The Freebie Round-Up #28

9qvq3xlHello guys! It’s pay day today and I have hunch that you’ll be at the nearest mall buying stuff. Does visiting your local bookstore and picking up a book in your checklist? What books will you buy then?  If books are not in your shopping list, well check these list of freebies that wont burn your wallet. And if your new here to this post or you missed out other freebie round-ups, check the links to those post at the end of this article.

FREE Hand outs and powerpoint presentations of “Gospel Centered Counseling and Gospel Conversations” – From Dr. Bob Kellermen, his ministry offers this free counseling presentation complete with hand outs. If you scroll down some more, you’ll find other free resources that will equip the church.

FREE “The Wicket Gate” Magazine – Download the current issue and back issues of this magazine for free. The magazine contains interesting lectures, stories, sermons from Dr. Nick Needham and W. J. Seaton.

FREE hand outs and audio downloads of “Why These Books? Introduction to OT and NT Canon” –  It’s a free seminar that tackles questions like “What exactly is a canon?”, “Who pick out the books?” and many others that you might be also thinking. So check this free resource from Christ Cambridge Church and Dr. Greg Lainer.

FREE e-book “Pray For Your Daughter” from Borrowed Light – Mike Leake made a series of these books (for the spouse, purity, church etc.,) and you can find all of it here on this link. But I’ll just focus this one 31 days prayer challenge for your daughter. May this free e-book bless you and your daughter as you pray for her for the entire month.

FREE audio download of “Understanding Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses – Glad to see Credo Courses being generous again, as it brings back the free audio download of the lecture of Dr. Robert Bowman. Get to know and defend your faith with the two leading American religious cult in the world.

FREE video series download of “Foundations: An Overview of Systematic Theology” by R. C. Sproul – Now for something heavy! Ligonier gave us Steve Lawson last week then this one (and another one below). I’m so eager to check this free videos out. Better create an account so you can save it for later use.

FREE e-book “The Prayer of the Lord” by R. C. Sproul – Better get this one because it will expire within 4 days. I’m stoked at what Ligonier is giving away. Looking forward for more in the coming week.

Do you want more freebies? Check out these past blog post:

Freebie Round-Up #27

Freebie Round-Up # 26

Freebie Round-Up # 25

Freebie Round-Up # 24

Freebie Round-Up # 23

Freebie Round-Up # 22

Freebie Round-Up # 21

Freebie Round-Up # 20

Freebie Round-Up # 19

Freebie Round-Up # 18

The Freebie Round-Up #17

The Freebie Round-Up #16

The Freebie Round-Up #15

The Freebie Round-Up #14

The Quotable Round-Up #106

vb6a6bkSaw a few articles that pits physical copy against digital copy of the book. Some lean to the physical ones and others cheers for the digital ones. If you ask me I go for both. There lots of advantages on both formats and also some disadvantages. I enjoy both formats and I think that is all that matters.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from the upcoming book by Dan DeWitt Sunny Side Up: The Breakfast Conversation That Could Change Your Life. Release date is on February 1 but you can pre-order the book by clicking this link.

“Orthodoxy may sound like a painfully expensive dental procedure, but it really means having proper beliefs  about God. Orthodoxy is where every person must begin in their relationship with God. That’s not to say people have to pass a test about the Bible in order to become a Christian. Thankfully, God isn’t looking for academic qualifications or good grades. But in order to become a follower of Jesus, you have to have a right understanding of who Jesus is and the forgiveness he offers..”

“It’s dangerously possible to grow in our knowledge of God without growing in our love for God. We can accumulate a lot of knowledge while our hearts remain far from him.”

“Loving God isn’t a flowers-and-chocolates kind of love. Neither is it cheering him on from the sidelines or singing his latest hit. God wants your heart—and he wants all of it.”

“Anyone who has begun a relationship with God understands the powerful impulse to give God our whole lives, our whole heart. But it’s an impulse that has to be nurtured and fed in order to grow. There’s a whole lot in life that threatens our love for God..”

“No matter who you are, or where you are, you can get in on the invitation to love God. God desires and demands our full affection. That’s because he is the greatest good. And his invitation to love him is for our greatest good. Loving God is what’s best for us.”

“Humility is where all learning really begins. What will it take for you to start learning the lessons God wants to teach you?”

“We need to think about how we prioritize our relationship with Jesus. Do we place Jesus above all earthly relationships? Does he even make it on to our short list? If you have to disappoint someone, would Jesus be the top person you would do anything to avoid disappointing? Maybe, as you read these words, Jesus is calling you to make him first in your life today.”

The Freebie Round-Up #27

USsMH08It’s the weekend and what better way to end the week than to indulge with these freebies. And if your new here to this post or you missed out other freebie round-ups, check the links to those post at the end of this article.

FREE “Young People Magazine” downloads – Solid biblical articles and news is what this magazine for the youth is all about. Download every issues from the Free Presbyterian of Scotland ever published for free.

Fresh blog post. Click the image to read.

FREE e-book “Book of Praise” by Dennis Teitsma – Do you want your church to sing the Psalms? Here’s a free e-book that will help you. Composed of instrumental accompaniment of 150 Psalms and 85 hymns, this will be a great resource for those who wants to sing the Psalms.

FREE online listen or MP3 of “Psalms of David” sung in Capella–  Another music resource that can either be helpful in your church singing or for private enjoyment. This website has tons of music downloads that are absolutely free.

Fresh post. Click the image to read.

FREE “AIM Magazine” download – Keep up to date on what how God is moving in the Aborigines group. Download this free magazine from Australian Indigenous Ministries and know their works and how you can help also.

FREE e-book “That They May Set Their Hope in God” by Justin Huffman –  A free e-booklet that focuses on Psalms 78. Justin Huffman points out the duty of every believer to teach the gospel to the next generation that would set their hope in God.

Fresh blog post. Click on the image to read.

FREE e-book “God’s Good News” by Stanley D. Gale – Ive’d check this book and its awesome. It’s a free evangelism e-book that takes time to explain step by step the redemptive story to the gospel that soul needs. Save it for your ministry.

FREE digital download “The Attributes of God” video series by Steven J. Lawson –  For a limited time, Ligonier Ministries is offering this free download.  Get it while its free and Lawson is a great expositor.

Fresh blog post. Click the image to read.

Do you want more freebies? Check out these past blog post:

Freebie Round-Up # 26

Freebie Round-Up # 25

Freebie Round-Up # 24

Freebie Round-Up # 23

Freebie Round-Up # 22

Freebie Round-Up # 21

Freebie Round-Up # 20

Freebie Round-Up # 19

Freebie Round-Up # 18

The Freebie Round-Up #17

The Freebie Round-Up #16

The Freebie Round-Up #15

The Freebie Round-Up #14


The Video Round-Up #3

zOAJjtaHi guys! I’m so eager to share some great video I recently watched and discuss some back story of why I like it. I hope you’ll like and come back often to this blog for more of this stuff.

I’m a huge fan of Rivers and Robots (and if haven’t read our concert experience when they came to Manila, better click here to read it)  and I got a “never see that coming” feeling when band vocalist, Jonathan Ogden, who has a solo career, made a new song drop last January 1. I’m sure others were surprise of it. I think it came out first in Youtube then in a few days its available over different music streaming sites. So here’s the video and it sounds abit of Rivers and Robots. Love the footage of gadgets and search engines in the music video. Totally blown off with it. Notice also the artwork on the single. It reminds me of the album cover of Fit For A King’s “Deathgrip”.

Filmmaker Les Lanphere asked on Facebook to name a cover of a song than is better than the original. So I commented Future of Forestry’s take on a Cindy Lauper classic “Time after Time”. Been listening to FoF recently and I really love their Advent EP. Of course, Time after Time had been covered by artist like Rob Thomas, Everything But The Girl, Inoj (remember here?) and jazz legend Miles Davis. The song itself is awesome and every time it gets to be covered it’s still awesome. You can find it on FoF’s album “Pages’ which according to what I read comes as a surprise as the band get’s down and do some acoustic  sort of Civil War and that EBTG album “Acoustic”.

And lastly, saw this video over Facebook about abortion. Not usually done like in a serious tone but in a satirical way. For me its hilarious and at the same time insightful. Move over Babylon Bee, its Choice42. Choice42 is a Canadian based pro-life group, headed by Laura Klassen, who stars on most of their videos. Check out more of them on their website.



5 Reasons Why Your Sermon is Boring (and 5 Ways to Fix It)

wzOd8BWOf course, God can still use a boring sermon to bless His people.  However that’s not an excuse not to improve and use God given resources available to the pastor. I would like to share (based on my experience) five reasons why sermons are boring and tips to tweak it.

You use the same old illustrations over and over again – We understand that you use the same jokes or illustrations to make us easily grasp what you want us to understand. You want what is already familiar to us. At first we like those stories. However in time those illustrations breeds contempt. We became tired of listening to that part. We already know what part of the sermons were you will insert that. Some of us maybe rolling our eyes and saying in our mind “Goodness that worn out joke is coming…”.  Some of us might even joke about those same old illustrations. And some might feel embarrassed.

Fix it: Its time to find some great stories that will explain points in your sermon. Try reading books (Christian and non Christian), watching TED-talks videos on Youtube, check out Christian blogs or listen to sermons from other preachers. Another tip is what Dr. Nathan Busenitz had suggested is to use Church History. It’s gives informative and timeless  touch to your message. Another thing is, if its possible why not go straight to the point.

You preach the same old topic over and over again- We understand that when you emphasize a certain topic and repeat it over and over, you want to church to really get it.  Of course we want to be constantly reminded of something from the Word of God. However, if that’s often and there is no other topic to be preach, then we have a problem. It might be also that you stick to your forte and scared to try other topics. Whatever the reasons are you need to grasp the heart of church.

Fix it: Ask your preaching team or key laymen on what to preach. Let your other preachers in your church preach. In that way it might reveal what are the spiritual needs of the church.  Consult other pastors about what message matters to your church. Brainstorm in a place other than the church. And one last thing, don’t forget that the Holy Spirit will work even if you preached the topic once.

You talk too much of yourself- It’s one thing to put your personal anecdotes as a good illustration for the message, but when you become the sermon itself, eyes will roll and boredom will strike. In some cases, pulpits can be use to elevate self, academic achievements, virtue signalling and even solicit sympathy.

Fixt it: Let us remind ourselves that preaching is all about God and not you. You are responsible to point us to God through your message. If you’re trying to lift up your name in the pulpit, your glorifying yourself and not God. God didn’t called you to do that. He gave you that privilege to be His mouth piece.

Your sermon is too long – I’m not against long sermons. What I’m against are the unnecessary things included in the message that made it long. Beating around the bush, too much illustrations, personal stories that drift to a rabbit hole, random announcements etc., are some of the reasons the sermon had an unwarranted length.

Fix it:  Why not go straight to the point? Why preach 1-2 hours that will leave your listeners dire of boredom when you can preach a 30-45 minute sermon that will bless them? Maybe its time to sharpen the saw. Sometimes we as preachers should learn to adjust to the listeners not the other way around. Flexibility is the key. Of course, this is not a small step to compromising your message but by learning to be flexible were becoming good preachers in the process. Listen what Spurgeon has to say about shortening your long message:

“Brevity is a virtue within the reach of all of us; do not let us lose the opportunity of gaining the credit which it brings. If you ask me how you may shorten your sermons, I should say, study them better. Spend more time in the study that you may need less in the pulpit. We are generally longest when we have least to say.”

Your listener already heard enough talk even before the sermon begin –  Sometimes the one thing that drives boredom is not in the sermon itself but the talk you had before you start the preaching. You already consumed the listeners time and attention. What is left is disinterested folks who just wants you to get over your message. You already filled their ears with announcements, updates and adventures of your recent trips. Sad, sensitive and discouraging talks will leave them in the slump. Little did you know you long talk stole your sermon’s thunder.

Fix it: Place those important announcements and updates at the end of the service. Set a meeting specially if the issue are for members only. Print out some flyers containing those announcements so your member can read it at home. If its not that serious or demanding you can share it through Facebook group chat.

Pastors, we love and support you. We love you enough to say that their is something wrong with your sermon. We want to be biblically saturated and nothing else. And we know you want it also. However, their something that hinders that goal and that is your sermon is boring. So with all due respect listen to your flock. They want to bring out the best from you.


The Quotable Round-Up #105

WmUyJhsIt’s another year of reading books! I hope you’ll pick up one and start reading it. Even better, why not have a book reading challenge this year?  That will be a lot of fun (and challenge too).  I think Goodreads it’s a good site to do your reading challenge as it monitors your progress and share your accomplishment to everyone online. Better check that website. Anyways, here’s some quotes from the book by Bryan Litfin Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction. Buy his book by clicking this link.

“The pastor who expounds the Word of God before his people holds an awesome power within his mouth. His words can be a source of golden treasure.”

“When asked which of his students should succeed him in his professorship of rhetoric, Libanius replied, “It ought to have been John, had not the Christians stolen him from us.” John Chrysostom must have been a great communicator to have impressed his pagan teacher so much. Yet to Libanius’s dismay, John used his speaking skills for the name of Jesus Christ.”

“Athanasius possessed a profound understanding of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The whole question of the Son’s divinity was not some intellectual premise that could fit into a logical syllogism, as it was for many of the Arians. Rather, it mattered deeply to Athanasius because it was a question of Christian salvation. For Athanasius, salvation meant much more than individually “getting saved” so as to escape hell or get to heaven. His theology centered on the relationship between the created world and the Uncreated God.”

“The views of Arius began to receive imperial favor and were accepted by many bishops across the empire. Athanasius seemed to stand alone against a world that had gone completely Arian. His challenge was far more difficult in this new age of Imperial Christianity. Now he faced not only his theological opponents, but the all-powerful Roman emperors whose politics were tied to theology.”

“For several decades Athanasius was a lonely defender of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity against the Arian view. Only at the end of his life did his efforts begin to pay off as Arianism was finally rejected.”

“Interpretation in the ancient church was a spiritual quest, so everything depended on your heart for the Lord. Godliness was required for true comprehension, not just a good mind. The lifestyle of the interpreter genuinely mattered.”

“Perpetua is revealed to be a godly Christian woman—one who affirmed the high calling of being a daughter and mother, yet who put her loyalty to Jesus Christ before even those worthy vocations. Because of her close walk with the Lord, she became a spiritual leader of her band of confessors. The towering respect she earned among her jailed companions was based on the depth of her spiritual life. Her piety lent her a reverence and authority not normally accorded to women in Roman society.”


The Freebie Round-Up #26

uVqF9h8Happy New Year! This is the time of the year that we are in restart mode. It’s as if all is brand new and what is left is a clean slate. So why not do some goal setting for 2019? Gear up for a surprise that is waiting around the corner. Who knows what you’ll find. But if you want to boost your spiritual growth and maturity, let these freebies help you. So dive in and check out these free stuff.

 FREE e-book “Bible Study Blitz”  – Written by LaRosa M. Johnson, the who dishes out Bible study tips videos at BibleStudy.Tips, this freebie will help you have that breakthrough in your Bible study struggle.

FREE e-book “Social Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel” by E. Calvin Beisner – This is one helpful free booklet on what really the Bible is saying about social justice. Beisner answers the common claims of the “progressives”  that pushes “force grace”.

FREE “Clarion” The Canadian Reformed Magazine – You can download for free all the magazines issues from the present to way back 1973! In every issue it has articles, book reviews and news for you to enjoy.

FREE music, leadsheets, chords from Kenwood Music –  Kenwood Baptist Church (lead by Jim Hamilton) offers two albums for free listening and free downloads of chord charts and lead sheets for churches who wants to sing these songs.

FREE e-book “Clerihews” from Theolatte – Dan DeWitt offers his free e-book just by signing up to his awesome blog.

FREE audiobook “Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon –  This a great way to start the year by picking up this great devotional from the Christian Audio. To get this freebie, create a free account first.

FREE e-book “Awe” by Paul David Tripp – This is one awesome book you shouldn’t miss. It’s worth the signing up and downloading the app to read this free e-book from FaithLife E-Books. Check my quote post from the book by clicking here and here.


Travel Time: Delighting Grace Interviews J. P. Leo Castillo of Shoestring Travelers

VvhZcDoWhat do you want to start this 2019? Do you want to be adventurous and travel?  Will it be cool if you pick up a camera and start photography? Or show your hidden writing skills and set up a blog? What if I told you you can do all of those things? Well your 2019 will be a spectacular ride! Delighting Grace recently connected with J. P. Leo Castillo, a travel blogger of Shoestring Traveler and took time to chat about blogging, photography and travelling.

Delighting Grace:  How does it feel to be always on the top travel bloggers in the Philippines?

J. P. Leo Castillo: We were on a top 40 list of travel bloggers done by another blogger – it’s not an official recognition – so it wasn’t really that big of a deal but it still felt rewarding.

Delighting Grace: Tell us when did you and your wife started travel blogging?

J. P. Leo Castillo:  Around 2011 if I remember correctly.

Delighting Grace: You go travel blogging with your wife. Is there some sort of advantage of bringing some than being alone in your trip?

J. P. Leo Castillo:  Two is obviously an advantage. You get to help each other, there’s someone with whom you can share the joys and difficulties of a trip and there’s more wisdom with two collective minds when you need to make difficult decisions on a trip.

Delighting Grace: Great! I notice that some travel bloggers are young and alone in backpacking. Compare to them to you and your wife with advance in age. Do still deliver some edge in blogging despite of the age? How does your blog stand out among the rest?

J. P. Leo Castillo: There are advantages and disadvantages when it comes to age in traveling – the younger ones can go to places that may be too extreme for us, for instance. Our advantage as older people is probably that we have more resources at our disposal – generally speaking – to go on those trips. For travel blogging I’m not sure if age is an advantage or disadvantage as it depends more on the writing capabilities of the blogger. 

Delighting Grace: As of this date, how many places did you visited here and abroad? Which one is your favorite?

J. P. Leo Castillo: Hard to count at this stage for local places. We’ve been to all the Southeast Asian countries plus China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and some Middle East countries. Only been to Europe once – Barcelona – and lived and worked in the U.S. for almost 3 years. 

Locally, it’s hard to list a single favorite but rather a group of destinations – Romblon Island, Cuatro Islas and Kalanggaman Island in Leyte, Palawan (Port Barton, Coron and El Nido), Siquijor, Catanduanes, the Caramoan Peninsula (Camarines Sur) and Dumaguete City. Internationally it’s Vietnam and the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, San Diego and the destinations along California’s Highway 395 in the U.S. 

Delighting Grace: Wow. Can you share one travel story that you wont ever forget for the rest of your life?

J. P. Leo Castillo:  A trip to the Khyber Pass at the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan which ended at the Afghan border in 2000, a year before the 9-11 attacks. This was an assignment from our Christian missions organization to see what we could do to reach the Afghan refugees then living inside Pakistan. I love history and the Khyber Pass is full of historical events from Alexander the Great’s time (300 B.C.) down to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970’s (and later the American/NATO operations in Afghanistan). Also got to meet the fierce but very hospitable Pashtun tribesmen who were cradling AK-47 assault rifles as part of their everyday life. 

Delighting Grace:  It feels like its taken out of a movie. Your photography is awesome. It goes well with the travel. How did you learn about photography?

J. P. Leo Castillo:  My team leader back in the 1990’s for the SE Asian office of our missions organization made me the photographer of our team and gave me a film DSLR, then later a digital camera. It was then that I realized I had a knack for taking pictures. My photo compositions came out well even when I had yet to study composition. Later on I began studying digital photography seriously by going to photography web sites that offered free courses. 

Delighting Grace:  If someone wants to start a travel blog, what advice can you give to them?

J. P. Leo Castillo:  Write from the heart. Write regularly. Use photos to draw in more interest to your story. Don’t write very long blogs. 

Delighting Grace:  As Christians how do we keep at awe to God as we look at His creations as we travel?

J. P. Leo Castillo: I think if you are in regular fellowship with Him you’ll appreciate His creation more. 

Delighting Grace: Aside from the travel blog you are involved in outreaches, can you fill us out on that.

J. P. Leo Castillo: We start house/simple/organic churches, equipping people to disciple others in the process. Along with partners and people that we work with in the professional and business community. We support young people from needy communities with their education – providing school supplies, providing supplemental educational training and providing college scholarship. We also mentor those who want to start simple churches. 

Delighting Grace: I think that goes along when you blog. As you look around and look back at what you have like talents specifically in our blogging we feel that kind of “advocacy” to help out people. Anyways, please invite them to check your blog and social media accounts for Shoestring Travelers.

J. P. Leo Castillo: You can find out latest adventure over our blog, Shoestring Traveler, follow us on Facebook and on Instagram.

Delighting Grace: Thank you Sir Leo for the opportunity. Looking forward for your next adventures!

The Freebie Round-Up #25

bVUn35jHello guys! It’s the day after Christmas! I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and glorify Christ this holiday. Of course, He is the center of the celebration. And I hope you got your gifts? If not then I’ll leave you with these freebies.

FREE Discipleship e-book by Bobby Harrington and Bill Hull –  Titled “Evangelism or Discipleship: Can They Effectively Work Together?” two veteran discipleship leaders shows how evangelism and discipleship can work hand in hand as church planting aide. Replicate ministries offers this freebie.

 FREE e-book “Gospel-Centered Small Groups: Five Ways the Cross Shapes Our Communities” by Michael Kelley and Chris Surratt – learn how to conduct a gospel-centered Bible study with this free e-book from the Gospel Project. Along with this freebie, you can try 3 free sessions of the Gospel Foundation.

FREE Comprehensive Gospel Centered Pre-Marital Mentoring Program – Biblical Counseling Coalition offers this comprehensive resource on mentoring pre-marital couples. Complete with videos and downloadable PDF materials, you can learn the step by step guide in this free mentoring program.

FREE e-book “Why Pro-Life?” by Randy Alcorn– Read this one and its good. This free book in PDF format answers questions thrown by pro-abortion folks and gives a clear and biblical case on being pro-life.

FREE downloadable newsletter from Kooteni Community Church – This collection of  Kooteni Communicator newsletter has different interesting topics to check out. From apologetics to preaching you’ll find this freebie helpful.

FREE playlist of MP3 sermons and PDF’s from Charles Simeon Trust – Get to know the Bible by listening and downloading these sermons and PDF on “Apocalyptic Literature” and “Preaching the Gospels”.

FREE audiobook “The New Evangelical Social Gospel” by Dr. Roger and Dianne Smalling – Monergism is spot on with relevant resources for Christians. This free audiobook , tackles the social justice of today and how it undermines the gospel.



Debunking A Myth: Delighting Grace Interviews Zigfred Diaz


Long held claims of believers should be questioned and verified. Left unchallenged, it will eventually breed legalism and anti-intellectualism that will bring reproach to the church . Pastors and preachers our duty is to do research for facts to back up those claims. Pastor Zigfred Diaz did just that and he shared what he uncovered about Baptist Successionism. Baptist successionism, perpetuity and landmarkism are claims by some (but not all) Baptist specifically by Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) or Bible Baptist (which they are called here in the Philippines).  DG connected with him and he answered some of our inquiries about this controversial subject.

Delighting Grace: Please tell us who you are and your background.

Zigfred Diaz: Actually I wear several hats at the same time so to speak. But among the things I do is that I pastor a Southern Baptist Church (Reformed), I am also a lawyer, entrepreneur, senior manager, financial planner, investments specialist.  My full profile can be seen at my personal blog at:

Delighting Grace: Whats the reason why you wrote something about Baptist successionism?

Zigfred Diaz: I grew up in an Independent Baptist Church. We were taught Baptist Successionism since I was a kid. For a long time I’vebelieved it to be true. However as I matured both in my spiritual life and in my thinking there were some things about it that really did not make any sense logically nor does it seemed to be backed by the Scriptures and even the evidence. I soon read materials on the matter but was not able to really dig deeper. I wanted to investigate the matter further but it seems that time has not permitted me. Although I pastor a church, I do feel that my particular calling is to equip the saints through teaching and writing as I consider both as God’s gift to me wherein I can be a more effective minster to the body of Christ.

In order to be more effective in that one, I decided to enroll at Veritas International University, School of Apologetics where I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Divinity major in Christian Apologetics. The areas of theological studies that I am very interested on is Apologetics, church history, textual criticism and biblical archeology. I took the subject  “Church History” last summer. We were required to write a 25 page paper on our chosen church history subject. Since the subject on Baptist Successionism piqued my interest, I decided to do research and write about Baptist it.

I actually chose that particular topic for three reasons. First, because most church history books are focused on the main story of Christianity with Baptist church history being only some sort of a sub-topic. There are books and articles written on it, but I feel that more research can be  and should be done on the subject. Secondly because I wanted to counter the wrong teachings of Baptist Successionism, Perpetuity and Landmarkism since it has caused so much damage to the body of Christ and to Baptist church history as it has produced a group of elitist Baptist who think they are right when in truth is that what they hold on to is based on false claims. Not only that, I also want to counter this wrong teaching because it has produced a lot of Baptist Christians who do not even know how to think and evaluate critically and logically this matter and to do research to see if what is being claimed is backed by the evidence.

Delighting Grace: What do think are the reasons why some of our Baptist brethren hold on this teaching?

Zigfred Diaz: Mainly because of a lot of those who hold on to this is misinformed and because of other factors which I will discuss later. This teaching is very popular among independent Baptist, missionary Baptist, primitive Baptist and some Southern Baptist. As I mentioned I come from an independent Baptist church. The ironic thing about most Independent Baptist is that they tell you to bring your Bible to church to check if what your pastor is saying is true. But what’s funny is that if you start to question things, you either get told to shut up or you will branded as a “rebel”, “backslider”, “liberal” and all the other beautiful adjectives that could possibly be labeled to you. :-D. I am sad to say that a lot of these churches seem to promote some kind of anti-intellectualism.

So in a lot of these churches when people start to question Baptist Successionism, they get criticized for questioning it. So they will just back down and will be forced to swallow whatever they had been fed. Few of us who could not take it anymore eventually transferred to other Baptist groups. However I know a lot who chose to remain on the inside but they do have sincere questions and doubt about certain issues like Baptist Successionism. However I think they would not want to bail out of the group considering that they already have friends and family there.  It’s hard to uproot somebody growing up in the culture. So in this sense I understand why some people chose to remain in there and continue to somehow “swallow” the wrong things taught to them when in reality they have some doubt and objections about it. It is indeed hard to be ostracized by the majority in these groups who believe in Baptist Successionism.

Delighting Grace: What are the reactions of people when they hear or read your paper regarding the Trail of Blood?

Zigfred Diaz:  The Trail of Blood is the most popular work on Baptist Successionism hence when I wrote a paper against it, it really caused quite a stir. Well thank God I haven’t encountered any violent reactions that has led to physical harm :-D. But I’ve been called the beautiful adjectives that I mentioned.  We Filipinos are of course none confrontational and when I met those from my former denomination they of course did not mention their objections to what I have written. However I know that a lot of them have expressed displeasure because of what I have written.  I know this because I am administrator of a Facebook group named “Baptist Theological Forum” which has currently more than 2,000 members from different Baptist groups mainly from the Philippines.

A lot of my friends and acquaintances from my previous church and denomination are there and they have definitely read what I have wrote as I posted it there. Some of them do tell me that they find my paper interesting. The greatest blessing I receive is that that there are those from my former denomination that tell me that I am right. Those from independent Baptist churches who I do not know personally and I have engaged with in the forum, do fight tooth and nail for Baptist Successionism. I do take the time to answer them and show them what is wrong with it and how the Trail of Blood is based on false claims, half truths and even outright lies.

Delighting Grace: Read the paper you have written. Its short and its spot on. Will you consider publishing this paper?

Zigfred Diaz: Thanks. Yes I am considering publishing it. However most seminaries and organizations only accept publication from people on the inside. So I have yet to find a seminary or organization that accepts publications from people outside their organization. If there is one do let me know and I will publish it in that journal. Our seminary still does not have a journal but if it will have one in the future, I will publish it there.

Delighting Grace: Please tell us the process in writing Battling Baptist Bogus Beliefs.

Zigfred Diaz: First, I asked my professor if I can write about the subject then he gave me approval and asked me to submit a list of references that I will be using. Next I read books, articles, write ups etc. on the subject from both sides and carefully evaluated the arguments and the evidences of both. Afterwards I went to the Baptist Theological Forum and other Theological chat groups and asked other pastors regarding the subject. That was really very helpful because part three of my paper would not have been completed without me doing such. For quite some time,  I was asking a lot of Baptist who claims to have an unbroken lineage of their church to the New Testament church to give me a copy of such lineage.  To my surprise nobody wanted to give it to me not even some persons and groups who claimed they have it. So that really fueled my confidence that such lineage either does not exist or that they were unsure of its accuracy.

Finally somebody in the Baptist Theological Forum gave me their church lineage and another pastor, a personal friend of mine was kind enough to give me their church lineage. I actually used those two lineages in my paper and  I back check the references given if they were true. Well for those who have not read my paper you will have to find out the answer :-D. Actually the part I liked most in my paper is that last part where I debunked the church lineages that was given to me. I liked that part because I had fun searching for the references and checking if what is being said there is true or not. It is really fun and exhilarating to uncover the truth.

Delighting Grace: Wow. How does a Christian avoid falling to errors like Landmarkism?

Zigfred Diaz: Christians must not just swallow immediately whatever is being taught to them. God gave us brains to think. Not to use it properly is a grave insult to Him. We must critically evaluate properly anything that is thrown at us. We must think logically and check if whatever is being claimed is backed by the evidence. Not only that we must learn the tools on how to do to scholarly research and evaluate truth claims. Each discipline has its own tools to do proper research. Historians have the historical method, Anthropologist have ethnography and other social science tools, Archeology has archeological principles and methods, Textual Criticism has rules and even pastors must follow the basic rules of exegesis to properly interpret Scriptures ! 

Above all there is the basic principles of logic. This is not “worldly” knowledge as some Baptist groups would want us to think. The source of all this knowledge is God. Further in this century, information is freely and readily available. When I did research in my paper to back check the references in the church lineage that was given to me, I mostly searched for those references online. They are all freely available in the internet ! We must learn to utilize these resources properly. All of these are gifts from God.

I teach critical thinking at a Christian High School and I wish that this subject is also taught in Bible schools. I am very much dismayed and flabbergasted that even pastors share fake news in Facebook! If these pastors believe in fake news which is just so easy to check online,surely they will have a hard time discerning fake news from the past ! The Trail of Blood and the claims of Baptist Successionism, perpetuity and Landmarksim are fake news from the past. Christians especially pastors should learn to be discerning. We are God’s people and we have the Holy Spirit with us who will teach us all things. We should be the most lucid and  discerning thinkers.

Delighting Grace:  Where do you go from here pastor? What are you’re plans in the future concerning this issue?

Zigfred Diaz: Actually I plan to write a book someday with the same title. (I like the title.When I write papers, I usually take time to whip up a fancy title) It will be a series of books discussing Baptist bogus beliefs. I have two topics now for this series of books. The first volume will deal with Baptist Successionism and the second volume will be on the issue of KJV Onlyism, also an issue close to my heart as a lot of my brethren in my previous denomination still hold on to this wrong belief.  (I have written a paper on the logical fallacies of KJV Onlyism) I will think of more topic as time goes by.

By the way, books countering Baptist Successionism are now a bit dated and historians dealing with the subject are aging or has gone home with the Lord. For example Dr. Leon McBeth who wrote “The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness” published in 1986 was one of the most comprehensive and accurate work on Baptist Church History. In his book he discussed the issue of Baptist Successionism perpetuity and landmarkism. He died last 2013. McBeth was distinguished professor of Church History  for 45 years at Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary and has served as chairman of the Texas Baptist Historical Committee Baptist Convention, and as president of the Southern Baptist Historical Society. He also experienced being a pastor in several churches. McBeth was considered the foremost Baptist historian in the 20th century.

Former Baptist Pastor, renowned church historian and seminary professor,  Dr. James Edward McGoldrick author of “Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History” is now in his senior years. His book, published in 1999 is one of the main reference for my paper and is the probably the only book to date that counters point by point and directly the work of J.M Caroll’s Trail of Blood.

These great scholars used by God needs to have somebody pick up where the left off. We need more scholars researching the subject so that  false claims will be countered and that the true Baptist Church History will be known by the generations to come.

Delighting Grace: Thank you pastor for your time. Please invite our readers to check out and download your free paper Battling Baptist Bogus Beliefs.

Zigfred Diaz: Sure! I was planning to put it up in Academia but if I do that, the journals won’t allow me to publish with them. So I am a bit reluctant. That is why I have only one published worked in Academia. I have a lot of papers that I haven’t put up in Academia dealing with several subjects from  Anthropology, Archeology and Theology.

Anyway, you can all download it in this link. Please feel free to share it without asking for my permission. The truth needs to come out on this issue freely!