Moredecai Ham (1877-1961)

From a commentary (http://tonyclark.org/ham.html) on Mordecai Ham in italics, and my comments in bold.

In order to better understand how experiential salvation (Experiential salvation means that there was a specific time or an experience when God gave grace by His will for a person to accept the one true gospel. Grace is given in the midst of the preaching of the gospel.) has become discarded within the Baptist denomination, one must study the life of a man called Mordecai F. Ham, Jr. Mordecai F. Ham, Jr. was born April 2, 1877 in Allen County, Kentucky. He was the son of Tobias and Ollie Ham. In fact, Mordecai F. Ham, Jr. was born into a long tradition of Baptist preachers. His father, Tobias Ham (b 1847), was a Baptist minister from South Central Kentucky, and his paternal grandfather, Mordecai F. Ham, Sr. (b. 1816) was also a Baptist minister from South Central Kentucky. There have even been efforts to connect Mordecai F. Ham, Jr.’s lineage all the way back to Roger Williams. The single most important detail of Ham’s life was his salvation. According to his biography, he did not have an experience of salvation:

“Mr. Ham is one of the many who cannot date the day and hour of their conversion. He comments, ‘From the time I was eight years old, I never thought of myself as anything but a Christian.'” According to his nephew, Edward E. Ham, Mordecai F. Ham, Jr., did not have a “time and a place” salvation experience. Therefore, the question is, how did Ham manage to be baptized into a Baptist church without a testimony of experiential salvation? Some argue that Ham was baptized because he lied about his salvation. Having been raised in a very Baptist family, Ham had heard many people give their testimonies of salvation. It would not have been difficult for him to have conjured one up for himself. Another possibility is that the church he was baptized into was not skeptical of his conversion because of his upbringing. Ham’s father and grandfather were both honest and hard-working Baptist preachers. It was likely that both factors were involved: He lied about his salvation, and the church did not question his salvation because of his father and grandfather. Whatever the case, Ham apparently did not have an experience of salvation.

In sight of the fact that Ham did not have an experience of salvation, how did he become an ordained Baptist preacher? Truly, the death of his grandfather, Mordecai F. Ham, Sr. in 1899 affected him deeply. Ever since he witnessed his grandfather’s death, he had a desire to continue the family tradition of preaching. In truth, when his grandfather died, his father was found praying that his grandfather’s “‘Prophet’s Mantle'” would continue with him (. After a little more than a year, in December 1900, Ham made his decision to be a preacher of the gospel. He left his business job at that time. Ham devoted the first eight months of the year 1901 to extreme study and prayer. Alongside the Bible, Ham studied many commentaries and religious books. One important book of his study was The Second Coming of Christ by D.L. Moody. Moody was a famous “mass evangelist” of the late Nineteenth Century. After these eight months of diligent study, Ham went to the annual Bays Fork Baptist Association Meeting at Bethlehem Baptist Church, near Scottsville, Kentucky. It is estimated that over 3,000 people attended the Bays Fork Association that year (34). While at the Association, Ham was asked to preach without any prior notice. He reluctantly agreed, and preached his first sermon from the text, Matthew 11:12. Evidently, the entire congregation received the sermon well, because at the end of it, they were all praising and exhorting God. After his sermon, a deacon from Mt. Gilead Baptist Church asked Ham if he would start a revival meeting at his church. Ham agreed and was made very welcome at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church. Part of the reason that he was so well endorsed by the church was because of his prior education. Most of the church’s previous pastors were mostly uneducated, but Ham had been to high school, and had spent some time in college. After the meeting, the congregation wanted to get rid of their old pastor, and replace him with Ham. Within a couple of weeks, the old pastor of Mt. Gilead was voted out. Ham was therefore ordained and began his pastoral ministry at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church.

From this time until his death, Ham was an evangelistic preacher. As Ham’s style of preaching grew to be more popular, he was invited to preach in different places throughout the United States. He especially preached in meetings in Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. It was in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1934, that Ham preached to and converted his most famous convert, Billy Graham.

God chooses us by His will as He gives grace. We are not always Christians. We are not born Christians. God gives grace in the midst of the preaching of the one true gospel. How can a man say he does not know when he first believed. Could Paul who is a pattern of the long suffering of God say these things? Paul who was chosen as child of grace and an apostolos, could he not tell of his conversion? Beloved there is a time in every believer’s life when in one moment they were in unbelief, and in the next moment they are found to accept what they just could not: the one true gospel. And the one true gospel is the Mashiach died for our sins, and according to the Tanach, He was buried and He rose again, and according to the Tanach. Yeshua of “Nazareth” is the Mashiach of God. I find what is written of Mordecai Hamm is unreliable and is not worthy to be committed to the saints of God in our day. It is the same with many writings of men. I find the writings of the apostolos, what is called the New Testament, to be reliable because by the grace given to me I have judged them by the one true gospel, and they are in agreement with the Mashiach. All other writings of men I am not sure of, and thus I do not commit them to the brethren. We have the writings of the prophets which are accepted by grace, and the writings of the apostolos which are not accepted, but judged by the one true gospel and they are in agreement with the Mashiach.

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