In the post, Kings And Judges With Christ, under the category, Encouragement, on August 8, 2021, I wrote to encourage God’s faithful about the glorious vindication and victory our God gives us after suffering in the cause of Christ and the Kingdom. This vindication and victory comes at the forced end of three and one half years of what the Lord Jesus describes as “great tribulation” the saints will endure with only a tiny remnant surviving. They will see Christ’s return with mortal eyes before being “changed” and joining the greater number of resurrected saints en route to Him in the sky (Matthew 24:15-22, 29-31; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, NKJV).
To “bypass death”--one of the common mortal human experiences of living on earth--as the Lord had me mention in another place, is a prospect of magnitude beyond incredible!1 Biblically conservative teachers of God’s Word all well know, believe and teach His consequential judgment of death for Adam’s disobedience presented in Genesis 2:15-17 and set in motion as his and his progeny’s experience in perpetuity the day he actually sinned (Genesis 3:6-11, 17-19, 4:8, 5:5). Death has been so routinely the normative experience of mankind since, it is a byword for certainty and inevitability. Even the Son of God, Jesus Christ, died--not for any sins of His, but ours!
Indeed, the Lord took on a mortal body and permanently became one of us as the Son of Man, to die in our place and make atonement for our sins (Isaiah 53; John 10:14-18; Romans 3:9-26; Hebrews 2:14-17, 9:22-28). And though the Lord was resurrected from the dead on the third day after and is “alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:18, NKJV) still, He died! The Bible records only two exceptions to the rule mortal humans die. Enoch and Elijah bypassed death millennia apart by God’s sovereign will and actions (Genesis 5:21-24; 2 Kings 2:9-11). These men had in common a single minded devotion to God. So then, a mortal bypassing the experience of death is extremely rare!
Yet clearly, bypassing death is exactly what the apostle Paul sets forth as revelation from Christ he is to convey as a reality for those among the saints “who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord,” (1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 4:15, NKJV). Rather than death, these remnant saints are instantaneously transformed from mortal to glorious immortal and “caught up together” with those resurrected “in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,” (1 Thessalonians 4:17, NKJV). The bypass of death here is plainly the experience of those saints who remain alive through great tribulation until that “day of the Lord” and His wrath arrives (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, NKJV).2
As I wrote in a August 9th Facebook post promoting the August 8th blog, “God has ordained that His saints should suffer in the cause of Christ and the Kingdom in part as a matter of His “righteous judgment” to “be counted worthy of” it and the glories that follow (2 Thessalonians 1:3-5, NKJV). This “is also totally consistent with His eternal spiritual principle: “…before honor is humility,” (Proverbs 15:33, 18:12; 1 Peter 1:3-12, 5:5-11, NKJV)” as I wrote too. Seeing the revealed weakness and falling away to date of many professed American Christians during God’s Coronavirus judgment, it is evident many do not possess a mindset to suffer anything for Christ and the Kingdom.3
This, of course, is the other reason the Lord in wisdom allows His professed people to go through various trials and finally, the great tribulation to demonstrate our faith, love and faithfulness in all perseverance; naturally separating out from our midst those that are not really His or sold out to Him!4 The perseverance of the saints is not a foregone conclusion as some teach. The Bible allows for real Christians to fall away in unbelief (Matthew 24:10; Hebrews 3:7-19). Perseverance is the God expected and helped outcome of a real Christian’s displayed faith, love (shown by obedience) and faithfulness through the most severe trials and tribulation to the end (Mark 13:13; Romans 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 1:20-24; Hebrews 6:11-12, 10:32-39; 1 Peter 1:5-9; Revelation 12:7-13:18, 14:9-13).
Therefore, bypassing death is not the experience of billions of professed Christians in an “any moment” secret mass event that removes them from tribulation as is popularly depicted by many conservative evangelical Christians in what is called “the rapture.” But consistent with its biblical rarity, the bypass of death is for a remnant of faithful saints. Their faith, love and faithfulness in all perseverance enduring the greatest hardships and persecution against the saints of God in human history will be rewarded with the honor of bypassing death and being made immortal wherever they stand at the Second Coming of Christ!5 Whether they are conscious of it or not, these will all be of those we are teaching to be aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ!6
1 See the two-part post that begins January 5, 2020, Revelation’s Seven Churches In Time, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
2 Included among these preserved from death remnant saints are Jewish Christians who have suffered as a group historically longer than any other Christians! Read the two-
part post beginning February 16, 2020, Christ’s Message To His Faithful, under the categories, Bible Prophecy and Encouragement along with the one that follows on March
1, 2020, Offended By The Truth? It is under the category Call To Repent for very serious reasons tied to the February post.
3 In the January 5, 2020 blog already cited, the Lord enabled me to foresee the negative consequences that have occurred because professed Christians were not able to “go
to church.” Once again, the never should have been day of soft pedaling the Gospel to build big churches and pastor egos is over! Sincere repentance fed revival remains
the only solution for helping willing professed Christians prepare for so many even more severe trials and tribulation than the Coronavirus pandemic that are on the way.
Read also the March 29, 2020 post, Standing In Christ’s Strength, under the category, Encouragement.
4 See the two-part post starting June 7, 2020, Days Of Separation, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
5 Read the two-part post, The Prayers Of The Saints, under the category, Bible Prophecy that starts on March 16, 2014. Also, read my 2017 multi-part purposeful work to dis-
till what is coming and motivate professed Christian men to get in the game entitled, Restoring Men In Two Minute Drill, beginning on July 30th under the categories Bible
Prophecy and The Cause. Sadly, many of these men do not possess the heart of Lot for God much less Enoch or Elijah (2 Peter 2:7-8).
6 The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics is my flagship instructional resource for teaching aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ who are the
Lord’s faithful! The book and companion Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study are available at your favorite internet
book seller and in the Strong Man Store.
As the blog title declares, this is the repost of what I wrote a year after this past week’s August 30th repost, “When Strong Men Of God Weep.” For the record, four years later my personal pain from going through the shutdown of a church as judgment from God has healed. However, having had the experience of seeing “affliction by the rod of His wrath” up close (Lamentations 3:1, NKJV), I am all the more urgent to sound the alarm and the Lord’s call to repentance in the churches even as we labor to restore men! For during this same period I have been among many churches of varying size and ethnicity and have seen nothing to convince me I am telling a lie on God about His judgment.
Therefore, I pray that every church pastor and elder reading this will take it to heart. I also salute you this Labor Day among all of those that work if you are ruling well (which includes maintaining the biblically ordained order of God’s house) and laboring in the Word with all sound doctrine as God purely from His Word sees it, not sinful men in fleshy wisdom (1 Timothy 5:17; 2 Timothy 1:13-14). In so laboring, no matter how small the assembly you serve, you are a success in God’s eyes! Be faithful to the end knowing your eternal legacy is the souls in glory because you kept the Kingdom cause before you; letting God use you as the Word exemplified (1 Peter 5:2-3).
Originally Posted July 1, 2012
Today marks the one year anniversary since I became a retired pastor due to the disbanding of St. Mark Baptist Church here in Portland, OR. The Lord enabled me to faithfully serve the church for nearly fifteen years. I have not pursued any other church nor has any sought my service during this time which is all in God’s will for me. I miss serving the Lord’s sheep and preaching regularly but have enjoyed the lighter load of responsibility. As the Lord has led, I have purposely not written anything about the death of the church since last year’s blog on July 10, 2011 entitled, When Strong Men Of God Weep (under the category, Glory To God!) in any other forum until now.
I am sure the Lord has been keeping me from expressing any of the wide range of thoughts and emotions I have had over the past year until He in love could minister more of His instruction and healing into my life. In honor of His amazing work in me, I write in this blog only to offer what I hope will be insightful reflections on my experience in being part of a church that died. Let me begin by stating that I stand by everything I wrote in last July’s blog on the matter. Second, the death of anything we love hurts. So, there is no pretense here; a great part of the past year I have been experiencing all of the emotions of bereavement. Third, since I took responsibility for the church dying, Satan has made sure I have had plenty of accusations and questions.
The main question I have grappled with is what could I have done differently without compromising God’s will, way and Word? Experts abound to show pastors how to grow churches in today’s world, but with a prophet’s heart I rejected 99% of that stuff. I was also warned by “successful” pastors that preaching and witnessing the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone were not enough to build a New Testament church anymore. My position remains that building a church any other way is not pleasing to God and reflects a desire to fulfill a flesh rather than Kingdom agenda (Mark 16:14-20). Indeed, not growing by the preaching of the Gospel is an indictment of American Christianity since growth by conversions is only 2.2%. 3,500-4,000 churches in America close each year never to re-open.1 80% of American churches are stagnant or declining and ready to die.2
While decline and death may be the trend, I still needed to understand more fully why the church I served as pastor had to die. Only God could and did answer that question for me in a satisfactory way. In His comforting, assuring and encouraging instruction the Lord taught me that this was not all about me though it all is working together for my good (Romans 8:28; Hebrews 12:3-11). Churches are dying in a natural cycle of birth, life and death over the course of time to be sure. However, many historically and at this hour have died as a matter of God’s judgment after He called for repentance and revival as well as sent warnings through His prophets to no avail (2 Chronicles 36:15-21; Lamentations 1-2; Revelation 2:1-5). This is the case with the church I shepherded until its death after a legacy of manmade religion and toleration of sin (Numbers 32:20-23).
This all leads to a final reflection and warning for all similar minded churches of manmade religion and sin. Unless you repent, your day to die at the hands of the Lord as judgment is also near. Some of you are already in the throes of death but are in denial. For the rest, rather than proudly judging how I may have failed to succeed as a pastor and rendering me useless, fear and see the death of the church I served as a clear sign and warning from God (Jeremiah 3:6-10; Luke 13:6-9; Revelation 3:1-3)!
To the faithful pastors who have been wickedly terminated or had your church doors close: be encouraged because our God is faithful to remember your service (Lamentations 3:1-26; Hebrews 6:10). To the righteous remnant of believers who are also aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ: stand firm in faith on God’s word no matter what it costs you now since great is your reward (Psalm 58:3-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17; Revelation 3:4-6)!
1 D.J. Chuang, Churches Closing And Pastors Leaving, January 31, 2010, djchuang.com.
2 Ed Stetzer, Finding New Life For Struggling Churches, February 2004, SBCLife.com.
This is the conclusion of an edited three-part 2013 blog repost that exhorts professing Christians and churches that are guilty to stop resisting and persecuting God’s gifted, called and sent prophets so that our ministries for good might be fulfilled among them. Even so, how glad I am that while sinful men may not honor His prophets, the Lord Jesus does now inwardly and will in days to come, provide sweet vindication to us before the entire world near and at His glorious return to earth!
Originally Posted November 24, 2013
As foretold by His eye witness apostles and confirmed by the Lord, many of the leaders of the churches planted in the first century corrupted themselves and launched a trend that has never been reversed, but only enlarged to this hour (Acts 20:28-31; 2 Timothy 3:13; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Revelation 2:12-29). Indeed, as l have already written about many times, after the passing of the Lord’s eye witness apostles, corrupt shepherds along with false prophets and teachers introduced many heresies and brought forth manmade Christianity the religion which has a form of biblical Christianity (1 Corinthians 4:18-20; 2 Corinthians 3:1-6), but is powerlessly far from it (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
It is in the satanically fostered context of human ordained religiosity in churches and related organized ecclesiastical bodies that faithful saints and prophets have been martyred for the faith as by divine unction they cried out against the corruptions they saw standing faithful and true to the Word and causes of Christ--a truth recorded in many reliable sources including Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. These are churches and ecclesiastical entities that have called, sanctioned and sent out their own workers to spread their corrupt, religious doctrines while they willfully murdered those standing in their way falsely claiming divine approval (John 16:1-4).
With that history, what is it today--hundreds of years after the Protestant Reformation that also spawned its own round of violent persecution and martyrdom of godly opposition--if the churches of manmade Christianity the religion purposely persecute perceived opponents and prophets with oppression, mistreatment, ostracism, loveless abandonment to hardship and murder by words? This is done without hesitation by men controlled by the sinful flesh while outwardly decked out in deceitful religious piety as I can testify (Matthew 5:21-22, 27:46-49; Galatians 5:13-15; James 2:14-26; 1 John 3:16-17).
As if to plug up their ears to God’s outcry against their sins by His prophets, some of the scholarly especially have gone so far as to assert prophesying and preaching are synonymous so that to preach is to prophesy and all preachers are prophets. Others of that group in attempting to expose false prophets declare that prophecy and prophets ceased after the first century and surely by the completion of the entire Bible in the 4th century. Both of these views are corrupt since one does not have to necessarily preach to prophesy (2 Samuel 12:1-15; Luke 2:25-35) and may be used by God to prophesy to an individual or many through preaching (Luke 1:67-80, 3:1-20)!
While the completed Bible is our written, living foundation and landmark (Hebrews 4:11-13), it does not mean the living God has muted Himself with no further communication to be made to us at all (John 14:15-26; Acts 22:17-21, 23:10-11, 27:21-26). There has not been a time since the passing of the eye witness apostles to this hour when the Body has been without contemporary need for the eyes, ears and messages of her prophets sent from Christ the risen, living Head even with many false prophets who have existed simultaneously from ancient times (Jeremiah 23:9-32, 27:12-18, 29:1-9; Matthew 28:20b). The Lord’s foretelling of false prophets did not mean there would not be any that were true (Matthew 24:11).
On the contrary, it certifies their existence since Satan raises up the false to subvert the words of the true. The Lord’s prophets are faithful to His Word as it is written; they do not rely on or cite for final authority the opinions of sinful, mortal flesh--no matter how credentialed. And who better suited to accurately interpret God’s already written prophetic Word when He is ready (Daniel 8:15-27; 1 Corinthians 13:2a)? As the evangelist burns to win lost souls, so the prophets of Christ burn for the purity, holiness, righteousness, obedience, fidelity and fruitfulness of His bride (2 Corinthians 11:1-4)!
The Church in its infancy may not have had need for many messages of rebuke and warning--although, what is the apostle Paul with the gift of prophecy doing in most of his New Testament letters to churches? Beyond question, however, the Lord Himself continued that aspect of the work of New Testament prophets with His Revelation to the apostle John given and written down for all professing believers and their churches near the end of the apostolic period (Revelation 1:9-3:22). He has also continued to gift, call and send His prophets to faithfully fulfill every aspect of their ministries in the churches including crying out against sin and warning of divine retribution upon the unrepentant.
As the Lord foretold, His prophets have been so much without honor they are singled out among the martyred faithful saints as recipients of God’s vindication (Revelation 11:15-18, 16:1-7, 17:1-6, 18:1-8, 20, 24-19:3). This is because of their suffering to the end at the hands of unbelievers and those professing to be Christians they were sent to serve especially in the churches of manmade Christianity the religion whose leaders in the West today generally and America in particular through their proud, independent spirit, resent being told they are in sin and resist rebuke as well as warning preferring instead, to cut off the messengers to their own hurt (Jeremiah 2:29-30, 5:1-3, 7:28; Amos 7:10-17; Matthew 23:33-24:2).
Therefore, in this month of praying for persecuted believers, among them I pray for and honor my brethren, the Lord’s prophets without honor in the churches who are held in contempt and persecuted in various ways by those claiming to be Christians. As for me, I do not seek or require the honor of mortal flesh though I desire for their sakes that God’s people would give proper heed to the words of warning He has put in my mouth in perfect alignment with what is plainly written in His Word (Ezekiel 33:1-9)--woe to the teachers of falsehood who teach believers in Christ face no eternal peril for sinning in willful disobedience without repentance (Jeremiah 28; Galatians 5:19-21, 6:7-8; Hebrews 3:7-19, 10:26-31, 35-39; Jude 1-11)!
I repeat in part what I wrote in my April 17, 2016 blog repost, Disembodied, Pt. 2 under the category, The Faith: “I am deeply honored in the Lord and pleased to the highest degree to serve you as a watchman/prophet and teacher in the footsteps of those faithful servants of Christ from the first century until now...” Glory to His Name!
This is the second of a three-part edited blog repost celebrating the results of Billy Graham’s ongoing “My Hope America” campaign and more broadly, God’s glorious design of the Church to function through the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. To my great joy also in this installment, I am led by the Spirit to focus on and give instruction about the demonstrated service of the prophet in the New Testament. So, pastors, elders and others that have tried to figure out what my angle is and who do I think I am (1 Corinthians 1:26-31), I invite you to open your Bible and learn as I had to if you will, what it teaches. Too, of course, I hope you will repent from rejecting God’s Word in favor of leaning on your own understanding up until now if guilty (Proverbs 3:5). Have a great Thanksgiving!
Originally Posted November 17, 2013
How often over the years have I heard the hypocritical call even by what are otherwise serious Christian leaders for God to raise up prophetic voices among the churches to cry out against the unfaithful drift, willful compromise and increasing wickedness of professing Christians in the supposed hope that repentance and revival will break forth? Yet, when such voices as my own cry out from God against the evil in His house, these same men are among the first to resist, reject and renounce us as uncalled critics and troublemakers. As is typical of proud, independent religionists, they want to listen only to those they choose and deem fit (Exodus 2:11-15; Acts 7:22-28, 33-35, 51).
As the Old Testament prophets before and Christ as “the Prophet” in one of His multiple assigned roles by the Father, so, He commented sadly and warned those He would gift and call to follow Him in similar service that they would be without honor among their own countrymen and families; those they were sent to serve who professed to be God’s people (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Ezekiel 3:1-7; Matthew 13:53-58; John 7:1-5). He spoke the truth! Even so, New Testament prophets are an integral and continuing part of the leadership gifts Christ places in His Body from the first century.
In fact, through the apostle Paul, God ranks the ministry of prophets only behind apostles in functional importance to the Body (1 Corinthians 12:27-30, 14:1-6, 20-25; Ephesians 4:11). In general, the multi-gifted eye witness apostles (and missionaries today as their descendants) preach the Gospel, make disciples and establish churches in areas where Christ has not been named and after a season, move on to another locale (Acts 13:4-14:25). Evangelists, as we saw with Billy Graham, are consumed with preaching the Gospel to whomever, wherever the Spirit leads to make disciples. Pastor/teachers and elders lead and teach an established local assembly of disciples.
Prophets privately or corporately prophesy, teach, preach and/or exhort to reveal, instruct, encourage and build up through revelation, knowledge and wisdom as well as when directed by the Lord, rebuke and warn seeking the repentance of any professed disciples of Christ that are sinning regardless of their position in the Body. If “the righteous are bold as a lion,” the prophets the more so and are all most assuredly aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ (Proverbs 28:1, NKJV)! They serve as the eyes, ears and mouth of Christ, the Head of His Body (1 Samuel 3:1-18, 9:6-19; Proverbs 29:18; Isaiah 29:9-10; Jeremiah 1:4-19; Ezekiel 3:8-27; Amos 3:7-8) and govern themselves under Him (2 Kings 2:1-18; 1 Corinthians 14:26-33).
Thus, no local church leadership controlled or ruled over the Lord’s prophets as the earliest kings of Israel never did even when they were on the payroll except when persecuting them (2 Samuel 24:10-14; Jeremiah 37:6-21). As those of the Old with godly kings, so, the first century New Testament prophets gladly submitted to the authority of the original eye witness apostles, elders and brethren of the Jerusalem church who even sent them on missions (Acts 15:22-23, 30-35). Clearly, righteous rulers of the churches as again, the kings of Israel had nothing to fear from the Lord’s prophets and welcomed them; the prophets for their part honored and worked cooperatively with godly leadership in the churches which would also be true of me.
The Lord’s original eye witness apostles served to initially fulfill His prophecy that He would send prophets to Israel’s religious establishment since they claimed to have such reverence for them and they would reject, persecute and murder them--though Stephen was actually the first prophet murdered (Matthew 23:29-36; Luke 11:46-51; Acts 3:1-4:22, 5:12-42, 6:1-7:2a, 52-60). After the persecution that scattered the church from Jerusalem, they made disciples of Jews and Gentiles as they traveled and churches formed in places such as Antioch in Syria where Barnabas--a named prophet and teacher--was sent by the Lord and the Jerusalem church to help (Acts 8:1, 11:19-26).
It is at Antioch that we are first shown the service of New Testament prophets beyond the Jewish context at Jerusalem; men that were not pastors or preachers only and whose service was consistent with Old Testament prophets not only as forth tellers, but foretellers of things revealed to them by God and speaking to inform the disciples so that they might respond accordingly (Acts 11:27-30, 21:10-14). These gifted first century prophets were accepted into the churches and their authenticity through their lifestyle and messages, judged by all in accord with already established Old Testament criteria, the instruction of Christ and His eye witness apostles (Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Matthew 7:15-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22).1
Godly women that prophesied did so in honor of God’s order (1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:34-40; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). Moved by the Holy Spirit who would never lead them (or any of us) into sin, they exercised their gift primarily with women (Exodus 15:20-21), individuals or in a small group of inquiring or passing individuals with no commanding proclamation involved, but simply, faithfully repeating a word of prophecy, knowledge, wisdom or instruction from the Lord (2 Kings 22:12-20; Luke 1:39-45, 2:36-38; Acts 21:8-9). The prophetess Christ names “Jezebel” and rebukes with the church pastor was clearly out of order and false (Revelation 2:18-29, NKJV). Deborah was exceptional in an exceptional time for Israel unfaithful to God as King and with men of great spiritual weakness (Judges 4:1-10).
1 See the October 30, 2016 repost, No One Speaks For God? under the category, Instruction.
This is the first of a three-part edited blog repost in which the fruitful outcome of the nationally televised Billy Graham broadcast and the man are celebrated. Too, I joyfully pivot to celebrate the Lord’s perfect program plainly laid out in the New Testament that makes a Billy Graham and all of His servants gifted and called to ministries possible--if churches would be obedient. This leads finally to the blog title and content of parts two and three that tragically acknowledges prophets as servants of God being among those historically persecuted in sin by professed Christian church authorities. It is only in repentance from all biblically defined sin that revival will come to those seeking it.
Originally Posted November 10, 2013
I want to follow up my blog, Billy Graham’s “My Hope America,” (reposted November 6, 2016 under the category, Glory To God!) first by commending the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for a job well done in a broadcast concept that faithfully retains the centrality of the cross in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as did Rev. Graham throughout all of his ministry. For Rev. Graham’s part, in his nineties with an age weakened body, the Gospel message and fire in his belly to preach it is still powerfully seen as every authentic preacher called of God could see and appreciate.
Second, I want to publically commend our Portland area Fox Channel, KPTV 12 for being among those of that secular network to air Graham’s broadcast. I continue to pray that a great harvest will come from this and await the reports in weeks to come.1 Finally, as the Holy Spirit has led, I also want to expand on comments I made in the aforementioned blog about the relationship of the churches with men whose gifts, calling and ministries are clearly intended for them to serve God’s purposes beyond, but with the support of the local church.
Let me begin by making it clear that I fully accept the New Testament instruction that as a genuine manifestation of Christ’s Church, every local church and its governing authorities are to be respected, submitted to and obeyed as they respect, submit to and obey Christ as Head (Matthew 16:18; John 21:15-17; Acts 2:38-42; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 13:7-8, 17). This instruction presumes that the local churches and their leaders are in fact, honoring Jesus as Lord and faithfully obeying His will recorded in Scripture as the final authority, not the manmade rules and traditions of religion.
For this reason, with Christ’s leadership, every born again believer is to seek out and become part of a Bible teaching local church. Also, in accord with Christ’s will in those churches, every believer is to be taught His Word, encouraged and given the opportunity to serve Him out of the spiritual gifts and calling He has given them recognizing not all such persons are intended exclusively for service in or to be controlled--even if supported financially--by those assemblies (John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8, 2:1-21, 8:4-8, 26-40, 11:19-26; 2 Corinthians 11:7-9; Philippians 4:10-20; Ephesians 4:7-12).
Now, if any so-called church does not fully recognize the essential biblical doctrine of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit to include all of the spiritual gifts He imparts to believers, then it cannot possibly think legitimately of itself as a church of Jesus Christ (John 3:1-8, 14:15-17; Romans 8:6-9; 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; 1 Peter 4:7-11). And those that refuse to recognize, deploy into or support the service of a gifted and called servant of Christ assembled with them are in willful sin (1 Corinthians 12:12-26; 3 John 5-11).
Biblically, the spiritual understanding and sensitivity of the local church is to be like that of first century Antioch when the Holy Spirit commissioned “Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them,” (Acts 13:1-2, NKJV). The prophets, teachers and all others present in that local church who were fasting and ministering to the Lord concluded their consecrated devotions with the physical laying of their hands on Barnabas and Saul in a tangible expression of submission to and ratification of the Spirit’s directive (no doubt, spoken through one or more of the prophets present--1 Corinthians 14:29-33) to send them forth (Acts 13:3).
Please note that the men in their work as apostles (sent ones, missionaries; Scripture does not say Barnabas was an eye witness of Christ risen like Saul--Acts 4:32-37, 9:26-30) were not under the control of that local church, but the Holy Spirit! Righteously, however, the Lord gave the church the responsibility to joyfully cooperate with Him in authenticating and sanctioning His calling of the men. For their part and also righteously, Barnabas and Saul not only reported back the results of their work in a voluntary accountability of their service to Antioch, but also the mother of all other churches at Jerusalem and the original eye witness apostles (Acts 14:26-15:35; Galatians 2:1-10).
Thank God there were enough godly pastors remaining in the days He raised up Billy Graham as a gifted evangelist that he was supported by his local church and many thousands around the world that came together for the cause of bringing souls to Christ! No one was successful in re-directing him from the work God called him to; no one was successful in controlling him, his biblical message and ministry under the guise of mortal accountability, though godly men surrounded and encouraged him.
Like the apostle Paul, Rev. Graham voluntarily and transparently reported the results of his work. In this media age, his doctrine was examined by all--what person professing to be a Christian could really argue with the simple and pure biblical message of the cross though today, there are many? Rev. Graham’s honor by God and men is well deserved. However, as the Lord Jesus taught, there is a group of His servants that should not expect to be honored at all by those they serve.
1 Visit https://myhopewithbillygraham.org/about/ for campaign results to date.
Let no one believe I spoke of the death penalty for gang bangers found guilty of murder in some cold, heartless religious detachment in my 2012 Commentary “Curtailing Gang Violence,” under the category, Call To Repentance posted August 12, 2018.1 In the warmest love of God, I am for human life and fervently preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to see dead souls live (Ephesians 2:1-7)! However, urban communities across America are lawless killing fields where too often those not involved in gang conflicts such as children going to and from school are murdered. We all cry and cry and cry, but our sons and some of our daughters too, continue to hurt, maim and kill one another.
As I write in this edited, 2012 follow up Commentary, God has authorized human government to punish evildoers to include putting to death those that murder. This is because human life is of high value to God and He wants us to share His view of ourselves. God knows the horrible track record our nation has with minorities in its justice system and I do too. So, I am surely also calling for reform that brings it into line with His Word and the engagement of revived Christians in advance of prosecuting our sons in death penalty cases. It is hypocritical for us to insist to the world that black lives matter and we do not care enough to turn in and righteously punish our sons that cheaply murder them. The bloodshed in our streets as judgment proves God does not share in this hypocrisy!
Originally Published September 2012
I am not unaware of how those without a biblical worldview among professed black Christians processed advocating the death penalty as a means to deter and curtail gang violence in my August 2012 Commentary. Say what you will about the way of suffering our people have endured, self-destruction through murder as victims is not an appropriate response. This may be what is happening for many, but any so-called Christian and preacher that is only content to rationalize the slaughter rather than preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and enforcing the divine value placed on human life to curtail it is in complicity! Still, the death penalty is to be done God's way also.
It is true that the devaluing of human life in this land has been going on since the colonizing of what was called a “New World.” Violence played a major role in subduing the Indians and turning captured Africans into slaves. These souls were treated with the utmost contempt in violence and murdered with impunity. After this came the dehumanizing Theory of Evolution and Margret Sanger who wished to control population by way of eugenics. Through the deceitful advocacy of women’s reproductive rights, feticide became national law and blacks now murder our own children in the womb at a higher rate than other groups. Survival in a harsh, often violent urban setting is daily life.
Daily too, is the saturation of violence in the media. Contrary to what a real "Christian nation" with a biblical worldview would look like, America has a history and culture of violence, murder and death that serves as a broader context and contributing factors for gangs among its many outlets. While there is always an outcry when an increase in gang violence and murder occurs, a couple of arrests and short prison terms later rather than being deterred in the main, these men are released morally unchanged to do it all over again. This is a vicious cycle that must and can only be broken when faithful Christians get involved with the Gospel, God's Word, power and accountability.
God Almighty, who declares in His Word without equivocation that He is man's Creator (Genesis 1:26-27), made him and all of creation at the beginning "very good," (Genesis 1:31, NKJV). Made in the image and likeness of God, human life is esteemed by God as the most precious of all since man is to be an eternal son. When man sinned, God, the Son of God and Word wrapped Himself in flesh to effect man's redemption that men of faith may even be raised from the dead to live with God forever (Psalm 49:1-15; John 1:1-5, 14, 10:10, 11:25-27; Hebrews 2:5-18).2 The death of Jesus Christ on the cross thunderously exclaims human life is of inestimable value to God!
Having such esteem for the life of man, after destroying a world of evil and violence (like our own) in Noah's day (Genesis 6:5-22), God gave him and all mankind an irrevocable edict. Man's life is so precious to God that not an animal or any man is to willfully shed his blood. If either creature does kill a man, as governing authorities men under God are to shed that creature's blood; that is, take the responsible animal or man's life as a statement of absolute opposition to the willful killing of a human (Genesis 9:4-6). Later, God in the Ten Commandments declares, "'You shall not murder,'" (Exodus 20:13, NKJV) which Jesus affirms and expands in application (Matthew 5:21-26).
God gave Israel just commandments, laws, statutes and ordinances (and thereby all mankind as a blueprint) for righteously dealing with those who murder. All persons accused of murder must first be given a trial where the facts of the case are determined. Given the historical and blatant corruption of American jurisprudence in the cases of minorities, every jury of peers in murder trials must include a fair number of the accused person's ethnic group or other minorities. There must also be a minimum of two eyewitnesses to consider the death penalty. All penalties must be handed out consistently to be an effective deterrent. Accountability and deterrence are the Lord's goals in the death penalty for murder (Exodus 21:12-14; Numbers 35:9-34; Deuteronomy 19:15-21).
It is now far past the time for Christians to have a biblical worldview on crime in general and gang violence in particular. Our compassion for the community ought to be displayed first in proclaiming the Gospel and God's Word on sin in unity. Our church ministries should be proactive in reaching our boys before they are introduced to gangs.3 They must be taught the truth that a holy God loves them, but hates their sins. Also, they are to value human life as God does or face man's justice and without repentance, His eternal condemnation (1 Peter 2:13-14; Revelation 21:8, 22:12-15). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Have I not confessed to murder in allowing the death of my unborn children as an unsaved youth? Back then I would not have understood why I merited the death
penalty for my crime against humanity, but I do now and appreciate to the fullest measure the grace of God that did not treat my sin as it deserved in the midst of a
society that had legally and falsely decided aborting the unborn is not murder. I did not get away with anything since until my last breath, though forgiven, I must
endure public shame while with others, fighting to persuade our society to return to God’s view of murder in the face of His staggering judgments for refusing!
2 As the Lord leads, I present the reality of the divine eternal purposes and destiny of man as God’s redeemed creature in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back
To Basics. It is available at all major internet book sellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
3 Our Ministry is doing this through our Urban Radio Campaign and its Strong Man Minute Page as well as the Strong Man Academy. We welcome Kingdom dri-
ven Christians and churches that want to support us in the work! This can be securely done on the Give Page of our Web Site.
“Being a man is not a freak accident of the cosmos!” This is the first statement on the back cover of my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics,1 making clear its content is founded upon the biblical worldview that man has a purposeful Creator! Making such a statement at all is a sad indicator of how far removed Westerners are now in just under 200 years from an understanding of our origin as from God. Thanks to the rise in acceptance of Charles Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution which today, is secular science dogma and the worldview of many coming out of our nation’s educational system, the biblical worldview of creation is deemed inferior religious babble.
While I am sympathetic toward those Christians that want to try and build a bridge between the two contradictory and competing worldviews because they believe the arguments of secular science are just too demonstratively persuasive, God in my heart and His Word cry out not so fast (did David acquiesce or seek détente with Goliath who was larger than he and out gunned him--1 Samuel 17:33-47?)!2 True enough our mission in Christ is to preach the Gospel about and witness Him. But we are not to do these things while also finding a common ground of acceptance with falsehood, open rebellion against God and apostasy. We must stand firm on the truth of God’s Word as it is written!
Evolution as a competing worldview to biblical Christianity is falsehood raised up in open rebellion against God and apostasy since many that have adhered to it from a Judeo-Christian background from the earliest days of its appearance have had to reject some or all of what is written in His Word about Him and creation. As Jesus showed with the Sadducees, rejecting any of the inspired Word about God, His abilities or deeds, leaves one in a state of spiritual ignorance and without repentance, eternal deadness (Matthew 22:23-33, 23:29-33)! To declare that the physical universe came into being out of nothing and no source cause is the height of folly (Psalm 14:1-4).
However, the Bible in its first words emphatically declares: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” (Genesis 1:1, NKJV). God Himself is quoted as declaring: ‘“I am the Lord, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone, who spreads abroad the earth by Myself,’” (Isaiah 44:24b, NKJV). Science with the endorsement of some professed Christians also says the universe unfolded and evolution took place on earth over millions of years. But God in His Word says He created everything in six literal days (Exodus 20:8-11, 31:16-17). Are you now, so lofty in these latter days, O man, that you call God a liar who says He created all and in six days?
But even as you are so wicked and getting worse leading to one that will boldly be your voice as foretold (Psalm 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:13; Revelation 13:1-6), your own science betrays you as the liar. For example, evolutionists fail to appreciate the profound impact man’s sin, God’s consequence of death and related curse on the ground has had on all creation! Indeed, not only does man die, but decay and ruin attend to our bodies to such extent now, the average age of death is dropping below 70 compared to Methuselah who lived 969 years (Genesis 5:25-27).3 Also, the evidence of God’s handiwork is not only all around, but in you as He recently led me to write (Romans 1:18-19).4
The whole field of genetic research is uncovering how most living things are biologically programmed by genes and their informational substance, DNA. This being so, such purposeful programming requires an intelligent programmer. Try as hard as they might, secular scientists cannot logically give credit to non-sentient “mother nature” for the wonder of genetic programming since how can what is not alive itself program that which lives?5 No, but God who eternally lives and created the heavens and earth with their order and design features along with all living things to fulfill the purposes and functions He programmed in them is the Programmer (Genesis 1:2-31; Job 38-41)!6
Thus, man is purposely made in God’s image and likeness as His highest creation and is not a freak accident of something coming out of nothing then evolving (Genesis 1:26). From the dust of the earth the Almighty God created him to live before Him as an eternal son (Genesis 2:7). Knowing all things, God would not be foiled or frustrated when the creature of His love fell and came under judgment. Instead, before there was ever a creation, it had already been decided that Jesus Christ would come and be man’s Deliverer from sin by taking the penalty of death upon Himself. Now, because of Him, man can be restored to obtain the eternal destiny God created him for (Romans 5:6-11, 16:25-27; 2 Timothy 1:8-12; Titus 1:1-3; Hebrews 2:5-18; Revelation 21:1-8).7 So, then, whose report will you believe: fallen men or God’s?
1 Get a print copy or digital download of the book at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can
also get a print copy of the book on sale in the Strong Man Store.
2 For this reason, brothers in Christ such as Ken Ham and David Rives should be celebrated in the Body of Christ today for their courage in politely, yet, vigorously
standing up to the giant god of evolution and its secular science devotees. These Christian men of science affirm its exciting proper role in discovering, observing, re-
cording, being astounded by and celebrating God’s handiwork when guided by His Word!
3 Google “average age of death.” The heavens and earth under death and the curse show the same kind of rapid and devastating decay (aging) mankind does over a
very short approximately 6,000 year span dating by the Bible would indicate (see article at Answers In Genesis) and doctrinally affirm (Psalm 102:23-27; Hebrews 1:
10-12). Therefore, the dating methods of science that use the actual elements of the creation to measure the passage of time, for example, are flawed from the outset
since these elements have been aged and are aging in accord with God imposed death and His curse. The power of God to rapidly ruin to death is displayed by Jesus
Christ (Mark 11:12-14, 20-22)! Even so, to the glory of God who subjected the creation to death and His curse, it and we in Christ first have hope of soon deliverance
through Him (Psalm 102:28; Romans 8:18-25; 1 John 2:15-17)!
4 See the introduction of the July 14, 2019 post, A Man’s Responsibility To Provide, under the categories, Biblical Worldview and God’s Creatures.
5 They instead, illogically and idolatrously give the glory of biological programming to “mother nature” on faith as a false religious invention while purposely suppressing
the truth of God (Romans 1:18)!
6 God is not only the Programmer, but the active Controller of His creation to include its natural elements, supernatural creatures, ruinous afflictions of death and death
itself (Mark 4:35-5).
7 Restoring men through Jesus Christ is the joyful cause and work of this Ministry. Read the June 29, 2014 post, Fully Restoring Men and posted on July 6, 2014, Christ:
Model Of Perfect Manhood! both under the category, Instruction.
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