June 2011 Blog

WELCOME to the JUNE edition of our monthly E-zine—articles, books, inspirational nuggets, and information on current issues you may not find elsewhere. Thanks for visiting. We appreciate your patronage of advanceministries.org.

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Missed it again

How many times do the date-setters have to be wrong before they are considered unworthy of our time and attention? May 21—the date Harold Camping and others had set for Christ’s return—came and went without a hint of earthquakes or Rapture. At least I have not heard of any of our brethren who are missing.

Dates submitted by the end-of-the-world types are days when it is least likely for the Lord to come. “No man knoweth….” However, let’s don’t wag our finger too much at Mr. Camping. Making fun could subliminally suggest to our young people and children that the Rapture and the Second Coming are subjects to joke about.

Speaking of the Second Advent, may I address an area of confusion? The postmillennialists, amillennialists and preterist advocates can’t seem to grasp the concept presented in the Scriptures. They don’t believe in a “Rapture,” and because that is what is usually meant when we speak of the “Second Coming,” they denigrate both us and our eschatology. But we all know that the Second Advent involves more than the catching away of the Bride of Christ—the Rapture. Some Second Coming passages refer only to that event, while others speak of the time when He sets His foot again upon terra firma.

The First Advent involved about thirty-three years—from the manger in Bethlehem to the Ascension at Bethany. The Second Advent will involve a longer period, stretching from the Rapture to the end of Christ’s reign on the earth during the Millennium. He first takes the church out of the earth to a meeting with Him in the air (I Thessalonians 4:15-17) and deals with them at the judgment seat of Christ (II Corinthians 5:10). Then after a seven-year period of tribulation judgments on mankind (Revelation chapters 6-19), Christ comes with the raptured saints of God to the earth proper at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-16; Jude 14,15), following which He has Satan bound for 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-3) while earth’s inhabitants enjoy a time of peace under Christ’s rule (Revelation 19:1-6; Isaiah 11:6-9; et al).

So we hope no one is confused when we say, “Jesus is coming,” and describe the Rapture. We are not limiting the Second Coming to the Rapture. We are aware of all the other scriptures that expand on the Second Coming of Christ to the physical earth. We frequently distinguish between the two aspects or phases of His return. It is just a common way of saying, “Be prepared to go when He gets ready to take us out of here.”

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It began as a “Christian” school with a Puritan president

Frat banned over sexist remarks

NEW YORK – A prestigious Yale fraternity is being banned from recruiting and holding activities on campus for five years after pledges were ordered to chant obscenities against women. Yale says it has also asked the national office of Delta Kappa Epsilon to suspend the chapter for five years. The fraternity came under fire in October after pledges marched through campus and chanted phrases about sex acts. The Yale chapter of DKE includes both President George W. Bush and his father, President George H.W. Bush, among its alumni. (Source: Houston Chronicle, 5/18/11)

A truism: If everyone lets an educational institution alone—without strong oversight and timely correction—to become whatever it will, time has proven that it will someday teach that which is totally distinct from its founding principles. Yale, whose motto is Light and Truth, is but one example.

If your son or daughter, or a young person from your church, is interested in going to one of our Apostolic Bible colleges, what information is needed to make an informed decision?

First, determine that the school under consideration holds to and teaches without apology the fundamental doctrines of our faith. Second, learn whether students are taught the principles and specific applications of holiness standards that have been traditionally held and published by the endorsing entity. Third, request a Student Handbook that will usually explain, at least in theory, how well those doctrines and standards are applied to the student body. However, published rules means little unless they are enforced on campus.

Whether the school is a Pentecostal institution or merely a secular one flying a Christian flag, learn who the teachers are—what is their background, where have they previously ministered, what is their record, are they qualified beyond having gone to college and earned a degree from a government-approved institution? Do they teach that the Bible, in its entirety, is the inspired final authority?

See the book advertised below, Already Compromised, a newly published document that shows how the Christian college movement is rapidly abandoning traditional biblical doctrines and values. It would be a good investment for all our students, parents and pastors of students, and the faculties of our colleges.

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A big boot in the door

I read recently that President Obama wants to get involved with churches by making funds available to them if they “build green.” Obama wants to use federal subsidies offered through the EPA and his faith-based outreach to get churches to promulgate the green faith. I wondered if that meant build without heat and A/C. Probably not, maybe solar panels on the roof between the skylights, bamboo flooring, and rainwater harvesting. And the tithing envelopes might have to be printed on recycled paper. Whatever it means, it probably portends no good for churches in the long run.

Are the president’s motives altogether altruistic? Again, I don’t know, but my guess is that he is mostly interested in getting a little government rebate money into churches so he can attach strings to the funds. It would be a way to gag pastors and churches. That we are not currently bound and gagged is a blessing we must not take for granted. Use that blessing or lose it. We have a right to express ourselves on the issues of our nation and its politics. Someday we may not have this privilege if we are silent now.

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He being dead, yet speaketh

Selected quotes from The Restoration of Christianity by Michael Servetus (1511-1553):

“First, he is Jesus Christ; second, he is the son of God; third, he is God.” (pg. 5)

“Every God is a person; no person is a Trinity; therefore no God is a Trinity.” (pg. 65)

‎”He announced the mind of the Father and makes Him recognizable…the person of Elohim, that creates everything, existed in the flesh, and the very face of Christ is the face of God that was once visible to all.” (pg. 73)

– Source: http://evidentialfaith.blogspot.com/2011/05/quotes-from-jewish-monotheism-and.html

http://evidentialfaith.blogspot.com/search/label/Michael%20Servetus

From Evidential Faith bloghost James Anderson: “These quotes are taken directly from his recently translated work : The Restoration of Christianity (An English Translation of Chistianismi Restitutio, 1553) by Michael Servetus, and translated by Hoffman and Hillar. Published by the Edwin Mellen Press. All unbound copies of this work went up in smoke with him when he was burned at the stake on October 27, 1553. Today  the National Library of Austria in Vienna, Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, and the University of Edinburgh possess the only surviving copies of the original publication. It was translated from Latin into English in 2007. This work was also, in part, a reply to John Calvin and his Institutes of the Christian Religion.”

It might be refreshing if Servetus could arise to attend one of our symposiums or forums to speak on the Oneness of God. Some call him a Unitarian, the only name they had available at the time for such a man. But they were probably reading him wrongly. I believe he was more than merely anti-trinitarian. He believed Jesus was God. If he would have lived outside the narrow confines of sixteenth century Christianity, and had access to the scholarship available in the twenty-first century, he would have been awesome. He was only 42 years old when Calvin burned him at the stake for his views. How many modern 42 year-olds have the depth of reasoned thought the renowned Spanish physician possessed? Put him in today’s world and he might have become another apostle Paul. The state church and the strong trinitarianism of Reformed Theology just couldn’t abide such a mind. But they couldn’t keep several statutes and busts of Servetus from being erected around Europe. The common people knew he made a positive contribution to both science and religion.

Thanks, John Calvin, you narrow-minded, intolerant, religious bigot for ridding the world of such a potential mouthpiece for truth. The devil is deeply endebted to you! Hmmm…I started to just say, “Bless your heart, John” knowing the real implications of that old southern saying.

For more on Michael Servetus (Miguel Serveto, his real Spanish name), see “Why Miguel Died” under “Articles” on our web site: advanceministries.org.

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Presbyterians approve fornication

In a historic vote, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has adopted an amendment that removes a requirement of chastity for non-married clergy. The measure permits openly gay men and women in same-sex, non-celibate relationships to be ordained as clergy. [Should we applaud?]

The move reflects a monumental shift in the 2.8 million-member church, which, along with other mainline Protestant denominations, has had increasingly contentious debates and struggles over issues pertaining to gay and lesbian members and clergy. The ruling also applies to elders and deacons. Just two years ago the church defeated such an amendment. [Keep bringing a controversial measure to an organizational body long enough and it will eventually pass.]

One faction leader said, “We’ve restored the longstanding Presbyterian understanding of ordination: that the most important qualifications are related to faith, not marital status or sexuality.”

“This is profound for me,” reported the Rev. Dr. Janet Edwards, a Presbyterian minister and activist from Pittsburgh who voted for the amendment, “because the church will now choose clergy based on character and faithful lifestyles, not because they like men or women.” [Evidently, deviant sexual practices have been removed from the category of “character” by the this move. How broad-minded and loving.] Story continues below.

As with other denominations that have allowed gay clergy, most notably Episcopalians, disapproving congregations will likely leave the church. According to the Presbyterian News Service, around 100 congregations have defected in recent years, many of which leaned toward a more conservative position. Experts say the shift toward more liberal presbyteries could be a reason some church bodies switched their votes from two years ago. [No kidding! What insightful experts!]

Significantly, the amendment places more emphasis on specific character traits such as a “candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability” and church regional bodies’ powers in picking ministers. [In other words, does one have a post-graduate degree? He’s in.]

My question: If gays are permitted to live in open sin and do ministry, doesn’t that mean that straights can also? No discrimination, now, guys.

Picture caption: Happy about the amendment is the Reverend Jane Spahr is a pro-LGBT activist and Presbyterian minister who was found guilty of misconduct in 2010 by a church court for officiating the weddings of 16 gay couples when same-sex marriage was briefly legal in California. [Have you noticed, or is it just me, that women leaders seem to be directing the charge toward liberalism in some denominations?]

Source: Huffington Post, 5/10/11

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Ever learning, but what?

Someone asked me recently why didn’t I get a degree from some denominational seminary so I could have those bragging rights? Well, I am glad I did not. I have a college degree in theology, but my highly valued postgraduate work was mostly done sitting at the feet of some of the greatest thinkers in the Apostolic faith.

Too many of our leading educators were degreed from denominational institutions that have a problem with Pentecostal doctrine and practice. There they learned extra-biblical doctrines, polity and praxis of other faiths, and were then faced with the challenge of harmonizing them with Apostolic truth—a tedious task, indeed. They spent years learning at the feet of liberals and non-believers, ostensibly to get a degree that is recognized by those same non-believers. Such self-discipline is admirable, but are they stronger believers in the Apostolic way for it?

No one can deny that the vast majority of colleges and seminaries have been consigned to irreversible liberalism. The conservative voices have by and large been thoroughly purged. The tommyrot put forth in the classrooms of modern institutions can drain the true faith from one’s soul. Haven’t we lost enough men by encouraging them to earn advanced theological degrees in secular and non-Apostolic institutions? “Much learning doth make thee mad” (Acts 26:24 KJV). “Your great learning is driving you insane (NIV)…Too much study has made you crazy (NLT)…Your great learning is driving you mad” (NASB).

Trying to keep my distance, yet earn some C.E.U.s, I once enrolled in a course where the instructor insisted on wearing short pants and long, long hair, plus sandals and beard to complete the effect. I tried to look beyond those external trappings, but I couldn’t figure out why every lesson somehow had a sexual connotation, particularly adultery. He was consumed by the topic. Think he might have had a problem? Needless to say, that course was rather uninspiring and unprofitable.

I am not talking about Ivy League institutions. Almost every seminary has raced to see who could be first to shed the conservative label. Virtually every “Christian” college out there is crawfishing when it comes to the Word of God. Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis-U.S.A., and author of Already Compromised (see under Books below), notes that an increasing number of “Christian” professors teach that:

• Adam is a metaphor for Israel and was not a real person.

• Genesis One is not about creation and the material account of origins, but about the creation of some “cosmic temple.”

• The image of God evolved in man over time.

• Paul would have flunked hermeneutics.

• The Bible is a fallible collection of works written in response to ancient Near Eastern writings.

A survey of Christian colleges reveals that their theology departments are more liberal than their science departments.

An organization called the BioLogos Foundation (funded by The Templeton Foundation) is headed by two professors from Nazarene universities pushing evolution and urging a rejection of a literal Adam. They are producing a curriculum for homeschoolers to infiltrate that movement with their teachings.2

The Bryan College and Bryan Institute (Christian entities of Dayton, TN) are sponsoring a conference called Reading Genesis 1-2: An Evangelical Conversation in Chattanooga. Their promotion states, “Current scholarly evangelical work on the Old Testament presents challenges to the traditional reading of Genesis 1-2. Rather than assuming that Genesis presents a historical account of God creating man from the dust of the earth, that Adam was the common ancestor of all humans, and that human creation occurred in the relatively recent past, a newer consensual reading suggests acceptance of long ages of the earth and Darwinian evolution alongside a belief in the trustworthiness of Scripture.” In other words, we don’t believe it and we are set on convincing you of the same.3

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7), Paul said of men in these last days. Sheepskin-covered walls, but ignorant of the truth.

Learning real truth never did drive anyone crazy!

Notes:

1. For an in-depth look at the slide of America’s seminaries toward liberalism and apostasy, see “The Kiss of Betrayal: The Record of Theological Seminaries in America,” by J.R.Ensey in the 2010 edition of the Journal of the Apostolic Theological Forum.]

2. Ken Ham, “A Tsunami of Compromise,” Answers Update, V. 18, #5, p. 1

3. http://www.bryan.edu/genesis

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Apostolic Theological Forum Goes East

Southeast, that is. The 2012 ATF will convene on January 19,20 in Albany, Georgia. This will be the first time for it to be hosted outside of Texas. New Life Church of Albany, pastored by Brother Steve Waldron, will host the Forum. Apostolic thinkers and writers will deliver papers on current theological topics. Those attending will have the opportunity to ask questions and make comments.

Mark your calendar and watch for further announcements.

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Trampled underfoot

In Matthew 5:13, Jesus made an observation about an element common to His hearers: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

They could understand what He was saying. If believers were not “salty,” meaning effective witnesses, declarers of truth and manifesting a lifestyle worthy of imitation, they would be virtually worthless to the kingdom. What an indictment of those who are little more than pew-warmers, uncommitted and uninvolved.

Too many seem to have fallen prey to a tasteless Christianity that proposes being a “good person” is all that is necessary to fulfill our Christian duty. What will happen to such folk? The question seems to be answered in the same passage: “It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

What does “cast out, and trodden under foot” mean? Perhaps something different in each age or generation. Whatever it would mean for us today, it would not be good. Does “cast out” mean marginalized? Persecuted? Singled out for discrimination? Would “trodden under foot” suggest the heel of oppression? Subjugation to tyranny? Even martyrdom?

This passage should serve as a motivation for us to be “salty”—meaning our full commitment to biblical principles, manifesting a steady faith in the authority of God’s Word, and fulfilling our purpose in this age (John 15:16).

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Psychiatric drugs and your child’s future

By Thomas Lane and Loy Whitman

Let’s suppose a school administration has contacted you to discuss your child’s “troublesome” behavior in the classroom. You are alarmed. You want to do the right thing.

In follow-up meetings, your child is labeled with a formidable sounding name (ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Pervasive Development Disorder, Bi-Polar, etc). It feels like you’ve just been told your child has come down with an incurable disease.

Your first instinct may be to dismiss the finding. Then again, these professionals have big credentials and years of experience, so you listen. They want to prescribe Ritalin or Prozac (or any number of drugs) to fix the disturbing behavior.

You ask yourself: “Who am I to ignore an expert?” (Read the remainder of this article here…)

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Simple praying

Seems like we are complicating our spiritual lives today at a time when we should be simplifying them. Reading after certain persons makes one feel like he can’t be successful in living for God, or know how to pray if he is not a psychologist, a super-positive optimist, or can sit cross-legged and meditate like a Catholic hermit in the fifth century.

In a recent lesson on biblical wisdom, I suggested an alternative line of praying. Rather than asking God to “fix” our financial ills, pray for wisdom to know how to manage our affairs biblically. Rather than asking God to independently repair our marital relationship, pray for wisdom to know how to relate to one another in a scriptural way. God is not necessarily into “fixing” all of our problems for us. He offers us a way to live that will circumvent the majority of human problems, thus eliminating the need for consistent unilateral intervention.

You do not have to be some psychology guru to be blessed or used of God. God doesn’t respond to mental manipulation and rhetorical formulas. He withdraws from being our servant. That isn’t His role—it is ours. God would not be “the only wise God” if He depended on us to tell Him what to do.

Talk to God like He is God, in humility and submission. Pray all during the day, not just when you stop and kneel. Live in an attitude of prayer. Pray prayers that He can answer without violating some larger principle of ethics and righteousness—such as arbitrarily overcoming someone’s free will. Pray for light on your path, and sight to see the light. Then help God answer that prayer by looking for the light.

“Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).

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The Babylonian Chronicles

Digging up the Bible…what faith-building fun!

The Babylonian Chronicles, a series of clay tablets with the history of the area during the 6th and 7th centuries B.C. They were found in southern Iraq. Here is part of their story.

Around 605 B.C. Nineveh and Assyria had fallen. It was just Egypt and Babylon who were seeking world supremacy. The young brilliant new king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, went out and defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish. He marched on to Judah, during Jehoiakim’s reign, and took thousands of Hebrews back to Babylon (including Daniel, who became one of the greatest prophets). Nebuchadnezzar made two more attacks when he heard of rebellion in Judah. Each time he took captives (including Ezekiel the prophet). Only a remnant of the weakest, poorest, and least threatening Jews remained. King Nebuchadnezzar set up a puppet king (Zedekiah) of David’s line to sit on the throne of Judah and made him swear an oath of allegiance (II Chronicles 36:10-12).

Zedekiah was as faithless as the rest of the evil kings of Judah. He then rebelled and allied with other enemies. When Nebuchadnezzar heard it, he came back for the last time (586 BC) to reduce Jerusalem to rubble and send the Temple up in flames. Zedekiah was forced to witness the slaughter of his sons, then his eyes were put out, and he himself was carried off to Babylon.

II Kin 24:13-14: “And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said. Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land.”

I love it when we can virtually read the Bible from excavated clay tables written 25 centuries years ago. When the tablets match exactly with the biblical record, you know where to put your faith! “The word of the Lord is right” (Psalm 33:4).

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Stretching forgiveness

The worker complained to the boss that the computer had gypped him out of $80 that week. “I’ll look into it,” promised the boss. The next day the boss came back and said, “You’re right. Our computer did gyp you out of $80 this week. But when we went back six weeks we found that same computer gave you $80 too much. Isn’t that right?” “Yes,” agreed the worker. “You didn’t complain about it at that time, did you?” asked the boss. “No,” replied the worker. “Why not?” demanded the boss.

“Well,” said the quick thinking worker, “one mistake I can forgive, but not two.”

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Books

ATF Journal 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

The Apostolic Theological Forum was established in 2002 to provide a colloquy where papers on theological subjects could be presented and discussed. A variety of papers dealing with doctrinal issues, church, government, prophecy and history have been presented each year in the Forum. Since then we have published five Journals. Go to advanceministries.org to see what papers are included in each book.

AM price $9.95

Already Compromised

by Ken Ham and Greg Hall

After decades of talking with parents who had lost their children in Christian universities—and encounters with less-than-forthright faculty at the colleges his own children attended—Ken Ham had a hunch that the theological foundation at Christian universities in the United States was far weaker than nearly anyone suspected. So he teamed up with Warner University president Dr. Greg Hall and professional survey conductor Britt Beemer to survey University Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Science Departments, and Faculty Departments.

The most striking result of their survey was the “newspeak” employed by faculty and administration. Two examples: First, many affirmed that the Bible is literally true—yet, when asked a more precise question, also affirmed that the Genesis 1 account of a six-day creation was not literally true. Second, many affirmed that Noah’s Flood was worldwide—but admitted upon further questioning that, by “worldwide,” they only meant the region of the world known in Noah’s Day. When the Bible is not viewed as the final authority, any institution will stray into heresy and apostasy.

In the preface, Ham and Hall discuss the heritage of the Ivy League universities. Most were founded as distinctly Christian institutions. Over the years, they strayed from the roots to the point that they now adamantly attack and mock the faith they were founded to advance. The authors build from this preface to show how most Christian colleges are slowly proceeding down the same route.

Already Compromised is an incredibly valuable resource for parents with children nearing or in their high-school years. It receives a four-star rating from the Biblical Bookshelf.

Order today from advanceministries.org or call 936-856-3419. Only 13.95.

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“Get on your white tie and tails, honey, we’re going to Wal-Mart!”

Be careful where you walk when others are following.

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The parting shot

Apologize to no one!

Perhaps it is time to remind the Europeans of our sacrifice without confusing arrogance with courage and leadership. Across Continental Europe are more than a score of American cemeteries. Pictured is the cemetery at Lorraine, France where 10,384 American soldiers are buried, one of a score of similar European resting places for fallen GIs. The total count is 104,366 dead brave Americans buried in manicured memorial parks like this across Europe. That is beside those whose bodies were brought home, buried at sea, or died from their wounds after returning home.

We are forced to watch an elected American leader apologize to Europe and the Middle East for the arrogance of America. He should be celebrating our sacrifice for others, not condemning any perceived (by him) arrogance. How many French, Dutch, Italians, Belgians and Brits are buried on our soil after defending us against our enemies? We don’t ask for praise…but we absolutely have no need to apologize!

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We salute our faithful pastors, evangelists, and missionaries who are giving their lives on the increasingly hazardous front lines of  Christian service!

JREnsey

Published in: on June 1, 2011 at 12:26 AM  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Brother Ensey,

    Marian Hillar, probably the foremost scholar on Servetus in the world, admitted on a personal email to me that Servetus did believe that Jesus was God himself.

    He wasn’t a Unitarian, he was Oneness.


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