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my French, but lately I’ve been getting “a feeling of already having
experienced a present situation,” which is a definition of our title.
It relates to how some brethren advocate for the broadening of our
fellowship to include other “believers” regardless of whether they
believe the doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins.|
In two separate periods of time in my lifespan, this has been a
troubling issue among brethren. Both times have eventually resulted in
the departure of some into more ecumenical churches. In the mid-1950s,
while I was a still a teenager, I recall how my father decided to move
from Minneapolis to the Chicago area specifically to fight a form of
modernism that had been affecting the churches over the past couple of
decades. Later, in his book Here Am I, Send Me,
my father wrote about the fallout just in the Chicago area alone: “In
seventeen years, seventeen gospel preachers quit the Lord’s church,
either to lose faith altogether, or to go to the most modernistic
I remember how that battle continued and became a motivating factor in the beginning of Truth Magazine in 1956. My recent déjà vu
feeling sent me back to my bound volumes of early editions of the
magazine in which there were lengthy exchanges and debates between
brethren regarding the essentiality of baptism and the resulting
spiritual fellowship issues.
Some of the statements made by those who eventually “went out from us”
in the 1950s are frightfully similar to what we hear some brethren
saying today. Consider this quote from one such preacher who was asked
if the purpose of baptism and the Lord’s supper can be realized apart
from literal obedience to these rites. After giving lip-service to the
importance of baptism and saying that he “would not, knowingly teach anyone to break the least of God’s commands,” he was asked
whether he preached the essentiality of baptism. His response was: “I do not. I do not find the New Testament talking of
|essentiality. I do not believe that every unbaptized person will be eternally lost…” (Truth Magazine, Vol.1, No.6, p.7).
I don’t know if the departures that were prevalent in the 1950s were
widespread among brethren or if it was a problem peculiar to the
Chicago area. I do know that by the end of that decade, the proponents
of that error had migrated to more comfortable fellowships and the
Lord’s churches in the upper midwest experienced a brief period of
growth and peace.
Whether the ecumenical mindset was eliminated among brethren for a time
or merely went underground, I’m not certain, but by the 1970s and 80s
the same attitudes were being espoused by some. I believe there was
legitimate concern that, in our efforts to defend against Calvinism,
the doctrine of salvation by grace had been somewhat neglected.
Sermons, articles, and tracts refuted the grace-only doctrine with very
little said about the positive side of salvation by grace.
To the credit of many, this imbalance in preaching and teaching was
fairly well remedied, but—as so often happens—some went beyond the
biblical teaching about grace and began advocating unity with some in
the evangelical world. The most outspoken advocates of what they called
“unity in diversity” eventually disassociated themselves with those of
us whom they erroneously called “legalists.”
The real issue under consideration is just who is and who isn’t a
Christian? The world attributes the name to anyone and everyone who
merely professes Christianity, regardless of whether they actually possess
it. Recently, we witnessed a reporter who, attempting to pose a
“gotcha” question, asked a potential political candidate whether he
believed our current President is a Christian. How would you and I
answer that question?
use of the name as an adjective to describe any number of things,
businesses and organizations (i.e., Christian music, Christian
bookstores, Christian schools, etc.) has contributed to the careless
use of “that noble name by which [we] are called” (Jas. 2:7). This
misuse is so common that I fear that we have gradually succumbed to the
practice. When Muslim extremists beheaded 21 men who professed to be
Christians, the President was criticized for calling them “Egyptian
citizens” instead of “Egyptian Christians.” What did we
I suppose some will view this as meaningless semantics. However, the
problem arises when our accommodative use of the word “Christian”
evolves into an emotional acceptance into spiritual partnership of
people who have not fully submitted to the gospel. Gradually, the fact
that many of our Bible-quoting, church-going, morally-upright friends
have not submitted to scriptural baptism becomes less important, and
the desire for unity obscures the biblical teaching that the only way
one can be “in Christ” is by being “baptized into Christ” (Rom. 6:3;
Gal. 3:27). Those “who do not bring this doctrine” are failing to
“abide in the doctrine of Christ” (2 Jn. 9-11).
The desire for unity is an admirable trait if it is a unity based on
submission to the teachings of Christ revealed in His word. We do our
religious friends and neighbors no service by giving them aid and
comfort in their error. What they need to hear is what other believers
heard: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit” (Ac. 2:38).
260 N. Aspen Drive, Cortland, Illinois 60112
By ANDY DIESTELKAMP
modern perception of what it means to be a disciple or follower of
Jesus is, on the whole, very unlike what Jesus intended. Indeed, one
has to wonder if the Son of Man returned today, “would He find faith on
the earth?” (Lk. 18:8). In many respects, “Christianity” has morphed
into something that reaches out to the “felt needs” of humanity and
seeks to cater to what people want and have come to expect from
Yet, when we examine Jesus as revealed in Scripture, we see a Person
wholly unconcerned with meeting the expectations of any demo- graphic.
He knew that He would be rejected for His teaching, but He taught it
anyway because it was the will of His Father. It was and is the truth.
His disciples would do likewise for the same reasons and, for the same
reasons, be similarly rejected.
Jesus challenged His disciples to exceed the righteousness of the
leaders of the various religious parties, both liberal and conservative
(Matt. 5:20). Jesus’ teaching did not conform to societal expectations.
This is well illustrated in His teaching on the matter of marriage and
divorce (Matt. 19:9,10). Indeed, His own disciples went on to remark
that if what Jesus taught was true (and it was), it might be better not
to marry. Simply put, Jesus’ kingdom would not be what most people
expected. Matthew’s Gospel records events which illustrate reversals of
In 19:13-15, we see Jesus’ response to His own disciples’
efforts to prevent little children from coming to Him. While the
ancient world saw children as blessings, it was primarily for what they
would eventually contribute to the family economy. Thus, little children were often viewed as being more work than help. Contrary to the expectations of His disciples, Jesus welcomed
the little children. He then used a lowly child to represent what we
must become in order to enter His kingdom. Jesus had previously taught
the need to be born again from above (John 3:3). Such a rebirth would
have all of us starting over as “little children” in order to be part
In 19:16-22, a rich young man came to Jesus wanting to know what good
thing he could do to have eternal life. Jesus told him that he should
keep the commandments. The man wanted to know which ones. Jesus
referred to some specific commands in the Law of Moses. The man said
that he had kept those and wanted to know what he still lacked. Jesus
told him to lay up treasure in heaven by selling all he had and
following Him. The man went away sorrowful because he was very rich.
The contrast begs to be made. The rich young man went away from Jesus,
whereas the children came to Him. Jesus did not give the answer that
the young man expected, and so he went away. Beware lest we have the
In 19:23-26, Jesus warns His disciples that it is hard
for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Isn’t wealth supposed to
make every- thing easier? Yet, Jesus says wealth is an impediment to
entering the kingdom. This amazed the disciples. If the rich can’t be
saved, then who can be? It is
likely they held to the idea that is still popular today that physical
health and wealth is indicative of God’s blessing and one’s position in
the kingdom. Nonsense. Jesus did not confirm that expectation then, and
He does not now.
In 19:27, Peter observes that he and the other eleven apostles
had left all to follow Jesus. He wondered what that would mean for
them. Jesus’ reply (19:28-30) predicted that they would “sit on
thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Space does not permit a
full explanation of what Jesus might have meant by this, but suffice it
to say that it would be “when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His
glory.” After the resurrection of Jesus, Peter and the other apostles
gave witness to the fact that Jesus had been raised to reign (Ac.
2:29-33) and the men of Israel who were cut to their hearts begged to
know what they should do after having killed their Messiah. Who could
have expected that these twelve men of lowly and despised backgrounds
would be put in positions of authority in a regenerated kingdom to
judge Israel? Indeed, this was a reversal of expectations.
Of course, the kingdom does not belong to the twelve apostles alone but
to everyone who would likewise leave all for Christ’s sake. Jesus calls
all of us to put the kingdom of heaven first. Like the rich young man,
many may say they want eternal life; but when the requirements of Jesus
do not meet their expectations, many reject Him. Thus Jesus observed,
“many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
The children (without wealth or power and, therefore, the last) were
received by Jesus and represent what we must be to enter His kingdom.
The rich young ruler (first by worldly standards) represents those who
will not enter the kingdom though given the opportunity. God certainly
cares about the rich and powerful, but those who are first in their own
minds will be the last to forsake the little they have to follow Jesus.
tion, Jesus, the Son of God and therefore legiti- mately first by all
standards, humbled Himself to the point of rejection, mockery, and
death on a cross in order to rescue the helpless and hopeless, the
last. We who would be His disciples are expected to deny ourselves,
take up our crosses, and follow Him (Matt. 16:24).
323 E. Indiana Ave., Pontiac, Illinois 61764
By DAVID DIESTELKAMP
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|A candle burned
sanonymously across from where I sat. The unusually bright Chicago
winter day flooded the room with light, overwhelming the glow of the
candle. The candle was superfluous, unnecessary, and useless, at least
as far as giving light was concerned. Had the room been dark with no
other source of light, we would not only have noticed the candle but
would have valued and depended on its light.
Christians are candles that are often burning anonymously in the world.
We find ourselves in settings where our light is similar to—or even
outshined by—the relative good of others. Maybe we feel our light is
superfluous, unnecessary, or even useless since it doesn’t seem to make
much of a difference in the world.
It is important to remember that faithful Christians shine as lights in
the world whether or not it is acknowledged by the world (Phil. 2:15).
Although the contrast between the Christian and the world—between the
true follower and the faux disciple—should eventually become clear, the
contrast is not always readily apparent. Upon closer examination, it
can be discovered that what was thought to be an angel of light is, in
fact, Satan himself (2 Cor. 11:14). But closer examination will
sometimes be necessary, and not everyone will do what is necessary. But remember, the popularity of Satan’s feigned radiant veneer in no way taints the spectacular glory of the true angels of light.
shine because God made us lights—period. We shine in the light and we
shine in the darkness. Our radiance is not simply measured physically.
Although obvious external differences will exist in the lives of
Christians in contrast to those of the world, the most significant
differ- ences are spiritual. The greatest glory will be found in
forgiveness, love, joy, peace, hope, longsuffering, and holiness…
I want to take a very dark turn here. Jesus said, “It is impossible
that no offenses should come…” (Lk. 17:1). In Philippians 2:15 Paul
stated what is obvious to us—we live in a “crooked and per- verse
generation.” The “god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4) is not the one true and
living God because people do not “like to retain God in their knowl-
edge” (Rom. 1:28). To make matters worse, the god of this world has
blinded people “lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,
who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:4). It’s dark
out there. And it’s going to get darker.
Paul warned that “…evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse,
deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). Dark—and getting
darker—that’s what Paul said. Peter said we shouldn’t be surprised by
it (1 Pet. 4:12). I’m not looking forward to this, nor am I going to suggest that darker darkness is a good thing. But darker darkness affords greater opportunity for lights to
|shine, to serve their created purpose, and to be more useful.
I have heard people talk of the darkening of the world in terms of
fear, wondering how the faithful will be able to shine their lights.
Jesus says, even at the moment of greatest darkness, “You are the light
of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Cannot be hidden!
When the darkness darkens, the only thing that changes is how
noticeable the light is. Maybe the darkness will mean lights will be
ostracized by society (unfriended on FB?), mocked, arrested, and made
homeless. My children and grandchildren may be destitute, afflicted,
and tormented just like those in Hebrews 11. I’m still glad I have
children and grandchildren, and I hope for them to have faith and the
opportunity for the light of Christ to be seen in them in the clearest,
most radiant way possible. Fear? Does light fear darkness, or does
light see an opportunity to be useful, important, and relevant? May we
all join those in the light “of whom the world was not worthy” (Heb.
11:38). May we “…walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8) when it is light
and when it is dark, because that’s what we are—children of light.
940 N. Elmwood Dr., Aurora, Illinois 60506
GRACE and OBEDIENCE
By LESLIE DIESTELKAMP
wrote, “…the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty
angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and
that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:7-8). Do
you believe that?
There are many people who do not believe that a God of love would
punish wicked people. They indulge in wishful thinking, judging God as
they would men. However, the very same Bible that teaches us that “God
is love” also says that he is “a consuming fire.” Surely we should be
able to see that he must punish the wicked if he is not only a God of
love, but also a God of justice. His word cannot be regarded lightly.
God cannot lie. He has from the beginning declared his hatred for sin,
and it is not possible for him to compromise.
Some others think God will punish the wicked with annihilation.
Some think total destruction will be the lot of the wicked. Thus, they
try vainly to avoid the scriptural descriptions of eternal punish-
| ment. Truly, if heaven will be eternal, so then will hell be everlasting.
Then there are many who think God will punish the wicked but fail to
recognize that all who neglect to obey will be included with the most
corrupt. One need not be a murderer, a robber, a thief, etc., to be
lost. The passage quoted above shows that it is the will of God that
all who do not submit in obedience to his will should be pun- ished. We
should be able to understand this because:
1) All have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Thus all responsible people have become
guilty before God. They have come short of his glory and are not fit to
be in his presence because of their sinful condition (Isa. 59:2).
2) By grace God provided a means of cleansing for the soul of sinful
man (Eph. 2:8; Col. 1:14). The price man could not pay, God paid
freely. By this means the stain of guilt may be removed from man’s soul.
But pardon is offered only to those who believe and obey: “If ye
believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (Jn. 8:24); “He
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mk. 16:16).
So, the God of love and mercy, being also a God of justice and truth,
must reward the faithful because of his word, and likewise he must
punish the wicked and disobedient because of that same true word.
Let us put our trust in his grace, but let us also demonstrate that we
do trust him by complete surrender to his word. Jesus said, “If ye love
me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15). How can we say we love and trust
the Lord if we refuse, decline or neglect to be obedient to him? He
asked, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I
say? (Lk. 6:46).
This article first appeared in
the Aurora Bulletin, October, 1964
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By STEVE FONTENOT
the six days of creation 24 hour days or thousands of years? If the
evidence shows these days to be days of approximately 24 hours each,
then it is clear that the theory of evolution cannot be reconciled with
the Bible. What is the evidence?
While “day” (the Hebrew word, yom) is sometimes
used for a period of time irrespective of the hours involved (e.g. Gen.
2:4), “Outside of the Genesis 1 case in question, the two-hundred plus
occurrences of yom preceded by ordinals [e.g., one,” “second” srf] all
refer to a normal 24-hour day. Furthermore, the seven-hundred plus
appearances of yamim [plural form of yom – srf] always refer to a
regular day.” Walter L. Bradley and Roger Olsen, “The Trustworthiness
of Scripture in Areas Relating to Natural Science,” ed. Earl D.
Radmacher and Robert D. Pruess (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub., 1984), p.
via Acts & Facts, May 1998.
“Evening And Morning”
The phrase “there was evening and there was
morning’ indicates one normal day. This is what Moses meant when he
used the terms “evening” and “morning” elsewhere in his writings, e.g.
Gen. 30:16—“evening” at end of a normal day’s work followed by night;
Ex. 12:6—“at twilight,” lit., “between the two evenings” (see NASB
footnote), designating a time followed by a normal “night” (v. 8) and
“morning” (v. 10); Ex. 18:13—“morning until the even-ing,” a normal
day. This is how the people to whom and for whom Moses wrote would understand it (e.g. Josh. 10:26,27, Psa. 55:17, etc.). Assigning any other meaning to this phrase
|would be an assumption and contrary to the evidence.
In Exodus 20:8-11 “day”/”days” occur six times,
twice to refer to creation week. Is it credible that the two references
to creation week mean thousands of years, but all the others refer to
solar days, especially in view of the fact that the two references to
creation week are based on the others and sandwiched by the others?
Natural Import Of The Language
Taken normally, the language of Genesis 1 favors
instantaneous accomplishment (e.g., “‘Let there be light’; and there
was light.” ). This interpretation of the language accords with later
Jewish writings: Psa. 33:6-9, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were
made…For He spoke, and it was done” (Psa. 148:5,6; Heb. 11:3).
Difficulties With “Day” = “Ages”
Insurmountable difficulties arise by making the
“days” thousands of years. How did the plants survive the years of
darkness, as they were created on the third “day” and the sun on the
fourth? How did the plants survive thousands of years without insects
to pollinate them, for the plants were created on the third “day” and
insects on the fifth?
Genesis A Historical Record
Genesis 1-3 is written as a historical record of
real events and real people and is so treated in the rest of Scripture.
Compare the superscription in Genesis 2:4 with 5:1; 6:9, etc. Paul wrote that woman was created “from man” and “for man”
Cor. 11:8-9); that Adam was “first created, then Eve,” and that the
woman was “quite deceived” (1 Tim. 2:13-14); that through “one man” sin
and death entered the world (Rom. 5:12-14); that “the serpent deceived
Eve by his craftiness” (2 Cor. 11:3); that God had said, “Light shall
shine out of darkness” (2 Cor. 4:6); and that “by a man came death...in
Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:21-22). To deny the historicity of Genesis is
to cast a shadow of doubt on the reliability of the rest of the Bible.
Jesus stamped His approval on the historicity of
the Genesis account when He said, “He who created them from the
beginning made them male and female” (Mt. 19:6). The day-age theory
puts the story of Genesis two a long way from “the beginning.” Is Jesus
the Son of God or not?!
Geologists differ on the age of the earth by
millions of years. No reliable dating methods exist to prove the earth
older than what the Genesis record indicates. Even if “days” could be
made to mean “ages,” it would not harmonize the Bible account with
The Bible versus Evolution
The Bible does not conflict with science, but it
cannot be harmonized with the unproven theory of evolution. Which will
you believe? Read Psalm 19:7-11.
e-mail: 18542 Crestline Rd., Humble, TX 77396
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In our last issue we announced plans for a new congregation of the Lord’s people to be established in Springfield, Illinois.
Ken McDaniel is an experienced gospel evangelist. He, along with his
wife Penny have signed a contract to purchase a house just a few blocks
from the State Capitol. The property is located in
an area zoned for
business and will serve as their residence as well as the initial
The Lord willing, by June of this year the new work will enjoy the
benefits of a second evangelist when they are joined by their son
Colton and his wife Keri.
It is unfortunate that in our previous issue we mistakenly provided an
incorrect email address for people who wish to contact brother
McDaniel. Please note the correct email address below:
Ken & Penny McDaniel
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