WHEN EVIL TRIUMPHS OVER GOOD
Dr. Charles Franklin DeVane, Jr., Pastor
Lake Hamilton Baptist Church
Hot Springs, Arkansas
November 23, 2014
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.
— Matthew 14:1-12, ESV
By most accounts, Peter Kassig was a good man. He was an American, a former Army Ranger, and founder of an aid organization which worked to bring food, water, and other necessary supplies to the people of Syria ravaged by war. He converted to Islam, not out of a lust for jihad and conquest, but out of love and compassion for the people of the middle east.
By most accounts, ISIS is an evil organization. It is a radical Islamic group bent on creating their own country by terrorizing and destroying people of no religion, other religions, or who practice their religion in a different way. They have become infamous for beheading their enemies.
In the struggle between Peter Kassig and ISIS, ISIS won. They kidnapped him, held him captive, and eventually murdered him in a their gruesome, signature way. This was not the first beheading in human history, and unfortunately it will not be the last. This was not the first time evil triumphed over good in this world, and sadly it will not be the last.
One of the most significant times it happened is recorded in the Gospels. As good a man who had ever lived, John the Baptist, was arrested and killed by one of the most evil, Herod Antipas. How could such a thing happen? What are Christians to do when such things happen? And where is God, when evil triumphs over good?
The Evil are often in Power
In this world, the evil often find themselves in power. Neither Old Testament Israel nor the New Testament church were ever meant to be world powers, at least not in the geo-political sense. Most world powers were aided and abetted by evil. Egypt enslaved their enemies. Assyria and Babylon deported theirs. Rome crushed them. And it was the old Roman Empire that ruled the world with an iron fist in the days of Jesus and John the Baptist.
“Herod the Tetrarch,” or Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, held power in Galilee. The Herod clan had bribed and conned their way into the Roman power structure, and were given governorships over almost all of Palestine. They were an evil, adulterous, incestuous, greedy, murderous clan. Antipas had left his former wife and stolen his current wife, Herodias, from his own brother, Philip, and she was a niece to them both. Her daughter, Salome, apparently liked to entertain gatherings with dancing akin to modern strip tease. This is not the kind of family you would often find together in Sunday School. They were evil people. Yet, they had all the power.
Evil people are often in power because power is something evil people especially crave. There have been benevolent dictators, good kings, and honest politicians in human history, but they are the exception, not the rule. The majority of dictators have been cruel, most kings have been corrupt, and politicians lean toward being liars who will say or do anything to get elected. Oddly enough, in this present world, such character counts.
Evil people are often in power because they are aided by evil. As surely as there is a god, there is a devil, and his personal name is Satan. Under God’s sovereign hand, Satan is allowed to have sway over the governments of the world. Otherwise, he could have never offered them to Jesus during the great temptation. Since the power behind the throne is evil, the evil are often on the throne.
So, evil ruled in Jesus’ day, even over the man whom Jesus said was the best who ever lived, John the Baptist. He found himself in Herod’s prison. How did he get there?
The Good Must Speak Up
When the evil are in power, the good must speak up. John the Baptist did just that. John was on the record for stating that Antipas’ marriage to Herodias was sinful, contrary to God’s word, because it was brought about by adultery and deceit. John was aware of God’s high standards for sexuality and marriage, and disregarding those standards have damaging consequences upon persons, family, and society. John spoke up, but we should notice how and why.
John’s concern was a clear violation of God’s word. We should never criticize anyone for doing anything that is not clearly inconsistent with God’s word. I have experienced first hand the great pain and damage caused by ignorant people who have attacked others for issues clearly supported in Scripture (they even say, “Don’t bring the Bible into this?!”). So if you want to show some holy indignation, make sure it is based on the Holy Bible, not your own pet peeves, sacred cows, or legalistic interpretations of Christianity. John’s criticism of Antipas was biblical and just, so he spoke up.
John spoke to Antipas, not about him. John the Baptist did not say anything in public that he was not willing to say to Herod in private. The text tells us “John had been saying to him.” It doesn’t take much courage to stand on a stump and condemn immorality generally. It takes courage, indeed godly kindness, to visit with an immoral person and tell them, in love, that what they are doing is wrong and hurtful to themselves and others. That’s how John spoke up.
John criticized the sin, not the sinner. As evil as Herod was, John didn’t call him evil. John called his actions evil or “not lawful.” Since all men are sinners, it is superfluous for one sinner to call another sinner a sinner, at least in a pointed, negative sense. It is better to call attention to the sin, point out where it is contrary to God’s word and God’s will, then let conviction takes its course. This is how John spoke up, although conviction did not kick in the way he had hoped. Instead, for speaking up, John lost his head.
Be Prepared to Die
One of the great lines in cinema was given by Mandy Patinkin’s character in The Princess Bride: “I am Indigo Montoya. You killed my father. Be prepared to die!” Are you concerned about evil in the world, about how it scars people now and can separate them from God for eternity? Are you willing to speak up about it, basing your convictions and comments upon the gospel and the word of God? Then, be prepared to die.
Herod Antipas was evil, and his adulterous marriage to Herodias was just the tip of a depraved iceberg. John the Baptist was a redeemed, righteous, really good man, unafraid to speak up about the sinfulness that was choking the spiritual life out of Israel. Herod held power over John. Herod locked John up in prison, without any due process. Half-drunk from partying and half-crazed with lust for his own step-daughter, Herod ordered the execution of John, by beheading.
John the Baptist did not lose his head and lose his life because of the control a pair of harlots had over the king. John the Baptist was not killed because Herod held more political power than peasant Jews he ruled over. John the Baptist was prepared to die, and indeed did die, because he had something that despots and other desperate unbelievers do not have. John the Baptist had love.
You cannot say you really love someone or something unless you are prepared to die. What parent who really loves their children would not die for them? What patriot who really loves their country would not die for it? What Christian who really loves the Lord would not be willing to die for Him, and not only for Him, but for the spiritual promises and moral principles of His holy word? Herod nor Herodias really cared for God, family, or country. They were evil. John the Baptist cared and loved. He was good. And on the day described here, because of John’s great love for God and the word of God, evil triumphed over good. Or, did it?
Where is God?
A question honestly asked in Scripture and often asked in life is, Where is God when it hurts? Where is God when the ungodly prosper? Where is God when evil triumphs over good?
Jesus, God incarnate, was nearby when John the Baptist was beheaded. Messengers on foot brought Him the news. He was grieved, for He loved John very much, and His sadness drove Him to a desolate place to be alone. He could have stopped it, or even raised John from the dead afterward, since He had the obvious power of deity to do so. But He chose not to directly intervene, to let nature take its course in a way, to allow evil to triumph over good.
Evil triumphed over good, unless we look at this in another way, in God’s way. Vindicate is a word associated with victory, triumph, winning. Who was vindicated in this Gospel and historic narrative, Herod Antipas, who flexed his powerful, government muscle; or, John the Baptist, who was dragged out of the dungeon and beheaded?
It seems that Herod doomed himself to a life of paranoia and guilt. This entire story is told in retrospect as Herod is touched by the fame of Jesus. Stricken with guilt over his execution of the righteous John, he wonders aloud if John has been raised from the dead in the person of Jesus. He would actually meet Jesus later, and triumph along with Pontius Pilate in having Jesus crucified, but this would only add to his infamy. Antipas was eventually stripped of power by Rome and banished to exile where he died in shame. If Hell is eternal, as Scripture seems to indicate, then Herod Antipas is currently and eternally playing the beheading of John and the crucifixion of Christ over and over in his mind, with his sins unforgiven, in constant suffering and separation from God. I really don’t call that triumph, or winning, or vindication, do you?
John the Baptist, on the other hand, lost his earthly life but gained something much more valuable. He died doing the will of God, standing for the word of God, bringing honor and glory to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He decreased so that Christ and the gospel would increase, just as he said. He is remembered still as perhaps the greatest man who ever lived and his courage has inspired a million Christian martyrs who though dead, still speak of the eternal greatness of God and the eternal life given through the gospel. This is triumph, this is vindication, this is victory in Jesus!
What is God doing when evil triumphs over good? He is winning. Believe in Him through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Take your stand upon His word. Love Him more than life itself. And you will share in the greatest victory in the history of the world.
WHAT IF GOD WAS ONE OF US?
Dr. Charles Franklin DeVane, Jr., Pastor
Lake Hamilton Baptist Church
Hot Springs, Arkansas
November 16, 2014
And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
— Matthew 13:53-58, ESV
We are now about two thousand years removed from the public ministry of Jesus Christ. Thousands witnessed it in person. Millions have believed in Him. Billions have not. It seems the farther we get away from the setting of the Gospels, fewer and fewer people believe in the gospel. Surely if we could send everyone back in time, let everyone hear Jesus speak and watch Jesus work in person, more and more would believe, right?
Wrong, I’m afraid, at least if we examine the testimony of the people who knew Jesus best during his life on earth. Let’s go back to the town of Nazareth in Galilee, two thousand years ago, and see first hand how people in His home town experienced the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Trouble At Home
The brief accounts of Jesus’ public ministry in Nazareth are disturbing. Nazareth was Joseph’s and Mary’s home town, where they grew up, where they got engaged. A required census took them to Bethlehem where Jesus was born, then providence led them to Egypt for a short time, away from Jerusalem for the time being, and back home to Nazareth to raise Jesus, along with the other children that were later born of the normal union between husband and wife.
The people of Nazareth had the high privilege of watching Jesus grow up. It is not unacceptable to think that ladies of the synagogue in Nazareth may have changed Jesus’ diapers on occasion. As a boy, Jesus would have sat at the feet of the Elders when they read Scripture and led in prayer. By implication, we have come to believe that Joseph died after Jesus entered adolescence and the Christ worked as a simple carpenter to support His family until the approximate age of thirty. The people of Nazareth knew Jesus, and they knew Him well.
This makes the scant accounts of His ministry there puzzling. Luke tells of an occasion very early in the ministry of Jesus in which the Lord preached in Nazareth (ref. Luke 4:16-30). He read from the book of Isaiah, proclaimed Himself as the Messiah, and prophetically predicted that at the end of the day, Jews would largely reject Him and Gentiles would flock to Him in droves. For this, they tried to kill Him right then and there!
He easily escaped, however, and apparently tempers settled. Jesus would return again to minister in His home town (ref. Mark 6:1-6 and our text at hand, Matthew 13:53-58). Again He taught in the synagogue. Again He explained the Bible with authority and helped people with miraculous power. And again, the people, His people, His home boys and girls and men and women, treated Him with contempt. The text tells us they were offended, literally scandalized, by Jesus’ claims. Our Lord’s ministry in Nazareth is a story of trouble at home, serious trouble.
Business As Usual
But why was it this way? What did Jesus do to make the people of Nazareth so hostile to their most famous citizen? For Jesus, trips back home to Nazareth were business as usual, doing there what He did in every town He visited during His three-year messianic tour.
It is important to note that as imperfect as the synagogue was in Jesus’ day, and none were more imperfect than the one in Nazareth, Jesus always found Himself there on the Lord’s Day and other days. He went, He worshiped, He prayed, He sang, He spoke and heard and applied the word of God to His life and others. The gatherings of churches in our day are just as imperfect as the synagogues in Jesus’ day, but it is the height of disrespect and unbelief to fail to publicly worship God when one has the opportunity.
So business as usual for Jesus was attending the synagogue. Since He was respected in certain circles as a rabbi or teacher, He was often invited to speak. When He did, He not only preached and taught God’s word, He preached and taught as God. What did He preach and teach about?
This text does not say, but the context would indicate He taught parables and principles about the kingdom of God. It is the principal kingdom of which Jesus Christ is king. He had expressed this on his first recorded ministry there, as we learn from Luke, and He no doubt expressed it here, even though Matthew and Mark do not expressly say so.
The kingdom of God exists where Jesus Christ is king, over country, family, congregation, and especially the human heart. The kingdom of God exists where Jesus Christ is Lord, where Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, where Christ is the Head of the New Testament church, where the Lord Jesus Christ is accepted as God incarnate and Savior extraordinaire.
But if Jesus is the God and King of your heart, your life, your family, your church, etc., then you are decidedly not. This is hard for most people to take. It is an offensive, scandalous claim that violates our sacred human freedom. It was especially hard for the Nazarenes to take, precisely because they were the people who knew Jesus best.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
Aesop’s fable of the fox and the lion gave us the expression, familiarity breeds contempt. The more you know someone, the more you find fault. It is an all too true proverb that shines a light on the depraved and often negative human heart. It makes friendships hard to sustain, marriages hard to maintain, churches hard to unify, and God hard to glorify.
It seems as if the Nazarenes knew Jesus so well, they did not know Him at all. They were astonished at the perfection of His biblical exegesis, but they did not believe what He was teaching. They were amazed at His miraculous power, but would not accept that it was divine. They believed in everything about His life and ministry, but did not believe in Him as Lord and Savior. They did not honor Jesus, they did not trust and obey Jesus, so they were not saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Christianity is so meshed with Western and American society that all of us have grown up with Jesus as our neighbor. Churches meet on every corner and Bibles abound in every house. We have watched Jesus grow up, listened to Him talk, and seen His good and godly works. We know all about Him, but the vast majority of us do not really know Him at all.
What If God Was One of Us?
I suppose the haunting question that scandalized the citizens of Nazareth during Jesus’ public ministry was this: What if God was one of us? This question was set to words and put to music by Eric Bazilian and Joan Osborne in 1995. It was quickly panned by Christian leaders as out of touch at best and blasphemous at worst. The part of the song that most caught the ire of critics asked, “What if God was one of us, Just a slob like one of us, Just a stranger on a bus, Trying to make His way back home?”
I do not like to think of God as a slob, although I would like to think that the term in the song referred to humanity, not necessarily a person that was particularly dirty or sloven. But a knee-jerk reaction to the chorus can blind you from the best line: “If God had a face, what would it look like? And would you want to see, If seeing meant that you would have to believe.”
I confess I am often entertained and always intrigued by rock musicians. They all wear Christian crosses, and neither they nor I know why. They can be blasphemous, they are often crude, they are definitely over-sexed and under-loved. But they are almost always honest.
What if God was one of us? He was. Would you want to see His face? Everyone would. But what if it meant you had to believe, in the way God’s word and God’s Son define belief?
When it comes to Jesus and the people of first century Nazareth, God was one of them. They saw His face. They heard Him speak. They watched Him do some miracles, albeit not many. They knew Him, but they did not know Him. They needed salvation, but they were not saved, because they would not worship Him and confess Jesus as Lord and Christ.
They synoptic Gospel writers tell the narrative, but John puts it into total theological focus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (ref. John 1:1,11-13).
God was one of us. Just a human being like all of us. At the same time, He remained fully God. What He did was real. What He said was true. What He offers is the only way to have abundant and eternal life. God became one of us so that we could be one with Him. Believe in Him and follow Him in your home town.
THE PERFECT STORM
Dr. Charles Franklin DeVane, Jr., Pastor
Lake Hamilton Baptist Church
Hot Springs, Arkansas
November 2, 2014
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
— Matthew 13:47-52, ESV
The final voyage of the Andrea Gail was no ordinary fishing trip. It was marked by extremes, both low and high. The men couldn’t get along, then they worked seamlessly as a team. They hardly caught any fish, then they caught more than the boat could handle. It was up and down, figuratively and literally.
But the greatest extremes, during those fateful days off the coast of New England in October 1991, were reserved for the weather. Cold air blowing in from Canada combined with the latent warm waters of the Atlantic. Low pressure collided with high pressure. A new storm from the north teamed with the southern remnants of Hurricane Grace. The Andrea Gail was caught in “The Perfect Storm,” the title chosen by novelist Sebastian Junger in 1997. You may remember the movie of the same name starring George Clooney that came out in 2000. The Andrea Gail rose and fell in a forty foot wave, when life as those six men knew it came to a sudden end.
The aftermath of this perfect storm formed a perfect eye. But since so much attention was paid to its outbreak and the damage that was incurred, meteorologists and journalists never got around to assigning a name to the hurricane. To this day this perfect storm is known as the unnamed hurricane.
Another unnamed storm is coming. It will be more extreme, more catastrophic, and more final. Jesus tells a story about it, invoking images of the sea and fisherman, speaking of matters of life and death, in the seventh of the seven parables found in the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.
Parables are fictional stories that tell us the truth about the kingdom of God. With the ones we have looked at in this chapter, we learn to detect who is in the kingdom and who it out with farmers and bakers of bread. We have discovered the way into the kingdom by finding treasure and searching for pearls. Finally, we realize what will happen when the door to the kingdom of God is slammed shut forever. It is a story told with nets and the sea, a tale of fish and fishermen. It describes one final, perfect storm.
What do you see when you look at the sea? All the human eye can do is skim the surface. The vast multitude of life underneath is invisible. We know there are all kinds of fish down there, and with the exception of a few that jump out at us, we cannot see them.
The kingdom of God is like the sea. It is like looking at the whole wide world from outer space. We know there are people, Christian people, down there, but we cannot exactly identify them. We know there are houses of worship everywhere, but all we can see is the outline of continents and countries.
The true kingdom of God is invisible to everyone but God. Though it exists in every person and within every church in which Jesus Christ is Lord, it is an entity that cannot be accurately and completely measured with the human eye.
“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (ref. 1 Samuel 16:7). I think Billy Graham is a Christian. He kind of jumps out of the sea. So did Mother Theresa. But I know a lot of TV preachers are faking it for money, a lot of otherwise good people are depending own their own good works rather than the merits of Christ for salvation. You may tell me that Jesus is in your heart, but I can’t see Him with either eye or x-ray machine. Only God can see the heart, and only God knows the true membership of the true kingdom of God.
But I think you can know, if you are in or out, from the parables we have already studied and the study of the other pages of God’s word. You usually know if you are good soil or bad dirt, wheat or weed, treasure or trash, a genuine pearl or a fake. And there is an important clue that lets you and others know, too. It is the net cast into the sea.
The net makes the invisible visible. What is the visible expression of the invisible kingdom of God? It is the church, the church visible, local, assembled, baptized, sharing communion with Christ and one another. It is the body of professing believers in Jesus Christ who gather for worship and scatter for works of service in Jesus’ name.
Those who by choice or ignorance remain outside the church are just drowning in the sea. We hope and pray and do our part to rescue them. But the biblical fact remains that there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ and no proof of salvation outside the boundaries of the church of Christ. Augustine reminds us, “No one has God as Father who does not have the church as mother.” So, all those inside the visible church will be safe, right? Not exactly, for the net is a little more complex than that.
Usually when Jesus spoke of fishermen casting nets He was speaking of the spreading of the gospel. The gospel of grace that presents the person and work of Jesus Christ for salvation, requiring repentance and faith to be effectual, is the casting of the net. The catch of the net includes all people of all races and all places who make a profession of faith in Christ through baptism, communion, and participation in the church. One day the net will be full, the last church member will join, and the net will be drawn.
However, just being in the net will not necessarily save you. While church membership is visible, remember that the true presence of Christ is not. Your real and eternal place in the kingdom of God, or outside of it, will be weighed and judged according to what kind of fish in the net you turn out to be.
The fish are those who fill up the net, the visible members of God’s visible church. If you cast a real fishing net into the sea of Galilee, you could draw up at least twenty-five varieties of fish. If you caught up every church member in the world, there would be only two kinds: good and bad.
What constitutes a good or bad church member? Some have good attendance, some bad. Some show up with a good attitude, some bad. Some sound good, some bad, but by all means all should sing and make a joyful noise. But what really separates the good members from the bad is one thing: righteousness. The good are righteous, according to God’s word, and without righteousness, the bad are evil. While the difference is obvious, some theological explanation is necessary.
The righteous (some translations use the word just) are made that way by God; therefore, they tend to do things God’s way. These found their way into the net because they were found and chosen by God, received Christ by grace through genuine faith and repentance, and work at being good church members for the glory of God and good of other people. They are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, interested in the Holy Bible, and have nothing to worry about when the net is finally full and drawn.
The evil (some translations use the word wicked) lack the imputed righteousness and saving faith God gives; so, they tend to do things their own way. They came into the net out of pride and vainglory, and tend to think they are doing God and others a favor by being in the church. They are not primarily interested in the Bible and want the church run by other means. When they don’t get their way the either quit showing up for worship and meetings or, worse, do show up to create dissension and division. They will be in the net when it is drawn, but they won’t stay there, much to their shock and horror.
This is where the fishermen come in. Jesus chose fishermen to be among His first followers, and made them fishers of men. But they are not the fishermen in this parable. The literal characters represented by this parabolic fish tale are angels of Almighty God.
Angels are depicted in various and sundry ways in the movies. Clarence was the bungling, beloved guardian angel watching over Jimmy Steward in It’s a Wonderful life. John Travolta was a rather profane but powerful archangel in the movie Michael. The angels who rescued Lot in the latest Hollywood version of the Bible were acrobatic ninja warriors. So what are real angels really like?
I am not sure. I only know that virtually every time an angel appears in Scripture they have to tell the person or persons who see them not to be afraid. However, one should be awfully afraid to be a bad, unregenerate church member when the net is drawn at the end of the age. An angel will touch them in a way they don’t want to be touched and place them in a place they don’t want to be placed. The worst judgment of God seems to be reserved for the hypocrite.
The sea, the giant net, the fishermen and the catch of fish, deliverance and judgement, all of these things will converge at the time of the perfect storm.
The Perfect Storm
The perfect storm in this parable is clearly “The end of the age.” Christ came the first time for salvation. He will come the second time, at the end of time, for judgment. It will not be secret, there will be no second chances, and the sea will rise up to relinquish the dead.
Remember the perfect storm that sunk the Andrea Gail was marked by extremes, then the end. We live in a day of extremes. There are great churches and there are gatherings now for atheists, on Sundays, to confess their disdain and unbelief in God. There is extreme kindness and courage being shown by doctors and nurses treating Ebola, and extreme terrorism with jihadists cutting off people’s heads. There is extreme wealth being gained by a tiny percentage of people in the world while the middle class evaporates and some live in extreme poverty. Even the weather has become extreme, with some claiming the sky is falling from global warming and others reporting the coldest temperatures on record. I think the time is ripe for the perfect storm.
The sea will rise. The net will fall. The Lord will come again and appear in the sky with angels all around. Jesus Christ is Lord, the true Savior, and the only shelter in the perfect storm.
Dr. Charles F. "Chuck" DeVane, Jr., is the Pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His weekly sermon article, "The Gospel Truth," has been published in newspapers in Arkansas and Georgia. Dr. DeVane is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served in the pastorate for over 20 years. Contact Pastor Chuck at PastorChuck@lakehamiltonbaptistchurch.org