restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


Remembering the People of the Towel

 David Alan Black

We read much nowadays about nationalism and internationalism. But if you are a Christian, you are a colonial because you are a citizen of a heavenly commonwealth (Greek politeuma, Philippians 3:20). This is the only truly Christian nation. America may contain Christians and may be influenced by Christian principles (which are rapidly waning), but there will never be a Christian nation except the blood-bought people of God.

Just as America is losing its national integrity in a sea of internationalism, the professing church of Jesus Christ is losing her peculiar characteristics in a world-church amalgam of narcissism. One-worldism is setting the stage for Antichrist. In light of this, God’s people need to be what Christ called them to be—heavenly colonials in a pagan society. Every member of that Holy Nation is to be an ambassador for Christ beseeching men and women to be reconciled to God.

The tragic deaths of four Southern Baptist missionaries in recent days are a reminder of what discipleship—true discipleship—can cost. When Christians of Tertullian’s day worshipped idols and then excused themselves by saying that they were only valuing the lives God had given them, Tertullian asked, “Must you live?” Today, Christians have devised many ways of excusing their egocentric lives, in contrast to the saints of the early church who suffered the loss of jobs, the loss of property, and even the loss of life rather than compromise with the world.

Let us give honor to God today by remembering the lives and labors of those courageous citizens of heaven who gave their all for Christ. Click to download Hi-Res PhotoThree victims, from left: Martha Myers, William Koehn and Kathleen Gariety

·        Dr. Martha Myers

·        William Koehn

·        Kathleen Gariety

·        William P. “Bill” Hyde

They must have been well aware of what an earlier martyr once said: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.”

We who are alive may possibly remain until the coming of the Lord. But should He tarry, the question will always be, “How then shall we live?” The New Testament tells us: It is by taking up our cross daily and following our Lord. The right side is not always the bright side, and persecution may come our way, even in these United States of America. But the important thing is to be on the right side, however dark the days.

During an address given at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s convocation on January 29, 2003, Dr. Paige Patterson noted that the symbol of the minister of Jesus Christ needs to be the bowl and the towel. “I would say that the next generation of ministers to our world needs to recover the symbol of the bowl and the towel. It is the symbol of the servants of God,” said Patterson.

Patterson is absolutely correct. Spirit-filled Christians are not self-absorbed Christians. They are People of the Towel—humble servants of Jesus Christ. When a servant of Christ is asked “Must you live?” he cheerfully replies, “Only as long as I can glorify God in this mortal body.”

March 5, 2003

David Alan Black is the editor of

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