FBF 86th Annual Fellowship Reflections (Part 4 of 5)

FBF 2006 Annual Fellowship

Thursday, June 15

Session 7: Dave Shumate–Dispelling the Darkness of America’s Great Immigrant Throngs

Introduction

I always enjoy hearing Dave apply Scripture because he always challenges my thinking. As the new General Director of Mission Gospel Ministries International (the old website–www.mexicangospelmission.org), he recently wrote an article “Una Puerto Abierta” (Frontline, Jan./Feb. 2006) [25], relating “By most credible estimates the Hispanic population of the United States is now over forty million, rivaling that of Columbia, the second most populous country in Latin America. It is now generally accepted that Hispanic-Americans are now the largest and in numerical terms the fastest growing minority group in the United States. Under current rates of growth and immigration, the Census Bureau estimates that by mid-century there will be more than one hundred million Hispanics in the United States, comprising almost one-fourth of the total population.”

Back in 1994, 43 percent of New Mexico was Hispanic. California contained 12.4 million Hispanics with 4.6 million of them making their home in Los Angeles County. Should Romanists rule?

In a sidebar entitled, “What Can We Do?” Dave suggests five starter helps for English-speaking congregations in reaching Hispanics:


  1. “There is abundant gospel literature in Spanish.”
  2. “Any church member can learn enough Spanish to initiate a conversation, open a heart, and hand out some gospel literature.”
  3. Utilize “bilingual individuals” in the congregation.
  4. “One of the greatest sources for future Hispanic pastors is the large numbers of second-generation Hispanics.”
  5. “An American church can provide support, encouragement and a place to meet for a new Hispanic congregation.”


Message from Shumate

In introduction, Shumate told us that all the Hispanic immigration is a historic opportunity. God is bringing the nations to our doorstep. And to quote his prior pastor, John Vaughn, the problem is “not an immigration problem but an evangelistic problem.” There is an open door.

Taking us to Acts 13:14-52, Shumate compared the Hispanics with those (half-proselytites coming out of paganism) that “fear God” in verse 16. Though not wanting to stretch the analogy, Shumate was encouraging us to see a people group God was preparing to hear the Gospel.

He gave us three aspects of similarity between those Gentiles described in Acts 13 and Hispanics:


  1. They are ready to hear (v. 16)
    Most Hispanics have a high regard for the Bible, though they don’t know what is in it. As a whole, they are not yet swept into relativism.
  2. They are ready to hear the word of salvation, the Gospel of grace (v. 26).
    During the 60’s through the 80’s, large groups of people were attending Bible-believing churches because of the shaking of the trees of those who grew up in mainline liberalism. Now there is another group of people prepared by God, the Hispanics.
  3. They are ready to hear the Gospel of grace and to have the forgiveness of sins (v. 38). Notice the words of address, “men and brethren.” Paul loved these people. Where is your heart? We should care about Hispanics in Wal-Mart, restaurants, and motels? Do we really care? Why not learn a few words of greeting in the ethnic language?
  4. Newly converted Hispanics are aggressive in their inviting others. We shouldn’t just seek to reach only one group (Caucasians) and not another. We should not have to make God crawl over us in order to reach the Hispanics. American churches are the key in jumpstarting Hispanic evangelism. Shumate calls it “the Gringo factor.”


God is giving us another chance in this country.

My Personal Reflections on Shumate’s Text

I am incredibly rebuked by my lack of love. I am deeply moved by Paul’s fervent love and the open response of the Gentiles in Antioch. Sometimes in the stores, in the restaurants, or on the streets, I am moved with the compassion of Christ. Other times, I am too preoccupied or careless.

This is not the time to discuss the pros and cons of Hispanic culture and immigration, especially with Hispanic LDS missionaries constantly walking the streets of Idaho Falls. And if we are faltering in our witness, may we heed the verses of Matthew 5. John Vaughn writes the following:

Those who do not seek souls are not true peacemakers—those who help men make peace with God. No one is a faithful soul winner who is not single-minded about it. No one is Biblically single-minded who does not live in the realization of his own constant need for the renewed mercies of God.

No one is conscious of the availability of God’s mercies who is not feeding a natural appetite for the God of the Bible. No one seeks this strength for obedience who has no intention to obey. No one intends to obey who has not repented of his disobedience. No one repents of his disobedience who has not come to the end of his own self-reliance. By the grace of God, a man moves from being lost to seeking the lost—from living in darkness to being a light shining in the darkness (Frontline, May/June 2006).

Session 8: David Innes–Dispelling the Darkness by Ministering in the Impossible Places

Introduction

San Francisco has been good for me. It has helped me fit pieces together in regard to some of the fundamentalist Christian ministries existing in the West these past 50 years. In reference to the Innes family, I know David’s brother, John. He has spoken to our local fellowship. And the fruits of the Spiritd–love and patience–registered all over his countenance for those he and his wife minister to in Utah. He is a master craftsman.

My first introduction to David Innes was listening in a 1993 BJU chapel to an audiocassette of the homosexuals rioting outside his church building when he had the nationally known Reverend Lou Sheldon come as a speaker. I remember the banging, the repeated clanging on the exterior door reverberating through the auditorium, and the distress in David’s voice while seeking to protect members of the fellowship. It impressed me so much during my first year in seminary that I called the San Francisco city office to offer, among the many, my voice of complaint.

That is basically all I knew about David, so I traveled through the church website (www.hamiltonsquare.net). Like Fred Moritz, he also writes a summary to the question, “What is a fundamentalist?” I read all his articles and then went through the whole 91-page history of HSBC. For me, it speaks a lot about the determination on David’s part to faithfully serve by God’s grace. Though HSBC was experiencing an attendance of 1,179 fifty years ago, David became the pastor of 70 in 1977. And he has been faithful through the ups and downs for the last 30 years. That communicates volumes to me, moving in to my ninth year as pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Idaho Falls.

Message from Innes

For the most part, Innes just shared his heart.

People say a lot of things about fundamentalists, but you are a great crowd. … Some of you are in big places; some of you are in little places. But in the work of God, there is not a little place. We all need to be where God wants us.

Preachers are like automobiles. There are two cylinders that never make the headlines but in their ministry, they set the table. There are four cylinder preachers. Eight cylinder. Twelve cylinder. And the twelve cylinder preachers look at the two cylinder preachers and wonder, “Will they ever make it?” [26] The two cylinder preachers get discouraged and quit coming to the fellowship meetings. But quit comparing. Comparing ministries is a devastating, terrible thing. God has not called us to succeed but to work hard. Quit comparing. Stop. Be who you are.

There is no impossible place. My wife had white knuckles when we first drove into San Francisco. But God was already here. We were made famous worldwide for the struggles back in 1993. Homosexual publications were contradicting each other. But the march in City Hall, singing Amazing Grace under the rotunda was memorable.

Upon first coming to HSBC, Phil Schuler told me, “They got 12 old ladies, and it is deader than a door nail.” Now 30 years later, the church is celebrating 125 years of ministry. The 147.5 square foot by 147.5 square foot building is worth $15 million. It is choice property, right in the middle of the city amidst a sea of people.

I have been living on the verge of financial ruin for years. But we walk by faith not by sight.

We could have named ourselves “Adullam Baptist Church.” Remember David and his 600 rejects?

Would you like to pastor a well-established Jerusalem church or the Corinth church?

What about the safety of my children? Yet safety is being in the center of God’s will. God tells Paul in Acts 18:9-10, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.” Be not afraid [27]! The biggest challenge for the preacher then becomes how to win elect people to Christ.

Last of all, can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Innes responded something to the effect, “I believe with all my heart that God will take care of us.” God is great. God is so good.

He ended with a quote by Bob Jones, Sr.—“Just keep shooting at the same hole until something comes out.”

My Personal Reflections on Innes’ Message


Innes seemed to be reminiscing on God’s goodness in the past 30 years of his ministry in San Francisco. I wonder what will be my personal testimony about God to others after 30 years of public ministry in a difficult area.

________________________

25. On page 35, Dave Shumate also leads you step by step on how to study U.S demographics on the Census Bureau hom page. The guy is not only scholarly but also practical.
26. Recently, I ate with my kids in McDonalds. We ordered Happy Meals. Colorful pictures of Cars, the latest, animated Disney-Pixar movie, completely covered the food boxes. I think I would rather hang out with “Mater” than “Lightning McQueen.” Mater seems like the kind of guy that could really be of help.
27. In his book Behold the City Matt Recker writes, “No other verse in the Bible has so gripped me for the great work of urban ministry than Acts 18:10: ‘For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.’ I will never forget praying over this verse on a rainy day, in the front seat of my Chevrolet Nova, while I was a graduate student at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. God used this verse to indelibly burden me for the city. He also used this verse to comfort me regarding my fears of urban ministry. Would I be safe? Would I fail? Would God provide? God calmed my spirit with His promise. Perhaps the Lord can use this verse to give you the right focus to conquer any fear in your heart related to ministry in a metropolitan area” (pp. 121-122).
During this FBF conference, Matt sold his book to me for $10. On the inside title page, he signed his name and wrote Acts 18:10. That verse is more than just inked words to both him and Innes.


———–
Todd Wood is pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He received his B.A. in Missions, M.A. in Theology, and M.Div. from Bob Jones University. But more than anything he hungers for the A.I.G. degree affixed to Apelles (Rom. 16:10).

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