WELCOME to the April edition of our monthly E-zine—articles, books, inspirational nuggets, and information on current issues.
“Church members generally are as ignorant of the Bible as are Americans of the Constitution.” – Playing Marbles with Diamonds (Baker, 1985); p. 24
“We sing, ‘Savior, more than life to me,’ ‘Jesus is all the world to me,’ ‘Thou from hence my all shalt be,’ ‘Now Thee alone I seek; give what is best.’ But we are usually at least partially unconscious when we sing in church. If we took stock of what we were singing, we might not be able to make it honestly through the first verse!” – pp. 30, 31; italics in original
“I am tired of all the talk about what we must sacrifice to follow Jesus Christ. Look at what we get!” – p. 33
“Everybody expects the preacher to be ready to preach but who thinks of the congregation’s responsibility to be ready to listen.” – p. 59
“[E]xcuses . . . are only skins of reasons stuffed with lies.” – p. 82
“Fraternizing with apostates is a peril common to Jeroboam’s day and our own.” – p. 84
Exposition of John 14:12
Only a pride-bound egomaniac would interpret this passage to mean that he could individually out-perform, out-miracle, out-heal, out-anything Jesus Christ, the God of the universe! Yet some brazenly point to this scripture as a proof-text for their claims of signs and wonders. Such a ministry would be desirable by some because “great works” are impressive. Simon stands out as an example (Acts 8:13-24).
We might point out that not only did Jesus heal the sick but He also calmed the winds and waves. Not many are out trying to repeat that miracle. And how about walking on the water? Can anyone top that? If men could heal at will and perform the wonders Jesus did anytime they chose, overnight they would become idols to be worshipped and gods in their own eyes. Such power solely in the hands of men would produce chaos. Miracles, or divine interruptions of the laws of nature, are still God’s business.
Let’s be realistic. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh—the same God who parted the waters of the Red Sea, sent manna from heaven, provided water from a rock, healed serpent bites, kept the Israelites from the diseases of the Egyptians, and stopped the universe in its tracks for Joshua. If we had to do all the wonderful things He did in order to prove that we are believers, none of us would be able to qualify. We would not have the innate wisdom to handle such awesome power. Thankfully, we are not required to play God! We are to put our trust in Him—not ourselves. That takes a lot of pressure and anxiety off of us.
Most scholars view the fulfillment of this verse in terms of quantity rather than quality of miracles. And perhaps we should not think of “works” solely in terms of miracles and signs. Certainly His disciples have extended the kingdom further, have preached to more people, made more converts, and have seen more miracles (in terms of numbers) than did Jesus Himself. There might be some legitimacy to those claims.
May a spirit of self-sufficiency never invade our hearts. Jesus spoke the truth when He said, “Without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). That is still the truth today.
—Excerpted from Faith In The Furnace: A biblical perspective on divine healing; J. R. Ensey (See “Books” below.)
Now that Rob Bell, one of the Emergent movement’s brightest stars, has confirmed his position as one of the nation’s top apostates (heretic sounded too mild), the Evangelical notables are coming down on one side or the other. Bell let us know that a loving God would never allow a human being to go to an everlasting Hell. Hell, he says, is one we make for ourselves on earth. While he dismisses the label of universalism, he posits that everyone will ultimately go to heaven. That is universalism, Rob.
And by the way, Rob, if there is no Hell, are you sure there is a Heaven for everyone to go to? The same Book that speaks of Heaven tells us that Hell is a reality. You can’t have it both ways, dummy.
His position is being called “a generous orthodoxy” rather than a “stingy” one. Isn’t he all heart? Instead of allowing God to judge us as humans by the criteria in His Word, we humans want to judge God by our own standards: “A mean, bloodthirsty God who would send millions to Hell is simply inconceivable” to the minds of Bell and his ilk.
What chaps every observer of the current Evangelical scene is that some well-meaning young pastors fall in behind such attendance gurus (he claims 10,000 attendees) and become virtual disciples because these wacky, soft-headed evangelical agnostics can generate a crowd. Then down the road we learn what they really are and what they truly believe. So Bell hasn’t built a church at all, just gathered a crowd from the mixed multitude of Egypt.
We need to admit it—the church growth movement is bankrupt! We need to stop buying their books and reading their posts and tweets. We are the ones who are building churches; they are just bunching folks up on the broadway to Hell. We have nothing in common with the Rick Warrens, the Bill Hybels, Rob Bells, Doug Pagitts, the Joel Osteens and others who are more into the social and/or psychological gospel than the Bible’s gospel. Truth matters. Character matters. Ask the One who sits on the judgment seat.
And by the way, God is not stingy with redemption and eternal life. Check out the Man on the cross.
Speak now or forever hold your peace…
When Hitler took over in Germany, many of the scientists were exiled, especially those who were of Jewish descent. But he noticed that the German Christians were the only ones who pushed back with any degree of effectiveness. 800 Evangelical pastors took a strong stand against the Nazi regime. Most were imprisoned or executed. According to Martin Niemoller, if all 14,000 of them had stood together, perhaps the number of Germans killed in WWII would have been 11,000 instead of 11,000,000!
Here is what the exiled Albert Einstein, the greatest scientist of the twentieth century, said:
“Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. . . . Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”
Standing alone, Christ will stand with us; but when we stand together, we are awesome!
It is no secret that Obama is rapidly taking us toward a socialist system where the government is all-powerful. He is overseeing the collapse of our financial system, the demise of our military, and the rise of a national militia to enforce his decrees. He is focusing on young children because he knows if he can win their hearts while they are young, when they are grown they will never return to capitalism and individual freedom.
Why does Obama want to control the educational system with such a tight fist? He knows that is where the power is to turn America into a socialist state.
Hitler appointed Joseph Goebbels as head of propaganda. It was Goebbels’ job to regulate what was shared with the public, making sure that nobody in Germany could read or see anything that was hostile or damaging to the Nazi Party and that the views of the Nazis were put across in the most persuasive manner possible. Thus Goebbels and others rewrote all textbooks and teachings to shed the most favorable light on Germany. 2 As Hitler himself said, “Let me control the textbooks and I will control the state. The state will take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing. Your child belongs to us already…what are you?”3 Hitler’s training of the German youth was key in his dominance for a good part of the Second World War. Without his youth soldiers and supporters, Hitler may not have had the same success.
Other world leaders and powers have used textbook propaganda throughout the years. In communist Russia, due to a low level of literacy, Stalin was not able to use all the same textbook propaganda techniques that other leaders of his day used, but he still filled any educational textbooks that Russians used, as well as informational videos and other such learning devices, with plenty of propaganda.4 Today Palestinian children are taught to act like Muslim suicide bombers who gloriously give their life for their country in the national resistance movement against Israel, the “occupier” and “colonialist.” Palestinian school textbooks attack the very legitimacy of the Israeli state and discuss Jews as barbarian imposters, like donkeys who deserve to be slaughtered.5
For a history of textbook propaganda, go to http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/essays/comp/cw35propaganda.htm
2. Propaganda in Nazi Germany
3. Notable Quotes of Socialism <http://www.wealth4freedom.com/truth/Socialism.htm>
4. Soviet Propaganda
5. PA School Books
An epidemic we are ignoring
Robert Whitaker, award-winning science and medicine journalist, discusses his new book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.
Why has the number of disabled mentally ill in the United States tripled over the past two decades? Every day, 1,100 adults and children are added to the government disability rolls because they have become newly disabled by mental illness, with this epidemic spreading most rapidly among our nation’s children. Anatomy of an Epidemic first investigates what is known today about the biological causes of mental disorders. Do psychiatric medications fix “chemical imbalances” in the brain, or do they, in fact, create them?
Then comes the scientific queries at the heart of this book: During the past 50 years, when investigators looked at how psychiatric drugs affected long-term outcomes, what did they find? Did they discover that the drugs help people stay well? Function better? Enjoy good physical health? Or did they find that these medications, for some paradoxical reason, increase the likelihood that people will become chronically ill, less able to function well, more prone to physical illness?
A man who worked for years in the pharmaceutical industry told me just last week that Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, noted that their cholesterol fighting drugs produced ED, so they manufactured Viagra to overcome the damage those drugs created. What a vicious cycle!
This morning as I write this (March 28), the front-page headlines in the Houston Chronicle blare the news: “LEGAL DRUG DEATH TOLL ADDING UP.” One of the “pill mill” doctors who regularly prescribes medications like Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, defended her practice of dispensing such drugs in dangerous quantities through a medical office façade, by saying this: “I have patients who come in sad. They say they look forward to coming into the office…and they leave happier.” She was among a bevy of doctors being investigated and charged with various violations. Folks, the bottom line is money. Please don’t let such quacks ruin your life or the life of a member of your family.
Please take time to hear what this author has to say:
PS – I don’t want to bore you with the drugs/mental illness issue, but we can say with the Lord: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Too many Apostolics, including pastors, are evidently being blindsided by the plague sweeping our nation. It is a tsunami of mind- and body-altering chemicals that are rendering many of our people incapable of exercising faith and making sound choices. Where are the other voices being raised against this hell-inspired scourge? Show me some hope for a turnaround and I will shut up.
There are literally hundreds of sites on the Internet which are dedicated to exposing the psychology industry, the drug manufacturers, false claims and the terrible price being paid by those caught up in that vicious cycle. It behooves us to be informed so we can intelligently counsel those in our care.
Below are some sites that you may wish to visit for information about counseling, drugs, and the psychology industry. Many of them have links to other sites that may also be helpful.
Advance Ministries – www.advanceministries.org, click on “Articles” then on…
Psychiatric Drugs: The Bane of Our Generation
Addiction: The Power of Choice
But I Can’t Forgive Myself
Should Psychology Be Integrated With Oneness Pentecostal Theology?
The Broken Cistern Syndrome
Where To Find Help In The Bible
Institute of Soteric Counseling – www.soteric.org
A Woman’s Place – www.awpministries.org
False Memory Syndrome Foundation – www.FMSFonline.org
Bogus therapies – www.quackwatch.com
Related cults, etc. – www.freedomofmind.com/resourcecenter/
Example of integrationist views – www.rapidnet.com/%7Ejbeard/bdm/exposes/crabb/crabb.htm
ADHD and drugs especially for children:
Fraudulent psychological practices and similar issues – www.cchr.org/index.cfm/5314/5976
According to researcher Darrin Patrick:
- 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse and that ministry has a negative effect on their family.
- 40% report a serious conflict with a parishioner once a month.
- 33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
- 75% report they’ve had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
- 58% of pastors indicate that their spouse needs to work either part time or full time to supplement the family income.
- 56% of pastors’ wives say they have no close friends.
- Pastors who work fewer than 50 hrs per week are 35% more likely to be terminated.
- 40% of pastors considered leaving the pastorate in the past three months.
Feeling dizzy? Take a deep breath. Here are some more statistics:
- Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
- Fifty percent of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
- Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
- Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
- Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
- Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
- Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
- Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
- Source: compiled by Darrin Patrick. I have not verified his research independently. http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/146201-death-by-ministry.html
No, we wouldn’t dream of sticking a needle in our veins. We wouldn’t consider snorting cocaine or smoking crack or weed. But, as one man observed, we are in danger of being drugged by the music of the world in which we live. Some people are virtually brain-dead because they have long followed the spirits of disunity and rebellion underlying much of the music in America today.
Is “Christian” music far behind? In so many places praise and worship music has entered the realm of entertainment. But it is the sacred cow of the Pentecostal movement. Any mention or suggestion about it draws scowls and under-the-breath comments.
I recently read a statement by Dennis Applebee that caught my attention:
“My age warns me to be careful how I judge the music, worship, and special songs of today’s church. But, age aside, one must surely question the focus of much that is called worship. Some cannot be rated more than repetitive phrases set to monotonous tunes. Even scriptural statements are sometimes sung with little or no meaning, considering the context of the reason why they are included in the service with little more than emotion guiding one to wherever the leader is supposed to be going. Maybe we should ask ourselves if our motive for having this type of singing is really to communicate the serious truths of our faith. Or have we lost the seriousness and reality of such truths to box office numbers and entertainment gain?”
An ex-member of a once-powerful church that had gone “south” was recently asked how the church had taken that path. His first answer: music! Anyone shocked? Not the pastor’s heresies, or a building program gone wrong. Not pressure from big contributors. Music was the first cause. By “music” he meant not only the choices of music but also the prominence of the music and the musicians themselves. They set the tone of the services and established, by default, the lifestyle standards of the church.
How many times must this scene be repeated before we get the message? How many times must our movement be “burned” by carnal music people before we wake up? We evidently feel that musical talent is so essential that those involved should not have to meet the standards of ministers or even ordinary saints. We still honor and put up those who sell themselves and their talent to the world, perform for trinitarian churches, and live virtually without accountability. They get “passes” on lifestyle where others have to pay. I know of one pastor who hired a music director even after another pastor had caught him in gross immorality and dismissed him. “I know he has problems, but we have to have a music director,” was the attitude of the pastor who hired him.
The Apostolic movement has the best musical talent in Christendom. That can be a blessing if it is kept “sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” While it plays a vital role in worship, it will not be our sole ticket to evangelistic success—and it can be a door to failure. As long as we continue to elevate persons to positions of prominence that do not hold the doctrinal or holiness standards we expect of ordinary ministers and saints, we will continue to get burned.
Elevating those who are unworthy—either because of doctrine or lifestyle, but deemed essential to our image—could contribute to the downfall of many, and do great damage to the movement itself.
The problem with public housing is that the residents are not the owners. The people that live in the house did not earn the house, but were loaned the property from the true owners, the taxpayers. Because of this, the residents do not have the “pride of ownership” that comes with the hard work necessary. In fact, the opposite happens and the residents resent their benefactors because the very house is a constant reminder that they themselves did not earn the right to live in the house. They do not appreciate the value of the property and see no need to maintain or respect it in any way. The result is the same whether you are talking about a studio apartment or a magnificent mansion full of priceless antiques. If the people who live there do not feel they earned the privilege, they will make this known through their actions.
The picture at above right fully illustrates this point.
The Resolute Desk in the Oval Office in the White House was built from the timbers of the HMS Resolute and was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes. It is considered a national treasure and icon of the presidency.
Mr. Obama, with (or without) all due respect, get your feet off OUR desk!
The Waldensians are among history’s first evangelicals, pre-Protestants who sprang up in the 1200s in the Piedmont Alps of Italy. The movement apparently started when Peter Waldo (or Valdes) of Lyons, a wealthy French merchant, became involved in translating the Bible into his own French-Provençal. Jesus’ words in Mark 10:22: “Go sell everything you own, then come with Me,” so moved him that he did just that. His radical Christianity led to his expulsion from Lyons and his removal to the Italian Alps. There his message of simple discipleship took root among Alpine Christians.
The Waldensians stressed love of Christ and his Word and a life of poverty. But their nonconformity invited the wrath of the church, making them targets for extermination. In 1251, for example, the Waldensians in Toulouse, France, were massacred, their town burned.
Nevertheless, by 1600, 20,000 Waldensians, mostly farmers and shepherds, filled the French/Italian Alps. On Easter week, 1655, 5,000 soldiers came against them, killing, torturing, raping, looting—1,712 were killed. The survivors escaped into the French mountains and claimed protection under the Edict of Nantes which granted freedom to French Protestants.
When King Henry XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes on October 18, 1685, the Waldensian communities swelled with Protestant refugees. The villages became armed camps of resistance. They found themselves caught between the Catholic forces of both France and Italy. On January 31, 1686, Louis XIV issued an edict to burn Waldensian churches to the ground. Protestant assemblies were forbidden, children were ordered baptized in the Catholic faith, and pastors deposed. The Waldensians were trapped and massacred—2,000 killed, 2,000 more “converted” to Catholicism, and 8,000 imprisoned, half of whom soon died of starvation and sickness.
But the next several years saw a shifting in European politics, and eventually some of the Waldensians returned to their homeland. Others made their way from the Piedmont mountains of Europe to the Piedmont mountains of North Carolina. They established the town of Valdese where they live to this day, every summer presenting their story in the open-air drama From This Day Forward.
— Excerpted from On this day, by Robert J. Morgan
By Charles Colson
February 28, 2011
The looming budget battle has all the makings of a train wreck. Nowhere, from either side of the aisle, do we see really serious proposals for adequately reducing the federal deficit. And “train wreck” is an appropriate term, given one of the items in the Administration’s budget proposal.
The Administration wants to spend $56 billion—that’s billion with a “b”—on high-speed rail service. Over the next 25 years—hold onto your hat—the total cost would be $800 billion! This, my friends, is madness in the extreme.
Supporters of high-speed rail have their reasons. One is political: In the short term, building high-speed rail will create jobs. One is ideological: Supporters say we need to keep pace with the technologies being used by other nations, like China. And one is pure insanity: Warning about lagging behind other countries, Vice President Biden ominously predicted that “If we don’t get a grip, folks, they’ll not only be teaching us, they’re gonna own our kids.”
(Read entire article at http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/16528)
It’s Never Just the Economy, Stupid
Brian T. Kennedy
WE ARE OFTEN TOLD that we possess the most powerful military in the world and that we will face no serious threat for some time to come. We are comforted with three reassurances aimed at deflecting any serious discussion of national security: (1) that Islam is a religion of peace; (2) that we will never go to war with China because our economic interests are intertwined; and (3) that America won the Cold War and Russia is no longer our enemy. But these reassurances are myths, propagated on the right and left alike. We believe them at our peril, because serious threats are already upon us.
Let me begin with Islam. We were assured that it was a religion of peace immediately following September 11. President Bush, a good man, believed or was persuaded that true Islam was not that different from Judaism or Christianity. He said…(Read entire article at http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2011&month=01)
Tolerance: a discipline for Christians only
“In a world of political correctness devoid of the rule of law, tolerance has come to mean total rejection of Christianity and moral standards. Modern tolerance redefines words like ‘marriage,’ ‘discrimination,’ ‘equality,’ ‘morality,’ and even ‘absolutes.’ The word ‘tolerance’ as it is used today never includes opposing arguments or competing worldviews. Tolerance has become Orwellian and decidedly intolerant.” – Matthew Staver, Dean and Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law
A few examples of recent intolerance for Christianity:
• The Supreme court determining to exclude anyone who prays in Jesus name from a rotation of officials who open city business meetings
• The removal of US military Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, over the issue of praying in Jesus Name
• UCLA’s prohibiting a graduating student from thanking her “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” in her graduation speech
• Colleges making special accommodations for foot baths and Muslim only prayer rooms, while a Muslim group membership may be suspended or revoked for 57 reasons including but not limited to: unbecoming behavior, insubordination, or inactivity; but denying Christian groups campus recognition “because it requires its officers and voting members to agree with its Christian beliefs”
• A San Diego elementary school created an extra recess period to allow 100 Muslim students to pray, while a federal judge upheld a Knoxville, Ky., jury’s decision that a public school could prohibit its 5th grade Christian students from studying and discussing their Bibles during recess
• Christians in America have to tolerate the defamation of their holiest images in national museums, including particularly provocative, offensive acts defined as “artwork,” some receiving taxpayer-funded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. On the other hand, several college editors who cited freedom of speech when republishing anti-Muslim cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper, were fired or disciplined because they were offensive to Muslim students
• The Council on American-Islamic Relations (Los Angeles) requested an investigation of the desecration of a Quran, Islam‘s revealed text, as a hate crime. Conversely, when Palestinians tore up Bibles for toilet paper (May 15, 2002, The Washington Times) there was no outrage, and after a church in the U.S. saved and held fundraisers to afford the cost of buying and shipping requested Bibles in the Pashto and Dari language to an American sergeant in Afghanistan, the Bibles were confiscated, thrown away, and burned. The only official comment about burning the Bibles was this one, by a Defense Department spokesman, “Troops in war zones are required to “burn their trash.” [end of article]
Don’t you know that Muslims the world over are dancing in the streets at such news from America—the Great Satan?
- Ga. School Forces Christian Student to Alter Beliefs to Graduate
- InterVarsity Head Laments: ‘Evangelical Groups Are Out’
- Religion Being Marginalized in Name of Tolerance, Warns Anglican Leader
- So Much for Tolerance
- Tenn. Students Keep Up Prayer at School Despite Ban
A biblical perspective on divine healing
by J. R.Ensey
Isn’t it time we mined the Scriptures for our theology rather than gullibly adopt the over-worked but under-proven theories of those who were little more than religious hucksters? Jesus heals! But let’s put the biblical spin on the doctrine rather than that handed down from non-Apostolics of another era. Thousands of copies have been distributed to individuals who found comfort and understanding during the deep trials of their faith. If your faith—or the faith of someone you care about—is being tried in “the furnace of affliction,” this book is for you. Order today from advanceministries.org/store. Only 9.95
Apostolic Ministerial Studies
For a list of the lesson topics, please visit advanceministries.org/store.
“This course is awesome! I have been searching for something like this for years. Every lesson is relevant and is something our Apostolic ministers need to know. I do a lot of reading, but the way you bring out the important points is exceptional. I highly recommend this course to every pastor and Christian leader.” – Dr. Kenneth Green, Baltimore, MD
“Ever since Brother Ensey told me he was working on a new study course for preachers a few years go, I have been anxiously waiting to see the finished product. After having a chance to review the course, I have not been disappointed. The experience from decades of hands-on ministry and years of training ministers has been distilled into two very user friendly manuals. Thank you, Brother Ensey, for another great resource to strengthen the ministry.” – Bishop Gary Howard, Tulsa, OK
Order your set today! AM price only 119.95. Go to advanceministries.org or call 936-856-3419.
This annual journal publishes the papers delivered at the Apostolic Theological Forum. Fresh manna!
2011 topics included:
The Truant Trinity: An examination of the pre-existence of Christ
Presenter: Roger D. Perkins
Apostolic Truth and the Philosophy of Deism
Presenter: Carl McLaughlin
The Word Is Right: A fresh look at biblical inspiration and inerrancy
Presenter: J. R. Ensey
Yirat Shamayim: A call for a revival of the fear of the Lord
Presenter: Peter Connell
The Translation Wars: A preliminary evaluation of the 2010 New International Version
Presenter: J. R. Ensey
Obey The Magistrates
Presenter: Steve Pixler
The Role of the Ascended Jesus Christ
Presenter: William F. Chalfant
Order your copy now! AM price only 10.95. Go to advanceministries.org/store.
Your tax dollars at work!
“We are witnessing today the almost complete sellout of the professing church to this pagan world. That this is to be expected in the last days of this age as we draw near Babylon and the Antichrist does not excuse such a sellout, however; what is most appalling is that most major churchmen do not seem alarmed. One hears no note of protest, and religious leaders climb on every bandwagon without knowing which way the parade is headed.” – Vance Havner
As the budding plants and trees of spring are standing tall and showing their colors, could they inspire us to do the same? Have a great month of spiritual harvest!