Monday, 29 April 2013
This is a photo of the re construction of the Covered Bridge in Bridgeton, Indiana. As a boy I rode across the original covered bridge on this site at least twice a day to and from elementary school. Yes, I was riding as a passenger in a school bus. The old bridge, which was built just after 1900, creaked and groaned from the weight of the school bus; but our safety was never in doubt. It took a determined arsonist to finally drop that old bridge. But an equally determined community rebuilt with the same time-honored materials and engineering. And you should see the place now!
This re constructed bridge, built to honor the historical masterpiece which was destroyed, is a metaphor for my own life these days. Except that I'm now fatter than ever before, I may appear to some as unchanged over the years. BUT "He Who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it!" I am being made more like My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ minute by minute. Anyone who visits with me will have the chance to walk through this bridge, either with me or on your own, I'll just point you in the right direction.
I am Jerusalem Hill.
Friday, 12 April 2013
Quotation of the Day
...that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
-- C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963), from _Mere_Christianity_
Thursday, 11 April 2013
I am not Antinomian. I do not reject the proper application of Biblical, moral laws.
Antinomianism (Greek anti,"against"; nomos,"law") is the doctrine that faith in Christ frees the Christian from obligation to observe the moral law as set forth in the Old Testament. The insistence in the Epistles of St. Paul upon the inadequacy of the law to save, and upon salvation by faith without "works of the law" or "deeds of righteousness" (see Romans 3:20, 28; Ephesians 2:9; 2 Timothy 2:9; Titus 3:5) could easily be interpreted as a claim of freedom from all obligation to obey the moral law. Thus, righteous persons might well hold such a doctrine and behave in an exemplary way, not from compulsion but from a devotion higher than the law. (That describes me! Notice though, that the Holy Spirit dictates what shall be exemplary, not other people!)
The word antinomian comes from the Greek anti (against) and nomos (law), and refers to the doctrine that it is not necessary for Christians to preach and / or obey the moral law of the Scriptures. There have been several different justifications for this view down through the centuries.
Some have taught that once persons are justified by faith in Christ, they no longer have any obligation toward the moral law because Jesus has freed them from it. A variant of this first position is that since Christ has raised believers above the positive precepts of the law, they need to be obedient only to the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit, who will keep them from sin. My personal position embraces that last one, but recognizes the need for believers to “grow up” into such maturity, ie. progressive sanctification. Paul speaks to "those of you who are spiritual," thus acknowledging that many are NOT "spiritual."
But neither am I a Legalist. I do not believe that every written instruction applies to every Christian in every circumstance! There are “mere babes” in Christ. And there are “still carnal” in Christ. And these do well to stay safely within the written moral codes of the New Testament Epistles.
However, I believe that Christians should “grow up,” building upon the foundational Laws of Christ:
1. Love God with all your heart, soul and strength.
2. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. (Treat others as you desire to be treated.)
And 3. Love your brother and sister as Christ has loved you! (Christ continuously sacrificed Himself for the greater good of you and me!)
Christians can only successfully “grow up,” by seeking and learning to be led personally and intimately by the Living Spirit of Jesus, growing progressively more "spiritual," and less and less "carnal" throughout our lives.
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Two quotations from among my many Bible teachers' sayings came as thunderbolt revelations to me; and they now guide me in my ministry:
“It is very possible for an earnest Christian to be so poorly taught and to so misunderstand the truths of Christianity that he is unable to adequately practice the Christian life!” (Victor Matthews, in Plant My Feet On Higher Ground, Emmaus Bible College)
And "True Christianity is not the formal, powerless thing that so many have come to know. Real fellowship with the living Christ, the Anointed One, results in the destruction of every bondage, the removal of every burden, and the fulfillment of every good desire. There is no life so exciting as the victorious life that is true Christianity." (Keith Moore, Moore Life Ministries)
In 1992 God commissioned me with a personal, spoken message, His Spirit to my own spirit: "I am sending you back to Parke County (Indiana) as a foreign missionary."
Parke County Indiana is where I was born and raised; so His words "foreign ministry" were at first a mystery to me. But as I began to get reacquainted with the place after nearly thirty years out in the world and maturing in my Christian faith, that mystery dissolved. For I found myself in a culture I did not recognize from my youth: a culture of false religion, scriptural legalism and pseudo-holiness. I found myself increasingly confronting the same spirits of the Pharisees whom Jesus Himself confronted in His own home country.
I'm re posting this today because the Spirit of the Lord is prompting me, again, to blog more about this ongoing confrontation in the days or weeks to come. Jesus criticized people who claimed to be God's people saying they followed the traditions of men instead of the Spirit of God. The same problem is here and now.
Tuesday, 02 April 2013
This is a total re edit of this post from October 2007 and revisited here last month.
Back in October, 2007 I was thinking and praying about how to write the story of my transition to a Spirit- led man. I thought it must be written and published before I could really move on with building the website the Holy Spirit of Jesus was prompting me to build, which has now progressed to www.jerusalemhill.org here on Xanga. I was wrong. The Lord has moved me along in His Own Good Time. I now realize my transition began way back when I was a boy. And it's certainly not a completed work in me even now. But "He Who has begun a good work in me is faithful to complete it!"
I think now that I was trying to write about just one chapter of my life which began in 1990 when I finally recognized the sovereignty of God and my foolishness in resisting it. At that time I completely submitted myself to Him, My Lord and Master, as Paul "beseeches" us to do in Romans 12, verse 1; or at least I thought I had done that. But the next ten years was a difficult time in my life, seemingly filled with many failures, a time of falling short of my intentions and of hurting and disappointing people I love -- especially one person who was my wife during those years. I can still feel those failures within me and still have to deal with them. I've heard many opinions about my failures expressed by others. But I'm still not sure which if any were failures from God's point of view. I believe He knew and accepted the necessity for me to fail, including the many consequences, as part of my transition to complete dependance upon Him and to the spiritual empowerment which comes with it!
I cling to one certainty, one absolutely irrefutable truth: During that whole time, my heart was set upon obeying the voice of God within me. The Lord was so often during that time showing me in the New Testament where the present- day church community had "missed it" and was following "mere traditions of men." And the voice of God within me was coaxing and encouraging me to love others as Jesus loved us, sacrificially, and contrary to the accepted rules of the religious culture, straight into confrontation with the "conventional wisdom." The harder I tried and failed, the more frustrated, irritable and angry I became inside. I said things -- no, I screamed things -- to my wife which I now wish I could take back. And I continued to do the things which raised suspicions about my motives, all the more because my well-intentioned actions did not always bear good fruit.
These cause me to wonder about the destruction and suffering caused by Saul of Tarsus before he met the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus. The few details we have about this time of his life are chilling. And the manner in which God humbled Saul are dramatic. But, for me, the greatest lesson from the life of Saul of Tarsus comes from his receipt of the Holy Spirit, Whom I also have received. As with Saul of Tarsus, I had to be knocked down and face my blindness; my life had to be completely changed, turned upside down. Now in 2013 my frustrations, irritability and anger are -- for the most part -- long gone, replaced by that "peace which surpasses understanding." I've experienced spiritual successes and seen good fruit in and around my life.
I see now there is no good reason to write my former wife into this story. The Lord is still at work in her as He is in me. She is entitled to her privacy. It is sufficient to say I failed to obey My Lord's command to me to "Just love her" because I was simply still carnal and still far from being a spiritual man during our time together. I regret that. But I'm confident God was using my failure in her life just as he used false allegations and prison time in mine. I pray for her, with love in my heart for her, still, even though we no longer communicate at all.
Beyond that, the story of my transition to a Spirit - led man is still being written; and that's why I post blogs and make comments on others'. And that is why I begin all my prayers in this way: "Oh! Sweet Jesus, God of second chances and new beginnings, it's me again..."