Shortly after my second wife and I married in 1985, I took her to some Primitive Baptist meetings. We went to the Smoky Mountain Meeting for a day and we also took two trips to Nancy's Creek Primitive Baptist church, the first with Elder Charles Smith. This was the first time I had met Elder Harvey Fulmer, the pastor of the church at that time. The second time is when another elder of our mission church and I had a four night debate at the church with an elder from the "Church of Christ" on the subject of free will and predestination.
I want to share some thoughts about these visits here, tidbits of which have gone before in talking about Fulmer and Smith.
1. At this time I was still coming out of Hardshellism, accepting gospel means.
2. Elder Smith at this time was seemingly friendly to the gospel means position.
3. Elder Fulmer gave or sold me my copy of Elder Watson's "Old Baptist Test"
4. Elder Fulmer and Nancy Creek Church gave the use of their building for the debate
5. Spent lots of time talking with Elder Fulmer and Smith about Scripture and the church
6. Spent lots of time talking with a few members of Nancy Creek church about doctrine, especially eschatology and gospel means.
7. Was surprised that at least one leading member of the church believed in gospel means
8. The same leading member opposed me seeing prophecy fulfilled via newspaper reports of events
Anti Prophecy Preaching
I had already seen the error of Amillenialism and was heavy into studying unfulfilled prophecy, especially that of the New Testament. I was a firm Premillenialist, though not a Dispensationalist. Now I have forgotten many things, but one thing I remember this brother saying to me, about seeing prophecy being fulfilled in present day events, "you think," wagging his head in incredulity at the thought, "that by reading the newspaper you can see prophecy being fulfilled?" (paraphrase) I said "yes I do." And, if not mistaken, I may have said something like "it is called the 'signs of the times'." What I saw behind the words of this brother was an opposition to preaching or teaching on eschatology and unfulfilled prophecy. It reminds me of Paul's word of warning - "despise not prophesyings." ( I Thess. 5: 20 kjv)
Watch The Trees!
"And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees..." (Luke 21:29 kjv)
By the "fig tree" in the parable is meant the nation of Israel, as all acknowledge. All disciples are to "behold" or "watch" or "look at" the nation of Israel. And, just what does it mean to watch the nation? Is it not to keep up with her ongoing history, to observe meaningful events in it? And, is this not done by reporting those events by some means? If I read the newspaper and become informed of some current event pertaining to Israel the fig tree, especially one particularly mentioned in the NT, then so what? Why is that bad or to be rejected as nonsense I queried.
By "all the trees" is meant "all the nations" for "trees" are symbols of "nations" in the parable. So, Jesus not only tells us to watch the history and ongoing of the nation of Israel, but also of all the nations, especially the leading ones, or ones mentioned in Scripture.
The "signs of the times" or "sign of his coming," are not only physical and social, but also political. Many of the signs of the times given in Scripture of the "end of time" are political. So, watch the nations! By whatever medium of obtaining information about those nations and their dealings with each other, stay informed!