The History of Temple Baptist Church (cont.)
The church voted to purchase the corner property of 2.5 acres from Mr. and Mrs. Milton Freitag for $162,000.00 in 1982. We needed $50,000.00 at closing on July 15, and another $10,000.00 one year later.
We bought the property by "Faith." One family gave $10,000.00 for its purchase. A "God's Eleven Minutes," service was held on Sunday morning and our church members gave $4500.00 for the purchase. Mr. Gene Simmons and Mr. Moe Warrington had both encouraged me to pursue the purchase of it.
Mr. Gene Simmons, a very successful General Contractor in the area, had called me several months before and said, "Preacher, I want to give the Church two lots in a subdivision I am developing, and I don't care how you use the money but I think you should use it to buy the corner property." He told me where it was and suggested I go to the office and talk to the manager there. When I got there, the two lots had mistakenly been sold. Gene called me later and apologized but told me I could select any two lots on the other side of the street. I rode out and looked them over and began praying about the selection. After a few days of prayer, I rode through the area again and selected the two lots I thought the Lord wanted us to have. They deeded the lots to us and we let them sit there for several months believing their value would improve. One day a Realtor called me and asked me what we would take for the lots and I told him we didn't want to sell them. He asked "why?" and I told him He wouldn't pay us what we wanted. He said, "How much do you want?" I told him we would have to have $30,000.00 each for them. He informed me the lots down the street were going for $23,000.00. I told him I knew that but we had to have $30,000.00 and that was our price. He called me a few days later and told me he had a buyer for the asking price and there would be no commission for the Realtor The lots had been selected in just the right place for the buyers desires. We sold them and used the money for the property payments. PRAISE THE LORD! Our Lord had provided as we trusted Him. Now we had 10 acres on a very strategic corner in the Southeastern area of Sarasota.
A new building program was started in 1983. We began building a new office and a 3,130 square foot addition for a bandroom, restrooms, locker rooms, and coach's offices.
Mr. Bob Snelling, the owner of Snelling and Snelling Employment Agency, spoke to me one evening about our building a new office. He said he couldn't help physically on the building but he would provide the funds for its construction if I would get the labor donated. Men donated their labor and he provided the funds as promised. It was built in 1983 and is a fine facility.
The 3,130 square foot addition was started by faith and again Craig McAlister, Moe Warrington and I met weekly on Monday nights to plan the work. There was a lot of donated labor and materials. The money from two walkathons went toward the project and many peopledonated to it. The roof was put on in one day by some 30 men who gave their time and labor for it. When it was completed, it had cost $102,000.00 and we had raised $91,000.00. It is a first-class facility and we praise the Lord for it.
The Church's Auditorium was refurbished in 1984 by the Warrington family. It was very nicely done and greatly appreciated. This is a fine, Christian family that has manifested a great concern and devotion to both the School and the Church over many years.
Thirty-four missionaries were being supported by the Church in 1984. The Sunday School was averaging 135 in attendance and 150-175 were attending the Morning Worship services.
A "Together We Build" Capital Funds Project was started in 1985. The pledges totaled over $85,000.00. The monies were to go to build a new auditorium. It would bring in thousands of dollars over the years.
In the summer of 1985, Mr Gene Simmons and Mr. Bob Snelling each donated $15,000.00 for School improvements to the playground, refurbishing of classrooms, and to finish the Science Laboratory. Mr. Craig McAlister donated his services as the General Contractor and Kennell Plumbing donated the plumbing work. This greatly helped the work at this time.
The students of West Florida raised over $10,000.00 in their annual Walkathon in 1986. They raised over $100,000.00 from 1977 through 1986. Faith Promise Dinners also, were a means of raising many thousands of dollars from School Parents over the years. The money was used to supplement the tuition income which so often was not adequate to take care of the School's operating expenses.
A beautiful Baldwin Piano was donated to the Church by Mrs.Dorothea Williams in memory of her greatly beloved husband Mr. Frances P. Williams in 1986. It is used in our church sanctuary for our worship services.
The following are some of the men who served very sacrificially and helpfully on the Church Finance committee from time to time: Ray Kimbler, Ernest Gay, Jesse Craig, Wray Jackson, Gary Wheeler, Tom Maiola, Howard Yarbrough, Ray Baker, Barry Bechtel, Ray Chilton, Hugh Scmitt, Roy Westmoreland, and Verle Truitt. They worked with the Pastor, wrestling with the problems of a great ministry and giving direction to the work. Their service was invaluable.
An 800 square foot Maintenance Building was constructed on the northwest corner of the church property in 1988. This was built by Mr. Moe Warrington, so it is very well built. Anything "Moe" does, is done well!
The highest day of attendance of the church to date was 400 on a "Cowboy" vs "Indian" day featuring Rev. Bill Osceola and Harvey Carter of Haines City.
The consistency of the Bus Ministry at Temple has been most unusual. From the first Sunday in July of 1971, the buses have run Sunday after Sunday. The people of Temple have shown an amazing tenacity to see that the buses ran each week. Bus visitation has also been consistent. Often in churches, burnout is very detrimental to a consistent bus ministry but that has never been sufficient enough to stop the buses from running in our church. Even when the insurance got so high that many churches sold their busses, we kept on operating them so people could come to church.
There are a number of folks that were called out of our church for full time Christian service. They are serving in various parts of the world. John Poole is a misionary in the far East. Gary Roy is pastoring a Baptist Church in Norlina, North Carolina. Wallace Tolman is a Christian School teacher in the Northeast. Kenneth Orr is a Pastor in South Carolina. Jeanine Robinson is a Pastor's wife in Vass, North Carolina. Her husbands name is Rev. Bill Vaughn and he pastor's Highland Baptist Church. Gary Forney Is a Missionary in Arctic Canada (Northwest Territory). Wray Jackson is a retired Pastor living in Sarasota. Tim Jackson and his brother Daniel are serving the Lord as Pastors in Michigan. Missy Jackson is a Pastor's wife in California. Miss Rebecca Dudenhofer is a missionary in Bolivia. Princene Jones is a Pastor's wife in Ohio. Doug Gilcrease works with "Athletes in Action," and is the Chaplain for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Randy Waller is the founder and pastor of a baptist church in St. Mary's, Florida. Stanley Morgan has started a Baptist church in Largo, Florida.
The Ministry of Temple Baptist Church has had some Doctrinal Beliefs that it has held dear throughout it's many years of ministry. It is appropriate that they be enumerated here.
1. The Holy Bible is the Verbal, Plenary, Inspired Word of the Living God. It does not just contain the Word of God, It is the Word of God. It is Gods's mind for us. I Corinthians 2:9-16. It is God's love letter to man. We believe it is free of any admixture of error, as none other writings have ever been. It is the Book to which our Lord referred when He said, "Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but My Word shall not pass away." It is the eternal Word of the Living God. Its Central theme is sin and God's remedy for it. It tells us that the only way of escape from the eternal consequences of a literal, burning Hell is by repentance of sin and faith alone in the shed blood of a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour. The New Birth is an absolute necessity for entrance into Heaven. John 3:1-16.
2. Jesus Christ was and is the Virgin Born Son of God. Promises of His coming are found over and over in the pages of Holy Writ, from the Book of Genesis until His arrival as announced in the Book of Matthew. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38. Truly, "In the fulness of time, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Galatians 4:4,5.
3. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life. "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, (did no sin, I Peter 2:22; He is pure and in Him is no sin, I John 4:3,4) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." II Corinthians 5:21.
4. Jesus death on Calvary was an atoning death. A vicarious, substitutionary death that satisfied the just demands of a Holy God, as just punishment for the sins of all. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (raised ) by the Spirit. I Peter 3:18. The blood of God was coursing through the veins of Jesus Christ, Acts 20:28 and it was that blood that atoned for the sins of man. It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul, Leviticus 17:11. "Without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness )" of sin. Hebrews 9:22. Jesus' blood atoned for the sins of the world. "And He is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." I John 2:2. Jesus did not die for a select few, He died for all and paid the price for all. Now any person can be saved and have full forgiveness of sin, for Jesus paid it all. Now any person can be saved by repenting of their sin and trusting Christ to save them.
5. The Bodily Resurrection of Christ. After His death, He was taken down from the cross and laid in a nearby tomb. He lay in that tomb for three days and three nights and then came forth from the grave, triumphant over death. The grave could not contain Him for He is the Lord of Life. He could look back into the dark recesses of that grave from which He had just emerged, and shout to believers of all coming time, "Because I live, ye shall live also. I am alive forever more and have the keys of death and Hell dangling at my girdle." The best attested fact in History is that Jesus arose from the grave! The proofs of His Bodily Resurrection are irrefutable. Acts 1:3.
6. The Deity of Christ. Jesus Christ was God, is God, and always will be, God. He is the God of Creation. "For by Him were all things created; all things were created by Him and for Him and He is before all things." Colossians 1:16,17. He is the eternal "I am." He said, "Before Abraham was, I am." John 8:58. He claimed to be God. When asked if He was the Son of the Blessed he replied, I am. Mark 14:61,62. Before Mary's conception, an angel spoke to her and said, "that Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35. Mary later spoke of that babe in her womb as "God my Saviour." Luke 1:47. He is co-equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
7. The Ascension of Christ. Jesus ascended bodily into Heaven, forty days after His resurrection as stated in Acts Chapter one. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father and is making intercession for us. Hebrews' 4:14-16: 7:25.
8. The Pre-millenial Return of Christ. Jesus shall return for His Saints in what we refer to as the "Rapture', before the terrible tribulation period of seven years that is coming upon the Earth. This seven years will be a literal seven years. I Thessalonians 4:13-18. The matter of the seven years is taught in Daniel 9:20-27 and Revelation Chapter four through Chapter nineteen. During this period, God will deal with His people (the Jews) in ways that will bring them to accept Him as their Saviour and Messiah. Zechariah 13:6-9. The Rapture will occur suddenly and without warning. We are presently in the Church Age which will end with the rapture.
9. The Victorious Return of the Crucified, Risen, and Ascended Christ. He is coming again bodily, visibly, and in power, as revealed in Revelation 19:11-16. There will be the Judgment of the Jew (Ezekiel 20:33-38) and the judgment of the Gentile (Matthew 19:31-46). Christians will have previously appeared before the Judgment seat of Christ in Heaven following the Rapture. At that time they will receive their rewards. II Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:7-12; Revelation 19:1-10.
10. The Millenial Reign of Christ. Jesus will rule and reign on earth for 1000 years. Revelation chapter 20. It will be a Golden era. Satan will be bound during this time and will be released at the close of this period, to once again lead a rebellion against Christ, but his efforts will end in his defeat.
11. God's Salvation is Eternal and Unique. Our Lord provides an Eternal Salvation. When we are Saved, we are Saved forever. We have Eternal Life, which cannot be lost or taken from us for any reason. It is a Gift! It cannot be earned by good works, by turning over a new leaf, by joining a church, by any baptism of any type, nor can it be bestowed upon us by any person or organization. It is the Gift of God to any person who repents of their sins and puts their Faith (Trust, Reliance) in Christ to save their soul. John 3:14-16; 1:11-13; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5-7; Luke 24:46-47; John 10:9.
12. The Church of Jesus Christ. Jesus established His Church while He was here on earth. Matthew 16:18. It was made up of His Disciples, who had been Baptized by John the Baptist (Who was the only Man on earth at that time who had the authority to Baptize.) In Matthew Chapter 18, the Church is given instructions for Church Discipline, so it is evident that it was in existence before Pentecost. This is a very important point and can be further substantiated by other Scriptures. Our Lord's Church was local. There is no such thing as a Universal, Invisible Church. One does not become a member of the Church at the time of Salvation, but one does become a member of the Family of God. Every Christian should become a member of a Local Church. I Corinthians 7:17. Our Lord wants us to serve Him, in and through the Local Church. His Church is His Body and He is it's Head. Colossians 1:17; I Corinthians 12:12-27; 11:2. As members of His Body, the Local Church, we carry on His work which He has instructed us to do, such as guarding His ordinances, participating in His ordinances, proclaiming and protecting His truth, (I Timothy 3:15; 4:11-13) praising His Greatness and Holiness, preaching the Gospel locally and throughout the world, and building up the saints in love. The Church is the most important organization in the world. When we give ourselves to it and for it, we are giving ourselves to our Lord and for our Lord. "The Tithe is the Lord's." Leviticus 27:30-32. We are to bring our tithes to the Church. Malachi 3:8-11. God does not allow us the privilege to choose where or when we shall give our tithes and offerings. Deuteronomy 12:11; I Corinthians 16:2.
There are two Ordinances of the Church, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. They are only to be administered by a Scriptural Church for it was only to a Scriptural Church that He gave such instruction. I Corinthians 11:2. "Keep the Ordinances as I have delivered them unto you." Both ordinances protect and preserve precious truth that must not be altered. Baptism guards the door to the church; the Lord's Supper keeps the Body in spiritual discipline. Baptism is to be by immersion, for it pictures the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of our Lord. No other form of baptism can properly picture this. When a convert is baptized, he so pictures this and is in effect saying, "I have accepted Christ as my Saviour and He did this for me." He is also saying, "In my acceptance of Christ as my Saviour, I have died to sin and am raised again to walk in newness of life with Christ." In this act a convert becomes a member of the Local Church. It has been the historic position of Baptist churches to only accept those into their membership, Christians who have been baptized by Bible believing Baptist churches of like faith and practice. To do otherwise is to accept what we call "Alien Baptism," which is unacceptable. Baptist churches believe they are doctrinally sound and therefore have the authority to baptize, their authority coming from our Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism does not save, but who does the Baptizing is very important. Matthew 28:18-20.
The ordinance of the Lord Supper brings to our attention other precious truths that must be preserved. The elements are most significant. The bread is an element that pictures the sinless life of our Lord. It must not contain any leaven in it for leaven in the Bible speaks of sin and evil. Our Lord was sinless. He is the Bread of Life. As we partake of the Bread at the Lord Supper observance, we are once again reminded that it was His Broken Body that was sacrificed for us on Calvary and that He did it for us. He died the Just for the Unjust that He might bring us to God. I Peter 3:18. His suffering was for us. The juice from the fruit of the vine reminds us of His precious Blood that was shed for us. It was the Blood of God, uncontaminated blood, precious blood, pure blood shed that we might be washed in the blood. The Old Testament tells us that "it is the blood that makes an atonement (covering) for the soul" (Leviticus 17.11) and the New Testament reveals God's wonderful grace and provision by providing His own Blood to make that atonement that would cover our sin, even from Him. I John 1:7. We must be careful to see that the juice we use is from the fruit of the vine, that it is unfermented, for Our Lord is "the True Vine," John 15:1. It is the historic Baptist position that the church is the only one who has the authority to administer the Lord Supper ordinance, for the church was given the responsibility of protecting and guarding the ordinances. I Corinthians 11:2. It is for its members. The church can extend its privilege no further than its responsibility, no further than its discipline.
Now, after 23.5 years of ministering in this vineyard, I believe it is time to turn this work over to a younger Pastor. My health has deteriorated after having Gall Bladder surgery in 1989, a quadruple heart by-pass in 1989, prostate cancer in 1992, and a stomach ulcer in 1992. I have peace that this is the Lord's will at this time.
The years at Temple have been difficult yet rewarding and satisfying. I wish more had been accomplished, but I am satisfied that I did my best.
I am grateful to the many people who have helped me with the work over the years. I am sure we will rejoice together throughout eternity over the many victories the Lord gave us. I am rejoicing that our Lord allowed me to be a part of this ministry over these many years. It is my prayer that this ministry will make a signicant impact for Christ in this community and around the world and that its doctrine will always be consistent with its present belief and practice.