Greetings…and welcome to the September blog. Don’t miss these items:
The Generic Jesus
Where were the catchers?
Communicating with Apostolic leaders
Admiral Chester Nimitz, WWII naval hero, commenting on the battle of Iwo Jima, said, “Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
Judging from what I am hearing and witnessing, that could also be said of the young ministers of the 30-50 generation who are taking a stand for righteousness and truth and against the encroachment of heresy and compromise. I salute them for their courage to expose the emerging church challenge, to point out denominational drift (evidently which everyone except those in leadership can clearly see), and to nail the besetting trends that are afflicting the church. These men recognize that the spirit of political correctness has invaded every denomination, but they are not willing to let go of what brought us to where we are! Some are paying a heavy price in terms of fellowship severance and unbridled criticism, willing to be misunderstood for the sake of truth.
One of the criticisms they often endure is that they are “negative”—and who wants to wear that collar? If one is against anything he is apt to be labeled “negative.” How sophomoric. We should not be so naïve as to think that we would have a well-rounded ministry by stating only what we are for and never mentioning what we are against. One well-known pastor/leader told me once, “I don’t have enough time to preach about all the things I am for, let alone the things I am against!” What a cop-out! As a result of that approach, today that assembly hardly resembles an Apostolic church.
Some people assume the things we silently oppose will “take care of themselves” if we only concentrate on the things we are for. Try tending a garden, raising a child, developing a personal health regimen, running a political campaign—or building an Apostolic church—on that philosophy. It would be like rowing a boat with a single oar and going around in circles. If what is opposed should never be mentioned, someone should have informed Paul, Peter, John, James and Jude. They spent a good deal of time and took up precious Bible space opposing ideas and philosophies that were unorthodox and heretical.
Thinking people recognize that one-sided presentations are apt to leave listeners confused and without direction, with more questions than answers. But, of course, that is the easy road. Just tell people what they can do and what will make them happy. Help them to justify their carnal indulgences. Glad hand and back slap but never confront. Such philosophy will be the death knell of the Apostolic movement. Revivals have never, never been birthed in that way.
Of course, there are two sides to the coin. We should not sanction the other extreme that assumes that we have to go through a litany of rules and regulations every time we stand to preach in order to prove our pulpit worthiness. All thinking persons know there is a biblical and practical position between the extremes that embraces both truth and reason. The man who rides a hobbyhorse will make both himself and his people sore.
So our hats are off to those brave young pastors who are wise enough to see the negative trends and courageous enough stand against them. They manifest the virtue of uncommon valor. They will be the salvation of the movement.
The Generic Jesus
Someone recently said, “It will be a long time before an official retreat from doctrinal or holiness positions is posted for all to see, but the tide is sweeping that way and not many seem to be interested in turning it back.”
As reported in Christianity Today (9/08), the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted 380-325 to strike the requirement for deacons, elders and ministers “live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” Now those individuals need only “pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church.” Now if that statement means what the former one meant, what was the need for change? Fact is, it does not. Although not mentioned in the statement, the door was left open for same-sex marriage—not specifically denounced by name in any sermon by Jesus, therefore an obvious option. A specific statement was replaced by a generic one that is wide open for individual interpretation.
The Presbyterians showed their true colors by taking it a step farther and redefining immoral practitioners as “sexual conscientious objectors.” I guess they just couldn’t make themselves tap out “sinners” or “rebels” on their keyboards. Is there any wonder our culture is in the tank? When ministers do not have the backbone to call sin what it really is, we are without hope. The generic Jesus won’t save us. There is just no motivation in the term “conscientious objector” to repent and conform to the image of Christ.
It seems we are hearing more about “holiness” lately than at any time in the last half-dozen years. But it smacks of emptiness. It is generic. A reaction. “Hey, see, we still preach about holiness.” Sorry…too little, too late. Just mentioning the word without some degree of specificity is hollow and hypocritical. And to be specific might offend a heady group of generous contributors—an effete corps of narcissists who like to characterize themselves as intellectuals, as Spiro Agnew would say. They are enamored with the emerging church movement, or perhaps influenced by the “purpose driven” or the “seeker sensitive” crowd.
When you let go of the essence of holiness, it is gone. The Presbyterians might as well forget it—they wrote themselves out of the picture. They are right behind Gene Robinson (the gay bishop) and the Episcopalians. The apostle John warned the Apostolic church with these sensible words: “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward” (II John 8).
The Presbyterians should know…it only takes one ill-advised change to open a Pandora’s box. Especially one in which is kept a generic, broadminded, interfaith, all-loving, understanding, milquetoast personality they call Jesus.
“There is a cost to having an overload of choice. As a culture, we are enamored of freedom, self-determination, and variety, and we are reluctant to give up any of our options. But clinging tenaciously to all the choices available to us contributes to bad decisions, to anxiety, stress, and dissatisfaction—even to clinical depression.” – Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: How the Culture of Abundance Robs Us of Satisfaction.
“My friend, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.” – Barack Hussein Obama
Communicating with Apostolic leaders
In last month’s blog, we asked for those who would like to say something to today’s Apostolic leaders to submit their thoughts. Here are some of their suggestions:
“I would say: ‘Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, wherein is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein (Jeremiah 6:16).’”
“Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28).
“Please try to understand that hurting, wounded souls, beaten and abused by the world, desperately seek a refuge. Please don’t take away the only real refuge (the church) by turning it into something that looks just like world we are trying to escape from.”
“Thanks be to God for every God-anointed preacher and pastor who pays such a terrible price sometimes in order to hold fast to the truth and sound doctrine in this endtime. God bless you all.”
“Don’t give up the (fellow)ship by allowing it to become something that looks more like a 1960’s version of the Assemblies of God than an Apostolic church.”
“Put principle above politics, piety above promotion, and spiritual power above position.”
“Don’t strike out at those you think are beneath you; they may actually be above you.”
“Revival movements consistently call their constituents to repentance and deeper commitment. Movements that are in decline only stoke the fires of self-indulgence and compromise. Please lead us into revival and soulwinning. Don’t fear what important persons think; all that is important is what God thinks.”
“Don’t let so-called smart people influence you more than the common person. There are more of us regular folk than there are intellectuals. We want to feel like we count, too.”
Recording of Welch revival evangelist in 1905
Recently, while researching the revival in Wales of 1904-06 that preceded the Azusa St. revival, I came across a recording of the voice of Evan Roberts, the man whose prayer and preaching sparked the revival. I wondered—how could it be? Thanks to Thomas Edison, the wax recorder was among his many inventions. If you would like to listen to the one of the oldest recordings still extant, and one that would interest us most as Christians, go to http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=8507204945 and listen. Amazing!
Good books can make a difference in any life. Here are a few that are doing just that. Just click on the book(s) that interests you and it will take you directly to the book in our store. We are going to feature three books that are of particular interest to women. Order by phone: 936-856-3419 or on our web site at advanceministries.org.
Food For Thought
Are you fighting a seemingly losing battle with you weight? Have you been disappointed by diets? Is poor health hindering your mobility, preventing you from fulfilling your responsibilities, and keeping you from enjoying life to its fullest? Have you wanted to improve your health but didn’t know how? Filled with biblical and historical evidence, Food For Thought: A Healthy Temple For A Holy God contains keys that you can use to enter a life of vibrant health. The result of countless hours of research, this book will empower and encourage you to implement self-control, proper eating habits, and the consumption of nourishing and wholesome foods into your daily life. The author is the wife of an Apostolic evangelist.
Sister Nona Freeman says, “I sincerely hope that all ailing people can get a copy of this book to understand how poor dietary choices can lead to a plethora of diseases. This is by far the best book I have ever read on this subject.”
445 pages; AM price $14.95
An Oasis Moment
Donna Hogue, Editor
As we draw close to another new year, here is a unique daily devotional for women that was written by 81 Apostolic ladies. These contributors share their thoughts, dreams, joys and experiences. A prayer accompanies each devotional. A chapter a day will keep the devil away! Whether you’re seeking comfort, encouragement, a gentle nudge, or an outright challenge, this book will provide you with the life-giving waters a desert oasis offers! A great gift that any Christian lady would appreciate. Hardcover; 466 pages
AM price $19.95
Whether you are a novice preacher’s wife, a brand new saint, or a veteran Christian woman, it often is frustrating when you recognize that you do not quite know how to perform the jobs to which you are called. You want to do them well but sense you are lacking the crucial knowledge that will tip you into the dynamic success for which you were born. This invaluable book reveals the necessary elements to guide the Christian woman through situations that 21st century life presents. In a pragmatic yet inspirational way, the various authors address the issues of personal and spiritual development, family relationships and practical guidelines for serving the church.
With powerful insight, preachers’ wives from across the country speak—the young and the old, wives of evangelists, pastors and missionaries, conference speakers, and district leaders reveal their hearts.
224 large pages; AM price $16.95
By J. R. Ensey
When saints or young preachers ask for the reasons we take a strong stand for biblical principles of Christian living, doctrines set forth by the apostles, and why we give the Word its rightful place in our lives, they deserve an answer. To augment your own explanations, here is a book you can put into their hands that walks through the doctrines and lifestyle principles we hold dear. It pointedly addresses fundamental doctrines, speaking in tongues, harmful habits, modest apparel, hair, jewelry and other issues. Limited supply left.
220 pages; paper; AM price only 12.95
Half Price SALE! The following book is marked at half price:
Doctrinal studies were never more needed. Here’s a clear, biblical presentation of seven Apostolic doctrines.
• The Godhead
• The Common Salvation
• Water Baptism in the Name of Jesus
• The Baptism with the Holy Ghost
• Speaking with Other Tongues
• Spiritual Gifts
149 pages; Reg. price $9.95 Sale price $4.95
By William P. Young
Strangely, the book at the top of the current best-selling Christian book list is a blasphemous allegory—The Shack. Young couches his low view of Scripture in a story that centers around an individual named Mack and his conversations with each member of the Trinity. The Shack is apparently where his daughter was killed. Upon going there, he encounters God the Father—a large and loving black woman who goes by the name of “Papa.” Jesus is portrayed as a Middle Eastern workman, and the Holy Ghost is an Asian girl. They all discuss a wide range of topics, all without acknowledging the authority of the Scriptures. The author observes that “nobody [wants] God in a box, just in a book, especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that ‘guilt’ edges?” He subliminally promotes emerging church philosophies, all safely ensconced in the embrace of an allegory.
Does Young encourage us to create God in our own image? Make Him whatever we can imagine Him to be? If so, it seems that many have taken his cue. The book is not worth one’s time or money. My advice is to avoid it.
Where were the catchers?
According to wire reports, a man in Knoxville, Tennessee was so consumed by the Spirit that he fell and hit his head while worshipping. Now he wants Lakewind Church to pay $2.5 million for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Matt Lincoln, 57, says he is suing after the church’s insurance company denied his claim for medical bills. He has had two surgeries since the June 2007 injury but still feels pain in his back and legs. Lincoln says he has fallen in a similar manner before but has always been caught by someone.
What is the moral of this story?
Soteric Counseling Conference November 6-7 in Indianapolis
The Institute of Soteric Counseling is conducting its Sixth Annual Training Conference at the Radisson Hotel (Indy airport) and invites all those interested in counseling from the perspective of God’s Word to attend. Chemical alternatives and shallow therapies offered by today’s psychologists are not making the changes in people’s lives that lead to wholeness and spiritual deliverance. The Word, however, is powerful (Hebrews 4:12). It is right (Psalm 33:4). It is pure (Psalms 12:6; 19:8; 119:140). It possesses healing properties (Psalm 107:20). While secularized concepts of Christian counseling come and go, emphasizing various “therapies,” the Word of the Lord is “forever settled” (Psalm 119:89) and everlasting (Matthew 24:35).
Join us! For information and details, please visit soteric.org. See you in Indianapolis!
You are invited to share your thoughts with us about this blog or any issue we raise. We want to publish that which will serve the upbuilding of the kingdom, although some items may expose our own foibles and point out areas where we need to repair our own house. That is positive also! If you missed any of the previous blog postings, you can retrieve them by clicking on the appropriate button on the right of this page.
Have a great month of soul harvest!