WELCOME to 2012—the probable year of the Lord’s return. Until the trumpet sounds, however, we have some unfinished business for the Lord to accomplish. May this newsletter/blog serve as an inspiration to “git ’er done!” Then let’s get out of here!
This is our fifth year of blogging
This will be a crucial year in the history of the church. I expect Jesus to come, but if He does not, we Christians must participate in some historic decisions relating to the political situation in our nation. Four more years of uncontrolled spending, taking us closer to national bankruptcy, will put America in a position to become just another North American country, like Greece and others of the European Union. We may also replicate Europe’s socio-religious woes, experience violence in the streets, and endure car bombs in our markets and malls.
America’s demise will affect the church. Admittedly, most of the church operates outside the U.S., but most of the missions funding and activity originates in the United States. As America goes, so goes much of Christianity’s strength and authority. The Apostolic movement is a linchpin in the stability of our society. Our demise would facilitate Christianity’s demise. We MUST remain strong and committed to our fundamental principles.
This is why the blog will continue to reference political matters, comment on church-wide issues, and inveigh against the encroaching corruption of the world. Jesus is coming back after a bride who has kept herself for Him alone, unspotted from the world—not an unkempt, dirty-gowned, made-up vamp who has run around with every lecherous libertine and reprobate in town.
Steve Jobs and Heaven
I lost count of the number of articles, cartoons, and other caricatures of Steve Jobs going to heaven after his death on October 5, 2011. Many folks just couldn’t imagine a man who had contributed so much to the field of technology would go anywhere else in the afterlife. Is technological innovation the key to Heaven?
I am a Mac man and have been since the early eighties, and if innovation and the production of ministry tools could save one, he would certainly be on the short list. However, it is doubtful that not even Jobs could hack his way into the Book of Life with a gaggle of geeks tapping keyboards and gripping mice.
Walter Isaacson’s biography, simply called Steve Jobs, tells of his rejection of Christianity based on his pastor’s response to his questions as a 13-year old boy. Jobs had become disturbed after seeing pictures of starving children in Biafra, Africa on a magazine cover. Isaacson quotes Jobs as asking his pastor:
“If I raise my finger, will God know which one I’m going to raise even before I do it?”
The Pastor answered, “Yes, God knows everything.”
Jobs pulled out the Life cover and asked, “Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?”
“Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.”
Jobs announced that he didn’t want to have anything to do with worshipping such a God, and he never went back to church.”
What if that pastor had provided a scriptural view of life and death and the consequences of sin in the human family? Jobs is not alone in feeling bitter toward God and confused at the way some Christians present Him. We must find ways of presenting the truth in love. We must not avoid the hard questions of life and death with nothing more than “Well, God is still in control and He is having His way in all things.” Such a response is very unsatisfying.
Watch the blog in the coming months for a possible alternative response to why there is suffering and pain and sickness in the world, even among believers.
Dagg on Pastoral Leadership
“A man whose piety and call of God to the ministry are unquestionable, who gives full proof to those among whom he ministers that he seeks their highest good, and who serves a people that esteem him highly for his work sake, has an influence over them which is almost unbounded. He comes to them in the name of God, and they perceive that his instruction and precepts are drawn from the word of God. He addresses them with reference to the eternal world, and they realize that he and they are soon to stand together before God. The authority of God, and the momentous interests of the eternal world, give weight to every word which he utters. The powers of their minds bend under its influence. Such a minister as this has so swayed the hearts of Christian men that martyrdom has had no terrors for them. They have defied the cruel rage of tyrants, and have faced popular fury undaunted. Is not this influence great enough for any minister to wield? Would the objection substitute for it a part of the tyrant’s power which it has overcome? The apostles, on the day of Pentecost, were endued with power from on high, but it was not the power of coercion. God’s truth, and a holy life, have rendered the ministry invincible, and the minister who asks for other power, mistakes the nature of his office.”
– J. L. Dagg (1794-1884), Manual of Theology: A Treatise on Church Order (Gano Books 1982 reprint of 1858 edtion), p. 277. Quoted by Doug Kutilek in AISI, Oct. 2011.
Such a sense of responsibility should put every pastor on his face before God. We must speak as a dying man to dying men.
You tell ’em, Jody!
Anyone yet unaware that Christianity is the target of persecution should get his head out of the sand.
The following is a statement that was read over the PA system at the football game at Roane County High School, Kingston, Tennessee by school principal, Jody McLeod. (Even the liberal snopes.com site validated that it was said.)
“It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games, to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and Country. Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a prayer is a violation of Federal case law. As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it ‘an alternate life style,’ and if someone is offended, that’s OK. I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity by dispensing condoms and calling it ‘safe sex.’ If someone is offended, that’s OK. I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a ‘viable means of birth control.’ If someone is offended, no problem.
“I can designate a school day as ‘Earth Day’ and involve students in activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess ‘Mother Earth’ and call it ‘ecology.’ I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depicts people with strong, traditional Christian convictions as ‘simple minded’ and ‘ignorant’ and call it ‘enlightenment.’
However, if anyone uses this facility to honor GOD and to ask HIM to bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, then Federal case law is violated.
“This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical.
Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except GOD and HIS Commandments. Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical. I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression. For this reason, I shall ‘Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,’ and refrain from praying at this time.
“However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank GOD and ask HIM, in the name of JESUS, to bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that’s not against the law—yet.”
One by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another and began to pray. They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand and they prayed in the announcer’s box!
Somehow, Kingston, Tennessee remembered what so many have forgotten. We are given the freedom OF religion, not the freedom FROM religion!
[This is not submitted as an endorsement of organized sports or attendance at the games. The appropriateness of prayer there is not in my purview. I just think those who are willing to take a stand for what made America different and exceptional need acknowledgement. We will lose the freedoms that we do not use and do not value. I do wish that the principal would have prayed aloud anyway.]
The New Spirituality
Lots of folks are “spiritual” today rather than “religious.” That is an important distinction. Some are being innocently sucked into dangerous, extra-biblical practices without even knowing what is happening.
Contemplative spirituality: a system of ancient mystical practices to induce what amounts to altered states of consciousness (the silence), and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology; the premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all).
Spiritual formation: a movement built around the concept or theory that Christians need training in the mystical “spiritual disciplines.” It provides a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find “spiritual formation” being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. “Spiritual directors” lead groups by spiritual formation into contemplative practices.
Recognize these “inside” terms used by contemplatives:
Centering/Divine Center/Centering prayer
Practicing the Presence
Being in the Present
Ancient Prayer Practices
Terms like Taize, Prayer of the Heart, Palms Up/Palms Down, Sacred Space, Mantra Moment, Awareness of Being, Beyond Words, Slow Prayer, and others usually signal that contemplative spirituality is the real topic.
The mystical practices of religious hermits, or “desert fathers,” have been promoted by Catholic devotees since the fifth century, including the following:
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Meister Eckhart (1260-1327), Richard Rolle (c. 1300-1341), Julian of Norwich (1342-1423), St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), Brother Lawrence (1611- 1691), George Fox (1624-1691), Madam Guyon (1647-1717), William Law (1686-1761), Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881- 1955), Thomas Merton (1915-1968).
Contemplative spirituality practices are an integral part of the Novitiate training period of the Roman Catholic religious order of Jesuits. Modern Christian mystics like Richard Foster, Thomas Keating, and Basil Pennington, and authors like Dallas Willard, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Leonard Sweet and many others from the Emergent Movement have made the practice of contemplative spirituality a part of their lives and ministries. Apostolics are wise to avoid them.
For more information on this topic, visit:
Luther on the Difficulty of Translating Hebrew
“The words of the Hebrew tongue have a peculiar energy. It is impossible to convey so much so briefly in any other language. To render them intelligibly, we must not attempt to give word for word, but only aim at the sense and idea. In translating Moses, I made it my effort to avoid Hebraisms; ’twas an arduous business. The wise ones, who affect greater knowledge than myself on the subject, take me to task for a word here and there. Did they attempt the labour I have accomplished, I would find a hundred blunders in them for my one.”
–The Table Talk of Martin Luther, edited by Thomas S. Kepler (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), p. 23.
[Luther knew whereof he spoke. The great dissimilarity of Hebrew and German—and English—often makes a literal, word-for-word translation of the former into the latter impossible, assuming the translator wants to be both intelligible to his readers and accurate to the sense and meaning of the original. This is why 1) every good Bible translation must resort to paraphrase at times, indeed often; and 2) no translation can perfectly convey the precise meaning, no more and no less, of the original Hebrew. – Textual critic Doug Kutilek]
I reject Bibles like The Message, or The Living Bible because they are pure paraphrases and not translations. However, the truth is that all Bible translators, without exception, indulged in paraphrase and dynamic equivalence to some degree. There is no other way to provide an accurate, readable translation that makes sense in the English of today.
Where are the common sense politicians?
I am not suggesting that anyone vote for him as a candidate for President. He may not be the right one, but whoever is nominated to run against the current office holder needs to make as much sense as this man in this particular speech.
How to achieve stardom
Rob Bell has resigned as pastor of the Mar’s Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI. He achieved notoriety by blasting blasting conservative Christianity and doing all the things that the liberal, anti-Christian media like—denouncing biblical doctrines, announcing that there is no Hell, and coming out in favor of universalism. So what is his next step?
Surprise, surprise. He is moving to Los Angeles to “work on a spiritual television drama loosely based on his life.” Just what America needs—another sacreligious reality show. The financial terms of Bell’s contract was called “hefty,” but ABC declined to disclose the actual amount he will receive. There must have been a big sign somewhere: “Bell for sale…cheap.”
Bell is moving into Rick Warren’s backyard and it is raising his hackles. The Religious News Service is quoting Warren’s Twitter communiqué as saying that pastors who leave churches have less impact and credibility. “Speaking tours feed the ego—all applause and no responsibility. A church gives accountability and validity.”
Is this the pot calling the kettle black? Apostasy, acclaim and money—is that all some people are interested in? No wonder the media that is largely run by non-Christians and atheists love guys like Bell and Warren.
I would prophesy that in ten years Bell will not even be a blip on the radar screen, much less the silver screen. He is just being used by the atheistic Hollywood moguls and will be tossed aside when his celebrity fades and other heretics become prominent.
The Bible wins again
The cuneiform tablet below was part of the Nabonidus Chronicle dating to 556—c. 535 B.C. found in Southern Iraq. Nabonidus was listed as a king in Babylon. The tablet and others like it have documented the biblical record.
It was during the period recorded on this tablet that Daniel was in exile there. The case was that Belshazzar was in charge because Nabonidus, the ultimate ruler and Belshazzar’s father, had been in Arabia for the past ten years. This is why Daniel was made third ruler in the kingdom instead of second (Daniel 5:29) after interpreting the handwriting on the wall.
Isn’t it amazing how archaeology continues to turn up artifacts that validate the biblical record? “The word of the Lord is right…” (Psalm 33:4).
ABC News Exposes the Psychiatric Drugging of Foster Kids
ABC News conducted a yearlong nationwide investigation on the use of the most powerful mind-altering drugs on many of the country’s nearly 425,000 foster children.
The GAO found that across America, foster children are being put on drugs 13 times more than any other kids. Despite the many reports of tragic deaths such as that of 7 year-old Gabriel Myers, who ended his own life in 2009 after being prescribed a mix of psychotropic drugs, regulators haven’t done enough to put an end to the drugging. After five minutes of talking to his psychiatrist, Gabriel was prescribed two psychiatric drugs with black box warnings that showed they could cause increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior.
Is anyone listening?
Time for a laugh
Apostolic Theological Forum
January 19-20, 2012
New Life Church of Albany, GA
1200 Cordele Rd. 300
Steve Waldron, Host Pastor
Since 2002, the Apostolic Theological Forum has provided a venue for scholars among us who are willing to share their knowledge and experience n a symposium setting. They are challenged to deliver positive papers that validate the Apostolic faith, rather than critically nibbling away at the corners of our message.
J. R. Ensey, Facilitator, Wade Bass, Peter Connell, Bill Davis, Philip Harrelson, G. Jorge Medina, Roger Perkins, Steve Waldron, and Ben Weeks.
- You are invited to join us in Albany for the presentations of the theological papers and the discussions that follow each one. The papers will be covering relevant topics for today’s Apostolics.
- Registration opens at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 19. Cost is only $29 including a binder and printed copies of each paper.
- Convenient lodging in Albany at the Sleep Inn. $55 rate (mention ATF). Phone 229-888-5595
KJV Wide Margin Bible AM Price $59.99
ESV Hardback Bible AM Price $24.99
Parallel Bible KJV/NIV in leather AM Price $74.99
KJV Duotone (call for colors) AM Price $19.99
Whales, Rocks, and Chickenfish
The mission of this book is to put into your hands the tools needed to make you an effective, interesting, and passionate storyteller. Whether you teach kids daily in your home, a local school, once a week in Sunday school, or once a year at summer camp, this book will inspire you to take storytelling to the next level. AM price $9.99
By Roffie Ensey
You will laugh and cry as you read through these inspirational pages. You’ll experience the highs and lows with the author as she takes you through the valleys and over the mountains of ministerial life. Roffie Ensey has participated in all aspects and facets of ministry discussed in the book—the wife of an evangelist, a home missionary, a missions administrator, a pastor, associate pastor (to their son), and Bible college president. It is written from the perspective of someone who has been there.
Due to the need among our Spanish sisters, we are reprinting this book and it will be available after the first of the year.
“Your book El Papel de la Pastora has been a blessing to our young ministers wives therefore, I was saddened upon being told it was no longer in print. I am need of the book for our new minister’s wives. My husband is the District Supervisor in Tamuaulipas, Mexico.” AM price $12.99
Please go to advanceministries.org and see these all the books and Bibles we have available. Order safely online.
“Let me control the textbooks and I will control the state.” – Hitler
Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, Chief of the Political Bureau of the Nazi Party, said: “I have become convinced in my own mind and I think I can speak for the Fuhrer as well, that both the Catholic and Protestant churches must vanish from the lives of our people.”
“The Christian cross is to be removed from all churches and cathedrals and is to be replaced by the unconquerable symbol of Germany—the Swastika.” – Article XXX of the German Reich Church Regulations
Keep the faith…and have a very happy new year! Plan to be at the Apostolic Ministerial Conference in Murfreesboro, TN Februrary 28-March 1. New features this year!