Church Planting in…Atlanta

Thank goodness somebody is finally planting a Bible-believing church in Atlanta.

This does make me wonder: are there people who also raise money to found a true “Torah-Believing” synagogue in Jerusalem or a “Quran-Believing” mosque in Mecca?

Update 1:

Here’s Patrick making his case (starts about 23 minutes in) for support in his church planting efforts. In so many words his claim is that 90% of the good Bible-believing churches packed up and left in the white flight out of the Atlanta urban areas.

Quote: “Today there are 951,000 people living inside [the 85 beltway]…and where there were 170 Baptist churches now we can find 3. There were 4 that still preach the gospel — I’ll tell you more about that in just a minute — there were 4 and one just closed its doors.”

249 thoughts on “Church Planting in…Atlanta”

  1. Not surprising. When you so narrowly define what it means, looks like and takes to be a Christian, then there are no Bible believing/preaching churches in many areas of the United States.
    And I really wonder how much he has exaggerated the baptist church with the female pastor. In my experience, it is a typical tactic–to take one thing and run to the extreme with it when that is not what was said or happened. Bearing false witness is still a sin…

    1. I don’t know of any church in the USA that permits selling one’s daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7), or having lots of concubines (see Abraham, David, Solomon, et al), so there are NO true Bible-believing churches in the USA.

  2. Deasons Son

    Im surprised you name dropped. As new as I am to this I guess the point is to expose not protect. I know Russ personally. I attend his sending church.Its fundy for sure. Sometimes I can take it sometimes I cant. I dont mean to compare backgrounds by who had it worse. But as a former PK there are no words describing what its like to experience this type of upbringing as a PK. Pastor sets the ‘example’. So no TV, no music with drums, no shorts or sleeveless shirts, MUST wear a tie, polish up them shoes, comb your hair no bowl cut or spike jobs, get there early stay real late. Its sad, my folks talk to me the way they talked to first time visitors and other members and I dont think they even realize it. I would like to meet you knowing that we know the same people. To me these things (though I participate) will not change and Im not sure to what end we vent to faceless people. IFB isnt going away therefore someone in these circles needs to lead their circle away from the frightening history and present times. Does anyone believe its possible to lose the strict adherence to non-sense and focus on the simple priorities??

  3. Bald Jones Grad

    The fact that people are still talking about what the South has always been is a victory for the South. I’ll apologize to myself for taking the time to read Kat Parker. My point is that I refered to him as ‘your boy’ because he’s the one crying racism. Im not trashin the guy no matter how fandamentally goofy his spill was. If you want to rip the IFB go ahead but cut the IFB racism crap. Racism is not an IFB problem. Its much deeper then IFB. Are you or anyone else taking the missionary Baptists in the South to task for not reaching enough poor white folk? If this were a black church planter would the same be said if the focus was to reach inner city blacks (“he’s starting an inner city church cause he knows the white folk wont come cause their scared” racist right?). If being a white church planter reaching more whites then blacks makes him racist then are black churches racist for not reaching more whites? Or do black churches exist because racist IFB dog whistlers covertly avoid telling the blacks about God?

    1. APVF,
      The southern version of IFB was deeply steeped in the need to maintain segregation. I am not trying to say that the IFB of other parts of the nation were, necessarily, racist, as I have much less experience with other regions. I am speaking particularly about the IFB as it has existed historically in the American Deep South. And, the church plant in question, is, well, in that region.

      I know little or nothing about Oklahoma. I drove through OK in the late 90s. It was terribly hot that summer day, in the 100 degrees. The engine on my brand new rental car overheated. I came to believe that when God made Oklahoma, he was really pissed off.
      Best wishes,
      BJg

      1. Philip Yancy grew up in a Fundamentalist Church in the Deep South in the 1950’s and ’60’s. They gave thousands of dollars (a lot of money in those days) to missionaries to “Darkest” Africa but were proud of the fact they would never let a “N*****” through the doors of their Church. Philip Yancy is apparently not much liked by Fundamentalists of any sort, not just IFB.

        Regarding the apparent “fact” that there are only 3 Bible-believing Churches in atlanta, I have personal experience of trying to serve a very small God, who disregarded everyone who did not Play Church the way I did. I grew up in Northern Ireland (and still live there) in the parallel universe known as “Evangelical Ulster Protestantism”. Drummed into us, practically from birth, was the belief that anything that was accepted by the Roman Catholic Church was to be regarded with suspicion, as being unscriptural, unGodly, unChristian un-Everything that was Good. There was NOTHING good about Catholisism, and certainly there were no Christians there. The term “Catholic Christian” was an Oxymoron. God was a Prod, and for Him to do anything for Catholics would be to go aginst His Holy nature. The foundations of my entire belief system were rocked when I realised God was bigger than that. I guess the same is true for a Fundamentalist who realises that God ain’t gonna jump through every Fundamentalist hoop because their doctrine says He should.

        1. Paul, that’s fascinating. When I was a BJU student, I worked with the university host. In that capacity, I had a chance to spend a little time with Ian Paisley. While he was a personable man, I’ve always wondered what the real story was. You could probably tell me volumes.

  4. Maybe to get 3 Bible believing churches in the 85 beltway he used as search terms “Baptist Churches Interstate 85 Atlanta?” I did that, and I came up with 3. Of course, that doesn’t include any churches that are more than a block away from the Interstate, which would be the vast majority of churches in Atlanta…

  5. Hey B.R.O.,

    Re: Grace Giving

    I googled this and it seems to me that probably those who believe in “Grace Giving” don’t believe that NT Christians are commanded to tithe, but that they should give based on the principles found in 2 Corinthians 9:7.

    When we were both back in Fundamentalist churches, however; we both no doubt heard teaching to the effect that those under grace should exceed the requirements of the law. This being the case, if any IFB churches adopt the “grace giving” view, it’s probably a safe bet they’ll still find a way to make tithing (and giving offerings) mandatory. If anything, there may be Pastors who try to make church members feel guilty for setting their giving baseline at only 10% of the gross.

    1. I actually listened to bits and pieces of this sermon by a guy named Dr. David Canedy. I’m not sure if the Doctor shoud be in quotes.

      The message seemed to be convincing a dying IFB church to give more and more and more! The mortgage, the “pastor’s” salary, the electric/gas/insurance bills are not getting paid because, well, it’s an authoritarian IFB church where a single man lords over the people. Grace is paid with lip-service and God’s people are brow-beated to dispair.

      Why would a visiting “preacher” deliver such a message except the sitting Mog cried on his should and wanted his people to set straight?

      -Disgusting-

      1. B.R.O.,

        I retract without comment the first sentence of the second paragraph in my previous post. I will say, however; it can be difficult for me to write about my experiences in Fundamentalism without bitterness.

        When I was in Fundamentalism, I remember a preacher teaching that the biblical reference to the “first fruits” meant we were to tithe off the gross income and not the take home pay. At a ministry I worked for following graduation from Bible “college,” a man taught from the pulpit that the workers in that ministry (the pay was paltry) should consider their benefits (such as housing) when calculating their tithes. Then of course there are “love offerings,” requests for money for “building funds,” and, while in Bible “college, requests for money to help pay the Christian school payments of one or more young person who rode the bus to church. Christians ought to be giving, generous people, and it would be a very rare case where I would encourage someone who felt bound by conscience to give not to do so. Still I dislike the emphasis on money. Maybe you feel differently, but I also would not care to discuss my personal giving, one way or the other, while in Fundamentalism.

        With regards to your comment about “lip service,” there are some doctrines in Fundamentalism that seem to be unofficial. For example, the “caste system” that Don mentioned (exactly how I thought of it) is not preached, but, at least in my opinion, it’s still real. As far as “soul liberty” and “the priesthood of the believer” go, I think there are Fundamentalist preachers who would confess that these things were true and yet behave in a manner that indicated that they did not really believe either of these things. Anyhow, that’s enough complaining– I’ve got stuff to do.

        Have a great day,

  6. Fundie colleges are producing more preacher boys than there are churches. So the preacher boy must start a house church and steal people from other churches. Even in my small town near Annapolis, there is always some new house church or store front church. They often start out with an ad in the local paper claiming their church is for people who hate church.
    I hope Mr. Henry knows how to run a cash register because that is his true future. At least get an honorary doctorate first.

  7. This guy is the real deal. I scoffed when my church announced we were having in a “missionary to Atlanta.” But when I took him and his wife to dinner, I was convinced his heart was really in this. And his wife is supportive – that doesn’t always happen when somebody suggests leaving the comfort of the suburbs.

    I’m sure there are more than 3 churches that “preach the gospel” inside Atlanta, but it’s likely there are not 3 churches that are like the ones he is trying to gain support from. It seems most of the IFBs buy property on the edge of town and move away (if they can afford to) when their neighborhoods deteriorate.

    This guy has already begun making friends with his neighbors in his Atlanta apartment complex and only one of the 5 or 6 closest is white. I doubt he’ll be “stealing” too many sheep from other folds. Inner city churches seldom do.

    1. Rudy, this is SFL; you can not have a contrary opinion, how dare you post this 😉 I mean, if he is IFB then he really wants to steal money, hurt people and ruin children. Yeesh, we all know ALL IFB people are the same and ALL IFB people pray to Jack Hyles. There is no real deal in IFB, only child abusers. I’m gonna call you to repent, because you took him out to eat. I bet you once read the KJV…stinking apostate fundy. *sarcastic tone, of course 🙂

    2. I agree that one finds IFB churches in the suburbs a lot more than in the inner city.

      If he is earnest about meeting his neighbors and showing Jesus to his city, that’s wonderful. However, from long experience, I’ve found that a fundy’s belief in separation will come into direct conflict with attempts to make friends with his neighbors. How will he handle it when his little girls start singing songs that they’ll pick up from the neighbor kids?

  8. Also, in the inner city, he’s going to see issues that will require practical help. The fundies I grew up with were very compassionate with each other, but they had very little interest in social issues like homelessness, literacy, latchkey programs, etc. I would imagine that a church in the inner city will need to have some sort of response to the actual needs of the people around them which (in my experience) is something that fundy churches struggle to do.

    1. They might see a need for literacy or afterschool programs but instead of actually helping people for the sake of being a decent human being, they will do it for numbers and use the programs as a way to lure people in.

    2. Pastor’s wife: I won’t be surprised if Mr. Henry ends up “fundy lite” as I’ve seen it called here. But, he may stick to his upbringing. Either way, you’re spot on about the difficulties of meeting needs and also separating. Some of us learned so well how to separate that we couldn’t figure out how to even interact or relate to people not like us. #stilllearning (do people hash tag on this site?)

  9. Because you know his heart. Has anyone responded to James’ post about the irony of this site? Crazy IFB’s knock people down like this, in the same condemning spirit. Someone just posted a positive meeting with him, but yet he’s guilty until proven innocent on this site. Who are we to judge another man’s servant. Okay, he separates, ah, the horror! Does he gave a desire to see people believe on Christ? Many on this site have unknowingly become what they hate, graceless people. Focus on calling out abuse rather than abusing those who haven’t done anything wrong?

    1. Yes, separation is a horror. It divides communities and it divides families. It often creates a harsh, judgmental spirit in those who separate and can create pride and blindness.

      I do believe in separation, but not over the things fundamentalists typically separate over.

    2. And, yes, we do condemn people who say there aren’t “Gospel-preaching churches” in an area WHEN THERE ARE! Maybe they’re not IFB churches, maybe they’re not churches that use the KJV or traditional music, but that’s not the Gospel! Saying such a thing is utterly misleading. The phrase “Bible-believing churches” has become code for “churches that believe like us” which is ridiculous.

      I’m passionate about this because I grew up in the IFB and I believed stuff like this. I really believed that other churches watered down the Gospel and weren’t preaching the truth and WE were some of the FEW who actually taught salvation by faith. It has been only a few years ago that I realized the truth: that, while there are many liberal churches that deny the inspiration of the Bible, there are still many churches outside the IFB who do preach the true Gospel and who do believe the Bible. I feel like I was lied to.

      1. I agree with you, the Gospel is not keeping the KJV. I know several IFB pastors with SBC friends (at one time, that was crazy) along with other friends in different denom’s; so, not every IFB camp says the KJV and just IFB preaches the gospel. But we know some do, not all. What about the other points on the table I put out.

  10. If he is our brother in the Lord, do we have a Bible right to gossip,backbite or unquestionably condemn him? Anyone contacted him to get his heart on this calling? If not, its just keyboard bullying.

  11. P wife, I would contend humbly that the same judgmental spirit hyles masked under parted hair ironically is shown here in those who “separate” from fundys. Same attitude, different position.

    1. If someone has already separated from me, am I then to be accused of separating from them?

      I would love to call my fundamentalist friends my brothers in sisters in Christ. But instead of considering me as one, they chose to view me as worldly, backslidden, and in sin. Instead of allowing me liberty in Christ, they accuse me of being unBiblical over standards that aren’t in the Bible!

      1. Let me clarify: I do consider them brothers and sisters in Christ. But they do so to me in name only, refusing to fellowship in any way with people in evangelical circles.

        1. I hear you, but let’s be honest. How many people on this post would hit a IFB church, if they said we want to keep our standards, and there are other gospel preaching churches out there? I understand you feel lied to, I get it. However, the spirit of the blog post has taken some kid who, yes, needs to learn (we all were young and needed help at one time) but feels God has called him to start a Gospel preaching church, and SFL has made HIM the source of all past lies and hurt. Start a post about what makes a church a Gospel preaching church, yes, but leave the kid alone if you are not trying to help him. Paul eventually softened on Mark coming to help again, be the stronger Christian and forgive and love those you feel are your enemy. I used to HATE those super IFB people that forsook me when I fell outta church, but they’re my brothers in the end; I’ve gotta love them even if they dont love me (thats the example of Christ).

        2. Peter – you obviously haven’t been reading here too long, or do not understand the purpose behind SFL. It is a humorous blog that pokes fun at the IFB.

  12. Scorpio,
    I’ve been reading a long time; seldom do I ever jump in, because a lot of it is needed and funny. However, when people start making fun of the kid for reading level and making him akin to Hyles, its just going a lil’ too far. There is anger out there, and it tends to get thrown on people from time to time. Just trying to ask, what spirit is it in?

    1. Peter – I don’t think anyone made fun of his reading level. It was the grammar on the website that was the target. For a group of people who proclaim that everything be done decently and in order, would it hurt to proof-read something that is going out for the whole world to see? And I don’t think any regular commenter compared him directly to Hyles.
      One of the main points of this post was his claim that there are only 3 “Bible-believing” churches in downtown Atlanta. That is false, a lie. I ask you, what spirit is that in? To deceive? To speak out of ignorance? Had he said “there are only 3 churches who I agree completely with” within downtown Atlanta, we would pay him no attention.

    2. Maybe it’s wrong to mock someone’s reading level, but should a person who borders on functional illiteracy be a pastor and/or publish theological commentary on the Internet?

      I honestly think not.

      1. I should add that I’m not placing any moral value on his illiteracy. Maybe he has a learning disability. Maybe he was homeschooled by an unqualified parent, or attended a church basement “Christian school” where there was no adequate instruction. Maybe he was too poor to ever attend any school. Maybe he was just too lazy and/or arrogant to pay attention to his teachers.

        Nonetheless, it bears on his chosen occupation. However admirable it might be for an armless person to try to be a bricklayer or for a quadruplegic to try to tapdance, no competent job counselor would reccomend those fields for those persons. And I believe that both book learning and contemplation are required for a pastorate.

        1. Years ago, when I was teaching in a small Christian school, I had a student who hated English and wouldn’t do his homework. He often said that he planned on being a pastor. I’d try to remind him that God wanted him to do his duty now, whether or not he liked it, that laziness and disrespect were a sign of a lack of character, and that someday he might have parishioners who valued a pastor who could communicate using proper English.

  13. I hear you, but I can tell you that young preachers make mistakes, and maybe that’s the best he could do; youth and wisdom seldom sit on the same shoulder.I always understood order as decorum in worship not always in their media, so I wouldn’t strain on that, myself. I would ask, why make fun of his writing, if the issue is his calling? It was done in a derogatory way. Baptist people are separatists by history; especially when other reformers like. Luther said they were fit for the fire. It won’t change, I’m sorry if SFL doesn’t like it. I do think a year out he will be more open when he’s seeing the work of other demons.

        1. Luther sanctioned capital punishment for doctrinal heresy most notably in his Commentary on the 82nd Psalm (vol. 13, pp. 39-72 in the 55-volume set, Luther’s Works, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan et al), written in 1530, where he advocated the following:

          If some were to teach doctrines contradicting an article of faith clearly grounded in Scripture and believed throughout the world by all Christendom, such as the articles we teach children in the Creed — for example, if anyone were to teach that Christ is not God, but a mere man and like other prophets, as the Turks and the Anabaptists hold — such teachers shuold not be tolerated, but punished as blasphemers . . .

          By this procedure no one is compelled to believe, for he can still believe what he will; but he is forbidden to teach and to blaspheme.

        2. Are you trying to prove that Anabaptist are not remotely analogous to modern Baptist, or making the case that modern Baptists deny the deity of Jesus? Or just randomly pointing out (off topic) that Luther had moral failings like supporting the death penalty for heresy/blasphemy?

  14. Spirit? Maybe an Apollos type, he knows some truth and he hasn’t been taught the whole. Once again, Paul didn’t what spirit the gospel as long as it it went out.

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