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The Future of Our Past

Randall House preserves Free Will Baptist history, heritage, hope, and harmony...


The Future of Our Past

by Melvin Worthington


The future results from past decisions. Denominational direction, distinctives, doctrine, and diversity remain vital concerns for those who hold membership in the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Each generation should be interested in passing its traditions and truth to the next generation. Free Will Baptist colleges and Randall House Publications have a unique opportunity and obligation to assist in charting the course for denominational agencies, associations, assemblies and ambassadors, thus perpetuating, promoting, and preserving doctrines and distinctives of our denomination.

Denominations that preserve, perpetuate, and promote their particular doctrine, diversity, and distinctives have their own educational institutions and publishing houses. Examples include Southern Baptists, Independent Baptists, Nazarenes, Assemblies of God, and Methodists. In each case, denominational publishing houses provide clear, concise, and comprehensive curriculum that perpetuates and proclaims the doctrines, distinctives, and diversity that uniquely characterize them.

Nothing is more challenging than the statement, “As go your publishing house and your colleges so goes your denomination.” Our educational institutions provide training and establish the tone for denominational harmony and hope. The publishing house provides the information, instruction, inspiration, and indoctrination for denominational hope and harmony. Working in concert, our denominational history, heritage, hope, and harmony are preserved, perpetuated, and promoted. Randall House Publications has, is, and will continue to make a specific and significant contribution to the history, heritage, and harmony in the National Association of Free Will Baptists.


Randall House Publications


The Role of Randall House: Its Value

One value of Randall House is that it perpetuates our doctrine, distinctives, and diversity through curriculum, conferences, and commentaries. The curriculum conveys and champions our theology. The curriculum is written by Free Will Baptists from the Free Will Baptist perspective. The perpetuation of those doctrines and practices that characterize Free Will Baptists are clearly, correctly, consistently, and continually kept before denominational constituents who use Randall House materials.

In the early years of my ministry, I pastored a Free Will Baptist church that did not use Free Will Baptist Sunday School literature. Harrold Harrison, who was employed by Randall House at the time, visited our church for services. He reminded me that Free Will Baptist churches should use Free Will Baptist literature in their Sunday Schools. He argued that no other curriculum championed the doctrine peculiar to our denomination. He was right. The church soon started using Free Will Baptist Sunday School literature. I have used Free Will Baptist literature since then with no regrets.

Randall House also provides resources for denominational constituents. Tools, texts, and training for leaders and volunteers are developed with denominational constituents in mind, and marvelous resources are available from Randall House. Executive Director and CEO Ron Hunter sums it up concisely when he declares, “We teach Deuteronomy 6 as God’s principle of sharing our faith with each generation and hold the same principle for preserving who we are as Free Will Baptists. If our parents do not know who we are, how can we expect our children to adopt it?”

Randall House offers a new training initiative called “The Free Will Baptist Legacy Tour” that will go to a three-state region and teach ministry leaders and parents how to transfer denominational distinctives to their children and grandchildren. It will feature Free Will Baptist history and beliefs, and provide easy ways to transfer the Free Will Baptist heritage from parents to children with the church as the primary equipper.

Randall House also preserves our history, heritage, hope, and harmony. Their materials bind us together, build us up together, bring us together, bless us together, and bond us together. The material taught in Sunday School classes or small groups will be one of the greatest determining factors regarding what your church believes.


The Responsibility of Randall House: Its Vision

Randall House’s vision reflects the past. From its inception, the purpose of Randall House has been to provide comprehensive, coordinated, consistent, and concise curriculum with sound biblical content. Randall House has not deviated from that original purpose.

However, the Randall House vision also responds to the present, seeking to provide curriculum that is biblical, balanced, and beautiful. As evidenced by several awards for its publications in recent years, Randall House is responding to present realities confronting the church. Without disregarding our denominational heritage and history, Randall House seeks to reach individuals with the gospel and provide materials that denominational constituents can use to reach a lost world and teach them the Word of God. Randall House seeks to produce balanced, blended, broad, yet biblical materials and resources. In the light of the diversity that characterizes denominational constituents, the task of producing materials that will meet the needs of all denominational constituents remains a challenge and yet provides an opportunity to explore a variety of options that do not conflict with our doctrine, diversity, or distinctives.


The Reach of Randall House: Its Venues

Randall House has a unique venue. The primary venue for Randall House is the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Its essential responsibility is to provide and produce resources, including curriculum, conferences, books, and commentaries to meet the needs of the constituents of the denomination.

Every Free Will Baptist church needs to use Randall House resources in order to pass the traditions and truths that make the denomination distinctive to the next generation. Refusing to use materials that promote the precepts, policies, and philosophies peculiar to the denomination demonstrates a lack of loyalty. We must not sacrifice our history and heritage on the altar of passing fads that will fade away by purchasing and supporting material from other publishers.

In order to pass our doctrines and distinctives to the next generation, we must determine, demonstrate, and declare the importance of using Randall House materials in our churches.

Randall House has unsatisfied venue. Many people beyond the Free Will Baptist family hold to the fundamentals of the faith and are not satisfied with the resources provided by their particular publisher. Other groups do not have their own publishing house. Randall House provides resources for these groups. For example, the denomination produced a Free Will Baptist hymnal. At the same time, it produced a generic hymnbook that was purchased by many beyond Free Will Baptist borders. Randall House continues to be both ministry and market-driven, and the unsatisfied venue remains a viable market for Randall House. Through creative and innovative methods, Randall House can find its niche in this market and thus minister to a broader audience beyond Free Will Baptists.

Randall House also has universal venue. Every Christian is not a Free Will Baptist, although they could be. Randall House needs to expand to provide resources that will minister to Christians in all movements. This can and should be done without minimizing the doctrines, distinctives, and diversity of Free Will Baptists. Many beliefs the denomination holds are consistent with other groups. Seeking to minister and to market to a broader, universal audience requires creativity and innovation but investing in the universal venue is not a waste of time or resources.


The Record of Randall House: Its Viability

Randall House has done and is doing an excellent job in providing and producing resources for Free Will Baptists. Its ministry has been specific, significant, and supportive. Seeking to assist this generation to effectively transfer the faith and practices of Free Will Baptists to the next generation has been a significant challenge. While we must utilize biblical methods to communicate the biblical message effectively, it is worthwhile to consider changing one’s approach from time to time. A different perspective develops a broad, balanced, bold, and beneficial outlook.

The challenge for Randall House is simple. Continue using creativity and innovation to design, develop, and deliver resources that will encourage and enable the next generation to embrace the faith and practices of the National Association of Free Will Baptists. The principle of “as goes our publisher so goes our denomination” is true, and Randall House is going the right way to insure the future of our past.


About the Writer: Executive Secretary Emeritus Melvin Worthington was executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists from 1979-2002. Learn more about Randall House and the resources it offers at




©2011 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists