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, April 26, 2015

Christian Unity

(Article for publication week of 4-30- AD 2015)
"That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me" (John17:21).
 We have been bringing to your attention during Confederate Heritage Month the Great Revival that took place amongst the armies of the South during the War for Southern Independence. Our information for these articles is drawn from two primary sources, "The Great Revival in the Southern Armies" by W.W. Bennett and "Christ in the Camp" by Dr. J.W. Jones. Another valuable book that tells of the Revival is "The 16th Mississippi Infantry" by the late Hon. Robert G. Evans who served as Circuit Judge of the 13th District of Mississippi. Judge Evans compiled his book from letters written by Confederate Soldiers from Simpson, Smith, Jasper, Copiah, Pike, Wilkinson, Adams and Claiborne Counties who formed the 16th Mississippi and Served under General Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia. Many of the letters written by these men to whom many (probably most) of us are related mention the Revival and the numerous conversions that took place. Reliable statistics indicate that around 150,000 Southern Soldiers entered the Narrow Way via the Strait Gate during the War.
We stated in our two previous articles that prayer and faithful preaching were used of the Lord in the Great Revival, as in all true Revival. But thirdly to be noticed is the great unity of the preachers, evangelists, chaplains and colporters  that were instruments of God in this Great Revival. Although there were men from all the Christian denominations active in the Work, they did not preach denominationalism, but preached on the Great Themes of the Gospel:  regeneration, conversion, justification, sanctification and Final Judgment. They with a united voice called upon men to repent of their sins and flee to Christ, the Only Saviour of sinners. Any man who does not preach these great themes is not a true preacher and will give an account at the Day of Judgment. I cry out to the professed ministry of this County- men are you preaching these great soul changing themes? This is what the preachers in the Confederate Army preached. And saints were comforted and sinners were converted. Backsliders were reclaimed and false professors were genuinely saved.
The unity of the preachers from the Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal denominations is related sweetly by J. W. Jones. He records that when a man was converted under the preaching of some of the Paedobaptist men and desired to be immersed, they would direct them to one of the Baptist ministers. And the Baptists reciprocated in like fashion. These men were united without compromise. The Baptists continued to immerse those who joined their communion, and the Paedobaptists continued to sprinkle (although Bro. Jones records a few exceptions among the Methodists), but they were all determined to know nothing among their hearers but Christ and Him crucified. Many other outstanding examples of unity and cooperation among the various Christian denominations are related in "Christ in the Camp."
And when we read the history of revivals we see that there is always such a unity among the preachers and the churches. For example, during the First Great Awakening the Baptists in Colonial America opened their doors wide for George Whitefield, an Anglican and leader in the early Methodist movement. We even read of Whitefield participating in the ordination of a preacher in the Baptist Church in Boston.
Our Lord prayed for our unity and it is something for which true Christians will be praying. The unity of the Lord's people is pleasant in His eyes and is sweet to us (Psalm 133), and is used of the Lord in the advancement of His Kingdom (our text). Although our unity will not be perfect until we are perfected in Glory, it is something for which we should presently pray and labour. The Church will approximate its final unity during the Millenium, for we read in Isaiah 52:8 when the Lord's watchmen shall "sing together" and " see eye to eye." I urge the Remnant of the truly saved in our Readership (I realise we are a little flock) to pray for revival. I urge the true ministers of Christ( I realise we are few) to preach nothing but the pure gospel without compromise. And may we all labour for peace and unity among Zion. Perhaps the Lord may show mercy in His wrath and favour us with a Great Revival in our generation.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Faithful Preachers

(Article for publication week of 4-23- AD 2015)
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsufferring and doctrine" (II Timothy 4:2).
As we are observing Confederate Heritage Month during April we are using the occasion to write upon the Great Revival the Lord sent down on the South during the War for Southern Independence. We urge every Southerner and every Christian to obtain and read "Christ in the Camp" by Dr. J. William Jones and "The Great Revival in the Southern Armies" by Dr. William W. Bennett. The little flock among our readers who are truly saved and pray for revival will be encouraged by these two historical accounts of one of the few genuine revivals that God has sent on this Continent.
We had observed in previous articles that the Revival was genuine as proven by its fruits, and that it was preceded and accompanied by much prayer. The next thing that is noted is the faithful preachers that the Lord used in the Revival. The Confederate Armies were blessed to have preach among them men like Dr. Robert L. Dabney, the pious Presbyterian, and Chief of Staff for General Stonewall Jackson, and men like the Southern Baptist Dr. John Broaddus, who helped found Southern Seminary and one of the men for whom Broadman Press was named (the other was Basil Manly). And there were of course, hundreds of lesser known, but just as useful and faithful preachers among the Confederate Armies. Drs. Jones and Bennett relate that there were multitudes of faithful preachers from all the Christian denominations active in preaching among the troops. Both books mention Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, Primitive Baptist, Methodist and Episcopalian preachers who were used of the Lord in the Revival. Many of them were regular soldiers in the army fighting in the front lines and preaching. Others were full time chaplains and evangelists and pastors. But they generally had in common a firm belief in the Scriptures, the terrible condition of lost souls, and the Power of Christ to save the chief of sinners. They were men who were committed to the Glory of God, the advancement of His Kingdom, and the conversion of sinners. And God blessed their united efforts.
OH! How we need such men today! How we need men that will quite trying to build churches and do as my text says- "preach the word!" I have been blessed to participate in the ordination of a few young ministers and as I have laid my hands upon them I have always whispered in their ear, "preach the word!" Faithful preachers will preach the Word of God, not psychology nor politics nor denominational agendas, nor fads. Faithful preachers will be concerned with pleasing God, not pleasing men. Faithful preachers will preach the gospel,  not philosophy. Faithful preachers will preach the Word whether it is popular or not (and it will never be popular with the world and the nominal church).
John Bunyan paints a portrait of the faithful man of God in Pilgrim's Progress. At the Interpreter's House Christian was shown a portrait  of a grave person who was "one of a thousand; he can begat children, travel in birth with children, and nurse them himself when born. And whereas thou seest him with eyes lift up to heaven, the Best of Books in his hand, and the Law of Truth writ on his lips; it is to shew thee, that his work is to know and unfold dark things to Sinners; even as thou seest him stand as if he pleaded with men; and whereas thou seest the world cast behind him, and that a Crown hangs over his head; that is to shew thee, that slighting and despising the things that are present, for the love he hath to his Master's service, he is sure in the World that cones next, to have Glory for his reward." Bunyan continues to instruct us, " Wherefore take good heed to what I have shewed thee, and bear well in thy mind what thou hast seen; lest in thy journey thou meet with some that pretend to lead thee right, but their way goes down to death." Such were the calber of faithful men that God used in the Revival among the Southern Armies, and the kind He always uses. There are very few such faithful men among us today. May the Lord be pleased to raise up many more.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Praying for Revival

(Article for publication week of 4-16- AD 2015)

"O LORD, I have heard Thy speech and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy" (Habakkuk 3:2)
Considering that the Month of April is Confederate Heritage Month here in our dear State, I have been impressed to write this month on the great Revival in the Confederate Armies. My purpose is at least fourfold. First to give glory to God, as must be our first great end in all things. God gets glory in saving sinners and the records indicate that there were possibly as many as 150,000 hopeful conversions in the Confederate Armies during the War; secondly, to encourage the Remnant of truly saved among our Readers to pray for Revival and Spiritual Awakening in our day; thirdly, to urge the unconverted among our readers to seek the Lord while He may be found; and fourthly to vindicate and honour our forefathers who fought to defend their homes and families from a foreign invader. Most of the facts that I am giving you in this series of articles are drawn from two important books which every Southerner and every Christian should read. The first of these is "Christ in the Camp" written by Brother J William Jones who served as chaplain of the 13the Virginia Regiment. The second is "The Great Revival in the Southern Armies" written by Dr. William W. Bennett who was superintendent of the Soldier Tract Association.
One the first things that is noted by these two preachers is that the Great Revival was preceded by, and attended with much prayer, as is always true when God sends a revival. Our sovereign God is pleased to use prayer as a means of accomplishing His will (Philippians 1:19). The Southern Baptist Convention in 1863 adopted these resolutions: "Resolved, That it is the sense of this body, that the field opened in our Army for pious labour is one of the most important that can be opened at present; and that the Providence of God calls loudly on His people to make prompt and vigourous efforts to secure the services of chaplains, and to send forth missionaries and colporters into the field. Resolved, That the pastors of our churches be, and are hereby, earnestly requested to bring this subject prominently and frequently to the attention of their people; and also the duty of constant supplication of the Divine Blessing upon such labours among our soldiers, that we may be obedient to the sacred commandment, 'whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.' " Prayers went up from the churches back home not only for physical safety, but for the salvation of souls.
Next to be noted is the prayer meetings that began to be held in the camps often led by the many Christian officers in the Confederate Armies. The piety of men like General Robert E Lee who professed, "I am but a poor sinner trusting in Christ Alone," and General Stonewall Jackson who was always praying, and was instrumental in the conversion of General Ewell is well known. But there were many other Christian officers in the Confederate Armies. Brother Jones relates this concerning General John B. Gordon of Georgia; "He was accustomed to lead prayer-meetings in his command, and during seasons of special revival I have heard him, with eloquent words and tearful eyes, make appeals to his men to come to Christ, and have seen him go off into the woods with his arms about some ragged private, that he might point him to the "Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.' " But one of the most wonderful accounts of prayer that Brother Jones relates in his book is an account of some slaves on a plantation in Texas holding a prayer meeting and praying for their master who had gone to the War.
The Great Revival Among the Confederate Armies was, like all revival preceded by and attended with much prayer. Once again I urge the Remnant among our readers to unite in fervent prayer for genuine revival that saints may be refreshed and strengthened, that sinners might be converted, that backsliders may be reclaimed, and that false professors (especially lost preachers) might be saved. "O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years."

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Great Revival

(Article for publication week of 4-9- AD 2015)
"Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come" (Psalm 102:13).
 The Lord has put it upon my heart to write this month on the Christian significance of the War for Southern Independence since April is Confederate Heritage Month here in the Sovereign State of Mississippi. Lord willing, next month we shall resume our series on the doctrine of sanctification.
Sadly, it is little known that during the War there was a great Revival in the Confederate Army. Ignorance of this historical fact is not because of insufficient information and data, for it has been well documented. For example, Pastor J. William Jones, who was one of the preachers that the Lord used in the revival wrote a wonderful account of this mighty work of God's grace in his book, "Christ in the Camp." I highly recommend this book to you, and will gladly lend you my copy if you are not able to obtain one yourself. Pastor Jones related that thousands of Confederate soldiers were converted, especially during the last two years of the War. The Revival was especially notable, and perhaps began in the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Gen. Robert E. Lee, although it was not limited to that army.
First of all, from all accounts the work was a genuine revival. Now, none of us have seen a genuine revival in our part of the world in our lifetime. We have had many "protracted meetings" that were advertised as "revivals," but that is not genuine revival. True revival is a work of God, not of men. It cannot be worked up, but must be prayed down. The meetings that have been styled as "revivals" in our day, in our part of the world have sometimes generated some excitement, but when they were over the people went back to their old ways and never evidenced any lasting change that is the evidence of true conversion. True revival is a work of God's sovereign grace when He is pleased to convert multitudes, and further sanctify them to live holy lives. There were thousands of Southern men who left home unconverted, who returned as devout Christians. Pastor Jones relates in the latter part of "Christ in the Camp" that he followed up with pastors and churches all over the South after the War and the report was that generally the men who professed Christ during the War continued to walk with Him after they got home. Thousands more were converted, but never returned to their earthly home, but were called up to their home in heaven.
Pastor Jones and others relate that life in the Confederate armies was typical of life in most armies in the early days of the War. There was much drinking, swearing and worldly and frivolous amusements like fiddling and card playing. But through faithful preaching, earnest prayer and Godly Examples, multitudes began to take seriously the state of their never-dying souls and began to seek salvation in Christ. Of course many of the new converts died in battle and never returned home, but many did live to return home and served faithfully in their churches the rest of their lives. The South is still known as the "Bible Belt" as a result of the Great Revival and the influence that the men of the South had upon their churches, families and communities. Sadly, we are now the "Bible Belt" in name only because we have forsaken the gospel of our Fathers and our Mothers. I urge the Remnant among our readers to pray for God's set time when He shall favour Zion again with a Great Revival in the South. There is little hope for us unless He is pleased so to do.