HOW O TIMOTHY BEGAN

Updated January 8, 2008 (first published January 1, 1999) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -

I am revising this for publication in
O Timothy magazine, Volume 25, Issue 1, 2008. This year marks the 25th year of the publication of O Timothy, and I view it as an amazing milestone.

When we started the magazine in 1984 we had been missionaries in South Asia for five years, and my burden was especially for churches in that part of the world. As we traveled we met many preachers and observed the overall weak condition of churches and Christian institutions firsthand.

For example, in 1983 I interviewed Mr. Joy, the head of the New Testament department at Serampore University, the school founded by Baptist missionary William Carey. Mr. Joy said he believed there are many ways to become a Christian (by baptism, confirmation, being born into a Christian home, etc.) and he was convinced that sincere Hindus and Buddhists go to Heaven when they die. This apostate thinking is perfectly at home in large numbers of churches and institutions in India and other parts of Asia.

I knew that the only effective way to change churches is to change preachers; and I understood the power of the printed page to accomplish this task, because I had witnessed the influence of fundamental Baptist periodicals in the States. Where there is no strong Bible preaching there are no strong Bible churches, because such are the product of the right kind of preaching. I had a growing burden to use the printed page to exalt the Truth of God’s Word and to preach against apostasy through a magazine in South Asia, but I did not know how we could possibly afford to do so.

At that time our support was extremely low. We certainly didn’t have a budget for a magazine. In fact, we did not even have such basic household “necessities” as a refrigerator. Our income was so small during our first year or so in Nepal that I could not afford a bicycle. We were in Nepal about five years before we got our first refrigerator.

I distinctly remember the occasion in which the Lord spoke to me about starting with the magazine. We were on a trip to India and were staying in a guest room at a crowded hospital. The heat was oppressive, and Linda and the kids were resting on the bed under the ceiling fan in our room. I ventured out across the hospital grounds to find a place where I could pray. Finally I found a private place (a very difficult thing to do in urban parts of India) between two buildings, and I began to walk back and forth and to pray for God’s work in South Asia. My heart was completely broken, and I wept for a long time, feeling terribly small and helpless in the face of the great spiritual need all around me, beseeching the Lord to help the churches in that part of the world to be obedient to His Word that the Gospel might be preached to the multitudes. If the churches are not the pillar and ground of the truth that God intends them to be (1 Timothy 3:15), truth falls to the ground and the people remain in darkness.
David Cloud
I believe the Lord gave me a great peace at that time about proceeding with the magazine and trusting Him to provide for and bless it, even though we did not have the money for such a project. It was not long after that, when we were back in Nepal, that I gathered some articles together and took the material to a printer. The first issue was typeset by the old letterpress method, which was the most common method of printing in Kathmandu at the time. Each individual letter and character is painstakingly put together in trays to form words, sentences, and pages. The first issue contained “Missions: The New Testament Way” by James Crumpton, “As the Twig Is Bent” by my wife, plus three articles by me, “The Charismatic Movement in the Roman Catholic Church,” “A Walk through the Tabernacle,” and “Did Jesus Drink Alcoholic Wine?”

Soon thereafter I obtained my first computer, and O Timothy has been typeset on computer ever since. That computer was an Osborne, which was the first portable. It was a cutting-edge $2000 computer that the Lord had miraculously supplied. It weighed about 25 pounds, had a CP/M operating system, a five-inch monitor, two 90K floppy drives, and 64K RAM. I purchased a magnifying lens that hung over the little computer screen so I could operate it in 80-column mode. I almost went blind trying to use that thing, but it was my introduction to the wonderful world of computing.

Soon after I started the magazine, the Lord spoke to me from the book of Ezekiel. God commanded the prophet Ezekiel to dig in the walls of Israel’s temple and observe the evil being done in secret by apostate religious leaders of that day.

“Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall … And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw. …” (Ezek. 8:7-10).
Ezekiel was then instructed to preach against the errors of those leaders and to tell the people the things he had witnessed.

“Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man. … Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the Lord had shewed me” (Ezek. 11:4, 25).
The hour in which we live is very similar to that of Ezekiel’s day. Many who profess to be the people of God are apostate. These terrible conditions were prophesied in the New Testament Scriptures and will culminate in the brief worldwide rule of an utterly apostate Harlot “church.” See 1 Timothy 4; 2 Timothy 3-4; 2 Peter 2-3; Jude; Revelation 17.

As in Ezekiel’s day, much of the apostasy of our hour is hidden from the view of the average Christian. I believe God called me to “dig in the walls” of modern ecumenism and to expose and cry out against the things we find. This is how the “Digging in the Walls” section of
O Timothy magazine originated.

Somehow we have been enabled to keep
O Timothy going month after month, year after year. I have never accepted advertising, and the subscription fee has never met the costs of publication.

When we were forced to leave South Asia in 1989 after our first 10 years there and we based our ministry back in the States, we lost a large amount of support. Just when it looked like I would be forced to stop publishing the magazine, Pastor Wilbert Unger and the Bethel Baptist Church of London, Ontario, stepped in and began doing the printing. That was about 1992.

I remember some pastors through the years who counseled me that I would not be able to raise funds for a literature ministry, but Way of Life has grown steadily through the years because “GOD IS FAITHFUL!” (1 Cor. 1:9). There is a saying that “where God leads He provides,” and I can testify that it is true.

In 1995 we began publishing the same type of material electronically via the Fundamental Baptist Information Service, but we have continued to publish
O Timothy in printed format each month.