JREnsey blog for April 2019

Welcome! Get a cup of coffee and start your day with “Ten things everyone should know about Apostolic Pentecostals.”

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The Word for Today

“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (II Timothy 3:14-17 NLT).

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More quotes that speak for themselves 

If a nation expects to be ignorant—and free—in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. – Thomas Jefferson

One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory. – Kurt Vonnegut

An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it. – Jeff Mallett

Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out. – James B. Conant

The smaller the mind, the greater the conceit. – Aesop

Success is more permanent when you achieve it without destroying your principles. – Walter Cronkite

The time to stop talking is when the other person nods his head affirmatively. – Henry S. Haskins

“Planned Parenthood puts most of its clinics in black neighborhoods to control the population, and its founder, Margaret Sanger was not particularly enamored with black people.” – Dr. Ben Carson

“I admire Margaret Sanger enormously. Her courage, her tenacity, her vision—I am really in awe of her. And there are a lot of lessons we can learn from her life and the cause she launched and fought for and sacrificed so greatly.” – Hillary Clinton (Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was an anthropologist who embraced eugenics as a way to control certain elements of the population, as per the Nazis and the Jews. She saw it as a way to control the black population.)

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Calvin and Servetus

Last month we reported on our visit to Basel, Switzerland to examine the manuscripts used by Erasmus in compiling a Greek text of the New Testament. If you missed that report, you can access it by going to the March Blog.

While in Switzerland, we also wanted to see Geneva, where Calvin ruled and applied his theology expressed in his primary work of Institutes of the Christian Religion, and where Michael Servetus became a martyr on Oct. 27, 1553 for his opposition to the doctrine of the Trinity. Taking his basic theology and the enforcement of it from Augustine, Calvin forced Geneva’s citizens to conform to his teaching. If they resisted, they were imprisoned, tortured, and many were executed (36 by the count of one French historian and as many as 58 by others).

We visited the cathedral Calvin confiscated from the Roman Catholics to use as his headquarters. It was intriguing to see the church, a staired pulpit, and Calvin’s own personal chair he sat in during services. To see that the same structure and adjacent buildings that were there then are still in use today was amazing. The picture above is what it looks like today, having had a Romanesque facade added to the front in the 1800s. Beneath it is the way the citizens of Geneva would have seen it during Calvin’s time.

Our main interest in Geneva was to find the location where Servetus was burned at the stake, having been tried by Calvin and found guilty of the heresy of denying the Trinity. We knew that a monument had later erected in his memory after it had dawned upon Geneva’s citizens what they had done. To find it took some sleuthing, and a little help from a local, but we were successful. The burn site is being renovated to accommodate a new underground subway station. The monument and statue of Servetus (right) was a couple of long blocks away.

The city was eager to be rid of the negative publicity they have received from their role in the Servetus affair. They erected the monument in 1903 as an “expiatory” effort, as if to say, “Enough already…we’re sorry. Let’s move on!” They acknowledge on the monument that the martyrdom was done in a different time and those responsible for the “error” should have been more considerate of one’s individual conscience. Actual wording on the back of the monument: “Respectful and grateful sons of Calvin, our great reformer, but condemning the error of his century and firmly subscribing to the liberty of conscience according to the authentic principles of the Reformation and the Gospel, have erected this expiatory monument 27 of October, 1903.

A statue cast in bronze (below) was also erected in 1903 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of Servetus’ death sits nearby. It was originally rejected for Geneva by Calvin sympathizers and it was moved to a nearby city. It depicts a disheveled and sad appearing Servetus who had been a prisoner for months in extremely debilitating conditions. His clothing was ragged and he was showing the hunger and privation he had experienced. Those more interested in correcting the error and putting it behind them finally got the statue returned to Geneva.

The statue and monument are located in a nondescript location on the side of a hill directly between two streets that are only about 25 feet apart. Virtually shrouded by brush and tree limbs for much of the year, many locals are totally unfamiliar with its location. But it was of great interest to us because it reminded us that fundamental Bible truths have never been totally lost, just ignored or rejected by the masses. We owe something to Servetus for letting the 16th century world know that the Trinitarians (both Catholics and Protestants) had it wrong from the beginning and only maintained it as a cardinal doctrine by force. We cannot let his memory die.

We must never forget the value those who came before us placed on every parcel of doctrinal truth. How easy it would have been for Servetus to say, “OK, Jesus was the eternal Son of God.” He would have been spared the flames. Do we value our Apostolic message that much?

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Socialism is…

Socialism is like a mouse trap. It works because the mouse doesn’t understand why the cheese is free. – Patriot Post

What is the difference between socialism and democratic socialism? Socialism is when the state takes your money. Democratic socialism is when everyone votes for the state to take your money. – Patriot Post

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. – Winston Churchill

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. – Alexis de Toqueville

C’mon, America…get a grip on reality, not illusion!

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10 things everyone should know about Apostolic Pentecostals (A/Ps) 

  1. A/Ps are people who love people.

We love all people regardless of their race, color, nationality or background. All stand on level ground as a part of the human family. God’s essence is love (I John 4:8), and as a part of His spiritual family, we are obligated to demonstrate that love to the world.

  1. A/Ps believe that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures are accurate, authentic, and authoritative (Deuteronomy 12:28).

We believe the Bible that contains those Scriptures was written by men who were inspired by God (II Timothy 3:16). It is trustworthy in its history, geography, philosophy and prophecy (Psalm 33:4). It contains God’s truth about the creation of all things, about man’s fall and conditional spiritual restoration, and about the future of the universe and the earth, including all people who have ever lived. It is the believer’s authority for doctrine and deportment (Romans 15:4; II Peter 1:19-21).

  1. A/Ps are among those who have looked to God for regeneration and renewal of fellowship with Him (Titus 3:5)—meaning we have placed our obedient faith in His redemptive process, and have repented of our sins of commission and omission.

We have recognized our sinful natures, and acknowledged that our only means of eternal salvation is to put our trust in His redemptive sacrifice on Calvary (Hebrews 9:22; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38).

  1. A/Ps follow faith and repentance with water baptism in His name, both of which were commanded by Christ and His apostles (Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; John 3:5), combining to wash away our sins (Acts 22:16).

We acknowledge that the only way to deal with the sin problem in one’s life is to have them washed away in the process of salvation—in other words, through repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38). Repentance involves confession of sin and one’s death to sin, while baptism represents a burial of the unregenerate man (Romans 6:4).

  1. A/Ps receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, as a vital element of the new birth (John 3:5), which empowers recipients to overcome the sins and temptations of this present world (Acts 1:8), and provides a positive hope that it will one day resurrect our bodies to go to live with the Lord in Heaven.

The infilling of the Spirit (Acts 2:4; Ephesians 5:18) is a resurrection into “the newness of life” (Romans 6:4), and is the “earnest of our eternal inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14), giving us hope for the future bodily resurrection: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies” (Romans 8:11).

  1. A/Ps subscribe to a lifestyle set forth in the Scriptures, which befits a Christian believer and glorifies Christ (I Peter 1:16).

Christians are called to a life of holiness and separation (I Thessalonians 4:7; II Corinthians 6:17). Such a committed life is not only a better way to live, but is commanded in the Scriptures (Hebrews 12:14; I Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:16-24; Colossians 3:2-6).

  1. A/Ps believe in divine healing, having witnessed many miracles of physical healing. We still anoint with oil and pray for the sick as the Scriptures command (James 5:14,15).

Divine healing has been a part of the Christian experience from the beginning. Christ healed many during His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:24; Mark 3:10). He said future believers would also lay hands on the sick and see them recover (Mark 16:18).

  1. A/Ps possess an abiding hope for future glory with Jesus Christ in Heaven (Romans 8:18; Colossians 1:27; 3:4).

Faithful believers are promised a heavenly home with the Lord (John 14:2,3). He will return to gather His church and take them to spend eternity with Him (I Thessalonians 4:15-17).

  1. A/Ps embrace a monotheistic view of God as one divine Being (Deuteronomy 6:4) rather than a family of Persons in a divided, compartmentalized deity that was inspired by Grecian philosophy and mythology.

The oneness of God is threaded throughout both the old and New Testaments (Mark 12:28,29; I Timothy 2:5; Isaiah 9:6). Jesus is seen as the Son

of the eternal God rather than the eternal Son of God. He was the incarnation of the one God manifesting Himself in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16). Jesus affirmed His oneness with the Father (John 10:30).

  1. A/Ps are commissioned to spread the message of Christ and His offer of salvation into all the world (Luke 24:47), and we find happiness and joy wherever it is received (Acts 8:5-8).

The Great Commission is taken seriously as pertaining to all believers. We are told to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) “and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

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The way it was in March

          The Eternal Optimist:

“Thanks, Mom, for being a pro-life woman!”

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Thanks for visiting. Coming next month: Review of a just published book on the history of the doctrine of the new birth among Pentecostals in the 20th century.

JREnsey

Published in: on April 1, 2019 at 6:57 AM  Leave a Comment  

JREnsey blog March 2019

Thanks for joining us today for a few moments of contemplation.

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The Word for Today

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (II Peter 1:3,4) NLT).

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The way it is

  • Some give God the credit but fail to give Him the cash.
  • The Rapture: Future separation of church and state.
  • Church sign: “What Is Hell Like? Come hear our pastor.”
  • New NY congresswoman AOC declares victory over the modern day equivalent of slavery: jobs.
  • Does anyone know why AOC has come out against eating steak (read: cows), other than bovine flatulence ruining the environment? Hint: her chief of staff is Saikat Chakrabarti.
  • Remember: The men who wrote the 2nd Amendment hadn’t just finished a hunting trip. They had just liberated a nation.
  • I read somewhere that the Chicago police have replaced sirens on their cars with the national anthem to entice suspects to stop running and take a knee.

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Quotes that speak for themselves

“Feminism makes both men and women unhappy, but it was caused by boys who never matured into men.” – Rabbi Daniel Lapin

“It is easier to see the hand of God after we have passed through a crisis.” – A. T. Robertson

“If the Word does not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us.” – John Owen

“The disciple of Christ today may be described in the words of Farrar , as ‘one who believes His doctrines, rests upon His sacrifice, imbibes His spirit, and imitates His example.’” – G. H. Trevor

A note to those who struggle with obeying Acts 2:38 because of what it might mean regarding their deceased loved ones who had not embraced it: Your obedience and salvation will not “unsave” anyone else. It will not effect their standing with God in the least. Do what you know to do, what you see is right, and let God’s wisdom and righteousness be their judge, not you. – JRE

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What is the connection between marijuana, mental illness and violence?

The following is excerpted from a speech by Alex Berenson, the author of Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.

Seventy miles northwest of New York City is a hospital that looks like a prison, its drab brick buildings wrapped in layers of fencing and barbed wire. This grim facility is called the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute. It’s one of three places the state of New York sends the criminally mentally ill—defendants judged not guilty by reason of insanity.

Until recently, my wife Jackie­—Dr. Jacqueline Berenson—was a senior psychiatrist there. Many of Mid-Hudson’s 300 patients are killers and arsonists. At least one is a cannibal. Most have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia that provoked them to violence against family members or strangers.

A couple of years ago, Jackie was telling me about a patient. In passing, she said something like, Of course he’d been smoking pot his whole life.

Of course? I said.

Yes, they all smoke.

So marijuana causes schizophrenia?

I was surprised, to say the least. I tended to be a libertarian on drugs. Years before, I’d covered the pharmaceutical industry for The New York Times. I was aware of the claims about marijuana as medicine, and I’d watched the slow spread of legalized cannabis without much interest.

Jackie would have been within her rights to say, I know what I’m talking about, unlike you. Instead she offered something neutral like, I think that’s what the big studies say. You should read them.

So I did. The big studies, the little ones, and all the rest. I read everything I could find. I talked to every psychiatrist and brain scientist who would talk to me. And I soon realized that in all my years as a journalist I had never seen a story where the gap between insider and outsider knowledge was so great, or the stakes so high.

I began to wonder why—with the stocks of cannabis companies soaring and politicians promoting legalization as a low-risk way to raise tax revenue and reduce crime—I had never heard the truth about marijuana, mental illness, and violence.

[Read the remainder of this astounding speech/article HERE.]

This is a must read for every parent and pastor!

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A Visit With Erasmus In Basel

The first week of December 2018 found me in Basel, Switzerland. No, it wasn’t a ski trip, or even a sightseeing excursion—it was an errand regarding the King’s business. I finally saw an opening to do something I had desired to do for decades—examine specific biblical manuscripts (MSS) collated and used to create the first Greek text of our Bible, which later became, with its sundry corrections, what is known as the Textus Receptus.

I was joined by Pastor Peter Connell of Oakley, CA. His willingness to make the journey with me was a blessing indeed. His eyes and ears joined with mine to get a firmer grip on the history of our English Bibles.

After months of preparation and communication with university authorities in Basel, we arrived there on a Sunday evening and began to prepare ourselves for what the next day would bring. We wanted to be among the first on Monday morning to enter the doors of the library of the University of Basel. Established in 1460, it is the oldest and largest university in Switzerland. The library was of particular interest to us because it held the manuscripts collated by Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) of Rotterdam to create the first Greek text of the New Testament. We were there to touch them, examine them, and be witnesses to some of the most important documents regarding Christianity in the world.

We were guided through several locked doors into a basement examination room. They seated us at a table and brought all of the manuscripts out from a secure location and set them before us. Tears came as they freely allowed us to examine those six precious documents that served as the foundation for the Greek text used to produce some of our English translations of the Bible. It was overwhelming to hold them in our hands.

Erasmus had initially intended to produce an updated and corrected version of the Latin Vulgate, the version forced upon all Bible readers in the West by the Roman Catholic Church for over a thousand years. As the son of a Catholic priest and as a priest himself, he had learned Latin early in life and loved that language. His intense studies of the Latin Vulgate convinced him of its substantial corruption. Along the way, an English priest, John Colet, urged him to learn Greek, which he did. Ultimately, he would use Greek manuscripts to support the changes he would propose in the Latin Vulgate, the revision of which was his primary objective.

Erasmus moved to Basel permanently in 1515 to be near the printer, Johannes Froben, whom he would employ to produce his Latin New Testament and other works. Froben knew that a polyglot Bible with a Greek text had been produced in Spain by Cardinal Ximenes. It would also have the Latin Vulgate, the Greek Septuagint (Old Testament), Hebrew Old Testament, New Testament Greek, and even Aramaic for the Pentateuch—in six volumes. It was already printed but its distribution was delayed by the pope. If he could beat the Cardinal in getting Erasmus’ Latin New Testament to the market, Froben knew it could mean a financial windfall, especially if he could add a Greek text with it.

Erasmus did not come to Basel with Greek manuscripts in hand. He located about six Greek NT MSS in Basel, five from the local Dominican monastery/convent library, and one from the local family of Johann Amerbach. Not one was earlier than the twelfth century. None of them contained the entire New Testament, and all lacked the Book of Revelation. He arranged to borrow a copy of Revelation from John Reuchlin, an acquaintance in Augsburg, Germany, where the manuscript still resides today. We were unable to personally examine that manuscript because of its condition; however, it has been digitized and is available online.

In a matter of a few months, although Erasmus had not finished editing and collating the MSS, they rushed the work to Froben’s press in 1516. Erasmus freely admitted that his book was “precipitated rather than edited,” which triggered a number of mistakes and inaccuracies in the text.

Some of the manuscripts reveal that he had begun to edit them but stopped to hand it to the printer “as is.” This expediency probably paid off financially, but it did little to advance the reputation of Erasmus’ editorial skills in the public market. His later editions indicate that he had learned a valuable lesson from the way the first edition was handled.

All of the manuscripts were handwritten codices—large sheets of parchment folded into quires and bound as a book. Easily visible on the MSS were the editorial marks of Erasmus and the printer’s notations. Erasmus or some previous scribe had underlined Luke 2:33a, one of the variants that would prove to be misused in the future.

There were noticeable lacunae (parts of the manuscripts that were seriously damaged or missing), and one had a page that appeared to have some text removed by cutting. Others holes that had been patched, and correctors’ marks were in evidence. There were marginal notes and other marks common to most manuscripts. Of one manuscript, Erasmus said he “corrected the manuscript here and there and sent it on to the printer.”

Manuscript AN IV-11 (Basel University designation) containing the Gospels lacked a phrase in Luke 6:28 but had been added by a corrector in the lower margin. Erasmus’ corrections can be seen in a color of ink different from that of the original scribe, sometimes inserted between the lines. Stephanus did not consult this particular manuscript, which noted textual critic Bruce Metzger said contained “a lot of errors,” for his 1550 edition of the TR, but since his text was based on Erasmus’ work, its readings became part of the official TR. Those who speak of the Byzantine MSS as though they were pristine and not corrected or defective at any place—unlike the much older Alexandrian MSS—obviously haven’t seen them.

Manuscript AN III-11 containing Paul’s epistles and scribal commentary was interesting. The biblical text was centered on the spine side of the page with commentary surrounding it on three sides. At least three scribes had a hand in producing this 387-page manuscript, which ends with Hebrews 12:18 and does not have the last seven verses of that book.

Fortunately, Erasmus was able to add to his collection of Greek manuscripts over the next twenty years, as he printed four more editions of his text, making approximately 400 changes—including additions and deletions—over those years. Many of the changes were made before the English Bible translations from Greek began to come along in 1526.

We were also able to examine a large volume containing Erasmus’ Annotations, his personal notes made while compiling the text. They explain why he made the critical decisions to render the text as he did. To see his actual handwriting and clear signature seemed to take us back 500 years, making him more of a real person. We sensed that he could step into the room at any moment.

A common question we hear: Could you actually read the manuscripts? Yes and no. Have you ever experienced the difficulty of reading a 500-year old English handwritten document? Handwriting that old in any language is difficult to decipher. Of course, we could identify ordinary Greek letters and plainly written words, but medieval scribes writing in a cursive style were notorious for inserting many ligatures (symbols representing two or more joined letters) and abbreviations to save space on precious parchment. Special study and training are necessary to be able to actually read and accurately transcribe ancient handwritten manuscripts.

To create a complete Greek text of the NT was a momentous achievement. It had never been done. That being said, it left much editorial work undone for later textual critics who have picked up the torch in the last two centuries with much older MSS closer to the autographs.

My hat is off to Desiderius Erasmus. He was committed to preserving the written text of the New Testament, and probably did the best he could possibly do given the limitations he was handed. He deserves our appreciation for the initial effort he made toward the restoration and compiling of the Greek New Testament text. We should all be forever grateful. We are also indebted to the kind folks at the Basel University Library for their congenial hospitality and the freedom they extended to us, including the privilege to take the pictures of the MSS that you see here. Included below are photos of Erasmus’ tomb and  Froben’s press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Truth in art

Or perhaps at 3:46. It’s called “infanticide.”

Sorry, I just couldn’t pass that last one up!

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The last word:

Pray for America. No country seems to be replacing it as the last bastion of true Christian freedom.

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Thanks for visiting the blog. Feel free to leave your comments. Have a safe and blessed month in March. If it comes in like a lion, perhaps it will go out like a lamb.

JREnsey

Published in: on March 1, 2019 at 3:19 AM  Comments (1)  

JREnsey blog for February, 2019

Welcome to the JREnsey blog for February, 2019.

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The Word for Today

“Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:1-6 NLT).

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Which nature will win the war?

A young lady in our church recently posted some thoughts online that were forwarded to me. They are worth sharing.

“This has been kicking around in my head for a few days, so I’m going to share it just to get it out of my head. LOL.

Every person has a nature that is hostile to God. Scripture refers to it as ‘flesh’ or a ‘carnal mind.’ We commonly hear phrases like ‘die daily’ and ‘crucify the flesh.’ In fact, those phrases have become so common that we no longer seem to recognize the struggle in them. To crucify the flesh daily is a battle! Yes, God’s strength will come in when we are weak, and the Holy Ghost gives power, but we still have a carnal mind that is literally at war with God. War is hard and ugly.

Which is why when people give into sin or walk away from the church, they may feel better for a while. When you wave the white flag and give in, you stop the battle. It isn’t uncommon that people feel ‘right’ or happy when they backslide because they have stopped fighting.

What is sad is that the wage you earn for that decision is death, but since it isn’t paid immediately, it is easy to ignore. God really does want us to live our best lives. What he wants for us is what is best for us, so if you feel yourself starting to slip, it is definitely worth putting on the armor of God and continuing the fight. And, if you have walked away, it’s not too late to come back (Romans 8:7-8).”

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Spiritually unhealed

An unhealed person can find offense in pretty much anything someone does.

A healed person understands that the actions of others have nothing to do with them.

Each day you get to decide which one you will be.

– Unknown

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Is a creed of any value?

Doubtless some would answer in the negative to that question. However, a famous theologian of another era had some interesting comments on the issue:

“A church with a little creed is a church with a little life. The more divine doctrines a church can agree on, the greater its power, and the wider its usefulness. The fewer its articles of faith, the fewer its bonds of union and compactness.

“The modern cry: ‘Less creed and more liberty,’ is a degeneration from the vertebrate to the jellyfish, and means less unity and less morality, and it means more heresy. Definitive truth does not create heresy—it only exposes and corrects. Shut off the creed and the Christian world would fill up with heresy unsuspected and uncorrected, but nonetheless deadly.

“Very solemnly I would warn the reader against any teaching that decries doctrines, or which would reduce the creed of the church into two or three articles. We are entitled to no liberty in these matters. It is a positive and very hurtful sin to magnify liberty at the expense of doctrine. A creed is what we believe. A confession of faith is a declaration of what we believe. The church must both believe and declare. The longest creed of history is more valuable and less hurtful than the shortest.”

– Benaiah Harvey Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible: Colossians, Ephesians, Hebrews,

  1. 140, 146-7

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Some relevant questions

Should we impeach the President in the face of these following facts? The December Jobs Report:

  • 312,000 jobs added
  • 3.9% unemployment rate
  • 63.1% labor participation rate
  • 3.2% annual wage growth

Should the President have nixed Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Afghanistan or just the return flight? Was she more concerned about the soldiers there or subverting the State of the Union message here?

Can you believe that after only two years in office, Trump has already solved global warming, now called climate change since the coming of a snowy winter?

Can anyone explain how importing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from all over the world who will plug into our health care and welfare systems will be good for our economy?

Will Christian believers and ordinary American citizens ever find the courage to stand up against the leftist media and cut their pipelines into their homes?

How can caring Christians stand by while the criminalization of their faith is enacted by state legislators without a response? For a scary press release from a pastor’s council, go to: http://www.uspastorcouncil.org/news-events/current-issues.html/article/2019/01/23/texas-pastors-issue-warning-against-unequal-rights-legislation-by-democrats

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Spurgeon, forever relevant

The farther we get from Spurgeon in years, the more some of his views seem to be catching up with us. Try this on for size:

“It is painful to observe how many embrace anything if it be but earnestly brought before them. They swallow the medicine of every spiritual quack who has enough of brazen assurance to appear to be sincere. Be ye not such children in understanding, but test carefully before you accept. . . . Be sure you have the truth and be sure to hold it. Be ready for fresh truth, if it be the truth, but be very chary how you subscribe to the belief that a better light has been found than that of the sun. . . . Our ‘modern thought’ gentry are doing incalculable mischief to the souls of men, and resemble Nero fiddling upon the top of a tower with Rome burning at his feet. Souls are being damned, and yet these men are spinning theories. Hell gapes wide, and with her open mouth swallows up myriads, and those who should spread the tidings of salvation are ‘pursuing fresh lines of thought.’ Highly cultured soul-murderers will find their boasted ‘culture’ to be no excuse in the day of judgment.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, Series II, pp. 26, 27.

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More evidence of the Bible’s accuracy

As archaeologists continue to dig in the Middle East, they consistently find evidence of biblical characters that history forgot. Some scientists and theologians became convinced that many of the individuals in the Bible were merely contrived to fit a storyline. Not so, says archaeology.

Some time ago the Biblical Archaeological Society published a list of over fifty Old Testament characters that were corroborated by archaeological inscriptions and coins. An example was the seal of King Hezekiah (below, right), which was found near or in the Palace of King David. It reads, “Belonging to Hezekiah, [son of] Ahaz, King of Judah.” Such discoveries brings to life the men and women we read about in the Bible.

Check out this current list of New Testament characters who have turned up in the digs (click on link below). An example is the “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus ossuary box (left). These are just two of a thousand reasons you can trust the Bible.

Agnostics continue to cast doubts on every proof of Bible accuracy, but they only succeed in making fools of themselves. “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/new-testament-political-figures-the-evidence/?mqsc=E4020179&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=BHDDaily%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=ZE9A1IZ42

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Traditional masculinity is “harmful.” Who knew?

Thomas Gallatin

The American Psychological Association recently released its “guidelines” on masculinity and, to put it bluntly, it’s about as insightful as a barrel full of monkeys. Then again, that may be an insult to monkeys, as they instinctively display more intellectual consistency and credibility than does the APA’s condemnation of “traditional masculinity.” At least monkeys don’t dismiss the natural, innate biological differences between the genders as mere “societal constructs.”

In its “first-ever guidelines for practice with men and boys,” the APA asserts, “Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health.” In fact, “traditional masculinity,” which the APA describes as “stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression,” is “on the whole harmful” to men and boys.

Using leftist buzzwords such as “macroaggression, patriarchy, and cisgender”—the latter referring to a person whose sexual “identity” happens to match their biological gender—the APA concludes that “traditional masculinity” is a societal problem. Clearly, the APA is guided by the leftist theory that gender is a nonbinary social construct rather than a binary reality based upon biology. But even at that, one particular gender is just the worst.

For example, the APA alleges, “Although there are differences in masculinity ideologies, there is a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence. These have been collectively referred to as traditional masculinity ideology.”

After some backlash, however, the APA attempted to “clarify” its assertion with the following statement: “When we report that some aspects of ‘traditional masculinity’ are potentially harmful, we are referring to a belief system held by a few that associates masculinity with extreme behaviors that harm self and others. It is the extreme stereotypical behaviors—not simply being male or a ‘traditional male’ —that may result in negative outcomes.” But extremes were not the basis for the original APA argument; stereotypes were. So this clarification is actually obfuscation.

The fact remains that maleness or masculinity as well as femaleness or femininity share common, easily recognizable expressions in all cultures and societies across the world. In fact, one of the first things noted when an individual from one cultural group enters another are the natural binary expressions of gender. It is a universal reality based upon the reality of human biology.

National Review’s David French notes an obvious contradiction in the culture’s current “diversity” paradigm, writing, “It is interesting that in a world that otherwise teaches boys and girls to ‘be yourself,’ that rule often applies to everyone but the ‘traditional’ male who has traditional male impulses and characteristics. Then, they’re a problem. Then, they’re often deemed toxic. Combine this reality with a new economy that doesn’t naturally favor physical strength and physical courage to the same extent, and it’s easy to see how men struggle.”

The fact is that true masculinity is designed to compliment true femininity. The two are not one and the same, despite the gender-fluid argument the APA now espouses. Nor is “traditional masculinity” harmful to boys. Quite the opposite—they need more of it.

[Thanks to all those quacks over at the APA!]

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Some quotes about the negative impact of psychology and psychoactive drugs you may have missed:

“One hundred years from now, people will read current psychiatric textbooks with the same incredulity we have about blood-letting and snake oil.” – Douglas C. Sith, M.D., Juneau, AK

“Physicians need to start using their critical intelligence and wake up to the massive harm being done to our children under the guise of treatment.” – Eileen Walkenstein, M. D., author of Beyond the Couch

“Children don’t need diagnostic labels and medications; they need us! Drugs cannot substitute for good parenting and teaching.” – Fred Bemak, Ed.D., Ohio State Univ.

“Prior to the beginning of psychotherapy, spouses, lovers, children, close friends, parents and colleagues—not therapists—were the most important people in the client’s life….Psychotherapies that place the therapist in the position of the most important other are potentially pernicious, even unethical.” – Robyn Dawes, Ph.D., author House of

Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth

“What has become big business is in fact fraud. The evidence does not support the claims of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.” – Garth Wood, Ph.D., author The Myth of Neurosis

“I have personally seen therapists convince their clients that all of their problems come from their mothers, the stars, their biochemical make-up, their diet, their lifestyle, and even the ‘karma’ from their past lives.” – Roger Mills, psychologist, author

“It appears that certain of the most influential pioneers in American psychology found in it an ideal vehicle for renouncing their own Christian upbringing in the name of science.” – Mary Stewart van Leeuwen, psychologist and author The Sorcerers Apprentice

“Those whose ancestors took comfort from the words of God and worshiped at the altars of Christ and Yahweh now take solace from and worship at the altars of Freud, Jung, Carl Rogers…and a host of similar authorities.” – Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld, author The Shrinking of America: Mythos of Psychological Change

“The popular image of Freud as an enlightened, emancipated, irreligious person who, with the aid of psychoanalysis, ‘discovered’ that religion is a mental illness is pure fiction….One of Freud’s most powerful motives was the desire to inflict vengeance on Christianity [and perpetrated] the clever and cynical destruction of the spirituality of man, and its replacement by a positivistic ‘science of mind.”’ – Thomas Szasz, M.D., author of The Myth of Psychotherapy

“[The drugs used] to ‘torture’ Russian political dissidents are exactly the same drugs use to ‘treat’ mental patients throughout the Western world….We are appalled to hear that, but we tolerate the same treatment of those of our citizens who have been labeled mentally ill by the psychiatric establishment.” – Peter R. Breggin, M.D., author Talking Back to Prozac

“We are often asked if we are ‘Christian psychologists’ and find it difficult to answer since we don’t know what the question implies. We are Christians who are psychologists but at the present time there is no acceptable Christian psychology that is markedly different from non-Christian psychology. It is difficult to imply that we function in a manner that is fundamentally distinct from our non-Christian colleagues…as yet there is not an acceptable theory, mode of research or treatment methodology that is distinctly Christian.” – Poelstra Sutherland, Aspects of Integration, Christian Ass’n for Psychological Studies paper

“There is not one iota of evidence that addiction is a brain disease.” – Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, New York University

“The way to sell drugs is to sell psychiatric illness.” – Carl Elliot, Bioethicist, U. of Minn.

“ln the place of traditional theologies, a new ‘scientific’ religion [is] offered, mediated by a new class of priests. Human behavior would be explained without resorting to soul, spirit, God, Satan, angels, demons, sin, or guilt. Paradise would be restored by pointing men to their own inherent goodness and infinite inner potential.” – Dave Hunt, author The Seduction of Christianity

“It is time for psychiatrists to return to being physicians—not seers, priests, gurus, or pill pushers, but real physicians.” – Dr. Sidney Walker III, psychiatrist

“Do not, and I scream, do not trust psychologists, psychiatrists and the current drug-pushing culture of modern education.” – Dr. Julian Whitaker, Whitaker Wellness Institute

The humanistic psychology establishment in America is very strong. A few apostolic voices will probably not affect it much. Our concern is primarily for our own ministers and laypeople. We must make our voices heard in order to blunt its invasion into our ranks. Our purpose is not to impugn the motives of every psychotherapist in America. Many are sincere altruists. However, many are discovering too late the spiritual damage that can be done to solid Christian families is often irreparable.

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). That, dear reader, is wisdom from above!

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Clean your ears out with this:

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed.

If you look within, you’ll be depressed.

But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.

– Corrie Ten Boom

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Churches front and center in the culture war

In Austin, TX churches are fighting against an ordinance that forces them to consider female clergy and LGBTQ persons in hiring decisions. It states that employers cannot refuse to hire people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The city council says this ordinance “reflects our values and culture.” Baloney! It may reflect the council’s values but not the values of most Texans.

Reader alert! Five women now in our state legislature have formed the first LGBTQ Caucus. Can anyone out there see why all this is happening and where it’s going? Ever notice how many photos you see promoting same sex marriage with a woman performing the ceremony? Are our eyes wide open or are they drowsy with apathy?

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Remember the Alamo?

As a Texan, let me remind my friends in other states that 180 of us held off Santa Ana and two thousand soldiers with cannons for 13 days because of a wall!

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A quote from the Catholic Catechism

“The Bible tells us that Christians were baptized into Christ. They belong to Christ. The Acts of the Apostles (2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5) tells us of baptizing ‘in the name (person) of Jesus.’ A better translation would be ‘into the name (person) of Jesus.’ Only in the 4th Century did the formula ‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” become customary.’” — (Rev. John C Kersten, S.V.D., Bible Catechism (Catholic Book Publishing Co., N.Y., N.Y., l973), p. 164. (Image of this book and this text are available at http://www.trinitytruth.org/matthew28_19addedtext.html

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Stock up on Bible studies now to make 2019 the greatest soulwinning year in the history of your church.

Into His Marvelous Light Bible Study

IHMLCoverNo other one-hour Bible study has enjoyed the consistent results of IHML over the years. Often copied but never duplicated. It is attractive, well written, and doctrinally sound. It will convince any open-minded person (and some whose minds are not so open) that the new birth is absolutely essential and that Acts 2:38 constitutes that experience. It’s possible that more souls have been won with this Bible Study than with any other single evangelism tool in the past 30 years. Discover how easy it is to share the plan of salvation with others. Available in both English and Spanish. English is available in both KJV and NIV.

AM Price 1-49 $1.75 each;  50-99 $1.50 each; 100 or more $1.25 each.

Help establish them with this…

Guide For LivingIHML_GFL_Revised

A follow-up study for the new convert. This little booklet may be given to the new convert to go through alone, filling in the blanks, and then bring back to you with any questions they may have. It covers the new birth—what has happened to them experientially—and walks them through what their responsibilities as new believers are now.

AM Price 1-49 $1.75 each;  50-99 $1.50 each; 100 or more $1.25 each.

 Order at advanceministries.org/store or call 936-537-0250.

Go to Amazon Direct Publishing to get these books:

Life Is Too Short To Spend With A Kicking Cow

by J. R. Ensey

being kicked, but when our time here is harassed by anger, drugs, unwarranted guilt, apathy, doubt, and other hangers-on, we need to get rid of them quickly. Our spiritual life suffers when the sins of the spirit are not dealt with properly. Here are a dozen chapters that deal with some of life’s “kicking cows.” Is there one in your life?          $12.95

Letters From A Roman Jail

by J. R. Ensey
Some of the most beautiful and truly meaningful words that flowed from the pen of Paul are found in his letters written while incarcerated in Rome. They graphically display the triumph of the pen over the sword. Nero’s sword took Paul’s head, but Paul’s pen took Nero’s empire! Topical format permits not just word study and exposition, but teaching ideas and application. This is a good book for new converts who enjoy studying the Word. Also good for Bible classes in Christian schools.    $12.95

The Role Of The Shepherdess

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.        $12.95

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I love this picture of a baptism service in the Brazos River near Houston in c. 1905. That looks like a couple of Texas Rangers astride their mounts on the right.

Thanks for visiting the blog. Feel free to leave your comments. Have a safe and blessed month of revival and ingathering.

JREnsey

Published in: on February 1, 2019 at 1:21 AM  Comments (1)  

The JREnsey blog for January 2019

Welcome to the JREnsey blog for January, 2019. Happy new year to all of our readers! The blog contains fewer items this month due to a longer article that was promised last month.

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The Word for Today

“How you hate honest judges!
How you despise people who tell the truth!
11 You trample the poor,
stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent.
Therefore, though you build beautiful stone houses,
you will never live in them.
Though you plant lush vineyards,
you will never drink wine from them.
12 For I know the vast number of your sins
and the depth of your rebellions.
You oppress good people by taking bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
13 So those who are smart keep their mouths shut,
for it is an evil time” (Amos 5:10-13 NLT).

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I am not ashamed… (Romans 1:16)

…of the Apostolic doctrine

…to be known as a child of God

…of being separate

…of His people

…of the way we worship

…of the manifestations of the Spirit

…that I am not ashamed!

…How about you?

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An Appeal to the Sons of Apostolic Pastors

A powerful word from the Lord was spoken by outgoing General Secretary Jerry Jones at the 2018 General Conference of the UPCI in Louisville, KY. He raised his voice as he passionately admonished those to whom his words may have applied: “You take your daddy’s church, or anyone’s church, and you take that [church] out of the Apostolic truth, you steal that building, and you steal those saints and you turn that into something [else]…that they paid their life’s blood for [that church]…they gave their treasure and their time and their commitment. God have mercy on your soul! You’re not only a backslider, you are a thief. It would be better for you never to have known truth than to have known it and walked away from it.” Thousands stood in agreement and some wept. Strong words, but we have all seen it happen.

In the attempt to interpret and apply what he so eloquently expressed, the following appeal is made to the sons of pastors who may be aspiring to assume their father’s or another elder’s pulpit.

Don’t equate a church with a “family business”

Pastors do not own churches, and they cannot bequeath what they do not own. Nor does one inherit a pastorate as one might inherit his fathers’s auto dealership. There are no succession rights in God’s kingdom. This is not medieval Europe where sons automatically accede to the throne held by their fathers.

Could it ever be right for a son to succeed their father? Absolutely. There have been times when it was obviously the perfect will of God. Certainly some fathers may feel more comfortable about their future and/or their retirement if their son takes over. Conversely, there have also been many situations where great harm was done to the church and the family when a family member was pushed through without a clear expression from God or the church body. Laymen are taught to trust their pastors and often yield to their wishes regarding a successor. Theoretically, a son assuming the pastorate could be the smoothest transition since the church would probably be more acquainted with his style than someone who is not well known by the congregation. By the same token, he may feel that he must put distance between himself and his father to establish his own identity and style, moving the church in a totally different direction.

A few years ago I did an extensive survey of churches going through the process of pastoral transition. It revealed that many pastors find it difficult to turn loose of the reins so that a successor can find the latitude he needs to effectively lead. In other situations, the incoming pastor felt that the elder must be totally set aside or vacate the church in order to make the drastic changes he envisions. Problems associated with pastoral transitions are rarely one-sided.

A common occurrence today is that long-serving pastors are assuming the role of Bishop in semi-retirement and their sons or other relatives are moving up to the position of pastor. In such a scenario, what sometimes happens to make Brother Jones’ comments so relevant and compelling? Too often the younger pastor takes the church in a totally different direction that amounts to serious compromise—even removing the church and himself from long-embraced fellowships. That is what he meant by “stealing a church.”

Allow me to suggest that new and/or young pastors build bridges to connect the generations in the congregation rather than erecting walls that inevitably separate them.

A change bridge

Frequently we are seeing walls go up quickly between the generations. Some younger pastors want to distance themselves from their elders whom they view as “not with it” or “locked in a time warp.” New worship styles, new platform configurations, and new lighting that mimics concert settings used by bands and entertainers are often installed early in the young pastor’s tenure. These quite often will virtually turn off the over 40 portion of the congregation. Walls go up, and rarely do they ever come back down.

It is true that subtle changes are often needed along the way. Change is not inherently ill-advised or wrong. However, drastic or sudden change may send a chill into the congregation and leave them wondering where the church is headed. When crossing a river of change, take time to build a bridge for those coming behind. Don’t leave them to struggle in any way they must in order to get across. Many might be lost in the crossing.

Bring the entire congregation along with you when changes are made in administration policies, or worship patterns, or when major physical appointments are incorporated. Don’t leave the older folks with question in their minds. They’ve been around and have seen some things. For instance, how tithing is apportioned is something in which a church board or at least a special committee should have input. The hiring of office personnel and the renaming of particular segments of church life can sometimes invite consternation. Renaming the platform a “stage” and the players of instruments a “band,” can create images and impressions that are difficult to dismiss. Communicate often with the elders of the church. Let them know the reasons for any substantial changes that may be in the offing. Good communication will almost invariably diminish the chatter and the potential angst.

The point is, don’t leave any portion of the congregation behind. The wisest young pastors are those that recognize the value of communication. Too often elders get the feeling that their voice doesn’t count, and it is whatever the more youthful portion of the assembly wants that really matters. Avoid division. Unify the assembly; don’t divide it.

A music bridge

Music and worship styles constitute a potential area of disagreement and dissension. If they change, it should be very slowly. Traditional music has had a definite role in discipling new converts. It encouraged the veteran saints of God when they were young in the Lord, and now helps maintain a hope for them as they grow older. Paul exhorted the congregations in Colosse and Ephesus to “(L)et the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Colossians 3:19; Ephesians 5:19).

Singing songs in service does more than merely create sound. They provide a platform for worship and training. Notice what Paul says singing does: 1) it helps instill wisdom, 2) it teaches the Word by including scriptural phases and truths, 3) it admonishes believers to turn their attention to the values set forth in the Word, 4) melody is made in the heart of the singers. Many of the worship songs used today are written by those who seem to care little about truth, righteousness, hope, and things to come. They contain a minimum of teaching or admonition, and melody is certainly not their object.

Most Christians over forty cut their teeth on the backs of pews while hearing “It’s All In Him,” or “At Calvary,” or perhaps “How Great Thou Art.” They taught truth and motivated trust. Note the three types of songs mentioned by Paul: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Would to God that songwriters would keep Paul’s words in mind when composing, rather than tagging in with the Hillsong groupies down the street, where only the “praise singers” know the songs. Songwriters and worship leaders should know the difference in a congregational type song and a chorus that might fit better in a setting of consecration and special worship moments.

Composers might remember that someday what they are writing now will be “out of date” and passé. A new genre will likely be developed and they will then feel left out to some degree. All know that few still sing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” or the soaring “Ava Maria” variety of songs. Times and song types change. That is a fact. Got it. But at the congregational level, wisdom would dictate a slower transition, with the consciousness that the traditional songs had a teaching and admonition factor that is missing in many contemporary worship choruses.

No, most elders do not feel that the congregation must sing “I’ll Fly Away” or “Everybody Will Be Happy Over There” in every service. But to abruptly depart from the old songs that helped to mold faith and trust in God in their youth can be traumatic to the soul. Why leave half the assembly (the half that pays most of the church bills) standing and barely mouthing the words on the wall, not having an idea of where the next note is going or even the meaning of the lyrics. Why not a mix of types and melodies? Make the transition simpler and easier. Build a musical bridge. It pays.

A lifestyle bridge

Somehow, in this era of the Internet and social media, youth find it easy to grasp the idea that “holiness teaching” is also passé and does not have relevance in today’s environment. “We must change our emphasis regarding holiness if we are going to reach our current generation,” the say. What does that mean—that they don’t like the Apostolic lifestyle so we should adopt what they like so they will feel comfortable in our services? Such an attitude flies in the face of a thousand scriptures.

Too often new or young pastors assuming a leadership position seem to feel that they must acquiesce to the contemporary Bohemian* mindset, as one pastor posted on his website. They evidently think numerical growth depends on the compromise of biblical standards of holiness. We are not here to merely build crowds; our purpose is to build churches, populated by God-fearing, Spirit-filled, right-living believers.

True, our ladies don’t still wear dresses that sweep the street as they walk. We get that. But that does not mean that there should not be a line drawn beyond which they should not go. A line creates a margin of spiritual safety for both Apostolic men and women. When a line is not drawn, then there is no line, and everyone does what he or she thinks is appropriate—traditional understanding of biblical holiness and the expressions of the corporate body be hanged. Finding God’s sense of modesty expressed in the Scriptures is not difficult. “Nakedness” in the Bible seems to include the exposure of the thigh, the upper part of the leg. Covering of the upper arm is not a bad idea either. High necklines and longer hemlines have always been sensible guidelines for ladies’ attire. Actually, dedicated Christian men and women intuitively know what is over the line in their apparel. It was disappointing to have the nation’s First Lady, just past, to set a style of sleeveless, low necklines attire for public and media wear. What leaders do will usually be reflected in constituents. Remember the adage, modesty quietens the emotions and evokes respect.

Young pastors, this appeal is to you. Some things will never be appropriate for pulpit wear. Ugly T-shirts hung out over pre-torn jeans and sneakers, for instance, are signboards pointing to the future. They say, “Bohemians, please love me! See, I am like you. I dress like you, and together we reject the old power styles of suit and tie. Come be a part of our liberated church.” Platform styles often betray where you are wanting to go, what you will be teaching, living and believing within the next three to five years. We have seen it over and over.

Ornamental jewelry will never be in proper style in Apostolic churches. Ladies cutting their hair and men wearing long hair will never be accepted as a biblically approved Apostolic practice. At least a modicum of personal decorum has marked the American Christian community since its founding. Sure, drastic changes are taking place in every segment of our society. But what the culture does is their business; what the church does is our business.

Immoral homosexual acts that lead to confusing sexual identities are condemned in the Bible and will never become acceptable to God or true Apostolic Christians. That which God loathes will never suddenly become licit in His sight. Biblical principles are unchanging. Current morals being advocated in America’s institutions of higher learning—and in many denominational churches—are destructive to our society and are invitations for God’s judgment. It is up to the spiritual leaders of our movement, including our young pastors, to set a higher standard that maintains our distance from the world—one that is supported by both Scripture and common sense.

Summary

We love and appreciate pastors’ sons who dedicate themselves to the pastoral ministry. To lead God’s people is a high calling and entails great responsibility. Therefore this appeal urges them to use wisdom in assuming the pastoral role, considering not just one but all segments of the congregation. To remove the church from a theologically conservative position to a more liberal one is not the will of God. Don’t even come close to being a church thief. If you feel that churches should be different from the way their fellowship teaches and what their traditional stand has been, then go start one of your own. Don’t steal one.

Backsliders who want to return to the Lord will seek for a place that that looks and feels like what they left back there earlier in their life. Should they walk into some churches today, they would not recognize it as being the church they walked away from. The energy of our churches should not be spent totally on reaching the current culture, but maintaining what we have. “Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain,” Jesus said to the church at Sardis.

If you are being considered for a leadership role in a church, tell them exactly what you believe and any changes you intend to make. Taking a church under false pretenses amounts to prevarication and deception. Leadership in the kingdom of God is serious business. May we all feel obligated to the Lord Himself who is the “head of the body,” as Paul declares. It is His church and He is the final authority. When Jesus changes the salvation message and rescinds the apostolic holiness declarations in the Bible, then we can change our message and positions. Until then, let us dedicate ourselves to strengthening the things that remain—among them, our Apostolic truth and identity.

 

* A free-spirited, unconventional, open-minded thinker opposing traditional values; usually dedicated to recreating society in their own image. (Not a reference to someone’s nationality.)

If this article is not relevant to your situation right now, but you know someone who might benefit from it, please send them a link to the blog.

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Stock up on Bible studies now to make 2019 the greatest soulwinning year in the history of your church.

Into His Marvelous Light Bible Study

IHMLCoverNo other one-hour Bible study has enjoyed the consistent soul-winning results of IHML over the years. Often copied but never duplicated. It is attractive, well written, and doctrinally sound. It will convince any open-minded person (and some whose minds are not so open) that the new birth is absolutely essential and that Acts 2:38 constitutes that experience. It’s possible that more souls have been won with this Bible Study than with any other single teaching tool in the past 20 years. Discover how easy it is to share the plan of salvation with others. Available in English, Spanish and Italian. English is available in both KJV and NIV84.

AM Price 1-49 $1.75 each;  50-99 $1.50 each; 100 or more $1.25 each

Guide For LivingIHML_GFL_Revised

A follow-up study for the new believers. This little booklet can be given to the new members to go through alone and then come back to you with any questions they may have. It can also be taught as a text in a class. It covers the new birth—what has happened to them experientially, and goes through what their responsibilities as believers are now.

AM Price 1-49 $1.75 each;  50-99 $1.50 each; 100 or more $1.25 each

Order books and Bible studies from advanceministries.org or call 936-537-0250.

See more books at advanceministries.org/store

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Thanks for visiting the blog. Feel free to leave your comments. Have a safe and enjoyable New Year blessed by the greatest ingathering of souls in the history of your church. May the peace of God rule in your heart and home until Jesus comes.

JREnsey

Published in: on January 1, 2019 at 1:07 AM  Comments (7)