by Jim Johnson
Posted on FactNet Monday, August 23, 2004 - 3:00 pm:
Greetings in Christ's name. My name is Jim Johnson and I am the only son of Maurice Johnson, am 70 years old and have detailed and vivid memories of my fathers' ministry. I was associated with the group in question for most of the first 50 years of my life, and left because I believed the "leadership" had departed from the tradition represented by my father and many of his peers, but more importantly, had twisted scriptures to build a personal kingdom. Very shortly after I made my decision to leave, God allowed me to read certain books that in short order helped me to realize that my experience and that of the group was in no way unique, but rather another sad duplication of spiritual departures that have littered the historical landscape with bruised and disappointed Christians for hundreds of years. It enabled me to deal with the spiritual issues and not be carried away with my own bitterness.
I have personal knowledge of most of the situations in discussion and am willing to be questioned by any who care to hear my experience.
I love the Lord, love his people and increasingly hate those who distort Gods word for their own personal program. I have known Robert Grove since he was 3 years old and to some degree, grew up with him. I am sorry to say that I have never seen the clear indication of the working of the Holy Spirit in him. I realize that he is a very clever and determined man and has accomplished much of what he set out to do and be some thirty years ago.
Because this was a private conversation between Robert Grove and me, I can not prove this, but God knows he said it, I know he said it and even if he doesn't remember, his subsequent actions and present position bear it out. His statement: "I have served the saints in the kitchen for years, now I am going to lead them." This was stated when he was living in the Tulare, California area, before he moved to Virginia. He had in fact worked hard with others in preparing food for christian camps for several years, and in his mind qualified him to reach for and take "leadership" over fellowships of professing Christians. During that same visit at his house and in his study, I noticed on his desk a copy of Mein Kamph, and questioned him about it. He said he had just read it and was very much impressed with Hitler's understanding of how to control people. He quoted Hitler as saying that in order to establish yourself as a leader in the minds of people, you had to make grand and sometimes outrageous statements. The more preposterous the statement the more effect, because the masses stupidly assume that since you are a leader and have authority, you would not state something unless it was true. It is still a curiosity to me why he would say that to me, especially in the light of the fact (which at the time I was not aware of) that he looked on me as possible competition. He is reported to have said in a men's meeting in Los Angeles that if Jim Johnson thought he was the second coming of Maurice Johnson, he was badly mistaken.
For the record for anyone who cares, I would like to say that as God is my witness, I have never believed that I "inherited the mantle" of my father. First of all it is impossible, because there is no such thing as apostolic succession or anything akin to it in the Church which is Christ's Body, and secondly, I have never believed that I had or have the calling of an evangelist, pastor, or teacher. I do believe that I am called to be faithful to God's word and to walk in what I know of it. I am called to study to show myself approved UNTO GOD. I am called to live my life to His glory and to try to help and edify the saints wherever I meet them. I do want to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ and be ready at all times to give an answer. I am a laymen and work for the support of myself and my wife of 48 years.
I would love to hear from any of you who are curious about my fathers life and ministry.
Your brother in the hope of Christ's soon return
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:26 am:
To all who post on this page or read it. This is such a huge matter and complicated by the passage of time that it looks impossible. Please allow me to try to present some basics that may simplify and have been a great help to me and might to others.
1. For all who are truly saved, born again, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, we belong to Him. "...ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." I Cor 6:19&20.
2.He, Christ has put all of us into one body and any attempt to draw a boundry around a small part of that body is sectarian in spirit and practice.
3.He alone is our head, ruler, leader, and our loyalty must be to Him alone. (see Matt 10:32-39)
4. Interpretations and applications of the scripture must be taught to the individual believer by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. (see John 16:13 and I John2:20-27) (as and illustration , if you and I disagree on a matter of scripture, one or both of us is wrong, because the Spirit of Truth will not teach us differently, because God is not the author of confusion.
If you are sitting under the ministry of one who preaches something that gives you instant, inner discomfort, it is probably the Holy Spirit trying to protect you. My advice is to run, not walk to the nearest exit. Go home and get your bible, and earnestly pray to God that He, through his word will settle the matter in your mind and heart.
5. Be a Berean and check up for yourself. Acts17:11 and I Thess.5:21. Remember, when we all stand at the judgment seat of Christ, we will not be able to hide behind either Maurice Johnson, Robert Grove nor any other man, nor will we be able to say, "he mislead me". God wants to instruct us, He has given us his adequate and complete word, He has given each of us a personal tutor, the Holy Spirit.
6.Sadly, often our meanest persecutors are some of our own physical or spiritual family. As hard as it is to put into practice, we are commanded to love them anyway.
7.The greatest and perhaps only thing we can do for our loved ones who are still trapped in an unhealthy and ungodly situation, is to draw near to God, with the promise that He will draw near to us. We can and must grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must allow God to control our thoughts and emotions. And if any of those still imprisoned ever take the time to check up on what we are and are doing, they will see love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. They will see that after all, contrary to what their "leaders" have told them, there is abundant life beyond the wall, we have not "left the Lord", and we are not wallowing in the flesh. We have come to recognize the whole Body of Christ. Our contacts have widened, our perceptions elevated and our spiritual enjoyment has increased.
8.We fear man too much-because we fear God too little. One fear cancels the other.
9.To any reader who might still be in that assembly, don't think that you can address the evils from within. Read and obey II Cor. 6:17&18. Please notice that there is a special aspect of the fatherhood of God that is only enjoyed by those who are willing to do the scary, seemingly impossible act of stepping out. I like to use this example. Being in the assembly and struggling with the demands of the "leaders" against the pleadings of the Holy Spirit, is somewhat like being a prisoner on a pirate ship. Your eyes are blindfolded, your hands tied behind your back, chains around your ankles, a musket at your back, and you are being pushed out on the plank. Your bare toes curl over the edge and you know that the next step means DOWN AND DROWN. But shortly after that frightening step you discover, "that underneath are the everlasting arms".
May God give us all the courage and single vision to see Him only, hear Him only, and follow Him only, regardless of the cost.
Your brother in Christ
Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 12:24 pm:
There seems to be a lull in the message activity. I would like to pose the following questions to anyone who might still be in the assembly of which so many have spoken.
If I understand Ephesians 4, the purpose of ministers in the Body of Christ is to help believers to come to maturity in their individual lives. It is to edify the whole Body of Christ. It is to enable a Christian to detect and withstand "every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive," Notice the next verse, "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." Please read and meditate on verse 16, and notice that unity, nourishment, increase of the body all come from a right relationship with the Head, Jesus Christ.
This passage and many others destroy forever the idea of clergy/laity relationships that breed abuse from the "clergy".
My questions to you:
Are you personally growing in your love for and appreciation for Jesus Christ?
Are you becoming more mature as a Christian?
Are you therefore able to detect and resist ideas and influences that go contrary to the written word of God?
Do you ask God for the wisdom and courage to take a stand on whatever He shows you? Are you willing to stand alone if necessary? Remember that throughout the Scriptures, the majority was always wrong. God's prophets have always had to face scorn, ridicule, punishment, exile and sometimes death to be true to God.
Is your love for God accompanied by a growing hatred of sin?
Are you experiencing an increasing love for the whole Body of Christ, not just those that your "leaders" say are approved?
Do you have a real passion for those who do not know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour?
Do you have a testimony? It is been well said that you can not give a testimony unless you have one. What has the Lord done for you personally?
Do you grieve over the division in the Body of Christ, or are you smugly comfortable in thinking that the only "real representation of the Body of Christ" is your fellowships?
Do you REALLY believe that you and I are going to stand before Jesus Christ someday and give account for what we did with His Word?
Do you really know anything about the fear of the Lord?
Is your grasp and understanding of the Scriptures such that if everyone else failed and went away, you could and would stand resolutely and victoriously on what the Lord has taught you?
Are you personally growing in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ?
Do you pray for us who have left your fellowship or have been thrown out? (We pray for you)
Who is the greatest influence in your life?
Who has the greatest control over your life?
The answers to these questions are not for my benefit but for yours and I beg you in the name of Christ to consider them seriously.
Sooner than any of us can expect, either by death or by the catching away of the Church, we all are going to be with Christ, be examined by him and rewarded or not by him, based on our loyalty to Him and obedience to Him. THINK ON THAT!!!
To those of you who have been intimidated by your "leaders" by their misuse of Hebrews 13:7&17, I invite you to email me for a copy of a brief study on the book of Hebrews that puts those verses in proper perspective.
I would love to hear from any of you and in the mean time will continue to pray that for all of us, Jesus Christ will become more and more precious and that our loyalties will be only to Him.
"To whom be glory and honor for ever and ever, Amen".
Yours in the hope of His soon return
Posted on FactNet Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:09 pm:
I for one was never notified by letter that I and my wife were "marked". But behaviour speaks louder than words on paper. As a matter of biblical fact, we are not marked, nor are dozens of others, because we have done nothing that is spelled out in the scripture for spiritual discipline.
I am moved to make a comparison. A lily is in no danger of being contaminated by the contents of the swamp in which it grows. Jesus, in his earthly life and ministry was in no danger of being compromised or contaminated by the sin saturated world into which he came. The God ordained nature of the lily enables it to draw nutrients from the ooze and display its beauty.
Jesus, being fully man and fully God, by his nature was not threatened nor dirtied by the sinful society to whom he ministered.
We who are truly saved, have been given a new nature that is incapable of sin. If we walk in that nature, we do not fear contamination from our surroundings or worldly companions. The lily may be the only beauty and purity to be seen in the swamp. Certainly Jesus was in total contrast to all others around him and His beauty and purity was the long looked for Balm in Gilead.
It is our privilege to live in, work in, and have social and professional interaction with those around us who are in darkness. By the grace of God and by his power within us, we can display purity and power; Gal 5 the fruit of the spirit.
We are God in proxy. We are the closest thing to God many will ever see, unless they have a personal experience with him through Christ.
Robert Grove has no interest in "restoring" any of us simply because he is afraid of what we believe: it would dismantle his program. What he does not realize is that he is little more than an elected official, and his only power comes from the mindless submission of his constituents.
If a dozen men got thoroughly right with the Lord, and appropriated the wisdom of God's word, and the boldness of the Holy Spirit, and withstood RAG, his kingdom would crumble.
Because of the laws of this country (thank God) Robert and Co. can not confiscate property, seize bank accounts, physically attack, imprison, or kill. His only weapons are cleverness and determination, the misuse of scripture, the complicity of wannabees or simple men who are not Bereans, and the very effective tool (as many of us know) of dividing families.
"It is of Satan, from the pit of hell and smells like smoke.", a favorite saying of a Florida bible teacher.
But there is a greater tragedy here than the dividing of families. One look at the days news should tell us that indeed we are living in perilous times. There is national and personal moral collapse, possible financial collapse, growing hostility against anything that is Christian, an educational system that is dedicated to stealing the minds of our children and grandchildren and infecting them with godless materialism and humanism, a real and growing threat from Islam, and hideous compromise and worldliness within the professing church. There is a terrific need for people (young and old, men and women, boys and girls) of true spiritual conviction and commitment to simply BE Christians in this present evil world. There is a terrific need for unity, the kind of unity that is the result of submission the head of the Church, His word and His spirit. There is the need to re-discover and apply the command that Jesus gave to his disciples, recorded in John 13:35, "by THIS shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
The very existence of this message board is witness to the failure to understand and obey this command of Jesus. I do not criticize the entries, but rather the need for them. What Robert G is doing and has done is a disgrace to the name of the Lord.
I cannot believe that those in the assembly are being fed with truly spiritual food, to strengthen them to function victoriously in the world, with neighbors, schoolmates, co-workers, etc. From what I hear, most of the meetings and camps are re-indoctrination sessions and exhortations to stay away from contact with the world; wearying sessions on externals and conformity, and a schedule of meetings, gatherings, and camps that keep everybody on a treadmill. Where is the timeout for personal bible study and meditation? Where is there evidence of a growing love for Christ and the mission spirit that is the natural product of that?
Where is the love for all God's family evident? Where is the spirit of restoration? Where is the humility? I have been told by more than one person still in the assembly that they realize that in the markings of years ago, many mistakes were made. Well, do we not deserve an apology, or at least an explanation?
May I suggest that all of us commit to praying fervently that God will roll up his sleeves and do what only he can do in touching hearts, stopping the willful demigods, and restoring among all of us the unity Christ prayed for.
If I can have any useful part in this process it is not to bash RAG or put him down or out, that is God's business, but I sincerely hope that I can encourage someone to lift their eyes and hearts to Him from whom all blessings flow.
May Christ be exalted in our lives.
Posted on FactNet Thursday, March 17, 2005 - 2:51 pm:
Just a word to those still in the assembly and living with a troubled mind and conscience. I know that if you are honest, the Holy Spirit has made you uncomfortable, because so much of what is taught and practiced is offensive to God. You know that you are being urged by the Spirit to take a stand, and that means to "come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord."
You also know what you have been told for the past twenty or so years, that those that have left the group, have "left the Lord." You have been conditioned to believe that there is no meaningful and victorious Christian life outside the assembly, that the group is "the only viable representation of the Body of Christ", and that you can't grow spiritually outside. Let me use an analogy.
Picture yourself a prisoner on an old pirate ship. You have objected to the policy and practice of the pirate captain, and so you have been condemned to die by walking the plank. You have been blindfolded, your arms are tied behind your back, your ankles are in chains, and you are being pushed out on the plank by a musket in your back. You shuffle unsteadily along the plank until your bare toes curl over the end of the plank. You stand there knowing that the next step means DOWN AND DROWN. With the gun at your back and angry growls and curses behind, you step off in terror. What you discover is the soft pillow of God's love - you discover that "underneath are the everlasting arms." Deut 33;27. Furthermore, you discover that your blindfold has disappeared, your shackles are gone, you are standing in knee deep warm water, and as you look around in amazement, you discover lots of people that are smiling and playing in the water, and there is no sign of the pirate ship. Everybody is celebrating, and they are singing a strange song; "Shipwrecked on God, and Stranded on Omnipotence." There is on their faces the smile of the redeemed, and they all have a story of deliverance to tell; some, like you, have been delivered from the bondage and fear of man, and they are discovering a new relationship with their deliverer, Jesus Christ. They are also for the first time really able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit as they read God's word and pray as they have never prayed before. Their only sadness is the realization that so many of their friends and family refuse to step out in faith and put fear and bondage behind. This awareness gives a new urgency to their prayers as they well understand the terror that kept them on board so long. They realize that only a loving and powerful God can give the necessary courage.
Please consider Proverbs 16:3 "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."
Humanly, we want it the other way around. We want God to explain everything to us, then we will be glad to obey him; Obedience precedes explanation.
So, dear fearful friends, look up and step off.
I'll see you in the water.
What kind of situation would bring the most honor and glory to our God? There really does not have to be another split anywhere in the fellowship of His people. What He desires and He alone is able to bring about is a glorious reunion. There does not need to be one more marking and avoiding.
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 1:12 pm:
What is needed is for the men who have usurped a place of "leadership" and "authority" to privately and sincerely present themselves before God and say what David said in Psalm 139:23-24. Search me O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
All the terrible damage and division would melt away with the simple device of a tender conscience before God. I am here to tell you that anyone who honestly prays like that can count on a visit from the Holy Spirit. I have prayed that way and still do, and many a time I have been awakened in the wee hours of the morning with an unmistakable understanding of something wrong in my life. When that happens it is clear that I must deal with this problem immediately before God. It is like the second verse of Amazing Grace: "T'was grace that taught my heart to fear, and Grace my fears relieved, how precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed." Those night time visits from the Holy Spirit do two things; they frighten me into my spiritual senses, and immediately remind me that there is forgiveness and correction in honest dealings with God.
There is also a flip side. One of the frightening realities of the day of Grace is that God sometimes allows his disobedient children to continue in their willfulness until their death. The apostle Paul said in I Tim 5:24, "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after."
But all of us do have an appointment with the Judgment Seat of Christ. And there are especially severe warnings and harsh penalties for those who profess to be shepherds and abuse the sheep. If you never have, please the entire 34th chapter of Ezekiel.
When we face God, there will be no rigged men's meetings to control the dialog. There will be no false witnesses, no rule by consensus, no power politics, no intimidation, no manufactured "evidence", no extorted witness testimony. We all will be confronted by Him who is TRUTH. But if we wait until then, it will be too late to repent and repair. It is terribly important that we all willingly present ourselves before God and allow Him to examine our lives and thoughts right now, while we are alive, so we can spend the rest of our time on this earth doing what he has saved and called us for; to re-present Him in our lives and conduct, individually and collectively. All this terrible division that exists in the Body of Jesus Christ is a delight to the devil, an excuse to the unbeliever to reject the grace of God, and a total denial of the heart of God to dwell in and among us in such a way that empty hearted pagans around us will want to "taste and see that the Lord is good."
I plead with those of you men who think of yourselves as "leaders" to stop for a time, stop talking to each other, stop looking to each other for validation, stop the ungodly business of controlling people, stop resisting the Holy Spirit who would correct you if you would allow him, stop wresting the scriptures to seemingly support your selfish and ungodly agenda, and start by realizing that "all things are open and naked, before Him with whom we have to do."
DO IT NOW, WE DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME LEFT.
Yours in the hope of His soon return.
Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 5:18 pm:
Psalm 1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate day and night.---He shall be like a tree planted by the river of waters, His leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth, shall prosper.---The wicked are not so---the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Ye shall know them by their fruits.
If this report is accurate, is is terribly sad. But it illustrates the inevitable result of controlling people by fear and intimidation. When there is no internalizing of the law of God, and when heavy-handed "leaders" are out of sight, these things are predictable results. To those in the group still, I have a question. How long has it been since you heard preaching that conveyed you into a spiritual encounter with God, where you for the moment became unconscious of the speaker and trembled before God? How long has it been since you entered into serious prayer and bible study on you own, asking God to speak to you through His word? How long has it been since you heard Christ uplifted and Him alone?
If the ministry you hear does not challenge you to a closer walk with Jesus Christ and greater respect for His word, His Spirit and His rightful place as Head of the Church, If your "leaders" in any way discourage you from personal bible study, if they in any way convince you that whatever you read in the scriptures must be certified by "the brethren" or "the leadership" before you can act upon it, YOU ARE LISTENING TO THE WRONG PEOPLE.
Think about it.
Yours in His precious name.
Posted on Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - 1:17 pm:
Reflecting on the post of Favorite Son;
I am reminded of a former Baptist preacher in San Francisco in 1969, that my father (Maurice Johnson) heard on the radio and called my attention to. This man was giving some things that were true to scripture and very interesting. Dad said, "he sounds really good, but there is something very disturbing about him, and I can't quite put my finger on what."
The preachers name was Jim Jones, and you all know the rest of the story.
The apostle Paul warned us against men that would use "good words and fair speeches" to deceive the hearts of the simple. These men used good words and fair speeches to bring about division in the body to satisfy their own selfish goals. They did not care about the carnage their actions would leave behind but rather that they could realize their agenda.
One of the men mentioned in these postings was heard to state over a CB radio, leaving a Tulare camp, that there would probably be a 50% split in the assembly. That was apparently OK, as long as he was the ruler of the other half.
This same man once visited me at my shop and I told him, "XXXXXX, if you and your leadership buddies continue in your present track, what you will wind up with is a bunch of yes men, and unthinking and spiritually impotent conformists."
He replied with a shrug of the shoulder and a trademark smirk, "Could be."
I had little doubt, and much less now, that he had no concern for the spiritual health of the flock, but rather was fashioning a following.
"Verily, they have their reward."
Take heed while there is time.
Posted on Friday, May 06, 2005 - 1:07 pm:
With all this discussion about money and motives, I would like to reminisce a bit.
Maurice Johnson won the confidence of many people over the years by his love of God's word, his carefulness and honesty in using it, his personal conduct, and his attitude toward and use of money.
My family moved from the Glendale California area when I was about 2 years old. Dad had left the Methodist Church years before, started and disbanded Maranatha Tabernacle and was preaching to a small band of believers (about 35). This was during some of the worst years of the depression, money was almost non-existent, few people had jobs and no one could support a young preacher with a wife and four children. Dad used to sell bibles door to door, pick up bottles and turn them in for a few cents to supplement the meager contributions. My mother's father had a farm near Fayetteville Arkansas with an empty log cabin, livestock and a huge garden; food aplenty. We moved there and that cabin experience comprises some of my earliest memories. Dad used to preach on the street corner on courthouse square in Fayetteville, in the Crosses Creek Community Club, in the open air at Cannon Creek. He preached to the workers on their lunch hour at tomato cannery's and sawmills; wherever people congregated. None of this was for financial reward or gain. It was because he was called of God to preach and so he preached.
World War II broke out and we moved to California in the summer of 1942. Dad preached at Pershing Square, Rainbow Pier in Long Beach, McArthur Park, etc. Because there was full war time employment there was more money put into his hands for the ministry. His attitude, until his retirement, was that money was given into his hands for the work of the Lord and he was careful, almost to the point of stingy, with money spent on himself or his family. Most of the funds went into radio broadcasts, building rent for special public outreaches and printing of literature. Even here, he utilized his own mimeograph machine, cut his own stencils and taught me how to crank it. Our family lived very frugally. We had what we needed but nothing superfluous. I had very few toys, my sisters modest and inexpensive clothes, and I don't ever remember thinking that we were deprived. Dad would drive his well maintained car until it was about to die, refused any fancy accessories, and never had auto air conditioning until 1966.
Our family made several trips across country, between California and Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri in the course of Dad's ministry. We almost never stayed in a motel or ate in a restaurant. Many a time we slept on the ground, safely off the highway. Most meals were prepared in a city park or in the car from supplies purchased at a market. All this was because Dad had a conviction about his use of ministry funds put in his hands.
In 1942 when we arrived in California there were no rental houses available because of the defense industry workers. Dr. Ross gave my folks the down payment on a house in Highland Park. About three years later we sold this place and moved to a hilltop house. Because of appreciation there was a nice profit in the sale and relocation. Dad used only what was necessary for the purchase, then used the remainder for ministry. This happened three more times.
So, all that to say this. I was personally offended when I learned that RAG and Jack Langford had decided that voluntary contributions were not adequate and thenceforth they wanted a salary. Then RAG purchases (or it was purchased for him) an elegant GM motor home.
Many sermons about giving later, RAG is now a rich man. If he was a multi-millionaire he could not leave for his sons what I received from MMJ. The legacy of my dad is spiritual integrity, a passion for the lost, regardless of their financial ability, a consistent, holy, chaste, careful and considerate life. He left me no money or property, but rather a very high and lofty standard of Christian character and behavior, and a wealth of good sound doctrine. No way can I ever fill his shoes, and one thing he definitely did not do was to groom me for his replacement. He knew that was impossible, and I know it too. I do have a calling from God, and that is simply to be faithful to Him. It is to study to show myself approved of Him. It is to be surrendered to his will and His Spirit. It is to cling more closely to Him as the evil around us increases. I fall far short, but that is my desire and effort.
I observed my father closely for many years and he was truly a servant of Jesus Christ. I cannot say that of RAG.
I am sad to have to say that.
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 6:25 pm:
May I be allowed to make a comment on the subject of modesty.
It is interesting to me to consider two professions and two costumes.
The first is the woman in Proverbs 7:10
Solomon saw her and recognized her profession of harlotry from her uniform/costume/attire.
The other is I Timothy 2:9&10. Here the profession is godliness and the uniform/costume/attire is to reflect and complement that profession.
Two very different profession - two distinct modes of dress.
I have no idea what the woman in Solomon's time was wearing, but he knew.
Sadly, today, even among professing Christian women and girls sometimes their costume sends an unclear message as to what their real profession is.
As far as I am concerned, this issue can only be settled by a tender conscience, in the heart of the individual, not by radical dogmas or legislation.
To a women who might be having trouble with the subject I suggest that they might try putting together a combination of color, fabric, style, fit and accessories that give them the maximum ability and opportunity to reflect Jesus Christ living within them, without distraction or confusion; a costume that would argue for your godliness. Also, please prayerfully consider these points: The fashion industry is driven by money. For the most part, the buying public is driven by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. (This applies to much more than clothing)
Do we really believe that in the latter days, ungodliness will increase? Can we point to one single societal trend that is toward godliness?
Are we willing to stand against the flood tide of filth and pollution for the testimony of Christ? Remember Daniel; as a prisoner of war, he purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the food from the king's kitchen. It was not trendy, safe, socially acceptable, but God honored him.
When the scripture speaks of modesty, I personally believe that there are two components to biblical modesty. First and foremost - decency. Secondly not attracting undue attention to ones self. This, in my view, makes the extreme dress of the Amish, in a sense, immodest though in no sense indecent. So again, how can men and women dress so as to not disappoint or surprise the onlooker when they discover we are Christians?
If you have trouble with what I have presented here, I invite questions.
Your servant because of Christ
Posted on Sunday, August 07, 2005 - 6:28 pm:
Just as a matter of history, years ago during by father's active ministry, it became known that a man in the assembly, married and with several children, had been guilty of incest with a daughter. My dad and other men confronted the man with the spiritual aspects of his sins, and then told him that since he had broken civil laws he had to submit to civil authorities. He did and spent some time in Arizona State Prison.
There was a time when there was integrity and accountability in the assembly.
It is sickening to me to read various postings here, not because the person is telling on others, but that there are apparently so many ugly sordid stories to tell. It is so tragic to observe that a fellowship that once was known for decency, honor, real evangelism, a genuine care and concern for the poor and downtrodden and basically correct doctrine, has deteriorated into a narrow, hypocritical, legalistic, cruel, morbid, twisted bunch of religious in-breds.
There are serious issues confronting believers in Jesus Christ in this decaying world other than slavish obedience to a man or men who have appointed themselves or each other to positions of political power. Where is the fear of the Lord? Where is the profound respect for the written Word of God? Where is the mutual submission that Peter expresses in I Peter 5:5?
The men who leveled the charge against many of us of causing division, were and are the ones guilty. The ones who accused others of pride and independence and disregard for God's word are the very ones who will face the Head of The Church one day soon. There will be no hiding behind others, no circular validation, no consensus to protect them from that sure and terrible accounting.
To those of you who have suffered not only spiritual insults but are possibly crime victims, there is a need for confrontation in a legal arena. Don't let anyone deter you by citing I Cor 6: suggesting that we should not use the legal system when appropriate. The apostle Paul was not talking about civil violations there, but disputes between brethren that could have and should have been settled between brethren. If you question that, read Romans 13.
But be aware, that if you do level charges against certain men and group practices, they will take every imperfection in your Christian life and amplify it to discredit you. So be sure at the outset that your desire is truth, justice and spiritual cleansing. None of us has lived a perfect life and there are certain individuals in the group that keep a dossier on anyone they deem to be a potential obstacle or dissenter. They have been know to appear at a men's meetings with thick folders containing carefully compiled notes about real or imagined wrongdoings. At such hearings, truth is the first casualty, and all the tricks of psychological manipulation are used. This is because they really have only one concern; the preservation of their power and imagined position.
Spiritual courage has always been costly. Faithfulness to Christ has brought loneliness to many. God's prophets were always in the despised minority.
My constant prayer is that those browbeaten, cowed, demoralized sheep still in the group will cry out to God for help, wisdom and courage. Remember, Jesus said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled." Matt 5:6
I simply don't believe that the majority of those sheep are genuinely happy and spiritually comfortable. They can't be if they are truly born again, because they too have the indwelling Holy Spirit, The Spirit of Truth. It is his business to guide, comfort, instruct, validate, and correct us. Please read and meditate on I John 2:20-27. I know, on the authority of God's Word that all these years the Holy Spirit has been trying to help and lead all who are truly saved.
Perhaps at this point, I should pose Paul's question: II Cor13:5, Examine yourselves, WHETHER ye be in the faith-----. How do you know that you are a Christian if the decision of "the men" has more weight in your mind than THUS SAITH THE LORD, if the fear of the displeasure of "the men" is a stronger motivator than the fear of the Lord, if a spurious tract or study has more influence on you than what your bible plainly says to you?
My dear friends, what is it going to take to cause you to get real with our loving and yet holy God? I remember well the statement of a failed minister years ago. He said that out of fear of losing folks, he deferred to preach certain truths - he lost them anyway. He feared to correct his children for the same reason - he lost two out of three anyway.
To all of us; only the fear of the Lord brings safety, confidence, peace and true wisdom. May God help us.
Yours in the hope of Christ's soon return
Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 1:23 pm:
Dear friends still in the RAG assembly and under its influence.
I am really worried. I am beginning to wonder if you even understand what the Body of Christ really is.
I wonder if you have become comfortable, even though living on religious bread and water and you can't see that you are spiritually malnourished.
I wonder if you have grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit so long and so consistently that you think the periodic discomfort you feel at some preaching and practice is heartburn. I am not trying to be cute of sarcastic but to make a point that God, through the Holy Spirit IS faithful to us and we either listen and obey or discount or ignore and explain away his pleadings and exhortations.
I wonder if any of you take time to ponder that we all give lip service to the idea of the soon return of Jesus Christ, and that we will be taking the most important and glorious trip in all eternity, and give little or no thought to actually being face to face with our redeemer; for ever and ever and ever.
I wonder if you really believe that "the world and the fashion thereof passeth away, but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
I wonder if you still believe, or ever did believe, that all things are open and naked before him with whom we have to do.
I suspect that you have submitted to the advice/command not to read after, listen to or interact with preachers or bible teachers that are not approved by your "leaders". Where this is true you have robbed yourself of some wonderful teaching and thrilling testimonies. I have profited much from the preaching and writing of "un-approved" men. I make it my business to "study to show myself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed", and as I do, I can profit from the ministry of others and yet not be deceived if and when they preach something unscriptural. That is God's promise to me. I John 2:20 "But ye have an unction (anointing) from the Holy One, and ye know all things." Please read the remainder of this chapter and see that the Holy Spirit gives us the infallible ability to recognize truth and error, without needing to be taught by a man. I rejoice to hear truth and still am not tempted to join up with the program or institution the preacher might represent.
I have heard reports that your meetings and camps are not times of spiritual excitement, challenge and encouragement to grow in your individual Christian life, but rather dogma sessions, re-indoctrination, and warnings not to stray.
I wonder if any of you "hunger and thirst after righteousness". I wonder if you have an increasing love of the Word of God and secretly, if need be, read and pray that the Holy Spirit would open your understanding.
I wonder if you would dare to ask this question to a co-worker or neighbor; "if I told you that I was a Christian, have I given you any reason to believe me?"
I wonder if you are grieved at the thought that many of those we see from day to day in the world are going to die without Christ. Do you see them as someone you ought to witness to?
I heard Tony Evans give a wonderful example. He remarked about the fortunes paid to professional football players, and pointed out that in a game, they would all gather around the quarterback, shoulder to shoulder, in a tight circle, called the huddle. They were not paid to huddle but to demonstrate in successive plays whether or not the huddle had been effective and whether the quarterback deserved his position.
As Christians, we are not primarily called to go to meetings or camps. We are called to demonstrate in confronting a godless world whether or not our getting together as a group has equipped us to more effectively live for Christ and fight the good fight of faith, and convince pagans that Godliness really is profitable.
Dear ones, I really do worry that in your pre-occupation with your group and its activities, you no longer really understand Christian living in an alien society. Ask yourself this question. What would happen if the Lord, by some circumstance, moved you to another state or country, where you had no known Christian fellowship? Could you stand victoriously, could you utilize the truths you have learned to reach out to others? Would you? Are you prepared to stand alone if God allows war or other disaster to devastate this country? Please avail yourself of the newsletter called "Voice of the Martyrs". See what is happening in other parts of the world where men and women hear and obey the call of God. Put yourself in their place. Has your group experience of the last 20 or so years equipped you to stand faithfully for Jesus Christ if it meant confiscation of property, beatings, imprisonment, or death?
Friends, we in America are living in a fools paradise and are ourselves fools, if we don't recognize the tsunami of evil and destruction that is headed our way. "Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord." Well--what is the flip side?
Yes, friends, I worry about you and I pray that some of you will go before the Lord and ask Him to open your heart and understanding. I pray that when you have questions you will take them to the Scripture, believing (this may be a new experience to you) that THE HOLY SPIRIT can and will guide and strengthen you, even if what HE is saying contradicts the "leaders". Remember that all of the relationships we now enjoy, spouses, children, grandchildren, friends old and new, are temporary. Those above mentioned, who are truly saved, will enjoy with us the glories of eternity and the presence of Christ. If you allow a filial relationship now to interfere with loyalty to Christ and His word, that too is temporary and will be counted as wood hay and stubble. Think about it.
Your friend because of Jesus Christ
Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 6:10 pm:
Dear Hud. Whoever you are and wherever you are in your spiritual life, may I suggest the following. Unless I am mistaken, you have been exposed to and affected by modern psychology, and I submit to you that it is hurtful and un-biblical.
Jesus plainly and un-equivocally tells us that if we are going to follow him, we must die. We must die to self, ambition, self esteem; all the things that come naturally to a human. As we come to the cross, and receive His new life, from that time on, His plan for us is to find our identity in Him, our confidence in Him, our joy and satisfaction and sense of purpose in Him.
As we learn to live in the reality of Galatians 2:20, our dignity, if you please, is in realizing that in spite of our sin and total unworthiness, having been born with a sinful nature and having added committed sins to the list; I say, in spite of all this, Jesus took our place, paid our debt and we can rejoice in the marvelous statement in Eph1:6, "To the praise of the glory of His grace, whereby He has made us accepted in the beloved."
When I first discovered that verse in an experimental way, I suddenly realized that God, who knows all about me, all my sins and failures, my stupidity, pride and ambition, etc., because of the perfect, finished, substitutionary work of His Son, tells me I am accepted in His family. There isn't a better crowd, thank you.
I really don't care what is said about me anymore, I really don't care if I am put down, ignored, misquoted, misjudged or reviled. Nothing that you or any one else can say about me comes close to the real truth, and God says, "I love you and you're Mine." Praise his holy name. I am not worried about my dignity, I do worry about how I present and represent my Lord.
I am not worried about my self esteem. I can say with complete freedom and conviction that "I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." But at the same time "I can do all things through Christ, I am a more than conqueror, through Christ."
I do want to enjoy and reflect the Joy of the Lord. I am not worried about my effectiveness, I am concerned about my faithfulness to Him. I no longer derive my spiritual strength from a group, fellowship, strong man, or my activities or even a laundry list of doctrines. I am learning to appropriate His strength, His love, His directions and I yearn for His return.
If you are in the RAG group, this kind of upward look and spiritual re-connection will be very hard on you because it unavoidably dis-connects you from the horizontal, human influence and pressure that is so essential to the "success" of Robert A Grove's long range plan. He has no interest in your becoming a happy, spirit led, independent servant of Jesus Christ; one who reads and believes for himself the written word of God. He needs you to be fearful, dependent, uncertain, self- doubting and self-evaluating.
"TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS, LOOK FULL IN HIS WONDERFUL FACE, AND THE THINGS (AND VOICES) OF EARTH WILL GROW STRANGELY DIM, IN THE LIGHT OF HIS GLORY AND GRACE.
May you allow God to call you in a new, real and personal way. May you be willing to hear that call. May you never look back.
Yours in the hope of His soon return.
Posted on Saturday, July 01, 2006 - 3:07 pm:
On the above subject, it is not without significance that in Romans 1:23, man following is the first evidence of idolatry. vs 21, "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful: but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." This and other verses warn us that there is a consequence for allowing ANYTHING to lessen or interfere with our relationship with God, our appreciation of who He is and what He has done in our behalf, our recognition of His rightful place as ruler over all, to the absolute exclusion of any and all human figures, and as a result, not being grateful. Ingratitude, as it relates to God is a most grievous sin.
Why does this downward progression occur? Man following is always preferable to being absolutely subject to the King of Kings, because as we honestly consider ourselves in contrast to Him, we cannot escape the conviction of our own sin. John Newton understood and expressed this in the second stanza of "Amazing Grace", "'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved, how precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed." You can neither run from nor hide from Almighty God, you can do both from an earthly, human ruler-figure. You cannot diminish the holiness of God, but with a human ruler you can make allowances for your own sins and weakness because you see them in your "leader".
So, for one who is not ready to be honest before God, receive the conviction and the release that comes from the work of the Holy Spirit, and walk in fear and confidence before God, it is much easier to be a man follower; even if that man is a tyrant, because you can look compliant, sound approved, appear to be within regulations, attendant to "important" functions and give your apparent approval to his actions and preachments. By all means, avoid controversy. Play the part, don't rock the boat, don't voice your questions ( I know you have them, simply because if you are truly saved, the Holy Spirit is either whispering or screaming at you to show you the truth and to help you to understand the horrible error preached and practiced by those who you allow to dominate you.)
There is a tradeoff, however. You can have the acceptance and approval of "the brethren", or you can have a good conscience before God, but you cannot have both.
To any and all who are allowing themselves to be bound by family loyalties, fear of man or just spiritual deadness, I plead with you in the name of Jesus Christ; pick up your bibles and begin to read for yourself. Allow God's word to become real to you. Ask God for the instruction that he alone gives, then ask him for the courage to walk in what He shows you.
We don't have much time left down here and all of us are going to give account for ourselves. Romans 14:12. please read it.
If you are afraid to speak openly about the convictions that are rising in you, go to your closet and earnestly and honestly ask God for courage and direction. He will neither ignore nor disappoint you. Men will.
Yours in the hope of Christ's soon return.
Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 5:51 pm:
Greetings to all readers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At this time of the year when families and friends gather, eat too much and try to remember why they "celebrate thanksgiving day", I would like to offer my thanks:
To God, for His unspeakable gift.
To Jesus Christ, who "for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God.
To the reality of the Holy Spirit that endwells me, explains the WORD to me, sometimes wakes me up in the wee hours with a conviction, or explanation, but always draws me closer to Jesus Christ.
To God for His word.
To God for his servants that minister faithfully, not recommending themselves but God.
To the many Saints that I am privileged to know that are endeavoring to walk pleasing to God, and that encourage me and often put me to shame by their fervor.
I am thankful for my faithful and longsuffering wife, my 4 children, 18 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. As far as I know, most of them are believers in Christ (those old enough to demonstrate their attitudes ). I am confident that just as God has with his own fatherly counsels and discipline drawn me closer to himself, so he will work in and on those I love to achieve the same spiritual victories.
I am thankful for the unfailing promises of God, especially as the daily news comes in with multiplied examples of the futility and fatality of ignoring God in any aspect of life.
I am thankful that though I do not know the near future, the distant (perhaps not too distant) future is clear and assured. "Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King".
How much time do we have? Not enough to be careless with the Word of God. Not enough to allow any man or men to be more influential in our lives and thoughts than our Lord. Just think about it. We all believe that we are going to suddenly be caught up the meet Him in the air. At that moment, less than one nanosecond after the trumpet sounds, whose person and presence will completely captivate and possess us? What system of rules or set of doctrines will be foremost in our minds? How concerned will we be about a loved one or close friend that "doesn't agree with us"? How important will peoples' opinions of us be?
The more time that goes by, the more I grieve for those still trapped in RAG. Friends, you just don't know what you are missing. From time to time I see some of you in public places. The impression I receive is that there is not much, if any, joy in your lives. And I think I know why. It is impossible to grieve and quench the Holy Spirit and at the same time bear the fruit of the Spirit. "Love, joy, peace-----".
Whether or not you realize it or would acknowledge it, you tell on yourselves.
If there is one thing that I would like to do with and for you and that is to re-introduce you the the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, I know you know his name, know much about him, and use his name for much of your corporate activity, but I would like to suggest a disturbing possibility to you.
Matthew 18:20 "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst."
You have claimed that for your meetings, but I strongly suspect that because of attitudes, actions and doctrines that your "leaders" foster, Jesus has left the building.
Posted on Tuesday, December 05, 2006 - 6:57 pm:
"THERE AM I IN THE MIDST."
What a wonderful statement and a more wonderful promise; that Jesus would in some manner join us in our fellowship and worship.
But there is a caveat. There are some preconditions that we must meet to experience that presence. Does posting a sign "Meetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" in front of the building, or on handbills, literature, or websites meet the requirement? Is there a possibility that none of those things qualify in themselves?
Let's look at some scriptures.
I Samuel 2:30 --them that honor me, I will honor--.
John 16:14 He (The Holy Spirit ) shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."
John 17:1&2 --glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee--
Col.3:17&18 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Think of it. God, the Father is giving glory to the Son, the Holy Spirit is in the business of glorifying the Son, and we are commanded to do whatever we do to likewise bring glory to the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Suppose there is a gathering of saints, advertised and supposed to be "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ", but the attitudes are divisive, contentious, or worldly. What if the "minister" departs from the verity of the written word of God and expresses his opinions and with such emphasis that they become binding on the listener? What if he actually gives false doctrine? What if he mis-uses the scripture?
What if psychology takes the place of the plain statements of the scripture? What if an individual saint, having been encouraged (in word) to check up for themselves, comes to a different conclusion than that expressed by the "leader", and yet if they raise a question, are intimidated, suppressed and/or expelled?
Is Jesus obligated to stay in that meeting even when his glory is secondary to the importance of the "leader", his word distorted, his spirit ignored, his sheep mistreated? What happens when the fear of the "leaders" is more motivating than the respect and fear of the Lord, who is supposed to be in their midst?
Read Revelation 2:1-6. Ask yourself what is the significance of the lampstand being removed from that assembly.
What do you suppose God thinks when there is a meeting to discuss the "dealings" with a supposed "carnal christian", and He knows that the "leadership" has already, in private session made up their mind and the public meeting is windowdressing for the "laity", the non-leader class. Is God obligated to have anything to do with that kind of sham "church discipline"?
He leaves the building!
Is it possible that for many years, your assemblies have been operating purely on human energy, wisdom and authority? Remember that almost every sect member carries a bible, prays and gives lip service to acknowledging Jesus Christ in some form.
The apostle Paul speaks to all of us with the somber command and exhortation to "Examine yourself, whether you be in the faith---IICor13:5
Do you have the courage to do that? I pray that you will and not count the cost.
In the hope of His soon return,
Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2006 - 11:05 pm:
From the bibles' lofty watch tower, o'er Christendom I gaze,
And see much man-made worship, which doth my mind amaze.
All forms of adoration, around, abroad I trace,
The spirit of "devotion" prevails in every place.
Devotion to a building, devotion to a "cause",
Devotion to a prayer book, compiled by human laws.
Devotion to a mission, devotion to a sect;
Devotion to a preacher, whom they, themselves, elect.
Now while all this attention is wonderful to see,
I miss one true devotion which much distresses me:
All these sectarian actions small comfort doth afford-
I yearn to see more plainly, DEVOTION TO THE LORD.
Yes, He alone is worthy of worship, honor, praise;
His precious blood hath saved us from Hell's destroying rays.
Come! let us all adore Him; fast cleaving to His Word
And show to all around us, DEVOTION TO THE LORD!
May God help us all to evaluate our motivations, our practices, our loyalties.
In His name and to His glory,
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