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If you travel in the mountains of North Georgia, you might pass by a church with the unusual name of Dewberry Baptist Church #2. If you drive on a little while longer, you will come upon another church called Dewberry Baptist Church. When I first encountered these two churches years ago, I asked a friend of mine who was the resident Baptist historian for North Georgia about it. His face lit up. “Oh, that’s a great story. That church split over a chicken leg.”

Well, now I was hooked. I had to hear the rest of the story. It is, as they say, a doozy! It seems that in the mid-1800s a controversy arose in the congregation of Dewberry Baptist Church about the doctrine of predestination. About half of the congregation had strong feelings about pro-predestination and the other half had very strong anti-predestination beliefs. At the height of the controversy, the two chief proponents – or antagonists might be a better description – of the two points of view were sitting across from each other at a covered dish dinner. At some point in the meal the non-predestination ringleader turned to the predestination ringleader and said, “You mean to tell me that before the beginning of time I it was predetermined that I was to eat this drumstick?” “Yes, brother, you were” replied the other.

The non-predestination leader then said, “HA!”, threw the chicken leg across the room and walked out. About half of the church walked out with him. They started a new church, but did not want to give up the church name to “those people,” so they named their new church Dewberry Baptist Church #2.

Today, many years later, the controversy is long forgotten, and the two churches get along wonderfully.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is for us to allow ourselves to get sidetracked by things that aren’t even a blip on the radar in the grand scheme of eternal consequences? We all can tell horror stories that we have either experienced personally or have heard from someone who was there about churches splitting apart over the color of carpet, the shape of the chandeliers, the style of music, the pastor’s salary, building programs, or any number of things that in the context of eternity are utterly meaningless

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Daily Devotional: “The Best Gift”  was originally published on