July 2012 Blog

Welcome to the JULY blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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What’s your application?

 A old West Virginia hillbilly saying: You cannot get the water to clear
up until you get the pigs out of the creek.

I confess that when I read that, I thought of at least a dozen applications for that bit of country wisdom.

What came to your mind as you read it? If you care to, you may share your thoughts in the comments box at the bottom of the page.

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The culture wars are over in mainstream Christianity

Abdication is in vogue right now. The Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, and similar movements are but fading memories. Young 20- and 30-somethings are giving up the concept of opposing the integration of the world with the church. They see the culture battles of the 1970s and 1980s as noble efforts but now irrelevant. As a result, there is a general decline in Christian belief and practice in America. Due in part to the weakness of the Christian witness, the acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex marriage is now predominant in our contemporary culture.

The problem is that when you lose a piece of ground, you are considerably weaker in defending the piece behind it, and the one beyond that—until you are powerless to raise your sword in defense of anything. The young guns in the mainstream churches, including the Evangelicals, have turned their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. If you can can’t beat ’em, join ’em is their attitude. We can naïvely say that such attitudes do not exist in our ranks, but that would not be true.

The Apostolic movement is the last best hope of America and of Christianity in general. As William Johnson once said, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” The mantle is upon us. There are many secret prayers being prayed by some in other faiths that we will not succumb to the spirit of the times, that we will not give up the fight as they have. I know that many of our pastors are weary. Fighting does tire one, but Paul said, “Fight the good fight of faith…let us not be weary in well-doing” (I Timothy 6:12; Galatians 6:9). Jeremiah lamented, “The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.” (51:30). Take heart—there are more for us than be against us.

Remember: in a fight, the winner is the last man standing.

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Thank God for the Radicals

I have been giving some study time to the impact of the Anabaptists, often referred to as the Radical Reformers, on medieval Christianity. They challenge me. Their courageous decisions paved the way for a revival of Apostolic truths in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The more I read of them, the more I admire their commitment and courage. Among the first of them were some former students of Ulrich Zwingli of Zurich, who, with Martin Luther and John Calvin, led the Protestant Reformation in Europe.

Zwingli’s students wanted a further removal from the grip of Catholicism, especially in the separation of the church and state, and in infant baptism. Zwingli and Calvin and Luther felt they had already gone as far as they could safely go. With the Islamic Turks invading from the East, they sensed the need for the protection of Rome and the Church. The Anabaptists, however, opted for separation from the feudal systems of that era and wanted to establish their own communities.

Although the break from Rome took courage and commitment, the chief reformers refused to distance themselves from many of Catholicism’s fundamental doctrines, including infant baptism. The Anabaptists could plainly see that baptism was for believing adults. But the steps back to broader recovery of the biblical doctrines that made the early church distinct were slow and halting. One costly, agonizing step at a time was taken. These radical reformers would pay a high price for their stand.

Watch for the publication of this study in the near future.

In the meantime, we might thank God for those today who seem to be radical in their dedication to Jesus and His Word when so many appear to have such a tentative grip on truth.

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No prayer “in Jesus’ name”

For the past seven years Pastor Terry Sartain has ministered to police officers and their families in Charlotte, N.C. Whenever the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept. invited him to deliver an invocation, he prayed in “the name of Jesus.”

But not anymore. Volunteer chaplains in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept. will no longer be allowed to invoke the name of Jesus in prayers at public events held on government property. Major John Diggs, who oversees the chaplain program, said the policy is a “matter of respecting that people may have different faiths and that it is not aimed at any one religion or denomination.”

Sartain, the pastor of Horizon Christian Fellowship, told Fox News Radio he was scheduled to give an invocation at a promotion ceremony. Before the event, he received a telephone call from his superior major.

“I was told chaplains can no longer invoke the name of Jesus on government property,” Sartain said. “[He said] if I could refrain from that during the invocation he would appreciate that.”

Sartain said he was surprised by the telephone call. The pastor said he’s prayed “consistently” in the name of Jesus at past police department events without any issues. “I’m very sad about it,” he said. “I’m a pastor and Jesus is the only thing I have to offer to bless people – his life and his person. It brings about a very real concern about where we are heading as a nation. I serve a God who loves people unconditionally, who died for their sins on the cross, who wants to reconcile himself to them and love them where they are, and now I’m told I can’t bless people as a result of that.”

The police department said he could still pray—just not to Jesus.

Source: Todd Starnes @ FoxNews

[I am told that the same situation exists among chaplains in the armed services. Thank you, Commander-in-Chief!]

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An appeal to students seeking federal loans to pay college costs

I have long been opposed to Apostolic students applying for student loans to cover tuition. While the principles involved would also apply to persons of all faiths, our immediate concern is the Apostolic student. Here is why.

Accreditation has a nice ring to it. It means that a college program and curriculum has been vetted by secular authorities and found to be worthy by their standards. The reasons for accreditation are mainly twofold: that credits can more easily transfer between colleges, and federal loans are available only to students at accredited colleges to pay tuition costs. A third reason is to provide a sense of pride—“See how smart and progressive we are!” Some grant monies are infrenquently available, such as Pell grants (www.pellgrantqualifications.com/), but a relative few qualify for them.

One has to keep in mind that government subsidies have government strings. Colleges are forced to meet certain accreditation standards for their students to be eligible for loans and grants. Control is what all government programs are about at the bottom line. This is why the Obama administration pulled all student loans under one umbrella, controlled by the federal government. Gradually, through one means or another, they are gaining complete control over people’s lives. This is why the government is pushing for as many as possible to get on food stamps. It is not compassion, but rather power and control.

Many students think only of the moment and go for the money now, not seriously considering the future. By the time they are through college, they find themselves hopelessly in debt and in hock to the federal government. A relative of mine found himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt when he graduated. Some are so strapped that many years are required to repay the loans. Some never repay, depending on their social strata or “financial ability” to do so. Some employers dock their paychecks to repay the loan, putting many young families in dire financial straits. A significant percentage of borrowers  just ignore their responsibility, taking low-paying jobs and try to fly beneath the radar of the IRS. There are often temptations to blatant dishonesty and spiritual discouragement. To find oneself in a cycle of backsliding because of the stress and/or the shame is not uncommon.

Colleges love this trend. Tuitions are rising exponentially. They get theirs as more students get federal monies. The more the merrier for their accounts receivable departments. What a wicked spiral!

Recently Richard Vedder, Professor of Economics at Ohio University, wrote an article published in Imprimis Newsletter, a publication of Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. (Hillsdale College accepts no federal or state taxpayer subsidies in any form, including indirect subsidies in the form of student grants and loans. There is good reason for that policy.) The title: “Federal Student Aid and the Law of Unintended Consequences.” I wish to share it with you here:

FEDERAL STUDENT financial assistance programs are costly, inefficient, byzantine, and fail to serve their desired objectives. In a word, they are dysfunctional, among the worst of many bad federal programs.

These programs are commonly rationalized on three grounds: on the grounds that assuring more young people a higher education has positive spillover effects for the country; on the grounds that higher education promotes equal economic opportunity (or, as the politicians say, that it is “a ticket to achieving the American Dream”); or on the grounds that too few students would go to college in the absence of federal loan programs, since private markets for loans to college students are defective.

All three of these arguments are dubious at best. The alleged positive spillover effects of sending more and more Americans to college are ….. [click to continue reading]

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Young children purposely injuring themselves

We are all aware that many teens and even some adults are into self-injury by cutting or otherwise doing intentional harm to their bodies. But a new study published by the Associated Press (6/11/12) shows children as young as 7 are now doing this. Why do you think this is happening? Your first probable guess is likely right—almost all of them will be found in dysfunctional families and to be on drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall. Drugs are being chosen today over parenting because the parents are too busy working or seeking their own pleasures and don’t want to be bothered with children.

Just yesterday (6/25/12) Fox News reported that 40% of Americans are addicted to drugs of some kind. Does anyone care? Where are the voices of reason and constraint? Has the desire for popularity and acceptance stolen our passion for the welfare of our people?

When the apostle Paul pleaded for Christian sobriety (1 Timothy 3:2, etc.), we are quick to deny that the command had anything to do with intoxicating beverage. He meant an attitude, we say. But can we deny that those under the influence of drugs are not “sober” (consistently in control of all their faculties)? Alcohol is a drug, and it makes its users do strange and unseemly things. Can’t the same be said of the mind-altering drugs millions of folks are taking today?

Ah, what is our future, Lord?

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Ka-POW!

“What, should the sin of Sodom go unpunished? Shall the bestial vice of which Sodom was guilty never be checked? Why, if this should spread amongst the sons of men, it would bring in its infernal train ten thousand times more damage than the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The sin itself is infinitely worse than the fire which burned it up.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 58

[Charlie, ’twas good ye lived when ye did. Ye might have been jailed for “hate speech” if ye dast had said that today.]

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Book review

Footprints in the Ash: the Explosive Story of Mount St. Helens by John Morris and Steven A. Austin.  Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books 2003.  128 pp., hardback.  $16.95 Reviewed by Doug Kutilek

Beyond doubt, the most spectacular geologic event in North America in the past 100 years was the Sunday morning eruption in May 1980 of Mount St. Helens in the Cascade Range in southwestern Washington State.  While the initial explosion was captured only on a series of still photographs, the continuing eruption over many days was filmed extensively, as was the resulting devastation to forest, lakes, streams and wildlife.

The geology of what happened, how it happened and why it happened has been very extensively studied in the decades since.  In a very real way, the Mount St. Helens eruption is “exhibit A” for geologic catastrophism (in contrast to “uniformitarianism” which has been the dominate but erroneous paradigm for interpreting earth science for nearly two centuries), and is a microcosm of what must have happened at the time of and subsequent to the Great Flood of Noah’s day.

How can a massive volcanic eruption be in relative miniature a parallel to the events accompanying a world-wide flood?  In truth—in almost every way!  The Flood of Genesis was accompanied, even probably triggered, by the rupturing of the earth’s crust (“the fountains of the great deep—the ocean—were ripped apart”).  This naturally would have included mind-bogglingly massive and widespread volcanic eruptions (the volcanoes of the pre-historic past—e.g., those which created Yellowstone National Park—are known to have been exponentially larger than Mount St. Helens, or even Krakatoa), and accompanying such volcanoes there would have been earthquakes, immense tsunamis, massive erosion of soil, sand and rock, destruction and uprooting of all vegetation (which would become floating mats that slowly settled to the bottom in extensive layers), deposition of sediment, rapid extermination and burial of living organisms, exposed bare ground subject to continuing erosion by wind and water until restabilized by plant growth, and more.  Every kind of activity—except for 40 days of heavy rains—that would have occurred during a flood such as the Bible describes, also occurred but on a smaller scale at Mount St. Helens.  Micro-layerings of hundreds of feet of sediment were produced in minutes, rather than uniformitarianism’s “millions of years” and deep and wide canyons—with all the appearance of being the Grand Canyon’s “little brother”—were formed in a matter of hours, rather than millions of years of slow erosion.  The beginnings of coal formation, the question of the revegetation of the post-Flood world and much else all receive enlightened confirmation as real possible earthly events in the recent past.

The book is more pictures than text, but the full color photos, plus a few charts, maps and drawing are very instructive, worth in many cases more than the proverbial thousand words.  The volume is written on a non-technical layman’s level.

The authors, both with earned Ph.D. degrees in geology and both long-associated with the Institute for Creation Research, have studied Mount St. Helens and its aftermath in detail ever since its occurrence.  This is a very instructive little book.

Reviewed by Doug Kutilek

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Too good not to repeat

The Pope and Obama are on the same stage in Yankee Stadium in front of a huge crowd.

The Pope leans towards Mr. Obama and says, “Do you know that with one little wave of my hand I can make every person in this crowd go wild with joy? This joy will not be a momentary display, but will go deep into their hearts and they’ll forever speak of this day and rejoice!”

Obama replied, “I seriously doubt that! With one little wave of your hand? Show me!”

So the Pope backhanded him and knocked him off the stage!

AND THE CROWD ROARED & CHEERED WILDLY, and there was joy and happiness throughout the land.

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The death of European life

 Here’s an interesting viewpoint expressed in an article written by Sebastian Vilar Rodriguez and published in a Spanish newspaper on January 15, 2011. It doesn’t take much imagination to extrapolate the message to the rest of Europe—and possibly to the rest of the world.

EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ

I walked down the street in Barcelona and suddenly discovered a
terrible truth—Europe died in Auschwitz. We killed six million
Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned
a culture, thought, creativity, and talent. We destroyed the chosen
people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people
who changed the world. The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the
world. These are the people we burned.

And under the pretence of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our
gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance,
religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride. They have blown up our trains and turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.
And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical
hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition. We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.
What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe. A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they imagine America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves. Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it ‘offends’ the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving in to it. [end]

Epilogue: It is now more than sixty-five years after the Second World War in Europe ended. How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center ‘NEVER HAPPENED’ because it offends some Muslim in the United States? If our Judeo-Christian heritage is offensive to Muslims, they should pack up and move to Iran, Iraq or some other Muslim country. Wouldn’t they say the same to us if we lived in Saudi Arabia? We should treat Muslims in America with kindness and Christian charity. We must love them. That does not mean, however, that we should roll over and play dead and allow them to walk over us to the imposition of Sharia law and the denunciation of our Christian heritage.

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These topics interest you?

The Anointing

Heretical or Harmless: Denominational Perceptions of Oneness Perspectives

On the Sanctity of Human Life

A Theology of Divine Healing: Is It Always God’s Will to Heal?

The Peril and Temptation of Abusing Pastoral Authority in the Apostolic Setting

Thoughts on the “Oneness-Trinitarian Final Report 2002-2007” (Societies for Pentecostal Studies)

The Ancient Historical Evidence for Jesus

These are the titles of the papers presented at the 2012 Apostolic Theological Forum. You can order them as an E-book titled 2012 Journal of the Apostolic Theological Forum. Go to advanceministries.org/store and select the ebook section. Postage will show on your order, but you will not be charged postage for ebooks.

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Progressive politicians and Apostolics

“Progressive” politicians are quickly removing our Republic from constitutional government and our founding institutions. Their philosophies are not progressive but rather regressive—taking us back to a time of lords and serfs. President Obama wants his father’s pound of flesh as revenge for colonialism by the western nations. (Read Obama’s Dreams From My Father and The Roots of Obama’s Rage by Dinesh D’Souza, especially the latter.) I now see why he is so intent on taking America down.

Likewise, “progressive” ministers are taking the American and Western church away from biblical Christianity to another Jesus, a false Christ, and a no-name, all-name god. To many professors, prominent authors, and some megachurch pastors, it doesn’t matter what name for God you use since they all refer to the same deity. The following is taken from a book titled Muddy Waters, by Nanci Des Gerlaise, p. 164:

In 2011, an emergent church group held A Symposium on Progressive Christianity. Progressive Christianity is another way of saying non-biblical Christianity. From an interview that was part of the symposium, the following excerpt is quite revealing to the mindset of the “progressives”:

How should progressive Christians relate to other kinds of Christians? To those of other faiths? And what is their theological basis for so doing? We should always be willing to join hands for the common good and understanding of God. I personally believe that it doesn’t matter the name you use to call God (how many names are attributed to God in our Bible alone?)—even if your name for God is “Science,” as long as you’re on the same journey of grace, justice, and inclusion you are our brother/sister and we are honored to walk alongside of you. …If they’re following God by practicing love, justice, and inclusion, then we’re truly following the same God—even if we happen to be on different path.”

Source: A Symposium on Progressive Christianity; A Patheos Symposium hosted by the Patheos Progressive Christian Portal, in partnership with the Wild Goose Festival (interview at http://www.progressive christianalliance.org/Blog/articles/rev-jarrod-cochrans-interview-with- patheos.)

Ignoring such verses as Matthew 7:12,13 and Acts 4:12 leads to such nonsense. But should we Apostolics be concerned such trends? The jeans-clad conversationalists who try to say, “See, we are just like you. There’s no difference between the Christians and everyone else. Just paste Jesus on like a bumper sticker and start on your journey.” They ooze progressivism and compromise. Please take note of where those who chose that approach are today. No one is static; everyone is moving, going somewhere. Better know where that is before you follow them!

We sometimes hear that we need not trouble our people with lifestyle stipulations since biblical injunctions were mostly culturally shaped to that age and generation. We hear that everyone is on his own “spiritual journey,” and should not be challenged about “miniscule” doctrinal details. If we become enamored with their style and their abilities to draw crowds, soon we ourselves could be giving shape to “another Jesus”—one who is found only in form, ritual, social action, or the new mystical spiritualities. The social scientists and cultural engineers have tried to create a clean air Christ, a pure dirt God, an environmental savior, covering him in multi-colored skin and giving him the name of Justice, Fairness or Peace. But God is not to be found amid the councils of the social scientists. He is still revealed in the burning bushes, in Pentecostal altars, in the humble worship of common people who hold His Word in high esteem.

Let’s resist the “progressive” positions that will actually regress us backward rather than propel us into the future. We have fought for every inch of territory we possess. We must never surrender any of it. Forward with truth—that is our ensign and our banner!

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 What next? New birth linked to brain atrophy

Older adults who say they’ve had a life-changing religious experience are more likely to have a greater decrease in size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain critical to learning and memory, new research finds.

According to the study, people who said they were a “born-again” Protestant or Catholic, or conversely, those who had no religious affiliation, had more hippocampal shrinkage (or “atrophy”) compared to people who identified themselves as Protestants, but not born-again. [Got that?]

As people age, a certain amount of brain atrophy is expected. Shrinkage of the hippocampus is also associated with depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: HealthDay news at http://www.philly.com/philly/health/132456883.html

Seems to me the government is spending way too much time and money trying to debunk Christian believers. I think those who are resisting the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are the ones who should be worrying about their hippocampus—among other things. – jre

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Laugh break

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BooksBooksBooksBooksBooks

Advanceministries.org is your source for good Apostolic books. Easy to order online or by phone. Many categories, titles and authors to choose from. E-books are now available.

Click here to go to the Advance Ministries bookstore.

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Parting Shots

“Music is mediator between spiritual and sensual life.” – Ludwig van Beethoven

“As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person.” – Paul Shane Spear

“If you don’t know where you are going you will probably end up somewhere else.” – Laurence Peter

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It is 105 degrees in Willis, TX as I write this. I am going for a tall glass of Coke Zero. If you are reading this, Mayor Bloomburg, please be advised that it is calorie-free.

JREnsey

Published in: on July 1, 2012 at 12:48 AM  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

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