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Every once in a while you run across something that you sense has some value, but like a diamond in the rough, its true value is just barely recognized, which was the effect that this short booklet had on me. Jacob Boehme (1575-1624), a humble shoemaker born in Alt Seidenberg, Germany, brought forth this rough uncut gem that lay unappreciated for 100 years before being translated into English. John Wesley, in his day, required all of his preachers to study the writings of Jacob Boehme; and the learned theologian, William Law, said of him: “Jacob Boehme was not a messenger of anything new in religion, but the mystery of all that was old and true in religion and nature, was opened up to him,” — “the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God.”

Sixteenth century English is not that easy to read, and I laid the booklet aside a few times before finally, and slowly, reading the whole manuscript. What had I found? The second reading, more slowly still, I now regard as a priceless gem. As with a precious gift my desire was to share this treasure, but would very many take the time to wade through hard to read and understand paragraphs to discover what I had found?

The following is my transliteration of that booklet into a form of English that I pray will bless you as I have been blessed.

Steve Blackwell

_________________________________________________

 

boehme

Part One

Jacob Boehme (1575-1624)

Understanding the Biblical Concept of Coveting, Desire, Humility, and Dying To Self

 

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” Matthew 16:24

“Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! . . . .’” Matthew 19:27

We need only look at the examples of Lucifer and Adam, the first man, to understand what “self” will accomplish when the light and wisdom of this world come to be the center of our being, and when they determine that they can walk in and by the power of that knowledge. Do we not see the immense pride, vanity, selfishness, and corruption displayed in those who have come into possession of this world’s knowledge? And yet, the whole world desires this knowledge as if it were the last and best treasure; and indeed it is the best the world has to offer, and has in itself an element of good if understood and rightly used.

Man, outside of the Garden of Eden, must understand that he is now a captive held in a very small and secure prison and that his ability to reason is subject to, and contaminated by, the combined knowledge of both good and evil. Outside the Garden, it is very dangerous for a man to make use of this new knowledge of self and nature as if a man has within himself complete control over his ability to reason correctly.

Humility is the surrendering of self to the only true knowledge, the Word of Life, discoverable in Christ, the Word and Wisdom of God. Due to Adam’s rejection of the Fruit of Paradise and his preference for the fruit and knowledge of self, the wrath of God now rests on him and his children. Adam’s descendants take great pride, to this very day, of their ability to unravel the Gordian Knot of self-knowledge, self-improvement, and self-actualization, and to predict their own future. This ability of “self-determination” is the diabolical environment of this world and the false reality in which we all exist; it is the lust after the knowledge to differentiate between good and evil. To understand humility and to acknowledge the truth of self-sacrifice and humility is to step into real-life and out of the matrix of death and deception.

First Lucifer, then Adam, lusted after this inner knowledge derived from self and not from the true source of knowledge. This new light which gave them the ability to stand back and look at themselves, with their own entire imaginations gone wild, lusting after the flesh and after all that the eye could behold, had the natural consequences of pride and self-enjoyment. It is easy to suggest that Lucifer sought within himself the answers to the origin of life, as men have also done from their beginning, and imagining the possibility of himself being that source of life and knowledge, as we see equally displayed in psychology and the New Age movement today. It is also easy to imagine that this desire of Lucifer started off as a simple thought that he allowed to fester into outright rebellion against his Creator; a fire that will burn in him for eternity for the presumptuous idea that his burning passion could overcome the power of pure Love. And, likewise Adam, when he attempted to descend into the essence of good and evil and to understand the depths of the mind, and of reason, unaided by the Truth, was bound in iron and shackled by his daring desire; he found himself broke off from humility and captured in the small confines of self-awareness, a prisoner to self. Lucifer with all the rebellious angels and all of mankind were now stuck fast in this slough of self-will, whereby they became the enemies of the Love and Meekness of God.

Adam could now, without the Spirit of God dwelling within him, be called a true man of the world, one with Mother Nature, a child of dirt, and not a child of God any longer. Earthly properties became apparent, heat and cold, envy and anger, and every kind of lustful desire and malice and opposition toward God became apparent and ruled his life.

The knowledge of good and evil was like a mirror that reflected back upon the person, whether man or angel, a confused knowledge, and understanding, that was alive in their hearts and minds, creating a desire to know who and what they are, and why they exist, along with a consideration of inner power, a power of creation and destruction. From this reflection came every imagination and lust that ever was or will be.

As we witness every day we can now see how this confused thought process, faulty logic, and ability to reason properly, can be a source of great danger to the truly enlightened children of God, in whom the light of the presence of God shines. This danger presents itself as a mirror, always reflecting up from our “self” and we search out those inner feelings of self-worth, that mutate into self-glory. We begin to feel that it was our own energy and strength, our own ability, our own power of self-control that has accomplished the victory, and from this springs up the abomination of pride and self-love. It is like an always running projector that continuously overlays an image of our own self and will-power reducing the image of God to a mere support role.

By this, the Devil subtly insinuates himself into this person and infiltrates and corrupts his logic and reasoning abilities. With false conclusions, ambiguities, innuendos, suggestions, allusions, and straight out lies he overwhelms the man so as to make him drunk on his own self-thinking and methodology, yet still believing and persuaded that he is exercising faith and being moved by the Spirit. And, by so doing, that good beginning, where divine light pierced the darkness, is spoiled, and the light that is in him is darkness.

Now this Christian man, having the light of the world and nature, stands deceived. By his own efforts, he throws himself under the crushing wheels of the lie but supposes that he stands firm in the first light of God. And in the basking glow of self-exaltation, the Devil again approaches – in that first light of God he had been forced to depart – returning with a seven-fold barrage of lustful, prideful desires.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” Matthew 12:43-45

This house, which was “swept, and put in order”, is the heart, which is the core of a man, his mind, it is the light of reason, and it is the “self.” When men have been given that good deposit of the Holy Spirit and bring their lives into harmony and resonate with the will of God and reject the wickedness of worldliness, and their only desire is to please their Lord, then that new life will be manifested in a most cheerful and peaceful presence, by which the false light of the world will become discernable and recognized. Where God’s light exists all will be lit; the Devil cannot stay there, he and his lies must leave. It is then that Satan searches for other habitation because to exist outside of man is a dry and barren wilderness, not suitable for deceptive practices. The Devil continually searches through these places till he finds an open door suitable to his depraved desires.

If this Christian man allows his spirit to once again be centered in the light of his own reason, i.e. temptations to selfishness and self-realization, then he will once again depart from God’s will and step into the darkness and opens the door to Satan and his demons. When the Devil enters he finds the place “swept and clean”, i.e. the man’s heart and reason enlightened by truth; then he takes with him seven more to attack the man’s understanding and to promote desires of self-actualization, to promote uncensored lust, to bring about death. The minds ability to imagine greatness and satisfaction is enhanced, then the man sinks into himself and there he becomes drunk on his own lust and pride. Even psychology, ancient wisdom, the cosmos, and the power of the stars are used to influence and guide him to god and the deep mysteries of the soul.

Part Two

At this point, an objection will undoubtedly arise and ask, “Is it not all right for a man to gain both the Light of God along with the light of nature and reason? Doesn’t the Bible direct us to order our lives wisely?

The answer to this is, Yes!, it is right and good to have this. Is there anything wiser in this life than to understand the truth of God and the truth of nature and of this world? With this knowledge we have the light of both time and eternity, a great treasure; but be awfully careful how you use this knowledge for many have wandered into darkness never to return.

When we are saved we gain a light, although of a single candle, and the light shines forth into our heart igniting our reason and thought processes, yet the light of God does not submit to, nor come under the power of man, and is not wholly grasped all at once. The new-born Child of God beholds himself as in a looking glass, darkly, and he sees but the luster and polish of glory breaking through like the first light of day. By this first-light, he begins to really see himself, and that light is good and profitable.

The Christian can do no better than to acknowledge what he sees because what he sees is his-self, i.e. the self of the world, the creature in its vileness. But, in so doing he must be cautioned to not contemplate too deeply and slip into his own deep desires and self-will, risking the malnourishment of the newly formed sprout by eating the rotten fruit of his own wisdom instead of the resting in the light of God. By self-indulgence, the venom of the serpent is once again drawn into the new life, and he withers and dies.

The correct view of this initial introspection of reason and desire should be to account himself as an unworthy child who has no value or worth that he should receive so great a grace and salvation. Nor should he appropriate this new knowledge unto himself as if he himself has revealed this conclusion. All knowledge and understanding which is gained by this new revelation has but one source, God, and any reaction but sincerely and simply sinking down, as dead to self, into the Love and Grace of God in Christ Jesus, and to wholly resign himself to the Spirit of God in Love, that he may be used, how and where God wills, as God’s sole instrument in this world, is incomplete, inaccurate, and rooted in self.

What I am trying to say is that a Christian’s reasoning should not enter into any speculation, conjecture, or guesswork as to the nature of Divine or human matters, or strive after, or desire anything but the Grace of God in Christ. This desire after God should be the means of preventing any separation from the true hunger for God. When “self” rises up and triumphantly declares a victory, saying “I have acquired the true light of wisdom,” then the man must throw “self” to the earth in deepest humility and acknowledge his ignorance declaring, “I am a fool and have nothing that wasn’t given to me, and what I do have is only by the Grace of God” That humility must be worn as a garment and you must become nothing at all in your own self, and make it your promise to neither know nor love your “self.” The only safe place is to bring all desire into God’s mercy; and to leave all of your own knowledge and willing aside, valuing it as nothing, not even to entertain the thought ever again.

Once this is done, man’s self-determination and desire for the world will begin to weaken, and thereby weaken the advances of the Devil and the sifting process, and then the Holy Spirit comes forward and takes possession of the patterns and influences of the individual and promotes His own power and authority. He ignites the inclinations and influences of the person with His flames of Love, and then deeper knowledge of God is excited, harmonizing with his inward and outward pattern and nature, and this warm subtle life altering fire the Spirit attends with great delight. As a result of which the humbled soul desires to sink down into that Light, and regards itself to be nothing and quite unworthy of this grace.

And thus its own selfish desires sinks down into the abyss and his will is made alive to God, giving the Holy Spirit free reign to a resigned humility, so that the self follows hard after God with trembling and joy and the concepts of time and eternity spring up into the mind.

When the love of God is made manifest, the spirit of man, in its humbled state, praises God and gives Him all glory, and comprehends God’s taking to Himself virtue, power, strength, wisdom, and knowledge; and doing all that The man sees fit in apprehending nothing to himself; he neither knows, nor does, nor goes, except where God leads as an instrument in His hands.

Being thus humbled and resigned the divine spark falls into his heart, as a fire in dry tinder it kindles a flame; and where once darkness ruled now there is light. With this, the man is compelled to speak what the Holy Spirit dictates and be no more the instrument of self, but now the instrument of God.

A word of warning; the will of the soul must without ceasing, in this fiery driving to spread the truth, sink into nothingness, i.e. into the deepest humility in the sight of God. For no sooner than the least measure of man’s own will set out on its own in meaningless speculation and searching than Satan reaps pride in the creature. There must be conscientious determination to continue close in resigned humility, as a well draws from a spring, drawing the living water of God’s fountain, never departing from the way of God forever.

As soon as the soul indulges in the forbidden fruit of self, and natural reason arises as a blind guide, it proceeds on mere opinion and estimation. This work which it approves of and declares to be divine is but the product of the prince and power of the air that multiplies and magnifies every error until the man once again yields his-self up to resignation and acknowledges anew he is a defiled and corrupt child and returns to the love of God.

The history of man on the planet earth testifies to this. Man has departed many times from the humility of resignation into the “self,” i.e. into their own reasoning and will wherein they yield to sin and earn the wrath of God, as witnessed by David, Solomon, the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles.

All of these are for our example, to show the necessity of God’s children to know how to behave themselves while they are advancing in their life as Christians. Every thought must be beaten down and taken captive; and desire nothing or have the least will to learn anything unless they are in true and full resignation, so that the Holy Spirit can lead, teach, and guide the spirit of man, and that the will of the human, which is attached to the self be wholly broken off from its own desires, and resigned to God.

WARNING: Beware of speculation in the wonders of God through the flesh, through science, philosophy, or psychology; this can be very dangerous. The spirit of man’s will can be taken captive unless man’s spirit is totally resigned in humility to the Holy Spirit; then he will have power in the resigned humility to properly discern the true wonders of God.

I am not saying that man should learn nothing in natural arts and science; such knowledge can be useful, but a man should not begin from his own natural reason as philosophy and psychology do. What I am saying is that man should govern his life by the light of his outward reason, which is good and God-given, but along with that light sink down into the deepest humility before God and set the Spirit of God and His will foremost in all of his searching, so that the light of reason may see and know things through the pure light of God’s truth. Even though man’s reason may be wise in its own right and help man to advance in his own sphere of knowledge, yet it must not appropriate such wisdom and knowledge to itself, as if he has gained this knowledge apart from the Almighty, and cheat God of the glory He rightly deserves, to Whom all wisdom and knowledge belong.

Because the more deeply the human reason sinks down into simple humility in the sight of God, and the more unworthy it accounts its self in His sight the more truly it dies to self and self’s base desires, then the more thoroughly will God’s Spirit penetrate and drive out selfish desires. At length, he may come to behold the great mysteries and wonders of God, because the Spirit of God works only in resigned humility, and allows no opposition. God takes hold of the broken and contrite spirit, who sinks low before Him and brings that spirit into His wonders. He has pleasure only in those who fear and bow themselves before Him.

God has not created us for ourselves only, but to be instruments of His will, by which He desires to manifest His wonders. The submissive will trust in God alone and expects all good from Him only. Man’s will rules himself because it is separated from God and all that he does apart from God is sin and opposes God, for it has gone out from the order for which it was created, and is a rebel and desires its own self to be lord and master.

When a man’s own will dies, then it is free from sin because it desires only what God desires of His creation, and although it is and must be involved in what God desires, yet considers itself but the instrument of all that is done.

This is the true faith of man: to die to self and live to God. Death to self and desire, to all of his own undertakings and designs, and to be resigned to God’s will and demand nothing to self, but esteem himself as the servant and minister of God is his calling. In this disposition, the Spirit of God will lead him into true light, uprightness, and faithfulness to his neighbor, and he listens continually for the voice of his Master who alone commands him what to do.

But, here is the problem; self does what outward, natural, reason commands and what it hears from within the world wherein it moves. Into this “reason” the Devil flies with his own desires. From this point all whatsoever self does is outside the will of God, and is vain fantasy and earns only the wrath of God.

No work done without the will of God will reach the Kingdom of God; it is all only an unprofitable work of the flesh, a self-wrought image in the great tension and anxiety of mankind. There is only one God who exists in the essence of all essences, and all who work with Him in that essence is one with Him. But, that which works within self only, in its own will is in itself only, is separated from God. This person is under the dominion of nature where, in his fantasy, he makes to himself subjects, both good and evil; and he is no longer under Divine Government, which comprehends good only, as did Adam before his fall.

Christ said, “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted out and burned in the fire.” All the works of man done outside the will of God shall be destroyed by the final fire and wrath of God and thrown into the pit of darkness. Therefore, whatsoever is done by the decisions of human self-will and reasoning in matters of religion are pure fiction and the building of Babel; it is the interplay of the turning wheels of human nature, where good and evil struggle for dominion; what the one builds the other destroys. This struggle is the great misery in the vain imaginations of men, where the issue is settled by the judgment of God.

Whosoever, therefore, labors much in such confusion labors for the wrath and judgment of God, because none of it approaches perfection or permanence. Whatever is wrought in wrath will be received in wrath, and stored-up for the Day of Judgment when evil and good will be forever severed.

But, if a man will repent and go forth from him-self, and enter the will of God, then will the good that he has done be freed from the evil he has done. As Isaiah says, “Though your sins be as scarlet, yet if you turn and repent, they shall become as wool, yea, as white as snow.” For in repentance evil is swallowed up in the wrath of God unto death, and the good springs forth as a sprout out of the dry earth.

February 20, 2018

Deviant Christian activity has become the norm today. You can find virtually anything to be accepted and promoted from the pulpits of once “faithful” Churchs. This slide has not gone unannounced by Scripture, for example: 2 Timothy 3:1-2 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.” Matthew 24:11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.” Matthew 24:24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.” But, the truth is, no one is listening or even seems to care.

Lighthouse Trails Research has been faithful in exposing much of this activity by those who are propagating a Christianity that is not part of the message Christ came to deliver, a message that has no ability to deliver from the coming judgment. This new gospel that is no Gospel at all is the device of men for their own benefit. As the clock ticks ever closer to midnight we must be sure that our anchor is secure. Please read the following article for the sake of your spiritual health and subscribe to their free newsletter.

Steve Blackwell


From: The Lighthouse Trails February 20, 2018 E-Newsletter

Bad News for Gaither Followers; Gloria Gaither Praises New Age Teachers Sue Monk Kidd and Richard Rohr

Last week, we received the following information from a reader:

Gloria Gaither

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

Gloria Gaither is the author of many influential songs including “There’s Something About That Name.” She writes glowing reviews of the two books listed below. One by Richard Rohr, a Roman Catholic priest and the other by Sue Monk Kidd who believes herself to be a goddess. These book reviews are from Bill & Gloria Gaither’s Homecoming Magazinewebsite.
Thanks,
Jeff

Quote by Gloria Gaither About Sue Monk Kidd: “Most of the time I choose a nonfiction book that brings a new insight or fresh approach to an eternal truth or encourages spiritual growth in an area that seems to need emphasis for the times in which we are living. But this time I am recommending the New York Times bestselling book of fiction, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees. . . . Sue Monk Kidd is an amazing writer who tells a story with such skill that she somehow manages to both prick our consciences and give us great hope. (source)

Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidd

Quotes by Sue Monk Kidd:

“I often went to Catholic mass or Eucharist at the Episcopal church, nourished by the symbol and power of this profound feeding ritual” (Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, p. 15).

“I would go through the gate with what Zen Buddhists call ‘beginner’s mind,’ the attitude of approaching something with a mind empty and free, ready for anything, open to everything. . . . I would give myself permission to go wherever my quest took me” (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, p. 140).

“I remember a feeling rising up from a place about two inches below my navel. . . . It was the purest inner knowing I had experienced, and it was shouting in me no, no, no! The ultimate authority of my life is not the Bible; it is not confined between the covers of a book. It is not something written by men and frozen in time. It is not from a source outside myself. My ultimate authority is the divine voice in my own soul. Period. . . . That day sitting in church, I believed the voice in my belly. . . . The voice in my belly was the voice of the wise old woman. It was my female soul talking. And it had challenged the assumption that the Baptist Church would get me where I needed to go” (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, pp. 76, 77, 78, emphasis added).

Quote by Gloria Gaither About Richard Rohr: In an interview between Gloria Gaither and Catholic mystic monk, Richard Rohr, Gaither said: “First of all, I want to say thank you to you [Richard Rohr] because so many of your books have been impacting my life, especially Falling Upward. I think that changed my thinking about . . . just about everything. We have studied that book in our Monday night Bible study.” (source)

Richard Rohr

Richard Rohr

Quotes by Richard Rohr:

“every time God forgives us, God is saying that God’s own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us.”― Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

“The most amazing fact about Jesus, unlike almost any other religious founder, is that he found God in disorder and imperfection—and told us that we must do the same or we would never be content on this earth. ”― Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See

LTRP Comments: In 2009, we were first alerted to the direction that the Gaithers appeared to be going, and we posted an article titled, “Gaither Family Fest To Include The Shack Author.” In that article, we stated:

Bill and Gloria Gaither will be hosting the 19th annual Family Fest in May and will be featuring The Shack author William Paul Young. The Gaithers have been a popular Christian music team for many years. . . . In 2005, the Gaithers held their Gaithers Praise Gathering in which they invited Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, and other emerging church leaders to be speakers. In 2008, at the Gaither’s Fall Festival, Brian McLaren’s book, The Secret Message of Jesus (see Faith Undone for information on that book) was featured in the Readers Breakfast Club. Gloria Gaither is also on the Advisory Board for the Spirit and Place Festival, an organization sympathetic to the “new (age) spirituality.” McLaren is a featured personality in that organization. The Gaither’s promotion of The Shack, Brian McLaren, and Leonard Sweet are strong indicators that the Gaithers are attracted to emerging spirituality, and this will no doubt influence many of their followers.

As for this promotion of Richard Rohr and Sue Monk Kidd, this is a perfect example of the downward slide of deception. Sadly, the Gaithers have millions of followers through their music, and now these followers are being pointed to two New Age panentheists rather than to the Cross. When the Gaithers wrote and sang “There’s Something About That Name [Jesus],” who would have thought they would be able to sing such high praises for people who are following a different Jesus and a different Gospel?

Additional Information on Sue Monk Kidd:

Of Sue Monk Kidd, Ray Yungen states:

[Sue] Monk Kidd’s spirituality is spelled out clearly in her book, When the Heart Waits. She explains: “There’s a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [everyone] that’s only God . . . the soul is more than something to win or save. It’s the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us. . . .

How did a Baptist Sunday school teacher come to believe that divinity is within all? [A]Sunday school co-worker handed her [Monk Kidd] a book by Thomas Merton telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically. What happened next completely reoriented Sue Monk Kidd’s worldview and belief system. She started down the contemplative prayer road with bliss, reading numerous books and repeating the sacred word methods taught in her readings.

She ultimately came to the mystical realization that: “I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us . . .  When we encounter another person . . .  we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there.”-A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 134-135

Dance of the Dissident Daughter, published six years after When the Heart Waits, shows Monk Kidd’s transition into goddess and panentheist spirituality, going so far as to say that God can be found even in human excrement. In speaking about mysticism, she states:

As I grounded myself in feminine spiritual experience, that fall I was initiated into my body in a deeper way. I came to know myself as an embodiment of Goddess…. Mystical awakening in all the great religious traditions, including Christianity, involves arriving at an experience of unity or nondualism. In Zen it’s known as samadhi…. Transcendence and immanence are not separate. The Divine is one. The dancer and all the dances are one. . . . The day of my awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw all things in God, and God in all things (pp. 161-163, Dance of the Dissident Daughter).

Additional Information on Richard Rohr:

Rohr’s spirituality would be in the same camp as someone like Episcopalian panentheist Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ). Rohr wrote the foreword to a 2007 book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest (from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho’s book, he describes an interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity) worship the same God. For Rohr to write the forward to such a book, he would have to agree with Coutinho’s views. On Rohr’s website, he currently has an article titled “Cosmic Christ.” One need not look too far into Rohr’s teachings and website to see he is indeed promoting the same Cosmic Christ as Matthew Fox – this is the “christ” whose being they say lives in every human-this of course would nullify the need for atonement by a savior.

Mercy

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debaixo

Historians have noticed what Christians have failed to discover and that is the immense compromise that the Church had committed by her alliance with Constantine in the year 314 A.D. at the Synod of Arles. In this canon it was stated that Christians would be threatened with excommunication those Christian soldiers who insisted on quitting the army, which left military service free and open to Christians. This move was in direct opposition to the stance of the Primitive Church of Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, Cyprian, and Lactantius who represented the heart and thought of its Founder and Apostles. And so, for the first time, the meek and peaceful Jesus became a God of battle, and the cross, the holy sign of Christian redemption, the banner of a bloody warlord. This irreconcilable incongruity between the symbol of peace and war is verdict enough to convict the left-leaning of the commercial Church.

Christians need not be students of history to discern this truth, it is set forth in the life of Jesus and throughout the pages of the New Testament. One need only have the spirit of knowledge and the discernment of truth, both of which are free gifts of God.

We should not be surprised that we who occupy the Church at the end of the age should find that it has slid into apostasy since this too has been foretold. This evil of strife and killing which have become the mindset of modern Christianity has now become a virtue to be praised and glorified by those who profess godliness and proudly present Christ as their warrant for destruction of human lives.

The day is drawing short and time is of the essence that professing Christians cast off this devilish spirit of patriotism and murder and join the Lamb of peace in preparation for the Groom to receive His bride.

And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. Hosea 2:19

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The study of “right and wrong” or ethics is very important but ethics do not exhaust the full contents of what Christianity is. Ethics are concerned with the practical conduct of human life so, it is natural that curious Christian minds should have carefully investigated these rules and behavior. Also, when we find that some have carried this study to advanced levels we should not be surprised that this quest for meaning, predictably, should become corrupted on some points. This quest for right discernment has many times fallen into errors, oversights, and misunderstandings, if not outright hypocrisy and heresy. But, this should not prevent the responsibility of thoughtful Christians to seek out the truth. When what we read in the New Testament comes into conflict with, and fails to balance with, our actual experience then it is imperative that truth loving Christians bear out these differences with the attitude of honest inquiry and not simply stop at the status quo. Is it not the Christian’s duty to clarify, defend, instruct, and preach correct virtues and to live them out in broad daylight? Yet, this is not what we always find. Jesus said, looking toward the end-times, that “good would become evil and evil good,” so I will say again, when what we read in the New Testament comes into conflict with and fails to balance with our actual experience then it is imperative that truthful Christians bear out these differences with the attitude of honest inquiry.

In this pursuit of truth, no period of Christian history is as important as that of the first three centuries. All errors that we encounter can be eliminated as we find our way back to that period of time when Christianity was in its infancy and the teachings of Christ and the Apostles were still fresh in the hearts and minds of those who experienced it firsthand; the success of this period has never since been equaled. That power that sprang from the founder’s personal life pulsated with more energy at that time than it has ever since when emerging decay was held in check by frequent purifications in the fires of persecution and the Church’s vision had not been biased and its conscience dulled with accumulating compromise.

In the midst of today’s many problems of Christian integrity and ethics, the most urgent and challenging at this present time is that of the Christian attitude to war, self-defense, and violence. There has never been a time when the weight of it pressed more heavily upon the minds of Christians than it does today. It is a question that needs to be asked and involves the whole world and includes our necessity of coming to a reasoned decision on this critical issue – in all cases it requires that we question the fixations we have to health, wealth, security, reputation and even life itself in this world. The sad thing is that it appears that, generally speaking, there has been no reasoned inquiry and that most Christians have accepted the popular explanation for this problem without question. Everywhere, by an overwhelming majority, Christians have settled in word and deed the decision to fight and shed blood, and to kill – providing it is done in defense of country or for the weak or for the maintenance of national pride and righteousness – are the Christian’s duty, right, and privilege. But, only by an act of self-deception could anyone persuade himself that this is the final word on the subject. The degree and knowledge of which the majority have been persuaded owes in large part to other factors rather than calm, impartial, and considered judgment of a Christian heart. In the tense excitement and overflowing passion of the current state of affairs, the truth and reasonableness of the “popular opinion” are not only taken for granted but is elevated to the degree of the “sacred” where dissent or disobedience merits disrespect, disapproval, and even punishment. As has happened in the past during times of crises such views cannot be tolerated. Public feelings and state watchfulness at grip with the enemy will likely check or silence any expression of disagreement. During such times the question of non-resistance and pacifism may become a closed question. But, there is a rising tide of those who have looked below the surface of popular Christian belief on this subject and are not satisfied with the false and superficial answers that have been given to its sincere doubts and questions.

The New Testament has been thoroughly studied and written upon and although no work on Christian history, ethics, and teaching, could ignore this subject, it has been out of the question by contemporary authors to exhaustively consult the writings of the Ante-Nicene Church in search of this truth. What may be called the modern interest in the early Christian attitude to war goes back only to the Radical Reformation of the Anabaptist and considers their actions only as an anomaly. The modern Church is virtually devoid of those who know anything on the subject. The greatness of those who sacrificed so much to bring this truth into the light has been continuously downplayed and ignored by popular Christianity. This can be attributed to nothing less than an attempt by Satan to hide the very core and nature of the Gospel message and to present Christ and Christianity in a whole different light.

The problem of Christianity and war is one that demands serious attention, even during ordinary times, but recent events have magnified the problem and the need for attention. The real problem is that the average Christian naturally expects to find support for his convictions from the local Church, and in fact, that is exactly what happens, so it has been left to the few who have discovered the truth to spread it with whatever means is available and with whatever skill they possess.

The words of the New Testament, the life of Jesus, the lives of His disciples, and Apostles, and the history of the primitive Church for three hundred years all speak with a clear voice and are vibrant and strong regarding this subject. With Constantine’s ascension to power, the persecution stopped and Christian leaders, still bearing the scars of persecution, were raised to positions of authority and importance. True Christianity began to go into hiding but a scarlet thread can be traced from that time to this of Christians who came to know a truth that would cost them everything. Although we live in times of relative peace the time will come once again when those who follow the Lamb in non-resistance to evil will pay the cost of true fellowship.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For (Christian) people  will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Tim. 3:1-5

global-persecution

Are we, i.e. Christians, forever to consider with praise and respect, the technological proficiency of modern warfare, which channels the intellect to acquire the skill to murder on a mass scale? Are Christians to look with pleasure upon all the methods employed to mutilate mankind and to enable the work of destruction? Are Christian parents so blind that they would spoon feed their children television and technology that leads them to the Devil’s den? No!

I have witnessed the righteous principle of peace beginning to spread. Brothers and sisters across this land are beginning to learn that nothing can withstand the purpose of the Prince of Peace. They are thinking deeply that surely there must be something faulty and malfunctioning in our Christianity. And, knowing assuredly what Christ professed, they cannot continue to be quiet and lazy in such a cause as this. Read the New Testament just a little and how can you escape without understanding that that religion, established by the Lamb, is a religion of Peace.

Our Churches have been filled to the brim with deception and lies concerning the Christian’s place and duty in government and the armed forces. Ever since the time of Augustine and Constantine, in the fourth century, the once persecuted Church now elevated to a place of power and influence, positioned the Church as a force to be dealt with on the same level as the world, and this is a lie perpetuated by the Church itself through ignorant theologians and the universities.

But, praise be to God for His faithfulness that in these last days the light of truth is breaking through once again amongst those who are sincere and have the brand of the Spirit of Truth inscribed on their hearts. These few are that forward component that will light a torch that no man will be able to extinguish blazing a trail for many to follow. I long to see the day when Christians united in the spirit will stand together, not counting their live as anything, and proclaim with a singular voice the true Gospel of Peace. The price of such a proclamation will be costly but so worth the price to hear those wonderful words.

“Well Done Good and Faithful Servant”

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“Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, I will repay.” Yet, very many Christians across this land disagree with God and buy up guns and ammunition, enlist in the military, and belong to police forces. This response to God is rebellion and unbelief. They rip the reins of power and authority from the hands of the Almighty taking vengeance and justice into their own hands relegating God to nonexistence or unimportance and preach that “this is serving God.” They say they believe God but in their actions they deny Him. “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to both save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?…” James 4:12

Is it any mystery why Christ would say, “Will I even find faith on the earth when I return”? Is not this the epitome of good becoming evil and evil becoming good? Christians have no business in law enforcement, of any kind, when they have been freed from all law and are judged by no man. Uniforms and badges are symbols of worldly power of which the true Christian has no use or desire. Those who belong to the world gravitate toward the world and its symbols and those who belong to Christ gravitate away from the world and toward His likeness, displaying His symbol of love toward all men equally even toward those the world condemns, the enemies of society.

Christ died for all men. Who are we to decide that a man is unworthy of life? Is it our job to decide who is worthy or unworthy of life, the Gospel, or eternity with the Father? My advice to these confused Christians is no different than the advice given to the primitive Christians. Tertullian, for instance, wrote an entire treatise forbidding military service among Christians (The Crown) and such sentiment is found throughout his other writings (On Idolatry). Origen too condemned military service whenever he addressed the subject. And Lactantius agreed: “A just man may not be a soldier” (Divine Institutes, 6.20). The general attitude of the Primitive Church (from Christ to Constantine) was that Christians do not serve in any capacity of government or where harming another person is a requirement of that position.

It is only from the time of Augustine and Constantine (a time when the Church gained great power) that the institutionalized “Church” promoted killing by believers alongside unbelievers in worldly campaigns to secure the state and to enforce the peace. We should not be surprised that corruption slowly crept into the Church since it was prophesied by Christ Himself and by His Apostles. But, today it is accepted without a word of disagreement or wonder that it is the duty of all Christians to take up arms against the enemies of society. Most Christians not taking the time to investigate the history of the Church, that Christ and the Apostles founded, accept the false teaching of the corrupted aberration. It is only in spotty cells of believers that the truth is still preached without reservation against popular doctrines that have been politicized for the sake of patriotism and feel-good religion. Augustine, on several fronts, has cost the Church dearly, but none so much as his “Just War” theory. This man did Christ no favor by releasing the restraints that help keep the flesh in check. And Constantine, being a political genius (much like Trump) used religion to his own, and the state’s, benefit. Of course, the flesh, having an affinity for evil, adapted easily to this new freedom to express the very things that Christ through the Spirit came to mortify.

So, here we are at the end of the age and barely one in five hundred are aware that Christ will soon return and separate the sheep from the goats and that their lives are in peril of hearing those awful words, “Depart from Me I never knew you.”

At that time we will discover, without question, whose vengeance it really is.

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Scripture teaches us that every time God has appeared to man it has required great sacrifice, the sacrifice of their idols. If a man is to break with the world here is where that break will happen – the times when we lust for our old prison cell and our old gods, and we long to be defeated just one more time, to be the child of irresistible desires. But radical faith places us in the position of God versus slavery. When God appears He demands the whole man and only a severe faith will suffice to break the chains and open prison doors.

I will not talk about compromise because we all know very well who the slave driver is and what holds us captive. There is no need to itemize our idols, the issues are all the same; when a man comes to Christ He bids him come and die. If a man has many idols or only one, death is all the same, death is death. So, let’s not talk of half measures or of a faith that requires nothing. The faith that defeats the world is not impotent or hollow but radical and deadly; faith demands our life and anything less is just compromise, shame, and friendship with the executioner.

But, how is this faith represented? Faith, the only kind of faith, pictured in the Bible, operates at a whole different level. First of all, it is a re-creation of man, a man without fear, whose roots share the fertile soil of past saints and a true history, freemen, capable of standing up under fire because they are motivated by a profound belief and trust having confidence in a certain future. They are not necessarily charismatic individuals but their presence is felt wherever they are regardless of how dangerous the situation may be to their own lives, and they encourage others to follow. The essential job of the faithful is to be, as Isaiah and Paul said, “Men.” Another level of faith is to acknowledge the historical occurrences when Christianity has gotten off on the wrong path going the wrong direction. Science and the intellect cannot bring us to this point. What is needed is spiritual clarity and sanity along with the courage to make aware, even though the awareness is painful and touches a raw spot. The fake history of Christianity and America, as it is spoon fed to children in both public, private, and homeschool, is unacceptable. Having the correct and inspired understanding of the New Testament puts to flight the demons of patriotism, denominationalism, and constitutionalism built on Old Testament rule of law.

Where does this kind of faith lead to? True faith leads to separation, i.e. exodus, and exile, i.e. “In the world but not of it.” Every true believer must voluntarily submit to leaving this hostile environment, i.e. Egypt, and acknowledge his position as an expatriate and alien. Our witness to the world is that we have placed ourselves in direct contradiction to its positions. While the whole world is stampeding in fear to escape death we Christians have already taken our exodus and have no part in their flight. Our exodus is our repentance from past friendship with the world and its fake history and desires. We will not follow the stampeding masses nor will we be afraid nor will we become refugees, because we are exiled refugees already who have fled to Jesus. We have no haven except that of Jesus and our exile is in the very place where our God is despised and hated, and if we are thinking of that place from which we have gone out of we will fabricate opportunities to return. True faith leads us to exodus and exile.

I have been told by past associates and family that I should settle down, but contrary to all of that “good” advice, we do not have to settle down. But, what does that look like, this settling down? What really is meant is that we should get organized in our community, our class, our political system, or the economy and affect the world by the world’s means. Isn’t the first and last act of faith to declare that we are strangers and exiles in the world and to its means. The adventure of faith may mean pulling up stakes and like Abraham abandon everything; Moses, too, left everything, country, wife, and occupation. When God calls us He will, at some point, test our allegiance and prove our beliefs. He will not call us into a fight with the world or into seclusion or a monastery but will call us into exile and prove our loyalty.

As long as we are adapted to this world, accepted by it, integrated into its activities–politics, policing, military, etc., even its holidays–we are of the world and our exodus is a sham. What does faith have to do with our professional functions, careers, social activities, things the world considers normal, conscientious, efficient and good for hard-working citizens to do? What Christian has not come head-to-head with Christ’s words, “You, come and follow Me” and had to wrestle with their faith? Levi left, abandoned his publican’s money box, his office, and pride; he doesn’t even go tell his wife or family. The instructions of Jesus is to “Let the dead bury the dead.” Isn’t Christianity just as radical today as it was then? This is exodus and separation from the world, this is following Jesus who had “Nowhere to lay His head.” But, what will become of us, those who have left everything Lord? “What is that to you, just follow Me.” Our faith is gauged on this exacting demand and no compromise is allowed. We claim we are ready to follow Jesus while keeping a little nest egg, some insurance against a “margin of error” and a few connections and bridges back to safety.

What is the faith that no one talks about? It is the faith that sheds no tears of regret that we have grown old, watched our wealth vanish, or weep over lost opportunities. Faith is watching and listening to Jesus, as He instructs His disciples while Judas leads the soldiers out to arrest Him say, “But I do as the Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise and let us go.”

Faith calls upon us to leave the world and its works. If we let old age and death do the job of separating us from the world, if we just let our lives fade away with the decline of our strength and submit to mere fate, we will have thrown away all of our chances. That will be our demonstration that we were nothing more than objects in the hands of Time. Rather than giving to the world the opportunity to define who we are we must choose the time for the break, it must be our decision and the announcement made, the stakes pulled up, and no looking back at society, people, states, politics, technology, careers, or anything. We must break with these things, not necessarily because they are evil, but so that the world can hear the strange word of God spoken from the center, from one who is exiled in the world but not of the world. The point is to create a dialog with the lost and not to retire to the desert, by one who has placed their self outside of this world, being at once close-by yet at an infinite distance.

The exodus of Jonah was not his running away but rather his entering into the heart of that which was repulsive to him; his exodus was his entrance into Nineveh. There were no fancy five-point sermons, only this message, “Yet forty days . . . .” Faith has nothing further to say than to flee the wrath to come, “Yet forty days.”

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I was in the other half of the double that my aunt and uncle lived in on Keystone Avenue, in Indianapolis, and there was a doctor who lived there now. I climbed the back steps that led into the kitchen. I always thought that that side of the double was more attractive than the side that I lived and grew-up in with my mom and dad, brother and three sisters. When I entered the kitchen there was no one there but I noticed that all the walls had been stripped to the bare plaster except for some small areas where the old paper had not all come off yet. As I examined my surroundings, wondering what was going on, a young gentleman came out, about 35 years old, and I instinctive knew that he was a doctor, a surgeon of some sort. Very politely he said hello to me, as if I should know him, and I sensed that he was no ordinary doctor but special in some way. He said that he had just taken down a picture that hung over the stove and it must have been heavy because he was holding his back as if strained from leaning over the stove and lifting the picture off the wall. He had removed the picture so that the rest of the wall could be prepared for whatever he was getting ready to do, but it was obvious that everything had to be discarded and cast-out first.

In my mind, I wondered where my aunt and uncle were but did not find the answer, but felt that he had their approval and that it was not important. The doctor told me he was redoing the place where he was to live and that he wanted to show me five things that I had missed seeing during my years coming and going from visits with my aunt and uncle. We then proceeded down a staircase of which I had to duck beneath an overhang so I wouldn’t hit my head. Immediately we came to a corner about halfway down the stairway where he proceeded to show me the first of the five things I had missed. The first thing I noticed was that all of the accumulated wallpapering and paint had been removed to expose what was underneath and it amazed me. There he showed me some very intricately carved molding that edged the corner of the wall that went up to some crown molding along the ceiling that was likewise very artistically carved. I thought to myself that I had never ever noticed this before and that it was beautiful even though it had not yet been finished, stripped clean, just the bare wood showed. The doctor took my hand and made me touch the intricate design and to feel the smoothness and delicateness of its design and nature. All the roughness had been removed.

I was appalled and sickened at myself that I was not able to understand how I had missed ever seeing this before and thought that I could not notice it because I was not mentally prepared to see it or to do anything like what this talented person had done. I felt lazy and worthless. He had exposed a great hidden treasure that had been right in front of my eyes all along and that because of my state of mind was unable to see or that I even cared to see. Then I awoke.

As I lay there in bed, awake or asleep I am not quite sure, I pondered what I had just experienced and a revelation began to form in my mind. This gentle doctor was no man, He was God and He wanted me to understand something that I had missed all of my 69 years of life, and that is that God creates all things intricately as great treasures and that over many years of men treading-down the earth each successive generation has added to the accumulated covering that has hidden the truth of what He had originally intended.

My thoughts immediately went to the homeless, who wandered the streets totally ignorant of the fact that each of them was a precious and unique treasure created by this Doctor, that had allowed the debris of a lifetime to cover and hide, not only from the world but from their very self, the intricate design, and purpose He had for their lives.

Then I began to think about those who were close to me, about my wife, children, and grandchildren, and about myself. Each and every one was like that wood molding, precious in its design and purpose, intricately and precisely constructed, for a specific reason, but covered over with the debris of mindlessness and misunderstanding, and my mind went back to the homeless, alone, cold, sick, hungry, without hope.

Then I was fully awake, and afraid I would not remember what I had just received, so I hurriedly dressed and wrote down these words while still fresh in my mind, it was 4:00 AM, and I wondered what the other four things were that the Doctor wanted to show me and I felt miserable.

I then understood that I had not appreciated or discovered the hidden gift that lay hidden in each and every person and at what cost that discovery would require. I did start to see that my wife was greatly gifted with a sense of immense responsibility toward the lives of her family and that this sense or gift was given to her by the Doctor and that it needed to be nurtured and pruned to bear more fruit. I also saw that the lives of the homeless had been forgotten, that they were being given food and that many others were compelled to give money and physical support, but that they were not being given the bread of life from someone who shared in their suffering. I also was beginning to see that I could not just tell them about their hidden gift and uniqueness but that the gift must be revealed through sacrifice and selflessness, through being immersed in their world while, at the same time, staying separated from their world.

I understood that the Doctor was fully committed to a complete renewal of that old double into something glorious and unlike anything resembling its previous nature and that the debris was to be destroyed. That old double is where I have spent my life, never knowing the hidden value and preciousness buried under decades of garbage, never hearing the voice of the Doctor, the Surgeon, who renovates broken-down and humbled dwellings, who cuts away the bleeding and screaming flesh of everyone who will submit to His knife.

Separation and surgery come at a price and is not without pain and suffering. But, what is the price of a new Life? Christ endured the pain and suffering required to remove our debris and suffers still to see His finished operation, the Temple of His habitation.

Now, I will wait for four more things.

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What is generic christianity?

Def.: Adjective: Generic ju’ne-rik

1. Applicable to an entire class or group

2. Popular

Generic christianity, with a small ‘c’, is an attempt to adopt/adapt certain insights and values of the Primitive Church as a guide to the application of Scripture in the context of each succeeding generation of believers. While today’s generic christianity attempts to hold on to authentic values it, for the most part, it represents a post-Christian perspective lacking the essential Spirit.

The landscape of the world has changed over the past 2000 years. Our lives reflect a vastly different civil culture than that of our ancient forefathers. Politics, science, and technology have changed our way of understanding and interpreting the Scriptures. The strict conservative lives of those first Christians have gradually over time changed with the religious and political landscape and less, and less, resemble the Spiritually dynamic lives of the original Christians. This creeping change has introduced confusion and doubt into the claims of Christ and the Apostles. There have been periods of true Spiritual flare-ups, for example, the Anabaptist, but that too, after 500 years, has cooled because the Church chose to follow competing spirits.

Thus, not all christianity is Christianity in the foundational or initial sense. Today’s ecumenically slanted christianity is intellectually comfortable with left-leaning scholarship and resist drawing any sharp lines differentiating the two. To question the spiritual leaders or the salvation of any individual is taboo and, the one last really authentic doctrine which was validated by the cross, the doctrine of non-resistance to the evil man, is scorned, ridiculed, and rejected. But, that foundational doctrine is the one that draws the most distinct line between ancient and modern Christianity, between christianity and Christianity.

Institutionalized popular christianity of the 21st Century is Christianity without the Spirit of God. This christianity is the church reflected in the words of Jesus when He asks the question, “Will I even find faith on the earth when I return?” This is generic christianity.

The Responsibility of the Individual Christian

What is the responsibility of those who claim to be Christian? Is it to adapt a new interpretation of the Bible to the current culture? Is it to establish a new orthodox creed from the perspective of modernized christianity? Is it to create a standard theological and ethical formula to achieve uniformity among diverse cultures? Is it to hold hands with the religions of the world to promote peace? Is it to color truth with a hundred shades of gray to avoid being offensive? The answer to all of these questions is, NO!

The responsibility of the Christian is to be filled and led by the Spirit of Christ. The Governor of the Kingdom of Christ is the Spirit of Christ. If Christians confuse the Spirit and heart of Christ with something resembling the fallen nature of man then it cannot walk truly in love, mercy, justice, forgiveness, hope, and peace. All of these words have been redefined by generic christianity and adapted to the 21st Century Church. We have associated the Spirit with the flesh and feelings. All of the signs of the Spirit we look for today must be manifested in some form of emotion or feeling to be valid or legitimate. Feelings and emotions have taken the reigns out of the hands of the Spirit and put them in the hands of the flesh. The Holy Spirit demands that we see through different eyes and from a different perspective which is altogether apart from our definitions and emotions. The Spirit heals our blindness by making Jesus the eyes through which all Scripture is read, focusing our attention on the pattern and walk of Jesus’ life as the authentic example of God’s will for His sons and daughters.

Our Problem

Since the Christianity that is prevalent today is generic christianity then we can rightly assume the problem to likewise be generic, common, and popular, and applicable to an entire class of people. As Christians, we proudly claim the Bible to be the Book for the Church, but that is not a completely true statement. Without the Holy Spirit, the Bible is just another book open to numerous interpretations and opinions. Our problem is that we bring to the table a plethora of presuppositions that are faulty. A presupposition is an assumption that is taken for granted. From the time we are born our little brain starts gathering information about the world we live in and from that information we learn to formulate suppositions all based on how they affect us personally. The parent’s job is to correctly inform the child of those things that will benefit or harm them based on their idea of truth. When certain patterns or effects begin to emerge they start, unconsciously, to calculate the odds of success or failure based on their fleshly desires and perceived needs. In other words, they begin to “presuppose” certain things to be true or false, or good or bad, according to their experiences. This process of gathering and cataloging information goes on their entire life. These presuppositions become the matrix or filter through which every thought must pass and forms every conclusion which is reached. Social animals share certain generic presuppositions in common, through school, church, or culture, that influence life lived together in a social order called society. This consensus of belief is all well and good and ordained by God as a means to control and govern nonbelievers – those without Holy Spirit guidance – and to judge their actions according to accepted social norms. For very many years the Church has learned and passed along these suppositions, blended together with Biblical truth, to eager students at universities and colleges, and to families who pass along traditional values and rarely question the process. If this is true, that modern Christianity is built on this matrix of accepted presupposed values passed down from generation to generation, where is there left for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? How can the Bible be the Book of the Church when the words of that Book are viewed through a fogged lens, producing tainted commentaries, creeds, statements of faith, rituals, denominational positions, and liturgies of mere men? If the Word of God must first pass through these finely weaved presuppositional filters, and every filter is of a differing complexity and refinement, why would we expect the Spirit of God to participate in such a scheme? The Holy Spirit will not participate in any spiritual hobby-craft of men regardless that it takes place by men of high esteem, respect, or reverence. The Church cannot and does not contribute to the canon of Scripture any authority, but rather we must recognize and accept the divine authority of the Spirit-inspired text. The Bereans of old searched Scripture for confirmation of truth, today we read the Bible and look for confirmation from the commentaries of men.

The warrant for this authority is found not so much in the text of the Bible as it is in the Spirit of the Bible and of God who initiated the writing of those words and gave it to the Church to guide it in its understanding and use. It is not the job of men to interpret the mysteries and riddles of the text, that is the job of the Spirit Himself, exclusively, He is the interpreter. Once understood it becomes the responsibility of the individual to obediently act, in faith, in the name of Christ, on the basis of trust, in that inspired text.

Listening to the Spirit

A distinguishing perspective of Born Again believers is their insistence that because the New Testament is the record of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, it has final authority over the Old Testament. The believer’s authority is specifically that of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and revealed through His Spirit, and not Moses, the Lawgiver. The Christian’s mandate is to be filled with that Spirit and to follow Christ. Because the New Testament is the trustworthy witness it is extremely important to read and study that book. The Old Testament was a preparatory document, the historical account, and record of God’s dealing with Israel preparing the way for Christ and a New document, Jeremiah 31, which is to be written on the tablets of flesh and not on stone. The New Testament is the culmination of, fulfillment, and replacement of the Old Testament. Ultimately, this heart-document, illuminated by the Spirit which has taken residence there, is where we make our appeal for understanding.

Our Problem

Protestant leaders through the ages continue the unenlightened pattern of appealing to the Old Testament law in order to establish a socio-political-religious device within which the church should function. This, in effect, was an attempt to link the Spirit (church) to the state (secular) producing a hybrid structure for the sake of security in both worlds, a community that straddled the fence with one foot in the world and one foot in generic christianity. What they did not realize was, that the fence is wholly in the world. This fence sitting has allowed community development in which civil order is founded on the Old Testament laws. The later debates, between the Reformers, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, merely continued the Catholic argument, from which they came, of whether the spiritual trumped the secular in authority, or visa-versa, but both agreed that the Testaments – Old and New – shared authority in the institutional church. For example, when the Reformers would issue a claim of heresy they fully expected the death sentence to be carried out by the “Christian” government. Consequently, the church today continues a similar pattern. Patriotism and Christianity have become synonymous terms and the new mandate of generic christianity is to procure a christian government which will secure all their “rights” guaranteed by a constitution based on “an eye for an eye” Old Testament rule.

Where does the Holy Spirit fit into this scenario? He does not fit at all! Faith and trust have become only words with no value like “clouds without rain.” The Holy Spirit will be our ONLY choice or He will be no choice at all because it is explicitly stated that we cannot serve two masters, and generic christianity has made its choice, and it has chosen the kingdom of this world with its governments and authorities. The institutions of these authorities have become, for these christians, the “salt and light” of God’s Kingdom on earth. Like the Reformers before them, they suppose that the implementing of Old Testament laws of government will produce good Christian civilizations. Admittedly, basing government rules on Old Testament law has proven the best way to govern sinful men, but it is not the Christ way. All human governments are of this world and are lead by equally sinful men who are citizens of this world and not of Heaven. The Holy Spirit, i.e. the Spirit of life and freedom, cannot lead when its subjects are voluntarily constrained by the laws of bondage and death. True Christians have put themselves under a new law, the Law of Christ, the Royal Law, the perfect Law of liberty, which is freedom and life in Jesus. Under this New Law Christians are free to be led by the Spirit into all righteousness. Christians are subject to the laws of this world only as visitors from another kingdom passing through a foreign country are required to obey the laws of the land as long as those laws require no acts of sedition or treason against their native country. As citizens of Heaven, we are to deliver a message from our King to a rebellious people to return home and to “flee the wrath to come.” It is the Holy Spirit’s duty to enable and remind its subjects to remain focused on their role and to not become caught up in the deceit of the Prince of this world.

Conclusion

Finally, related to everything said above is the concept of discipleship, the imitation of Christ. Discipleship is like an apprenticeship. A disciple is one who learns by following the example of the master and not by just calling him lord. The Holy Spirit is given to lead the apprentice into all the righteousness of Christ. Jesus set the pattern to follow and the Holy Spirit continuously points the disciple back to this pattern. Jesus, filled with the Spirit, endured government and social hostilities toward His message and was executed as a political and social criminal. Jesus never shrank back from crossing the lines of political, religious, personal, or social, and set that path for us to follow. To have and keep faith means to persevere in this pattern modeled by Jesus, and acting with charity, forgiveness, and peace, as we are led by His Spirit.

The goal of the Spirit is to teach a correct understanding of Scripture to the children of God. His goal is not theoretical knowledge but rather practical behavior which is “justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” Romans 14:17. Primitive Christians were practical in their obedience which required a participation in the life and mandate of Jesus. It is the Spirit that leads, enables, and transforms us in and through the discipline of following. This way of living is called taking up the cross and following Jesus. The Christian life is the way of the cross. This way of the cross is a summons to a life of Spirit-led non-resistance that directed Jesus to the cross.

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Luke 17:10

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We have all probably read these words and may have acknowledged that Solomon was right when he said, “Vanity of vanity all is vanity.” “There is nothing new under the sun.” In spite of the goodness and love of God toward His creation, there seems to be no lasting purpose of the things we do. Under close examination, it is hard to avoid a profound sense of the worthlessness and vanity of all our work. We try to convince ourselves of the purpose of it all, of the reason for this constant anxiety. To what end is all of these wars and states and nations, all these elections and all this fussing, and 24 hours in a day? To what end is the process of civilization and the petty progress of the Church? If we learn anything from the Bible it is that it is always and ultimately God’s will that ends the day and that it is common knowledge that the most fundamental thing of all has already been achieved and completed in Jesus Christ. In the light of this, it is easy to understand the disgraceful refusal of men, who can neither accept the uselessness of what they have accomplished nor to accept this overruling of their fate. It is easy to understand how selfish men want to declare that they are self-made and reject any outside interference. When they survey the sciences they simply cannot see or admit that it has, in an incomprehensible degree, already been accomplished before they even arrived, to do so would be to acknowledge their nothingness and pride. Vanity of vanity all is vanity!

Beginning on the sixth day of creation this vanity appears with Adam. In the Garden, Adam was asked to do what was really unnecessary because the Garden was a perfect perpetual paradise. He was asked to “till and to keep” that which was perfect. God, Himself, built perfection into this paradise, the trees already producing fruit and beautiful to look at, everything growing in abundance. The point of tilling is either that things cannot grow without Adam’s work or that the various species needed to be improved, or that poisonous weeds needed to be controlled. Where in a perfect world is the need for tilling or cultivation? And, “keeping” the Garden, what can this possibly mean? What external threat is there where no enemy exist and everything is good? There is no disorder here because God is the God of order, here is only harmony, unity, and fellowship, the entire Garden is the reflection of its Creator who is God. Tilling and keeping only make sense in a fallen world where division, corruption, and boundaries exist, and where the relationship with the Lord has been interrupted.

If we look at the Law we find the same thing. The Law is encapsulated in the Ten Commandments which describe the works we are to undertake, but to what end? The Jews understood that works were necessary for their salvation but Solomon, who typifies Christ and wisdom, described it all as vain and worthless. And, the works of faith are no different, the works of which it is said our faith is “dead” without, come up against this same vanity and uselessness. The good intentions of man and all of his efforts come up against this, that salvation is a gift involving no works at all and that all is of grace. From eternity past all has been accomplished in advance, Jesus said it is finished. It is not that we provide half and the other half is given to us, He has completed it all.

Then, we come to the privilege of prayer, to speak with God as we would speak with a friend, but what do we find? Does God need to be reminded of our needs? Then what is the purpose, it appears as useless to confide our fears and desires when God knows well in advance all those things that trouble, confuse, try, and sadden us? What good is it to pray to Him for the salvation of others when He knows in advance those who will be saved? Isn’t it even said that we don’t know what we need and that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf with groans? God commands us to pray and yet is it not a useless faculty?

We could go on with wisdom and the correct ordering of our life, our recreation, our interaction with society, and money management, and all of that falls under the folly of man, a chasing after the wind, even the foolishness of God exceeds any of our brightest moments and brother Job declares, “Where can (true) wisdom be found?”

Preaching, it is the same. It is the Holy Spirit that does the real communicating who opens and closes doors; where do homiletics and eloquence come in? What part of all of this can communicate a little of the flame to others apart from God Himself doing it, and nothing is truthful or skillful but by the same means? Nothing will connect with your audience outside of the Spirit of God who blows where He wills. Paul understood that it is God alone who takes a man against his will and miraculously makes Himself known to him. All of our own words fall to the ground and are impotent and vain, it is God who is the conduit. Cannot God do all of these things quite well without men, yet, “How are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? God commands us to preach, why, when it is such a useless service?

Should we reject all this work? Should I be trying to convince you of this nothingness when I believe that this nothingness leads to salvation and resurrection? Should the absence of man’s understanding or of any good and purposeful work conclude that the venomous fruits of the world should necessitate their early demise? Jesus says that it is not yet time for the harvest and restrains the seventh angel, and yet to what purpose is our useless service?

Now we are at the point where we will try and unravel this mystery. Now we can come to a revelation, if God so wills. Jesus has said with perfect clarity “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” God has written a Book in which its contents command us to perform certain duties to the letter. The understanding and conviction of the futility of this work must not prevent us from doing as we are commanded. Our sense of the uselessness of what we must do is no excuse for inaction. When many of the characters of the Old Testament were warned by the Prophets of coming events their inaction, because of fear, futility, or unbelief, became contempt for God and His commands. It is at this point that discernment is needed. I am reminded of Naaman the Syrian who was a leper, (2 Kings 5), who was told by a little girl of Israel to go to Elisha the prophet for cleansing, and he went. Elisha without introduction or even leaving his room sends a mere messenger with instructions to simply dip seven times in the Jordan River. At these instructions, the great Naaman became enraged that Elisha did not recognize the gravity of the situation or his presence to even come out of his room and wave this arms and call down his god like the pagans and Naaman gets up to leave. Again, a servant requested him to do what Elisha has said, “what is the harm,” he said, and Naaman, the pagan warlord, was healed. It all seems so crazy, without reason, so vain. The idea here is that we are left with the freedom to do or not to do the seemingly futile, vain, and even silly things commanded us.

My desire is that we would call into question all of our impulsive conclusions regarding the apparent vanity of what we are commanded to do. Yes, prayer is useless as are miracles, and our theology, and our works. The healing of Naaman had no purpose that could be observed outside of the idea that Syria would know that there was a prophet in Israel, was that all? There is a concealed dimension here that is not altogether apparent to our senses. It is exactly because of the vanity of these things and that they do not carry with them a fulfillment of our own petty goals and that they many times seem ineffective that they become, on the one hand, a testimony to the unassuming grace of God and on the other an expression of our true freedom. In the world, we are focused on usefulness, value, and necessity, and the pursuit of efficiency and these are all subject to the strictest determinations of the world of which God has no use. A necessity in the world demands results. But, the want of necessity in us is to essentially not be a true witness of this grace and freedom, the free gifts of God.

If we are ready and say to ourselves that we are “unprofitable servants” then will our works truly touch on the glory of Him who freely loved us first. God loves us because He is love and not because He demands results. Fulfilling His commands are thus given a purpose and meaning other than merely achieving an objective or goal. God desires us to act out of love for having understood the blessedness of our salvation and because His Spirit willingly dwells in us, because we have received revelation, and not because we want some particular result, or even to be saved, or that others may be converted, or that America may become a Christian nation. In this way, our obedience is freed from the worry of whether or not it has been useful or effective. We “cast our bread upon the water and in many days it returns,” but it is out of our hands and the Spirit blows it where it wills, and the far future history of the world is already fulfilled while we rest, love, and obey.

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