Pastor guides attendees through the Crimson River of Redemption in five hours
By David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
EASTANALLEE — Instead of ringing in the new year, Tony Crisp was bringing the Word of God.
All 66 chapters of the Bible. In one night.
Crisp, the lead pastor of Eastanallee Baptist Church, led a five-hour service on New Year’s Eve in which he guided attendees down the “Crimson River of Redemption” — from Genesis to Revelation — in a brisk, but detailed, journey through the Scriptures. Crisp used a systematic method of preaching that he used several times in the past while leading similar sessions and seminars.
“In the five hours, I take people on a panoramic journey through the Bible,” Crisp said, “and I build the entire Bible, in a historical network, over the 6,000 years of Biblical history. Then, I come back and start again at the Garden of Eden and I go all the way through the Book of Revelation.”
Crisp said there were several hundred attendees at the service, which included only one, 15-minute break.
“People were free to come and go as they pleased,” he said, “but I’d say that only about five percent of the people left during the night.”
The service was intentionally designated for New Year’s Eve in order to set the tone for the coming year, Crisp said.
“This year, 2018, is going to be The Year of the Bible at Eastanallee Church,” he said, “and I wanted to kick the year off in Bible study, teaching the people to study the Word of God in a manner in which they could have a handle on it.”
During his message, Crisp used over 200 pages of sermon notes, which includes Biblical time-lines and other graphics. (The notes can be downloaded, for free, at CrimsonRiver.org).
Crisp, who spent roughly four decades preaching and teaching in Africa, said he uses a style in which he first tells the entire story of the Bible, and then circles back around to begin breaking down the details.
“It’s summary than specifics; panoramic than particular,” he said. “It’s the teaching method of the ancient Jews. They first give a general overview, and then they get down into specifics.
“So, what I do, is give people a way to study the Bible that they can understand,” he said. “And for many people, it’s the first time that they realize that they really can understand the Word of God.”
Crisp said the New Year’s Eve service started at 7 p.m. sharp, and he said he jumped right into the Word — no singing, no offering, no hand-shake visitation. He then preached until just before midnight, breaking only for the brief intermission.
He said he did not get tired, nor did his voice get raspy, during the service.
“I have done this before,” he said. “When I am overseas, I will sometimes preach four-to-eight hours at a time, with just a break for lunch.”
Near the conclusion of the service, just before midnight, the entire congregation knelt at the front of the church. “We got on our knees and our faces before God, and we ‘prayed in’ the new year,” Crisp said.
Crisp’s church has experienced steady growth in the past few years, and Crisp said he believes there is one primary reason behind the increase: “People are hungry to hear the Word of God,” he said, “and we have people who drive from five counties to be here to hear it.”
Crisp said that same hunger is also the reason the New Year’s Eve service was so well attended.
“The Bible is not just an ancient book, a history book, a dead book,” he said. “When it speaks historically, it is accurate. When it speaks scientifically, it’s accurate. It is the living Word of God.
“He has something to say to us that is relevant to where we are today,” said Crisp. “This is a book for our day.”