WELCOME to the MAY edition of our monthly E-zine—articles, books, inspirational nuggets, and information on current issues.
Fair, Balanced, and Unafraid
I recently heard a newsman close out the segment of news that he anchored with a line that caught my attention. He described his presentation of the news as “fair, balanced, and unafraid” (maybe like the guy in the picture).
I thought that might be a pretty good motto for Apostolic Christians. Fair, in the sense of not condemning everyone who was not a part of our group or our meeting, regardless of what they taught or where they stood. Balanced, for the reason that extreme positions usually produce extreme attitudes. Unafraid, since God’s men must declare His Word without fear of what some might think about them or do to them.
It seems only right that we should be fair in our assessments of conditions in the church and the world, balanced in our use of the Word in handling matters of difference between brethren, and unafraid of elements that oppose the work of God. That doesn’t mean that fairness should be defined as cutting slack for anyone in false doctrine or an unbiblical lifestyle. There is no suggestion of balancing truth with error, or ignoring ethics and calling it fearlessness.
I just thought the line was catchy and relevant, perhaps in ways that Christians could employ it. The writer of the Epistle of James would have loved it.
The Houston Chronicle has reporters keeping up with the numbers of doctors who are losing their licenses or being censured for their drug prescription practices. The number keeps climbing. An April 19 headline: “Board lifts license of Clear Lake doc.” Scores of other doctors have been investigated. One of the worst aspects of it is that children are being drugged at an alarming age, even pre-schoolers.
The reason so many people are popping pills for “mental problems” or a so-called “chemical imbalance” is because virtually all psychiatrists and a probable majority of MDs are much too quick to prescribe anti-depressants and similar pills for almost any “feeling” a patient brings to them.
“Well, if you can’t trust your doctor, who can you trust?” is a common response. Doctors who see patients complaining of mood irregularities and certain “feelings” are trained to prescribe a chemical solution for them. They are encouraged to do so by perks provided by the pharmaceutical industry. Do the pills “cure” the problems? If they did, or if the pills were harmless, we would let sleeping dogs lie. However, that is NOT the case. How many have to be made mental cripples for life or die before we understand what is happening?
I have dozens of books in my library by doctors who are pleading with the general public to stay off of pills prescribed for emotional problems. Pills do not heal one’s “damaged emotions.” Once a person is on drugs, it is extremely difficult to get off. Of course that is what big pharma planned. The bottom line is money, of course.
Studies show that even if a depressed person does nothing they will often get better quicker without medication. And medication has long-lasting negative effects. Pastors tell us often that people in their congregations who start taking psychotropic drugs are forever changed in the way they relate to God, church, and the ministry. Many are dead today because of these drugs, including a number of Apostolics. Does anyone care? Who else is raising the alarm? Thank God for hundreds of doctors, as well as biblical counselors and common sense moms and dads, who are saying enough is enough.
Don’t be deceived by those who say taking psychodrugs for emotional stress or bouts with perceived depression is no different from taking medicine for an ulcer or blood pressure are themselves deceived. And please don’t just take my word for this. Do your own research. Our April blog provided a number of websites to help with your research.
Don’t be a victim of big pharma!
Wonderful Sharia law
The story of Mukhtaran Mai has touched people in many nations of the world. She lived in a remote village of Pakistan and worked as a seamstress. Her brother was accused of having an affair with a girl from another tribe of Pakistanis. Therefore, being his sister, she was sentenced by the local elders to be raped by fourteen men. Isn’t Muslim law wonderful? Six of the 14 men were convicted and sentenced to death. Five of the six have since been freed (anyone surprised?), leaving only one man to face some degree of sentencing. What a tremendous sense of justice! And the clerics who want to build a mosque close to Ground Zero in NYC say that Sharia law is totally compatible with the U.S. Constitution. What utter nonsense!
To hear our politicians and our president praise Islam as a “religion” of peace and compassion makes a patriot’s blood boil. Better speak up now or be silenced forever.
Unchurched Americans are turning to agnosticism and atheism in record numbers. Others see universalism as a comforting belief. Why this leftward movement today? There may be a number of reasons besides the fact that there are more and easier ways to sin, but I will suggest three factors I see at work.
First, the promotion of some form of New Age/Catholic spirituality by former Evangelicals is encouraging millions to become comfortable with being “spiritual” rather than “religious.” Christianity is tossed into the mix with Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and other religions. Being spiritual doesn’t label you. One doesn’t have to practice any particular faith or manifest or certain lifestyle if all they profess is some brand of “spirituality.” Closet atheists love to hide behind the veil of esoteric spirituality.
Second, the current pressure by educators to get youth to embrace the principles of evolutionary science is separating many young people and college students from their Christian upbringing. Coupled with a lack of sound Bible teaching from the first few chapters of Genesis, millions of youth from Christian homes have come to doubt the authority of the Scriptures. And without the absolutes of the Scriptures, any faith is considered to be subjective.
Third, so many Evangelical fruitcakes have surfaced over the last thirty years that the faith of many has been totally subverted. When the likes of Robert Tilton, Todd Bentley, Benny Hinn, and Ted Haggard are mostly what represent Christianity on television and the media, is it any wonder that many are disheartened and disillusioned and ready to toss their faith overboard? Those named (a hundred others could be) are considered to be “Charismatics,” a category in which we are sometimes placed by the uninformed. The more that dishonest and disreputable persons portray Christians, the more will be turned away from the truth.
So what can we do?
First, project a true, biblical spirituality—walking in the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit. Ignore and repudiate the New Age/Catholic proponents who try to push us into the so-called spirituality of the “desert fathers” of the fifth century or the medieval age. What were they profited by the contemplation of their “higher inner self” while sitting alone in a rocky cave or the silence of monastery?
Second, we must renew a fervency for the authority of the Scriptures, particularly focusing on the first few chapters of Genesis. If we cannot convince our young people that the Word of God can be trusted there, why would they choose to trust any other portions of it?
Third, denounce and distance ourselves from the greedy, selfish televangelists who dominate the media with their prosperity gospel and weird theories, while they lie, cheat and steal from honest-hearted widows and simple, naïve listeners. Like the New Spirituality advocates, they are preaching “another Jesus.” They must be exposed. Where is Paul when we need him?
Doing nothing is not an option!
Does Acts 22:9 contradict Acts 9:7?
The testimony of Paul in Jerusalem in Acts 22 states that the men with Paul on the Damascus Road saw the light but did not “hear” God’s voice. The record of Luke in Acts 9:7 says that they “heard” a voice but saw no man. Since the same man wrote both verses, surely he would not have written contradictory accounts.
The Bible does not say the men with Paul didn’t see the light—they just didn’t know who was speaking or the source of the sound. And since Jesus was speaking only to Paul, the others did not understand what was being said. A similar situation occurred in John 12:29—“The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.” Hearing and understanding are not the same. Perhaps God has a “scrambler.”
Greek grammarians assure us that when a form of the verb “to hear” is followed by the accusative case, it may be rendered “to understand.” When followed by the genitive case, it suggests they did not comprehend (22:9). Understanding is the key to recognition that there is no contradiction in this story.
Don’t mess with the Word—“the word is right” (Psalm 33:4).
The burdensome stone
Twenty-four hundred years ago, the prophet Zechariah accurately prophesied that someday Israel would become “a burdensome stone for all people” (Zechariah 12:3). We are seeing that prophecy fulfilled in our time.
One of the primary purposes for the last world war was to annihilate the Jews. The nation that tried—Germany— was itself virtually annihilated, but two years later Israel became a nation. The Jews had become an object of hate for Hitler and his minions. They were a burdensome stone.
Since Israel became a nation in 1948, it seems that almost every conflict involves them in some way, either directly or indirectly. The world is divided into two camps—those who love Israel and those who hate Israel. And they are a burden to both sides—for those who oppose her she will not go away. For those who support her, the cost is extremely high, not only in terms of financial and humanitarian aid, but in loss of friendship of those who hate her.
The Muslim world feels that Israel should be pushed into the sea and removed from the earth. They will never be happy until Ishmael has totally abolished Isaac. Several attempts have all ended in failure. They have Israel completely surrounded but yet they are fearful of the little nation’s might. While the “wandering Jew” had no home for 1800 years, and was the object of scorn—“an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee” (Deuteronomy 28:37)—yet they survived. They have returned to their home and are determined to live in it.
God brought Israel back to statehood because it has a role to play in the endtime. The Book of Revelation makes it plain that Israel will have great prominence in the way the Lord brings history to a climactic close. The Muslims should look away from the Qur’an and read a little in Revelation. They would be wise to let that burdensome stone alone.
Day sleeper—Do not disturb!
By Harlan Morgan
During our travels as full-time evangelists, my wife and I would sometimes walk the streets of residential areas of the towns we visited, knocking doors, handing out invitations to the revival services. On one such occasion in Cherryvale, Kansas, my wife and I took to the streets, armed with invitations to the revivals. At a few doors, warm smiles greeted us. As always happens with outreach, some doors never opened, and a few others were none to politely closed in our faces.
As we approached a residence in one apartment building, I noticed a sign glaring from the front door—“DAY SLEEPER – DO NOT DISTURB!” In other words, “I am asleep—do not bother me!”
We passed by that door without knocking.
From time to time, I have pondered the words scrawled on that sign. There are many people who live their lives with that sign posted on their countenance. Their expression says, “I am comfortable, so leave me alone!” With their spiritual blinds drawn and doors closed, they say, “I am content in my darkness, do not turn on the light!”
For many years before the entrance of John the Baptist, there had been no word from the Lord. The law of Moses had become corrupted, and the religious sects had become blind guides, leading blind followers, with all falling into the ditch. They lived in darkness, but they loved the darkness, because their deeds were evil.
Into this environment walked John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ. Into their darkness, he sounded the alarm, calling them “hypocrites,” and “a generation of vipers!” He preached to them about One who was coming who would baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire! Yet, they simply closed the door in his face and rejected his message.
When Jesus arrived on the scene, many followed Him for the loaves and fishes, but when He began to teach Christianity, they retreated into their darkened rooms and drew the blinds. “Do not disturb us! We are asleep!” The Light shone in darkness, and in their darkness, they did not recognize the Light!
Finally, the jangling of the alarm clock on the Day of Pentecost awakened a world that was asleep. One hundred twenty people received the Holy Ghost and came out of the upper room in Jerusalem, rejoicing in the Light that was now in them.
On that great birthday of the church, many asked, “What shall we do?” Peter replied with an anointed message. “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:38-39) While many rejected the experience of Pentecost and withdrew back into their spiritual piety, multitudes obeyed this great apostolic message and were added to the church!
Over time, the message of Pentecost has been diluted, explained away, and otherwise rejected. Many have retreated into their darkened rooms of religiosity and pasted a message upon their hearts, “DAY SLEEPER—DO NOT DISTURB.”
Outside the door, the Light is knocking. “I have even greater things for you,” He says. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Will you let Him in?
—Excerpted from A Walk in the Morning by Harlan Morgan. Available from advanceministries.org. Order online.
Info on Freemasonry
I was informed of an article in the St. Petersburg, FL Times. The Business Section writer asked readers for ideas on: “How Would You Fix the Economy?”
Some think one reader nailed it:
Dear Mr. President,
Please find below my suggestion for fixing America’s economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the “Patriotic Retirement Plan”:
There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings—unemployment fixed.
2) They MUST buy a new American car. Forty million cars ordered—auto industry fixed.
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage—housing crisis fixed.
It can’t get any easier than that!!
P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of Congress pay their taxes. And Mr. President, while you’re at it, make Congress retire on Social Security and Medicare. Both programs would be fixed pronto!
Inroads of Reformed Theology
One Sunday last month, a lady who has begun attending our church told me that her son, who has a troubled life, had been informed by a Calvinist (a strict Reformed Theology adherent) that he was doomed to hell because he was not one of the elect for whom Christ died. It totally crashed his world and weighed heavily upon his mother. Without hope, what do we really have?
Calvinism is cruel. Reformed theology, of which Calvinism is a vital part, is dangerous. Even the respected Christian counselor Jay Adams (Competent to Counsel and many other books) made this statement in the above mentioned book: “As a reformed Christian, the writer believes that counselors must not tell any unsaved counselee that Christ died for him, for they cannot say that. No man knows except Christ himself who are his elect for whom he died” (p. 70). That is heresy, you say. But that is Reformed Theology—the theology of Calvin, of R. C. Sproul, John Piper, and a host of other prolific authors. Arthur Pink’s affirmation that Christ does not love the non-elect reminds us of one minister’s view of hyper-Calvinism: “God hates you, He has a terrible plan for your life, and there is nothing you can do about it.”
I would not worry about any of this, heresies will come, said the apostle, but I regret that it is creeping into our own Pentecostal ranks. Only certain aspects of it will show up at first, but when the camel gets its head under the tent, the body won’t be far behind.
Why the sudden popularity of the Eastern Orthodox Church brand of Christianity? EO churches love ritual. I suppose some just like to sit and watch it all unfold. Strange.
And why the movement toward Reformed Theology (RT)? Some Evangelical types are becoming enthralled with the likes of R. C. Sproul (pictured), John Piper, Jerry Bridges and others who are stuck in the sixteenth century and can’t seem to progress into the current millennium. A number of “emerging” ministers have adopted a Reformed position. Even some Apostolics have fallen prey to their glib teachers and have cast their lot with John Calvin rather than John the Revelator. What’s going on?
Some may become snared before they really know what is happening. RTs publish books and Bible studies prolifically while we are busy prowling the suit shops, pricing the latest tech toy, and texting on our I-Phones. They have flooded the print and broadcast markets with their skewed views, particularly in the area of eschatology. When you hear someone question the Rapture, the reality of a future Tribulation and Millennium, suggest that the devil has already been bound, that the Book of Revelation is to be considered as allegorical or historical in some way, that Jesus “came” or “returned” in some fashion in A.D. 70, that there is no future for national Israel, that the church is destined to be “triumphant” in evangelizing the world and taking dominion of its societal segments, you might suspect that they have been reading and studying Reformed Theology. Or at least being influenced by those who have.
If you would like to know more about what RT teaches, here is a link that you might find helpful: advanceministries.org. Another site:
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary set
This is one of the handiest sets on the market. The material is easy to find and access. I use it frequently and find it generally Evangelical and sound scholarship. Elder V. A. Guidroz, TX District Superintendent, put me onto these in the late 1950s. A good buy and worth the money. List $99.95. One set only for $39.95
Matthew Henry Commentary Complete 7 volume Set w/CD – One left; first $49 gets it!
For 300 years, Matthew Henry’s Commentary has been a favorite of teachers, preachers, and laypeople. His rich exposition and useful applications are perfect for devotional reading and sermon help. This edition features modern print and J.B. Williams’s extensive 1828 account of Henry’s life and writings. Includes a CD with the entire searchable text to install on your computer. Approx. 5500 pages total, six hardcovers from Hendrickson.
List price $129.95
Some say this is their favorite expositional commentary. Written in a style that makes for not only interesting reading but provides indepth analysis of Scripture. Good material for sermon and lesson preparation. The historical insights and sound Evangelical scholarship are worth more than the cost! Buy a set and be blessed; give a set be a blessing!!
List price $229.95
Order all the above books by phone, please. First come, first served! 936-856-3419
Libya wants a new Muslim leader. I suggest we give them ours. Solves two problems. – The wisdom of Garfield
• For your information, Albert Einstein was home schooled.
• Change isn’t necessarily improvement. Sometimes an old setup is better than a new upset.