Editor’s Note: Brother Whitlock sent this article to me, accompanied by this note: “Every other month the local paper prints an article written by me; which I have entitled “Bible Questions Deserve Bible Answers.” …A good friend of mine is employed at this paper and today had to send me a note: “Hi Jess! Just wanted you to know that both of the owners and the editor here at the newspaper agreed to pull your article for this week. They don’t want to offend their “Cowboy Church friends.” They said there’s no way to corroborate your statements about that church. So..I am sorry, but that’s the decision that was made above my head.”
The fact that the paper’s publishers are Baptists, as well as devoted worshipers of Political Correctness, probably had a great deal to do with their decision. “No way to corroborate your statements about that church?” They could have checked with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, or The Cortez Journal, but that would mean exercising journalistic integrity, which they obviously lack.
QUESTION: Mr. Whitlock, what exactly are “cowboy churches” and what can you tell me about their origin?
ANSWER: “Cowboy Churches” have been around for about 50 years in the Western states; but there has been an uprising in the past 20 years. Look into Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Wyoming. It is estimated that close to 1,000 groups are meeting presently under the auspices of the “American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches.” That’s according to the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
The roots of this movement go back to religious ministries that have targeted rodeo events and related happenings. Let me say now there is nothing wrong with meeting in a barn, a metal building, or an old-style western building. I have preached in tents, under shade trees, and on the side of a mountain. The location is not what matters in worshipping God.
The majority of Cowboy Churches of my acquaintance have a “gospel band,” which contradicts the Word of God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; et al.). Baptisms are generally done in stock tanks, and I have baptized prisoners in stock tanks behind prison walls. But, baptisms in the Cowboy Churches are not for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). The few lessons I have heard are what might be called “sermonettes given by preacherettes” to make one feel good about self. One Bible subject that is seldom, if ever, heard in their services is “repentance.” The subject of “repentance” is found in the Bible over seventy times! (see Luke 13:3-5; 2 Pet. 3:9; Acts 2:38). So, if you drink, keep on drinking; if you cuss, keep on cussing; if you gamble, keep on gambling; if you dance, keep on dancing; if you are unfaithful to your mate, keep on cheating; et al. Some of these Cowboy Churches have Saturday night hoedowns, and the liquor flows freely; so join in the fun!
The Cowboy Church in Sanger, Texas is called “The Riding for the Brand Cowboy Church” and you can read about that “church” in Titus 5:19, (look it up). Their Bible studies sometimes feature reruns of Andy Griffith and John Wayne movies! The “country-western musicians” of Cortez, Colorado announced, “We’re gonna’ sing about Santa Claus tonight…” (“Saddle-Up” taken from the Cortez Journal). Most Cowboy Churches are formed for their entertainment, and not a serious study of God’s Word. I have challenged a couple of cowboy churches to meet in public debate, but so far, no takers!