|Standing on the Rock|
Almost daily, I receive hostile letters from atheists, anti-Pentecostals, ex-Pentecostals, non-Christians, or other non-believers who either think I am a lunatic, a hate-monger, a heretic, or an idiot. I categorically delete such things.
At the same time, I get a fair amount of encouragement from those who agree with me, or appreciate my efforts, and for that encouragement, I am very deeply thankful.
But overall, my ministry is unique. Not many preachers or Christians deal with as many people every day as I do. In some ways, it could make me extremely cynical. I have been beat up so many times by those who don't agree with me, there is a sore temptation to walk off the stage and never come back. There are not very many criticisms left in the world that I have not already taken many times over.
But the net effect is that I have learned to stand concretely on the Word of God, the Bible. I have learned not to flinch with what I believe. I have learned to crystallize my thinking on virtually every Bible doctrine of any significance. I am hard core. I know what the Bible says, and I know what I believe about it.
I have also learned that the Bible is not made out of Silly Putty or Play-Dough. It is made out of Stone. It is changeless. It is inflexible. It is forever the same. The Message of God's Word is ONE MESSAGE. It is ONE GOD with ONE IDENTITY and ONE DEFINITION. I do not believe for one second that the Bible supports all the various religions on earth. It only supports ONE true religion, and it is every man's business to know what that one True Bible religion is.
It is ONENESS. There are not various definitions of God. He is ONE Spirit, incarnate in ONE MAN, a Son, conceived by the Spirit in a human named Mary.
It is APOSTOLIC. It follows the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ and His apostles. The eternal formula for the true Church of Jesus Christ is laid out in the book of Acts. The subsequent New Testament epistles are addressed to those who were already born again by the Acts 2 formula. The formula for salvation is not found in the epistles. It is found in the book of Acts, chapter 2.
It is PENTECOSTAL. Jesus came to baptize all men and women in the Holy Ghost and fire. The INITIAL EVIDENCE of that baptism is speaking in other tongues. The Early Church was born on the day of Pentecost, in the Upper Room, when the Holy Ghost came upon them and they spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them the utterance. Outside the Upper Room, thousands came to ask how they could receive the same experience. Peter commanded every one of them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of their sins. THAT is the Pentecostal way. That is the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ. Acts 2:38 is the formula for the New Birth. Repentance, Water Baptism in Jesus' name, and Holy Ghost Baptism; representing the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ.
It is HOLINESS. A golden thread weaves throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. It is God's call to mankind to OBEY His Word and His commandments, to CEASE from sin, and live a holy, consecrated life unto Him. The call to holiness has never been silenced, never been revoked or rescinded. EVERY generation of believers has been called to come out from the world, to be separate, and to touch not the unclean thing. That affects every single element of our living. Our conversations must be holy. Our behavior must be holy. Our appearance must be holy. Our associations must be holy. God has given us commandments to obey regarding every element of our lives, and to ignore them or disregard them is to render ourselves unholy, and therefore displeasing to God. To every man, in every age, Almighty God says, "Be ye holy, for I am holy."
So, it does not make any difference to me whether you are from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia or anywhere else. It doesn't make any difference to me whether you are an Atheist, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Taoist, a Catholic, a Muslim, a Democrat or a Republican. I have the same, identical message to everyone I speak to.
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. ...SAVE YOURSELVES from this untoward generation," Acts 2:38-40.
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty," 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
"Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him," 2 Corinthians 11:1-4.