Dr. R. A. Smith, Pastor
Dear Bro. Vogel,
I graduated from HAC in 1993. I believe I attended every Pastorís School from the time I was a student, until Bro. Hyles went to Heaven. The last time I was at FBC was at Bro. Hylesí funeral service. Not long after that, I saw things shifting to the left in Hammond, and separated myself from FBC and HAC. Iíve not been back since the funeral, except to visit Grange Hall, on a couple of occasions, when I was preaching in the area.
My heart has been broken to see how the church and college have changed since Bro. Hyles went to Heaven. I know when you see it on a day to day basis, the change is undetectable, but to those of us who do not live under FBCís constant influence, the changes are glaringly obvious. To hear all the promises of "staying the course" after Bro. Hyles died, and then to see this shift towards neoevangelicalism, is saddening, but obvious.
Heretofore I was content simply to say goodbye to Hammond in my own heart, with the determination to stay with the old paths, and leave others to make their own choices. But, the increasingly arrogant rants coming from Hammond have become progressively annoying. Now, you have taken to rebuking pastors, accusing us of being hateful, spiteful, of not understanding independence, and the great commission.
Some of us do understand the local church model. We donít need FBC or HAC in order to exist. We are truly "independent" of them. We have wished FBC well as long as she stayed true to God, but we are not dependent upon her, to have Godís blessing. She does not legitimize our existence.
Unfortunately, others have developed such a dependance upon FBC/HAC that they now feel the intense need to "prop her up" no matter the cost. They will defend her, even at the expense of truth. Then there are those among your very own ranks in Hammond, who secretly voice their disapproval privately, but are too cowardice to do so publicly. They sit in your pews on Sunday, then send faxes and emails on Monday. I canít help but think they are waiting to agree with the popular vote in Fundamentalism.
It has been said that silence isnít golden, itís just plain yellow! Silence is now being interpreted as approval of Hammondís position, which I cannot allow. It is time to take a public stand.
There are far too many points of contention to list them all, but suffice it to say this. You can mark me down as one who vehemently disagrees with ANYONE who says the King James Bible is not inspired, who gives the least amount of sympathy or respect towards Rick Warren and the dirty liberal philosophy, and pragmatic approach to church-building which he advocates, who believes that the Holy Spirit can become "confused" or "depressed", who considers taking the Lordís Supper as being similar to spiritual sex, who believes we should share platforms with non-Baptists and people who preach with Charismatics, etc...
Let it not be misunderstood. Iím an old-fashioned, unaffiliated, Bible-believing, Baptist who does not want to be confused with those who once claimed to be the same, but have since shown otherwise by their actions and associations. Iím not bitter toward anyone, anywhere, but neither am I intimidated by what others believe or do.
We have waited for others with louder voices to make their position known. Some have, many havenít. For whatever itís worth, this is my position. Let the chips fall where they may.
Dr. R. A. Smith, Pastor
Fort Worth Baptist Temple