“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea,” (Matthew 18:6, NKJV, emphasis mine). In the event some arrogant person thought I was only giving an opinion in the warning of my last blog that God will hold “whoever” accountable for hurting any soul that has believed on Christ with a heretical doctrine, Matthew 18:6 (with 7) is among many in Scripture to give similar warning. Do you not fear God? The churches are not commanded to destroy heretics, but God surely will! Therefore, no so-called “theologian,” pastor or teacher has any authorization from Christ to invent and disseminate any other doctrines but His!
Originally Posted August 12, 2012
I am reposting this blog and those that follow the rest of this month for the original, still relevant reasons I stated back then. I did not name any specific group that held to the idea that God gives predetermined men the faith they need to believe the Gospel and be saved forever, but do so now to sound the alarm as this group (splintered as the rest of professing Christianity) in the main is attempting to pass off their theological system as biblical. Calvinists trace themselves back to European reformer John Calvin and have taken his original teachings to places it is not clear he would have gone in the development of their theological system with the acronym, TULIP.
The teaching gift’s aim with the leading of the Holy Spirit is to give men the ability to explain and make plain the Word of God for the simplest hearts. Quickly straying from the reform intent of Martin Luther, European Protestants set aside the simple Gospel and the precious teachings of salvation revealed to the apostles by the Holy Spirit in Scripture and began inventing all manner of heretical and complicated schemes they attempted to support with Scripture. In that free for all and volatile environment Catholics and Protestants were killing folk who did not hold to their respective theological positions. Even so, the schemes and divisions have just kept coming to this very hour.
As the Lord has led, I have been writing a lot about His testing of saints and sinners. Christians new to the faith especially have to be asking “why does God need to test men since He already knows what is in our hearts?” The question is valid with multiple answers in which I will focus on Christians and our faith momentarily. In general, though, while God knows our hearts, we often do not. Also, we easily deceive ourselves thinking we are better and stronger than we are. God tests men’s hearts to prove the content He knows of that we may be judged accordingly, see our true state and repent or praise Him for His work in us (Psalm 7:9-17, 17:3-5; John 3:16-21)!
This post was originally made as an illustrative application of a two-part 2012 blog entitled, “The Faith That Saves” under the category, The Faith.1 The faith of my Christian slave forefathers that came forth out and in spite of the mesh of oppressive confusion bound up in Christianity the religion of men practiced American style,2 is a last days marvel of immense proportions. Clearly, the deliberate providence of God was at work to draw them to Himself (John 6:44-45; 12:32), but also in His foreknowledge, the fertile heart ground for the seed of His Word to bear fruit unto faith when preached in truth was in them (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23; Romans 10:6-17).
My West African forefathers as with all other Gentiles were not punished for having no faith at all, but faith that was misplaced for example, in ancestor worship, idols and other false deities (Acts 17:16-23; 1 Corinthians 12:2; Galatians 4:8). Having been failed by those departed or not gods that could not help and with no hope from any other source, slaves that did, responded to the Gospel and the true God with the same and even greater devotion of faith than they had previously accorded what was false in their native land (Acts 17:24-34). Truly, only God could have orchestrated this marvel since as I have written, the oppressed received the means of freedom from their oppressors!3
Now, in God’s equality, it is time for the Christian descendants of America’s slaves to return the spiritual favor (Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:17-21). For we will need to look to and draw encouragement from the legacy of faith our Christian slave forefathers that endured one of the most brutal forms of slavery in history left us, while also urging all other professed American Christians facing a hostile and soon to be oppressively violent nation in rebellion against God to do the same (Hebrews 10:36-39; 1 John 5:4-5).4 Reflectively reading this edited 2012 repost is a good place to get started if you have not already.
Originally Posted June 17, 2012
I extend a heartfelt “Happy Father’s Day” to all the men who have taken that role and responsibility from God seriously. My book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics is an excellent resource for gaining a basic and biblical perspective on being a father. I invite readers who have not obtained a copy to do so for yourself or one of the males in your life that is or will soon be a father.5
On this Father’s Day--as I have done previously through other forums, I write briefly on the celebration of Juneteenth which falls on June 19th each year. Juneteenth is a black American commemoration of the end of slavery by way of celebrating the June 19th anniversary date in 1865 when Texas slaves learned a full two years after that President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation setting them free.6 Typical of most American summer holidays there are parades, speeches, concerts, picnics and very importantly in this post-Christian era, worship services. It is here that I briefly join in the celebration and honor the faith of my Christian slave forefathers.
Presented Christianity by colonial whites mostly as a religious means of calming and controlling hearts that were not comfortable with the idea of perpetual servitude, the rigid, high-brow form of religion was not embraced in large numbers by African slaves. However, with the coming of the Holy Spirit fired preaching and worship fervor in the Great Awakenings and Camp Meeting Revivals of the South, conversions by slaves to the Christian faith exploded as the new American nation moved toward Civil War over the trafficking in human souls.
The mostly Western uneducated slave believers in Jesus Christ left their descendants and the world a legacy of persevering faith displayed in songs of hope called “Spirituals.” Embodied in their “Spirituals” was hope in the promise of physical deliverance found in the Bible proclaimed clandestinely by slave and some sympathetic white preachers. Many died waiting for the promise of God in His Word as have many of the saints from ancient times (Hebrews 11:8-16). They waited for physical freedom through faith in the God who did the same for Israel when He brought them out of Egyptian bondage by Moses (Hebrews 11:23-35a).
In the process, my Christian slave forefathers endured being spoon fed a corrupt form of Christianity that attempted to justify the evil brand of bondage they experienced including the demoralization of their souls, brutal whippings, the tearing apart of their families, rape of their daughters and sharing of their wives with slave owners and other white men bent on oppressing them in perpetuity (Hebrews 11:35b-40). Such was their simple, child-like, persevering faith in the God who remembers the oppressed according to His Word (Psalm 103:6; Luke 4:16-19). This faith is also resident in the heart of every aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ!7
And so, God did in His mercy remember my Christian slave forefathers who had been faithful in their long wait on Him for physical freedom.8 While there would be bitter opposition and battles to secure the reluctant sharing of the rights of citizenship still to come, the day the slaves heard they were free was a day of great celebration; for those who had specifically waited on the Lord--breathless joy! Therefore, it is fitting that black Americans and all the inhabitants of the earth commemorate the day our people were set free lest we ever forget. Moreover, may we always include in our celebration, worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who perpetually honors simple, child-like, persevering faith placed in Him.
1 I made an edited repost of part one of this blog on April 6 and part two on April 13, 2014. I stand by every word the Lord led me to write not consciously operating
out of any preexisting theological position or presupposition (there being a resemblance to any unintentional). I am a Biblicist; not caring in the first instance what
sinful, mortal men including myself think, feel or believe, but what God’s Word in totality actually says to inform my doctrine!
2 Read the two-part, August 2016 post, Christianity The Religion Of Men, under the category, Instruction and Christianity The Religion American Style posted Sep-
tember 4, 2016 under the category, Call To Repent.
3 Read the three-part Commentary, The White Man’s Religion in the Journal Archives of the FSTVEP.
4 At whatever point you may choose beyond Scripture to believe the evacuation of living saints by translation occurs, you still must stand and endure by persevering
faith until it happens (Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
5 The book is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
6 This Juneteenth 2019, be among those that hear the summary retelling of the black American experience from slavery to the present in the roll out of the From Sla-
very To Victory: One Man’s Journey Webcast!
7 Such was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s vilified fictional character, Uncle Tom, in her American Classic, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Read Uncle Tom’s Cabin Revisited on
the FSTVEP Web Site, an article the Lord led me to write restoring Uncle Tom as the actual aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ the book intends.
8 They waited for physical freedom to follow the spiritual freedom they already had in their souls by salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (John 8:31-36)! Learn more
on the Freedom Page at the FSTVEP Web Site.
In this positional chronology on April 27, 2014, the Lord led me to repost The Spiritual Gift Of Faith, under the category, The Faith as the first of what was a related sequence of four 2012 blogs. I urge the reader to read that April repost as a prelude to this post and what will be the other three 2012 reposts that follow. The primary theme in all of them is the necessary real time involvement of Christ as Lord and the Holy Spirit as Participants in the life and work of the Church on earth (Mark 16:19-20; Acts 13:1-3). This thematic reality is the desperate need of many professing American Christians and churches as well as an urgent purpose in the Lord’s call to repentance and revival.
Did any of the regular readers notice in my blog of August 21, 2016, Christianity The Religion Of Men, Pt. 1 under the category, Instruction, that two older women were the only instrumental mortals to my coming to the immortal Christ on Easter 1977 and providing godly counsel during the first three years of my life in Him? When in churches and around Christians of both genders during those days, I was clearly moving in another stream of experience apart from the religious operation of most due to being on white-hot Holy Spirit fire! Oh, as is typical of babes in Christ (I later learned), I stumbled and fumbled in struggle against my old sin nature and suffered many shameful defeats.
However, no seasoned professing Christian man to include leaders put an arm around me to provide knowing, purposeful and continuing guidance to help me develop in Christ.1 Instead, I was hurt by the evil and exploitive ways I was handled by churchmen that were resigned to an inferior practice of Christianity which as a religion of men, it is. I saw very few godly male role models among my age peers either, but only those like me in need of help beyond showing up to Sunday school and church as the traditional counsel obviously not working for those that offered it. In fairness, some older men did empathize with my situation, but were not prepared to engage anyone about it.
I was uncomfortable with the religious status quo since the Bible was already understood by me to be the authoritative Word of God. Hard for me too, was bearing with duplicity, hypocrisy and apathy in these churches because in that same Bible God kept rebuking and judging this type of behavior. Indeed, like a bee to a fragrant flower, I was especially drawn to the heavy heart of God for the repeated unfaithfulness of Israel in the Old Testament and its display in the passionate exhortations of the apostle Paul in the New as he rebuked sin in the churches. The Lord had first introduced me to His heavy heart twenty-two months into my salvation during a seven day fast without food or drink He commanded.
While I now know the Lord was then beginning to make His gifting and calling known to me, I had no idea as a babe what was happening. I had no Ananias to provide even a basic understanding since also unknown to me at the time, many churches did not (and to this day, do not) embrace the supernatural character of biblical Christianity or instruction on spiritual gifts (Acts 9:6-19). Though in the summer of 1979 the Lord spoke specifically to my heart that I was to serve Him in broadcasting, even after coming to the Emmanuel Baptist Church, San Jose, CA in the fourth year of my salvation where I finally met some godly, dedicated men, I remained in ignorance about spiritual gifts.
I had moved in that summer of 1980 to study broadcasting at San Jose State University. At Emmanuel, Rev. Jay Wells taught the first new member orientation I had ever had. Seeing my eager participation in his Sunday school class and unbridled fire of the Holy Spirit in me, Rev. Tom Kelly (now with the Lord) took me under his wing and allowed me to teach. At his recommendation, I was invited to take over his class with amazing Spirit empowered results! After this came seminary at Southwestern Baptist. The best it and the Southern Baptist machine could do was confirm I had a calling; a calling that led to one recognized thing: a black church pastorate.2
After graduating from seminary in December 1984 with no real prospects to serve in what it seemed the Lord had in mind, I was ordained and licensed to the ministry by Emmanuel in June 1985 and founded Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. later in August. As I have shared on other occasions, when the Ministry did not garner any serious initial support, I sought the Lord about what was wrong in the spring of 1986. He made known to me from Ezekiel 33:1-9 that I was gifted and called to serve Him as a watchman/prophet among the churches (Luke 4:24). Finally, by His instruction I understood that the heavy heart in me for the holiness, righteousness and faithfulness of His Church was the way He wired the prophet’s heart to reflect His own (Ephesians 4:7-16, 5:25-27).
I know from experience the tragedy of Christianity the religion of men in the churches. With no male spiritual mentors to help me develop as a babe and man in Christ, I floundered in the faith far longer than necessary. And because such churches reject the critical Lordship of Christ and power of the Holy Spirit in Church existence and function, it took nine years to learn about and accept all of my spiritual gifts and calling plainly taught in Scripture. This is unacceptable and sin! Therefore, without repentance and revival, these churches are worthless to the Lord and will be dealt with accordingly (Matthew 5:13). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Many predominantly black American churches have traditional and largely honorary “mother boards” to help younger women, but nothing for even the pretense
of mentoring men in the faith and biblical manhood. Seeing this grave error repeated in many churches to this hour, I call for pastors in repentance to return to
the biblical model and purposely equip seasoned men to be spiritual fathers to younger men in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.
2 I share more details of my experience with racism among professing white Christians and their entities in the booklet, The Scourge Of Racism available in
the FSTVEP Resource Store.
Of the greatest sins manifested among many church leaders today is the arrogance to believe that they can somehow improve upon and expedite God’s program for making and teaching disciples of Jesus Christ! Though ancient now, the methods Christ and His apostles empowered by the Holy Spirit used to make disciples (preaching the Gospel) and teach them to obey God’s whole Word were effective (Mark 1:9-20, 3:13-19, 4:10-12, 33-34, 8:27-38; John 20:19-23; Acts 2:1-16, 36-47). Even so, 100% of the people who heard their preaching and teaching did not accept it (John 6:60-71; Acts 4:1-4). Our problem is we want that 100% even if it means doing stuff in the flesh to get them!
The Lord’s approach and example to teaching men as disciples was Self-denying, labor intensive and time consuming. But these are the inescapable realities of spiritual fathering our Lord embraced as well as called, equipped and charged His disciples turned apostles to also do. Church pastors are imperative in the work (John 21:15-17)! Having been a pastor and mentor of boys and men I fully understand the demands especially of time spiritual fathering make on one’s life. However, this is why a pastor equips those he spiritually fathers to do as he does. If he is too busy to do what the Lord has commanded as his priority, then he is too busy! As the Lord leads me to point out in this edited 2013 Commentary, men are being hurt because of disobedience to His commands.
Originally Published September 2013
While our Ministry celebrates every brave incarcerated man that steps out before our Strong Man Of God Rally assemblies to publically pray to receive Christ or rededicate to Him, it saddens me personally to see the great numbers that rededicate. Most of these rededications are men that were Christians before their incarceration for a second or third time. It is certainly true Christians that commit crimes must take personal responsibility for their actions. However, after talking to many of these men it becomes clear that they are not getting the one on one mentoring of a “spiritual father” needed to deepen their walk with Christ in the churches they are members of as I did not early on.1
To be sure, the failure to make committed followers of Christ is a wide spread problem in the churches. Spiritual infancy dominates today in a Western church culture that is more concerned with the numbers than whether members are maturing in Christ. This lack of emphasis on the slow process of making disciples as our Lord commanded is hurting men the most since they are God’s chosen leaders in the home and churches. Many sit and the relative few that serve largely do so as babes in Christ with no intentional plan to disciple them. Once a month meetings and the annual golf tournament are not enough to turn baby Christian men into fiery, maturing disciples of Christ!
As I write in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, teaching his family is a responsibility God assigns every man.2 As the head of the house, a man teaches his wife and children. As a father, he teaches all of the children, but with a special duty to mentor and guide his sons into manhood; his wife, their daughters into womanhood. Beyond their families, aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ imitate Him in taking newborn Christian men under their wing to spiritually father them into maturity. We know this process is slow because our Lord spent more than three years of intensive time with His twelve disciples, then the rest of the lives of those who became faithful apostles (Matthew 4:18-22; John 14:18, 16:12-15).
In the Lord’s “Great Commission,” He commands His disciples to make, baptize and teach new disciples from all of the nations (Matthew 28:19-20). As it concerns teaching, veteran disciples are to teach the new “to observe all things that” Christ had commanded them (vs. 20, NKJV). Teaching what Christ “the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, NKJV) commanded entails more than just important doctrines, but also all of the thinking, attitudes and behaviors of Christ-likeness we are also to possess in pleasing God the Father as He did (Philippians 2:5). To this end, the apostle Paul also instructed his spiritual sons to teach and pass on what they had learned to men who would do the same with other men also (2 Timothy 2:1-2; Titus 1:1-9, 2:1-5).
To their shame, not only do many pastors and churches not encourage spiritual fathering or mothering in their ranks today, but too many have no formal discipleship instruction at all much less for newborn Christians in the pews who need the “pure milk of the Word” not the philosophical musings of men (1 Peter 2:1-3, NKJV).3 And for the churches that pride themselves on offering lofty sectarian seminary level courses such as Systematic Theology as sufficient to fulfill Christ’s command to teach especially babes, repent! You are causing them to gag and choke in confusion on what is not even biblically organic, but sinful humanly processed and genetically altered meat (1 Corinthians 3:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:14-16, 3:14-17).
Shame too on you guilty pastors that look down on my work in the prisons as though it were inconsequential when Christ your Judge is recording for Judgment Day how many of the Christians I find there that are members of your churches (Romans 14:10-13; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11)! We salute all of our fellow workers in the prisons filling in what lacks in the churches. To the pastors that need help setting up a discipleship plan for new believers or want to know more about teaching biblical manhood to and spiritually fathering men contact this Ministry.4 The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Read Part 1 of the August 21, 2016 post, Christianity The Religion Of Men, under the category, instruction. I lament the early lack of spiritual fathering that potentially
could have saved me from many painful failures and shortened the inordinate length of my infancy in Christ in the opening of this post and also that of the October 2,
2016 post, Gifted With A Prophet’s Heart, under the category, Call To Repent.
2 The book is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
3 See the September 25, 2016 post, A Leadership Caused Failure and Pastors As Developing Christian Men posted on December 17, 2017 both under the category,
Call To Repent.
4 Get contact information for Strong Man Ministries and learn about for example, the Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study as an important help in making disciples of
men and teaching them biblical manhood on our Web Site.
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