Welcome to our blogsite! I trust this month’s offerings will give you some food for thought.
Crossing the Rubicon
When Julius Caesar, general of the Roman Legions in France and the area north of modern Italy, decided to challenge the power of Rome there was a line that, if crossed, would mean no turning back. That line was the Rubicon River. No army other than Rome’s Legionaires themselves were allowed below that point. Those going below it would face the wrath of the greatest fighting force known at that time.
Julius Caesar encamped just north of the river for a time, contemplating his decision. He knew the potential consequences. One morning he arose with a made-up mind. He led his forces across the Rubicon toward Rome. Ultimately, he won the ensuing battles and the right to the emperor’s throne. But he knew once he had crossed the river, there was no turning back.
That is where we are in our nation’s history. As I write this, our president is pushing for passage of the health care reform no later than this Fall. Once congress passes it, there will be no turning back. We are then on the fast track to fascism and perhaps communism. In my opinion, we are already into socialism. Piled on top of stimulus bills and bailout money, this act will bankrupt America. We will be at the mercy of the world. In my heart, I believe that is exactly what Mr. Obama wants. He said himself that he would “transform this nation,” and that is what he is doing. His goal is the ruination of this country (he would call it “leveling the international playing field”), which he views as evil and arrogant, and “not a Christian nation.” The health care bill is the Rubicon. Once it is passed/crossed, we are no longer the great republic we once were…not merely because we have introduced euthanasia into the American system, but because we are reduced to begging on the streets of the world’s markets. Corruption at every level will reign as it does in many countries of the world, and only those with money to grease the palms of the bureaucrats and officials will receive grants, permission papers, and favors from the government hacks.
We will not likely find our way back. Weep for your children.
What about generational curses?
Binding and loosing?
See link below:
Disclaimer: I sometimes recommend resources but that does not mean that I necessarily endorse the author or everything he says. They are submitted to add to your repertoire of worthy research materials.
Leftist/liberal NEA throws its weight around
The National Education Association’s (NEA) top lawyer, Bob Chanin, recently made clear the goal of the NEA. He called those who believe in and work for traditional family values “b****rds.” He also praised the NEA because the organization has “power” and “hundreds of millions” of dollars from dues to spend in promoting their agenda and political candidates. Pentecostal teachers have the opportunity to speak out on the issues and I pray they will do so. Let’s pray for our teachers and administrators in the educational system that God will give them grace.
How careful we need to be when we observe how others worship
King Ahaz of Judah (in 2 Kings 16) went to Damascus in Syria and was impressed by how they worshiped. He took down the dimensions of their altars sent them back to Urijah the high priest to build one like it. That is how a strange altar was introduced into the house of the Lord. See any parallels today?
Quote of the Month:
“An organized minority, obeying a single impulse, is irresistible against an unorganized majority in which each individual stands alone before the totality of the organized minority. A hundred men acting uniformly in concert, with a common understanding, will triumph over a thousand men who are not in accord and can therefore be dealt with one by one.” – Gaetano Mosca in The Ruling Class (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1939), p. 51.
This quote raises the following questions in my mind:
Is this how Barack Obama came out of nowhere to suddenly become president of the U.S.?
Is this why the organized minority is running roughshod over American industry, banking and virtually every other phase of our lives?
Is this why ACORN has so much clout in American politics?
Is this why the vote went the way it did in Tampa—one side was organized and the other was not?
Is this why we are seeing the rise of “semi-secret, by-invitation-only meetings” around the country by groups of elitists, seemingly organized to insure that the UPCI doesn’t make any “right” turns in response to recent defections? Why is it when liberals play politics it seems fine, but when conservatives try to get together on an issue they are called evil and dirty?
Will we fall into the hands of such “organized minorities” and lose our distinctiveness that has marked our movement in the past?
Are Christians destined to follow the pattern of secular government into humanism and corrupt politics?
You can’t beat this deal!
One of the most important things you can do for your children and youth group is to make sure that they grasp the meaning of the first chapters of Genesis. If they fail to understand the accuracy of God’s Word concerning creation, studies show they will likely come to question the rest of the Bible as well.
The Institute of Creation Research, the leading organization promoting the biblical view of creation, publishes an outstanding, full-color magazine called Acts & Facts. It carries tremendous articles and research that we can use in supporting the creation model of Genesis and challenging the Darwinian view of evolution. And it is FREE!!
Just go to http://www.icr.org/signup/ or call 214.615.8300 to subscribe. You will enjoy this publication.
I challenge you to watch the presentation located at the site below:
An Apostolic view of the Light Doctrine?
Conversion and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
By Gary D. Erickson
Available from PPH; 19.95 plus 7.45 shipping
The author is the General Sunday school director of the UPCI and a member of the Executive Board. This book is his thesis prepared for his Master of Theological Studies at the Urshan Graduate School of Theology. In the Preface he states that the project was completed “under the guidance of James Littles and Robin Johnston” of UGST. The seminary subsequently granted permission for the thesis to be published.
The book walks the reader through the basic elements of Christian “conversion-initiation,” providing a backdrop from the Old Testament prophecies and the clear statements by John and Jesus in the Gospels. The author initially states that “a believer must be filled with the Spirit to become a born-again Christian and that speaking in tongues, with the Holy Spirit’s enablement, is the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.” That appears to be a clear, end-all statement leaving no room for debate. However, as the book progresses through the discussions of various pneumatological theories and biblical proof-texts, it seems to take a rather unusual turn. After discussing the differences in the Lukan and Pauline emphases concerning the Spirit, which are evident in the Scriptures, a view of the sovereignty of God is expressed that seems to insert a question mark into the absolute essentiality of the Holy Spirit throughout the present dispensation. God may or may not choose to pour out His Spirit on an individual who has taken the initial steps of repentance and baptism. While that is true, the choice is not made in a unilateral manner when all things are equal. God fully knows, not us, when a person has reached an acceptable submission point and only then is the Spirit given.
The early recipients of the Spirit in the twentieth century slowly developed an experience-driven theology. Some refer to them as the “founders” of the Pentecostal movement. Erickson quotes without comment one reference that stated, “Charles Parham rightly deserves to be called the founder of Pentecostal theology.” He may have been one the “finders” of certain Pentecostal truths in the dawning years of the last century, but we can only look to the prophets, Jesus and the apostles as “founders” (Ephesians 2:20). Most of the first partakers of the Spirit in the twentieth century were men who were convinced that they were already born again before receiving the Holy Ghost. Many were faithful in prayer and lived the separated lifestyle they had learned in the Holiness Movement. Their interrelationships motivated them to be wary of any tendency to refer to those who had not been filled with the fullness of the Spirit with tongues, or baptized in the biblical pattern, as “yet unsaved,” and thus were hesitant to adopt the clear biblical position that only those born again according to Acts 2:38 were in a saved position. As a result, many of them “parked,” as did the Protestant reformers, at a place short of returning to the full gospel message.
There is a good deal of historical observations and references that add value to the book. Having said that, when one reaches the final chapter, Implication and Application, some statements seem to point toward a doubt in the author’s mind that the Acts 2:38 message, including speaking with tongues, was in force throughout the present age. He suggests that “history is replete with exemplary Christian leaders who did not speak with tongues, especially those living before the twentieth-century outpouring. Some gave their lives as martyrs for the faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Others, due to their zeal for God, were instrumental in igniting revival for entire nations. These outstanding Christians cannot be simply painted over with a brush of spiritual arrogance. Neither can we wear blinders on our eyes to this obvious reality. It has to be addressed.” (pp. 134,135) The following paragraph is where he emphasizes the sovereignty of God.
Then the author makes this statement: “We must honestly accept that there is no explicit statement to unequivocally clarify speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism. This theological position is based upon Luke’s historical record of the early church. From these anecdotes we deduce that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence.”
Then comes the bombshell:
“Taking the position that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a necessary element in conversion-initiation and that tongues is the initial evidence requires that a believer explain why many fervent Christians in our history did not speak in tongues. In an age of such pervasive Holy Spirit activity and the modern capability to communicate so thoroughly, the words of Jesus come to mind, ‘For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more’ (Luke 12:48). This declaration clearly sets forth different expectations from different believers. During previous ages when the activity of the Holy Spirit seems to have been sparse, perhaps God excused believers from some elements of conversion-initiation (i.e., the baptism in the Holy Spirit).”
This smacks of what is known as the “light doctrine.” In other words, those “fervent Christians who did not speak with tongues” and “walked in all the light they had,” as adherents put it, will only be judged by what they knew or were taught. The suggestion is that when the Holy Spirit activity was assumed to be “sparse,” and the technological and communication advances we have available to us today had not been invented, perhaps God did not require obedience to the plan of salvation. This begs the questions: At what point did Acts 2:38 cease to be required and when was it renewed as essential? Was it in force in 842? In 1289? In 1517? In 1726? In 1888? In 1912? In 1914?
To argue that theodicy—the fairness of God, divine goodness—comes into play, positing that God’s justice would not allow someone who had never heard the gospel, or ignored the opportunity to do so, to be lost, is fraught with problems. To make God subject to our own concept of what is fair was dismissed by the Lord Himself (Isaiah 55:8,9). It also flies in the face of John 3:5, II Thessalonians 1:8,9, and a host of other clear passages. Such a position would be thoroughly confusing to Apostolic young people and ministers in training. It would also negate the need to send missionaries anywhere since those who have never heard will be judged accordingly. Missionary work would be counter-productive. To say that a European in 1510 might be saved by not having heard Acts 2:38 preached as the plan of salvation, but an Aborigine in the Australian Outback in 2009 who has never heard the name of Jesus is lost because we have new technology today, and the Holy Spirit is moving in other parts of the world, is untenable. We can’t have it both ways.
Also, the unscriptural view that God has established three eternal destinations—hell, heaven, and the new earth—is a first cousin to the light doctrine, if not an integral part of it. It is an eisegetical exercise motivated by the hope that our friends and relatives who were not born again will be saved anyway. (See the article entitled “The Three Destination Doctrine” elsewhere in this blog.)
The good points and excellent research in this well-written book are overshadowed by the view that God may require something different from various individuals and/or groups during this age, which sounds very much like the “light doctrine.” Hopefully, the author will see fit either publish a clarification or write a new article or book offering another approach.
The Three Destination Doctrine
This soteriological/eschatological theory has been propagated within the ranks of the UPCI for decades by a few prominent teachers, and a significant number of ministers have been influenced by it, perhaps making them more open to similar concepts like the “light doctrine.” Both doctrines integrate the idea that in this dispensation God had made allowances for particular individuals who did not follow the biblical plan of salvation. Some of them are among the unreached and others are those who lived “good Christian lives” but were ignorant of the Apostolic gospel. The latter group is said to be set to inherit the new earth—the theory we are addressing in this article.
The doctrine seeks to make a distinction between “the righteous” and “the holy” in II Peter 3:12-14—“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” The righteous are deemed to be “Christian believers through the ages,” or the “good person in the ______ Church up the street,” or “my loving and sweet old grandmother,” none of whom were born again according to John 3:5 and Acts 2:38. These “righteous” folk will inherit the new earth. The holy are those who possess full salvation according to Acts 2:38 who will inherit the new heavens. This draws a line where God did not draw one. To say that any individuals in this dispensation are saved even they were not born again is to oppose the clear teaching of Scripture and set ourselves up as judges of the souls of men.
With all due respect to those who initiated or introduced the 3-D doctrine within Apostolic ranks and those who have kept it alive, there is no scriptural evidence that such will be the case. First, it is obvious that “wherein dwelleth righteousness” refers to both “new heavens and a new earth.” No respected commentator or translator I know of makes the distinction in the new heavens and the new earth as far as where righteousness dwells. This verse cannot be used as a proof-text for the three destinations doctrine. For instance, Wuest translates the verse thusly, “But new heavens and a new earth according to His promise we are looking for, in which righteousness is permanently at home.”1
Another verse commonly appealed to by adherents of the 3-D doctrine is Revelation 22:10-12: “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” An effort is made to suggest that the angel speaking with John makes the distinction between the righteous and the holy. Again, it is obvious to objective scholars that this is basically a repeat of the same pronouncement—“unjust” and “filthy,” subjectively designated categories, are not meant to advance the idea that they will be sentenced to different abodes in eternity.
As Dustin Abbott explains: “The theme of this series of verses is that time is running out. The call of this verse is that one must make up their minds now [in this present life]. If they do not quickly become righteous, then they will soon have no choice but to remain unrighteous forever…and face the consequences. Furthermore, like the warning given to Philadelphia, the righteous are told to remain so in order that they might be counted among the eternal righteous.”2
Some adherents appeal to Matthew 25:31-46 as a possible plan of salvation circumventing Acts 2:38 if one has done particular “good works.” But that is the account of the future judgment of nations based on their treatment of the Jews, or Christ’s “brethren.” Also, some mention the judgment seat of Christ is pointed to as folks being saved yet without works of “gold, silver and precious stones.”
If we embraced this theory, we would not be able to tell our friends and family who have not been born again that they would be lost unless they enter the kingdom in the Bible way. We would be duty bound to tell them they might need to obey the gospel, although we are not sure. Paul told the Galatians that no one, not even an angel, had the divine authority to declare any other gospel that what he had preached (Galatians 1:8,9). I wonder if there would not be a lot of people would say, “I would just as soon live on the new earth. I will just be a good person and plan to join my friends there. That way I won’t have to be a part of the Apostolic church and believe and live like the Bible teaches.”
This doctrine, if it continues to be spread, could do great harm to our missions programs. We could only say that “perhaps” we “might” need to go into all the world and preach. And we would need to strike Mark 16:16 out of our Bibles: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
This is not an attempt to stir up unnecessary controversy or to put any honest-hearted persons in a bad light. I count those 3-D adherents that I know personally among my friends. However, we are given a biblical mandate to confront false teaching and expose it. Jesus did it. The apostles did it. If we expect the modern Apostolic movement to stay on a biblical track, it is also incumbent upon us to confront it also.
1. Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament Vol. II [p. 74 of section In These Last Days] (Grand Rapids: Eerdman’s; 1954).
2. Dustin L. Abbott, Revelation Unveiled (Belleville, Ont. Canada; Guardian Books, 2007), p. 361
Response from a minister regarding the letter received by the A/G minister requesting that no one speak in tongues unless an interpreter was present:
My interest results from an article in The Pentecostal Minister (Winter, 1988). This magazine was published by the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). The article was authored by Robert Fisher (Overseer of Western North Carolina). In the article he said in part, “In our commendable effort to bring a greater sense of order and decorum to our church services, we may have programmed out more than we realize of the genuine move of the Holy Ghost. Many young people attending Pentecostal churches have never seen or heard a scriptural manifestation of the spirit. Even more tragically, they have not been encouraged nor do they have a desire to be filled with the spirit.” Further on he said “A recent (1983) survey of youth in the Church of God (Cleveland) indicated that less than half have the baptism of the Holy Spirit, while more than half never have family devotions. A 1987 survey by the same denomination found that 26.6% of the church teenagers (male and female) had had sexual intercourse one or more times.”
Over the years I have referenced these quotes, and suggested that the Trinity Pentecostal churches are becoming Pentecostal in name only. The letter you reference would appear to add substance to my speculations. [End] – Submitted by Brother Forest Scott)
Prophetess corrects me
A friend sent me the following e-mail:
“Brother Ensey, I got an interesting reaction to your May blog on the ‘light doctrine’ from an apostolic who is now involved in the prophetic movement through the ministry of Bill Hamon:
“I have personal familiarity with a case of a credible prophetess in which she was taken to heaven. She assures us that many who have ‘trusted’ Christ alone are there with the Lord. She has ‘spoken with them’ during her heavenly visitation. In no case, she reported, was Acts 2:38 the issue upon which admission was granted or refused to anyone entering the celestial state. Prophetic revelations have tended to favor the apostolic founders rather than men like Ensey. No prophetic revelation supports his view. Not one prophecy or vision. Be careful of interpretations that have no prophetic confirmation. Ensey’s view is unsupported by the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit.”
I suppose we need to toss the Bible in the dumpster and get our doctrines from such “credible” prophetesses. I only hope someone told Peter before he was martyred. Maybe he repented of his doctrinal rigidity before he died. Hopefully Paul was forgiven for writing Galatians 1:8,9 before he was beheaded. But wait…weren’t the apostles among the real “founders” of the Pentecostal movement (Ephesians 2:20)? Hmmm…. Since Paul and Peter and John supported each other’s doctrine, and wrote by inspiration of the Spirit, I think I will stick with their pronouncements rather than the vision of Hamon’s prophetess.
You knew it was coming
Washington representative Brian Baird has introduced a bill, H.R. 3247, that will establish a social and behavioral science research program. What would the program do? It would be set up to identify and understand social and behavioral factors that influence energy consumption to promote the utilization of the results of social and behavioral research to improve the design, development, demonstration and application of energy technologies policies and programs. The bill will create a director of social and behavioral research. (Source: FoxNews) [A behavior control czar? Of course. You knew it was coming!]
Laugh to keep from crying:
[See all of our books at advanceministries.org]
By Bob DeWaay
AM price only 11.95
Many have attempted to understand the Emergent Church Movement (ECM), but have met with frustration when they encounter undefined language and contradictory beliefs that are inconsistent—within the text and between authors. Bob DeWaay exposes the inconsistencies and the core belief of the ECM—its eschatology. He demonstrates that in their system every other Christian concept is open to discussion and contradiction, yet their definition of eschatology remains constant and fixed because it is their sole unifying foundation. Once these facts are understood, it becomes obvious that the ECM is not new at all; it is an age-old heresy, repackaged in postmodern subjectivity whose sole purpose is the seduction of the naïve. Inform yourself about this growing and influential movement. This is one of the best books on the subject.
Set Free: My journey from misery to liberty
Virtually everyone wants to be free, yet millions are bound in chains forged by their own actions and attitudes. Denene Pelkey has inspired us to circumvent the self-inflicted miseries that add immense weight to life’s burdens. She wields the Scriptures as a sword, as if carving up the mind to excise and discard the undesirable cuts. She has put something valuable into your hands. Read and re-read it to let its light shine into the dark corners of your being. Be free! Order several—you will want to hand a copy to some of the hard cases you are working with!
Scriptures For Counseling and Witnessing—Quick Reference Guide
Compiled by J. R. Ensey
AM price 2.95
Every minister needs to have a list of scriptures he can refer to quickly when he is counseling or witnessing, especially on the phone. From Adultery to Worry, the topics are relevant and the thrust of each passage is listed. Keep one in your office, one in your home, and another in your car. You can even slip it into your coat pocket to have handy anytime you need it.
Both by J. R. Ensey
AM price 12.95 each (bundle: 24.95)
A Hill To Die On
Is truth worth dying for? If so, which truth? Which doctrine? This new book, which will be available this week, suggests that there are some things worth risking our reputations, our resources, and perhaps our lives for. Six months ago we would never have thought we would be where we are today as a nation. The Christian faith is rapidly being dismembered and deconstructed to make way for Islam. The rush of endtime prophecy fulfillment should stiffen the backbone of every Christian and make us realize there will be a price to pay for our faith. The nine chapters of this new book include:
• A Hill To Die On
• Truth in an Age of Deception
• Unity in an Age of Division
• Righteousness in an Age of Hedonism
• The Church in an Age of Spirituality
• Absolutes in an Age of Relativism
• God and Government
• Is American Christianity Returning to the Social Gospel?
• Our Finest Hour
When saints or young preachers ask for the reasons we take a strong stand for biblical principles of Christian living and the 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.
Order books by phone 936-856-3419 or online at advanceministries.org
When ordering books, please include postage of 17% of order; 3.00 minimum
Isn’t it amazing that we have the right, so far, to speak out on issues that face our nation and our faith, but when anyone does they are put under the microscope and their integrity and motives are questioned? “Who are YOU to say anything? Who do you think you are to speak up and challenge the way things are going?” Perhaps that is why most of us are content to sit quietly and grumble where only a few close friends can hear us. Brethren, it is now or never, both in our nation and our church. Silence is not a viable option.
Stay cool in August!