Monthly Archives: November 2013
Zwingli persecutes the Anabaptists
1525 – The following proclamation was published against the Anabaptists in Zurich, Switzerland by the Zwinglians: “…we ordain…that…all men, women, young men, and maidens, abstain from rebaptism, and from this time practice it no more; and that they bring their children to be baptized.” It went on to say that whoever refused to obey this public order would be punished by a fine of silver. Five years later harsher penalties were levied, including torture and death. The Anabaptists became the target of such inhuman abuses that defy description from both Rome and the Reformers. William Jones, In his History of the Christian Church wrote, “They were publicly whipped, drawn by the heels through the streets, racked till’ every bone was disjointed, had their teeth beat out, their noses, hands, and ears cut off, sharp pointed spears run under their nails, melted lead thrown on their naked bodies, had their eyes dug out, limbs cut off, ground between stones, broiled on gridirons, cast by heaps into the sea, crucified, scraped to death with shells, torn in pieces by boughs of trees, etc. When Peter Sager was burned, the town records recorded the following: “Paid to Master Garnancie for burning Peter Sager, 20 Shillings; for cords and stake, 10 shillings; for the pains of the executioner, 28 shillings; special watchmen during the execution, 17 shillings, 6 pfennigs; other amounts for twelve wagon loads of fuel and twenty-eight measures of wine for the dance at the court-house, in honor of the Count of Zil.” Our Anabaptist forefathers truly found themselves in a pincer movement between Rome on one side and the Reformers on the other. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 655-56. Joseph Meyer, Baptists Establishers of Religious Liberty (Chicago: Private Printing, 1923), pp. 101-2.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
Hebrews 12:1, 2
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,” Hebrews 12:2.
Jesus has set the race of life for each of us to run. Our focus determines how we will run that race. Fellowshipping with God must be through Jesus. God has made Jesus the finish line. He hung on the cross, writhing in pain, but he had joy in His heart because He knew He was bringing many children to the Father. Isaiah said that Jesus would be set as our banner, a flag, seen from afar to help orient the weary, lost traveler.
My youngest son once ran an important physical training test in the Army Reserves with a young African sergeant from Kenya. They were racing against the clock with a mile to go. The sergeant said, “Let’s make like a female lion is chasing us.” That would definitely make one goal-oriented, concentrating on the finish line.
Abraham was promised a city and a great nation of children. At the time he was a pilgrim in a strange land with no children. He died believing that God would keep that promise. He was focused on the One who made the promise and in faith lived his life toward that goal. Focusing on the goal gave him courage to keep running the race.
We must not expend all our energy concentrating on the problems that occur in the race, but look unto Jesus. He promised us a city where there are no more tears, pain or death. Keep your eyes on the finish line; He’s waiting with open arms.
A plowman looking backward always plows a crooked row (Luke 9:62).
First ordained Asian-American
1874 – A Sunday school convened in Portland, Oregon with twenty-two students, led by a Chinese national by the name of Dong Gong. Before the end of 1874 the school had grown to over one hundred, and the effort had led to the baptisms of Chinese converts, and Gong was enlisted as the preacher. On June 22, 1875, Gong was ordained, and it is believed he became the first ordained Asian-American among the Baptists. This ministry grew out of a burden from the First Baptist Church of Portland, Oregon. Rev. D.J. Pierce came to First Baptist on July 22, 1874, and shortly afterwards wrote to Rev. E.Z. Simmons, A Baptist Missionary on furlough from China who was residing in San Francisco, and presented the need. That effort brought Rev. Simmons, and Dong Gong, a Chinese national convert, to Portland to undertake the task. Gong had emigrated to America with his parents and had become a worker in the Chinese community of San Francisco. The First Baptist Church of San Francisco had established a mission to the Chinese, and young Dong Gong was an early convert. He was then trained by Rev. John Francis in San Francisco. Gong had been licensed by First Baptist to preach in 1869. In Portland it was decided to begin a school which would include English during the weeknights to the Chinese, and then on Thursday evenings Gong would head up a preaching/teaching ministry. Dr. William Dean, famed Baptist missionary on furlough from China, was appointed director of the school. Gong was also active in opposing the opium trade and Chinese gangs, who were in control of the Chinese social structure. [C.H. Mattoon, Mattoon, Baptist Annals of Oregon (McMinnville, Oreg.: Telephone Register Publishing Co., 1905), 1: 202. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 653-54.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
How often we are like the little children that can’t wait. Adults with the problem of lack of discipline. Forever a child.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” Hebrews 11:6.
Since everything was created by Christ for His pleasure, and since faith is the only way to bring Him pleasure, Christians would do well to understand what faith really is.
God working in us to bring about His good pleasure means that to live by faith we must surrender to God and let Him work His own pleasure out in our lives (Phil. 2:12, 13).
Faith is not something we can work-up, it is God working in us. Even in salvation, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9). “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:16, 20).
The faith and the grace is all of Christ that He may receive all the glory. Faith, hope and love are supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Surrender, relax, enjoy the ride and leave the driving to Jesus.
For whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom 14:23). How much of our lives will not reap rewards because it was not of faith?
He refused a license to preach
1628 – Is the traditional birth date of John Bunyan; the “immortal tinker” and “glorious dreamer”, as historians call him, was born in the village of Elstow, near Bedford, England. In 1644 he was drafted into the army, and in June 1645 he returned to his home of Bedford. He said that he was vile in his youth, but about 1649 married a poor girl who brought with her two books, The plain man’s Pathway to Heaven, and The Practice of Piety. One day he overheard some women talking about spiritual matters and he entered in, but was no match for them. They were members of a little Baptist congregation in Bedford whose pastor was John Gifford to whom they introduced the tinker. Gifford immersed Bunyan after he had endured a lengthy and trying period of deep seated, emotional conviction, when the Lord spoke sweet peace to his heart. He explains it in his book, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666). In 1660 while preaching in a farmhouse near Ampthill, Bunyan was arrested, tried, and imprisoned. He spent the next twelve years in the Bedford jail. He could have been released at anytime if he had only taken a license from the Church of England to preach. In 1672 he was released by the Declaration of Indulgence, and at that time he became a licensed preacher and Pastor by the Baptist church at Bedford. The next year the Edict was cancelled and he was rearrested and imprisoned again for six months. Some believe that it was at this time that the famed Pilgrim’s Progress was written. He served as pastor for 16 years until his death and is buried at Bunhill Fields, the dissenter’s Westminster Abbey. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 651-53. Alfred W. Light, Bunhill Fields London: C.J. Farncombe & Sons, Ltd., 1915)., pp. 17-18.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
The plural “books” is purposefully used in the title of this article even though the references in the scriptures are singular. The reason for the plural term is simple. There is more than one book referred to as “The Book of Life.”
Linguistic difficulties often surround terms due to commonly assigned meanings rather than precise definitions. So, what does the term “life” mean? Surely it is not restricted to conscious existence as most would say, because everyone will exist in consciousness somewhere for all eternity. This truism then causes the Bible student to rethink meanings, and in this instance life obviously refers to quality of conscious existence: while a most undesirable quality of conscious existence is referred to as “death”.
think with me about this!
At one point, Moses interceded for the Hebrew people in their wilderness wanderings to the degree that if God would not spare them, then his request was to be left out of God’s book. Exodus 32:32. Certainly, he was not requesting the loss of salvation, or of an eternity in hell, but the reward of his place in the annals of God’s recorded word.
Paul entreated others for help on behalf of those who labored with him in the gospel ministry whose names were in the book of life, Phil. 4:3. This is doubtless the same as the book of life in which God’s people were written, and promised their names would not be blotted out of it if they persevered in the faith to be overcomers. Moreover, this same book of life may be altered regarding one’s final status and station according to Revelation 22:19. Additionally, men are sternly warned that the altering of Revelation would result in their part being taken from the book of life. Again, this is not an assignment to hell, but it is definite loss of reward and status for eternity.
Additionally, there is the Lamb’s Book of Life which is the recording of all who have trusted in the Lord from the casting down of the perfect order that initially reigned in the Garden of Eden. It is the roll of all who have been born from above throughout human history. Rev. 13:8.
Furthermore, Job said his record was on high, 16:19. So is the record of everyone. Furthermore, at the final judgment, Rev. 20:12, the books will be opened plus, another book called the book of life, and the dead at the great white throne judgment were judged by what was written there, according to their works. Then, in Revelation 20:15 the Lamb’s book of life comes into play with all whose names are not written there being cast into the lake of fire.
Jesus said to His disciples as they returned from the limited commission, rejoicing that even the devils were subject to them in His name, “. . .Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20. Now that is where you want your name written, in heaven, in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and in the book of life-works that qualifies those so written for rich reward.
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