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Sermons of
Rev. Orland Wolfram (1912-1987)
Pillar of Fire Church
Missionary to Guatemala

Holiness


Orland Wolfram



HOLINESS


It is a common saying that the church is made up of all believers of whatever denomination, but, it is a reluctant admission, often, and the preacher proceeds to prove that only his doctrine can be truly biblical.


I am frequently asked, "Now after all your experience with various denominations and their doctrines, which doctrine do you feel as the true doctrine or the best.


Actually, in interdenominational work we are forced to consider this repeatedly and very seriously. The matter must be considered from theological viewpoints, scriptural and philosophical, also how much leeway may be given movements for being guided by the Holy Spirit for this age specifically., and, after all, the theoretical results of such a movement in the church and the world.


This study is just as important for you and me today as it was to ask a Jew, "What think ye of Christ?" back thousands of years ago. God expected you in your spiritual infancy to obey, cut away those former worldly habits, customs, sins and sinful friendships. If we are to mature in Christ, "we must put away childish things, not seeing through someone else's mirror, but learn from Christ face to face". Paul learned from the brethren humbly for a time, but then walked into the desert for years and coming back was led to stand up against the very Apostles, showing them how THEY WERE STILL TIED TO THEIR OLD JEWISH CHURCH. It was true that church had been raised up by God and the old Law had been given by Him, but it was also that very church that had crucified Christ. Paul's conclusion at that point of church history, keep some of those old rules if you feel you must, but I feel I must preach a New Testament greater grace and liberty to the Gentiles.


So let us review doctrinal Movement again to see what God wants and what He is blessing.


Both original Lutheran doctrine and Calvinistic doctrine were surpassed by the Wesleyan. As time passed, the more ordinary Protestants were drawn to the Lutheran, Calvinistic, Reformed churches while the more dedicated separated Christians were connected with the Wesleyan.


For many years, the Holiness Movement has been bitterly divided. The doctrines which seem so lofty and ideal have not produced the ideal effects. The accent on perfect love has been used by the leader of some sect to hold up himself as perfect so he would not or could not work humbly together with other elders or groups. Splits, acrimony and divisions were the rule. Any extended harmony was unusual.


A student going directly to the sermons and writings of John Wesley discovers that the strong accent of the Holiness Movement on two distinct and sudden works of grace, is NOT taught in those writings. In fact, Wesley insisted repeatedly that some such doctrines were indistinct not subject to legalistic proof, and that some men had the blessing of God and the power of God on their ministry although Wesley could not accept all their doctrinal ideas.


Wesley testified to his"heart being strangely warmed" in a Moravian meeting. Holiness teachers at times have used this as the time of Wesley's saving experience of Justification, but then are at a loss as to find in his biography any other experience as to his sanctification, and discover on further study that Wesley taught sanctification as growth and maturity. This is what some Calvinists teach so some doctrinal people who call themselves Wesleyan change the script to let his justification be indefinite in order to use his heart-warming as his sanctification.


It is evident to any who will seek to find who, God blesses that He has very godly dedicated servants among peoples of various doctrinal persuasions, that these point out we must die to self, live only to God, rededicate oneself continually rather than to have had one emotional experience and thereupon count too strongly while being unaware every form of pride and carnality can grow.


Good doctrine then is that which produces and keeps on producing deadness to self and oneness with the Lord. It is not any legalistic tenet that can be incontrovertibly proved by argument and multi-quotations.


It is not uncommon to hear on a radio program the speaker going to great lengths to prove his viewpoint and then say, "This is not my view or idea. This is the only right doctrine according to the Bible. Others may give "their" arguments. WE base ours ONLY on the Word." Later his counterpart in the other theological camp says essentially the very same things, but proving the opposite. I turn them both off and pray they will stick to the Gospel that saves and that which Deepens in the Word, but is not subject to the legalistic controversies that the very Bible repeatedly advises us to avoid.


There are currently very godly servants of God in all three camps, Baptists , Holiness, and Pentecostals. There are also some very talented speakers who are more dedicated to popularity and big money than in preaching and living the way the disciples of the Lord once lived. Let us preach against the spirit of Babylon and the growth of worldliness WITHOUT implying it is a denominational characteristic. We must try the spirits and divide the Word with honesty and justice, seeing both the good and the not so good in all camps. In fact, if you truly love your church you will be more outspoken in exposing any entering wedge of pride or worldliness there, rather than criticizing another.


Holiness Missionaries


In a former experience we recalled how a good evangelist began to fail when she claimed her ministry was "The Chosen of God" and a;; others should humbly come to learn and bow. and how her disciples were soon at each other's figurative and literal throats over the gift of discernment. While that was in the Pentecostal camp there was a similar sad feud in the holiness ranks in one place.


There was a group of holiness people doing a very good work in one area and I was eager to help, but it soon became apparent that all was not perfect love in their paradise although they had tried so zealously to make all carnality illegal. Was it not a good rule with so much world and filth on the airways to forbid all radios? They were forbidden and the rule enforced. With so much immorality growing everywhere and modern styles set by adulterers and pornographers, the only modest recourse a modest Christian could have would be to make rules that women's dresses reach to the ankle. So be it the rule pass and be enforced, as also long sleeves, no jewelry or makeup.


There were two elders in charge and I went to one after a time saying, "I quite agree there must be preaching on matters such as modest dress, but should such rules be made so rigid?"


He answered strongly. "Why, half of them would soon be dressing like the world if we did not have strict rules."


"That means then, does it not, that to give the appearance of being sanctified in the eyes of the group, they will follow the rule, but to really have a principle in their hearts and fulfill for God alone, they will not?"


No answer.



"There is a very serious problem here", I went on, "there is so much in the scriptures exhorting against legality, rules of men and hypocrisy, a pastor of a flock has to very carefully divide the Word, timidly before God, as fearful of being too strict with rules as of being too worldly."


I repeat now, "No leader can sanctify the hearts of his flock by mass rules. If any individual comes before the Lord and feels a call to a camelskin garment and carry the cross of reproach, fine. Yes, such sincere sanctification and separation from the world will enable one to keep that much nearer the humble Lord and be alone with Him, but if he thereafter wants more of credit from his group or some pharisees, he is going to be tempted to make a rule, to force others to do likewise. This is a natural psychological temptation that St. Paul explains we must guard against. The legalists want to bring us into bondage under them. The preacher must exhort with temperance when he feels a call to live in a certain way, or cut off some common customs that he does not present it as though it were a mark of exclusive holiness, a requirement and obligation, rather than a matter of individual light and call. Christ says, "What is that to thee, about comparing oneself with others, Follow thou Me."


You and I as individuals must study all such matters. Great mistakes have been made where some judged others very godly when their opinion was on outward appearances. Conversely, some group leaders have judged an evangelist as evil because he did not hold to that detail, and thereby later found they had been condemning a work of God and His servant."


Our two elders mentioned before, were both very sincere men given to much prayer in order to hear from God as to how to best run the group, but there was one serious and nearly fatal built- in flaw there. When each one thought he had heard from God he could not tolerate the other or anyone questioning it or tempering his decision. You see the inevitable result. In fact, similar church crises have happened countless times in every holiness circle. Soon the two elders were saying the other was not hearing from God and he insisted he was getting supernatural guidance from somewhere, it had to be from the devil. So each said of the other. The animosity grew, until some said each hated the other


I went to one that had the most power, "You brethren can separate, each insists only he is led of God, and divide the congregations, break up the influences of many years, but it will stumble many weak souls, and raise a scandal, putting back the Lord's work for years to come. On the other hand I can see that if each allows the other some leeway, and room to have his leading from the Lord, but work together as united Christians in liberty and love, the work will really bloom and prosper."


What was the result of that effort? He would not yield, not a whit, but classed me as a tool of the other, forbidding me to come any more in their part of the area.


The work was held back, then sub-divided, on and on.


Meanwhile those with a spirit of consecration and sanctification but with less rigid rules and doctrines, have organized campaigns for all Christians witnessing, working, praying together, preparing for revival meetings, and then God always blessed such non-denominational efforts in very wonderful ways.


After such great campaigns the denominational superintendents are tempted to go into a little doctrinal regime with their members to bind them once again under their control, but more and more the believers do attend their denomination ordinarily but are always testifying they are just Christians, and ready to help in any good united effort that God may bless.


There are several groups that have many good doctrines and rules but will not allow a member or convert of theirs to attend or help in any effort or visit other meetings. One is the Church of Christ--Cambellite, as distinguished from the Church of Christ--Pentecostal. The Cambellites believe a man is saved by and at the moment of water baptism. This leads to a built-in flaw with many entering their group who have never experienced any spiritual regeneration. Yet many others are really saved, and some work goes on preaching the Gospel, but its general influence is nothing like it was at its height a hundred years ago.


The Plymouth Brethren hold their members exclusively tight and they do not welcome non-members to their Sunday morning service where they celebrate the Lord's supper each week. They will not permit a non-member to participate in that. Here is a typical cult irony. When we study the Bible passage about participating unworthily, it is clear that the subject in the passage is on getting along with one another, love for the brethren, and the proper way to settle differences. Only secondarily is it referring to sins in general and in case it says, "Let EACH one examine himself." Most groups accordingly have open communion, exhorting only that each one examine himself and if there is any friction between him and another Christian or lack of love, that he make it right and go to him first before participating. They celebrate some each month, some churches each trimester. One group that accents the importance of the Communion and observes it every wee, has the least love and respect for fellow Christians if they are not members of their group. Meanwhile God is blessing notably the united efforts, the Plymouth Brethren's efforts are divided.


There was this group we had met while still in the U.S. which I thought might be good to work with which had missions and churches in Latin American countries and I heard were interdenominational. Later on in Guatemala, they were organizing a large meeting to be held in the largest indoor hall, the National Gymnasium, but before accepting our services completely they found out something objectionable. "We can use so and so, of your group and this one and that one, but some of the others are Pentecostals and we do not work with them."


"You call yourselves interdenominational at times," I said. "How can this be?"


Various people in the room just stare at each other in surprised belief, then we burst out laughing. How ridiculous! That is the principle meaning of the term Interdenominational, composing those of different doctrines. As a little time went out we learned that the organization was not only Baptist, but active ant-Wesleyan which had guarded all literature on the old time Methodists, the early Quakers and the great Holiness movement from its shelves in its Bible school.


In one sense since Baptists are so generally individually organized, any two Baptist churches might call themselves interdenominational, put this is a patent, to the general public it is generally not so used, except these Baptists had used it in the U.S. for purposes of getting donations, but in the mission field were rigidly doctrinal denominationals.


Were they, I emphasized, as they were the first few years I was in Guatemala? They are greatly different nowadays. As the years went by with the powerful tides of evangelical revivals on all fronts, more and more of the believers have not remained bound to that or any one denomination, but call themselves Christian and work together habitually with brethren of other groups for the salvation of souls TO BE WON FOR CHRIST, NOT TO BE WON FOR ANY CHURCH ORGANIZATION. Besides this there are several other Baptist groups with many churches in Latin America with missionaries sent from the U.S. by some branches of the great Baptist persuasion, each fundamentally very good and biblical but each with some minor twists of doctrine.


In the U.S. the subdivisions were somewhat at enmity, but after a time in the field, they usually work together with all respect.


PENTECOSTALS


In the first year in Guatemala I found the Presbyterians doing some of the most interesting things. I felt led of the Lord to hold a non-denominational policy so did not actually join any Presbyterian organization nor any other. Also in open air meetings, it was always a great lift from heaven when some stranger would listen a bit, feel satisfied we were just preaching Bible gospel, and stand up with us, and then in their turn, give the personal testimony. These might be of whatever of the evangelical groups.


However it was the Presbyterians who in the early years had the most churches, schools and also a hospital. With them, we joined in meetings at the Leper Colony. When I was led to start meetings in the TB center, I found a pioneer work there had been done by the Presbyterians who later after opening up various other places had discontinued to sent pastors, and were glad we could carry on. I've told of some of the interesting details in those places in former reports.


As some years went by, we worked more with the holiness groups until the sad splits previously mentioned. As more years went by it turned out God was using more and more the Pentecostal Movement. Our group was throughout learning to be interdenominational, seeing as honestly as possible the good points and not so good of the various groups and movements. We learned to go on campaigns together, visiting house to house, witnessing, inviting, praying with any with problems or illnesses, then an open air meeting in the village square and at night in the local evangelical church of whatever persuasion they had.


Pentecostal churches were growing as fast as all the other churches together. Some of these were the main line denominations but most were just independents, founded spontaneously wherever a few families had found the Lord and needed a place to unite in Bible and prayer.


I sounds very hazily spiritual to think of brethren who have been to Bible schools at opposite doctrinal poles to work together, but it took a lot of patience, waiting before the Lord, real brotherly love and continually reminding oneself that if Christ can accept that man's heart in spite of his head filled with such doctrines, who am I to hold him apart and refuse to accept him!


I have given you in the preceding pages the broad view of the doctrine that comprises the whole true church. But this broad understanding did not come to any of us easily and fast. God does not reveal His truths by fast theories, nor to a sectarian theological seminary.


When God gave the Law through Moses. it turned out to be all with the purpose of slowly preparing the way for the Savior. God did not foreshow the coming Savior very explicitly, but little by little, by types and symbols, here a little, there a little, a gem of one color to one prophet and a precious preview from another angle to another prophet.


Finally in the fullness of time came Christ.


When He was teaching His disciples, note that He did not specifically point out, "When I am once crucified and risen, you disciples can throw out the Jewish Law, the Temple and the whole system," rather He permitted them to come to see little by little what parts of the Old Law were to still be observed, what parts were to be valued as spiritual types, and what parts to be no longer obeyed.


This was no easy lesson. It was a matter of slow doctrinal growth with severe growing pains.


The Apostles were all men of consecration, spending long periods in fasting, waiting on the Lord for guidance, yet each seemed to hear from a different spirit at times. Some were very wedded to the Temple and Old Testament Law in both morals and ceremony. Paul was one of the most advanced and quick too to realize God's more perfect Law was liberty. There were many times of great tension between the brethren. The problem was how much they would depend on grace instead of the other rules.


I once tried to point out to a holiness brother that there was danger in too much following of religious laws. Then I asked, "Why can you not accept this broader view?"



He thought a long moment and answered, "I don't want to go to hell."


God's lessons must be experienced and lived, not just read once lightly over and memorized. They cost. Justification is free, but full salvation costs you ALL you have, paid through the years, often in blood, sweat and tears.


On Grandfather's ranch in Montana he saw two horses kicking at each other. He said to a cowboy, "That is too valuable a pair of horses to let them maim each other. Hitch them to work together, and they won't kick at each other any more."


Young graduates from a denominational Bible school tend to argue and fight over every doctrinal difference. When they have been in the battles for a time, really fighting against the forces of sin and the devil, their outlook and their values change. When another has endangered his life standing up with you in a dangerous hour, you humbly beg the Lord to forgive your former critical attitude of his doctrines.


A Baptist missionary was friendly with a Pentecostal and must have wondered if I was going to report him to his supervisor or something, for he began an explanation. "I kept all Pentecostal influences as far as possible from my flock as I could for a long time. Then there was this neighbor who became a good friend, but who would not have anything to do with God. As he grew more dear to me I spent more hours in intercessory prayer travailing for the Lord to save him. Then he got into a serious problem, but when I went to pray for him and with him, it got no better. Later that Pentecostal visited him and the Lord really worked a marvelous miracle materially and spiritually for that neighbor. Can I any longer belittle a real servant and instrument of the Lord?"


The other churches have a row of criticism against the Pentecostals besides the basic doctrine of speaking in tongues. A study of these extended over an extended period of time showed up the ever present tendency of denominations looking for evils against the others. Any scandal, sin or carnality found in some Pentecostal church would give excuse for all to be painted with the same tar brush. To those who wished to be fair, honest and charitable they look farther at other Pentecostal leaders and churches and find all degrees of godliness also.


The holiness were usually equally hard on popular Baptist figures.


In the early days of the Pentecostal Movement, the first decades and especially during the Twenties, there was an outburst of scandals involving some leading Pentecostal figures. In the poorer sections of the great cities, store front churches could sing, clap, speak in tongues until thoroughly worked up into a state of emotion as though drugged which could at times lead to sexual orgies. A godly pentecostal evangelist bemoaned the tendency to let such wild emotions let the devil in. He would put it, "A meeting can begin in the Spirit and end in the flesh."


All the while the prayers and efforts of the godly sincere pentecostal people were winning out over the devil to take over. God always had His faithful band who had not bowed to the Baals of outbroken sin, and gradually the level of high Christian morality has increased.


In Latin American countries there is a marked difference than in the U.S., a notably higher morality level, more quiet extended prayer times, a regular exhortation to each other that all be dome decently and in order, and, when there was a case of a pastor found in adultery, that he must accept discipline, usually six months without the privilege of preaching in a church.


The Pentecostals have a higher proportion of their congregations taking active buoyant joyful part in any activity, out witnessing, personal testimony, praise services, hospital visitation, jail meetings and campaigns.


The common Latin likes the clapping and loud singing. I would tell a more educated Baptist, "Let 'em clap. When so many of them have never had three grades of school, nor able to read or write, would you deprive them of about the only mode of participation they have? You are too intellectual. They FEEL their salvation and want to express their joy. Let 'em."


While for years the Pentecostal churches were said to be for the common natives, the educated and more well-to-do were led to the Presbyterian or Baptist, but that was years ago.


Very strangely, in a manner no one predicted, when there finally was a wave that broke through the resistance of the upper levels of society, it was due to the Pentecostal work and its special groups such as the Full Gospel Business Men's meetings. Now there are large congregations of new churches all over the more substantial parts of the cities filled and crowded with doctors, lawyers, college professors, and business men, even generals, colonels in the army and minister in the government. who attend, study the Bible, are not ashamed to sing and shout and witness to all they are CHRISTIAN. That has been the principle element, evidently, that has brought the special power of God to the region, that the converts would not be servants either of sin or sectarianism, and that they would give all the glory to the Lord Jesus Christ rather than some denomination or its leader. It is standard practice among these to answer when asked to what church they belong, "Just Christian, saves por la Gracia de Dios."


The movement has some weaknesses in doctrine and practice, for instance, they claimed the Gift of Tongues was an infallible sign such person had received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. After the scandals and excesses of the Twenties it became common for their own preachers to point out that there was a false spurious gift as well as a true one. That the more sure sign of the Holy Spirit is, that it would produce a holy spirit.


A young beginning preacher might use one sermon on the second chapter of Acts and say that was the experience all must have, neglecting almost entirely the rest of the Bible, until a more mature preacher would point out that a great part of the proof of the Holy Spirit being present was not some apparent drunken actions, but that God's message was miraculously understood by all. It was just the opposite of some unknown gibbering.


Any critical person from other doctrinal persuasions should not in fairness use this point, however, without also giving credit to the manifold other references to the use of Unknown Tongues as speaking to God through prayer knows not what to say or ask. Also, WHEN there is speaking in tongues properly done with order and interpretations, then FORBID NOT to speak in Tongues.


HEALERS


The claims of wholesale miracles of healings can bring out the crowds and this can be a great temptation to the Pentecostal evangelist. As they carry this to excess, the more moderate Pentecostal or other, point out the principle message should be salvation, exaltations of Christ, and repentance of sins.


My experience with "healers" is that they originally started out to preach salvation, then fell into the temptation of gradually over the years shifting their accent to healing. They had, of course, some real dramatic cures which draw great crowds hungering from from their ills and often desperate.


But, real miracles are few and far between and the would-be healer cannot force God by trick repetition of verses on faith. True faith is given by God in harmony with His divine plans. The healers resort to a battery of psychological tricks to force faith and to deceive' The :big guns" in the divine healing game have trained ushers to study cases in order to keep out the seriously crippled and critically ill. They let forward the hard of hearing and cases with possibly psychosomatic problems. Are there many of these? Any doctor will tell you that the majority of illnesses are connected with mental problems and attitudes. The professional healer will have the hard of hearing come forward to the platform and then under tremendous man psychological pressures there before the crowds will hold his watch to the poor man's ear and virtually defy him to not hear it tick. When the man says. "Yes," the whole congregation raises a mighty shout. The desperately ill are sent away urged to hold on by desperate faith to their healing. "It is already absolutely done." But, in a few weeks the man is dead and the friends and relatives tricked by false forced faith, lose all their faith in the reality of God.


If all that is known to be true, how can we still say it has its good points? It is because those "big gun" professional healers are not in the majority. The more ordinary pentecostal pastor has outgrown his fanaticism. They learned the hard way. They went through a period of growing fanaticism, forcing faith, quoting "all things are possible to him that hath faith," without understanding the real meaning of those passages. They worked themselves up into a state until they were preaching that any doctors or medicine would indicate no real faith in God and real Christians should stay away from the use of medicines like it was sin.


The experienced Pentecostal quietly suggested he was about to be tested himself. It always happens. Soon the over-zealous one found his own son or daughter in desperate need. Some finally resorted to medical treatment and were then healed. Or wife or husband of the healer, even with every medicine doctors could suggest, and even with the united desperate prayers of the whole congregation, died. Faith cannot be forced, and God cannot be used. He wants to get us in tune with Himself, and to praying according to HIS will. He can and does still work miracles at times. He also shows at times that He often had other, more perfect healings than physical that can be effected ONLY if the physical one is delayed, or perhaps not answered at all.


There is a vast growing body of good Pentecostals who have learned to temper their early fanatical extremes, who now see that God's truths are found by balancing ALL the Scriptures on the subject, and that dangerous and false doctrines will result where verses are continually repeated without that balance, twisting the Scriptures.


The beginning Pentecostal preacher will often make the generality, "The others do not believe in Divine Healing." Not true. Virtually all Evangelicals pray when ailing and ask for prayer. They also will read the passage on healing in James on how to pray for the sick. What the "others" do object to is the use of sacred Gifts for drawing crowds, members. and money and then have to use also so generally questionable practices if not outright deceit.


Once pointing out the frequent abuses, in general the Pentecostals do have more real and marvelous healings than the others.


Likewise the Holiness People, while they should see some of the common beams in their own eyes,, do, in general, have a much higher rate of morality, less worldliness, and a general custom more like the Primitive Church of the New Testament.


Since there are some so very godly individuals in each camp, as well as not so godly, we see the wide difference of individuals as the critical factor, rather than the fault of a denomination. We should preach against sin and love of the world without falling into the error of condemning the other denominations.


Style and Dress


The Holiness people have maintained a much better standard on this than have Pentecostals, Baptists and other major denominations like Presbyterians and Lutherans.


This is the Laodicean Church Age characterized by being rich in material things and poor in spiritual. The most popular religious programs on TV cater to the superficial, easy faith, no cross, no reproach, and only a distant similarity to the primitive church of the disciples. They attract the rich and those who would be rich. They are more social centers, mental clinics, and psycho-therapy dispensers than real churches preaching the full Bible Gospel of the crucified Lord.


But, that is not the fault of any denomination. They are widely represented. Meanwhile there are godly preachers ministering to sincere and hungry congregations in every area.


In Latin countries the dress style is much more conservative in our Evangelical churches than in the U.S. Down town the women keep up with the styles, but generally the believers automatically follow a more modest demeanor once they have been saved.


They are saddened or aghast at the wives of some of the evangelists that come through for a campaign. O go out of my way to make a fight to help maintain that. I speak out to evangelists and their party, that whatever their custom and life- style at home, to please have some thought and respect for our local standards and what our local congregations feel is Christian. Some pay respectful attention, and some do not.


ETERNAL SECURITY


Just as the Pentecostals often use the healing service as a drawing card, the Baptists use Eternal Security, or "Once in Grace, Always in Grace." Years ago some evangelist carrying his pet doctrine to its logical conclusion, used to preach, "And when the Lord comes the roofs of the brothel houses and taverns will fly off as the believers go up to be with the Lord." Critics to be fair and honest, must also note that there were many others preaching, "I believe in Eternal Security, but it is the curse of the doctrine that some may use it as permission to continue in open sin. They have probably never been saved."


Some individuals have come to me bothered by this controversial doctrine, and I quoted the above, then added, "Evidently on reflection you can see there may be no difference. What difference does it really make whether a man never was saved, and only made superficial acceptance wile continuing in sin, or backslidden? In either case he goes to the same hell."


There is a true security that Christians have, and they of all the good denominations have it. The Bible is full of promises, repeated exhortations to "Fear no," and, "I will hold thee," and on and on. God does watch over and care for His children, and when they occasionally fall into sin or error, He chastises in love even as a good father disciplines a beloved son.


There is a false twist to the doctrine when a person uses such a doctrine deliberately to go into sin or continue in it. That is a very grievous sin against the leadings of the Holy Spirit, and is unpardonable as long as such a person deliberately so continues.


It is grievous also for an evangelist to accent that doctrine as an easy faith drawing card, not pointing out the dangers of its misconception.


Such use of the doctrine was not in the original Calvinistic doctrines, but came into popular use with Baptists evangelists in more recent years to just preach salvation without dwelling on the Eternal Security doctrine in a way that used to be so abused. In our Guatemala Baptist churches, one never sees any such abuse. Saved members are expected to maintain certain firm rules and when they do not they are put in discipline for a time, and also they are expected to come to the altar anew in confession and reconciliation with the Lord.


The Baptist churches down here are all associated with fundamentalist Baptist churches in the U.S., but NOT associated with northern U.S. baptists which are general Modernists, God-is- dead, humanistic, even Council of Church communistic. Likewise the Holiness people are old time Methodists, no longer associated with the Modernist Methodists.


THE BEAUTY OF THE TRUE CHURCH


We are all familiar with the New Testament phrase that the Church, Christ's Bride, is without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.. Where is there such a church?


It is certainly ANY denomination. But, recalling individuals we all know some very, very beautiful characters. I often say, "It is wonderful to be a Christian, one has so many good friends, wonderful, decent, true." I contrast the poor wretches who do not fellowship with Christian have an awful time. There is a tavern a block or so away where the general public of non- Christians, resort for fun and fellowship. Not a night goes by, I hear, but two or more stagger out with broken and bleeding heads, missing a tooth, often having to go to a doctor or hospital. That is friendship? "The way of the transgressor is hard." It is even more rugged than the narrow way of Calvary, and it leads only to the grave and to hell.


The way of the righteous shines bright and leads ever higher unto a Perfect Day, says one Version.


There are some mysteries in the Song of Solomon. but note this. We often quote the parts showing our love for the Lord and poetically lauding His glory and strength, but there is a nearly EQUAL number of beautiful passages painting up the beauty and loveliness of the Bride, the True Church, beauty, love, glory, perfection, beyond words. That is the way the Lord God sees us all who love Him with a whole heart. Each of us still human, weak at times, feel weak but really strong in His love. The human imperfections of my friends don't bother me too much, usually. I'm just over-blessed to have them, and they are so patient with me.


We have one beautiful church, and I don't like to have brethren criticizing it, or fighting among themselves, but what is more important, the Lord really doesn't like to have individuals fighting against His Bride, that He has spent so much love and attention on, and suffered for.




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