Pastor Andrew Ward
I was saved by the grace of God when I repented and put my faith in Jesus Christ at the age of thirty. Before God called me into full-time ministry, I was an air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic. For my first ministry assignment, I served as a missionary with Child Evangelism Fellowship for nearly 12 years. During that time, I was a Local Director in the East Central Florida Chapter and the State Director for CEF of Mississippi. I also served as a pastor in Gulfport, Mississippi. I started serving as an Associate Pastor at CBC, focused primarily on biblical counseling, in August 2019. In January 2022, I began serving as the pastor of Community Baptist Church. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Liberty University and studied biblical counseling at the Master’s University online program. I wrote the curriculum for Overcoming Addictions in Christ, a 12-week biblical discipleship ministry to help people struggling with addiction find freedom in Christ. My wife Dee Dee and I have four adult children and a granddaughter. When not working, I like playing golf and vacationing in the Florida Keys.
Specific points of my teaching and beliefs.
The authority of Scripture.
2 Peter 1:3 “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (All Scripture NASB95)
I believe that the 66 books of the Bible are the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. Within Scripture, we learn who God is, who we are, how to be forgiven by God, and how to live in this world in any and every situation. This includes understanding what God has to say about the contemporarily debated topics of gender, homosexuality, the moral degeneration of the nation, dealing with depression and anxiety, and an endless list of other questions. You can trust that in the Bible, you will find the needed wisdom and guidance to live your life as God intends. In seeking to understand the meaning and purpose of the Bible, our goal must be to determine what the original author meant when he wrote to the original audience. Therefore, correctly interpreting Scripture requires a literal, historical, and grammatical hermeneutic. Furthermore, Scripture is most faithfully explained through expositional preaching, which seeks to teach the point of the passage in context. Knowing and trusting in the Bible allows the Christian to confidently look to God’s Word for answers to all of life’s questions rather than a lost world that is blinded by sin.
God sovereignly controls all things.
Psalm 115:3 “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”
God is personally and intimately always involved with all aspects of His creation. I find the 1689 Baptist Confession helpful in defining this, “God the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom, upholds, directs, arranges, and governs all creatures and things,1 from the greatest to the least,2 by his perfectly wise and holy providence, to the purpose for which they were created. He governs according to his infallible foreknowledge and the free and unchangeable counsel of his own will. His providence leads to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.3” (1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 5, Article 1)
Knowing and believing the glorious truth of God’s sovereign control allows Christians to experience true peace. Our lives and this world are not spinning out of control or are the result of random chance, but rather God is working out His plan. Therefore, Christians can rest and have joy even in the trials of life.
God’s sovereign election.
Ephesians 1:3-6 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
The Bible teaches that God sovereignly chose and predestined those who are saved from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-6. Romans 8:29-30, Romans 9), and no one will come to faith in Jesus unless that person is drawn by the Holy Spirit (John 6:44). If you want to know whether you are one the elect of God, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will see that you are. Because of God’s sovereign election, Christians may rest and take great joy in knowing that they are, in fact, securely saved by God, not because of anything about them or anything they have done but through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Additionally, Christians can be confident and bold in evangelism, knowing that it is God alone that draws a person to salvation. Therefore, we share the good news of Jesus Christ and pray to the Holy Spirit to open the person’s eyes to the truth of God’s Word.
The choices of people matter.
Joshua 24:15 “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Because of the sin in people’s hearts, we cannot choose righteousness; nevertheless, we can make choices according to our own desires. (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9, Psalm 58:3, 1 Corinthians 2:14) Therefore, no one will choose Jesus unless the Holy Spirit draws them. (John 6:37, 44, 65, Romans 5:10) God teaches us that He is involved in all choices in some way (Proverbs 16:9, 19:21) and that the unbeliever only selects the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12) For good or bad, our choices have consequences (Matthew 7:13-14; John 3:16-18; Romans 14:12), and Christians have great joy in knowing that God will guide the intentions of those who seek Him. (Proverbs 3:5-6) The most crucial point of application of this doctrine for the Christian is to choose to obey Jesus and follow Him. For the person who is not a Christian, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that you may be saved.
Calvinism or Arminianism
1 Corinthians 3:4-5 “For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you, not mere men? 5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord allowed each one.”
I believe that theological labels are often not helpful and serve to encourage fighting in the body of Christ. It has been my experience that typically, people who identify themselves as followers of John Calvin or Jacobus Arminius don’t believe what Calvin or Arminius taught. Regardless of where a person stands on these issues, they are not relevant to salvation, and Christians should discuss the matters in a way that is charitable and loving toward one another. There’s no debate over whether Christians are to love one another, and refusing to do so is disobedient and dishonoring to Jesus.
God requires Christians to make disciples.
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Discipleship begins with salvation; therefore, we must evangelize the lost. (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8) Disciple-making is an ongoing responsibility of all Christians. (Mark 1:17; John 15:8; Romans 10:14-15; Galatians 6:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24; James 5:16; 1 Peter 4:9)
The gift of “tongues” and the gift to perform miracles.
Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,”
Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”
God can, and I believe that He does miracles as He sees fit. There is nothing too difficult for God, and Christians should pray in faith for God to do the miraculous, whether that is a health issue, a prodigal child, or a spiritual awakening in this world.
There are many people today who claim they have the “gift of doing miracles.” As I read through Scripture, I notice that people did miracles to authenticate the Word of God being given or the messenger of God. Additionally, miraculous works were limited, and as New Testament times progressed and the Bible was completed, these gifts were mentioned less. God is sovereign and does as He pleases; however, the outlandish things being claimed by popular “prosperity preachers” is a circus that has nothing to do with Jesus Christ.
As with miracles, I do not believe that the gift of “tongues” is in use today. The Bible seems to indicate that “tongues” was a gift whereby a person spoke in a known language that they had not previously learned. With the closing of the canon of Scripture, there was no further need for authentication, and these gifts seem to have ceased.
You can literally believe the first 11 chapters of Genesis, along with the rest of the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
I believe that God willed all of creation into existence over the course of six days (24-hour periods), just as Genesis 1 explains. I believe that what we know as creation came into being about 7,000 to 10,000 years ago. I believe that dinosaurs were on the earth with human beings, and all died in the flood except those that Noah would have taken on the ark. Since then, dinosaurs, like many other animals, have become extinct. I believe that evolution is believed by very intelligent people because it explains creation without God rather than being a reasonable interpretation of fossil evidence. Additionally, contrary to what popular media would have you believe, all legitimate scientists do not believe in evolution. There are many extremely well-educated scientists who literally believe the account of Genesis 1-11 is the accurate explanation for how creation came to be. A wonderful place to learn more about this is www.answersingenesis.org