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In the national life of our country, the prevailing Christian thought is that of Protestantism while the Anabaptist have sought out safety, security, and isolation from persecution. Consequently, since the 1920’s general societal shift to liberalism, we are today left with the collapses of Christianity. What we now see is an image of a building with a steeple all white with a cross attached to it precariously perched on a slender pedestal of sand with the ground all eroded from underneath, leaving only a thin shaft as support. Our image is of a manmade organization, where men and women sit satisfied and complacent in the land of the free. This has happened within the lifetime of some who may even be reading this letter, a short 99 years.

Of course, the problem started a long time before 1920 but the ’20s were characterized by two important things: one, the scientific technology explosion; and two, a breakdown of morality. Our culture has been frittered away, dismantled, and then re-assembled as something entirely different than what it was. America, now having crossed the threshold of a new millennium prides itself on its new freedom. This freedom is not the freedom based on the foundation of truth before 1920 (generally speaking) but rather a freedom that has no bases whatsoever; it is freedom in the absolute sense, glorified by the media, entertainment industry, and immersed in the perversion of immorality. This new freedom is a deliberate and unashamed attack against God and His moral standards.

Could this slide into immorality have been contained? Maybe or maybe not. One thing is for sure, those who were entrusted with the message of true freedom and service to God, the Anabaptist, have failed. Their failure is understandable from a human standpoint. Unlike the Protestants, the Anabaptist “anticipated a long and grievous conflict between the church and the world. Neither did they anticipate the time when the church would rule the world (as do many Protestants); the church would always be a suffering church” until they came to America, that is. “The Anabaptist vision was not a detailed blueprint for the reconstruction of human society, but the Brethren did believe that Jesus intended that the kingdom of God should be set up in the midst of earth, here and now, and this they proposed to do forthwith.” With their eventual coming to America, after long years of suffering, they apparently were inclined to feel that they had arrived at their destination, mission completed, and welcomed the freedom to just live and let live, and the vision seemed to fade away. They did not set out to present this “kingdom of God” in the midst of their new national home but rather went to the outer reaches of the land to live in isolation from the people. Their missions (other than the Amish who do not try to win converts) were mostly to other countries where we can assume that they felt the freedom to speak without suffering the consequences of a divisive message on their home turf and chance rekindling the fires of persecution.

As a result, the Protestant message, which in most respects lack true and deep conversion, is the message that is governing Christianity in America, and it has also failed. Would the Anabaptist message of non-resistance to the evil person and non-conformity to the world have prolonged this decay that is so prevalent within and without the commercial Church? That is a question that is now past answering; there is no turning the tide of degeneration at this late date; the die has been cast. The only thing that is left is a radical outcry from within the Anabaptist camp to a crumbling Christian order and a declaration that, “We shall not believe, they (the Anabaptist) said, that the Sermon on the Mount or any other vision that He (Jesus) had is only a heavenly vision meant but to keep His followers in tension until the last great day, but we shall practice what He taught, believing that where He walked we can by His grace follow in His steps.” After attending the Anabaptist Identity Conference and the Anabaptist Church Planting Conference I am not convinced that they are doing that, as did the early Anabaptist, venturing into Protestant strongholds with a clear message to stir an old giant from his long slumber. If the Anabaptist will not do it then the Lord will raise-up another Conrad Grebel, Felix Mannz, and Michael Sattler to do the work that must be done. There are many seekers waiting for such a leader, time will tell, but time is short.

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The idea among many unbelievers is that if Christianity is “the truth” then why wasn’t it accepted as soon as it made its appearance and the lives of all men changed instantly? But, isn’t this like saying that a flower should appear in its glory before even the seed has germinated?

Christianity is a new way of looking at life. It is not a system of laws, the Constitution, or Bill of Rights which are imposed upon men through the inducement of force. Christianity, on the other hand, can only be freely ingested and digested, that is, it must be spiritually assimilated and processed.

A small minority of Christians, by way of a mysterious instinct, have discerned the truth and surrender themselves easily to it and desire its effects, and accept its consequences. Other Christians – the majority – through mistakes, experimentation, and suffering arrive all beaten-up to recognize the truth and finally accept it.

Why is it so easy for some Christians to see and accept truth yet so difficult for the majority? What is it that makes the journey so hard? The answer is “leaven.” Leaven (yeast) is the corruption that exists in the world and in man, and this leaven has corrupted Christianity. Christianity has been delivered, demonstrated, and represented to mankind, in increasing degrees of corruption for 1700 years. Corrupt Christianity now stands as the greatest obstacle to the acceptance of “truth.”

Christianity is both truth and prophecy. It is necessary for the seed to lay beneath the soil for a period of time before pushing its way toward the light and warmth. The flower of a new Radical Reformation is just beginning to break through the soil of our generation. The corruption of Christianity and its acceptance, by the majority of professing Christians, in its corrupted form, was necessary; the corruption itself has become the fertilizer for a new flower. The corruption of old Christianity has become the nutrient and energy of the new organism. Two thousand years ago Jesus revealed to men the truth and how they ought to live, then He told what human life and Christianity would become when men lived by their own nature and laws. Now, after twenty centuries the prophecy has been fulfilled.

The Church, having followed Jesus’ teaching in only a general sense, and having turned the truth into a lie, especially concerning our fellowman in the area of non-resistance to evil and socially in our separation and non-conformity to the world, we have been brought to the inevitable destruction foretold by Christ. The question of non-resistance and non-conformity in the world is not theoretical, it must be applied, it is at the very core of the Gospel, and it is the element which the Church most rejects.

Kingdom Christians today have come to a crossroad and a choice must be made. They can go straight ahead and continue as usual. They can turn left and follow the world in its corruption and compromise. Or, they can turn right and speak truth into the darkness of a fallen Church and become the leading element in a new Radical Reformation and be a sign to the world that a beautiful flower is born and growing even if yet a sprig.

The Truth is waiting for an answer from our generation.

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Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matt. 5:43-48.

By whom the saying, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy,” had been spoken, it is not known. Probably it had long since passed into a common proverb, it is clear, explicit, and forceful. But, in its relationship, is another saying, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Both verses had their birth in the Mosaic law regarding capital criminals and doomed national enemies. Read the following passages.

If you hear it said about one of the towns, that the Lord your God is giving you to live in, that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’ (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt.” Deut. 13:12-16. “However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.” Deut. 20:16-17. “Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.” Deut. 7:2.

With equal loathing of evil and idolatry, but in striking contrast with the institutional hatred and violence exercised towards them, Jesus says, “love, bless, do good to, and pray for them, even though they are your bitter and sworn foes.” Included in His list are enemies, haters, and persecutors, all injurers, whether personal, social, religious, or national. His words cannot be harmonized with hatred, persecution, cruelty, war, or any injury which one man, one family, one community, or one nation can do to another. The truly Christian person cannot devise, execute, or assist in any injury against an offending fellow-man. What then can a Christian family, neighborhood, community, state, or nation do? Could they act any other way than as a non-resistant toward their enemies? If they are loving, blessing, benefiting, and praying for their offenders, what an impressive unveiling of the Gospel it would display! What a victory would be won over those evil-doers! Isn’t this what Jesus requires, this lofty love and heavenly exercise? Can he mean anything less than appears upon the beautiful face of His words! What professed Christian can erect the gallows, or pull the trigger, or contemplate any injury or punishment, or pick-up any weapon of war, or give his approval to any cruelty, by individuals or society, and still declare that he is in the spirit and practice of his Lord’s commandment? Does that man love his enemies, bless those who curse him, do good to those who hate him, and pray for his injurers, who hangs, or shoots, or beats, or who swears to inflict any such evils? But listen to the Prince of Peace in his own words,

“That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love them (only) who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors the same? And if you acknowledge your brethren only, what do you more than others? Do not even the tax collectors so? Be you, therefore, perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Verses 45-48.

Your Father loves His enemies, blesses those that curse Him, and does good to them that hate Him. Otherwise, the sun would not shine as it does on the evil, nor would the rain fall upon the unjust, nor would salvation come down from heaven for the lost. Receive the Spirit of your Father and imitate His goodness to the unthankful and evil. Put on His moral character and be His children. Be not content barely to love them that love you. Love, forbear with, benefit, and seek to save even the guilty and undeserving. Otherwise, what higher are you in the moral scale than the unsaved tax collector? Greet and befriend, not only your own family, friends, and intimate associates, but also all men, however strange or hostile to you. Seek, continually, to be perfect, independently good to all, as your Father in heaven is. What can be plainer than this? What can be more pure, noble-minded, spiritually excellent, or morally beautiful? This is Christian non-resistance; or rather, that perfect love, of which non-resistance is an identifying fruit.

(Adapted from Christian Non-Resistance by Adin Ballou)

There is serious talk today about the true role of the Christian in the world. Because the vast majority of American Christians identify with national patriotism they justify the killing of their brother. Some of these Christians are beginning to find the hidden treasure of peace and non-resistance to evil. But, as in times past, the bearer of such good news, Kingdom Christians, can expect to feel the heat of anger in return for their message of separation from the world and non-resistance to evil. With a renewed sense of obligation Kingdom Christians are beginning to cast their eyes on fields ripe for harvest outside the boundaries of their own communities and are laying plans to reach inside cities previously untouched. I believe that separation and non-resistance to evil are key ingredients in the Christians desire to evangelize a lost world. Until the Christian is willing to offer their self up as a living sacrifice and unless a seed falls to the ground and dies the world will remain just as it is. The ancient road to salvation is red with the blood of those who considered not their own lives worth keeping for the sake of their lost brothers and sisters. We have the promise of the seed, who is not afraid to fall to the ground and die, that it will bear much fruit. Our rich history is filled with the stories of those who led the way and now it is our turn. How will our story end? How will your story end? How will my story end? The world is waiting to see.

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What could that secret be? Well, it isn’t really a secret and can be seen openly in their conversations and even taught in their Churches, and celebrated each year with great fanfare, fireworks, and parades on The 4th of July. The secret is that they do not really love their enemies as prescribed by Jesus, and neither do they turn the cheek or show mercy. On this day Christians everywhere will celebrate the death, defeat, and demise of their enemies while swearing their allegiance to a flag, and to the anti-Christian truth that that flag stands for. The fireworks are a very graphic reminder that love of enemies has no place in the definition of national freedom.

For those who have personally been involved in the taking of life two things must happen: 1. they must be persuaded that what they did was a good and honorable thing, in which case they must live a lie, tout their memorabilia, and march in parades, or 2. They must enter the ranks of those who either commit suicide, take drugs to temper their mental anguish, or receive V.A. psychological treatment for PTSD.

For those who remain at home and act as cheerleaders, it is just more drama that they can’t live without. War movies, gang violence, and graphic news accounts all feed their fallen nature and lust for action.

So, when you watch or participate in all the hoopla that surrounds this 4th of July consider which god you are worshipping and which master you are following? And, for those who read their Bibles, think about those Israelites who demanded that Samuel tell God that He should give them a king like all the other nations. God’s response to Samuel, as he grieved for his nation, was, “Samuel, they have not rejected you, they have rejected Me from being their king.” So, today, Christians all across this nation celebrate the king they have chosen for themselves who is a king of death and not King Jesus who gives Life.

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” Lk. 18:8

As we see the storm clouds approaching and time drawing to an end, verses like the one above should get our undivided attention. When we reflect on the necessity of our Christian behavior and action in the world, and the shapes those actions take, e.g., evangelism, teaching, or political action; when we consider that our lifestyle or manner of conduct can have revolutionary effects; when we even search for ways in which we can express our faith, we are unwittingly forging a means to an end. Scholars and social scientist study these problems at their source while we non-intellectuals adopt more practical methods which ask fewer questions. But, the reality is that all of mankind is concerned with ends and means-to-an-end, and the common and universal result is that all of these individual elements eventually end with the termination civilization.

It appears to me that today the “means” has become the focus of our life instead of the end; it is as if we have forgotten where we are going, and the road and trip itself have seized our attention. The world has set in motion many lovely continuously moving conveyances that take us nowhere, with man as his own destination; he is now both the means and the end. Even in Christian circles, it is not much different, the focus is on means: more and better schools, technological skills, marketing structures, economics, etc. I am here attempting to place the “means” in its proper perspective. Ways and means are without value and become just more ineffective ideologies unless they are accompanied by a deep and radical change of nature and a true lived-out faith in the view of a watching world that despises our efforts.

Christianity alone offers the solution for a way out of the Matrix. These words are easy to say and to type, but this only means that the delusion is real and that the solution is simultaneously the most difficult and the simplest. What is the Christians responsibility in this adventure we are on? Life and history will continue, with or without our input. History may stop tomorrow, or maybe not, but whenever God decides to move He will look for those who are flexible, supple, adaptable, and ready to be used. Rarely, has God worked directly, but rather chooses to work through human instruments to accomplish His goals. The Church has inadvertently led us to believe that it is the “intellectuals” that God will use, the worldly wise, or the young, successful and rich; but our Father does not look for the talented or the gifted or the energetic because He is the giver of gifts and the source of all energy. Our God is looking for the willing and the ready, for those who continually pray “send me,” an empty vessel that He Himself can fill. The great questions for us are, Will God find the men and women He needs in this late hour?When we say that the solution is in Jesus Christ alone, regarding the ends and the means, will that confession result in serious consequences in the life of those who bear the sign of Christ? Is your Christianity anything more than just an intellectual declaration?

We need not fool ourselves, our Father is not limited, He can employ a fisherman just as easily as a financial genius!

“As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Look, those who wear fine clothing are found in king’s palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.'” Mat. 11:7-9

I believe that we have lost the true meaning of what “Life in Christ” means. When that person who possesses the testimony of a profound life rises up they will once again see heaven and earth move. Paul’s words to Timothy are just as true today as they were when he spoke them, “If you live righteously(i.e. right) you will be persecuted.” And, Jesus’ words to His disciples, “If they hated Me they will hate you” are still valid today. The fact that we do not experience persecution and severe hatred as followers of Jesus is proof positive that we have not yet found the voice of our generation. (Fighting in a court battle because a bakery declares their constitutional “right” to not bake a cake for a homosexual couple is NOT what I am talking about.) There are some things when lived-out in our Christian life, as the martyrs can testify to, that will attract the wrath of both the world and the commercial church and they are, 1) non-resistance to the evil person, i.e. rejection of military service, self-defense, or accepting the protection by others with their use of violence. 2) non-conformity to the world in their idol worship of flags, memorials, holidays, and songs, and refusal to serve on jury duty condemning of the enemies of society. 3)speaking out for the poor or marginalized who have no voice of their own.

Real life in Christ is not being devoted to “means” or to building something for Jesus, but it is rather having our eyes fixed on a cross and speaking radical truth into the world, and boldly signifying to the world that we have THE solution while the world demands that we “cease and desist” with our proclamation to flee the wrath to come. We are living sacrifices who intentionally crawl onto an altar, which is the very least we can do and through the exercise of this liberty, we will once again witness the work of the Holy Spirit pouring life into empty lost souls.

Unless the seed falls to the ground and dies . . . .

The great foundation stone, universally used, by the Protestant and Catholic Church to justify the killing of their enemies, in concert with the state, is Romans 13. I have heard this chorus sung so often from the pulpit that there is virtually no Christian who can read this passage without filtering it through their favorite denominations political standpoint. Has Romans 13 become the Christians license to kill?

Has the God of Love and Peace become the God of hate and war? This unresolvable dilemma is completely ignored for the sake of compatibility and harmony of opinion amongst the greater part of Christianity. Inconsistency with this famous doctrine simply is not allowed to exist within the bounds of the Patriotic gun-slinging church of the 21st Century. Vocalizing any objection is not tolerated. With disrespect for all that the New Testament has to say on the matter of love and peace, and Jesus Himself symbolized as a Dove and a Lamb, modern Christianity has elected to be identified with a flag, patriotism, and concealed carry, which is, in my opinion, a rejection of true peace and of Christ.

To properly understand the infamous verses of Romans 13 they must be read in the overall context of the letter of Paul to the Christians in Rome. That is, in chapter 12, Paul speaks of love, and gives in sequence a number of ways love is to be applied. He closes the chapter speaking of love for one’s enemies (if your enemy is hungry, feed him, etc.,) and after the seven verses on authorities that open Chapter 13, Paul, again, returns to the theme of love, showing how love fulfills all the commandments. Then he digresses about the end-of-time necessity of understanding correctly (13: 11-14) and then returns to love in chapter fourteen and concerns for the weak.

Conclusion: the verses on authorities are encompassed by Paul’s teaching on love, and not unmitigated surrender to the powers of the state. I would go so far as to summarize them this way: “Love your enemies. Naturally, we all believe that the authorities are of this world and are therefore our enemies, however, we must also love them.” But as in each case that Paul studies (the Church, joy, enemies. the law, the weak in faith, etc.) he gives a specific reason for this love of the other, he does the same thing for the authorities and it is from this viewpoint that he writes the famous “there is no authority except from God” Rom. 13:1a. Consequently, Paul’s negative viewpoint of government power here should be stressed, and not the viewpoint which developed after the 4th Century which emphasizes Rom. 13:1b “all power is ordained of God” which is commonly viewed as an absolute principle for Christians to follow. Paul is not expressing a principle. Therefore, this text, in my opinion, should be reduced to what it is, and that is, an attempt to apply Christian love in an environment in which the authorities were hated, and it is not the last word to Christians on the question of permissible killing, nor is it a license to kill.

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After being associated with the Anabaptist for a little while now the question for me arises: What is the most apparent difference between my experience with the Protestant Church and the Anabaptist Church? Both the Protestants and Anabaptist claim to preach the Gospel of Jesus, but the effect that that message has had in the hearts of their hearers was, and is, totally different. I am sure that there are other reasons for this, but the one thing that stands out for me is this, How do we view ourselves in this world? Luther, after all of his great work, declared that he could not get enough true believers together to have a prayer meeting, yet the Anabaptist were giving their lives joyfully in large numbers. What I mean by this is, whether Pagan or Christian we are both in the world and have to deal with the facts as we see them, so how do real Christians deal with the facts of this life?

The important element for me is this continual Tension I experience. This tension is very upsetting for the common Christian and they tend to forget that they have this dual nature, “In the world but not of the world.” For the Christian who has received revelation this tension must not be suppressed or opposed, but for the others it is simply intolerable. We are in the world and from the world we cannot escape; our lives exist in this world and the world is a stumbling block so we must not become accustomed to it. It should be like a rock in our shoe, a constant reminder. In spite of our piety we all have a share in the sin of the world and the worst thing we can do is to remove the stone and forget who and what we are.

This natural and legitimate tension that exist between the Christian and the world should force the Christian to realize that he/she cannot improve the world, and at the same time we must refuse to do or say anything that will further the world’s disintegration. With all gravity and faith we must admit that we cannot do anything about it; we are pilgrims in the land of demons who’s lord is a ruthless Devil. For this reason we are caught between two necessary things: We cannot make this world less sinful; and on the other hand we can’t accept it as it is. To deny either is to deny the truth of our situation and God’s Grace. The true Christian life is therefore a scandal in the eyes of the world. This is not an abstract truth but spelled out on every page of the Bible, and it must be lived-out daily. The living-out of this life of tension and sacrifice, in the plain view of those trapped in darkness, is to pierce the veil and allow Light to stream into Satan’s world and to warm the frozen sod where a waiting seed can receives life.

And then, there is the world and the worldly Christian. This man does not have the ability to see the spiritual reality in which he struggles. He only sees the trash that floats to the surface, the social, political, and economic problems, and it is these which demand his attention. This is the course of most men and women, Christians included, and they are pulled deeper and deeper into the false and complicated situations that spell their doom. While Luther ran to the world and produced children through adultery with the state the Anabaptist ran away from the world and the seed of their mission fell to the ground and died and brought forth a hundred fold, which in its turn, produced a great harvest for God’s Kingdom.

All of nature reveals this truth, that through tension, suffering, trials, and death, life comes forth, and it is no different for the Christian. Through the joy of a tense and sorrowful life we produce fruit. The Kingdom is won not through preserving our lives but through sacrifice. The Great God has shown us the way to produce a good crop, so He bids us come and die.

Man has been separated from God for well nigh seven thousand years and today little thought is given to the idea that maybe what we witness with our eyes and in our thoughts is not normal. Most men and even Christian men will indulge their propensity toward evil. They will watch the theatrics of evil as it spews from the airways then feel righteous when they experience sorrow or grief for the imaginary victims of fake violent scenes on their television sets. They will applaud the violence of sporting events and cringe just a little if real blood is spilled or a bone is broken. With excitement, they will read of the destruction of a supposed enemy either real or fictional and care little that they are really rejoicing with demons in a world that will soon burn. Men have become so accustomed to this fallen world that they have no propensity for another world that is in contradiction to all that he sees and imagines. Mankind has adapted itself to its new home in the Garden of Evil.

On occasions, I will sit and wonder what the Garden of Eden was like and if Heaven will be like that or something else. Thinking of Eden is a pleasant pastime but pastimes give way quickly to reality and the fact that we are no longer in Paradise. We are not in Eden but rather we are in the Garden of Evil.

On that fateful day in Paradise, our parents, Adam and Eve, were cast from the presence of their Father to spend the rest of their days on the wrong side of swirling swords of fire and cherubim guarding against their reentry to The Garden of Eden.

In Eden, life was simple, and everything was at their disposal, and for their good, with only one restriction, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” In Eden man instinctively knew what to do, his mind was not clouded by the conflicting knowledge of both good and evil; he knew only good. He was not distracted with all the mental gymnastics that accompany decision making now.  Answers and solutions flowed easily from a mind uninhibited by contrary thought processes and guilt.  All of nature was in sync and operated according to perfect order. It was a time that we can only dream about, the stuff fairy tales are made of. Adam and Eve never spent time considering a better life than what they had; trying to imagine a more perfect perfection doesn’t even make sense. They were perfectly content.

Outside the Garden of Eden is another garden, the Garden of Evil, and it also has a gardener who likewise says, “You can eat from any tree in the garden except the Tree of Life.” “If you eat from the Tree of Life you will die.” The fear of death is the one thing that keeps the Devil’s servant in line. In this kingdom, everything is antithetical, pretentious, and counterfeit. Out here, in the world, there are many horns sounding, and every day more are heard. All of them come with a promise of light and wisdom, showing men the way to god or to become gods. Even as we speak, all of these prognosticators, seers, oracles, soothsayers, esoterics, philosophers, psychologist, prophets, politicians, mystics, kabbalist, sects, denominations, cults, orthodox and unorthodox, are raising high the standard of truth, with voices sounding ever more as one voice, propagating the religion of the world.

The Bible declares that men are lost! I went wandering off one time in the desert around Superstition Mountain in Arizona. It was a long time ago when my girls were still very young. I pulled the car over to the side of the lonely road and told Marilyn, my wife, that I would be back shortly. So with camera in hand and brain turned off I started taking pictures. When I was finished I turned to go back to the car but to my stark realization I had become “lost.” I didn’t know where I came from, or where I was going. I became acutely aware that this was serious, it was very hot, and for an instant, an adrenaline rush of fear passed over me. Lucky for me Marilyn had the presence of mind to honk the horn and direct me out of danger. That was a great lesson, and the lesson of the Garden is similar. What men have failed to learn from the Garden lesson is that they are very lost, away from Eden and in the Garden of Evil, and they hear horns honking from every direction, and have only succeeded in going deeper, and deeper, into a dangerous wasteland, endlessly trying to reason-out which horn will lead them to safety. Outside Eden we now have this characteristic which is part of our fallen nature called “reason.” Things which we used to know instinctively now demand much thought and reason. It is true, we do now know good and evil, the problem is we don’t know how to tell the difference. Many things that we consider good are in fact evil, and some things which may appear evil to the human mind are in fact good things. We are truly lost! We cannot distinguish our Fathers voice from all the din and dissonance. Every question has a thousand nuances, and every horn sounds like salvation. When I was lost in the desert I had good reason to be afraid, but being lost in the “world” doesn’t appear that bad to people who have come to trust their ability to “reason”. To the lost world, this phenomenon is the new normal and is why much worldly schooling becomes necessary.

How do we find our way back to God? How do we determine good from evil, and truth from error?

At this point, God steps in. In our minds, we would reason that the best thing for God to do would be to just kick the Devil out of the Garden, but the truth is just the opposite; God kicks us out and gives us special instructions on how to distinguish the sound of His “horn,” or voice. Faith, trust, and belief are key components of those instructions.

This is all very simple but has been missed by the majority of people, including Christians. We cannot see the truth because it all seems so illogical to our now impaired reasoning ability. Here is the simple God-logic of the situation: Do not listen to the instructions that come from your faulty navigation system –your mind – it will trick you into faulty conclusions and keep you self-confident, and following the wrong path. Worldly logic is fatal, it is the beginning of a trip into superstition and despair, which will result only in death. What the Bible says throughout is to live a separated life, isolated from all the commotion outside the Garden; from all the efforts of Satan to tempt and trick us into responding to one of the false sounds of deliverance. We must make a decided effort to ignore the sirens and seductresses of this world by closing off all avenues of assault. Not only that, but we are instructed to not even trust our own thinking. I know this all sounds ridiculous, and that is precisely why very few will heed the warnings, and so many will be eternally lost.

As the world continues to rumble, and the seas roar, like a woman in labor, ready to deliver, the events that took place in Eden, and after that, should begin to make more sense. The tree of Life—the Bible–that we are advised by this world to not take literally, is the single clear voice of escape. It foretells of these end-time calamities. The religious and political power structures of Satan’s world have diluted the message to a near meaningless book of verbiage. For anyone still seeking the truth, the message is still absolute, and able to lead any who follow to safety, but the trip is not without perils; the Bible is clear on that point also.

The Son of God, who is the Living Word, is the “Tree of Life.”  When the Word speaks of mixing two types of cloth together, plowing with an ox and an ass, or adding yeast to dough, it is speaking of the peril of adding or mixing anything of the world to the truth of Scripture; this will never work; it is like adding venom to vaccine, as history has proven.

By extension, we can say: If you think you can do something good for the Lord, you are wrong. If you think you can build or plant a “Church” for the Lord, you are wrong. If you think you can live a good life and please the Lord that way, you are wrong. If you think speaking in tongues, or healing the sick, or even reading your Bible will secure you a seat on the Gospel Train, you are wrong. We had life once, inside the Garden of Eden, but now, outside the Garden, the Lord requires one thing, death. Jesus said to follow Him. Where did He go? He went to a hill outside Jerusalem and died, and it is there we are to follow. Dead men do not do anything, they are dead. All our thoughts and good intentions must go; all our aspirations and education, no good; all our lust, desires, and habits along with all of those things, even our devotion to children and spouse, must take their place on the burning altar and be reduced to ashes. Then, and only then, with the faith and belief of Abraham, we know that what we have dedicated to the Lord He is able to rise again from the ashes, to be a vessel for the King’s use, forever, and evermore.

This is part of the lost truth of the Bible, and this is only the beginning. There is so much that we are not hearing from the sounds coming from so many religious buildings, with their CEO’s and Sunday morning speeches, and the horns are earsplitting. We have men trained by men to preach the party-line; ordained by men, commissioned by men, sent by men, to build something for “men.” It sounds very much like the episode of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel.

These are the last hours of the last days, before the Lord’s return, and truth is at a premium. Solomon instructs us to “buy the truth and sell it not.” Jesus instructs us to sell everything we own and buy “the pearl of great price.” They both speak of “truth” as the most valuable possession that a person can own. There are so few of us who really want to know the truth. Don’t satisfy yourselves with concessions.

Christian, don’t let the glitter of this world get in your eyes.

“See to it, then, that the light that is within you is not darkness.” Luke 11:35

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”  Matthew 7:22, 23

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Proverbs 10:5 “He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.”

For very many years now the Protestant Church has dominated the conversation on the subject of non-resistance to the evil person, separation from the world, and separation of Church and state. They have watered these truths down to the point that they are virtually nonexistent. The present value of these doctrines among nominal Christianity have slipped into the obscure recesses of Church history. Today’s Anabaptists, who in former times gave their lives to uphold these doctrines, and by doing so, persuaded many, have now chosen to remain silent, and safe.

Has it now become unnecessary to reach those in the cities with these precious and rare gems of truth? For many years I was persuaded that being a flag-waving patriot was to be the ideal American and Christian. I didn’t know any other way because the popular and vogue Gospel of balance and open-mindedness was all I experienced in the Protestant strongholds of the city where I lived and raised my family.

All of my Christian life, until I was near 60 years old, I wrestled with those contrary verses of love, mercy, and forgiveness while my teachers and leaders contested what I knew in my heart and steamrollered my inner-voice. Today I know and have found real freedom, and understand the heavenly mystery of overcoming evil with good. I also know that there are very many Christians in these Protestant strongholds who are just like me and want to be convinced that they are not crazy for seeing value in all human life, even the life of their sworn enemies. And, where have all their political involvements gotten them? Ever since I could vote I cast my vote for those who would do away with the wholesale murder of babies yet, today babies are murdered (60,942,033 since 1973 in the U.S.A.) without many tears being shed and in similar numbers of previous years. I now conclude that Christians voting is not a Christian endeavor blessed by God; it is just men in their own strength playing God and pretending to be Godly while men and babies die, with their consent.

We are in such dire need of a new crop of Anabaptists who have open eyes, and open hearts, and open ears, who see, feel and hear the voices of their brothers and sisters stuck behind-enemy-lines being fed the propaganda of government and Church that violence toward their enemies is blessed of God and that to be in the military, police force, and justice systems are good things for Christians. These Christians are in a very dangerous position thinking that God blesses these activities when in fact it is a rejection of all that the New Testament says about how we should live and conduct ourselves in the world. We have not been sent here to kill our enemies but to save them through great sacrifices, what else can picking up our own cross and following Jesus mean?

When will the new Radical Reformation begin . . . ?

Shipshewana, In, March 28 – 30, 2019

Steve Blackwell

I was very excited to attend the AIC and that excitement was justified. As a rather recent convert to the Anabaptist doctrine and having spent a few days with the Hutterites in Minnesota my love for the people and their values remains untarnished.

Because it was an “identity” conference I wanted to know two things: 1st How is the historical Anabaptist identity being preserved? And, 2nd what is that identity and is the original goal and focus still valid today?

Because of certain constraints, I will focus my critique on the second part since, in my estimation, the first part, especially for those who were present among us non-Anabaptist background “seekers,” the mysterious charm of these Godly people is very much alive in the 21st Century, but in all honesty, I do have an issue with their present stance.

My introduction to Anabaptism was an accident, or maybe a miracle. Yes, like nearly all Protestants I knew of these odd people with their funny ways, their gentleness, exclusiveness, value-driven lifestyle, hard work, and simple ways, but that is all I knew about them. My Bible training gave them the necessary “tip of the hat” acknowledgment as part of my curriculum that highlighted the heretics of the Reformation and the problems they caused to the progress of the “true” Christian message as professed by Luther and Zwingli. Grebel, Manz, Blaurock, and others now bearing the label of anabaptist (re-baptizers) by their foes, having discovered the buried treasure of non-resistance to evil, separation from the world, and believer baptism, proceeded to do what every believer should do, and that is, to share this vast wealth with anyone in need, begging for relief, or those who hold out an empty hand. All my Christian life I unconsciously hungered for their message and struggled often with The Sermon on the Mount only to have it explained away by my teachers and leaders. One day while reading 2Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” a live coal fell from the altar of God and illuminated my heart and changed my life forever, and along with that illumination came the beginning of my story of personal suffering that validated Paul’s message. And, now I realize too that there had been given, to a special people, a vast treasure that was not being shared.

Without the help of heritage, without the help of community, and without the help of men, but only a burning heart, a prophetic treasure, and desire to share, I ventured into my old haunts to find that Paul’s inspired words to Timothy are still true today. Just as in the days of the Apostles and the “Radical Reformers” I had discovered the secret weapon that is hidden to the world and to the institutional Church that “Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies it remains alone.” This death is more than just an odd appearance to outsiders, giving up of the luxuries of technology and science, or building a wall around an “identity” to keep out the world; No! it is so much more than that.

I appreciate very much that my Anabaptist brothers and sisters have maintained their wonderful heritage because that heritage has become a sign to the world. The world of man and religion cannot help asking the question, when Anabaptist appear, “Who are these strange people?” The problem is, they get no answer, they are a sign with no message. They signify something to the world, but what? Must we find the answer by accident? The treasure that the Anabaptist reserve for themselves or bury will get out with or without their help, and I pray it with their help. Enjoying their craftsmanship and good food is not enough and I believe that if Conrad Grebel was here today he would say, “It is time.” It is time to infiltrate the cities, the Churches, the schools, the streets and neighborhoods of the world and to open our hands and to share this great resource of truth that the world fears and the Devil hates.

When the Israelites came out of captivity the first two things to be restored were the Altar and the wall. The altar represents our sacrifice and the wall represents separation from the world, security, and protection. Commerce took place during the day but at night the world was forced out and the gates closed, i.e. they were separated and “in the world but not of it.” The wall is the great heritage of truth of our Christian forefathers, but heritage quickly turns into legalism without the altar. True Christians are “light,” “salt,” and “sheep in the midst of wolves.” Yes we are the light of truth, and we are the salt of the earth, but we mustn’t forget that we are also sheep for the slaughter, that is our destiny. If we will be true to the first two the third will also come. We must pick up our own cross and follow Jesus.

We have allowed the world of religion to dictate just how much of the truth is allowed to be preached. And, how will we know when we are succeeding? It is no different today than it has ever been. How did the Apostles know? How did the Remnant of the Dark Ages know? How did the Radical’s know? The trail of blood has arrived at the doorstep of Twenty-first Century, will you be sheep in the midst of wolves or will you be sheep closed-up in a pen behind walls of protected identity?

I love the Anabaptist and it is not my goal to hurt them, unless the hurt has the effect of healing. I have much that I need to learn from them and my study is ongoing but maybe they can learn something from a Seeker?

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