President Linden Bowie's 2003 Annual Address

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Seventh Annual Address

Of The

Reverend Doctor Linden Bowie, President

Missionary Baptist State Convention of Missouri



When on the cross of Calvary, the Lord was crucified; the mob stood ‘round about Him and mocked him until He died.  Two thieves were nailed beside Him to share the agony, but one of them cried out to Him, “O Lord remember me.”

O, what a shame to kill Him there on that rugged cross; but such a death was needed to rescue all the lost.  His blood was made a ransom to set the captives free, I know that I'm included, and He will remember me.

At His dear feet I'm kneeling, my sins I now confess; I bow in deep repentance, my soul he’ll surely bless.  My blinded eyes He opens so that the light I see, and when I reach the pearly gates, He will remember me.

Will the Lord remember me when I am called to go?  When I have crossed death’s chilly sea, will He His love there show? O yes, He heard my feeble cries, from bondage set me free.  And when I reach the pearly gates He will remember me.

We reverence the Almighty God, to His son Jesus the Christ—the Great Head of the church, to the Holy Spirit whose rich and wonderful presence we do now enjoy.  What a blessing it is and how grateful I am for the privilege to stand before you tonight to deliver this seventh address as President.  To our Vice-President at Large, the Reverend Everett Hannon, to First Vice-President, Reverend Reginald Rogers, Second Vice-President Reverend Rufus Kelly, Third Vice-President Reverend Tony Johnson, Fourth Vice-President Reverend B. G. Robinson—let me thank you for you leadership during this week of gathering. Your commitment and hard work as it relates to the banquet is greatly appreciated and you deserve to be applauded for it; please allow me to express my sincere gratitude to God for all of our vice-presidents for your support.  I am grateful for all you do to promote the forward movement of this convention. Your willingness to serve with me is appreciated and I want everyone to know that none of this work could possibly be accomplished without you.  To our Executive Secretary, my friend and brother, Reverend Jeffrey Croft and to his entire staff of excellent and efficient workers.  Thank you for your professional operation of the Executive Secretary’s Office.  You and your team make a difficult duty look easy.  I want to again recognize the hard work of Sis. Roslyn Croft and Sis. Brenda Stewart.  The efforts you give the office of our Executive Secretary makes the difference. To each of the Parent Body Office holders— Let me thank each of you for the work you have put in. 

To our Past President Reverend Doctor Sammie E. Jones in his absence and who I am asking you to keep in your prayers; and to President Emeritus Reverend Doctor Jimmy L. Brown, I thank you for that introduction…

To our most capable Auxiliary and Ministry Leaders: Dr. James Terrance, Congress President, and his staff; to our Director of Christian Education, Dr. Minnie Hinton; Deacon Steve White of the Laymen; Sis. Eunice White President of the Minister’s Wives and Widows; Reverend Charlie Wright, Moderators President; Dr. Mannford McGee President of our Music Ministry and Bro. Darryl Lewis, Music Director. Sis. Gloria Wines of the Ushers and Nurses; Sis. Onita Omorodian of the Women’s Missionary and Educational Union; Dr. Donald Ray McNeal who gives leadership to the Ministers’ Division and to Dr. Alfred White who gives outstanding leadership to the Conventions United Thrust (CUT-Home Mission—Foreign Mission and Evangelism). To all National Officers, to all Ecumenical Leaders, to every Moderator, every State and District Officer; to all Pastors, Ministers, and Lay Leaders. 

To my pastor, Rev Keith Bernard Pendleton, and our host pastor, Rev. James D. Watkins Sr., the officers and members of this the Palestine Missionary Baptist Church of Jesus Christ. Let me personally thank you for going above and beyond to host this convention. You have left nothing to chance but have rolled out the red carpet for us and for that I say thank you. To each of you assembled here tonight. Good evening.

To the Zion Travelers Missionary Baptist Church family, I thank each of you for allowing me to serve in this convention.  To my wonderful wife, Michelle, who is the love of my life.  I've said it before and I’ll say it again; next to the Lord, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I love you and I thank God for you and for the 40 years you have hung in here with me.  You have always supported me in ministry.  (Bring me the flowers) That musical theological genius, Stevie Wonder once wrote… As around the sun the earth knows she’s revolving…


To my daughters, I love you, I’m proud of each of you and I’m grateful for your sacrifice, your support, and your love.  To my mother, Dr. Encie Bowie, thank you for all you do. To all of my family members who have supported me. To my brother Deacon Bowie, and to my sister Cheryl I thank God for you.

I must pause to recognize those soldiers who’ve received orders to come off these smoky battlefields. Please join me in a moment of silence as we remember those who have transitioned since our last in-person annual session.


1 Peter 1:22-25

Love Will Keep Us Together

Peter, the writer of our text is writing to a people whose world has been turned upside down by an aggressive government that stands against the Christian faith. These are a people who are true pilgrims, and strangers in new lands. They understand the temporal world they live in. Everything about their lives is now temporary. The homes they live in, the jobs they work at, the friends they make. It’s all temporary. The only thing they have to hold on to is the word of God.

But that’s not what bleeds through in this text. Peter is writing to a people who are divided by jealousies, destroyed by hatreds, and who are confused about their past. He writes to a group that forge an unlikely fellowship. For in the early church, you had Jews in fellowship with Gentiles. You had people from different nationalities and different cultures in the same fellowship. You had folk in the same fellowship that had no reason to be together except for the Word of God. It was the Word of God that held them together.

And it was in this turbulent climate that Peter gives them strange instructions. They are strange because when things get tight and life is turbulent, we tend to look out for number one and not the others. Especially when the others are those you don’t particularly care for. And that’s why I call them strange instructions, because in this very context, Peter tells them that since you are now saved, you have an obligation to God and because you have an obligation to God, you have an obligation to one another.

Peter challenges those Christians in that day and… the Christians that live in this day. His challenge is that you do more than join somebody’s church. But that you recognize that you have been redeemed. And because you have been redeemed you ought to have that evidence of salvation already in you… and coming out of you. To the end that your souls are now purified because you obey the truth and that you have an authentic love for one another.

  • It doesn’t mean a thing if you make it to heaven and can say you didn’t drink or smoke, but you were mean and unloving while doing it
  • Nobody cares if you made it to heaven and the only person you ever slept with was your spouse—when you wouldn’t open your heart and love those who needed you the most
  • You don’t get any extra credit if you were to check off all of your individual sins and can say… I stopped all of that—when you never showed anybody the fervent love that proves you have been born again.

Peter is simply arguing that salvation… in the individual… ought to produce love that’s manifested in the church. And whenever you claim to be His church and you claim to be His convention, and that kind of love isn’t produced, whatever that church or convention is… it is dying. We see so many churches dying today. Churches that at one time were the talk of the town, but today they are dying. And it can happen to your church and to this convention too. The thing that is taking out churches and our conventions today is threatening to take your church and our convention out. What is it that takes them down?

It's not poor music ministries. It’s not a lack of technological upgrades. It’s not even old-fashioned worship services. What takes churches down are things like slanderenvydeceitmalicehypocrisy. Things that Peter stood against. These are the things that can only be overcome when we… one member at a time… dare to live out the love of God in their lives. And living out that love leads to a unity, a togetherness that ought to mark us as belonging to God.

So, Peter argues that the reason we love one another is because our souls have been purified. We don’t love one another in order to purify our souls, we love one another because our souls have already been purified. Our love for one another is not the basis of our salvation; but our love for one another is the result and the evidence of our salvation.

We have been purified. In John 11:55 we see a picture of Jews, just before the Passover, taking time to purify themselves. They would take the time to make themselves ceremonially clean. And they needed to be ceremonially clean to participate in the Passover. And Peter here argues that every Christian, at the point of belief, has their souls purified. But this purification is not ceremonial, it’s not physical or even visible. It is a disinfection of the soul.

This view speaks to the believer’s whole life being purified because of our faith and belief in Jesus Christ. So, that when we are purified, it goes:

  • Beyond our hands and what they do
  • It goes beyond our mouths and what they say
  • This purification is beyond me getting rid of stuff in life so that I can create a list of things I don’t do no more
  • It’s bigger than me being able to show my family and friends how holy I have become
  • This is a purification that is necessary in order for me to be in a relationship with God

And for too many of us that practice going to church, we have been going and listening to sermons and studying lessons and hearing lectures and have never wrapped our minds around the truth that—one of the results of salvation is that my soul is purified, and I can then enter into a relationship with the God of my salvation.

And we need this purification. We need a purification that cannot be earned by human effort, but has to be given by God. Here it is. God gives it. Then God turns around and demands it. So, God supplies His own demands. Because He never demands anything of us that He has not first given to us.

And here, God demands a purity of us that we cannot provide ourselves. So, in saving us, He purifies our souls so that we can then enter into a right relationship with Him. And the proof of that right relationship is that you love one another and stand together, stand in solidarity, stand in unity with one another.

Did I tell you that we cannot clean ourselves up? That we cannot purify ourselves? Ok—when it comes to getting things clean, there are some of us who can't get with these new cleaning products, we want the old stuff. We believe in comet, and a scrub brush, and a scouring pad. We believe that it takes that powdered bleach and some elbow grease to get a tub clean. That it takes Ajax and some effort to get things clean.

I have to admit that I felt that way; until I saw one of the new cleaning products made by S. E. Johnson called Scrubbing Bubbles. Remember, I thought I was an elbow grease kinda guy. But when I saw the new product at work. How you just apply it to whatever is dirty. And it would foam up and then loosen the dirt, the bubbles would turn dirty but when you rinsed the tub, it was clean. No scrubbing, no scouring pad, no scrub brush, no elbow grease. Just apply it and it does the work.

Then I realized something. That even scrubbing bubbles can't remove the tough stains. Scrubbing bubbles can't remove the tough stains and neither can Ajax and elbow grease. There are some stains that take more than that.

And when it comes to sin, all the scrubbing in the world won't purify your soul. You can sing and fast and pray and speak in gibberish and call it tongues. You can declare it, name it, and claim it but it won't purify your soul. We need a greater, more powerful cleansing product. So, the question you ought to be asking yourself is…

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood…

There are a lot of people trying to purify their own souls. They think that they can go to the university and—wipe out stains. They think they can take their money and use it to polish themselves to a purity and a shine. They think that by some rigorous exercises they will be able to “white knuckle” themselves to purity.

But is there anybody listening to me who knows that we could never get purified that way. That there is a way to cleanse your soul. That on a hill far away… stood an old rugged cross. And on that hill, it wasn’t scrubbing bubbles, but it was the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on our behalf. And since that day every believer’s soul has been purified.

Again, the song writer asked the question… What can wash away my sins? —then he asked… What can make me whole again? (Are you gonna make me answer those questions?) Nothing but the blood of Jesus. And it still reaches the highest mountains, and it still cleanses in the lowest valley. And what I like about it is that it will never, ever, lose its power.

Peter has argued that our souls have been purified. And that purification is a result of obedience to the truth. It’s as if Peter is saying that faith is the result of obedience, and that faith produces obedience. It’s Peter, reminding us, that us agreeing with God that Jesus is enough—must be more than just some mental endorsement of Jesus as Lord. But it must be accompanied by you and me surrendering ourselves to the claim that Jesus places on our lives.

Because genuine faith is more than some intellectual exercise, where we memorize a few key points of faith or facts about His life. That is not what is behind your salvation or mine. I ought to have a witness because you know that in this world there are a lot of those kind of folk. Scripture quoting, bible toting, church hopping and still… … … unclean.

When God speaks, it is not just so that you can have more information about Him, it is so that transformation can take place within every one of us. And let me say this. Information without transformation is not salvation. And any “so-called” religious truth that doesn’t bring about transformation is powerless and empty. It’s like a de-throned king. And a de-throned king leaves a kingdom with no hope.

But when we wrap our arms around this man named Jesus, and when we truly obey the truth, we put Jesus on the throne of our hearts. We leave Him right there and we let Him rule over our lives. All I'm saying is what Peter said and that is that obedience to the truth purifies our souls. And it is this purification of the soul that produces that fervent love of the brethren. (I'm still in verse 22 [read])

Once again, obedience to the truth purifies the soul, and that purification is for you to have a sincere and a fervent love for the brethren. Now, let me warn you that even being sincere is not enough. Because you can be sincerely wrong. That’s why Peter uses that Greek word translated fervently. It means something stretched. Something strained.

A fervent love. A love that doesn’t give up on people quickly. A love that doesn’t walk away when people have let you down. A love that toils and labors with those who many times won't even appreciate it.

And it is this kind of love that the world longs to see in us. They want to believe that God's love is real, but if they can't see it in us, they won't believe it. So, the text teaches that when our hearts have been purified, we’ll have this love for one another that draws us together. And I'm saying that the world will then be able to see it and they will believe.

This text also teaches us not only what salvation produces, and that is the purified soul; but what I've been trying to work my way up to is that this text teaches us what produces salvation. The text teaches us that genuine salvation is produced by the Word of God.

Here it is. Christian love may be demonstrated by our actions toward one another. But Christian love cannot be transmitted by our actions. Christian love is born the same way Christians are born. That is through the Word of God. Listen to how Peter says it (vs 23).

Consider this: Most of what lives is born of a seed. Go ahead and think about it.

  • Fruit comes by way of a seed
  • Trees come from seeds
  • Human beings come from a seed
  • Salvation requires a seed

And this is why that is important. It’s because the thing born, takes on the nature of the seed from which it is born. And this “new birth” is not something that we do, no, it is something that is done to us. And the reality is that the way anybody gets born again is the way everybody gets born again. And that is that God… plants the seed of the Word in our hearts. I said, the way God decided to beget sons and daughters is the seed of His own word.

And I'm proud to tell you that the means by which God begets sons and daughters is not a perishable seed. It’s not a seed that will die if you don’t hurry up and get it right now. But God begets daughters and sons by way of an imperishable seed. The seed of His Word. What that means is that your salvation and my salvation is only as secure as His Word is. That is why we must come to know the Word of God.

Here, Peter tells us how His Word does not come before he tells us how it comes. And when it comes to preaching and teaching, sometimes you need to tell them what it ain't before you can tell them what it is. I said sometimes you gotta give people bad news before they will appreciate the good news. And here Peter says that our salvation is based upon a seed, but not a seed that is corruptible or perishable. And is there anybody listening to me who can testify that I'm glad my salvation is not based on a seed with an expiration date?

And I'm glad about that. Because otherwise, that seed would've given up on me by now. But I've got a salvation that doesn’t give up when I give up.

Is there anybody listening to me who can shout that your salvation didn’t die out after a few days? That is because the seed that births salvation in your soul is not corruptible, it is not perishable, it is not temporal nor is it carnal. It is living, it is enduring, it is everlasting. It is His Word.

I should have a witness right there. Just pull out your memory card and check and see… what did you turn to when:

  • Your back was against the wall? You know good and well you didn’t open up some farmer’s almanac trying to see what the next season of your life would be like
  • Life was so bad you had to go down on your knees—you didn’t crack open some psychology book you had from college

But when you need some answers… you opened up this bible because it is living, and it is everlasting. (Do I have a witness?) I said this bible is living and everlasting. When it comes to God’s word…

  • Its predictions are correct
  • Its judgements are indisputable
  • Its corrections are timeless
  • Its assertions are reliable
  • It is more definite than the constitution of the US
  • It is the backbone of science
  • It is the foundation of the highest philosophy
  • It is the interest of music
  • This book will build your faith
  • It will fight your temptations
  • It will light your pathway
  • It will clarify your decisions
  • It will feed your soul
  • It will clean your conscience
  • Its words are wisdom
  • Its claims are true
  • Its hopes are eternal
  • And it can never be disappointed
  • Time cannot age this book
  • And ages cannot time it

You have read a lot of books, but it’s the only book that has ever read you. It is the living and the everlasting Word of God. And that is the claim that Peter makes about the bible that cannot be made about any other. Peter teaches us… that it lasts forever. It abides forever.

  • We’re still reading Psalm 23—and that’s because the Lord is still our shepherd
  • We’re still reading Jeremiah 8:22—because there is still a balm in Gilead that can still heal the wounded soul
  • We’re still reading Joshua chapter 2—because that red rope that hung from Rahab’s window in Jericho still points us to the hope of the whole world
  • We’re still reading Romans 10—because its still true that whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved
  • We’re still reading Psalm 27—because the Lord is still my light and my salvation

His word is living and abiding. And verse 23 here isn’t just a description of what the Word is, it is a description of what the Word will do for you. That when the living and everlasting Word gets in you… it makes you living and it makes you everlasting. In other words, the Word not only births life, but the Word sustains the life that it births. The living Word births to life a new creature that even death cannot end.

  • How can you stand in the face of a pandemic—we stand because the grass withers, and the flowers fall off, but His word abides forever
  • How can you face the ridicule of unbelievers—the grass withers...
  • How do you press on when others fall by the wayside—the grass withers…

We won't last forever… but His Word will last forever

Trouble won't last forever… but His Word will last forever

Virus won't last always… but His Word will last forever

Depression and distress won't last… but His Word

Heaven and earth will pass away but His Word…

His word left His throne in glory…


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