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.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Urgency of Gospel Duty

(Article for publication week of 5-21- AD 2015)

"He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16).
For the past several weeks we have been writing on the Great Revival that was sent from heaven among the Confederate armies during the War for Southern Independence. Reliable reports indicate that upwards of 150,000 Confederate soldiers found peace in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ during the War. Our sources for the historical part of these articles have been gleaned from "Christ in the Camp" by Dr. J.W. Jones, "The Great Revival in the Southern Armies" by Dr. W.W. Bennett, and "The Sixteenth Mississippi Infantry", by the Honourable Robert Evans. We have recounted that the Revival was preceded by and attended with fervent prayer, faithful preaching, Christian unity, and notable helps. We have also mentioned that the Revival was evidently genuine by its lasting fruits. This week we want to note the apparent genuineness of the Revival by the urgency with which converts followed after gospel duties. For example, Dr. Jones relates that when the Army of Northern Virginia was entrenched along the Rapidan River, and the Yankees just across on the other side, that baptismal services were conducted in the river in plain view of the federal pickets. This was the urgency that these new believers felt to follow Christ in Baptism. Dr. Jones also relates that to their credit the Yankees never fired on the baptismal services.
Dr. Jones also relates that numerous baptisms were held in the dead of winter. (Those of you who have been in Virginia in the winter time know their winters are far more severe that ours in Mississippi.) Dr. Jones relates that on several occasions the ice had to be broken to baptise the new converts. Such zeal always attends true revival. Elder Wilson Thompson, a Baptist preacher the Lord used in local Revivals in the North Central States in the first half of the nineteenth century relates that he also often broke the ice to baptise zealous converts. Another useful minister, Elder John Leland, who preached in the late 18th and early 19th centuries from Massachusetts to Virginia relates similar accounts. Elder Leland wrote a baptismal hymn which begins, "Christians if your hearts are warm, ice and snow can do harm"!
Now compare that kind of zeal with the Laodicean spirit of our generation. We can't have a baptism nowadays until Spring of the year, or until we get the baptistery warm. This is a sad commentary of our cold zeal. Have you ever noticed that in the scriptures believers were generally baptised as soon as they professed faith in Christ. You never read of folks waiting for warmer weather, or waiting for their grandma to come so grandma could see them get baptised, or waiting for their "favourite" preacher to come baptise them! Baptism is an urgent duty after  we have been converted.
Note well, that I said baptism is an urgent duty after faith. The ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper are for believers only and if you are not a believer in Christ they are not your first concern. If you have not come to saving faith in Christ the urgent thing for you is to seek Christ, not the ordinances. Some may inquire, "if there is no saving power or merit in the ordinances, then where is the urgency?" The answer is, the Lord commands it"! We may not be indifferent to any of the Lord's commands, if we are truly saved, and such indifference indicates that you are yet unsaved.
Now, notice in our text that lack of baptismal water does not damn a sinner, but lack of faith certainly does. Note well, the first half of the text says that the baptised believer will surely be saved, but the  second half says "he that believeth not shall be damned." It is faith that joins us to the Saviour, not water. But, baptism is the first gospel duty and the neglect of it is grievous to the Dear Saviour. By submitting to baptism we publicly declare we are believers in the Saviour Who died for our sins, arose the third day for our justification and is now seated at His Father's right hand interceding for all for whom He died. This makes it an urgent matter. May the Lord inspire us with an holy zeal in all gospel duties, and may He favour His Church with another great Revival.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Publishing the Word of God

(Article for publication week of 5-14- AD 2015)
"The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it" (Psalm 68:11).  
Although Confederate Heritage Month has passed we have much more to cover regarding the Great Revival in the Confederate  Army. I remind our Readers that revival is not a man made protracted meeting, but a genuine work of God's Spirit when he moves in gloriously converting multitudes and further sanctifying the Redeemed. There was such a work of the Lord during the War for Southern Independence amongst the Southern armies. As I have told you, our purpose in this series of articles is to give glory to God (as in all things), urge the lost to seek the Lord while He may be found, encourage the Lord's people to pray for Revival, and to defend the honour of our Southern Forefathers who fought for Southern Independence. In previous articles I have shown that the Revival was genuine as evidenced by its lasting effects, and that the Revival was attended with and promoted by prayer, faithful Biblical preaching, Christian unity and Godly examples. This week we continue by relating the help that was given by the many colporteurs who helped distribute Bibles, tracts, hymnals and other Christ honouring literature.
First of all it should be noted that at the beginning of the War most of the publishing houses were in the North, and the Yankee government declared Bibles and religious literature as illegal contraband and stopped such shipments to the South. But publishers in the South rose to the occasion and the South was supplied with an abundance of Bibles and Christian literature. The blockade runners also helped by bringing such needed spiritual supplies from England. The great desire in the armies for such literature prompted the supply to be met as generally works with the law of supply and demand. My point is that there was such a spiritual desire amongst the soldiers, which led to the Revival.
As somewhat of a side note, Dr J. William Jones relates in his book, "Christ in the Camp" that he met very few Confederate soldiers who could not read and write. Judge Bob Evans'  book "The 16th Mississippi Infantry," which mostly contains letters from Confederate soldiers to their families and friends also shows the high literacy rate among the Confederate soldiers, as they represent a good cross section of enlisted men and officers. Contrary to the propaganda spewed forth by the government schools, the Southern people were a highly literate people. And this was before there was much tax supported education. Before Reconstruction, most people educated their children at home or in small community run schools. The early proponents of government supported and controlled education had as their chief motive the brainwashing of the citizenry to think like the government wants them to think, and they have done a good job at doing that (but that is another subject for another series of articles in the future). But I do want to make the point that the literacy rate among the Southern Soldiers blessed them to be able to read and comprehend the Bible and the Christian literature that was distributed among them.
To emphasize the way the Lord used the colportage societies I now quote from Dr. William W. Bennett who was Superintendent of the Soldiers Tract Society: "So important was the work of colportage in promoting religion among the soldiers, that we feel constrained to devote a separate chapter to it. And the pious laborers are worthy of a place among the most devoted chaplains and missionaries that toiled in the army revival. Receiving but a pittance from the societies that employed them, subsisting on the coarse and scanty fare of the soldiers, often sleeping on the wet ground, following the march of the armies through cold or heat, through dust or mud, everywhere were these devoted men to be seen scattering the leaves of the Tree of Life. ....The record of their labors is the record of the army revival. ..The aim of them all was to turn the thoughts of the soldiers not to a sect, but to Christ, to bring them into the great spiritual temple, and to show them the wonders of salvation."
Dear Christian reader I urge you to appoint yourself a committee of one and help us bring the gospel to our lost neighbours and relatives. If you would like to become a nonpaid colporteur and helper in the Cause of Christ, I can supply you with plenty of gospel tracts and booklets that will help you publish the Word of God. We need faithful public preachers, but we also need all that sit in the pews to help us advance the gospel. May the Lord favour the South with another genuine Revival.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Helpers in the Revival

(Article for publication week of 5-7-2015)
"Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus" (Romans 16:3).
Those of you who read the Narrow Way regularly will remember that the Revival referred to in our title this week is the Revival in the Confederate Army during the War for Southern Independence. We have written previously that it was genuine as shown by its lasting effects, and that it was attended and promoted by fervent prayer, faithful preaching and Christian Unity. This week we shall notice some of the helps to the Revival. We desire to spark an interest in the hearts of the Lord's people for revival in our place and time.
One of the great helps to the Revival was the influence of the many Christian officers in the Confederate Army. Never was there an army with such Christian leaders as those of the South, with the possible exception of the Parliamentarian Army led by Oliver Cromwell who fought the Royalists in the English Civil War. Some notable names are Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Leonidas Polk, JEB Stuart, John B. Gordon, A.P. Hill , and our President, Jefferson Davis from our home State. These are  a few of the leading figures who by example and in Duty helped in the Great Revival. Possibly one of the most used of the Lord was General Lee. General Lee encouraged Religion in the army by his own example, by his private and public devotions, and in his concern for the spiritual welfare of his men. One of the notable things that General Lee did to encourage Christianity in the army was his many orders regarding the proper observance of the Sabbath. (In fact the Confederate government proposed to the Federals in the beginning of the War that both sides agree by treaty not to initiate battle on the Lord's Day, but the irreligious Yankees refused.) General Lee Ordered that no unnecessary work be done on Sundays, and that any necessary duties be performed so as not to interfere with Divine Service. He further ordered that those who did not participate in Divine Services be quiet and orderly and not to in any way disturb worship. He was a great helper to the Lord's ministers and the Church in this and in many other ways.
Contrast this with the present leadership in the South! Why! sad to say- even many preachers do not remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Sadly, professed Christians in our day go to the stores and the restaurants on the Lord's day just like the world does. If the South were truly the "Bible Belt" as we sometimes like to imagine (and it is purely imagination), then there would not be any stores or cafes open on Sundays. And if Christians were what they profess to be, these establishments would likely close on Sundays for there would not be enough customers to justify opening. It is amazing that if you go into the offices and homes and places of business  of professed Christians in Mississippi you will likely find a Bible and perhaps a plaque of the Ten Commandments, all the while ignoring the Fourth Commandment! It grieves my soul, and it should everyone's that the professed church is so blatantly antinomian. Dear Readers, the Bible still says "remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy"! The Lord's Day (the first day of the week which is the New Testament Sabbath)is not a Day for unnecessary labour or for your own recreation. It is a day for rest and a Day for worship of our Great God and fellowship with His people. Don't you see when you go to Wal-Mart on Sunday afternoon, or to the cafe you are causing others to break the Fourth Commandment by unnecessary labour. When you do business on the Lord's Day you are saying to the management of that business that you endorse their opening on Sunday. I call on professed Christian business men to quit requiring your employees to labour on the Lord's Day. I call on you not to open your place of business on the Sabbath. I call upon the professed people of God to "remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. None of the Ten Commandments have been repealed, including the Fourth (Matthew 5:17-21; Romans 3:31).
True revival will be attended by and promoted by a proper observation of the Lord's Day. It is interesting that both the end and God-ordained means of revival, as in salvation itself are vitally connected. Attendance upon all Christian duty is both the means and end of salvation and Revival. May the Lord raise up prayer warriors, preachers and faithful helpers like General Robert E. Lee and favour the South and the whole world with a true Revival.
(At some point, Lord Willing, we shall write a series of articles on the Fourth Commandment, but until then I would recommend to you the 2nd London Confession, and the Westminster Standards for a good introduction to the Doctrine of the Lord's Day. We also have a series of messages that can be heard at sermonaudio.com.)