I write this letter to you because I am afraid you have surrounded yourself with sycophants who will not look you in the eye and expound God’s Truth (2 Timothy 4:3). I was once in your shoes, and as such I will try to fulfill Proverbs 27:17 in my attempt to guide you to truth. Like you, I was literally ready to head for the hills and divorce myself from the insanity that has become modern day America (Matthew 24:38). As always, God’s will won out over my will and in attempting to leave society, I was taught some valuable lessons about God’s will for us today. As Christians, we are preach the word (2 Timothy 4:2) and not get caught up in the affairs of this world (2 Timothy 2:4). I believe that God will use this move to Montana to open your eyes just as he opened mine. I pray that when the time comes, you will heed God’s will and not man’s will as this trip you are making will be a tremendous example to others who are looking for both spiritual answers and spiritual guidance.
This is in response to your 15 September 2010 post titled: “Why We Are Moving To Montana.”
By now, readers of this column should be aware of the decision my family and I made to leave the beautiful Gulf Coast beaches, and move to the majestic Rocky Mountains: the Flathead Valley of Montana, to be specific. Mind you, Pensacola, Florida, has been my wife’s and my home for 35 years. It is the place where each of our children was born and raised, and still resides today. Rest assured, each of my family is aware of the cold weather climate to which we are headed. We are also very cognizant of the extremely difficult economic circumstances that exist. The truth is, if we were basing this move on things such as “practicality,” or “job opportunity,” or “a place to retire,” we would either 1) stay where we are, or 2) move somewhere else (someplace warmer), because this move, in many ways, is impractical, financially challenging, and could bring personal discomfort to all of us during those harsh Montana winters. The fact is, none of that has any bearing on our decision to move.
I know unbelievers and skeptics have a hard time when I say this, but, we are moving to the Flathead Valley of Montana for the same reason we moved to Pensacola, Florida, 35 years ago: we know it is God’s perfect will for our lives. Period. Why else would we do it? Why would we leave the comfort and security of home, family, and friends? Why would we attempt such a major move in such an economically depressed housing and job market? Why would I walk away from the church that my wife and I started and have poured our hearts and souls into for over 35 years, and that took such very good care of us? On a human level, this move makes absolutely no sense. But as Christians, we are not supposed to live our lives on a purely human level, are we?
I agree with you Brother. Your moving from Pensacola aligns with God’s will for a number of reasons. First, there are already multiple Bible-believing ministries operating in Pensacola so leaving will not live a spiritual void. Second, there are almost zero Bible-believing ministries operating in Montana so your arrival will fill a spiritual need. Third, you (like myself and many others) have added the Constitution to the Christian Bible which violates the specific prohibition of Revelation 22:18. I believe that God is inspiring your move in the same way he inspired mine, to open your eyes to a truth that you have either neglected or not known regarding freedom.
So, instead of moving south (like most every preacher you ever knew over the age of 50), I feel God moving me north (about 75-miles-south-of-the-Canadian-border kind of north!). And so does every man in my family. Count them: that’s 5 households and 17 people ranging in ages from 3 months to the upper 70s (I am 58).
I promise you, we have bathed this move in intense and prolonged prayer and meditation. This was not a quick decision. But why would God move us?
For one thing, it became very plain to me that my ministry was over in Pensacola. The brook had dried up, to borrow from the life of Elijah. And I’ve known too many pastors who allowed their personal affections for a prolonged ministry to obfuscate the clear revelation and reality that their ministries had ended and it was time to move on. And in every such instance, the longer they stayed, the more the ministry declined. I had vowed many years ago to not let that happen to my wonderful church family. They deserved God’s best, even if that meant my departure.
Brother, I applaud your discernment in knowing when to exit gracefully. One of the biggest errors of the modern local church is that we have a tendency to base our success on numbers. The more people we see in the pews, the more we are able to congratulate ourselves. As such, it is hard for a preacher to avoid falling into the twin traps of pride (over his attendance numbers) and greed (over his offering plate numbers). However, is the numbers game biblical? The Bible tells us that the local church is a place to both equip and edify the saints (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ephesians 4:12). It is essentially a training center from which to send fellow soldiers (Philippians 2:25, Philemon 1:2) for Christ into a fallen world. Its success should not be based on corralling and stagnating Christians as babes in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1), but in sending them out equipped to meet a fallen world (Matthew 9:37-38). The same precept applies to pastors too. When your spiritual work is done, it is time to move on (consider Philip in Acts 8). I congratulate you for having the both the discernment and the guts to walk away from a built-up ministry as most preachers erroneously think that they (and not God) are holding the local congregation together (Ephesians 5:23).
For another thing, my family and I are ardent patriots. To us, freedom and liberty are much more valuable and desirable than wealth and riches–or even comfort and security. And we believe God has been showing us that if there is a place left in America where true freedom has an opportunity to experience a rebirth, it is in the Mountain States of America’s great Northwest. I love the fact that Montana is often referred to as “The Last Best Place.” And as far as freedom and liberty are concerned, it just might be.
Brother, I speak to you as one who has been in your shoes. I too erred as a Christian who was an ardent patriot. I too put my faith in my country ahead of my faith in Jesus Christ. You are correct to desire freedom and liberty over wealth and riches. I pity the wretched souls in this nation who value their government handouts more than they value their freedom to think. However, as Christians, we cannot allow this desire for freedom and liberty to derail our primary marching orders: the Great Commission.
As I say this, I have no doubt that God has shown you that the mountain states are the last bastion of liberty in police state that is the United States of America. But are the freedom-loving people of the mountain states free in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 7:22)? Or are they simply free FROM our Lord Jesus Christ (not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness… 1 Peter 2:16)? I pray that God is moving you to Montana to both open your eyes to the biblical concept of freedom and to open up a ministry to the multitudes of sinners who inhabit the state.
Now, we are not naïve. We realize that there are many Big-Government liberals and neocons in the Mountain States who will not be pleased to see us come. When compared to the rest of the country, however (and I’ve seen most all of it), I would dare say that there are more freedom lovers in the Mountain States (per capita and per square mile) than anywhere else in the country.
Again Brother, I ask you to consider: are these freedom lovers bathing in the light of Jesus Christ (John 8:12)? Or are they simply hiding in farthest corners of darkness (Acts 26:18)? The untold story of every remote tribe on earth is that in their freedom, they invariably worship man or the creation, not our Lord and Creator. Until some brave missionary brings them the Gospel (Mark 16:15), they seldom have biblical truth.
Since the release of my last two columns announcing our move to Montana, I have received more emails than over the last several months combined. And believe me, I’m talking about hundreds and even thousands of emails. I have received more than 200 emails just from people living in Montana, and 99% of them were enthusiastically supportive. I can assure you, the response that my family and I have received from Montanans has made us feel at home even before getting there.
Many Montanans are excited about the prospect of my starting a new ministry in the Flathead Valley, and once again being able to livestream my messages over the Internet. Others are excited about the prospect of us entering the freedom fight. But most seem excited about both!
Brother, I must ask: Are these people supportive of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16), or of your gospel of freedom at all costs (Galatians 1:7)? Are these people born again, Bible-believing Christians? Or are they a modern fulfillment of 2 Corinthians 4:4? If they are merely supportive of freedom, then you need to tread carefully so that you can preach and teach the gospel (as opposed to merely becoming a false teacher for their itching ears… 2 Timothy 4:3). Please test yourself to make sure you aren’t turning the gospel of salvation into another gospel (of freedom): Galatians 1:8 “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
Furthermore, it is our studied opinion that America is headed for an almost certain cataclysm. As Christians, we suspect that this cataclysm could include the judgment of God. As students of history, we believe that this cataclysm will most certainly include a fight between Big-Government globalists and freedom-loving, independent-minded patriots. I would even argue that this fight has already started. And as this battle escalates (and it will most assuredly escalate), only those states that are willing to stand and fight for their independence and freedom will survive–at least in a state of freedom. And we believe that God has already put the love of liberty deep into the hearts of the people of the Mountain States; and we further believe that God is already calling (and will continue to call) many other freedom lovers to those states. One thing is for sure: we know He called us!
Brother, you are 100% correct. This nation is headed straight to Hell. Instead of applying the brakes, the liberals and the conservatives have engaged the afterburners. If there was ever a time to be concerned for physical safety, it is now!
However, as a Christian, what should your response be? Should it be to organize a defense? Or should it be to step up your efforts to reach the lost? Matthew 16:25, Mark 8:35, and Luke 9:24 would be a good place to start researching this dilemma. I have no doubt that God called you to Montana, but was it to defend a man-made Constitution or to minister to the saints? Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Please make sure you are running the correct race (1 Corinthians 9:24) and fighting the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12).
We are not going to Montana to sunbathe (or even ski); we are not going to play games, or play politics; we are not going to “take it easy,” or “hide,” or hibernate. We are not going to “enjoy the climate.” We are going to fight! We are going to work! We are going to help the freedom-minded people of Montana make their stand for liberty! In many ways, the Mountain States just might become The Alamo of the twenty-first century, with, hopefully, much better results. But if not, I would rather die fighting for freedom with liberty-loving patriots by my side than be shuttled off to some FEMA camp after having been rejected and betrayed by soft-living, comfort-seeking, materialistic statists who simply “don’t get it” and have no desire to “get it,” which seems to be pretty much standard practice for a sizeable majority of people today–Christian and non-Christian–around most of the country.
Brother, take a step back. Why are we going to have those FEMA camps? Is it because we have neglected the cause of liberty in this nation? Or is it because we have neglected our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:19, Hebrews 2:3)? What does the Bible say? It is very clear that God is in charge of what is happening (Jeremiah 18:6-10). If you truly want to defend this nation, you need to take the gospel to the highways and the hedges (Luke 14:23) instead of holing up in the Alamo. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense…
The Mountain States are also attractive due to the distance separating them from the great regions of the country in which the tables are truly stacked against any growth and extension of the principles of federalism or limited government, namely, the Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest (with my apologies to freedomists in those areas). Big-city liberalism dominates most of the states in these regions. The federal government has invested billions of dollars and thousands of personnel establishing and oiling the Orwellian machine in these areas. There are exceptions, of course, but they are few and far between, and therefore, quite isolated should any kind of serious stand be required.
Brother, have you heard yourself? What is a freedomist and where is a freedomist found in your Bible? It’s bad enough that apostates label themselves Calvinists, Lutherans, Catholics, Anglicans, etc, but freedomist? Even Joseph Smith didn’t have the gall to add such a non-biblical word to the Book of Mormon. The word freedom only appears twice in the Bible (Leviticus 19:20, Acts 22:28). If we are to emulate Paul, we should relish not in freedom, but in being “free born.” Are you pleasing men or God with your freedomist ideals? 1 Thessalonians 2:4 “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”
Add to the intrinsically oppressive nature of big-city liberalism and UN-sponsored globalism the out-of-control illegal immigration problem along the Southern Border and one has a recipe for disaster! And that is exactly what is coming: a disaster!
Brother, preach this! Preach this message until you go hoarse. Your warning here is biblical as God has promised us a world given over to Satan (Revelations 13:7). While we may not appreciate it now, the Lord gives us the bread of adversity and the water of affliction to open our blinded eyes (Isaiah 30:20). Just like ancient Israel, this nation despises the word and trusts in oppression and perversity (Isaiah 30:12). As to illegal immigration, just like Israel our inheritance has been turned over to strangers and aliens (Lamentations 5:2). Brother, use your internet ministry to proclaim the truth to this fallen nation: that we had better repent in sack cloth and ashes or we are going to be destroyed (Jeremiah 18:8, Matthew 11:1). The Chaldeans are at the gate and only a miracle can save us now (Jeremiah 21:4).
If I am correct in my analysis, and Montana (and surrounding states) really is in store for a FREEDOM RUSH, then it is certain that patriotic businessmen, laborers, tradesmen, professionals, clergymen, physicians, technicians, and people from virtually every walk of life will find themselves among the “gathering of eagles.” From an economic and spiritual perspective alone, the prospect of such a rush could be not only exciting, but also historic!
I have no doubt that when this nation falls, there will be a huge migration of polar opposites. The super-bowl watching welfare slaves and their “liberal” taskmasters will congregate in their modern Babels. Those who value their freedom will likewise flock to the hills. But are we flocking to build hermitages and fortresses or to regroup to reach the lost? Psalms 9:9 reminds us that the Lord is our refuge in times of trouble.
Therefore, let no more be said of hardship! Our Pilgrim forebears crossed the Atlantic Ocean without maps and with no one to greet them in their quest to find a land of liberty. Our Patriot forebears challenged the greatest military force in history (at that time) and stood on Lexington Green, Concord Bridge, and Bunker Hill to defend this land of liberty. And our Pioneer forebears traversed thousands of miles in covered wagons with no roads or bridges in their quest to carve a land of liberty out of the wilderness. Traveling 2,500 miles in trucks and cars across mostly an Interstate highway system, sleeping in hotels, and eating at restaurants seem like mighty puny sacrifices to make to find that land where this latter-day remnant can live and stand together.
I applaud our forebears because they sought freedom to worship their Creator, not freedom to worship the god of American materialism. Liberty in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17) cannot in any way be brought down to the man-made designations contained in the Bill of Rights (1 Corinthians 8:9). You also miss the fact that God works in mysterious ways (Romans 16:25) when it comes to propagation of the Gospel. One of the main reasons God put the travel bug in the Europeans was to restore the Gospel to a Christ-rejecting world that had done its best to extinguish the light of the Gospel. The Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus all but eliminated the churches (Nestorian, church of east, etc.) in Asia. The Animists did the same thing in Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Ever wonder why the bloodthirsty Aztecs were looking for a European/Middle Eastern man to come riding in on horseback? At one time, they too had the Gospel (Romans 10:18). Revelation 19:11, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”
Yes, I realize the real work will only begin once we have arrived. I completely understand that Montana is not the Garden of Eden and that the Serpent is already there, waiting for us. I expect a fight. And I know I speak for the men of my family when I say, Bring it on! Freedom and liberty, along with the Natural Law principles of federalism and independence, are worth fighting for. In fact, they are worth dying for. So, living or dying, we intend to circle the wagons around the State of Montana and fight to our dying breath for the right of that State to live free! And while we are at it, we believe God will let us help many good, freedom-loving people of Montana find true inner freedom that comes from Christ alone. After all, any true student of American history knows that revival and revolution go hand in hand.
What is this Natural Law that you speak of? Is it the law of nature described in Romans 2:14? Or is it the non-biblical laws of nature dreamed up by Aristotle, Cicero and Augustine? I ask for clarification because your “freedomist” audience may not understand that the invisible things of God are understood by all and that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Bring it on? Are we commissioned to fight with human fists or wielding the word of God (Ephesians 6:17)? I have no doubt that federalism, independence, freedom, and liberty are worthy ideals, but they should never be the prime focus of our Christian ministries (2 Timothy 2:4). Please make sure you aren’t getting distracted by the minutia when you need to be focused on the war at hand (1 Timothy 1:18).
To borrow from the Apostle Paul, “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto [Montana], not knowing the things that shall befall me there.” (Acts 20:22) But I also have faith in another Biblical principle: that God opens doors that no man can shut (Rev. 3:8). And for the Baldwin family, that open door is the Flathead Valley of Montana. And no recession, or ridicule, or opposition, or false accusation, or cold and snow can shut that door. Montana, here we come!
Brother, please only quote Paul if you realize that Paul was focused on winning souls (i.e. Acts 20:21) and not establishing a patriotic resistance. Second, God opens doors that cannot be closed by man, but God is talking about doors to proclaim the Kingdom of God, not to establish the last stand of the Alamo. Third, I have no doubt that you all are called to Montana. I just pray you learn biblical lessons from the move and that you focus on preaching to the Montana lost.
I end this letter on the following verse and its implications for anybody who would try and fight God’s coming judgment on this fallen world (the New World Order is nothing more than a modern Babylon):
Jeremiah 38:2: “Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.”