About the Author

Thomas Ray Floyd was born in 1953 in Simpson County, Mississippi, the son of Roy Thomas Floyd and Lina Sue Shows Floyd. Thomas Ray's mother was a member of a Primitive Baptist church, and he cut his teeth on the doctrines of distinguishing grace.

When he was a small boy, his father was converted to Christ and became a member of a Missionary Baptist Church. Thomas Ray joined the church of his father when he was 13 years old, and thought of himself as a Christian. The doctrines of grace that he had heard as a child continued to be precious to him and when he became an adult, he joined a Primitive Baptist Church. When he was 27, Thomas Ray made his first effort to preach the gospel in public and was ordained to the full functions of the ministry in 1985. In 1986 he was convinced under the preaching of Rolfe Barnard (by tapes from Mt. Olive Tape Library), the written sermons of Spurgeon, and the ministry of Elder Zack Guess that he had been a false professor and cried out in agony of soul to the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy and truly save him. And He did! Floyd then began to preach the gospel as he had been taught of the Lord.

Floyd has pastored churches in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee and until recently was pastor of a church plant known as "Particular Baptist Fellowship." He and his wife Brenda presently attend Zion Baptist Church at Polkville, Mississippi, pastored by Elder Glen Hopkins. The pulpit ministry of Zion Baptist Church can be heard at Sermonaudio.com.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Sufficiency of Scripture

(Article for publication week of 10-21-2009 AD)

"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to the word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). The prophet Isaiah being inspired by the Holy Spirit, warns us that false prophets will arise among us. But if they speak not the truth of scripture we are to know that they have no light in them.

We live in such a day as Isaiah lived when there is much confusion and many false prophets leading men astray. In this babble of confusion we have an authoritative and sufficient guide- the verbally inspired word of God. The scriptures are sufficient as a final rule concerning the way of salvation and what God requires of men.

Since the scriptures are indeed inspired of God (that is the Holy Spirit moved holy men to write down exactly what God would have us know), they are necessarily authoritative (that is they are a rule and law for us and we will be finally judged by them). And since the Bible is inspired and authoritative, they are sufficient for our understanding of what God has revealed concerning Himself, what He is like , what He demands, and how He saves sinners.

Here in Isaiah 8:20, we are directed to the law and the testimony as the final word. (By the way, if you will go back and start at the beginning of chapter 8, you will see this is one of those portions of scripture that is mechanically inspired.) God tells us here that His inspired Word is sufficient to try every statement of men. We are not pointed to a creed or council, but to the law and the testimony.

Confessions of faith are useful, and every church should have one. But a confession of faith is to be judged by the scriptures, not the other way around. All the good confessions begin with the truth of scripture and give them for our final authority. Our church holds to the Second London Confession of Faith as a way of stating in clear terms what we believe the scriptures to teach and to identify us with faithful Christians of the past and present, but the Bible is our final authority and ultimate confession of Faith.

Church councils have been useful. There have been times in the history of the Church that councils have been necessary to oppose error and state in concise language what we believe the scriptures say. Church councils have been useful in some cases, but they are not our final authority. The scriptures are sufficient for us without any opinions of men, written or unwritten.

"Scripture alone" is the watchword of true Christianity. Christians with the Bible in their hands, and being taught by the Holy Spirit have a sufficient guide into the truth of God and the way of salvation. I would urge you dear reader to read your Bible. Open it up with the confidence that you are reading the authoritative word of God. Bring every preconceived notion you have to the law and the testimony. Everything that you may have believed that you find contrary to the word of God, cast it away and have nothing but "thus saith the Lord". "To the law and to the testimony."

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Authority of Scripture

(Article for publication week of 10-14-2009 AD)

"For What saith the scripture?" (Romans 4:3b). When the Apostle Paul would set forth that Old Testament saints were saved exactly as New Testament saints, he cited no other authority than the scriptures. This is his method in other places as well (Romans 11:26; I Corinthians 9:9; Galatians 3:11 for example.) Our Lord also cited the Old Testament scriptures as His authority (Matthew 19:4; Matthew 22:44; Luke 4:16-21 for example.

The scriptures are the final authority for every issue. They are the final and only authority because they are the inspired words of God Himself. It matters not what I think or what you think or what some preacher said or what some church said or what grandpa said. What God has said in His inspired, inerrant, infallible Word is what counts.

The inspiration of scripture necessarily gives authority to the Bible. If someone walks up to us and gives us an order we might rightly ask, "who said?" If the reply is "the boss said so", or "Daddy said so", then that settles the question. The authority of the one who issued the word gives authority to the word given. Even so, God's Sovereign Authority requires us to hear and obey the Word He has given.

No writings or opinions of men may be accepted as final authority. Ecclesiastical councils have been wrong. Kings have been wrong. Preachers have been wrong. But the word of God has never been wrong. So the scriptures do not depend on such opinions of men for their authority. The scriptures get their authority from their Divine Author, God Himself.

Now since the scriptures are of such Divine authority, they must be obeyed. First of all they must be obeyed for salvation. The scriptures are the only writings that show us the way of salvation. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible tells us that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Alone. All scriptures lead us to Christ, the only Saviour of sinners (John 5:39). Our Lord says, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." If you will find the way that leads to eternal life, read and hear the scriptures.

Also, since the scriptures are of final and Divine authority they must be obeyed in every area of human relationships. The scriptures are the final authority for matters regarding the family. You will do well to rid your house and your mind of every book written by psychologists that purports to tell you how to order your family. God ordained the family and he has given His word regarding the order of the family.

The scriptures are the final authority regarding matters of state. God has ordained the civil magistrate and has limited the authority of the civil government by His word. Our nation is becoming increasingly chaotic because our despotic governments at all levels are attempting to do what God has not equipped them to do. God's authoritative word has ordained the civil magistrate to keep the peace and that is all.

At the final and awful Day of Judgment, you will be judged by the word of God and whether you submitted yourself to it. Bow the knee to God and His word.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hath God Said

(Article for publication week of 10-7-2009 AD)

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, 'Yea hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?' " (Genesis 3:1). Satan has been attacking the veracity of God and His word since the very beginning. His strategy in bringing down Man in the Fall was to raise doubts concerning the word of God. Be sure every scheme to get you to doubt the word of God is devilish.

One of the devil's schemes to get men to doubt the scriptures is to raise questions concerning their inspiration. One question that has been raised by unbelievers is, "if every word of scripture is inspired of God, how do you account for the different styles of the various human writers? Why are Paul's epistles written in a different style than those of Peter's?" Of course the answer is very simple. As the Holy Ghost "moved" (II Peter 1:21) the human writers of scripture, He inspired them in the style which was uniquely theirs. When the human writers of scripture were being moved by the Holy Spirit, the words which came into their minds were words with which they were accustomed and in a style with which they were accustomed. That was no hard thing for God Who is omnipotent. The God Who created the universe in six days and ordained all things for His Own Glory certainly had no difficulty in moving His chosen vessels to write in the style that was theirs. God created each of those men and endowed them with their own gifts.

Another question opposed by unbelievers has been, "if God inspired Moses to write the first five books of the Bible, how do we have the account of Moses' death and burial in the last chapter of Deuteronomy?" This is equally simple to answer. No doubt the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to write the account of his own death and burial before his death. This was no difficult thing for God Who is omniscient. God did not have to wait for Moses to die to know the details, for they were all known of Him from eternity.

Another question that unbelievers have raised is," well, if the scriptures are the inspired word of God, how do you account for historical " errors". The answer of course is that there are no historical errors in the Bible. For example, unbelievers used to say that there had never been a people known as the Hittites as the Bible records. However recent archaeology has proven that there were indeed a people known as Hittites just as the Bible says. So the unbelievers had to shut up about that. And that is true of many other supposed "errors" in the scripture. Any question that unbelievers raise regarding the veracity of the scriptures will be answered in due time. I would say to you who are Christians, if anyone ever tries to get you to doubt any part of God's word with some supposed error, just tell them that you may not have all the answers today, but God will prove His word to be truthful and the truth will finally come out.

What it all boils down to is this: you either believe God or you don't. You are either a Christian or you are not. If you do not believe all of God's word, you are not saved, and you are not a Christian. One sure way to go to hell is to start questioning God. Beware of anyone who raises questions regarding the scriptures. Thank God for His inerrant, verbally inspired Bible.