Frequently Asked Questions

What denomination are you?
I am about as Baptist as you can get. Some people try to obscure their theological perspective; I figure you might as well be honest about who you are. I was saved and baptized as a child through the ministry of an Independent Baptist church. I got my start in ministry in Missionary Baptist churches. I currently pastor a Southern Baptist church. But I’m not a Baptist because that’s how I was raised or what I was taught; I am a Baptist because that theological tendency best matches my understanding of Scripture from my own studies. However, as Baptist as I am, I maintain that Jesus is more important than any church, association, or convention. I’m okay with wearing the Baptist label, but I’d much more concerned with the Christ-follower label.

Would you perform my wedding ceremony?
Please review my Personal Policy for Officiating Weddings before contacting me.

Where do you stand on the doctrines of Calvinism?
From addendum 3 to my personal Statement of Beliefs:

Recognizing my Calvinist and Arminian friends to be brothers and sisters in Christ, but realizing that neither soteriological view fully represents my understanding of Scripture, I affirm instead the Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation (2012).

What version of the Bible do you use?
In my preaching and teaching, I will typically use the King James Version (KJV), though I occasionally make use of the New King James Version (NKJV) or the Geneva Bible (GB). In my writings, I’ll use these as well as Young’s Literal Translation (YLT). I look at other versions sometimes in my own study, though I don’t rely too heavily on the modern versions. I am not KJV-only, but I do believe in the superiority of the Byzantine manuscripts and the literal, word-for-word translations produced from them. Under oath, I’ll grudgingly admit I like the phrasing of both the English Standard Version and the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

How old is the world?
My best estimate, based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, is that Creation took place around 3959 BC, give or take a few years. That would make the Earth approximately 6,000 years old. I believe in the Genesis account of Creation—that God created the Universe from nothing in six literal days.

My calculations are available beginning on pg. 379 of my book, Assembling the Scripture Puzzle.

How do you feel about Freemasonry?
Any system that teaches good works as a way toward spiritual improvement or peace with God is incompatible with Biblical Christianity. This applies to Freemasonry just as it does to Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, etc. The Bible says, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:4-5).

We have a new baby. Could we have her baptized next Sunday?
In the Bible, baptism is always something that is done after someone has trusted Christ as his or her Savior. For example, the Bible says, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized […]” (Acts 2:41). And Philip told the Ethiopian eunuch who wanted to be baptized, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest” (Acts 8:37). Infants are unable to trust Christ as their Savior, so there is no reason to baptize them—baptism follows salvation; it doesn’t cause it. We can dedicate your baby: present him or her to the church and pray together for the child’s upbringing and eventual salvation. But to baptize a baby would not be Biblical.

Could you recommend a good Bible study software?
Sure! I have used several kinds of Bible software, but my absolute favorite is TheWord. It is easy to use and has a lot of features available, but the best part of it is that it is absolutely free thanks to Greek software developer, Costas Stergiou. (He does accept donations if you’re so inclined.) It comes pre-loaded with some basic tools (called “modules”), but you can download many others (mostly free), or even make your own. If you want recommendations on modules, contact me directly.

I switched from PC to Mac in 2015. TheWord is not built to work on Mac, but users have found a way to run it using an emulator. If you’re a Mac user, see the instructions here.

—Jared