810 NE 154th Avenue
Vancouver, WA 98684
July 31, 2014
(Edited for the 3rd mailing.)
In December I sent this mailing mostly to those who speak in LA/Riverside/Tulare/Sac, and to some in other areas. I’m convinced the principles in these studies help us to understand the two real problems that caused our divisions.
“The Most Important Thing God Asks of Us” is that we love God. The church at Ephesus was strong in doctrine and outward things… so much so, that they neglected their first love. Could this be all about us?
“Simply Singular: The Centrality of Christ in the Life of the Believer”; best messages ever! (Same as 2010 DVD.) Many Christians go about taking Christ for granted and neglect to really make Christ pre-eminent in their lives.
“The First Indication of Turning Away From God” is murmuring. For our purposes, it relates to our divisions.
“Who Has the Right to Rule?” Only God has the right to rule and we to bring ourselves into submission to His Will. Pages 36-40 lists the characteristics of pride, of which we all face.
The scope of destruction to our assemblies from the 1985 and 2009 splits was so horrendous, it points to the fact that something had to be terribly wrong with the way we were conducting ourselves and thus it is obvious that we were correspondingly dis-pleasing to the Lord. Rom 16:17-18 is specific to those who serve not our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 16:17-18 has been abused among us to strengthen the domineering clergy/laity system. As scripture, we must apply it in valid context. It’s about smooth divisive speech regarding doctrine! The domineering clergy/laity system and the abusive markings were only a symptom. If our being marked is all we point to, we miss the bigger problem. There had to be a great spiritual disconnect. First, there had to be a lack of fidelity, just like the church at Ephesus where we were strong on doctrine (2 Tim 3:16) but lost our first love (Rev 2:1-7). Secondly, we did not function according to the foundation of the Pastoral Epistles – Timothy and Titus. Ambitious men imposed themselves after MMJ retired. They tried to copy MMJ according to their flesh. They developed authoritarian discipline with unjust markings. We let it happen! The collective sin was because we submitted to a clergy/laity system and not to the Timothy/Titus foundation of elders and their vetted overseers, requiring a deliberative verification of qualifications. When you read the qualification, you think, “Overseers must be the most humble men in the assembly!!!” No CEO?! The Bible refers to the rulers of the people and to the leaders of the people in reference to the world, and is not in reference to our manner of association in the church. Our foundation is as a body led by the Holy Spirit according to the Pastoral Epistles - Timothy and Titus. I’ve shared with some of you recently (and in letters 9 years ago and about 15 years ago) the fact that we still have not been conducting ourselves according to the Biblical model of the Pastoral Epistles, i.e., Timothy and Titus. The word for elders in the original Greek: presbuterous (plural) means all the older ones; “office of” is nowhere implied. Do a Google Translator on presbuterous and you get “seniors”. The Greek words diakonia/diakonoi (plural) translated ministry/deacons really means service or servants.
“If any” (Titus 1:6) [context] of the elders have more specific qualifications, then they are qualified by the Lord, not by man, to be an “overseer” - the proper translation of the Greek word epi-scopon (singular) (literally, over-scope); no “office of” [“Bishop” (sic)]. Age? Successful parenting is not verified until we see what the kids were made of after they left home. Our obscured elders didn’t follow the Pastoral Epistles in a vetting process to verify God’s list of qualifications for would-be overseers. (See 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 in Young’s Literal Translation.) I look at us and these Epistles and I see dis-similar churches? And how did MMJ (and Berl) miss it? To have successful assemblies, it requires you forsake a way that seemeth right and follow God’s order. When an overseer qualifies in the Lord’s eyes, it is all the older brethren whom it falls upon to do a vetting process, verse by verse. Men have been covetous of ministerial gifts and bypassed the qualifying foundation!! They want to be a somebody. Result: no power of the Holy Spirit! We made the mistake of looking to “leadership” [sic] to take charge and rule and we obey worse than the world’s sectarian religious model, typical in 1611. Leadership? Corrupt word! If we think we understand this but still talk leadership, we are yet carnal, and likely don’t recognize the Holy Spirit’s leadership. Until we obey God’s order; all the elders to point out [not to appoint] qualified overseers, we are still out of order.
The only problem I have with the King James Bible is that the translation committee was instructed to preserve the ecclesiastical terminology of the high church, which was still very Catholic. I would like everybody to have read Chapter 2 of The Great Ecclesiastical Conspiracy in order to understand that the selection of certain terminology was used to convey an authoritarian “church” with a clergy/laity pecking order, by the dis-translations: Deacons, Office, Bishop, Elders, Presbytery, rule over, obey, and submit. But, if we eliminate the KJV and turn to any of the modern translation since 1881, we get the Gnostic Greek text with its many changes, 64,000 words deleted, and conflicting meanings, as their deliberative New Age textual foundation. Even the NKJV paraphrase fails us, contrary to its claims. Validity s/b based on the original Greek text being carefully translated and not by our carnally choosing any English translation we “like”. The higher critics say that there are very few changes compared to the whole; but the changes are where it does the most damage; per my DVDs by Les Garrett, which are on my web site and YouTube.
The deeper problem is that like the church at Ephesus, we left our first love. The evidence is in the results we have had through the church splits and all the problems that went with it. All division is sin, and all these problems, and lack of scriptural foundation, had to have grieved/suppressed the Holy Spirit. With these circumstances prevailing, there had to have been an absence of the Holy Spirit’s presence, guidance, and blessings; left to our own devices! We need to rekindle; some find, our first love and make Christ pre-eminent in our lives. It is the direct route to solving our problems; which disappear when we change our focus. We major on the indelible doctrines where most churches fail but does anyone know how to motivate others to have the kind of love for God that makes Christ pre-eminent in our lives? Jerry Benjamin is very timely for doing just that! Jerry’s 4th time at Camp Dwight in Bend, Oregon, July 18-20, 2014, at Burnell Johnson’s farm; 800 attended. [He says they’re the most responsive group.]Traditionalists will want to go back to the good ol’ days [with the same status quo; make the same mistakes?]. Those who feel that they have been liberated will tend to exercise their new freedom by going liberal, no better than the apostate churches. The alternative is incorruptible. If we are one with Christ, we will automatically be one with each other. It will not be done by being drawn in to debate at lengthy men’s meetings between divided assemblies, by plaintiffs and defendants, or rehashing unresolved “issues” regarding who said what! It must stop! There is only one side to take. Our true attitude and full devotion to Christ will be either validated or exposed as fraudulent. The relationship between Christians is supposed to be gracious, not adversarial; allowing a man to respond thru his own conscience. A gracious loving attitude is manifest if we truly identify as Christ’s Body. Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…”.
These are the real issues for all churches today and I am thankful to be exposed to them by God’s Grace, embracing Christ’s preeminence. We must not cower from exhorting ourselves to first focus on Christ; preach Him every time, in season, out of season; and charge the elders to take their role instead of status quo, and now be blessed honoring God. Previously, obscured elders sat silently in men’s meetings and followed the pecking order in fear of speaking out of order. “3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” 1 Cor 6:3-5. We mustn’t treat the assemblies like they are not ready to receive the full counsel of God. We’re commanded to speak it, encourage one another, to live it in faith! Honor God and trust Him, come what may!
Yours, in Christ,
More of the same at www.ChurchGrowth.CC
Wayne Birkholz *
Jonathan Cotton [Arranged for Jerry Benjamin in Richmond]
David Lake *
Jack Langford [angry e:mail response; next mailing returned]
Jim Maurer *
Andy Romo *
Bruce Stevens *
Ted Sulzen *
Keith Gardiner, Sr.
Richard Seaborne *
DISTRIBUTION LIST Third Mailing: July 31, 2014
Bob Brusby *
Steve Gable *
Roger Grant, Sr.
REFERRED BY JOHN MOREY:
Jim Bartley *
Bob Birkholz *
Ben Morey *
Marshall Shelton *
Norman Tarwater, Sr.
Jerry Benjamin at Camp Dwight.
Some who heard Jerry Benjamin at Camp Dwight may not have not been included in the full mailing but have been e:mailed this cover letter: e.g., Allan and Burnell, Jim Maurer, Bruce, John Otis, Delbert Brittain, Rey Romo. The first mailing resulted in Jerry Benjamin giving Friday/Saturday messages in the Richmond Assembly. Some of these men were sent three additional booklets by Jerry Benjamin: What Is Maturity, What Is Not The Judgment Of God, Why Isreal Cannot Find Peace.
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