Friday, September 28, 2012

The Bible and Church Authority: Who Rules Over Us?

My father and I have written a white paper entitled The Bible and Authority in the Church. We invite anyone interested to download and print the paper (pdf) here. Our booklet is designed to help those Christians who have been told that certain people have spiritual authority over others in the church. Many Christians have been duped into believing that the Bible teaches God places pastors, deacons, elders, or other individuals in the church "over" the flock of Christ, similar to a Chief Executive Officer rules "over" a corporation, or a board rules "over" a company, etc... Further, Christian patriarchalism proposes that only men should be placed in those positions of authority, making the issue of spiritual authority one of gender. Christian feminism reacts to unblibical patriarchalism by emphasizing gender--the female gender--and errs in a similar manner to patriarchalism.  Our white paper shows that true spiritual authority comes from God's gifting, Christ's commissioning and the Spirit's anointing. We Christians individually serve the body of Christ through the anointed giftedness each of us has received. Nowhere in Scripture is any human being ever given the role of having "authority" over another Christian.  In fact, Jesus absolutely forbids this type of leadership and authority that the world loves to practice (Matthew 20:26). For Christians, Jesus Christ is the only authority over us. All authority is His. Because of this, those fellow Christians around us who have been gifted by God, commissioned by Christ, and anointed by the Holy Spirit, edify the body of Christ. The church has servant/leaders who encourage others through the gifts God has given them--regardless of their gender, their race, or their social status. I have written before that the major problem in the evangelical church is authoritarianism, not legalism. Now we provide the answers to the problem. It is my hope that this white paper will be useful to those who are interested in applying within the church what the Scripture actually teaches on the subject of authority.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Beauty of Loving a Husband without Needing Him

Yesterday I spoke to a group of young mothers at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting. I began with the statement: "Your husband is attracted to you when you don't need him, but you love him." I knew that what I was saying to them was completely opposite of what they usually hear, but I expressed a desire to prove to them that Scripture supported my statement. The typical marriage conference speaker will tell wives that they should have their basic needs--needs like love, security, and significance--met by their husbands. Wives will then leave those marriage conferences having huge expectations that their husbands should meet their needs, particularly if they do their part and meet their husbands sexual, psychological and emotional needs as well. I explained to the MOPS ladies that God never designed for Christian marriages to work this way.

Psychologists tell us, and the Scriptures affirm, that the basic needs of any human being (man or woman) include the need to connect with another person or persons (i.e. love or sociality), the need for respect (i.e. signficance) and the need to protect and be free from fear of personal harm ( i.e. security). God never designed a woman to have her basic needs met by her husband, nor vice-versa. A human being's basic needs are to be met by Christ alone. I then pointed the ladies to three Scripture passages:

(1).  "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory" (Philippians 4:19). Not "your husband" shall supply all your needs. The gospels reveal that Jesus gave much practical comfort to His disciples, both men and women (see Luke 8:1-3). Christ explicitly said that those who receive Him as Savior and Lord are not to worry about their future. He, their King, has everything under His control.  He, not your husband, will provide for all your needs. See Matthew 6:25-34 as an example of Christ's teaching on this subject. Any wife who looks to her husband as the provider of her basic needs is substituting her husband for Christ.

(2). "At the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage" (Matthew 22:30). These are the words of Jesus. The resurrection is that time when God raises believers in Christ from the dead to live forever on the earth where the curse has been reversed. This is what Jesus meant when He said, "The meek will inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). When the redeemed earth is given to us as an inheritance, the city that Christ has been preparing for His people (see John 14:1-4, Hebrews 11:10, and Revelation 20) will descend from heaven and unite with this redeemed earth. This is the day that "all of creation is groaning for" (Romans 8:22). The point of all this is: For eternity, contrary to what Muslims, Mormons and other radical patriachs advocate, no woman will ever have her identity associated with marriage to any man.

Any religion on this earth that refuses to assist women to find their basic needs met in Jesus Christ, any religion that refrains from pointing women to the King of Kings and encourages them to revel in the riches of being "wed to Christ," and any religion that somehow makes a woman think she needs her husband (spiritually, emotionally, or materially) is a religion that is not based on the infallible Scriptures or the truth of God's Kingdom. On the other hand, those Christian women who have been set free from the bondage of believing that they need their husbands to meet their basic needs, and then simply love their husbands from the oveflow of experientially resting in the love and provisions of Christ, will find a slice of heaven in their homes.

(3). "What causes quarrels and fightings among you? Don't they come from a battle over desires within you? You want something but don't get it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God" (James 4:1-2). Angry quarrels, scornful fights, and other efforts to control and manipulate your spouse arise from a desire to have your basic needs met by your mate rather than by your God. God never designed your husband to take His place in your life. Christ alone is your Source of real and lasting love, personal and abiding signficance, and unqualified daily security.

"Seek first the Kingdom of God," Jesus said. The Kingdom of God is best defined as God's reign in your life through Jesus Christ. His Kingdom is within you (Luke 17:21). One day His Kingdom will be all around you, but until then, His reign is within. For this reason, you don't need your husband to be a certain way. You may want certain things from your husband, and of course, there is nothing wrong with asking; but you don't need him to be a certain way. Why? Because every need you have is designed to be met by God.

Questions Asked Me by the Mothers

"Why does the Bible speak of a man and a woman becoming 'one flesh' in marriage if marriage is not designed to be permanent and marriage is not the place that a woman is to receive her identity?"

Answer: Marriage is a picture of the union that a man and a woman indivudally have with Christ. One should never replace the reality with the picture. When you embrace and kiss the picture to the exclusion of what the picture represents, you become an unhealthy Christian. For example, if I pick my wife up from the airport after a long absence,  run toward her to greet her, and then suddenly stop, ignore my wife, pull out a picture of her and then kiss the picture, I am an unhealthy person. I have made an idol of the picture and missed the reality of what the picture represents. Pictures break. They rip, burn, fade, and are often destroyed. So, too, marriages break and fall apart, but they are only pictures of the reality of one's union with Christ. If the picture is destroyed, IT NEVER MEANS THAT THE REALITY CONVEYED BY THE PICTURE IS GONE. A woman is to get her signficance, security, and love from her union with Jesus Christ, and never a union with any man.

"What happens when my husband breaks his vow of sexual fidelity to me, or becomes emotional or physically abusive to me?"

To say that a husband's infidelity does not hurt a wife would be false. To say the wife does not need her husband to be faithful would be true. To say that a husband's emotional and physical abuse does not hurt a wife would be false. To say that a wife does not need her husband to be kind, loving and gracious would be true. A married woman does not need to be married. She wants to remain married, but she doesn't need to remain married.

Therefore, if your husband is unfaithful or abusive, confront your husband in love and draw a boundary. Tell your husband that you cannot control his actions, nor is it your desire to control him. Let him know that if he desires another woman, or if he feels the need to abuse you, then you will let him go. You can and will end the marriage because you do not need him. End it, however, not in spite, or anger, or manipulation or control. End it because you refuse to enable your husband in his sin, or be a wife that remains in abuse because you can't live without your man. You can. And, when the marriage is over, treat your former husband with dignity, respect and kindness--the same way you would treat any man who is not your husband, for that is the kind of person a woman who has her needs met in Christ is.

In many marriages, wives will unintentionally enable their husbands to continue in their addictions or sin because they unintentionally substitute their husbands for Christ. When a wife cannot picture a future without her husband, she has made the picture (marriage) her idol, and lost perspective on the reality that her marriage is intended to represent (her union with Christ).

"Be specific on why my husband is attracted to me when I don't need him, but I love him?"

Christ's love for us is magnetic. "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19). Christ does not need us. He doesn't need us to be happy. He doesn't need us to be fulfilled. He doesn't need us to be a certain way for Him to feel significant. When He loves us, it is a selfless love. His love is unconditional, and wells within Him like an artesian spring. We don't pull it out of Him; He loves because He is love. When we begin to understand and experience this unconditional and personal love, we are drawn toward Him.

In the same manner, when a fulfilled, self-sufficient woman marries a man, she doesn't need her man. The Kingdom of God is God's total answer for her total need. What she needs is Christ, and she has Him. She's wed to Him, and she desires to be in her marriage all that Christ has made her to be in life. However, her God is not her husband. Her God is Christ. So, she loves her husband, but she doesn't need her husband. That kind of love is magnetic and draws a husband toward his wife. Granted, your husband may not understand selfless love either, mainly because His needs are not being met by Christ. For this reason, he may become unfaithful by searching for his fulfillment in other women. A Christian woman must set boundaries in her marriage, but the enforcement of those boundaries should always be done with dignity, respect and love for the unfaithful spouse--and for his good.. Only healthy Christians, those who see their basic needs are always met by Christ, can draw boundaries and enforce them with the love of Christ.

There is always something very attractive about being loved by a person who doesn't need you.


The MOPS ladies at Emmanuel Enid started their fall session with this study yesterday. Though it is contrary to much of what they will hear in the religious world, I am convinced that the principles I gave to them are from Christ. His words convey life. His truth sets people free. My prayer is that His words will provide some guidance and comfort to ladies who might read this over the Internet as well.

A final note: If your husband is a controlling, manipulative and patriarchal Christian, when you begin to live like you don't need him, he will panic. He will think he is losing you. He will think that you "are different." Give it time. Soon, Christ will either heal him of his need to have you under his control, or he will leave you. Either way, you can't continue in a marriage where your husband has taken the place of Christ--it is unhealthy for both you and him.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Those Who YOLO in this Life Will Definitely Die Twice

MSN reported yesterday on the death of Rapper Everin McKinnis. Everin, who performed under the names Inkyy and Jew'elz, died while texting and driving. McKinnis last tweet:

"Drunk af going 120 drifting corners #F**kIt YOLO."

Mr. McKinnis was letting his Twitter followers know that he was drunk, driving over one hundred miles hour, drifting corners, AND texting while while he was driving After using two graphic sexual shorthand curses in his text, McKinnis signs off YOLO.

"YOLO" is the term being used on Twitter to describe those occasions when people are doing something incredibly dangerous. The acronym means "You Only Live Once."

Seconds after Everin McKinnis tweeted the above, the rapper, along with three other passengers, were brutally killed after their car sped through a red light and crashed into a wall in Ontario, Calif. Police reported that both drinking and excessive speed contributed to the accident. No bystanders were killed. The incredible stupidity of rapper McKinnis is seen in his philosophy "You Only Live Once." This is the creed of people who do what they want, when they want, for as long as they want, because what they do feels cool to them. "You Only Live Once" seems to be the motto for people who, "being past feeling, have given themselves over to fulfilling their morbid sexual desires, doing those things God expressly forbids, and living a life of selfishness and greed" (Ephesians 4:19).
Those who YOLO in this life will definitely die twice.
The first time is the death of the body. Not all the deaths of those who YOLO are as gruesome as McKinnis' death. Some are worse. However, Jesus said "you should not fear those who can destroy the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, you should fear the One who can destroy both the body and soul in hell" (Matthew 10:28). He, the Lord Jesus, is the One who is to be feared.  "The beginning of wisdom," said the wise man, "is the fear of the Lord." To fear Christ is to do what He says, as He says, as long He says because He is King over your life. YOLO is the antithesis of Christ's Lordship.
Again, those who YOLO in this life will definitely die twice.
The second time is the death of the soul. Four times the Bible refers to this "second death" (Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; and 21:8). The second death occurs after a personal and specific judgment by the King, a judgment that is based on how a person lived his or her life. Those who have trusted Christ as Savior and received Him as their King will escape this second death (see Revelation 20:11-15). Those without Christ as their Savior and King will be sentenced to the second death because of their rebellion.  This just judgment, given by Christ, and the corresponding sentence of the second death, is what you should fear above all other things.
At least, that's what Jesus said. 

Friday, September 07, 2012

The Ideal Church: Reflections from One Who Pastors

When an inspiration to write rises within me, it's best to ride the wave and compose. Some of my best thoughts come while sitting at the breakfast table after a 6:00 a.m. workout. There could be in me a connection between exercise of the body and energy in the mind. Other stimulations to script are more random, and I find it best to not resist the urge to write when it occurs. So, while being interrupted in my golf game today by a dust storm reminiscent of dust bowl days, I found myself inspired to reflect on those characteristics that make for an ideal church. After serving over twenty years at Emmanuel Enid, this post may be more autobiographical than fiction. Truth is, whether I was in ministry at this wonderful church or not, the following statements characterize the church I believe would warrant both my membership and support.

Twenty Characteristics of the Ideal Church

(1). The ideal church is full of people who believe the ministries of the church are important, but refuse to place church ministries on par with the kingdom of God, because...

(2). The ideal church believes Christ's reign in the hearts of His people is far more important than any and all church ministries.

(3). The ideal church has caring shepherds who empower gifted people to serve in the kingdom rather than church professionals who manipulate guilty people to give to the church.

(4). The ideal church resists the urge to spiritualize those things associated with the church because of the knowledge that Christ is King over the totality of life, which means...

(5). The ideal church believes the worship center is no more important than the workplace, the Sunday morning (or evening) corporate worship time is no more important than Tuesday morning (or evening) family time, and the ideal church knows that God is as pleased with His people away from the church meetings as He is with them in the church meetings.

(6). The ideal church has a budget that arises out a desire to advance the kingdom. Church leaders will refrain from threatening members who don't give to the church because there is a great trust that the Holy Spirit will always stir His people to give in order to adequately meet the needs of Christ's kingdom. If the church budget falls short, then a reevaluation of whether or not kingdom work is actually being done in the church needs to take place.

(7). The ideal church has paid staff who see themselves as people who serve instead of professionals who are served.

(8). The ideal church will constantly ask the question, "Why are we doing what we are doing?"

(9). The ideal church will have worship services that are designed for worshippers to encounter God through singing to Him, learning of Him, resting in Him, and being empowered by Him. As a result, the ideal church will have members who learn by experience that corporate worship is nothing more than the overflow of one's personal worship, because...

(10). The ideal church understands the importance of reality over perception. People in an ideal church are more concerned with who they are rather than how they are perceived, and as a result...

(11). The ideal church is transparent in all its transactions, sincere in all its statements, and real in all its relationships.

(12). The ideal church is not afraid to change because change occurs for the purpose of the church being a better instrument to reach people for the kingdom.

(13). The ideal church will fellowship around the very limited essentials of the faith (the Person of Christ and salvation by grace through faith), and grant members freedom to hold and teach diverse views on secondary and tertiery doctrines.

(14). The ideal church is characterized by love for people--all kinds of people--and that love is seen in its emphasis on missions, mercy ministries, and the care and support of members in need.

(15). The ideal church has a well-written constitution that is kept up-to-date and followed closely in all business matters, but the church is known by those in the community for its grace and freedom.

(16). The ideal church will rejoice when other churches grow, and will hurt when other churches hurt, because the ideal church realizes that all believers, regardless of the church to which they belong, compose the kingdom of God and we are one family with Christ as our Head.

(17). The ideal church will have servants who lead others not because of their gender, socio-economic status, or race, but because the servant/leaders have been gifted and empowered by God to serve, anointed by the Spirit in their service, and have given evidence to the church of their love for people.

(18). The ideal church understands that sin is more about one's nature than it is one's actions; authority is more about one's gifted service than it is one's titular status, and truth is more about Christ in one's life than it is words in one's mind.

(19). The ideal church cares more about building relationships and seeing lives transformed than the number of people who are baptized; in other words, baptisms are not a number to be dutily obtained by an identification of lives truly changed.

(20). The ideal church doesn't desire to be like all other churches, but allows the Spirit of God to create a unique and effective personality that reflects who He is in the lives of His people in that local church. Cookie-cutters may be good for baking, but they make lousy churches.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

'The' Woman of Error in I Timothy 2:12 Shouldn't Teach

When the principles and practices of the kingdom of God are made subordinate to the traditions of men, the power of Spirit-filled living becomes a figment of our collective imagination.  When religious leaders place shackles on God's people to keep them from functioning as He has gifted them to function, the church becomes a powerless shell of immobility. Without the vivifying energy of the Spirit in the body of Christ, the King's men and women become regal attendants fighting at each rather than royal ambassadors working with each other. If you have ever experienced a dead church, you know intuitively that the deadness occurs because leadership is controlling guilty people rather than empowering gifted people. The Scripture is emphatic that the Spirit gifts His people--men and women--with gifts of teaching, service, leadership, mercy, organization, etc... Good leaders get to know their people, find out how they are gifted, and empower them to fulfill their calling.

The Bible is replete with examples of men and women gifted by God to teach and to lead. No Bible-believing Christian seems to have a problem with men leading or teaching, but women fulfilling those roles, as gifted by the Holy Spirit, seems to cause consternation in the lives of some who are more familiar with tradition than truth. We have dozens of illustrations in the New Testament of women teaching men (Priscilla, Anna, Philip's four unmarried daughters, and many, many more). There are also dozens of additional illustrations in the Bible of women leading men.

I Timothy 2:11-15 Is the Text Used by Men to Restrict Gifted Women

Following is the text that is used to stifle women. I have placed only four words in (bold) that more accurately translate what Paul is saying, words that are a direct translation of the Greek. The reasons for the four words I supply will be explained below:

"Let a (the) woman learn in quietness and full submission. "12I do not permit a (the) woman to teach or to assume authority over a (the) man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women (lit. "she") will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."

The verses above seem to say, at least on the surface and without the four words I've supplied, that no woman should ever teach any man; that no woman should  ever assume any 'authority' over any man; and that all women must always be quiet in the presence of men.  Of course, most evangelical conservative men would say that the Apostle Paul was only addressing women "in the church" and "in the home" so that women in the political world, corporate world, and secular world, are not under these restrictions. I find it humorous that conservatives complain of "potential malignancy" in one's gospel orthodoxy if one can find a way to make this I Timothy 2 text say that it is okay for women to teach men or have authority over men "in the church." Why is that humorous to me? Because those same conservative men have already found a way (rightly so) to explain how a woman can have leadership over a man and teach a man in every other realm of life (politics, business, etc...). Do we remember when Condi Rice, Secretary of State, spoke to the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006? She taught us Southern Baptist men a great deal about war and the bombing of terrorists, and we applauded her leadership as Secretary of State. So much for the gospel malignancy theory.

But back to the I Timothy 2 text above. For those of you "in the church" who get stuck on this text, and as a result, refuse to have women read the Bible in public at church, or teach a discipleship class with men in it, or refuse to have women serve as trustees, or elders, or committee chairpersons "in the church: lest they 'assume authority' over men, let me help you see how you are totally ignoring the clear teaching of the New Testament in favor of a poor and false interpretation of these I Timothy 2 verses. For all you out there in cyberland, and for a few of you in local churches who want to make women in leadership an issue of gospel orthodoxy, I will provide below a very clear interpretation of I Timothy 2:12-15 that is consistent with the rest of the New Testament's teaching on empowering women in their giftedness. There are five basic principles that must be understood in order to rightly comprehend what Paul is saying:

(1). Paul is addressing a problem Timothy had with a specific woman teaching heresy to a specific man in the church at Ephesus.

How do we know this? There are at least four grammatical reasons:

(a). Paul gives instructions to "women" (plural) in the beginning of chapter two (i.e. how to dress modestly, live of life of good works, etc...), but beginning with verse 11, Paul switches from the plural noun (women) to the singular noun (woman). The definitive article "the" is in the original Greek (i.e. "the woman"), not the unfortunate translation "a" woman (NIV; NASB).  Paul moves from instructions to women in general (vs. 9-10) to a very direct instruction for a specific woman in verse 11. You can verify this quite easily with any online interlinear.
(b). The “she” in verse 15 is third person singular (again, the NIV and NASB unfortunately mistranslates the third person singular Greek pronoun in v. 15 with the plural English noun "women"). The "she" of verse 15 is the same woman in verse 11 and verse 12. She is the woman who needs correcting.
(c).  "...if they continue" (v.15). The word "they" is the accurate translation of the third person plural used by Paul. This plural pronoun identifies not only the woman doing the teaching, but also the man whom she is deceiving ("the woman" and "the man" of v. 12).
(d). The verb "continue" is in the aorist active subjunctive. This verb's tense confirms that the instructions Paul gives in vs. 11-15 are designed for the woman and the man in question (v. 12), to two people who are alive at the time Paul is writing and not to those who are either dead or not yet born (i.e. Eve or women in general).

(2). The woman in question was teaching error out of her ignorance and should be shown mercy.

Mercy and love toward false teachers is one of the themes of letter we call I Timothy, particularly because the assembly at Ephesus was a church filled with people from pagan backgrounds: "As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (I Timothy 1:3-5).

Paul has already spoken of the ignorance he was in before he was taught the truth: "(I) was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and insolent; but I received mercy, because being ignorant I did it in unbelief" (I Timothy 1:13).

Paul mentions how Eve sinned in ignorance: " was the woman (Eve) who was deceived and became a sinner" (I Timothy 2:13). The entire first two chapters of I Timothy are leading up to Paul expressing sympathy toward, and encouraging Timothy to display love to, that woman teaching error. We know that Paul wrote this letter in response to problems Timothy was facing in Ephesus, and those problems were known by Paul (I Timothy 3:14-15). This is a personal letter, not a general epistle, and proper interpretation requires the reader to delve into why Paul wrote the letter in the first place.

(3).  Paul expressed hope that this woman will be saved by Christ, even though she is in error.

Verse 15 "she will be saved through (the) childbearing" is a reference to the the woman's salvation through the Incarnation of Christ (the childbearing). The word teknogonia is used just once in Scripture and the word is NOT a verb (childbearing)--it is a noun (THE childbearing). This is a reference to the Messiah, who was born from a woman despite the deception of Eve. The Messiah came to destroy the destroyer, to crush the head of the Serpent who deceives, and the deceived woman of I Timothy 2 will be saved through "the childbearing" if stops teaching heresy, learns of Christ in complete submissiveness (v. 11), and continues in "faith, love, and holiness in propriety."

(4). Scripture only expresses a prohibition on women teaching error, never on women teaching men.

A similar passage to I Timothy 2:11-15 is Revelation 2:20: "But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols."

The problem with Jezebel was not that she "teaches and leads." The problem with Jezebel was that she taught and led others "astray." The only solution for a woman who teaches and leads astray is for her to first learn the truth. This is precisely the solution Paul proposes to Timothy for the woman of I Timothy 2. She must first learn "in quietness and full submission" (v.11). By the way, this is also a good practice for any man who is teaching error. He should be confronted and told to FIRST learn in quietness and submission before he attempts to teach.

(5).  The people who misinterpret Paul and attempt to prohibit women from teaching or leading men are ignoring the entire tenor and teaching of the New Testament.

God empowers His people through giftings and anoints His people to fulfill their calling through the Holy Spirit. The giftings of God are never distributed according to gender. The calling of God is never limited according to physiology. When the daughters of Philip prophecied, it was by the giftings of God and the anointing of the Spirit. When Anna taught the men in the Temple it was in fulfillment of the calling of God on her life and through the giftings and anointing of the Spirit. From Priscilla, to Lydia, to Junia, to Phoebe, and to all the rest of the New Testament women God used to expand His kingdom through prophesying, teaching and leading other men and women, God has gifted and anointed as many women as He has men.

Let's not traditions trump truth.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Issue Is Authority: Reasons Why Complementarianism and Feminism Are Fungi Harming the Kingdom

The picture to the left is of a Brazilian ant with a fungus growing on its antennas. National Geographic reports that this new fungus penetrates the brain and eventually kills the ant. According to scientists, this fungus takes over the mind of the ant (I didn't know the ant had a mind), and for this reason, it is called "a mind-control fungus." In this post, I am proposing that there are two fungi that do similar things to people who love Christ and are part of His kingdom.  The two fungi in question are complementarianism (patriarchy) and feminism. Let me be clear about what I am saying: The people who are Christian complementarians and  Christian feminists are not the fungi--it's what they teach that forms the fungus that is detrimental and ultimately dangerous to the people of God. Complementarianism and feminism have much in common. Let me illustrate.
 I like Denny Burk. I don't know him, but I can tell by what he writes that he loves Christ. Yet he, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and a host of other evangelical men seem to be trying to make the gospel hinge on whether or not Christians believe men should lead women and women should follow men. They remind me of radical Christian feminists. Both groups misunderstand kingdom authority.

Complementarians wish for men to have spiritual authority and for women to not usurp men in their God-given role of authority. Feminism wishes to push women into positions of spiritual authority. The problem with both groups is their unbiblical view of authority. Both groups see ordained clergy, be they priests or pastors, as a separate class of people who possess special positions of authority. To a complementarian and a feminist, words associated with leading others spiritually (words like pastor, shepherd, etc...) are nouns conveying positions of special authority and honorary status instead of verbs characterizing spiritual abilities and humble service. To both groups, the ekklesia has become an instution in need of control rather than a body in need of care.

This dysfunctional view of spiritual authority by complementarians and feminists is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ on the subject. Christ inaugurated a kingdom where nobody seeks a position or title of authority, but where everyone is interested in lovingly serving other people out of one's personal spiritual giftedness and the Holy Spirit's anointing. Jesus specifically taught that leadership in the church flows from selfless service in conjunction with spiritual giftedness (Mark 10:42-43)If a Christian is gifted to teach by God, then he or she should teach. If a Christian is gifted to prophesy, then he or she should prophesy. If a Christian is gifted to lead, then he or she should lead. It honors Christ when a man or a woman understands his or her gifts and uses them for God's glory and the good of others.

Let me give an example. A couple of weeks ago our pastoral staff was preparing to go on a two-day staff retreat. We had a special guest from Dallas Theological Seminary with us the day before we left. She is a Th.M. graduate of Dallas and has the gift of teaching. A couple of hours before we left, I asked this young lady to teach the men on our staff (including me) from the Word of God. She taught from the gospels and chose the passage where Peter saw Jesus walking on water and got out of the boat to go meet Jesus. Her style was inductive and Socratic. Her gift of teaching was evident as she brought us face to face with the fear of failure. We left for our staff retreat and over the next two days, all the guys wanted to talk about were the lessons we learned from our teaching session with this young lady. When we sat down for the Bible study prior to our retreat, the issue for us was not the gender of the teacher, nor the so-called 'authority' (or lack thereof) of the teacher. We were simply being edified by the giftings of a fellow believer as she exercised her spiritual gifts under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

I recently read where someone wrote: "I cannot understand how anyone can read the Bible and say, “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man” really means, “I DO permit a woman to teach and have authority over a man.” This person was interpreting Paul's statement in I Timothy 2:15 and coming to the conclusion that any Christian who loves the Bible would never have a woman teach a man or put a woman in leadership 'over' men in the church.

I scratch my head when I read something like the above from Christians who should know better. We have dozens of illustrations in the New Testament of women teaching men (Priscilla, Anna, Philip's four unmarried daughters, and many, many more) and dozens more illustrations from both the Old Testament and the New Testament of women leading men. Those of us who believe the Bible know that Paul would not contradict what has already been established in the kingdom of Christ.

So how do we understand Paul? It's simple. Paul was addressing Timothy about a problem with a specific woman who was teaching error to another man (most likely her husband). Timothy had written to Paul for help, and Paul's response is clear - "I do not permit THAT woman to teach and have authority over a man." There are times when problems in the ekklesia have to be addressed, and Timothy was to address the problem of this woman teaching error. The problem was not that this woman was teaching; the problem was that she was teaching eggregious heresy. Because of the errors being taught by this woman, Paul was concerned for her salvation (I Timothy 2:15). He told Timothy that this woman should be forbidden from teaching. For one of the best textual, exegetical and practical interpretations of I Timothy 2:12-15--an interpretation that is consistent with the rest of the New Testament teaching--I direct you to Cheryl Schatz.

One of these days real revival will come to America. But it will only happen when we repent of our unnecessary and gospel distracting emphasis on gender, as illustrated in both complementarianism and feminism and religious traditionalism. I would encourage all my friends who shepherd God's people to focus more on serving and empowering people to fulfill their calling according to their spiritual gifts and the Spirit's anointing. God forbid we get distracted by the pagan focus on titles and positions of authority.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Cherry Families of Tennessee and Oklahoma

Invasion of England in 1066 AD
The Cherry surname first appears in England in 1066 AD when some De Che’ries of Normandy (France) invaded England with their leader, the Duke of Normandy. Cherry is the anglicized version of De Che’rie, a prominent title among the Normans. Though many believe “Cherry” is an occupational surname (i.e. “cultivators of cherries”), the true etymology of the name can be found in runes, the language of the Normans.

De Che’rie means “chief one.” Che means “chief” and rie means “one.” De is the Old Norman word for "the." So De Che’rie means “The Chief One.” The De Che’ries who came to England were some of the "chief" or "lords" of the Normans who left Normandy and Picardo in northern France to invade England.

The Normans or Northmen, otherwise known as Norsemen, left their Scandinavian homes in Norway in 911 AD and came to France under their leader Rollo. After a short war with the French, the Normans were given lands in northern France by King Charles III of France. The French called this land Normandy, or “land of the Northmen.” The Duke of Normandy was the title given to the ruler of of Normandy, a title first held by Rollo, the Scandinavian nobleman and leader of the Northmen who had invaded France in 911 AD.

In 1066 the reigning Duke of Normandy, a man known as Guillaume the Bastard, left Normandy to invade England. After successfully conquering that country, the English anglicized his name and called him King William “The Conqueror" of England. From then on, the Duke of Normandy and the King of England were usually the same man, until the King of France seized Normandy from King John in 1204 AD.

Tradition has it that the De Cher’ries who invaded England with William the Conqueror became leading members of the Knights Templar during the Crusades (1095 to 1291 AD). Even after the Crusades ended, the Knights Templar remained a prominent military order in Europe. In the early 15th century, King Charles the IV of France obtained a large loan of money from the Knights Templar. When the king could not repay the loan, he worked out an agreement with the Pope to outlaw the Knights Templar. King Charles IV then rounded up many of the Knights and had them burned at the stake. Some of the Knights Templar, including Thomas and Jean De Che’rie, fled to England in 1407. After coming to England, the Knights Templar organization became known as the Free Masons. During the remainder of the 15th century, the Cherry surname expanded throughout England, particularly in Buckinghamshire and London counties, where many Normandy De Cher’ries settled.

Fast forward three centuries.
During the early morning hours of December 26, 1824, the day after Christmas, people gathered at St. Leonard's Church, Shoreditch, London, for the funeral of Dr. James Parkinson. James, a physician, had earned fame for his 1817 pamphlet entitled An Essay on Shaking Palsy. Dr. Parkinson had enlighted the world on the characteristics of the disease that would later bear his name . The doctor's body was interred in the Shoreditch churchyard beside other doctors, English politicians, businessmen, and many well-known actors from the Tudor Period (1485-1603). Shoreditch Church, as St. Leornard's Church was called by Londoners, had been the home parish of many men and women who were famous for their performances on the theatrical stages of London. Shakespeare himself had once lived near Shoreditch, and the local parish had long catered to the wealthy and more established population of London. The bells in the steeple tower could be heard throughout city, and the church was memorialized in the line from the English Orange and Lemon's nursery rhyme: "When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch."

After the funeral crowd dispersed, two families entered Shoreditch for the wedding ceremony of  Charles Tinsley Cherry and Ann Mabel Foreman. The groom, Charles Tinsley Cherry, had been born March 14, 1801 in Fenny Stratford, England, forty-four miles northwest of London. Charles had recently moved to London to work as a jeweler. Charles made fine jewelry in the form of fruit, a popular accessory for women in the early 19th century.
Charles' bride, Ann Foreman, was petite and beautiful. She was dressed in her finest church clothes, with some of Charles' jewelry for adornment. The full veil and white gown wardrobe of the English bride would not become fashionable until the Victorian Era (1837-1901). Ann's family (the Foremans) sat in the pews one side of the church and the Cherry family sat across the aisle on the other side. Charles father and mother, William and Sara Cherry, were on the front row. Behind them were Charles' older brother, James Cherry, and Charles' younger sister, Mary Cherry Donne. Mary had turned twenty-two on Christmas Eve, and though she was a year younger than her brother Charles, she had just celebrated the first anniversary of her marriage to George John Donne. George sat beside his wife Mary and Charles' youngest sister Sara Cherry. Other members of the Cherry family, including Charles' aunts and uncles and many cousins, filled the groom's side of the church. As was the custom of the day, friends of the families would stand outside the church until the ceremony was over.

The wedding ceremony was short and simple and followed the Anglican wedding rituals of the day. After the exchange of vows,  Parish Curator Robert Crosby led the young couple to the vestibule where the parish book was signed (see photo to the right).  Charles and Ann would sign that Parish register four more times during the next five years for the christening of their first four children William Tinsley Cherry (b. September 7, 1825); Mary Ann Dawes Cherry (b. September 24, 1826), Edward William Cherry (b. 1828), and Sarah Jane Cherry (b. 1829).

Charles and Ann Mabel Cherry's Children

The Cherry's firstborn son William would only live nine weeks and be buried at Shoreditch on November 1, 1825. Two more children, Edward and Sarah, would die in January 1831 at the ages of three and two respectively. An article in the London Morning Chronicle describing the winter of 1830/1831 may explain why the two Cherry children died: "This is the severest winter we have had for some years, and since our last we have experienced it in its wildest characteristics. On Wednesday as the Wellington coach was on its way to Sheffield, the coachman and passengers perceived on the road near Mam Tor, two men lying by the wayside, completely overcome by the severity of the weather. One of them was so much weakened that he must have shortly perished, had the coach not opportunely arrived. The other man was only just able to stand." Of Charles' and Ann's first four children, only Mary Ann Dawes Cherry (1826-1898) would live to adulthood.

In the spring of 1831, Charles and Ann Cherry decided to immigrate to the United States.  Ann was expecting her fifth child and Charles decided it would be better for them if they made the six to eight week trip across the Atlantic Ocean prior to Mary's due date in August. In the early spring of 1831, Charles and Ann took their four-year-old girl Mary Cherry and left England via the English seaport city of Hull. In later years, Charles would say he was from "Hull" England, though he was born northwest of London and lived his adult life in metropolitan London. The seaport city of Hull was technically where Charles came "from" when he came to America, and it would have been the city written on Charles' immigration card at the port of entry into America. Hull became the city inscribed on Charles' tombstone (see picture above). However, there can be no mistake from examining the abundant official English records:  Charles Tinsley Cherry was a Londoner prior to coming to America.

Charles and Ann and their seven-year-old daughter Mary arrived in the United States prior to the summer of 1831. Andrew Jackson was President of the United States in 1831, and Tennesssee was considered America's western "frontier." The heartland of America remained a mysterious and vast wilderness. 1831 was also the year the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville visited America and it marked the beginning of the forced marches of the eastern civilized Indians (Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek and Seminole) to Indian Territory (Oklahoma), marches which collectively became known as The Trail of Tears. For the next 25 years Charles Tinsley Cherry would play an instrumental role in the education of American school children, becoming the leading book agent for the American Sunday School Union, first in Cincinnati, then in Rochester, New York. Though it is not clear how C.T. Cherry became involved in the American Sunday School Union, it seems he crossed the Atlantic, entering the United States at New York harbor, and then made his way by river to Cincinnati where his first cousin, John Cherry, worked as a "cooper," a wood craftsman who made wood barrels to ship pickled pork down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and the occasional wooden caskets for human burial.

On August 6, 1831,  shortly after arriving in New York, Ann Cherry gives birth to to her fifth child, George H. Cherry, whom C.T. and Ann name in honor of C.T's brother.  Charles and Ann would spend about three years in New York and Philadelphia in training for the ASSU, working with the headquarters in Philadelphia and the large book depository in Utica, New York. By 1835 Charles and Ann would have two other boys - William Edward (1833) and Henry (b. 1835). Henry would die in infancy, and soon after his death, the Cherry family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where Charles took the very important position of Agent for the Western Board of Agency of the American Sunday School Union. The phone directories and street addresses for Cincinnati list George Cherry as living in Cincinnati in the 1830's, and the publications of the American Sunday School Union (est. 1824 in Philadelphia) during that time always lists C.T. Cherry's address as 186 Main Street and C.T. Cherry as the American Sunday School Union book agent for the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys.

C.T. Cherry would work for nearly twenty-five years as a book agent and writer for the American Sunday School Union, first in Cincinnati and later in Rochester, New York. Founded in 1824 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the American Sunday School Union (ASSU) had as its mission the promotion of Sunday schools and early literacy and the spiritual development of children.  The ASSU mission states: "We are resolved, that the American Sunday School Union, in reliance upon Divine aid, will, within two years, establish a Sunday school in every destitute place where it is practicable, throughout the Valley of the Mississippi."

People in pioneer areas where there were no established schools heavily leaned heavily on the books provided by the ASSU. Cincinnati became a perfect location for C.T. Cherry to ship ASSU books all over the pioneer areas of the United States. New settlers would start a Sunday School class, teach it, and where possible find a Christian man or woman willing to lead it, giving that new leader a bundle of books and tracts to establish him or her in the new work. Charles Tinsley Cherry seems to have become one of the first "book agents" for the American Sunday School Union. C.T.'s book shop at 186 Main Street in Cincinnati is today the exact location of  the Cincinnati Reds' Great American Ballpark (between Second Street and First Street on Main in Cincinnati).

C.T. Cherry would ship an ASSU "library"--comprised of 121 specifically chosen books--to pioneer school districts, families, or churches (where common schools met).The individual books in the libraries had uniform bindings, and each volume was numbered to correspond with its number on the ASSU catalogue:  C. S. L. stood for common school library; P. S. L. for public school library, F. L. stood for family library, and C. L. stood for children's library. The ASSU books would be placed in in a plain case, with a lock and key, and all the necessary hangings and fastenings. Upon the door would be painted the words SCHOOL LIBRARY, words which the book agent could change upon request.  On the inside of the door the book agent would paste a catalogue sheet of the entire 121 volume library, and he would also enclose another fifty catalogues which could be passed out to families in the community so they could know the individual books in the community library. The library case was put into a shipping container, and packed so that it cold safely transported to any part of the country. The entire library would be sold  for THIRTY-THREE DOLLARS, which included shipping. When it reached its destination, the library case would removed from the shipping container, and it be suspended in the school-room, arranged for immediate use. Before being shipped, the books had to be approved by a  committee of two Baptists, two Episcopalians, two Methodists, and two Presbyterians. The books were evangelical in their tendency and influence, not sectarian and loaned freely to the students.

The ASSU library shipped by Charles Cherry to pioneer schools
An 1838 American Sunday School Union pamphlet with the lengthy title "Sketch of the Plan of the American Sunday School Union for Supplying a Choice Library of Moral, Religious, and Instructive Books for Public and Private Schools, Families, Factories &c. with a Descriptive Catalogue of the Library" (see picture above right), lists C.T. Cherry as the book agent at 186 Main Street in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The last four children born to Ann and C.T. Cherry-- George H. Cherry (b. 1831), William Edward (b. 1833), Henry Cherry (b. 1835), and Cutler Cherry (b. 1836)--were all born in New York, but for Cutler who was born in Ohio. Henry died in infancy, but the other three boys survived to adulthood. As adults, all the boys but Cutler would list their "place of birth" as Rochester, New York, though they all spent their formative boyhood years there (c. 1840 to 1855). Ann Mabel Cherry gave birth to a total of eight children--four in England and four in Ohio--but daughter Mary was the only child born in England to survive into adulthood. By the time Ann Cherry's last son (Cutler) was born on September 21, 1836, the C.T. and Ann Cherry family had become in every sense of the word - "Americans." 

Then, heartbreak struck the C.T. Cherry Family.

The Death of Ann Mabel Cherry (October 26, 1836)

On October 26, 1836, just five weeks after Cutler Cherry had been born, Ann Mabel (Foreman) Cherry died. The Cherry family has had the story passed down for generations that Ann Mabel drowned in the ocean as she was either boarding a ship or on board a ship that was heading back to England to visit her Foreman side of the family. Tradition has it that Ann was going back for a visit after five years in America. The circumstances surrounding her death are unknown, but her place of death is listed as Ocean City, New Jersey. Either way, Ann's death left Charles as a widower of thirty-five with four children ten years of age and younger. Help was needed.

The reports of Ann's death reached England either in the form of a letter from Charles or Charles' crossing the Atlantic with his children to deliver the news himself. Regardless, when the Foreman family learned of Ann's death, Mary T. Foreman, Ann's younger sister volunteered to care for her ten-year-old neice Mary Ann Cherry and her three young Cherry nephews (George, William and Cutler) and Cherry niece (Mary), who was named after her and only seven years her junior. Mary T. Foreman was only seventeen years of age, but Charles immediately fell in love with this young girl who was the sister of his deceased wife, and so reminded him of his beloved Ann. Within a year after Ann's death, on August 16, 1837, Charles Tinsley Cherry married Mary T. Foreman. This marital union would endure for fifty-five years until Charles Tinsley died at the age of 91 in 1892 in Winchester, Tennessee.

Around 1840, about three years after his marriage to Mary, C.T. Cherry moved his new wife and four children to Rochester, New York. Mary.  It seems he opened a second "book shop" in Rochester, but kept employees at his important Cincinnati office to manage the store there. By 1850 Charles T. Cherry also began writing books that the American Sunday School Union published for national distribution. These books included: The Sunday-School Girl (1850; Heaven (1851); Be Neat (1852); and The Sower (1853).

In 1841 C.T.'s new wife (Mary) would give birth to her first child. The couple would name him  Frederick Tinsley Donne Cherry (this author's great-great-grandfather). Mary Cherry would later give birth another boy, Charles Henry Cherry (b. 1844), and then to her only daughter, Frances Cherry (b. 1846). All three of Mary's children were born in Rochester, New York. After France's birth in 1846,  the last of the C.T. Cherry's children, the C.T. Cherry family in Rochester, New York numbered nine people, seven surviving children and Charles Tinsley and Mary Cherry.

In early 1855 C.T. Cherry sold his book business and joined his oldest son, George H. Cherry (b. 1831), in becoming founding members of the Western New York Fruit Growers Society. The June-July 1918 Journal of the New York State Fruit Grower's Association (page 15) records that a circular letter was sent throughout western New York in February 1855 which read:
"A meeting of the fruit growers and nurserymen of Western New York will be held in the old Court House, Rochester, New York, February 27, 1855 at two o'clock p.m. for the purpose of organizing a pomological society to embrace all the counties lying west of and including Onondaga.
The culture of fruits in this region is becoming an important branch of industry, and the projected society cannot fail to exert a powerful influence in advancing its interests." 
At this meeting an organization was effected, and a constitution and bylaws adopted, with 21 gentlemen paying their dues and enrolled as charter members. These twenty-one men included C.T. Cherry and G.H Cherry (C.T.'s son). Shortly after its founding the famous pomologist (i.e. "fruit cultivator")  Charles Downing became a celebrated member and ardent supporter of the society.

Rochester, New York: From Flour City to Flower City

By 1850, the population of Rochester reached 36,003, making it the 21st largest city in the United States. Westward expansion had moved the focus of farming from the farmlands of northern New York state to the Great Plains. As a result, Rochester's importance as the center for flour milling had declined. Rochester's focus turned from flour to flowers. Several seed companies which had been started in Rochester in the 1830's  had grown by 1850 to become the largest seed and nursery businesses in the world. Rochester's official nickname was changed from the Flour City to the Flower City. Frederick T.D.'s father, Charles Cherry, worked as a book agent in Rochester, New York. Charles T. Cherry listed his real estate holdings as $4,5000 ($150,000 in today's dollars). At some point Charles left the book business and went to work as a "nurseryman" in the big seed and plant companies of Rochester.

Charles' six sons, including Frederick Tinsley Donne, would all work in the nurseries of Rochester as well. They attended school during the day and worked in the afternoons and evenings. During the late 1850's, as the country headed for Civil War, FTD's oldest brother, George Cherry, left Rochester, New York and made his way to Winchester, Tennessee. George opened a nursery business of his own in Winchester in the late 1850's. The official website of the city of Winchester, Tennessee lists George H. Cherry as one of the first and most prominent nurserymen in this south central Tennessee city.

The Cherry Family's Relocation to Tennessee

In 1859 C.T. Cherry left Rochester, New York with his wife Mary, his oldest daughter (Mary Anne Dawes Cherry), three sons, and their youngest daughter (Frances) and moved to Goodlettsville, Tennessee, just northeast of Nashville. C.T. Cherry and his two oldest sons that made the trip -- Cutler Cherry (b. 1836) and Frederick Tinsley Donne  "FTD" Cherry (b. 1841) -- opened a nursery business of their own just north of Nashville proper. The Cherry family specialized in fruit trees. The rich soil of Davidson County Tennessee made for the perfect nursery location and the Cherry family prospered.

The Cherrys cultivated cherries, apples, pears, and other fruits in Davidson County Tennessee. In the 1860 Census C.T. Cherry is listed as a "Nursery Man" with property valued at $2,000. So too the boys Cutler and Frederick, ages 24 and 19 respectively, are listed as nursery men like their father.

One cannot be certain why C.T. Cherry moved to Tennessee. George H. Cherry, C.T's son relocated to Winchester, Tennessee shortly after the family moved to Goodlettsville. There is a Cherry Cemetery located near where George relocated, so it is quite possible that family from England had relocated there previously. On the morning the Battle of Shiloh broke out in southern Tennessee, General Grant was having breakfast in the Cherry Mansion on the Tennessee River. The Cherrys who owned that mansion in Savannah, Tennessee were distantly related to C.T. Cherry, and Mrs. Cherry would later be called to testify on behalf of General Grant that "he was not drunk" on the morning of the battle, a charge brought by Grant's enemies to explain the enormous loss of life on the Union.

Regardless of the reasons for moving south, C.T. Cherry would live the last thirty years of his life in Tennessee, and involve himself in the founding and establishment of Sewanee University, an Anglican school whose first President, Charles Todd Quintard, was a close friend of the Cherry family and the namesake for FTD Cherry's future son, Charles Quintard Cherry (1872-1937).    

Tennessee's Capitol in Nashville During the Civil War
The Civil War broke out April 12, 1861 when the Confederates fired on Union Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. In 1861 Nashville was the second largest city in the state of Tennessee (only Memphis was bigger) and the eighth largest city in the Confederacy. It was an industrial center and was home to the Nashville Armory, also known as the College Hill Arsenal. This private company manufactured arms for the Confederate government and was one of the few facilities capable of casting artillery in the country. For this reason, Nashville was a key target for the Union. Nashville's citizens were mostly pro-Confederate. Vice-President Andrew Johnson had tried to get the leaders of Tennessee, Johnson's home state, to side with the Union. His efforts were of no avail. In fact, R.B.C. Howell, the pastor of First Baptist Church Nashville had responded to Johnson's plea with a five page letter of his own that gave the moral, biblical and rational reasons for Tennessee to side with the Confederacy. The pastor of First Baptist would later pay for his treason with a two year imprisonment in Nashville when Union forces took over the city. Nashville became the first confederate capital to fall to the Union.

 The Union army advanced on Nashville in February 1862. When news came that Fort Donelson, upriver from Nashville, had fallen to Union forces, the mayor of Nashville rode through the streets of the city and encouraged the people to evacuate. The Cherry family, just north of Nashville, had lived in pro-Union New York for two decades, but with their nursery business in Goodletsville and George's nursery business in Winchester, the Cherry family decided to cast their sentiments with the south. The Cherrys, along with most of the other populace in and around Nashville, evacuated the city in February 1862. The Cherrys moved south and east to Winchester, Tennessee to help George Cherry with his nursery business. Union forces overtook Nashville on February 25, 1862.

Frederick Tinsley Donne "FTD" Cherry, Cutler Cherry and their father C.T. Cherry all began working at George Cherry's nursery in Winchester, Tennessee  in March of 1862. F. T.D. Cherry was 20 years old and his brother Cutler was 25 years old. They worked for George for the next eight months until both men volunteered for Company E of the 17th Tennessee Infantry, CSA (Confederates), the company formed by men from Franklin County, Tennessee. Winchester is the county seat of Franklin. The enlistment documents and company muster and pay rolls for the 17th Infantry and for both Frederick Tinsley Donne Cherry and Cutler Cherry are in the archives of the Tennessee State Library. From the official documents of the Civil War, many things can be discovered about the FTD Cherry and his Civil War activities.

FTD Cherry's Service in Company E of Tennessee's 17th Infantry

From November 15, 1862 to January 1 1863 Frederick Tinsley Donne Cherry was at home sick. He was not paid his soldier's salary because he did not report for muster call. Frederick Cherry's actual service in the 17th Infantry began in January 1863. For the next eight months Frederick fought in several Civil War battles in southern Tennessee. His rank was that of a private, but FTD Cherry did something honorable in the summer of 1863 that caught the eye of Brigadier General Bushrod Johnson. There is no documentation as to what he did to deserve such an honor, but FTD Cherry became the personal clerk of Brigadier General Johnson. By personal command of Johnson, Frederick Cherry transferred from the 17th Infantry to Field Headquarters on August 1, 1863 (official Civil War documents). For the next 45 days FTD Cherry was personally involved in Confederate preparations for the Battle of Chickamaqua, the worst Union defeat of the Civil War and the second bloodiest Civil War battle behind only that of Gettysburg (see above picture).

FTD Cherry, however, was captured by Union soldiers on September 15, 1863 near Graysville, Georgia, four days before Chickamaqua. Being the personal clerk of the Brigadier General Johnson, Frederick Cherry was a prized capture. He was taken by prison coach to Nashville where he was imprisoned with RBC Howell, the pastor of First Baptist Nashville, for a week. He was then transferred to the Confederate prison in Louisville, Kentucky where he stayed a few days before being transferred Camp Chase in Ohio. In early January 1864, FTD Cherry was taken from Camp Chase to the newly built Rock Island Prison for Confederate Soldiers in Rock Island, Illinois. Frederick Tinsley Donne Cherry arrived at Rock Island on January 17, 1864. He would spend the next fourteen months at Rock Island.

Rock Island is a very historic Confederate prison. Conditions were primitive and many soldiers died from malnutrition or due to the winter elements. Frederick T.D. Cherry was 5'9" with hazel eyes and brown hair, weighing 150 pounds, and was in relative good health. Frederick's brother Cutler Cherry would also be captured by the Union and spend 1864 in Rock Island Prison as well. On March 20, 1865, the Cherry brothers were tranferred from Rock Island to Point Lookout, Maryland and then on to Camp Lee outside Richmond, Virginia. Frederick T.D. Cherry was released from prison on March 28, 1865 after giving an oath of allegience to the United States. When Cutler Cherry gave his oath it is recorded in the Civil War documents that he said, "I only joined the 17th to avoid conscription."

Less than two weeks after FTD and Cutler Cherry were released from prison, General Lee surrendered at Appamattox (April 9, 1865). Five days later President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. By April 15, 1865 FTD and Cutler had been reunited with their father and mother and brother George in Winchester, Tennesee after an absence of over two years.

Frederick Tinsley Donne Cherry becomes Dr. FTD Cherry

FTD Cherry attended the University of Nashville (1866-1869) and received his medical degree from the school that eventually became Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  After graduation Dr. Cherry moved to Missouri where he opened a medical practice. He soon met a popular Missouri girl named Kate Elizabeth Smith . On January 27, 1870, Dr. FTD Cherry and Kate Elizabeth Smith married in Washington County, Missouri.  Dr. FTD Cherry, as he signs his name on the wedding certificate, would have been quite the catch for a young Missouri belle, but the attraction between FTD and Kate Elizabeth Cherry was not one sided.  Dr. Cherry had a successful medical practice in Missouri for over a decade and the couple's first five children were born in Missouri: Mortimer Tinsley (b. March 12, 1871); Charles Quintard (b. July 25, 1872); Arthur Donne Cherry (b. July 28, 1875), Annie Mae Cherry (b. February 20, 1878); and Frederick Smith Cherry (b. December 11, 1880). Only the youngest child, Susan Gordon Cherry (b. July 7, 1891) was born later in Tennessee.

In 1878 F.T.D. moved to Chattanooga to practice medicine, but by 1880 he had relocated to Decherd to be near his aging father who was going blind. Dr. F.T.D. and had a successful medical practice in the Winchester, Tennesee area shortly moving to Franklin County he was appointed as the Franklin County Health Official by the State of Tennessee, a post he would hold until moving to Oklahoma in the late 1890's. The F.T.D. Cherry family lived in a beautiful home on Main Street in Decherd and Dr. FTD looked after his mother and father. By this time,  FTD's brother, Cutler, had purchased the nursery business from their brother George Cherry. Cutler operated the largest nursery in Winchester and quickly became known as an expert in various dogwood trees, especially the Cherokee Chief Red Dogwood.  The Cherrys became leading citizens of the Winchester area, and Dr. FTD Cherry practiced medicine in Winchester and Decherd for over fifteen years. In 1893, one year after Susie Gordon Cherry was born, F.T.D. and Kate's sixth and final child, Dr. FTD's father, Charles T. Cherry, died in Decherd. Two years later, Charles beloved second wife, Mary T. Cherry died. Both Charles and Mary were buried in the old Winchester City Cemetery. 

Charles Tinsley Cherry, born in 1801 in Buckinghamshire, England, married in London's historic Shoreditch Church on Christmas 1824, a migrant to America in 1830, a prominent book agent in Cincinnati, Ohio and Rochester, New York, a founding member of the Western New York Fruit Growers Society, a successful nurseryman in Goodlettsville and Winchester, Tennessee, a lifetime supporter of Christian education, father of eight, and a father of eleven children, died at the age of 92, having lived a long and fruitful life.

The Move to Oklahoma

In 1899, Dr. FTD Cherry and Kate, their sons Frederick Smith, Arthur,  and daughter Susie packed up their belongings and traveled by covered wagon to Sallisaw, Indian Territy, part of the Cherokee Nation. Dr. FTD Cherry was nearing sixty years of age  and it stands to reason he retired from his medical practice in Tennessee and decided to migrate west for the opportunities afforded him and his family in newly opened Indian Territory.  Dr. Cherry knew several Winchester families who had already made the move west, including his own son, Charles Quintard Cherry who was operating a dry goods store in Sallisaw.

Upon arriving in Indian Territory, Dr. FTD Cherry used his expertise in medicine and helped his son Frederick Smith Cherry open the Crescent Drug Store.  F.T.D. also became the county health official for Sequoyah County, serving in this position from statehood (1907) until his death in 1913. It was in the Crescent drugstore of Sallisaw that Frederick Smith met the devout Baptist Bonnie McCoy Francis during the Christmas break of 1903. One year later Frederick Smith Cherry and Bonnie Francis would marry in the Sallisaw Baptist Church. The entire wedding party went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Frederick  Cherry became the first Cherry to leave the Episcopalian Church. He would later become an active leader of the First Baptist Church of Sallisaw.

On July 26, 1904, Bonnie Cherry gave birth to  Francis F. Cherry. Two years later, on August 1, 1906, Bonnie Francis gave birth to a girl, name Mabel B. Cherry. Then, five years later, on February 6, 1912, Bonnie gave birth to her third and final child.

She and Fred Cherry named their boy Frederick Tinsley Donne Cherry.

They named their son after Fred's father, the man they admired so much--Dr. FTD Cherry. Just a little over one year later, on June 2, 1913, the elder Frederick Tinsley Donne Cherry, known by his family and friends as Dr. FTD Cherry, died in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. His beloved wife, Kate Elizabeth Cherry, fulfilled his wish to have his body transported back to Winchester, Tennesee to be buried beside his beloved father and mother. In the Winchester cemetery, behind the city police station, there is a Cherry family plot with four graves of the people responsible for so many Cherry families: Charles Tinsley Cherry (1801-1892); Mary T. Cherry (1820-1894); Dr. FTD Cherry (1841-1913) and Kate Elizabeth Cherry (1851-1923). The picture below is of the Winchester, Tennessee Cherry family plot.

Of the nearly 250 Cherrys who live in Oklahoma and trace their heritage through Frederick Tinsley Donne Cherry (b. 1911 - d. 1970) and his wife Virginia Pearl (Salyer) Cherry (b. 1917 - d. 2013), you now know the history of the Cherrys in England and America.