About Think's Editor -
By KARL DIESTELKAMP
Ferris was known to many, if not most, of the readers of Think. He was
born June 6, 1923, in Owensville, Missouri, to Elmer and Amelia
Diestelkamp Ferris, and he died October 20, 2015, in Louisville,
Kentucky. His wife Charlene preceded him in death September 6, 2014. He
is survived by daughters Marilyn Ferris and Donna Manz (Alan) and son
Jim Ferris (Tammy); seven grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren;
two sisters, Velva Breuer and Darlein Duncan and a host of extended
family and brethren in Christ on whom he had a great influence.|
Ray preached his first sermon in August of 1948 and then preached while
in college in Tennessee. After graduation he preached in Richmond,
Virginia, until August of 1955 at which time he moved his family to
Racine, Wisconsin, where he labored until moving to Kenosha, Wisconsin,
in June of 1959. Following several years in Kenosha, he worked with
Illinois churches in Elgin, Rockford, Lockport, and finally Normal,
serving as an elder in each of the last three churches while there.
Ray was a stabilizing force at a critical time in Wisconsin and
northern Illinois when there was much controversy and division over the
issues of church support of human institutions and the sponsoring
church. The effect of his good sound preaching, strong conviction, and
godly influence is felt to this day in this area. He was one of several
men who planned and began publishing Truth Magazine to combat the errors of modernism, institutionalism, and the social gospel. Later, when our family began to publish Think, he played an important part both financially and by writing articles.
He had numerous invitations and opportunities to move to work with
larger churches and receive more substantial support, but he chose to
remain in the Upper Midwest where he felt he was more needed. During
|those years, he supplemented his support by selling insurance
when local church support was inadequate or so that the local church
could use more of its funds in the local community or support preachers
in other places.
If you approached Ray with a Bible question, he would immediately work
to give you a Bible answer. He was a careful student of the Bible. If
you needed help or were wrestling with some problem, Ray was ready to
help and lend support. He was a mentor to a lot of men—especially to younger preachers. In fact, he mentored some men who did not realize they were being mentored.
I do not know of anyone who did not like Ray Ferris, except perhaps
those who considered him too spiritually conservative for their taste
and those whom he challenged to give Bible authority for that which
they preached or practiced that he believed to be error. He was kind
but firm in dealing with those who disagreed with him on the
understanding and application of scripture, and never to my knowledge
did he ever show any sign of bitterness toward those who treated him
We worked together, traveled together, worshiped together, and loved
deeply as family and brethren. I will miss his wise counsel, keen
logical mind, clear thinking, great recall and grasp of scripture, and
his tender, tender heart. However, our loss of association is his gain
as he has departed to “be with Christ: for it is very far better”
(Phil. 1:23). When I remember Ray, I am reminded of Revelation 14:13:
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; Yes, says
the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their works
follow with them.”
8311 - 27th Avenue, Kenosha, Wisconsin 53143
|Ray was a beloved part of our family. Pictured
at his funeral were
the following family members who are gospel preachers
(left to right):
Robert E. Speer,
Andy Diestelkamp, Jeremy Diestelkamp,
By KARL DIESTELKAMP
|The cover of the September 21, 2015, issue of TIME Magazine was designated their “Question Everything Issue.” Its provocative headline reads, “Is Monogamy over?”
Quotes include: “Monogamy is a charade we insist on, thus
institutionalizing dishonesty,” and, “Yes. We need to legalize
polygamy,” (by a man who has filed a federal lawsuit to strike down the
state of Montana’s bigamy laws).
David P. Barash, an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology and co-author of The Myth of Monogamy,
is summarized as saying, “No. It’s unnatural, but we should keep it for
our kids’ sake.” He argues that “For men, the underlying evolutionary
calculus of polygamy is clear: the possibility for a larger number of
offspring and thus enhanced evolutionary fitness.” However, he then
says, “But even though monogamy isn’t natural and therefore isn’t easy,
it does offer the benefit of biparental care…And because human children
need so much parental assistance, protection and investment, humans, perhaps more than any other animal, (emphasis, K.D.) especially benefit from monogamy.” He concludes that monogamy is only “socially imposed.”
What else would we expect from committed evolutionists? Once one buys into the unproved and unprovable theory (hypothesis) of evolution, his concept of the origin of man relegates man to a product of lifeless matter that somehow
its way, by some unknown means, through a series of transitions of one
life form after another all the way to “grandpa” chimpanzee and then on
to man, thus making man nothing but a highly developed animal. Keep in
mind that a theory is an unproved assumption,
and if you begin with a false assumption and stick to it, regardless of
evidence to the contrary, you can never arrive at the truth. Since
evolution provides no mechanism for the concepts of right or wrong,
love, or morality, why should the “man animal”
be limited to monogamy or, for that matter, any standard other than
evolution’s “survival of the fittest”? On what premise could an
evolutionist object to polygamy, same sex marriage, abortion, or even
But monogamy is not the only victim
of organic evolution. More and more people are saying that animal life
ought to be treated equally with human life. And, why not, if man is
just another animal? Here’s why! “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one flesh of men,
and another flesh of beasts (animals), and another flesh of birds, and
another of fishes” (1 Cor. 15:39). This is not evolutionary theory; it is undeniable, verified fact.
This fact blows an infinite, “unpluggable” hole in the theory of
evolution and is not just a quarrel over semantics. Man is not an
Some have gone so far as to advocate that we should not eat animals or animal products.
Before you go there, remember that God said to Noah,
“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; as the green herb
have I given you all” (Gen. 9:3). Jesus ate the Passover which involved
killing and eating a lamb (Ex. 12:3-8; Mk. 14:12-16). You may choose
not to eat meat, for whatever reason you choose, except that you cannot
say that it is contrary to inspired scripture.
How long will it be before some “intellectual” argues that plants are
alive and, therefore, we should treat them as equal to man. After all,
according to evolutionists, they are technically related to man through
a common ancestor and DNA at the least. We can almost hear the rallying
cry, “Broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, collard greens, and even grass are
alive; and grapes, tomatoes, and pumpkins should not have the life
crushed and cooked out of them.” Perhaps he would legislate that we
live on thin air since he would consider it an inert natural byproduct
of evolution. And when will someone who believes that we evolved from
lifeless matter begin to whimper over all of the mistreated dirt in the
world; and what of the billions of tons of gravel that are imprisoned
in concrete and therefore prevented from evolving further—they, too,
may be distant relatives. Absurd, you say? Right! Just as absurd as
saying there is no God (Psa. 14:1) and that man is just an animal!
8311 - 27th Avenue, Kenosha, Wisconsin 53143
By ANDY DIESTELKAMP
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God created the intimate companionship of marriage, He declared that “a
man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and
they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). This divine statement reveals
God’s intent for marriage. Jesus confirms this when challenged on the
touchy subject of divorce (Matt. 19:3-5). Take special note of His
interpretive addendum. “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate” (vs. 6).
In short, Jesus’ answer to the question of whether or not it was
“lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason” was no. Why?
Because “From the beginning it was not so” (vs. 8). It separated what
God joined together and meant to be permanent.
Before the church, before the Law of Moses, before sin entered the world, God created the
companionship of marriage as the context in which offspring would be
conceived, born, nurtured, and otherwise prepared for an eternal
relationship with Him. Even though marriages would not be left
unscathed by sin, thousands of years later Jesus still pointed sinners
back to God’s original intent for marriage. We must do the same.
Failure to do this has resulted in much of what ails our culture, and
we will not right our course until we begin to honor marriage as God
Yet, there are other consequences of failing to teach and live these
ideals in marriage. Through- out Scripture, the marriage and
parent/child relationships are used to picture our relationship with
God. In the Old Testament God called Himself ahusband to Israel, and in the New Testament God is frequently
called “Father.” When men fail to lead and fail to be the kinds of
husbands and fathers they should be, they not
|only sin but ruin a divine metaphor and give occasion for many to blaspheme God.
So it is critical that husbands and fathers understand the roles to
which they have been called. The companionship of marriage and family
is not just a pleasant pastime for this sojourn. It is supposed to be a
foretaste of our eternal companionship with God. When men selfishly
fail to model Christ’s love in their homes (Eph. 5:25-6:4), they set a
course for Hell for themselves, and, potentially, for generations to
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave
Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing
of water by the word” (Eph. 5:25,26).
323 E. Indiana Avenue, Pontiac, Illinois 61764
By AL DIESTELKAMP
is generally believed that when the apostle John said he was “in the
Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10), he was referring to the first
day of the week. Given this interpretation, it is not surprising that
Christians frequently use that term to refer to the day on which we
come together to partake of the Lord’s supper (Ac. 20:7).
While I’m not questioning the scriptural accuracy of such a reference,
I do have to wonder if our modern-day use of that day justifies saying
it belongs to the Lord any more than the other six days of the week.
I understand that the first day of the week is not like the Sabbath under the Law of Moses and that it is not a “holy day.” I’m also aware that first
|century saints did not have the leisure time that we
enjoy, and yet we find them “breaking bread from house to house” (Ac.
2:46) and staying up until midnight listening to preaching (Ac. 20:7).
Our generous leisure time should remind us, “to whom much is given…much
will be required” (Lk. 12:48). There was a time in America when more of
the first day was set aside for spiritual activities than we generally
see happening today. To a great degree, Sunday has been co-opted by
business, sports, and other personal activities.
Sunday is now a time for sleeping, for putting in overtime at work, for doing yard work, for travel- ing, and for playing or watching sports. For pro football fans it’s “Gameday!”—and, don’t forget, “Super Bowl Sunday.”
aforementioned activities are not wrong —even on Sunday. I have been
known to use the day for these and other activities, so I’m not trying
to lay a guilt trip on anyone. It’s just that I’m old enough to
remember with fondness when Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A were not the
only businesses closed on Sunday. So many distractions have been added
to our lives. In the absence of these distractions, Christians spent
more time together developing “fervent love for one another” and
fulfilling the admonition to “be hospitable to one another” (1 Pet.
260 N. Aspen Drive, Cortland, Illinois 60112
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By DAVID DIESTELKAMP
parable of the sower challenges us on many levels, but just when we
think we’ve got it the last thirteen words of Jesus dare us to go
farther and deeper. After three soil failures, the success of the good
ground gives us a living hope, but then Jesus adds: “who indeed bears
fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
What’s going on? Which one are you? More importantly, which one am I?
Fruit is the benefit of being in Jesus, the Vine
(Jn. 15:1-2). It is fruit unto holiness (Rom. 6:22) and of
righteousness (2 Cor. 9:10). “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…” (Gal. 5:22). It is
“every good work” (Cor. 1:10). We can’t do any of this without Jesus
(Jn. 15:4). Truly, in all things it is God who gives the increase (1
Cor. 3:6) and who gets the glory!
Notice that Jesus did not say that some people will give 100%, some
60%, some 30%. Everyone is going to try to give 100% of their potential
and ability, but results will vary. The gospel bears impressive fruit,
and that fruit is valued even though it is produced in varying
There is potential for a lot of good and a lot of
evil in being a 100x person. You can accomplish so much for the kingdom
of God; you can help so many people, and you can inspire and challenge
everyone. But beware of pride and taking the credit for what you do. Beware of feeling superior,as if you are the only one working, or as
“have to do everything.” Resist the tempta- tion to lower your fruit
bearing to “average,” thinking, “If it is good enough for those who are
60x or 30x, it is good enough for me.” Especially avoid despising those
who are bearing less fruit.
Remember “the last shall be first, and the first last” principle (Matt.
20:16). Give God the glory for anything accomplished through you. Show
appreciation for how you have been blessed and compassion toward those
who have not been. Don’t compare yourself with others (2 Cor. 10:12).
Give words of appreciation, respect, and thanks to others.
There is potential for a lot of good and a lot of
evil in being a 60x person. You may feel you are the unnoticed “middle
child” of fruit bearing in the family of God. The 100x people leave a
mark; they make an obvious difference. The 30x people get help,
encouragement, and appreciation for everything they try to do. So you
get to be the anonymous right hand who does the things unnoticed by the
left hands (and about which you are not supposed to tell them—Matt.
6:3). Beware of feeling average, unnoticed, and unappreciated. Resist
the temptation to just do what most people do or have always done
because it is average. Don’t try to drag a 100x down or despise a 30x
as a way of making yourself look or feel better.
Remember, there are no average kingdom citizens. We all “shine forth as the sun” (Matt.13:43). Resist putting down what you do because it isn’t flashy. Take confidence and
it isn’t flashy. Take confidence and inspiration in knowing God “who
sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matt. 6:4). Don’t
compare yourself with others (2 Cor. 10:12). Express appreciation for
all the fruit others bear. Offer help to the 100x and 30x, even if they
get the credit for the fruit.
Though you may doubt it, there is potential for a
lot of good and a lot of evil in being a 30x person. In terms of
righteousness, 2x is a lot for us who used to be “dead in trespasses
and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Were it not for 100x and 60x fruit bearers, I
suspect we would be amazed by the 30x people! So, why aren’t we still
amazed? I’ll warn you not to feel like you are doing nothing just
because you can’t do what others can do. Don’t resent those who are
gifted and blessed more than you, and don’t assume they look down on
you. Beware: it’s not just the 100x people who can be prideful. Are you
willing to wash feet like Jesus did?
Remember, you are a vital part of the body (1 Cor. 12). Focus on what
Jesus said about giving a cup of cold water (Matt. 10:42). Live up to
your full potential. Be a 30x person at 100%. Take confidence in
knowing that in areas where you are weak, Christ can be strong (2 Cor.
12:8-10). Show appreciation for and help those who can do even more
than you can.
940 N. Elmwood Dr., Aurora, IL 60506
By GORDON J. PENNOCK (1910-1976)
years ago a columnist in the local news- paper wrote some caustic
criticism of people who made casual or uninvited door-calls or sent
tracts to people through the mail for the purpose of teaching religion.
He declared such folk to be “bigots” and their practice as being “in
While such criticism might discourage a few Christians from their
mission of telling others about Jesus, it will be rightly disregarded
by those who are familiar with the activities of Jesus and the early
disciples. Without any apologies, they “went everywhere preaching the
word” (Ac. 8:4).
What is bigotry? Webster defines a bigot as “a person who is
obstinately and unreasonably attached to a particular creed, doctrine,
opinion, etc., and intolerant of all others.” This definition does not
describe a true Christian. A Christian is one who possesses a fervent
love and compassion for people, coupled with humility. Because of an
abiding faith in God and His word, as well as his love for men, he must
be constantly directing men to Jesus, who Himself said, “I am the way,
and the truth and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me”
(Jn. 14:6). The Christian’s disposition is both to teach and to be
taught. He pleads, “Let us reason together.” He is neither obstinate,
unreasonable nor intolerant!
Much of Jesus’ personal ministry was occupied with correcting
men of their foolish philosophies, vain traditions and inexcusable
|God’s word. He challenged them by asking, “Have ye not
read?” (Matt. 19:4). He chided them by saying, “Ye do err, not knowing
the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matt. 22:29). A whole chapter
(Matthew 23) is taken up with rebuking the hypocrisy of the religious
leaders of His day. He firmly declared, “The scriptures cannot be broken” (Jn. 10:35). Who is ready to charge Jesus with bigotry?!
The entire life of Paul, as an apostle of Jesus Christ, was spent in
earnest evangelism. In Thessalonica he went into the synagogue and “for
three sabbath days reasoned with them from the scriptures” (Ac. 17:2).
Likewise in Corinth, “he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and
persuaded Jews and Greeks” (Ac. 18:4). In Ephesus, he “reasoned with
the Jews” (Ac. 18:19). Before Felix and Drusilla, “he reasoned of
righteousness, and self control, and judgment to come” (Ac. 24:25).
Yes, Paul taught both “publicly and from house to house, testifying
both to Jews and Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our
Lord Jesus Christ” (Ac. 20:20, 21). But Paul was not a bigot!
We as Christians must not be deterred from carrying out the
orders of our “Captain” who said, “Go…and make disciples of all the
nations” (Matt. 28:19), and “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk.
16:15). We must constantly continue to advise all of Heaven’s
conditions for the pardon of sin by proclaiming these words of Jesus:
|that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
disbelieveth shall be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). To do so is not bigotry.
Bigotry too often characterizes the reaction of those whose sin,
immorality and ungodliness is censured by the very nature of the
gospel. They arrogantly and self-righteously want to be left
undisturbed while they pollute society with their wickedness. Such
intolerance brought to martyrdom many of God’s prophets through the
centuries, including John the baptizer, and there is no reason to
believe that the list may not be lengthened. Be that as it may, we must
continue to evangelize—to preach the gospel to sinful men.
Editor’s Note: This
article, written in 1971, could well have been written today. That’s
the way it is with truth. I chose to republish it because of the
prevalent misuse of the words “bigot” and “bigotry” in our current
culture. One need only quote a scripture to evoke the “B” word. To make
matters worse, the misapplied charge of bigotry is often accompanied
with the charge of hatred. None of us want to be viewed as bigots, and
certainly not as haters. Some may attempt to suppress our opposition to
popular sin and religious error. It has never been more necessary than
now that Christians join the apostle Paul in saying, “I am not ashamed
of the gospel of Christ…for in it the righteousness of God is
revealed…” (Rom. 1:16-17).
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