March 2010 Blog

Welcome to the March 2010 Blog. Get a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and let’s visit.

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Quotes worth re-quoting

Tell me and I will forget;

Show me and I might remember;

Involve me and I will understand.

– Ben Franklin

A wife who is 85% faithful to her husband is not faithful at all. There is no such thing as part-time loyalty to Jesus Christ.  – Vance Havner

I’m convinced that a man’s commitment to his message is measured by the significance of his words when he has to speak to only a handful of people. – Howard Hendricks, Say It With Love, p. 73

Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time, year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.  – Source unknown

“The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools, the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice” (Isaiah 19:11 NIV).

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Moral geldings

In a recent article called “Barbarism looms as life is devalued,” Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke out forcefully for a biblical view of life—for both young and old. The article in Faith and Family Values magazine was excerpted from a sermon preached at a New Orleans seminary that raised questions about abortion, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia and health care reform.

Land reminded them of C. S. Lewis’ warning of more than a half-century ago in The Abolition of Man. Lewis stated that that human essence would someday be destroyed by “men without chests”—a scientific and technological elite that would possess mind and instinct but no heart or moral compass to govern thought and action, that we would “produce traitors, and wonder why we had men without honor; and we would create moral geldings and then tell them to go forth and multiply.”

In the context of the sanctity of life being opposed by today’s moral relativism, Land emphasized that “some things are always wrong, even if they’re legal. And some things are right, even if they’re illegal.”

Psychiatrists are leading the way into this moral and ethical collapse and ministers are so enthralled by their so-called education that many of them are buying into the postmodern mindset they advocate. Land pointed out British behaviorist B. F. Skinner who argued that the essence of man, as well as freedom and dignity, are outmoded ideas.” Skinner became “the poster boy for barbarism with a Ph.D.,” Land said.

The candid sermon/article stated that denying care to the elderly just because they’re old, just because it’s cost-effective, is no less barbaric than leaving our elders to die of exposure on an ice floe or out in the jungle. The only difference is the sophistication with which the elderly are dispatched. It’s still barbarism and must be called as such,” Land said.

I agree when he says that “it is oxymoronic to believe that Christians should avoid controversy. The gospel by its very essence is controversial.”

Land called President Obama’s chief health care adviser, Ezekiel Emanuel, the “poster boy” for this kind of thinking. Emanuel is the brother of Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and a member of a presidential commission that will “make decisions on what
your doctors are allowed to do to treat you, and what they will not be allowed to do to treat you in the future.”

Ezekiel Emanuel, Land said, has written articles in leading medical journals, including the JAMA, calling for reform modeled after the British health care system. Emanuel argues that maximum access to health cane should he reserved for those between fifteen and forty. After forty, access to care should decline, bottoming out at around sixty-five because, as Land put it. You’ve already had the chance to live a complete life, and society needs to adjust as well to those who have complete lives left to live.”

After age fifty-nine and a half, Land said, “British patients can’t get dialysis or open heart surgery, because the procedures are not deemed cost-effective.” [I suppose that is why the mortality rate in Great Britain are much higher than in the U.S.]

Small children are also expendable, so Emmanuel argues that because society has “already invested ten years in the education and medical care of a fifteen year-old, an older child takes precedence over an ill five-year-old.”

Land added, “When you live its a society where nothing is always right and nothing is always wrong, you live in society in which anything is possible, including the sacrifice of 55 million babies (aborted since 1973) because at least one pundit considered that baby to be too embarrassing, too expensive, too ill, or merely too inconvenient.” (Excerpted from Faith and Family Values Magazine, Issue 2, 2009)

Have you ever wondered why many of our Apostolic leaders never speak out on the issues that Christians are confronted with in the public square? I am not talking up the social gospel. Life and death, ethics and morals, and a biblical worldview are essentials that need to be clearly enunciated to our generation. It is not illegal or political to do so. We are well within our rights to declare the whole counsel of God. But it takes courage and conviction. May God help us to develop whatever it takes to lead this generation of Apostolics in the paths of righteousness.

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Stop and smell the flowers

Psalm 23:

The Lord is my pace-setter I shall not rush;

He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals, He provides me with images of stillness,
which restore my serenity.

He leads me in the ways of efficiency through calmness of mind and His guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret for His presence is here, His timelessness, His all importance will keep me in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity.

By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility, my cup of joyous energy overflows.

Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,

For I shall walk in the pace of my Lord,

And dwell in His house forever.

(A Japanese version of the 23rd Psalm; source unknown)

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AMC is almost here

One of the most enjoyable meetings of the year is just around the corner. If you love preaching and genuine Apostolic fellowship, you will love Apostolic Ministerial Conference. Bring your entire family and join us for a good time in the Word, in prayer and in sincere worship. You will leave refreshed and encouraged!

The dates are April 7-9, at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. Between services, Opryland is where you can have a lot of family fun, enjoy shopping, dine modestly or elegantly, and get lost—all under one roof.

Call 615-883-2211 for reservations today and ask for AMC rates. Booking code is S-AMC10.

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Some churches up…others down

New statistics just released show that the Catholic Church has made substantial gains (up 1.49%) since the last census. The Mormons are also up by 1.71%, as are the Assemblies of God (up 1.27%). Others in the top ten church bodies in America have no change (Church of God in Christ, both bodies of National Baptists), or are down (Southern Baptists -0.24%, United Methodists -0.98%, Evangelical Lutherans -1.62%, Presbyterian Church USA -3.3%.

Source: 2010 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches

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Methodology doesn’t matter

…or does it?

Some are saying it doesn’t matter what methodologies we use in doing the work of God. The more we can relate to the culture the more likely they will open up to us—that’s the key to soulwinning, they assume.

Once that philosophy is adopted, the sky is the limit. Anything goes. Who are you to say what I should or should not do? Or what I should or should not wear in the pulpit, or who I use on my platform, as part of my relating to the culture? We are all independent and need the freedom to engage the culture in any way we personally see fit.

Got it. I understand. No one is ascribing sin for much of the methodology of a few pastors who have stars in their eyes, psychedelic lights on the wall, and holes in their jeans. Go for it. Have “conversations” and dispense with preaching. Let’s see if it builds Apostolic churches where people are truly converted and live for God according to the Scriptures. Or if holiness is soon tossed out the window, to be followed by doctrine that is swept out the door.

While not one of these things is mentioned in the Bible as being sinful, there are some principles that we are unwise to overlook when we are making our choices of methodology. Consider the passage in Deuteronomy 12:29-32. It seems that God is saying to Israel: “Don’t take a lesson from the unbelieving Canaanites on how to worship God.” That lets us know that God takes note of our methods and their sources.

But soon the Israelites were constructing groves and high places similar to the heathen, and their worship began to assume the methodology and trappings of the idolaters. Perhaps they were almost indistinguishable to the casual observer. However, it displeased the Lord and He had to find a leader who had the guts to remove those practices from Israel (II Kings 18:1-4). Is there not a lesson here?

Smart people adopt this practice: Learn from the mistakes of others because you will never live long enough to make them all yourself.

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America, a nation of slobs

[Below is a recent article by syndicated columnist Froma Harrop. She makes some valid points that should catch the attention of every Pentecostal minister and dedicated layman.]

We’ve become a nation of slobs. A modicum of care in dress and grooming would seem a basic minimum just about everywhere—or it used to be. It seems that the richer this country gets, the more slovenly people have become. It’s a grim scene.

Had George Washington joined me outside a Chili’s at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport recently, he would have shuddered at the sight. There, a nation of slobs paraded through the crossroads of America. Frayed denim hems swept the filthy floor. Cleavage poured out of T-shirts bearing vulgar messages. Big bellies flowed over the waists of jeans. Mature women waddled in stained sweat suits. Some passers-by stuffed their mouths with pizza as they walked.

Washington was a stickler for good manners, and that included dignified dress. As a youth, he hand-copied a text called “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” They included: “Wear not your Cloths, foul…or Dusty but See they be Brush’d once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any Uncleaness.”

Some observers suspect that a collapse in grooming and attention to dress has contributed to the decline in civility on our streets and in our politics. People don’t care what they look like in public because they don’t care about the public. They have little notion of, or interest in, playing a supportive role in their civilization.

Many dress carefully for important events, such as weddings and funerals. But they regard a planeload of strangers as nobodies for whom they don’t have to change out of a sweatshirt. People wear shorts and flip-flops to church.

Some don’t even dress up for the most solemn of occasions. Funeral home directors note an increase in visitors perfectly outfitted for a barbecue. The day after Jackie Onassis died, actress Daryl Hannah famously came to her apartment in jeans and T-shirt.

Dress codes have collapsed at all but a handful of upscale restaurants. The proprietors create an atmosphere of elegance and romance only to see it populated by people dressed for mowing a lawn.

As the Chicago chef Charlie Trotter told the San Francisco Chronicle a few years ago, “I call it the casualization of America, and it’s a grim scene.”

New York remains the most formal city, say proprietors of fancy dining establishments, and the degree of dressing-down rises the farther one moves west. This trend hits bottom in some of California’s richest enclaves. Hollywood moguls and Silicon Valley tycoons seem to revel in visiting the most expensive locales wearing baseball caps on backward.

Whereas the old Hollywood would pour on the jewels and fine silks to impress, the new Hollywood dresses sloppily to say, “I’m so important, I don’t have to make the smallest effort on your behalf.”

But do not confuse the jogging pants and dirty sneakers with any interest in making common cause with the masses. The movie stars in the undershirts are nonetheless driving Porsches and living in 20-room mansions. Their wealth is not left in doubt.

A friend in Omaha has noted the phenomenon where young women doll up for a date while the young men with them look like total slobs. It’s a sad commentary on modern relationships.

We must concede that this is a big country with different expectations for proper attire. One person’s ostentation may be another’s good manners. But a modicum of care in dress and grooming would seem a basic minimum just about everywhere—or it used to be. Cowboys might get muddy on the job, but they were clean and pressed for the Saturday night dance.

It seems that the richer this country gets, the more slovenly people have become. It’s a grim scene all right. [End of article]

Where is this “grim scene” quite noticeable today? Answer: In the pulpits and on the platforms of some of the Pentecostal churches that once represented godliness, respect and decorum.

I was recently in a church where there were a number of men who had come from the streets, many bearing tattoos and other non-removable signs of their former lives. But they were in Sunday church, worshipping God, praying with seekers—with suits and ties on. Why? Because the pastor demanded it? No, because their testimony called for a change in their attire that once had identified them with the slouchy, sloppy “don’t care” crowd. They were representing Jesus now, not Ambercrombie Fitch or some sleazy street gang. They were respecting the house of God. They felt it deserved their best. And their best, regardless if it had been clean overalls, made them feel better about themselves. It is a fact that slouchy clothes in God’s house usually express a slouchy spirit and contribute to slouchy worship.

Follow the slouchers and Emergents, look like the slouchers and Emergents, talk like the slouchers and Emergents, worship like the slouchers and Emergents—but don’t slam someone if they happen to mistake you for one.

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Beards, mustaches, and other facial hair

(An excerpt from The First Four Seconds: Things Successful Men Know About Dressing for Power by Martha Falke)

Beards are better left to those employed in the arts or the more liberally oriented professions, e.g., certain medical specialties, advertising, or public relations. [I might add, “and Ivy League professors.”]

John T. Molloy, in Dress for Success, says “Although a beard may be acceptable to 60 percent of your clients and colleagues, it may possibly turn off the other 40 percent. Why risk turning off that other percent?”

Most men should avoid mustaches, long sideburns, and beards, since more often than not they do not enhance the male appearance. For example, by sporting heavy facial hair, a man with a low forehead only accentuates this feature.

In the same way, long sideburns are not becoming to men with round faces. And for the most part, blonde mustaches only succeed in making the face look dirty.

If you still yearn to grow long whiskers, remember that extremes are often taboo in the corporate sector. Most conservative companies tell me that they will not tolerate a Fu Manchu, handlebar, or any other extended facial hair styles.

Some companies go so far as to ban facial hair entirely. Tandy Corporation and IBM have a policy of not accepting beards or mustaches. Ron Stegall, Senior Vice-President of the Business Products division of Tandy said, “We want our computer centers and our people to look as good as we are.” (End excerpt)

Does anyone wonder why the New York Yankee baseball players are not permitted to wear facial hair and long hair? And why almost all men in the financial world avoid wearing facial hair? Because studies have shown that men who wear facial are not as trusted as those do not since it is often viewed as a “mask.” (For more information about the wearing of facial hair, order the book Facial Hair: A Christian Perspective from advanceministries.org.)

Would God also expect us to look as good as we are when we are representing Him in public?

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“Bible” again revised

I know most of our readers will be thrilled to hear that the psychiatry bible (will a little “b”) is again being updated and enlarged. The Washington Post reports that the following additions are up for inclusion in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM):

• Children who throw too many tantrums could be diagnosed with “temper dys-regulation disorder with dysphoria.” [That used to be cured with loving discipline that sometimes involved the peach tree out back.]

• Teenagers who seem “eccentric” might be candidates for treatment of “psychosis risk syndrome.”

Hmmmm… “Eccentric” is quite broad in its definition. Could “risk syndromes” be extended to include such conditions as “extreme religiosity,” or “Bible addiction,” or “church attendance disorder”? Certainly speaking in tongues might someday be diagnosed as a psychotic delusional disorder. I realize that may sound unreasonable to us now, but the way our country is moving, anything is possible five or ten years.

Advocates of these and many other proposed additions to the growing list of so-called disorders claim that the new diagnoses “will help shape which emotions, behaviors, thoughts and personality traits society considers part of the natural spectrum of the human persona and which are considered pathological, requiring treatment and possibly even criminal punishment.” Wow! Re-read that quote from the report and consider the possibilities this offers to the regulation of human behavior. The DSM puts a club into the hands of the social engineers of the current administration that could be used to quell any dissent and curtail whatever behaviors they feel are not in the best interest of society. It creates a track to move from simple “personality traits” to “criminal” activity and “punishment.” Think of the implications.

The American Psychiatric Association president, Alan Schatzberg, says, “We want to get an accurate assessment of what the degree of psychopathology might be in the culture.” Of course. Backing the new diagnoses will be the drug companies who stand to reap billions from the medications they will produce to treat the new “disorders.” And the psychiatrists will cream off millions in kickbacks from the pharmaceuticals for prescribing their pills and potions. Duh.

A few level-headed individuals have expressed “fear that the new diagnoses could unnecessarily stigmatize many people and lead to the unnecessary use of psychiatric medication that can sometimes produce serious side effects.” But their voices are quickly drowned out by the screams of the public for a swift fix for all of their perceived problems.

Wake up, America! Wake up, Apostolics! The “psych bible” might be enlarged and adjusted, but the Bible we know still has the solid answers people most need to hear: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3). It needs no additions or deletions.

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Hate crimes harbinger?

The mayor of Lancaster, California, has apologized for pro-Christian comments he made recently before a group of pastors.

Mayor R. Rex Parris said in his address that Lancaster was “growing a Christian community,” and after controversy developed he issued an apology. City Councilwoman Sherry Marquez posted on Facebook comments about a Muslim honor killing on the East Coast, thought better about it, and pulled the comments an hour and a half later. She has also apologized.

Darren Parker of the The Antelope Valley Human Relations Task Force responded and heard from community residents Monday night. Task Force chairman Darren Parker told OneNewsNow that hate crimes charges against Parris and Marquez will not be sought.

“The organization will send a letter,” he explains. “It was voted on by the entire body, recommended along with our legal counsel, that unanimously we would send a letter recognizing that in fact something had happened, and that in fact people were harmed by this.”

Parker said the apologies were helpful. But the Council on American-Islamic Relations has filed a federal complaint against both parties. Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute complains that the case demonstrates that hate-crimes laws chill free speech.

Dacus said, “With the hate-crimes bill in place, this is probably just one example of many to come of attempts to try to silence people of faith,” says the attorney. “And that’s why we must aggressively correct this and make sure these individuals and their rights are protected against this kind of outrageous intimidation and silencing.”

The letters from the Task Force, according to the Antelope Valley Press, were to tell Marquez that her remarks were “divisive and inflammatory”—and the mayor that his were “divisive and exclusive rather than inclusive.”

Source: Charlie Butts – OneNewsNow – 2/10/2010

Wouldn’t you like to ask the CAIR if someone could join their group without becoming a Muslim? Are they exclusive or inclusive?

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Can we trust the Bible?

There are many reasons we can justifiably put our confidence in the Bibles we hold and read today as the Word of God. One of them would be that Jesus and His disciples trusted the Hebrew Scriptures wholeheartedly and used them often.

The Old Testament Scriptures were affirmed by Jesus—who often quoted from them—as authoritative and inspired. Jesus appealed to Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 when teaching on the permanence of the marriage bond (Mark 10:6ff). He called David “inspired” (Mark 12:36) and declared that Scripture cannot be broken (Matthew 26:54; Luke 22:37; John 10:35). He fully understood that the prophecies of the Old Testament related directly to Himself (Luke 4:16-21,24-27,44-46; John 5:39). Jesus taught reverence for the Scriptures by His own example in reading from them (Luke 4:17,18). He appealed to them when He was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-10), and even declared that Moses and his writings were a more powerful witness from God than someone rising from the dead (Luke 16:31). His view of the Old Testament Scriptures should settle the issue for us. It did for Christ’s disciples: “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along (Greek phero) by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter 1:19-21 NIV).

As Jesus had done before them, the Apostles and leaders of the early church expressed their faith in the veracity of the Old Testament Scriptures with specific references (Acts 1:16; James 4:5; Acts 7:38; Romans 3:2). They were not preaching and proclaiming their dictums and rituals as the means of salvation and redemption but as signposts that pointed to Jesus Christ as the Messiah (Galatians 3:24,25; I Corinthians 10:11) who was indeed the means of salvation and redemption.

Writing in Revelation and the Bible, Roger Nicole claims to have counted in the New Testament 224 direct quotations from the Old Testament introduced by such definite phrases as “Scripture says,” or “it is written.” He lists many other occasions where a second quotation is introduced by “and,” or where a summary or paraphrase is used rather than a direct quotation.1 Of 260 chapters in the New Testament, 209 of them quote the Old Testament. All sections of the Old Testament were quoted from in the New Testament.

Many scholars hold that the Septuagint (LXX) was the Bible that was embraced by the early Christians. When the New Testament speaks of “the Scriptures” it may be to them that the reference is made, with the possible exception of II Peter 3:16 where it mentions “the other scriptures” (Paul’s writings were already recognized as “scripture,” and the reference probably alludes to earlier NT writings). We do know that it was from the LXX that the first five books in our present Bible got their names. Genesis is the Greek word for “beginnings.” Exodus is from the Greek word exodos, meaning a “going out.” Leviticus was so named because it refers largely to the work of the priests who were Levites. Numbers is the English equivalent of arithmoi, its name in the LXX. The book records two numberings of the people of Israel, one made at Sinai soon after they left Egypt, and the other in the plains of Moab before they crossed into Canaan. Deuteronomy is composed of two Greek words, deuteros (“second”) and nomos (“law”). The words meant that it was the second stating of the law of God for a generation that was not around when the law was first given to Moses at Sinai.2

Notes:

1. Carl F. H. Henry, ed., Revelation and the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House), ch. 9.

2. Ralph Earle, How We Got Our Bible (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1971), p. 32.

(Adapted from The Book We Call the Bible by J. R. Ensey.)

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Conservative and liberal labels—are they divisive?

These old labels have been around a long time. We could probably point to a number of individuals in the Old Testament who could be tagged with one or the other. We do know that in the time of Jesus there were two schools of Jewish thought, one bearing the name of Hillel and the other Shammai.1 Shammai was generally thought to be the more conservative of the two on most points of the Hebrew law. Jesus Himself had to confront a serious issue on which these two philosophers and legalists were divided (Matthew 19:3-12).

Since that time, religious and political movements, including their factions and individual members, have tended to be categorized as either liberal or conservative. Ordinarily, the assessment is applied quite accurately, although a conservative might hold a position on a single issue that could be considered liberal, and vice versa. Generally, however, assignment to one or the other camps is fair and legitimate.2 One difference is that conservatives usually have no qualms about wearing the label, whereas liberals often don’t appreciate the tag.

The two labels are currently tossed about daily in the political arena. Those holding to the concepts of smaller government, fiscal responsibility, right to life, judicial restraint, and constitutional authority are known as “conservatives.” Those who promote the theories of big government, multifarious state controls, women’s choice in the matter of abortion, social engineering, judicial activism, and such like are considered to be “liberals.”

Within Christianity there have always been the two groups as well, although their general definitions have varied somewhat. They began to be easily identified in the post-apostolic period of the second, third and fourth centuries. Later in institutional Catholicism there were divisions to some extent along these lines, although most dissent from the papal view was vigorously discouraged.

In the aftermath of the Reformation, liberals and conservatives were again evident. Protestantism was rife with divisions along certain lines. That is one reason so many denominations were birthed in the post-Reformation period. Unlike today, those who held more closely to the scriptural positions that differed from the traditional dogmas were the “liberals.” Those who continued to embrace the politically correct and safe positions espoused by the state church were “conservatives.” This is still true to a large extent today within Catholicism. Time has a way of changing the perspective on such matters, however.

In current American Christianity—particularly Protestant and non-Catholic Evangelicals—liberals are generally considered to be those who give license in matters of doctrine or lifestyle, express extreme tolerance toward non-conformists, state freely their doubts about the authenticity of the Bible, assign scriptural mandates to ancient cultures only, center ministry on social issues, and focus on “super grace” almost to the point of universalism. Conservatives, on the other hand, consider the Bible to be authentic and authoritative in matters of faith and practice, believe it to be relevant to every generation, expect a high degree of conformity from those who profess the new birth, focus less on social issues, hold to the sanctity of life and traditional marriage, and are more apt to embrace a literal perspective on endtime judgments leading to eternity in Heaven or Hell.

For over a hundred years, Pentecostals traditionally came down on the conservative side of the issues—particularly ministers of the United Pentecostal Church International and other fellowships that hold to the Apostolic doctrines of Oneness, baptism in the name of Jesus, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and holiness. Those doctrines and the separated lifestyle have made them distinct and provided much of the motivation for evangelism and missions. Conservatives among them are those who hold to those fundamental doctrines and values as minimum standards.

Current liberals would include those who have dropped membership in conservative organizations after determining they no longer believe the defining doctrinal statements, or do not wish to conform to high standards of conduct the majority feels are still scripturally relevant. That group may also include those who accepted a license or membership in a conservative organization but who have since declined to hold or declare those doctrines and principles to which they said they were committed. Some, instead of surrendering their membership, seek to change the organization from within to conform to their liberal ideology. They see the expectations and commitments as constricting, perhaps non-essential, largely irrelevant and exclusive.3

How different is that from American politics today? Liberals disdain the thought of American exceptionalism. To bring America down and “level the international playing field,” they want to nationalize the industries and socialize the culture, making everyone beholden to a system where bureaucrats rule at the pleasure of a “king.”4 They know they must either destroy or successfully ignore and circumvent the constitution in order to achieve their aims. That is exactly what some liberals wish to do with religious organizational constitutions.

Conservatives are not exclusivists. They pastor many of the largest churches, manage exciting evangelistic programs, and promote missions because they know they possess in the Apostolic gospel the hope of the world. They know that the road of compromise is the path of no return. They love the lost, they care for souls, but that love and care does not make mushy, milquetoast mannequins out of them. The Bible is still the accurate rule of faith, the gospel still works, truth yet prevails, Jesus is coming again, and someone is going to Heaven and others are going to Hell. Conservatives want everyone to believe and obey the gospel so they can all go to Heaven!

Usage of the designations “liberal” and “conservative” does not divide the people of God—but both truth and error do. As a wise man once said, “I would rather be divided by truth than united by error.”

Notes:

1. Hillel and Shammai were two great rabbis of the early first century, the end of the Second Temple period. They each founded a major school of Jewish thought, respectively known as the House of Hillel and House of Shammai, and they and their schools had ongoing debates on matters of ritual practice. These debates, in which the two Houses usually took opposing positions to one-another, played a major role in shaping the Oral Law of Judaism as it is today. Source: Wikipedia

2. A few would prefer the moniker “moderate,” suggesting that they hold a few, perhaps half, of the principles from both sides. In the end, however, they will usually succumb to pressure to come down on the liberal side. We see this in the political spectrum almost daily. It is understood that a brief article like this will not exhaust the subject at hand. Much will be unsaid that could and should be said. But the matter begs discussion. This is my contribution. I welcome others.

3. We should also understand that those who belong to no organization or denomination are not exempt from taking positions that place them in one camp or the other.

4. That is what the American Revolution was all about, folks! And someone in Washington is acting like he was elected to be a king. Guess who?

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Liberal directions

According to a report given on Fox News, 62% of those who consider themselves “liberals,” have a favorable view of socialism. That is not where we need to be going as a free Republic. However, unless we speak up, it could be inevitable.

Next question: How many liberals among us have a favorable view of the Emergent movement and the New Spirituality? Is that where we Apostolics want to go? If not, someone better speak up. A number of young pastors have already pitched their tent in that direction.

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Book review

The Death of Truth

Dennis McCallum, general editor

Bethany House Publishers

288 page; 18.95

Once in a while a book will come along that is so full of relevant material that you wonder how it all came together. This is such a book. Several known authors have contributed to it, with Dennis McCallum as editor and primary author. McCallum seems to be a no-nonsense pastor who is as tired as we are of the postmodernism that is permeating every Christian denomination.

Who is promoting this garbage? Professors in seminaries are prime purveyors. Parachurch leaders and megachurch pastor wannabes might be next in line. Everyone seems to want their fifteen minutes of fame. McCallum and crew takes them all on, responding to multiculturalism, the rejection of reason, and the new postmodern diversity. Even alternative medicine takes a well-deserved shot.

The impact of postmodernism on law, science, history, education, literature, and religion are all addressed in this volume. McCallum authors several of the chapters and writes with a steady but knowing hand. He proves that he is well able to address the causes of much of the grief that is coming upon nation and our churches.

One will be a little wiser and more prepared to face the challenges that are ahead with the insights that are in this book.

ORDER from advanceministries.org (limited supply)

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Featured books this month:

Aid to the Scriptures

With the ever-increasing complexity of life, we need simple answers to the questions that daily confront us. A convenient, easy-to-use  collection of biblical promises and teachings in a topical form is a treasure, especially if it is one you can carry with you anywhere. This little booklet contains many scriptures on common topics that we are frequently asked about, plus a historical and biblical account of the flood, a calendar of Jewish events and dates, the parables, addendum of the Bible, and money values—all presented in the context of Apostolic doctrine.  AM price 5.95 Call for bulk prices.

For Many Shall Come In My Name

By Ray Yungen

AN ANCIENT WISDOM IS DRAWING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
INTO MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES AND PREPARING THE WORLD
FOR THE END OF THE AGE…FIND OUT HOW!
Most people believe the New Age has been long gone from our society, and if practiced at all now it is only by unconventional fringe types. For Many Shall Come in My Name reveals this is not the case. In fact, quite the opposite has occured. The New Age is alive and well but now known as the New Spirituality.
This heresy has permeated virtually all aspects of our society. This “Ancient Wisdom” spirituality can be quite readily encountered in the following fields: Business, Education, Health, Self-Help, Religion, and Arts & Entertainment—even the Apostolic movement.
Highly recommended!  AM price only 12.95.

A Wonderful Deception

The Further New Age Implications of the Emerging Purpose Driven Movement

By Warren Smith

Former New Age follower Warren Smith reveals how Christian leaders—wittingly or unwittingly—are leading the church Into a spiritual trap. A “Wonderful” Deception examines church metaphors, concepts, and beliefs that are essentially the same as those being used In today’s New Age teachings. And while biblical prophecy is being minimized and explained away, the “new science” is being used to prepare the world—and the church—to accept a New Spirituality and a false New Age Christ. This book explains how all the puzzle pieces are in place for the “strong delusion” described in 2 Thessalontans. A “Wonderful” Deception pierces right into the heart of this deception while preparing believers in Jesus Christ to effectively stand against it.
•How a “broad way” Christianity is deceiving many in the church
•How the “new science” will try to prove that God is “in” everything
•How Rick Warren continues to align himself with New Age sympathizers
•How attempts have been made to discredit critics of the Purpose Driven movement
•How the best-selling novel, The Shack, fits into the “wonderful” deception
•Ten scriptural reasons not to be connected with the Purpose Driven movement

A must read!      AM price only 14.95  Order today at advanceministries.org.

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Now, laugh before you go.

They won’t pass my health care bill, and it’s all Bush’s fault!

Rally against global warming.

In case you were wondering what your tech support guy in India looked like, here is his picture.

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Parting shots:

“Emergent leaders often say the message remains the same, but our methods must change if we are going to be relevant to our generation. The measure of success for many pastors today is how many are coming, rather than how many are listening and obeying what God has said in His Word.”  –  Roger Oakland, author of Faith Undone and Another Jesus?

“Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who remain silent.”  –  Napoleon Bonaparte

Life is a long lesson in humility. –  James M. Barrie

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Thanks for stopping by! See you next month!

JREnsey

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 9:21 AM  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great stuff elder Ensey!

  2. We just realized we have never let you know how much we have been enjoying your blog every month. We find it to be very inspirational and informative, and have used some of it for display on our church bulletin board.

  3. Wonderful posting, as usual.

  4. Re: “Or if holiness is soon tossed out the window”. It always amazes and saddens me when church leaders think they can dispense with holiness standards in order to “reach” sinners. Holiness is an attribute of God – not a lifestyle option. Holiness in a person’s life is the logical outgrowth of the fruits of the “Holy” Spirit. The lack of holiness in one’s life glaringly points to the lack of the presence of the “Holy” Spirit.

  5. As always, I appreciate the wonderful, in depth knowledge that you present. It gives me great pleasure to read what you have to say, and I do in no small way profit from it. I do finally say something because what you speak of this month is precisely what I needed to hear.
    Thank you Bro. Ensey.

  6. Thanks for your words of Wisdom and the wonderful articles and your comments that help to keep us in line!!!! I Love you and Sis. Ensey

  7. Very nice write-up. I absolutely appreciate this site.
    Keep writing!streetdirectory


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