Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition Voices blog gave us “9 Things You Should Know about Duck Dynasty.” Those nine things are pretty interesting and are far from the norm for a reality TV show. What other show has men with three foot beards wearing bandanas?
Admittedly, I have never seen the show since I don’t have cable. I have seen clips and plenty of praise for the show on Facebook and twitter. The stars of the show seem pretty cool in a redneck sorta way. As best I can tell they are more down to earth than their appearance would lead you to believe.
All of the buzz about this TV family is not from the beards or duck calls, but as Carter deems them, they are “reality television’s most gospel-centric family.”
I thought – Man! Now they’re even cooler…until I found out what they believe about the gospel.
The Duck Dynasty folks are part of the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ. This Church of Christ denomination holds that baptism is essential for salvation. Yes, essential. That means the gospel + baptism saves.
I know some may find this hard to believe and I was sad when I stumbled upon this information. I’m willing to be corrected and I hope I am wrong, but from what will is presented below, I fear I am right.
I didn’t even realize this, but my friend, Josh Buice, posted The Duck Dynasty Gospel back on Dec 11, 2012. I called Josh on the way home to discuss his post. His brief examination brought him to the same conclusion that the Duck Dynasty gospel is one that includes essential baptism. The videos Josh posted show the DD guys preaching and though it’s subtle, each example given about someone being saved includes an immediate baptism.
But what about a clear statement of the gospel + baptism for salvation?
The Christian Chronical has an article on the church titled, “White’s Ferry Road: A church of small groups.” The article lists the ministries of White’s Ferry Road. One of those ministries is We Care Ministries which is lead by “Director Larry West, who has 30 years of experience.” In case anyone wonder whether or not the church and ministry are still connected, White’s Ferry and We Care have the same address in West Monroe, LA.
White’s Ferry Road offers a short video – the Gospel Movie – in which baptism is mentioned. The video does not go in depth so it is difficult to draw a conclusion of where they stand on baptism from this presentation.
However, Larry West has a video on the We Care Ministries website called “Step Into The Water, Is Baptism Essential?” West is very clear that baptism is essential for salvation. Toward the end of the video West disregards the sinner’s prayer and then explains that one is not saved until baptism. He also claims that baptism is not for the saved, but for the lost. Don’t take my word for it; watch for yourself.
We Care Ministries also has a gospel presentation called,”Focusing on being saved only in the blood of Jesus” which I will quote below. Note how one of the points in the presentation goes directly against one who professes faith alone for salvation.
At the end of the WCM Gospel Presentation, drawing it to a close, often the fundamentalist will say something like, “But I have already been baptized” or “I’ve already done that!” Refer back to your detailed interview, reminding him of his own story. Remind him he said (pick one),
1. “I don’t remember why I was baptized. I just did what I was told to do.”
2. “I was baptized to join my church.”
3. “I was baptized to show I had been saved.”
4. The most common are, “I am already a Christian,” and “I am already saved; I was saved when I believed in Jesus.”
5. We have been told even, “I was baptized for permission to marry my wife.”
If any one of these responses is the case, the following is good to do:
Soul Winner (SW): “Do you remember that you told me in your own words, “I was saved that night during the prayer (referring to the “Sinner’s Prayer)?”
Prospect (P): Yes.
SW: “… and that you told me it occurred (at a certain time) and then you were baptized the next Sunday?”
SW: “May I kindly ask,’Can a person be saved outside the blood of Jesus?’”
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7)
Prospect (P): “Why, no.”
SW: In “The Gospel Enacted” point to the cross and ask, “When was the blood of Jesus shed?”
“But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (John 19:33-34)
P: “In His death.”
SW: “That’s right. Now, according to the Bible (pointing to Romans 6:3) when do we get into the death of Jesus where the blood washed? Please read this.”
P: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3)
SW: “So, it’s into the water, into the death, into the blood of Jesus! Is that correct?”
SW: “So, according to the Bible, our sins must be in the presence of the blood of Jesus for the blood to affect them, or to cancel them! Correct?”
SW: “So, should we bring our sins to the crucified Savior?”
(Support verse for possible backup: “And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you–not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (all the way through the Gospel),” (I Peter 3:21 NRSV)
I mean, isn’t it apparent those sins must be present for the blood to do the cleansing?”
(Support verse for possible backup: “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22)
SW: “So, how could you have been saved on that front seat in that prayer still outside the blood of Jesus?”
P: “I couldn’t!”
SW: “You told me you
1. “Didn’t know why you were baptized,” or
2. “Were baptized to join a church,” or
3. “Were baptized to show you had already been saved.”
So, again, can a person be saved outside the blood of Jesus?”
P: “No! I need to be baptized again, don’t I?”
SW: “Well, that is only for you to decide! I am only a teacher of the Gospel. I would recommend, however, that let’s go back to the water, and you (point to the top of the first arrow, draw a stick figure, write the word “sin”) consciously take your sins down into the death of Jesus (point with pen downward to the bottom of the arrow and then to the cross), where the blood was shed.” (Write the word “blood” there; then write the word “sin” there.) Then to make your salvation sure, you can know you have taken your sins to the crucified Savior, Jesus, so that His blood can do its work. Wouldn’t you want to obey the Gospel so that you can go to Heaven?”
Keep silent, and don’t break silence. Don’t comfort until the person answers each question.
SW: You’ve been baptized, but have you obeyed “The Gospel” (2 Tess 1:7-9).
SW: Go back and “Ask the question?”
SW: Again, may I ask, would you please read Acts 22: 16 and give God your response?”
My goal is not to upset anyone, but the gospel is too important not to share this information. I could be wrong and White’s Ferry and the Robertson family might believe differently than those they are affiliated with including one of their own ministers, Larry West.
I am also not trying to get people to stop watching the show, but Christians who promote the show as gospel-centered may want to pause and re-think that position given the above information. I think the guys are cool and I truly hope they are not holding onto their belief in the gospel + baptism for their salvation.
If you have any additional and/or corrective information, please share below!
For the Kingdom…
P.S. White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ is listed on two Church of Christ websites. One site answers the question “WHY DO YOU EMPHASIZE BAPTISM SO MUCH?” The other site, under “A Call for New Testament Christianity” provides doctrinal statements including the baptism saves.
P.P.S. Larry West, the director We Care Ministries, is the father of Duck Dynasty star Missy Robertson, the wife of Jase Robertson.