Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Candidates Pure Vanilla Christianity

This post is from my political post. VANILLA BEANS
Following are quotes from major candidates describing their Christianity: Hillary Clinton: “For many of us the golden rule calls on us to act,” Huckabee: “Loving your neighbor” and “Except you do this unto the least of these my brethren, you do it unto me.” During last Saturday’s debate, Obama”: “Except you do this unto the least of these my brethren, you do it unto me.” Mitt Romney says: “I am moved by the Lord's words: 'For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me...”

Can people really get excited that the Creator of the universe went through all He did, intruding into His creation, just to tell the children to make nice with each other? As I have said before, my problem with the candidates expressing their religious beliefs is that right now they control the microphone. On the other hand, a strong Bible believer can only dream of a time when people will pick up their Bibles and spend a day with Jesus for themselves.

My grandmother taught me that actions speak louder than words, and if you can’t understand what a person is saying, watch closely what he does. Here is a day in the life of Jesus “And when He had called unto Him his twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. (Mt 10:1) He told his disciples to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils (Mat 10:8). And, declare “the reign of Heaven has arrived.” (Phillips translation) Scripture then records that the disciples returned with joy, exclaiming Lord, “even the devils are subject unto us in your name!” And Scripture adds that at that moment Jesus jumped for joy. (Picture a happy feet’s touchdown dance.)

What kind of dance would He have done if they had declared: “We helped a little old lady cross the street.”

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Gathering of Charismatic Saints

I just returned from the exciting meeting of the Charismatic Leaders Fellowship (CLF) in Jacksonville, Fla. That meeting, by invitation only, is the annual gathering of those original leaders whom God chose to introduce the move of the Holy Spirit into mainline churches. Among the 60 attendees were the great pioneers who wrote the early books on the Holy Spirit for their denominations.

Although I can’t remember all of them, I will list those that I do. The person who is credited with the Holy Spirit move into the first major denomination, the Episcopal Church, was of course, Dennis Bennett, who has now passed on to glory. (I always thought it was God’s sense of humor when He picked the stuffiest and most uptight of the major churches to introduce tongues and other supernatural manifestations.) Present at the Jacksonville meeting, from those very early days in the Episcopal Church however, were David and Ginny Collins. Following are others who were at the beginning outpouring into major denominations: Francis and Judith MacNutt, and Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan at the outpouring on the Roman Catholic Church; Scott Kelso and Linda Kelso at the outpouring on the Methodists; Jim and Anne Bevis at the outpouring on the Disciples of Christ; Larry and Nordis Christenson at the outpouring on the Lutherans. A scheduling conflict prevented attendance by Gerald Derstine who was at the outpouring on the Mennonites. There were others there at the gathering that I did not meet.

I am sure these old saints, many of them now in their 70s and 80s, suffered many scars and disappointments. Over the years they watched as the Pentecostal and the Spirit-filled independent churches exploded, while their denominations froze up in theological battles.

Two observations were my main impressions: Through it all, they stayed the course, never wavering. Secondly, I know of no scandals among this group, even though most of them became quite prominent in their movements. There were lots of husband and wife teams who had been together since the beginning.

It was an inspiring group to be among and I am grateful that I was invited.

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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Let's Have Church!

People charge that what Pentecostals and Charismatics are doing in their churches today is not the same as what the early Christians were doing. How would anyone know? None of us were there. When you read critic's exegesis of First Corinthians 14 for example, you soon see that everyone is having to read between the lines and then wing it. In a babel of tongues, they talk about tongues.

However, without any confusion or doubt, we can categorically assert that what people call church today in the mainline churches (non-Pentecostal) could NOT possibly be what was going on in the Corinthian church. Whatever they were doing sounded pretty worked up and resulted in Paul asking them to tone it down as it was off-putting to nonbelievers. The only actions that might be off-putting to the nonbeliever in most churches today would be the sounds of loud snores.

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