanatical on dress standards, and is a scholarly expository preacher (despite the lack of any formal training). Okay, fine. He also claims to be opposed to what he calls the IFBX movement which stands for Independent Fundamental Baptist Extremist. Yet, he mounted his pulpit on a Sunday night and took issue with this YouTube pastor from Arizona for stealing, and I quote, “his” sheep. Hmmmm. 

I must admit at one point I did laugh about this. Why? Well, I am not sure I would make an admission to a congregation that I was losing members to a guy pastoring two dozen people in a storefront 2,000 miles away whose sermons are taped on a single stationary camera and broadcast as flash video on YouTube.

During his response to the Arizona Avalanche he stated, “I am THE Bishop (Pastor) of Morgantown!” Really? The only one? God needs none other than he? I found that response a bit EXTREME. Me thinks he resembles what he disdains.

At any rate, he and I have sparred on many occassions over doctrine, methods, and more. Having spent less and less time on that forum there has been less and less interaction between us. However, recently I found out he had linked to this blog and didn’t care for my article on Altar Calls. In fact, he created a debate regarding my article on that forum.

Well, since he wants attention I have decided to give him some. He fancies himself as a bit of a theologian. I decided to go onto his church website (since he visits my blog I assumed this was a fair response on my part) and read his statement of faith.

He disagreed with me on altar calls but had this gem in his doctrinal beliefs:

“We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath; and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations; by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public; and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God.”

Now, while many and most churches worship on Sunday out of tradtion … I can make a better Biblical argument FOR altar calls than I can for a Sunday Sabbath! Christians are not commanded to hold any one day as a Sabbath.

While he asserts that work on the (traditional but not biblical) Christian sabbath (which doesn’t exist) is forbidden, one wonders if he causes others to sin. -sarcasm- Does he eat out on a Sunday causing people to work? Buy gas, pick something up at the store between services, anything???

The Sabbath was given to Israel, not the church. The Sabbath is still Saturday, not Sunday, and has never been changed. But the Sabbath is part of the Old Testament Law, and Christians are free from the bondage of the Law (Galatians 4:1-26; Romans 6:14). Sabbath keeping is not required of the Christian—be it Saturday or Sunday. The first day of the week, Sunday, the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10) celebrates the New Creation, with Christ as our resurrected Head. We are not obligated to follow the Mosaic Sabbath—resting, but are now free to follow the risen Christ—serving. The Apostle Paul said that each individual Christian should decide whether to observe a Sabbath rest, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). We are to worship God every day, not just on Saturday or Sunday.

I just thought THE Bishop would enjoy reading about himself here and learning something while he was at it. Apparently he has grown tired of the YouTube preacher, so I guess I am his new hobby. Do I hear another Sunday tirade….

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