Letters may be edited for brevity.Editorial Comments unless otherwise specified are by Philip L. Powell (plp).
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Assemblies of God
Other interesting posts may be viewed at the following:http://www.christian-witness.org/blog/?p=21#commentshttp://www.christian-witness.org/blog/?p=15#comments
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Political Correctness Kills, Says Islam Expert
Tuesday, 26 Jan 2010 03:56 PM –http://markdurie.blogspot.com/2010/01/political- correctness-kills-says-islam.html
by Ken Timmerman
“The U.S. military missed multiple direct warnings that Major Nidal Malik Hasan was contemplating mass mayhem once he learned he was going to be deployed to Afghanistan but ignored them because of political correctness,” an Australian scholar of Islam told Newsmax in Washington, D.C. recently.“At a certain point, someone explained to Major Hasan that he had a duty to fight Americans and that if he didn't, he would go to Hell,” says Dr. Mark Durie, who has written several books on Islamic ideology. His latest is, The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom -http://www.markdurie.com/The_Third_Choice.htmlRead the complete newsmax.com article at: http://tinyurl.com/2dvu6tf
G.S. (AG-USA) Requests Removal from Covenant for Civility
In late March, 2010, the American Covenant for Civility1
, spearheaded by progressive Jim Wallis, was signed by 114 leading members of the religious community in USA. According to CNN, those who signed are “from a broad swath of Christian Traditions, including the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, a major Pentecostal organization.” The covenant calls for an end to bitter debate and rancour, and urges kindness and respect when dealing with one another. However, Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God (USA),has asked that his signature be removed from the agreement.Although the covenant addresses legitimate issues based on the real unity within the body of Christ a number of the signatories oppose the biblical Christ.
The best known of these is Brian McLaren. Included among the signatories are representatives of pro-gay churches, and a former director for a pro-choice religious organization. According to Dr. Wood,The statement on civility was distributed at a board meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals that I hosted at our Assemblies of God headquarters in Springfield, Mo. There were approximately 65 or 70 at the meeting. I was not aware of other signatories that must have been added later. I understood the document to be one committed to by fellow evangelicals.
CWM commends George Wood for his action in this regard and can only hope that others will do likewise.
Glasgow Scotland – March 18, 2010Shawn Holes a local Christian reports that he was street preaching when a group of young people began to shout questions at him including one about homosexuality. Shawn told them it was a sin against God, that God loved them, and this is why he was telling them the truth. After he stepped down from preaching he was arrested and taken into custody. We understand the matter was to be brought before the courts, which may prove to be a test case. The group of preachers continued their witness on the streets vowing that they will not stop and praying that the Lord would be glorified.
Harry Westcott - Earle Paulk
Hello Philip – I am writing in regard to the articles in News, Views & Your Letters in CETF Dec. 2009 and March 2010 concerning Harry Westcott, whom I met only once so I don't know a lot about him. I guess the real test of someone's credibility is their fruit. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 “You will know them by their fruit.” Is Harry producing anything beneficial to the Kingdom of God? Jesus' examination of the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 revealed a lot of things that were not right. We might be surprised if we were placed under the microscope what would be revealed. I was wondering how someone receives the office of bishop in the true sense. Perhaps you can enlighten me.
DK – South Australia.
You raise two points about which there is considerable confusion as to biblical measure. Firstly, FRUIT in scripture is never equated to RESULTS—perceived or real. If such were the case our Lord could never pronounce upon those who had performed or thought they had performed great wonders in His Name, “I never knew you. Depart from me you who work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). It is the fruit of character i.e. it is whether we have the character (disposition) of Christ that will determine that issue finally, cf. Romans 8:9. It all has to do with our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. None of us can judge Harry Westcott or anyone else in regard to these matters. However Harry and every other Christian Leader can and should be examined (judged) on their conduct based on the standard and requirements laid out in Scripture. In this regard the test of "sound doctrine" is crucial - cf. Isaiah 8:20.. This is really the “microscope” which is given to us and to which you allude and is covered by the previous writings in CETF that you mention above.
Secondly, biblically a BISHOP (Greek “episkopos” = “overseer”) was a local church officer. The Greek word is used interchangeably in Titus 1:5-7 with “presbuteros” who was a member of the local church presbytery (Greek “presbuterion”) and is generally referred to as an “elder”. Bishops in New Testament times were simply local Church elders, who were appointed to supervise the spiritual affairs of each autonomous local Church. In citing the requirements of bishops (presbyters) it would appear that Paul, the apostle relied upon pastors Timothy and Titus to appoint elders (note plurality) in all the churches, see 1 Timothy chapter 3 cf. Titus 1:5.
Later Church history developed the idea of the ecclesiastical office of “Bishops” or “Presbyters” to oversee groups of Churches and ministers, but this appears not to have been the case in New Testament times, when the office was local. There was nothing grandiose about the office or function. When these principles and procedures are applied to the issue that we are discussing it is quite clear how wrong Harry Westcott was to project himself as the first “Pentecostal Bishop of Australia” or for that matter even to accept the appointment by so called Arch-Bishop Earle Paulke who had no authority nationally, biblically or morally to make such an appointment. The late Earle Paulke was a proven adulterer and philanderer and Harry Westcott should acknowledge and publically repent of his action in associating with him - plp.
Dear Philip: I commend you and support you in your stance on the cover of the December 2009 Issue of CETF. I refer specifically to your comment "We must beware and steadfastly reject every attempt by Messianic Jews to Judaize the Church by reintroducing the keeping of any feasts of the Old Covenant." You also restated these thoughts in your March 2010 edition. I agree wholeheartedly, as a Christian from Jewish stock, I personally experienced much of what you have said in regards to Messianic Judaism and it's attempts to revive Old Covenant feasts, coupled with many unbiblical practices which are in reality rabbinical "traditions of men"Since the Church consists of believers from both Jewish and Gentile backgrounds, we must guard against Messianic Jews not only Judaizing Christians of Gentile origin, but also guard against Messianic Jews from Judaizing believers of Jewish origin.
This may sound strange, but most Jews who come to Christ have had minimal Jewish religious teaching and many also come from mixed marriages. As time goes on, many have rejected their own Jewish religion, as it could not bring them peace with God.When they enter the Messianic Movement, they are indoctrinated back into Judaism. As someone who came out of the Messianic Movement, I believe with deep conviction and a clear conscience, that this 'movement' was not birthed by God, but by men. Many have been led astray by this movement and some have gone so far back into Judaism as to deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah. Jesus broke down the wall of partition between Jew and Gentile. Messianic Judaism rebuilds that wall between believers, by separating itself from the Church.
There are far more Judaized Christians from a Gentile background in the movement, than there are Jewish believers. The love of 'all things Jewish' in many of these people, sometimes distorts the centrality for the love of the One, who is the King of the Jews.When a group of people insist on having a separate form of fellowship and worship apart from the Church, what has become of the 'one new man'?To not even want to identify with the name Jesus or Christian and insist on being the fourth branch of Judaism along side Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed Judaism, is totally absurd and a complete sell out of Christ.To claim they have the freedom to fellowship and worship in ways of their own cultural ethnicity, is an oxymoron, since the Lord Himself, set us free in the first place from these man made practices which cause division.How can the same people now say, they have the freedom to return to these same rabbinical practices, and the same religious trappings, that the Lord condemned? The type of Judaism that Messianic Jews borrow and replicate from Rabbinical Judaism, is not the Judaism of the Bible.There is no temple, no blood sacrifices, no priests, only men who call themselves Rabbi, who are not Rabbi's, teaching mainly non-Jews about everything that the non-believing Rabbi's believe, it's a 'Claytons Judaism'.
It is closer to Roman Catholicism, than to Biblical faith. No amount of using Hebrew language, rituals, liturgy, ceremony, eating Kosher food, Sabbath keeping, Torah keeping, observing feasts, engaging in Jewish dancing and Jewish music or wearing Jewish paraphernalia, can make one a more spiritual person. No one can add anything of merit to the finished work that Jesus accomplished on the cross.To claim that Messianic Judaism is the best way to reach their own people for the Messiah, is also a faulty premise. Most Jews are won to Christ by Christians and not by Messianic Jews! The Messianic Jewish Movement is really the Messianic equivalent of the Seeker Sensitive Movement. They both use methods that appeal to the 'flesh' of the target people group they wish to impact. They strive to make an unsaved Jew feel comfortable, just like they are in a Synagogue except, they casually 'just add' Yeshua into the equation.
They fail to realize however, that they can never 'smooth over' the "Rock of offence" "the stumbling stone", who is the Lord, Himself. Many in the movement just can't bear to give up everything, for Christ's sake, and that is the real issue. They are not prepared to go "outside the camp" and identify with the reproach of the Messiah. Believing Jews can maintain their Jewish identity within the context of the Church, (the body of Christ, complete, without missing members), which encapsulates believers from all backgrounds.Most Jewish believers do this, and choose not to belong to the imaginary 'fourth branch of Judaism' called Messianic Judaism.I can say more but space is limited, however I can recommend articles and books written by 3 notable Hebrew Christians on this subject. They are:Messianic Judaism or Judaizing Christianity by David Baron, Messianic Judaism is not Christianity by Stan Telchin, and Judaism is Not Jewish by Baruch Moaz. Dennis Hirschfield – Melbourne, Australia.
Christmas & Easter
FROM THE EDITOR - My editorials on the above in CETF #50 and #51 caused some lively discussion, some of which found its way into our Letters pages. All of this was largely sparked by the boldness of Nick Sayers in writing his two articles entitled Why we should not PassOver Easter - Parts 1 & 2 (CETFs March 2008 and March 2009). These articles can be read at www.cwm.org.au by selecting ARCHIVES on the left side of the HOME PAGE and opening the relevant CETF.(BTW this site remains in the development stages. If there's anyone who has the expertise and can devote time to help our webmaster Nick Sayers complete this task please write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org indicating the nature of the help you can offer. Thank you.)
The most persistent correspondent on this issue was an elderly gentleman named Frank, who is obviously a very conscientious man. However we remain concerned about his associations and the things that he wrote about the New Testament usage of the names "Christ" and "Jesus" as detailed in the previous CETF. He asked me not to publish any further letters from him so with the following email exchanges from another person we'll call a halt to the Christmas- Easter issue for the present, though undoubtedly it will arise again.
Is Easter Pagan
Dear Philip, We were deeply disturbed to say the least by your article on page 1 of March 2010 issue. We hope and pray you find the time to read this attachment as it describes perfectly our beliefs. I quote, "But, even if that is so, do these things really matter?" The Bible says yes. Your flippant attitude both amazed and disappointed us especially coming from the editor of Contending Earnestly for the Faith. Your reference to Thursday is a moot argument. Christians neither worship days of the week or honour them in any way. We stopped attending church on Good Friday many years ago on discovering the Lord was crucified on a Wednesday. We don't believe it to be righteous to be joining in with the world or the Roman Catholic religion. If celebrating Easter and Christmas with the world doesn't really matter, why don't we celebrate Halloween and give it a Christian name also. Anon
- Thanks for your email. I have opened the link and perused the article that it took me to. I am totally familiar with all the arguments contained in it. There is nothing new there. Did you read the various articles we published in CETF on this topic over the past two to three years? We have canvassed all of those points. Your point is true that we don't worship “Thursday” but then we don't worship “Easter” either. We worship ONLY Christ. In my view your argument fails on this point and you don't seem to follow the other arguments.For your information I (and by extension CWM) do not accept Good Friday as the day of Crucifixion. We accept that Christ was crucified on the equivalent of our Wednesday. Dave Hunt says Thursday. Jacob Prasch accepts (or did accept) Friday. We do not hold a service on the so called Good Friday but we do celebrate Christ's Resurrection on what we call Easter Sunday (which it probably isn't)