Thanks for taking a few minutes to peruse our new blog. This is going to replace our Library Builder—at least for awhile. I much prefer the printed page, but escalating printing/mailing costs and time constraints force us to consider this alternative. I don’t have a huge catalogue of e-mail addresses, so if you know someone you think would like to receive the blog, send me their e-mail addresses or encourage them to do so.
We will provide timely tidbits of news, although that will not be the major thrust. We plan to share relevant articles, inspiring quotes and excerpts by others, and book reviews, along with new items and specials on books and materials from Advance Ministries. Primarily this will be a way of communicating with our friends and others who are praying for a revival of commitment to the tenets of the Apostolic faith. We won’t waste your time with meaningless prattle, although we might pitch in a laugher once in a while.
Your comments are always welcome.
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were lost long ago in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated valuable lessons such as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, that life is not always fair, and maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers: I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I Am A Victim.
Not many attended his funeral because few realized he was gone.
– Excerpted from “Obituary Notice,” by Martha Parker in The Pentecostal Herald, 6/08
Forget setting prophecy dates
A noted prophecy expert is saying that during 2008 four major prophecies are “converging upon us right now.” He suggests that a peace treaty in the Middle East will likely be signed this year, an obvious reference to the treaty or covenant spoken of in Daniel 9. This means, according to him, that the 7-year period preceding Armageddon, commonly known as the “tribulation,” will begin at that time. In the background, while this statement is being made, is a photo of Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas with U.S. President George Bush standing between them. Since biblical prophecy suggests that it will be the Antichrist who will covenant with Israel, which one is the Antichrist—Bush or Abbas?
But wait…it is then stated that the Holy Roman Empire (a Middle Ages European federation of nations) will be reborn and the Antichrist will come out of that. Oh? So none of the players in the Middle East will be the Antichrist. That’s a relief. And by that view, we know that until the Holy Roman Empire is revived and chooses a dynamic leader that Antichrist won’t appear, thus Christ won’t return until Antichrist has been around for a few years. Personally I am looking for Christ to appear, not the Antichrist. I am not so much worried about what the world and the Antichrist are cooking up but whether I am prepared for when the Lord is coming down!
This is neither a personal attack nor an attempt to denigrate the study and preaching of prophetic messages from the Bible, or even to say that some of his vaticinations won’t be fulfilled. However, other dates and prophecies provided by this prognosticator have not come to pass. (A couple of my own over the years have also missed the mark.) Many of our pastors have had it with date setting, end of the world prophecies, red heifers, and the over-sensationalizing of current events that make for great video sales. Let’s forget the date-setting and get ready to meet Christ in the air. “Soon” is the only date we need. Why fight credit cards, Real ID legislation, fingerprint readers or other technological innovations that may be used by endtime players? If they have a place in the fulfillment of the Scriptures, so be it. It all just puts us closer to the coming of the Lord. Let prophecy unfold.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
How to make God look bad
It has been said that it is better “to speak a lie in faith than to speak the truth in doubt.” On the surface that may sound quite spiritual, but is it in line with Scripture? Should we attempt to associate God or godliness with lying?
There are specially inspired moments when we speak by the Spirit and the gift of faith. Speaking by this gift of divine inspiration, we may prophetically “call things that be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). That is God’s outworking through us to perform His will. The gift of faith is not always orally manifested, as when it is connected with another of the gifts such as prophecy or tongues. However, when we speak by the gift of faith, what is said is always true. God is not the author of lies (Hebrews 6:18 ) or confusion (I Corinthians 14:33).
The problem is that such a catchy phrase will sound so good to sensationalists that they will attempt to “speak a word in faith” when not “in the Spirit” for one of three reasons: 1) to encourage someone to believe that something will happen; 2) to express a strong desire of their own for something to happen; 3) to try to make God look good. In the past, some have told fantastic tales that were not true at all, claiming to speak in “parables.” The justification: to increase a person’s faith and possibly see mighty miracles. This practice contributed to their spiritual demise.
A proof text used by “spiritual” individuals who practice speaking things from their own mind that are not true is the Shunamite woman in II Kings 4 whose son died, but when she was asked about his welfare, she responded, “Well” (KJV added “it is”). She was “lying,” they say, but speaking in faith. However, she only said that to the workers in the field who brought him to her and again later to Gehazi. Rather than providing the full details to them, she was holding the full facts until she reached the prophet. Then she allowed the full truth to be known. She had put her son in the hands of God from whence he came, and there “all was well.” She knew God was a God of miracles, and her faith was sufficient for the prophet to see and act upon. God rewarded her faith by raising her son to life.
Sometimes we want to feel that we have the divine right and authority as God’s children to speak a word, declare something done, or “confess” what we strongly desire to see happen and it will come to pass. This is the error of the Word of Faith movement. That makes us “little gods,” exactly the terminology some of them use. It robs God of His sovereignty and divine wisdom. Our human judgment was flawed from the beginning. This is demonstrated when those same individuals begin declaring wealth and prosperity on themselves and their donors. They want huge homes, jet planes, ski lodges, servants, luxury automobiles and every finery imaginable, seeking to fulfill their every lust and desire. Even if in our human compassion we want to see someone healed or blessed in a specific way, we can’t force God to do it. The gifts of the Spirit are distributed “severally as he will” (I Corinthians 12:11), not as we will.
Romans 3:4-9 (KJV or NIV) lets us know clearly that lying to make God look good is sin, even though we are trying to enhance someone’s faith. Telling “parables”—made up stories about fantastic healings, humongous revivals among some group, and sensational miracles that eventually prove to be untrue, all told merely to “make God look good”—do not bring glory to God. They might be intended to encourage faith but they wind up evoking cynicism and doubt when the truth becomes known. “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9). Dishonest Christians make God look bad, not good.
All of God’s works are done in truth (Psalm 33:4). We don’t have to force a personal view or desire on a situation. Let God perform His works. If we get impatient and try to make something happen, we will frustrate both ourselves and those we serve. Burnout is then inevitable.
Let’s tell it like it [really] is…and let God look like God.
Interesting quote bearing on current events:
“Every true revival is born in controversy, and leads to more controversy. That has been true ever since our Lord said that he came not to bring peace upon the earth but a sword. And do you know what I think will happen when God sends a new reformation upon the church? We cannot tell when that blessed day will come. But when the blessed day does come, I think we can say at least one result that it will bring. We shall hear nothing on that day about the evils of controversy in the church. All that will be swept away as with a mighty flood. A man who is on fire with a message never talks in that wretched, feeble way, but proclaims the truth joyously and fearlessly, in the presence of every high thing that is lifted up against the gospel of Christ. – J. Gresham Machen; submitted by a friend
Tongues still the initial evidence?
Evidential Tongues: Is speaking in tongues the initial evidence of Holy Spirit baptism?
by J. R. Ensey
The ink is barely dry on our newest book, which focuses new light on a doctrine and practice we hold as foundational—speaking in tongues when one receives the Holy Spirit.
This was the outgrowth of a presentation at the 2008 Apostolic Theological Forum. The fact that many in the classical Pentecostal movement have ceased to stress this aspect of the new birth experience has disturbed us. It behooves us to occasionally take a harder look at our fundamental doctrines—not to try to disprove them but to make sure that the girders of truth are still bearing the load of centuries of attacks. To shore up our principle doctrines for each new generation seems to be imperative.
The book walks through the Acts of the Apostles to verify the consistency of the doctrine in the early church. But what happened to it after the first century? Research was done to highlight glossolalia (speaking in tongues) throughout the Dark Ages, into the Reformation period, during the development of various Protestant denominations, and on to Topeka and Azusa St. How it became a tenet of faith in the burgeoning Pentecostal movement is covered. Current views climax the study.
Here’s a historical odyssey that will strengthen your faith. AM price only 7.95
Bible Study Charts
God’s Covenants Bible Study
by William D. Felt
The time has come for more than one colorful, ring-bound, multi-session Bible study. You now have a choice! Brother Felt has produced a full color set of charts that focus on the covenants God has made with man, beginning with the Adamic Covenant, continuing through the Noahic, Abrahamic, and Mosaic Covenants and finally revealing the New Covenant. There are beautiful illustrations of the Tabernacle and its plan. The New Covenant underscores the essentiality of repentance and the new birth. A Teacher’s Manual is available, as is a DVD version with a PowerPoint presentation. The study is also available in Spanish.
Fairly priced: Charts with Teacher’s Manual only 58.00
(Chart alone 45.00)
CD (PowerPoint) with Teacher’s Manual only 48.00
(Teacher’s Manual alone 19.95)
Charts, Teacher’s Manual and CD only 89.00
(CD PowerPoint alone 35.00)
Time out for ethics
Christian Ethics: Options and Issues
by Norman L. Geisler
This is not your ordinary book on Christian ethics. You will find an in-depth analysis of the key issues confronting the church today—from the options of Antinomianism, Absolutism, Situationism and Generalism to the issues of Abortion, Euthanasia, Capital Punishment, War, Homosexuality, Marriage and Divorce and Ecology. Geisler doesn’t let you up for one minute. He makes you think about what you believe—or should believe.
This book belongs in every minister’s library. I guarantee the time(s) will come when you will call on this volume for insight. 335 pages; paper; Retail 16.95 AM price only 11.95 while supplies last.
Back to the Basics
The Apostles’ Doctrines
by A. D. Suits
The subject of water baptism is forever relevant. We not only believe that baptism itself is essential, but insist it must be done according to the Scriptures in order to be efficacious. That means we must know what the Bible teaches, and buttress that teaching with historical data that reveals a continuation of this message. Brother Suits has provided the latter in a wonderful book that will walk you through the Bible and 1900 years of doctrinal history.
This is Volume III in a series but appeared first while the others are being completed. With precision and fact, we are treated to a journey through time as the author establishes the scriptural and historical facts concerning baptism. He answers questions that people are asking: Is baptism essential for salvation? Can it be done by sprinkling or pouring? Is there ever a time when someone should be re-baptized? How was the doctrine treated during the Dark Ages and how did it resurface in a dramatic way in the 20th century?
Give this book to prominent families in the church to have on hand when they need to witness. Give it to your friends who are struggling with whether baptism in the name of Jesus made it through the Dark Ages. Make it available to your sons and daughters to help establish them in the faith. 314 pages; paper; 19.95
HOW TO ORDER BOOKS: You may go to our web site at advanceministries.org and order securely online, or you may call 936-856-3419.
Inadvertent confirmation by Catholics of Jesus name baptism
In a recent issue of the Library Builder, we reported that a few trinitarian groups, including some Roman Catholics, were trying to rename the members of the trinity. Some of the suggested “names” to replace “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” were nothing short of ridiculous. Probably the most popular designation proposed at a recent conference was “Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.” In all likelihood, such language was being put forth to pacify the gender-neutral crazies.
The Vatican was sorely displeased. In a February 29 document, the Roman Catholics issued the following statement headlined “Vatican Says Baptism Using Wrong Words Are Not Valid, Must Be Redone.” Cardinal Urbano Navarrete explained the communique by saying that anyone baptized “in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier” or “in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer” didn’t really get baptized—just doused. Thanks…we could not have said it better. He also declared that if someone got married after such a baptism, their marriage was also invalid.
But, Cardinal Navarrete, do those designations really differ that much from “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”? Those are not names, merely titles. Your words confirm our own stance on baptism in the name of Jesus—not titles, functions, designations or positions held.
An op-ed page writer in Christianity Today ( May 2008 ) also decried any change from Father, Son and Holy Spirit, saying that any use of alternatives constitutes replacement of the Matthew 28:19 formula with “words of function.” Hmmmmm…. Isn’t “Father” more of a function than a name? He grumbles that such usage would “encourage modalism.” If he had said that in an Apostolic church service, one would be inclined to shout, “Yeeesssss! Come on!” But, alas, he still chooses to repeat the words of Matthew 28:19 rather than obey them.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) rejected the idea that the alternative phrase of “Creator, Savior and Sanctifier” was modalistic and still encouraged its use, along with “Mother, Child and Womb” and “Sun, Light and Burning Ray.” It is so strange that, as intelligent and theologically astute as the Reformed theologians claim they are, they insist that “the phrase Father, Son and Holy Spirit is historically specific and can be what liturgy and devotion—and, at its base, all theology—must have, a proper name of God.”
Amazing! Confessing the need for a “proper name” and then opting for a series of titles. But whatdaya say he has a string of letters after his name?! I think I will just keep using the biblical formula that incorporates the Lord’s real name—JESUS.
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Ciao! Have a wonderful day!