Saturday, January 19, 2013


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date: January 17, 2013
Column Number: 1303

Ok class; how do you harmonize the teachings of The Christ Jesus and the Apostle Paul?

Don’t look at me in that tone of voice; I know you have struggled with this seemingly impossible task!

There is a method of Biblical Interpretation that is absolutely essential for determining who’s on first and what’s on second and when’s on third.

Gimme five; and I’ll give it a shot to ‘splain it; and maybe I’ll need another five next week.

Jesus taught in the “Sermon of the Mount”:

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I did not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. Truly I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law, until all of it is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18).

Now, take your best shot to interpret those words of Jesus (probably printed in red in your Bible).

Remember, the Bible is actually “The Mind of God on Paper”; and we are supposed to be able to accurately translate that????? I hope you will agree, we need all the help we can get!

Now, look at what the greatest Christian ever (Paul) wrote:

“Nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through Faith in Jesus Christ; so that we might be justified by Faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law, no flesh shall be justified” (Gal 2:16).

It is really quite obvious: something radical happened between the “Sermon on the Mount” and the later Ministry of Paul the Apostle.

Here is another one for your databanks: In the sermon to the twelve that He sent out, Jesus said:

“Do not go in the way of the Gentiles; do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matt 10:5-6).

Later, Jesus said:

“Go and make disciples of all the nations (Gentiles); baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19).

Obviously, these two examples alone point out a distinguishable change in the Plan of God. For some reason, God introduced some completely new revelation about how He and mankind were going to relate to each other; and this is confusing to young Christians and new Bible Students.

It is quite obvious that God deals with different people in different ways at different times:

Adam was told to dress the garden and not eat of the fruit of one of its trees;

Noah was told to build a big black box;

Moses was given a complicated set of rules and regulations that had to be kept to the last detail in order to be “right with God”.

We are told to repent and come to Jesus in Faith.

Do you see it? If you cannot comprehend this system of time periods (called dispensations), you are really going to be in a world of hurt if you try to figure God’s Mind out!

And yet, through it all, there has only ever been only one way to come to salvation – and that is by God’s Amazing Grace; the only way there will ever be!

I am glad I saw that and came running to Him in faith, repenting and accepting His Salvation by His Grace!


You don’t know how? I do, and I will share!

(Mooty is pastor of the West End Baptist Church of Newport; and writes this column for the Thursday and Weekend Editions of “The Newport Plain Talk”. He can be reached at Write or call the paper with your comments today.)

As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date: January 10, 2013
Column Number: 1302

You know what they say! If it’s on the Internet, it’s got to be true! Yep; that’s what “they” say.

Have you ever tried to pinpoint who this mysterious group called “they” is? I know, individually, they “are”; but as a singular group, they “is”.

That statement makes almost as good sense as who this group really is. If “they” were animals, I could probably spotlight them like an “intrusion” of cockroaches; and watch them run to the nearest rock or kitchen cabinet and hide until the light goes off.

If “they” were a “drove” of donkeys, a “brace” of ducks, a “mob” of Emus, or a “gang” of buffalos; I might be able to identify them. After all, my three years in bonehead “Freshman Animal Identification” were not spent just whittling and whistling my way while my instructor (I forget his/her/its name right at the moment) listed such gems as a “congregation” of alligators and a “bask” of crocodiles on the black board. A “shrewdness” of apes was followed by a “cete” of badgers and a “colony” of bats.

You see, if I could group “they” into convenient little groups with a nice little group name badge; maybe I could help you identify them much mo better (as “they” say as “they” gather around the third bench on the grounds of the Frogpond Courthouse discussing a “sloth” of bears, a “swarm” of bees, and a “rabble” of butterflies.

Mayor, Lester Starnes’ will soon come out, followed by a “clutter” of cats that live under his office. That is “mo better” than having a “coalition” of cheetahs under your office, don’t you think.

By the way, ask Notre Dame about having a “parade” of elephants come parading through your little game plan. My three years were well spent leaning about a “herd” of cows or horses, an “ambush” of tigers, a “hoover” of trout, a “rafter” of turkeys”, a “bale” of turtles, and a “mob” of wombats (I hesitate to think what damage a mob of wombats could do).

My friendly woodpeckers in my front yard fly in “descents”; and the beautiful Biblical doves gather in “exhaultations”; while the kangaroos and baboons in your front yard run (or bounce) in “troups”.

You know about the “pride” of lions, the “warren” of rabbits, and Colonel Sanders’ rep is out there checking out the “flock” of chickens. Long John Silver’s rep is looking for “schools” of fish; and the patriotic types are gazing at that “convocation” of eagles flying overhead.

Those angry black birds are crows and they fly in a “murder”. Frogpond has its share of “casts” of falcons, “clouds” of flies, “skulks” of foxes, “armies” of frogs, “gaggles” of geese, “casts” of hawks, “cackles” of hyena, “companies” of parrots, and “droves” of pigs.

We are not bothered too much with “bloats” of hippos, “cartloads” of monkeys, “smacks” of jellyfish (ever caught yourself “smack dab” in the middle of a “smack”), “families” of otter, “beds” of oysters, “bevies” of swans, “pods” of porpoises, “harems” of seals, “crashes” of rhinos, “shivers” of sharks, or “rookeries” of penguins; but we do have our share of “charms” of hummingbirds, “mischiefs” of mice, “parliaments” of owls, “labors” of moles, “coveys” of quail, and “drays” of squirrels.

Most of you know what a raven is; and no, I’m not talking about a football team from Baltimore! A raven is a somewhat obnoxious bird of carrion that was used by Noah to determine if the world-wide flood waters had receded sufficiently to disembark the ark; but the raven found itself a floating chunk of “water kill” (the oceanic form of “road kill”) and satisfied itself never to go back to the ark.

Ravens can talk. Edgar Allen Poe quoted one as saying “Nevermore”. I saw it on the Internet, so it has to be true! Oddly, a group of ravens is inaptly called – wait for it – wait of it – a “congress”; named for a group of people, some of whom say “nevermore” but they never seem to back up “nevermore”; especially where spending OPM (Other People’s Money) is concerned.


Hey, I am so happy to be a member of the “congregation” of God’s People. You might call it the Church, an “Assembly” or “Ecclesia”, or whatever; but God is gathering His Congregation together to make the jump into hyperspace in what we know as the Rapture of the Church.

That could be today! Are you ready? Are you a member of this “group”? Would you like to be? Don’t know how? I do, and I will surely share!

(Mooty is the Very, Very, Very Senior pastor of the West End Baptist Church of Newport; and writes this column for the Thursday and Weekend Editions of “The Newport Plain Talk”. He can be reached at Write or call the paper with your comments today.)

As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date: January 3, 2013
Column Number: 1301

Back in the dark ages, I think it was in Mrs. Freeman’s eighth grade class at Newport Grammar (although it could very well have been in any class); we played a game called “gossip”.

It went like this: one person started a “rumor” by whispering it to the person next to him/her in the circle; then it was repeated on and on around the circle until it got back to the original “rumor-monger”. Well, you know the drill. It was always amazing how different the original was from the copy (after passing through thirty or more levels). “We had peas for lunch today” could very well “come back home” as “Steve and Pete laid out of school yesterday”.

As I said, you know the drill!

Harmless kids’ game? Maybe; but it teaches a very important lesson. The problem is, we do not seem to ever learn that lesson.

I, like many of you, have watched the news reports over and over of the very difficult recent weeks that made up the Thanksgiving/Christmas Season. Hurricane Sandy was followed by this shooting and that shooting and then Sandy Hook School; then the shooting of the fire fighters was they tried to do their essential lifesaving work.

Blizzards here and tornadoes there highlighted the highlights; and “Der Bingle’s” “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” became fighting words to them that had one and to them that had one not.

Charges were hurled at the governor and by the governor; and probably in the long run, Mr. Bush will somehow get the blame as all this unfolds.

News reports were premature; and each time they were rehashed, they got either better or worse, depending upon your perspective. Tragic? You betcha!

Last I heard, one surviving student of Sandy Hook was suing the school system for his trauma of having to listen to the loud speakers and guns blazing. I guess to be more concise, it was his parents that are suing the school system.

Then there’s the infamous “fiscal cliff” and the action of inaction that our congressional cream of the crops took; and everybody took to the streets to cheer the fact that they had actually done something – think of that – they had actually debated an issue and come up with a decision – a wrong decision, IMHO; but at least they had the chops to show up and raise their hands.

There will be hearings and discussions and talks and debates and confabs and analysis and arguments and conversations and consultations and deliberations and assemblies – and did I mention hearings?

Who did what? Who said what? Who heard what? Why? To whom, with whom, and on and on it will go.

I try to communicate as clearly as I can the most important message ever told! The Gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ is the singularly most vital and essential communication anyone will ever hear; and it needs to be clearly understood. Souls are in the balance! Eternity is in the scales! Talk about a “life or death” message!

There you go! Mob mentality cannot be controlled. Clear thinking people can never be heard over the din of the chants of the mob. You hear it all the time in news reports of the Middle East.

Make no mistake about it! Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life –and there is no other! Hear the message clearly! Read it again and again; and do not allow it to get garbled in a translation. Go straight to the source – the Bible – any Bible will do (they all have John 3:16 in them).

Don’t have a Bible? Steal one from a motel or hospital room. My friends in the Gideon organization will not mind. They will replace it at their own cost – so you can get the message straight! Jesus saves! He is the only One who could and He is the only One who came; and all of it so everyone could be saved and go to heaven when you die!

Clear enough?

(Mooty is pastor of the West End Baptist Church of Newport; and writes this column every Thursday and Weekend for “The Newport Plain Talk”. He can be reached at Write or call the paper with your comments today.)