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Unity or Purity?


June 6, 2015    Dose of Reality    by Joseph Harris       Number 318       

                                                            

Comments on Current Events in Government, Religion, Culture, and the Family, from a Conservative Biblical Perspective


  


Unity or Purity?

The leavening of America, God’s churches, the family and society has been underway for decades. In a sense, the leavening process has always been around as Satan has constantly tried to dilute and weaken the people of God and their influence in the world. Paul said in I Corinthians “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” The nature of leaven (yeast) is to permeate and spread throughout the entire lump of dough, causing it to rise. It only takes a small amount to change the entire lump.

What disturbs me does not always disturb others. In this fast paced age of change, I am disturbed by the shift in attitude and philosophy of the average person. I am increasingly finding myself in the minority on issues of Bible doctrine, politics, and ethics. Yet, I haven’t changed. I stand today where I stood 33 years ago when surrendering to God’s call to preach and teach his Word. I see the danger in a little leaven. The depraved nature of humanity leans toward sin and the path of least resistance and will exploit every inch given, hence the saying, “Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile” is an absolute. Maintaining purity requires effort.

In the religious, political and cultural battles of today, purity has taken a beating. However, purity is essential. Consider the following: when given a choice, would you rather drink pure water or filthy water? Would you prefer a virgin for a spouse or a promiscuous person? Would you choose dirty clothes over clean clothes for your body? Would you rather have a clean politician (an oxymoron, but bear with me) or a person of character as your representative? Any sane person would choose purity in these situations. But when the choice of purity may result in conflict, stress, and division, people will choose unity over purity 95% of the time.

Look first at purity in the local church. Concerning immorality in a church, it will usually be tolerated, especially when the other option is conflict through confrontation. It is not easy to confront sin and require purity from ungodly church members who may also be family members, or influential in the community or big givers in the offering plate. Yet, the small amount of leaven will spread throughout the lump, affecting the whole. When we are more concerned with the smile of man, then we will have the frown of God, and when purity goes out the window for the sake of unity, then God’s churches lose the power and blessing of God.

Consider purity in church doctrine. Baptism and the Lord’s table have taken a beating with pastors and churches caving in to the plea for unity rather than purity in the practicing of these ordinances. Only a scriptural New Testament church of the Lord Jesus has the authority to baptize new believers and administer the Lord’s Table to those who have prepared themselves through scriptural baptism and church membership. Paul said to refrain from eating with those who had not examined themselves, especially concerning immorality, I Cor. 5:11. These ordinances belong to the Lord, not the church, but He has given their care and stewardship to each local church for proper administration for His glorification. Rather than stand for purity and cause contention, many are satisfied to sacrifice purity for unity, forgetting that unity with God through purity is primary. When a church adopts a human driven philosophy, their main priority will be to please men and not God. Here is a novel idea: How about a God driven, Spirit sensitive church. It just might work.

Look also at purity in ecclesiastical associations. Ecumenism has taken hold and many are willing to turn loose of Bible doctrines that “divide” in order to fellowship with those who disagree in doctrine. After all, we are all children of God, and why can’t we just get along and love one another? True love often requires hard choices. Amos the prophet asked “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” They can walk, just not together, because those not of like faith will have different beliefs, different standards, different philosophies of ministry, different goals and different ways to achieve those goals. When pastors and churches refuse to cooperate with others who are not of like faith, they are accused of being hateful and having no love for the brethren. Loving the brethren is not the issue; purity is the issue. Besides, we are commanded to love God before we are commanded to love others and maintaining purity is loving God. We are never commanded to fellowship with those who show a contempt for God by disobeying his Word. As Dr. Curtis Hutson used to say, “There are some things that cannot be sacrificed on the altar of love.”

Purity of the Word of God is important. Concerning the Word of God, I believe in the purity of His Word. I believe the scriptures were divinely inspired and providentially preserved. God divinely inspired the writers in the original manuscripts and then over time, providentially preserved these writings in the original language texts of the Hebrew Masoretic text and the Greek Textus Receptus. I use the 1769 edition of the 1611 King James version, not because of “Thee’s” and “Thou’s”, but because I believe it to be a faithful translation from these texts. The issue is about using the right the right English translation based upon the right original language texts. The purity of His Word is essential since doctrine and practice are based upon the authority of scripture. “The words of the Lord are pure words”. Psalm 12:6

Purity in the home. Purity must first be established in the heart, otherwise, the outward appearance is a sham. However, after inward purity is a reality, further instruction is still needed concerning outward conduct and appearance. Concerning standards of dress, entertainment choices and others issues in contemporary culture, most churches and parents opt for unity and peace in the congregation and the home rather than the unsettling, stressful conflict which comes from requiring standards of purity. Modern apparel is more important than modest apparel. A sloppy, unkempt appearance has replaced a dignified, neat and tidy appearance, yet what is on the outside, usually reflects the attitude of the inside. Degrading movies and videos de-sensitize values concerning right and wrong over issues of sexuality, ethics and the role of men and women in the home. Ultimately, standards or lack of standards, go back to the home and the example set by the parents. Godly parents face intense pressure in the world and often from their church, over disagreement of standards, and parents too often give in to the pressure of their children, their church and other family members, who accuse them of being too hard.

Consider purity in society. Homosexuality and immorality have become more and more accepted through gradual exposure. To address someone’s immoral sexual lifestyle is considered an attack on the individual. Homosexuality and immorality are both destructive to all who participate, ruining self esteem and respect, destroying families, and can end in death from disease. To warn of self destruction and promote sexual purity honors God and helps people experience full and more satisfying lives. Sexual immorality affects everyone in society as a whole through broken homes, wounded children and adults and increased financial costs, resulting from choices that damage health.

May God give us the resolve to stand and be more concerned about maintaining unity with God, as we preach and practice purity in a culture that has an ever growing contempt for truth.


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87 – March 28 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


87 – March 28 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST

Posted: 27 Mar 2015 04:42 PM PDT

Trail of Blood

He bore the Saviors Marks in his body

Wouters van Kuijck was finally burned at the stake on this day in 1572 after he was tortured and scourged in the prison at Dordrecht, Holland.  He had been moving his family from place to place in his effort to avoid arrest, for he was considered a heretic by the State Church for his belief that salvation was a personal matter of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.  The bailiff learned where Jan was residing and he and his men came to arrest him.  Knowing that his arrest would end in the capture of his entire family, Jan said in a booming voice, “it is I” when the bailiff knocked and asked, “Does Jan van Kuijck live here?”  Of course it was designed to allow his family to escape, which they did.  During his imprisonment he wrote a dozen letters that have been preserved, eleven to family including his daughter and one to his captors presenting clearly his faith and a warning to them of judgment.  He concluded that letter with these words, “I confess one Lord, one faith, one God, one Father of all, who is above all, and in all believers.  I believe only what the Holy Scriptures say, and not what men say.”  Fearing his testimony Jan’s mouth was gagged before he was taken to the place of execution.  Somehow he managed to relieve himself of the gag.  A fellow believer was able to draw close to him and he opened his shirt and showed him his bloody body from the scourgings, and said, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”  As the fire was kindled he looked over those assembled and cried, “…farewell my dear brethren and sisters, I herewith commend you to the Lord, to the Lord Who shed his blood for us.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon condensed from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp.180-181.

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CHURCH OF ENGLAND TO BLEND CHRISTIANITY WITH PAGANISM


The result of the New Methods movement. 
CHURCH OF ENGLAND TO BLEND CHRISTIANITY WITH PAGANISM TO ATTRACT SPIRITUALISTS
Christianity and Pagan
Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2013

Here’s a new twist on church growth: creating a pagan atmosphere and branding campaign for New Age spiritualists in order to increase the number of bodies in the pews. The Church of England is actually training its ministers to create “a pagan church where Christianity [is] very much in the center” to attract spiritual believers.

That means changing the Anglican church doctrine to make it more inclusive for people of alternative beliefs. The Church of England admits that its motive is to retain congregation numbers who have embraced paganism. The Church Mission Society, which is training ministers to “break new ground” in order to get spiritual people into churches.  If you’ve come from a Seeker-Driven model, that might actually sound like a good thing. Get them in the doors and tell them about Jesus, right? But make no mistake; that is not what is happening here. The Jesus the Church of England is re-creating is not the Jesus of the Bible.

A little update on the Church of England: It recently gave up its fight against gay marriage, and also went as far as to bless civil partnerships.

The Church Mission Society’s Andrea Campenale, said: “Nowadays people, they want to feel something; they want to have some sense of experience. We live in reflective England where there’s much more of a focus on ourselves. I think that is something we can bring in dialogue with the Christian society.”

The Church Mission Society’s webpage advertising their pioneer training scheme states: “Wherever in the world the mission of Jesus goes on, the church needs pioneer mission leaders to break new ground.”

This news release was actually coordinated a couple of days ago to align with the Summer Solstice, with events lining up around the celebrations at Stonehenge which recently underwent a multimillion dollar transformation. A couple of days ago 20,000 spiritual seekers celebrated the summer solstice there. Pagans and druids gathered to celebrate at the historic monument.

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UNITED IN THE FAITH: EVIDENCE OF HOLY SPIRIT PRESENCE


William Andrew Dillard

HEBREW HONEYCOMB
UNITED IN THE FAITH: EVIDENCE OF HOLY SPIRIT PRESENCE
An exceedingly marvelous thing occurred on the Day called Pentecost long, long ago. It is recorded in Acts Chapter Two.
The baptism of the Lord’s church in Holy Spirit presence and empowerment fulfilled Jesus’ promise to His little flock to impart to it the Comforter Who would lead it in power and illumination throughout the age.
Some folks question whether that same Holy Spirit continues with the Lord’s churches today or should the church be praying for a Pentecost repeat.
God’s promises never fail. There will not be a repeat of Pentecost anymore than there will be a repeat of Calvary’s cross. But the evidence of Holy Spirit’s presence is not as religious men of carnal minds think or in the antics of religious charlatans who appeal to the flesh nature. The most solid and obvious evidence of continued Holy Spirit presence, to the mind of this writer, lies in church members’ spiritual understanding, acceptance, and agreement with the faith once delivered to the saints, Jude 3. This distinguishes the Lord’s true churches from all other religious bodies on earth. And while the Lord’s churches are not cookie cutter entities, in many respects they are highly unified in core doctrines which the entire religious world rejects out of hand. Consider these specifics: 1) The hereditary depravity of the total man, 2) Salvation by grace through faith plus nothing else; 3) Eternal security of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ; 4) Baptism as a burial in deep water of a professed believer by the authority of a New Testament church; 4) The perpetuation of the local, visible nature of the church, and its origin by Jesus during His personal ministry on earth. Other points of unity might well be mentioned, but these are all held as basic Bible truths by the Lord’s true churches. While being emphatically denied by the religious world at large, they are the basis of the churches assembling to worship and to advance the work of the Great Commission. How may this amazing thing be true? Could it be that the people in the Lord’s churches are smarter than everyone else on earth, especially those in other religious communities? Surely, that is not so. Thus, herein lies the marvel of the age, the greatest and most obvious evidence of the abiding work of the Holy Spirit in modern day churches of the Lord. These spiritual things are not carnally discerned. Their knowledgeable acceptance in the hearts of God’s people together with the marvelous unity and harmony they provide fulfill the quest of the spiritual student searching for such evidence. Though he certainly could, he actually needs look no further than this for irrefutable evidence that the Holy Spirit abides with His churches, and has done so since Pentecost.

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299 – Oct 26 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

October 26, 1793 – Lewis Lunsford, at the approximate age of 40 fell asleep in the arms of Jesus. Lunsford’s life was terminated in the prime of his life, leaving a family and a fruitful ministry.

Lewis was born in Stafford County, Virginia around 1753. Early in his life, while attending William Fristoe’s meetings, he was deeply convicted and gloriously saved through the gospel of God’s grace. After being baptized by Fristoe, he began to stand up as an advocate for the gospel. Lunsford’s talents commanded the attention of many and procured for him the appellation of “The Wonderful Boy.”

Wherever he went, there was blessing, but his message also attracted opposition. Once there assembled a congregation at a stage built on the property of a Mr. Stephen Hall near Mundy’s Point. After he had read his text, some who were well armed with staves and pistols drew near to attack him. Some of his followers, not listening to Lunsford’s pleas to the contrary began pulling up fence stakes to defend him. Several with pistols mounted the stage when it collapsed. Lunsford made it to Hall’s house and took refuge in an upper room. One of the armed ruffians asked for the privilege of debating with Lewis which the request was granted. When the man returned his countenance was totally changed, and his response to his friends was, “You had better converse with him yourselves, “Never a man spake like this.”  They answered him, “Are ye also deceived?” This transformed ruffian never saw Lunsford again because of his ill timed death. Apparently pneumonia had set in. He preached his last sermon from Rom. 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp.  444-45.

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WORDS WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE!


William Andrew Dillard

HEBREW HONEYCOMB
WORDS WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE!
The ancient patriarch, Job, was both a wise and righteous man. The book that bears his name is astounding from a variety of viewpoints. In the height of his misery, and with the added torment of his not so wise friends, he lamented a longing to have an audience with his Creator that he might lay out his case before Him. To his astonishment, he was accorded such a unique hearing. The initial question put to him by the Creator was: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” Job 38:2. Words without knowledge. Words without knowledge! Think what this means!


The importance of specific understanding of words is essential in the correct conveyance of ideas. However, the weakness of words in their specific language, and the propensity of many people to use them as labels to which a variety of ideas may be attached may defeat their purpose in the minds of some even though it does not diminish the power of their original purpose. For all of his understanding, Job had this problem. A host of folks who have a lesser measure of wisdom than Job still have that problem. 


With split infinitives, dangling modifiers, misplaced adjectives intermingled with colloquialisms and idioms, making English a barrister’s paradise, how much more perilous could it be for precise ideas to be exchanged? Please patiently consider this with me.


A typical example is the term, “Christian.” Who or what is a Christian? To a religious world largely influenced by Protestantism and it’s universal, invisible church doctrine, it is anyone who confesses Jesus as the Son of God. Protestantism’s mother, the Roman church allows that anyone who does not have Catholic baptism is a heretic, hence, not Christian. In both of these bodies of religion they understand that the basic idea of “Christian” is tied to the church: But Catholicism believes itself to be the universal, visible church, and Protestantism believes in a universal invisible church. True Baptists are not, nor have they ever been a part of either.


Still, through the power of Protestant influence, hyper-evangelism, and their propensity to use words as labels, darkening counsel without the knowledge of them, many Baptist churches have unwittingly fallen into great weakness, attributing to all who profess initial faith in God as a “Christian,” when they have done nothing more, and often not as much, than Old Testament folks did. 


Please consider that the term “Christian” designates one who is anointed with the Spirit that anointed Jesus at His baptism and the first church on the day of Pentecost. These have been buried with Christ, and raised again to walk in “newness of life” in the New Covenant body of Jesus, the house of God, the Pillar and ground of the truth: His church. To ascribe that term to those not so doing is to pervert New Testament teachings and inject a weakness into the body of Christ that, in time, will be its undoing. If we will use words, let us by all means know what they mean etymologically, and contextually. Ministers have a heavy responsibility to enlighten counsel, not darken it.

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294 – Oct 21 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Joy lighted up in the countenance of the saints

 October 21, 1795 – David Irish established the first Baptist church in Scipio, New York. He had settled there a year earlier having been sent by the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society which made a great spiritual impact as the population moved westward.

Irish was one of those early rugged Baptist pioneers. He was doubtless the first to preach the gospel in Cayuga County. In 1799, with some of the brethren from Scipio he organized a church at Phelpstown.  The roads being totally impassable for traveling on horseback by reason of the great depth of snow and mud, they walked the thirty miles; all but one made it.

In 1797 Irish planted the Baptist church in Manchester (then Farmington, N.Y.), a journey of 50 miles through unbroken forest. He also evangelized the “Holland Purchase” and in 1810 organized the Baptist church in Willink (Aurora, Erie County).

David Irish passed away on Sept. 10, 1815 after a fruitful, pioneering missionary life. He baptized 1,280 persons during his ministry.

The following quote is from his diary: “The opportunity appeared exceedingly solemn and important. After sermon, we repaired to the water, singing one of Zion’s songs. Here ten precious souls followed the blessed Redeemer into his watery tomb…Joy lighted up in the countenance of the saints; while sinners trembled, as if the judgement day were approaching.”  It was said that, “Elder Irish was indefatigable in labor, patient in fatigue, and easily surmounted many obstacles which would deter one possessed of a mindless resolute. The thinly inhabited counties that he ministered required qualities that he held to be successful.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 436-38.

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283 – Oct. 10 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

A Blessed Baptist historian

October 10, 1779 – David Benedict was born to Thomas and Abigail near Stratford, New York. When David was 14 he was apprenticed to a shoemaker and for seven years labored in that trade. His ability secured an opportunity for the manufacturing and retailing business in that field, but his conversion to Christ at age 20 changed the course of his life.

In Dec. 1799 he was baptized in the Housatonic River and united with the First Baptist Church of Stratford. In 1802 he gave up the career of shoemaker and entered the academy of the Rev. Stephen S. Nelson at Mt. Pleasant, N.Y., and paid his way by tutoring other students. One of them was Francis Wayland, future President of Brown University. In fact David also graduated from Brown U. in 1806. He presented an oration on Ecclesiastic History at graduation. 

In 1808 he married the daughter of Dr. Stephen Gano. They were married for 60 years and had 9 sons and 3 daughters.  After graduation David became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pawtucket and continued there for 25 years.  America’s first Sunday school came into existence there. 

For many years David had collected material and he wrote the History of the Baptists in the United States, and to some extent in other countries.  Benedict traveled throughout the young nation on horseback, covering nearly four thousand miles. 

Dr. Benedict lived to the age of 95.  Up until his death on Dec. 5, 1874, his eyesight was unimpaired, and he was able to write clearly both day and night.  Baptists are indebted to David Benedict for preserving so well our Baptist annals for coming generations.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 420-21.

 

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226 – August 14 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

 

 

“…in Some Cases it was Lawful to go to War”

Samuel Harriss, Moderator and John Waller, on August 14, 1775,  signed a petition by the Virginia Baptist Association to the Virginia Convention as follows in part:      “Alarmed at the shocking Oppression which in a British Cloud hangs over our American Continent, we, as a Society and part of the distressed State, have in our Association consider’d what part might be most prudent for the Baptists to act in the present unhappy Contest. After we determined “that in some Cases it was lawful to go to War, and also for us to make a Military resistance against Great Britain, in regard of their unjust Invasion, and tyrannical Oppression of, and repeated Hostilities against America,” our people were all left to act at Discretion with respect to inlisting, without falling under the Censure of our Community. And as some have inlisted, and many more likely so to do, who will have earnest Desires for their Ministers to preach to them during the Campaign, we therefore deligate and appoint our well-beloved Brethren in the Ministry, Elijah Craig, Lewis Craig, Jeremiah Walker and John Williams to present this address and to petition you that they may have free liberty to preach to the Troops at convenient Times without molestation or abuse; and as we are conscious of their strong attachment to American liberty, as well as their soundness of the Christian Religion, and great usefulness in the Work of the Ministry, we are willing they may come under your Examination in any Matters you may think requisite…” Ultimately the Baptists supplied a greater percentage of chaplains to the Continental Army than any other religious society.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 334-35.

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219 – August, 07 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Biblical church discipline

Jeremy Courtnay did not attend the meeting on the next “Day of Prayer” August 07, 1679, that he had been asked to attend by Brothers Bodenham and Snead who were appointed to contact him and inform him that he was expected to attend. And the congregation finding no evidence of true repentance, “did agree together to cast him out of ye Church: having sent two Brethren ye Lord’s day before to him, to summon him to attend ye Congregation this day for prayer; but he came not…Yet, Notwithstanding, ye Congregation proceeded to theire duty. And therefore, one of ye Ruleing Elders, Namely, Br. Terrill, by consent of ye whole Congregation then assembled, did pronounce ye sentence…This evening ended, with lamentation and sore trouble that wee were forced, for ye preservation of ye Glory of God and ye Churches purity, thus proceed to our duty, as ye last means to endeavour his recovery…For what Christ will Judge hereafter, his people should Judge here, and have noe fellowship with such workes of darkness.”  This was not a hasty decision by the church. Prior to that, on Sept. 8, 1677, six brethren visited Brother Courtnay to reprove and admonish him of “his sinne of drunkenness that hee was fallen into.” He declared his repentance and asked for prayer. On Dec. 12 he was dealt with for drunkennesse. On March 7, 1678, the pastor admonished Jeremy Courtnay for the second time in the presence of the church. On March 19 his wife asked the brethren to keep a solemn day of fasting and prayer at their home for him which they did on the 21st day of the month. Can Jeremy Courtnay say before God, “No man cared for my soul?”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 323-25.

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