April ’09 Blog

Greetings, friends!

If you are reading this on the day it was posted, April 1, sorry—the Rapture took place at dawn this morning. All the Apostolics are GONE Gone gone gone gone goooonnnnneee…!

Better get geared up for…well, whatever, depending on your eschatology.

April Fools! Nah…I don’t think the Rapture took place. Roffie is still here. I am glad it didn’t happen because I am still here, too!

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Everybody is getting in on the redefinition thing

President Obama is copying Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and otherCB029654 Emergents and postmoderns in trying to redefine unpopular terms. The banking industry’s bad mortgages and lending practices are not “toxic assets” but “legacy loans.” That will soften the hit when we realize that the government (the taxpayers, really) is absorbing them. The “war on terror” is passé and is now an “overseas contingency operation.” “Terror attacks” are now “man-made disasters.” Gitmo prisoners captured on the battlefield are not to be called “enemy combatants” but “detainees.” That won’t sound so bad when they are released to go back to Afganistan and kill more of our soldiers, or when they are moved to a prison near you.

In Christianity the progressives prefer “missional” rather than “evangelistic/Evangelical.” “Everlasting punishment” gives way to the “absence of God.” “Heaven” is merely “ever-increasing joy.” “Repentance” is “fulfilling our natural potential.” “Christianity” is downgraded to “social activism.” “Christian growth and development” morphs into one’s individual “spiritual journey.” Preaching and teaching is redefined and reduced to “conversation.” Sin is removed from the vocabulary except when it is employed to describe the practice of calling immorality wrong or not involving oneself in social activism.

So what is so bad about the redefinition of Christian terminology? Basically, it represents an incremental deconstruction of all we have known about Christ and Christianity and the rapid reconstruction of “another Jesus”—not the one revealed in the Scriptures. It creates confusion in the minds of those to whom we need to be witnessing. (See the “missional” article below.)

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Toxic Assets

smelly_ratSpeaking of smelly “toxic assets,” most anyone can think of a number of them very quickly: Timothy Geithner, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Christopher Dodd….Shall I continue? You add your favorite “TAs” to the list. I am sure I have overlooked one, a big one, that should be on everybody’s list.

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A further word about “missional”

This word is being tossed around by “progressive” Apostolics but few probably understand its meaning. It is actually an older term that fell into disuse over time and has been resurrected with a new face. Rather than speaking of a church’s emphasis on missions or outreach, it is an entirely new way of viewing Christianity, although there are some varying nuances of meaning from one group to the next. Basically, going beyond the postmodern concept, it is the effort to completely restructure the faith to be relevant to the post-Christian crowd—not merely the postmoderns but the “post-Christian” folk.

In other words, a missional church is one that seeks to attract people who are not Christians, but not in an evangelistic way. They don’t assume that lost people will need to be reshaped by the gospel. Therefore they don’t want to look like Christians, dress like Christians or conform to anything traditional in their worship. They want to appear “unchanged” by the Christian experience so as to better relate to the secular world around them. They want people to join the church, then perhaps later they will choose to become a believer in Christ. Missional churches strive to be diverse and global in their thinking. That sounds so chic and intellectual. So with it. So cool. So…so post-Christian. Sure fits with the current political scene, as Mark Driscoll, a missional pastor, often sounds very close Jeremiah Wright in his public usage of street vernacular.

Missional pastors are disillusioned, they say, with organizational structure. So their services may be little more than the “lead pastor” being a “facilitator” of discussion and dialogue—“conversation” they call it. No negatives (anything that opposes their carnal desires) are allowed. No absolutes, just what’s relative to the individual—and keep it secular. One cannot be “judgmental.” Teaching about the Bible position on homosexuality or anything of that nature is taboo. They eschew the terminology of the Scriptures, including words like “sin.” These practices are especially relative to the more “emergent” type missional leaders. There is nothing inherently evil about giving another name to what we do unless it is a cover for justification of compromise.

Missional churches/pastors generally want to disassociate from and denigrate churches that still use pulpits instead of barstools, and preachers who dress in suits and ties rather than torn blue jeans with the shirttail hanging out. They prefer to create totally new ways of portraying Christianity. The “missional” mindset can be verified in the writings of two of the most visible missional pastors—Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller. Both have written books on the subject.

I can hear someone say, “Hey, that’s okay as long as they preach Acts 2:38 and live for God.” That’s just it. Those who are going that way are impressed by those persons who have tossed doctrine and biblical holiness overboard and created their own brand of Christianity. Some in our own ranks who became enamored with the missional label have likewise tossed out some or all of the fundamentals of the faith. No one stops with just discarding the pulpit or wearing sneakers to church. The reason behind the ditching—that is the problem, and that same reason keeps them going down that path. The logic: if John the Baptist could get results looking like he did, why can’t we dress in “holey” blue jeans and dirty sneakers? Again, the jeans are not the real problem—it is the motivation. Don’t accuse folks who refuse to adopt those styles of being hypocrites because they wear suits in the pulpit. Who are the real hypocrites here? Jeans bought with torn knee holes express hypocrisy unless they were torn doing work or praying. They don’t have to wear torn trousers. They can afford belts and shoes. They can tuck their shirttails in. I suppose if they don’t, they know they can get down to praying for folks and show their underwear like overweight plumbers or the teenage girls in their congregation. Cool.

Tell it like it is. Primarily, they just want to identify with the “missional” crowd, the radicals, the liberals—since most of them are drifting in that direction anyway. They are not identifying with the average Joe, but going way beyond that. So what is the big deal with shirttails and jeans all of a sudden? We all know…so quit trying to cover the real motivation with avant garde clichés. If they want to really identify with the non-Christian/social rebels crowd, why don’t they put on crotch-to-the-knees short pants that are nearly falling off so they can show their colorful boxers? Why don’t they spike their hair and carry a boombox down the street playing hip-hop or hard rock? C’mon. Get down.

Thank God for the majority of our young ministers who are choosing not to give in to that spirit, who don’t think that the Apostolic church has to be redeemed from its past, who don’t think it is the path to winning the world. It would be the path of the world winning them!

To my younger friends who are looking that way, this is not to just offer criticism. We were all young once and understand the pull of peer pressure and the siren call of the new and different that all of us have heard. But remember, you don’t have to be one to win one. Most folks can smell hypocrisy a mile away. New members might throw in with the missional/emergent/postmodern presentation for a while, but when they discover how powerless it all is without Bible truth, frustration will generate an unfaithfulness that will utterly amaze you. Rather than write off those who may be reaching out to you with loving admonition to be careful and discerning, listen to what they have to say. Refuse to view elders as old fogeys who just don’t understand the new paradigms and the minds of 21st century folks. Stop and give some thought about where you want to go and who you want to be ten years from now. Prayer time and Book time are essential for you right now.

We must not abandon the real purpose of the church, which is not merely to do good deeds for the homeless, help the Africans with AIDS, and pay the light bill for some poor person. Those deeds may be commendable at the right place and time, but that is not why Christ came and died. It is not the mission of the church. We must keep the main thing—the Great Commission—the main thing. Let the church be evangelistic—immersed in soulwinning and soul building—and let the Emergents and the post-Christians be “missional.”

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A word to the wise is sufficient

We live and minister at a time when the Western evangelical church is making a historic paradigm shift. Less and less, Scripture is our sole authority. More and more, a culture that mirrors an anti-biblical value system has the final say. In the name of relevance, demographic research determines our music and the shape of our message so that we reinvent ourselves to appeal to the greatest number. Though perhaps done from positive motives, the results are staggering. The audience is not just the customer, it has been crowned sovereign king. “Do it this way. . . We don’t like it done that way. . . Don’t forget, we can vote with our pocketbook and our feet.” – Sovereign king. (p. 86) Source: When People Throw Stones by Blain Allen

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Quotables

pen-and-paper“Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other. The divine law, as discovered by reason and the moral sense, forms an essential part of both.” – James Wilson, law lectures at the University of Pennsylvania

“Barack Obama is the first Hispanic president the same way Bill Clinton was the first black president.” – Geraldo Rivera discussing immigration

“Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.” – Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking up Arms, 6 July 1775

“There are a hundred billion stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.” – American physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988) (What would he think about the current deficit in the trillions?)

“The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or in literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.” – Economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” – Thomas Paine, (December 19, 1776)

“[Treasury] Secretary Geithner wants AIG and executives at other companies that receive tax dollars to be paid according to performance. That is a standard most of us would like to see applied to Congress, which enjoys annual pay increases no matter how much incompetence, malfeasance and misfeasance it demonstrates.” – columnist Cal Thomas

This week’s “Quid Pro Homo” Award: “At some point, [the Defense of Marriage Act] is going to have to go to the United States Supreme Court. I wouldn’t want it to go to the United States Supreme Court now because that homophobe Antonin Scalia has too many votes on this current court.” – Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), an open homosexual (Scalia has more than one vote?)

“When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.” – Chinese writer Lin Yutang (1895-1976)

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Coincidentally…

senator-doddSenator Chrisopher Dodd, or “Chris Dodge,” as they’re calling him now, after first denying it, now admits he’s the one who eliminated the provision in the stimulus package that outlawed excessive bonuses. And coincidentally, he just happened to receive $280,000 from AIG in campaign contributions. My, my…what are the odds of that?

Congress is now investigating the special treatment that “Senator Dodge” received from Countrywide Mortgage for a couple of mortgages. The Senator has contended he didn’t know he was getting special rates on the mortgages. And, really, to be fair, how would the Senate chairman of the banking committee have any idea what the normal lending rate would be? Isn’t that expecting too much of him?

Somewhere in an old black-back Book I read: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2).

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Was Francis Schaeffer right?

“Do not think that merely because a Bible-believing man is elected as an executive officer or is appointed to an important position, this will give safety to a denomination. If the two power centers in modern denominations—the bureaucracy and the seminaries—remain in the control of the liberals, nothing will be permanently changed. There must be a loving but definite practice of the purity of the visible church in any denomination if it is really to dwell in safety.” – From pages 80/81 in The Great Evangelical Disaster

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Veep ’fesses up

V. P. Joe Biden to Unions: “You All Brought Me to the Dance…It’s Time Webiden Start Dancing.”

What’s happening in Washington is old style, quid-pro-quo politics—the kind President Obama pledged as a candidate to end. Supporters of the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (that’s their Orwellian name for Card Check) claim to be all about protecting American workers (Read: Unions!).

But leave it to Vice President Joe Biden to inadvertently tell the truth. In a meeting with the AFL-CIO recently, Biden made it clear who’s calling the shots when it comes to American workers, businesses and jobs. He told the gathering of union big-wigs: “You all brought me to the dance a long time ago, and it’s time we start dancing.”

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Whatever happened to “reaching the world”?

worldLast summer I taught at a district campmeeting during the day services and Brother Rex Johnson of Austin, TX was the night speaker. One day while we were talking, he asked me if I knew of anyone who had gone on TV since the Tampa vote. “No, I do not,” I answered. He said the same, and we marveled at why, if there was such great expediency for us to get the gospel on TV and quickly “reach the world,” that no one in the ensuing year had even attempted it as far as we knew. Recently, on March 11, 2009 Brother Johnson appeared on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s show. It is assumed he was there to advertise his book. If you are interested in seeing and hearing his part in the show, here is the link:

http://www.tbn.org/watch/files/index.php?file=2009_3_11_300k.wmv&show=85

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Together again?

According to the NonProfit Times (2/09) a member of the United Pentecostal Council of the Assemblies of God has been appointed to lead the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Joshua DuBois is a 26-year old member of that faith. Glancing at the name, one might think that the two organizations had merged. However, despite the meshing of the names of the two denominations, their Articles of Faith are trinitarian and reflect a close relationship to the modern A/Gs. Their web site is http://www.upcag.net.

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Notes from your therapist

One man who came from the psychiatrist’s office announcing that he was therapist2“cured.”

“How can that be?” he was asked.

“Well, I used to feel horrible about doing this, but now that he has explained to me why I do it, I don’t feel guilty anymore.”

Isn’t psychotherapy wonderful? Here are some other testimonials:

“Thanks to my therapist I don’t suffer from insanity now—I enjoy every minute of it.”

“It only cost me $5,000 to learn that nothing is ever my fault.”

After therapy, I am now happy when…

  • …you and everyone else likes me.
  • …something goes wrong I realize someone other than me is to blame.
  • …I am the center of attention.

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Shoot first and ask questions later?

Recently an Apostolic man suggested that he would shoot any law officer orgun-control government agent who came to try to confiscate his guns. Do you think this is a viable option for a Christian? What are your thoughts on how you would handle such a situation? Please respond in the comment box below or in an email to jnz@advanceministries.org.

This is a serious request. Report will appear in next month’s blog.

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Great hermeneutics!

Here is the National Gay Pentecostal Alliance (NGPA) interpretation of Leviticus 20:13. They state that a word-for-word translation of this verse from the original Hebrew is:

“And a man who will lie down with a male in beds of a woman, both of them have made an abomination; dying they will die. Their blood is on them.”
The NGPA says that in modern English this could be translated as: “If two men engage in homosexual sex while on a woman’s bed, both have committed an abomination. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

“This does not generally forbid homosexual behavior between two men,” they say. It only limits where the act can be done. That makes one wonder why God would pass the death penalty to someone who simply forgot whose bed he was in. A dozen other questions come to mind that are unanswered in this strange interpretation.

“The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men” (Psalm 12:8 NIV). Is that true or what?

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Word study:

Why do Christians get sick?

Spiros Zodhiates

sicknessWe do not always get sick because of any particular sin of ours, although that is possible. It is as possible for the unbeliever and the believer. The paralysis of the sick man at Bethesda was due to his sin. After he was healed, the Lord said to him, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14). If that imperative verb were in the aorist tense, it would have implied that he had not been sinning and the Lord would not want him to start. But the command meketi bamartane is in the present imperative and actually should be translated, “Do not continue to sin.” His life-style was that of habitual sinning, and he was suffering the consequences—paralysis.

In 1 Corinthians 11:29-34, Paul discusses Christians who sat at the Lord’s table unworthily—maybe with bitterness in their hearts. He pin-pointed the reason, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (die)” (v. 30).

But generally we, whether unbelievers or believers, get sick and die not because of our own particular sins, but because of Adam’s sin (Genesis 2:17; Rom. 5:12). We have inherited corruptibility in our human nature. We physically deteriorate and die because of that reality.

In fact, the adjective phtbartos, corruptible, applies to both unbelievers and believers (Rom. 1:23; 1 Cor. 15:53,54). The animals are also subject to the same corruptibility (2 Pet. 2:12). This is also true as far as the very physical nature in which we live in this world (Rom. 8:21,22). Everything in creation groans because of the inherent corruptibility of the created world which is in a fallen state. Emphatically Paul stresses, “And not only they (the creation) but ourselves also (including himself, a great saint) which have the first fruits of the Spirit (salvation), even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption (buiotbesia, when we shall be fully apportioned our pre-fall restitution), to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23). That’s in the future, when we shall once again receive the gift of incorruptibility for our new identifiable bodies. – Spiros Zodhiates in Pulpit Helps

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Laugh to keep from crying:

obama-cartoon

kennedy-cartoon

nuclear-cartoon

suicide-cartoon

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Book Kiosk

The Courage To Be Protestant: Truth lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World
By David Wells

the-courage-to-be-protestanIt is time someone of David Wells’ stature and ability with words set the record straight. He is one of the clearest thinkers of our time. With powerful parlance he peels back the layers of liberalism and reveals the absolute necessity of an evangelical self-examination.

This book was first called to my attention by Danny Russo, Texas District Superintendent of the UPCI. I immediately recognized it as an appropriate sequel to The Marketing of Evil, but on a different level with somewhat different targets. Wells makes a forceful argument for the courage to be faithful to what Christianity in its biblical forms has always stood for, thereby securing hope for the church’s future.

Some books may you laugh, others make you cry, still others pique your individual interest. This book will call you out of the corner into the full light of the current conflict sweeping Christianity, including the Apostolic movement. If you don’t find this book helpful, your money will be cheerfully refunded.

Retail $26.00 Special price from Advance Ministries 19.95

How to order: Call 936-856-3419 or go to advanceministries.org and click on “Store.”

Thanks for ordering your books, Bibles and Bible studies from Advance Ministries. Please go to advanceministries.org and check out the many good books and Apostolic materials that are available there.

Have a great day/week/month!

JREnsey

Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 10:16 AM  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello Brother Ensey,

    Great blog as usual! In response to the missional post, proper protocol of dress and behavior in God’s house is a expression of deep respect for the sacredness of God. Our disrespectful and “what ever goes society” should not become OUR mentor, but our student in the things of God. There is a God ordained division between the person trying to be evangelized and the redeemed evangelist. Getting on the level of the lost in means of dress and respect in the House of God says a lot about the mindset and level of respect of the individual. The world’s “anything goes” mindset has affected many in the church in 2009 in an attempt to achieve a modern and progressive approach. In our efforts to reach the lost, let’s bring our sick and hurting before the throne in a manner pleasing to our King and we will see results!

    Brother Grover Heard

  2. Bro. Ensey,
    Thanks for your blog. Really enjoy it. My comment on the use of firepower for our salvation from the government is this. If we try to save ourselves God may just let us. In every situation the Lord has kept my family and I from harm. Why stop a good thing by doing it myself? We don’t protest, we preach. We don’t use carnal weapons because the weapons of our warefare are not carnal (weak) but mighty through God! It’s time to get back to the basics of faith and trust in the Lord!
    Greg Wirths
    New Life Tabernacle

  3. Bro. Ensey,
    Tremendous blog. Just makes me want to earnestly contend for the faith all the more! Thanks for loving truth, righteousness and holiness!
    Lord Bless,
    John Criss

  4. Bro. Ensey,

    Thank you for soundig a much-needed alarm on the emergent church and their prepensity for redefining evangelical terminology on biblical positions. I must also add that I am not fond of the current “dressing down” of the church. It is my opinion that, since we are entering into the presence of the King, we should dress appropriately. He deserves our best, not our sloppy appearance in “holey” jeans. I believe that it is a matter of respect for God and self.

    Blessings,

    Tim Kelley

  5. Another great job as usual Elder Ensey. Tks so much for all you and Sis Ensey do! God Bless!!

  6. Bro. Ensey, Your article on missional evanglism is right on. This is the missional attempt to bring about that great end time revival that we have heard about for years. The scripture admonishes us to search out the old paths as their is only one plan of salvation. And separation from the world, with out which no one shall be saved

    Bro William Fitzgerel
    First Apostolic Church
    Salt Lake City, Utah

  7. Bro. Ensey,

    Once again another great job. I appreciate your work and the clarion voice you echo to all who read your blog.

    Stay the course and keep the faith.

    Mark Uzupan

  8. Great article regarding the Missional/Emergent concept; it certainly qualifies as “RELEVANT” (just borrowing a favored buzzword)

    Jason Cortes


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