Why I Left the Baptist Church


I left the old man behind I left the old man married when I came up from the water I’ve been crucified I left the or for the new now I am cleansed my strength renewed to live for Jesus all of my days and that is why I left it all me I was born in Chickamauga Georgia a small town of course that sort at the foot Lookout Mountain we are my religious journey began when my in December 1938 just before my tenth birthday we moved out on top of Lookout Mountain just out from Cloudland Georgia and I had my 10th birthday 1939 the there was a church building out there on the mountain that they were not having services in it was a nineteen Methodist Church and Mount Olive was the name of that church and my dad wanted to start a sunday-school class there although he was a member of the Baptist Church but it didn’t seem to make any difference to him so he checked with the proper individuals to see if he could do that since they were not having services there at all and so they permitted him to begin having services there of a Bible studious and at that time my attending that group I became interested in religion although I was young I had my 10th birthday 1939 and so while we was there I began to ask a lot of questions about the church and different religious viewpoints and the latter part of the year I went out into the woods and gathered pine nuts because my dad was making plans to go to Chattanooga and I wanted to go up there and sell some of the kindling and have some money to buy a BB gun with so on our way up there to Chattanooga whoo I began to weave as we passed by the different church buildings I was asking questions what’s this group believing teach I knew there was a difference because I’d heard the Methodist preacher that finally came down a man by the name of Kelly crane from the fad was coming into that United Methodist Church and before the summer months and was over and was teaching and he was teaching baptism by immersion he was also teaching baptism by sprinkling and I and I my dad would say that baptism is a burial he was a Baptist of course and they believed that so on our way to Chattanooga that day I was asking questions to my dad what does this group believe and to the best of his ability was telling me what they believe to know and then he would tell me it was telling me what the Baptist Church believed because that’s what he was a member of and he said he made it very clear to me that the Baptist Church is really the the Bible Church he even made the statement that John was Baptist and he baptized Christ and that made a Baptist out of Christ and so me being 10 years old I thought that sounds logical because I knew about John the Baptist and I knew you know that whether it heard a lot talked about him and preaching and everything so I thought that made it right and I thought these other churches all of them had to be wrong I couldn’t understand why he told me he said they all get their teaching from the Bible and I just could not understand how any person could people could or any book could be relied on if if it taught so many different things and if that bothered me to think that the different religions was like that and why they couldn’t all just be one group and be a part of the Baptist Church of course but in later years I learned better than that I learned that the church that you read about in the Bible was not the Baptist Church that it was started by man but by the name of Smith or Smyth and Holland and so 19 and 40 we moved off the mountain down to Menlo Georgia and so I then begin to attend the service there at the Baptist Church in Menlo I had received my license to drive an automobile and my dad had an O 3030 Chevrolet car even though he was not at home at the time because I had brothers that were in the armed force had four brothers in the in the armed force and one of which was out in the South Pacific and the Navy had during the World War two so my dad went up to Chattanooga because one of my brother’s was owner of a dry-cleaning plant up there on lingo Road the sanitary cleaners you may have seen that up there and I still there as a matter of fact and so he went to work there and so I was the man of the house and at home and my dad my mother rather gotten where she could play the piano and the drive Valley Baptist Church was going to have a what they called a revival and they invited her to come over and play the piano for them so she didn’t have a way to get there and I could now drive so I would drive her over there so the man that was holding the meeting there his name was T Perry and Brannon he was from Chattanooga Tennessee and so one night during the meeting when he extended the invitation he came back to me and he said son are you a Christian and I said no I’m not he said Lord you’ve got to do to be a Christian is just believed that Jesus is the Christ said that’s all you’ve got to do but he turned and walked off went back to the front of the building and I thought about what he said and I thought well I must be a Christian then because I believe that Jesus is the Christ so I just left my pew and I walked down the front of the building where there was a man standing there and he said could I do something for you and I said well I said the preacher came back there where I was standing and he asked me if I was a Christian and I told him I was not and he said that all you’ve got to do to be a Christian history is to believe that Jesus is the Christ and I said well I believe that Jesus Christ so I said I must be a Christian so I stood there there were several people they had to move down to the front and had bowed him from the pulpit underneath seeking salvation evidently and so at a period of time they all got up and he they were asked to make a statement as to what the Lord had done for them and they stated that they believed that Christ had saved them so then they cut to me and the man asked me said do you have anything to say and I said yes I do I said the preacher came back there where I was while ago standing and he asked me if I was a Christian I told no it was not he said well you’ve got to do it to be a Christian is belief and I said well I believe that Jesus Christ so I believe that I’m a Christian then and so they accepted that and the next morning she said to me she said tommy’s she says I’m glad that you got saved she says now you need to join the church and be baptized I said well mama can I go to heaven without doing that and she said well yes you can but you want to join the church and be baptized I said well why she says because you want to work for the Lord don’t you and I said what can I work for the Lord like I am without joining the church and being baptized and she said oh well said yeah you can but said you can do a better job if you join the church and be baptized I said well mama I don’t want to do anything that I don’t have to do if it’s not necessary for me to join the church and be baptized well I’m just going to stay like I am because I don’t see any use of being a becoming a member of the Baptist Church and being baptized if I don’t have to do it I want to go to heaven but I can go like this well then that’s the way I’m going to do so in 1947 I met my wife her name was doing Smith and I met her and we began to date and the process of time we were both working at Regal textile and Tryon just short distance from here and so in process of time well we got married and she did not profess to be a Christian at all and so we were attending the perennial Springs Baptist Church which of course is not very far from here and so at some point in time during that year where they had a meeting there they call it revival Aughra Fletcher was the preacher and so he was of course trying to get people to become Christians he said he would extend the invitation so when he did extend the invitation he told of a woman that had a daughter that had gone left home and she the daughter this daughter was really kind of living a rough life and going to the dance halls and beer joints and places like that the mother thought so she had a picture of the daughter and she told the preacher said according to what Oliver Ledger was telling said I want you to take this picture and put in the beard joints and paint sauce and places where I think that my daughter might attend and put the words over that come home and so Oliver Pledger walked up and down the aisle saying come home come home and so my wife went down to the father building bowed down on her knees in prayer in front of pulpit and at that time she made a confession that she felt that God had saved her that’s using our Christian and so we went forward and wanted to join the Baptist Church by being baptized so they voted on us by raising their hands he asked if there everybody’s in favor of baptizing us that had to join the church well the raise your hand and then he asked if anybody opposed to raise their hand so there was people that raised their hand for us to join the church but there was none that refused so now then the dataset for us to be baptized so we were going to go Bevo they said to best I remember the third Sunday at 2:30 at the Bergen Creek and so we were there for that occasion and was baptized and act we were baptized well met back at the building they gave us the right hand of church fellowship up to that point we was not members of the Baptist Church we claimed that we were Christians of course but we’re we’re not members of the church and my brother was where another brother of mine was working at the peerless world mill and Rossville and so I contacted him to see if he could help to get me a job there and he got me a job and I went there and stayed with them for a short period of time and during that period of time I then later began to stay with my aunt my mother’s my dad’s sister brother and Tom crane she had married was married to him and I’ll stand with them in Billie crane first cousin mind he and I were very good friends and all of our lives and so he had began to preach in the Baptist Church at different places so I was well impressed with with the fact that he was preaching and so we visited back down to the horrendous pranks we’d go as often as we could down there to services so they invited me one Sunday if I would preach down there and then they pretty well told me that all you got to do if you want preachers just open the mouth and God would fill it so I got up there without having prepared that much for the occasion and I got up and I began to try to preach and to take the truth I didn’t do too good I was a place at all so when after this period of time we my wife and Terry and myself moved down to the fete and we became members of the Second Baptist Church in the fat Georgia and so while there a preacher there his name was Dennis Hannah he invited me on which one wins tonight to speak for them and so I really put myself into it protagonist uh deed real hard and so much topic that I was going to use was be sure your sins will find you out and so I brought the lesson for that group that night and I was so somewhat pleased the people came around and shook my hand said you did good and that of course encouraged me a young man I thought well you know I kinda enjoyed that and I decide now that I think I want to be a preacher so Bill Crane Billy clean by this time had accepted an invitation to come down to the Spring Creek Baptist Church and preach for them and so in process of time for my wife and myself and Terry we moved back to the Summerville area and so we identified ourselves with Spring Creek Baptist Church where Bill Crane was preaching and I was taking every opportunity in the county to preach at different places in this area and so not long after I had identified myself with Spring Creek Baptist Church I was lessened to preach and so I along about this same period of time my daughter Yvonne was born and so one one evening one Sunday evening bill craned extended the invitation and this was the way they worded he said if you want to get closer to the Lord so just come down let’s all get on our knees and pray that we might get closer to the Lord so I went forward and got down on my knees and I think just about all the people that Spring Creek did so and we was down there praying and so my prayer was this Lord I want to be close to you but I just don’t know how I want you to help me that you’ll help me to become close to you and so our prayer my prayer ended like that and I went on and I had to work that night that was on a Sunday night I had to work working the third shift rig or textile so I got off from work at 8:00 o’clock that next morning and got in my car and we’re driving down the twenty-seven highway coming back from trying back to Somerville and a tournament radio on and I heard the announcer of WTA make this announcement that about the gospel broadcast there was going to be presented and the Spirit says the Churches of Christ its program and the speaker Asst Cecil Williams and these will be the speakers views and not necessarily those of this station claimed at the Church of Christ so made a profession that we speak with the Bible speaks and they’re silent with the Bible is silent well I never heard anything just like that before and so I listened to this man carefully what he was saying and he says you can’t find the Baptist Church in the Bible nowhere so you can’t find the Methodist Church or the Presbyterian and he called over a number of groups and said you just kind of find that in the Bible he says I have an automobile if somebody will come forward and show me their church the Baptist Church or Methodist Church of Presbyterian he’s in the Bible he said I’ll give him my car well I thought that was kind of a challenge and I thought all of them going to see that man because I believe since my dad told me that the Baptist John was a Baptist he baptized Christ I made a Baptist out of him I think I’ve got grounds to face this man so I went down met him here at this building where we’re located right now on the outside and so he came over and got in my car and I said I won’t talk to you and so he said all right he said what about and I said well I said you claim that the Church of Christ is right and I said and I began to tell him about the Baptist Church you know and I felt like that he was kind of persecuting the Baptist Church and he said they listened to me for 30 minutes and didn’t interfere it all just said and listened to everything that I said so when I got through I was ready to go home he said joy well mr. groom he said don’t you think that it’d be fair for you to listen to me now for the next 30 minutes he said I gave you 30 minutes and I didn’t interrupt you he said don’t you think it’d be fair for you to hear me out and I said well yeah I guess so and so he started and he took everything that I said I want you to know he evidently memorized every word and he just actually toured a park and when I when he got through talking and all well I knew that he had really said some things that straightened me out because I didn’t know this you know and so I didn’t admit this to him that I felt like that he did teach me something that I had not known earlier and it began to announce that they were going to have debates in the courthouse here and he was going to debate a Church of God preacher I believe the church God preachers name was Bates or batts I’m not sure of the name exactly and so I went to hear the the debates every night because I was working the third shift and I could do that and so I will tell you this that this Church of God preached was very intelligent and he knew his Bible well and see some Williams either because this man had challenged Cecil Williams to the debate so he went he went first he presented the argument and about the doctrine of save by well done save sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost I believe was the topic that they used and things of such nature and so I thought world Cecil Williams was not going to be able to answer that man’s argument but I said and listened to Khafre to both and he did when he came on Cecil even was very strong this man believed in speaking in tongues and they used instrumental music and the worship and things like that and Cecil Williams just took the Bible and actually just refuted what this man was teaching right down the line and I could see it I could understand it and I continued to listen and I went to all the debates and I listened to him on the radio program and there was also a man in trying that was preaching his name was a seek writer and he came on at a different time during the day and I was listening to him and there’s quite a discussion on the radio they were allowed to call names on the radio and that was taking place and there was a man but the name of G Carl green that came into the area and so he was arguing the point that abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness and he was called a friend of God and he was taking the stand that the person is saved by faith only and that Abraham was justified by faith only so of course a sig writer was able to refute what this man said and I could see it very clearly because they go over into the book of James and stand and show that we’re not justified by faith only my wife and I went I don’t look out Mountain to see if we could find a place I’m not sure whether or not I had heard that there was a place out there or not but when we got out in near-mint on Alabama we saw a sign on the side of the road there that said Cove Road Baptist Church and it was down to little old dirt road and so I went down that road and found The Cove Road Baptist Church building and it was growed up around the building had the Wiggins about looked like about two feet tall I guess and so I told my wife I said I don’t believe they’re having any services here at all so I looked around in the area and saw a house a little ways off maybe a quarter of a mile from there and so we got in my car and we drove down there and drove in in the driveway and I went up to the door and knocked on the door a man came to the door and I earned this myself to him and he told me his name was Dolph Johnson and I told him that my reason for being out there was that I was looking for a place to preach and that I was lisent in the Baptist Church to preach and that the building up there looked like it was not being used and Dolph Johnson informed me that they had not had services there in a long time because they could not get a preacher so I said well I’m available and I’d be glad to come out here and preach for you all and he said well I’m not sure that we could get anybody to attend I said my wife and I will get out and knock doors and see if we can find people that will come so we did and so we I began to preach at The Cove Road Baptist Church so in to begin with we was having a very small attendance I’m not real sure just offhand how many maybe 10 people was there there was a lady that could play the piano and so we had somebody that led to singing and I would bring the lessons and I did my very best even though I believed what I was hearing on the radio that Cecil Williams and they said Grider was teaching I was believing what they were teaching to be the truth and so I was having a problem actually coming up with a material that would suit the Baptist individuals for preaching because I did not believe in the doctrine of once saved always saved I did not believe in join the Church of your choice I did not believe in instruments of music I believe the Lord suffered was to be observed every first day of the week and Here I am in the Baptist Church trying to preach Baptist doctoring and I’m having a complete hard time to find anything that would justify what I was trying to do so one Sunday morning while preaching there I just got tired of the whole thing and I preached us my convictions right straight forward I said you don’t find the Baptist Church in the Bible nowhere I said you don’t find in the Bible where you take the Lord’s Supper monthly quarterly or annually the early Christians comes to God came together on the first day of the week to break bread actually in verse seven you don’t find the Bible where they use any instruments of music the Bible tells us in Colossians 3:16 Ephesians 5:19 let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord and I said I don’t find it about where anybody ever joined the church I said the people and that became Christians in the Bible the Lord added them to his church and the church that he added to had to be his church and not some man-made organization because jesus said upon this rock I will build my church of that he that’s ownership I said Christ said it’s my church and I said I don’t think we have a right to it to establish man-made churches and all I kind of backed out over the processor time and begin to soften up a little bit and so they decided to they wanted to ordain me for the preacher because they had not that they were not in the Baptist Association so the made contact with Spring Creek Baptist Church to see whether or not they would ordain me and so well they were notified that they would ordain me to be a Baptist what they call pastor so bill crane met with me and gave me the Hiscox manual to study he wanted me to memorize the 18 Articles faith and so I took that manual and begin to study yet with the intent of trying to well take the Bible and take that and see if I couldn’t match it to what the Bible says but I couldn’t find any of those things that was told him that Baptist manual I could not find that in the Bible so I went to Bill Billy crane and I said Billy I said I’ve taken this Hiscox manual and I’ve studied that but I can’t find any of the 18 articles of faith in the Bible and he says oh they’re not in the Bible said they were taken from the Bible though well I didn’t understand how that could ever happen if they’re not in the Bible how you could ever take anything from the Bible but I sort of kept quiet and so the process of time that we met at the church building Spring Creek and the building was full I set in on the front row and well someone was playing the piano first cuz of mine another first cousin was blowing a trumpet I think and I was thinking because a presper tree had met and one of the classrooms back there a bunch of preachers and Deacon said and so I thought with my left this ordination go on I’ll never get out of the Baptist Church and I’ve got to get out of the Baptist Church and so I just got up and I went back to that classroom and I knocked on the door and a man came to the door and he said what could I do for you and I said well I’ve got to talk to the men back here I said I’ve got to see it and because I don’t believe like the Baptist Church believes and so he went back in the room and told them that I was out there and that I wanted to come in talk to them and so they invited me to come in and I got in there and they said tell me what your trouble I said well I don’t believe like the Baptist Church believes and so I can’t be ordained I just don’t think that I can allow it to happen and they said well what is the difference what is it that you believe that’s different to what we believe and I said well to start with I said I don’t believe the Baptist Church is a Bible Church I said you can’t read about the bow in the Bible with about the Baptist Church and I said the doctrine that you teach I said you teach the docking the once saved always saved you teach that people are saved by faith only I said you have instruments of music and the worship and I said I cannot find any of this in the Bible the Bible does not justify that kind of teaching and so I said the Bible teaches that the disciples came together for the first day of the week but I said y’all have the Lord’s Supper monthly quarterly or annually and you teach that and one man said he’s a camel light and so well I of course didn’t let that bother me because I’ve been called a whole lot of thing since I’ve been a Christian but they asked me said tell me would you meet with us at Dalton Monday that was on a Sunday afternoon and I said will I be glad to I had said we’ll discuss these things I said yes I’d be glad to discuss them with you if that’s what you want to do so on Monday at the set time it’s that place well I met met with them and a house and had both men and women there in the room that we met in was just crowded and so the men got together and they went on the outside and left me inside the room with all those women and so one of the latest spoke up and says Tommy Brown said if you believe that you’ve got to be baptized in order to be saved so that you don’t believe in the blood of Christ and so when she got through that I was going to defend what I believed and taught on the subject but I didn’t have an opportunity because everybody began to speak at the same time and I got a thrashing like you wouldn’t believe in this lasts for about thirty minutes and then the men came back in the room where I was that had been on the outside they had been out there discussing what to do I suppose and so one of the men said to me Sir Thomas said we’ve decided what we are going to do said we’re going to to withdraw a fellowship from you said we’re turning you out of the Baptist Church of course I asked him questions I knew what it’s all about but I asked him I said we’ll watch it all about and he said well he said you don’t teach what the Bible teaches and says we’re turning you out because of that and of course I knew better than that I knew that I do teach what the Bible taught as far as the that was concerned so they said now said we turn you out of the Baptist Church and said we we you’ve been licensed preaching the Baptist Church says we want your license back I said no I said you’re not going to get those license I said they were given to me and I’m going to keep them and so I kept them the license and in process of time I’m met with after this was over I was on the square and trying in front of the big store there the company store the legal store and one of the Baptist preachers of the area that I knew met me there and he walked up to me and says Tommy says I don’t like what I hear that has happened to you he said I’ve known your mother and dad many year and it says I’ve always liked them and said I’ve always liked you he said we’re having pram being Friday night at the Waterville Baptist Church so I met with them at the whatever Baptist Church on that for that prayer meeting that night and he introduced me as having known me for many years and made a lot of comments about the family and the law and so then he turned it over to me and my topic that night was why we don’t have a revival today like they had an axe to and I used the second chapter of the book of Acts starting with verse one and I read and commented as I was talking on each verse throughout the whole chapter of the second chapter of Acts and I don’t know how long I was up talking to the people of possibly 30 or 40 minutes but when I extended the invitation that was seven women came forward and I hadn’t thought of that I didn’t hardly know what to do I didn’t expect you know I thought they’d hate me really for teaching the lessons like that because I thought that baptism is for the remission sense while I was teaching that and I taught the principles that you’ve got to be a part of the Lord’s church and so I didn’t figure that anybody would respond and so I didn’t know what to do so I just went over and sit down and let the preacher take care of it but after giving second thought to what I should have done I should have walked over to those ladies and sets why tarriest thou arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord of course that’s after thoughts after had time to think a while well they got up from there and I don’t remember what their comments was or anything but anyway I’ve got out of there as quickly as I possibly could after that period of time it was a good while before I obeyed the gospel my wife was not a member of the church and I would discuss the Bible with her started out discussing the Bible with her and it didn’t set – well it was an argument to tell you the truth because she did not miss you some bad listen she said I’m a Baptist and I’ll die Baptist and so I said to her I said well I said I’m just going to close my Bible and I’m not going to discuss it with you anymore my wife’s mother came to stay with us for a while to visit with us a week or so and be working the third shift or allowed this morning that I got in from work I went on to bed and I could hear them talking in the kitchen and my wife’s mother was not in favor of what I had done that I had left the Baptist Church and obeyed the gospel come into the Lord’s Church and she was putting the church down and I could hear what was being said and I was listening carefully because my wife said well I’ve checked what they teach in the Bible and she says they give you book chapter and verse or what they’re teaching she says they’re teaching the Bible and so I turned over and went to sleep because I felt like we had her now in December after that event and I don’t know what month that was that that took place my wife came to me and I had not said a word to her about it she came to me and she said what you think I was crazy if I asked you to take me over to the South Commerce Street Church building and baptize me for the remission of sins and I said no I wouldn’t think you’re crazy and so I brought her over here to this Baptist tree in this building and she was the first person that I baptized after I obeyed the gospel myself so I baptized her I had been invited to preach at the lolly Church building long about that time and then following that a true Alabama I preached for them and was doing they’re doing this on a regular basis and my wife of course so she has supported me in the work and my first full-time work that I did was a Farrell pala Bama I moved down there and began to work with the church in that area and from there been preaching the gospel every since the Lord has been good to us thankful for the things that the Lord has done we have a family that’s all connected with Lord’s Church my children grow members the church I vote for boys and one girl and our boys are all preachers and our grandkids children all of them that are old enough or members the Lord’s Church and her grandson our great-grandchildren some of our members of the church and some of our grandchildren our grandsons or deacons in the church so I feel like the Lord has blessed me very much well jesus said I will build my church now that just as plain as can be when Christ said I will build my church he’s talking about ownership this is my church I’m going to build I will build my church he did not say I will build a Baptist Church or Methodist Church I will build my church he says the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it and another thought the Apostle Paul said I bow my knees to the father of Lord Jesus Christ upon the whole family in heaven and earth is named now that’s that’s pretty powerful is it not how could anybody on the face of the earth go around if they think well I can be a part of something other than what the Bible teaches we’re teaching what the Bible teaches does that answer your question you

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