Book Reviews and News

This is a new item that will be appearing on the site. Soon we will have special locations dedicated to these topics but for now here is a sampling.


The Book Review section will be called, “The Preacher’s Bookshelf”

The Preacher’s Bookshelf

By C. E. De France

The Mission and Medium of the Holy Spirit Foy E. Wallace Jr. (1967 © Foy Wallace Jr. Publications)


This is certainly one of the finest books I have ever read on the subject, written by a master scholar of God’s Word. A brother once told me, “It is a hit or miss with Foy Wallace, he’s either way off, or he nails it better than anyone else.” This is a hit, I do believe. The pros are defiantly the masterful scholarly work, and the cons are the wordiness which will make it, at times, difficult for some (like myself) to read. It is a rather small, paperback booklet; 148 pages, but very broad in its address of these very important topics. Chapters dealing with the “Gift of the Holy Spirit,” and the “Spirit and the Word,” will be especially helpful in combating some of the ideas regarding “a personal indwelling” that are, and have been for many years circulating among our own. In chapter one, “The Current Crusade”, he writes of the troublesome trends that were taking form among the Sunday School church many years ago. We who have observed have seen things get much worse. We advise the reading of the work in order to better appreciate the value of Bible study, better understand this great topic, and better appreciate how this Holy Spirit is working in your life today. CED

And Another section on Religious and Moral World News entitled, “Current Events” –

“The Divorce Rate is Dropping in America!”

Taken from Bob Jones University’s “What in the World” commenting on an article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune (5/11/07)

“Yes, the divorce rate in America is actually dropping and is now at the lowest point since 1970, but the reasons are not encouraging, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune: ‘The number of couples living together without marrying has increased tenfold since 1960, the marriage rate has dropped by nearly 30 percent in the last 25 years, and Americans are waiting about five years longer to marry than they did in 1970.’

Patrick Fagan of the Heritage Foundation suggests that a lower divorce rate does not mean that kids are faring better than before: ‘Cohabitation (What we call “Shacking up” – CED) is very fragile, and when unmarried parents split, for the child it might as well be a divorce,” he says. “Among those who are marrying there is increased stability, but overall the children of the nation are getting a rawer and rawer deal from their parents.’” (Submitted by Clint DeFrance)


We hope that you will enjoy these new additions to the website and we invite and encourage your thoughts and criticisms.  Admin@ChristianLandmark.com


Abortion and Total Hereditary Depravity

In a recent issue of the Old Paths Advocate Brother Brett Hickey wrote an excellent article on Original Sin. As he began to discuss the age of innocence an interesting thought came to my mind. Total hereditary depravity states that, “Adam became sinful, and hence all of his posterity are born in a state of sin, or with a sinful nature.”

Taking verses like Psalms 51:5, Romans 5:12 and Exodus 20:5 out of context the doctrine of original sin goes so far as to say that we are separated from God, by the sin of Adam, before we are even born! There is much discussion over the question of when life begins. Most Evangelicals agree that life begins as conception (and I agree) but I wonder when condemnation begins? According to the creeds it begins even prior to birth! The undelivered fetus is bathed in iniquity and guilt and, should that fetus die before being delivered and baptized, by the justice of God it is doomed to Hell! It is quite unusual to me to hear proponents of this doctrine speaking out against abortion.

In my home town of Springfield, Missouri I have been put into a deeply religious community and the radio and television is flooded with religious programs pushing Fundamentalist values and so-called “conservative” activism. I have heard several of these “Conservatives” and “Fundamentalists”, who teach hereditary depravity, condemn abortion as one of the seven things God hates, “hands that shed innocent blood”(Proverbs 16:17). And I read a letter from a Presbyterian (Calvinist) preacher who condemned the abortion doctor by citing that, “Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person.” (Deut. 27:25). Does anyone else see the inconsistency here? If the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and the unborn infant is covered in the sin-guilt of Adam he is guilty, not innocent, and deserves to die!

Brother Hickey stated that a host of plain scriptures confirm the conclusion that there is an age of innocence and an age of accountability and that unborn fetus’ (though already human), infants and young children fall under the former. “Jesus himself said when infants were brought to him in Luke 18:16, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” And again in Mt. 18:3, “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Paul says essentially the same thing in 1 Cor. 14:20, “Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes…” (NKJV) Young children, like the invalid and mentally deficient are not accountable. “Your little ones… have no knowledge of good and evil.” (Deut. 1:39) “The imagination of a mans heart is evil from his youth.”(Gen. 1:21)” The word youth in that passage refers one about the age of twenty (Wilson) not an unborn child.

Among the arguments put forth to prove the depravity of infants that I have heard, one that I found particularly interesting, and in all honesty one that gave me pause for a few days to consider it was this: “If infants are not full of sin and iniquity why then did not Abraham gather up ten infants and present them to God in order that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah might be spared.” (A private conversation between myself and a Reformed Church minister) At first this seemed to me a very difficult question to answer, but considering the scripture I believe that it can be answered rather simply. The incident that the minister referred to was that which is recorded in Genesis 18 when Abraham was visited by the Lord’s angels and told of the impending doom that was to come upon Sodom and Gomorrah for their grotesque wickedness and Abraham in his pleading intercession begged the Lord to have mercy on the cities. Let us notice the conversation recorded in verses 22-33, “Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?” So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.” And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.” Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.” Now, the Minister says that Abraham should have pointed out to God that there were ten babies in the city and thus ten righteous people! Well, there is one problem with this argument and that is that the term righteous means “one who does right.” Can that be said to describe and infant? Certainly not! Infants do not do right, neither do they do wrong, they are undeveloped both physically and mentally so that they do nothing moral or immoral, obedient or disobedient. Thus infants are not righteous or unrighteous, they are unaccountable. Some ask if infants are saved and the answer is NO! Infants are not saved because in order to be saved you would have had to have been lost at some point, infants are safe, not saved!

Thanks be to our loving God that the Child is innocent, free from sin and the curse of it. It is true that God hates “hands that shed innocent blood” but when faced with man’s doctrine of Original Sin we have a problem for under such a doctrine the babe is not innocent. This is one of many dire moral consequences of Calvinism. This error proves that the doctrine is not of God. We need not worry for the souls of countless infants slain in this country every day. Fear not mothers who have lost your children for as was said by J. V. Updike, “Just because you are born in a Potato patch, that doesn’t make you a potato.”- CED

Glory or Embarrassment?

By Sean S McCallister

Jesus spoke beautiful words to the disciples when He told them to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16  It is not the opinion of this writer that He was giving the people an option.  Glory is defined as: honor, majesty, brightness, splendor, renown.  The tenor of the New Testament is to give glory to God.

The Apostle Paul spoke the command like this, “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Rom. 15:5-6

The act of giving God the glory means that we must put away our self-will and seek the Divine.  Our merciful Father has provided a method for this to occur; “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”  Eph. 4:11-13   Does the reader notice the word “edifying” in the above text?  Edifying is building or lifting up.  Notice what Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.”

The Christ has been lifted up to the cross and rose to the throne of heaven, now we, the church,  must lift Him up in this world that lost souls may see Him, be saved and glorify the Father.

Alas, there is another word we must define, reproach.  Reproach means: a disgrace, indignity, or shame; as an action it is to defame, rail, or tease.  A modern word for reproach might well be: embarrassment.

Would you willingly embarrass yourself?  Your family?  God?

When we cease to glorify God, we must be causing embarrassment.  Considering the humiliation and degradation that the Son of God suffered as lost listeners, liars, and lunatics laughed at His words, notice how He submitted to the will of God anyway.  “For even Christ pleased not Himself: but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me’.”  Rom 15:3

People embarrass the Lord and His church when they refuse His counsel and walk in their own ways.  Just as it was done then, it is done now through rejection, substitution, and innovation.

We are to be a peculiar people, but when we do so many things to blend in and not embarrass ourselves, are we pleasing to God?  Is this the same “faith which was once delivered unto the saints?”  “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” Phil. 3:18-19 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”  Col3:1-2

Let us once again have an open Bible and open hearts in our congregations.  Let us have the obedience and submission to God’s holy will that brings salvation, peace, righteousness, and true union.  “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.”  Let us stop embarrassing ourselves and the Lord with foolishness and “abstain from every appearance of evil” that we might regain our homes, our congregations, and the souls of the lost.

If we must be embarrassed, let it be of the world’s insults of Christianity and not our own.  “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what
shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”   First Peter 4:14-19

The Operation of the Holy Spirit: Direct or Indirect


Over the years there have been a great many good, honest, and sincere brethren who have held to the doctrine of a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As I look into the teachings of scripture, though I do not doubt their wisdom or intelligence, I cannot agree that this is the truth. A number of old worthies, so far as I understand, held this position. But while they contended that the Holy Spirit Himself inhabited their bodies, they did not argue any operation, separate and apart from the word. In fact, from what I have heard, they would freely admit that He did nothing separate from the Word. Over time the generations that followed, and held the same belief, took it a step further,  arguing that He did something, but they didn’t know what it was, some suggested there was no way of knowing. Finally we are now in a dark stage of this idea’s development, as men are boldly and brazenly declaring that the Holy Spirit has specific operations that He works in the lives of men without the medium of the Word (directly or personally). Some take it further than others, but all are in a very dangerous position that compromises many fundamental truths of God’s Word, including the Bible’s claims about itself.

The Bible’s Claims About Itself

The same scriptures that we have used for years to fight the Catholics, Mormons, and Holy Rollers, challenge this idea of direct operation. The Apostle Paul told Timothy that the “scripture” makes us “perfect” and “thoroughly furnishes us unto every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:17) We learn form the Apostle Peter that through the “knowledge ofHim” we are given “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) How do we come to the “knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” by some miraculous, supernatural, unexplainable working of God? NO! The Bible is clear in informing us that knowledge of God comes only by the Word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) This is the Holy Spirit working our lives! “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God… For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12,16) 

The Bible says that it does this great work of perfecting, edifying, and furnishing, and that it does it perfectly and thoroughly. Shall we call the word of God a liar? This truly is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit!

What Does the Holy Spirit Do that the Word Does not Do?

The Bible is very clear in informing us what the work of the Holy Spirit is, yet these personal indwelling, direct operation folks try to make it ambiguous and uncertain. When Christ promised to send Him in the 14th chapter of John, He explained why He would be coming: He would comfort, He would convict, He would convert, He would guide, and He would abide forever. All these things areaccomplished in the Word!

I heard a man teach at a funeral not so long ago, that Christians should allow the indwelling Spirit to give the peace and comfort, “and then seek your comfort from the scripture.” This is incredulous! Earlier this year I lost my father to cancer, this ended a long and agonizing experience of watching him suffer. It would have been easy for me to blame God and be lost in despair. But that didn’t happen, the Holy Spirit did what He was sent to do, He comforted me as I read of a hope in the resurrection of Christ Jesus, as I read of the paradise that awaits the saved and the victory through Christ over death and the grave. Apart from the scripture I had no comfort, no rest, and no peace.

I have further known many Christians who were engaged in wrong doing, ignorant of there sin, and were not compelled to stop until, shown in the Word of their error.  They were convicted. Did the Holy Spirit not dwell in them? If so why did He not personally queue them in on their wrongdoing? On the day of Pentecost, how did those Jews fall under conviction that moved them to repent? By the working of the Holy Spirit? Yes, of course! Then, by direct operation? NO! The Bible tells us, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

What about conversion? This too cannot be done with the Word. “Faith cometh by hearing…” When Cornelius, the believing gentile, desired salvation, he prayed to God, and God sent Peter to preach to him. Remember the prayer of Jesus, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Some will testify, “I have been in a tough situation, when I didn’t know what to do and I felt the Holy Spirit telling me what was right.” If ever a man was guided to do what is right, he was guided through the word. David said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” What could we ask for that God has not provided in His perfect word? Nothing I say, indeed God has given exceeding abundantly more than we could ever deserve.

Romans 8:26

Many, in desperation turn to Romans chapter 8 and verse 26 as a final proof that the Holy Spirit works separate from the word. “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Why must one assume that this is done separate from the Word, indeed in cannot be, for it deals with edification. We know this cannot be referring to intercession between God and man, for that is done by Christ alone (Romans 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5), but this presents no problem, the 8th chapter of Romans is to Christians who are already restored to God, the “weakness” here mentioned is that of the flesh, a weakness of ignorance. When we are dead in sin we are without any knowledge of how to please or worship God, so when we are made alive in Christ our “mind must be renewed by the Spirit.” (Romans 12:2) We who do not even know how to talk to God can cry out, “Lord, teach us how to pray!” And in this weakness the Holy Spirit will intercede with edification through the word (Matt. 6:5-7; Mark 11:24)

Accusations: If He Doesn’t Work This Way, He Doesn’t Exist

These have been thrown these accusations at me, but they are foolish indeed. In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth. For six days He continued to create, but on the seventh day He rested, He stopped creating, and has never worked in this manner since. That is not to say that He has lost any of His power or that He no longer exists, He just doesn’t work that way anymore. It was said of Abel that he, “Being dead, yet speaks.” Now he doesn’t speak like he used to, but he still speaks. The Holy Spirit is not dead, the Holy Spirit is not resting. He is working today, doing what he was sent here to do, but he is doing that work through the instrument of God’s Holy Word. CED


The Christian and the Government with Thoughts on Voting Concerning the Coming Presidential Election in America


The subject of the Christian’s relationship to the government is certainly a very controversial one, with opinions ranging from total participation (even mandatory) to living without any consideration of the civil authorities at all. Certainly both of these are extreme positions and there are numerous ideas in between them.


The Origin of Civil Government


The Bible first mentions temporal civil governments appearing after the fall. Prior to that time God’s perfect system was that Man would come to Him for guidance and the result would have surely been paradise. After the fall, man’s number increased and with the “lifting of the veil of innocence” lawlessness increased as well. Cain’s children walked in the ways of their father to murder and steal and rape and, “evil filled the earth.” Obviously God did not approve of this chaotic situation for it grieved Him in His heart and caused Him to destroy all but eight souls upon the earth. After the flood, the descendants of Noah grew in number and among them was a man named Nimrod, who the Bible would tell was the first man to claim rule over others, not in his direct family. In Genesis 10:8-9 the Bible says, “Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.” The original language says a “hunter, or and enslaver of men.” This seems to be the first arrangement of temporal civil government in sacred record. The government apparently grew to encompass the whole of the human population (?) and we are led to the scene at the tower of Babel. God’s reaction would insinuate that while He did not necessarily disapprove of “civil government” as it were He did not sanction a world wide government. Throughout the Old testament God nowhere claims to have created, or instituted civil government, in the way that He did marriage, or the church, but He does seem to see the good that it accomplishes in preventing a recurrence of the Antediluvian anarchy.


The Ruler of Civil Governments


As mankind advances we do not see for many, many years any particular government that was any more close to God than another (except perhaps Salem of which very little is said). When God instituted the Civil Government of Israel, a government like none other, for in it’s earliest stages it was without a human ruler but solely ruled by God, God made a statement recognizing that this was a peculiar relationship. “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.” (Exodus 19:5) God himself wrote the laws of Israel (Moral, Ceremonial (Religious) and Civil) so that as long as they followed that Law they could not do what was displeasing in His sight. This direct involvement in the affairs of Israel is what sanctified them from the other nations of the World. In harmonizing God’s statement that “all the earth is mine” and the Devil’s statement to Jesus that, “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” (Luke 4:5-8) The answer is simple, God can claim what Satan can never claim and that is omnipotent control over all the universe. The fact the “all the earth” belongs to Him doesn’t mean that He approves of, or personally dictates every thing that happens in the earth. There is no reason to doubt the truth of Satan’s statement, if he was lying, surely Jesus would have known and thus it would have been no temptation to him.


God’s Relationship to Temporal Civil Governments


Over the years, God’s relationship to the civil governments of the world seems to have been great, but not in a direct sense. The only nation that God was regularly, directly involved with was the nation of Israel, however he was clearly involved with others providentially, at least from time to time. It is clear that in times past He “used” heathen nations to teach other nations, including sometimes, unruly Israel, a lesson. Many times God would send a nation to punish Israel and then, in return allow them to be destroyed as a punishment for the brutal and immoral methods they employed in their carnal wars with Israel! (Nahum 3:1) What is seen by this is that though God tolerated and even occasionally used other civil governments of the world in the OT, He did not fail to hold them accountable for their sins. When the Church was established God did not allow the provision of any earthly king (Hosea 13:11) and carnal armies (Isaiah 2:2-4;9:6;11:6-9;60:18, Hosea 2:18, Zech. 9:10). This was undoubtedly fulfilled in the church (2 Corinthians 10:4 and Ephesians 6:12). Today God has recognized the precarious place of His children in the evil world. How can a group of peaceful, “harmless as doves,” (Matt. 10:16) golden rule following, lover’s of enemies (Matt. 5:43-48; 1 Cor. 13) not be wiped off the face of the earth when Satan’s legions are not bound by any such constraints of kindness? The answer is: the temporal civil governments of the world! God still uses them! He no longer uses them to punish his children, but rather to protect them! Protect them by doing what Christians could never do! (Romans 12:17-21; 13:8-10; 13:1-7) The fact that God uses them is what makes them his “minister.” In the same way that God called Nebuchadnezzar His servant and then punished him, God will not over look the sins of the kingdoms of men and will punish them when the day of judgment comes. In times past when the government turned completely against the infant Church of Christ, God destroyed the government and preserved the Church.


Some have suggested that God handpicks every civil leader that holds office. There are a few problems with this theory. 1) In some governments, that would call on him to take control of the free will of men and force them against their will to “vote” for “His candidate.” 2) We have already established that it is the devil who is in control of the Civil government in the most intimate way, God is in charge of them only in as much as he is King of the Universe and every thing in it. 3) The fact that God did things in the past, doesn’t necessarily mean that He does them today. The fact that God’s people in the OT were a physical nation mandated that He take a more direct involvement.


The Christian’s Relationship to the Civil Governments


We are much more able to approach this subject after understanding the relationship of God to the government, after all we are his children. God recognizes the value of civil government, so should we, in fact we should be the best of citizens where ever we live, (Rom. 13:1-4; 1 Peter 2:13) God sustains the civil government, so should we, in fact we are commanded to pay our taxes, (Rom. 13:6-7).  God desires that the civil government treat His children fairly, so should we in fact, we are commanded to pray to that end! God uses the civil government, and we are permitted to use the services of the civil government, just as Paul did when he hired a battalion of Roman soldiers to guard him, but notice that he did not fight himself. The constant and consistent description of the Christian’s relationship to the Civil government, is us and them, them and us, never do the twain meet in any doctrinal teaching of either Christ or the Apostles. The Christian has no biblical instruction on how to run a government if he tried, he is only told how to pay, pray and obey. In matters where a Christian would be called by the government to disobey the word of God, he is told to obey God rather than man, (Matt. 22:21;Acts 5:29) there are no exceptions to this rule!



To Vote or Not to Vote?


This is undoubtedly a question of great and pressing importance in this year’s election particularly. Many preachers and church leaders are resorting to bizarre methods to attempt to turn the tide of the election in this nation away from the Democratic candidate Barak Obama. In recent months, I have read numerous articles and e-mails, tediously documenting Obama’s highly un-orthodox views of Christianity, his Muslim roots, and even some claims that he might be the Antichrist of the Revelation! That is not what this article is about. This article is simply asking the general question, “Does the Bible permit Christians to vote in the election of civil leaders?” Notice that I leave this question un-specific to any given nation. This is because I am convinced, from the above study, that God’s relationship is the same with EVERY nation! Many, many things that would not be tolerated of Christians in other lands are justified by and for Christians in America because of our supposed “Christian Foundations.” In coming weeks I will be addressing that particular subject in an online audio sermon. But now it is sufficient to say that I do not believe that God’s relationship with America is any different than His relationship with any other nation, and thus the question of voting will be kept general and un-specified.


There are a number of reason why I believe that a Christian has no business voting in the election of civil leaders:


1. The teaching of the Bible places a gulf of separation between church and state, and since a Christian must carry his values wherever he goes and in what ever he does, it would not be conducive for him to take such involvement in the affairs of the civil government.


2. The Governments of this world are, in a most intimate sense, under the dominion of Satan, and this should be a great deterrent to Christians getting involved with the government more than the Bible requires or allows. The electoral process of worldly kingdoms should be handled by worldly men. “Let the dead bury the dead.” (Matthew 8:22)


3. We are said to be pilgrims and sojourners in this land (that is, the earth) and thus we must behave as pilgrims, “not at home, just passing through.” (1 Peter 2:11) If you were visiting another country around their election time it would not befall you to take any part in that process. Your responsibility would always simply be to obey the laws (which may include paying taxes) and offer the necessary respect to those civil leaders.


I believe these are sufficient reasons for us to spend our days, including November 4th, extolling the virtues of Jesus Christ and His Cause rather than trying to lift up some ne’er-do-well politician, and to trust in God through it all. I have never been convinced that God “hand-picks” every civil leader, especially in this age, but I am convinced that who ever is on the throne, whatever their attitude toward us as Christians, our attitude and relationship toward them is the same. I pray that this will aid you in your study of God’s word. CED


The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit


There are few subjects that evoke such controversy in the minds of men as those which deal with the Holy Spirit and his role in the life of saint and sinner. This is a truly distressing thing, for the purpose of the Spirit was not to bring controversy but comfort. One such doctrine that we will discuss in the course of this article is that of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer.

The Biblical Doctrine of the Indwelling is Indisputable

I, in all my research, have never found a group of professing Christians who did not hold some belief in the indwelling. This uniformity is rather remarkable, and attests to the scripturality of the idea. Furthermore the Bible says it in no uncertain terms, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Romans 8:9) “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) We are commanded to be “filled with the Spirit, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…” (Eph. 5:18-19) again we note, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6:19) “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:10) There is no room for doubt or confusion, but where confusion and disagreement do come into play is when the manner and nature of the indwelling is discussed. We shall discuss the two primary views briefly in this article.

The Personal, Literal, Direct Indwelling

The view is held by a great many in the religious world, perhaps the majority. It teaches that the person of the Holy Spirit, literally inhabits the Christians body in some mystical, truly inexplicable way. This is the core belief of all the great cult leaders who have claimed guidance separate from the scripture, though we grant that not all who hold this belief are so radical.

One of there own writers said, “One of the basic rules of biblical interpretation is that words must be understood in their literal sense unless such a literal interpretation creates contradiction or absurdity.” I charge that this interpretation does just that! It creates contradiction with other scriptures, and it is absurd! One of many examples of the contradiction is in the fact that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write to Christians commanding them to, “prove all things.” (1 Thess. 5:21) What proof can a man give that he has the person of the Holy Spirit him? By personal testimony? That is all one can offer, and the plain truth is that our testimony carries no more weight in the grand scheme of things than that of the Holiness preacher who can claim the very same thing! It is also an absurd suggestion. As brother Bill Davis pointed out, “If the Holy Spirit is deity, and he dwelt in a human body, would that person not be divine?” (Citing as an example, Jesus Christ, a human body was literally indwelt by deity and it resulted in a God-man.)

Not even the Apostles had such a personal indwelling, not of Christ, God or the Holy Spirit. The danger of this doctrine is not only what it leads too, but even in its most conservative state it muddles the true message of the Bible in regards to how a Christian has the beautiful relationship with God that is his for the taking.

The Representative Indwelling

This position is the second most common, but very much in the minority, especially among the sectarian world. The view states that the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of the Christian, figuratively and through the medium of the Word (the Bible). Often-times those of us who hold this view are labeled “word only” as if we don’t believe that there is a Holy Spirit, or as if we believe that the Bible is a He. I do not believe that the Bible is the Holy Spirit. I don’t know anyone who claims that. I believe that the Bible claims of itself that it is the sole medium through which the Holy Spirit interacts with man. True religion is begun, carried on and completed by the Holy Spirit – but it is carried on an completed in the same way it is begun: through the medium of the word. One says, “Well I understand that the Holy Spirit convicts, converts, comforts and guides through the Word, I even see ho he intercedes through the Word, but what about the indwelling, where do you get the idea that that is done through the word? Let the Spirit himself answer in the scripture. In Ephesians 5:18-19 we read, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…” Now we agree that when you have a difficult passage, if you can find a parallel passage you should allow the simple one to interpret the difficult one. Let us notice a parallel passage to Ephesians 5:18-19, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16) One says, “be filled with the Spirit…” the other tells us how, “let the word of Christ dwell in you…” Allow the easy to explain the difficult.

I read a letter not so long ago that a “personal indwelling” preacher, so far as I know, wrote in response to an article challenging that position which had appeared in a prominent religious journal. He said to the Brother who wrote the article, “This controversy existed long before you were born, back to the days of the Restoration Movement, I should think it a little presumptuous for you to try and solve it.” That is quite the point! Let no man try to solve it. If we approach this subject from subjective, emotional arguments we will only have division. Let the Spirit himself solve it, turn to the scriptures and see what they teach. Only there can we find unity! CED

Job: History or Poetry

To anyone who has suffered loss; to anyone who has wondered if God really cares; to anyone who has been overcome with sorrow and felt abandoned on all sides, the book of Job holds a special place. Job is a story of God’s desire for man’s love. It illustrates the faith that God puts in us and in turn, the faith He desires for us to put in Him. Job is a remarkable literary masterpiece, featuring some of the most beautiful, soul-stirring, poetic verses to be found in all the world. It is a book of practical example, the pattern of righteousness and faithfulness shown by this godly man has been preserved by the divine hand with obvious purpose, so vast are the lessons it teaches us as Christians today (Job 1:22). Job gives a great proof to biblical inspiration as it reveals facts of science that were not known to even the greatest human thinkers for thousands of years afterwards(Job 26:7; 28:25).

It is surely a wretched thought to imagine that this great story of a man’s trust in God through unspeakable trials and hardships was fiction, that it was nothing more than a fantasy dreamed up by a Jewish poet, but modernistic authors with an anti-supernatural bias asserted just this blasphemy. Some have suggested that the book is merely a parable to represent the distress of the Hebrew people during Babylonian captivity. The “pseudo-intellectuals of academia” (Rom. 1:22) have bought into this hook, line, and sinker. I watched a program on the book of Job the other day, and this opinion was represented as being universally accepted. Well, I for one do not accept it, and neither does famed Bible scholar Wayne Jackson. In The Book of Job, he gives 6 reasons why the theory has no basis:

The Opening

The Book commences like in a style to be seen in other Old Testament narratives that are undeniably historical. The opening statement plainly claims: “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job…” When compared with similar statements regarding Samuel’s father, Elkanah (1 Samuel 1:1), and Zacharias, the father of John the Baptizer (Luke 1:5) we find in these similarities good reason to accept that Job was an actual, historical figure

Ezekiel 14:14

Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord GOD.” We see that the prophet considered him as historical as Noah and Daniel.

James 5:11

James, the Apostle, the brother of our Lord documents his historical existence and call upon Christians to remember “the patience of Job.”

Job’s Homeland

Job is said to be a resident of the land of Uz (the precise location of which is uncertain, though probably in the Arabian desert of east Palestine) a region mentioned elsewhere twice in the scripture by the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 25:20 and Lam. 4:21)

Archeology

This also has helped in establishing the credibility of the book. Extra-biblical references to Job appear as early as 2000 B.C., placing him around the time of Abraham. Archeologists have also found record of Bildad, one of Job’s friends dating also from the 2nd millennium.

Mythology

One does not usually consider mythology a proof of biblical inspiration, but in this case, the startling similarity to the Biblical account and the Sumerian and Babylonian accounts have convinced many skeptics.

I suppose that as long as the earth stands men shall challenge the truth of God’s word. It is the Devil’s desire to see the “sword of the Spirit” sheathed and set aside. But we thank God that by His power, grace and providential care, “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” have been preserved through the ages, and shall last forevermore. Amen. – CED


Featuring Recent Posts Wordpress Widget development by YD