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Archive for June, 2010

I first met Bro. Jeffrey Johnson several years ago at a Bible camp that I used to attend periodically.  He and his father, Don Johnson, preach there frequently.  (Part of a message by Bro. Don Johnson was previously featured on this blog.)  Jeff and I stayed in touch for a few years, but after relocating a few years ago, I lost touch with him.  However, through the wonderful world of Facebook we recently reconnected and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he has recently published a book, The Fatal Flaw of the Theology Behind Infant Baptism. Pastor Keith Throop has recently posted a helpful review of this book.  I hope to post my own review in the coming weeks.  In the interim, Jeffrey was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding his ministry, his book and related activities.

For our readers who may not be familiar with you, tell us a little about yourself, your background, conversion, call to the ministry, and your current ministry.

I grew up in Batesville, Arkansas in a Christian home and under the prayers of my mother and the solid Biblical preaching of my father. God saved me by His grace at a young age. When I was a teenager, however, I remember mentally disagreeing with my father’s preaching on the doctrines of grace.  Yet, in my college years, the Lord not only brought me to a personal understanding of these truths, He called me into the gospel ministry.  After graduating college with a B.S. at Central Baptist College in 2000, I became the pastor of Grace Bible Church in Conway, Arkansas, where I have been actively ministering for the last ten years.  In 2008 I received my M. Min. and in 2010 my D. P. Th. from Veritas Theological Seminary.  I am currently married, my wife’s name is Letha, and we have one son named Martyn.

(You can listen here to part of a recent interview in which Jeffrey goes into some more detail about the ministry in Conway)

How did you come to have such interest in the issue of covenant theology and infant baptism that led to you writing such a weighty book?  Were you at one time drawn to the paedobaptist position?

A few years back, a close friend and a very able preacher assisted me in ministry at Grace Bible Church. Pursuing further education, he enrolled at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. Sometime afterward, he relayed to me that he was thinking about becoming Presbyterian. I did not start this study thinking, “I am going to write a book critiquing infant baptism.” Rather, the process started as a personal letter to this friend stating a few of my concerns about paedobaptism. Yet, many years passed by and I was still unable to lay down my pen and conclude my study upon the subject. Entering in the doctoral program at Veritas Theological Seminary, Dr. Gentry, who was overseeing my doctoral studies, encouraged me to expand on my research and utilize it in my dissertation at Veritas Theological Seminary. (Ed. note: Veritas Theological Seminary is not to be confused with Veritas School of Theology)


What was the writing process like?  How long did it take?  Were there any unexpected hurdles in seeing the project come to fruition?

The writing process was very hard; I now wonder how the Puritans were able to pump out so many volumes without a computer.  The biggest difficulty I had in writing this book was that I never felt completely satisfied. I worked, reworked, and then started the process all over again until I felt like I had hammered out all the lumps, only to see new problems glaring back at me, almost as if they were mocking me. Furthermore, there seemed to have always been one more book to read upon the subject. Even now, I see mistakes in my manuscript. It is almost as if I had to say to myself, “No more research, no more editing, and no more outside input.” What began as a simple letter to a friend turned out to be a seven-year project, so one can imagine how grateful I was when I first held the published edition in my hand. One of the biggest blessings of the writing this book was the friendship I gained with Richard Belcher. Dr. Belcher played a huge role in the editing of this work. I do not think this book would have been published without his constant assistance, encouragement, and corrections. I owe a great deal to him.    

Was The Fatal Flaw to be self published all along?  What led to that decision?

I did not seriously think about publishing until after the manuscript was submitted to Veritas Theological Seminary. Through the encouragement and prompting of Dr. Belcher, who was one of the official readers of my dissertation, I began seriously to consider the idea of publishing the work. I submitted the manuscript to various publishers, but all along Dr. Belcher encouraged me, for the sake of time, to self-publish the work. Seeing that I had always been interested in books, printing, and the publishing process, I decided (with the help of Mack Tomlinson) to go ahead and start a new Reformed publishing company.

What can you tell us your publishing house, Free Grace Press, including what has been published thus far as well as any future projects you are able to tell us about?

We are very excited about the future of Free Grace Press. We have two books that we anticipate releasing in the next few months. By the end of the summer, Lord willing, will publish Dr. E. A. Johnston’s latest book “Asahel Nettleton: Revival Preacher, A Biography.” E. A. Johnston, Ph.D, D.B.S. is a fellow of the Stephen Olford Institute for Biblical Preaching and the author of several books, including A Heart Awake: The Authorized Biography of J. Sidlow Baxter (Baker, 2005), and George Whitefield: A Definitive Biography, 2 vol. (Tentmaker, 2007). In the fall, we will release Mack Tomlinson’s book In Light of Eternity: The Life of Leonard Ravenhill.  Mack Tomlinson is an Elder and Itinerant Minster, Providence Chapel in Denton, Texas.  In addition, as the resources become available, we hope to publish additional works by past and contemporary Christian authors that seek to promote the sovereign and free grace of God.


The Fatal Flaw
received several impressive endorsements prior to its publication.  Now that it has been published, what kind of response have you received?

A few people, who are in the publishing business, warned me not to be discouraged with a slow start. Yet, without other books to compare, I have been quite pleased with the success that we have had and with the overall reception of the book. For instance, one store, which started out with a case of books, sold out in less than a week. The international sales have been the most surprising. We have sold multiple books to Canada, England, Austria, and New Zealand. We are only a few months in and we have already sold more than we had anticipated for the physical year.


We see on the back cover of your book that your son is named Martyn.  Is this an indication that you are an admirer of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones?  What kind of influence has he had on your own ministry?

Our son is named after Martyn Lloyd-Jones. My wife and I both enjoy the writings of Lloyd-Jones, and Iain Murray’s biography on Lloyd-Jones has been one of the more influential books that I have read. And, it did not hurt that we also really like the name Martyn.

Where can The Fatal Flaw be purchased?

The Fatal Flaw can be purchased at:

CVBBS

Solid Ground Christian Books

Amazon

Richbarry Press (call for ordering information)

Free Grace Press

And, of course at eBay

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Blackberry users may be interested to know that SermonAudio recently released an app for Blackberry.   Since I just recently got a Blackberry, this is welcome news to me.

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