November 2010 Blog

WELCOME to the November edition of our blog.

♦♦♦♦♦♦

Thanks…

…for visiting with us this month. We hope you find something that will interest you and perhaps serve as an inspiration for further thought and/or action. We sincerely appreciate your ordering your books and Bibles from Advance Ministries (advanceministries.org).

♦♦♦♦♦♦

Barton: No need to fear IRS

A Christian constitutional expert thinks the Internal Revenue Service’s lack of response to a recent initiative shows there is no longer any reason for pastors to be silent on political issues when standing behind the pulpit. (See earlier story)

Current law prohibits pastors from speaking on politics or endorsing a political candidate, but David Barton of  WallBuilders says the IRS’s intimidation of removing a church’s tax exemption status is unconstitutional. Even though some pastors have intentionally crossed the line, Barton does not think the IRS wants to take them to court because it may lose.

“The IRS doesn’t have any interest in doing this because if they do, I believe they know they are going to lose. And if they lose, you have 370,000 pastors in America who suddenly find out that there’s no restriction on them,” Barton suggests.

The WallBuilders president explains that churches are guaranteed tax exemption status under the Constitution, but he believes many pastors are afraid to speak about politics because they fear they will lose their letter of tax exemption.

“You cannot lose your tax exemption as a church because as a church, you have a constitutional standing for tax exemption,” he points out. “So with that basis, losing your letter means absolutely nothing—and that’s something pastors are now figuring out.”

Barton argues that the pulpit was and should continue to be the news perspective for America, so he encourages all pastors to speak out and stand for truth.

♦♦♦♦♦♦

UPCI Fundamental Doctrine

For decades, UPCI ministers have haggled over the wording of the Fundamental Doctrine, with some using it to protect the dwindling few among us who are hesitant to embrace the absolute necessity of the new birth according to Acts 2:38 and John 3:5.

The statement as it appears in the Manual: “The basic and fundamental doctrine of this organization shall be the Bible standard of full salvation, which is repentance, baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.

“We shall endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit until we all come into the unity of the faith, at the same time admonishing all brethren that they shall not contend for their different views to the disunity of the body.” [end]

Some in the 1945 merger with a PCI background were content with that but remained unconvinced of the essentiality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The majority of both the PAJC and the PCI felt it may have been too lenient or unclear on the meaning of the scriptures mentioned above, although it was adopted by both organizations. Since 1945, the UPCI has gradually strengthened its stand on the necessity of the full new birth.

J. L. Hall, former UPCI Editor In Chief, chairman of the Historical Committee, and a leading Pentecostal historian, offered the following explanation of the Fundamental Doctrine:

“There does not appear to have been a doctrinal difference between the two groups, for most ministers in the PAJC and PCI held to the necessity of the Acts 2:38 experience. However, a few ministers in each group—more in the PCI than in the PAJC—held that a person may be saved at repentance. The merging agreement included the ‘Fundamental Doctrine’ statement affirming that salvation includes water baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost—something the overwhelming majority of both the PAJC and PCI believed. However, to show patience toward ministers who practiced Acts 2:38 but who held to the view that salvation—at least in part—occurred at faith and repentance, the ‘Fundamental Doctrine’ also includes the second paragraph calling for unity in Spirit until all came to the same
view. There was no tolerance on the salvation message of Acts 2:38, for this is clearly stated. It was only tolerance toward those who needed time to accept the view of salvation as stated in the first paragraph. Those who honor the spirit of the merger should embrace both the unity of the Spirit and the increasing unity of the faith that the UPCI has attained in over fifty years since the merger.

“As an analogy, the American Declaration of Independence (1776) states, “All men are created equal.” A consistent application of this principle reveals that slavery is abhorrent, even though some of the framers of the declaration were slave owners. Rather than trying to recreate the conditions of 1776 and thereby tolerate slavery today, we should uphold the greater understanding and implementation of freedom that we have achieved in the ensuing centuries by following the principles that the framers advocated. People today who embrace the Declaration of Independence uniformly oppose slavery.”

Thanks, Brother Hall!

Source: Forward Ministers Magazine July-Aug 2010

♦♦♦♦♦♦

Young Pentecostals

I asked a friend whom I have never met personally except via the Internet to give me his impressions as an independent, objective observer of the Apostolic movement. Here was his reply:

1. Young Pentecostals are searching for an identity. They are not content.

2. The new generation wants toleration more than separation. Standards are artificial (made up) to them, not organic.

3. High school and college age kids have a catch phrase—“No one can live it.” This used to be the old Baptist cry.

4. There seems to be a general sense of “how do we know that we are right?”

5. The new generation as yet is not willing to set up the ancient landmarks again. They are Jacob, but not Israel.

My response and questions:

1) The Apostolic faith and practice, which is in line with the Word of God, provides sufficient identity—UNLESS it is identity with the world and postmodernism one is seeking. Why are some young ministers “not content”? Is someone stirring them up to stand against our traditional Pentecostal doctrines and standards? Are the “by invitation only” meetings of liberal thinkers going on around the country having an impact? Is someone telling the attendees that they should just wait and all the “old heads” will soon be gone and they will be able to make the necessary changes? Are they being told that the new generation of Pentecostals doesn’t have to adhere to the ministerial agreements and lifestyle positions we have agreed upon? Leadership down the line needs to curb such communication by simply saying, “If you don’t believe it, quit developing a fifth column in here. There is a great big world out there…go do your own thing somewhere else.” It is not time for divisiveness, but unity around the absolutes of Scripture.

2) Is it really true that the new generation wants toleration more than separation? Or is there a vocal few who are making most of the noise? Brother A. T. Morgan used to tell about a pond in Louisiana that was noisy with bullfrogs. They figured it was loaded with the nocturnal amphibians. They drained the pond and discovered that it was only two old bullfrogs doing all the croakin’. C’mon, young pastors. Stand up and be counted! Don’t let a few compromisers speak for you. Take note of where 90% of them are right now—nowhere! They are off the map. Are our standards contrived and not a natural and organic part of the body of Christ? Absolutely not. They were agreed on in conference “when we were in our right mind.” They are based on biblical principles and commandments, and relevant to our own age and current challenges we face today. Remember, Paul added “and such like” to the list of sins and activities to avoid in Galatians 5:19-21. The teaching ministry has the right and responsibility to define what “and such like” is in each generation.

3) “No one can live it!” This is a selfish cop-out and surrender to the flesh. Millions have lived it. What they mean is, “I can’t live it and do all the things I want to do.” A broader interpretation: “I don’t want to live it and this is my excuse.”

4) And “how do we know that we are right?” Those doctrines and practices that are essential to our salvation are not nebulous or indistinct. They are clear in the Scriptures. The Bible is our common denominator. All people in all generations from Pentecost until now are obligated to the same scriptural demands. Remove the authority of the Scriptures and no one will know the truth; everyone will have the same claim on being “right.” The more we diminish the authority of the Scriptures, the less we can claim to know absolute truth.

5) Is it really true that the new generation as yet is not willing to set up the ancient landmarks again? That may be true of a vocal few, and they would like to exaggerate the numbers, but I believe there are “7000 who have not bowed a knee to Baal.” Testing time will bring them out of the caves. They are Jacob, but not Israel? Have they not yet fought through the night and had their “thigh” experience? Has the fight gone out of them because some leaders have become benign and indifferent to the Apostolic message and values? That may explain the “southern direction” some have taken in recent years. As long as leaders are elected on the basis of “he’s a cool guy…his family has been around a long time…he has a household name…he seems to be open-minded about things…he is a loyal company man,” etc., rather than whether he loves the truth, stands for righteousness and the Apostolic message, and will speak out against drift, we will dilute the movement. As long as we give ministerial licenses to those who have not proved themselves to be loyal to truth and the biblical principles that our movement stands for, we can expect to see lots of Jacobs, but few Israels.

I invite young pastors to submit their own comments on the above thoughts.

♦♦♦♦♦♦

A/Gs cave in on biblical creation

In 1977, the Assemblies of God denomination adopted a “Doctrine of Creation” report. It stated:

This Bible record of creation thus rules out the evolutionary philosophy which states that all forms of life have come into being by gradual. progressive evolution carried on by resident forces. It also rules out any evolutionary origin for the human race, since no theory of evolution, including theistic evolution, can explain the origin of the male before the female, nor can it explain how a man could evolve into a woman.

The Genesis account of creation is intended to be taken as factual and historical. Our understanding of God as Creator is rooted in a revelation that is historical in nature, just as our understanding of God as Redeemer is
rooted in the revelation of God’s dealings with Israel in history and in the historical events of the life, death, and resurrection of His Son.

Great stuff, huh?

But fast forward to 2010 and see what’s changed. A new “Doctrine of Creation” was adopted by that same denomination’s governing body, the “general presbytery,” in August. Here is the AG’s official view today:

“The advance of scientific research, particularly in the last few centuries, has raised many questions about the interpretation of the Genesis accounts of creation. In attempting to reconcile the Bible and the theories and conclusions of contemporary scientists, it should be remembered that the creation accounts do not give precise details
as to how God went about His creative activity. Nor do these accounts provide us with complete chronologies that enable us to date with precision the time of the various stages of creation. Similarly, the findings of science are constantly expanding; the accepted theories of one generation are often revised in the next.

“As a result, equally devout Christian believers have formed very different opinions about the age of the earth, the age of humankind, and the ways in which God went about the creative processes. Given the limited information available in Scripture, it does not seem wise to be overly dogmatic about any particular creation theory. We urge all sincere and conscientious believers to adhere to what the Bible plainly teaches and to avoid divisiveness over debatable theories of creation.” [End of statement]

My heart was heavy as I read the statement: “The findings of science are constantly expanding; the accepted theories of one generation are often revised in the next.” Well, at least the Bible hasn’t changed in the past 33 years. But man’s ideas certainly have!

The message from this denomination is essentially: because of “the theories and conclusions of contemporary scientists” regarding origins, then Christians must change their interpretation of the Bible in Genesis!

This low view of Scripture and esteeming man’s ideas is a major problem within many denominations. In fact, the tragedy of reinterpreting God’s clear words to fit in man’s beliefs has always existed with God’s people. The same problem is recorded in Genesis when the serpent tempted Eve asking, “Did God really say…?”

Creating doubt on God’s Word has greatly undermined biblical authority in society as a whole, even its churches. We live in an era of great scientific advancement. But remember, “science” means knowledge. There is a big difference between knowledge gained by observation that builds our technology in the present (“operational science”) and knowledge concerning the past (“historical science”) which cannot be observed directly. “Historical science” is being used as the authority over God’s Word.

The A/G denomination is insisting that fallible man’s historical science (beliefs about the past concerning origins) must be used to reinterpret God’s clear and infallible Word. (By the way, I thank God for the many pastors in Assembly of God churches who cringe at their denomination’s new position, and support AiG.)

Our mission statement declares that we are to be “a catalyst to bring reformation by reclaiming the foundations of our faith which are found in the Bible, from the very first verse.”

What can the righteous do as the foundations of Christianity are being destroyed? We need a new reformation in our churches. Christians need to be figuratively nailing Genesis chapters 1-11 on the doors of churches and Christian colleges/seminaries, challenging God’s people to return to the authority of the Bible.

We will continue to see a decline in our nation, churches, and families-unless God’s people repent of compromise and return to His Word! [end of report]

Excerpted from Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, Vol. 17, Issue 10; pp. 1,2

“The Doctrine of Creation,” copyrighted by the General Council of the Assemblies of God; adopted by the Assemblies of God General Presbytery, August 15-17, 1977

August 9-11, 2010; http://ag.org/top/beliefs/Position_Papers/pp-downloads/PP_The_Doctrine_of_Crcation.pdf

♦♦♦♦♦♦

When the Desert Arabs had Israel

Jews have always been good at keeping an area “green”—in any sense of the word. Here is Mark Twain’s description of Palestine in 1867, excerpted from his book The Innocents Abroad (1867):

“Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, they are unpicturesque in shape. The valleys are unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation that has an expression about it of being sorrowful and despondent….It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land.

“Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. … Nazareth is forlorn; about that ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins of the desert; Jericho the accursed, likes a moldering ruin, today, even as Joshua’s miracle left it more than three thousand years ago; Bethlehem and Bethany, in their  poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the Saviour’s presence; they hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang Peace on earth, good will to men, is untenanted by any living creature, and unblessed by any feature that is pleasant to the eye. Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village, the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was the pride and glory of Israel, is gone, and the Ottoman crescent is lifted above the spot where, on that most memorable day in the annals of the world, they reared the Holy Cross. The noted Sea of Galilee, where Roman fleets once rode at anchor and the disciples of the Saviour sailed in their ships, was long ago deserted by the devotees of war and commerce, and its borders are a silent wilderness; Capernaum is a shapeless ruin; Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs; Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth, and the ‘desert places’ round about them where thousands of men once listened to the Saviour’s voice and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes.

“Palestine is desolate and unlovely. And why should it be otherwise.—can the curse of the Deity beautify a land?

“It was hard to realize that this silent plain [Jezreel] had once resounded with martial music and trembled to the tramp of armed men…. A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action.

“We traversed some miles of desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds—a silent, mournful expanse, wherein we saw only three persons—Arabs, with nothing on but a long coarse shirt like the ‘tow-linen’ shirts which used to form the only summer garment of little negro boys on Southern plantations. Shepherds they were….

“We saw water, then, but nowhere in all the waste around was there a foot of shade, and we were scorching to death…. Stirring scenes like these occur in this valley [Jezreel] no more. There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent—not for thirty miles in either direction. There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single permanent habitation. One may ride ten miles, hereabouts, and not see ten human beings.” [End of Twain’s report]

It would be difficult to agree with any assessment that the land was well-developed under Arab rule. It was the Jews who returned in force in the first half of the 20th century who made the “desert blossom like a rose.”

♦♦♦♦♦♦

Quotes

“Unthinking respect for [earthly] authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”  – Albert Einstein

“Leadership is the ability to teach people and organizations to surpass themselves.” – Tony Leary

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Except for ending slavery, fascism, Nazism, and communism, WAR has never solved anything.” – Unknown

“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot build character by taking away initiative and independence.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

–Attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but this cannot be definitely verified. Whoever wrote it made some valid points. Don’t you wish President Obama would embrace these principles?

♦♦♦♦♦♦

Apostolic Theological Forum

Don’t forget to mark January 20-21, 2011 on your calendar. That is the date of the Apostolic Theological Forum in Euless, TX at the First UPC. You will enjoy the presentation of the papers, the open atmosphere and the discussions. For directions and lodging information, call Leah at the church (817-267-0254) or her cell (817-919-6843). For other information, call 936-856-3419 or email jnz@shawus.com. See you in Euless!

♦♦♦♦♦♦

Another reason to trust the Word of God

Does the inscription at right mention king Solomon’s gold?

This fragment of an ancient pottery jar was discovered at Tel Qasile near Jaffa in Israel. It contains an inscription which mentions “Ophir gold” and the temple of Horon, a Canaanite deity. The Gold of Ophir Inscription is important in the study of biblical archaeology. It corresponds with what the Bible says about the gold at Solomon’s Temple.

“Gold of Ophir to Beth-Horon…30 shekels”

“Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal.” – I Chronicles 29:3-4

♦♦♦♦♦♦

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

It is our patriotic duty to vote. If you don’t vote, don’t complain if things don’t go your way. Urge your friends and your congregation to get out and vote! You have only one day left! It is time we exercised our constitutional right and let Washington know that we are unhappy with the socialistic trend of the present administration.

♦♦♦♦♦♦

News Flash! Rahm Emanuel leaves White House to run for mayor of Chicago. Gives clear sign as to how he truly feels about selfless service in the public good.

♦♦♦♦♦♦

New books on baptism in the name of Jesus!

Apostolic (Acts 2:38) and Post-Apostolic (Matthew 28:19) Baptism Vol I & II

New research by Kulwant Singh Boora, a British Apostolic Oneness writer, is sparking new interest in biblical baptism among traditional Christians. Volume I and Volume II are off the press and ready for you to order. These books contain research that you have probably never seen on the message we hold dear to our hearts. He confirms that baptism was performed only in the name of Jesus in the early church. He also shows that it was embraced by many groups and theologians throughout the post-Apostolic period and the Middle Ages. You will appreciate the research that he shares in these volumes that decimates the trinitarian formula for water baptism. They will be a positive edition to your library. Quantity limited. Order today. AM price only 19.95 for each volume.

Into His Marvelous Light

Into His Marvelous Light is now available in both KJV and NIV in English. The follow-up Bible study is Guide For Living.

Go to onehourbiblestudy.com or advanceministries.org to place your order.

SPECIAL half-price sale through the end of the year on Spanish IHML. Place your order by calling 936-856-3419.

Azusa Street Mission and Revival

by Cecil Robeck, Jr.

This book tells the story of the small group that gathered in Los Angeles in 1906 and changed the world of Christianity. With little more than a printing press, a trolly stop, and a powerful message, the revival rapidly crossed international borders and the shock waves reverberated around the world. This is perhaps the most complete story in text and pictures of the event that forever altered the landscape of Christianity. Has pictures rarely published before. AM price only 14.95

All AM books, Bibles and materials can be purchased at advanceministries.org or call 936-856-3419.

♦♦♦♦♦♦

Pants on the ground, pants on the ground! Just thank God for long T-shirts!

♦♦♦♦♦♦

Parting shot

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. – Thomas Jefferson

♦♦♦♦♦♦

Thanks for visiting. Drop by again soon. We may have some updates during the month of November.

JREnsey

Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 6:25 AM  Comments (3)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://jrenseyblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/november-2010-blog/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Excellent Elder. Thank you.

  2. Bro. Ensey,

    In response to your article “Young Pentecostals” I have some thoughts, although I’m not sure if I still qualify as “young”. 🙂

    I see too much effort in our movement to identify with what other denominations are doing. We have become a copy cat movement instead of a pace setter movement. I recently heard a preacher say this, “Cutting edge is not going to the latest conference to learn the latest technique, but it is getting on your face before God to hear what thus sayeth the Lord.” Right on Brother!!

    I get the sense that in some ways the elder generation is trying to give the younger generation what they think it wants instead of what it needs. This will result in a generation of people who have no identity and no concrete beliefs.

    The Bible is the sole authority and should be preached and taught as such. Holiness is not optional but necessary. Salvation can only be obtained through the new birth experience. It worked “back then” and it still works today.
    People are hungry and looking for truth. If we will but stand up and preach it, they will be saved. Just this past Wednesday night I baptized a former Church of God preacher. He told me, “I have never felt anything like this before!”

    The challenge for pastors today is not keeping the church out of the world, but the world out of the church. I for one am determined to stand up for truth no matter how much those around me may compromise. I have decided to stick with Jesus, stand on his Word, and depend on his blood.

    To quote one of my old pastors whom I still greatly admire and respect: “If you try to live for God easy, it will be hard. If you live for God hard, it will be easy!” (T. L. Craft) I have found this to be true. Sell out to Jesus, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him and you will not have a problem denying ungodliness, worldiness, and falsehood.

    Keep up the good work.

    Bro. Clenney

  3. Bro. Ensey,

    As for the Young Pentecostals article, there is not much for me to add. Your responses hit the target! I used the “bullfrogs in the pond story” on a peer earlier this morning.

    As for the objection that no one can live up to it, Muslims adhere to strict moral codes and dress standards, that are far more modest than we are. They hold a much stricter outward standard than we do, but out of fear and oppresive legalistic tradition. We have the His Spirit, which Paul called the “spirit of holiness” in Romans 1:4. We live the way we do, because we desire to be like Him and to “deny ungodliness and wordly lusts” being taught by the grace of God.

    (I have neighbors that are old time conservative AG and they still hold a standard of sorts, which is admirable to me).

    God bless you Bro. Ensey! I enjoy reading your blog every month.

    Justin Bullard


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: