Monday, December 17, 2007

Ye Are The Temple!

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19‑22

Nearly 2000 years ago, God gave the apostle Paul a revelation of what He was doing, and he in turn, shared that revelation with the churches. The plan is to is to make elect Jews and elect Gentiles "one new man" in Christ. This new man is referred to by Paul as God's temple. Hundreds of years before Paul received his revelation, God spoke of the building of this new temple to the prophet Zechariah.
And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.

Zechariah 6:12
The "Branch" Zechariah is referring to in this prophecy is Jesus Christ. God has ordained from the very beginning that He would be the one to build the true temple of God. This new temple would not be a temple of stone. Neither would it be made by the hands of man. It will be built by God Himself (Jesus), through the Spirit.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

John 2:19-21

Jesus was the temple of God on earth while he was here. He manifested the glory of God among men. When people came to Him and asked for healing, help, advice, eternal life or anything else, He had the power to grant that request because He was the living temple of God on earth. He was the fullness of God dwelling in man.
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

I. Peter 2:6

When Jesus said, "Destroy this temple", He was letting the religious leaders of Israel know (in a subtle way) that the whole idea of God dwelling in a building was changing. He was letting them know that God's ultimate goal is to dwell in man, and that God had already begun building that new temple, and that He was the first and foremost living stone of that new temple.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

I. Corinthians 3:10

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house [temple], an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

I. Peter 2:5

Jesus is both the Chief Corner Stone and the Foundation of God's new temple. This is why Paul said: "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I. Cor. 3:11 NKJV). After His death and resurrection, the Lord sent His apostles out to lay the foundation of the new temple.

The way they laid that foundation was by presenting Jesus to all men as their Lord and Savior. Those who accepted the gospel were brought into a relationship with God and thus became living stones in the new temple. For the past 2000 years God has been building this temple with "lively stones". When it's finally completed, He will dwell in it forever. It will be His "habitation".

This was the revelation God gave Paul. God showed him that the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and Solomon's Temple were only temporary accommodations until the real temple could start being built.

Paul saw that it's the presence of God—and the presence of God alone—that makes a building or a person the temple of God, and that once His presence is gone, that thing or person is no longer His temple. He saw that God's ultimate goal has always been to have a living, breathing temple, through which He could manifest all the facets of His Divine nature in the earth—and he saw that the Body of Christ was destined to be that temple.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

I. Corinthians 3:16

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and 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. Corinthians 6:19‑20

When correcting some of the abuses that were taking place in the church at Corinth, Paul asked: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God"? This question should be put to contemporary believers, for surely they do not realize they are the temple of God. Whenever anyone says, "the temple of God", they automatically think of a building in Jerusalem.

This was not the way the apostle Paul thought. The revelation God gave him was burned into his mind and heart. So you can be sure that when someone said, "the temple of God", he did not think of a building. He thought of the Church, for in his mind there was no other temple. We must understand this when we read his warning in Second Thessalonians, or we will never really understand what he was saying.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

II. Thessalonians 2:3-4

We are the temple of God! On the Day of Pentecost the Church was born and it officially became the temple of God. At that point the Temple at Jerusalem ceased being God's temple. Never again will God dwell in a building. Never again will a building function as, or be called, the temple of God. We are the ones the spirit of Antichrist wants to sit in. We are the temple he wants to defile.

People think that when Paul wrote this passage he was talking about a man entering a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. They can't see that the whole New Testament—much of which was written by Paul!—defines the temple of God over and over again as believers.

Not only does Paul tell us repeatedly that we are now the temple of God, the few times he does mention the then-present Temple at Jerusalem, he never calls it the temple of God. He simply refers to it as "the temple" (Acts 22:17; 24:12&18; 25:8; 26:21; I. Cor. 9:13).

Unfortunately, because our heads are filled with the traditions of men we can't grasp the simple meaning of what Paul wrote. The sobering ramifications of what he said never really penetrates our understanding.

He was saying that in the last days, God is going to remove the restraint that’s been on Satan for over 6000 years. God will let him do things he has never been allowed to do before. Because of the revelation Paul was given, he would never again consider any kind of building to be the temple of God. How much less would he view an edifice that was subsidized by Antichrist and built by unbelieving Jews the temple of God? Maybe the unbelieving Jews who built such a temple would call it the temple of God; maybe dumb Gentiles and Gentile Christians would call it the temple of God; but the apostle Paul would never call such an abomination the temple of God. Never! To do so would be to deny the very revelation God gave him. It would contradict everything he taught.

One of the reasons people read these verses and automatically exclude the possibility of this temple being a reference to Christians is because they don't believe it's possible for Christians to accept another spirit into their lives.
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.

II. Corinthians 11:3-4

Oops! So much for the traditions of men. Paul said he was afraid that the Corinthians would be beguiled by the Serpent and receive "another spirit". If, as so many preach, it's impossible for a Christian to accept another spirit into his or her life, then Paul was terribly confused, for he explicitly states that we can receive another Jesus, another gospel, or another spirit.

Another reason people exclude the possibility of this temple being a reference to Christians is because Paul said those who allow this spirit to come in them will perish. Since almost everyone believes in Eternal Security, they automatically assume that Paul could not be talking about them. Again, contrary to what our preachers and teachers are telling us, the apostle Paul clearly taught that God would "destroy" Christians who "defile" themselves. Is anybody listening?

If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

I. Corinthians 3:10-17

People are constantly trying to figure out who the Antichrist is and when he will come. The one question they never ask is: "Where will he come? The reason they never ask where he is coming is because they assume they already know where he will come. Since they only see him as a great political and/or religious leader, they assume that sooner or later he will come to the forefront of the political scene. But listen to where the apostle Paul said he will come:

Even him, [Antichrist] whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

II. Thessalonians 2:9-10

Paul said Antichrist is coming "in" them that receive not a love of the truth. Now a political or religious ruler can do many things, but one thing he will never be able to do is come in people. Only a spirit can do that.

Prophecy teachers admit this (though of course they don't realize it), for they say Antichrist will be a man who is possessed and totally controlled Satan, who is a spirit. They say it's this spiritual empowerment that will enable him to become the leader of the world.

So they are admitting that a spirit will come in a human vessel. The only real difference between what they are teaching and what Paul taught is that they think this spirit is Satan himself, and that he will only come in one man. Paul said it's the spirit of Antichrist, and it will come in all "them" that reject the truth.

We are God’s temple and we all have a free will. Nobody can defile us without our co-operation. If we become defiled it is because we have chosen to allow ourselves to become defiled.

We are the temple Antichrist wants to sit in. We are the temple he wants to defile. If we allow him to defile us, he will make our lives spiritually desolate and God will destroy us. This is what the prophet Daniel is talking about when he speaks about "the abomination of desolation".

And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

Daniel 12:11

Friends, we have already entered the period of time described here by Daniel. The abomination of desolation is happening all over the world at this very moment! Individually speaking, the abomination begins in us when we open ourselves up to the spirit of Antichrist and allow it to start operating in our lives. Once we do, it will start communicating with us in a very real way. It will start giving us revelations and visions and all manner of supernatural experiences. In short, it will begin to imitate the voice, work, and presence of the Holy Spirit. If left unchecked, it will completely defile us and make us desolate.

Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Matthew 24:15‑16

Jesus said the abomination of desolation would stand in "the holy place". The Holy Place is the place of the Spirit filled life. It's the place of spiritual gifts and supernatural power. It's also the place of worship. When self-seeking, carnal, uncrucified Christians start pursuing supernatural power, they are easy targets for the enemy, for they open themselves up to all kinds of counterfeit revelations and religious experiences.

Paul said Antichrist gains entrance to the temple of God by deceiving us with supernatural power and signs and lying wonders. Once this spirit has entered us (the temple), it will take its seat in us and begin to exalt itself above all that we have understood to be of God. If we do not recognize it and get delivered, it will eventually destroy every vestige of God's life in us. It's mind-boggling when you begin to see just how much of today's Christian experience and doctrine is actually coming from Satan.

Brethren, we don't have to wait for a Global Church or a Global Government to be fully established and manifested in order to see the Antichrist—that spirit is being manifested in churches all across the world right now!

By Dan Mace

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Real Vine and the True Branches

by Ken Brown

As I was reading John 15 one day, the Lord gave me this vision. Actually, the vision is quite simple, not at all profound. He showed me a large, strong, healthy-looking vine with thousands of branches attached. Then, as I looked closer, I noticed that almost every branch I saw was dead. They had no leaves, of course no fruit either, and they were falling off of the vine onto the ground. Next to the vine I saw bundles of these dead branches stacked, bundle after bundle, as far as I could see off into the horizon. As I watched, new branches would come out, grow a little, then wither and fall off. Only a very few remained attached to the vine. Those that did developed leaves and eventually bore fruit. But, these branches never got very large. They were continually cut back, but they always grew, they always had nice, green leaves on them and they always developed more fruit. It was disheartening though, to see so few of them bearing fruit. Most all the branches that came onto the vine quickly withered and fell off.

As I said, the vision is not profound. It follows pretty much what you read in John 15. It was what the Lord said to me that affected me the most. First, He told me to paraphrase this chapter and call it "The Real Vine and the True Branches". The Real Vine, of course, is Jesus; and the True Branches are those who remain attached to the Vine and produce the "fruit that belongs to the Vine". The branches that wither, die and fall to the ground are those who profess Christ, then fail to develop a real relationship with Him through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. (Instead, they chose ritualistic, dead religion; legalistic, dead fundamentalism; fleshly, dead charismania; "bless me", dead materialism; or a host of other dead choices. And that’s how they end up, dead!)

The purpose of this paraphrase is simply to develop the proper context to explain verses 7 and 16. However, don’t read it just for the explanation alone (which you will see at the end of this paper), allow yourself plenty of time to meditate on the importance of what Jesus is talking about in this chapter. "Abiding in Him", "dwelling in Him", or "living in Him" is absolutely what salvation is all about. And you cannot be "in" Him without the genuine ministry of the Holy Spirit active in your life, as it is explained briefly in verse 26. Here’s the paraphrase:

John 15

1. I am the real Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.

2. Any branch connected to Me that stops bearing fruit He will trim away; and He will repeatedly prune every true branch that bears fruit so it will produce more and better fruit.

3. You are going through this pruning process now, because you’ve believed what I’ve been telling you.

4. And as long as you live continually in union with Me, consecrated to the same purpose (to be obedient to My Father), then I will live in you to help you carry out that purpose. Just remember, no branch can bear fruit unless it’s properly connected to the vine; and in the same way, unless you are properly connected to Me, you cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit, showing My character and purpose.

5. I am the only real Vine, and you are My true branches. Anyone who lives continually in Me, and I in him, will naturally produce this fruit. But if you’re not properly connected to Me, you can’t produce the kind of fruit I’m talking about.

6. When people won’t live continually in relationship with Me, consecrated to the same purpose, they’re thrown out like dead, dry branches. All these dead, fruitless branches will be gathered together and be burned in the fire of Divine judgment.

7. And when you live continually in Me and obey all the things I say, then you can ask what you want of Me and I’ll give it to you.

8. Because, when you produce the kind of fruit I’m talking about, you honor My Father and prove that you’re truly following Me.

9. I love you like My Father loves Me, so keep living on in the reality of My love.

10. And this is the way you do it. Just keep listening for My instructions and be obedient, then you will live on in the center of My love. It’s exactly the same for Me. I keep listening for My Father’s instructions: so, I continue to live on in the center of His love.

11. It’s pure joy to be able to tell you these things and watch them being worked out in your lives; and as they’re worked out, it’s pure joy to you too!

12. This is My commandment: love each other with the same loyalty and dedication that I have for you.

13. When you’re willing to live your lives only for the benefit of others, that’s the strongest loyalty and the greatest dedication you can possibly have.

14. And we’ll be the best of friends, if you keep doing the things I’m telling you to do.

15. Our relationship won’t be like servants serving their master, because he wouldn’t share personal things with his servants. But, you’re My friends, so I’m telling you the most intimate details of My relationship with the Father.

16. You didn’t ask Me to do this, I chose to tell you these things so you would have the opportunity to produce these fruits I’ve been talking about and continue to produce them over and over again. This is how you’re formed in My image. Then, you can go to the Father as a representation of all that I AM, and can ask what you want of Him, and He’ll give it to you.

17. But always remember what I told you to do, love each other in the same pure way the Father and I love each other.

18. Then, when the world starts rejecting you and opposing you for what you’ve become, don’t worry about it, they did it to Me first.

19. If you’re doing what everyone else in the world is doing, then the world will love you, you’re one of them. But you’re not one of them any more, I’m keeping you separated from them; so they’re going to detest you and everything you stand for.

20. Just keep in mind what I’ve told you already, followers aren’t more important than their leader. They’ll come after Me first; but, sooner or later, they’ll get around to you, too. And the reverse of this is true: if they had listened to My Words and obeyed them, then they’d listen to your words and would obey them, as well. After all, when you’re living in Me, you’re simply repeating what I tell you; just like I’m living in My Father and repeating what He tells Me.

21. But you’ll suffer rejection and opposition when you look like Me, sound like Me, care only for the things I care for, and want only what I want. The world doesn’t understand that I look like My Father, sound like My Father, care only for the things He cares for, and want only what He wants – but they don’t know Who He is.

22. Now, if I hadn’t come and revealed the Father to them, they wouldn’t be guilty of rejecting Him. But now, they’re without excuse.

23. When they rejected Me, they rejected the Father.

24. And, if I hadn’t come and showed them first hand, all the good things the Father has for them, things no one had ever shown them before; then, they wouldn’t be guilty of rejecting Him. But the sad fact is this; they’ve turned away from both! They’ve ignored the things I’ve shown them; and, they’ve rejected My Father and Me.

25. This is another fulfillment of their own scripture that says, They rejected Me for no good reason. (Psalm. 35:19)

26. And when I send the Holy Spirit from the Father, He will minister to you as the Spirit of Truth and will prepare you to come into the presence of the Father. This is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, helping you produce this fruit I’ve been talking about so you can be like Me.

27. Then, just like the branch that is connected to the vine produces grapes, you’ll produce My character and fulfill My purpose, and become a living message for all to see. And because you were connected to Me from the very start and you didn’t give up, you’ve become a true branch, connected to the real Vine.

In this passage Jesus makes two promises that are, at the same time, exciting and devastating. Exciting, when properly understood, devastating, when misunderstood. People in the traditional church today love to hear messages that tell them to "claim" the words of Jesus when He says, "…ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you." (Vs. 7); or "… whatsoever you ask of the Father in My Name, He will give it to you." (Vs. 16) The so-called prosperity message thrives on isolated verses like this. And there are many in the church today who have used this religious view to feed their lust for material things in the name of God.

As we’ve discussed before, since they chose the things of the world (materialism) instead of the things of God (His character and purpose), God in His judgment has allowed them their deception and their materialism (or anything else they sought, instead of Him). Because it’s what they asked for (in His name, of course), they think it’s His blessing, but it’s His curse. That’s the devastating part. Professing Christians, who will never know God, never have salvation, because they were taught to "use" God as a means to their own end. The Sovereign Lord will have the last word (if you want to know what it is, you can read it in Matthew 7:21-23; or Luke 13:24-30). The apostasy of these last days is marked by people who insist on coming to God on their own terms (on the basis of what they think or what they want), instead of submitting to His terms (and giving in to what He requires).

The exciting part is having an understanding of these promises and tapping into them. They are, of course, conditional. All of God’s promises are. As you read the paraphrase above, it’s easy to see from the context what the conditions are. We have to abide in the real Vine. We have to live continually in relationship with Him, consecrated to His purpose, dedicated to producing the fruits of the Spirit. And in that context, as we obey His instructions, allowing the Holy Spirit to direct our lives, we’re changed into His glorious image. And that’s the key to asking, "what we will" and having the assurance that either Christ (in verse 7) or the Father (in verse 16) will give it to us.

It’s amazing that people in the traditional church think all they have to do to get God to give them what they want is to ask for it "in Jesus’ name". What a great gimmick! Why would anyone not want to get in on this? Receive whatever you want, whenever you want it. Simply ask God, and put Jesus’ name on it. Of course it doesn't work. But it sure sounds good.

What does it really mean to ask "in Jesus’ name"? The term "in My name" found in verse 16 doesn’t mean we’re supposed to say "in Jesus’ name" every time we‘re through asking God for something we want, or through thanking Him for something we already have. The Greek term onoma in the context of John 15 doesn’t mean simply to say His name. It means to speak as a representation of all that the name implies! I know the King James translators had a mandate to come up with a translation that was both poetic and easy to read, but what’s the excuse for all the rest of the boneheads that have taken a crack at it since.

Come on people; look at the context for crying out loud! Jesus is using an illustration here – abide in the Vine and produce the fruit that naturally results from this union. He’s talking about others living continually in a relationship with Him that is so close, so vital, that it results in them being conformed to His image. The relationship is such that the character and purpose of Jesus is formed in their lives. They literally become a representation of all that He is! The point Jesus is making here is simply this: you can go to the Father as a representation of all that I AM, and can ask whatever you want of Him, and He’ll give it to you. (And while we’re at it, let’s mention Matthew 18:20, "For wherever two or three are gathered together in My name, there I AM in the midst of them." Here, onoma means the same thing! Just because a group of people get together to do their religious thing and say Jesus’ name at some point in time doesn’t mean He’s there with them. But, when two or three are gathered with the character and purpose of Jesus on the agenda, He says He’ll show up.)

The bad news for everyone in the "bless me" crowd is, of course, that to become a representation of all that that Jesus is requires a lot of time, submission, obedience, sacrifice, self-denial and, yes, even some suffering. It’s easy to say His name; it’s very difficult to become a representation of what His name implies.

The word of the Lord was very specific to me regarding verse 21 above. He was describing what happens when we consecrate ourselves to the character and purpose of Christ. We look like Him, sound like Him, care only for the things He cares for, and want only what He wants. In this way we come to the place where we ask only for the things we know He wants us to have. Our flesh is out of the picture! Period! Consider this for just a moment, do you think Jesus ever asked the Father for anything out of selfish motivation. Or, did He only ask for what He knew was part of the Father’s plan and purpose for His life?

And how does God commit Himself to this promise? The answer is found in II Timothy 2:13, "…He (the Father) will always be faithful to His Word and to His righteous character, because He cannot say, no, to Himself". Jesus came to reveal the Father, a flesh and blood example of the Father’s righteous character. Jesus then reveals to us His secret of getting what He asks of the Father – displaying the Father’s character. Then Jesus encourages us to live in Him and display His character, which is nothing less than an extension of the Father’s character! Then, regardless of whom we ask (Jesus in vs. 7 or the Father in vs. 16), on the basis of their righteousness, which we have chosen to emulate, the answer must be, yes.

The Lord wants us to have what we need, and I believe in some instances, even what we want. But, material things can’t be our priority, and they can’t be idols that consume our devotion or affection. The Lord sums it up nicely in Matthew 6:30b-34 when He says, "…you have such a little faith. You don’t need to worry, wondering, where am I going to get food to eat, or what am I going to have to drink, or how am I going to get clothes to wear? Only godless people worry about these things, scurrying around, frantically trying to provide for themselves. But your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. So, get your priorities straight. The first thing you have to do is learn how to be like God and do things His way, then all those other things, and more, will be given to you. So, don’t worry about what you’re going to need tomorrow, just learn to trust God for what you need today. That’s about all you can handle. Besides, when tomorrow comes, it will bring a whole new set of problems and pressures to test your faith." Isn’t God good?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Perilous Times

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. (2 Timothy 3:1-9)

Since Rosh Hashanah (Sept 13-14, 2007) the beginning of the New Year 2008, everything both spiritual and natural has intensified greatly.

Natural disasters:

On September 12th, 2007, a powerful magnitude 8.4 earthquake hit near southern Sumatra. This was followed by numerous other quakes and aftershocks with magnitudes up to 7.4. Homes, shopping malls, and especially Moslem mosques were heavily damaged. Tall buildings as far as twelve hundred miles away swayed dramatically. Ten people were known to be dead, but the injuries were numerous.(Associated Press, Sep. 12, 2007, by Robin McDowell, Jakarta, Indonesia.)

As of October 1st, 2007, there had been 356 major earthquakes in the past thirty days with a magnitude of 4.0 or greater. The quakes seem to be getting stronger and more frequent, especially in the Pacific Rim area.

U.S. - world quake activity unusually high

On September 30th, 2007, an island in the Red Sea was ripped apart and destroyed by a powerful volcano. The island of Jazirt Mount al-Tair, about 80 miles from Yemen, collapsed as lava spewed hundreds of feet into the air, and volcanic ash reached levels of over one thousand feet above the Red Sea. The lava gave off an eerie green glow as the ground opened, and soldiers who were stationed there were burned alive. The eruption was preceded by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake two days before. (The Daily Main, Oct. 1, 2007, London, England, U.K.)

Droughts and Severe flooding at the same time!

Fifty percent of the contiguous United States is in a condition of severe drought. (Associated Press, Oct. 9, 2007, Dept. of Commerce & NOAA) Recent reports have indicated that thirty-six states now face water shortages. (Associated Press, Oct. 26, 2007, by Brian Skoloff, West Palm Beach, FL.) In Georgia, lakes are drying up, and the large city of Atlanta now has less than a ninety-day water supply and no plan for solving the problem. Officials have specifically stated that there is no backup plan if the faucets run dry! (Associated Press, Oct. 19, 2007, by Greg Bluestein, Atlanta, GA.)

There was severe flooding in parts of Mexico at the beginning of November 2007, which displaced nearly a million people. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 3, 2007, by Antonio Villegas, AP Villahermosa, Mexico.) In Bangladesh, an unusual cyclone hit a heavily populated Moslem area and almost instantly killed 15,000 people. (London Daily Telegraph, Nov. 18, 2007, by Peter Foster, Bangladesh.)

Troops use rafts to evacuate flooded Oregon town

Flooded Interstate 5 shut down - truckers wait it out at a cost of $4M per day

Washington Governor: Flood Damage Will Be Costly

ABC News: Ice Storm Approaches 'Biblical Proportions' 12/11/2007 A massive storm that dropped sleet and freezing rain across the nation's midsection, leaving nearly a million utility customers without electricity, finally tapered off, but another wintry blast was forecast to develop Wednesday over the southern Plains. The new system was expected to bring more sleet and freezing rain to Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas, but not nearly as much as the previous storm, according to the National Weather Service.

God has been exposing many of the Apostate leaders for what they are.

On November 8th, 2007, televangelist Pat Robertson rejected the Christian candidate and Minister Mike Huckabee and endorsed the "pro choice", "pro sodomite" candidate Rudy Giuliani for President of the United States(Cox News Service, Nov. 8, 2007, Washington, D.C.).

John Hagee Denies Jesus is the Messiah (video)

11/24/2007 Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts resigned Friday following nearly two months of allegations that he and his family misused university and ministry resources.

Nov. 6, 2007 Senate Panel Probes 6 Top Televangelists
Half of those — Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and Benny Hinn — serve as Oral Roberts University regents. The remaining three are Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Eddie Long.

UPDATE 12/11/2007 Creflo Dollar resigned from the regents, and Benny Hinn is now a "regent emeritus" with no voting power.
The evangelist Creflo Dollar has resigned from the Oral Roberts University board of regents, and another evangelist, Benny Hinn, has lost his status as a voting member of the board. ORU's spokesman Jeremy Burton confirmed Wednesday that Dollar had resigned and that Hinn had been named a "regent emeritus" without a vote on the board. Both refused last week to respond to a Senate inquiry into lavish spending by evangelists.

Nine shot in two Colorado church related attacks (the church Ted Haggard started)

Attacks Force Churches to Boost Security
"Some of the nation's estimated 1,200 megachurches—places where more than 2,000 worshippers gather each week—have been quietly beefing up security in recent years, even using armed guards to protect the faithful. At Potter's House, a Dallas mega church led by star pastor T.D. Jakes, a private security company employs a team of armed, unarmed, uniformed and plainclothes guards that keep watch over crowds in the thousands."

(Makes you wonder what the apostles who willing gave their lives would think of that. Christians, who are suppose to do like Jesus did and "not resist even to death".
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Are there any real Christian witnesses out there?)
(Acts 8:3) But Saul kept trying to destroy the church. Going into one house after another, he began dragging off men and women and throwing them in prison. What if the first Christians defended themselves against Saul (who became Paul) and in doing so, killed him? Even if they saved a few Christians at the time, we would not have more that half the New Testament today!

UPDATE Dec. 14, 2007
Fundamentalist Christian Bob Jones University using RFID spy-chips to track vehicles
Dec. 13, 2007 - With some creative engineering and brick-building from within its own ranks, a few RFID readers and a couple thousand decals with embedded EPC Gen 2 RFID tags, Bob Jones University (BJU), located in Greenville, S.C., is tracking vehicles as they enter and leave the campus' main parking lot.

See HERE what was happening behind the scenes to unite the world religions. Also take note of the dates (10/13/06) of the original start of these signed peace agreements and the later date (10/12/07) with the Christian response A Common Word Between You and Us

Also note that on 10/12/07 this article was published. "A Common Word Between You and Us" is a letter signed by hundreds of Christian leaders including Rick Warren. Not long after fires broke out in southern California not far from Rick Warren's Saddleback church. Also see Rick Warren asks for Allah's forgiveness

On October 23rd, 2007, fires began to break out in southern California. Soon there were twenty fires burning, and they produced an inferno that would stagger the imagination. Dry winds of over eighty miles per hour fed the flames and spread them everywhere. Rich and lavish homes burst into flames and sent movie stars running to evacuate the area. It was like a blowtorch hitting Malibu. (Associated Press, Oct. 23, 2007, by Lynn Elber, Los Angeles, CA)

One of the twenty fires was called the witch fire, and the winds were called the devil winds. As many as 350,000 homes were evacuated, and more than one million people were forced to evacuate and escape the walls of roaring flames. Many hundreds of lavish homes were reduced to ashes. (Associated Press, Oct. 23, 2007, by Allison Hoffman and Gillian Flaccus, San Diego, CA.)

Newspaper headlines from coast to coast and even overseas declared: End of the World, Armageddon, and Hell on Earth! (New York Daily News, Oct. 23, 2007, New York, NY.)

Economy: (note: I posted an update on 7/16/07 that included what we felt the Lord was showing NL about the stock market, that it would fall and become unstable.)

On July 28th, 2007, the Associated Press reported that the Dow and S&P had their worst week in five years, losing 208 points in two days. (1) Two days later, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stated that the national debt ceiling would have to be raised beyond the current 8.965 trillion dollars. (2) This is an astronomical amount and it keeps getting worse.

On August 9th, 2007, the Dow Jones industrials sunk by 387 points and precipitated a worldwide reaction. (3)

On August 15th, 2007, the Associated Press reported that existing home sales were falling in forty-one states. (4) There are now 5,100,000 homes for sale in the United States, which is an average of 102,000 per state. One of every six home owners in America is now facing potential foreclosure!

On September 6th, 2007, the Federal Reserve turned on the money pump and injected 31.25 billion dollars into the markets to keep them from drying up. (5)

Then, on September 21st, 2007, the sheiks of the United Arab Emirates bought twenty percent of Nasdaq. (6) This is a huge percentage of that market to be bought by foreign interests. On September 22nd, 2007, the U.S. Federal Government suspended the sale of Treasury notes, because they cannot afford to pay the interest with the current debt ceiling. (7)

In other words, as the saying goes, they are robbing Peter to pay Paul. The sad fact is that the United States of America is hopelessly bankrupt, and the truth of that fact is becoming increasingly obvious. We must remember that when the supply of money is increased, it diminishes the value of all existing money.

1. Associated Press, Jul. 28, 2007, by Tim Paradis, New York, NY.
2. Associated Press, Jul. 30, 2007, by Jeannine Aversa, Washington, D.C.
3. Associated Press, Aug. 9, 2007, by Tim Paradis, New York, NY.
4. Associated Press, Aug. 15, 2007, by Martin Crutsinger, Washington, D.C.
5. AFP News, Sep. 6, 2007, New York, NY.
6. WorldNetDaily, Sep. 21, 2007, by Jerome R. Corsi,
7. West Bend News, Sep. 22, 2007, AP, Washington, D.C.

UPDATE: December 12, 2007
Central banks pumping billions into world financial system
Central banks in Europe and North America moved Wednesday to increase the amount of money they could lend to banks and to make it more readily available in an attempt to ease the credit squeeze.
It was the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and on the Pentagon that these central banks have coordinated their support of financial markets.

Government mortgage lender Freddie Mac facing another record loss


On September 15th, 2007, the London Times featured a story which shook the White House. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan openly declared that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was not terrorism, but oil. (The London Times, Sep. 16, 2007, by Graham Peterson, London, England, U.K.)

More trouble in the Whitehouse as God is exposing there as well. We learn of C.I.A video tapes that have been destroyed. And now learn that Iran may have stopped nuke program years ago. Who is lying….someone is? seems America was making deals with Iran (apart from Israel). See this article "Bush Embarks on Saudi-Brokered Deal with Tehran"also this article Could this be why America is now saying Iran is not developing nuclear weapons?

Everything is moving so quickly now as governments and religions unite. On October 18th, 2007, the New European Treaty was approved at Lisbon, Portugal. It is scheduled to be signed on the 13th day of December 2007, and it is to take effect and be in force as of January 1st, 2009. The treaty for this United States of Europe calls for: 1. One President over all twenty-seven nations of the European Union to be elected every two and one-half years. 2. One minister for all external affairs. 3. One universal police and justice system. (ERT News, Oct. 20, 2007, ERT Radio, Athens, Greece)

And….consider this Is this the making of Daniels covenant with many? - Annapolis participants included many nations

UPDATE 12/12/2007
Palestinians want 'low-key' peace talks
Negotiations on permanent agreement to begin Wednesday at King David Hotel in Jerusalem; PA asks that talks be kept on low profile due to IDF operation in Gaza

Israeli officials said the negotiations with the Palestinians on a permanent agreement will commence as scheduled on Wednesday, in accordance with the understandings reached at the Annapolis summit 15 days ago.

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What Does The Real Church Look Like?

I believe with all my heart that God is going to re-establish His true Church - the real Church. I’m talking about the Church that He intended, the one that makes it possible for those who really believe in Him to see His purpose fulfilled in their lives. And what is God’s purpose? To see all those who believe in Him conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit working in the Church (His true Church), the Father wants to strip away everything in us that doesn’t look like Jesus.

The traditional church today doesn’t know much about that. Most so-called pastors preach an American gospel that’s designed to make people comfortable with themselves and with God. It’s an upbeat message of "I’m O.K. you’re O.K. Just live your life however you think is best (as long as you come to church on Sunday and give me your money). Don’t worry. God will meet you where you’re at. No changes are required, forget repentance, let’s just rejoice and be happy. I’ll see you in heaven. Remember, God loves you. Besides, you don’t believe anyone is really going to hell, do you?" Church ministry today is designed to give people what they want, what God wants is irrelevant. And, what else would you expect when men are in charge, instead of God?

To see what the real church looked like requires a somewhat novel approach, we’ll have to look at the scriptures. I know it sounds crazy, but trust me on this. You won’t find what you’re looking for in church history books. After all, the first church wasn’t a Baptist church in Oklahoma or Texas (even though the Baptists claim they can trace their roots all the way back to John the Baptist, a claim that John probably thinks is pretty funny).

No, the first real church was Jesus and His 12 disciples. The first church was actually a training school for those whom God would use to establish the second-generation churches after Jesus ascended back to the Father. It was Jesus showing His disciples, first hand, how to have church. They met in houses and gardens, by the sea and on boats in the sea, in the middle of the road, on hillsides and on mountaintops. They met wherever Jesus happened to be. These meetings formed their understanding of what church was supposed to be and established a pattern for the next generation of churches.

Now, just for fun, let me describe to you what one of these meetings in this first church must have looked like. When it was time for the meeting, everyone got dressed up in their best suit of clothes, grabbed a hymnbook and a big, fat Bible to carry under their arm. Then they all made their way down to the building with the sign out front that said "First Church". The marquee out front had the sermon topic for the day: "How To Overcome Anxiety In A Frenzied World", and the name of the class that would meet that evening, "Divorce Recovery at 6 PM". Everyone filed in, sat down in neat rows, eyes forward, and waited for the minister of music to start the service. They sang three songs, recited the Apostles Creed, sang another song, passed the offering plate and listened to a choir "special". Then Jesus, looking resplendent in a shiny, blue, three-piece suit, with a really great silk tie, took the pulpit and delivered a comforting, somewhat humorous, thirty-minute sermon. Everyone felt good about what they had heard and complimented Jesus on what a splendid job He had done, and then they all went to lunch. And Jesus was relieved that no one was uncomfortable with what He had said and felt sure that most of them would return next week. And in the satisfaction of a job well done, He soon forgot about the whole thing and began to think about something really important, His golf game. That sounds just about right doesn’t it?.....No?

Then how about this? Get out your Bible (I mean it, don’t read any further, unless you have your Bible), now read Matthew 5:1 to 8:1. What you just read was an account of one of the very first church meetings. The actual church was small, but there was a "multitude" of visitors that day and the sermon was really long. Then read Matthew 8:2-4. That was the next church meeting, but this time there was only one visitor. Now read Matthew 8:5-13. Here’s something unusual. The sermon was only about 20 seconds long (imagine that), and it was both confrontive and judgmental. I’m sure some of the visitors were offended this time, and I don’t think they’ll be coming back. Then Jesus had another meeting at Peter’s house (Matthew 8:14-17); another the next day by the Sea of Galilee (8:18-22); then, later, in a boat (8:23-27); and still another meeting the following day on the other side of Galilee with the disciples, two other guys, a bunch of demons, a herd of pigs and some more visitors from town (8:28-34).

Are you getting the picture? From Matthew 5:1 to 8:34, Jesus had at least 7 church meetings. Actually, He had many more than that. How do I know? Because, in reading these 4 chapters in Matthew, the Lord taught me the one, overwhelming principle illustrated in this first church. It’s really simple, but, at the same time, really profound. What does the first church show us? What should every church learn from its example? What were the 12 disciples doing? Pay attention. Here it is: THEY WERE LIVING WITH JESUS!!! The function of the church, any church, is to enable believers in their walk with Jesus. It must promote the reality of living moment-by-moment, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, week after week, year after year with Jesus.

The simple fact of the matter is that church is supposed to be the support system for believers in their continuous, uninterrupted relationship with Jesus. It should support them in their constant, openly transparent, submissive, obedient, life changing, transforming, renewing, Holy Spirit-led, love relationship with the Savior. And if you’re ever going to be conformed to the image of Christ, that is the lifestyle that is required. How can you be changed into something you haven’t experienced and submitted yourself to? And I don’t want to cover old ground again, but that doesn’t simply define a relationship. If you read your Bible (void of the prevailing religious bias and deceptions) you will realize that what I’m describing is salvation or deliverance. The Bible doesn’t describe salvation as something that is accomplished in the past. It can’t be based on something you’ve already done (church membership, baptism, a profession of faith, confirmation classes, etc.). Salvation is a hope (actually, a confidence) that is based on what you are doing today. It is based on the firm commitment to a continual relationship with God that requires your submission to His will and righteousness. It requires change (yours, not His). And I hate to mention this just now, but it involves suffering (really, you can look it up, try I Peter 4:12-19 for starters). If you just read the red letters in the Gospel accounts, you’ll see that Jesus never describes salvation as something that is quick and easy (only religion scribes using isolated verses do that). Instead, He presents it as something that is difficult, something that demands persistence and something that only a few will achieve (Jesus said there would only be a few that would be willing to travel the narrow road that leads to life).

Salvation is not based on what you know about God, Jesus made that perfectly clear; and it’s not an intellectual exercise, it’s a lifestyle. It’s living with Jesus. The church is a group of people living with Jesus, sharing their experiences with one another, as they live with Him; nothing more, but certainly, nothing less! It’s a community of believers undergoing change together, submitting to His will and purpose, being conformed to the image of Christ, as they are being saved (yes, salvation is a continuing process that has a starting point, but no ending point, read Luke 9:23-24; I Corinthians 1:18; Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 3:14 and I Peter 2:2-3 in the NIV).

I’m amazed at the number of churches today who claim to be "New Testament", but have nothing at all in common with the churches described in the New Testament. On the other hand, it is equally amazing that I recently read of another church who described their search for identity and purpose this way, "In the absence of a clear model, we set out to create our own." I couldn’t believe it! "In the absence of a clear model?" Give me a break! Why not just be honest and admit that you’re just another traditional church looking for new and innovative ways to attract more people, while trying to figure out how you can effectively entertain them while they’re there, so they’ll feel good about the whole deal and come back the next week. And at the same time, slip something religious into the mix, so they’ll think they had some gushy, sentimental encounter with God (you know, something emotional, but something they can deal with on their own terms, nothing heavy).

But there is a New Testament model. If Jesus and His 12 disciples were the first generation church, then those established by the apostles and others after Jesus’ ascension were the second-generation churches. Now, it’s time to really pay attention again. Remember the principle illustrated by the first church was living with Jesus. He was there, physically with them, every day, every night, day after day, week after week, for over three years. Then He was gone! Now others began establishing churches all over the place (in Asia Minor, Europe and Africa). And the principle of these second generation churches comes through loud and clear. Are you ready for this? If you can remember what you’ve already read, you should be able to guess. Here it is: LIVING WITH JESUS IN A COMMUNITY OF OTHER BELIEVERS WHO ARE LIVING WITH HIM TOO!!!

As you continue to read through these articles, you will eventually come to some that will deal with different subjects that pertain to church or Christian community. Some will deal with the concepts of worship and prayer, and there will be others that will cover subjects like the ministry of the Holy Spirit or spiritual gifts in some detail.

The simple function of the real church must be restored. This is the only church that can provide the atmosphere and the activity necessary to allow believers to see the purposes of God fulfilled in their lives. The traditional church of today cannot do it, will not do it. Conservative, liberal, denominational, independent, charismatic, evangelical, whatever, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of the name, the institutional form is always the same. The professional clergy, the ministry programs, the service order or schedule, so-called worship and prayer (traditional religion has absolutely no understanding of what true worship and prayer is all about), everything they do insures that the purposes of God will not be realized. Traditional, institutional religion does not work.

And, traditional religion doesn't have a clue when it comes to understanding the purpose of God. Because of that, those who participate in traditional religion don't have a clue either. If this is true, and it certainly is, then how could they encourage and support one another in their pursuit of God's purpose? That's the rub. That's the problem. The only thing they know to do is follow the program of the religion they're in. They're not living in an experiential, day-to-day relationship with God, submitted to His purpose, being changed from one experience to the next into the image of Christ and encouraging others who are committed to the same purpose by sharing those experiences. That's what you see in the New Testament, but not what you see in religion today.

God is going to re-establish His true church. When He does, some will recognize it, because the Holy Spirit, not men, will be in charge. And, it will look more like the church we see in the New Testament. And the people in these churches will be living with Jesus, sharing their experiences with one another, supporting and encouraging one another, while they undergo this glorious transformation into His image.

Addendum: It has occurred to me that the comments made in this paper regarding the need for women to be silent in the church may be problematic for some and therefore requires some explanation. Let me make just a couple of observations about what Paul says in I Corinthians 14:34-35, and why he said it. It is obvious that Paul did not think it was wrong for women to participate openly in the church. In this same epistle, in 11:5, 13, we see women talking to God and preaching. When you read some of Paul's other letters, he mentions quite a few women. These women were obviously not simply acquaintances, they were important, key members of these fellowships (see Philippians 4:3 for example). Instead, what you see Paul dealing with in I Corinthians 14:34-35 is, I believe, cultural, practical and spiritual.

First of all, women had responsibilities at home (responsibilities deemed more important then than they are today, at least by some) that may have prevented them from participating in the meetings of the fellowship as often as the men. Young children were not allowed (and traditional religion had not yet invented the "Sunday School", thankfully), so many had to stay at home to care for their children. This, no doubt, caused them to fall behind and experience times when they may not have understood what was happening or being discussed. This is the cultural part.

The result was that they often questioned what they were hearing, and rightfully so, they wanted to understand. Paul's practical solution was to have the women keep silent when this happened. His preference was for them to learn from their husbands at home. This way the whole fellowship was not hindered or distracted. And if they did wish to speak in these circumstances, Paul's instruction was for them to submit it to their husbands first, so he could determine whether or not it would be an unnecessary distraction.

Which brings us to the spiritual aspect of what Paul is saying here. It was proper for the men to have the responsibility of determining the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Most of us have probably had enough experience in spiritual matters to know that some men have a tendency to shrink from spiritual responsibility and some women tend to gravitate towards it. Paul was just trying to maintain a balance. The other spiritual dynamic here is that Paul was trying to set guidelines that would insure the most efficient use of time, trying to prevent the meetings from going off on tangents created by questions that could best be dealt with at a different time. If one woman asked a question, everyone's time was taken while that question was dealt with. In Paul's view, this was wrong, because the meeting was supposed to be ordered by the Spirit for the benefit of all present (verse 31).

Rest assured, in this, Paul was not establishing a doctrine for the church that required women to keep silent or be unfit for other responsibilities as some suppose. He reveals the mind of God in this matter in Galatians 3:26-28:

"You have all become the children of God because of your faith in Jesus Christ. When you come into that spiritual union with Him, you will begin to look like Him. And it doesn't matter what nationality you are, what circumstances you're in, or whether you're a man or a woman, everyone looks the same to God when they're in Christ Jesus."

by Ken Brown

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Leadership in the Early Church

In Ephesians 4:11 we find the only reference to pastors found in the New Testament. It is, of course, named as one of the five-fold ministry gifts given to the church by Christ for the purpose of assisting believers in the maturing process. The word translated "pastors" is poimen, meaning shepherd (used in a spiritual sense - not a shepherd tending sheep, but men tending to others in spiritual matters). The verb form of this word is poimaino, and is used by Peter in his first epistle (I Peter 5:2) to describe the duties of an elder - to shepherd or guide those in the church with less maturity or experience in spiritual things.

It is from this one simple reference that the traditional church defines the position and duties of the present-day entrepreneur, otherwise known as "the pastor". I realize "entrepreneur" may be a strange word to use in describing the position of pastor, but the very reason pastors exist today is because as soon as Paul began establishing churches men saw an opportunity to seize power and influence in those churches for their own gain. So, it’s not exactly a new concept. Paul, Peter and Jude all speak out against the activities of men in the early church who were trying to take control of the churches for their own gain. I don’t mean for this to be critical or demeaning. However, as well- meaning and sincere as some pastors may be, the office is still not scriptural. In reality, it was never God’s intention that there be a professional clergy "running" His Church. (The Holy Spirit is supposed to be in charge of the Church, but that’s a different discussion for a different time.)

What you see in scripture (if you’re willing to forget everything you’ve ever been taught about the church) is that the office of pastor, as it’s known today, doesn’t exist. Instead, pastors in the five-fold ministry described in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesian church are actually nothing more than functioning elders. Sometimes they were simply functioning as mentors in a local assembly, and sometimes they were sent to temporarily assist other churches. There is, for example, no evidence that Timothy was ever installed as permanent "pastor" of the church in Ephesus, or any other church. These elders were not building their own little empires, they were not carving their niche in society; they were only serving their fellow believers in the capacity of a spiritual guide or mentor. So, to get a better idea of just what leadership in the early church looked like, let’s look at the scriptural development of the elder (since there is no scriptural development of the position of pastor).

1. The first mention of elders in the church is found in Acts 11:30. It is now AD 44, and by this time the church in Jerusalem is about 15 years old. The reference describes the time when Barnabas and Paul took an offering from the church in Antioch and presented it to the elders in the church in Jerusalem. Most all of the Roman Empire was experiencing a great famine at the time (see Acts 11:27-29). The word translated "elder" is presbuteros, which means ambassador or guide. We’re not given any information in the record as to when elders were appointed in the church in Jerusalem, what process was used to select them, or what their responsibilities were. We only know that at this point in time, elders were recognized and functioning.

2. The next reference is found in Acts 14:23. Here, Paul and Barnabas are found appointing elders in some churches. The exact timing of these events is difficult to determine. However, it is evident that some time had elapsed between the establishment of the churches and Paul’s return to appoint elders. This is at least three years later than the first reference in Acts 11 (about AD 47). The process described in this verse seems to be one that involved seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit through prayer and fasting; then after the choices were made, dedicating those chosen to the Lord. The thought occurred that if these churches were young churches, could there be any in the church who were mature enough in the Lord to function as elders? The answer, obviously, is yes, because elders were appointed. But the reason may be that there were actually more mature believers in the church that had come from Jerusalem as a result of the persecution there and resulting dispersion (Acts 8:1,4; 11:19).

3. When Paul writes his first epistle to the church in Thessalonica in AD 52, we find an interesting passage (I Thessalonians 5:12-15). The word "elder" is not specifically used here. But, we do find instructions given to two different groups of "brethren". (By the way, if you look, you’ll find that none of the epistles were written "to the pastor of the church at such and such", the reason being that none of the churches had pastors. They were usually written to "the brethren", or "the church", or "the saints".)

In verses 12 and 13 the brethren are encouraged to know and esteem those "over them in the Lord". "Over" is proistemi, literally, "those who are leading you". We can safely assume this first instruction is for believers less mature in the church to follow those more mature, those who had accepted the role of guiding others less experienced than themselves. Then in verses 14 and 15, we find instruction given to the second group of brethren. The nature of this instruction tells us that the second group must be the elders. They’re told to warn, comfort, support and be patient with all, to make sure that none seek vengeance, and to encourage everyone to follow their good example - all consistent with the duties of elders found in other passages. Then, general instructions for both groups follow in verses 16-22. But, what you don’t find here is any description of a ministry position of authority that approaches that of today’s pastor.

4. Another 7 years has gone by (bringing us to about AD 59, by now, the New Testament church is 30 years old), when we pick up the events described in Acts 20:17-38. Paul is in Miletus, when he sends word to the elders in the church at Ephesus (about 40 miles away) to come to Miletus to see him. Paul is in a hurry to sail on towards Jerusalem, but wanted to instruct these elders one last time. It is an emotional meeting because he tells them that they will not see his face again.

In verse 28 Paul calls these elders episkopos, literally, "those who watch over". It is generally understood that the term presbuteros (elder) describes the dignity or honor due to one who is able and willing to be a public example in the church for others to follow; while episkopos (overseer) describes the function or duty of an elder, to watch over those in the church and help them follow his example.

Here, Paul says the Holy Spirit appointed the elders. This, certainly, is not inconsistent with what we saw in Acts 14. The purpose of the prayer and fasting in that circumstance was, no doubt, the process of seeking the guidance and confirmation of the Spirit in the selection of those elders. This is basically how verse 28 should read:

"So, continue to watch over your own lives, as well as the lives of the others in the church; remember, the Holy Spirit has chosen you to watch over them, and in so doing, guide the Lord’s church, which He bought with His own blood." Again, nothing that even remotely resembles today’s pastor, in either function or authority, has been described.

5. When considered chronologically, Ephesians 4:11, mentioned at the beginning of this discussion, was written next (about 3 years later in AD 62). By now, Paul is imprisoned in Rome. When he writes his epistle to the church in Ephesus, according to our rough calculations, elders have been functioning in the Church for at least 18 years (since before AD 44 in Jerusalem, remember Acts 11:30). The point is: regardless of what the King James translators were thinking when they translated the Greek word poimen, "pastors" (it means "shepherd", as we’ll see later, and it does make a difference), the fact is that Paul was talking about elders! Something that was already well established in both his writings and the practice of the churches he was overseeing. Otherwise, you have to believe that Paul used the occasion of this one, isolated verse to establish a new office in the church. This is a difficult position to defend, when you realize that there are at least 12 epistles written after this time and in none of them does the Holy Spirit inspire the writers to describe or even mention this "new" office again.

6. Two years later in AD 64, Paul has been released from house arrest in Rome and writes his first epistle to Timothy, who is assisting the church at Ephesus at the time. In I Timothy 3:1 he begins listing qualifications for the episkope. This word is translated "office of a bishop" in the KJV (understandable, when you consider the source); however, this word is used to denote "someone who has been appointed to watch over" (an elder). In verse 2, episkopos (those who watch over) is used. The qualifications that follow are common-sense qualities that would make one fit to watch over those less mature and less experienced in spiritual matters and to act as a mentor. They include both spiritual and moral character issues.

7. Paul then writes his letter to Titus that same year. Titus is trying to help a struggling church on the island of Crete. This church is being torn apart by false teaching. In this instruction, found in Titus 1:5-9, Paul uses both presbuteros and episkopos, while giving qualifications for those who would guide and watch over those in this troubled church. It is interesting that Paul expands the qualifications past the spiritual and moral, to include a sound knowledge of doctrine and the ability to expose and rebuke false teachers.

8. About this same time, Peter is in Rome as well. He writes the epistle known as I Peter, a general letter circulated from church to church in Asia Minor. In I Peter 5:1-3, he gives instructions to the elders in those churches that help us understand just what their responsibilities are. (By the way, Peter identifies himself as an elder in verse 1.) In verse 2, the KJV translates poimaino "feed the flock". This is, again, an instance of considering the source. This word means "to shepherd" and implies the duties of a shepherd (to guide and guard, the same as the noun form poimen mentioned before). This verse encourages the elders to "shepherd" those in the church less mature and less experienced than themselves. If Peter had wanted the elders to be responsible for their feeding, he probably would have used the word bosko. This leads us to another topic that will have to wait until later, but will be addressed at some point. Even though teachers are part of the five-fold ministry, they are intended to only compliment and support the One who is ultimately responsible for the teaching ministry in the church - the One I’m talking about is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26).

In the next phrase, the KJV translates the verb episkopeo, "taking the oversight thereof". This verb simply describes the function of an elder, which is to "watch over". Those in the professional ministry like to cross over and use this verse to describe the duties of a pastor - their translation: "take charge and exercise your authority".

Peter’s charge to the elders in verses 2 and 3 should read something like this:

"Tend to God’s flock the very best that you can, carefully watching over them, not because I tell you to, but because you want to do what’s right. Not because you want to create opportunities for yourselves to take advantage of them, but because you want to serve. And certainly not because you want to exercise authority over those who have chosen to follow God, but because you want to be the model for them to follow of one who is seeing God’s purpose fulfilled in his life."

9. The last reference is in the Epistle to the Hebrews, also written about this same time, probably by Paul. In his closing statements, we find in Hebrews 13:17, a phrase translated in the KJV "Obey them that have the rule over you". This is a combination of the verb peitho, meaning, "to persuade, to gain confidence or trust" (it does not mean "to obey"), and hegeomai, meaning, "to lead on or forward". These words, when properly applied to the context, should be translated something like "those who are leading you forward by their good example". It should be correct to assume that Paul is talking about elders here.

This is a great verse to illustrate the misinterpretations and misunderstandings that can come out of isolated verses translated by men who needed to support a religious system already in place. Pastors commonly use this verse as a whip to get people to submit to their authority. The KJV reads:

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

A corrected and expanded translation, however, shows who an elder is and what he does:

"Have confidence in those who are leading you forward in the faith by their good example. Follow them without reservation, because they’re sincerely watching out for your soul’s well being. They know that they will be asked by me to give a report on your progress. And I hope it will be a good report; because, if it’s not, that means you’ve spurned their good conduct and are in need of correction."

Note: If you doubt this translation, for starters, the word translated "obey" in verse 17 is the same word (peitho, mentioned above) correctly translated "trust" in verse 18. The translation starts out wrong and just keeps going from bad to worse.

So, who is an elder? Someone who has been appointed by the Holy Spirit and has accepted the responsibility of being a role model to those less mature and less experienced in the church; someone who is willing to watch over others and guide them towards maturity. Someone who has the courage and conviction to be able to tell others in the church, "you can trust me, you can follow my example, I’m not afraid of your scrutiny, imitate my life". This is what Paul told his converts (I Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17; I Thessalonians 1:6). In addition to being an apostle, he was a functioning elder. In my 35 years in traditional church ministry, I never had a pastor tell me to imitate his life. I wonder why?

By Ken Brown

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Seeker Church, Emergent Church and the True Church

The Seeker Church went out and asked.…”What are you wanting?…….Oh! God will do that for you.”

The emergent Church went out and asked….”What do you need your God to be?”…….Oh! That is what Jesus is!

The true Church said, "Not my will Lord, but thine be done"

How Bad Can It Get Before People Will See?

It seems clear that the Lord is forcing the apostates' hand in these last days and is exposing their false "Gospel". God is allowing them to make such obvious perversions of what the Spirit of Truth teaches that it is exposing their error and causing those with ears to hear to "Come out from among them". Without the Spirit of Truth giving these false leaders eyes to see and ears to hear they do not know the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. They think by searching the scriptures with their own wisdom & understanding they will find it (John 5:39), but they only find a "form of Godliness that is denying the Power thereof" (2 Timothy 3:5). Without the Power of the Holy Spirit they turn to their own understanding of "good and evil" as Adam and Eve did.

The below article by Paul Proctor is an example of this kind of fleshly "wisdom" being used to bring peace between the apostate "Christian" church and the false Muslim religion.


By Paul Proctor, November 28, 2007,

Once again, leaders from the so-called "church growth movement" are demonstrating for us the Hegelian Dialectic - that transformational Marxist process of compromise and consensus made famous by Georg William Friedreich Hegel which seeks to rid the world of its divisive absolutes in the interest of global peace and unity.

Here's the formula: Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis

The Christian Post reported the following in a November 23rd article titled, Christian Leaders Invite Muslims to Love God, Neighbors Together:

Christian leaders across denominational lines responded to the unprecedented open letter signed last month by 138 representative Muslim leaders with their own letter, calling on the two Abrahamic faiths to love God and neighbors together.

The key word here is "together."

To begin with, nowhere in scripture are Christians instructed to unite with other religions and their deities to do anything. Such a plan doesn't display a love for God at all, but only a disregard for Him and His only begotten Son.

Among other things, the dialectic process redefines "love" to mean tolerance instead of obedience, and calls Christianity and Islam "Abrahamic faiths" as if the two groups have some moral obligation to unite under a god of common ground.

"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." - James 4:4

The Bible is uncompromisingly clear on this issue both in 2nd Corinthians 6:14-17, where we are specifically commanded to not yoke ourselves with unbelievers, and again in Ephesians 5:11, where we are instructed to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."

Jesus Himself said: "He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." (Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23)

How then can Christians join Muslims to love God together and not be an abomination before Him? We're talking about two entirely different "Gods" here - not the same God with differing names. And that's the big lie hidden in this global agenda. By swapping love letters with Muslims, these "Christian leaders" endeavor to legitimize the illegitimate by setting aside the whole counsel of God for Results & Relationships.

Jesus Christ is not the Son of Allah; and to even imply that He is by claiming to love the same "God" as Muslims is not only being dangerously deceitful - it's blasphemy!
But that's what the Hegelian Dialectic does to the Christian faith - it unites opposites and enemies under a guise of goodness - all at the Lord's expense; and that is and always has been the modus operandi of the "church growth movement" - to mingle the sheep with the goats until they are indistinguishable.

Christianity (thesis) + Islam (antithesis) = One World Religion (synthesis)

It should come as no surprise to the readers of my column that two of the reported signers of this letter who "share the sentiments" of Muslim leaders are none other than pastors Rick Warren of Purpose Driven Life fame, and the seeker-sensitive Bill Hybels from Willow Creek Community Church.

The CP article went on to say:

"Peaceful relations between Muslims and Christians stand as one of the central challenges of this century, and perhaps of the whole present epoch," wrote the Christian leaders.

I thought the Great Commission was our central challenge as Christians - to love God and our neighbor by faithfully and obediently proclaiming His Gospel - to preach the cross - to call sinners to repentance and faith for the forgiveness of sins through the shed blood of Jesus Christ!

Have we now abandoned that for an ecumenical Plan B to world peace?
"If we can achieve religious peace between these two religious communities, peace in the world will clearly be easier to attain."

But Jesus said in Matthew 10:34, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword" which is the Word of God that divides us, not just from the strange fire of other religions, but oftentimes from our own beloved family members.

"For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." - Matthew10:35-36

Do Warren and Hybels believe the Bible or not?

You be the judge:

Christian leaders urged for an interfaith dialogue that moves beyond "polite" ecumenical talks between selected leaders. Instead, leaders of both faiths should hold dialogues to build relations that will "reshape" the two communities to "genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another," the Christian letter stated.

My, how this bunch loves to re-imagine, re-interpret, re-define, re-envision, re-invent, re-think and re-shape the world to suit them!

"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." - Jeremiah 6:16a

You see, they're not just seeking to shake hands with Muslims on the street, at work or in the grocery store - the objective here is to "hold dialogues to build relations." That's the dialectic process I referred to earlier that relieves participants of their divisive absolutes for a compromised collective conscience, resulting in a synthesis of spiritual beliefs that both can embrace together peacefully. (i.e., religious groupthink)

Why do they want to "hold dialogues to build relations?"

To "reshape the two communities" so as to "genuinely reflect our common love for God."
Which "God" - theirs or ours?

And that's what this is really all about - systematically merging the two faiths into one through the dialectic process - not merely finding "common ground" or "reflecting" a "common love for God," but actually creating a common god for the common good.

Who stands to benefit from this?

The coming antichrist, of course.


Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the term "church growth movement" doesn't it?

Listen here for Todd Friel's coverage of this blasphemous document.

Below is a complete list of all that have signed this ungodly document. Sadly, it is a very long list: Click here for the full document

Harold W. Attridge
Dean and Lillian Claus Professor of
New Testament, Yale Divinity School
Miroslav Volf
Founder and Director of the Yale Center
for Faith and Culture, Henry B. Wright
Professor of Theology, Yale University
Joseph Cumming
Director of the Reconciliation Program,
Yale Center for Faith and Culture
Emilie M. Townes
Andrew Mellon Professor of African
American Religion and Theology
and President-elect of the American
Academy of Religion
Capt. Bradford E. Ableson, Chaplain Corps, US Navy and Senior Episcopal Chaplain in the US Navy
Dr. Martin Accad, Academic Dean, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (Lebanon), Director, Institute of Middle East Studies (Lebanon), Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Fuller School of Intercultural Studies
Scott C. Alexander, Associate Professor of Islam and Director, Catholic-Muslim Studies, Catholic Theological Union
Roger Allen, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature and Chair, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania, member of Middle East Study Group of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals
Rev. Daniel S. Appleyard, Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Dearborn, MI
William Aramony, Consultant
Harold W. Attridge, Dean and Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament, Yale Divinity School
Dr. Don Argue, Chancellor, Northwest University, Former President, National Association of Evangelicals, Commissioner, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
David Augsburger, Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Fuller Theological Seminary
Gerald R. Baer, M.D., Minister of Christian Education, Landisville, PA
Dwight P. Baker, Associate Director, Overseas Ministries Study Center
Dr. Ray Bakke, Convening Chair, Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding: An International Coalition, Tempe, AZ
His Lordship Bishop Camillo Ballin, MCCI, Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait
Leonard Bartlotti, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, Biola University
Charles L. Bartow, Carl and Helen Egner Professor of Speech Communication in Ministry, Princeton Theological Seminary
Bruce Baumgartner, OSB, Spiritual Director
Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Northern California
Federico Bertuzzi, President, PM Internacional, Latin America
James A. Beverley, Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics, Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, Canada
J.D. Bindenagel, former U.S. Ambassador and Vice President, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Luke Birky, Goshen, IN
Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Blair, The Second Presbyterian Church of Baltimore
Walter R. Bodine, Pastor, International Church at Yale and Research Affiliate, Near Eastern Languages, Yale University
David Bok, Independent Bible Teacher, Hartford Seminary, Hartford, CT
Rev. Jim Bonewald, Pastor, Knox Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA
Jonathan J. Bonk, Executive Director, Overseas Ministries Study Center and Editor, International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Gerhard Böwering, Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University
Richard Bowser, Sunland Park, NM
Matt Brandon, Frontier Trek & Tours, Travel Photographer
Dan Brannen, International Students, Inc.
Timothy Brenneman, Harrisonburg, VA
Revs. Scott & Katarina Breslin, Protestant House Church Network, Istanbul Turkey
Rev. Douglas Brown, Pastor, Valley View United Methodist Church Overland Park, Kansas
Joseph Britton, Dean, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale
Huib Bruinink, Developer of Marketing, PT. Puteri Mawar Sari, Central Java, Indonesia
John M. Buchanan, Editor/Publisher, The Christian Century.
Robert & Betty Lou Buckwalter, Prince of Peace Mennonite Church, Anchorage, Alaska
Eugene W. Bunkowske, Ph.D., Fiechtner Chair Professor of Christian Outreach, Oswald Huffman School of Christian Outreach, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota
Julie Burgess, Omaha, NE
John R. Burkholder, Professor Emeritus, Religion and Peace Studies, Goshen College, Goshen, IN
David Burkum, Pastor, Valley Christian Church, Lakeville, MN
Rt. Rev. Joe Goodwin Burnett, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska
Allen Busenitz, International Student Ministry, West Lafayette, IN
Very Rev. Samuel G. Candler, Dean, Cathedral of St. Philip (Anglican), Atlanta, GA
Juan Carlos Cárdenas, Academic Director, Instituto Iberoamericano de Estudios Transculturales, Granada, Spain
Candace Carey, Jurisdoctorate Student, Michigan State University College of Law, East Lansing, MI
Mark Carey, Doctor of Physical Therapy Student, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI
Joseph Castleberry, President, Northwest University
Rev. Colin Chapman, Former Lecturer in Islamic Studies, Near East School of Theology, Beirut, Lebanon, and author of Whose Promised Land?
David Yonggi Cho, Founder and Senior Pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul, Korea
Hyung Kyun Chung, Associate Professor of Ecumenical Studies, Union Theological Seminary in New York
Rev. Richard Cizik, Vice President of Governmental Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals
William Clarkson IV, President, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, Georgia
Emily Click, Lecturer on Ministry and Assistant Dean for Ministry Studies and Field Education, Harvard Divinity School.
The Community Council of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, Dayton, OH. Sister Florence Seifert, CPPS, President; Sister Jeanette Buehler, CPPS, Vice-President; Sister Madonna Ratermann, CPPS, Councilor; Sister Edna Hess, CPPS, Councilor; Sister Marita Beumer, CPPS, Councilor
Corneliu Constantineanu, Dean and Associate Professor of New Testament, Evangelical Theological Seminary, Osijek, Croatia
Robert E. Cooley, President Emeritus, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts
Rev. Shawn Coons, St. Philip Presbyterian, Houston, TX
Harvey Cox, Hollis Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School
Joseph Cumming, Director of the Reconciliation Program, Yale Center for Faith and Culture, Yale Divinity School
Daniel A. Cunningham, Executive Pastor, Temple Bible Church, Temple, TX
Fr. John D'Alton, President, Melbourne Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Melbourne, Australia
Rev. David R. Davis, Special Projects Coordinator, The Evangelical Alliance Mission, Wheaton, IL
John Deacon, Leader, Branch Out Ministries, The Olive Branch Community Church, Markham, Ontario, Canada
Rev. Joseph C. Delahunt, Senior Pastor, Silliman Memorial Baptist Church, Bridgeport, CT
André Delbecq, Thomas J. and Kathleen L. McCarthy University Professor, Center for Spirituality of Organizational Leadership and former Dean of the Leavey School of Business at the University of Santa Clara
Dr. John Dendiu, Assistant Professor of Religion, Bethel College (Indiana)
David A. Depew, President, Seed of Abraham Association, Broadcasting radio Bible studies in the Middle East
Keith DeRose, Allison Foundation Professor of Philosophy, Yale University
Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Professor of Reconciliation Studies, Bethel University
Andrew Dimmock, Director, Doulos Community, Nouakchott, Mauritania
Chip Dobbs-Allsopp, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary
Linda Tempesta Ducrot, President, Chez Ducrot, Inc., Plymouth, MA
Andrés Alonso Duncan, CEO, Latinoamerica Global, A.C.
Kent A. Eaton, Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Associate Dean, Bethel Seminary San Diego, California
Omar and Anna Kathryn Eby, Harrisonburg, VA
Diana L. Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies in Arts and Sciences and member of the Faculty of Divinity, Harvard University
Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Senior Advisor to the Dean, Harvard Divinity School
James Ehrman, Director, Global Ministries Office, Evangelical Congregational Church
Bertil Ekstrom, Executive Director, Mission Commission, World Evangelical Alliance
Nancie Erhard, Assistant Professor of Comparative Religious Ethics, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
John Esposito, University Professor & Founding Director Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University
Chester E. Falby, Priest Associate, St. Catherine's Episcopal Church, Manzanita, OR
Steven Fenwick Ph.D., Counselor in private practice, Olympia, WA
Thomas P. Finger, Mennonite Central Committee, Evanston, IL
Rev. Dr. David C. Fisher, Senior Minister, Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, NY
David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge University
Marlene Malahoo Forte, 2007 Yale World Fellow
Matthew Friedman, Th.M. Candidate, Asbury Theological Seminary
Makoto Fujimura, Artist
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA
Rev. Susan L. Gabbard, St. John's United Church of Christ, Mifflinburg, PA
Millard Garrett, Vice President, Eastern Mennonite Missions, Salunga, PA
Siobhan Garrigan, Assistant Professor of Liturgical Studies and Assistant Dean for Marquand Chapel, Yale Divinity School
Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
Cheryl German, Knoxville, TN
William Goettler, Assistant Dean for Assessment and Ministerial Studies, Yale Divinity School
Robert S. Goizueta, Professor of Theology, Boston College
Leon & Elaine Good, Lititz, PA
Bruce Gordon, Professor of History, University of St. Andrews
William A. Graham, Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies in Arts and Sciences and O'Brian Professor of Divinity and Dean in the Divinity School, Harvard University
Rev. Bruce Green, Bridge Building Facilitator, FCM Foundation, Centerville Presbyterian Church, Fremont, CA
Joel B. Green, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary
Lynn Green, International Chairman, Youth With A Mission
Frank Griffel, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Yale University
Rev. Kent Claussen Gubrud, Christus Victor Lutheran Church, Apple Valley, MN
Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick, Jr., Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky
Brian Gumm, Interim Lay Pastor, Ankeny Church of the Brethren, Ankeny, Iowa
Judith Gundry-Volf, Adjunct Associate Professor of New Testament, Yale Divinity School
David P. Gushee, Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics, McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University and President, Evangelicals for Human Rights
Kim B. Gustafson, President, Common Ground Consultants, Inc.
Elie Haddad, Provost, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Lebanon
Dr. Anette Hagan, Elder, Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, Edinburgh, Scotland
Martin Hailer, Professor of Theology, Leuphana University, Lueneburg, Germany
Rev. L. Ann Hallisey, Hallisey Consulting and Counseling, Interim Vicar, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Berkeley, CA
Gloria K. Hannas, Member, Peacemaking Mission Team of the Presbytery of Chicago, PCUSA, La Grange, IL
Paul D. Hanson, Florence Corliss Lamont Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School
Pastor Peter Hanson, Director of Studies, Dept. of Theology and Training, Lutheran Church of Senegal
Rob Hazel, High Wycombe, England
Heidi Hadsell, President, Hartford Seminary, Hartford, CT
David Heim, Executve Editor, The Christian Century
Eike J. Heinze, Hartford, WI
Richard Henderson, Director of Studies, Westbrook Hay, United Kingdom
Mary E. Hess, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, Luther Seminary
Richard Heyduck, Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Pittsburg, TX
Scott Hinton, First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, IL
Sheryll Hix, Behavior Specialist, Stuart , Florida
Rev. Norman A. Hjelm, Director, Commission on Faith and Order (retired), National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
Shirley Eid Holm, Church Librarian, Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, IL
Carl R. Holladay, Charles Howard Candler Professor of New Testament, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Jan Holton, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care, Yale Divinity School
Marian E. Hostetler, former worker, Mennonite Mission Network and Eastern Mennonite Mission, Elkhart, IN
Joseph Hough, President and William E. Dodge Professor of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary in New York
Imogen Hawthorne Howe,West Redding, CT
Robert W. Huntington 3rd, MD, Member, Madison Wisconsin Monthly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Bill Hybels, Founder and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL
Carol Ingells, Spiritual Director, Episcopal lay leader, Lansing, MI
Carlos Iwaszkowiec, Sales Director, MECS, Inc., St. Louis, MO
Dr. Nabeel T. Jabbour, Consultant, Professor, Colorado Springs, CO
Dr. Mary Ellen Jacobs, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT
Todd Jenkins, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville, TN
Jeromy Johnson, Pastor, Sacramento, CA
David L. Johnston, Lecturer, Religious Studies Department, University of Pennsylvania
Robert K. Johnston, Professor of Theology and Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary
Rt. Rev. Shannon Sherwood Johnston, Bishop Coadjutor, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones, Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
Gary D. Jones, Rector, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Richmond, VA
Stanton L. Jones, Provost and Professor of Psychology, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL
Susan Jones, Cary, NC
Tony Jones, National Coordinator, Emergent Village
Stefan Jung, Economist, Germany
Rev. Dr. Riad A. Kassis, Theologian, Author, and Consultant
Sister Helen Kearney, Sisters of Saint Joseph, Brentwood, NY
Rev. Stephen B. Kellough, Chaplain, Wheaton College (IL)
Ann King-Grosh, Lancaster, PA
Sister Janet Kinney, CSJ, Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY
Steve Knight, National Coordinating Group Member, Emergent Village, Charlotte, NC
Paul Knitter, Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions and Culture, Union Theological Seminary in New York
Dr. Manfred W. Kohl, Vice President of Overseas Council International, USA
Rev. John A. Koski, Assemblies of God, Dearborn, MI
Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, Dean, The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, New York NY
James R. Krabill, Senior Executive for Global Ministries, Mennonite Mission Network, Elkhart, IN
Hank Kraus, Founder and Director, PeaceMark
Sharon Kugler, University Chaplain, Yale University
Catherine Kurtz, Landisville Mennonite Church, Landisville, PA
Peter Kuzmic, Eva B. and Paul E. Toms Distinguished Professor of World Missions and European Studies, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Rektor, Evandjeoski Teoloski Fakultet, Osijek, Croatia
David Lamarre-Vincent, Executive Director, New Hampshire Council of Churches
John A. Lapp, Executive Secretary Emeritus, Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, PA
Dr. Warren Larson, Director of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies, Columbia International University, South Carolina
Traugott Lawler, Professor of English emeritus, Yale University
Maurice Lee, Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University
Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
Kristen Leslie, Associate Professor of Pastoral Care, Yale Divinity School
Linda LeSourd Lader, President, Renaissance Institute, Charleston, SC
Tim Lewis, President, William Carey International University
Rev. R. Charles Lewis, Jr., Parish Associate, First Presbyterian- Vintage Faith Church, Santa Cruz, CA
Julyan Lidstone, OM, Glasgow, Scotland
Erik Lincoln, Author of Peace Generation tolerance curriculum for Muslim Students, Indonesia
Norman Lindholm, Ohio
John Lindner, Director of External Relations, Yale Divinity School
Duane Litfin, President, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL
Greg Livingstone, Founder, Frontiers and historian of Muslim-Christian encounter
Albert C. Lobe, Interim Executive Director, Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, PA
Rick Love, International Director, Frontiers and Adjunct Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, author of Peacemaking
Jerry Ludeke
Owen Lynch, Associate Pastor, Trent Vineyard, Nottingham, UK
Douglas Magnuson, Associate Professor of Intercultural Programs and Director of Muslim Studies, Bethel University
Brent D. Maher, Graduate Assistant to the Provost, Taylor University, Upland, IN
Peter Maiden, International Coordinator, OM
Danut Manastireanu, Director for Faith & Development, Middle East & East Europe Region, World Vision International, Iasi, Romania
Rev. Steven D. Martin, President, Vital Visions Incorporated and Pastor, United Methodist Church, Oak Ridge, TN
Harold E. Masback, III, Senior Minister, The Congregational Church of New Canaan
Caleb J.D. Maskell, PhD student, Department of Religion, Princeton University
Shaun Mazurek, Denver, Colorado
Rt. Rev Gerald N. McAllister, Retired Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma
The Rev. Donald M. McCoid, Executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
C. Douglas McConnell, PhD, Dean, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Seminary
Sister Mary McConnell, CSJ, Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY
Don McCurry, President, Ministries to Muslims
Jeanne McGorry, CSJ, Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY
Elsie McKee, Archibald Alexander Professor of Reformation Studies and the History of Worship, Princeton Theological Seminary
Brian D. McLaren, Author, Speaker, Activist
Kathleen E. McVey, J. Ross Stevenson Professor of Early and Eastern Church History, Princeton Theological Seminary
Carl Medearis, President, International Initiatives, Denver, CO
Greg Meland, Director of Formation, Supervised Ministry and Placement, Bethel Seminary, Minnesota
Judith Mendelsohn Rood, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies, Department of History, Government, and Social Science School of Arts and Sciences, Biola
Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, PA
Mickey J. Mercer, Teacher, Flagstaff High School, Flagstaff, AZ
Harold E. Metzler, Member, Church of the Brethren and heritor of the Amish/Mennonite tradition
Alan E. Miller, Lead Pastor, Conestoga Church of the Brethren, Leola, PA
David B. Miller, Pastor, University Mennonite Church, State College, PA
Rev. Dr. Sid L. Mohn, President, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, Chicago, IL
Brother Benilde Montgomery, O.S.F., Franciscan Brother of Brooklyn
Steve Moore, President & CEO, The Mission Exchange
Douglas Morgan, Director, Adventist Peace Fellowship
Richard Mouw, President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary
John Mueller, Minister of Music, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Ft. Wayne, IN
Barbara Mueller, teacher emerita, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Ft. Wayne
Salim J. Munayer, Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation and Academic Dean, Bethlehem Bible College, Jerusalem
Rich Nathan, Senior Pastor, Vineyard Church of Columbus
David Neff, Editor in Chief & Vice-President, Christianity Today Media Group
Alexander Negrov, President, Saint Petersburg Christian University, St. Petersburg, Russia
Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, Associate Dean, Tyndale Seminary, Toronto
Craig Noll, Assistant Editor, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Overseas Ministries Study Center
Rev. Roy Oksnevad, Director Muslim Ministry, Billy Graham Center at Wheaton
Dennis Olsen, Charles T. Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
Richard R. Osmer, Thomas Synnot Professor of Christian Education, Princeton Theological Seminary
Rt. Rev. George E. Packard, Bishop Suffragan for Chaplaincies of the Episcopal Church
Rev. Jeanne C. Parker, clergywoman, ABC/RGR, Rochester, NY
George Parsenios, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary
Greg H. Parsons, General Director, USCWM, Pasadena, CA
Stephanie A. Paulsell, Houghton Professor of the Practice of Ministry Studies, Harvard Divinity School
James R. Payton, Jr., Professor of History, Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada and President, Christians Associated for Relationships with Eastern Europe
Jonathan Pedrone, Youth Pastor, New Testament Baptist Church, Miami, FL
Doug Pennoyer, Dean, School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University
Howard Pepper, M.A., M.Div., President, Nurture Press, San Diego, CA
Dan Peters, Thousand Oaks, CA
Douglas Petersen, Margaret S. Smith Professor of Intercultural Studies, Vanguard University of Southern California
Viola Deavours Powers, Cincinnati, OH
Rev. Edward Prevost, Rector, Christ Church, Winnetka, Illinois
Bruce G. Privratsky, Elder, Holston Conference, United Methodist Church
Sally M. Promey, Professor of Religion & Visual Culture, Professor of American Studies, Professor Religious Studies and Deputy Director, Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University
Rev. Erl G. Purnell, Rector, Old Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church, Bloomfield, CT
Rev. John C. Ramey, President, Aslan Child Rescue Ministries and President, The Olive Branch Institute
Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA
David A. Reed, Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology and Research, Wycliffe College, Univerity of Toronto, Canada
Neil Rees, International Director, World Horizons
Rev. Warren Reeve, Lead Pastor, Bandung International Church, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia and Founder and Facilitator of the Missional International Church Network
Rodney Allen Reeves, Former moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oregon and board member, Greater Portland Institute for Christian-Muslim Understanding and member, Interfaith Council of Greater Portland.
Dr. Donald H. and Mary M. Reimer, Charlesewood Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Dr. Evelyne A. Reisacher, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and International Relations, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA
Cornel G. Rempel, Retired pastor, chaplain and supervisor of clinical pastoral education, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
David Reynolds, Australia
Robert E. Riddle, First Presbyterian Church, Asheville, N.C.
Steve Robbins, Pastor and Director, Vineyard Leadership Institute
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., Professor of Church History and Ecumenics, Fuller Theological Seminary and the Director of the David du Plessis Center for Christian Spirituality
Leonard Rodgers, Executive Director, Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding: An International Coalition, Tempe, AZ
Dudley C. Rose, Lecturer on Ministry and Associate Dean for Ministry Study, Harvard Divinity School
Rev. Herschel Rosser, Associate Pastor, Vineyard Church of Sugar Land, Stafford, TX and Texas Area Church Planting Coordinator, Vineyard, USA
Glenna N. Roukes, Elder, First Presbyterian Church, Santa Cruz, CA and Secretary, Mission Team
Philip Ruge-Jones, Associate Professor of Theology, Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas
William L. Sachs, Director, Center for Reconciliation and Mission, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia
Robert A. Sain, Pastor, Messiah Lutheran Church, ELCA, Hildebran, NC
Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity, Yale University
Andrew D. Saperstein, Associate Director of the Reconciliation Program at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture
Tyler Savage, Missionary with Church Resource Ministries, Germany and South Africa
Warren C. Sawyer, President and CEO, The Caleb Foundation, Swampscott, MA
Rev. Dr. Christian Scharen, Director, Faith as a Way of Life Program, Yale Center for Faith & Culture
Rev. Mark Schindler, Unity of Auburn, Auburn, CA
Rev. Dr. Robert Schuller, Founder, Crystal Cathedral and Hour of Power
Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Krister Stendahl Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School
Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, Stillman Professor of Roman Catholic Studies, Harvard Divinity School
William Schweiker, Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Chicago
Glen G. Scorgie, Ph.D., Bethel Seminary San Diego
Waldron Scott, President emeritus, Holistic Ministries International, Paterson, NJ
Andrew J. Sebanc, Senior Pastor, Green Timbers Covenant Church, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Rev. Donald Senior, C.P., President, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Illinois
C. L. Seow, Henry Snyder Gehman Professor of OT Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary
Emily Shaffer, US Department of State, Kigali, Rwanda
Donna Shank, LCSW, Lancaster, PA
Joey Shaw, Masters candidate at Center for Middle East Studies and LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin
Imad Nicola Shehadeh, President and Senior Professor of Theology, Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary
Michael T. Shelley, Director, Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
David W. and K. Grace Shenk, Global Consultants, Eastern Mennonite Missions, Salunga, PA
Wilbert R. Shenk, Senior Professor of Mission History and Contemporary Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary
Marguerite Shuster, Harold John Ockenga Professor of Preaching and Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
Frederick J. Sigworth, Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University
Walt Simmerman, Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Galax, VA
C. Donald Smedley, Associate Director, The Rivendell Institute, New Haven, CT
John D. Spalding, Founder and Editor,
John G. Stackhouse, Jr., Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology and Culture, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada
Glen H. Stassen, Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Chrisian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary
Wilbur P. Stone, Program Director and Lead Faculty, Global and Contextual Studies, Bethel University/Seminary
Rev. Dr. John Stott, Rector Emeritus, All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, UK
Frederick J. Streets, The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor in Pastoral Counseling, The Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University, Adjunct Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, Yale Divinity School, Former Yale University Chaplain
Dan Sullivan, Saint Augustine's Episcopal Church,Wilmette IL
Diana Swancutt, Associate Professor of New Testament, Yale Divinity School
Merlin Swartz, Professor of Islamic Studies, Boston University
Christine Talbott, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Castine, ME
Dr. Glen A. Taylor, Cooperative Studies Teaching Fellow, Tajikistan State National University, Dushanbe, Tjikistan
William Taylor, Global Ambassador, World Evangelical Alliance
Harvey Thiessen, Executive Director, OM Canada
Rev. John Thomas, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ
Stephen Thomas, European Team Leader, Salt & Light Ministries Senior Pastor, Oxford, UK
Dr. J. Milburn Thompson, Chair and Professor of Theology, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY
Iain Torrance, President, Princeton Theological Seminary
Emilie M. Townes, Andrew Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology, Yale Divinity School, and President-elect of the American Academy of Religion
Michael W. Treneer, Internation President, The Navigators, Colorado Springs, CO
Geoff Tunnicliffe, International Director, World Evangelical Alliance
Fr. Benjamin J. Urmston, S.J., Director Emeritus Peace and Justice Programs, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH
James and Susan Vagnier, Columbus, OH
George Verwer, Founder and former International Director, OM
Harold Vogelaar, Director Emeritus: A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Miroslav Volf, Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology, Yale Divinity School
Marlene M. von Friederichs-Fitzwater, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology, UC Davis School of Medicine and Director of Outreach Research and Education, UC Davis Cancer Center
Fr. H. Eberhard von Waldow, Professor Emeritus, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Rev. Berten A. Waggoner, National Director, Association of Vineyard Churches
Robin Wainwright, President, Middle East Fellowship, Pasadena, CA and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies
Dr. Dale F. Walker, Affiliate Professor, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY
Barbara Wall, Certified speech and language pathologist Bandhagen, Sweden
Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners
Charlotte R. Ward, Associate Professor of Physics, Emerita, Auburn University and Life Deacon, Auburn First Baptist Church
Charles H. Warnock III, Senior Pastor, Chatham Baptist Church, Chatham, VA
Rick Warren, Founder and Senior Pastor, Saddleback Church, and The Purpose Driven Life, Lake Forest, CA
Rev. Debra Warwick-Sabino, Rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Fairfield, CA
Mark R. Wenger, Director of Pastoral Studies, Lancaster Eastern Mennonite Seminary P.O., Lancaster, PA
Rev. Laura Westby, Pastor, First Congregational Church of Danbury, CT
Bett and Talbert Williams, St Anne's Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA
Robert R. Wilson, Hoober Professor of Religious Studies, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Yale Divinity School
Leslie Withers, Coordinator, Interfaith Pilgrimage Project, Friendship Force International, Atlanta, GA
Dr.John Wolfersberger, Retired Executive, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Southern California
Nicholas Wolterstorff, Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia
J. Dudley Woodberry, Professor of Islamic Studies and Dean Emeritus of the Fuller School of International Studies
Rev Dr Christopher J H Wright, International Director, Langham Partnership International, London, UK
John Wright, Senior Pastor, Trent Vineyard, Nottingham, England
Robyn Yates, Children's Pastor, Fellowship Bible Church Arapaho, Dallas, TX
Byard & Judy Yoder, Landisville Mennonite Church, Pennsylvania
Godfrey Yogarajah, General Secretary, Evangelical Fellowship of Asia
Rev. Andrea Zaki Stephanous, Vice President of the Protestant Church in Egypt, Director of Dar El Thaquafa Communications House-CEOSS
Rev. John D. Zeigler, First Presbyterian Church, PCUSA, Canton, TX