I just received this message from (I assume) the pastor of Vandola Baptist in Danville. It is a first hand testimony of what happens when one of our three hosts pays your church a visit.
“Our church, Vandola Baptist in Danville, was visited by Norm Fields and Mark McMinnis on Wednedsay, April 16. It just so happened that this particular night was the last night of our Spring Revival with Dr. Ron Crawford, a former pastor and current President of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. As you would expect there was a “discussion” with Fields and McMinnis after the service.
Let me share with you that from the very beginning of our worship service these two representatives of the churches of Christ displayed nothing less than utter contempt for our worship and our membership. We began the service with a responsive reading that was printed in our worship bulletin. The congregation stood for the responsive reading which was followed by a hymn (accompanied by musical instruments of course). Fields and McMinnis remained seated throughout all of this as well as at the conclusion of the service when we stood and sang an invitational hymn. I, by the way, went to the pew where they were seated toward the back of the sanctuary where I greeted them and sat with them during the preaching of the message by our guest speaker. Norm diligently wrote notes and I assume points of contention throughout the message.
As they left from the sanctuary, Norm asked Dr. Crawford if he could talk with him to inquire about some of the things he had said during the message. Dr. Crawford informed Norm that he was leaving to go back to Richmond as soon as he finished greeting folks but that he would consent to give him a few moments. Norm had already began questioned Dr. Crawford on the outside porch when I walked up. I interrupted them and asked Norm directly if he was using any audio or video devices to record the conversation and he responded that he was unable to bring either because of some malfunction with his equipment. He asked me if I was using such and I replied that I was not and if I had been I would have told him in advance that I was and that he should do the same whenever he used recording devices. (Should anyone see or hear a recording of this discussion that I am describing on any of the CoC broadcasts be sure to call on air and ask if deliberate lying is a teaching of Scripture.)
At any rate, it didn’t take long for Dr. Crawford to detect Norm’s attempt to haggle over perceived syntax errors and so Dr. Crawford dismissed him and said he would speak no further with him. Norm, of course, began his spill about “Crawford’s refusal to speak the truth of God”. Unfortunately, at this point, one of our not so diplomatic members spoke out of turn and said that he would be glad to meet Norm out back to take care of his questions to which Norm ask if the man was threatening him. I injected that no one was going to threaten him (I did notice that Norm left from the porch area where we were rather quickly). I attempted to explain to Norm that one of the reasons folks became so upset with them was certainly because of their blatant display of contempt in our worship service. I asked Norm why he had refused to stand and/or participate in our worship to which he responded that he could not (spoken with the perceived implication that he could not because our service was not true worship approved of God). As a result I asked Norm if that was the case, then why did he come then to our worship service knowing that he “could not” out of his pure conscience participate. He said he came to learn and to give us an opportunity to explain why we did what we did and what we believed. I refuted that notion with the comment that he already knew what Baptist taught, how Baptist worshipped and what Baptist believed and that the only reason he was there was to continue to show his disdain for Baptist people as he did each week on his broadcast program. With that we parted ways.
Can’t wait to see how this is presented on the CoC local broadcast. Should Norm be reading this blog, let me apologize to him for any perceived rude behavior on the part of any of our folks. We are not perfect people and there are still those who become easily angered and/or offended in spirited debate especially when agitated by those who know which buttons to push.”